Monday, December 19, 2005

See you next year

Some of you (though I doubt I get many readers besides family and friends) may have noticed the dearth of postings over the last three months. Numerous factors have contributed to my slackness but the single biggest event was that on Sep 29, 2005 a daughter was born to wifey and I. Our second child. Much time is spent doing parenting things so not much time is left to blog.

I plan to resume regular blogging next year. So, keep the faith and I hope this season brings you all you wish for.

Shalom. Salam. Peace.

Friday, September 23, 2005

No Gays Allowed

That's what Catholic Churches will probably have up soon on their doorways. According to The Independent, The Pope has signed an edict banning homosexuals from entering priesthood. The church has also increased it's rhetoric against gay marriage.

This is a tragedy. To discriminate against someone based on their sexual disposition goes against everything I have been brought up to believe. To have the leader of my church feel that being homosexual was "a more or less strong tendency towards an inherent moral evil." really chills me.

My daughter is currently going through an indoctrination program to become Catholic. After reading this article I'm not so sure I want her to become Catholic. I'm not so sure *I* want to be Catholic. This one ruling is anathema to me. I feel I am truly at a crossroads.

I've always been proud of being Catholic. While my actual faith differs somewhat from Church Doctrine (heck, even basic Christian dogma) I've always felt "Catholic". I love the mass. The rituals soothe me and give me peace. Now I'm have to consider stepping away. I don't feel I can, in good conscience, remain Catholic under the current regime.

I have an uncle that is gay. He and his partner have been together longer than most heterosexual couples I know. They share a love that is deep and great. How can that be morally evil?

Monday, September 12, 2005

NC has a State Lottery

A buddy of mine has ranted about it so I thought I'd weigh in on the issue.

I don't think I like the idea of a State Owned Lotto. I love the idea of the State allowing legal gambling. I don't think this is what NC has though I'd have to read the bill to be 100%. According to the TechnicianOnline website, an NC Lottery Commission will be established (read: More Government) to oversee the operations. Overhead for this commission will come from revenues gained by the lottery. Also, net revenue will be go into an Educational Lottery Fund with the purpose of funding education, building public schools and to provide college scholarships to 'needy' students. In any event, the State Lotto is essentially a state run monopoly. If Bill can't have one why should NC?

On paper the Lotto looks good. I don't gamble and my daughter doesn't attend public school so this won't really affect me much. I don't buy into the whole "gambling keeps the poor poor" tangent that Hannas rants about. Gambling is a choice. If someone who doesn't have much chooses to spend what little they have on a lotto ticket who am I to bar their way.

In North Carolina, spirits (i.e. liquor) can only be sold from ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) stores. These stores are only licensed and taxed by the State. They are privately owned and operated. I think this is how the Lotto should be run. The commission would oversee taxing the private enterprises that would spring up and be accountable for the distribution of funds, but in no way would the State actually participate in the Lotto itself.

One of the primary selling points for the Lotto is that it will be tied to education. This sounds good and the additional revenue could indeed help offset the cost of education in NC. The problem is that I don't trust the government to keep current funding in place once the Lotto is up and running. The traditional funds will most likely be diverted to other areas as pointed out by the John Locke Foundation. This happened on the Federal level with Social Security.

I agree with Hannas in that gambling, prostitution, drugs and other forms of adult entertainment should be legal. It's not the State's job to be our moral compass. I also agree that the State should not participate (aside from taxation) in these areas. Of course, I also believe the legal drinking age should be reduced to 18 - I'm just crazy that way. I also don't think my taxes should go towards things I don't believe in such as abortion, welfare and social services. But such is the cost of living in America. If I don't agree with the status quo I vote, and have voted, for change. I would have voted YES to legalize gambling. I would have voted NO for state run gambling.

The problem we have here in NC, and really in any Deep South state where religion holds sway, is that government is seen as a parental power instead of a peer power. If you think things should be a certain way you try and get a law passed to enforce it. They have that in Iran too, and look how well that works out for them.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Peace for Israel ...

... won't come from the Palestinians.

For those that think the return of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority was a good thing; I'll let you in on a little secret: It won't stop there.

In an interview with Palestinian TV Al Menar, Palestinian Cleric Sheikh Muhammad Ali (not the boxer) called for more violent jihad.

I note, in particular, this quote:

Any land, any piece of land, over which flies the banner of 'There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger,' and which at a certain point belonged to the Muslims – as far as we are concerned, plundering and occupying such land is forbidden, and it is the duty of all Muslims to do what they can to liberate this land, wherever it may be...


Do you know what this means? It means not only Israeli lands but also Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, parts of France (they will just surrender anyway) and a whole buncha 'Stans (Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgystan). This map shows the extent of Caliphate lands circa 650.

He goes on to say that negotiation is not an option. This guy is a Deputy Directory of the Palestinian Clerics Association. That is some pretty scary stuff.

Pat Robertson makes bold and inciteful statments and he is scorned by your average U.S. Citizen. This guy does the same and he is louded and obeyed. Of course, our apologist media won't cover the story in this light. They will simply talk about how we have to understand the Palestinian plight and how we are somehow deserving of this hostility.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Games

Got into the City of Villains closed beta. Took me a couple of hours to get things sorted out. Then I find that I can only play M-F, 6-8 CT so I didn't get to play last night. Won't be able to play the rest of this week-end either since I have to work.

Oh well.

