Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MSNBC’s Maddow Compares Obama to George W. Bush

Interesting to note the similarities:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lazarus and the Rich Man

Part 1 of 4

Part 2 of 4

Part 3 of 4

Part 4 of 4

Friday, March 27, 2009

Congresswoman Bachman Introduces Bill Against Global Currency

Barbara Bachman of Minnesota is calling out Obama and Geithner on the World Currency Issue. At least a few folks are willing to stand up against the march towards world socialism:

Bachmann Demands Truth: Will Obama Administration Abandon Dollar for a Multi-National Currency?

Washington, D.C., Mar 25 - In response to suggestions by China, Russia, and other countries around the world calling on the International Monetary Fund to explore a multi-national currency, U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-6) has introduced a resolution that would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency.

“Yesterday, during a Financial Services Committee hearing, I asked Secretary Geithner if he would denounce efforts to move towards a global currency and he answered unequivocally that he would," said Bachmann. "And President Obama gave the nation the same assurances. But just a day later, Secretary Geithner has left the option on the table. I want to know which it is. The American people deserve to know."

Asked today about a currency proposal from China at a Council on Foreign Relations event, Secretary Geithner stated he was open to supporting it. Despite attempts to clarify his remarks later in the day, the unguarded initial response calls into question his true intentions.

Although Title 31, Sec. 5103 USC prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., the President has the power to engage foreign governments in treaties, and the President is principally responsible for the interpretations and implementation of those treaties according to the Constitution. As a result, legislation prohibiting the President and Treasury from issuing or agreeing that the U.S. will adopt an international currency would need to come in the form of a Constitutional Amendment differentiating a treaty used to implement an international currency in the U.S. from other types of treaty agreements.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are Trailer

This may have been my favorite book when I was a little kid. No idea how the movie's gonna be, but the trailer's pretty cool:

Daniel Hannan MEP: The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government

Lest we get mired in stale, bitter parochialism, let us not forget that this recession is world wide, and we are not alone in the art of attack politics. Pity our guys don't do is as beautifully as this fellow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Arcattack: Faraday Fun - Imperial March

This dude tests his new Faraday Suit to the tune of the Imperial March. Pretty cool stuff:

"The power you give me I will lay down when this crisis has abated."

Let's just say I never like the see further power accrue to the government, let alone what we are seeing here. Things are happening at an unprecedented rate. This is not good.

U.S. Seeks Expanded Power to Seize Firms
Goal Is to Limit Risk to Broader Economy

By Binyamin Appelbaum and David Cho
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 24, 2009; A01

The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document.

The government at present has the authority to seize only banks.

Giving the Treasury secretary authority over a broader range of companies would mark a significant shift from the existing model of financial regulation, which relies on independent agencies that are shielded from the political process. The Treasury secretary, a member of the president's Cabinet, would exercise the new powers in consultation with the White House, the Federal Reserve and other regulators, according to the document.

The administration plans to send legislation to Capitol Hill this week. Sources cautioned that the details, including the Treasury's role, are still in flux.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is set to argue for the new powers at a hearing today on Capitol Hill about the furor over bonuses paid to executives at American International Group, which the government has propped up with about $180 billion in federal aid. Administration officials have said that the proposed authority would have allowed them to seize AIG last fall and wind down its operations at less cost to taxpayers.

The administration's proposal contains two pieces. First, it would empower a government agency to take on the new role of systemic risk regulator with broad oversight of any and all financial firms whose failure could disrupt the broader economy. The Federal Reserve is widely considered to be the leading candidate for this assignment. But some critics warn that this could conflict with the Fed's other responsibilities, particularly its control over monetary policy.

The government also would assume the authority to seize such firms if they totter toward failure.

Besides seizing a company outright, the document states, the Treasury Secretary could use a range of tools to prevent its collapse, such as guaranteeing losses, buying assets or taking a partial ownership stake. Such authority also would allow the government to break contracts, such as the agreements to pay $165 million in bonuses to employees of AIG's most troubled unit.

The Treasury secretary could act only after consulting with the president and getting a recommendation from two-thirds of the Federal Reserve Board, according to the plan.

