7 things @ 9 o’clock (10.30)

1.After the apocalypse, she missed her dog.”

As the word has transmogrified into its contemporary usages, it has come to be synonymous with cataclysm, violence and destruction on a global scale, fire and brimstone, the End of Everything. Suppressed by such emphases is the other side of apocalypse: utopian dreams, “a new heaven and new earth” as the biblical apocalypse puts it, the fantasy of the slate wiped clean.

2. Virginia attorney general, anti-sodomy activist and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli spoke Monday at a convocation at Liberty University. I guess the folks at Liberty looked at Cuccinelli’s poll numbers and figured they’d better act fast if they wanted to catch him while he was still a public figure.

Sen. Rand Paul also spoke at the convocation, giving a speech that was partly plagiarized from the Wikipedia entry for the movie Gattaca. This tells us: 1. Paul is dumb enough to think it’s possible to steal from Wikipedia without getting caught; and 2. If Rand Paul ever asks you if you’ve seen a movie, just say “Yes, loved it, seen it seven times” and then quickly change the subject. Otherwise, he’ll launch into a long, droning summary of the plot, spoilers and all. (Oh, and Paul did the same thing in a June speech — plagiarizing the Wikipedia entry for Stand and Deliver.)

This church mural is, I believe, meant to be read “Arise.”

3. David Crary offers a helpful overview of the problems with the evangelical Christian adoption movement (he’s writing for the AP so he’s not allowed to talk about problems, only “criticisms”): “Christian evangelical adoption movement perseveres amid criticism, drop in foreign adoptions.”  One key criticism is a lack of safeguards — or interest — to ensure that adopted children are actually orphans and not just poor.

Adopting an orphan can be a wonderful act of generosity and hospitality, but a movement that “uncritically participates in adoption systems riddled with child laundering, where children are illicitly obtained through fraud, kidnapping or purchase” isn’t helping orphans any more than the story of David and Bathsheba is about ministry to widows.

(Update: The poorly worded front page summary of this item has been re-worded for clarity.)

4. The race is on. My guess for projected finish: 15. Hawaii; 16. New Mexico; 17. Illinois.

5. Zack Hunt looks at the god-awful trailer for the tribal Christian movie God’s Not Dead (featuring Kevin Sorbo, the Newsboys, and poor Dean Cain) and wonders if this is the first Christian-brand movie based on a Facebook meme. The plot seems similar to the Christian-student-dumbfounds-atheist-perfesser urban legend Zack discusses, but I don’t think it’s based on that bogus story directly. I think it’s just based on the same impulse — the revenge fantasy of how awesome it would have been to have said just the right thing at just the right time so that instead of losing that argument, I’d have been all, like, Bam! — high five me bro’ — and that stupid professor with his stupid books and ideas and stuff would’ve been all like, “Uh duhhh der duh duh duh.” Man, that would’ve been awesome!

I don’t think even the thespian skills of Hercules himself can be enough to make that sad little delusional fantasy into a compelling story worth watching (worth writing, worth filming, etc.). On the other hand, a story about a guy whose life is so unrewarding and whose faith is so tenuously fragile that he sits around indulging in such pathetic fantasies, preferring them to reality — that might make a good movie.

6. Martin Luther King Jr. on school prayer:

Contrary to what many have said, [the Supreme Court] sought to outlaw neither prayer nor belief in God. In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right.

The man was a Baptist.

7. Oh please oh please oh please let this happen: David Barton may run for the U.S. Senate in Texas. My guess is he’s savvy enough about his current career as a lying con artist to know that the scrutiny that would come from such a high profile race would destroy him. But then con artists also tend to be narcissists with the hubris to imagine they can pull off anything, and the potential of expanding his direct mail database and tapping all those billionaire suckers in the Club for Growth might tempt him to do it.

Here’s hoping that if he does run, journalists won’t be satisfied with the shelf-full of documented lies, fabrications and forgeries already committed by Barton, but will be inspired by that long history of mendacity to follow the money, digging deeper into this crooked man’s crooked life.

Warren Throckmorton says that a “Draft David Barton for U.S. Senate” Facebook page encouraging him to challenge Republican Sen. John Cornyn in a primary has already gathered 1,000 “likes.” Texas Democrats should be clicking that “like” button too — short of Christine O’Donnell moving to Texas, they couldn’t ask for a more promising scenario than a Barton/Cornyn primary.

  • Lori

    My allergies acted up a bit this morning too. Must be going around.

  • LoneWolf343

    Does anyone actually say it? We don’t because we know we can’t actually shame him. If he had shame, he wouldn’t do it in the first place. It sounds really impotent.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ex-fucking-cuse me?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So nobody should call him on it, ever?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So nobody should be offended because they’re 2000 miles away and can’t tell him in any meaningful way they’re not happy with what he said? Nice arbiter-of-offendedness, there.

  • Jim Roberts

    I think the point is that, “How dare you?” is often invoked at people who stop at being offended, like the lady on the Simpsons who yells, “Think of the children!” at every town meeting regardless of context.
    If you’re offended by a public official’s endorsement of otherphobia, and then let a co-worker’s gay slur slide, and sit silently in the pew of a homophobic church then, yes, that’s a problem.
    I won’t judge a person who does that because, hell, up until about two years ago I WAS that person and being judged by others certainly didn’t help.

  • James Forrester

    Not exactly -

    He was holding the book upside down. I assume so he could flip it over and show the kids the pages as they went along. He looks very scared to me. But that doesn’t really bother me. I didn’t like the guy’s politics but it is an honest reaction to a horrible event.

  • Lori

    Um, no. Adopting a child who isn’t an orphan is not kidnapping. Taking possession of a child who has been kidnapped is participation in child trafficking, not adoption, but those 2 statements are not the same thing.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Or Marco Rubio’s shallow embrace of hip-hop.

  • Lori

    My only complaint about Bush’s reaction to the attacks is the way the noise machine, including Bush himself, just glided over it and acted like it was all about chest thumping blah, blah, blah and that as a Real Man he was never pants-wetting terrified by the events and the fact that it was his job to deal with them.

    The reaction was human and I didn’t really fault him for it. I can’t think of any other time a US president received news that bad while on camera. That had to be just awful. I have no patience with the posturing and bullshit and “war President” crap that followed it or with Right wing attempts to continue selling the notion that GOP men are all stalwart clones of John Wayne, not like those weak, fearful Dems. That’s a lie from every angle.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    It still cracks me up that the creator of Wikipedia is a Randian. When I think Howard Roark I do not think “crowdsourcing.”

  • James Probis

    But Republican men really are just like the draft dodging war hawk John Wayne. When the opportunity to defend his country presented itself, he chose to stay in America and his career benefited because he was in movies while people like Jimmy Stewart were serving their country. That seems pretty Republican to me, not even getting into the disgusting comments he made about the civil rights movement, which would put him in fine standing in the Republican party.

  • Monala

    I’m with you. Of all the legitimate things to criticize GWB for, his reaction when he first learned of the 9/11 attacks wasn’t one of them.

  • ReverendRef

    Or he could read from Green Eggs and Ham during an official address to Congress,

    It’s too bad the Republicans couldn’t actually LEARN something from that reading of Green Eggs and Ham . . . like, “Hey, trying something new really won’t kill us.”

  • Lori

    Yes, definitely. I should have made that more clear. I forget that other people are unaware that in my head “John Wayne” is the brave, heroic image and “Marion Morrison” is the self-serving, hypocritical reality.

  • LoneWolf343

    No, you can call him on it. It’s just that “How dare you?” isn’t going to be effective as, say, “You’re a POS, because X, Y, and Z.”

  • LoneWolf343

    Semantics. Doesn’t think it matters that much to the lawful parents of the child in question.

  • Fusina

    It’s just a stray eyelash. Soon as all the tears wash it out I’ll be fine.

  • Lori

    No, not semantics. You are actually saying what Fred didn’t say and that’s not OK. Kidnapping is kidnapping. Adoption is adoption. Parents can and do give up children for adoption freely, because it is best for them and for the child. The genetic parents do not have to be dead for an adoption to be legitimate. Do you actually not understand that?

  • The_L1985

    No, he said that adopting children who were claimed to be orphans, but really aren’t, is more akin to kidnapping than to actual adoption.

