Monthly Archives: October 2006

A Couple things

One… Studio 60 is done. We may get episodes for the rest of the season, but I am doubting it more and more. One of my friends who works in television confirmed the story from Fox News this morning that Studio 60’s cancelation is “imminent”. I knew it was going to happen. The show was so highly touted and it just wasn’t catching on.

Two, there’s a new Harold Ford Jr. commercial out that is bashing Bob Corker. One of the people that appears in the video is a mother of a soldier. She emotionally makes the case that the Republicans are using smoke and mirrors to deflect from Iraq (Her son is STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN. Sorry. Sorkin joke.). What I bet most people don’t know is that she’s been an activist for the Democratic Party at least since 04 when she campaigned for Kerry. She’s not just a typical mother with a son in combat. She’s as partisan as anyone.

That’s just free information for those of you that are trying not to be mislead.

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Local Evangelizing

Today I made a trip to Wal Mart. I typically avoid the world’s largest discount retail store on Saturdays, but I needed a mustache so I can be Borat at our Halloween party tonight. Target didn’t have anything and Party City was packed out with people.

As Carrie and I entered the parking lot, we saw something out of the ordinary (which really means something at an exurban Wal Mart on a Saturday). There was a man carrying a cross (Jesus style) down an aisle of cars.

That’s right, just in case you didn’t believe what you just read, a guy was walking around the Wal Mart Parking lot carrying a cross.

I assume this is just some sort of weird evangelizing thing. I mean, if I were a crazy fundamentalist, I would have done things much differently. Perhaps, I’d make the man dress as Jesus, with all out, straight from Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ make up. You know, scare the little kids. Its halloween, and we all know that halloween is the perfect time for scary Jesus to come out, as well as to scare people into accepting Jesus (see Judgement House and SBC).

Would that be effective for anyone?

Gay Marriage and Christianity

What are you afraid of?

If two guys have a legally recognized relationship, how is that going to affect your day to day life?

Is God going to allow terrorists to fly into our buildings again?

Will society as we know it crumble and fall?

Will there be more gay people if we allow them to marry?

What’s the problem here?

I have a better question. How would you “values voters” feel if a new majority arose… a majority of values voters whose values were completely opposite of yours? What if the “vote yes on prop 1” meant that Christians could no longer worship freely? or girls couldn’t get an education? or goats had to wear diapers to make sure that men don’t lust after them?

It could happen. Those values voters live in the Middle East and they are loud and they want their values to be worldwide.

Do you believe in individual liberty, the ideal that you claim we are fighting for in Iraq? If we believe in Liberty and we truely believe that Christ is our Lord and that his Kingdom will always prevail, why do we feel the need to write laws that dehumanize a group of people with whom we disagree?

Ok, I’m almost through with rhetorical questions. One more though.

Can you see Jesus voting for prop 1… or might he be in the gay bars having a drink and talking about the love of God?

NBC and Shows about SNL

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip –

Let me preface this with the fact that I think Aaron Sorkin is the most brilliant writer television has ever seen. Ever. But Studio 60 has left me wondering… has Sorkin passed his peak, or does he just need a fresh batch of Magic Mushrooms to write some good TV.

The show has plenty of potential. The dialogue has been crisp and the characters are coming alive, but something is lacking and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It could be the fact that so much backstory has been exposed in these first 5 episodes. What’s amazing about the back story is that this show is literally an autobiography of Sorkin. For someone who doesn’t know his story over the past ten years, these plot lines probably seem fresh, but for someone who knows his history and has watched West Wing and Sports Night, we know exactly what’s going on and its kinda egotistical.

Overall, I’m not giving up hope. However, if Sorkin can’t pull the ratings up by the thirteenth episode, I imagine that this will get dropped. Which is sad, because as disappointing as this has been, it pales in comparison to the rest of the crap that’s on television. How many CSIs can there be?

