Thursday, June 24, 2004

More on the blending between News and Entertainment

Interesting AP article here, carried on CNN. Looks like the AP is willing to take the major TV networks to task (ABC, NBC and CBS were all criticize), and CNN is willing to carry the story. Is the news media finally going to start checking itself? Not that I want some sort of gloves-off, all-out slugfest (well, maybe I do, now that I think of it), but it would be nice for news outlets to call each other out for misrepresenting or underplaying real news, and this is a first step toward that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Seattle pics

Here are a friend's pics from our trip Seattle (AOL subscribers only, I believe :( ), and here are those taken by good old elementblue. I'll probably post a couple here from the AOL one. Full report coming someday.

Is there really a liberal media, Mommy?

Day By Day

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The State of Christian Rock

This scares me, and I hope it's just some exec at Word who's gone insane, but I fear that it isn't. Check out Track 13 on X 2004, which is supposed to be a collection of the year's best Christian alternative/rock hits.

Dictatorship vs Democracy

Artist: Staple
Album: Staple

Vicious cycle of life
I find that I kill myself every time that I look away from you
But I often gaze another moment
Incited scars reopen, bleeding again,
and they're bleeding at my request

Freely given, and we choose the choice to lose (now we know)
As these scars are screaming at me
Just why we've chosen poorly
Could this be our chance to see
why we believe that we need you instead of following numbly?

Ride on, Ride strong soldier, march to the dictated beat.
Have you ever known how victory feels unless you have felt defeat?
Dont want the pain of free will stolen and mindless mechanical will chosen
Cherish the loss
There is no concept of gain without cost

When I hit the ground and bloody palms I raise,
the arms that pick me up convince me
There's no better place

Freely given, and we choose the choice to lose (now we know)
As these scars are screaming at me
Just why we've chosen poorly
Could this be our chance to see
why we believe that we need you instead of following numbly?

It's my choice

I fall, and I fall freely
Incited scars are bleeding and now I believe
I freely believe
when I hit the ground and bloody palms I raise,
the arms that pick me up convince me
There's no better place

Freely given, and we choose the choice to lose (now we know)
As these scars are screaming at me
Just why we've chosen poorly
Could this be our chance to see
why we believe that we need you instead of following numbly?

We won't follow you numbly

May be the most well-crafted, thought-provoking lyrics I've ever heard in a hardcore song. And the music is up to par with the words. It stinks that there's a schedule conflict at CStone between Staple and my one and only chance ever to see Blaster the Rocketman.

Dulles Expos?

There's this old farm near Dulles Airport in Virginia that I drive past all the time. It's right at Routes 28 and 267, in the middle of an area that is rapidly developing, and there's this wide open space with horses. My co-workers and I are always talking about how they must be holding out for a really good offer. Well, looks like they got it:

A major league proposal for Loudoun

In a private briefing Monday, Supervisors Scott York (I-at large) and Bruce Tulloch (R-Potomac) heard details of a plan to entice the Montreal Expos to relocate to a site near Washington Dulles International Airport.


The stadium itself would be northeast of the intersection of Route 28 with Route 267 near the county line, and surrounding development would probably extend into Fairfax.

I don't know. This area is the epitome of sprawl -- it's not really urban, but rather a huge suburban/commercial area, and commercial in the sense of company headquarters rather than malls. Baltimore is easily less than two hours away, and it'll be even easier to access once the Metro stop mentioned in the article is built, so I think that the Orioles will put up more of a fuss than is suggested. It may work, though. There are other major-league teams that play in closer proximity: The Cubs and White Sox, Yankees and Mets, Giants and A's. And while the Orioles may lose some attendance, the Expos will definitely gain.

Another question: what would the team name be, and what location would they represent? DC? Virginia? One of the little suburban towns? Would they stay the Expos, become the Senators, take on another name like United? The Cicadas?

I think Sterling Sprawlers has a nice ring to it . . .

Slate's F911 Review

I've complained about Slate a couple times in the past for taking cheap shots at both Bush and Kerry, but now they're taking Michael Moore to task for doing the same thing. Read it now: Unfairenheit 9/11.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Crash update

So, remember this? My parents got a call today from United, in order to iron out the insurance issues and stuff. I guess they mentioned, in passing, that they may default on the insurance because of their bankruptcy . . . Is it even legal for a bankrupt organization to be self-insured?!

