Ties on Pigs
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
  Postal 2: Share the Disdain by Andy

There are plenty of violent video games out there. From Mortal Combat to Doom, they have been criticized for many years. I have played many of these games and some of them disturb me considerably while others concern me very little. There is a quality to the game that should be considered above and beyond just the presence of violence.

Many shoot ‘em up games place the player in a role of defending those who are helpless or in a role of saving the world. These games reinforce the idea that you should do something because it is the right thing to do, and almost all men are drawn to that idea. There is a saying that goes "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." If a video game is in alignment with this idea, I will be less likely to criticize it. Regardless of their aggressive nature, these games tap into an important sense of duty that deserves development. However, many games out there tap into something completely different.

There is a trend in modern video games that cater to people who wish to partake in illegal or immoral behavior in a simulated environment. These games include Grand Theft Auto, Kingpin, and Carmageddon. Perhaps the games that take the cake, however, are the ones developed by the local Tucson firm Running with Scissors (RWS).

Seven years ago the company was called Riedel Software Productions (RSP) and they had a history of family oriented games, such as The MUPPET CD-ROM, Zootopia, Sesame Street's Countdown and Spy vs. Spy. Since then, they have re-made their company under the name Running with Scissors and have authored two of the most repulsive video games in history: Postal and Postal 2.

The latest of the series, Postal 2: Share the Pain, is based on the premise that you are a citizen of the town Paradise, Arizona that goes crazy and starts killing people (and animals). The more, the better, because your score goes up for every innocent person you violently kill. Most of the population either cowers before you begging for their life or runs away screaming.

The folks at RWS have clearly defined their market if you look at their repulsive web page. I do not believe this game is going to appeal to your average Joe. Instead, I believe they pray on those who are socially frustrated, psychologically imbalanced, possess a hatred for authority, or--the most unfortunate target of all--those who have not yet developed a solid moral conscience (i.e. children). Truly the greatest crime of this game is its accessibility to children. I believe that many kids will be attracted to the shock-value and humor of the game and their moral senses will not be developed enough for them to revolt from it.

Teen-agers are still developing psychologically and the activities they participate in will largely shape who they are. Despite what RWS claims, I believe the game cultivates the neural pathways in the brain that use violent outbursts to resolve emotional issues. Many proponents of senselessly violent games claim they release anxiety that might otherwise surface in the real world. My answer is that a cigarette may satisfy a craving, but it does not help the habit. This study seems to agree.

RWS also claims that the game is only as violent as the player allows it be. As this professional video game reviewer mentions, that is clearly an empty claim, as the game pretty much assumes you are going to start blowing away helpless people. The review closes as follows:
There is a silver lining, however, that the designers can be proud of. Each time I knocked someone's head off with a shovel or watched a flaming victim run around, setting others on fire, I did get a visceral thrill and a sense of satisfaction. However they did it, the makers of Postal 2 managed to tap into the part of me that wants to see horrible violence done to random strangers. So kudos on that. Since they're not good with the whole "game" thing, perhaps they would be better off just sticking to their strengths next time around, and market Postal 3 as a stress-relieving murder simulator.
I imagine that RWS loves people criticizing their game as I am doing ... the more controversy their game gets, the better they do. This sickening attitude should not be a reason for public outrage to be silenced. The Postal games have not been successful because of their thrilling game play or their cutting edge technology. It is because it allows the player to conduct outrageous acts of depravity in the privacy of his own home. It just goes to show you that if you have some talent and you are willing to ignore any ethical boundaries, it is easy to make a ton of money in this country. 
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
  The Dolphins by Andy

As a fan of dolphins I was very interested in this story about a pod of dolphins that saved several people from a great white shark. I’m fascinated by this story because it is difficult for me to see a reason why a dolphin, or any wild animal, would be interested in saving an unknown human.

This behavior cannot be because of our mammalian commonality, as there are many species of dolphins that have other mammals as part of their diet. Certainly dogs and horses can be domesticated and accept humans as part of the sociology, but the dolphin is clearly different. These dolphins are completely wild and we cannot expect that we could ever be able to participate in their community in the same way we could with our pets.

So the question is, what is it that dolphins see in humans that motivates them to risk their own welfare for ours?  
Saturday, November 13, 2004
  Falluja Update by David

The latest toll is 1200 dead terrorists to 25 dead Marines. The Iraqi forces took 7 dead. Around 170 wounded Marines. 80% of the city is under our control.