Played through the F.E.A.R demo. A lot of "shock" type scary. Ghostly little girl that giggles just before you catch a glimpse of her. Ghostly forms appearing before you right as your pov turns from the ladder to the walkway causing you to waste ammo. Stuff like that. Graphics are awsome especially in "bullet time". Think of that scene in The Matrix where Neo and Trinity are fighting the security forces in the atrium of the building in which Agent Smith is keeping Morphius. The supersonic air distortion as bullets fly through the air. The fragmentation of concrete as bullets impact. The jerking of bodies as bullets impact. It's all there in hi-res glory. This game would totally suck if it were limited to just a console. It's just unfortunate the names sucks so bad.

Also played a little of the Dungeon Siege II demo. I'm liking it though I do have one major problem with gameplay. All through the "tutorial" part of the game you are told over and over to stick with one "class" and not to stray too much or your character will become a weak jack-of-all-trades type. You see, you gain xp when using certain arms/spells. Bows give ranged xp. Fire spells give Combat Magic xp. You get the picture. So - I take my toon and stick strictly to melee weapons. I pick up another party member who is well suited to melee as well so I go twin weapons while I have him stick to big two handers. I get to one point in the main story arc where I have to use a ranged attack to open the door. No other option. The least they could do is allow for my measly 1 level in ranged to open the door. At least this way anyone can open it. No - this door requires 6 levels of ranged. That's pretty linear scripting. It's a wood door for crying out loud. My half-giant companion with the big 2H axe can't smash through it but some measly arrow can knock it down? Course this is just the demo. The rest of the gameplay is pretty good even if the camera controls take a little getting used to.

Oh - if you get a chance check out the TCOverride link. Capt Chuck is recovering well. He posts a little on what constitutes a "Hero". That man is a hero in my book.

Friday, August 05, 2005

HB 392

This bill allows for a greater variety of beers to be sold and crafted in North Carolina. We are one of only 5 states left in the Union that have an archaic cap on Alcohol by Volume (ABV) for beer. Just beer. Not spirits or wine. Just beer. Why you might ask? Well - Mill owners felt that, in order to ensure an adequate workforce on Monday morning, something needed to be done about alcohol consumption during the week and week end.

A movement called "Pop the Cap" has been working for 2 years to get this law repealed. They have partially succeeded. The law was passed in the NC Senate (read: your state Senators) 27-21. That means in 10 days or less, Gov. Easly has the option to a) sign it, b) veto it or c) do nothing. One means the esteemed Governor of NC really wants to help our economy. One means he has given over to these fear mongering shmucks. The third is just the easy way out. The law can pass but he can still say he didn't sign it.

But then there is the opposition of mainly Christian Conservatives. One organization is the Christian Action League of NC. I found this on the Christian Action League of NC's website:

"If this bill passes, North Carolina will have beer on it’s grocery and convenience store shelves that is 30 proof."

No. It just means that 30 proof beer can be sold ... there really aren't that many 30 proof beers out there and they will be expensive so most likely only sold in specialty shops. Your local Winn Dixie can't afford to keep product on the shelf that doesn't move. Nice scare tactic. Lets battle facts with Fear!

"It will likely exacerbate the problem of underage, youth and binge drinking on college campuses."


Um... I don't know about you but college drinking wasn't about drinking high end beers. That's not good bang for buck. Why spend $5 a bottle when you can buy a whole case? Again ... this is fear at work. A college student with a $20 beer budget isn't going for some piddly half case of Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil. He's going to get 4 cases of Bud which he could buy now anyway.

"Moreover, communities that voted for beer and wine sales will have these high alcohol content beers foisted upon them – something they never voted for in local option alcohol referenda."


Foisted! Yes, the bill makes it immediately illegal for any present beer in NC to be purchased and instead leaves only the higher priced, higher ABV beer instead. You no longer have a choice. No more Budweiser for you Mr. Migrantworker! It's no longer Miller time! And what the heck is a local action alcohol referenda anyway? Is there a higher power than the NC Congress out there that I don't know about? Do local county and city councils have the power to usurp State Law?

The problem with being a conservative in the south is that you get lumped in with these a*hole blowhards. The article doesn't even have very articulate arguments against the measure - just fear mongering smoke and mirrors. These are the same talking points the Temperance Movement used in the 1900s.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Porous Boarders

I haven’t ranted in a bit so I'm going to go with an old standby: Immigration.

It's not that I'm against immigration or immigrants in particular. My mom is Filipino and thus an immigrant herself. I firmly believe that anyone who wants to become an American Citzen™ should be able to do so with little or no restrictions. Belly up to the bar, the bill is due April 15th.

My problem is with illegal immigration and the movement to appease them. They benefit from the state without having to pay into it. They are a burden on our social services. Now, keep in mind these are criminals, but some people want to give them drivers licences and college tuition. Not only is it unfair to native citizens but really unfair to those immigrants that have worked hard to earn their citizenship. It's also unfair to the illegals themselves who often face predators, both animal and human variety, just trying to cross the boarders.

It would seem our government isn't concerned with effective U.S. immigration law enforcement. A recent action by average citizens proves that it is possible to keep a tighter grip on our boarders if only the government would step up to the plate. Where was the ACLU during all of this? The once heralded protector of the common man? Out smoking pot.

Not that I have anything against the ACLU in particular. I'm just against communism in general. Roger Nash Baldwin, a founding member, was once quoted as saying,
"I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is, of course, the goal."
While I applaud the organization in fighting for some of the biggest civil liberty cases in U.S. History, they are shoddily inconsistent and biased in their approach. The fact that they are in support of CAIR is alone cause for me to withdraw support.

... oh, and NAMBLA