30 Rock –

Tina Fey came up with this show, which is also about a late night sketch show, however its in the format of a 30 minute comedy rather than an hour long drama. One plus about 30 rock is that its filmed on one camera rather than the standard three (like a typical sitcom). Single camera has become a trend recently (a good one, think My Name is Earl and The Office) and the first show I can remember that did this with a comedy was Sports Night (I’ve got Sorkin on the brain). Anyway, I just watched an entire episode of 30 Rock and I didn’t laugh. Once. There was one time where I almost laughed, but it was a joke I’ve seen Sorkin do on Sports Night as well as on Studio 60. Just didn’t work with Tina Fey.

So, in conclusion, Tina Fey’s show is horrible and Sorkins is just decent and if he gets canceled before her… his prophecy about television will be true.

Say goodbye to poker as we know it….

In the last few years, poker has become one of America’s favorite pastimes. After the World Series of Poker began broadcasting on tv, a slew of poker themed shows popped up on networks from ESPN to Bravo. However, all that is about to change. You may soon find it hard to find poker anywhere on television. And you can blame the idiots in Congress for it.

You see, most advertising dollars generated by Poker shows comes from Internet Poker gaming sites. Now that our brilliant Congress has banned Internet gambling in the States, most Poker websites will soon be going the way of the buffalo.

George Will has some interesting things to say. (h/t Ben Bargagliotti, who has a blog, but keeps it private)

Prohibition II: Good Grief; When government restricts Americans’ choices, ostensibly for their own good, someone is going to profit from the paternalism.

By George F. Will

826 words

23 October 2006

Newsweek

U.S. Edition

78

English

Copyright (C) 2006 Newsweek Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Perhaps Prohibition II is being launched because Prohibition I worked so well at getting rid of gin. Or maybe the point is to reassure social conservatives that Republicans remain resolved to purify Americans’ behavior. Incorrigible cynics will say Prohibition II is being undertaken because someone stands to make money from interfering with other people making money.

For whatever reason, last Friday the president signed into law Prohibition II. You almost have to admire the government’s plucky refusal to heed history’s warnings about the probable futility of this adventure. This time the government is prohibiting Internet gambling by making it illegal for banks or credit-card companies to process payments to online gambling operations on a list the government will prepare.

Last year about 12 million Americans wagered $6 billion online. But after Congress, 32 minutes before adjourning, passed its ban, the stock of the largest online-gambling business, Gibraltar-based PartyGaming, which gets 85 percent of its $1 billion annual revenue from Americans, declined 58 percent in one day, wiping out about $5 billion in market value. The stock of a British company, World Gaming PLC, which gets about 95 percent of its revenue from Americans, plunged 88 percent. The industry, which has some 2,300 Web sites and did half of its business last year with Americans, has lost $8 billion in market value because of the new law. And you thought the 109th Congress did not accomplish anything.

Supporters of the new law say it merely strengthens enforcement; they claim that Internet gambling is illegal under the Wire Act enacted in 1961, before Al Gore, who was then 13, had invented the Internet. But not all courts agree. Supporters of the new law say online gambling sends billions of dollars overseas. But the way to keep the money here is to decriminalize the activity.

The number of online American gamblers, although just one sixth the number of Americans who visit real casinos annually, doubled in the last year. This competition alarms the nation’s biggest gambling interests–state governments.

It is an iron law: When government uses laws, tariffs and regulations to restrict the choices of Americans, ostensibly for their own good, someone is going to make money from the paternalism. One of the big winners from the government’s action against online gambling will be the state governments that are America’s most relentless promoters of gambling. Forty-eight states (all but Hawaii and Utah) have some form of legalized gambling. Forty-two states have lottery monopolies. Thirty-four states rake in part of the take from casino gambling, slot machines or video poker.

The new law actually legalizes online betting on horse racing, Internet state lotteries and some fantasy sports. The horse- racing industry is a powerful interest. The solidarity of the political class prevents the federal officials from interfering with state officials’ lucrative gambling. And woe unto the politicians who get between a sports fan and his fun.

