Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
By ANDREW KLAVAN
A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .
Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.
And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.
"The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.
Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror -- films like "In The Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Redacted" -- which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.
Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"?
The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?
The answers to these questions seem to me to be embedded in the story of "The Dark Knight" itself: Doing what's right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous. Many have been abhorred for it, some killed, one crucified.
Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.
Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.
The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.
When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."
That's real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised -- then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.
Perhaps that's when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day. - The Wall Street Journal
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
It was Christmas eve in the midwest. There was a man who had been in a family where his wife and his children were Christians but he was not. And he rejected it. He sat home that Christmas eve in front of the fire. It was cold out and the snow was blowing. His wife and the little children had gone to the chapel in the nearby village for a Christmas eve service to honor the Christ they loved. He sat by the fire reading the paper.
All of a sudden he heard a loud and repeated thumping. He thought someone was banging on the door. He went to the door and opened it but found no one was there. By the time he got settled back into his chair, he heard it again and again. And he was bewildered as to what was causing it until he realized that something seemed to be smashing against the window. And so he went to the drapes and he pulled the drapes aside and to his amazement, a flock of birds was flying into the window. A snowstorm, you see, had blown in. And the birds had been caught away from their shelter and they couldn't find their way back. They couldn't fight the wind. They saw the lighted window and the warmth of the light had attracted them. And they were literally flying into the glass trying to get to the light to get warm. They would freeze to death, you see, if they didn't find some shelter.
Well, the man who had refused to go with his family to the Christmas eve service because he had no interest in the Christ of Christmas was all of a sudden very compassionate for these poor birds. And so he wondered how he could help them. And so he opened the door and went out in the cold and tried to chase them away so that they wouldn't kill themselves against the window. And then he ran to the barn and he threw the doors open and he whistled and he shooed them and did everything he could to get them to fly to the barn, they wouldn't do it. He even went so far as to take some corn and some bread and make a big trail from the window to the barn. And they wouldn't follow it.
In frustration, he said to himself, "If I could just communicate with them. If I could just tell them that I don't want to hurt them, that there's warmth and there's shelter and that they'd need to stop beating themselves to death against the glass. But I'm a man and they're birds and we don't speak the same language. Oh, if I could just become a bird, I think I could tell them."
And then it hit him. The whole meaning of Christmas dawned on that man. Mankind had been beating itself to death against the barrier that kept him from the warmth of God's love until somebody became a man and told us the way.
Styming thousands of commuters and travelers, snow shut Interstate 15 over 4,190-foot Cajon Pass east of Los Angeles and roads through the San Gabriel Mountains connecting metropolitan Los Angeles to the commuter suburbs of Palmdale and Lancaster in the high desert to the north.
Interstate 5, a major trucking and travel route connecting Southern California with the Central Valley and Northern California, stayed open over 4,144-foot Tejon Pass most of the day, with on-and-off Highway Patrol escorts, then finally was shut down in the afternoon as conditions deteriorated. Massive backups developed below all the passes.
Calen Weiss, 19, of Tarzana, his brother and two friends wanted to go snowboarding at Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains but instead got stuck on I-15 in Cajon Pass for an hour as visibility fell to about 40 yards.
"It looks like Whoville, all snowy, but with less joy and more extreme misery," he said by phone from the Summit Inn.
Heavy rain also fell in some parts of Southern California through the day.
Near the California-Mexico border, San Diego firefighters and lifeguards evacuated 21 people along the overflowing Tijuana River, said spokesman Maurice Luque. They included 12 to 15 people who were on high ground outside a home, surrounded by up to 4 feet of water.
Five people were taken out by helicopter, while others were escorted in Border Patrol all-terrain vehicles, Luque said. Three men were taken to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia.
About 50 horses also were evacuated, but three others drowned and one was euthanized after tripping on barbed wire, Luque said.