  • The_L1985

    It should have said “isn’t really adoption of orphans, IMO.

  • The_L1985

    Well, thanks for letting me, Fred, and most of us here in the Slactiverse know that we should not be taken seriously. Guess I’d better go tell my students that they don’t have to pay any attention to me when I try to teach them math, too. </sarcasm>

  • The_L1985

    Ooh, care to share the under-the-hood stuff? I could use an edge in X Version.

  • B

    I think it’s just based on the same impulse — the revenge fantasy of how
    awesome it would have been to have said just the right thing at just
    the right time so that instead of losing that argument, I’d have been
    all, like, Bam! — high five me bro’

    Isn’t that the plot of everything Aaron Sorkin has ever written?

  • MarkTemporis

    Well, they’re being a bit dramatic about it. I always hear “How dare you” in about the same tone as the old-timey “Good day, sir!” and its always huffy and meant to be used on your way out.

  • Matthew Charles

    There are…three major parts? The first is EVs, which in X you can train easily with super training, or else you get when you beat up other pokemon. Each 4 EVs your pokemon get increases that stat by 1 point (So, Golbat gives you 2 Speed EVs when you beat it, so beating two of them will get you +1 Speed for your pokemon). Then there’s IVs, invisible values for each stat that also determines their stats on top of the pokemon’s base stats.

    Then there are natures, which are shown, but different natures give a 10% bonus to a stat and a 10 % decrease to another stat. There’s probably something else I’m forgetting, but you get the picture.

  • LoneWolf343

    Hey, chill. No, the parents don’t have to be dead to an adoption to be legitimate, but they do have to be for some reason have their status as legal guardians vacated (of which, death is the usual reason.)

    And, if you think that kidnappings for the sake of “adoption” don’t happen, here you go: http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/02/04/haiti.arrests/

  • LoneWolf343

    It seems we have two different incidents in mind here. The link I have was for a school visit in 2002, not on 9/11.

  • redsixwing

    They brought a lot of it out from under the hood in X. :D

    As has been mentioned, the EVs are important. Now, you can train EVs and see how many your monster has with Super Training – what I like to do is blow down all of their EVs with berries or a reset bag if they’ve been partially trained already, then pick their best two stats (or if you like, ones that really should be better and needs a boost) and grind the heck out of it. Once the EVs in that stat are maxed, it should receive a pretty substantial bonus – enough to make a good Pokemon really shine, and to raise a marginal one into pretty good strength. Another lovely thing is that since 5th gen, they receive the boosts from EV-training right away, instead of getting them on level up as they did in the previous games.

    IVs still aren’t very easy to suss out, though there’s someone in one of the cities (sorry for the vagueness, I’m not to that point yet and am avoiding spoilers) who will tell you what your monster’s best stat is.

    You can also breed egg moves onto Pokemon – they’re inherited from both sides in 6th gen games, not just the father’s as previous. Since they changed the mechanics behind nature and move inheritance, I haven’t got it entirely figured out yet, but you can make some killer movesets by carefully crossing various Pokemon.

    … can you tell this is my favorite part of the game? XD

  • Lori

    We are clearly talking past each other. Obviously I am aware of kidnapping for the purposes of illegal adoption. That’s the point of the article that Fred linked to and we’ve discussed the topic here before. Such schemes are kidnapping and child trafficking. Actual adoptions are adoptions. Conflating the 2 issues doesn’t help anyone.

  • Lori

    This is true, but thinking about it you have to acknowledge that while her characters wouldn’t have much truck with it Ayn Rand herself would be in favor of someone making money off other people’s uncompensated labor. She was a total user.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    This sounds an awful lot like a tone argument. “Sure, Fred did thoughtlessly include a capsule summary that makes makes a harmful inaccurate statement, but you used used a huffy tone so I don’t have to consider your pain legitimate”

  • stardreamer42

    The problem for me (and, very likely, for the other people you’re slagging here) was the same as Lori’s — I didn’t see any place that he SAID what you said he said. So your outrage came out of nowhere and seemed spurious.

  • stardreamer42

    Yes, and sometimes they themselves vacate that status voluntarily. You are, apparently deliberately, muddying the waters here by trying to draw a parallel between legitimate private adoption and child trafficking.

