Monday, June 25, 2007

Violates Human Decency

[video HT: Death and the Maiden]

If you'd opened our paper Wednesday to pages 2 and 3 of the local section, you'd have read the following headlines: "10 charged in alleged child porn network," "Man charged with rape of teen," and "Father of two pleads guilty in child porn case." All on the same day. Yeesh.

Anyone who is proven guilty of the things these men are accused of needs to be taken off the streets. Incarceration is needed in such cases for all three of the classic reasons: public safety, punishment and deterrence. (I don't know how effective the last really is, though, since these crimes don't tend to be the result of rational calculation, but such as it is I think the pedagogical effect here still matters.)

But here's the problem: If any of these dozen suspects gets convicted, do you know what will happen to them in prison?

That's a yes or no question. and the answer is yes. You do know -- we all know. They will very likely be beaten and raped, repeatedly. They will, in essence, by be sentenced to torture, to cruel and unusual punishment. This violates the Eighth Amendment, and it violates basic decency. It is both illegal and inhuman. Like all torture, it is intolerable and counterproductive.

The fact that this torture will be administered at the hands of their fellow prisoners and not by officials of the state hardly matters, because the state is -- we are -- placing them into a situation in which we all seem to know that this is what will happen. The state's hands are clean only in the meaningless technical sense that America's hands are "clean" in cases of extraordinary rendition -- when we ship terror suspects off to Syria or Saudi Arabia, outsourcing torture.
[via slacktivist]

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Horrific Figure

...the figures are infantalizing. One thing to have small little tear shaped children shaped figurines, but when those tear chaped infants are mining for coal, or dressed in camo, it starts to get creepy. In fact, that particular one struck me as a horrific figure, rather than tribute to our military. Who turns an infant into a soldier?

After viewing a few hundred of the little things, we both felt a sense of sadness, as if these figurines were an expression of deep loss.
[via Streak's Blog]

He: "Oh my goodness, I can't believe you would do this to me!"
She: "You really need to grow up!"

Bye Bye Baby Home De-birthing Kit
[via Think Christian]

Distinquished Ladies

There's a subtle implication that Ruth Graham's life was somehow less than the life of the modern-day pastor's wife - a misfortune of being trapped in her husband's shadow. I wonder if the opposite is true: Ruth Graham actually lived an example of pronounced individuality. Today's famous pastor's wives seem to work hard to do the same thing as their husbands. I don't want to diminish the importance of what they do, I'm just questioning whether this actually gives them a singular identity, or simply blurs them into an almost indistinguishable extension of their husband. In today's upside down culture, we often discount the unique achievements of a quiet life, while pursuing celebrity, which ultimately diminishes us with its sameness. Something that can never be said about Ruth Graham.
[via the view from her]

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Frustrated by Fathers and Feminism

But here's how we come to today: I also believe that our society holds Mother's Day to be a day of thanking women for their role in childbearing and rearing, and Father's day as a time to celebrate... golf. For every wonderful, good Father out there, there's probably two selfish men who think rape is the best kind of self-gratification, or that children are a woman's responsibility because she shouldn't have gotten herself knocked up.

I am mildly jealous of those who hold functional marriages and dating situations. I explained to a friend last week why I use the word functional rather than happy - happy is, as Switchfoot suggests, a yuppie word. A truly functional relationship will mean that when a couple has an argument, they resolve it. Functionality means that their sex life is healthy and balanced between individuals, that their agreed upon roles are being fulfilled to the extent that they can be. Where both individuals have a realistic view of the kind of partnership that married life entails, and they realize that communication is the life and death of any relationship.

I cannot avoid the happiness of friends who are functionally married and have children or are looking forward to having them sometime soon. I don't envy them in a way that wishes their loss, and I am not jealous because I want what they have. I am merely filled with sadness over the reasons for my all-female family - the loss of what could have been my life. That all the men connected to my family were assholes. And that women were naive and only escaped from one hell to another. That in their whole lives, very few people ever tried to help them....

So let me take this Father's day to rejoice in the fact that I have met good Fathers, people who inspired me as much as they made my gut ache. And I have met some guys my age who will make good Fathers one day - boys who will become real men with feelings and a capacity for love and protection. And let me be thankful that despite my unfortunate history, I have seen relationships between men and women that make the militant members of today's feminism look foolish for asking for something so low as mere equality.
[via You saved my life from a colorless one]

[from The Choir CD "O How The Mighty Has Fallen"]

Terrible Mystery (Hindalong, Daugherty)

No creature more lovely
No spirit more dear to me
And if I cannot hold you
I still wish you all the joy in the world
How dark is the universe
How cold is the rain on this earth
So long have I loved you
Since I was a child and you were a girl

What a terrible mystery
How I searched for the key
To unlock your guarded heart
And set your love free
What a beautiful dream
I tried more than anything
To unlock your heart
And set your love free
A terrible mystery

It’s alright I’m movin’ on
Some days the pain is gone
No longer searching for
The treasure in you
I never could own
I smile when I see you now
This planet keeps turning around
And I don’t cry anymore
Only once in awhile
When I’m all alone

What a terrible mystery…

[hear the album and the song]

Another Part of Father's Day

Remember widows who lost their companions and single mothers who lost the father of their child/ren today. Especially remember the daughters who are confused/struggling with their identity because of an absent father, and help those who resent their mothers for it.

The Problem With Pain is That There is Pain (The Koan of Faith and Suffering)
[via Sandalstraps' Sanctuary]

Are Relationships Crap?

Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, But only you can feel the true warmth.
[via Fun-Food and Fighting]

Because Men Are...Animals?

[via Mission: Kim Possible!]

Friday, June 15, 2007

"To Speak With Conviction"

The Impotence of Proofreading


Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Last Chance at Romancia"

I'm helping/going to this today. No time to blog:

Warren Romancia's 4th Annual Get-together/Networking Celebration

Today, June 9, 2pm-midnight, come and go, Fuddruckers, Saskatoon.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mystery - Illusion = Truth

Illusion - Potency = Faith

Mystery - Illusion - Potency = Reality

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Eternal Expiration

Let us imagine, for the sake of argument, that the first cells were indeed designed and used to seed this planet. What would this look like to someone who was convinced that this planet instead spawned those seeds? A gap. That is, if one is committed to the hypothesis that the planet’s geochemistry is sufficient cause for the origin of these cells, yet their origin depends, at least in part, on some form of intelligent design, the non-teleological perspective interprets its difficulty in bridging the discontinuity in epistemological terms – a gap.

Now, once we realize that such a design event will be perceived by non-teleologists as a gap, two other interesting insights follow....

Things get more interesting when you realize that most non-teleologists believe that a design inference necessarily depends on the ability to identify and describe independent information about the designer(s). Without such information, the teleologist is left with nothing more than gaps. If it can thus appear the gaps are slowly being filled, the non-teleologist will never suspect that life was designed (remember we are making this assumption for the sake of argument).

But there is one major problem with the Promissory Note Argument – it has no expiration date. Since, FAPP, we can indefinitely generate new speculations and lines of inquiry that provide new sets of circumstantial evidence, the perception of a discontinuity as a gap can be maintained long past my lifetime. And this takes us to Dawkins' argument about the origin of life – the OOL event was so ancient and improbable that we should NOT expect an ability to completely close the gap. In other words, the Promissory Note has been given an expiration date after all – eternity.
[via Telic Thoughts]

Related: PUC in the Gaps

Actually Protecting Women

Maybe the problem is that the American PEOPLE, not only American feminists, are playing ostrich about the horrendous denial of basic human rights to billions of people around the world, including some Muslim’s an issue of basic justice that all civilized human beings OUGHT to be concerned about.

I find it more than a little ironic that patriarchy, so smugly touted in some Christian circles as a means of extending protection to women, essentially does nothing when it comes to actually protecting women, especially non-Western, non-Christian women. And I find it especially tragic when a woman becomes a mouthpiece for the ages-old blame game, this time with a new twist: it’s the Western feminists’ fault that non-Western Muslim women are oppressed.

No, we’re all our sisters’ (and brothers’) keepers, at least if we claim to follow the One who gave his life in order to save our sisters and brothers–and us, too.
[from this comment in this post at The CBE Scroll]

Deflecting Attention Away

I tuned in to watch the Republican presidential candidates debate last night, because I'd seen a disturbing report about Mitt Romney.

Bill Keller, a St. Petersburg, Fla., evangelist declared on his website, "If you vote for Mitt Romney you are voting for Satan." If Romney, a Mormon, becomes president, he said, it would "lead millions of souls to the eternal flames of hell."

Keller bills himself as the "Dr. Phil of Prayer" and "the next big thing in mass media religion." Howard Stern calls the guy up to have him on his radio show. Keller's ministry brings in more than $2 million annually. Now his TV show is on the i Network (formerly PAX).

So I tuned in, just in case Keller knew something no one else did. But I didn't see anything evil about Mitt Romney--at least not any more evil than the rest of the politicos.

That's when I decided to find out some more about Keller himself. Could this man be the Antichrist? {continue}
[via The Wittenburg Blog]

Monday, June 04, 2007

Wasting time wishing on stars
[via Ramblings of a Redhead]

"...a naked Barbie in one hand, panties in the other..."

Since Mike Warnke is coming to Calgary:

Mike Warnke is one of the most famous figures in American Christianity. However, unless you're a Christian, a Satanist, a scandal fiend, obsessive internet troll, or a vinyl collector, there is still a good chance you don't know his tale. Mike Warnke is a stand-up comedian. A Christian stand-up comedian. And despite a scandal-ridden career that would put Jim Bakker to shame, Warnke alone is responsible for what has turned into an enormous multi-million dollar industry - Christian stand-up comedy. Kinda nutty, ain't it?

In reality the Mike Warnke story has been recounted several times over the past decade and, yes, we're about to go through it again. This piece is more than that, however. It is a history of Christian stand-up comedy, from its roots in ventriloquism to its modern day standing as perhaps the wealthiest of all weirdo subcultures.

Christian stand-up comedy is a relatively new phenomenon, the start of which can be pinned down to the nineteen seventies. Prior to that point there existed plenty that could have been considered Christian entertainment but none of it was particularly (at least intentionally) funny. The nineteen fifties were an era of the staid and stuffy Christians, the schoolmaster stereotype, the real life Margaret Dumonts, the types that Warnke once described in his act as "look[ing] like they were baptized in vinegar."

In the late fifties a new theory on how to sway children to Jesus swept the culture and has survived for almost fifty years against all odds. Ventriloquism....

The show business phenomenon that was spawned by the deceitful marketing genius of Mike Warnke is both an enormous and uniquely American format. There is of course the chance that if "for Christian comedy ... the eighties are now," then it could experience the same crash that secular stand-up went through at the end of that decade. Perhaps Brad Stine will find himself performing for the rest of his life at a casino named after him in Branson, Missouri - the new Yakov Smirnoff.

As for Mike Warnke, he ignored the accusations that ambushed him fourteen years ago and stands by his discredited biography. He still scores steady gigs - although you have to admit they are strange gigs, like performing for the United States Navy in Japan or a convention of Canadian Christian business men in Northern Alberta. Most in the Christian comedy scene don't consider him part of the scene at all, but instead, a lone entity unto himself, who holds interest as novelty value only. Regardless of his tainted name, surely he must look on at the Christian stand-up comedy world of today with a feeling of pride knowing so much of it is because of him. What a country!
[via WFMU's Beware of the Blog]