Sunday, June 29, 2008

If the Catholic Church really wants to protect and promote heterosexual marriage

One way they could do so is to return the phone calls of heterosexuals who call them to ask what they need to do to get married. Just a suggestion. Though I'm sure fighting against gay marriage is also a really good way.

Tips for stalkers

I came across this website today, ZabaSearch. It's useful for cyber-stalking people whose names are so common they are un-googleable. It's not perfect--the free search doesn't give out my current address, for example, but it does have my last several addresses and names several of my family members. It is fairly creepy. You can also get e-mail alerts when someone searches for you.

The weirdest part of the site is that you can check to see if anyone has left a message for you on the web. For example, someone the following message for me:

Hello, i am looking for the biological father of [John Panda], now John _____ born in ___, 19__. If you know someone or are someone who could provide assistance please e-mail me.

It's odd.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sometimes I love George Will

George Will, a very smart, conservative columnist with whom I usually disagree, has written a good piece on McCain's reaction to the Supreme Court's recent decision in Boumedienne. In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that detainees at Guantanamo are entitled to seek habeas corpus review (basically, to ask the government to either release them or show, through fair legal processes, why they should be kept in prison).

McCain says this is "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." George Will points out, among other things, that

(1) there have been many decisions far worse, so stop being ridiculous.

(2) this decision DOES NOT LET ANYONE OUT OF PRISON, so stop being ridiculous.

(3) if you're supposed to be a conservative, maybe you should have a little more respect for a right that has been at the heart of the centuries-long struggle to constrain governments.

Read it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I don't understand online flight check-in

On most airlines, you can now check in online for your flight up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. I thought checking in was a way of telling the airline, "I have arrived at the airport, and I am a mere few hundred yards away from the gate. My plans have not changed, and I have not been delayed by traffic. Rest assured, I will be ready to board that plane when my row number is called. So please do not give my seat to a standby passenger." Those are not things you can confidently tell the airline the day before your flight. Am I missing something, or does online check-in largely defeat the purpose of checking in?

Monday, June 02, 2008

How I spend my time

I've been spending a fair amount of time commenting/arguing on internet forums lately, and this makes me laugh.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

John Hagee

In light of keychainfroggy's recent post on inflammatory pastors, I thought I'd post this.

For those who don't know, John Hagee is the pastor of a large megachurch and the head of an televangelism company that broadcasts his sermons across the world. John McCain sought his endorsement and got it, but later rejected it when some of Hagee's more controversial statements about Catholicism and Judaism came to light. The quiz keychainfroggy posted describes him as follows:

Rev. John Hagee -Your friends think you’re pretty intense, but as far as you’re concerned, Hitler was a hunter who was sent by God to hunt down the Jews and send them running to Israel. Additionally, you think the Catholic Church is a “great whore,” though it’s not clear whether you mean “big whore,” or “very skilled and attractive yet reasonably priced whore.”

Anyway, I recently realized that John Hagee's Cornerstone megachurch is about 10 minutes away from my house, so naturally, I decided to go. The church was enormous, and it seemed more like a modern concert hall than anything else. Everyone was super-nice; I think about 17 people shook my hand on the way in. There was singing for what seemed like forever (very good singers, lame lite-pop-style music). Then John Hagee spoke. The sermon was fine, but disappointingly innocuous for someone interested in controversy; the topic was "Stop worrying." There was one line that was questionable, where he seemed to suggest that the Jews made a career of worrying because they wandered in the desert for 40 years, whereas Jesus was more of a problem-solver because he only did so for 40 days. Other than that, pretty inoffensive.

But when I got to my car, I noticed someone had placed some flyers and newsletters on my windshield from this guy, who believes the Pope and the U.S. are part of a Satanic conspiracy. (One contained this headline: "Evil International Roman Catholic Government Agents Are Claiming To Be United States of America Government Agents.") I guess he thought Hagee's church members would be a friendly audience.

Also, here's a story from a reporter who went undercover at a Cornerstone retreat, and it was way more interesting than my experience.