Human Sacrifices

The Binary Circumstance writes about Andrew Sullivan‘s link to a memorial site for a fallen soldier.

All these teenage boys, still at the beginning of their lives, are being taught that their lives are worth less than the flags that they are holding in their hands. That’s sick. It’s child abuse directed at young boys. It’s an insult not just to these children but to all the great men who have used their lives to create all the brilliant inventions that we now take for granted. Which of those young boys would be the next Einstein if they weren’t all being taught to value their lives less than a rag with stripes on it. Will they ever grow to the age when they can see past the insanity of a culture that values male sacrifice more than living males? Will they live to be old enough to see past the insanity of a culture where the elders train their male children for self-sacrifice, just as God trained Jesus?

And later he adds:

The first thing that popped into my mind was Andrew Sullivan’s polite fiction that young men who have been murdered by mystical, sexist Christian cultural values are heros. While a lot of people might say they are heros, most of us know they are just dead. Dead boys can’t be heros; they can’t be anything. They no longer exist.

Don Quixote praises another human sacrifice:

Why the US Military is the Best in the World

It is not our technology, impressive as our equipment may be. It is not our spending, even if we are willing to spend more in total and per capita than any other free country in the world. It is because of our brave volunteer soldiers who are willing to put their lives in danger for the rest of us.

[...]

May God be with you Sergeant Major. And many thanks to all our brave soldiers for putting their lives on the line to make the world a safer place.

(Note: The world is a safer place because someone just died?)

Michael Feldman points to a new news story about the German Cannibal Case.

Mr Meiwes’s most remarkable fantasies are not sexual or culinary but megalomaniacal.

He tells Joerg that cannibalism should be propagated as a form of development aid: “We could solve the problem of over-population and famine at a stroke.”

Despite the evidence, court observers see the case tilting slightly towards Mr Meiwes.

The internet transcripts reveal a man uninterested in killing, only in eating freshly slaughtered people. The prosecution has to prove that the victim, Bernd Brandes, was murdered for sexual motives.

Human Sacrifices

The Binary Circumstance writes about Andrew Sullivan‘s link to a memorial site for a fallen soldier.

All these teenage boys, still at the beginning of their lives, are being taught that their lives are worth less than the flags that they are holding in their hands. That’s sick. It’s child abuse directed at young boys. It’s an insult not just to these children but to all the great men who have used their lives to create all the brilliant inventions that we now take for granted. Which of those young boys would be the next Einstein if they weren’t all being taught to value their lives less than a rag with stripes on it. Will they ever grow to the age when they can see past the insanity of a culture that values male sacrifice more than living males? Will they live to be old enough to see past the insanity of a culture where the elders train their male children for self-sacrifice, just as God trained Jesus?

And later he adds:

The first thing that popped into my mind was Andrew Sullivan’s polite fiction that young men who have been murdered by mystical, sexist Christian cultural values are heros. While a lot of people might say they are heros, most of us know they are just dead. Dead boys can’t be heros; they can’t be anything. They no longer exist.

Don Quixote praises another human sacrifice:

Why the US Military is the Best in the World

It is not our technology, impressive as our equipment may be. It is not our spending, even if we are willing to spend more in total and per capita than any other free country in the world. It is because of our brave volunteer soldiers who are willing to put their lives in danger for the rest of us.

[...]

May God be with you Sergeant Major. And many thanks to all our brave soldiers for putting their lives on the line to make the world a safer place.

(Note: The world is a safer place because someone just died?)

Michael Feldman points to a new news story about the German Cannibal Case.

Mr Meiwes’s most remarkable fantasies are not sexual or culinary but megalomaniacal.

He tells Joerg that cannibalism should be propagated as a form of development aid: “We could solve the problem of over-population and famine at a stroke.”

Despite the evidence, court observers see the case tilting slightly towards Mr Meiwes.

The internet transcripts reveal a man uninterested in killing, only in eating freshly slaughtered people. The prosecution has to prove that the victim, Bernd Brandes, was murdered for sexual motives.

Comparisons of Nations

Brian Weatherson writes a few anecdotes on the quality of public health care systems in Australian and America.

Third, the distribution of coverage in the Australian plan is just what you’d expect from a public system.

It’s pretty good on day-to-day stuff. If you need to see a GP with no appointment, you can see one, usually with not that long a queue, with no co-payment. That was the feature of the system I most liked, and most used, and most miss about my American equivalent. (Note I don’t have that even with a reasonably expensive private health plan.)

It’s world-class on life-and-death matters. Even people with private health insurance will end up in the public system if they have a heart attack or are in a car accident, because at emergency care our public system is better than the private system at these things, and as far as I can tell, is as good as it gets.

Lisa Williams about the Japanese, versus the Americans, with regards to money.