The Iraqi forces did pretty well. They didn't run. They stood their ground and did a good job. They will be the core of a new Iraq. Let's pray for our boys over there.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
  Falluja by David

Our US Marine Corps is kicking the unholy snot out the terrorists in Falluja right now. Please visit the Belmont Club for all of the details. Get angry at your main stream media for not covering this war properly and showing the incredible skill, hard work and heroism of our young men and women in Iraq.

Our combined arms and technology must be like fighting invisible demons to these drugged out neanderthals. Let us all pray that God has mercy on the souls of those wicked men that meet their maker today. And may God be with our brave warriors putting it on the line for the glorious cause of freedom, and for the Iraqi people through their most painful birth of freedom.

Sunday, November 07, 2004
  My Three Sons by David

I found out Saturday that I will have a third son on or about tax day in 2005. The entire family on both sides were hoping for a girl, but our two boys now are so beautiful and wonderful that everything will be fine. I reassured my wife that she need not feel guilty about being disappointed. We will love this new boy for all the things that he is and will become. And we will love him uniquely, just as we do our other two boys. We will never regret having him. But that doesn't mean we won't miss having a daughter.

Luckily we have several friends and family members with little girls with which to get our girly fixes.

On a personal note, I have always felt that my own upbringing made me especially tuned to raising boys. I honestly feel that my great purpose in this life is to be a good dad to these boys. I felt that before I knew that I would even have one boy.

The pastor said today in church that we should pray not that we should have tasks suited to our set of skills, but rather pray that we find the strength and will to rise to the tasks we are given. May God grant me the grace and wisdom to raise three good men. Thank you Jesus. Truly, I have been blessed far more than I deserve.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
  The Voice of Reason by David

Hugh Hewitt, once again our Field Marshall in this war of ideas, directs us wisely with respect to Arlen Specter. Wretchard, over at the Belmont Club puts Hugh's point clearly...time is on our side.

The long term trends are all in favor of conservatives. The beautiful thing about our great nation is that it corrects itself over time. This is a conservative country and is becoming more so.

The Abortion issue is the heart of the cultural conflict between secularism and religiosity. It is an argument where you will find, at the core of the argument, the atheist/agnostic/secularist vs. the evangelical Christian or Orthodox Jew. Because of the nature of the argument, it necessarily drags religion into the political arena and forces otherwise unnatural alliances to effect policy. As such, I am reminded of Pascal's Pensees as introduced to me by reading Peter Van Kreeft's "Christianity for Modern Pagans".
"Order. Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it
may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not
contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next, make it
attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is.
Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature.
Attractive because it promises true good."

The opponents of the pro-life movement are true believers as fervent in their beliefs as any Christian. Strong-arm tactics won't work. The failed Presidential bid of Pat Roberson proved that. Sweet reason will bring the "good men" home to the correct answer. Our President has the perfect stance on this. We can't go for the jugular and recind Roe v. Wade tomorrow. Nothing will happen until a majority of Americans are committed to reducing the number of abortions that happen in this country as a first step.

The Partial Birth Abortion ban is a good first step. Acknowledging that abortion is distasteful under any circumstance, is a necessary first step in making any progress in this argument. Pascal again reminds us:

"One must have deeper motives and judge everything accordinly, but go on
talking like an ordinary person."

Reason is the only winning hand in this game. Unfortunately, for many, this is not good enough or fast enough. For these I would say that winning is the important thing, and the sooner the better. But to win hearts and minds, you must first have their ears.

Let's leave Arlen Specter alone and pray for him, and hope that he makes the right decisions. Listen to Hugh's voice of reason.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
  Whew!! By David

In lieu of gloating, I am struck by a profound sense of relief. (I am very pleased that such a divisive partisan as Tom Daschle was sent packing from the Senate. He is the perfect example of what is wrong in politics).

I thought Kerry was very gracious in his acceptance speech and I thank God for the Secretary of State in the State of Ohio for being prepared to block any shenanigans, for the people of Ohio keeping just out of reach for recounts, and for John Kerry having the sense and decency to not contest the election. I don't really get the articles by many saying how much they respect Kerry now that the election is over. I don't. I think he lied a lot. I think he lacks character and backbone and the moral courage to make tough decisions based upon principle instead of political expediency. How can I respect a man more or less, just because he makes a good speech?

I wish the campaign could have been more about the candidates’ ideas and less about the big money attack ads on both sides. But in all, I feel that the man that won is an honest, decent man that governs from his heart and principles and is exactly what this country needs. Luckily, a majority of my fellow countrymen agree with me (even if most of my family doesn’t).

