Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Separation of Atheist and Reason

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to listen to the Michael Medved show on the radio. He was talking to a guy who is an atheist I believe is named Edwin Kagan.  That might be wrong, but who cares?  The point is what was being discussed and the position this guy was taking.  He runs a camp for atheist kids and is some level of legal guy trying to mess with the decision of the 9/11 museum to feature a cross still standing after the towers came down.  I'm fuzzy on the details, but it is my understanding that this cross was merely an assembly of twisted remains of the building that was in the shape of the Christian cross.  It was taken by some as a sign of some kind, and felt by some worthy of preserving as a symbol of some kind relevant to the event.  I haven't seen it myself and don't know if I would agree with what it means, even if I couldn't see anything but a Christian-style cross in its shape.  That doesn't matter, either.  What matters is that another atheist feels compelled to assert the stupid notion that this "thing" in a publicly funded museum is some kind of constitutional assault.

What's with these people?  Like homosexuals, atheists are a very small segment of our population.  Like homosexual activists, atheist activists are an even smaller, but annoyingly cloying percentage of them.  Worse yet, their arguments almost make those of the homosexual seem legitimate.

As usual, I was driving when I heard this conversation and did not hear it in its entirety.  But I heard the gist of it several times.  It was that allowing this cross to stand alone suggests to the objective observer that the government endorses the Christian religion over others.  I don't know what constitutes an "objective observer" to this guy, but "brain dead atheist" has to be part of its definition.  I mean, who else thinks like that?

I believe, but cannot swear, that this guy was described as a "constitutional" lawyer.  In any case, I'm sure I was right in understanding him to be well versed in constitutional matters.  But his argument belies that claim.  As we all (should) know perfectly well, the 1st Amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."

So the first issue is, since when is "endorse" synonymous with "establish"?  Let's assume that the United States government fully endorsed Christianity as a good and beneficial lifestyle for its citizens to adopt.  That's merely an opinion and an opinion does not equal establishing Christianity as the state religion.  It is the difference between saying, "We think  our nation would benefit if everyone lived like Christians." versus "We mandate that only the Christian religion is acceptable in this country."  The 1st prohibits the latter, but makes no reference to the former in any way.

Throughout our history, I think one would be hard-pressed to find any president that did not endorse to some degree religious faith and adherence, mostly Christian.  Doubtless, it would be more difficult to find a case where any president spoke against it.  To publicly speak in either direction is not denied the president constitutionally. 

There is also a vast difference between establishing a religion and acknowledging the faith of 80% or more of the population.  By that number, we are a Christian nation.  This acknowledgement, even by our government or any representative of it, is nothing at all like establishing a religion and demanding that no other religion be practiced. 

Likewise, there is also a vast difference between the government establishing a religion, and members of a government body recognizing religious holidays with appropriate decorations, including religious decorations.  The people who work for the government and within government buildings are still citizens with the absolute right to express their religious convictions and to celebrate their holidays.  Doing so is NOT an establishment of religion.

Those who insist that "separation of church and state" prohibits any of the above practices have bastardized the intention of Jefferson and those who ratified the Constitution.  What's more, I believe they know full well that they are distorting the meaning of the 1st and are doing so purposely.  Pushing aside religion from the public square allows for pretending arguments against secular positions are faith based only, and thus illegitimate.  When logic and reason overwhelm them, they merely state the opposition is a Christian (or religious) and the argument is over. 

But the position of the atheist activist has always been so weak that the fact anyone gives them the time of day is more victory than their arguments have ever deserved.


The worst has happened! Derrick Rose has suffered a season ending injury. It is assumed by some to be one that might impact next season as well.  Some say he may never be the same.

These sentiments are premature.  Having torn my ACL, I have some experience with the situation.  The first thing I would say is that today's techniques for dealing with such things are superior to those employed when I first tore mine.  In addition, Rose has every option open to him and the freedom to concentrate all his efforts to recovery.  His well known work ethic and devotion to the game, and being the best at it, is all we need to know in order to feel confident that as fans, we're likely to notice no discernible difference in his game upon his return.  I would wager his opponents won't notice much difference, either. 

But what about now?  Woe is us who expected the ultimate. 

Some, even some Chicago sports writers (at least in the paper to which I subscribe), did not expect da Bullss to go all the way.  I take it, given my limited ability to keep up with such things, that the big money was on a Heat/Thunder match up in the Finals.  So, many already doubted da Bullss ability to get by Miami, and then, assuming they could, they doubted their ability to beat OK City.  And that's with Rose playing, so of course, without him, they have absolutely no chance to win anything, perhaps not even this series against Philly.

Nonsense. While their chances are indeed reduced without a healthy Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls embody not only Rose's ethic, but coach Thib's ethic as well.  They have the experience of playing without Rose as he's missed so many games this year.  Their record without Rose, if extended to a full lock-out truncated season, would have put them fourth in the East.  That still makes them a contender at the very least.