To the east, several vehicles collided and slid into ditches on Interstate 8's mountainous grades as heavy snow fell at the San Diego-Imperial County line. Other vehicles were stuck on the steep upgrade, their wheels spinning on the snow-packed surface, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Blowing snow, slush and ice prompted the Antelope Valley Transit Authority to cancel all its local buses, along with 18 commuter runs that usually carry some 650 people from the Palmdale-Lancaster area down to Los Angeles and back home.
The regional Metrolink rail system agreed to carry bus commuters who had already reached Los Angeles back home, spokesman Francisco Oaxaca said.
However, trains were ordered to proceed slowly because of the snow. Two trains also were delayed around 45 minutes at midday because engineers could not see the red, green and yellow track signals.
It was the first time in his 15 years with Metrolink that snow had caused such problems, Oaxaca said.
Transit agencies in the East have special equipment to clear tracks and otherwise handle snow but "we're not equipped for this kind of weather on a consistent basis in this part of the world," Oaxaca said.
In the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles, a wind gust caused a helicopter to crash, killing an electrical worker on the ground and leaving the pilot with minor injuries, county fire Inspector Frank Garrido said.
The helicopter was hired by Southern California Edison to string electrical lines between power poles in the Bouquet Canyon area.
"It was hovering above the ground. A gust of wind made the helicopter spiral," Garrido said.
Garrido said the accident report stated that the dead man was an Edison employee, but utility spokesman Steve Conroy said the victim was employed by the company operating the helicopter.
Late in the afternoon snow fell in the Malibu area.
"It's a combination of snow and rain, so none of the snow is sticking on the ground," said Craig Levy, director of a juvenile detention camp near Mulholland Highway. "It's kind of cool if you think about it. It's kind of unusual to see snow in Malibu."
More severe cold was on the way, the National Weather Service said.
Freeze warnings were issued for late Wednesday through Thursday morning for the Sacramento Valley, the northern San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region, among others.
"A freeze warning means subfreezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely. These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation," the NWS said.
Freeze warnings were also issued for north San Francisco Bay area valleys, and a combination of frost advisories and freeze warnings were issued for parts of southwestern California. - FoxNews.com
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The ongoing snowstorm has stopped flights from landing or leaving at McCarran International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
"No planes are departing for Las Vegas from anywhere in the U.S. right now," said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.
Gregor said the airport doesn't have snow removal or deicing equipment, which means there's no way for snow-covered planes to leave safely.
"The forecast is not looking particularly promising for anybody who wants to fly into Las Vegas," he said.
Officials at McCarran International Airport say there have still been some arrivals since snow started falling in Las Vegas, although departures from other airports to Las Vegas have been stopped for the time being.
"McCarran International Airport is not closed. In the last hour, the airport has handled 14 arrivals and zero take-offs," airport officials said in a written statement. "Normal flight operations will resume once the inclement weather has improved."
The National Weather Service in Las Vegas has issued a winter storm warning for heavy snow for the valleys and deserts of Clark, southern Nye and Lincoln counties until 6 a.m. Thursday.
John Adair, a meterologist with the National Weather Service's Las Vegas office, said as of 2:30 p.m. the entire Las Vegas Valley was receiving either snow or sleet.
“This is a very rare snow event,” Adair said.
Snow is expected to accumulate on the valley floors across Clark and southern Lincoln counties. Snow will continue to fall through the afternoon and tonight before tapering off Thursday morning.
This storm is expected to bring 3 to 6 inches of snow to the valley floors and up to 10 inches to the foothills above 2500 feet.
Icy conditions are resulting in major road closures in Southern Nevada.
Interstate 15 was closed at 1:30 p.m. in each direction at Primm due to snow and icy conditions, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced.
U.S. Highway 95 was closed from Railroad Pass to state Route 163, the Laughlin turnoff.
Chains, snow tires, or four wheel drive vehicle restrictions are in place for Mountain Springs and Mount Charleston.
The transportation department announced at 2:30 p.m. that state routes 163, 164 and 165 have been closed in both directions due to the weather.
State Route 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump was closed as well. Motorists who must go to Pahrump are being advised to head north on U.S. Highway 95 to Indian Springs and then south on state Route 160.
