Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Well, at least we weren't nuked yesterday.

As a comments post at Houston Indymedia summed up nicely:

Since this warning is now ALL over the internet, the conspirators can't proceed with it -- the mission has been compromised. Thus, when nothing particularly unusual happens here, it will only serve as proof that the conspiracy was correct.

As Ruppert says in "Crossing the Rubicon", if you catch "them" spying on you, it's because they wanted you to catch them. The only real question I have is whether this "warning" was done by some amateur conspiracy theorist or whether it is a state-sponsored psyops operation.

Still, I'll keep my eyes out for any activated nuclear devices, just in case. They can be recognized by the dramatic countdown timer with blinking red lights and a conspicuous beeping sound, I think.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

There's been a lot of autopsy-style analysis in Blogville of Rudy Guiliani's 2008 White House prospects in the wake of Bernie Kerik's spontaneous combustion.

What I am reading from conservatives is that they still think he has a bright future as the party's standard-bearer in a post-Dubya world.


Discounting other brother Jeb (which is easier than ever in this post-Christmas shopping period), Guliani stands a snowball's chance in the Heights if McCain decides to run. The sad fact for sensible, moderate Republicans is that their poster boy Rudy was used like a dishrag by Karl Ro--err, Bush's campaign, and now that his usefulness has ended he's been discarded. There is simply no place in the current permutation of the GOP (read: Southern Christian fundamentalists) for a person with Guiliani's positions.

Besides, Hillary already punked that chump once.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I'm really more an agnostic than I am an atheist, though there are atheists in my family (as well as Deists and Christian fundamentalists for that matter) but the hijacking of Christianity by the Republican party during the last election cycle angered me so much that I got hooked up with (in middle-aged white man parlance, this is defined as subscribing and donating money) the Sojourners folks, and they have a wonderful message that I'm going to excerpt below, titled "Putting Herod back into Christmas":

But this sanitization of the Christmas story is a relatively recent development. It's interesting that before the Victorian era, Christmas songs were much more likely to reflect the reality of Jesus' entry into our world. Carols would not hesitate to refer to the blood and sacrifice of Jesus or the story about Herod slaughtering the innocent children. As an example of the contrast, read through the words of "Away in a Manger." Jesus is the perfect baby, and "No crying he makes...." My guess is that Jesus cried a lot. We know from the gospels that the more Jesus saw of the world in which he lived, the more he mourned and wept regularly. A Jesus who doesn't weep with those who weep, a Jesus who's just a sentimental myth, may be the one that our culture prefers, but that Jesus can do nothing for us.


Another danger of sentimentality is that we tend to lose interest in the parts of the story that are not so comfortable. We smile at the warm cozy nativity scene, but have you ever spent a night in a barn? Or given birth in a barn? The reality is very different. Most scholars suggest that in Luke's account it's not just that the inns were full but that Mary and Joseph were forced to take the barn because their family had rejected them. Joseph has relatives or friends of relatives in Bethlehem. So rather than being received hospitably by family or friends, Joseph and Mary have been shunned. Family and neighbors are declaring their moral outrage at the fact that Joseph would show up on their doorsteps with his pregnant girlfriend.

No sooner have the wise men left the stable then King Herod plots to kill Jesus. He is so determined that he is willing to sacrifice many innocent lives in order to get to this one baby. Herod recognizes something about Jesus that in our sentiment we fail to see: that the birth of this child is a threat to his kingdom, a threat to that kind of domination and rule. Jesus challenges the very power structures of this evil age. Herod has all the male infants in Bethlehem murdered. Not so cozy. This is the Jesus who entered the bloody history of Israel, and the human race.

But we don't want to think about Herod. Van Horn calls him the "Ebenezer Scrooge without the conversion, the Grinch without a change of heart." We Christians like to talk about putting Christ back into Christmas, but let's not forget to put Herod back into Christmas.

Herod represents the dark side of the gospel. He reminds us that Jesus didn't enter a world of sparkly Christmas cards or a world of warm spiritual sentiment. Jesus enters a world of real pain, of serious dysfunction, a world of brokenness and political oppression. Jesus was born an outcast, a homeless person, a refugee, and finally he becomes a victim to the powers that be. Jesus is the perfect savior for outcasts, refugees, and nobodies. That's how the church is described in scripture time and time again - not as the best and the brightest - but those who in their weakness become a sign for the world of the wisdom and power of God.

