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Can you say Titanic?

This article brings up an interesting claim that I’ve heard before, and I expect we’ll hear again. Cell phones are dangerous, the scientists say. Okay, fair enough, but scientists also say that our planet is melting to death under the weight of our carbon emissions. And I’m not so sure about that.

If it’s new, it has to be good. That’s one of the great fallacies of the 20th century, so recently passed. This is partly the reason for the embrace of cellphones and other gadgets. Cellphones are also convenient and useful. We figure that since they improve our productivity (and therefore our money) that they must be a good.

But of course this isn’t necessarily true. Oddly, Jurassic Park is one of the most helpful books I know of in this regard. That’s because it’s not just a dinosaurs-eating-people terror/thrill ride. It’s also a cautionary tale, warning against the dangers of technology. There’s nothing wrong with technology per se, argues Crichton (and not just in JP — it’s a common Crichton theme). The problem is that we latch on to technology without thinking about the implications or dangers of it.

I have no idea if cellphones are harmful. I don’t use one regularly, and the only one I own sits on a shelf all day, waiting to be used for long distance calls only. If cellphones are harmful, though, America will have taken a long draught before realizing it. At the very least, shouldn’t we check the well before we drink?

Last night, I watched the UNC vs. WSU game.

I thought it was a real win-win situation. WSU hasn’t been to the Sweet Sixteen in forever, so they were already doing great for that program, but if they could win, it would surpass everyone’s expectations. I feel like they’re a team from home, so it would be fun to see them win.

On the other hand, it’s also fun when a team from my adoptive home does well, and UNC fits that bill (since Duke flopped out of the NCAA tourney like a dead fish). Students sometimes try to bait me into a UNC vs. Duke vs. Anyone else, but it doesn’t usually get to me at all. If any team I’m acquainted with does well, I’m happy.

But as the game began, I found myself pulling strongly for Wazzu. There’s no good reason for this that I can see, except that they were the underdogs. UNC is one of the favorites to win the whole tourney, they’re ranked number one in the country, and (as the announcers never failed to remind us) they have a three-time All-American on their team. At one point, the announcers referred to the game as a David and Goliath.

So that got me thinking. What is it about human beings that makes us root for the underdog? If there are two teams playing and we don’t have a dog in the fight, we often pull for the team that’s struggling. We’re glad to see a whistle-blower expose a corporation. Movies are filled with this stuff. But why?

Is it a Christian idea? It doesn’t really seem like it. I mean, is Christ the underdog? He did humiliate Himself, and He took on human flesh. Does that count as being an underdog? Yet it’s not as though the outcome was ever in doubt. Was Christ really an underdog? If not, why do we love this kind of story so much?

I think the answer lies in our love of stories. We want our stories to be interesting, and so we want the hero to actually have some sort of hardship to go through. We don’t want the hero to lose, but we don’t want it to be a cake-walk. Underdogs are fascinating because they have trouble, because there’s a story there. A rampaging giant doesn’t ultimately make for a good story. The hero needs to get knocked around and bruised before he gets the girl.

This is exactly what happens with Christ. We all know who’s going to win, but the story is more gripping because He is bruised and He is afflicted. It’s not as though we necessarily want our hero to have a flaw, since Christ has none. But He does suffer.

Giant-killers don’t always win, though: WSU lost. (And, yes, I’m just following in the footsteps of my pater, trying to tie WSU basketball to something bigger.)

I’m not sure I have this all figured out yet. Just musing.

A couple of things have sprung to mind a listening to all the clips of O’bama’s recent speech on race, and the attendant speculation from my preferred media, conservative talk shows.

Number 1. I am so offended by Senator O’bama and his attitude regarding being black. By that I mean he seems to have the idea that he can excuse hate and anger because of past injustices. In essence, he is trying to make me feel guilty. I know that many people, like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton already do this, but O’bama’s smugness is what really sticks in my craw. Also, he is showing himself to be a poor leader in responding to this by blame shifting the problem back to race and the past. For all his hope and change, doesn’t he have a solution to offer to this problem? A true leader, black or blue, would tell people to grow up, shake off the past, and move on. No other course of action will help them to dig out of their present course.

Number 2. Another leadership quibble. Hostorically speaking, black culture and societial statistics have been in free fall since the 60’s and 70’s, after a period of sustained growth and development. These include out of wedlock pregnancy rates, employment, education, and other issues. In his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Thomas Seoul documents this phenomenon, and shows that it did in fact begin with the Democrat party declaring war on poverty, and destroying the black community in the process. Why should we believe that that the salvation of the black people will be brought by this sellout?

Number 3. The level of scrutiny and judgement that political leaders are apparently required to exercise regarding their pastors illustrates the lack of understanding that most conservative radio hosts have regarding the hierarchy of personal, public, and spiritual life. I have heard several mention that if their pastor said things that they did not agree with, they would leave. It reminds me of Wilson’s rule for discovering the god of a system. Whatever is protected is the god. In this case, I am not sure if the object of protection is the reputation of the man or the truth of what may be said in a church. Either way, the personal judgement of a man, politician or no, is a poor definition of a pastor being right or wrong. Too bad that is the only standard we are now left with.

I realized that the reason I enjoyed watching the Giants win the Superbowl so much is because it’s like every football movie out there. The underdog team comes from behind and beats the undefeated team in the last two minutes of the game.

that remind us that capitalism can still result it surprisingly bad taste.