I honestly believe that if the Iraq War would get fair press of the accomplishments along with the setbacks and death tolls, Bush would have won in a landslide. There is an undercurrent in the media, of weblogs that will end up destroying the mainstream media as it now exists. The US is kicking the living daylights out of the terrorists in an urban warfare environment that would have been impossible just a few years ago. Our technology in warfare is out of science fiction novels. The campaign in Iraq will go down in history as the most startling military successes in history…including the occupation and building of a new government. It will also go down as the most just, most humanely waged on the part of the US and its allies, and will be a source of pride for years and generations to come.

We are the good guys on this one. The bad guys could not have been written better by a novelist. The differences could not be more stark. To claim that we are there for oil is such an aweful statement, I have no words to describe my disgust for them.

“…the Americans engaged in the struggle sensed that what they were doing
distinguished them from other men. The strongest expression of this sense
occurred of course on the battlefield, where a feeling of identity and a
commitment to virtue were most clear. That the army sometimes failed in the
service of the cause does not mean that the revolutionary generation’s
experience was false. No society ever holds perfectly to the courses it sets for
itself; and no good and honorable experience can ever be completely free of evil
and dishonor.” - Robert Middlekauff, “The Glorious Cause: The American
Revolution, 1773-1789”

This statement found in a history textbook from college expresses exactly what I read from soldiers in Iraq. They believe in this thing. The people in Iraq believe in their freedom and want it. This is a “glorious cause” and a fight we must not only engage in, but must win decisively. This is Iraq’s Revolutionary War. It is no less a radical transition than we ourselves undertook some two hundred years ago and they know it. There are large majorities of the Iraqi’s in favor of the events over there and I dare say a whole lot more after the elections in January.

Women in Afghanistan performed death rites on themselves before traveling to the polls recently so that they could vote. They new there was a chance that they would be killed trying to cast their first vote. Some were. Polling places were bombed, without disrupting the voting! People voted in the polling places even after a bomb killed several of the people waiting in line to cast their ballot. We take for granted what we have in this country and many are too far removed from the sacrifices made by better men than many of ourselves so that others might live free.

I can’t accept nuance, dithering, hand-wringing and legalistic and esoteric reasonings about why we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. If the press would report what is going on over there, there would be no question of the legitimacy and righteousness of our cause and our necessity to fight this fight. Chairman Mao would smile at the protest movement and its complicity in aiding the propaganda war against our efforts by the terrorists. Michael Moore mused about Osama Bin Laden’s use of talking points from Moore’s movie, “Fahreheit 9/11”. I think it is appalling that such obvious disinformation and propaganda could be embraced by a major political party in this country during a time of war.

I believe that it is still 1968 for many Democrats in power today and they don’t recognize that Iraq is not a war of convenience, or a war at all, but rather a campaign or battlefield in a broader war for the survival of our very civilization. That is what brought out record numbers of security-conscious voters, afraid for our very survival.

Many great powers have simply lost the will to be great. America decided to give it four more years yesterday.
Vladmir Putin of Russia said it best yesterday, "If Bush wins, I would feel happy that the American people have not allowed themselves to be scared and made the decision they considered reasonable," And let me close by saying that in this war on terrorism, to paraphrase Lincoln, I hope not that God is on our side, but that we are on God’s side in this struggle against what only the most intellectually conflicted would hesitate to call the world’s greatest force of evil.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
  Blame the Blogger by David

This is UNBELIEVABLE...except that its source is the Associated Press.

Some company reports bogus exit polling data, and somehow they attempt to afix the blame on people that read it and act on the information??? If you don't want people to read things, don't write them down. If you don't want to be heard, keep your mouth shut. If you don't want people to report your polling data, don't give it to anyone. It is funny that CNN, and CBS recognize the danger they are in, from the blogosphere. They are starting to point fingers to the pajamahudeen and I wouldn't be surprised to see a sustained, but subtle campaign against the blogosphere by the MSM in the near future. It won't work, but its coming.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
  Bush Wins! by Andy

The networks won't call it but I will. Kerry has a 120,000 margin to make up in Ohio which is simply not possible.

My faith in the American people has been recharged. We have overcome the opportunism of Kerry and his campaign, the hate mongering of Michael Moore, the vandalization and fraudulence of the democratic partisans, the disingenuity of the media, and most of all, the intimidation of Osama bin Laden and his terrorist thugs.

Congratulations, many thanks and God blessings to George W. Bush and his team.
Pushers for a Theistic Conservative agenda. Shining the light of truth on the muddy waters of moral relativism.

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