Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Final Countdown Is on!

Well, we're into the home stretch now. Less than 20 hours until the official start of Spring Break! (Actually, more like 17 hours, since I get out of class at 2:00). It's gonna be an easy ride from here on out. All of my midterms are over and done with (the ones before break, anyway), and my study abroad application is finished. Just need to hand it in tomorrow morning and it's over and done with. Hopefully I'll be blogging from Austria next semester!

It's pretty quiet around here tonight, what with nothing to do and all. Heck, my roommate actuallty went home yesterday! (Don't ask how that worked out, I have no idea.) Actually, this was pretty good. I was able to do something that I really haven't been able to do all semester: write more of Justice Delayed! I finished up one section and started the first part of the next section. I'm up to a hairsbreadth under 12,000 words, and I'm just now getting into the real meat of the plot. This sucker's gonna be epic!

So, on a different note...

iTunes is annoying me. Not the player itself, mind you. That works great (and has quickly trumped WMP as my default player). No, what's annoying me is the iTunes store. For some reason, I can't access it. Every time I try, it says that it couldn't access the iTunes store because the session keeps timing out. Ever single time, it does this. Which is annoying, because I have a list of songs and TV show episoded (Top Gear, of course) that I want to buy and a gift card that is very quickly becoming all but useless. Oy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still Here

Sorry that the posts have been few and far between recently. It's been crazy as heck this week. Between midterms and trying to find a faculty reference for my study abroad application, I've been all but swamped. Too bad, because a lot of stuff has happened in the world that needs to be blogged about.

Fortunately, next week is Spring Break, so the posting rate should be back to normal soon.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Socks, former Clinton cat, put to sleep

This is news?

No, seriously. This is really important news? #2 on CNN's Top Ten?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

With all the crap going on the world right now, they give a 300 word obituary to a dead cat, just because he belonged to an ex-President? Are you [censored] kidding me? Most humans don't get obits that are half that long! What the heck is wrong with you, CNN?

Oh, if for some reason you want to, you can read all about it here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What I Learned Tonight

Tonight, I learned about the genocide that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. I did not learn about it from the media or from an advocate for the UN or some other organization. No, I learned about it from a survivor of the genocide, Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo, who experienced the horrific 100 days firsthand.

I learned that the roots of the genocide went as far back as the 1930s, when Belgium took control of the country. I learned that it was they who first drove the wedge between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples, who before this had co-existed peacefully for centuries. I learned that the genocide was openly encouraged and even planned and directed by the government. I learned that the United Nations knew full well what was happening but did nothing to stop it.

I learned what evil truly is. I learned that evil is 1,000,000 innocent men, women, and children murdered – butchered – in 100 days. I learned that evil is a government who plans to systematically execute an entire tribe of people simply because they exist. I learned that evil is the rounding up of people into groups numbering in the thousands so that they could be slaughtered with grenades and machine guns and then finished off with machetes. I learned that evil is the using of rape as a condoned, encouraged tool in warfare.

I learned that Edmund Burke was right. He once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The United Nations knew full well what was happening in Rwanda. They were fully briefed on the situation. They had the manpower, they had the means, they had the support, they had the firepower to stop the killing, and yet the leaders chose to place their own self-serving political agendas first and pretended nothing was happening. How can people like that then dare to call themselves good?

I also learned that God does still work miracles. I learned that Bishop Alexis faced death on an almost daily basis, and God intervened every time. I learned that even the heads of the Rwandan government tried to have him killed, and yet God spared him. And I learned that God was with him: every time the situation was desperate and he became hopeless, God literally spoke to him and renewed his hope.

I learned that forgiveness is truly possible. I learned that over the last 15 years, reconciliation has been the top priority in Rwanda. I learned that Hutus and Tutsis are working together, side by side, to help the country heal. I learned that a man can truly forgive the people who butchered his mother, father, sisters, brothers, and friends. I learned that he could forgive them of the debts they owed to him and to reconcile himself with them.

I learned that in spite of all of the tragedy, there is still good in the word.

Need Your Prayers

I just found out that my theology professor's elderly aunt passed away. She'd suffered a fall last night and was in the hospital. He has to fly out to California next week for the funeral.

Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taking the Plunge, Part 2

Well, I think I've gotten my entire music collection imported to iTunes (not sure as I had to stop after 11:00 last night). So far, I've only listened to a few songs, and I have to say I like it. In fact, I may even like it more than Media Player. It boots up faster than Media Player, loads each song faster than Media Player, doesn't freeze up for a second lime Media Player will do every so often and (maybe this is just me) it sounds better than Media Player too.