Not only that, but if I'm not mistaken, some of those games won without Rose were against top teams, the Heat being one of them. 

It must also be remembered that in the last five or six games, we've seen Rip Hamilton find his rhythm, and Kyle Korver has been hitting shots like crazy.  And while CJ Watson has been off his game shooting wise lately, he still has hit last minute three pointers in recent games to avoid losses.  He and John Lucas III have each had multiple 20 pt games while Rose has watched from the bench.  And of course, Luol Deng has continued his usual solid play.  In short, the scoring that was lacking last year is not lacking this year.  Rose is not the only offensive weapon like he was last year.

Of course the defense and rebounding is not affected by Rose's absence.  This will continue, and in fact, the teams dominance in that department is as much attributed to the bench players, and sometimes more so, than the starters. 

There are two general areas of liability that I think need improvement regardless of Rose's presence or absence:  turnovers and free-throw percentage.  If the Bulls take care of the ball and keep their turnovers to less than a dozen, they'll reduce fast break opportunities for their opponents.  Points off of turnovers are maddening and momentum busters.  It gives the opponents confidence.  Most of the turnovers that I've seen are of the weak passing variety.  Passing must be crisp and quick, and it seems that too many passes should never have been made in the first place, but definitely not so nonchalantly.

As for free-throws, the Bulls often do not seem to get to the line as often as seems justified.  But when they do get there, they need to drain them more often.  I don't believe they have more than two guys who average better than 90% and they're both bench players (Watson and Korver).  Hamilton might be over 85%, but I'm not sure, and I'm definitely not sure that we have anyone else.  Pros missing free throws seems unforgivable.  I understand the difference between scoring while running your butt off and standing still after getting hammered and expecting to hit a free throw.  It's like the difference between fielding a line drive and a pop-fly.  You don't have time to think about the line drive, but the free throw is like the pop up.  You have time to think about perhaps missing.  I don't know how much time is devoted to practicing free throws, but somehow I get the feeling it ain't enough.

Finally, there is the mere challenge of winning without Rose.  This team has a lot of pride.  They don't like losing.  From last season to this, the Bulls have gone over 80 games without back-to-back losses, coming close to establishing a new league record for the feat. This continued throughout the 27 or so games played without Rose.  That's a meaningful stat that says a lot about the heart of this team.  I have to think that they do not want to be "the Jordanaires", which was how the Bulls who played with Michael Jordan were regarded by some.  It meant that without their star player, they were worthless.  These guys are gonna be pumped.  I predict they'll finish no worse than last year, but won't be surprised to see them go beyond.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

America's Oldest Teen Dies

Talk about the end of an era! I just saw the breaking news that Dick Clark has passed away. This never aging icon of the pop music world will no longer rock in another New Year.

Clark was one of those people, some we know personally, but in this case a celebrity figure, who was a fixture.

Now that I think of it, Don Cornelius just passed away as well, just this past February. Two hosts of two iconic music shows of the type, gone.

May they both rest in peace.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Reports Of His Death Greatly Exaggerated

I came across this article from the Washington Post that I found interesting. Not surprising, just interesting. All those sad haters must be experiencing the vapors. That Rush Limbaugh would survive the controversy surrounding his comments regarding Sandra Fluke, and weather the subsequent cries for his dismissal and boycotts of his sponsors should have been foreseen even by the goofy left wing. The hopes being dashed that the incident would result in his downfall is difficult to regard without some amusement as I imagine their great disappointment. Some fun snippets:

"Limbaugh’s advertising losses may have been less than media accounts suggested. While more than 100 advertisers told Premiere that they didn’t want to be associated with “controversial” radio programs of any kind in the wake of the flap, some of these companies weren’t regular Limbaugh sponsors in the first place."

Of course that didn't prevent some from rejoicing from the false belief that he indeed lost what he didn't have in the first place.

"“Contrary to the wishful thinking of the professional special interest groups, reports of sponsors fleeing the ‘Rush Limbaugh Show’ are grossly exaggerated. In fact, the program retains virtually of all its long-term sponsors who continue to have great success” with the show, saidRachel Nelson, spokeswoman for Premiere."

Wise business people see Rush as a good investment of their advertising dollars because he is still the main man on radio who still draws a massive audience. That audience, as well as the advertisers, are rational people who find Rush's overall good to far outweigh the occasional and incredibly minor bad represented by the comments about Fluke. (For the goofy lefties that visit here, I'm referring to the incident being minor, not the words he used, though they are still far from worthy of the false outrage they sought to present as real.) That's just good business sense. What's more, to pretend that his "crime" was so bad as to be worthy of the level of vitriol it provoked from the loonies on the left is just another example of their selective ideas of tolerance and free speech.

Yes, it did my heart good to read this piece.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

One for my buddy, Ed, and another just because it's cool

This I post for my buddy, Ed, who is a kick ass blues harp musician. But it is impressive enough to share with everyone.

