Hugo Chavez says he’d vote for Obama
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has weighed in on the U.S. presidential race, saying he prefers President Barack Obama.
Chavez also said in a televised interview that aired Sunday that he’d like to have “normal” relations with the U.S. government.
The Venezuelan leader says, in his words, “If I were American, I’d vote for Obama.”
Chavez is running for re-election, seeking another six years in office in an Oct. 7 vote. Democratic U.S. President Obama faces Republican Mitt Romney in his November re-election bid.
Venezuela has had tense relations with the U.S. for the years, and the two countries’ embassies have been without ambassadors since 2010.
Isn’t anyone wondering why America’s enemies, foreign and domestic, seem to prefer Obama?
Jason Alexander, who played George Costanza on “Seinfeld,” told an Iowa audience he has a “man-crush” on President Barack Obama.
Alexander was speaking to Obama volunteers on Thursday, the day early voting started in Iowa, and said he had met Obama many times.
Like many in Hollywood, Alexander has been a fervent Obama supporter and has criticized the so-called “1-percent” even though he is a part of it.
“I do not want to live in that 1-percent. I don’t believe in it,” Alexander said. “I don’t think our country, or any country, runs well when the 1-percent is thriving and the rest are suffering and struggling.”
Well, if Mr. Alexander really doesn’t want to be part of the “1%”, then there is nothing to stop him from giving all of his money away. He is not going to do that though. Instead, he is backing people and policies that will lead to the economic growth that will allow others to better themselves. Nice. I guess that playing the selfish, dishonest George Costanza wasn’t that much of a stretch of his acting abilities.
The infamous “artwork” Piss Christ, which depicts a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine, is on display again at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery in New York and outraged Christians all over the country have been rioting. There have been several deaths and mosques and synagogues have been vandalized while President Obama has appealed for calm. While upholding the right of free speech, Obama has condemned those who misuse that freedom to assault the religious sensibilities of others, saying “The future must not belong to those who slander the Savior of Christianity.”
No wait, none of that is happening. Piss Christ is indeed on display but there has been no violence whatever. I agree that it was a feeble enough joke on my part and hardly original. I have read variations all over the place. Still, there is something to be said here.
Most Christians are offended by Piss Christ. Yet, hardly anyone is saying that Andres Serrano should be arrested, or harmed in any way for making it. If Christians object to this work and others like it, it is generally to insist that such “art” not receive taxpayer funding. In other words, they object to being compelled to pay for “art” they consider blasphemous. This seems reasonable enough, but rather than having their objections respected, Christians are sneered at by the “artistic” and social elites who think that Serrano actually has talent or something worthwhile to say. They are called names like Taliban and accused of supporting censorship, while these elites fancy themselves as boldly standing up for free expression.
There is no Piss Koran nor is there likely to be one. Why does Islam get respect from these people and Christianity does not? Well, because Muslims do go out and kill people when they are offended, and the bold defenders of freedom of expression are not so brave as to willingly face any danger to their lives or reputation.They are pathetic, hypocritical cowards who are enabling the barbarians of the world.
Bill Nye, the former Science Guy does not like the way evolution is taught, or rather not taught in this country. I read about his views in a story by AP.
The man known to a generation of Americans as “The Science Guy” is condemning efforts by some Christian groups to cast doubts on evolution and lawmakers who want to bring the Bible into science classrooms.
Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer and star of the popular 1990s TV show “Bill Nye The Science Guy,” has waded into the evolution debate with an online video that urges parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution on to their children.
“The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,” Nye said in an interview with The Associated Press, citing scientists’ estimates that it is about 4.5 billion years old. “It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”
Millions of Americans do hold those beliefs, according to a June Gallup poll that found 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.
Nye, 56, also decried efforts in recent years by lawmakers and school boards in some states to present Bible stories as an alternative to evolution in public schools. Tennessee passed a law earlier this year that protects teachers who let students criticize evolution and other scientific theories. That echoes a Louisiana law passed in 2008 that allows teachers to introduce supplemental teaching materials in science classes.
“If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you’re not going to continue to innovate,” Nye said in a wide-ranging telephone interview.
In the video he tells adults they can dismiss evolution, “but don’t make your kids do it. Because we need them.” Posted by Big Think, an online knowledge forum, the clip went viral and has 4.6 million views on YouTube. It has garnered 182,000 comments from critics and supporters.
