Desert Cat's Paradise
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
A Ride Through ChernobylComments
Via annika's journal, this is a photo essay by a Russian biker chick, Elena, who took a ride through the ghost town of Chernobyl. This is really poignant stuff--more than a ghost town, it is a ghost city. It'll be the better part of a millenium before people can even consider returning, and 48,000 years before the radiation is mostly gone. Meanwhile the buildings slowly crumble and nature and wildlife slowly take over, despite the radiation.
Take a look: A Ride Through Chernobyl
Update: Here is some information from UN sources that seems to indicate that some of the evacuations may have been an overreaction, and that the suffering caused by these disruptions may be greater than any lingering effects of higher radiation levels. Recent UN research has also debunked some of the myths surrounding claims of the long term health effects of the disaster. I see now why Elena was and is willing to ride her bike through this area.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:27 PM | permalink
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Captured Al Qaeda Operations Chief Begins to TalkComments
Chicago, L.A. towers were next targets - The Washington Times: World
LONDON -- Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, al Qaeda's purported operations chief, has told U.S. interrogators that the group had been planning attacks on the Library Tower in Los Angeles and the Sears Tower in Chicago on the heels of the September 11, 2001, terror strikes.
Those plans were aborted mainly because of the decisive U.S. response to the New York and Washington attacks, which disrupted the terrorist organization's plans so thoroughly that it could not proceed, according to transcripts of his conversations with interrogators.
Decisive US response, as opposed to the anemic, half-hearted responses to terrorist attacks during the previous administration.
"The original plan was for a two-pronged attack with five targets on the East Coast of America and five on the West Coast," he told interrogators, according to the transcript.
"We talked about hitting California as it was America's richest state, and [al Qaeda leader Osama] bin Laden had talked about economic targets."
He is reported to have said that bin Laden, who like Mohammed had studied engineering, vetoed simultaneous coast-to-coast attacks, arguing that "it would be too difficult to synchronize."
Mohammed then decided to conduct two waves of attacks, hitting the East Coast first and following up with a second series of attacks.
"Osama had said the second wave should focus on the West Coast," he reportedly said.
But the terrorists seem to have been surprised by the strength of the American reaction to the September 11 attacks.
"Afterwards, we never got time to catch our breath, we were immediately on the run," Mohammed is quoted as saying.
Yeah, after eight years of Democrat-controlled (non-)responses to terror attacks, I can see how they would have been surprised. And John F. Kerry wants to return us to those bad-old days.
Thank God for George W. Bush.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:22 AM | permalink
Democrat Book of the Month ClubComments
While Kerry has been busy vacationing in Sun City, Idaho, buying jockstraps and mowing down Secret Service agents, his surrogate attack dog Richard Clarke has been busy stirring the pot with his book and testimony in Washington. Next month's edition will feature Bob Woodward and his new book appearing on 60 minutes April 18th. Perhaps Kerry will busy himself overseas that week, collecting more endorsements from foreign leaders or something.
So Democrats, do you know who you are voting for? You're loud and clear about who you are voting against. But other than your visceral hatred of Bush, do you have a real excitement about your candidate? Do you really know what his plan for this country would be? You know he is the most liberal member of the Senate, and that is enough for you to trust he'll do the "right thing"?
Trotting out surrogates while you lie low in Idaho makes political sense when you can't get any traction. But you can't govern by the book of the month club.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:35 AM | permalink
Dave Barry Admits to Substance Abuse in His YouthComments
Confessions of a closet carb fiend: "I know, I know. It was wrong. But we were young and foolish, and there was a lot of peer pressure. You'd be at a party, and there would be a lava lamp blooping away, and a Jimi Hendrix record playing (a ''record'' was a primitive compact disc that operated by static electricity). And then, when the mood was right, somebody would say: ''You wanna do some 'drates?'' And the next thing you know..."
Thanks to Dadcat for the heads-up.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:33 AM | permalink
Monday, March 29, 2004
Blogs for Bush: New Bumper StickerComments
I need one of these! :D
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:51 PM | permalink
Lileks Fisks Clarke and the 9/11 HearingsComments
LILEKS (James) The Bleat
Thanks to Little Miss Attilla for the heads-up.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:25 PM | permalink
Waffles or Ketchup?Comments
>>bt: Pin the Tale on the Donkeys << Video
"Who said the following:..." BT interviews anti-war protesters in NYC. Priceless!
Thank you Serenity for the heads-up!
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:08 PM | permalink
I've been holding my sides, desperately trying to keep my ribs from exploding for the last five minutes. Anna pointed her readers in this direction, so I blame her for my agony/ecstacy. Now here is the piece: callalillie: "The Challah Sh*t"
For those of a sensitive disposition, this link is not for you (it's poo poo humor). Maybe not workplace friendly either if your boss does not appreciate the sound of strangled cries and guffaws...
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:26 PM | permalink
Viewing "The Passion" Renews Conscience of BurglerComments
Alleged burglar said 'Passion' inspired confession
FOX11AZ.com | News for Tucson, Arizona | News | State News: "The alleged suspect, Turner Lee Bingham, not only confessed to the Yakety-Yak burglary, he confessed to six other crimes, as well. He allegedly told officers the movie 'The Passion of the Christ' is what prompted him to turn himself in.
'He began to explain to them that the reason he'd returned is that his mother has taken him to see 'The Passion of the Christ' movie recently and that it caused him, I guess, to suffer a sudden attack of conscience,' Brighat said"
Well well well...so much for the detrimental effects of this movie, eh?
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:10 AM | permalink
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Speaking of Search Warrants...Comments
Even with the 4th Amendment, it doesn't take much to justify a search warrant these days. Leave the lights on and your computer on, and put the trash out the morning of collection day, and you're a suspect: READ
Thanks to The Emperor for the headsup.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:26 PM | permalink
Court Opens Door To Searches Without WarrantsComments
NEW ORLEANS -- It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.
Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.
The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell."
What in the name of all that is good and decent is going on here?!! Can the Constitution of the United States of America be swept away so easily?! Does the Fourth Amendment mean NOTHING?!
Given the recent reluctance of the Supreme Court to uphold the constitution (First Amendment trashed under the guise of "campaign finance reform"), I am not holding my breath while waiting to see whether this will be overturned.
This is really bad...
Thanks to The Emperor for the headsup.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:16 PM | permalink
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Richard Clarke - Prevaricator for Personal GainComments
FOXNews.com - Politics - Republicans Want Clarke Testimony Declassified: "Former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke (search) may have lied under oath when he faulted President Bush's handling of the War on Terror, key Republicans in Congress contended Friday."
No question, let's get to the bottom of this.
But I really want to know why the administration's early overemphasis on the drug war is not being critically examined as a contributing factor to the events leading up to 9/11. I have written my congressman about this, urging him to push for resources to be diverted from fighting this phony war on drugs, to dealing with the terrorists in our midst.