And this is just because I think there's little else as cool as a little kid who is incredibly good at what he/she does. Plus, I've always wanted to learn this.

Enjoy them both.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Let's All Just Take A Breath!

I guess that one who is on the internet almost every day shouldn't complain about media overload. But this Trayvon Martin case is impossible to avoid. I wasn't really all that interested in it. People are killed every day. Stories of little kids taking fire from scumbag gang-bangers should be generating a far greater outcry than what we have going on in Florida. By comparison, Martin's demise is insignificant against the lives of small children sitting on stoops eating ice-cream while bullets rip through their tiny bodies. Yet you don't hear idiotic race-baiters trying to assert that our little ones are being targeted by teens, which is far truer than white people targeting blacks. Indeed, the lamentations over the deaths of black youths are too often attributed by these hustlers to whites than to their more common threats---other black youths.

This case has stirred up all sorts of nastiness on the parts of people who have no clue as to the events that led to the shooting and killing (note: I have no evidence that "murder" is the appropriate term, so I don't make the assumption) of Martin. The latest "outrage" of which I am aware is the recent protest for "justice" for Martin, as if it is a settled fact that he is deserving of any. Don't get me wrong. He may indeed be so deserving. But like these idiots, I simply don't have that information. The only info that any of us have at this point is the absolute and uncompromising innocence of Zimmerman, the assumption of which he is absolutely and uncompromisingly entitled to until he can be proven otherwise.

There is far too much that is unknown here. Some of which I've heard conflicts with other things I've heard. How can anyone dare presume anything at this point? But this is what we have in vast amounts. Presumptions, and few of innocence on the part of Zimmerman.

Take for example, our own Geoffrey Kruse-Safford. He is absolutely convinced that the word "tragedy" does not apply here. How can this be? Geoffrey wasn't there. He doesn't live in Florida. He lives in northern Illinois, a distance far too great for most people to see, but apparently not for one who sees what he wants to see. Geoffrey wants to see racism so he can pontificate, I guess, on white oppression of blacks, or some such crap. To Geoffrey, "What happened that February day can be described as a cold-blooded killing, a hate crime, yet another contemporary lynching of a young black man for the singular perceived crime of walking where a white person felt he had no business walking." I suppose it can be. By the same token, Geoff's statement can be described as by one who is intent on taking it upon one's self to apologize for the white race as if so appointed for the task. But I've seen reports that state three things of note:

1) This took place is a gated community.
2) Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer for that community victimized by thefts.
3) Zimmerman is half-Hispanic.

What this means is that a Hispanic who belongs in the community knows who doesn't belong and was concerned about this stranger being there.

I have a friend who lived in a gated community. The guards at the gate are white. I'm white. If I strolled in from the side and was seen walking about by one of those guards, they would have approached me for the "crime" of walking where I had no business being.

Now, maybe Zimmerman overstepped his "authority" as a volunteer watchman. Maybe Martin overreacted to Zimmerman's scrutiny. Who knows? But certainly, if we concede the narrative of those playing the race card, like Geoffie is, then the result was certainly a tragedy for Martin as far as I'm concerned.

Then there is Al Sharpton. That this guy even gets the time of day is a wonder to me. He's out there, with fellow race-baiter, Jesse "Will There Be Cameras?" Jackson, decrying the injustice done to this obviously innocent victim of another evil white guy who isn't totally Anglo. Now, he's insisting there will be civil disobedience if Zimmerman isn't crucified for what Al knows is satanic murder of an angelic black boy. Oh, and sanctions, too!

We can't forget Spike Lee, who tried to give out Zimmerman's address and got the wrong Zimmerman, forcing a family totally unrelated to leave their home in fear. This asshole should be arrested on some charge for endangering the wrong Zimmerman and trying to endanger the "right" Zimmerman.

The New Black Panthers have offered a bounty on Zimmerman. Arrest them, too. How is that different than a contract killing?

All of this, and not one of these jackwagons knows what the hell even happened!

I mentioned it earlier and it has been mentioned by others reporting and commenting on this case, that most blacks in this country who are murdered are murdered by blacks. I've also read that whites are murdered by blacks much more than the other way around. Yet, the Sharptons, Jacksons, Lees, and Panthers do or say nothing about such things (unless they are doing so to say that whitey is somehow the root cause).

Oh. And how could I have overlooked the smartest man in the room, Barry Obama? He has once again stuck his nose into a case without knowledge of the facts, commenting in a manner inappropriate. The only appropriate comment he should have made, since he insists on saying something, is that he doesn't know the facts so he can't speak on it at all.

So now we must wonder what will happen if Zimmerman is not charged with a crime? It will be Rodney King East. And the Sharptons, Jacksons, Lees, Panthers AND Obama will have to take responsibility for stoking the anger, when they all should have been calling for calm, keeping in mind that Zimmerman is entitled to the presumption of innocence, especially since nobody knows exactly what the hell happened that night.