Geithner plans to lay out the administration's broader strategy for overhauling financial regulation at another hearing on Thursday.

The authority to seize non-bank financial firms has emerged as a priority for the administration after the failure of investment house Lehman Brothers, which was not a traditional bank, and the troubled rescue of AIG.

"We're very late in doing this, but we've got to move quickly to try and do this because, again, it's a necessary thing for any government to have a broader range of tools for dealing with these kinds of things, so you can protect the economy from the kind of risks posed by institutions that get to the point where they're systemic," Geithner said last night at a forum held by the Wall Street Journal.

The powers would parallel the government's existing authority over banks, which are exercised by banking regulatory agencies in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Geithner has cited that structure as the model for the government's plans.

This is the kinda stuff that really bothers me. It should bother all of us.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why South Carolina Doesn't Want "Stimulus"

An interesting article by the Republican Governor of South Carolina:

Why South Carolina Doesn't Want 'Stimulus'


Columbia, S.C.

America's states are laboratories of democracy. They are both affected by, and relevant to, the larger national debate. What we've found in our own corner of the country is that carrying a substantial debt load limits our options when it comes to running government.

A recent report by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked us 47th worst in the nation for annual debt service as a percentage of tax revenue. Our state dedicates nearly 11% of its annual tax revenue to paying debt. On top of that, South Carolina has another $20 billion in unfunded, long-term political promises for pensions and other liabilities. The state budget has already been cut four times in recent months as the national economic downturn has impacted South Carolina and driven down tax revenue.

President Barack Obama recently signed a "stimulus" bill that will spend about $2 billion through "programmatic means" in South Carolina. In other words, the federal government will put this money directly into existing funding formulas and programs such as Medicaid. But there is an additional $700 million that I as governor have influence over, and it is the disposition of this money that has drawn the national spotlight to South Carolina.

Here's the background: Before the stimulus bill passed, I asked for states not to be bailed out. After it was signed into law, I said that a state bailout would create more problems than it solved, and that we shouldn't spend money we don't have. That debate was lost, so I looked for a reasonable middle ground. I asked the president for his support in using the $700 million to pay down state debt.

If we're going to spend money we don't have at the federal level, it becomes all the more important that our state balance sheet is in good order -- particularly if this is a protracted downturn. But many people do not realize that the stimulus money runs out in 24 months -- at which point South Carolina will be forced to find a new source of funding to sustain the new level of spending, or to make sharp cuts. Sure, I could kick the can down the road; in two years, I'll be safely out of office. But it would be irresponsible.

If South Carolina could use stimulus money to pay down debt, in two years we will be able to spend, cut taxes or invest even if the federal government can no longer provide more money -- not a remote possibility. In fact, paying debt related to education would free up over $162 million in debt service in the first two years and save roughly $125 million in interest payments over the next 13 years -- just as paying off a family's mortgage early frees up money for other uses.

When you're in a hole, the first order of business is stop digging. South Carolina is in a hole, and it's not a shallow one. Spending stimulus money on ongoing programs would mean 10% of our entire state budget would be paid for with one-time federal funds -- the largest recorded level in state history.

Also, spending stimulus money will delay needed state restructuring. General Motors recently found itself in a similar spot. It needs to be restructured if it is to prosper, but a federal bailout enabled it to put off hard decisions. Likewise, taking federal stimulus money will only postpone changes essential to South Carolina's prosperity. Though well-intended, it forestalls hard choices we must make.

One of Mr. Obama's central campaign themes was his pledge to do away with politics of the past. In his inaugural address, he proclaimed "an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

This idea connected with millions of voters, myself included. I've always believed ideas should rise and fall on their merits. In fact, I saw such historical significance in his candidacy and the change he spoke of that I published an op-ed on it before South Carolina's presidential primary last year. It was not an endorsement, but it did note the historic nature of his candidacy and the potential positive change in tone it represented. That potential may now be disappearing.

Last week I reached out to the president, asking for a federal waiver from restrictions on stimulus money. I got a most unusual response. Before I even received an acknowledgment of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads against me for making it.