And if we want to de-link drugs and terror, it can be done with the stroke of a pen. Legalize (and tax and regulate, if you must), and drugs suddenly disappear as a means of terror funding. Take the tax revenues and spend it on harm reduction, drug education, etc. Take the savings from releasing low-level non-violent drug offenders from prison, and pour it into anti-terror efforts.
Police-state repression has failed. It's time to face reality. The Drug War has become the Republican's version of the Democrat's Welfare State. For Democrats, every manifestation of poverty has a solution -- if only more money could be thrown at the problem it will go away. But as 40 years of the "War on Poverty" has proven, it just doesn't go away like that. There are deeper causes of poverty that government programs can't really address. And so we now have welfare reform. More people are off the welfare rolls and working than ever. The "War on Drugs" is similar. We're 30 years into this fiasco, but the majority in this country has yet to face the reality that it is an abject failure. Just like the war on poverty failed to eradicate poverty, the war on drugs has failed to make a significant dent in drug usage rates. Brutal repression just brutalizes the portion of the populace that chooses to use. And more money and resources thrown at the problem will only make things worse, without solving anything.
See the article linked below.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:42 AM | permalink
Did Bush Administration Emphasis On Drugs Distract From Terror War?Comments
via Drug WarRant:
"Attorney General John Ashcroft downgraded terrorism as a priority, choosing to place more emphasis on drug trafficking and gun violence...
While Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida minions were diligently preparing for their murderous mission, the FBI was looking the other way with equal determination. More than twice as many FBI agents were assigned to fighting drugs (2,500) than fighting terrorism (1,151). And a far greater amount of the FBI's financial resources was dedicated to the war on drugs....
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:04 AM | permalink
Friday, March 26, 2004
Desert Cat HuntComments
What is the deal with the Game and Fish attitude toward the Sabino Canyon cougars? Ooh, the big cats could eat a tourist and cause a lawsuit, so shoot 'em? Well their plans were disrupted by public outcry, and now Game and Fish seems to have an attitude problem. I'm still looking for a link to the story, but they just booted a guy from a briefing, who objected to some of the "facts" that they were presenting. Now granted this guy was from the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity (enviro. mostly wacko group), but perhaps you'll pardon me for having a personal interest in this story.
The entire mountain range was torched over the last two years. Where the heck are the lions supposed to find game to stalk on a cinder? Those busloads of tourists from New Jersey are looking awfully good these days. I'd like to see Vinny relocated to another mountain range, rather than to prison, however "pampered" he'd be.
Collection of stories here
Oh sure, that'd work. A little ketchup will make anything taste good. Besides, us big cats are permanent Atkins Diet afficionados.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:29 AM | permalink
How to Build ReadershipComments
I like this approach! :D
Michael Williams -- Master of None: Meta-Building Blog Readership
Hitting it "big" doesn't just take talent, it also takes luck. (Then again, talent is the result of luck, right? You have good genes -- hurray!) If you go into the bathroom at Starbucks and find Elivis' two-headed clone snorting coke, take a picture and you'll get a million hits. If you don't get lucky, just make stuff up and idiots will pile on to debunk your nonsense and give you the attention you so richly deserve.
Thanks to Ith for the headsup.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:49 AM | permalink
John F. KerryComments
"He served with honor, then came home and dishonored his service."
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:40 AM | permalink
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Clinton Anti-Terror vs Bush Anti-TerrorComments
There is a difference. Remeber this?
Bush: 'When I take action I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive.'
Thanks to Serenity for the link.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:36 PM | permalink
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Richard Clarke's Credibility GapComments
Clarke Praises Bush Administration Terror Efforts in '02
Either Mr. Clarke was lying in '02, or he is lying now in his new book. This is astounding stuff. He has completely contradicted himself. This new book, by the way was moved up from an original publish date of late April, in order for it to coincide with this ongoing investigation. Interesting since Simon und Schuster is owned by the same conglomerate that owns CBS. Nice to be able to control the news that generates more book sale revenue, eh?
The Clinton Mind-Set (washingtonpost.com)
I am at work and cannot do this justice right now. Please click and read. This is bombshell material.
Letter from Rep. Christopher Shays, chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform--National Security Subcommittee, sharply critical of Richard Clarke's performance during the Clinton years.
Congressman Casts Doubt on Clarke's Credibility
Big thanks to Rush for the headsup.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:55 AM | permalink
Miscommunication Under Clinton Hurt Terror Fight, Report SaysComments
The "Bush knew!" crowd are feeling the ground shifting under their feet...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:23 AM | permalink
Monday, March 22, 2004
Pirate Monkey's QuizComments
Harry Potter Personality Quiz by Pirate Monkeys Inc.
I knew this already, but it is interesting to see other's results. So far I've noted that Attilla is also INTP and Ith is INTJ.
update: Daisycat is ESTP.
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:47 PM | permalink
Sunday, March 21, 2004
The French View of the WorldComments
Read this, think about how much the french love John Kerry, then ask yourself what it implies.
Winds of Change.NET: France - Pas Comme Les Autres
Yes, they would LOVE for him to be the next US president...
Thanks to The Emperor for the link.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:05 PM | permalink
Then as Now --September 9, 1941Comments
More Dr. Seuss
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:45 PM | permalink
OK Cupid -- "Loverboy"Comments
OkCupid! Test Page "...most girls think of you as a total catch"
Heh! Noted, but already caught.
Thanks to Serenity for the link.
update: Daisycat took the test, and she is a "Priss".
Well, sh*t. That explains a few things...
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:44 AM | permalink
Saturday, March 20, 2004
News Central for the Battle in PakistanComments
The Command Post - Global War On Terror
Thanks to Little Miss Attilla for the link.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:31 PM | permalink
Friday, March 19, 2004
Kerry Endorsed By Mahathir Mohammed, Former Prime Minister of MalaysiaComments
That would be Islamofascist former Prime Minister of Malaysia. Meanwhile the Kerry camp has issued a press statement indicating that they now do not accept endorsements from foreign leaders.
Whooee! This is good!
UPDATE: Link as promised.
Kerry has already received another endorsement from a less controversial, yet still foreign leader.
Jose-Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (search), the newly elected president of Spain, said in an interview with Spanish radio on Wednesday that American voters should change their leadership and support Kerry
Add the Spanish Socialist shoe-shine boy to the list of Kerry supporters.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:38 AM | permalink
This Isn't Me, Honest!Comments
New lion plan will tranquilize, airlift animals | The Arizona Daily Star ®
It's my cousin Vinny. At least they're just going to take him to a "rehab facility" now, rather than hunt him down and shoot him...
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:07 AM | permalink
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Mandatory Drug Testing Plan Gone AwryComments
Drug WarRant--"And the stupid town award goes to..."
Here are some of the "unforeseen consequences":
* All volunteers are considered employees, so included in the drug and alcohol testing will be volunteer members of the Planning Board and the Budget Committee, and those who volunteer to coach teams or teach in the Seabrook Recreation Department.
* All union contracts in the town will have to be renegotiated to include testing or the contracts will not be legal.
* The Selectmen position is officially considered a 24-hour a day job. This may mean that they are never allowed to drink.
* Each test costs $40-$50, but no budget provision was made for the testing expense,
* The hospital plans on conducting the tests and charging for them, but not releasing the results of the tests to the town, since that would violate doctor-patient confidentiality laws. Apparently the new town ordinance only called for testing and didn't cover what was to be done with the tests.
Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee...>>snrk!!<< hee hee...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:17 PM | permalink
Kerry Would Win France In LandslideComments
French Going Wild For Senator Kerry In Election Fever
PARIS -- It could be the flawless French he learned while at boarding school in Switzerland. Or that he summered in his youth at a picturesque village on the rocky shores of Brittany. Or his pledge to take America's allies more seriously and pursue an inclusive foreign policy.
Or maybe it's the simple fact that he's not President Bush.
Whatever the reason, the French are going wild for John Kerry.
His face graces the covers of magazines and newspapers on Paris newsstands. He's the subject of radio phone-in and television talk shows. Journalists chase down distant relatives and long-forgotten acquaintances in search of anecdotes.
If November's presidential election were being held here, there's no doubt that Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts senator and Democratic candidate, would win by a landslide.
Yessiree, it looks like John "French" Kerry is much beloved in the land of cheese-eating backstabbing surrender monkeys!
On the streets of Paris, his candidacy is being welcomed with open arms.
As well as the streets of Pyonyang, Damascus, Gaza, Tehran, etc. one may assume...
"He is very much admired in France," said a municipal office worker, Patrick Forestier, as he strolled with his lunch through the Latin Quarter. "It seems like he will be more sympathetic to Europe... And of course anyone who is opposed to Bush will be popular with us."
Too bad you don't get to vote for him, Msr. Forestier. And furthermore, why should anyone in America give a flying rat's rear end which of OUR presidential candidates you prefer. Except as a reference as to which one NOT to vote for.
"He is the closest thing that you will have to a French politician, with a certain diplomacy, a certain elegance," (Mrs. Borde) said.
"He is more like a leader would be in Europe," (Guillaume) Parmentier said.
He looks like the kind of American the French have always appreciated -- urbane, well traveled, and sophisticated. Mr. Kerry's connection with France dates back to his youth, when he spent summers with a flock of cousins in St-Briac-sur-Mer, a summer resort town where his maternal grandfather had built an estate.
That is apparently where he learned to be 'eau' so insufferable. Do you frogs want him? You can have him. Elect him president of your filthy little republic. It's a match made in heaven!
But won't it be fun to see how this plays in middle America?
Thanks to the Emperor for the link.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:35 PM | permalink
"High Value Targets Surrounded in Pakistan"Comments
There is an ongoing firefight, President Musharraf indicates it may be one of the top four Al Qaeda leaders inside. Updates will follow as more info is made available.
UPDATE: Pakistani intelligence indicates that it is Al Qaeda #2 leader Ayman al Zawahiri.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:21 AM | permalink
Russian Scientists Pay People to Lie on a CouchComments
A horizontal position of the body without a pillow under the head is the simplest model of what actually happens to people in the state of weightlessness. Anyone can try the experiment on a sofa at home and will feel his head is heavy, the blood hummers in the temples, the face swells and the nose is blocked after several hours of lying with the head down.
Russians conquered Mars 30 years ago - PRAVDA.Ru
So to train for a mission to Mars, all I need to do is lie on my couch for a few weeks? Wow, those crafty Russians! Here in the US, we just make it too complicated...
Pravda has really become the "National Enquirer" of Russia... :D
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:35 AM | permalink
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Serenity's Journal: An Ounce Of Prevention...Comments
Serenity appears to be back in fine fisking form, taking aim here at Kerry's 'band-aids and firemen' approach to addressing the terror threat.
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:47 PM | permalink
I was searching through my e-mail archives, and came upon an account of a dream I had about four years ago. I usually reserve my dreams for a different weblog, but this one was pretty interesting:
I was part of an exploration team that was attempting to set up a base on the planet Mars. Conditions were harsh, and the work was difficult. Personal survival equipment consisted of multiple lightweight layers of very high-tech fabrics that protected against the extreme cold, breathing apparatus that provided oxygen, some kind of lightweight helmet. Other equipment I was aware of was a type of vehicle that was used around the base on paved roads. Work involved construction activities, local exploration of terrain and resources, and scientific data gathering. In the dream, I seemed to alternate between first person experience and third person observation, depending upon the intensity of what was taking place; the more intense experience drove me to a third person awareness. Amongst the staff, there was a growing awareness of a "presence" of some sort. I was aware of it, and had some idea of what we were dealing with, though I don't believe I voiced my thoughts. There were certain anomalies that we were noticing. In the dream, the one I noticed was that the rough edge of a portion of paved drive had somehow become crisp and smooth. I was driving one of the vehicles along the paved path, when I lost control of the vehicle; that is, it accelerated on it's own in a certain direction, off the path, and became airborne. In the direction it was heading was a massive cloud, like a thundercloud in appearance. My eyes were wide and I had a "hair was standing on end" feeling at this point. The colors of the martian landscape were dramatic. It appeared to be near sunset, and the colors were intense shades of reds and oranges and browns. The cloud itself had reddish brown hues. As the vehicle entered the cloud, I became aware of an overwhelming and "massive" presence that was like bright light that I was aware of more with my inner eyes than my physical eyes, an intelligence and awareness of an intensity that made me shout in fear, and instinctively want to run like a scared rabbit and hide. Having nowhere to go, I composed myself enough to realize that this was a "first contact" with a martian intelligence, and I desired to not flub it. I turned around to face a window wherein a huge eye had coalesced out of the brilliance. The sight only increased my physical terror. Though I allowed myself to keep screaming like a cornered rabbit, a part of me remained calm enough to realize that this intelligence was attempting to conform itself to what it perceived that we were, and the first thing it noticed was our eyes. It was aware that I knew that and it was also aware of the effect it's efforts were having. The next thing I was aware of was that the vehicle was resting on the ground and the entity had withdrawn. Pressed into solid rock outside the ship were words, written as if by a finger capable of melting rock with it's touch, maybe 2"-3" high letters. They said something like the following: "We have withdrawn to reconfigure, will be back shortly". I knew that what they were trying to do was to refine their appearance to be able to communicate. Despite the physical terror, I had positive feelings toward them and didn't feel threatened. Before I had really had time to collect myself, a being reappeared, looking like a fifteen or twenty foot tall humanoid, glowing from within. I don't remember much of the details of the interaction, though the appearance of this being was still causing me a physical reaction of fear. It was apparent that they wanted to help us and were doing all they could to find a mode to be able to interact. I remember asking them if they were beings of pure energy that were attempting to "coalesce" into a form that we could interact with. They answered in the affirmative. Somewhat later in the dream they managed to "solidify" and look completely human and natural. I remember looking at one being, appearing as a maybe 5' 4" woman, round face, blonde hair, scandinavian in appearance. Details of the dream were sketchy past this point, but with their assistance, the project of providing comfortable living quarters proceeded smoothly. It was as if they were delighted that we were there, and provided us with companionship that they themselves also desired. I recall that communications with our earth based sponsors were a bit rocky, as our interaction with these beings did not leave us in much of a mood to respond to the "scientific" and "technical" demands of the people back home who were demanding to know "details" of what or who we had encountered and why we were not doing things according to "plan", etc. I remember wondering if, since they now appeared naturally human, we (or they) would forget that they were really beings of pure light/energy. The answer to my thought was that, in fact, we were the ones that had forgotten that we too were beings of pure light/energy who were somehow locked into the awareness of our physical "reality", and that to "remember" that fact would allow us to realize that we humans were just like these beings. The thing that continued to be unsettling was the awareness that they could "shape change" at will, and I asked them to please not do that in my presence.
