Friday, August 28, 2009

A Whole New World (Of Crazy)

So I was reading a TPM article about one of the gun toters at an Obama rally attending a church where the preacher said that he was praying for Obama to die. Actually, what he said was this:

... you're going to tell me that I'm supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things -- you're gonna tell me I'm supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he's in Phoenix, Arizona?

Nope. I'm not gonna pray for his good. I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.
The sermon was rather well-titled, "Why I Hate Barack Obama."

Perhaps, I just don't know when to ignore the ignorant, but I felt like going to this church's website would be a few minutes well-spent. Forget a few minutes. The Faithful Word Baptist Church website is a doorway to a world of insanity and stupidity that can boggle the mind for hours. Here is a quick tour of the site:

The sermons page:
Every sermon from 2006 on is here. You can listen to any of them with quicktime. If you choose to do so you could here such highlights as:

"The Whore's Denominations"
"Suffering Many Things of Physicians"
"How to Handle Abusive Government"
"Barack Obama Melting as a Snail"
"Principles on Dating"
"How to Have Joy in Your Life" (how long could this one be?)
"God Deals in Extremes" (specially denoted with an unexplained flame graphic)
"The Seven Sins of Halloween" (with fire graphic)
"Why Billy Graham will go to Hell" (tough crowd here, also with fire graphic)

and so many more!

It actually looks like the fire graphic is used to denote sermons that will scare the shit out you. The specially mark them why? I guess because that is what you are hoping for if you go to this church.

The doctrine page:
The main tenants of insane Christianity are all here. Two of my favorites:
We believe that the King James Bible is the word of God without error.
There is no explanation as to why God graced 17th century England with the literal truth or what happened to all the poor saps who read the BS versions that were produced for the first 1600 years after Christ. Maybe that's in one of the sermons.

We believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty.
Does this mean that church would like the U.S. to punish homosexuals by putting them to death, or are they simply saying that if you get down with your own kind that God immediately starts looking for ways to take you out?

The ministries page:
This seems to be the advertising page where Pastor Steve talks about all of his great services. If you want to learn what it is like to have Pastor Steve stop by your house, check out "Door to door soulwinning evangelism."

And of course they also do language classes... huh?

The Bible memory page:
Since the King James version of the Bible is unerring, it makes sense that we would want to memorize it right? Pastor Steve will tell you how! This is his revelatory method:

If I were memorizing Acts 5:42, I would break it down in this way:

1) And daily in the temple..., And daily in the temple... (about 100X)
2) ...and in every house..., ...and in every house... (about 100X)
3)...they ceased not to teach and preach..., ...they ceased not to teach and preach... (about 100X)
4) teach and preach Jesus Christ., teach and preach Jesus Christ. (about 100X)

Notice the overlapping of sections 3 & 4. This is very helpful.
It's amazing because it is so simple that you might have thought that someone else would've come up with the idea to just repeat something over and over to memorize it. Ingenious!

The essays page:
This is where Pastor Steve really lays it down. In fact, there is an answer to my question about the King James Bible and its antecedents. Steve says about the Hebrew and Greek translations:

Many believe that God’s preservation and perfection only exist in the “original” Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. There are several problems with this. First of all, the original manuscripts no longer exist. There is no manuscript of any book of the Bible that is even within a hundred years of the original age. This is because paper decomposes and does not last through the centuries. Therefore, the Greek and Hebrew texts we have today are copies of copies, translations, compilations, etc.
If you can find any holes in that logic, why you must be God himself!

The great thing about the essays page is that it isn't just essays. There are charts, satire regarding "liberal" churches, statistics and Pastor Steve even shows off his poetry skills. All you need to know about the formidability of those skills is that there are 22 verses like this:

They used to know “Wounded for Me”
Now they know “CSI Miami”
I don't want to give away the final line of the poem, but I bet if you thought about it real hard you could figure out what it is.

Pro-life studies page:
Really should be called the IVF page. I think Pastor Steve was getting lazy by the time he put this one together.

Our pastor page:
This is actually the first tab, but I had to save it for last. This page is your introduction to the one and only Pastor Steve "I Hate Barack Obama" Anderson. Among the things you could learn about Pastor Steve is that he "holds no college degree but has well over 100 chapters of the Bible committed to memory, including almost half of the New Testament. See you doubted the memorization method from earlier, but you couldn't memorize 100 chapters of the Bible in your entire life if you didn't use such an incredibly advanced method of memorization. Could you? I didn't think so.

