Replace the Confederate flag in SC with real heritage and culture

It’s official. South Carolina is removing the Confederate Battle Flag from the State House grounds.

I know it’s been pretty contentious, but I think I found an alternative symbol of even deeper Southern heritage and culture.

Union Jack

 

It’s the only thing that makes sense. The original 1606 Union Jack, still in use at the the time of the Revolutionary War, would be perfect if we’re using the same logic.

“What’s the logic?” you ask. It’s painstaking, I know, but I figured the original colonizers, from whom we got our language, and who also lost a war to control this land and who also owned slaves, just like the Confederate States of America, should be honored. After all, not even half of Americans even supported the Revolution in the first place.

Surely, this would be a better move than to keep a flag up that was only put there out of resistance to the Civil Rights movement. We’d hate to make black people think we don’t like them.

AlexStephens
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

Join me in changing your profile pictures to support our real heritage.

MLB showcases how absurd the “Support the Troops Regardless” movement has gotten

I love baseball. I love our guys in the military. Believe it or not, I like America on most days. I just don’t like when the latter two invade the former.

Sadly, Major League Baseball has pandered to the Support the Troops All the Time for Every Single Thing They Do Because They’re Obviously Superhuman crowd for several years, most notably with their goofy Stars and Stripes merchandise that’s worn on Memorial Day, Independence Day and 9/11. This year, they tipped us off to how insane the whole thing has gotten.

Derp MLB

“But what’s the problem?” You may ask. Well, there’s one big one.

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“Sorry.”

There are actually two countries represented by teams in Major League Baseball. While a lot of people think Canada is the 51st state, they’re actually their own nation.

Additionally, over 25 percent of MLB players and nearly half of minor league players were born somewhere not called the United States. Is it not strange to arbitrarily force someone from, say, Nicaragua, Colombia or Panama to celebrate the U.S. military when it’s done so much to hurt the citizens of those countries for over 100 years? Let’s also not forget that we took a third of Mexico’s land a long time ago, and our current drug policy has led directly to rampant violence and poverty in our southern neighbor. Oh, and that trade embargo against Cuba pretty much boned the citizens.

When I watch baseball, I just want to watch baseball, not participate in what amounts to propaganda to support whatever war we’re sticking our noses in next. Also of note, slapping camo on something doesn’t make it patriotic; it just makes it ugly.

We can do better than this nonsense. The “Rah, rah, ‘Merica,” crowd has to understand that we’re clearly not the world’s moral beacon and haven’t ever acted like it, so we need to stop pretending the United States government is some force for good. Furthermore, Memorial Day is about remembering fallen soldiers, not rallying the troops.

I actually thought the designs couldn’t get any worse, but here’s what teams will be wearing for Independence Day.

Screen-shot-2015-05-08-at-6.45.49-PM

Paul Lukas at Uni Watch puts this more eloquently than I can.

“Although I don’t yet know this for sure, I’m assuming that MLB will once again be donating profits from the sale of these caps to Welcome Back Veterans. That’s nice, but Independence Day is not a military holiday — it’s the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence’s ratification. So if MLB once again ties the sale of Independence Day merch to a military charity, they will be (a) misrepresenting yet another holiday, (b) once again promoting the insidious notion that support for the military and patriotism are synonymous, which is patently false, and (c) continuing the endless drumbeat of celebrating the military over and over and over again, to the near-exclusion of all other sectors of society. All of this is unacceptable. (It’s also worth noting that MLB could do all of this strictly via merchandising, without making the players wear gas station-style caps on the field.)”

Appreciate the guys who serve in the military when they do the right thing and for their willingness to get shot at, but we have to come to grips with the fact that propping up South American dictators and intervening in African civil wars doesn’t equate fighting for what little freedom we have left here or with loving the country any more.

The Indiana “religious freedom” law is bad, but not for the reason you think

Everyone is flipping out today over the new religious freedom act signed into law in Indiana by Governor Mike Pence. Literally everyone of those people is missing the point. Everyone.

Everyone.

Truly, the left’s panning of this law is both comical and hypocritical. For the people who claim to be all about tolerance, they’re advocating forcing people to do things against their religious beliefs. The obvious cause of this is things like Christian bakers not wanting to endorse a gay marriage, Christian lodge owners being screwed by the government for turning down a gay wedding ceremony, or any combination of the florists, bridal shops, photographers, or T-shirt makers who have been legally boned for not wanting to celebrate homosexuality.

What the left is calling the “victims” in these case is missing is Freedom of Association and Freedom of Religion, also known in the United States as the First Amendment. If I sell a guitar on Craigslist, I can sell it to whoever I want. If a potential buyer says they’ll just destroy the guitar or kill someone with it or use it in an explicitly Satanic band and I decide that makes me uncomfortable, I can refuse to sell him my goods and/or services. That’s okay; he can go elsewhere.

The same applies with a cake. As a Christian who has actually read the Bible, I believe it would be wrong for me to endorse a gay marriage by supplying much of anything for the celebration. I would not sell them the cake, because it would violate my convictions. Likewise, a gay baker shouldn’t be forced to sell a cake to anyone, just like anybody can refuse service to anyone for any reason.

Immediately, people will scream how it’s not fair. Get over yourself and let the free market sort out your offense. If it’s truly an egregious offense, people will care and boycott a business. If not, then whatever. Go somewhere else or learn how to make it yourself.

swanson

Here’s an example that literally no one can say is wrong. A vegan cake shop would never, ever bake a cake for someone with bacon on it, no matter how hard they protested. Why? Because they’re vegan. And while they’re missing out on the best food on earth, that’s their right as a business owner. Bacon makes him uncomfortable, so he declines the business. End of story.

The basic premise of this bill is that you need to stop using the government to regulate others’ actions when you don’t get your way. If someone declines you service, nut up and move on. Don’t pitch a tantrum like a toddler.

Stop it.

 

But after 450 words, I digress. This new law is still garbage for one reason. I’ll copy and paste from Indiana’s own summary:

“Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides a procedure for remedying a violation.”

For something touted so much by conservatives, this actually increases government. They can still tell you what to do whenever they feel like it.

So we’re no better off.

The “freezing homeless child” video is a sham

There’s a month-old video going around that shows a kid acting like he’s homeless in New York City, and it purportedly takes over two hours for someone to even talk to him.

If you haven’t seen the video, here it is:

I’ll give you a minute to grab the Kleenex if you fell for it.

Now that you’re back, let’s look at just a few of the problems.

The first problem is that there are at least two cameramen. People knew this kid wasn’t homeless. Homeless kids don’t have two cameramen following them around while they have an obviously-cut-with-scissors shirt on. Remember, this is New York City, where practically everything gets filmed. They probably thought these guys were recording a new episode of Law and Order: SVU or something.

Secondly, if it was really five degrees Fahrenheit, this kid has frostbite and/or hypothermia after being out for two hours with no coat and no shoes, assuming he didn’t take a break to run inside every five minutes. It wouldn’t take much of a fluctuation in wind or temperature to really make things dangerous for this kid.

wind-chill-frostbite-chart
Good job, older brothers. You could have killed your younger sibling.

 

Of course, the tipping point is really the fact that half the in-video captions are in Comic Sans. There is literally no faster way to get people to stop taking you seriously than to use Comic Sans for something that’s supposed to be serious (This means you, English teachers.).

Comic Sans
No. I refuse.

I think it’s safe to say the “homeless kid” social experiment was just a drive for YouTube subscribers, particularly when most of this channel’s videos are pranks, and prank videos are the worst (I don’t want to watch morons making other people feel awkward.). Thanks, Internet, for the click bait.

 

What is XXX Church thinking?

I got an email last night from XXX Church, the Christian-run website that helps people battling porn addiction. I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten an email more 1) relying on click bait or 2) as big of a low blow as this one. Here’s the subject.

Subject

 

At first glance with the first couple of sentences, it looks like XXX Church founder Craig Gross is about to drop a major bombshell about Mark Driscoll and the dissolution of Mars Hill Church. Junk’s about to get real. Of course, as a Driscoll fan who was fairly torn up about the whole Mars Hill situation, I had to open it.

Body 1

Does this not seem like a gossipy bait and switch to anyone? “Hey, guys. Driscoll is awesome and so was the Resurgence, but HOLY CRAP did they blow it. Buy my stuff.” Then I got another email.

Body 2

Note: Gross didn’t apologize for the dickishness of his email and tactics; he apologized in case we were caught off guard. The other guy involved in this posted an apology, whether it’s genuine or not may or may not be debatable, but at least he made one. Gross, on the other hand, has only attempted to throw people under the bus.

XXX Church and X3 Watch have done some great things, but Gross needs to come clean and admit that he screwed up. I’m not about to call for a boycott or for Gross to step down or anything like that, but, boy, does this leave a craptastic taste in my mouth.

The petition to kill Facebook ads doesn’t understand how businesses work

For some reason, this change.org petition keeps getting passed around from a band in Tampa that’s unhappy with Facebook for “making” them pay to reach their “fans.” It’s been a while since I found something so tacitly absurd.

