Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shmashing Trayvon's Memory ®

What happened to Trayvon was unjust.  The man that shot him, George Zimmer, should be brought to justice, because there is no excuse for what he did.  There is no self-defense law that can save him, and Zimmerman must pay the piper for his actions.

As if the incident itself didn't bring to bear the tragedy of human nature, Trayvon's family has further underscored just how awful human beings can be.

According to applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the family's attorney last week, Fulton wants to trademark "I am Trayvon" and "Justice for Trayvon" for use in DVDs and CDs memorializing the slain teenager.
Wow.  If I were a better man, I'd be left speechless by this.  But I'm not a better man, so I've got some words for this.  The article makes mention that the family could be controlling the use of his name for the sake of his memory, as some people were trying to tarnish his reputation by bringing to light the fact that he was kicked out of school for marijuana possession.

Is it any wonder that Al Sharpton (right) is in on this?
I really doubt it, though.  Human beings are fairly awful.  I mean, humans have engaged in genocide, torture, and all sorts of horrific things, so how would it be such a stretch to think that some people are terrible enough to try to profit off of their sons' death?

"You're a racist Jack!  You wouldn't be saying this if it was a white mother doing the same thing!"  Of course I would.  I'm not racist, because I believe that human beings of all colors have the capability of being scourges to their own species.

I mean, what's the point of mass producing memorial CD's and DVD's?  To hilight the injustice of it all?  I highly doubt that is needed, because this case is getting quite a bit of national attention.  Do they really think that trademarking certain phrases is going to abate any speculation or defamation of his character?  Logically, that won't happen.  People will still say whatever they want about him, whenever they want and however they want.  He's dead.  You can't slander or libel a dead person.

So trademarking these phrases is not going to really do anything for his memory or reputation.  I mean, if I wanted to trash his name, all I'd have to do is just make a bunch of shirts that say "Trayvon sucks."  There would be nothing they could do about it, except trademark the phrase "Trayvon sucks."  The only thing one can logically conclude is that they want to make money off of this.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Half of a Millenium

Well, Christian Fearing God-Man is now a year old.  I've managed to stick it out this long so far, so hopefully I can keep it going.  I'll admit, though, that with my new job, school, and kids, it's kind of difficult to find the time and motivation to write.  My friend and I, however, had an interesting conversation the other day, and I thought I'd share one of the big hilights.

What if tomorrow, all humans alive today would live to be 500 years old?

This question is different than "what if you lived to be 500."  It's easier to speculate about how you would personally change, but speculating about society is a bit different I think.  I for one think that a lot of problems in society would begin to work themselves out.

First, let's consider our current lifespan, approximately 80ish years if you're in decent health.  80 years is not a long time, and we always find ourselves saying "life is too short."  I think our short life-spans have a negative effect on human nature.  We feel as though time is short, so we feel that we must experience everything we can as soon as possible, lest we arrive at our day of reckoning without having lived life to its fullest.

That's pretty intense when you think about it.  People scramble to get their piece of the pie, because they want it before they cash in their chips.  But what people lived to be 500?  Would there be such a scramble?  Would people be so adamant about screwing each other over out of fear that they'll never get what's coming to them?

I'm inclined to think that after 500 years, nearly every person would have had the chance at some point to experience all the things they've wanted to do.  500 years is a long time, and a lot can change during that time period.  Just 160-ish years ago, people in American were enslaved.  Imagine how that would have been if those who had died of old age in bondage could have lived to breathe the free air.

Also, people in positions of power would have to put a lot more thinking into their decision-making.  Most of the time, it takes a hundred years before the events of the present fully manifest their ramifications.  Leaders know this, which is probably why they're willing to take so many risks and make poor decisions.  They know they won't live to see how badly they screwed the future.

But if they knew they would have to live to see the results, they'd probably be a lot more judicious and prudent.

There would definitely be some negative results to this.  There would likely be mass suicides.  Super old people would probably just off themselves, because who would want to spend the next 500 years in a decrepit, old body?  (In my little scenario, everyone's aging is proportional to what it would be if they only lived 80 years AFTER they reach the age of 25.  So you would spend most of your life healthy and vivacious).