Naturally, young earth creationists do not appreciate Nye’s plunging into this controversy.
It drew the ire of the creationism group Answers in Genesis, which built a biblically based Creation Museum in Kentucky that teaches the stories of the Old Testament and has attracted headlines for its assertion that dinosaurs roamed alongside Adam and Eve.
The group produced a response video featuring two scientists who say the Bible has the true account of Earth’s origins, and that “children should be exposed to both ideas concerning our past.”
Ken Ham, a co-founder of Answers in Genesis, said dating methods used by scientists to measure the age of the earth are contradictory and many don’t point to millions or billions of years of time.
“We say the only dating method that is absolute is the Word of God,” Ham said. “Time is the crucial factor for Bill Nye. Without the time of millions of years, you can’t postulate evolution change.”
While I am somewhat sympathetic to Bill Nye’s concerns, I nevertheless believe that that he is out of line. He does not have the authority or the right to tell parents what they should teach their children. He is saying that parents should not teach their children what they believe to be true. To his credit, Bill Nye has not suggested that the government should compel parents to teach their children the theory of evolution, at least not yet.
Frankly, I think the greatest jeopardy to science in America is the tendency to treat science as a list of facts to be memorized and orthodoxies to be accepted without question. I am afraid that the way the theory of evolution is taught is an especially bad example of this tendency.
The theory of evolution is a scientific hypothesis that purports to explain the development and adaptation of the many organisms on Earth. As a hypothesis, it is a very good one and there is quite a lot of evidence to support it. Indeed, most of what we know about the science of biology doesn’t really make sense outside of this theory. It is important to remember, however that the theory of evolution is only a hypothesis that stands or falls solely on the evidence. Charles Darwin did not receive the text of The Origin of Species on tablets of stone on Mount Sinai. However unlikely it may seem not, it is possible that the theory of evolution will be replaced or modified in the future. After all, the theory of phlogiston,the theory of the four humors, and the luminiferous ether all seemed to have plenty of evidence in their favor.
That being said then, why shouldn’t the students be encouraged to question evolution? Science ought to be taught as a means of asking the questions and getting the answers rather than as facts to be memorized for the test. Don’t just tell students that the theory of evolution is true. Show why the great majority of scientists believe it to be true and why there is not, at present, any real alternative. Better that than teach evolution as a thing that must be believed. If we are going to teach unquestioned orthodoxies in the schools, we might as well teach young earth creationism. At least, it is somewhat less controversial.
I think the progress of science, and society in general, would be better served by young people who are taught to ask questions, whatever their views on evolution .
Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement began yesterday at sundown. This is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. I wrote about this last year. Yom Kippur is a solemn day in which the Jews ask God to forgive their sins.
I get e-mailings and catalogs from Hammacher Schlemmer, a store that offers the best, the only, and the unexpected to customers, for a high price. I think I have only bought two or three items from them, as gifts, but that is enough to put me on their mailing list for life. I can’t complain though. They do sell some interesting things, though way too expensive for me.
In their last catalog I saw Hammacher Schlemmer has Zoltar Speaks.
This is Zoltar, the classic animatronic fortune teller found in arcades, that stands 6 1/2′ tall, and augurs a spoken and printed fortune for you. Richly detailed with a handlebar mustache and beard, a gold head wrap, gold shirt, paisley vest, and jewelry, the bust of Zoltar stands in a solid wheeled cabinet of oak with birch veneers, finished in gold-and black-painted trim, and is surrounded by three panes of tempered glass. Zoltar acknowledges your presence and invites you to approach him. Once you insert a quarter (coins may be removed), Zoltar nods his head up and down as his crystal ball illuminates and he sweeps his hand back and forth. Zoltar provides 16 different spoken fortunes and dispenses one of 23 different printed fortunes in the form of a paper card; 2,000 fortune cards are included. The fortune is dispensed from the front of the cabinet. The manufacturer has confirmed that this item meets U.S. Federal toy safety standards for lead.
This is the fortune telling machine in Big that grants Tom Hanks’ wish to be big. It can be yours for only $9000.
I read this article in Investor’s Business Daily about the Obama cult after I wrote this post on the subject. There isn’t much in the editorial about the creepiness of the cult that isn’t covered elsewhere but I did think the point at the end was worth noting.