Trying Independence Air this weekend . . . Hopefully, the flight will be good, and I'll finally have an alternative carrier.

Funeral for Bob Garland

From Mary Garland:

Dearest Loved Ones,

Thank you all for your sweet and comforting responses to my email. Sorry I can't personally reply to each one at this time. Just wanted to get out the information re: wake and funeral services. I will be staying in Chicago for several weeks before returning briefly to Michigan to pack up my things and return to Chicago for a time. Please pray about my future service for the Lord. Right now I feel led to return to Bolivia and the Lord is confirming that through all my family's affirmation. Praise God as that is my heart's desire!
The wake is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and evening 4pm to 9 pm at:
Benson's Funeral Home, 3224 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60618 tel:773-478-2036

The funeral service will be on Friday, June 25th at 11 am at:
Midwest Bible Church, 3441 N. Cicero Ave., Chicago, IL 60641 tel: 773-685-6500
There will be a luncheon at the church following the service before going to the cemetery.

In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to:

New Tribes Mission, 1000 E. First St., Sanford, FL 32771 designated for the Bolivian Field Fund

or to:
Gospel for Asia, 1800 Golden Trail Court, Carrollton, TX 75010, designated for native missionary support

Thanks so much for all your prayers and love.
In His Care,

HTML / CSS help?

I've got a problem that I've been trying to figure out for a little while now, with no success. I'm no HTML or CSS wizard, although this blog has given me a chance to learn a lot.

A couple of you may remember that, for a couple weeks near the beginning of this blog's existence, there was a really cool background image. The site looked great in IE -- the weblog posts floated over the image nicely, having encapsulated white backgrounds that allowed them to be readable. Netscape and Firefox, however, didn't display the posts correctly, and all the posts ended up being basically unreadable. So, I removed the background.

I'd like to add the background in now, though. I've got two possible solutions to the issue, but haven't been able to implement either. First, I could fix the posts so that they show correctly in Netscape and other browsers. Second, I could add in a little scripting so that the page determines what browser is being used, and only shows the background in IE. I've found general solutions online for the latter, but have yet to find one that works correctly on blogger/blogspot.

Any answers out there??

Friday, June 18, 2004

Those wacky Hoosiers

This is what I have to deal with just across the border from me:

"Woman Trying To Kill Squirrel Shoots Self"

"My neighbors call me Annie Oakley," she said.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Things to see on Seattle trip


Check out the museum's website here, and CNN's article here.

2) The Space Needle.

3) Pike Place Market.

4) Tooth and Nail Records. Hopefully their address is the same as what's posted here . . .

5) The first Starbucks.

Any other suggestions?


6) Greatest Cars of the 60s and 70s Car Show.

7) The Experience Music Project, co-located with the Sci-Fi Museum.

8) Underground Tour.

9) Walking Tours.

10) Bus Tours.

11) Lake Cruise.

12) Japanese Gardens.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"Meet Joe Blog"

Time has an article here on blogging, specifically as news media.

Yahoo! Mail

Yahoo! has upgraded its email service, probably in an attempt to compete with GMail, which is still in its beta phase. Seems very slow, though. Either there are some bugs still to work out, or everyone's logging in to check out the new look.

100MB of email storage
Keep more of the things that are important to you - without worrying about bumping up against your storage limit.
Message size up to 10MB
Send monster-sized files - photos, presentations, whatever!

Will Microsoft's Hotmail follow suit, or fall behind?


I'm definitely not going to make all of these, and there are some schedule conflicts that I haven't figured out how to fix . . . But here it is. CSM Home

Cornerstone Festival - Illinois Schedule
Concert Schedule is current as of what was posted on the web site on 06/04/2004.
Seminar Schedule is current as of what was posted on the wed site on 06/03/2004.
Your Schedule for: Cornerstone Festival - Illinois