Evan’s family has a tradition: when you cut a newborn’s fingernails for the first time, you are supposed to put a coin or a bill in their little fist as you do it — because doing so will mean that a lot of money will flow through their hands in their lifetime. We westerners love to touch money! A lot! One has to wonder what people in Japan make of scenes in American movies where bank robbers get out their stolen millions and throw it in the air and roll in it…

Michael Lucas-Smith comments on Knight vs. Samurai: Fight!

After reading his essay I’d have to say that a knight in full armor with a shield and a long sword would, in my opinion (and my training in Asian martial arts) beat the Samurai. But if you stripped away the shield, the armor, the Samurai would quickly dispatch his enemy.

Why do I say this generalisation? Well, the mentality of the asian fighter has always been to ‘be the best you can be’, while the european has always been ‘augmentation’. Hence the drastically different armor and the advent of the shield. In fact, in Japan, the ‘ninja’ were outcastes because they employed techniques that augmented their abilities, such as covering their clothing with blood so they appeared to be wounded, putting poison on their arrows and blades, using the classic ‘ninja star’, etc.

Roberto Pazzi writes about what nationality the next Pope should be.

Perhaps, as someone who has devoted two novels to the Vatican, I may be allowed to invent a “what if” scenario. “What if,” then, the new pope were to be Italian? We would surely have in bioethical and sexual matters a more modern and less conservative attitude, more sympathetic to the sufferings of the multitudes in Africa who are scourged by AIDS. To these victims John Paul has obstinately refused contraception, for reasons of principle that risk becoming complicity in what could truly be a mass extermination. It was this refusal in particular that influenced the Nobel judges in Oslo in denying him the peace prize.

But the pope has revealed the same mindset in condemning common-law and gay couples, under the influence of a family model that is more Polish than Italian, and in which sexuality has a single purpose: procreation. The inflexibility of John Paul II, the Pole who forbade abortions for Catholic nuns raped by Bosnian Muslims, recalls the severe Adrian VI, the Dutchman who wanted to destroy Michelangelo’s nudes in the Sistine chapel.

Multiple Forms of Media is called “Multimedia”

Jim Moore writes about the media’s involvement in politics from the side of someone involved in a campaign. His recommendations for better coverage are superb.

What I am more and more experiencing, from the inside of a campaign now, is the extent to which the mass media (1) defines the process of choice for Americans, and (2) trivializes the choices available to folks. The media wants the public to decide what “style” of president they want: folksy, scholarly, patrician, military, rowdy. Now CNN is running a poll on whether or not the media is being “fair” to Dean. Hmmm. I would say this is the Fox running the henhouse–except, of course, this is CNN rather than Fox.

There is almost no discussion in the TV media of other grounds for choice. These might reasonably include (1) the interests that the candidate represents–financial and otherwise, e.g. big oil/oil services and big defense contractors–as expressed in who and how the candidate raises money, (2) the portfolio of issues that the candidate believes are important to work on, (3) the team that the candidate is likely to assemble to address these challenges.

The Black Saint is funnier than you.

SER: Still, though, would you want to live like that?

Kelso: The show’s Tru Calling not Things I’d Want to Happen to Me.

Tony Pierce writes about Captain Kangaroo and having his own children’s show.

being 110 years old has its advantages. for one, i know who captain kangaroo is, and i know what a loss it is for him to have died today.

adios, captain kangaroo. tell mr. greenjeans hi for me.

John at the Movie Blog points to awesome movie reviews of The Butterfly Effect.

“…nobody associated with making this movie can possibly emerge unscathed.”

“In its own ridiculous way, The Butterfly Effect is an entertaining movie…”

Julie Leung on Ted Leung‘s new book: Professional XML Development with Apache Tools.

There’s something about seeing what he’s worked on so long, turned into something tangible on the kitchen countertop, hard copy you can hold in your hands. And such a cute cover too!.

AKMA asks an important question about The Passion.

One point I haven’t seen anyone recognize in the whole brouhaha over whether the Pope blessed Mel Gibson’s film with the words, “It is as it was,” involves the oddity of Gibson seeking papal approval of anything at all. If I understood correctly, Gibson’s father (with support, if not explicit approval from the movie star) holds the position that John Paul II is not the pope at all, is in fact a heretic. If Gibson sympathizes with his dad’s theology, doesn’t it look more than a little grimly crass to seek an endorsement from a heresiarch, just because that figure would be vastly influential?

David Weinberger writes about Return of the King. It’s funny.

I have a small wager with my son. I say that Gollum will be nominated as Best Supporting Actor. He deserves it. So does Sean Astin, but as Best Actor; nominating him for Supporting Actor would confuse his character (Frodo’s support) with his structural role in the movie.

And I will be personally outraged if LongBeard the Ent beats out Viggo Mortensen for the award for Best Acting by an Inanimate Object. IMO, Mortensen was way better, although I realize it’s a topic about which reasonable people can disagree.