This screenshot is garbage and should be treated as such.

The entire petition is rife with massive misunderstandings about how social media even works. But enough of my introduction. Let’s get to what Illuminate Me says.

The common gripe, which is also stated here, goes like this: Facebook has restricted my band/business page from reaching all of our fans with every post, and that makes me sad.

Surely, this riveting content would reach more people.

Here’s the reality: Facebook has over a billion users. I personally have over 600 friends and have liked 1,000 pages. That’s 1,600 different feeds to keep up with if I get every update. That’s simply not feasible.

What they also ignore is that they want their page to be given precedent for every single person who has liked their page, which is probably the most absurd part of it. Forget the other pages and friends that person wants to see or the chronological order of any of those posts or the fact that some of those people may not log on for days or weeks at a time; THEY NEED TO SEE MUH BAYAND BECAUSE WE MAKE THE FACEBOOKS. That’s literally what that argument is.

PLEASE TELL US HOW RELEVANT WE ARE.

Illuminate Me then claims that Twitter doesn’t charge to reach their followers, which is simply false. I even have the link to prove it. Twitter is rife with ads, promoted posts and even promoted hashtags. Maybe if they actually looked at their post reach on Twitter’s analytics, they would see that their proportionate reach is actually lower than Facebook’s because they show every single post in chronological order, but that seems to make too much sense.

Of course, none of this would be complete without the band’s gross mismanagement of their own feeds. They paid for 3,000 likes, which is literally the dumbest thing you can do on Facebook. Everyone knows those likes aren’t real, and even if they are, those people won’t ever interact with you, which is the entire point of social media. There’s also no telling how many of their 25,000+ “fans” were acquired via “like-for-like” methods (which is basically what their Twitter is), which also gives you numbers without results. Congratulations, guys, you didn’t shoot your Facebook page in the foot; you shot it in the face.

But we can’t stop there. We also have to have a musical product that’s pretty devoid of any originality or legitimate talent. Seriously, if all three songs on your profile “feature” some more famous musician that you paid $300 to record four lines, you’re probably doing it wrong.

“But Facebook is greedy.” So? You don’t understand that Facebook is a business. Facebook doesn’t owe you anything, including its very existence. If they shut down the whole site or part of the site and its services tomorrow, then that’s their prerogative as a business, just like if they want to require a subscription for service or anything else. You don’t have a right to a Facebook profile, and it’s within their rights on their site to do whatever they want.

Of note: I’m not even saying my own band’s social media profiles are glorious. We’ve been spectacularly lazy, especially since we’re recording.

And we have a keytar, which clearly means we’re superior.

Regardless, everything I said is a moot point. It’s all a publicity stunt. The band doesn’t even have a drummer listed on their profile. Good job getting your 10 seconds of Internet fame, boys. No one will care about you next week.

Marriage is not a right

There’s this little debate going on about marriage in South Carolina today. Something about marriage rights.

I recently got married.

Really, I did.

I’m by no means an expert on this whole marriage thing, but I can tell you one thing: I didn’t have the right to get married.

This will sound asinine to many. Of course, I had the right to marry whoever I wanted. This is America. But that’s not how marriage works.

Marriage is not a right. Rights belong to individuals; marriage by definition must involve two people.

When I proposed to my now wife in April, she could have turned me down. When we asked our preacher if he would do the counseling and ceremony, he could have told us to take a hike or refused on grounds that we weren’t good for each other (That should happen more often.). The venues we used for said celebration could have been booked or not felt like having wedding related things that day or time. We could also have never been able to get to the county offices to get a license, and if we did, the judge could still have refused for various reasons.

Rights are also inalienable, regardless of what a government says. No one can rightly force you to adhere to a religion you don’t believe, nor can they rightly go through all your crap without cause. Rights aren’t dependent on what year it is or on getting a piece of paper from someone whose salary is derived from the forced redistribution of the citizenry’s incomes.

However, there are cases when one can have a marriage rightfully terminated, namely in the case of divorce over unrepentant adultery.

My wife didn’t have to assent to my marriage request. I couldn’t legally stop her if she left. I have no right to be married. If anything, I gave up rights in order to be married, because my marriage is ultimately not about me.

Let the record show that even as a theologically conservative Christian, I’ve gone this entire blog without bringing up biblical passages addressing the complimentarian nature of marriage, which would have made this blog easier.

Nevertheless, the point stands that marriage is not a right for anyone. It can rightfully be refused to you, and your feelings on a subject or biological rumblings don’t get to define what it is.

I’d like to know your reactions to this, but keep it civil.