Time Artist Location
12:20 PM Side Walk Slam Tooth & Nail Day, Encore 2
3:20 PM Ace Troubleshooter Tooth & Nail Day, Encore 2
4:20 PM Watashi Wa Tooth & Nail Day, Encore 2
5:20 PM Spoken Tooth & Nail Day, Encore 2
6:15 PM Opening Ceremonies Main Stage
7:00 PM Film & Discussion: The Man Without a Past Flickerings
7:00 PM Flatfoot 56 Underground Stage
7:40 PM Kutless Main Stage
8:55 PM Relient K Main Stage
9:45 PM Bleach Tooth & Nail Day, Encore 2
10:15 PM Switchfoot Main Stage
11:00 PM Project 86 Tooth & Nail Day, Encore 1
11:45 PM The OC Supertones Tooth & Nail Day, Encore 2

Time Artist Location
10:00 AM David Batstone Is the "Christian Right" Either? La Cour des Miracles
11:00 AM Cliff Williams Kierkegaard and Nietzsche Life of the Mind
11:00 AM Steve Buchelt Church Politics Survivor Seminar Tent
12:00 PM Steve & Diane Buchelt Lord of Our Rings #1 Seminar Tent
1:00 PM David Batstone Is the "Christian Right" Either? La Cour des Miracles
2:30 PM Last Tuesday Decapolis Label Showcase
4:00 PM Divebomber Decapolis Label Showcase
4:45 PM Side Walk Slam Decapolis Label Showcase
5:15 PM Bleach Indoor Stage
7:00 PM Blaster The Rocketman HM Magazine Stage
7:30 PM Staple Impromptu Stage
7:40 PM Skillet Main Stage
8:15 PM Calibretto Decapolis Label Showcase
9:00 PM Project 86 HM Magazine Stage
10:00 PM Spoken Rock For Life Stage
11:00 PM The Kick Encore 2
12:00 AM Anberlin Encore 2

Time Artist Location
10:00 AM David Batstone Is the "Christian Right" Either? La Cour des Miracles
11:00 AM Dan & Dave Davidson Creation vs. Evolution Seminar Tent
12:00 PM Steve & Diane Buchelt Lord of Our Rings #2 Seminar Tent
1:00 PM David Batstone Is the "Christian Right" Either? La Cour des Miracles
3:00 PM Film Screening: The Last Temptation of Christ Flickerings
5:00 PM Surge Up C-Stone CD Reception - Meet & Greet Artists Seminar Tent
5:00 PM Side Walk Slam Rock For Life Stage
5:30 PM The Evan Anthem Decapolis Label Showcase
6:00 PM Church Service w/ Josh McDowell Main Stage
7:40 PM Further Seems Forever Main Stage
8:00 PM One-21 Rock For Life Stage
8:15 PM The Dark Forest (a fairy tale) Decapolis Label Showcase
8:55 PM Blindside Main Stage
10:15 PM P.O.D. Main Stage
12:00 AM Demon Hunter Encore 2

Time Artist Location
10:00 AM David Batstone Is the "Christian Right" Either? La Cour des Miracles
11:00 AM Cliff Williams Kierkegaard and Nietzsche Life of the Mind
1:00 PM Micah Harris Heaven's War Imaginarium
2:00 PM Number One Gun Indoor Stage
2:30 PM The Evaluation Decapolis Label Showcase
3:05 PM Beloved Indoor Stage
5:15 PM The Insyderz Indoor Stage
6:00 PM The Blamed Is Dead Underground Stage
6:30 PM Haste the Day Rock For Life Stage
7:15 PM Unwed Sailor Gallery Stage
7:30 PM Kids in the Way Impromptu Stage
8:30 PM Film & Discussion: Planet of the Apes Imaginarium
10:00 PM Thousand Foot Krutch Underground Stage
10:15 PM Newsboys Main Stage
2:00 AM Leper Dance Club

Renaissance Faire

Just got an email from Ren Faire:

June 2004

The Faire is in the Aire... Let the Festivities Begin!

Advance Ticket Sale Ends Soon...

....through June 25 ONLY ... Buy 2 tickets and get 1 free ticket.

Free ticket is good for any one day of the first 4 weekends - a savings of over 43%. Order at

2004 Entertainment Special Guest News...
Owain Phyfe is back - first 2 weekends only and Kai Ju Daiko Drummers will be visiting the weekend of September 4, 5 and 6.

Marriott Hotels also offers a special deal to BRF Patrons and Friends!
The Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott is located less than 20 minutes from the Faire. Visit for special rates and amenities.

See You at the Faire!

