Sunday, December 18, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
From John Adams of the Nation Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
"It's the most outrageous scheme yet to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. We have just learned that pro-drilling Senators are sneaking their Arctic drilling measure into the Defense Appropriations bill."
"But some Senators are so shameless in their quest to boost oil company profits that they're willing to exploit the Defense Appropriations bill, which is meant to fund our troops in Iraq and other military needs.Your Senators will be under enormous political pressure to vote Yes on the Defense Appropriations bill no matter what's in it. We're counting on a last-ditch effort by a determined group of senators to filibuster this bill until Arctic drilling is removed. In that case, the oil industry and their allies would have to get over 60 votes to keep drilling in -- something they have never been able to do."
While I lean to the right on many things, I am disgusted by the desire of many republicans (and a few democrats) who want to open up the Alaskan wilderness to save Americans, perhaps, $0.02 per gallon. This bill has already been shot down so now some senators are trying to attach it to another bill that has a strong chance of passing.
For more information, take a look here:
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
- I am thankful for my wife Michelle, for she makes life worth living, in good times or bad.
(The rest are in no particular order)
- I am thankful for my parents. May they continue to share life together, a good while more.
- I am thankful for my roof over my head, the food I can eat, and a warm dry place to sleep.
- I am thankful I have the means to provide myself and my wife the above amenities.
- I am thankful I have the tools to express my creativity.
- I am thankful to the friends I have (Jeff, Lisa, Lee, Erik, Michele, Steve, Randy, Reggie, Gloria) as good ones are so hard to find.
Remember that Thanksgiving is the only true American holiday. Remember the significance of what it means and please don't disgrace it by referring to it as "turkey day".
Have a pleasant and safe Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
The Liberal Media (Part 2 of a Series)
The Liberal Cinema (Continued)
Last week, I pointed out some examples of how politicians, particularly the President of the United States are portrayed in recent films. Notably, liberal politicians are good and care for the people, while conservatives are basically, not. There are many examples of this other than the four I specifically mentioned. In these film, the liberalism of cinema is pretty obvious. The same mindset is in many other, if not most Hollywood productions. The liberal innuendos can be more subtle in these films.
The De-John Wayne(ing) of the Cinematic Hero
John Wayne was the man that many boys growing up from the 1930's to the 1970's wanted to be. He was the gold standard for a movie hero. He portrayed quiet strength, independence, conviction, and confidence. He played characters who were a bit set in their ways, but had a good heart and gradually learned to accept change. I don't think it's a stretch to say that John Wayne represented an ideal of the complete conservative. When you look at the past three republican presidents (Reagan and the two Bushes), Americans saw them as the John Wayne cowboy type.
Wayne died in 1979 and by then, America had changed, mostly due to Vietnam. The war was not only unpopular, America lost it. In losing the war, America lost a lot of its mystique of being good and undefeatable. Hollywood reflected this. With a few exceptions such as Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry and Harrison Ford in Star Wars, the 1970's was not much of a decade for the John Wayne type of hero. Even the James Bond franchise changed from practically a british version of John Wayne in Sean Connery to a softer, more jovial Roger Moore. The 1980's featured a comeback of the John Wayne hero in Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, and Bruce Willis. Timothy Dalton brought back the grim James Bond. Then the 1990's came and Hollywood changed.
No Longer a Hero
In the 1990's, Hollywood seemed not only reluctant to show macho, white male heroes. They even produced movies to bring them down and expose these stereotypical heroes as bigots and anachronisms. I will discuss two of these films.
A Few Good Men
Here's another Rob Reiner film and one that I enjoy and respect. Jack Nicholson plays Colonel Nathan Jessup, an ultra-tough, militant bulldog who lives his life on words like "honor, code, loyalty". He is practically the second coming of John Wayne. In this film though, John Wayne, er Colonel Jessup is also corrupt and is revealed to be still living in the cold war. The lawyer, Caffey played by Tom Cruise, is the "Harvard mouth" with the "faggoty white uniform". He tricks Jessup into revealing he was responsible for the murder of one of his Marines. Apparently, a little know trait of John Wayne heroes is they are very gullible.
This is a favorite film of mine. It features some terrific performances by Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman and a very realistic feeling and tense situation. This time it's Gene Hackman as the anti-hero. He too, runs his life by rules of tight discipline. Unlike in A Few Good Men, Hackman is not corrupt, he is merely so conservative, it blinds him enough to make an error in judgement that nearly leads to World War III.