But the question is, why are so many Americans so willing to voluntarily buy into Obama’s personality cult?
Remember that will.i.am video from Obama’s first campaign?
Or the equally creepy video of elementary school students signing Obama’s praises:
“Mmm, mmm, mmm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said that all must lend a hand
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mmm!
Barack Hussein Obama.”
Or how about the endless news photos of Obama with his head centered in the middle of a circle in the background, giving him the appearance of being surrounded by a halo.
Anyone want to guess how many times a press photographer decided to snap a picture of Reagan like that?
In totalitarian countries, leaders can force their greatness on unwilling subjects because they own the press, they own the entertainment industry and they own all the schools.
It is true that totalitarian dictators can force public worship in their subjects but one truth that perhaps we don’t want to admit is that their subjects are not always unwilling to support the personality cult. Few, if any, regimes survive solely by the use of force. Most rulers, however tyrannical, do have a certain part of the population who actively support them, whether because they benefit from the regime, or they fear the alternatives, or they believe the propaganda. I have no doubt that if you were to take a public opinion poll of the German population around 1936, you would find Hitler was geniunely popular among the great majority of Germans.
Most people who have seen the videos of North Koreans mourning the death of Kim Il Jong in the most extravagant fashion assume that they are afraid of punishment. That is true, but it is possible that many of these people really did feel grief. After all, if you are told the Dear Leader is the most wonderful person in the world 24 hours a day, you begin to believe it, especially if you have no standards of comparison.
I suppose my point here is that tyrants don’t often force themselves on an unwilling people. Usually, at least some segment of the population welcomes that tyrant and is willing to give up their freedom for some benefit real or imagined. What this might say about the future of out country I am not sure but it isn’t good that a certain number of Americans are willing to subscribe to such a cult.
Egypt’s general prosecutor on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for Florida Pastor Terry Jones and seven Coptic Christian Egyptians linked to an anti-Islam video on YouTube that sparked riots across the Middle East, The Associated Press is reporting.
The eight individuals, none of whom are believed to be in Egypt, are charged with harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information. They could face the death penalty.
Jones promoted a 14-minute trailer for the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The man behind the film, California-based Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, is also among those charged.
I expect that the Justice Department will be arranging for their arrest and extradition as quickly as possible. Though maybe Obama will wait until after the election when he will be more flexible.
One of the greatest villains in English history is King Richard III. Richard III reigned from 1483 until 1485, and his death ended the War of the Roses, fought between the Lancaster and York branches of the Plantagenet dynasty. His brother, Edward IV had largely won the war with a Yorkist victory and the near extermination of the Lancaster family by 1470. Edward died in 1483 at the age of forty, leaving behind his twelve year old son to rule as Edward V.
Richard was named Lord Protector and acted as regent to the young king. He kept the family of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth Woodville out of power and had her brother, Anthony Woodville, and other supporters arrested and eventually executed on a charge of plotting to assassinate him. He also took the young king and his brother to the Tower of London, ostensibly for their safety. Before Edward V could be crowned, the Bishop of Wells and Bath told Richard that Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was invalid because of a previous secret marriage. This made Edward V illegitimate and Richard the rightful king. The young princes in the Tower disappeared and it was widely believed that Richard III had them murdered. Historians are not certain whether Richard did indeed order their death or even if they were murdered at all. Despite his later reputation as an evil, treacherous man, he served his brother loyally and was entrusted with the government of northern England. It is not really clear that he intended to usurp the throne. He may have believed himself to be the rightful king if Edward IV’s sons were really illegitimate. He may also have felt that a minor on the throne in a time of continuing political unrest would be harmful to the country.
Richard III does not appear to have been a bad king. He had a reputation for defending the commoners against the oppression of the nobility both under the rule of his brother and as king. He was actually quite popular in some quarters, especially in the north where he had ruled. On the other hand, the disappearance of the princes and the suspicion that he had murdered them turned people against him. There was also another contender for the throne, Henry Tudor who was living in exile in France.
Henry Tudor was descended, on his mother’s side, from the Lancasters. He tried to invade England in 1483, but the attempt was unsuccessful. He had more luck in 1485 when he led an army into his ancestral home in Wales. He fought and killed Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field and then became King Henry VII, founding the Tudor Dynasty, finally ending the War of the Roses.
