Thursday, August 7, 2008

A few notes...

...just so you know I'm not dead. I've been working on a few projects, so I haven't been updating with the frequency I would like. But here is some brief commentary on some recent happenings. I know of a few Objectivist bloggers who have a regular feature like this, so I might continue to do one every now and then.

Victoria Osteen (or, Sky Bitch of Houston)

I generally don't like to gloat about someone else's problems, but I just hate these people.

For those of you who don't know, Joel Osteen is a pastor at a megachurch here in Houston. He does, however, have several best-selling books and I believe he is on television quite often. So many people have probably heard of him.

His sermons, which are broadcasted nationally, are some of the most annoyingly foolish piles of religious nonsense I generally experience.

The church is a converted sports arena. That should give you an idea of the size of his congregation. I also live about half a mile from this atrocity, so you can imagine how much of a bitch it is to get around downtown in a major city on a Sunday with the biggest church in the nation releasing the drones to go to their apre-sermon IHOP breakfast.

Anyway, it seems his wife threw a hissy-fit on a plane when she didn't get immediate service after demanding the flight attendants clean up a fifty-cent piece size spill. While bitching out, she apparently tried to force her way into the cockpit and shoved a flight attendant into a bathroom door and elbowed her in the breast.

Some of the claims made by the woman bringing the suit are kind of foolish, but the general consensus of everyone who is not Osteen or her lawyer is that she did indeed wig out and try to force her way into the cockpit.

This trend of religious leaders acting like general a-holes and engaging in graphically hypocritical acts makes me smile.

XM/Serius Merger

The FCC finally deigned to allow Sirius and XM Satellite Radio to merge. Of course, in a free society, private companies wouldn't need to grovel to government bureaucrats to exercise their property rights, but one aspect of this merger struck me as particularly disgusting.

As a condition of being allowed to merge, the new company must pay fines of about $20 million because several radio receivers and signal boosting towers violated FCC technical rules. What rules? The companies failed to create and market receivers that were capable of receiving a signal from both companies prior to the merger.

That's right. Before they even knew if the government would leave them the hell alone and let them practice business the way they saw fit, they had to potentially waste millions of dollars on production and marketing of a product that, if the FCC had rejected the merger, would serve to aid their competitors. The new company is essentially going to be fined for not being sufficiently stupid prior to merging.

Reason #8,903,772 to abolish the FCC.

Beijing Olympics

Okay, personally, I have always thought, and I still think, that the U.S. should boycott the Beijing Olympics. This is a collectivist, authoritarian nation that shows no respect whatsoever to individual rights.

There was a big stink a little while a ago over China going back on the promise to refrain from monitoring and restricting the internet access of foreigners in the country to participate in or attend the Olympic Games. No surprise there.

Now China has revoked the visa of American speedskater and gold medalist, Joey Cheek, barring him from competing in the Games. Why? Essentially, because he is a Darfur activist.

Now, I think the notion of "doing something" about Darfur is foolish. But the only reason this man's visa was revoked was because of his work with Team Darfur, a bunch of athlete-activists who try to raise money for their cause. China's economic and military ties to the Sudan are very well known, so it's not hard to wonder about why this happened.

Of course, barring a gold medalist from competing against China's athletes only sweetens the deal.

That is all--