Thursday, September 27, 2007

2 Cartons Of Cigarettes Equal 6 Months in Jail & Vehicular Seizure

Yep. When you bring 2 cartons of cigarettes across the state line into Tennessee the law states you could be penalized with a Class B Misdemeanor resulting in 6 months jail time and/or a $500 dollar fine. Oh, your vehicle becomes seized as well as they are considered contraband. If you bring 25 + cartons over the boarder you could be penalized with a Class E Felony resulting in a 1 year minimum sentence up to 6 years, a $3,000 dollar fine and you still get your vehicle seized.

These laws have been on the books for a while, so why bring them up? They are going to be enforced. Tennessee Department of Revenue has already been scoping out neighboring state's "hot" areas where Tennesseans have been going to buy cigarettes to avoid the .62 cent tax that TN has imposed on tobacco products.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Are state paid workers allowed to travel out of state, steak out a tobacco shop/gas station and call an officer back on the TN side of the border to alert him that a TN tagged car is coming with x amount of cigarette cartons?
-What are your thoughts about this law? Should this law be enforced? Who has the right to decide?
-Does this law affect your tobacco habits?
-What is the purpose of this law being enforced? Would there be a better way of achieving that same purpose?

Bubble Wrap, But Not Really

PuchiPuchi is designed to simulate the look, feel, and sound of popping bubblewrap, perhaps every geek's favorite pastime.
Every 100 "pops" gives you a random sound including "door chime", "barking dog", "sexy voice", the eternal "fart" noise, and more! As an added bonus, among every 1000 pieces is a "puchi lucky" toy with a heart-shaped bubble.

You can buy it here.

Some questions:
-Is it really necessary?
-$60.00: Have they even sold 5 squares of this stuff yet?
-Who would buy this?

Death & Weddings

This past weekend I was at the wedding of a longtime friend of mine who was finally getting married. This wedding took place the day after the funeral of one of our mutual friends who died of heart failure. The night of the wedding, after the reception, one of the groomsmen and his girlfriend were heading back to Kansas City, MO (7 hour drive) and the girlfriend fell asleep at the wheel and he was already out. She was injured and he died. The bride and groom left their honeymoon early to go to the funeral. (This makes 4 dead friends in 7 years).

Some questions:
-How does this affect the couple knowing it was their wedding they were driving back from?
-How do you celebrate your anniversaries knowing that one friend was buried the day before and one friend died the night of?
-Do we take our time here for granted?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, What Say You?

Five youths [black] were being charged today with misdemeanor mob assault in the weekend attack on a 13-year-old boy [white: Damin O'Rourke] in West Ocean View that was captured on video.
Two are 16 years old and the others are 13, 14 and 15, said Officer Chris Amos, a police spokesman. He did not release their names, citing their ages. By the end of the day, he said, investigators will have secured petitions charging the youths as juveniles.

The news report states that it does not appear to be race related, but it cannot be ruled out at this time.

You can read more here.
You can see the beating here.

Some questions:
-Are incidents like this and Jena 6 treated equally amongst both blacks and whites?
-Is justice more important than skin color?
-What are the prejudices that play into how you view the two incidents?
-What do you think would be Jesse Jackson's or Al Sharpton's response to this beating? Should they even comment on it?
-Do you think things would be different if this boy was black? What about if the Jena 6 where white?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Go To Hell Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Hatemonger Mahmoud Ahmadinejad landed in a hornet's nest of outrage yesterday as Columbia University prepared to welcome him with open arms today and stuck by a dean's outrageous assertion that it would let Adolf Hitler speak, too.

You can read more here.
Some questions:
-Why would anyone want anyone to go to Hell? Is there a better response?
-Do you disagree with Columbia University? If so, if you follow that reasoning, where does it lead you?
-What would be some benefits (either directly or indirectly) of allowing Mahmoud to speak?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Death, Urine, Depravity, & Youtube

Shouting, "This is YouTube material!" a 27-year-old British man [Anthony Anderson] urinated on a dying woman [Christine Lakinski] who had collapsed on the street, the BBC and local Hartepool Mail and Northern Echo tell us. He also doused her with a bucket of water and covered her with shaving cream.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What does this say about our moral depravity?
-What would be a fitting punishment for this action?
-What if this was your mother? Your child?

First For Fridays

Here is a picture I took (and edited) from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Be inspired.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Evangelical Outpost Writes On Thompson & Federalism

I was going to add this to the shared items list to the right, but I decided to go a head and post on it as it is a good discussion and I wanted to give it a little more prominence on the site.

