April 15, 2005 - 5:15pm cst:
finally got a new job with TCF Bank in Minneapolis. It'll be nice
to be working again. Now I'll have a better alibi for not writing
more often. Help yourlseves to more cake.
April 15, 2005 - 5:01pm cst:
one thing has become evident since the 2004 elections, it's the
theocratic right's almost complete takeover of the Republican Party.
Now they want more than their pound of flesh, and it's deeply troubling
for anyone who treasures American democracy.
coming battle over Bush's judicial nominees and the threat of the
"nuclear option," ending the Senate fillibuster, is the
main front. Today's
NY Times offers some telling details:
As the Senate heads
toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations,
Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful
of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats
as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.
Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council
and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening
of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man
holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier
does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster
against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused
to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people
of course, comes after Republican threats against judges in the
wake of the Terri Shiavo affair, including Tom Delay and numerous
right wingers (the notorious "no man, no problem" line
originally attributed to Stalin). We have the usual assaults on
science, assaults on gays (the rediculous notion that letting gay
people marry would somehow harm your marriage). Now we see efforts
to erode our system of checks and balances.
notion of runaway judicial activism is little more than a front
for a political class that seeks unlimited power. At least, that's
my observation of the matter. And they have successfully manipulated
the genuine religious faiths of people by making them believe the
GOP is "the party of God," and offering and endless array
of scare tactics. This is more than absurd, this is dangerous. It's
the same as assaults on the seperation of church and state. We're
seeing a corrupt political class in its bit for permament power,
and it threatens the very foundations of the republic.
when Republicans believed in a republican form of government? When
they were supporters of federalism? Remember the idea that America
was a nation of laws, for all people, not a theocracy for a fundamentalist
perversion of Christianity?
April 15, 2005 - 4:21pm cst:
hooray, whatever. You can imagine how much fun birthdays can be
when they fall on tax day. But, hey, life is short, so grab some
Who Episode 3 - The
April 10, 2005 - 4:21pm cst:
3 of the new Doctor Who is a gothic "past" episode,
featuring ghosts, haunted mansions, and a compelling performance
by Simon Callow as Charles Dickens. It's a very good story,
but very much a by-the-numbers affair that's over too fast.
But this is an early episode, and the writers are revisiting
the many themes of Classic Who.
of which, I've spent the past week revisitng the original series,
so if it seems I'm a bit harsher on the new show, it's because of
masterful serials like The Robots of Death, Genesis of the Daleks,
and The Curse of Fenric. A bit unfair to compare Christopher Eccleston
to the best Doctor Whos (Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy), I know.
But at its best, Dr Who was unbeatable.
Who Episode 2 - The
End of the World
April 2, 2005 - 10:45pm cst:
week's episode of the new Doctor Who has aired on the BBC. "The
End of the World" is a futuristic episode with inventive aliens
and special effects, and promises to be great.
(Sunday - 6:10 pm) Wow! After episode 2, consider me hooked.
This Doctor Who is very modern, and the show writers (led by Russel
T. Davies of "Queer as Folk" fame) are clearly trying
to invoke the spirit of the original show while avoiding its many
episode puts far greater emphasis on well-rounded characters, specifically
the culture shock of teenage hottie Rose Tyler, played by Billie
Piper. The experience of travelling into the distant future, meeting
strange aliens, and nearly getting killed proves very traumatic.
Christopher Eccleston's Doctor also shows a more serious, mournful
side. Doctor Who has seriously grown up.
Davies could pack so much into a 45-minute show is beyond me. The
episode just flies. It's loaded with funny pop riffs on iPod, Michael
Jackson, and Brittney Spears. There are some thrilling cliffhanger
moments, some wonderfully crazy aliens, and a revelation at the
end that will send the old-skool fans reeling.
is a terrific show. Watch it. Now.
on Abu Graib Wounds
44 US Soldiers
April 2, 2005 - 10:31pm cst:
Iraq remains shuffled off American television screens, the fighting
continues. And the abuse and torture of Iraqi civilians will only
continue to fuel the insurgency, and hurt our soldiers in turn.
From the New
to 60 insurgents attacked the prison from opposite directions, but
were repelled by the Americans in a pitched battle that lasted for
30 to 40 minutes, the officials said. They added that they knew
of only one insurgent who had been killed, but said it was almost
certain the guerrillas suffered additional casualties.
assault was so intense that the American troops at the prison called
in three Apache attack helicopters and a Marine infantry company,
the colonel said. The marines quickly secured the area around the
prison. Of the 20 Americans hurt, 18 had only minor wounds, Colonel
(Sunday - 6:35 pm) The number of American soldiers wounded
has clibed to 44. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
More bad news.