Is this the new brand of politics we were promised? Instead of engaging with me and other governors on the merits of our dissent, I am to be attacked in television ads? In the end, I just don't believe a problem created by too much debt will be solved by piling on more debt. This doesn't strike me as an unreasonable or extremist position.

Nevertheless, the White House declined my request for a waiver yesterday afternoon. That's unfortunate. But in coming months we'll continue advancing the debate at the state level about the merits of debt repayment. The fact remains that while we'd all like to spend unlimited dollars on the very real needs that exist in our state, we must spend in the context of what is sustainable.

It is a good thing, more and more people, and states, are realizing that the current growth in government through this stimulus bill is a threat to our federalist system of government.

Why Preach the Gospel?

Bright Blessings this Sunday!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We The People Stimulus Package

Obviously I don't agree with all of this, but I thought it was well done and the guy makes quite a few great points.

The Obama Deception

As with all things from Alex Jones, take it for what it is, and consider the source. There is a whole lot of interesting stuff in this. It's long, I know, but I feel it is worth watching from both an historical and a conspiraciological perspective:

Powerful Ad

Evidently banned in Australia.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Props to Obama

For ending Justice Department raids on medical marijuana distributors:

Obama Administration to Stop Raids on Medical Marijuana Dispensers

Published: March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday outlined a shift in the enforcement of federal drug laws, saying the administration would effectively end the Bush administration’s frequent raids on distributors of medical marijuana.

Well it's about time someone did this. I have many disagreements with our president, but in this I can only cheer. Props to you, Mr. President.

Now, it isn't perfect:

Speaking with reporters, Mr. Holder provided few specifics but said the Justice Department’s enforcement policy would now be restricted to traffickers who falsely masqueraded as medical dispensaries and “use medical marijuana laws as a shield.”

Now that's a door wide enough so they can call anything anything, but it's a start, and when someone starts doing a good thing, I will cheer it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

There's Always a Silver Lining

As an eternal optimist, I am hopeful that the one good thing that MIGHT come out of this economic mess is the removal of my Senator Chris Dodd from power.

He has been caught in a big lie:

Sen. Dodd Admits Adding Bonus Provision to Stimulus Package
Sen. Chris Dodd says Treasury forced him to add language to the stimulus bill last month that specifically excluded executive bonuses included in contracts signed before the bill's passage.

By Trish Turner


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In a dramatic reversal Wednesday, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., confessed to adding language to a spending cap in the stimulus bill last month that specifically excluded executive bonuses included in contracts signed before the bill's passage.

Dodd told FOX News that Treasury officials forced him to make the change.

"As many know, the administration was, among others, not happy with the language. They wanted some modifications to it," he said. "They came to us, our staff, and asked for changes, and the changes at the time did not seem that obnoxious or onerous."

But the provision has become a flash point for criticism amid the controversy over $165 million in bonuses given out by AIG after securing more than $170 billion in federal aid. The language in the stimulus bill wasn't specific to AIG, but some have expressed outrage that it appears to have created a loophole.

Dodd said the argument put forward by Treasury was that a "flood of lawsuits" would come forward if the change was not made.

Dodd said he was unaware of the AIG bonuses at the time the bill was being written back in early February. He also said he has no reason to believe Treasury officials making the argument knew about the AIG bonuses.

When asked how administration officials have this kind of leverage over members of Congress, Dodd said, "The administration has veto power. ... No one suggested a veto to me, I don't want to imply that to you. But certainly that's not an insignificant tool."

On Tuesday, Dodd told FOX News that he didn't add the exemption.

"When the language went to the conference and came back, there was different language," he said then. "I can tell you this much, when my language left the Senate, it did not include it. When it came back, it did."

Now, getting caught lying for an old politician like Dodd is usually about as dangerous as getting caught drunk under the table at a Washington watering hole, but I am ever hopeful that THIS lie will be the one that does him in.

Few senators had as much of a hand in what went down with the mortgage meltown (the only possible exception is fellow New Englander Barney Frank of Taxachussets), but Dodd needs to be gone, yesterday.

Let us hope and pray that this is the beginning of the end of his lengthy, lousy career.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Now This Looks Like Fun!