There are similar films that convey the same message. We have Wesley Snipes instead of Sylvester Stallone, Lara Croft instead of Indiana Jones. Even if the hero is a white male, as in Titanic or Spiderman, the guy is hardly the hearty John Wayne type. Instead it's skinny little guys of whom John Wayne would have kicked sand upon. As for westerns, the 1980's featured Pale Rider and Silverado, both of the heroic variety. The 1990's featured Unforgiven, where Clint Eastwood paints the dark side of being a gunslinger and in doing so, de-mythologizes his earlier roles as that type of individual. We also got Dances with Wolves where Kevin Costner turned his back upon the U.S. Army and became a Sioux Indian. Yes, in Hollywood today, its How the Left has Won.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Before I go too far here, I completely respect Tommy John. He loves baseball and had an opportunity to extend his career by bravely going through the surgery. However, I do wonder today when it seems every other pitcher in the major leagues has gone through what is now called "Tommy John surgery". Pitchers are claiming their arms are stronger after the surgery than ever before.
Pitchers have it tough. Baseball fans tend to love lots of offense so pitching stars don't measure up in popularity as hitting stars do. Throwing a baseball 90 mph repeatedly is not a natural motion for a human being. Damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones are commonplace, even before a pitcher gets to the major leagues. But now, it seems that when a young pitcher gets his first pitching injury, they go for the "Tommy John surgery". As I watch the World Series, I heard the announcer mention how White Sox pitcher Jenks has a "bionic arm" due to his surgery.
Steroids aren't for pitchers since bulking up only inhibits their ability to pitch. So the surgery seems to be their answer to hitter's supplementing themselves. Let's see if this becomes a similar issue as the steroid problem.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Alas, things never goes as they should. I work with attorneys, specifically big city (Los Angeles) attorneys who deal with multi-million dollar lawsuits. When corporate lawsuits occur, each side will inundate the other with invoices, drawings, contracts, letters, emails, financial reports and all sorts of goodies. Many law firms deal with this stuff completely electronically and hand over CDs (or DVDs) filled with electronic documents. Unfortunately, you'll always get the one firm or attorney who insists on actual paper. To me, a CD holding 10,000 pages that I can search through on a laptop computer is far more appealing than scrounging throught 3 25lb banker's boxes. Yet, our office is in a seemingly constant state of printing out and boxing up paper documents because an attorney insists on doing it the old fashioned way. It is not uncommon for a job to consist of 100 boxes or more. That's 300,000 pages that has to sit in some warehouse somewhere for attorneys and paralegals to find their key documents. It's absolutely unbelievable!
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Erik and I got tangled in another topic. Look here. It was another thread that started to get personal. I'm going to rebut here simply because I can illustrate my points better on my blog. Also, I feel this discussion has a broad enough theme to address it here.
From Left Over Right
I wonder when there is going to be a raising of the national terror alert level from yellow to orange. After all, whenever Bush's numbers seem to fail that's when it's raised AND there is an election next year for senate and congress so it seems logical for Bush to use that to his advantage."
Erik states that it "seems logical" that there is a correlation between the terror level and Bush's approval rating. Basically, he believes that Bush and his staff artificially raise the terror level so the American people get a positive feeling that Bush is doing his job protecting Americans. I want to point out that Erik did use the word "seems" because it's important. I called his post a "conspiracy theory" based on:
A. His statements were about a conspiracy of Bush pulling a fast one on the American people.
B. It is a theory given that Erik gave no arguments to support his statement other than alluding to that it "seems" that the terror level rises in accordance with Bush's lowered approval rating.
Theory or Fact?
Erik took exception me calling it a theory. Suddenly, to him, it was factual. His initial post certainly did not have a feeling of fact. In my opinion, Erik took my statement personally and let his emotions take over his brain and turn his theory into fact. I tried to point this out by putting out my own conspiracy theory:
"The Indianapolis Colts are 5-0. Therefore, I can conclude and state as 'fact' that the Colts have bribed the NFL referees handsomely."
I intended this statement to satirize Erik's claim. I don't believe this theory for a second. I just wanted to point out that it's easy to come up with conspiracy theories. I like to use analogies in my arguments. I hoped that Erik would pick up on this and realize that if he wants to convince me his statements are factual and not theory, he was going to have to come up with a better argument.