The full message is here.

Merry Christmas. And Happy Holidays as well.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

That Rockets loss to the Charlotte Bobcats last night was as bad a game as they have played this year.

Except for a bright spot or two, I predict the Rockets are going to be nothing short of disgraceful this season.

And it was not so long ago I remember Jeff Van Gundy had all the mojo working for him when he arrived. New coach, new arena, new big man -- things were really looking good. In fact, Van Gundy's clout was the reason there was no place left for Rudy T when he got well; VG didn't want the iconic coach with two championships looking over his shoulder. Then came the gradual disintegration of his relationship with Stevie Franchise (to be fair, the marriage wasn't strengthened when Stevie skipped a practice to go the Super Bowl). Ultimately, though, that JVG just didn't like him -- din't like his slightly-out-of-control style, didn't like his decison-making, especially at the end of some games, and probably just didn't like him personally -- is what got him traded. And look how Francis, Mobley, and even Cato (before he was injured) have thrived in a run-and-gun offense in Orlando. Again, just to be even-handed, a rejuvenated Grant Hill could have a little something to do with their success.

But after just a season and a half, the pendulum has swung. VG's "system" still doesn't seem to be working even with T-Mac playing beside Yao. Yao in fact has taken a step or two backwards this year (which may or may not be JVG's fault). The real problem is that there's no one -- absolutely no one -- on the roster besides those two the Rockets can trade to get better.

Even Eddie Griffin is making their personnel decisions look bad. Which is to say that almost all of this is actually Carroll Dawson's heat to fade, but he's been part of the organization for so long I can't see him getting axed. And no matter how bad they play the rest of the season, JVG won't be fired because the Rockets can't afford to cut and run from their 'strategery' after two seasons.

Juwan Howard or Jim Jackson or Bob Sura or Maurice Taylor or someone is going to have to step up their play.

Of course, there's always the indomitable Scott Padgett...

Friday, December 10, 2004

From ESPN:

Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Tampa, Fla., were selected as the four finalists for the 2009 Super Bowl.

The four were recommended by a committee of owners at a meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday. One of the four will be chosen as host by the league's owners next May.

This season's game will be played Feb. 6, 2005, in Jacksonville, Fla. The 2006 game will be in Detroit, with Miami host for the 2007 game and Phoenix in 2008.
Those other three are certainly fine, fun cities with wonderful people (well, maybe not Miami and I don't think they're seriously in the running for '09 anyway since they are hosting in '07, because would the NFL dare give any city the Supe twice in three years?), but the simple truth is:

Houston gave the world Janet Jackson's nipple (guard).

And isn't that the kind of entertainment we all, deep down, really want?

If you expect more than just football and erectile dysfunction commercials on Super Sunday; if your family craves gratuitous nudity followed immediately by the blinding irony of howling, sputtering conservative (faux) outrage, then you want the Super Bowl in Houston.

Admit it. You know that's what you want.

What you reallyreally want.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Is the noose tightening around the neck of the Imperial Bugman, La Cucaracha Grande de Tejas, the self-proclaimed "Federal Government", Tom DeLay?

Or will he manage to scuttle back under the baseboards (again)?

The Stakeholder has the story:

A company that made a $50,000 contribution to a Republican political action committee has agreed to cooperate with a state investigation into possible illegal campaign contributions in exchange for the dismissal of charges against it, according to a motion approved by a judge Thursday.

Diversified Collections Services, Inc. was one of eight corporations accused of giving a total of $190,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority during the 2002 legislative campaign. The use of corporate money for political purposes is illegal in Texas.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said in the motion to dismiss that the company agreed to cooperate with the state "in its prosecution of any other indicted person for any offense related to the corporate contribution."

Three associates of Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay also have been indicted in the ongoing investigation.

One can only hope that the captured canaries at Diversified Collections will actually sing enough to nail our Dear Majority Leader once and for all.