Monday, June 14, 2004

In Support of Iraq War II

Check out this post by the fourth rail, which clearly details the case for war from the perspective of national (and global) security. Discovered via Election Projection, which you should also go check out.

Sunday, June 13, 2004


On a lighter note, this is my cat.

Posted by Hello

Me and my airline

This is a good representation of the relationship between myself and United Airlines. You guys have all heard me complain about United many times in the past, and I've threatened many times to switch airlines. Well, I finally booked some tickets on Independence Air for June 25 - July 5.

Posted by Hello
That's my 2000 Saturn SL1. A United Express shuttle bus met me on Friday just outside the airport. A warning, perhaps.

Saturday, June 12, 2004


Posted by Hello

More band breakups

BAD NEWS: The Insyderz breaking up? From the MDFF's News section:

Bad news ska fans. The Insyderz wrote to let us know that they
won't be able to make it to MDFF04. Read the letter from Nathan of
The Insyderz below:

"I am so sorry, I have been out of touch for a bit, but our guitar player is leaving the band. He is moving to California and we have not been able to replace him. Subsequently, we will not be able to be a part of the Dew fest. I am so sorry.

Nathan Sjogren"

Have no fear MDFFers. We'll replace The Insyderz with another
top-notch band and continue to rock your face off!

Hopefully they do eventually find a replacement.

And Bleach IS breaking up. August 29th, in Nashville, is their last show, with Relient K, the OC Supertones, Seven Day Jesus, and the Lonely Hearts. Maybe I can make that . . .

Mountain Dew Float Fest

Wish I could make this, but I don't think I'll be in Washington state in August. It's an one-day Christian music festival sponsored by Mountain Dew! Looks like it features mostly Tooth and Nail artists -- great partnership there,and it can only help T&N. The OC Supertones and Bride are headlining!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Seekers show Monday 6/14

I won't be able to make this one, but maybe you can:

MONDAY NIGHT, JUNE 14TH - It's finally here! This show will be incredible! What is going to be so incredible? "ROCK NIGHT" featuring SUBSEVEN, SLING SHOT 57, ACE TROUBLESHOOTER, ADO & REALIGN! Concert begins at 7:30 and the cover charge is $8.00. Come on in and check them all out! It promises to be a great night of music and fun! Call your friends, your family and all your neighbors....stop people on the street even... and tell them they've got to be here for this one!

Seekers Coffee House in Dyer, IN, at the intersection of Sheffield and Exchange.

What do the Russians think of Reagan?

Check out Eastern European reactions to the death of Reagan here.

"You know what caused the downfall of the Soviet Union? You know what did it?" demanded a senior [Soviet] general, a little flush with vodka.
Some racked their brains with thoughts of missile defense, perpetual shortages of everything from soap to vodka, the U.S. military buildup. The general banged his fist again. "That [] speech about the evil empire! That's what did it!" The general was standing now, and to the questioning eyes of one American he added: "It was an evil empire. It was."

Stem cell research inefficient?

Various researchers claim that stem cell research is not likely to be the best approach to combating Alzheimer's. Story here.

Rule changes at O'Hare

The FAA makes a rule change in an attempt to reduce delays at O'Hare Aiport:

In an attempt to reduce flight delays, the distance between planes landing and taking off on intersecting runways at O'Hare International Airport will be cut in half, the FAA said Thursday.

Full story here.

Sasquatch sighting

Here. Yukon Territory, middle of the night, both local councilmen and one an "experienced hunter".

*cue X-Files music*

Thursday, June 10, 2004

News on Lynwood Casino

Article here regarding a group of 600 people, led by a diverse group of local ministers, that met on Monday in an attempt to organize opposition to the proposed Lynwood casino.

If approved, the 432-acre gaming and entertainment complex will be the largest such business in the state and home to the state's first land-based casino. The complex -- which would include a water park, baseball diamonds and movie theaters -- would stretch north to south from Glenwood-Lansing Road to Glenwood-Dyer Road and east to west from portions of Torrence Avenue to all of Stony Island Avenue. It would surround the 21-year-old Lynwood United Reformed Church, 1990 Glenwood-Dyer Road.