Transportation Department Spokesman Bob McKenzie said motorists are being advised to stay in Las Vegas if possible.
The Nevada Department of Transportation plans on using a liquid deicer called magnesium-chloride on the part of the valley's freeway system tonight, McKenzie said. The liquid will be spread over bridges and viaducts and areas most likely to freeze on Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 95, McKenzie said.
State Route 159 is being plowed and remained open as of 3 p.m.
Because of travel conditions, Henderson employees were sent home from work at 3 p.m., city officials announced. Emergency operations will continue and public safety and public works employees are on call.- Review Journal.com
People! This is global warming at its best. We should be very afraid! We are all going to burn to death due to our man made carbon print! We need Al Gore to save us! Where is Obama and his imaginary Office of President Elect to address this horrific change in the temperature due to global warming. We need immediate government action!. . . . .It is the end of the world people.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
1. "For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth." (John 18:37)
3. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17)
4. "The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10)
5. "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
6. "God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:5)
7. "For God so loved the world that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16).
9. "The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (1 Timothy 1:15).
10. "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many may be revealed" (Luke 2:34f).
11. "He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18)
12. "Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy." (Romans 15:7-8; cf. John 12:27f).
Friday, December 12, 2008
Aspiring scientists from the Zurich School of Applied Sciences have built a video simulation that displays the flight path of every commercial flight in the world over a 24-hour period. There isn't much of an application for it, but it sure is cool to look at.
While the map may look complex, Dr. Karl Rege tells us he and his team found it surprisingly simple to assemble using data readily available on the internet.
"We used a commercial website called FlightStats to gather global flight and schedule information," he says. "So there was no need to contact the different airlines."
The team mined FlightStats for the departure and arrival times of every commercial flight in the world, then plugged it all into a computer to assemble their simulation. For the sake of simplicity, they assumed every plane traveled at the same speed and every flight took the most direct route to its destination. Then every flight was assigned a position on a Miller cylindrical projection, which is similar to a Mercator Projection but doesn't distort the poles so much.
"After that we drew it, that was it," Rege says. "It was that easy. We are astonished that nobody did it beforehand."
Well, others have done it, but on a much smaller scale...
Below: Flight activity over Europe.
Ralph Silvestro, a legal clerk who works at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia, never imagined that anyone would have a beef over the American flag he had taped to the side of his work computer.
After all, he works in a courthouse.
To Silvestro, who served in the Navy for six years and in the Air Force Reserve for another six, the miniature American flag affixed to his computer was a symbol of his patriotism, he said.
For months, that flag and another one that Silvestro had taped to his computer - a black "pirate" flag with skull and crossbones - greeted a steady stream of folks, mostly lawyers, who lined up daily at the front counter of the court's Active Criminal Records department to file motions that Silvestro processed.
No one complained about the flags, Silvestro said.
Then on Sept. 23, Silvestro got an e-mail from his supervisor:
"Keith has advised me as your supervisor, that the flags must come down. They are not appropriate for the workplace," the e-mail said.
The "Keith" mentioned in the e-mail was Keith Smith, the new director of Active Criminal Records.
Silvestro, 34, said he could understand why Smith didn't want him to display a pirate flag - a symbol of thievery on the high seas - in a criminal courthouse. The flag was a gift from a co-worker who had bought it while on vacation and knew that Silvestro liked pirate stories and had served in the Navy, Silvestro said.
But Smith's ban on the American flag just burned Silvestro's butt, he said.
"I served this country for 12 years. I could have died for this flag, but I can't hang it up. What's up with that? I don't understand," Silvestro said in an interview earlier this week.
Silvestro added: "For me, this is about my rights being taken away from me in a building where your rights are supposed to mean more than anything."
Smith did not return two phone calls from the Daily News yesterday.
When asked if Smith had violated Silvestro's constitutional rights, perhaps infringing on his freedom of expression, a civil-rights lawyer said: "No."
"Here's the thing: Your boss rules your life," said Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania's Philadelphia office. "Your employer gets to make the rules."