A Better Argument
I didn't get such an argument from Erik. Instead, he chose to call my conspiracy theory nonsense (which it probably is, but that's not the point). Worse, he decided that I had to come up with facts to prove his statement incorrect. Wait a minute! It is Erik's statement, not mine. In fact, never once did I ever say he was wrong. Yet, he tried to put the ball in my court when the ball is clearly in his. I have nothing to prove but Erik does. I asked for facts, but Erik, in turn did the literal equivalent of cupping his ears and stammered that it was up to me to provide facts to prove him wrong. This was clearly childish behavior and when I called Erik on it, well, he didn't take it so well. So, I walked away from the discussion as it was going nowhere.
So, my point is; If you are going to make accusations about people, politicians or not, either call it a theory or provide comprehensive evidence to support it. You can't call your own theories "fact", you have to convince others and have them agree with you to even begin to consider it fact.
If Erik wants to support his theory, then he needs to provide something like the following:
(Please note: the figures here are purely made up and are for demonstrative purposes only)
Click on image for full sized view.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Last week, I posted about the world-wide problems that confront the human race now, and even more so, in the future. If we do not confront the issues of overpopulation and consumption of resources, one of two things is going to happen eventually.
1. Nature will balance its books one way or another. Disease, natural disasters, and/or a giant meteor will wipe out most if not all of the human race. If and when this happens, the world will be restored to its relatively balanced self in 10,000 years and all will be fine on Earth and there will be no more humans.
2. The human race will beat nature to the punch and destroy itself in nuclear holocaust.
So, when I hear solutions like "tax incentives" (sorry Erik) or anti-poverty programs I sadly shake my head because I realize that most humans are too self-centered to see big picture problems and big picture solutions.
The answer's up there
Look upwards, not at the birds, or the airplanes or the clouds. Look at the universe. It's really, really big. It's loaded with solar energy and hydrogen. Ultimately, the answers to all of humankind's major problems are in outer space. Solar collectors can be installed and provide all the clean energy we could ever want. Hydroponic farms in space stations can produce food in abundance. The Moon has as much real estate as planet Earth and there's Mars as well. Why not live there? Does this all sound like science fiction? Yes, I'm afraid it is but it doesn't have to be.
So why are we not colonizing space?
Unfortunately, we keep these ideas in the realm of science fiction because most of us don't really believe it can be done. Also, even if it can be done, too many of us feel that there are too many earthbound problems to deal with before we go to space. Yet another problem for most people is that we won't see space exploration realize the promise it can offer for many, many, years, perhaps, not even in our lifetimes.
This saddens me as I realize more and more, that we are too short-sighted to survive. We are always going to have domestic problems. The economy will never be good enough. We always find an excuse to not fulfill what should be our destiny of leaping from our planetary cradle. In other words, we are too self-centered and when it all comes down to it, we really care more about our individual lives than we do for our children and their children.
For me, this is the issue of our time. I look to any leader with the courage to restart the space program that Kennedy started over 40 years ago. We need to start now and we need to realize that we need to stay committed to it. I like President Bush's proposal of going back to the Moon and to Mars. I'd like to believe we will stay the course and take the baby steps needed in order to get our foothold in space. Let's do it, not for ourselves but for our children's children's children. (Thank you, Moody Blues)
Thursday, October 06, 2005
It's good to see one of my favorite spectator sports on TV again. (It's purely a spectator sport for me, I can't skate.) I'd gripe about greedy players and owners but I've pretty much given up on going to games a few years ago.
I want to make a few comments on some of the new rules:
Losing the redline and allowing passes from inside the blue line to center ice: A rule that makes sense and promotes a more free and faster-paced game.
Limited equipment and padding on goalies: This rule also promotes a faster games. Goalies were able to practically cover the entire net making goals almost impossible to get from a good shot. Goal scoring was getting ugly where it required big men up front to get rebounds and knock out defenders. If Wayne Gretzky had come up in 2000 instead of 1980, I doubt he would have been nearly the player he was as the NHL got big and slow. The new rule promotes more athletic goaltenders.
Shootouts in the event of a tie: I've got several issues with this one. First of all, the other rules should open up a faster, more wide open game. Breakaways should be more common than before so there is no need to have this. Also, teams with the better pure scorers are apt to sit on a tie in the third period so they can have their chance to win in the overtime shootout, thus, slowing down the game. Finally, a shootout is just plain not hockey.