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:47 PM | permalink
Kerry yesterday in West Virginia, responding to a new Bush ad that points out that Kerry voted against funding for the troops in Iraq:
"I actually did vote for the $87b dollars before I voted against it."
Good lord! How can a person take this guy seriously?
His reasons for voting for it once and against it once had nothing to do with his concern for the troops, BTW. The reason he voted "for" it at one point was because he thought it would reduce tax cuts for the "rich". What is important is that in the final analysis he voted against the package because he disagreed with the US spending money to support our combat troops.
Apparently Mr. Kerry thought that france should be buying body armor for our troops?
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:32 AM | permalink
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Where in Politopia Am I?Comments
Find out where you are HERE
NW-You would feel most at home in the Northwest region. You advocate a large degree of economic and personal freedom. Your neighbors include folks like Ayn Rand, Jesse Ventura, Milton Friedman, and Drew Carey, and may refer to themselves as "classical liberals," "libertarians," "market liberals," "old whigs," "objectivists," "propertarians," "agorists," or "anarcho-capitalist."
I should note though, that they have Rush in the wrong location. He is much further "west" than where he is shown on the map.
Thanks to Annika for the link.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:37 PM | permalink
Kerry on Iraq, September 6, 2002Comments
[CTRL] NYTimes.com Article: We Still Have a Choice on Iraq
I found an online archive of this article by John Kerry in the New York Times Op.Ed. page from September 6, 2002. I don't have time to properly fisk this at the moment, but the gist of what I want to note is that virtually everything Kerry insisted that Bush must do, Bush ended up doing. Kerry said recently that he might have gone to war, but he would have done it differently than Bush. But would he have?
Per Kerry's op.ed. Bush again laid out the case for war to Congress. Bush again went to the UN for another resolution. Bush again issued a clear ultimatum to Saddam. And as Kerry said in his article, "If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community's already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement, even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act."
Wow Senator, it sounds like the President really followed your great advice!
Am I watching a Gorton's advertisement?
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:55 AM | permalink
Monday, March 15, 2004
Well I'm losing another co-worker today.
The Canadian in the cube-next-door is going back to Canada for the summer, and then heading to Australia for the winter. He's the "second generation" of engineers that have come and gone since I started here. In his case, he's getting out of engineering altogether.
It was such a typical "guy" thing: "Well, been nice workin' with ya. Good luck and all, eh?" Guys don't get weepy and huggy after all.
But down inside there's a kind of wistfulness. You shake hands, say "take care, eh?", and then you never see 'em again on this earth. Don't get me wrong. I'm a lone cat by nature, and I'm not close with many people. But moments like this are reminders of the "finiteness" of this life. Would that I was Elven, for whom the memory is as vivid as the present reality.
Lucky dog. I wish I was in a position to bail for greener pastures already. He's close enough to retirement that he can afford to work part-time at a hot dog stand and golf the rest of his days away. I really do wish him well.
For my part I wonder sometimes. Per the "Plan", I have 17 years to my earliest retirement date. Will I last that long? There are changes coming down the road that I may not be happy with. The boss is retiring much sooner than I. I've had no complaints at all working for him. But if the "second in command" takes over his spot, I don't know if I'll be able to stay. I'm afraid I'd age two years for every one year working for him.
This work stuff isn't my life in either case. It's what I do for a living. With an eye on the portal at the far side of the long valley, the ministry stuff I'm able to be a part of is the more important. When problems arise with that, it hurts more than any disruptions here at work would. Maybe my expectations are too high. But it seems sometimes that the biggest obstacles to ministry work are thrown up by the organizations that are supposed to be facilitating it. Perhaps if I pulled my emotional investment out of it and treated it more as another (more important) job, I wouldn't get so shaken when issues crop up.
Enough wistfulness. I have a job to do.
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:54 PM | permalink
Flopping About Like A Fish on Dry LandComments
Kerry fails to back up foreign 'endorsements' - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics:
Last Monday Kerry said the following: "'I've met with foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly,' he said. 'But, boy, they look at you and say: 'You've got to win this. You've got to beat this guy. We need a new policy.' Things like that.' "
Last week the record of foreign leaders that visited this country was examined, and compared to where Kerry was during those visits. No evidence emerged that he had any opportunity to meet with any foreign leaders.
This weekend in a town hall meeting he was pressed by small business owner Cedric Brown to explain this statement. During the course of the exchange Kerry denied saying that he "met" with foreign leaders, but rather had "conversations" with "leaders in other parts of the world", and that it was "none of our business" (you dirty hoi polloi*) who he met with or had conversations with.
Interestingly, I have listened to audio clips of the exchange where Kerry denied saying that he actually met with foreign leaders. However this tidbit seems to have been edited out of just about the news stories I have read. So far I have only seen Reuters even allude to this part of the exchange.
Kerry, who last traveled overseas in late 2002, insisted he had talked to and met with foreign leaders who were rooting for him. He said during the town hall he talked to "several" in the past week and that all the conversations were not face-to-face.
Given what I've seen so far, I seriously doubt these conversations ever took place. Maybe Little Dick Gephart has loaned Kerry one of his imaginary friends...
*my editorial comment
UPDATE: Now the Boston Globe reporter who published the original story is trying to say that he didn't say "foreign" leaders, but rather said "more" leaders. Ok, if this is the case, then why did Kerry not say so up front? Again this weekend in his now infamous interaction with Cedric Brown, he claimed to have spoken with "leaders around the world" who wanted him to win.
This is getting hilarious! Now we have reporters flip-flopping on Kerry's behalf...