Here is a quote from Joe Carter of The Evangelical Outpost concerning his treatment of Laboratories of Liberalism:Fred Thompson and the Inadequacies of Federalism
Sadly, many conservatives--including it appears, Sen. Thompson--assume that federalism is an inherently conservative philosophy. It is not. In fact, federalism can be antithetical to conservatism when applied in the way that Thompson seems to champion. For instance, in an issue of the Fred Thompson Report, he wrote:
Our government, under our Constitution, was established upon the principles of Federalism -- that the federal government would have limited enumerated powers and the rest would be left to the states. It not only prevented tyranny, it just made good sense. States become laboratories for democracy and experiment with different kinds of laws.

I would be curious to know your thoughts on this topic. There has been good discussion on Joe's site already. Just for the record, I would tend to side with Fred's position on the matter and disagree with Joe.

You can read more here.

Every Cool Kid Has One!

Ever wish you had the skills of a cat? Well, this won't do it for you, but it will make you look a little weird and cause your head to vibrate when you get close to something. It's makers claim that it gives you a six sense allowing you to feel objects at a distance as if they were close up. You could maneuver your way through an unlit nature trail or take a stroll in a mine shaft. With this thing on your head, you'll be sure not to bump into anything while doing it. The inventors call it the Haptic Radar / Extended Skin Project. Be sure to check out the links below.

You can read more on it here.

You can watch a video here and here.

Some questions:
-Would you buy one if it was made available?
-What are some real world uses that you could see this invention fulfilling?
-How much do you think would be a reasonable price for it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SAD During The Winter?

The brains of people with seasonal depression may be too efficient at bundling away a key chemical, a new study suggests.

New Scientist has released an article today on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD mainly affects those during the autumn and winter months by inducing a type of depression. This depression can affect a person in variable ways and usually will subside during the spring and summer. Until now, the reasoning behind this phenomena has been a mystery, but there have been speculations as to why this occurs. Now, Matthaeus Willeit and Harald Sitte from the University of Vienna have evidence that the synaptic cleft is being sucked dry too quickly of the neurotransmitters that are responsible for abating depression. Tests were conducted, blood was drawn and "bright light" therapy was administered. The conclusion: In blood taken during winter depression, SAD patients had significantly more removal events per minute than those in the healthy control group – about 350 compared with 200.

So, what does this mean? Scientists now have a starting point in dealing wiht SAD. In some of the patients, the light therapy helped to return their seratonin uptake back to normal levels (like those seen in the spring or summer). So it would seem that light affects this type of depression and would be a viable study to see more research dollars handed its way.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you suffer from SAD?
-What do you find that usually triggers depression or sadness?
-How do you cope with those times?
-Does research like this give you any hope?
-Have you/will you try the bright light therapy?

Acting Like He's White

[Jesse] Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white” in what Jackson said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles’ arrest on attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press.

You can read more here.

A question:
-What's that supposed to mean?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Forced Healthcare For All

[Hillary Clinton] said she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview — like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination," but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress.

Headlined on the Drudge Report.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-According to the article, the only way to ensure that all Americans have health insurance would be to force all Americans to buy it. She rejected the idea of punitive measures to enforce this policy. How then would you enact such a program?
-What are your thoughts on potentially losing a job position because you have a health savings plan and do not carry insurance?
-Do you agree with the policy?
-Does this change your thoughts on Hillary?
-How do you feel about a mandate forcing you to be insured?

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in their area, regional authorities said Monday.

Villagers complained of a "strange odor" and suffered effects such as headaches and vomiting. Even the emergency personel sent in to help became sick and had to be hospitalized.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What do you think would be a logical explanation for the smell and sickness?
-Are there other reports of such things happening on record?
-Is this common occurence for meteor strikes?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Death of a Friend & Trust In God's Goodness

I had a friend die over the weekend. He was found in a hotel room. It appears that it was drug overdose.

I went to his myspace page and read the comments left there for him. Friday one said “Let’s get tore up” and all the ones that followed said things along the lines of, “RIP”, “I am sure our paths will meet again”, “You were a great guy”, “This really hurts, you will be missed”, etc.