As long as Smith applies the same rules to everybody evenly, meaning no staffer is allowed to display the American flag at the public counter, Smith is on solid legal ground, Roper said.
"People really have no idea how much control they have to give up when they go work," Roper said. "Workers generally don't have a lot of rights."
Even so, the episode has outraged many of Silvestro's customers. And, being lawyers, they didn't mince words.
"It has me so ticked off," said lawyer Rania Maria Major-Trunfio. "It's absolutely ridiculous"
Silvestro, who grew up in South Philly and wears his jet-black hair slicked back in a ponytail and talks in a rapid-fire staccato, is a colorful figure in an otherwise sterile space. Major-Trunfio said she immediately noticed that the flags were gone and asked Silvestro about them.
"It offends me that he had to take the American flag down," she said. "Not enough people feel a real strong sense of patriotism for our country and, quite frankly, if someone is going to be upset that an American flag is in the courthouse, then America is really in a sad place."
Silvestro said he talked with Smith after receiving the e-mail from his supervisor. Smith told him that he wanted to keep the front counter looking clean and uniform, according to Silvestro.
"I kept telling him, 'I don't understand. It's the American flag. Who is it bothering? Who is it offending?' " Silvestro recalled. "He said, 'You can hang it up at the back of your desk and it has to be kept out of sight.' I was really furious and hurt."
Major-Trunfio said she walked up to the motions counter yesterday and her eyes widened when she saw the Christmas lights, garland and small fake tree.
"I'm like, 'How come you get to put Christmas decorations up, but you can't put the flag up?' " Major-Trunfio asked. "The female clerk just looked at me and said, 'You're funny.' "
What this boss needs to understand is that the American flag symbolizes our great democracy our freedom. Any boss who forces an American flag to be taken down should be fired. As for Silvestro I am proud of him for standing up! I just don't understand how the American flag offend anyone expesially in America?
I guess if your a Muslim acting suspicious at an airport or along the border and the police pull you aside to ask questions or if someone stares you down at the airport you can call ACLU and take them to court and win a lot of money. sighhhhhhhhhh I just think a lot of people are going to be falsely accused of racial profiling.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
That's the sound made by the "Multiple Kill Vehicle," a frightening but fascinatingly cool hovering robot meant to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles.
Video of a Dec. 2 flight test conducted at Edwards Air Force Base in California by defense contractor Lockheed Martin has made it onto the Web, and it looks like something out of the "Terminator" movies.
Rival defense contractor Raytheon is also working on its own multiple-kill-vehicle program.
Inside a large steel cage, Lockheed's MKV lifts off the ground, moves left and moves right, rapidly firing all the while as flames shoot out of its bottom and sides.
The plan is to mount one or more MKVs onto carrier missiles, which would launch into space to engage enemy nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles at the apogees, or peaks, of their trajectory arcs.
Once in space, the MKVs would break off from the carrier vehicles, then use highly accurate targeting computers to shoot big bullets — in military speak, "kinetic interceptors" — to destroy the enemy warheads before they drop back down to Earth.None of this description does any justice to the video. You have to see it for yourself. - FOXNEWS.com
This is awesome. Check out the video below.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Organizers of "Day Without a Gay" — scheduled to coincide with International Human Rights Day and modeled after similar work stoppages by Latino immigrants — also are encouraging people to perform volunteer work and refrain from spending money.
Sean Hetherington, a West Hollywood comedian and personal trainer, dreamed up the idea with his boyfriend, Aaron Hartzler, after reading online that a few angry gay-rights activists were calling for a daylong strike to protest California voters' passage last month of Proposition 8, which reversed this year's state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage.
The couple thought it would be more effective and less divisive if people were asked to perform community service instead of staying home with their wallets shut. Dozens of nonprofit agencies, from the National Women's Law Center in Washington to a Methodist church in Fresno collecting food for the homeless, have posted opportunities for volunteers on the couple's Web site.
"We are all for a boycott if that is what brings about a sense of community for people," said Hetherington, 30, who plans to spend Wednesday volunteering at an inner-city school. "You can take away from the economy and give back in other ways."
