Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm a little surprised...

What kind of extremist are you?
Your Result: Rational Person

You consider these questions obvious straw men, designed to distract people from a meaningful investigation of facts and a serious discussion of relevant political issues. How boring.

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Moderate Extremist
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What kind of extremist are you?
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Let's end this bullshit

As many of you may know, the boyfriend of one of my best friends is currently assigned to a stryker team in Baghdad. Ok, you may have known that he was there, but you probably didn't know what he did. For those of you not in the know, a stryker is one of those big ass armored vehicles they use over there.

Apparently, today he was able to call her, and he let it slip that his unit had been hit by an IED, and although he's ok, he's apparently very shaken up...especially given that one of his friends lost his leg in the attack. Granted, it could have been much worse, but again I have to many of our young people are going to be asked to give their lives and limbs in an illegal war?

If you don't think this is an illegal war, then you obviously don't know what an illegal war is. Simply put, it's any war that the UN doesn't approve, and no matter what the Fox "News" Network might try to tell you, the UN did not approve this war. If Russia were to invade Georgia, you can bet that the US would be pissed off about it, because it wouldn't be approved, and would therefore be illegal. Just being American doesn't give us the right to do whatever the hell we want, and it's time we get out of Iraq. We need to pursue a diplomatic solution with Iraq, and with Iran before things get out of hand. As long as we have soldiers on the ground in the Middle East, we'll continue to have problems...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Books you've probably never heard of, but should read just the same

This is a list at Amazon put together by book reviewer "Book of the Moment." It features quite a few books, many of which look interesting. I'm definitely interested in The Plot to Save Socrates by Paul Levinson...and yes, The Opium of the People is on this list.

Click on the title of this entry, and have a look around...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Galton Principle

Since the idea of expanding my story into a novel has generated quite a bit of discussion, I thought I'd post it on my website for you to read...should you want to.

The writing's a bit rough, as it was roughly a decade ago that I wrote it, but there are some decent things in it...and a fascist state still seems very realistic to me as the future of America...although what form it would take to bring about this type of government is still a mystery to me.

Obviously, if I were to expand it, the main character's story would only be a portion of it...much as was the case with The Opium of the People. That story was originally just a short story. When I expanded it into a novel, Albert who became Edward, was just one of the stories. He was still the main story, but there were several other characters introduced...some of whom interacted with him, and others who didn't.

Now, I must leave you...keep talking amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm not sure what to think of this...

Jay Lake linked to this in his LiveJournal, and I'm still trying to get over the sickening feeling I got from reading it...

Exclusive: Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
Philip Atkinson

Author: Philip Atkinson
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: August 3, 2007

While democratic government is better than dictatorships and theocracies, it has its pitfalls. FSM Contributing Editor Philip Atkinson describes some of the difficulties facing President Bush today.

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
By Philip Atkinson

President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.

Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy.

The inadequacy of Democracy, rule by the majority, is undeniable – for it demands adopting ideas because they are popular, rather than because they are wise. This means that any man chosen to act as an agent of the people is placed in an invidious position: if he commits folly because it is popular, then he will be held responsible for the inevitable result. If he refuses to commit folly, then he will be detested by most citizens because he is frustrating their demands.

When faced with the possible threat that the Iraqis might be amassing terrible weapons that could be used to slay millions of citizens of Western Civilization, President Bush took the only action prudence demanded and the electorate allowed: he conquered Iraq with an army.

This dangerous and expensive act did destroy the Iraqi regime, but left an American army without any clear purpose in a hostile country and subject to attack. If the Army merely returns to its home, then the threat it ended would simply return.

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Yet Israel is not popular, and so is denied permission to defend itself. In the same vein, President Bush cannot do what is necessary for the survival of Americans. He cannot use the nation's powerful weapons. All he can do is try and discover a result that will be popular with Americans.

As there appears to be no sensible result of the invasion of Iraq that will be popular with his countrymen other than retreat, President Bush is reviled; he has become another victim of Democracy.

By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.

However, President Bush has a valuable historical example that he could choose to follow.

When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended.

