Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Wheels Have Eyes

I opened up the newspaper on Friday to see another supposedly stunning revelation regarding the government’s brazen invasion of the people’s privacy. This one has the U.S. Treasury keeping tabs on all of our bank accounts, unbeknownst to us, those scoundrels.

The thing I can never understand about all this is why any of this is news. Hey, all of you who actually think you have any privacy, news flash: The government can get any information about you any time they want.

What is so stupefying is how dismissive they are of the fact that they themselves make it so this happens. By signing so many worldly contractual agreements, they hand over that "confidential" information and then act startled when the big bad giant creature called The Government has their paw prints all over it.

It's even funnier when you see that Treasury Secretary John Snow blithely confessed that when they asked the banks for only a slice of information to follow particular terrorists leads, the banks just as willingly handed all the information over to them.

In an LA Times editorial published the next day, attorney pundit Jonathan Turley got all huffy about this and concluded by writing “Privacy is dying in America—not with a fight but with a yawn.” News flash for Jonathan Turley: no one was fighting to begin with.

The Catholicist knows instinctively that he needs the law and its enforcing power to manage his sinful behavior. He may be shocked, shocked to know that there is gambling going on here, but he’ll take his cut just the same.

What is a bit of a coincidence, for me anyway, is that I had just started reading in the book of Ezekiel, and the first chapter is about what many consider a UFO—the flaming wheel in the sky and the four figures with wings and all that business.

I carefully read the passage a number of times and found some very interesting things about it.

First of all, it is a vision, so it is not some extraterrestrial manifestation but rather a graphically displayed message from God.

Secondly, the images in the vision depict entities that represent iconographic authorities. These include the image of a man, as opposed to that of a god or angel; the image of a lion, not only used frequently in history to symbolically herald the profound political force of a potentate, but is the traditional emblem of Great Britain; and the image of an eagle, the icon of Ancient Rome and today of the United States. That the bull is the fourth image only makes me think of the Roman Catholic term for authoritative expression, from the Latin bulla meaning “seal.”

Thirdly, I really don’t think this is an angel from God, first because of its unusual configuration, mostly because of the very clear identification of a vast expanse above the vision and God situated high above that. God is clearly distanced from this "vessel," which I see as an instrument of judgment that roams about the earth because it prefaces a book of the Bible wholly about His people’s disobedience and God’s judgment against them manifest in the form of the Babylonian nation.

The kicker in all of this is the way the wheels are characterized. There are covered with eyes. The wheels with the eyes move wherever the “spirit” moves. I found this particularly fascinating, in light of the Treasury’s eyes being used to look over the financial records of a populace contracted with Caesar to manage not only their economic affairs but their spiritual ones as well.

For a bit more on contracts with the World, go here.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The No. 5 Market vs. the No. 6 Market

I just noticed that the Dallas Mavericks will face the Miami Heat in this year's NBA Finals series. I don't watch it any more because once pro sports so consumed my psyche that in 1998 I stopped giving any attention to it, cold turkey. Therefore, it was just today I caught which two teams made it.

I am somewhat interested in who's playing in the NBA Finals though, because I noticed something four years ago that was quite interesting, and I use this statistical piece to help make my case that pro sports manipulates competitive integrity so that the economic viability of the given sport is sustained. That is, because teams from the larger metropolitan areas can always generate more revenue for the entire league than teams from smaller ones, those larger teams are given certain advantages to aid their success. When the inherent integrity of sports is exploited through such items as free agency, it is indeed no different than giving one team three points per basket whereas the other team only gets two.

That statistic? Since 1956, every match-up in the NBA Finals has featured at least one team from a metropolitan area of the United States ranked in the top ten in population. In other words, for the past fifty straight years, the NBA Finals has not once featured two teams from metropolitan areas not ranked in the top ten in population.

Yes, I understand that for many years in the 50's and 60's most of the teams in the entire league were from the highly populated areas. But that does not explain the 70's onward, and today there are twelve teams in the top ten areas and 28 in the non-top-ten areas.

This year you've got Dallas ranked at number 5 and Miami ranked at number 6. (Only New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia are larger) There is no question the NBA likes this, because it means more interested parties paying up to be engaged in the Finals. I contend that things happen to make it like that, and as such competitive integrity is destroyed.

Oh, and by the way, the last time two non-top-ten teams played in the Finals? In 1955? It was the Syracuse Nationals playing the Fort Wayne Pistons. Syracuse won.

For a bit more on my take on all of this, go here.