Saturday, July 19, 2008

First Step on the Lone Star Road

"Texas: Bible Classes Approved - The state’s Board of Education gave final approval to establishing Bible classes in public high schools, rejecting calls to draw specific teaching guidelines and warnings that such approval could lead to constitutional problems in the classroom. The Legislature passed a measure in 2007 allowing Bible courses to be offered as an elective... Mark Chancey, associate professor in religious studies at Southern Methodist University, has studied Bible classes already offered in about 25 districts. His study found most of the courses were explicitly devotional with almost exclusively Christian, usually Protestant, perspectives. It also found that most were taught by teachers who were not familiar with the issue of separation of church and state. "

David Barton (pictured - thanks to Lee Blankenship Emmert for Time), founder and CEO of WallBuilders and former Vice Chairman of the Texas Republican Party, hailed the move as a long awaited step toward declaring independence from a United States that has become decadent and establishing Texas as a fundamentalist Christian republic. Said Barton, "Finally, Texas has recognized the fallacy of separating church from state. We will be one country under God, even if that means leaving 49 humanist havens for deviants behind. It may be decades before we achieve parity with the Taliban in Afghanistan, those guys really know what theocracy is all about, but we are genuinely excited. Even the longest journey begins with one step, and now our journey has begun."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Riddance?

As Price of Corn Rises, Catfish Farms Dry Up - Maybe the food is getting more expensive, but As Good As News thinks that what these fish really need is more water.

Rule, Britannia, But Maybe Not Over Scotland - Scot Andy Murray stirred the pot with some anti-Brit remarks at Wimbledon, but there is a real trend here. In a world where security and trade can be handled through supranational organizations like NATO and the EU, the smaller nation state can thrive. The Czechs and Slovaks divorced because there was just no compelling reason to stick together. In an effort to quell Scottish nationalism, the Scottish got their own parliament and expanded home rule in the late 1990's, but this step towards autonomy seems only to have fueled the fire of independence. The facts in the linked story suggests that England and Scotland may be heading into a spiral of mutual resentment that could lead to separation. Interesting, especially if the English go all the way in tiring of their conquests and drop out of Great Britain entirely, leaving Northern Ireland stranded. Free Wales will become a political rallying cry instead of a banner printed by a spelling challenged ecologist.

The movement toward smaller nation states was a natural outgrowth of the fall of the USSR and Yugoslavia, but if Scotland splits from Great Britain after a shot-gun wedding that lasted for 300 years, what's next? Canada seems to have stalled the free Quebec contingent, but the French speaking Canadians realize they receive a net economic benefit by remaining part of Canada while the rest of Canada demonstrated remarkable flexibility and patience in responding to the concerns of the French speaking nationalists. Texas has a brief history as a republic and a long history of whining about the rest of the country. As Good As News could easily see the Lone Star State as the first to go. The minute Texans get serious about independence, the reaction will include a very unCanadian "good riddance" backlash that will be swift and furious, kicking off the same type of cycle the Scots and English may be entering.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Fog of War

The Fog of War - The Battle of Short Hills was fought primarily in Scotch Plains, NJ with action in Metuchen, Edison and neighboring towns. In June, 1777, General Washington's army was encamped safely at Middlebrook Heights in the Watchung Mountains. The larger British Army, led by General Howe, shifted their position from New Brunswick to Perth Amboy and attempted to lure the rebels out of the mountains into a fight on the open plains, where superior numbers and armament would prevail. The Americans refused a frontal engagement, but, led by Lord Stirling, they harassed the British rear. Howe counterattacked in an effort to decimate Stirling's force and cut Washington's main force off from Middlebrook Heights. The result was a retreat under fire by Stirling, including a battle at the Ash Swamp in Scotch Plains that allowed Washington's main army time to reform and return to the safety of Middlebrook Heights. Washington is believed to have viewed the fighting from a vantage point in Green Brook, a vantage point now known as Washington's Rock.

Despite the name, the Battle of Short Hills had no connection to modern day Short Hills, a section of Millburn, NJ. Short Hills was home to a later action. In 1780 a British incursion through the Hobart Gap in Millburn threatened Washington's encampment at Morristown. This was turned back by General Maxwell, leading the New Jersey Brigade. The British would soon try again, leading to another battle in nearby Springfield. Washington may have viewed the fighting from a vantage point in the South Mountain Reservation, now known as - you guessed it - Washington's Rock.

If you see or hear Short Hills named as the location for the Battle of Short Hills, do not hesitate to explain that the actual location was Scotch Plains. Short Hills already has a famous mall, it does not need to claim an extra Revolutionary War battle.

Many Movie Theaters Decide to Leave the Bat Signal On Till Dawn - Commenting on the public excitement surrounding movie openings like Sex and the City and The Dark Knight, Thomas Tull, Chairman of Legendary Pictures and an executive producer of The Dark Knight, stated:

"In the public mind, opening weekends have been eventized."
As Good As News enjoyed Batman Begins, but will probably not stay up to 3AM to see The Dark Knight on opening day. We are happy, however, to demonstrate that we are one with the public mind by bloggizing on this topic. It is no surprise that Mr. Tull has named his company "Legendary".

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sports Shockers

A Classic Final That Began So Harmlessly, and So Much Earlier - Nadal's win? Compelling, not shocking. William C. Rhoden's aptly turned phrase,

The crowd cheered lustily, and by this point rooting interests had given way to deep respect for two champions. All that remained was to crown a champion, not determine the better man.

No surprise there, Rhoden does it all the time.

The shocker? Mr. Rhoden, who was in London watching some of the finest tennis ever played in person, left the match early to take in a showing of the film Hancock. He will no doubt take some ribbing on his return, but the unexpected, preemptive public confession may beat the alternative of allowing the story to spread slowly among his friends and colleagues. Mr. Rhoden decided to rip this bandaid off, not peel it gradually.

Bush, Preparing for Talks, Defends Going to Olympics - W decides to see the Olympics? No surprise there, the man is a sport's fan and the king of the "working" vacation. The upset here is the clear and cogently stated rationale:
He said not going to the ceremony “would be an affront to the Chinese people” that might make it “more difficult to be able to speak frankly with the Chinese leadership.”
Whether you agree or not, W managed to make his point without wandering into the thicket of claiming that sports are apolitical. A claim that falls somewhat flatter than usual as the Chinese regime cranks out propaganda at an Olympian level, a level not seen since 1936.
-In two minor upsets - 23 year old Anthony Kim wins the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional, his second tour win. Kim, when he's hot, reminds As Good As News of Johnny Miller in his best years, every iron seems to be right on the flag, even when pin hunting is not the safe play. Kim was a little brash when he first arrived on tour, but maybe that's what it takes to take on a legend, whether it's Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus. The minor upset? Only 22% of Koreans are named Kim, so Mr. Kim, an American of Korean descent, actually bucked the odds in the last name category, joining several successful pro golfers (Korean and Korean-American) named Kim on the woman's tour.
-J.J. Hardy lost a sixteen game hitting streak Saturday, then came back with two home runs on Sunday. The red hot Brewer's slugger is hitting .448 with serious power over his last eighteen games. The upset? J. J. has apparently not sold his soul to the devil. Fans of the book , The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant or the musical Damn Yankees will be disappointed to learn that the first J stands for James not Joe.