My solution? How about having a 15 min sudden-death overtime period. If someone scores, they win. If the game is still tied after 15 min. both teams lose. Think, maybe we'd see some exciting action in overtime with this rule in place? I do.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Pollution, disease, famine, drought, energy, and war; These are the main general concerns of the human race today and most likely, in the foreseeable future. We spend billions of dollars, conduct rallies and protests, create new laws and regulations, yet none of these problems are going away, in fact, they are getting worse. I have two reasons for this.
1. Population growth: It just can't be ignored that humans are continually taking up more and more space on planet Earth. We crowd out and defy nature and nature, in its own way, fights back and will ultimately win. Where humans are concentrated in densely populated cities, diseases thrive, resources dwindle and air, water and soil get polluted. Unless some kind of world-wide population control is done (don't count on it), we are going to get more of this. Also, conditions like this lead to large-scale discontentment, which leads to warfare.
2. Industrialization: America and Europe went through their industrialization periods in the last two centuries. Seemingly, the rest of the world is going through that now. So we are de-foresting and re-routing waterways to accommodate industry in Asia, South America, and Africa. Wetlands are nature's water filters and forests are nature's air filters and industrialization is destroying them.
We know the problems. What do we do? As I previously mentioned, we have thrown money at the problems and it seems that most people and governments rationalize that the problems still exist because we haven't thrown enough money at the problems, so we keep spending on better drugs, education, and scientific studies. Also, as I mentioned, we create new laws and regulations to curb emissions, save fuel, test our food better, and conserve water to name some. Is all this money and regulating solving anything? I don't think so.
So, to anybody who reads this, what is the solution in your opinion? I'll post mine next week.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Newtek Discussions-Lunar Lander Debate
The Newtek discussion forums is a place I frequent where I observe and sometimes, engage in discussions, mostly concerning Newtek's animation (Lightwave 3D) and video (VT) products, both, of which, I use all the time. Discussion sites, being what they are, often go off-topic. The link above came from such an occurance. It started with someone having created a animation concept of the new Moon mission the U.S. plans on implementing in the next decade. The discussion turned into a debate outside of the animation so the forum moderator felt it best to separate the off-topic discussion. So there's the background.
The off-topic discussion began with a person stating that all the Apollo missions were faked. He goes on to show websites that he felt proved this was the case. He got a healthy amount of criticism for this view form other members (myself, included). This debate is raging on as I write this and I particularly like the argument made by Chuck Baker, the moderator;
"...your assertions that the moon landings were a hoax does in fact amount to maligning the character of everyone involved in those programs."
Mr. Baker pointed out that the non-believer was insulting to a huge number of people, including scientists, engineers, and technicians, not to mention the press, and the government of the United States. My own father was involved in the construction of the Saturn V engines at Rocketdyne.
The non-believer offers no real evidence, not to mention any proof of his assertions. He just points out that the launch of the lunar module (LEM) from the Moon appeared fake because it didn't appear that such a flimsy, yet heavy (it was filled with Moon rocks) vehicle could take off from the Moon. He kept daring people to prove him wrong. Finding all the data from over 30 years ago, let alone, knowing the physics involved was a lot to ask. Yet, people actually took the trouble and gave him the facts and figures. Of course, he won't accept what they say and we are all banging our heads.
I thought it was just religion and politics that caused people to be so hard-headed.
More about space to come...
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
A New Kind of Liberal
I've had my little skirmishes with Erik over Bush. My stand is that I try to be fair in my political assessment of him. What I mean by that is when liberals like Erik repeatedly bash the president for seemingly anything that goes wrong with this country, I tend to pick on certain ones where I feel Erik is being unfair. Such has been the case concerning Bush's appointment of John Roberts as Supreme Court Justice and the handling of relief for hurricane Katrina. In doing so, I have been called a "Bush supporter", a right wing nut, and a few other things I don't care to mention. So let me put out a few things I want to say instead of just reacting to what Erik or other liberals say.
Bush is a liberal. There, I've said it and I mean it. Bush's speech yesterday, Sept. 15, 2005 that detailed his massive recovery effort of the Katrina disaster shows clearly that the president is taking a liberal stand. If Bush was a conservative, he would not be throwing tons of federal tax dollars (taxpayer money) at this. I'm not talking about FEMA and the task of providing food and health services to residents who have lost their homes, I'm talking about the actual re-building of the city of New Orleans, Biloxi, and other gulf coast hit areas. To true conservatives, this clearly is up to businesses to cooperate with local governments (state, county, and city). This is not a federal matter. I shudder at how much this is going to cost taxpayers and what's worse, this sets a terrible precedant. Now every time disasters, large and small happen, as they inevitably do, we will look past our local governments (someone tell me why we even have local and state governments) and look to the feds who will mismanage it horribly because that is what they do.
