Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2009-2010 NBA Predictions

With the start of the NBA season tonight, here are my pre-season predictions.

Eastern Conference playoff teams:
1. Orlando Magic
2. Boston Celtics
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Chicago Bulls
6. Philadelphia 76ers
7. Detroit Pistons
8. New York Knicks

Western Conference playoff teams:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. Utah Jazz
5. Denver Nuggets
6. Portland Trail Blazers
7. New Orleans Hornets
8. Memphis Grizzlies

Eastern Conference Finals:
Boston Celtics vs Orlando Magic - Orlando wins in 7

Western Conference Finals:
Los Angeles Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs - Lakers win in 5

NBA Championship:
Los Angeles Lakers vs Orlando Magic - Lakers win in 6

Here is your FoxNews loving, Glenn Beck following, face of the Religious Republican Party

Embrace your core voting populous Republicans...this is why I get so frustrated when organized religions attempt to use their influence in the political sphere.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Books 2009-10...Part One- Traditional

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read. People are also surprised that I can read multiple books at the same time. For instance, I usually have a book in each bathroom (right now I have a Salt Lake magazine in one and a Men's Health in another). I typically am reading one book and one or two comic book graphic novels.

Right now I'm reading:
1. Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power by D. Michael Quinn
2. JLA - Deluxe Edition Volume 2 by Grant Morrison
3. Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume.

However, after a recent book reorganization I decided to take the time to establish a book queue and set out my readings for the foreseeable future. If you all have suggestions that I should add to my list please comment and tell me.

Here are the traditional books I've read so far in 2009, followed by the four I plan to finish by the end of 2009.

1. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
2. The Godfather's Revenge - Mark Winegardner
3. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
4. The Wild Within - Paul Rezendes
5. Ethics in America - Lisa Newton
6. Act of Treason - Vince Flynn
7. The Holy Secret - James L. Ferrell
8. The Book of Lies - Brad Meltzer
9. Slavery Attacked: The Abolitionist Crusade - John L. Thomas (Editor)
10. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
11. Man's Search For Meaning - Viktor E. Frankl
12. A Child Called "IT": One Child's Courage to Survive - Dave Pelzer
13. The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family - Dave Pelzer
1. The Measure of a Man - Sidney Poitier
2. Underboss - Peter Haas
3. White Fang - Jack London
4. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

Those should take me through the end of the year. Here is my 2010 Book Queue but are in no particular order:

1. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
2. The Three Musketeers - Alexander Dumas
3. Martin Eden - Jack London
4. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
5. The Prince and the Pauper - Mark Twain
6. A Journey to the Center of the Earth - Jules Verne
7. The Time Machine - HG Wells
8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
9. The Sword of Shannara Trilogy- Terry Brooks
11. Seven Summits - Dick Bass & Frank Wells
12. Live From Death Row - Mumia Abu-Jamal
13. Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop - Fred "Chico" Lager
14. Born to Believe: God, Science and the Origin of Ordinary and Extraordinary Beliefs - Andrew Newberg & Mark Robert Waldman
15. By the Light of the Moon - Dean Koontz
16. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
17. The Tales of Beetle the Bard - JK Rowling
18. The Stand - Stephen King
19. A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir - Donald Worster
20. Columbine - Dave Cullen

Stay tuned for Part 2 when I go over my comic book reading...

Rainn Wilson's Guide to Halloween Pranks

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Religious Freedom and Dallin H Oaks

Before I taint you with my opinion on the issue, please click HERE to go read Elder Oaks talk in its entirety. I guess I would have ignored it completely as I did the homophobic rant of Elder Bruce C Hafen nearly four weeks ago but there seems to be a FoxNews type of push (repeat something frequently enough and the masses will take it as truth) by the LDS hierarchy to solidify their position among their doubting flocks on how to justify their archaic "separate but equal" position targeted at yet another "less valiant" categorization of people.

Let me start off by saying that I really don't think I need to say anything about it (but I will). It speaks volumes by itself. Seeing as how the official position of the LDS Church is political neutrality, Elder Oaks must have been reading from some of those politically neutral books layering the shelves of the Church-owned Deseret Book stores by the most fair and balanced man on the planet, Glenn Beck. Elder Oaks utilizes Brother Beck's argument tactics to a tee.

I realize that disagreeing with Elder Oaks is sure-fire apostasy because it was, of course, Elder Oaks who counseled against criticizing Church leaders and even went so far as to say that "It does not matter that the criticism is true" (Ensign, Feb 1987, 68). Mormon dogma is such that once a leader joins the Quorum of the Twelve or The First Presidency, the herd will generally accept their words as infallible revelation from God's mouth.

Oaks begins under the premise that religious freedom is under attack and targets two main enemies as his oppressors. Gays, atheists...wow, wonderfully predictable. Not to mention that everything he states as a fear of what COULD happen to religious people by liberal gay legislation is exactly what religious people embrace as inspired laws which are currently discriminating AGAINST gay and lesbian citizens. The hypocrisy is astounding...