The only thing I like better about Media Player is the way it organizes Music. iTunes, no matter how you have it set, always seems to want to organize songs by Artist, which means if you have, say, fifteen songs on an album that's each by a different artist, you'll get fifteen different files of that album, each with a different artist in the file. Kind of annoying if you're looking for a specific song.

I'm gonna try out the iTunes store next. So far, so good (though it took 4 tries to connect). Let you know how that turns out. I understand that they now sell episodes of TV shows. Wonder if that includes Top Gear...


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Taking the Plunge

Okay, long story short, my last article for the school newspaper got recognized for outstanding work and I won a $15 iTunes gift card. Unfortunately, I didn't have iTunes, so such a card was worthless to me. Until recently, that is.

Yep, I took the plunge and downloaded iTunes. Looks pretty good so far, only I made one possible mistake: I had it convert my entire music collection into whatever proprietary format Apple uses. And I have several dozen CDs worth of music on my laptop.

This is gonna take a while.

Anyway, I'll post my initial thoughts later this week (very busy still), once iTunes finishes converting my library. Which, at the rate it's going, should hopefully be within the next 24 hours.

Escape From City 17, Part 1

Holy Cow!

Would you believe that they made this for less than $500? Wow!

I can't wait for Part 2!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Reagan vs. Obama

Listen to this. Really listen to it. And think about it. Really think about what Obama is saying.

"Break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution."

Scary, isn't it?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Guys, I hope you do something really sweet for your valentine this year. Ladies, I hope your valentine gets you something really special. And I hope whatever happens, your plans work out great.

As for me, I'll be spending some quality time in bed with my little Natalya.

By the way, "Natalya" is my Russian History textbook. (So get your minds out of the gutter already) I've got the mother of all history tests on Monday. I'm not kidding; were talking pre-Mongol Russia to Tsar Peter the Great, 20+ chapters, 1200+ years of material.

That's why I haven't been posting much lately, this past week is when the first round of tests and papers came due. Fun. Gonna be a long weekend.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spidey Cat!

Spidey Cat! Spidey Cat! Does whatever a Spidey... uh... dangit! Forget it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Obama Expands Security Council

Check this out.

Obama wants to "expand the membership of the National Security Council and increase its authority to set strategy on a wide range of domestic and international issues."

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Domestic issues? The Security Council was created, as the article points out, to advise the president on military and diplomatic issues. Both of which fall into the category of FOREIGN AFFAIRS. The National Security Council was never meant to oversee and advise on domestic affairs, but now Obama wants to change that stance, for purposes that he can't/won't disclose.

This raises a few questions:

  1. Why does Obama want to expand the Council? As a follow-up, who does he want to add?
  2. What sort of "domestic issues" would the Council address? As a follow-up, how do issues like energy and climate change relate to National Security?
  3. How much authority would this new Security Council be given, and over what?
  4. Who will oversee the Council?
This move, for me, seems very similar to his call to create a Civilian National Security Force from a few months ago. Again, the question is why? Why create a superpowerful, seemingly autonomous entity to handle "domestic" issues? What is Obama aiming to accomplish that he can't do via normal, Constitutional channels? Again, the only answers that I can come up with are genuinely frightening.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Last Great President

Ronald Wilson Reagan

40th President of the United States of America


Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Chance

It’s your sophomore year, a Tuesday morning, just about 8:20. You’re in the dining hall, just finished breakfast, on your way to get rid of your tray and you have to hurry because you’ve got class in less than ten minutes and there’s no way in heck you can be late. Then you see her. She’s a sophomore too, though due to various events in your not-so-distant past that you’d rather not discuss, you’re over a year older than her. You’ve know her for the last year and a half (heck, she was in half of your classes last year), and she’s always been a friend. But right now you’re struck by just how beautiful she is, and for a split second you wonder if she might be the one.

You walk over. She says hi. You stammer back a hello. She asks what’s wrong. You stammer incoherently for a moment before finally gathering the courage to ask if she wants to go to dinner with you. She laughs quietly, asks if you’re serious. You tell her you are. She says she’d love to. You go out that weekend.