In adopting liberal policies like this and others ("No Child Left Behind" for one), Bush is expanding the power of the federal government way beyond what the constitution allows. In decades past, we had democrat presidents who did this too but we would then get a republican to turn things back. Now, we can't even rely on the republicans because they are now a liberal party as well. This is not a good thing.
There is something that I think many people missed in Bush's speech. In admitting responsibility to slow response of FEMA, Bush basically empowered himself and future presidents even more. We can thank the liberal left for this because they took the Katrina disaster as an opportunity to blast him. If these critics think they got a victory in Bush's acknowledgement of blame, they are mistaken. Bush will now aggressively revamp and re-mold FEMA in a way that he sees fit. Again, this isn't a good thing and is precisely why we need to limit power of the president and keep organizations like FEMA as a separate entity.
Just to summarize, a conservative supports a small, limited federal government and more direct power to local governments. A liberal believes in a large, powerful federal government. By these definitions, Bush is a liberal.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Alright then, since the impetus of this site was political, let me start in that area. As I stated in my previous post, I am not an actively political person but I do have my thoughts on how I believe government should be run and how they should behave.
First of all, I am an American. As an American, I believe that the government is the people I am surrounded by, not an external entity that we have no control over. One thing that particularly irks me is the way many of my fellow Americans seem to think that the U.S. President is king of the United States. This notion is a slap in the face to the founding fathers, who were all too aware of the dangers of empowering one individual as leader, lawmaker, and judge. Even if you disagree with everything else I state, at least understand America is not a kingdom and has no king, queen, or royalty whatsoever. The people we elect are not any better than us or above the law or entitled to any freedom that any other American is entitled to. This being said, that means we have to get out of the habit of criticizing or condemning the president for everything that goes on. "The buck stops here" per Harry Truman was a gross misrepresentation of the duties of the president. He or she should never have that kind of power. Unfortunately, constant criticism of the president in seemingly every aspect of life sends a message that we understand the president to have virtually absolute power over our lives. I urge my fellow Americans to stop sending this message.
Obviously, I am referring to hurricane Katrina and am hearing how Bush should have done this and that. This is definitely not the only case of this, though and I am not just talking about Bush as it happened to Clinton as well and those before him. Going back to Katrina, I can't help but put the brunt of whatever blame must be placed on the local governments who, clearly were not ready to handle a disaster of any sized magnitude, let alone such a large one as this hurricane. Every region of this country has its own unique demographics, not to mention geography and geology. The responsibility for how to deal with the unique problems of a region lie on the local governments, not the federal government. As I live in Southern California, we have earthquakes and fires to deal with and it is up to the cities, counties, and state governments to be prepared on mobilizing fire and police departments and maintaining communication in the event of a major disaster. I'm not saying we're any better off than Louisiana, but I hope we are.
I want to state here that I am not a Bush supporter. In fact, my next post will deal with issues I have with him so I can set the record straight. My intention is to be as fair as possible.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Hello out there! Is this on?
I'm sure I'm mostly talking to myself here but I have to start somewhere.
I already own two website:
www.hiflyprod.com My semi-commercial site touting my video and multimedia services. I have no intentions of promoting it here.
www.2001aspaceodyssey.org By the way, I am a major fan and self-proclaimed authority of the masterpiece film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since this also, is not the focus of this blog, I'll leave it at that.
When I want to write about something other than 2001, animation, video technology or editing (geeky stuff, I know), I'll rant about it here. I fully admit that an inspiration for this blog is my long-time friend Erik Weinberger's site Left Over Right. Erik expresses his very strong viewpoints about his disdain for republicans there. I often have differing viewpoints from Erik and I occasionally contribute my own take on whatever Erik is complaining about. I have been finding it frustrating though as I often have a lot to say but I don't want to hijack Erik's site with my ramblings. So now I have this.
This is not to say that this will be a total politically-oriented site. I'm not really that into politics. I usually try not to think about how people I select in November are abusing my rights and my hard-earned money. So I'll write about sports, science, technology, or whatever I happen to feel like mentioning on a particular day. Just remember, it's pure drivel.