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:34 PM | permalink
"For Those of You in Rio Linda..."Comments
sacbee.com -- AP State Wire News -- City falls victim to Internet hoax, considers banning items made with Dihydrogen monoxide
"Dihydrogen monoxide (is) 'an odorless, tasteless chemical' that can be deadly if accidentally inhaled."
Read all about it here, but take precautions before you do. Substances containing Dihydrogen monoxide may cause damage to crucial computer components and may cause severe temporary irritation to nasal passages when discharged violently through the nostrils. Remove all items such as soda, juice, etc. from the vicinity of your computer before clicking on the links above.
Thanks to DadCat for the links
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:56 AM | permalink
Sunday, March 14, 2004
More Waffles, Senator?Comments
Herald.com: Miami & Ft. Lauderdale News:
"John Kerry had just pumped up a huge crowd in downtown West Palm Beach, promising to make the state a battleground for his quest to oust President Bush, when a local television journalist posed the question that any candidate with Florida ambitions should expect:
What will you do about Cuba?
As the presumptive Democratic nominee, Kerry was ready with the bravado appropriate for a challenger who knows that every answer carries magnified importance in the state that put President Bush into office by just 537 votes.
''I'm pretty tough on Castro, because I think he's running one of the last vestiges of a Stalinist secret police government in the world,'' Kerry told WPLG-ABC 10 reporter Michael Putney in an interview to be aired at 11:30 this morning.
Then, reaching back eight years to one of the more significant efforts to toughen sanctions on the communist island, Kerry volunteered: ``And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him.''
It seemed the correct answer in a year in which Democratic strategists think they can make a play for at least a portion of the important Cuban-American vote -- as they did in 1996 when more than three in 10 backed President Clinton's reelection after he signed the sanctions measure written by Sen. Jesse Helms and Rep. Dan Burton.
There is only one problem: Kerry voted against it"
Of course he had an answer. More of his finely nuanced bullcrap. See, he voted for it, but there were some niggling details he disagreed with in the final version that he voted against.
That makes perfect sense.
Senator Kerry, do you actually believe in anything beyond your own naked ambition?
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:21 PM | permalink
China Transforming From Communism to FascismComments
China amends constitution to protect capitalists; promises to help poor
As long as the Party retains sole control of the country's politics, it would be hard to characterize these reforms as anything resembling the (nominally) democratic capitalism of the US. Private ownership plus state control might be good for business, but it still does not represent freedom.
Funny how the world seems to be slowly converging on the same point from different directions. And at that point, liberty is nowhere in sight.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:21 PM | permalink
Friday, March 12, 2004
Kerry fails to back up foreign 'endorsements' - The Washington Times: Nation/PoliticsComments
More here on Kerry's slow-motion implosion. This is akin to Dick Gephard's ubiquitous imaginary friends, and Al Gore's "I was 'Love Story'" and "I invented the Internet"...narcissism wedded to delusional fantasy.
Thanks to Ith for the link.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:51 PM | permalink
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: Good Question...Comments
The Emperor ponders the question of why so few on the political left are capable of reasoned debate and the ability to "agree to disagree". Along the way he hits the nail on the head of just what the appeal of socialism is to most people:
You see, the "unenlightened masses" aren't YOU, they're always somebody else, and by embracing the socialist catechism, you've proved your worth and that you belong to the select "few".
The rest is worth reading, as is the original essay he links to.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:23 PM | permalink
Free-will versus PredestinationComments
For those who have become accustomed to seeing political commentary here, I apologize that so much of the content has been personal and/or religiously oriented lately. But such is the nature of this space--it's whatever is rattling around my cranium at the moment. There is an ongoing debate at Vox's site, and I need to commit to "paper" an analogy I thought of, before I forget it again.
I said this on Vox's site a couple of days ago:
The "Predestination vs Free Will" paradox evaporates once you realize that God is not constrained by the Time dimension. All the language in the Bible that tries to convey this idea is constrained by the fact that we humanity experience time as a linear unidirectional dimension.
He does not need to know what you will do in the future, because there is no "future" or "past" from His perspective. He is eternally present at all time. Just like someone in orbit can see all of the earth in a way someone wandering along the surface cannot, God sees all time from an eternal perspective. He sees what you are doing now, and sees what you "will do" NOW, and sees what you "did" NOW, (with the exception of those places where the blood of His Son has blotted your sins away).
You are completely free to do what you will, but He is NOW watching you do what you will do "in the future", because He is the eternal "I AM".
The human mind does not wrap around this too well. What I didn't have room for, was the following illustration:
Suppose I am standing near you, watching while someone insults you and you turn to them and punch their lights out. I'm not interfering with you, just watching.
Suppose I am standing near you, watching while you help this person into the emergency room, where he will get some stitches, because you realized you knocked him harder than you intended and you feel bad about it. I'm not compelling you to do this, just watching.
Suppose I am standing near you days later, watching you as you walk into church for the first time in years, because you were invited by the person you helped. I'm not interfering, just watching.
Suppose I am standing near you weeks later, when after a moving message in church, the pastor invites those who don't know Jesus to pray with him. I touch you on the shoulder, and a flicker of recognition passes over your face as you get up and walk to the altar.
Suppose I am standing near you years later, when after a lifetime of serving Jesus, I take your hand and say "well done", as you pass from this earth and into eternity.
Now suppose, and this is the hard part, suppose I am present now at each of these moments through your life. Suppose that for me, they are all part of my "NOW". In fact, my "NOW" reaches back in time past your birth, and forward through time to the moment you are crowned a "ruler" together with Christ. My "NOW" is eternal.
Could it be said that I have "foreknowledge" of your "predestination"? Certainly. I am "NOW" there with you at the end of all time. Could it be said that this knowledge came about because I controlled every aspect of your life? With the exception of those moments I reached out and touched you, no. You exercised your free will throughout your life. It is only because my "NOW" extends to past, present, and future, that I know your ultimate destination and all the steps in between.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:10 PM | permalink
Pizza in the MorningComments
Al Qaeda bombing Spain, Kerry imploding in slow motion, Bush ads making Demo's froth, cats chasing dogs...
Is anyone really surprised?
Sorry to not be posting on all these things--none of these have jumped out at me as highly unusual and worthy of a blog post (with the possible exception of the last). I'll get back into it shortly.
Meanwhile, breakfast is in the oven!
BTW, give a prayer for Serenity. She is in surgery for her broken ankle right now. More info at A.I.R.
UPDATE: Serenity was admitted for observation overnight, as she was slow in coming out of anaesthesia. But she is fine and will be coming home tomorrow.
Also I didn't intend to sound callous about the Madrid tragedy. It came in the midst of some personal turmoil, plus the endless terrorist attacks in Iraq and Israel drain my capacity to emote on demand. Find them, grind their bones! 'nuff said.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:37 AM | permalink
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Law of Man vs. Law of GodComments
I believe there is a difference between legality and morality. Those who insist on conflating the two quickly find themselves in the position of either a) jailing adulterers - good luck with your police-state - or b) having to defend death camp operators who were acting in full obedience of the law.