Also, the Christians who don't believe suicide would send you to hell would probably just off themselves.  My guess is that the really hard core Christians would become insanely depressed knowing that they have to wait for the afterlife for that long.  Maybe they'd all be really reckless in the hopes of "accidentally" biting the big one?

I don't rightly know, but I think it's an interesting thought experiment.  So much of human nature is shaped by our short lifespan.  How different would human nature look if we all lived for half a millenium?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why the Abortion Argument Will Never Be Settled -- Ever

I'm skipping the dumb idea of the week because I think this is a fairly important thing to say.  What I don't want is for this to be yet another discussion about whether or not abortion should be legal.  I think I've written several pages worth of comments about this very subject for like the past month, and I'm done discussing it for a while.

I'm done discussing it because there's little use in it.  So lets discuss why the discussion itself is hopeless.  Well I think it's pretty simple, actually.  Pro-choice people are labeled as "pro-abortion."  Their arguments are misconstrued as a discussion about some lives being worth more than others.  Pro-choice people are said to be a party to infanticide, and they're constantly accused of being heartless, soulless monsters who care nothing for the value and sanctity of life.

On the flip side, pro-life people are labeled as "anti-choice."  Misogynist.  Right-wing, fundamentalist Christian wackoes who want to "control women's uteruses."  They're construed as ignorant and backwards.

Well, the funny thing is that both sides seem completely filled with idiots who are unwilling to listen to each other.  That's because neither side is willing to accept that the other has anything efficacious to say.  So it's really pointless to have any discussion about it until both sides stop incorrectly labeling the people and misconstruing their arguments.

Those tactics are indicative of close-.  Silver and the pro-lifers are not interested in reason debate about the topic.  They're not interested in truly understanding the pro-choice argument.  They've already made up their minds, and their real goal is to convince pro-choicers that they're all wrong and immoral.

Jersey and many of the pro-choicers fail to understand that this is not an easy topic for anyone to discuss.  They forget that there are still humans left who have strong feelings towards the preservation of life.  This goes beyond the morality of it all.  Many human beings could not live with themselves knowing that they were a party to ending a life.  And because they fail to understand that sentiment--a real and justified sentiment--they quickly dismiss the pro-lifers as religious fanatics.

Well, you're both wrong, and you're both idiots.  I think the problem is that all of you are afraid.  "You don't know me Jack!"  Nope, I don't know any of you, but frankly I don't care, because it doesn't matter.  All of you are little different from every other human being.

Ever ask yourself why there are so few people who are really open-minded, and who truly try to understand something they vehemently disagree with?  It's because most people are afraid that if they do understand the other side they'll end up agreeing with it.

It's a lot easier just believing that you're crusading for the rights of unborn babies.  It's much easier to believe that you're just crusading for the rights of women.

But to admit that you have to allow people to make their own choices, to admit that you have no place to make that choice for them, and then to realize that your position inevitably leads to the loss of life--that's the road less travelled.

"Certainty of mind does not mean gaiety of heart."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day!!!

Not sure which is hotter: the women themselves or the fact that one of them is
drinking a dark beer.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dumb*ss Idea of the Week: Bioware Edition

This is actually going to be more of a review of the recently released Mass Effect 3, the final installment of Bioware's hit sci-fi series.

If you're a gamer and have not played ME1 and 2, I highly recommend it.  The gameplay is fairly solid on both (although ME2 is severly dumbed down from ME1), but the games are more about the story-telling than anything, as is Bioware's modus operandi.

***ME 1 AND 2 SPOLIERS AHEAD***

Mass Effect 3 seriously delivers on the intensity the player experiences as Commander Shepherd in the first two installments.  The Reapers have arrived to destroy all of the sapient civilizations, and it's your job to unite the galaxy against them.  The battles are intense, and the relationships you continue to cultivate feel real and palatable.

And you're faced with some difficult choices to make this time around, choices that have real ramifications . . . until the end.

Literally, 99.9% of my ME3 experience was rivetting.  And then I got to the end.  You're faced with three choices to make, and here's where Bioware failed on an epic scale: the choices don't change the ending (save for a few effects), and there's no epilogue.  There is absolutely ZERO closure.

***FULL SPOILERS AHEAD***

Here's your choices.

1.  Take control of the Reapers and potentially destroy earth.  The Reapers may come back and kill everything, but you don't know.

2.  Destroy the Reapers, potentially destroy Earth, and possibly allow sapient life to develop AI that will eventually kill all organic life everywhere forever (ala Terminator style).

3.  Assimilate all organic and synthetic life in the galaxy, effectively ending the Reaper cycle and ensuring that sapient life won't kill itself.

So what's the difference in the endings?  Well, the device used to control/kill/synthesize the Reapers will glow a different color.  You might destroy the Earth.

That's it.

You're left wondering what the heck happens in the future.  This has to be one of the biggest let-downs in gaming history.  It felt rushed, and it probably was considering that Bioware is controlled by EA.  Perhaps this was a cry for help from Bioware.  EA are the Reapers, and Bioware are the poor guys indoctrinated, trying to purge gaming of gamers so it can start over again.

The ending is so weak, it'd be like if Han Solo shot Luke in the face as soon as he got his eyesight back in Return of the Jedi.  Just a blaster bolt to the head, movie's over, roll credits.  That's what this is like.

Thanks Bioware.  You trolling douchebags.  Sigh

Friday, March 9, 2012

Nationalist America: Old Habits Die Hard

I had an epiphany of sorts today as I was doing my daily reading of the blogosphere.  At Political Realities, Larry wrote an article about whether or not it was right to order a drone strike against an American citizen living as a terrorist in another country.  The concept of the "rule of law," and its subversion was brought up in response to the article.

What is ironic about that is that these same people who mention the concept of "Rule of Law," were the people that were okay with bin Laden being executed without trial.  They are also the same people that are still okay with detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay without trial.  They're the same people that were okay with waterboarding.

At Western Hero, Silverfiddle wrote an article about the hypocrisy of Liberals who decried Rush Limbaugh's distasteful words towards that Fluke girl, while cheering even more distasteful words used by their heroes like Bill Maher.  Damien Charles, a frequenter here at CFGM, made a remark about American conservatives, and he was immediately shot down.  Someone remarked that he doesn't understand our internal workings because he doesn't live here.

What struck me about this is that these same people have offered countless critiques on European society, from her social issues to her economic issues.  And whenever they talk about how screwed up Europe is, they speak as though they live there and truly understand everything that is going on in each individual coutnry.

So what is the explanation for these attitudes?  If it were ignorance it wouldn't be so sad.  It'd be great--somewhat comforting actually--if I could just sit back and say "well they just don't know."  Unfortunately, it's much worse than ignorance: it is willful denial of contradictory truths, probably for the purpose of maintaining the pleasantry of feeling as though they have a grip on reality.

In short, it's Nationalism.

"But Jack, this isn't the 19th Century anymore.  We're not Nationalists!  Nationalism is for Nazis!  It's for imperialist, socialist Europeans, not enlightened egalitarian Americans such as we!"  Let's take a look at this Jeff Foxworthy-style.

If you believe that it's okay to waterboard a foreign national, but it's not okay to waterboard an American citizen, then you might be a Nationalist.

If you believe that it's okay to hold a foreign national in custody without trial, but it's not okay to do that to an American citizen, then you might be a Nationalist.

If you believe that the rights which our government is guaranteed to protect, as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States of America, are only rights that are guaranteed to American citizens, then you might be a Nationalist.

If you believe that America knows best and that you are in a position to somehow understand the world, but the world is not able to understand America, then you might be a Nationalist.

If you believe that America is just plain better than every other country in the world, whether you think it's because we're blessed by God or because of values, you might be a Nationalist.