This is part of the future I dreamed of as a kid! Where can I get me one of these babies?
Amazing New Water-Powered Jet Pack - Watch more Funny Videos

Harlan Ellison Sues Paramount

Harlan Ellison has long been one of my favorite writers, and is known for having crafted "The City on the Edge of Forever," easily one of the best Star Trek episodes.

I wish him luck in his endeavor. Here is the announcement:



Harlan Ellison, multiple award-winning writer of the famed teleplay for the original Star Trek episode, City on the Edge of Forever, sued Paramount on March 13, 2009 for failing to account to, or pay, Mr. Ellison for the merchandising, publishing, or any other exploitations, of the famous teleplay, from inception to date. The suit also names the Writers Guild of America and alleges the WGA failed to act on Ellison’s behalf after numerous requests.

Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever (the memorable episode starring Joan Collins as salvation sister Edith Keeler, the woman Kirk loved and watched die; remember?) continues, 35 years after its original NBC airing, to receive critical accolades, and has become legendary as one of the all-time money-making commercial favorites: it won the coveted Writers Guild award for year’s best teleplay; it won the “Hugo” award of the World Science Fiction Convention; it was ranked as one of the “100 Greatest Television Episodes of All Time” by TV Guide in 1997 as part of its 50 year survey; it was “One of the 100 Most Memorable Moments in Television History” in the 29 June 1996 nationwide survey; and as recently as its 20-26 April 2002 issue, TV Guide celebrated Star Trek’s 35th anniversary featuring, of the hundreds of episodes since its debut, its 35 Greatest Moments!

Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever was #2.

Mr. Ellison’s attorney, John H. Carmichael, points out that the 1960 collective bargaining agreement between the WGA and the Producers, as amended in 1966, assures to the writers of individual teleplays “a piece of the pie.” Specifically, Mr. Carmichael states, “Writers under that WGA agreement are supposed to get 25% of the revenue from the licensing of publication rights. From Dollar One. Here, Paramount licensed its sister-corporation Simon & Schuster, through its Pocket Books division, the right to publish a knock-off trilogy of paperbacks – the ‘Crucible’ series – novels based on City, using Ellison’s unique elements: plot, specific non-Trek characters, prominently including The Guardian of Forever, singular conceptual uses of time travel, the sense of tragedy that propels the story, the mood and venue of the story in the 1930s Great Depression, and at the stories’ heart, pivotally, whether Edith Keeler lives or dies. Not merely minor points or window dressing or name-changes. No, they are the body, heart, and guts of Mr. Ellison’s original creation – the best story Star Trek ever told.

“But even as flagrant in evidence as is this case, Paramount has gone tabula rasa. Paramount will not respond to any alleged Guild requests for an accounting. Not just for the books, but for much City-related merchandise, such as a Hallmark Christmas ornament of the “talking” Guardian of Forever actually using lines Ellison wrote for his script – obvious re-uses of Ellison’s singular creation, for which he should be compensated. Paramount will not send statements; Paramount will not admit anyone is owed anything; and even when the WGA requests an accounting, they are blown off with – ‘we’ll get back to you,’ which they don’t. And the WGA seems routinely to accept such cavalier non-responsiveness without a fight. Paramount will not permit examination, and will not open the books; perhaps for fear of loosing a Super-Accountant/Pandora on them, who will open holes in their duplicity. But the WGA is clearly unwilling to take action on Mr. Ellison’s behalf, and so we must seek intervention of the Federal Courts to ensure that the principles of the collective bargaining agreement are upheld. Mr. Ellison is singularly reluctant to sue his own labor union, of which he has been a 47-year member, a valued public spokesman, and where he has twice served on its Board of Directors. In this fractious matter, Mr. Ellison is only asking for one U.S. Dollar from his Guild. But he wants a judicial determination as to whether the WGA is doing what its stated purpose has been since day-one! To fight and negotiate for him and other writers. To obtain misappropriated, withheld, hidden earnings, no matter how minuscule or difficult to retrieve – but HIS, nonetheless. These are intended, true, benefits from earlier WGA bargaining agreements. But after waiting patiently either for the Guild to move against dismissive Paramount, or for Paramount to have a brain-flare of honesty or integrity, these huge sums due continue to be dumped into the studio’s ever-hungry maw. Mr. Ellison wants every penny of his long ago agreed-upon share of the revenue from Paramount’s relentless Trek exploitations, which have been unbelievably, financially remunerative in demonstrable measure as a result of Mr. Ellison’s significant contribution to the original Star Trek series.” Carmichael highlights: LA Times, 28 July 2007: “Paramount DVD sampler collects favorite episodes from all five Star Trek TV series.” The one starring Captain Kirk, Wm. Shatner’s pick as his favorite, is Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever. (And see Ellison’s “Pay the Writer”–299,000 hits during the recent strike.)

