Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kickstarter



I first heard of Kickstarter when I saw an ad for Pioneer One on The Pirate Bay.

I was intrigued and amazed by the idea. The Kickstarter model works much like traditional investing, except the risk is monumentally less. Each project on Kickstarter has a listed goal and a deadline. Backers pledge their funding in exchange for guaranteed rewards, which the backers will receive if the project reaches its funding goal by its funding deadline. If not, the backers do not pay their pledges and no one is obligated to anyone else.

At the moment, The Adventures of Hero has a Kickstarter drive running to publish the third volume of the trade paperback. Check it out, check out Kickstarter, and help some cool projects get off the ground!

On Timeliness and a Ground Zero Mosque

A lot happens every day. Some of these events are interesting to talk about. Some are talked about in most mainstream and alternative news venues, while others are largely ignored. Regardless of how much attention is paid to these events, most are quickly forgotten.

Here at Fear Goggles, we try to continue discussing noteworthy events beyond the normal forgotten-zone. This goal has proved to be surprisingly challenging. While I would like to talk about something worthwhile, I have trouble resisting opining on the “Ground Zero mosque” or on Dr. Laura’s "nigger nigger nigger" controversy.

In fact, I can’t resist opining about the mosque. If the old Burlington Coat Factory building is zoned so that a mosque can legally be built there, then one should be permitted to be there. A mosque has nothing to do with 9/11. Mosque-going Muslims were jailed during World War II for refusing to take part in the violence of the military. The terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in 2001 may have done so in the name of Islam, but not in the spirit of the religion.

Opposing construction of this mosque is prejudicial in the extreme.

“We can’t let the terrorists win!” you might exclaim. Unfortunately, the nature of terrorism is such that the moment the first plane hit on September 11, the terrorists succeeded. That we are still making decisions based on their attack 9 years after their direct destruction was over is a testament to their victory. The only real way to fight terrorism is to make decisions as if terrorism did not occur, i.e., to ignore terrorists. Terrorism is an extreme vie for attention. Giving terrorists attention only encourages other terrorists. Ignoring terrorism is the way to combat it. The old adage “the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference” is applicable here. Of course we should try to prevent terrorist attacks, but once an attack occurs, we have to clean up the mess and move on. To change how we do things because of a successful attack, or to make decisions in light of successful attacks only serves to encourage terrorists to attack in the future.

In other words, causing a stink about a proposed mosque is the only way a mosque construction project could be a victory for the 9/11 terrorists.

I’d like to say more, but I’m exhausted just thinking about this issue. So calm down and think about the position you want to take on this: loving tolerance, peaceful indifference, fearful prejudice, or something else?

Let’s talk about it! Comment below:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NEWS in celebration of our 50th post on Fear Goggles!

This is our 50th post on FG! Woo hoo!

In celebration I wanted to announce a new theme for this prestigious blog (oxymoron?).

ANYWAY, beginning next week yours truly begins law school. In the spirit of that new development, I will begin writing periodical pieces dealing with legal topics and, specifically, the interplay of law, politics, and skepticism in the United States.

I'm excited about where these studies can take the blog, so STAY TUNED!

Brett Favre, you're a douche

Sure, this is not really a sports blog. It's not really a blog about any one (or several) topics. But the blog was inspired by a great Kentuckian, Dr. Hunter Stockton Thompson. In case you couldn't tell from our heavy-handed attempts to HST-and-Ralph-Steadman-ize the site.

But in the spirit of the sport-loving Dr. Gonzo, here's our first dip into the sports world...

Dear Brett Favre,

You are one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. For 20 seasons you've rocketed laser passes, made impossibly ballsy TD throws, run for your life from 300-pound behemoths. You've got multiple MVP awards and a Super Bowl victory; a guest-star spot in one of the greatest comedies of the last 30 years, "There's Something About Mary". You, sir, are a sports legend.

Another title you should be given is "Sports Douche of the Decade". Is that an overstatement? Maybe. I mean, you have to compete with Terrell Owens, Barry Bonds, Stephon Marbury, etc. But hear me out.

You're a stone's throw away from AARP. In many ways it's a miracle you're still in good enough physical shape to play football. You've taken big hits through the years.

The fact that you're playing at age 40 is very impressive. Hell, I'd like to see you play until you're 65!

But you're not special. Football is the ultimate TEAM sport. You need a roster of 53 strong-willed, selfless players to succeed in the NFL.

These strong-willed, selfless 53-man rosters are forged in the molten pit of despair known as training camp: two-a-day practices, searing heat, immense fatigue. These activities serve to stratify the players and solidify the depth chart, create team chemistry, learn new concepts and improve position skills, and--perhaps the most important aspect of all--form a bond between players and across the team.

Brett, by not coming to training camp but showing up during preseason games to play a season, you are impeding your team's chances to win a Super Bowl. Plain and simple.

Play until you're 65. No one cares. But have the decency to go through two-a-days; sit in tape sessions with your teammates; help the younger quarterbacks develop their skills for when you DO really retire; help build chemistry with your wide receivers; help build TEAM chemistry, as a team leader.

Is that to much to ask for a professional being paid millions of dollars a year?

Stop being a douche, Brett.

Sincerely,

Sports Fans Everywhere

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The (Potential) Legacy of George W. Bush

I realize that a Venn diagram of readers of the Atlantic and readers of Fear Goggles looks something like this, with blue and red representing the respective demographics:
, but I want to spread this message:

Jeffrey Goldberg has a great idea for President George W. Bush:

In this generous and visionary statement can be found the seed of an important task for ex-President Bush. I would hope -- especially now that he is finished writing his book -- that he would speak out for Muslim enfranchisement in America, in particular in the wake of the "Ground Zero" mosque controversy. He should let American Muslims know that he accepts them as equal citizens under law, and that all Americans, but particularly members of his own party, should do the same. This is an important task, and I believe that George W. Bush is the best man for it.
Andrew Sullivan points to a precedent quotation from the former president from Everything2:

When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that's made brothers and sisters out of every race -- out of every race. America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That's not the America I know. That's not the America I value.
I know President Bush claims to want to let history decide how he is remembered, but history will surely view him more favorably if he continues to say thoughtful, powerful, and wonderful things like the aforementioned quotation, like the request from Goldberg than if he does not.

My respect for the man (and my interest in reading his book) certainly increased when I read that quotation.