But what really makes the page so great is that it links to the family blog of Mrs. Anderson. Perhaps, there will be a future post dedicated entirely to the oddly named "Are they all yours?" blog from Mrs. Anderson.

"Are They All Yours?!??"
The main piece of information to know is that the blog is about usual mom blog topics - pictures of kids, family vacation descriptions, canning tips, socialized medicine rants, a fairly regular habit of calling people perverts and fairies, and of course documentation of Pastor Anderson's court case from some run in with the border patrol (more in a bit).

The most current post is titled "Another perverted male OB/GYN" and is about a doctor who, if everything in the post is true, is a terrible doctor and a real asshole. However, unless I missed something the term pervert seems misapplied.

I'm not sure that factual correctness is the main thrust of Mrs. Anderson's blog, however. I think the point is to push this point:

It is called "The Holy Bible", and you will find definite answers to all of life's questions and issues in it. -- Mrs. Anderson
It also has a link to the blog of Pastor Steve. You probably already know that is also a very special blog.

Steven L Anderson:

This blog has a few topics but lately it is almost entirely about Pastor Steve getting a beat down from the border patrol. I can't tell too much about what really went down other than that Pastor Steve was being belligerent about a request to get out of his car so the officers forcibly removed him from the car.

I'm too tired to read or watch more right now. You all can figure it out if you want. It's a nice piece of drama, however, that links the tea party crowd (there is another video of him speaking at an event) with religious nuts. That's the thing about nuts really. They generally attract their own kind.

Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Question Worth Considering

Kevin Drum in a post on drone aircraft:

It's the entire robotic revolution in warfare. When we get to the point where one side is able to conduct war effectively with virtually no fear of loss of life, does that mean that public pressure against war will start to fade away? After all, demand curves slope downward. When war becomes cheaper, we'll get more war. Right?
Sounds awfully plausible to me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Robert Dylan, one helluva guy, probably

It turns out that Bob Dylan, along with being the most influential Caucasian musician since Elvis Presley, is a pretty nice fellow. In addition to all of the royalties for his forthcoming album going to charity to help feed the hungry in America, he has pledged future royalties from international sales to overseas charities. At least he mumbled something that sounded like a charitable pledge, but he may also have said that he's planning to buy Sub-Saharan Africa for personal use. Although I typically cringe at holiday music, Dylan's forthcoming album of yuletide tunes has me as excited and curious as, well, a kid on Christmas.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Fall of America (or what I'm having for dinner tonight)

I know about our societal obesity problem. I know about the American culture of gluttony. I know about the quality of the food used in producing KFC meals. I know that I would like to drop a couple of pounds myself.

And yet, I see this thing and I think, "Hey, that looks pretty good."

Maybe I'm part of the problem.

A Wrong Turn in Evolution

I am, personally, a believer in evolution. There is solid evidence of evolution, such as fossils. However, there is also evidence against evolution in the form of the rare being that begs the question, "This design helped the animal survive?" One example, the platypus, for which even the spelling of the name is awkward. Another such creature is James Oseland of Top Chef fame. As I watch each week's episode, I'm constantly befuddled by the creature's behavior, appearance, and uncanny ability to form words in English without using the same mouth shapes as the rest of us. I've spent many viewings trying to divine the formula that yielded him unto this world, and the following is the best I've come up with: the color of tangerine {(a single tooth + a half expression of confusion) the human scalp} / a half expression of smelling something bad = James Oseland. If any paleontologists happen to read this blog, I will happily treat you to a beer or wine of your choice in exchange for an explanation of the existence of this foggy and bewildering creature.

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Onion Classic

For those of us who grew up watching wrestling in the 80's anyway.

Ted DiBiase Worried About Current Status Of His Million Dollars

BEL, CA—Once known for his extravagant spending and diamond-studded outfits, former professional wrestler "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase has reportedly fallen on hard times, admitting Tuesday that he did not know the exact status of his $1 million fortune. "Well, the economy has been real bad lately, and Virgil has made some terrible investments over the years," said DiBiase, shaking his head and adding that he hadn't slowly counted a stack of bills in the backseat of a limousine in more than a decade. "I also lost track of where my briefcase is, and that had about $5,000 plus a bunch of IOUs in it." DiBiase went on to claim that "everybody has a price," and said he was currently accepting offers to kiss people's feet for $100.
I'd just like to point out that one of the curious aspects of the Ted DiBiase character was that he looked like all the guys who worked at the feed mill in my home town. I feel certain none of those guys had a million dollars.