Another thing, I know I've already blogged on this before but Elder Oaks has brought it up yet again. Have you ever known people that couldn't live without drama and/or crisis in their lives? Well, modern Mormons have a persecution complex. Joseph Smith once said, "I should be like a fish out of water, if I were out of persecutions." I think modern Mormons seek out opportunities to be seen as a persecuted group. It lets them feel connected to their pioneer stories of yesteryear.

And so it is, even in the most obvious of situations, as Mormons again stand so clearly in the wrong, on yet another civil rights issue, we find Elder Oaks trying to convince the flock to see themselves as the oppressed and persecuted. Even funnier, knowing the historical treatment to blacks by the LDS organization, do we find Elder Oaks trying to strike comparisons of current Mormon suffering to "the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South."

The bulk of my frustration is a personal and continuing disappointment in the faith I grew up with. I've decided against going into a point by point dissection of why I disagree with Elder Oaks. Those who know me also know where I stand. To scrutinize his address seems a pointless endeavor, as I have learned from recent Facebook discussions. Most people's minds are already made up on the issues and have no intention of even entertaining new ideas. There are those who are incapable of recognizing any merit in my statements simply because they would refuse to see the content of my dissent and focus rather on my apostate actions in disagreeing with an apostle.

My greater disappointment is that nearly every time I take two steps closer to finding a way to co-exist as an active member and faithful dissident (to steal the name of one of my favorite semi-retired blogs), something like this happens to push me further away. I guess I've been holding to the Christian hope that things will reach resolution instead of reaffirming my doubts and fears about how to maintain good standing in the Church.

"The guarantee of the free exercise of religion..." is how Elder Oaks defines religious freedom. He makes the point frequently that the right to belief has been generally protected but that the right to exercise one's belief is what is being attacked.

I ask again for anyone to answer:

1. Can you give me an example of liberal and/or atheistic legislation that has impeded the conservative religious citizen's ability to exercise their religion?
2. How does allowing two consenting tax-paying citizens to get married affect your ability to exercise your religion?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Some of you have asked the question:

Are you going to post a blog about the recent talk from Dallin H. Oaks delivered at BYU-Idaho?

My answer is...maybe.

I'm waiting until I can do so without causing blood vessels in my brain to explode in frustration. Hopefully it will be soon. In the meantime, I hope you all will enjoy another dose of Jon Stewart discussing H1N1 fear-mongering.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

U.S. Spending Allocations

Bro, my issue with the Republicans is they always knock the Democrats for excessive spending but the facts clearly show that our national debt rises with Republicans. Who knows what it will do under Obama but judging from the mess he inherited, let's just hope it doesn't get worse. I'm not saying he is the "be all, cure all", I'm just saying I like where it is headed. Remember, the auto and banking bail outs were on Bush, not Obama, even if Obama now takes credit for them. If they ever begin to take a turn for the worse, you watch Obama begin to remind everyone that Bush was the one who did it though.

I have no problem supporting responsible military spending. I want to support my vets and current service men and women. But let's look at the data. 44.4% of all taxes go directly to military spending while only 2.2% is invested into the education of the leaders of tomorrow. Even as a die hard red blooded American Marine do you not have issue with spending nearly half of all the collected taxes to fund our military?

Even if you added up all of the collective military spending for every country in Europe, we still spent 28% more than them. Russia, our communist enemies? We spend 10 times what they do on military. Communist China? We spend 6 times more than they do.

If you added up what every country in the world spent on military (except for the United States), they collectively only spent $51 billion dollars more than the United States did.

I'm just asking this: To maintain our dominant status as top dog, do we have to outspend every one by such a large margin? Can we not invest more into education and science?

What I'm really calling for is that our elected officials be more fiscally responsible with the excessively high tax rates we pay. Military spending, in the light of the leadership errors in Iraq, the Cheney inspired Halliburton monopoly and the expensive mercenary branch of the U.S. military (Blackwater or Xe or whatever they change to next), and the 44.4% allotment...it seems the most high profile target. But I'm not just picking on military expenditures.

NASA, for instance. In this time of economic downturn, I find it highly illogical to be spending nearly $80 million in tax payer funding to send a missile into the moon hoping to find evidence of lunar water in the debris. Not only that but let's take some Ron Paul advice on shrinking the unnecessary weight out of our federal government...

If you cannot see either image clearly, just click on each image to visit the site origin to see it in larger print.

U.S. Military Spending vs The Rest of the World

Allocation of our U.S. Tax Dollars - Pie Chart

The Raw Data

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just need to clean out my blog post queue...

Here is just a bunch of random things that I haven't been able to fit in yet.

Did any of you see this hit on Sportscenter?

This is the guy that is adding 50 pages as a preface to Darwin's The Origin of Species. See my friend Jared's blog for details...

Whole Gecko eaten by ants in under 2 minutes (sped up):

JawKneeYeah doing an acoustic parody of Taylor Swift's Love Story:

Barney Frank slaps down a conspiratorial kook at town hall meeting:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More from Captain Lunacy...

Glenn Beck on President Obama's use of the teleprompter (he begins to address it specifically at about the 1:08 mark):

Glenn Beck and HIS use of a teleprompter: