Knights Templar vs. The Pope

Heirs of the Knights Templar are suing the Pope for restitution and to clear their name:

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, whose members claim to be descended from the legendary crusaders, have filed a lawsuit against Benedict XVI calling for him to recognise the seizure of assets worth 100 billion euros (£79 billion).

They claim that when the order was dissolved by his predecessor Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties as well as countless pastures, mills and other commercial ventures belonging to the knights were appropriated by the church.

It will be interesting to see those filing the suits establish that they are true heirs, as opposed to fans of The Da Vinci Code.

Looks Like Obama Doesn’t Need Clinton On The Ticket

So much for all the elitist insults and claims that Obama can only win the votes of affluent Democrats. Obama is leading McCain by ten points among working class white voters. Either working class white voters have suddenly developed a taste for arugula and brie or they have figured out that voting Republican was no solution.

A Celebrity President


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Not Enough Nudity On The Internet

Mark Cuban complains that there is not enough nudity on the internet. As strange as this sounds, he does have a point when you consider the types of material with nudity:

It occurred to me that its possible to find porn. Its possible to find PG 13 type videos,but its really difficult to find R rated videos. Sure there are Playboy or Mr SKin type sites that will titillate us, and there are the sites where college kids go wild, but thats not what Im referring to. Where are the internet videos that cover grown up subject matters, where nudity “that contributes to the subject matter” isn’t considered gratuitous or pornographic ?

You cant post that kind of material on Youtube , Myspace, Yahoo or AOL Video. So where will user generated content geared towards a more “mature” audience go ? Dailymotion ? Or does internet hosted video never get past PG – 13 ? Has internet hosted video evolved into the most censored medium of our generation ? If you really want to go beyond PG 13, do you have to host it yourself on your own website ?

Does this mean he’s going to start putting more mature shows with nudity on HD Net? Cable, of course, does have the internet beat in this regard. For example, all those non-gratuitous and non-pornographic steamy sex scenes with Natalie Dormer as Ann Boleyn (pictured above) on The Tudors certainly contributed to the subject matter and our understanding of English history. (An example is here, along with some pictures from Californication, which I will allow viewers to decide whether they are gratitutious and/or pornographic).

Clinton Makes It Harder For A Woman To Become President or Vice President

Ever since it became clear that Hillary Clinton would not be the nominee there have been reports from journalists suggesting that Clinton and her supporters would be more upset if Obama chose a female running mate other than Clinton than if he chose a male. In other words, Clinton’s ego was more important than promoting gender equality. I guess such a lack of real concern for feminist causes should not be surprising from Clinton supporters who are now willing to stay home or vote for John McCain and help bring back the era of shirt hanger abortions.

The Politico has a report today on this attitude:

While there had been speculation that Obama might seek to mend fences by tapping another woman for the role, this seems increasingly unlikely — and it’s not clear that even if it did happen that it would help with Clinton loyalists, especially since the most-often named women all endorsed Obama in the primaries, earning the resentment of many leaders of women’s organizations.

“If he picked Claire McCaskill or [Janet] Napolitano [or Kathleen] Sebelius, I think it would annoy women,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro added that “those are women who we spent our lifetime helping run for office” and that “a lot of us are not happy with these women for not supporting Hillary because they came to us for help based in large part on their gender.”

“I would be very concerned about his judgment if he offered the position to another woman before offering it to Hillary Clinton,” Pappas said, “or any person.”

“The women who have been elected to office in this time in history are the beneficiaries of the women’s movement,” Pappas continued. “And it’s disheartening to see those same women turn their backs on another woman who is better qualified, and one can only wonder what they are getting out of their decision to turn their back.”

One problem with this viewpoint is that Hillary Clinton is the “better qualified” candidate. A woman politician who built her own career would be a far better example of success for woman than Hillary Clinton who is only in this position due to who she married. Her proximity to power, when she did not even have security clearance, does not make her especially qualified.

Clinton’s record has been poor and further disqualifies her. This ranges from her terribly designed health care plan during the Bill Clinton years which led to the loss of power for Congressional Democrats for a generation to her support for the Iraq war while echoing Republican arguments based upon fear of terrorism. If her lack of experience and poor record weren’t enough to disqualify her, her adoption of dishonest Rove style tactics by itself should exclude her from consideration. Reform-minded Democrats and independents who backed Obama see Clinton as part of the problem which should be removed from Washington, not as a potential running mate who can help bring about change.

The goal is not simply  to replace George Bush but to reform the Democratic Party. A victory for Obama would be a tremendous step in removing the influence of the Clintonistas from the Democratic Party and  change the party for the better. Besides her serious personal flaws, Clinton’s nanny-state views and support for increased presidential power would move the party backwards from a more libertarian direction many of us hope to see it move in. Such a reformed Democratic Party very well might provide the possibility for woman candidates, however if the attitude persists that Hillary must be chosen first then the chances are reduced.

Someday we will have a woman president, but it will probably not be–and certainly should not be–Hillary Clinton. Many of us began this campaign cycle with an “anyone but Clinton” attitude, fearing that stopping Clinton might not be possible. If this could be done in 2008 when Clinton’s nomination appeared to be inevitable,  Clinton can most likely be stopped in future years.

If a substantial number of woman are unwilling to accept any other woman than Hillary Clinton, either as Obama’s running mate or as a future presidential candidate, it will become harder for all future woman candidates as long as Clinton remains in politics. Rather than making cracks in the glass ceiling, Hillary Clinton has reinforced the glass ceiling and made it harder for other women candidates.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn Dies at 89

Russian author and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn died at age 89, of heart failure. While Solzhenitsyn is probably now best known for writing Gulag Archipelago, which provided considerable detain in documenting the horror of the labor camps in the Soviet Union, when Gulag Archipelago came out he was already well known in the United States. His first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, was based upon his own experiences in the labor camps. Other novels included The Cancer Ward and the Nobel Prize winning First Circle.

Solzhenitsyn was deported from the Soviet Union and stripped of his citizenship in 1974 as the Soviet government hoped that removing him from the country would reduce his influence. Ultimately it was the Soviet Union which collapsed. Solzhenitsyn’s citizenship was restored in 1990 and he returned to Russia in 1994. While he continued to write in his later years, his nationalist and anti-capitalist views, and his view of the west as decadent,  limited his influence in post-Soviet Russia.

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