Hetherington said he's been getting 100 e-mails an hour from people looking for volunteer opportunities, and that his "Day Without a Gay" Web site has gotten 100,000 hits since mid-November.
Despite Hartzler and Hetherington's attempt to fashion a positive approach, some organizers of the street demonstrations that drew massive crowds in many cities last month have been reluctant to embrace the concept, saying that it could be at best impractical and at worst counterproductive to "call in gay."
"It's extra-challenging for people to think about taking off work as a form of protest, given that we are talking about people who may not be out (as gay) at work, and given the current economic situation and job market," said Jules Graves, 38, coordinator of the Colorado Queer Straight Alliance. "There is really not any assurance employers would appreciate it for what it is."
Graves' group nonetheless is arranging for interested participants to volunteer at the local African Community Center in Denver. The agency said it could find projects to keep 20 people busy, but so far only 10 have pledged to show up, said Graves.
Scott Craig, a fifth-grade teacher at Independence Charter School in Philadelphia, had no problem requesting and being granted the day off. So many of the school's 60 teachers were eager to show support for gay rights they had to make sure enough stayed behind to staff classrooms.
About 25 teachers plan to take Wednesday off and to have their work covered by substitutes while they discuss ways to introduce gay issues to their students and volunteer at the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, Craig said. A letter telling parents why so many teachers would be out went home Monday.
"We want to get the conversation going in the community that gay is not bad," Craig said. "For kids to hear that in a positive light can be life-changing."
Join The Impact, the online community that launched protests last month over the passage of gay marriage bans in California, Florida and Arizona, has urged people to withdraw $80 from their bank accounts Wednesday to demonstrate gays' spending power, and to devote the time they might otherwise spend watching TV or surfing the Internet to volunteer work.
Witeck-Combs Communications, a public relations firm in Washington that specializes in the gay and lesbian market, published a study this year that estimated that gay and lesbian consumers spend $700 billion annually.
Bob Witeck, the firm's chief executive officer, said it would be difficult to measure the success of Wednesday's strike since gay employees occupy so many fields. And rather than suspending all consumer spending for the day, gay rights supporters would have a bigger impact if they devoted their dollars to gay-friendly businesses year-round, Witeck said.
"Our community leaders who are running book stores, newspapers, flower shops, coffee houses, bars and many, many other things are hurting right now, so paying attention to their needs during this hard time is an effective form of activism," he said.
Hetherington said he has been careful to design A Day Without a Gay — he came up with the name after the film "A Day Without a Mexican" and liked it because it rhymed — so no one feels excluded or threatened.
He has specifically urged high school students not to walk out of their classes and assured college students they won't be disloyal to the cause if they go ahead and take their final exams. He also has listed opportunities — ranging from writing letters to members of Congress about federal gay rights legislation to spreading the word about Wednesday on social networking sites — for gay marriage backers who cannot miss work. - Associated Press
I'm sorry but this is funny. They think it is really going to effect anything. Didn't the Latinos do the same thing and it really didn't effect a thing.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Just in case you missed it.
1. BCS FedEx National Championship Bowl: Florida vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Perdiction: Florida beats Oklahoma.
2. Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. USC
Perdiction: Penn State beats USC.
3. Orange Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Perdiction: Cincinnati beats Virginia Tech
4. Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Utah Utes
Perdiction: Alabama beats Utah Utes
5. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State Vs. Texas
Perdiction: Unfortunately I feel Texas is going to beat my Ohio State Buckeyes.
Friday, December 5, 2008
This will be our next problem if colleges don't stop getting greedy by jacking up the price of tuition. More and more people wont be able to pay for college so you will see a record number of people not going with with a very competitive job market many won' t be able to get jobs because they have not attended college.There will be like 30 to 40% unemployed because nobody can get a job without going to college. Then colleges will lose lots of money. Schools will be asking the government to bail them out. Talk about a more messed up situation than what we have now. Its pretty weird I was thinking about this a few months ago and look I was right!