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Archive for December, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This demotivational poster captures the message of our pastor’s Christmas sermon:

What it had to do with Christmas I have no idea. But the music was inspiring, and the real message was there in the Scriptures:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

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Proof not only that God exists but that He’s a Steelers fan:

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Glenn Reynolds has been doing a lot to educate people about the Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate equivalent. Google has now weighed in. A letter I sent to Lamar Smith a couple of weeks ago:

I am a long-time supporter who has voted for you in every election since you’ve been my representative. I am writing to urge your to reconsider your sponsorship of the Stop Online Piracy Act. I have no quarrel with your goal. But the idea of letting the highly politicized Obama Department of Justice censor U.S. web sites terrifies me. I have five worries about the breadth of the Act:

1. The burden of proof is stacked heavily against individuals and web sites against which an action might be brought.

2. The prospect of legal action could harm significantly perfectly legitimate Internet-related businesses, from the smallest to the largest (e.g., Google, Facebook, and various blog hosting companies). This could harm the Austin economy, not to mention the U.S. economy, at a time when it can’t afford any additional burdens.

3. The Obama DOJ could use this Act to shut down opposition web sites on thin grounds. I have a blog devoted to conservative politics; I never intentionally violate anyone’s copyright. But passage of this Act would make me shut it down preemptively, because I could not afford to risk the possibility that a complaint might be brought because I might have used an image or graph improperly, linked to the wrong website, etc.

4. Whether or not the Act is misused in that fashion, it seems clear that the Obama DOJ will enforce the Act prejudicially, using it to extort contributions from internet firms and bringing action against them if they do not comply. (See Gibson Guitars.) Please do not give Eric Holder and his minions power over the internet.

5. I’m an amateur musician; I like to post songs my band does on Facebook. There are no legitimate copyright issues; these are either original compositions or original arrangements of traditional spirituals and hymns that are in the public domain. But I fear that, in response to the Act, hosting services will not permit such postings, or will require such extensive paperwork that publicizing our work in this way will be impractical.

Thank you for listening to my concerns.

 So far no reply….

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I think I’ve posted on this before. But once again I used these before-and-after photographs in teaching political philosophy and their power to impress students goes far beyond the written or spoken word. Look at the transformation wrought by the unification of Germany.

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