Friday, August 21, 2009

80's Movie Line of the Week Undefined Period of Time

It's been awhile since I did one of these. But I'm going to a show tonight inspired partially by one of my very favorite 80's movies, Three Amigos. I learned a lot from the the Amigos. One of the things I learned was the importance of an ability to improvise.

Dusty Bottoms: Time for plan B. Plan A was to break into El Guapo's fortress.

Carmen: And that you have done, now what?

Dusty Bottoms: Well we really dont have a plan B. We didn't expect for the first plan to work. Sometimes you can overplan these things.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Being Frank

Good idea or bad idea from Barney Frank?

I say good idea. Every time one of these nuts gets up and says whatever they want, and a Democrat's response is to treat the question like it is legitimate but misguided, the entire thing becomes a semi-legitimization of the nuts. Good for Frank.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Missing Something

Someone is missing something. It is either me and understanding, or it is Antonin Scalia and a conscience.

“This court has never held,” Justice Scalia wrote, “that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”

If any of you with a substantial knowledge of the legal system can explain to me why he doesn't mean what I think he means, please do. Otherwise, I am hereby unable to reconcile my baseline for the term justice with that of a member of the United States Supreme Court.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crazy - A Historical Perspective

In the Washington Post, Rick Perlstein says tea partiers have always been around. The problem, he points out, is that the media hasn't always given them the platform they now have:

It used to be different. You never heard the late Walter Cronkite taking time on the evening news to "debunk" claims that a proposed mental health clinic in Alaska is actually a dumping ground for right-wing critics of the president's program, or giving the people who made those claims time to explain themselves on the air. The media didn't adjudicate the ever-present underbrush of American paranoia as a set of "conservative claims" to weigh, horse-race-style, against liberal claims. Back then, a more confident media unequivocally labeled the civic outrage represented by such discourse as "extremist" -- out of bounds.

The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America's flora. Only now, it's being watered by misguided he-said-she-said reporting and taking over the forest. Latest word is that the enlightened and mild provision in the draft legislation to help elderly people who want living wills -- the one hysterics turned into the "death panel" canard -- is losing favor, according to the Wall Street Journal, because of "complaints over the provision."

Good thing our leaders weren't so cowardly in 1964, or we would never have passed a civil rights bill -- because of complaints over the provisions in it that would enslave whites.
That last statement refers to an earlier paragraph, but those of you good with context clues probably already get the idea.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Time Machine Blues

An article on Slate talks about the physics of time travel. Well, it talks about what the physics of time travel would theoretically be if there were time travel. At any rate, I was devastated to learn that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is based on completely bogus time travel theory.

According to Einstein's picture of the universe, space and time are curved and very closely related to each other. This means that traveling through time would be much like traveling through a tunnel in space—in which case you'd need both an entrance and an exit. As a time traveler, you can't visit an era unless there's already a time machine when you get there—an off-ramp. This helps explain why we're not visited by time-traveling tourists from our own future. Futuristic humans don't drop in for dinner because we haven't yet invented time travel.
The main I thing I take from this is that as a historical device, time machines actually are crap. If you want to go to the future, great. If you want to see dinosaurs, go to the Field Museum.

The whole article is interesting. Free will takes a bit of a beating, but your grandpa should feel good about it. Unfortunately, time traveling dudes that will someday be leaders of the world may not actually be able to marry most excellent medieval princesses. Heinous.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


So much happens during NFL training camp that you can hear conflicting reports about a guy in one afternoon. It's also true that much of what goes on translates very little into what happens once the season begins. Still in the latest Chiefs Buzz on the Star site, I was very happy to hear this:

Rookie defensive end Tyson Jackson played on the right side in some situations, usually when the Chiefs lined up in a four-man front. Jackson, this year’s No. 3 overall pick, went against Albert, a first-rounder last year, in those situations. Jackson appeared to be a handful for the second-year tackle. …
One consistent thing I've been hearing out of camp is how good Albert looks, so if Tyson Jackson is giving him a run for his money there is at least a shred of hope that the Chiefs might improve to like 1-6 (maybe 1-??, not looking it up) in drafting defensive linemen early in the draft over the last decade.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'll Trade You A Davey Crockett for a Scarecrow

The man who once brought Swamp Fox into my living room is now going to try to save one of my other childhood loves - baseball cards.