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

To expand or not

Many years ago I wrote a short story called "The Galton Principle." The premise behind it was that a fascist US arises where eugenics is used to control the population. The story was almost 6000 words, and it was the only story I ever wrote in one sitting...non-stop 6,000 words. That's how much the story grabbed me. It was also the first story I wrote about a fascist US, a concept that has always fascinated me...and finally culminated in The Opium of the People.

For a long time now, Tyree Campbell at Sam's Dot has been trying to talk me into expanding the story into a novel, and I have been tempted, but I'm not sure if it would really be that good of an idea. For one thing, the plausibility of the idea worries me. Could this really happen? I'm not so sure anymore, especially given the state of science in the US now. Plus, I've had a few people tell me that the premise of Opium is hard to believe...which seems a bit naive to me. Maybe it wouldn't be as drastic as I what I painted, but it certainly is possible for the Christian Right to seize control of the US government.

Another concern I have is that I already have one novel out about fascists taking over America, do I really want to go back to that well again?

Still, I have a friend who keeps saying to me that people should have a certain IQ before they're allowed to maybe eugenics is plausible, although I don't think IQ would be the criterion used to determine who can and can't reproduce.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another Book Meme

I liked the result of this one, so I thought I'd post it. Let me know how the rest of you score...unless it's Spencer and The Great Gatsby...hated that book.

You're The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

by C.S. Lewis

You were just looking for some decent clothes when everything changed
quite dramatically. For the better or for the worse, it is still hard to tell. Now it
seems like winter will never end and you feel cursed. Soon there will be an epic
struggle between two forces in your life and you are very concerned about a betrayal
that could turn the balance. If this makes it sound like you're re-enacting Christian
theological events, that may or may not be coincidence. When in doubt, put your trust
in zoo animals.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Why I must see Henry again

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be going to see Henry Rollins again in October. For those of you unfamiliar with him, he was the lead singer for Black Flag (a pioneering punk band), and then later for The Rollins Band. I have to admit that I was never a big fan of their music, but they had a message that rang true.

Later, he would go on to write poetry, star in movies, and then he started doing spoken word tours. Basically, he stands before an audience and mouths off about his opinions on things for two to three hours, but he's a very smart man, and his opinions are backed up by good data...which is very important!!! He has a very in your face style that I like. He refuses to accept anything without a challenge, and for that I admire him. In some ways, I reflect his attitudes, but my actions don't always follow my attitudes. Perhaps I've been too beaten down by the system, or perhaps I haven't yet found the courage to really express myself as I would like. Of course, he also has some money...and that can go a long way in our society.

These days, a lot of punks think that he's sold out because he does Hollywood movies and has his own talk show on IFC...but being punk (or a rebel of any kind) is about more than dressing a certain way, or wearing your hair a certain way. It's about having the heart and courage to really stand up for the things that you believe in...and actually believing in them in your heart...not just believing them because the rest of your clique does.

So, here are some Henry excerpts...

Friday, August 17, 2007


I just bought my tickets for the Henry Rollins show. October 23rd at the Paramount here in Denver. I saw him a couple of years ago, and it was a great show. I'm definitely looking forward to this one!

Books, books, and more books

For some reason of late, I've been getting a lot of e-mails asking me about my books...not the ones I've written, but rather the ones I own. People have wanted to know what I've read, what subjects interest me, how many books I own...and so on.

So, rather than going into detailed answers, I figured I'd post pictures of my bookshelves. They're raw, and you can't read some of the titles, but I figured it was worth posting...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

No more slush piles!!!!

I just replied to the last manuscript in the multitude of slush piles that I had to read through! That's such a great feeling. Granted, tomorrow morning when I open my e-mails, I'm sure there will be more stories to read, but for now, I'm telling myself that the piles are empty...

Where's the Ethanol???

We've been hearing a lot lately about ethanol. Prices on just about everything we buy have gone up as corn production is diverted to fuel production and farmers change over from wheat and other crops to produce corn. There is, of course, a "trickle down" in all of this as meat prices go up because farmers can't use corn to feed their livestock... my question is, where is the ethanol? I haven't seen ethanol stations popping up, and I haven't seen ethanol at my corner gas station. Granted I don't get out much, and I'm sure ethanol is being pumped at some stations...but shouldn't we be seeing a lot more of it, given what we're spending on food items?

