Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Poll-Pit: Views on Iraq War

Anti-war views on Iraq rise to record

In the survey, taken Friday through Sunday, one in five Americans says the increase in U.S. forces in Iraq since January has made the situation there better. Half say it hasn't made a difference.

More than seven in 10 favor removing nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by April.

If this administration does not start providing the general public with positive reasons to support this war, the support for the war will continue to dwindle and force a withdrawal before the work is done.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Poll-Pit: Changing Views on Abortion?

Study Sees 'Turnaround' in Young Adults' Positions on Abortion

Younger voters, especially women, are embracing a pro-life position in surprising numbers and in sharp contrast to attitudes that held sway 15 years ago, according to a new study.

...

Results in 1992 were largely in step with what study authors Christopher Blunt and Fred Steeper call the "self-interest hypothesis." Women and men under 30 were the most ardently "pro-choice" (39 percent) and the least likely to be strongly "pro-life"( 23 percent).

Today, by contrast, among the current generation of 18- to 29-year-olds, 36 percent say they are strongly "pro-life," while just 18 percent say they are strongly "pro-choice," the study authors said.

The trend was particularly evident among women in that age bracket. Forty 40 percent identify themselves as strongly "pro-life" and only 20 percent as strongly "pro-choice."

The data reverses a two-to-one ratio that was evident in 1992, the study noted.


Let's hope this represents a trend that will continue, and that this generation will revolt against the horrible government-sanctioned barbarism that exists today.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

The Return of the King



"It's like the most amazing sunset you've ever seen
There's never another quite the same
It just falls into some deep eternal sea
Like the end of a movie that makes you cry
You're sad when it's over but you're glad you had
That moment that moved you deep inside"

(Lyrics: "Beautiful Goodbye" by Jennifer Hanson)

I just finished watching Return of the King again tonight. I think I've seen that movie about a half-dozen times now, not counting additional views of certain segments.

I do not think that I have ever, ever seen a movie that surpassed it. It is still reigns supreme as my favorite movie of the trilogy, or of any movie I have ever seen.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Freeper of the Year?

I don't remember how I found it, but on a posting search this morning, I found a thread from early 2007 that included nominations for Freeper of the Year.

Freepers Ozarkgirl, Newland, StarCMC and Cindy all nominated me for Freeper of the Year 2006. That was a pleasant reminder when I read it this morning.

Personally, I nominated JVeritas, for his translation of seized intelligence documents from Iraq proving Iraq posed a threat to United States security.

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Geico Cavemen Show In Progress

Way back in March, I noted that the Geico cavemen could get their own show. Now The Drudge Report has linked to a report that the show is indeed progressing, and will be aired on ABC beginning October 2. The pilot was already shot, but they are re-shooting to dedicate more time to exposition and character establishment.

The show's producers and writers are denying any serious overtones of dealing with prejudice in the show, instead just trying to carry on the legacy of amusing audiences through dealing with society's image of cavemen. So why don't cavemen shave to give themselves an image boost? Director Jeff Phillips responds, "There's a name for those kind of people, and they're called 'shavers,' and the cavemen community looks down on them," Gordon said.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Democrat


Nothing to do but work,
Nothing to eat but food,
Nothing to wear but clothes
To keep one from going nude.

Nothing to breathe but air
Quick as a flash 't is gone;
Nowhere to fall but off,
Nowhere to stand but on.

Nothing to comb but hair,
Nowhere to sleep but in bed,
Nothing to weep but tears,
Nothing to bury but dead.

Nothing to sing but songs,
Ah, well, alas! alack!
Nowhere to go but out,
Nowhere to come but back.

Nothing to see but sights,
Nothing to quench but thirst,
Nothing to have but what we've got;
Thus thro' life we are cursed.

Nothing to strike but a gait;
Everything moves that goes.
Nothing at all but common sense
Can ever withstand these woes


(Original poem "The Pessimist" by Benjamin Franklin King)

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

CBS Broadcaster Jumps to Fox

Bill Vitka, a former correspondent and broadcaster for CBS News, has begun broadcasting for Fox News.