If you shun another person at the mere mention of America's historical and current faults, calling that person a traitor and questioning his/her patriotism, then you might be a nationalist.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Something Fishy in Russia--No, not the Prostitutes

Honestly, it's kind of hard to
imagine a guy like this losing.
So the other day I was checking my activity and I noticed that I got a whopping (for me anyway) 637 views on Monday.  Calm down, it's only because I post fairly popular images.  If I actually had 637 people reading my blog then it'd be an entirely different story.  But anyway, further investigation revealed that my post "The Many Faces of Vladimir Putin" had the most hits.

So I went to look at the news and what not, and sure enough, Putin was in the headlines for winning Russia's presidential election.


As I have observed before, it's a little jacked up that a guy can serve as President for 8 years, Prime Minister for 4, and then turn around and get elected to the office of President again for another 4 years.  Doesn't it all seem a little fishy?

I mean, aside from the fact that there are allegations of voter fraud, isn't it a little strange that this man will have managed to stay in power 16 years once this term is up?  "No, look at FDR."  I guess it's a similar situation.  Russia hasn't been doing all that well lately.  They'v resorted to selling a lot of their older military technology to China (Sovremenny anyone?), and although they generate a lot of revenue from their natural resources, it's not like the people are living large.

This is how Russians campaign against their opposition.
And there's been a lot of opposition to Putin even running again.  The guy who served as Putin's Prime Minister while he was president is among the opposition leaders.  Why be opposed?  Because Putin represents Soviet Russia, a memory many are trying to forget.

Or are they?

Even if there was voter fraud, it's likely that the race would have been close, much like our presidential races when we consider the popular vote.  People are calling Putin's win a "land slide," but the truth of the matter is that he only got 58% of the vote.  It's highly unlikely that with a voter population as big as Russia's that he would have been able to pull off a fraud scam that would have influenced the vote by eight, whole percentage points.

In the Legislative elections alone, they calculated that approximately 64 million people voted.  For the sake of argument, lets assume that with the Presidential election, at least 64 million people voted.  Lets say that Putin only swayed the vote by 9%.  At that rate, he would have had to somehow get 5,760,000 votes to just appear out of thin air somehow.

And we're talking voter fraud, not election fraud.  Some people said they observed carousel voting, meaning people voting multiple times.  Even if every person out of that 9% voted 3 times each, that still would have been 1.9 million people that had to be organized enough to do this.

Putin is in red, the democratic process is in blue.
My point is that it's highly unlikely that he was able to sway the vote so drastically.  Perhaps there was a little voter fraud, but since he got well over 50% of the vote, even if there wasn't any fraud he likely would have still won, or come very close to winning.  The vote would have likely been split down the middle.

So what does this all mean?  Well, I think it means that the Russian people aren't as post-Cold-warish as we'd like to think.  The Communist party had the second highest plurality of votes in the Legislative elections, and there are three nationalist parties.  There's still a strong sense of nationalism running through Russia, and Putin represents stability and prestige for the country.

Toss in the fact that Putin is ex-KGB, then you have some good old-fashioned reasons to distrust Russia and the intentions of her leader.  It will be interesting to see where things go after his current 4 year term.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dumb*ss Idea of the Week: Slavery Edition

I guess these people didn't get the memo that slavery was abolished in the 19th century.  A mega-rich New York woman kept an Indian immigrant against her will in her home as a servant paying her only 85 cents an hour.

Not only that, but the woman was forced to live in a closet and was not allowed to leave the mansion, laden with golden ceilings and even a glass elevator.
The Smoking Gun reports that immigration agents received a tip from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center last year and removed V.M. from the George's property. The U.S. Department of Labor conducted its own investigation and says V.M. is entitled to $206,000 in back wages. She was also allegedly denied health benefits, sick days or any personal time off from her labors.
I guess you would expect this sort of thing in a 3rd world country, where the mega-rich rampantly exploit the poor and unfortunate with impunity.  It's kind of sad that we see such behavior in America, a country that many of us would love to believe is more "civilized," than the rest of the world.

But go figure, awful human beings exist in every society, even in the Land of the Free.

Congratulations lady!