Flag Burning Kills Puppies!

30 06 2006

I just read Dianne Feinstein’s editorial in USA Today (http://www.keepmedia.com/pubs/USATODAY/2006/06/20/1646484?ba=a&bi=2&bp=64) and I think I can safely say that she is absolutely right . . . about nothing. 

By the second sentence you know that whatever she is about to argue is going to be bull because of her use of the logical fallacy ignoratio elenchi (Red Herring – appeal to emotion, etc.)  Obviously Ms. Feinstein ditched class the day they went over things like logic and reason. 

But this is only the first in a line of many fallacies that she will make throughout the editorial.

As Leonard Pitts Jr. points out however, perhaps this was meant to be a study of how not to make an argument.  See: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.pitts25jun25,0,2658495.story?coll=bal-oped-headlines

I am desperate to hear someone make a valid argument for why we should outlaw desecration of the flag.  Ms. Feinstein’s final thought is that, “There is no idea or thought expressed by the burning of the American flag that cannot be expressed equally well in another manner.” 

Why is it I am consistently stunned by the justifications politicians make for their actions?  Not that I don’t consult Ms. Feinstein before I express my opinions, but arn’t we supposedly living in the land of the free?  Isn’t freedom of expression what this country was founded on? 

Writing censorship into the constitution takes the power away from the people and puts it in the hands of the Congress – something I hope never happens.


Christian Statistics

30 06 2006

 Here are some great statistics published by the World Evangelization Research Center – they sent out 10 million questionnaires in 3000 languages  –

The 5 most dangerous of all Christian vocations (over 3% murder rates) are:bishops,evangelists,catechists,colporteurs,foreign missionaries.

Some 250 of the 300 largest international Christian organizations regularly mislead the Christian public by publishing demonstrably incorrect or falsified progress statistics.

 78 countries each have Great Commission Christians whose personal incomes exceed US$1 billion a year.

Annual church embezzlements by top custodians exceed the entire cost of all foreign missions worldwide.



It’s not looking good . . .

29 06 2006

The ACLU’s National Freedom Scorecard — http://scorecard.aclu.org/ — provides you with a quick summary of important civil liberties measures and how your elected officials have voted. By looking at their actual voting record, you can go beyond the soundbites that characterize much of today’s campaigns to better understand your elected officials’ positions (the ACLU scorecard only has information for current members of Congress and does not include ratings for challengers).

I’m Watching You

29 06 2006

Here’s a BBC article about a study done on honesty.  A coffee club was set up with an honor system payment scheme.  In one place, the sign explaining how it works was posted and at the top it had a picture of flowers.  In another place there was the exact same thing except instead of flowers there was a pair of eyes staring out at you.  People gave three times the amount of money to the box under the eyes than the flowers. 

Are we naturally dishonest?  Do we need a watchful eye to keep us honest?  Interesting . . .


Know Your Rights

29 06 2006

Here’s a link to a pdf file.  it’s a printable card you can keep in your wallet or glove-box about what you’re rights are when you get stopped by the cops.  Police use intimidation to get you to waive your rights.  But if you know exactly what your rights are, that is less likely to happen.  If only I had this when I was 17 . . .


Supreme Court: Master of the Bleedin’ Obvious

29 06 2006

The Supreme Court ruled that Bush overstepped his authority by setting up military tribunals for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The tribunals, which often exclude the accused from the trial or from even knowing what the evidence against them is, apparently violate both US law and international Geneva Conventions.

Thank god we have a supreme court. But I just wish we didn’t have to waste their time with such obvious cases as this. I think a good rule of thumb for any government is: if there’s any doubt about how legal it is under the Geneva Conventions, DON’T DO IT.

Now that that is settled, let’s send Bush to the ICC and try him for crimes against humanity.

Internet TV

28 06 2006

The Democracy Player is "the free and open source internet TV platform."

It uses bittorrent esque tech to download video podcasts of internet tv shows.  My favorite so far is the "Ricky Gervais Show".

It's free and incredibly user friendly, so try it out: