the death of private property
the supreme court has ruled that private property can now be taken from you by the government and given over to other private developers under eminent domain. voting with the majority were justices kennedy, souter, ginsburg, breyer, and, of course, comrade stevens. o'conner lead the dissent, and was joined by rehnquist, scalia, and thomas.
what brought all this on? the town of new london, connecticut wants to bulldoze an entire neighborhood of homes--some dating back to the victorian era--to build tourist traps. i kid you not. families that have owned their homes for seven generations will now be forced to leave so that the city can build "commercial development that would attract tourists to the Thames riverfront, complementing an adjoining Pfizer Corp. research center and a proposed Coast Guard museum."
the fifth amendment of the constitution is pretty clear. it says that eminent domain applies to land that will be put to public use. public does not mean private. if public means private then white means black, hot means cold, left means right, and up means down...but then, to the glorified marxists in black robes, the constitution has seldom meant what it said and frequently meant the exact opposite. today, it seems, is no exception.
10 years ago, locdog would have said such a thing could never happen in the united states of america
in the atheist's playbook, the equivalent of the never-fails, bread'n'butter off-tackle-right has got to be good ol' evil:
"if there's a God and He's so good, why does so much bad stuff happen?"
since 9/11, the objection has gotten a bit more pointed:
"if there's a God and He's so good, why do His followers do so much bad stuff?"
there's been little attempt made by longtime secular critics or opportunistic leftists to differentiate between practitioners of different faiths. george w. bush is pat robertson is pope benedict is osama bin laden. it's all ashcroft and the american taliban and sawing off someone's head with a machete while making them play naked twister. you get it.
traditionally, however, the most intrusive, oppressive, murderous government have been secular governments--no, check that. atheistic governments. traditionally over the last century, anyway. but then, over the last century, the atheists have raped and murdered enough to give the rest of the centuries combined a run for their money. joe stalin alone offed, what, 20-some million out of sheer paranoia? then you've got your pol pots and sundry east asian purgings, your chi-coms, your castros, your central american revolutionaries...total up all the people killed by communists, either their own or those killed in communist wars of aggression, and the number soars to almost incomprehensible heights (or lows, i should say.) one source i found puts it at a not implausible 110 million.
whatever the actual number is, it's a lot. more than ashcroft and robertson's totals combined, even. and yet to many on the left, religion represents the greatest threat to peace and prosperity in the free world. now with muslim nations, they've at least got a leg to stand on. muslims currently comprise one side of nearly every war being fought on planet earth, and most of the worst tales of barbarism and depravity emerge from middle-eastern states. Christian nations, on the other hand, have been out of that business since the crusade/inquisition days (and the muslims were at it back then, too), a few exceptions aside.
then again, you've got about a billion people living in communist china right now, a place where the government imprisons you for unauthorized worship, dictates the amount of children you are permitted to have, and bans words like "democracy" from internet search engines--a deal, by the way, that google inc. gleefully leapt at, they of the 98% contribution to democratic candidates, thus sullying themselves alongside microsoft's msn search and yahoo! in participation with the denial of the basic human rights by an atheistic government.
not content with making a billion lives miserable, the chinese have clear designs on taiwan, and to that end have built up a blue water navy to enable them to project their power across the straight that had previously insulated that tiny beacon of liberty and human dignity the atheists regard as a "wayward province."
now before you democrats go off half-cocked, let's keep in mind that i'm not trying to blame one side or the other for collaboration with the chinese government. we're all guilty of buying their slave-made crap, and bush's handling of china has been as bad as clinton's. what i'm saying is, why haven't those howling about the dangers of the faithful given any consideration to those of the faithless?
you who are convinced the belief that dinosaurs died in a flood six thousand yeas ago will be the downfall of western civilization might want to consider the beam in your own eye before picking at the mote in ours. your track record is arguably the worst in human history, and shows little signs of improving.
in the long run, locdog thinks the atheists in china will prove a greater problem than the theists in the middle east
locdog movie review: batman begins
i've never been much more than a casual bat fan, my interest limited to the theatrical releases and the occasional adam west/burt ward nick-at-nite outing, so the joel schumacher era, featuring the stunningly bad batman forever and batman and robin, came not as a crushing blow to a lifelong devotee, but as a nuisance--why ruin a perfectly serviceable summer movie franchise? tim burton's work on 1989's batman was at times inspired, and the misguided sequel he helmed, 1992's batman returns, seemed a bit too close to the director's eternal-misfit sensibilities for the good of the material, but he clearly meant well. schumacher directed his two films like he hated them from the beginning, driving the series away from the brooding, gothic atmosphere the fans so appreciated in burton's films and into saturday morning cartoon kitsch.
well the dark night is back--with a vengeance. his latest adventure, batman begins, brings us christian bale as a tortured caped crusader trying to right the cosmic balance that lurched horribly awry when his parents were gunned down before his grade-school aged eyes. tim burton had touched on this material in batman, but director christopher nolan (memento, insomnia) lends it a shocking emotional immediacy. the psychological struggle that leads to the emergence of bruce wayne's famous alter ego is the real battle in this film, the fight against the creepy scarecrow (relative unknown cillian murphy, looking like a poor man's johnny depp) and sadistic mentor-turned-enemy ra's al ghul (a mostly wasted ken watanabe) is simply a by-product.
nolan opts for some established vets in the supporting roles to help steady his young leads, and BB offers a typically strong performance by liam neeson as al ghul's right hand man as well as a modest but enjoyable turn by morgan freeman as a wayne corporation engineer, a "Q" to batman's james bond. freeman, along with michael caine's wonderful alfred, get off the movie's best zingers, but next to bale, caine is given the greatest opportunity to flex his emotional muscle. he's british to the core, keeping his upper lip stiff while exhorting young master wayne through his carefully clipped cockney diction and letting just enough heat slip through the eyes to betray the fiery devotion burning within.
and then there's katie holmes. maybe i would have had to have watched more than half an episode of dawson's creek in my life to appreciate this simpering school girl, but if an hour of excruciatingly overwrought tv schlock is prerequisite for enjoying katie holmes', uh, work here, then she probably needs to find a new career. i'm pretty sure tom cruise is gay and his upcoming marriage to dear katie is a sham, so i won't bother asking what he sees in her, but as for the rest of you...the only thing duller than her appearance is her acting and if her screen presence got any smaller it would probably tear a whole in the fabric of space.
thank God she isn't asked to appear on screen apart from christian bale very often, because he keeps her safely marginalized. but hey, if you can hold your own beside liam neeson and ken watanabe, you're doing alright, and bale is more than up to the task. i found his batman a bit dull--there just wasn't much for him to do as an actor once he donned the cape and a bit of michael keaton's psychosis wouldn't have hurt--but he was a superb bruce wayne. suave and urbane as the billionaire playboy, bruce wayne is the mask worn over the bat suit. the burden of maintaining the sham is palpable, it seems to press down on bale from above. dragging himself up from the bat cave after a night of derring-do, he's asked to transition immediately into gadabout mode and entertain a houseful of socialites who'd dropped by to wish him a happy birthday. he smiles and murmurs and mingles oh-so-smoothly, but you can see the desperation in his eyes. when he learns that the bad guys have arrived to crash the party, he clears the house by affecting the drunken child-king, petulantly deriding and dismissing the guests he'd been glad-handing moments earlier, thus saving their lives and protecting his identity by sacrificing his esteem--and showing the audience, if not the guests, the toll it takes on him. comic book movie or not, this is an alpine course of acting challenges, and bale pivots through the onrushing gates with a fluidity that dazzles.
the movie boasts somewhat more reserved art direction than any previous venture and, combined with the subdued villains and plot lines, this lends the movie an intensity that the others have lacked. this gotham is not so very different from a city where you and i might live. BB also features some nice action sequences with lots of kung fu swordplay, ninja duels, and a climactic car chase that's definitely worth the wait. which reminds me: the bat mobile. the vehicle defies description. imagine the offspring of a humvee and a stealth bomber and you might get something of an idea of how cool this car is. it's not featured very often, but when it is it takes on the feel of a character in its own right, as it dashes and swirls and snarls like a jungle cat in an especially foul mood.
for the true bat fanatic left hollow by the series' more recent entries or the casual fan who figured that the franchise had played itself out, batman begins is bound to surprise. and the best part? george clooney, val kilmer, chris o'donnell, arnold schwarzenegger, and jim carey are no where to be found.
locdog's next review will probably be spielberg's take on wells in war of the worlds