I would estimate that area to be a little less than a square mile, and it does contain houses and businesses -- such as an indoor soccer stadium and a skating rink. I think it's a very bad idea. It's being sponsored by my very own Congressional Representative, Jesse Jackson, Jr. I believe he's running unopposed this year -- I wish I were old enough to give him some competition for his seat.

New Metra line?

There's a meeting in Glenwood tonight regarding initial plans for a Metra "SouthEast Service Line". Story here. I wish I could be there to show support for the idea; Metra service would help the southeast suburbs greatly.

Another one

You ever heard the urban legend that famous deaths always come in threes? We're at #2 right now -- Ray Charles.

Blind by age 7 and an orphan at 15, Charles spent his life shattering any notion of musical boundaries and defying easy definition. A gifted pianist and saxophonist, he dabbled in country, jazz, big band and blues, and put his stamp on it all with a deep, warm voice roughened by heartbreak from a hardscrabble childhood in the segregated South.

I hope that the legend is proven false this time around. . .

Throw up your Rawkfist

Heard TFK's "Rawkfist", their single from Phenomenon, on the radio while coming back from lunch today. The station was DC101, a secular alternative rock station comparable to Q101.

Rawkfist is a good song, but IMHO one of the worst on Phenomenon, actually. I was never big on rap-rock until I picked up this CD -- there are a lot of great songs, and not really any bad ones. Phenomenon and Bounce are definitely much better, and have gotten some play on Christian radio. The only downside with the CD is that the lyrics are sometimes chosen for sound rather than meaning. Pick up the CD if you have any interest at all in Christian underground.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Check out's musicvine. It's a visual depiction of the relationship between various bands, and from my test case it works REALLY well. I put in Dogwood, and BAM! the five closest bands in the graph are Craig's Brother, MXPX, Hangnail, Ace Troubleshooter and 38th Parallel. From there, it extends out in clearly-defined ways: CB branches out to secular punk (New Found Glory, Blink 182, Yellowcard) as well as emo (Further Seems Forever, Taking Back Sunday). 38th Parallel branches to Christian rap-core (POD, Project 86, Blindside) and from there to Christian hardcore (Zao). Hangnail and Ace reach out to Christian punk (Philmore, Relient K), and from there to Christian alternative in general (Kutless, Switchfoot, Jars of Clay). It's mindblowing and accurate.

If you center on Craig's Brother, you get visual proof that the band does straddle the Christian and secular markets. There are two poles; on one side are secular bands (MXPX, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Something Corporate), and way on the other side are Christian bands (Dogwood, Hangnail, Project 86).

It's addicting. Blindside: it's part of a triumvirate with Project and POD. Besides that, there are three groups: the secular rap-rock/alternative section, with Linkin Park and Chevelle; a nearby constellation consisting of the larger Christian alternative bands; and a black-and-blue group in the corner representing Christian hardcore -- Living Sacrifice, Norma Jean, Demon Hunter.


Bands breaking up

Calibretto is breaking up.
The Evaluation is breaking up.
Any others?

Seekers show Friday

Seekers show on Friday -- featuring aDo, Synergy, Amber, Realign, Staple. The first four are local bands of varying skill. Amber's drummer/keyboardist is formerly of The Evaluation, but there's really no musical comparison. Synergy has members from One Set Frame and Cranial Halo, both of which have broken up.

Staple is an up-and-coming screamo-ish band. Their hit single, Dictatorship vs Democracy, is on the latest HM Sampler CD, and is also making its way up the Christian Music charts. I'm really looking forward to seeing them. From DVD, it sounds like they're following Stretch Arm Strong and others in having dual load vocals, one screaming and one singing; Staple seems inverse to SAS, tho, in that the singer is the primary lead, whereas the screamer is the secondary lead, if that makes any sense.

I only hope I'll be able to make it -- I'm scheduled on the 5:35 flight out, which means I would probably get to Seekers at about 9:30pm. Trying to catch the 3pm instead.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Pickup truck hits Schoops on Rt 41, two dead

St John, IN, about 5 miles from my home. More info here.

Fun with Fundrace is a clearinghouse of Presidential campaign contribution information. You can search contributions by state, major city, last name, or address. Here are some interesting finds:

  • H.W. and Barbara support their son, of course.

  • So does Perot!

  • Al Gore -- Dean, and then Kerry, as we all know. (Tipper's real name is Mary Elizabeth?)

  • Theresa Heinz-Kerry lists herself as a Philanthropist, and endorses her husband from her Pittsburgh home.

  • William Baldwin supports Kerry.

  • But Alec supports Dean.

  • Here are some people on the "Anything But Bush" bandwagon.

  • Ted Leonsis (AOL, Washington Capitals and Wizards) is covering all the bases -- Graham, Kerry AND Bush.

  • Jennifer Garner is really into politics -- Gephardt, Edwards, Clark, and Kerry!

  • A couple John Kerrys sponsoring John Kerry.

  • John Edwards sponsoring himself, of course.

  • Look at this! William Daley, brother of Chicago mayor Richard Daley, is breaking campaign finance law! He's sponsoring Kerry for $2000 as William Daley from Chicago, and sponsoring him for $2000 as William P Daley from Texas.

I'll let you know whether I follow up on that last one . . .

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Last weekend

I'm really late in doing this, but I guess I'd better put up a synopsis of last weekend.

1) Went to the Dumpstar / Anthrax concert. Edd, Dumpstar's drummer, just left the band a couple weeks ago :(. The replacement drummer did as well as could be expected, but got lost a couple times in relation to the background track. There was one heckler, but he was more pathetic than anything else -- he would walk into the crowd, scream out "YOU SUCK!" and look around for some support, and then look befuddled as no one else started heckling. The crowd got into it, although they were distracted in anticipation of Anthrax. A few people were impressed enough to stop by the merch table afterward in order to purchase CD's. I left before the Anthrax show . . . I could've stayed, but I'm not at all a fan.

2) Went to HANGnite at about 10:30pm, where Abbey Normal was scheduled to play. Met friends ObeytheFist, lisawilson, expletiveDELETED, lycanthropic37, and others. They started playing at maybe 1:15am, the latest that a HANGnite band has ever started. Great set, including their classics and a couple covers.

3) Went to USAFest at Balmoral Park with some friends. Got a sunburn, bought a glass chess set, got my throwing arm clocked at 53 mph -- tho that might be off, since it was a carnival booth. We got a couple free foam balls from the TMobile tent, and a blowup baseball bat from the fastpitch booth. I decided to show that it would be impossible to hit the foam ball with the blowup bat for any distance, and proceeded to sock the ball across the parking lot on the first attempt. . .

4) Went to TekieCid's surprise birthday party, also with Cerebro, Cegikma, Dereklearnslow and others. We watched some of the Cubs game (they lost to the Pirates), watched some of Bill Cosby's standup from the early eighties, played a lot of Halo.

5) Church, as usual. Continued looking at the Catholic Church in Sunday School. My class will be moving into the new building in a couple weeks.

6) Lisawilson's graduation party. Met ObeytheFist, Lycanthropic37, and expletiveDELETED once again, as well as Darling Nikki and many others. Saw some Invader Zim for the first time ever.

7) Visited with some friends from Lansing Bible Church that I haven't been able to see for a while. They open their house every Sunday night, but I haven't been able to go for a while because of my Sunday evening flights. Good times -- their not-quite-two-year-old daughter runs around calling me "Dosh". I stayed there until nearly 2am watching their son's video of his missions trip to Mexico.

8) Saw "The Day After Tomorrow" with TekieCid, Cerebro and others. Awesome special effects. Half-baked science, silly plot, broad and shallow characterizations, bad writing. AN AL GORE LOOKALIKE AS THE BRAVE AND FEARLESS PRESIDENT. Decent acting, taking into account what the actors were given to work with. Every major plot point (every scene, actually) seems lifted directly from another movie -- Armageddon, Deep Impact, Volcano, Planet of the Apes, Finding Nemo, Jurassic Park, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Outbreak. It's all good in the end because Jake Gyllenhaal gets the girl, even though MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DIED.

President Ronald Reagan dies at 93

Requiescat In Pace.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Copenhagen Consensus Results

Here, via Instapundit. Very interesting: a European organization dedicated to studying the environment gets together and tries to rank what the world's top priorities should be. And here's the surprise -- for the most part, I agree with them.