Dollars a Barrel?
April 2, 2005 - 10:15pm cst:
does the thought of oil breaking $100 a barrel sound to you? It
may very well happen in the near future:
March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose and gasoline
and heating-oil surged to records on signs that U.S. refineries
lack capacity to make enough fuel and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts
predicted that oil could touch $105 a barrel.
Record prices have failed to curtail surging fuel
consumption, the Goldman Sachs analysts said in a research note.
The firm's upper limit was $80 previously. U.S. supplies of gasoline
and distillate fuels, such as diesel and heating oil, fell last
week, according to an Energy Department report yesterday.
``Concern is growing that there will barely be
enough fuel to meet growing global demand,'' said Michael Fitzpatrick,
vice president of energy risk management at Fimat USA in New York.
``The world had cheap oil for years and the chickens are coming
home to roost. Investment was deferred and China and India are now
major users, which isn't going to change.''
or later, we have to confront our dependence on oil. Global production
is expected to peak sometime this decade, perhaps as soon as 2006.
We must confront this problem now, before the costs - environmental,
economic - become too great. And that means consumption, kids.
John Paul II Has
April 2, 2005 - 4:05pm cst:
so John Paul II has finally passed. I'd like to say a few things,
but I've found that, even after several days' preperation, I am
at a loss for words.
Pope was certainly a controversial figure, but he was most certainly
a titanic figure. He transformed the papacy, revolutionized it.
He engaged the world with open arms and a bold step. I remember
his early years, as he travelled the globe, connecting with millions
as The Vatican had never done before.
remember his tremondous energy and spirit, his vitality and sense
of purpose. Here was a man on a mission. No doubt The Vatican did
not know what they were getting into when they elected him in 1978.
Surely no one could have predicted that the world would have completely
changed under his tenure.
that, John Paul II deserves enormous credit. His fervent oppositon
to Soviet Communism, his support for his native Poland and its Solidarity
movement, can never be overstated. He was a key figure in ending
the Cold War, and in doing so brought his moral strength to the
struggle for human rights.
yet, he rejected capitalism and western culture almost as boldly.
It's important to notice that as America slides away from its obligations
to the poor and working classes, and towards something far more
sinister, John Paul was still a voice for the voiceless.
was particularly impressed by the strength and dignity with which
he faced his final years. His body slowly broke down, reducing this
youthful, energetic priest into a weakened old man. He has become
almost unrecognizable; and yet, he still possessed that fire that
refused to die out. His final illness this year serves as a model
for us as we face the end of our lives, and I believe the Pope knew
Paul II made great strides to reconcile the Church's terrible history
with Jews and Muslims. His statements of regret for anti-semitism
and the Holocaust may not have seemed strong enough for some, but
it was a tremondous shift for The Vatican and its doctrines. He
rightfully recognized that Christians, Jews, and Muslims share the
same spiritual heritage, and have much to learn from one another.
this to the fundamentalist extremism of Osama bin Laden, of Wahhabism,
of Fallwell and Robertson and Trinity Broadcasting and Left Behind.
It speaks for itself.
found myself strongly disagreeing with the Pope on many issues,
such as role of women and treatment of gays and lesbians. In these
doctrines, the Catholic Church continues to seem outdated, clinging
to dogma for its own sake. The opposition to birth control, in the
age of AIDS, is almost impossible to comprehend.
of all is the abuse and rape of children by priests. These monsters
and predators were allowed to retain their posts; priests were shuffled
around in silence, and The Vatican resisted justice at every step.
These crimes are a terrible stain that will take lifetimes to overcome,
and it happened on John Paul's watch.
remains to be seen where Rome will go from here. It's commonly assumed
that the next Pope will be more conservative, more traditional.
The danger is that The Vatican would withdraw from the world, and
hide once again behind ancient walls and ancient doctrines. The
Church must conintue the work of Karol Wojtyla, and fight for the
poor and oppressed around the world. Theology that does not evolve
is doomed to extinction.
this papacy be regarded by as an aberration, or a permament shift
in the Catholic Church's history? We likely won't know that answer
for several decades. I certainly don't think we will see another
like John Paul II in our lifetimes.