Death Cab for Cutie

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Death Cab for Cutie is a strange band for me. I don’t ever recall a band that I’ve listened to so regularly for so long. The CD changer in my car has rarely been without at least one of their CDs over the last 3 years.

They seem to hit almost every criteria for music I like. They’re not the best at any one of them, but the combination is amazing. They’re poppy, very melodic, have epic songs that only sound right when listening to the whole thing and a great singer (Ben Gibbard).

Check them out if you like any of those things. Even though I don’t really listen to lyrics myself I’m told he tells some good stories in the songs.

www.deathcabforcutie.com

Intelligent Design

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I’m pretty new to this subject. I found the article below fairly interesting, although the author is definitely biased in one direction.

I learned something new from it though. I.D. is not pushing the “earth was created in 6 days” theory.

Why intelligent design isn’t

I have never put too much effort into investigating these different theories, mostly because it will take a lot to shake me from my current beliefs, which are pretty open. While I lean heavily towards there not being a “supreme being” who started the universe I can’t discount the possibility until someone can put forward a plausible theory for what actually started it. Given that I’d need some kind of evidence either way, and that isn’t likely within my lifetime, I don’t really care. There’s no use stressing out about it, and there’s especially no use fighting over half-baked theories, none of which have any way of being proven correct in the near future.

Simplicity. It sure helps keep life in perspective.

The Go! Team

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The Go! Team is a great band I’ve been listening to lately. They’re a little hard to describe but are poppy, use sampling intelligently and sometimes remind me of old-school surf-rock. The music seems somewhat simple on a first listen but after that the complexity becomes really clear.

Check them out The Go! Team and a review Pitchfork review

Need more proof that Fox is Rebublican?

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In an interview with some Republican over the judges/fillibuster thing, Fox anchor David Asman (who I’ve never heard of before, fortunately) said: “So, Senator, if we should have done it and if we had the votes to do it in the Senate — if you guys in the Republican Party did — then why did you need a compromise?”

Fox Freudian slip

Nice. I know most people don’t care that western media has become a hooker for the highest bidder, but I’ll keep wearing my “Faux News” shirt proudly. I love the looks and comments I get. I especially love when someone sees it, thinks it says “Fox News” at first, and starts saying “Oh, hey, Fox…” then trails off as they realize what it says.

Phew. Canada is saved again.

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Yay. The Liberal party minority government has narrowly survived a no-confidence vote to bring down the government. This was brought up by the Conservative party.

Now, I do need to reiterate for non-Canadians, especially those people living with me below the Canadian border, that the Canadian Conservative party is not as scary as the American Republican party. They’re more equivalent to the Democrats in the US.

However, having said that it still would be scary if the Conservative party were to win. The leader of this party had said some scary things over the years, saying he’d like to tear down the public health care system, etc. See In Their Own Words

We can all breathe a big sigh of relief now :)

The good news, the bad news, and the…

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Today is a strange news day. Hard to say if it’s positive or negative, since there’s a lot of both.

On the good side you’ve got:
Bill Gates adding another $250M to his global “health initiative”
Another waste of time off television

On the bad side you’ve got:
A non-Fox news organization making stuff up

And in the strange-and-ironic section:
Kuwait finally grants voting rights to Women – So, the US will send it’s army around the world to “liberate a country” but let them continue to oppress women, but then they’ll make up stories to justify invading to “give liberty” to a nearby country, to stop the oppression. If the US were ever to invade Canada I guess it would make it somewhat more acceptable if it could keep allowing gay marriage and smoking pot… actually, maybe not.

News on television will always suck

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Useful and intelligent news has long been co-opted on television by a higher power: ratings. That’s nothing new, of course. Most people seem to realize this, but for some reason they still watch.

I was reminded of this tonight by a news commercial that said, to scenes of masked men with guns running around, “Are you prepared to survive a hostage situation? Find out tonight at 11.” Ok. How many hostage situations are there in North America per year? A handful? Even if it was a few handfulls that still doesn’t justify trying to scare people into thinking they will be kidnapped or taken hostage.

The purpose of television news is to scare people enough that they stick around until the end of the show to see how to make themselves safe from whatever they pitched at the start of the show. That’s it. They give way more opinion than news. That’s why I like the web so much more as a news source. I can easily ignore the crap, and by using a “trustworthy” news aggregator like google news I hardly ever run into the garbage.

I can still remember my feelings of bewilderment and frustration after Sept 11, 2001, when Fox and CNN news were running stories 24 hours a day like “Are our nuclear reactors safe from attack? No! By taking these steps a terrorist could blow one up…” They were so stuck with a lack of actual facts that they started making stuff up. That’s why I dislike 24 hours news stations so much. The days news can be usefully summarized in about 10 minutes. The other 23 hours and 50 minutes is useless rehashing and making stuff up. And very often the made up part is meant to scare the crap out of people.

I also remember things on TV news like “Something in your kitchen right now has a good chance of giving you cancer. Stay tuned and we’ll tell you later what it is.” Would you trust a doctor that said “You have some terrible disease, but come back for another paid visit and I’ll tell you what it is.” Of course not, so why do people let a news broadcast do it?

God is pro-war

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Wow. I’ve always thought that most religious folks end up burying the good side of their religious tendencies when they are in support of a war. You know, the whole “love thy neighbour, don’t kill people, etc” thing. That seems kind of important in most religions.

Take a look at an article by Jerry Falwell, entitled God is pro-war.

Wow. It’s nicely written, researched and has all kinds of citations in the bible for support. That is the scary part. Seeking out justification for killing innocent people? Proposing that their god is sanctioning their war and the killing of innocent people?

These are the same people labelling the “terrorists” as religious fanatics who are especially dangerous because they use religion as the justification for their actions. These people need to take a hard look in the mirror.

And some people would wonder why I don’t think religion should be a part of politics. All it takes is one screwball like Falwell to start justifying anything with religion and then it all goes to hell quickly – literally, in his case.

Cheers to GE

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Looks like GE is making a big increase in their funding of research into clean energy sources. The CEO gave a press conference to announce this.

He’s also committed to reducing GEs emissions.

May just be lip-service, but anything is better than nothing at this point.

Why does the “religious right” bother me?

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For most of the last several years I’ve been fairly ambivalent towards western religions. In general I don’t really care because it doesn’t affect me. I do like what are mostly preached as the “high-level goals” of these religions: love thy neighbour, don’t kill people, etc. It would be nice if most of the followers practiced what they had preached to them, but that’s another issue… I don’t mind at all some of the things they’re pushing to promote “family values” since I think “values” in general have deteriorated throughout the West.

What I don’t like with the “religious right” is how they are framing issues that aren’t related to morals as moral issues and family values. I think people in the US are finally backlashing against the lack of values all around them but the “religious right” is exploiting this to frame other issues under this umbrella.

The gay issue is the biggest example of this to me. They’ve now gone to banning gays or lesbians from adopting children and also from taking away current placements from these parents and banning gays from being sperm donors.

The next great recent example, of course, are churches kicking out people who didn’t vote for Bush.

My problem here is that the “religious right” is now taking it upon itself to enforce their own cracked-up version of morality on everyone. Why don’t they first focus on convincing the people who actually show up in their churches to be moral before trying to force it on everyone else? If Baptists, for example, came out and showed that their members have much lower instances of divorce, violent crime, adultery, etc, than the general population I might be willing to take a look at what they’re doing. But don’t legislate changes affecting everyone just because you can’t convince your own members to do what you want.

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