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Monday, May 31, 2010
Remembering The Fallen
(This is an annual Memorial Day post.)
Revolutionary War (1775-1783) Wars on the Barbary Pirates (1801-1805, 1815) War of 1812 (1812-1815) War Between the States (1861-1865) Mexican-American War(1846-1848) Spanish-American War (1898) China Relief Expedition (1900-1901) Pacification of Nicaragua (1912-1913) Interventions in Mexico (1914-1917) World War I (1914-1918) Pacification of Haiti and Dominican Republic (1915-1918) Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War (1918-1920) World War II (1939-1945) Korean War (1950-1953) Vietnam War (1964-1973) Hostage rescue mission in Iran (1980) Lebanon peacekeeping mission (1982-1984) Counterinsurgency mission in El Salvador (1980-?) Liberation of Grenada (1983) Invasion of Panama (1989) Iraq War (1990-1991, 2002-present) Somalia peacekeeping mission (1992-1994) Attack on USS Cole (2000) Afghanistan War (2001-present)
(Episode: The End. Spoilers ahead. Lostpedia synopsis here.)
It was a satisfying ending, relative to what the show had become.
The flash-sideways eventa are actually a future situation: the "Lost" universe's afterlife, where people exist in a sort of limbo vaguely resembling their former lives, mixed with their hopes and frustrations. When they realize that they're dead and remember their previous lives - something triggered by contact with people with whom they shared their most intense moments in life - they are ready to move on to the undisclosed next phase. (Maybe they're each given their own hatch-riddled island to rule.) Desmond has been arranging for many of the Losties to gather in one spot - Jack being the last to come around - before moving to Phase 2.
In the earthly timeline...
Richard and Miles are on their way to Hydra Island to blow up the plane, but plans change as they discover Frank Lapidus alive in the sub flotsam. Instead of blowing up the plane, they now plan to fly it.
Desmond had been rescued from the well by the Nadlers. They had been avoiding all other human contact, but broke their Prime Directive for this one occasion. MIB and Desmond arrive to collect Desmond upon threat of MIB-inflicted knifely death; Des complies.
They meet up with Jack and his party. Ben secretly lets Jack's people know he's been in radio contact with Richard and his pals, and that they're fixing the plane for flight. They go to the cave. Jack, MIB and Des go in.
Desmond is the only one who can approach the "cork" in the Cave of Light and survive. He does MIB's bidding. The light goes away, the island slowly begins to crumble, and MIB is mortal again.
Jack battles it out with MIB at the cliff and is critically wounded by a knife to the abdomen. MIB struggles to finish the task, but Kate shoots him with a single rifle shot. Jack invokes captain Kirk in Star Trek III and kicks MIB down the cliff.
Sawyer and Kate take the sailboat MIB planned to board and head out to Hydra Island, in radio contact with Miles, Richard and Frank. They catch their departing flight just in the nick of time.
Meanwhile, Jack passes the Guardian torch to Hurley. He has to go in the cave and restore the light, invoking Spock from Star Trek II. He drags unconscious Desmond to the rope, restores the "cork," and Hurley and Linus pull up what they think is Jack but is Desmond. Hurley offers Ben the job as his Number Two.
Jack survives his knifely and electromagnetic injuries long enough to leave the cave, either at a different exit point or some time after Ben and Hurley have left. He collapses among the bamboo, sees the Ajira plane flying safely overhead. Trusty Vincent the Dog comes to be with him at his last moments. Jack dies in joy, accomplishing something that really mattered.
Well now, isn't the FDA's very existence based on that assumption?
The story (emphasis in original):
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), an organization whose mission includes “defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods”, recently filed a lawsuit against the FDA for its ban on interstate sales of raw milk. The suit alleges that such a restriction is a direct violation of the United States Constitution...The FDA essentially believes that nobody has the right to choose what to eat or drink. You are only “allowed” to eat or drink what the FDA gives you permission to.
Yes, the claim is being reported accurately. Page 25 of the Iowa District Court's dismissal of the plaintiff's case against the FDA says in black and white: "There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food."