Says Mr. Ellison of the suit: “To quote Gandhi: ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.’

“And please make sure to remember, at the moment some Studio mouthpiece calls me a mooch, and says I’m only pursuing this legal retribution to get into their ‘deep pockets,’ tell’m Ellison snarled back, ‘F- - - -in’-A damn skippy!’ I’m no hypocrite. It ain’t about the ‘principle,’ friend, its about the MONEY! Pay Me! Am I doing this for other writers, for Mom (still dead), and apple pie? Hell no! I’m doing it for the 35-year-long disrespect and the money!

“The arrogance, the pompous dismissive imperial manner of those who ‘have more important things to worry about,’ who’ll have their assistant get back to you, who don’t actually read or create, who merely ‘take’ meetings, and shuffle papers – much of which is paper money denied to those who actually did the manual labor of creating those dreams – they refuse even to notice...until you jam a Federal lawsuit in their eye. To hell with all that obfuscation and phony flag-waving: they got my money. Pay me and pay off all the other writers from whom you’ve made hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars...from OUR labors...just so you can float your fat asses in warm Bahamian waters.

“The Trek fans who know my City screenplay understand just exactly why I’m bare-fangs-of-Adamantium about this.”

When Mr. Ellison calmed down, he continued, soberly, “They maintain fortresses staffed and insulated with corporate and legal Black Legions whose ability to speak fluent bullshit is the ramadoola of gyrating, gibbering numbers via which they cling to every dollar. And when you aren’t getting paid for the marvels you helped bring forth -- fine, hard, careful artifacts that are making others pig-rich -- at some point any sane person knows he has three, and only three choices: the first is to sit around dinner parties and ceaselessly whine over your sushi about how they screwed you, boo hoo, but you can’t beef about it Out There in the World or they’ll blacklist you; the second is to pick up an Uzi somewhere, crash your SUV through a Studio gate, and just run amok; and the third, last, choice is this one – to act like an adult, to take ‘em on in Federal Court and to make the greedy, amoral bastards blink blood out of their eyes. What they do is tantamount to common street-thug robbery... just add the pig-rich Madoff-style smoothyguts attorneys.

“And I learned today that the Actors Guild is having to fight, right now, just to maintain the very concept of residuals as part of their agreement with the Producers. So I am happy as a centipede-with-track-shoes that this infamous behavior, arrogantly ignored for too damned long, is timed to call attention to the degree to which the creative cadres in this business are getting parboiled and served up in a dog-dish! The part of this imbroglio that truly dismays me, is that my once-tough, beloved Guild – my UNION – that got massively screwed when it let the Alliance scare the slacker-gen dolts into thinking not losing a job meant ‘just bend over and grin,’ – if one’s own damn Guild won’t help you, – when you’ve entreated them for months – then hell, you’ve got no choice but to raise the skull and crossbones, hone the edge of your demon attorney, and just start cutting off noggins and nuts.

“Cowardice is like parrot fever in this town; I think there are writers and other artists who revel in being bitch-slapped, in being pilfered on a regular basis, as if they were artistic trailer-trash! And if the WGAw isn’t going to watch my back – and I’ve been their loyal hit-man, pit bull, and go-to guy for 47 years – I dread the possibility that the timorous Guild won’t raise the bloody axe for other artists, writers, actors...saner and less pissed-off than I. So you can tell’em I’m coming!”

There were flecks of blood on Mr. Ellison’s otherwise charming face.

Contact: John H. Carmichael, Esq. (949) 829-9743




CASE #: CV09-1777, filed March 13, 2009

JUDGE: The Honorable Christina A. Snyder

Marvel MMO -- Back On Line?

I was disappointed when I heard that the alliance between Cryptic Studios and Marvel fell through, and the Marvel Universe MMO had been canceled.

While I am somewhat looking forward to DC Comics Online (ever the optimist), knowing SOE and the crappy company they are, I have a feeling I will not be playing that game. This leaves Marvel, if I want to play a super hero MMO in a recognized universe. Knowing that Cryptic is a good company, having made City of Heroes, a fun game that I still play regularly -- I thought the alliance would be a good one. Obviously that didn't work out, and Cryptic is now involved in other projects.

Anyway, Marvel has now struck a deal with a company I am not familiar with -- Gazillion Entertainment. Looks like they are starting out with a kid's game, which doesn't surprise me, but it also seems they will be developing something for us old comic freaks.

Here is the announcement, made yesterday:

Gazillion in agreement with Marvel Entertainment to bring iconic super heroes to massively multiplayer games audience, unveils new company and studios

Games in Development with Marvel Entertainment
in Addition to Original IP for All Ages

SAN MATEO, Calif. — March 17, 2009 — Gazillion Entertainment today unveiled a key partnership to develop massively multiplayer online (MMO) games based on one of the world’s most revered entertainment brands, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), as part of Gazillion’s plan to bring high quality MMO entertainment to wide audiences. While operating in stealth mode as NR2B Research, the company assembled four development studios and has forged long-term partnerships with select entertainment brands worldwide.

Despite the tough economy, the video game industry continues to grow, and MMO games for mass audiences represent the next big opportunity for the upcoming decade,” said Rob Hutter, President and CEO of Gazillion. “This is particularly the case for established global entertainment brands like Marvel, which possess hundreds of millions of touch points with fans worldwide. The next step is exceptionally high quality MMO entertainment, and that’s our mission at Gazillion.”

With team members from Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Microsoft Game Studios, Pixar Animation Studios and many other leading companies, Gazillion has assembled talent from across the landscape of MMOs, console video games, animated feature films and technology to address the mission of building breakthrough MMOs capable of resonating with wide audiences. Privately held and backed by leading venture capitalists, Gazillion is comprised of four wholly-owned production studios as well as publishing, operations and an innovative online payments group.

MMOs Extend Franchises, Offer New Market Opportunity
“The global online PC game market is expected to reach $19 billion in 2013, and Casual and AAA MMOs are expected to reach $11.8 billion in 2013, representing a growing shift beyond the core to audiences of all types and ages,” said David Cole, founder and president of DFC Intelligence. “The keys to success will be the ability to release products for a range of audiences and a focus on making games a quality ongoing service. As the market grows, large entertainment brands will play an important role in expanding the audience. Marvel has taken the lead in going after this emerging opportunity and it speaks volumes that they chose Gazillion as their partner in this space.”

Gazillion today announced a worldwide licensing agreement with Marvel to develop and publish MMO games featuring Marvel’s iconic universe of more than 5,000 Super Heroes, including elements from its films and animated series. The first game in development is a casual MMO for younger audiences based on Marvel’s Super Hero Squad property. Super Hero Squad features an exciting, super-stylized look for the greatest Super Heroes, including Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Thor, Fantastic Four, Captain America and many others.

In addition, Gazillion will be developing and publishing Marvel Universe, a highly anticipated MMO for PC and consoles. Further details on Marvel Universe will be released in the upcoming months.

“Marvel’s library features a large and world-renowned stable of characters, making it tailor made for massively multiplayer entertainment that will appeal to a wide audience eager for more opportunities to interact with these iconic character franchises,” said Simon Philips, President, Worldwide Consumer Products for Marvel Entertainment. “Gazillion’s excellence in casual and AAA MMOs makes this an ideal partnership to fully leverage this powerful entertainment arena, bringing fans an exciting, interactive experience with the Marvel brand.”