In some ways, the whole ethanol thing is a bit of a scam. Yes, it is a good alternative fuel, but when the scientists were first giving ideas for alternative fuel sources, they listed ethanol as one of many that used together could cut down on our oil dependence...but politicians simply ran with ethanol. I don't know for sure, but my best guess would be that it was politicians from corn states that really pushed ethanol through, basically ignoring the other natural fuel sources.

I can remember when I was a kid we had the energy crisis, and at that time, people were talking about alternative energy sources, but then we elected Reagan and Papa Bush, and senators and representatives that belonged to the oil companies, and the whole idea of alternative fuel sources became something associated with tree huggers and other smelly hippies. As a result of our short-sightedness (pretty typical of modern America) we now find ourselves facing rising fuel costs, catastrophic damage to the environment, and terrorists that have been funded by our insane need for oil.

We need to stop doing things the old way, and try to find a better way...for starters, we need to develop other alternative fuel sources in addition to ethanol. And if we're going to be paying higher prices for food, can we at least know where we can get ethanol????

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More about vile atheists like me...

This is a pretty good video that shows just what a group of vile people atheists really are...

For those of you new to my blog...I tend to be a bit of a sarcastic SOB at times...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm going to Mars

Well, not really...but my name is. This weekend, NASA launched a new probe to the red planet. Included was a small optical disk that includes a number of stories and books about the red planet, including The Martian Chronicles and Green Mars. Also included on the disk were the names of every member of the Planetary Society, which includes my name is going, even if I'm not. Now let's just hope that it's part of the 33% of probes that actually manage to land.

My hope is that by the next time they do something like this, I'll have a Mars story that's worthy of making the is, after all, one of my favorite subjects to write about.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

American Dream

Update for August 4th

It's been a busy week, so sorry I haven't been around much. Obviously the crappy job has kept me busy, but this week I also had to get the updates posted on the Sam's Dot site, and I fell behind and had to do a rush job over the last couple of days of July. For those of you that have submitted to zines I edit, I hope to get through the slush piles in the next couple of days.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday morning about luck. Her boyfriend is currently serving in Baghdad in our "liberation" of the Iraqi people. Almost a week ago, she'd been talking to him when he suddenly told her he had to get off the phone...and of course, no, he couldn't tell her why. He was finally able to call her yesterday to let her know that several guys in his company had been killed by an IED. So she was understandably upset about this, but being the good girlfriend that she is, she wouldn't let him know. He has enough to worry about without having to worry about of course, as one of her best friends, I was left to try to help hold her together.

We ended up talking about the roll luck plays in our lives. I'm a huge believer that things don't happen for a reason, rather, they just happen. It was just his luck that he wasn't the one out there when the IED went off. I couldn't have asked for a better illustration of my view then what happened last night. Several of us went out to eat, and then we went to the local Barnes & Noble. As she and I were headed back towards my place, we found the road being blocked off by the police because of what was obviously a serious accident. There were several police cars, an ambulance, and several firetrucks. Obviously something big had happened.

I found out this morning that an SUV had been broadsided by a drunk driver. As the SUV rolled, a ten year old boy was thrown to his death. Ten minutes earlier, and we would have been right there as it happened. Was it fate that we avoided the accident? No, just stupid luck.

As we took the long way home, we got to talking about the idea of predicting people's behavior, and I of course brought up Asimov's psychohistory, which I really think is a possible science of the future. Of course, I think it will be able to predict the futures of humanity, but not necessarily of a single human...because the plain and simple truth is that the individual doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Had Hitler been killed, would the Nazi movement have fizzled? I don't think so. Instead, we would be reading about similar events in history, but maybe it would be Himmler, or one of the other Nazis we'd be reading about. German society was ripe for the picking of the Nazi movement, and I think things would have been the same with or without Hitler. Sure, the actual events of World War II wouldn't be exactly the same, but they would be very similar.

By the same token, I think that had Dubya not been running for president, we still probably would have ended up with a neocon in office, with the same agenda that Bush has. Maybe it would have been Cheney, or maybe it would have been someone else, but we would still find ourselves in the same screwed up situation we're in right now. Again the names and events might be slightly different, but the situation would be very much the same.

I've rambled enough...