Going back to the article...the author goes on to explain that there is no genuine safety issue here - raw milk causes fewer illnesses than pasteurized. Rather, he perceives this to be a nod to raw milk's competition, the major dairy producers. Read the whole thing.
Here's one notable quote: "Arizona has not adopted a new immigration law. All it has done is to enforce existing law that President Obama refuses to enforce."
Here's another, earlier in the speech:
Unlike Mexico’s immigration law -- which is brutally exclusionary -- the purpose of America’s law is not to keep people out. It is to assure that as people come to the United States, they do so with the intention of becoming Americans and of raising their children as Americans.
Unlike Mexico, our nation embraces immigration and what makes that possible is assimilation.
Here's the text (complete with Gov. Jan Brewer's signature) of the law that Obama's top officials will condemn without reading.
Brewer would make a great DHS chief. But we need to make a change in Washington in 2012...
On the island, Jacob leads Hurley to a campfire, and are joined by Sawyer, Jack and Kate. It's time for Jacob's replacement to step in. The job was forced on Jacob, Jacob is asking for a volunteer. Jack takes the job. Jack figures out that he has to find a way to kill MIB; Jacob doesn't know if there's a way, but he concurs.
Miles, Ben and Richard go to the Barracks to get plastic explosive from Ben's secret room. Widmore and Zoe find them. Words are exchange, and they discover that MIB is about to happen on the scene. Miles runs for it, Widmore and Zoe hide in the room, Richard goes to talk to MIB, and is promptly attacked by the Smoke Monster (we do not know if he was killed or not).
Ben approaches MIB expecting to be killed. MIB asks Ben to lead him to Widmore, Ben complies. MIB kills Zoe, demands to know what Widmore's up to. He won't say in front of ben. MIB had Widmore whisper in his ear. Ben shoots Widmore in cold blood, but not before MIB gets his info.
They go to the well where Desmond was left, and he's gone; someone had dangled a rope for him to get out. My bet's that Claire did it; I doubt Richard (if he survived) or Miles could have gotten there that early. MIB plans to use Desmond's unique resistance to electromagnetism to destroy the island.
In the flash-sideways, Desmond is at work. He goes to the school to beat up Ben (the latter sees flashes of the other timeline when Des beat up Ben as Ben was plotting to shoot Penny), and delivers a message for Ben to relay to Locke: "He [Desmond] said he was trying to get you to let go, not to hurt you, and for some reason I believed him." Locke had heard Jack say somethign nearly identical, and takes it as a sign to go through with the operation that might restore his ability to walk.
Des gets himself arrested, and is located in a holding pen between Sayid's and Kate's. The three are released to be transferred to another facility - but they go to the waterfront instead. Somehow, Des had arranged for Hurley to bribe the paddy wagon driver - Ana-Lucia Cortez, no less - to release the prisoners. Cortez takes her bribe, Sayid leaves with Hurley in a Hummer, and Des hands Kate a formal gown and says they're going to a concert.
Seems that Desmond is gathering the final seven Candidates (plus Kate) into one spot. He's got three in direct cahoots: Kate, Sayid, Hurley. That leaves the Kwons, Sawyer, Jack and Locke. Is Mrs. Hawking (Mrs. Widmore in this timeline) in on all this?
We still don't freakin know why Charles Widmore returned to the island. What in the hecking heckity heck was he after there?
Do those sonic pylons offer a clue as to how to kill MIB? How did Widmore - or DHARMA - find out about their effectiveness as a barrier against Smokey?
Ben seems willing to do Smokey's bidding. Is he really, or does he have something up his sleeve?
Kobayashi Maru No-Win Scenario, Miss America Edition
There isn't a penguin's chance in the Mojave that Miss Oklahoma could have come up with an answer suitable enough to still have a shot at winning this contest. America is simply too divided over enforcement of immigration laws.
One point: "stares' rights" is a misnomer. States don't have rights - they have jurisdictions.
Some of y'all may have seen this story and accompanying video of Houston teacher Sheri Lynn Davis beating a student. before viewing the video, I imagined a teacher flying off the handle and wildly throwing blows at a kid. But that's not what happened. Several times, including the moments just before the first assault, she pauses and assumes a fighting stance. She put a lot of premeditation into the attack.
