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‘Earth’ , Calling Space…

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 film)

“Twentieth Century Fox’s remake of sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still will be the widest release ever –if you count outer space.

At the same time that the film opens today in theaters, Fox and a privately owned celestial communications network will use equipment at Cape Canaveral, Fla., to begin beaming “The Day the Earth Stood Still” to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to Earth. The galactic stunt is a first-ever for a Hollywood studio.”

via Variety.

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Colin Powell on the Failure of GOP ‘Polarization’

“I think the party has to stop shouting at the world and at the country,”Powell said. “I think that the party has to take a hard look at itself, and I've talked to a number of leaders in recent weeks and they understand that.” Powell, who says he still considers himself a Republican, said his party should also stop listening to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

“Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh?” Powell asked. “Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?”

via CNN Political Ticker.

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Sign the ACLU’s Petition to Shut Down Guantanamo Bay

Five high-profile detainees this week attempted to submit guilty pleas before the government’s ill-conceived military commissions at Guantánamo Bay. But, by the end of the day, their pleas were tied up in a blizzard of confusion over unresolved legal questions.

Whatever happens, it is abundantly clear is that, no matter how hard the government tries to advance the military commissions, this process doesn’t work.

What’s happening at Guantánamo flies in the face of justice, fairness and our American ideals. Please take a moment to tell President-elect Obama to close the prison at Guantánamo. Click here: http://action.aclu.org/openletter

It will take just a few minutes –and the public pressure is critical.

ACLU.

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Meet the GOP’s wrecking crew

“This week Southern Republicans had a chance to go to bat for foreign automakers while simultaneously busting a union… The fiercest opposition to the loan proposal — and nearly a third of the 35 votes against ending debate on the deal — came from Southern Republicans, and the ringleaders of the opposition all come from states with a major foreign auto presence. Not coincidentally, nearly all of those states — except Kentucky — are also “right-to-work” states, which means no union contracts for most of the employees at the foreign plants. The Detroit bailout fell victim to a nasty confluence of home-state economic interests and anti-union sentiment among Republicans.”

via Salon News.

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Decline, fall and then some

La nouvelle Jérusalem (Tapisserie de l'Apocaly...
The New Jerusalem (Tapestry of the Apocalypse)
“…[T]here is no shortage of doctors who excel at the literary arts. And none writes more elegantly and eloquently than the British essayist Theodore Dalrymple, the nom de plume of Anthony Daniels, a retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. The pseudonym was chosen, he tells us, to convey the sense of a curmudgeon’s stubborn refusal to go along with the defining orthodoxies and pieties of his age.

He believes that man is a fallen creature and so is dismissive of the idea of perfection or utopian thinking of any kind. He is unmoved by Marxism, or indeed any other ideological system that posits causation by abstract social forces. For Dalrymple, the locus of moral concern falls on personal behaviour rather than on social structure, and he is caustic about any notion that negates the idea of personal responsibility, or that suggests that we are simply passive victims of our environment. And unlike so many of the intelligentsia, he is ever mindful that, in this world at least, we do not get something for nothing: Improvement usually comes at a cost. Ideas that arise from the very best of intentions often result in disastrous social consequences.

Not with a Bang is Dalrymple’s third collection of essays on the decline of British society. …[T]hroughout these essays, two themes predominate.

The first is the state’s aggressive and grinding intrusion into the daily lives of its citizens, “… a juggernaut that cannot be stopped and is no longer under anyone’s control.” The state’s attempts to regulate its citizens, whether by passing explicit laws or by promulgating the official orthodoxies via speech codes, human rights tribunals and other such bureaucratic constructs, has resulted in a neurotic and dependent citizenry. For Dalrymple, such state-sponsored schemes — whether emanating from the political left or right — can be attributed to the naive view that “dissatisfaction and frustration arise from error and malice, rather than from the inescapable and permanent separation between man’s desires and what the world can offer him.” He is scathing in his condemnation of those politicians, bureaucrats and professors who, in the name of building the New Jerusalem, tread recklessly over civilization’s hard-won freedoms, and who are ready to sacrifice truth on the altar of political expediency: “… we have come to an almost totalitarian uniformity of the sayable, imposed informally by right-thinking people in the name of humanity but in utter disregard for the truth and reality of their fellow citizens’ lives.”

The second theme is that despite the fabulous wealth and prosperity of the Western nations, there is a deepening social malaise. In the midst of plenty, after all an individual’s material wants have been satisfied, we have nonetheless spawned new and quite horrific kinds of cultural impoverishment. Despite the fact that even the least-favoured citizens among us can now enjoy diversions and luxuries undreamt of by the monarchs of an earlier age, we have nevertheless invented new ways of imperilling the mind and soul: “Mankind has laboured long and hard to produce a cornucopia for itself, only to discover that the cornucopia does not bring the happiness expected, but only a different kind of anxiety.”

…Dalrymple’s essays provide a kind of eulogy for those public virtues that the world once associated with Britain: reasonableness, honour, stoicism, fair-mindedness, civility and courteousness. His analysis of the British fall from grace also provides fair warning to those nations…which, having travelled some way along the path pioneered by Britain, might yet avoid such a fate.”

via The National Post [thanks, walker].