I can't tell you how this happened or when. I only know that I used to switch radio stations around to get different sources of news, and he was a frequent CBS News radio broadcaster for the hourly evening headlines.

Within the past couple of weeks, I have observed that he has begun doing broadcasts for Fox News Radio.

I attempted to find out more about him, and whether or not his station switch made the news in any capacity, but it hasn't.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pounding The Poll Pit: Canadian Views on Creationism

Poll shows Canadians divided on role God played in human creation

A recent Canadian Press-Decima Research Poll shows Canadians are divided on the role God played – or did not play – in the creation of humans.
...
According to the poll released July 3, 26 percent of Canadians believe “that God created human beings pretty much in their present form within the last 10,000 years or so,” while 34 percent said “human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided the process.” Another 29 percent say God “played no part.”

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Fantasies of Fred?

Fred Thompson has captured a lot of attention recently. Being a former senator and an actor, this might be easily understood, except that most of the attention swirls around ubiquitous rumors of a run for the White House in 2008.

Thompson has been traveling the nation and giving speeches, but has fallen short of making an official announcement for his candidacy. One begins to wonder what he's waiting for. The "opportune moment," no doubt, but what, in his opinion, is the opportune moment?

I’m sure he’ll declare his candidacy soon. For me, there’s a bigger question in my mind than whether he’s going to run or not.

So far, Fred hasn’t truly done anything. We've heard some fine speeches, but Fred Thompson (the man) isn't making headlines right now. Fred Thompson (the hype) is.

The GOP has a huge crush on Fred. There are high hopes that he could rise to the heights of Ronald Reagan, reuniting the GOP and making it strong again. But what has Fred done to merit these hopes? Most historians or politicians will tell you that the way to be popular is to do nothing. Don’t make waves and everyone will like you. If you take a stand on a controversial issue, that's when you begin to make enemies. Oh, he has enemies, sure. But most of them would have hated his views, were he no more than a conservative grocery store worker.

Fred’s made some statements and positions, and sounds like his heart is in the right place with respect to taxes, immigration and such. But it takes more than fine words to make a presidential candidate, much less a president.

The more he delays, the more I begin to wonder what his motivation for waiting is. He'd better get the show on the road pretty soon, and start showing the country what he's made of.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lucifer: The Movie?


I was directed towards the website for the upcoming film project by my sister. I vaguely recalled hearing something about a movie relating to the origins of Satan, but it had been some time. Upon visiting the website, I was surprised by the quality, not only of the site but of the project, even though it is in its early stages.

A spectacular choral arrangement introduces us to a far-off view of what appears to be an island in the sky, a lush paradise of waterfalls, clouds and forests. There are various options upon visiting, including a behind-the-scenes "preview" explaining the film's premise, and promising that it will be a trilogy. (!)

There is a short teaser available on the website, showing a brief combat between Michael, the as-yet unfallen Lucifer and some hideous five-headed beast. It is not immediately clear what an evil beast is doing in existence since evil is thought to have had its birth in the heart of the devil. Nonetheless, the vision for the angels is much different from previous conceptions. Different...and far more accurate. While many interpretations of angels show them to be meek, serene beings or cutesy tots with adorable eyes, the angels in this project appear as mighty warriors. Granted, they have a somewhat "human" vision about them (and also the appearance of some Final Fantasy creations, but I surmise this only from seeing video game box covers and online advertisements) but that's to be expected.



Rumor has it that the film has the attention of New Zealand special effects company Weta Workshop, which gained much notoriety for their work on Lord of the Rings. The director reportedly wishes to shoot some locations in New Zealand, although obviously heaven will not be able to be replicated on earth.

With word that Walden Media is adapting C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, it sounds as if classic adaptations are no longer limited to the terrestrial.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Celtic Woman Sells Cookies?

Gah, this is just plain weird. I spied this video on YouTube and discovered that Hayley Westenra, the talented New Zealand artist who recently joined the group Celtic Woman, is putting in personal appearances to sell...cookies.

Japanese boysenberry cookies, to be precise.