Fortunately for collectors, Topps can't afford to be complacent these days. What was a $1 billion industry in the early 1990s has shrunk to about a fifth of that size. Topps' helmsman, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner—whose investment firm bought the company in 2007 for $385 million—seems admirably committed to luring children back to cards. The league apparently believes Eisner has a better shot at accomplishing that goal if his company stands alone.
Not sure what to make of that other than it was weird for me to think about The Wonderful World of Disney again, and that is probably the only occurence in history of the someone trying to use the phrase "luring children" in a positive sense.

More Town Hall Madness

Dennis Moore has apparently canceled his town hall meetings because he received threats.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

These Town Hall Meetings

They are going on around our area, and they pretty much are going like they are in the rest of the country. Claire McCaskill's people held one in Blue Springs last night. The Examiner ran a story about the event which is kind of summed up by this exchange:

“We want an open forum,” a man yelled.
“They don’t want to know what people are feeling about this,” another woman yelled. “We want an open discussion.”
Another man, who refused to identify himself to the media, said: “It’s time for a revolution.”
Sarah Jordan, a Blue Springs resident, stood up on a chair and asked that everyone remain calm, and that everyone realize that’s what the opposition wants.
“Keep this calm,” she said. “That’s what they want – chaos. Our point will never be heard. We don’t want this to turn into a riot.”
“You don’t sound calm!” a man shouted from the rear of the crowd, followed by more shouts of displeasure, and demands that a microphone be plugged in so everyone could hear.
When library officials attempted to plug in the microphone, one man yelled: “They can’t fix the microphone, but they want to fix our health care. Call FOX News, they’ll fix it!”
A blogger named "Nice Deb" was also at the event and posted about her experience (as well as taking the photo above). Deb was also apparently an active participant.

I asked a question, myself. (Man, was I nervous!) I asked if Senator McCaskill would support tort reform in the Senate bill, and she said she didn’t know. I did get her to confirm that the Senator supported the public option. I then faced the audience and said, (paraphrasing): “I think we all know, because Obama has said so himself on several occasions that the public option would necessarily lead to a single payer, universal health care system”. I said that many Democrats had admitted this, including Jacob Hacker, the Berkeley professor who designed the plan. He said, ‘this isn’t a Trojan horse…it’s right in there!’ I went on, “Now, nevermind that the White House has been…*thinking feverishly for a more delicate term, and failing*…lying profusely about what he has said, the bottom line is, the American people do not support a universal health care plan” (Applause). I turned to her and asked, “Does Senator McCaskill support universal health care? She shook her head no.
Why one has to paraphrase herself is unclear to me, but she at least asked a question. Another guy described in her post used the opportunity to instead talk about his love of the Constitution.

So that was one of our local events. Elsewhere, Arlen Specter was busy fending off the wrath of God and taking suggestions that all laws be written in junior high level English so everyone can read them.

All of this, and how heated it has become makes a quote I read yesterday on Andrew Sullivan's blog seem pretty poignant. It is from Colin Powell's chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson.

"One of the most dramatic moments [of the campaign] for me was when I was watching McCain on television, and I thought I saw in McCain’s eyes himself, when someone yelled something out, a recognition of, ‘Oh, God, what have I done?’ This is not McCain; he doesn’t cater to this. But for the first time in his political life, I think he realized that there are some strange people in the Republican tent. My father used to say, ‘Larry beware of the left because they will bankrupt you; beware of the right because they will kill you,’" - Larry Wilkerson.
It's important not to paint the entire group of protesters at an event like the town hall meetings as potential killers. It's also important to remember, however, that one thing passionate mobs do really well is help provide killers with courage. We would be wise to figure out how to dial things back a bit.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Who Gets to be Beastman?