This is the guy that introduced me to the youth pastor at FBC Charleston (Dave Martin at the time). The introduction had more to do with buying some speakers from the youth pastor more so than anything church related, but none-the-less, God used it. From here we hung out on occasion but not much interaction took place until he met Jake Smith jr., a new youth pastor at FBC Charleston. At this point, he wanted to make some changes and recommit his life to the Lord. He called me up one day and said he had a dilemma. He said he had a bunch of drug paraphernalia and drugs in his home and he wanted to get rid of them so he would not have those things to tempt him. He said that he knew he was a Christian and has been for a while. He based this off an experience he had in the past more so than scripture. We talked for a while and I called the police to inquire about what we could do in a situation like this. They sent over a cop to pick up and dispose of the items and drugs without any retribution and he was proud of him for wanting to do better with his life. From here he went on mission trips to Texas and Southwest Baptist University and he made mistakes along the way. He struggled with what he knew was right and what his desires wanted him to do. He even came to visit and stay with me for a week at Union University were we spent time hanging out and talking about what God has in store for us. During the summers we would meet up and go down to the bridge around my hometown and shoot fireworks and set off smoke bombs. Over the course of time since my sophomore year in college, he has fallen back into drugs and a lifestyle that he knew was wrong and even spent time in jail for a while.

Sometime within the last year or two, he sent me a myspace message asking for me to add him as a friend and to give him a call at the number he provided. I did and he wanted to catch up and “hear the truth” as he called it. I was always impressed with his personality. He never tried to hide anything. He was who he was and honest was definitely a character trait. No matter how embarrassing it was, he would confess to me he did it. He would also make statements reminiscent of Paul’s statement, “I do the things I don’t want to do, but the things I ought to do I don’t”. After our conversation I thought about the way things used to be and how things have changed. Memories are a good thing, but you can’t live in your memories no matter how much better things seemed at the time.

About 7 months ago or so we had our last conversations together. He called saying that he missed an appointment with his probation officer, lost his job and was afraid that he would turn back to selling drugs and using if he couldn’t find another job soon. He wanted me to pray for him and tell him the truth. We had a good long talk over the phone and I challenged him with what scripture says a Christian is and also prayed that God would use whatever means possible to turn him back to God. After we prayed, he said to me, “j razz, I don’t know that I want you praying for me as God is liable to listen to you and things may happen that I don’t want to happen. But, I know I really need to be right with the Lord… Ah well, take it easy with those prayers.”

I spoke to him once more a couple days later as I called to see how things went with the probation officer. He said that she did not make an issue out of it and he will not be going to jail anytime soon, but he still needed a job or else he was going to have to resort to other methods of bringing in income. I talked to him concerning his responsibility for his actions and what scripture says concerning what a Christian is to be: namely conformed to the image of Christ on a continually ongoing basis. We also prayed together and thanked me for my time. I told him not to be a stranger and if he ever needed anything to give me a call. He said that he would probably call me the next time he knew he needed to hear the truth. I told him he was always welcome to call.

That was the last time I spoke to him and I can’t help but to believe that he is in hell. It does not appear that he persevered and his commitment to the Lord was reminiscent of a 3 dollar fix. I believe that Luke 16:19-31 rings true in this story. If he could come back, he would not want to sit around and play catch up with his buddies or tell them that 4 pills and 3 joints and ______ is just too much when you are already intoxicated. I believe that if he could somehow get a message to those still alive, he would say, “repent, believe in the salvation that only the Lord Jesus the Christ can grant you!” "Turn to Him as He is your only hope of escaping my fate." I believe he would plead with all of his old buddies who he did drugs with to turn their life’s over to the Lord. That would be his heart cry if he were able to come back and speak.

I will miss him and probably wonder if I could have said or did something more that would have made a difference so I would not be writing this today. Of course, God is sovereign and He knows best and to trust Him is comforting in and of itself, but hard at times. Who knows, many could come to faith through the life and death of my friend… God brought me closer to Him through that initial meeting of the youth pastor without my friend ever even knowing it. He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. This too shall be made right.

And We're Off: OJ Is In The Lead On A White Bronco

O.J. Simpson was arrested Sunday on charges related to an armed robbery involving sport memorabilia, police said.
Simpson was arrested shortly after 11 a.m. and is being brought to a
police office, Capt. James Dillon said. Police are still determining charges against Simpson.

This time there was no 25 mph chase involved and no murder.

You can read a little more here.
You can watch O.J. whistle, If I Only Had a Brain here.
You can listen to the robbery here.

Some questions:
-How hard will it be to find a jury who does not know O.J. and have preconceived notions about him?
-What motive do you think O.J. had to do this, if indeed guilt is found?
-What are your thoughts on O.J. as a person?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Raise Them Up In The Way They Should Go

An Australian fundamentalist pastor was sentenced to 8 years in prison due to being found guilty for incest which started when his daughters were 13 and 15 years old respectively.