Rather apt considering the economy’s current state. Let’s just hope none of our debtors decide to do anything with our…er…their property.

The blog will not post my latest comment. I think maybe it is too long? Suffice it to say this should be comment #7 under my last post.

Woelke, I will grant you that you should not have to wear a seatbelt under conditions. The conditions are that you can guarantee to pay for scraping yourself off the highway, that you can fully pay for all hospital expenses, and that you will not injure anyone else when your body flies through the windshield. I know that sounds extreme, but after some thinking, I believe that is what it comes down to.

I also think that the government is incredibly inefficient, and this makes it seem like the whole point is to run our lives. However, I think it necessary. Please consider that in OT Israel, the laws dealt in part with railings on your house, and the proper steps to follow in case of accidental death by ax head. I think you could say this is the first historical government regulation. It shows that there is a place for the government to make laws that may abridge freedom for the sake of others. In a perfect world, would we wear a seatbelt? I think so, because we would be thinking of others. Of our families that need us to not get smeared, if not the temple status of our bodies. I think this is where the sin/crime distinction breaks down. What are crimes if not sins against others? Without sin, there would be no crime. But the point is moot, because there is sin, so there is crime.

Next, what to do about crime? Is it the sphere of the church? No. Is it our own? No. Therefore, there must be a government. Our national blessing and curse is that we all get a say in what is and is not a crime. I think that the same goes for regulations. Should we have to be told not to speed? No, we would definitely all drive better if we really had the best interests of others at heart. But we do not. And in order to avoid either gridlock or rampant selfishness, the government sees fit to tell us how fast we can move in any given 2 ton steel box. I don’t see any difference between that, and between Israel having to install a railing around their roofs. Can we just be responsible for ourselves? No. Because we are sinners, we require a civil government to rule in our communities.

The same goes for us Christians at the ballot box. We can postulate and speculate on the proper way to handle immigration, but until we tell our representative what we think, and then work with others to hold him accountable for what we think is right, then we bear every bit as much blame as they do for the disasters that come out of Washington. There is no such thing as a fire and forget representative. There is no such thing as a guiltless representative, or a guiltless constituency. Instead of throwing votes away on a radical because he offers change, I think that a better approach to this upcoming election is to surely delay the likes of Hillary or O’bama, and then work to bring about proper candidates. Candidates who will listen. I guarantee that a republican can do some good, especially with support from us, while a liberal will not listen. Think about the justices Bush has appointed. Think about the groups that he has brought support to, and the bills like stem cell research that he has vetoed. And then think about higher taxes and national health care. There is a choice. The choice is to be responsible in all areas of government, and not just vote your conscience. Keep in mind that one man’s fiestiness is another man tickling.

I have been very surprised at the number of people who have recently came out in support of Ron Paul. Not just people on this blog, but folks from my church, and even Gary North. I have looked into Ron Paul’s own words, and have comments on several key points.

“He is a man with the courage to follow through on his convictions.” Paul’s stance on the Iraq War has been brought in as support for this. It sounds good, except that can be said for the majority of Republicans. For the most part, the only public figures who have changed their tune is the Democrat candidates (a la Hillary) trying to impress their rabid base. I think the GWB has shown more courage than Paul, because Bush has actually done something about the threat that we do face from Iraq and Iran. He has turned Iraq into a democracy, and has been conducting covert operations to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Paul’s idea of national security breaks down to “Iran hates us because the CIA meddled in their affairs in the 50’s”. Notice the implication that if we now leave them alone they will forget all about us. Lacking from this thunderingly naïve attitude is the Iranian Embassy takeover. Surely the Iranians worked their frustration out by taking over our Embassy in the 70’s. If not, then I guess we would be justified in attacking them, since we never got payback for our embarassment.

His webiste supports putting real money into Social Security. Again, sounds like a good plan. But as far as meaningless pronouncements by politicians goes, this ranks up there with O’bama saying he wants to wipe out poverty. The truth is that in ’05, Social Security and Medicare’s unfunded liabilities were equal to 7 times the national deficit. I would also like to see real money in there for me to get a hold of some day, but at this point, only the most desperate of measures and plans will save it. And for anyone who thinks Republican and Democrat candidates are tweedle dum and tweedle dee, Social Security was begun by FDR, and Medicare by LBJ.

Another interesting insight into Ron Paul was yielded by a video on youtube where Ron Paul meets the Students for 9-11 Truth. The students are a classic case of there are no absolutes, and that is absolute. Apparently, there can be no truth until a bunch of amateurs get to pass judgement on something that occurred on national television. Ron Paul echoes their blithering by saying that typically a government investigation means a cover up, like JFK. When I watch someone casually toss off that sort of statement, I have serious doubts about his sincerity of heart in leading the government.

Without going on, I find no reason to support Ron Paul. He is a credible sophist. And he can sound feisty when compared to Trent Lott or Nancy Pelosi. However, like GWB said in a debate, leadership takes a plan, and a plan is not saying what does not work I have only seen Ron Paul able to articulate what does not work. He has shown no reason for me to think that he is a proactive leader. And as a Libertarian, I do not think that he should be considered a friend of Christians in any way.

It was unclear whether Lopez had been charged with anything.

I found this bit of the article quite punny.