Was reading a T.A. Frank article about why Bob Herbert is great (a pretty good case actually) and came across this unexpected treasure:

I feel lousy about saying this. Bob Herbert's on my team. By contrast, I could easily name ten other columnists who seem to make it their mission to find new, untested forms of destruction to bring upon us. If you told me that, say, Charles Krauthammer's articles were ghostwritten by Skeletor, I doubt I'd blink.
If you can slam a rightwing blowhard, and do it by referencing an eighties cartoon villain, you'll have my support everytime.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Life moves pretty fast

john hughes was a very smart man. he had a string of hits during the 80's, got rich, left the scene, and lived out his days in virtual anonymity. i am hard pressed to think of a film maker with more films to his credit that i consider favorites: ferris bueller, sixteen candles, weird science, the breakfast club, home alone and the "good" vacation movies just to name a few. surely anyone born before 1980 was touched in someway by the magic of his cinematic touch.

as a writer, director, and producer, hughes essentially developed and perfected the middle-class high school comedy genre. it is to this end that i have been forever changed, owing much of my development as a socially awkward adolescent to hughes' dialogue. his movies were literally the backdrop of my childhood. while mr. hughes hadn't been a force in the industry for sometime, his passing will certainly stir emotions throughout a generation of sportos, motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads. we all adored him. we thought he was a righteous dude.

as more of the greats pass on with each coming year, i am left feeling troubled for the youth of tomorrow. in the case of john hughes, what are the films that are shaping the lives of young people today? the fact that i can hardly stomach the "scary movie" or "final destination" series's leads me to believe that there may trouble a brewin'.

luckily, films of yesteryear shall live on through dvd players everywhere. as an expectant parent, i must admit that i have been stocking up on the classics for many years in the hopes that my children with always know: you can never go to far, french chicks don't shave their pits, those aren't pillows, and periods make for interesting honeymoons. perhaps his most enduring words of wisdom should be this:

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"

if these words have fallen upon deaf ears, than please do yourself a favor. break out of the transformer/terminator/potter rut, and rediscover a john hughes classic this weekend. any of the a fore mentioned films will suffice.

Procurador General de Missouri!

I'm not a big Chris Koster fan, but credit where it is due.

Most of the Missouri Attorney General’s Website, including the consumer protection area, is now available in Spanish.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the new service today in Kansas City, saying it was important to make sure that Spanish-speaking people have access to state government and to law enforcement. He said about 3 percent of the Missouri population speaks only Spanish.

A 2008 amendment to the state constitution requires government meetings be conducted in English, and Koster said he supports that. But he said he was proud that his department is the first to become bilingual on the Web.

“It’s the new world that we live in,” Koster said. “It’s time Missouri state government understood that and got in the game.
Just how many of our elected state officials do you suppose will take that advice to heart?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Coming on the heels of a conversation on the same topic friends and I had this weekend, an article on Slate discusses what states are most likely to secede from the Union. I had heard Texans talking about it, but I was a bit surprised to see how many places had small bands of secessionists lurking about.

The article includes the vision of a futurist who sees the U.S. splitting into 8 pieces. It has the west coast, most of the east coast, the south, part of Florida hanging with the Caribbean, Texas, Hawaii, Alaska and the everybody else sticking together.

I'm not sure how likely that scenario is, but I was relieved to see Missouri not falling in with the southern states. This was a big topic of conversation the other day. On the other hand, I'm not sure what the prospects would be for what would have to be one of the biggest landlocked nations on earth.

I would say for those of us in Missouri, this is not a great scenario for the future. I'm also not too crazy about needing my passport to go floating in Arkansas.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Doodlers of the world, rejoice. Scientific proof of what we all already knew has arrived. A study comparing the retention of facts between doodlers and non-doodlers produced a lopsided victory for the irreparably sketchy. Doodlers were almost 30% better in the test, in fact. Why?

Why does doodling aid memory? Andrade offers several theories, but the most persuasive is that when you doodle, you don't daydream. Daydreaming may seem absentminded and pointless, but it actually demands a lot of the brain's processing power. You start daydreaming about a vacation, which leads you to think about potential destinations, how you would pay for the trip, whether you could get the flight upgraded, how you might score a bigger hotel room. These cognitions require what psychologists call "executive functioning" — for example, planning for the future and comparing costs and benefits.

Doodling, in contrast, requires very few executive resources but just enough cognitive effort to keep you from daydreaming, which — if unchecked — will jump-start activity in cortical networks that will keep you from remembering what's going on. Doodling forces your brain to expend just enough energy to stop it from daydreaming but not so much that you don't pay attention.
The moral of this story is that you should stop looking at me that way when you see me drawing cubes and checker patterns during meetings. I'm concentrating.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

A great story on Yahoo Sports about LenDale White losing 30 pounds by cutting Patron from his diet led to this even greater discovery of Drunk Athletes. It includes many photos like the beauty above.

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