Basic rundown:

  • Fighting AIDS should be the world's top priority

  • Lowering trade barriers should also be a top priority

  • Fighting malaria in developing countries is a top priority

  • Water and sanitation issues are very important

  • Lowering migration barriers is of some importance

  • Guest-worker programs, such as those instituted in Europe, are bad

  • The climatology issues presented, and specifically the Kyoto Accords, are BAD PROJECTS

I guess it should be noted, though, that of the eight panelists, six were from US Universities (and over half of those in the Midwest!), the other two being from the University of Zurich and Peking University. So, although the Environmental Assessment Institute (the sponsoring organization) is European, the Consensus group doesn't really seem to be.

Conservative Punk, which I've been reading since February, has been getting a lot of press lately. Check out:

Alternative Press

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Slate: Bush brain-damaged

Here. Sometimes Slate seems to have the inside track on breaking news stories. On the other hand, they're often very openly anti-Bush. Is the site supposed to be based on the magazine model, or the unmoderated bulletin board model? Not that Bush criticism is necessarily bad -- but why in such a way? Throwing out unsubstantiated rumors/smears/implications shouldn't be Slate's thing.

Sudan History

A history of the conflict in Sudan can be found here. Via Instapundit.

Accenture gets gigantic government contract

Here. Related to government security -- foreign visitor tracking. Should be upwards of $1 billion. In partnership with Raytheon, SRA International, Titan Corp, Dell, Sprint, AT&T . . .

ACLU supports church

Here. Rev. Todd Pyle of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Stafford, VA, held a baptismal service in a public park. The park officials complained, first tried to break up the service and then let it finish, afterwards asking Pyle to leave. Last I checked, the First Amendment provides freedom not only of speech, but also of religion and assembly. The ACLU of VA is quoted as saying, "If the park rules allow people to wade and swim in the river, then they must allow baptisms in the river."

Day by Day

This is one of my favorite daily webcomics. Here's the cartoon for today (let's see if this works):

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Conspiracy Theory of the day

Ok, I ranted the following conspiracy theory off the top of my head yesterday, and then polished it a little last night.

It all started when I saw this factoid in the trailers for "The Day After Tomorrow":

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen became the youngest producers in Hollywood history at the age of six.

Okay, the Olsen twins are lazy evil geniuses. They've been producing films since the age of six. I believe the first was this. At the age of six, they understood the business of Hollywood well enough to put together a plan of action, stick with it, and make themselves multi-millionaires. They envisioned a huge, easily-tapped market ready for exploitation: girls in their own age group. So they started making tons of direct-to-video/made-for-TV movies, one after another, knowing that undiscerning little girls would clamor for these, and that naive parents would purchase them for their clamoring little girls. I mean, what's more wholesome than the Olsen twins? Their sitcom father was a germophobe, for Pete's sake!

Now, since the clamoring little girls are undiscerning, there's no need to make movies of high quality, but rather movies in high quantity. Check out this, this, this, this, and this, for example -- there are tons more where those came from. Every once in a while, sneak into a feature film, or do a cameo. And here's where the plan really gets insidious -- since the clamoring little girls are being fed a steady diet of Mary-Kate and Ashley pap, they never build up the proper movie criticism skills to discern good movies from bad. So, although most of the country thinks of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as lacking in talent, they don't care. They have their brainwashedly loyal segment of the population. In actuality, they're very talented -- they're Lazy. Evil. Geniuses. Geniuses, of course, because of the audacity and success of their scheme, conceived and initiated by the two at the age of six. Evil, because of their lack of scruples in releasing their abominably bad movies to the public. And lazy, because they haven't put their genius to a better (or worse) use -- such as planning to take over the world. I mean, you can say a lot of things about The Brain, but at least he's got big dreams.

UPDATE: MSNBC follows up on the story here. The Big Media is getting in on the story! Key quote:

Over the years, the Olsens did not crash and burn as we expected them to -- though there's still time, as the tabloids remind us weekly with headlines like "Olsens X-Posed!" They did not enter rehab or get married in Las Vegas or star in a series of god-awful movies intended to get their careers back on track. Instead, they starred in a series of god-awful movies that bypassed theaters and went straight to video, bought and beloved by young girls everywhere. These young girls then went out and bought the Olsens' clothing and makeup and stationery and backpacks, making the twins rich. They named their brand mary-kateandashley -- one word, say it fast, the way little girls do -- and this year it and the rest of Empire Olsen are projected to do $1.2 billion in sales.