In the private sector, where realism prevails, casino operators are not hot for criminalizing Internet gambling. This is so for two reasons: It is not in their interest for government to wax censorious. And online gambling might whet the appetites of millions for the real casino experience.

Granted, some people gamble too much. And some people eat too many cheeseburgers. But who wants to live in a society that protects the weak-willed by criminalizing cheeseburgers? Besides, the problems–frequently exaggerated–of criminal involvement in gambling, and of underage and addictive gamblers, can be best dealt with by legalization and regulation utilizing new software solutions. Furthermore, taxation of online poker and other gambling could generate billions for governments.

Prohibition I was a porous wall between Americans and their martinis, giving rise to bad gin supplied by bad people. Prohibition II will provoke imaginative evasions as the market supplies what gamblers will demand–payment methods beyond the reach of Congress.

But governments and sundry busybodies seem affronted by the Internet, as they are by any unregulated sphere of life. The speech police are itching to bring bloggers under campaign-finance laws that control the quantity, content and timing of political discourse. And now, by banning a particular behavior–the entertainment some people choose, using their own money–government has advanced its mother-hen agenda of putting a saddle and bridle on the Internet.

Gambling is, however, as American as the Gold Rush or, for that matter, Wall Street. George Washington deplored the rampant gambling at Valley Forge, but lotteries helped fund his army as well as Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth. And Washington endorsed the lottery that helped fund construction of the city that now bears his name, and from which has come a stern–but interestingly selective–disapproval of gambling.

Ben Bargagliotti
benbargagliotti@gmail.com
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I’m all for disagreeing with the President…

but this girl is an idiot.

How I Went From Card Carrying Republican to Libertarian to Christian Anarchist in 2 Short Years: Part 2

MTSU brought a new environment. First off, I was in a house instead of a dorm. I had the privacy of the upstairs, I had my first taste of alcohol (besides a warm beer that I tasted once), and I had a lot of spare time. I was only taking twelve hours of school and two of those classes were 3 hours in one sitting. Basically, I had a LOT of spare time. And for the first three months, I didn’t have a job. That meant plenty of time to think about everything under the sun. My philosophy of life had changed a little bit, but I was really just trying to reform it.

I’d been looking into Libertarianism and really liked what I saw. I’d always been distrustful of government and the Libertarian Party was about as skeptical of Government as any party (outside of anarchists, though Libertarians aren’t too far from that). I agreed with nearly every premise of the party, but I did have some issue with their position on the Iraq war (they are against it) and their position on drugs (they want to legalize most drugs). I eventually came to see their side on the war on drugs, but I didn’t quite agree witht he position on Iraq. I felt though, that my problems with the Republicans were resolved by Libertarianism.

I went back home for the summer and met a girl named Claire. She was from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and was a friend of my friend Daniel Wade. We talked for the summer which eventually led to a week long trip to Panama City Florida. After the trip, we both went back to our respective colleges, she to Searcy and me to Murfreesboro. We continued talking (and we were both still interested in each other). I ended up taking a job at Ezell Harding christian school so that I’d have the weekends free to see Claire. I never made it over to Searcy, but I did meet my fiancee at that job. Funny how things work out. But back to the story… a couple of weeks after our trip, Hurricane Katrina hit, and with the wind from the Gulf came winds of change in my theology.

In my life, I’d grown up with a pretty solid definition of who God was and how he worked. All of the sudden, this God that was always in control had let horrible things happen to so many people right here in my country. Its terrible that this Hurricane caused this shift of thought in me, and not the Tsunami in East Asia, but this is just how things happened.  I was near the end of my faith. It was if all the small questions that had been building inside since my last semester at Lipscomb came to a boil… and I didn’t know what to do.

So I emailed Brandon Scott Thomas and asked him for help. He invited me to lunch to share his story, and things started turning around from there…