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black helicopter watchterror & war

Early Roman Kings, Commentators and Evil Eunichs…it’s morning in America

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Mitt Romney Archetype

One of the things you discover when dealing with a spouse’s treatment for cancer is that there’s always either a “but” or an “and” with this example of why I really am torn between my “No God but Tiffany and Snooki is her prophet!” or “God is just a perverted, evil sonofabitch!” She sleeps a lot, and I brood. Brooding is not the best way to write; yet, sometimes it seems you should. This week is one of them…

Now, I don’t like Ross Douthat particularly. Since David Brooks is the Times approach to William F. Buckley only nicer, Douthat is their George Will, only tieless and with a
beard. To the left of Fox, to the right of sense most of the time, but when he’s right, he’s right and articulate.
He has a pretty accurate take on the middle east and the current unpleasantness directed at the United States by the latest outbreak of Jeffersonian democracy. He proposes that we need to avoid the cringing and the condescending in our analysis of what’s going on and what our alternatives are going forward. Yes, the video is awful on all counts, and the irrational reaction of the mobs really makes the whole Arab Spring thing seem more like the First Directorate of the French Revolution as opposed to some Islamic Renaisance. But, that’s not what’s happening here — this is realpolitik played by the Islamic power players. From our perspective, these guys may seem to be totally loony, but we’re watching different factions play out. There are grievances against us in the Arab world — some valid, some debatable, some batshit insane — and we need to acknowledge that, deal with it like adults and make some adult choices. Douthat is less than optimistic about that particular future. [Read more →]

religion & philosophythat's what he said, by Frank Wilson

Life is a parenthesis between one darkness and another

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Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas.” That, of course, is the opening sentence of the book of Ecclesiastes, as translated into Latin by St. Jerome. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,” as the King James Version has it.

The book takes it name from its speaker. “Eccleasiastes” is a Greek rendering of the Hebrew “Qoholeth,” variously thought to mean Preacher or Teacher, though it could also be understood as Member of the Assembly.

He identifies himself in the opening sentence as son of David, king in Jerusalem, and tradition has held that the author was Solomon. Be that as it may, he is someone who has seen enough of life to no longer be taken in by it. [Read more →]

musicreligion & philosophy

The killing frost thaws: Pussy Riot = free birds?

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Yesterday, some odd news came to light when Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced public sympathy for the imprisoned Pussy Riot girls. According to the New York Times, my favorite newspaper ever:

Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev said Wednesday that he believed that three female punk rockers jailed for a profane stunt in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral should be released rather than serve out their two-year sentences, weighing in on a case that has drawn widespread condemnation in the West.

Sounds good. Those of us who consider ourselves free speech absolutists have reason to celebrate, right?

Wait! Not so fast.

[Read more →]

politics & governmentterror & war

My 90 Days, 90 Reasons submission

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There is a website called 90 Days, 90 Reasons, which features powerful, persuasive essays by famous people, explaining why the current president, Barack Obama, should be re-elected. I was so moved by some of these essays, that I decided to compose a submission myself. Unfortunately, despite the fact that my Dark Knight Rises review got almost 60 Facebook likes, I am apparently not famous enough to be included. This, despite the fact that my essay is as persuasive and powerful and whatever the opposite of cynical is as any of the essays that have been published so far.

Despite the lack of interest, I feel it would be a disservice to the world to not post my essay somewhere, so I’m posting it here. I hope it persuades you to do the right thing.

Reason #1: Tee Are You Ess Tee

The reason that you should vote for Barack Obama for reelection can be boiled down to one word: I trust Barack Obama. And where our government is concerned, there is nothing more important than trust. Obama understands this. That is why he has worked hard to earn our trust, and he hasn’t stopped earning that trust. [Read more →]

terror & warThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that people will remember 9/11, but not as if it’s a football game that we lost

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 911: We should always remember 9/11, but not with patriotic pep rallies and not with fist-pumping; for, on this day, the extremist obsessions and narrow-minded religious views of a few arrogant, evil bastards resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people at the Word Trade Center in New York City, in a horrific crash in Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, in Washington, DC. On this day, trembling fathers wept into phones, saying goodbye to their children and wives, having given up, knowing that there was no way down or out, fighting not to sound terrified through the line — knowing that this final goodbye was worth trading away a last, useless burst of hope. On this day, wives did the same, fighting preservation instincts for a few seconds’ contact with their husbands and babies. And on this day, horrible circumstances made men and women who were just doing their duty into legends of self-sacrifice. This is the day when a thousand stories of strength and courage were passionately written, only to be sucked down in a cascade of molten metal and poison dust, never to be read by anyone. This was the day on which a new generation of children learned that grown-ups could actually take civilian life and expect sainthood in return.

