Sunday, April 13, 2014

Budget Follies

Our Congresscritters often like to make a show of how much waste there is in the Federal budget when slashing funds for hungry children by $5 billion because it's such a large number. Yet they bend over backwards to explain that the $50 billion spent in foreign aid is a pittance.

While they tell us to tighten our belts and pay more in taxes because the rich can't afford to and still create minimum wage jobs for us, the government spent $400,000 on a camel statue outside the US embassy in Islamabad.

Called "Camel Contemplating Needle," a play on the Bible verse Matthew 19:24, "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (This verse is not it the TeaPublican Bible™. Obviously they believe that only the rich can get into heaven.)

This is why we have to stop helping the poor: We need sculptures in front of our Government offices.


Friday, April 04, 2014

The Intersection of Gun Ownership and Crazy

This past Wednesday, Army Specialist Ivan Lopez went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood. Suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, he brought his legally obtained fire arm on base after an argument and killed three people wounding 16.

Typically, the Left is talking about more gun laws and the Right is saying that everyone needs to carry guns.

It is illegal to smuggle a gun onto Fort Hood. Lopez brought it on the base anyway. So the Right is saying that is why Gun Free Zones don't work. People will break the law. While there is some truth to the argument, don't forget that the Right is doing everything it can to cut benefits to our soldiers, including those with mental health issues, to line the pockets of large corporations. And of course, the Right is also blaming Obama for those Gun Free zones.

The Left, on the other hand seems to want to make it harder for everyone to get a gun. They say that if Lopez hadn't been able to purchase the gun, those three people would still be alive. Again, they are correct to a point.

Here's what we need to do as a Nation: Don't let people with mental issues get their hands on guns.  Everyone else can buy as many guns as they want. But if they have and mental health problems they should not.

We need to take care of the intersection of gun ownership and crazy, not get rid of gun ownership.

And for crying out loud, why can't men and women who have been trained in firearms carry their weapons on base?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The War on Religious Liberty

Senator Ted Cruz recently spoke of the Threat to Religious Liberty™.

Cruz said, ”As believers, we are called to action; not just sitting quietly and hiding our faith under a bushel but to stand and speak no matter what the consequence.  Religious liberty has never been more under attack.”

Exactly which liberties are being lost, I wonder? How many churches have been closed? How many Bible Burnings? Did I miss the invite to the burning? I got the one for the Quran Burning. But I didn't get the invite to the Bible burning. Has there been a slaughter of Christians in the US? I've been invited to the slaughter of all Muslims, but haven't heard about the Christian one. Has Senator Cruz been prevented to going to church? From praying? Sending his children to religious schools?

Or does he mean that his religious liberty is being  attacked because he wants to impose his religion on others?

Can someone from Senator Cruz' office post his reply in the comments?


Sunday, June 02, 2013

I Saw Star Trek Into Darkness

I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness last weekend, and I enjoyed the movie, but I have some questions for the writers.

If you haven't seen the movie, please do. It's good. And if you don't, they may not make any more Star Trek movies.  Remember, even a crappy Star Trek movie is better than no Star Trek movie.

I'm not going to spoil the whole movie for you. Just the first fifteen minutes, and this will summarize why the movie's writers are incredibly lazy.

The movie opens on a planet with red trees. There is what appears to be a temple at the base of a mountain. A figure in a brown robe bursts through the door and into the red forest with some sort of scroll in his hands. As he races through the forest, the planet's inhabitants chase after him, throwing spears. He races between the trees, and we see it's Kirk. If we spoke Hovitos, we might know what he stole.

Kirk running from the natives
A large creature rears up before him, and he kills it. McCoy appears and grumbles that Kirk just killed their ride. So they start running. Again.

Kirk, who risked his life stealing the scroll, hangs it on a red branch runs off1.  When the natives see it, they drop to there knees and worship it.  Well, most of 'em do. The rest keep chasing.

Cut to Spock suiting up in a heat proof outfit, obviously on a shuttle. Uhura tells him to be careful, then drops him on a rope into a volcano where he plans to activate a device to stop the volcano from exploding, which would kill the natives on the planet. The rope breaks, the shuttle malfunctions and Uhura and Sulu are beamed back to the ship. Spock realizes he is stranded, but sets to work.