Naturally, the Tudors wished to present Richard III in the most unfavorable manner possible. He was depicted as a power-hungry and treacherous king, the villain who usurped the throne and murdered children. Henry VII was the hero who freed England from the tyrant. William Shakespeare followed the Tudor party line in his play Richard III. He could scarcely do otherwise since Henry VII’s grand-daughter Elizabeth I was queen for most of his career. Shakespeare depicted Richard III as a deformed hunchback, dishonest, immoral, and being evil just for the sake of being evil. As Shakespeare has Richard say in the beginning of the play.
And therefore since I cannot prove a lover
To entertain these fair well-spoken days
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid…
But, now, Richard III may be due for a rehabilitation of his reputation, according to a story I read in USA Today.
The discovery under a parking lot of a battle-scarred skeleton may restore the reputation of arguably Britain’s most maligned king and lead to a royal burial five centuries late.
“There has been a lot of debate on almost every aspect of Richard III’s life, appearance, personality and death,” said historian John Ashdown Hill, whose book, “The Last Days of Richard III,” explores the final 150 days of the king’s life before he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
“The remains won’t clarify everything, but they will be part of the process of getting back to original, authentic, documentary evidence rather than being misled by the propaganda that spread after his death,” he said.
“Tudor sources say he had a withered arm but when I went to look at the skeleton the other day I couldn’t see much difference in the length of the arms,” he said. Historians also say there is proof that he wasn’t a hunchback.
The remains were dug up this month by archaeologists looking for the ruins of a medieval monastery under a parking lot in Leicester. They found a skeleton with a metal arrow in its back and what appeared to be a severe battle injury to the skull, injuries that are consistent with the historical accounts of how Richard III was killed defending the ruling House of York against Henry Tudor’s House of Lancaster.
The skeleton also shows curvature of the spine, consistent with reports of Richard’s appearance that say he had one shoulder higher than the other. His death brought about the end of 300 years of Plantagenet rule and the start of the Tudor dynasty, which governed England and Wales for 117 years. But history is written by the victors and few, if any, monarchs have been cast more malignantly than Richard III.
There is actually a society dedicated to restoring Richard’s reputation.
The Richard III Society, a 3,500-strong group of academics and others dedicated to challenging negative portrayals of him, the medieval king, say Richard was a victim of Tudor propaganda.
“Henry Tudor had to discredit Richard in order to justify his taking the throne,” said Lynda Pidgeon, research officer with the society.
She hopes the discovery will spark an upsurge in interest and lead to a more objective writing of history.
“We’re not looking to whitewash Richard III, but we want a less black-and-white picture,” she said. “Shakespeare’s story is good, but it’s very one-sided.”
Meanwhile, a British parliamentarian says if the remains are indeed the king’s, they must be given a state funeral with all the pageantry that entails.
“If it turns out that these bones are Richard III’s, this will be one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of at least the last 50 years,” said Chris Skidmore.’
In order to learn whether or not the skeleton is Richard’s they will have to compare its DNA, if it can be extracted, with a descendant of Richard’s family. They have found one in Canada.
First, though, the remains must be positively identified, and the responsibility for this rests with one man.
Michael Ibsen, 55, is a 17th-generation descendant of Anne of York, Richard III’s sister. Originally from London, Ontario, he has lived in London, England, for nearly 30 years, and if DNA can be extracted from the skeleton, it will be compared to Ibsen’s to see whether there is a match.
The first that Ibsen heard about his royal heritage was from Ashdown Hill, whose quest to discover Richard’s descendants led him to Canada and Ibsen’s mother, Joy, in 2004.
“At first, it was quite surreal to find out we had this connection to royalty, not only to a king of England but to someone so controversial,” Ibsen said. “But now, quite apart from the personal connection, to stand in front of the hole in the ground looking down on the remains, well, it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. But the personal connection makes that feeling even more profound.”
Joy Ibsen died in 2008. Michael and his siblings are the last living descendants able to provide the type of DNA that has the best chance of proving whether the remains are Richard III’s or not.
The results are expected in 10-12 weeks. They could prove to be a very welcome Yuletide present to those who want to get to the truth about this controversial king, and possibly restore his maligned reputation.
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Meanwhile, I can think of several other great historical villains who perhaps do not deserve their reputation.