Some might call this hair-splitting. I see it as a clear distinction between obeying God and obeying Man.
I am struggling with a version of this on a personal level--not between law and morality, but between church leadership edict and my freedom in Christ. If it were a matter of law, I might have an easier time setting my face as flint against the injustice of the statists.
It is not a matter of sin. It is a matter of personal conscience. The pastor has made it clear that he does not make it a requirement for the general church membership. But he does make it a requirement for leadership, and requires signature on a form acknowledging obedience to the standard. To me it is part of an extra-biblical, man-made doctrine. I am referring to strictures against the consumption of wine or other alcohol.
Did not the Apostle Paul encourage Timothy, his disciple in the ministry, to consume wine for his health? Did not Christ Himself turn water into wine and consume wine Himself, serving it to His disciples at the Last Supper? Was He Himself not castigated by the Pharisees as a "glutton and a drunkard" because He did not hew to their standards?
Paul rebuked Peter when Peter withdrew from the gentile believers because of the influence of the Judaizers. Am I now to accept a religious standard that goes beyond God's Word, for the sake of the work He has given me to perform? Am I to sacrifice my freedom on the altar of Man, for the sake of God?
I am deeply grieved, and the Spirit grieves with me. I do not know which way to turn.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:52 AM | permalink
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Commando Raids on Kazaa Users in Future?Comments
BBC NEWS | Technology | EU backs tighter rules on piracy: "The directive allows companies to raid homes, seize property and ask courts to freeze bank accounts to protect trademarks or intellectual property they believe are being abused or stolen.
Music firms might come knocking if you are swapping pop
Civil liberty and lobby groups feared that the music industry will also use the law to mount raids on the homes of people who swap songs via file-sharing systems such as Kazaa."
Sure this is the EU, but RIAA won't stop there. So "intellectual property" rights trumps personal and real property rights? The end is near...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:19 AM | permalink
WorldNetDaily: The Axis of LiberalComments
More Vox brilliance. I repeat myself, but "dang, I wish I could write that well".
Progress toward what, indeed.
We're stuck. Previous generations had the frontier. But the frontiers are all closed now and there's no place off this planet that we can escape to. That lumbering Beast that is the State has us cornered. And its tentacles continue to reach deeper--wrapping around and strangling our liberties one by one...
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:05 AM | permalink
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
"Why" I ask myself, "is this not on my blogroll?" I know I posted my intent to blogroll him once a while ago. It never happened and the post rolled off the page and was forgotten.
Caveat: The timid and the easily offended should avoid his site. Don't say I didn't warn you...
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:37 PM | permalink
Monday, March 08, 2004
Your Libertarian Purity Test Score:Comments
"Your Libertarian Purity Score is...
What Your Score Means
0 points: You are not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination. You are probably not even a liberal or a conservative. Just some Nazi nut, I guess.
1-5 points: You have a few libertarian notions, but overall you're a statist.
6-15 points: You are starting to have libertarian leanings. Explore them.
16-30 points: You are a soft-core libertarian. With effort, you may harden and become pure.
31-50 points: Your libertarian credentials are obvious. Doubtlessly you will become more extreme as time goes on.
51-90 points: You are a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much.
91-130 points: You have entered the heady realm of hard-core libertarianism. Now doesn't that make you feel worse that you didn't get a perfect score?
131-159 points: You are nearly a perfect libertarian, with a tiny number of blind spots. Think about them, then take the test over again. On the other hand, if you scored this high, you probably have a good libertarian objection to my suggested libertarian answer. :-)
160 points: Perfect! The world needs more like you."
Link via Vox Popoli
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:12 PM | permalink
Libya ships out last WMD partsComments
BBC NEWS | Africa | Libya ships out last WMD parts: "Libya revealed the extent of its nuclear programme late last year
Libya has sent all its known remaining nuclear weapons-related equipment to the US as part of a disarmament deal.
A ship carrying 500 metric tons of equipment left Libya on Saturday for an undisclosed site in the US, White House spokesman Sean McCormack said.
He said long-range missiles and launchers were also part of the cargo.
The move follows Libya's surprise announcement in December that it was scrapping its weapons programmes in a bid to end its international isolation.
The White House said the final shipment includes:
* centrifuge parts used to enrich uranium
* all equipment from Libya's former uranium conversion facility
* all of Libya's longer-range missiles, including five Scuds, and all associated equipment, including launchers.
Earlier shipments of nuclear weapons-related equipment were taken to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where the material is believed to have been destroyed.
Mr McCormack also reported that all of Libya's known chemical munitions had been destroyed and its stocks of mustard gas had been moved from insecure warehouses to a single, secure, facility.
On Friday, Libya declared that it had a 20-ton stockpile of mustard gas in a full report on its chemical weapons programmes submitted to the UN"
Gosh, I wonder what made this happen. It can't possibly have anything to do with that "war for Haliburton" in Iraq, right?
Isn't it interesting to watch this--watching Khaddafi scrambling to do what the UN repeatedly required Saddam Hussein to do? And to think, it didn't take a single UN resolution to accomplish it! Just a very scary-looking (to Khaddafy) American-led action in Iraq. So much for UN-style harrumphing and wheedling and waving of papers--useless hot air!
Nuke the moon! It works every time. :D
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:53 PM | permalink
Last week in Tucson was blustery, rainy and cold, with highs in the 50's. Today it will reach the mid-eighties and this week will see the 90's.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:59 AM | permalink
Dick Cheney--Standup ComicComments
Here's a couple of snippets from Dick Cheney's speech at the 2004 Gridiron dinner:
Dick Cheney's Gridiron Remarks:
"Thank you, President [Al] Hunt, members of the Gridiron . . . at one point during your skits, I had a little scare. I felt a tightness in my chest. I started gasping for air and breathing irregularly. Then I realized it's called laughing. . . .
Lots of familiar faces here tonight. I always feel a genuine bond whenever I see Senator Clinton. She's the only person who's the center of more conspiracy theories than I am."
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:10 AM | permalink
Sunday, March 07, 2004
Kerry Slams War Images in Kerry TV AdsComments
(2004-03-05) -- As Democrats assailed the Bush campaign yesterday for airing TV ads that include brief images of the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, Sen. John Kerry lashed out at his own presidential campaign for employing "savage, militaristic imagery" in his ads.
"Where's the respect for the families of the victims of the Vietnam war?" asked the presumptive Democrat nominee as he viewed his own ads, apparently for the first time. "Images of a man toting a weapon, of gun boats on patrol, descriptions of battle scenes...these must be tremendously upsetting to the Vietcong vets and to the tens of thousands of American war protestors like me who fought valiantly for a despicable cause."