Kirk and McCoy run through the forest to a cliff overlooking the ocean where they Butch and
Sundance jump hundreds of feet into the water. The water is inexplicable deep there and they speed through the water to a submerged Enterprise. It's submerged so they won't be detected by the natives.2

Once aboard, Uhura tells them that Spock is stranded in the volcano. Kirk asks Scotty if they can beam Spock up. Nope. The water and the volcano require line of sight before transport will be possible3.

Kirk orders the ship to leave the water and rescue Spock, if the natives see them, too bad. Here's the picture of the impressive rise out of the ocean:

Oh wait! That's the Enterprise wising from the atmosphere of Titan!  Here's the picture:

Oh wait! That's from the ending where the Enterprise rises out of the clouds on Earth. (Not really.  Can you believe no one has posted that yet?)  HERE's the picture:

The natives watch in awe as the ship rises and streaks off apparently miles to the volcano. Seriously. It flies off to a small dot. Kirk ran that far from the temple.

Anyway, Spock accepts his death, sets up the equipment and spreads his arms to be engulfed by the volcano before it is frozen. Just as the volcano erupts, Spock is beamed up, and the device freezes the volcano.

Cut to the natives as the shaman draws the Enterprise on the ground, which fades to the Enterprise headed for Earth.


1 Obviously the scroll is important to the natives, which begs the question: Why did Kirk take it? What was so important about it that it had to be taken from the temple? Was that the primary mission: steal a scroll? And if it's so important, why abandon it? Did he steal it just to use it as a distraction?

2 In the Original Series, every time the Enterprise drifted into an atmosphere, the danger was that the atmosphere would crush the hull like an eggshell. After all, the spacecraft is designed to contain one atmosphere of pressure from leaking into space. It's not designed to keep several atmospheres of pressure from getting in. And why submerge the ship to keep the natives from seeing it? Do they have such good eyesight they can see it in orbit? And why didn't the natives see the freakin' shuttlecraft flying into the volcano, for crying out loud?

3 That could explain why  Kirk and McCoy jumped hundreds of feet into the water, risking broken limbs. But couldn't they have stood on the edge of the cliff as Scotty beamed 'em up, er, down, er, sideways? He was pretty quick beaming Sulu and Uhura off a shuttle crashing into a volcano. Wait. As the shuttle plummeted into the volcano it fell out of line of sight. So, if they needed to be in line of sight to rescue Spock, shouldn't that been a factor in the mission planning? "Captain, we'll need to stay in line of sight of Mr. Spock in case of trouble." "Nah. Fuck him! I need a scroll for my cabin. Park this thing in the ocean. We'll jump off cliffs into the water."

Something occurs to me.

Comics today tend to decompress the story so that it can be republished in collections. I remember a stretch of Superman in the late 90s. Somehow, Superman was stranded on an island of cavemen. On his way to the island, a whole issue was about him seeing a sea monster and fighting it. Next issue, he's on the island.

Someone on the Internet pointed out that in the Silver Age, there was a story where Superman was racing to rescue Lois from some catastrophe, and he sees a sea monster and deals with it in four panels. In the 90s, the whole race to rescue Lois took four issues, with the sea monster taking up one issue.

Movies, on the other hand, keep trying to cram more and more into the film. The opening of the Star Trek flick would have been a great episode on TV,

Oh, and did you notice the line "We'll use Mudd's ship that we captured last month"? That was from IDW's prequel mini-series, "Countdown to Darkness." You can buy it with the link below.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

Don't Trust the Media

Here, Nancy Grace, the most offended woman in the world, interviews Asleigh Banfeild via sattelite from ten feet away.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Don't Listen to the Media

A few weeks ago, a Colorado parolee killed warden, Tom Clements. The parolee was killed in a shoot out in Texas. About the same time two DAs in Kaufmann County Texas were murdered.  The media, ever quick to speculate, said the murders were part of a larger plot to kill law enforcement officials, in a Bond-esque kind of scheme.

Nope. Simple revenge. Police arrest former justice of the peace Eric Williams and his wife Kim for killing Michael and Cynthia McLelland and prosecutor Mark Hasse because they prosecuted Williams for felony burglary and theft by a public servant.

That's it!

Not some Blofeldian conspiracy to bring down the judical system.  Just revenge.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Wow. On TV the ships are so durable.  In the movies they are so fragile.

I'm sooooooooo glad JJ Abrams is FINALLY making a movie where the Enterprise crashes on a planet.  It's never been done before! At least not with lens flare.

I miss real Star Trek. . .

Yes, I'm going to see this movie.