Studios and Services
Gazillion has assembled a world-class roster of online game development professionals within four wholly-owned but individually operated studios, in addition to its publishing and operations centers in San Mateo, CA. Details currently being shared include:

* Amazing Society (Issaquah, WA), which is developing the Marvel Super Hero Squad Casual MMO;
* Gargantuan (San Mateo, CA), which is developing the Marvel Universe PC and console MMO;
* NetDevil (Louisville, CO), which is developing the LEGO Universe and Jumpgate Evolution MMOs;
* Slipgate Ironworks (San Mateo, CA), which is developing an original MMO property; and
* SmartyCard (San Mateo, CA), the award-winning payment service for kids and leading online games.

Additional titles under development have not yet been announced.

About Gazillion, Inc.
Gazillion Entertainment, Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and operator of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games for wide audiences. Gazillion has assembled talent from across the landscape of MMOs, videogames, animated feature films and technology to address the mission of building breakthrough massively multiplayer experiences featuring world class brands and original franchises, superior production quality and unmatched gameplay. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Gazillion has four independent but wholly owned MMO development studios located in California, Colorado, and Washington currently in production on Casual and AAA MMO properties. The company also owns the award-winning SmartyCard payment service for younger audiences which works with leading online games and more. For more information on Gazillion, its products and services please visit www.gazillion.com.

About Marvel
Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 5,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in licensing, entertainment (via Marvel Studios and Marvel Animation) and publishing (via Marvel Comics). Marvel's strategy is to leverage its franchises in a growing array of opportunities around the world, including feature films, consumer products, toys, video games, animated television, direct-to-DVD and online. For more information visit www.marvel.com.

Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

Let us pray....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Collins: Why this Scientist Believes in God

I've been debating with a bunch of atheists over at MMORPG.com lately; and while googling, I found this very nice essay:

Collins: Why this scientist believes in God

POSTED: 9:37 a.m. EDT, April 6, 2007
By Dr. Francis Collins
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Human Genome Project. His most recent book is "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan.

I did not always embrace these perspectives. As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked "What do you believe, doctor?", I began searching for answers.

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as "What is the meaning of life?" "Why am I here?" "Why does mathematics work, anyway?" "If the universe had a beginning, who created it?" "Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?" "Why do humans have a moral sense?" "What happens after we die?" (Watch Francis Collins discuss how he came to believe in God Video)

I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist's assertion that "I know there is no God" emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, "Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative."

But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.

For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God's character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God's son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.

So, some have asked, doesn't your brain explode? Can you both pursue an understanding of how life works using the tools of genetics and molecular biology, and worship a creator God? Aren't evolution and faith in God incompatible? Can a scientist believe in miracles like the resurrection?

Actually, I find no conflict here, and neither apparently do the 40 percent of working scientists who claim to be believers. Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.

But why couldn't this be God's plan for creation? True, this is incompatible with an ultra-literal interpretation of Genesis, but long before Darwin, there were many thoughtful interpreters like St. Augustine, who found it impossible to be exactly sure what the meaning of that amazing creation story was supposed to be. So attaching oneself to such literal interpretations in the face of compelling scientific evidence pointing to the ancient age of Earth and the relatedness of living things by evolution seems neither wise nor necessary for the believer.

I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God's majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.

Here's the video I believe they are talking about in the text:

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ron Paul PWNs Stephen Balwin

...with the TRUE conservative Christian perspective on the war on drugs:

Paul didn't say it, but IF God owns you, as sold out Christians like to claim, then YOU, not the state, are the steward of the body and mind that God gave you. Therefore, the Powers and Principalities have no place in regulating how you and God work out what you do with that body and that mind.

The Purpose of the government is not to curb vice, but to protect rights.

It was fun watching a real conservative Christian beating a fake one to a pulp. Good going, Ron.

/hat tip to Scott over at Tomato blog.

"Especially Those Who Believe"

An interesting discussion of 1Tim 4:10, which I discussed here:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cramer on Obama's Plan

Even his fellow liberals are turning against him. Let us hope and pray this president is not as stubborn as the last one.

Sunday, March 1, 2009