That's just weird.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rowling vs. Lewis and Tolkien

The Doubting Harry

Rowling's work is so familiar that we've forgotten how radical it really is. Look at her literary forebears. In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien fused his ardent Catholicism with a deep, nostalgic love for the unspoiled English landscape. C.S. Lewis was a devout Anglican whose Chronicles of Narnia forms an extended argument for Christian faith. Now look at Rowling's books. What's missing? If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God.

Harry Potter lives in a world free of any religion or spirituality of any kind. He lives surrounded by ghosts but has no one to pray to, even if he were so inclined, which he isn't. Rowling has more in common with celebrity atheists like Christopher Hitchens than she has with Tolkien and Lewis.

What does Harry have instead of God? Rowling's answer, at once glib and profound, is that Harry's power comes from love. This charming notion represents a cultural sea change. In the new millennium, magic comes not from God or nature or anything grander or more mystical than a mere human emotion. In choosing Rowling as the reigning dreamer of our era, we have chosen a writer who dreams of a secular, bureaucratized, all-too-human sorcery, in which psychology and technology have superseded the sacred.

When the end comes, where will it leave Harry? He'll face tougher choices than his fantasy ancestors did. Frodo was last seen skipping town with the elves. Lewis sent the Pevensie kids to the paradise of Aslan's Land. It's unlikely that such a comfortable retirement awaits Harry in the Deathly Hallows.


I don't want to get in a groove of too much Harry Potter mentions, but I found this article quite insightful and profound.

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Gandalf Beats out Harry for Best Wizard

Gandalf voted more wiz than Potter

Harry Potter has lost his magic - he is not the nation's favourite wizard, according to a new poll.

Daniel Radcliffe's schoolboy sorcerer came only third in a poll of the film world's best magicians.

Gandalf, played by the film veteran Sir Ian McKellen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was voted the top wizard.


Results:

1. Gandalf (The Lord Of The Rings) 44%
2. Dumbledore (Harry Potter) 17%
3. Harry Potter (Harry Potter) 9%
4. Merlin (The Sword in the Stone) 6%
5. The Wizard of Oz (The Wizard of Oz) 2%

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Prince Caspian Video Game Developing

Disney Interactive Studios Readies Prince Caspian Game

According to Samantha Parker, producer of the game at Disney Interactive Studios, the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian will feature even more collaboration between the filmmakers and the game creators than the first venture.

...

"For the player, the experience becomes more akin to exploration rather than a guided tour and now more at their own discretion. Ultimately, all of this leads to greater immersion."

Parker said the goal for the new game is to include the film voice talent wherever possible. The game will also feature the likenesses of the actors. "There are even plans in the pipeline to create sequences, unique to the videogame, using some of the actors and sets from the film," said Parker.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian will allow players to assume the role of 20 different characters from the film, including non-human Narnians. In addition, the game supports two-player, drop-in/drop-out cooperative gameplay.



The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe game was pretty good; it will be interesting to see what Prince Caspian brings.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Let Freedom Ring

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

NOAA Weather Stations Skewed?

Helping along global warming

Remember in January when the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its good friends in media trumpeted that 2006 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States?

NOAA based that finding - which allegedly capped a nine-year warming streak "unprecedented in the historical record" - on the daily temperature data that its National Climatic Data Center gathers from about 1,221 mostly rural weather observation stations around the country.

Few people have ever seen or even heard of these small, simple-but-reliable weather stations, which quietly make up what NOAA calls its United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN).

...

NOAA says it uses these 1,221 weather stations -- which like the ones in Uniontown and New Castle are overseen by local National Weather Service offices and usually tended to by volunteers -- because they have been providing reliable temperature data since at least 1900.

But Anthony Watts of Chico, Calif., suspects NOAA temperature readings are not all they're cracked up to be. As the former TV meteorologist explains on his sophisticated, newly hatched Web site surfacestations.org, he has set out to do what big-time armchair-climate modelers like Hansen and no one else has ever done - physically quality-check each weather station to see if it's being operated properly.

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts' site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it's on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it's next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he's a man of facts and science, isn't jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he's finding raises doubts about NOAA's past and current temperature reports.

"I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment."

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