Death penalty moratorium in Mongolia

Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj announced a moratorium on the death penalty on 14 Jan 2010, and called for it to be abolished. He told parliament that the death penalty degraded Mongolia's dignity.

"International Death Penalty Abolition Day" is March 1st, marking "the occasion in 1847 when the state of Michigan became the first English-speaking territory in the world to abolish capital punishment." (I love to brag about that, even though most of my forefathers settled in Michigan later, and the gravitational pull of the U.S. invasion of Vietnam caused me to be born in a Naval hospital in California instead of Mich.)


Robertson Formula: How to make Satan work for you! (or God)

If an event is good and it's happening to me, then it shows that I'm doing something right. It is safe to assume that God has blessed me.

If an event is bad and it's happening to me, that's just the normal kinds of events that happen to everyone. No need to bring God into it. (Unless I recover from it nicely, and then that's God's blessing again. See also the Mother Angelica biography by Raymond Arroyo.)

If an event is bad and it happens to someone I don't like, that shows they've been wicked. Assume God is punishing them. This could also be a large group of people collectively punished for failing to denounce the wickedness of a smaller subset within the group, such as the September 11 attacks (punishment against gays and liberals and the ACLU) or the 2004 tsunami that wiped out a 100k or 200k people around the Indian Ocean because of some gay beaches around there.

If that last way of condemning enemies gets too stale, then you can shake things up a little bit by saying they made a deal with the Devil 100 years ago, and they're finally getting their punishment.

If things go well for your enemy, that's because the person is the Devil or made a deal with the Devil.

These interpretations of events are not your way of manipulating religion. It's just a reasonable, common sense interpretation of the Bible and the traditions handed down to us by only the best, truest representatives of God. All other interpretations can safely be assumed to be of demonic origin.

You're welcome! ;)


Are we talking Star Wars or Wheeled Warriors?

Jayce_audric_sawbossStart with an eager young hero. He's a little naïve about how much danger he's getting into, or maybe he's really that brave. Although it's a long shot, there may still be a chance for the hero to save his father.

An older mentor with facial hair, funny clothes and magical powers guides the hero. He occasionally deceives his trainee for the greater good. (1)

The mentor passes something on to the hero that was made by the hero's father, an item that will be important in their quest. (2)

The most prominent female character is like a sister to the hero. She's psychic and has funny hair. Don't hold your breath waiting for a lot of other females to appear, cuz it'll be a while. (3)

The hero and his mentor hire the services of a jaded, wise-cracking, money-motivated pilot. This pilot's initials are H.S. He wears a dark vest and tries to avoid conflict. His cargo-carrying vehicle sometimes malfunctions, but usually pulls through at the last possible moment. (4)

Some of the good guys pilot smaller assault vehicles that only accommodate one or two people. (5)

Another member of the team is a big creature who has a strong attachment with another team-mate, can't speak English, but communicates with some of the heroes. (6)

Rounding out the good guys is an annoying, sniveling automaton created by the hero's father. Intended as comic relief, the whiny automaton occasionally saves the day by accident. He is apparently enslaved to humans, calling the hero "master." He sometimes loses his limbs or his head, but can be reassembled without much trouble. (7)

The villain would not exist except for the actions of the hero's father. The villain is somewhat psychic. The headquarters of the bad guys is massive and almost spherical. (8)

At the darkest moment of the first installment in the series, the mentor telepathically reminds the hero to use his magic power. (9)

The heroes consider themselves members of an ancient order that fought for good. Our heroes seem to be the only members of the group currently active. (10)

Although the setting is explicitly sci-fi with higher technology than our own, there are medieval touches in the clothing and imagery. (11)

That's all Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, right?

[Notes below spell out the details from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. I assume you know Star Wars well enough to recognize what I'm talking about on that end.]

1. Gillian lies to Jayce in an episode titled "Future of the Future", lies to Herc in the pilot episode by giving him "temporary" gold. Kenobi says that Luke's father died, then later tries to recover from the lie with a twisted, lawyerriffic parsing of words that even Bill Clinton would have been ashamed of. Yoda didn't bother to tell Luke either. Jedi have always been manipulative and acted like no one else can handle the truth.
2. The root amulet was made by Jayce's father, Audric. They use it to track down Audric, and they need to keep it away from the Monster Minds. Gillian also gives the Armed Force vehicle to Jayce, but that was made by Gillian for Audric.
3. Flora is like a sister to Jayce because his father created her.
4. Herc Stormsailor, at your service. His space barge is called Pride of the Skies II.
5. Wheeled warriors explode into battle! Like X-Wing Fighters and Tie Fighters, most of the Wheeled Warrior vehicles accommodate only one person.
6. The huge flying fish is named Fauna. Not quite as intimidating as Chewbacca, but he helps or saves the team in a few episodes. Only Flora and maybe Gillian understand the fish's squeaks and whistles.
7. That would be Oon and his "magic" lance. Don't forget that C3PO was created by Luke's father, just like Oon was created by Jayce's father! They couldn't have stolen this bit from Star Wars because it wasn't spelled out in the Star Wars universe until Phantom Menace, a decade or more after Wheeled Warriors was off the air.
8. Sawboss communicates with some of his minions psychically. Oon says, "My master Audric tried to create a plant that would end starvation forever," resulting in Sawboss and the Monster Minds. Maybe in the future or in a far off galaxy, starvation is a problem due to lack of plants or population explosion. On Earth right now, we have enough to feed everyone in the world, but we don't have the will to distribute it or share it without profiting from people who need it. I guess it wouldn't have gone over as well if Oon had said, "My master Audric tried to create a humane political system that would end starvation forever."
9. "Jayce, use the ring!" – From Gillian in the pilot episode. A little different from Star Wars because here Jayce's mentor is still alive when he sends the telepathic message.
10. "In ages past, there was a small band of heroes who guided us to victory in desperate times. They were called The Lightning League. Their leader wore this ring. It is time for the knowledge of the past to save the future." – Gillian in pilot episode, as he gives the ring to Jayce.
11. The Lightning League doesn't sound as medieval as the Jedi Knights, but remember the animated suit of armor and his "magic" lance.