The man told the court the sex was not about fulfilling his desires but about teaching his daughters how to behave for their husbands when they eventually married, as dictated in scripture.
In sentencing, Judge David Lovell said the misrepresentation of scripture used to justify the abuse of the girls "defied belief", and that he had "hypocritically betrayed" his religion and principles.

The judge stated that he showed a good chance of being rehabilitated and accepted the pastor's guilty pleas. He will be eligible for parele in 4 years. His wife and church still support him.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Should incest be punishable by jail time?
-What are your thoughts concerning the ages of these two girls at the time the incest started; would this be considered rape?
-Why do you think the wife and church would be supportive?
-Would this bar the man from ever holding the office of pastor again?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All Things American On The Way To Being Banned In America

SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. – On the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, students at one high school were not allowed to wear clothes with an American flag.
Under a new school rule, students at Hobbton High School are not allowed to wear items with flags, from any country, including the United States.

The administrators did not want to "pick and choose" which flags were acceptable.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-We live in America. America has a flag. American school children are not allowed to display an American flag?
-When has political correctness overstayed its welcome?
-Should this bother us as Americans? If so, what to do? Call Principal Wesley Johnson at 910.594.0242 to voice your opinion on the matter perhaps? If he isn't available perhaps ask for Dr. Stewart Hobbs the Superintendent?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No Discrimination: Just Kill Somebody, Anybody

"He hates soldiers, and says that the army kills people, so it would be legitimate if he were also to kill someone . . . from the American military - or from its NATO allies," Gremmen said in a telephone interview.
When he failed to find a soldier at the Roosendaal train station, "he got such a crazy, disturbed idea that he killed a civilian," Gremmen said.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What do you think the punishment should be for Carlos Hartmann, a resident of the Netherlands, born in Michigan?
-Should he get off on "psychological"reasons like he probably would here in America?
-In the linked story, he feels sorry for what he has done. Should this have any bearing on his sentencing?
-No gun was involved, an axe to the back of the head was, should we ban axes?
-Is it governments job to ensure things like this do not happen? If not, who's responsibility if anybody's?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Google Earth Has Flight Simulation & Space

I re-discovered Google Earth and all its components -- Google Sky and a nifty a flight simulator. You can get everything you need on the Google Earth site.
Once you have Google Earth installed, I insist that you kill as much time as I did with its built-in flight simulator. Click Control-A to bring up the application and once you've hit ground by wildly stabbing the arrow keys on your keyboard, head for the
Flight Simulator Keyboard Controls page. If you want more help with the fight similar, head for Marco Gallotta's blog.

You can read more and see some screenshots here.

Some questions:
-Have you ever peroused Google Earth?
-What do you think about the flight simulator?
-Did you check out the constellations?
-If you have ever tried Celestia? If so, do you think google earth can catch up?

Can I Get A McSalty Super Sized?

That is what a police officer received when going through the drive through at a McDonald’s in Union City, GA. Kendra Bull, an employee at McDonald’s for 5 months, was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor due to the saltiness of the burger served. When questioned about the burger she stated that she told a co-worker and her supervisor who tried “thumping” off the salt before serving them. She said she didn't know a police officer got one of the salty burgers because she couldn't see the drive-through window from her work area.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Should an over-salted burger result in jail time and charges?
-What would happen if a patron took this to the police to file charges? Would they be taken seriously?
-Do you think other officers laughed at officer Wendell Adams when the burger was sent off to the crime lab for tests?
-It has never crossed my mind when I ordered some food without tomatoes and received food that clearly had tomatoes on it, but was removed (I know due to the remnants of tomatoes left on the food) to get the police involved. Have you?

Friday, September 7, 2007

First For Fridays

Okay, I am going to be gone for the weekend and will leave this post to be filled in with much discussion concerning the topic(s) of your choice. When I get back, I hope to have enough dialogue to overload a gmail account being accessed by AjaxWindows!

Post your thoughts below.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

ajaxWindows & Gmail

So you ask, what is ajaxWindows, what's the link to gmail and what can it do for me? Well, I am glad you asked.

The man who made Linspire (formerly Lindows) and developed now brings you a web based desktop that is platform agnostic: it works on any operating system- Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. So, what is the link with gmail? Well, currently it allows you to save your documents or whatever else direct to your gmail account so that it is not tied to a stationary computer. This allows you to access your files from any computer, phone, or electronic gadget that supports ajax. Currently Michael Robertson, founder of Ajax13, has this piece of software out on the market for us to use/test drive, he says that it will allow for options other than gmail such as thumbdrives or other online services, but you have to start somewhere.