And maybe I'm imagining things, but Davis acts like someone with street fighting experience. Not exactly how I picture 40-year-old schoolmarms.
The $14 trillion debt on the balance sheets is just a small portion of the government's liabilities. Look at this chart. The government has promised "$52.145 trillion in net present value of the scheduled benefits (before the passage of healthcare legislation) over the next 75 years to Social Security and Medicare."
Tax hikes will not pay for this. Social Security and Medicare will both die. There is no way the programs can be sustained. The only question is the cause of death - sudden uncontrolled crash, or phasing out the programs toward sustainable alternatives?
So, Jacob and his twin brother were originally mere mortals, their mother killed by the island's then-guardian to keep humanity from discovering what Lostpedia calls The Source. Twin Brother discovers others (Romans, apparently - their mom and the Guardian speak Latin) who discovered the electromagnetism and have been digging to find its source.
MIB's entry into the cavern of lights either transformed him into the Smoke Monster, or released Smokey from imprisonment. I buy the latter theory, because MIB's vision of his birth mom is consistent with Smokey's well-known masquerades.
Why can't Smokey kill off candidates? Why does Jacob lure people to the island when the previous guardian tried to keep outsiders from discovering it? My head hurts.
If it weren't for the reference to four marriages, you'd think that James Dobson or Phyllis Schlafly wrote this:
One significant, and enduring, effect of The Pill on female sexual attitudes during the 60's, was: "Now we can have sex anytime we want, without the consequences. Hallelujah, let's party!"
It remains this way. These days, nobody seems able to "keep it in their pants" or honor a commitment! Raising the question: Is marriage still a viable option? I'm ashamed to admit that I myself have been married four times, and yet I still feel that it is the cornerstone of civilization, an essential institution that stabilizes society, provides a sanctuary for children and saves us from anarchy.
In stark contrast, a lack of sexual inhibitions, or as some call it, "sexual freedom," has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner. Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune.
“When you're just a poster girl it’s such an empty, empty feeling, and even though people may admire you, it’s not for who you are. It's not about you, it's just about 'her' and that totally superficial kind of a look," Welch continued. "I don't think anybody wants to feel like that they're just good because of having looks. It’s just very uncomfortable and rather sad."
One [attitude] places sexual beauty on so high a pedestal that non-sexual beauty receives far less notice and appreciation as sexual beauty. The other perceives all or most aspects of female beauty to be erotic in nature, thus calling for a legalistic code of modesty that conceals even that which does not necessarily incite prurient interest.
Dude, sane Americans don't want to be Greece. We want to move away from Greekdom. We want the Greeces of the world - nations bankrupting themselves with government spending far in excess of what a healthy economy can support - to be brought into financial submission.
Best comment belongs to joeshabadoo2391:
Only a liberal would describe not living within your means as "not a good option."
I stand with the Germans who don't want to subsidize uncontrollable spendthrifts.
And I'm quite pleased that the current Chancellor is someone who grew up in East Germany. Perhaps the post-Communist remaking of Eastern Europe offers clues to the runaway government spending crisis.
MIB has been maneuvering to have all the Candidates killed off, and that appears to be a priority over his other desire, escape from the island. Perhaps he has considered the possibility that his imminent avenues of escape might be cut off in the process, and is willing for the next band of hapless island crashers to get him off. Which means his freedom can't be complete unless he ensures that Jacob doesn't have a successor.
Sayid's cryptic message from Desmond "It's going to be you" suggests that the successor will be Jack.
The death toll in this series is maddening and depressing.
There hasn't been an accident like this in 30 years.
That tells me that the the industry in general had figured out a long time ago how to do this kind of drilling safely, and that this disaster owes itself to a unique set of circumstances - human error, human sabotage, or something else.
We can find out what went wrong and avoid the same mistake(s) in the future.
Meanwhile, wind farms and skyscrapers are killing off birds in greater numbers than the Exxon Valdez did. Our feathered friends will tolerate this for only so long.