Mr. Kerry called upon his campaign to end its "jingoistic media assault which tries imply that a 60-year-old man has foreign policy savvy because he fought in a war 36 years ago."
The Kerry 2004 campaign refused to pull the ads, or even to respond to the senator's remarks.
Of course, this is from the incomparable ScrappleFace! Nice way of making the point though.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:31 PM | permalink
"Isn't that Special..."Comments
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Cuba? It was great, say boys freed from US prison camp
Great food, fun classes, football, volleyball, even got to write home to Mom and Dad after a few months--just like summer camp...
Looks like their parents suffered more than they did.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:15 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:08 PM | permalink
Saturday, March 06, 2004
"Offended 9/11 Survivors" or Leftist Operatives?Comments
Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views)
RWN has done a bit of investigating, and it looks like those "family members of 9/11 victims" that were purportedly offended by Bush's campaign ads (absurd claim in the first place), turn out to have some strong connections to left-wing political organizations, with at least one of them having campaigned for John Kerry in New Hampshire.
Um hm. I am not the slightest bit surprised. And so who then, is exploiting the 9/11 tragedy for political gain?
It seemed very strange to me that the news media came up with these disturbed family members virtually instantaneously, before Bush's ads had run more than a day. I really suspect they had these folks lined up well in advance, in anticipation that Bush would run some kind of ad referring to his leadership during 9/11.
Then there is Kerry, running ad after ad during the primaries about his service during Vietnam. And Bush is not supposed to run ads about his service as Commander-in-Chief during 9/11 and the aftermath? Hypocrites.
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:35 PM | permalink
Friday, March 05, 2004
Serenity Update--Good News!Comments
Serenity's Journal: Yummy Bytes
She's plugged in with her local VA hospital, and her veteran's benefits are going to take care of the cost of her medical needs. Her job is still shot because of the long recovery she will have, but the picture is looking much better than it did.
Thanks to anyone who browsed over to her site and lent a hand.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:38 PM | permalink
Desert Cat's Musings--Passion Blog?Comments
I'm beginning to weary of discussing the topic. Those who "get it" will get it. Those who don't will continue to polemicize against it. But I've been asked by dadcat to comment on this article in WND by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach:
WorldNetDaily: Jesus at midnight: 'The Passion's' portrayal of Christianity as a cult of death
D-rod questioned why I thought Jews might not want to see this movie. Rabbi Boteach's reaction to the movie is exactly what I had in mind when I recommended against it. He identified too closely with the Jewish leaders, rather than with the Jewish people or Jesus' Jewish followers, and felt very uncomfortable as a result.
To summarize his article, he believes the movie ends up portraying Christianity as a cult of death, similar to pagan death cults of various sorts. He notes that there are two exclusive ways of looking at Christianity, either focusing on how Jesus lived, or focusing on how Jesus died. The former focuses on His life and His teachings, and makes him an uplifting moral figure. The latter focuses exclusively on his death.
My response to this is that they are not mutually exclusive, and in fact they are inseparable facets of a whole. Without His atoning sacrifice as the spotless Lamb of God, He would be nothing more than another man who taught a message of morality 2000 years ago. Without the account of His life and teachings--and His claim that He is in fact the Messiah--then there is no context for us to understand what we have to gain by placing our trust in the sufficiency of the work He accomplished for us on the cross. However if one wishes to separate His Messianic claim from His moral teachings, then one might easily wish to separate His death on the cross from His life as well.
What does Rabbi Boteach think the Eucharist or communion is all about?
Mel Gibson did not set out to tell the full story of the Gospel. It is not an omission on his part, rather it is simply impossible in the span of a 2+ hour movie to to it justice. As Christians, we sit through countless sermons on His life and teachings, and the teachings of His apostles, and of the Old Testament law and prophets. Once a year or so at Easter we may hear a sermon about His suffering and sacrifice on the cross. Most preachers haven't the rhetorical skill to fully convey the depth of the meaning of it however.
Mel Gibson chose to focus on this one aspect of the faith that has not been adequately addressed, either on film or in the teachings that most Christians receive. And judging from the reactions of most Christian believers, he has done a masterful job. But this is why I recommended this film primarily to Christians or to those familiar with the faith but wavering. Without that background, the film has insufficient context for it to be meaningful.
The hordes of angry Jew-haters will fail to materialize. Christians will fail to transform themselves into devotees of a morbid death cult. Positive testaments to the power of this film experience will continue to pour out of those whose lives are devoted to the man portrayed.
But will the film's detractors ever understand what it means to us?
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:46 AM | permalink
Thursday, March 04, 2004
FrankJ on G. Gordon Liddy's ShowComments
IMAO: Frank Discussions: G. Gordon Liddy
FrankJ got a chance to interview of G. Gordon Liddy recently. This snippet of the interchange sent my into spasms of hysteria:
"Frank: Now, I'm pretty young -- I'm only 24 -- so I don't know much about history before the early 90's, but I heard something about how you once ran into some trouble at a hotel. Are you now more careful at hotels, or do you steal towels with impunity?
Liddy: I didn't run into any trouble at a hotel. I think you are referring to the Watergate Hotel, and the Watergate burglary took place not in the hotel, but the Watergate office building. I wasn't there."
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:46 AM | permalink
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
William Safire--Peace or a sword?Comments
I just read this editorial by William Safire in my local paper, that is deeply critical of Mel Gibson and his movie, "The Passion". Who is Mr. Safire? In all the bio information online I cannot find anything that indicates his religious affilation (if any). If he is Jewish, I could understand his squeamishness. If he is atheist, I could understand his disgust. But if he is virtually any stripe of Christian, his perspective is hard to fathom.
He says in this editorial that audience members become outraged at the Jewish leaders. Is he saying that he witnessed this "outrage" in the audience that he viewed it with? Or is this "outrage" a figment of his fevered imagination--a strawman he sets up in order to knock down the movie? I strongly suspect it is the latter. And if so, Safire has just knocked himself down another rung in my estimation of him.
You take out of this movie what you bring in with you. Clearly Mr. Safire came in looking for anti-semitism and gratuitous violence, and that is what he found. He obviously missed the fact that Jesus, His Apostles, Mary, Simon of Cyrene, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, etc. etc. are also all Jewish. They are every bit as Jewish as the Sadducees and Pharisees who condemned Jesus. He missed the clear message throughout the movie, that Jesus was doing his Father's will by allowing this to happen to him. Safire also overlooked the message of forgiveness spoken by Jesus throughout the movie, including the prayer he uttered as he hung on the cross. The only words that smacked of condemnation were reserved for Judas, when Jesus said to Pilate "the one who betrayed me to you is guilty of the greater sin".
Speaking of whom, Safire seems to think Pilate was a sympathetic character. In fact, he was portrayed (accurately) as a self-serving weasel more interested in saving his own rear from the wrath of Caesar, than in the injustice he committed by sentencing an innocent man to death. His actions and character are part of the point of the story. Every single one of us can find our faces somewhere in the crowds of the "guilty", whether in Pilate, the Jewish leaders, the Roman soldiers, or even amongst the disciples who faltered, fled, and denied him when confronted. "There is none righteous. No, not one!"