Here is a quote from the article:
The company is Ajax13, the product is ajaxWindows, and the concept is pretty straightforward: The software platform is operating system-agnostic and based on the XML User Interface Language (XUL) to act as a Web-based desktop. Files can be moved around and opened, and applications launch with a mouse click. The interface also includes customizable wallpaper, start-up and shut down sounds, and browser bookmarks. But instead of interacting with the hardware, the user stores all desktop data, documents, and content, free of charge into a Gmail account.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think you would find this technology useful?
-What are the benefits that interest you?
-Do you see this software idea as being unneccessary or does it fulfill a need in your workflow?
-Have you heard of any of Robertson's other developments? Have you used them?
-Did you sign up and give it a go? What are your thoughts?

It's Official: Fred Is In!

You can read about it here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on how Fred Thompson chose to enter the race?
-Do you think it wise that he skipped out on the Republican debates last night?
-Even with him skipping the debates he was still discussed at the outset of the debates; does this give any insight into his prominence in this race?
-Would you vote for Fred Thompson?
-How do you view Fred's usage of the media? He appears to be playing the media and internet to his advantage- even using the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to reach those who would care less about watching the debates?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dinosaur Extinction Culprit Found: Baptistina

New Scientist has reported that David Nesvorny and his colleagues from the Southwest Research Institute have apparently found the asteroid that pummeled earth nearly 65 million years ago according to some estimates. This asteroid has been labeled the dinosaur killer.

Here is a quote from the article:
Nesvorny's team has calculated that a 10-kilometre asteroid, one of roughly 300 chunks of the original 170-kilometre 'mother rock', would have collided with the Earth. Other fragments of this asteroid may have hit Venus, they suggest, and could have been responsible for the formation of Tycho, the youngest prominent crater on the Moon.

You can read more here or read the SRI paper here (which shows it as being released tomorrow: the 6th).

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts about some of the facts and figures being surrounded by qualifiers such as "may have", "could have", "suggests"?
-How could one construct a model to show that this group of rocks is what is left of the one rock that struck the earth somewhere 65 million years ago and wiped out life as it was known back then?
-How could one even trust dating methods to go back so far?

McCain Deals With A Question About Mental Illness

John McCain is asked by a member of the audience about his mental well-being. In reply he says, "thanks you little jerk" to which the crowd applauds and then he says "your drafted". I will be curious to see if the media spins this to say that McCain supports the draft or devalues our youth due to his labeling of the questioner as a jerk.

Some questions:

-What are your thoughts about McCains recent staffing issues?
-What would it take for McCain to win?
With Fred Thompson entering the race this evening, does this pose a threat to McCain's platform (or the other candidates for that matter?

Brownback And, Well, Brownback

This is not the picture you hope to see when you are running for president of the United States of America. Senator Sam Brownback will need to "market" himself better if he hopes to have a chance against the Republican front runners and the soon-to-be-announced Fred Thompson with all of his "Fred-Heads" waiting to emerge from sidelines to support him as a presedential contender.
You can see and read more here.
Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on Brownback?
-Do you have any thoughts on how he can turn his campaign around?
-With Fred Thompson entering the race tonight, how does this change things?
-Who would you cast your vote for if the election was held tomorrow?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


The dodgeball season has come to an end. I have finished editing the final two games between The Tennessee Independent Wrestling Federation and the Jackson Energy Authority. NewsTalk came out of the season with a record of seven wins and eight losses. A double-elimination tournament was held last Tuesday of all the teams that participated in the season. The police were slated to win the tournament, but were upset early by the Tennessee Independent Wrestling Federation. Yes, the guys wearing spandex and covered in baby oil took out the police early. The victor was the Sportsplex Plexboys who beat the Young Republicans in the final game to take home the 6ft tall trophy. Over $7,000 dollars was raised for charity by this dodgeball event.

You can watch the games here.

Some questions:
-Is dodgeball really a sport?
-Does this sound like a fun charity event to you?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

The Knights of Labor organized the original parade on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event. Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association, many of whom were socialists or anarchists, favored a May 1 holiday. In 1886 came the general strike which eventually won the eight-hour workday in the United States. These events are today commemorated as Labor Day in virtually every country in the world, with the notable exceptions being the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. With the Chicago Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, President Grover Cleveland believed that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you have any Labor Day Weekend traditions?
-Did you know why Labor Day is celebrated?
-What do you think about National Holidays?