It’s your senior year. You’ve been dating her for the last two years. Graduation is coming up soon, and you’re scared to death. Not because of exams, of course; that’s all old hat by now. You’re scared because of what you’ve been planning for the last month. As luck would have it, both of you are in the same class together, and even better, she understands the material and you’ve been struggling with it. There’s an exam coming up, so you call her up and ask her to meet you in the library. She agrees. You’re already there, sweating bullets. You spot her walking in a moment later, and the butterflies in your stomach start flying around again. She walks up and asks you what you need help with. Instead, you pull the box out of your pocket and get on your knee. Her hands fly to her mouth. You open the box, and watch as her eyes fix on the diamond. You ask her. She says yes. The place goes wild.

It’s a year after graduation. The two of you are renting an apartment together. You both found jobs straight out of school: she’s a lab technician at a local pharmaceutical company, and you’re a technical writer for a nearby software firm. You’ve also been working on a novel for the past few months. But none of that matters right now. Right now, all that matters is her, a vision in white walking down the aisle towards you. She reaches the altar, and the minister leads her in her vows. You never remember reciting yours, but everyone says that you didn’t make a mistake. You slip on her finger, your eyes never leaving hers. The minister says the words, and you pull her into your arms and kiss her. Husband and wife at last.

It’s three years after your wedding. You’ve both been promoted and have your own little group of staffers working under you. Your novel was published a year earlier to rave reviews, and you’ve got a multi-book contract with your publisher. It’s your birthday. She says she has a surprise for you. She hands you a box covered in wrapping paper and tied with ribbon. You carefully untie the bow and slit open the wrapping paper, sliding out an old shoe box. More curious than ever, you flip open the box. Inside are a baby’s nightgown, bonnet, and a pair of baby bootees. It takes you a full fifteen seconds to figure it out, and then you throw your arms around her and bury her in a passionate kiss.

It’s six months after your birthday. It was a rough pregnancy; she was taking medications to keep from going into labor and was actually bedridden for the last month. Even now, it’s still three weeks early. You’re dressed in medical scrubs, holding onto her hand as she desperately pushes the baby out. In the last two hours, she’s called you names that would make sailors and Marines quiver in their boots, and you’ve begun questioning whether or not she’s going to let you live after this, because it’s you’re fault she’s in such pain in the first place. Another contraction hits, and she squeezes your hand so hard that you think you feel something break. And then you hear it; the quiet wails of a newborn taking its first breaths. The doctors suction the mouth and nose, clean it up a little bit, then hand it to her. Her anger is suddenly gone, replaced by an overwhelming joy as the doctor hands her her newborn daughter. Your newborn daughter.

It’s eighteen years after your daughter was born. You quit your job over a decade ago and are now a full-time novelist. She's just been promoted to Vice President of her company. It’s your daughter's high school graduation. As you watch your daughter walk across the stage to receive her diploma, you can’t help but marvel at how fast the last few years have gone by. Seems like just yesterday your little girl was learning how to walk. Then your not-so-little girl started bringing boyfriends home. Most were decent, but there were a few troublemakers. You set them straight pretty quick, though (Amazing what watching the father cleaning a shotgun will do to most boys’ attitudes) A dull roar brings you back to reality, and you watch as your daughter’s graduating class tosses their hats in the air. As you scan the crowd, she reaches over and kisses you on the lips, marveling with you on how fast the time has gone.

“Hey there.”

Her voice snaps you out of your daydream, and you turn and look as she walks past, giving you a shy wave. You wave back, then start towards the washroom again. You glance at your watch and curse, not realizing you may have just missed your only chance.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow Day, Part 2

It snowed again last night. Not sure on the total, but it was definitely at least four to six inches. It was so bad that all classes before 10:00 were canceled, and the paths around campus are still really bad tonight. I suspect (though I'm not banking on it) that there might be a delay tomorrow, too.

This is the second big storm to hit the area in a week. We've gotten more snow in the last two weeks than we've had in the last two years. This is also the coldest winter on record, or at least in a very long time. I've lived here pretty much my whole life, and I don't ever remember it being this cold before.

Global warming, my @$$.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Yeah, it's my 300th post. Yeah, that was totally cliche. No, I don't care.

Daschle is Out

This just in: Tom Daschle Withdraws Nomination for Secratary of Health and Human Services.

Apparently, the guy owes the IRS more than $130,000 in unpaid taxes. And he didn't really withdraw voluntarily either: political pressure forced him to quit.

Now, my only question is this: Why is one potential cabinet member forced to resign for not paying taxes, but others are allowed in? Heck, the bloody Secretary of Treasury, the guy who runs the IRS, owes back taxes!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Do I detect a case of selective standards and ethics being applied here?