I really question whether William Safire actually saw this movie.
Safire also attempts to discredit the message by smearing the messenger--linking Gibson by reference with "reactionary" Catholic groups and the rantings of his father. The attempt to "agree" with those who say the son should not pay for the sins of the father, is disingenuous. The fact that he flings it out there as an accusation that has been made, speaks for itself. And he makes much of a verse from the Gospel of Matthew that does not even appear in the movie.
If someone wants to paint this movie as anti-semitic, it would be necessary to paint all of Christianity as anti-semitic. If that is not absurd on the face of it, then I cannot give you much more help. Real anti-semitism is seen on a daily basis in the Middle East. It is not to be found in this deeply religious film that illustrates the very heart of Christianity--the New Covenant, sealed by the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Perhaps this quote reaches to the core of Mr. Safire's problem with this movie:
"The richness of Scripture is in its openness to interpretation answering humanity's current spiritual needs. That's where Gibson's medieval version of the suffering of Jesus, reveling in savagery to provoke outrage and cast blame, fails Christian and Jew today."
And just how are our "current spiritual needs" any different than they have been since the fall of humanity? Sorry, Mr. Safire, I don't buy it. For me personally, the movie was about Jesus' sacrifice, and nothing else. Your take on it sounds entirely foreign to my ears. If you wish to "interpret" the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ out of the gospels to meet your personal spiritual needs, then your version bears scant resemblance to anything I recognize as Christian.
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:55 PM | permalink
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Daisycat and I went to see it this evening.
I'm moved almost beyond words. I went to the movie expecting to be moved, and I was not disappointed.
I do have a couple of observations though. First, I cannot judge this movie as a movie, but rather as an experience. Some reviewers have complained about the blood. I ask, what else could it be, except to be about the blood? Anyone familiar with the Pentateuch would know that the shedding of blood was central to the Old Covenant. "There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood." The New Covenant is made in His blood. There was not only blood on the screen, but in the theater and on the audience as well. I have been under a powerful annointing of the Holy Spirit on more than one occasion in the past, but I have never been under the Blood of Christ as powerfully as I was this evening. Those who deny the blood, deny their own salvation.
Second, the uniquely Catholic bits in the movie were not enough to distract. Third, the charges of anti-semitism are unfounded. No one who is not already warped ought to come away from the movie convinced that the Jews killed Jesus. The Roman soldiers were far more the villains--bloodthirsty churls.
Finally, I know some will see this movie and use it to say, "see, this is what your sins did to Jesus". That is profoundly wrong, in my estimation. Instead I would say, "see, this is what Jesus did to your sin."
"Come let us reason together--though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow."
Would I recommend this movie? If you are a Christian, absolutely! If you are agnostic, yes. If you are not sure, yes. You may see it in a new light. If you are atheist, no. It would be meaningless to you. If you are Jewish, no. Why be irritated? If you are strongly anti-Catholic, no. Why be irritated? Would I take an unbelieving friend to see it? It really depends.
I had never seen Simon of Cyrene as a particularly remarkable character before. I realized tonight however, that he is the archetype for every saint that has followed in his footsteps, shouldering the cross and completing the work of Christ on this earth.
Daisycat and I were discussing it afterwards. She feels that this movie may be part of God's "last call" for America. How better to reach this culture than through a movie? She was deeply moved by Peter's plight, as she all too easily identifies with him. Based on the reviews she had read, she was braced for the movie to be traumatic, but instead she found it moving and appropriate.
UPDATE: d-rod has challenged my assertion that the movie would be meaningless to an atheist. What I meant by that, is that for someone who does not believe that the blood He shed has real, transformative power, the movie is just a depiction of an agonizing death, however evocative or emotionally charged it may be. If you have an interest in the film, by all means go see it. My recommendation was general in nature. See the comments for more on this conversation.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:38 PM | permalink
Opportunity Rover Confirms Presence of Liquid Water in the Past on Mars SurfaceComments
Spaceflight Now | Destination Mars | Mission Status Center: "Scientists have concluded the part of Mars that NASA's Opportunity rover is exploring was soaking wet in the past.
Evidence the rover found in a rock outcrop led scientists to the conclusion. Clues from the rocks' composition, such as the presence of sulfates, and the rocks' physical appearance, such as niches where crystals grew, helped make the case for a watery history.
'Liquid water once flowed through these rocks. It changed their texture, and it changed their chemistry,' said Dr. Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and its twin, Spirit. 'We've been able to read the tell-tale clues the water left behind, giving us confidence in that conclusion.'"
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:39 PM | permalink
Worse Than Cats and Dogs Living Together!Comments
In the midst of a long critique of a liberal treatise, Vox makes the following statement: "...no breeding of two cats will ever result in a dog, no matter how doggedly one persists in the attempt."
Good heavens, no! Yiii!
I need some mental floss to dislodge that thought...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:14 AM | permalink
annika's journal: Is It As It Was?Comments
Annika has an in-depth and thoughtful review of The Passion here. I have yet to see it, but will soon.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:43 AM | permalink
Monday, March 01, 2004
Serenity's Journal: I'm BrokenComments
If you follow Serenity's Journal, you know that she has been trying to save her pennies to make some headway in life. Now life has dealt her a nasty hand. Ankle broken in three places, no health insurance, her job as a waitress pretty much shot, basically unemployable until it heals (a couple months at least).
She is not the kind who would ask, nor is she one who seeks out sympathy, but this would be the time to give a click on her PayPal button to help tide her over, if you're so inclined.
And she would not ask for this either, but she could definitely use some prayer at this time as well.
Lord, you are sovereign over all things, and yet you have been gracious to grant us the freedom to choose you or not.
And I know that all things work together for good, for those who are called. I have no idea if you have a call on Serenity's life, but I pray that this basket of lemons will be made into just the right lemonade by your workings.
I ask you Holy Spirit to attend her now, as she is crushed in spirit. Be the Comforter that you are, and give her that Peace which goes beyond our ability to understand it. Shed your light into the darkness and illuminate her now with the love of the Father and of those who are now praying for her. Let no root of bitterness take hold! Rather, draw her into your arms, and let her know that somehow it will be all right.
In your Name Jesus, be glorified.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:02 PM | permalink
Mind of MogComments
Eventually I'll find and link to everyone significant. If I haven't linked to you yet, do something remarkable, and I'm liable to notice sooner or later.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:27 PM | permalink
Little Tiny Lies: Pardon me While I Offend my ReadersComments
Here is another take on the gay "marriage" issue that is a little different than mine, but worth a read as well. Also the comments section has some interesting points.
link via Primal Purge
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:04 AM | permalink
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