This was the day of Allah’s misery. This was the day that, if God can cry, there must have been a hurricane in heaven — his tears like bullets in raging winds; angels covering their heads with trembling wings —  for a humankind that had turned him into a goal line to be crossed; a prize to be quibbled over; a concept for which to slaughter; a cause for torture and alienation.  [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg for the season

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Stephen Strasburg is a young pitcher for the Washington Nationals, a team that, as of this writing, has the best record in all of Major League Baseball at 86-54. Strasburg, in his first full season in the bigs, is the team’s best pitcher, sporting a record of 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA. He has struck out 197 batters in only 159 1/3 innings. With his team a virtual lock for the playoffs, you would think he would be preparing to lead the Nats into the postseason for the first time since the former Montreal Expos moved to our nation’s capital in 2008. Instead, team officials have shut Strasburg down for the rest of the season. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten signs you’ve chosen the wrong college

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10. They boast “fewer faculty felons than last year”

9. You were admitted because you were able to sketch a picture of a turtle you saw on a book of matches

8. The only books in their library contain nothing but names, addresses, and phone numbers

7. It makes Bob Jones University look like Harvard

6. The college application was an insert in a McDonald’s menu

5. The school’s Latin motto is “Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis” (“Unencumbered by the Thought Process”)

4. The photo on the cover of the college catalogue: Johnny Knoxville

3. When you ask if the college is well endowed, the school president pulls down his zipper

2. Their biggest fraternity is Singa Phi Nothing

1. There’s only one ‘L’ in ‘COLEGE’
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

art & entertainmentreligion & philosophy

Developments in the moral guidance of mainstream comedy

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With the rise of comedians like Louis C.K. and Bill Hicks, the complexity level of comedy has increased. Comedy is no longer three idiots poking each another in the eye or lighting their flatulence on fire . It’s no longer even just an irreverent and humorous dismantling. As religious explanations fall further and further behind the evolutions of society, comedians have stepped in to fill the gap. Comedians are the new preachers, comedy clubs are their churches, and the audience members that understand it are the frustrated moral progressives. [Read more →]

diatribespolitics & government

Two fears of a pseudo-Republican

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Watching the two national conventions, I’ve tried as a thought experiment to imagine what it’s like to be a Republican. Not a snarling right-wing Limbaugh type, but a moderate, libertarian conservative who believes in small government and dignity for all – the kind of Republican that once defined the GOP. Like some of my Republican friends, many of whom voted for Obama in 2008. And in so doing, I find myself confronted by two doomsday fears. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Worry not, your child’s foul behavior probably won’t transfer

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You don’t know nothin’ about raising kids, and then one day there’s a child in your house. Then another. For some, this familial accretion goes on for some time. What do you do? You stitch and paste some values together from somewhere – parents you’ve known, cartoons, strangers you meet on the bus — and off you go, bringing up humans. [Read more →]

language & grammarThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that there shall be “Separation of Poetry and State”

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 123, Stanza 5 : There shall ever be, from this point forward, “Separation of Poetry and State.” Thus far, since having established his dominion over the world, the Emperor has tolerated the quaint machinations of federal, state and local governments, because it has amused him to do so. Yesternight, however, while driving upon a highway, he glanced up and saw an electronic sign that read: DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER. Oh, nonononono. Uh uh. It is bad enough the politicians have been masquerading, lately, as actual human beings equipped with compassion and ethics and stuff. It is bad enough when law enforcement officers make disingenuous attempts to seem as if they don’t believe they are innately superior to anyone who drives a vehicle without flashy things on top of it…but, to align themselves with the noble mappers of the human heart? — to even allude to a kinship, however remote, with the wordsmiths who shine the light of Truth into the dark places of the Universe…and, then, to rhyme words like “sober” and “over” as if such an act doesn’t spit upon the dead faces of said Shiners of Light…? Such vapid hypocrisy will not be allowed in the Empire.

The Punishment: Violators will be bound to a chair. They will be forced to endure a bored-looking procession of black-clad fifteen-year-olds. Each angsty and/or recently jilted youth will recite poems (written on jagged-edged notebook paper and illustrated with ballpoint sketches of sinister eyeballs with marvelous lashes), until the mind of the violator cracks. (The Imperial Master of Torture conjectures that this will take an average of eight minutes per violator.)

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: NCAA fails to punish UNC for academic fraud

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Somebody needs to explain the NCAA to me. Seriously, I am obviously not equipped to comprehend its rules, policies, and methods of determining punishment. Everyone knows what happened at Penn State, or at least people think they know. The Nittany Lions were hit with stunningly severe sanctions for the Jerry Sandusky situation, despite the fact that no NCAA rules were broken. On Friday, it was announced that the NCAA had concluded its investigation of accusations of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina and had found no evidence of wrongdoing. If you have read anything about this situation, you are as astonished by this as I am. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingrecipes & food

Top ten things overheard at today’s Labor Day barbecue

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10. “Hope you like tofu burgers!”

9. “That’s not mayonnaise; you’re standing under a tree.”

8. “Is my hot dog supposed to have an engagement ring on it?”

7. “Which is the burger and which is the charcoal?”

6. “Call 911! Call 911!”

5. “Everything on the grill still has a tail on it!”

4. “Wish somebody had told me this BBQ was BYO!”

3. “Who chugged all the lighter fluid?”

2. “I think Grandma lost her dentures in the potato salad again.”

1. “Is coleslaw supposed to move?”
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

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