  • http://www.ghiapet.net/ Randy Owens

    Don’t make me grumpy. You wouldn’t like me when I’m grumpy.

  • The_L1985

    Cool. After I finish the main story, I’m probably going to do a lot more breeding and training. :) Then, once I figure out how to transfer my mons from Black Version, I’ll be unbeatable!

  • Cathy W

    Or “This thing that sounds kind of scary probably won’t be that bad, in the end.”

  • EdinburghEye

    I see Fred’s re-worked his summary along the lines you suggested.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    He didn’t mean it that way, but you’re right. It was thoughtless and hurtful, and hopefully Fred will rephrase it.

    If anyone else had used that as a headline, even if it was clear in context when you read the article that it wasn’t meant that way, there are folks here who would have nuked it from orbit.

  • GDwarf

    XD, heh, simple version (If you know about EVs, IVs, and Natures then you’re set):

    Every Pokemon has base stats that are the same for all Pokemon of that species. (All level 1 Squirtles have the same HP, Attack, etc). However, on top of those base stats are EVs and IVs.

    IVs are the Pokemon equivalent of genetics, and are almost completely hidden from the player, making them incredibly annoying. Essentially: Every Pokemon has a number from 0 to 31 associated with each of its stats. The higher that number the better the stat will be. A Pokemon with 31 in everything is considered “perfect”, and by level 100 will have stats that are over twice as good as one with 0s in everything. If you want to know what the IVs of your Pokemon are then you can use this calculator, though it’s difficult to use if your Pokemon have been in any battles and thus gained EVs, unless you’ve been tracking those as well.

    EVs used to be hidden, but X and Y show them to you (sort of) in the form of “Super Training”. All Pokemon start with 0 EVs and gain 1-3 for every Pokemon they defeat in battle (how many and for what stat depends on what Pokemon you defeat. Higher evolutions give more, and fast Pokemon will give speed EVs, while ones with lots of defence will give defence ones). Super Training also lets you gain EVs much more rapidly and precisely than just battling wild Pokemon. Anyways, every 4 EVs a Pokemon gets increase the relevant stat by 1, to a maximum of 63 (255 EVs per stat max, meaning 3 EV points are wasted. There’s also a maximum of 510 EVs total for a given Pokemon, letting you add 63 to two stats).

    Finally, you have natures, which improve one stat by 10% while decreasing another by the same amount. http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Natures#List_of_Natures is a solid list of ‘em.

    So yeah, that’s three systems that, combined, have a greater than 100% impact on your ‘mons’ stats, all of which are at least partially hidden from the player (and two of which were completely hidden until X and Y), which I find frustrating beyond belief. It’s also really hard to find a sane guide to all three of these, since most of them are written by the very people who reverse-engineered the systems and so tend to become needlessly technical very quickly. Also: Don’t get me started on the protracted coin-flipping that is breeding for good IVs and natures…>>

    In other news on X and Y: Apparently if you encounter a large number of Pokemon in a row with a fishing rod (“in a row” means that you have to get a bite on the line and successfully real it in every time you cast, there are Pokemon with abilities that make that much more likely to happen, as does fishing next to rocks in the water) the odds of you encountering a “shiny” (differently-coloured) water ‘mon goes up significantly, from its default of 1/8192 to something like 1/100, until the chain is broken.

  • Matri

    I may have a medical condition. I appear to be sweating through my eyes.

  • G.G.

    OK Nyan-Thundercats made me laugh much more than it should have.

  • Turcano

    The best response to this is to yell as loud as possible “DARKSEID DARES ALL!”

  • Hexep

    If English is your first language, and you are feeling actual outrage, then the phrase ‘how dare you’ won’t come to your mouth. You will say something else instead.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    This turns out to not be the case for everyone.

  • Shaenon K. Garrity

    Yes, but Sokin provides the crucial addition of a woman who stares worshipfully at the high-fiving while wearing a headset.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    It’s a hoax? But, but, but…. I got it from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pet_Goat

    You mean Wikipedia got the facts wrong. Oh noes! I’ve lost all faith in humanity.

    All kidding aside, that’s for the heads up about the hoax.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    It is pretty silly. Though I wouldn’t go near that far.