Tuesday, January 31, 2006

No Organized Party

Roy Rogers once said that he did not belong to any organized party; he was a Democrat. (When he said this, the Democrats were actually trying to be what they claimed to be, a party of the little people.)

Today they are a little less organized than before.

Crazy Politico has his prediction of a divide in the left coming soon. I have been expecting one for years because of the opposite expectations of organized labor and environmental extremism, which I see as irreconciliable yet both supporting the same candidates. So far I have been disappointed by the Democrats ability to gloss over the differences and keep these natural enemies from fighting each other. He links to a Dana Milbanks Washington Post column which includes this stunning line.

"Elections," moderator Zeese replied, "are not the determining factor."

Yet it may actually be happening at last but not as I expected. According to The American Spectator Online Howard Dean is going after Harry Reid in a battle over the soul of the Democratic Party. He has apparently got some dirt on Harry Reid which "made Jack Abramoff's lobbying work look like that of a rank amateur". He is now contemplating using this against Reid in their struggle over power, which could hurt the Democrats far worse than anything the Republicans do.

This is a situation to watch closely.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Why So Much About Michigan?

Brainster's blog recently pointed me out as worth reading (Thank you Brainster) saying "The Educated Shoprat blogs on politics with an emphasis on Michigan."

Why do I talk about what is going on here so much?

First of all I live here and what goes on here has as much or more impact on my life as what goes on at Washington.

Secondly, Michigan is a fine example of a totally screwed up state. It is true that the GOP "controls" the legislature, but it is a neutered GOP. The two groups that actually control the state are the UAW and the MEA (State of affiliate of the American Education Association). The GOP legislature does not have what it takes to confront these two groups and to put a leash on them. What these two groups have done to Michigan, they can also do to your state if they ever get the power that they have in Michigan. (The GOP doesn't have the courage to fight them and the DEMs are in bed with them.)

If these two groups ever gain serious power in America, look at Michigan to see what will happen.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Will This Lead to a "Brave New World"

Brave New World is possibly one of the most disturbing books ever written. When I was younger I thought that there was no way that the family would be replaced by what amounts to a baby factory. Now I am not so certain.

Look at France. It has a birthrate of 1.94 children per woman, which is not even enough to replace this generation, yet is one of the highest in Europe. Will the need for children and maintaining a society's ethnic make up drive this.

There was a similar idea in the short-lived but excellent TV series Space Above and Beyond when "invitros" or "tanks" were artificially bred humans brought about to make up a declining population (and quickly found themselves discriminated against by real humans.)

Are we one step closer to Huxley's nightmare of Brave New World?

Democracy is for the Mature

I believe that President Bush has the right idea of spreading democracy, but there are societies that are not ready for it. They are filled with anger and destruction and that flows into the ballot box.

The violence of the Palestinians, both the winners and the losers, as well as the destructive nature of the winners, shows that many in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are not ready to rule themselves. Is this an insult to their culture? No! It is simply an observation; they are insulting themselves with their behavior and the world is seeing it. I half-expect some of the Palestinians to invite the Israelis back; many decent Palestinians will not wished to be ruled by what amounts to a mob controlled by a crime family. It looks like everyone is threatening everyone. And they want to rule their own country.

Some societies need to mature a bit before they are ready for self-rule. It may be jingoistic to say so but it also appears to be true. A teenager is often asked to demonstrate maturity before being given adult responsibilities and rights and a nation needs to demonstrate maturity before it is ready for self-rule.

The troubling question is "What do we do about societies that are not ready?" The only answers I see are to put the under the guidance of a mature nation or allow them to have a (carefully watched) benevolent dictator until the people are ready for self-rule. To be honest, I don't like either of those answers, but I can't think of any others.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Our Governor Needs a Reality Check

Yesterday when I commented on Granholm's State of the State address, I somehow missed this real beauty. She actually said that 99,000 more people were working in Michigan today than were working when she took over three years ago.

Earth to Jennifer Granholm!!! YOU'RE FULL OF IT!!!!

Payroll Numbers say that Michigan has lost 80,000 jobs since Granholm took over.

The numbers she used are supposedly based on household employment numbers in which you count things like developing software at home part time or even use your SUV to plow snow. It is just a way of trying to pull the wool over our eyes and the truth is that Michigan has lost thousands of jobs under her administration while other states are doing quite well. When America is under 5% unemployment and Michigan is pushing 7% (We are almost as bad as France and Germany) something is terribly wrong here.

I congratulate her on getting Toyota into Michigan but that is not nearly enough. We need to make it so businesses can profit in Michigan and we will do all right.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

State of the State

When I was in High School I remember watching President Jerry Ford give the State of the Union Address; he started with a line that a raised a few eyebrows saying, "The State of the Union is not good."

Jennifer Granholm should have used that line last night.

She gave her annual State of the State address last night. That was not an easy job considering the sorry state of the Great Lakes State right now. She had a few general ideas; some of which are good and some are just plain brain-dead.

One of the good ones is for the state to administer a 401K program for companies that are to small to attract 401K providers. The day of the company pension is over, probably for good and it is time to look for another way to do it.

A non-starter is opening Michigan up to stem cell research. She seems have forgotten that Michigan is actually a purple state (economically blue, culturally red) and that would probably go absolutely no where with the people of this state.

The dumbest of her ideas is raising the minimum wage in Michigan. That is a sure-fire way to drive away investors and make people look to other states as a place to do business. People seem to have missed one of the lessons of the Carter Administration. You cannot eliminate poverty by using laws to increase wages; that inevitably only feeds inflation and prevents investment, thus destroying jobs.

The Republican response was more accurate, on how she had a lot of rhetoric but no concrete answers to Michigan's real problem, which is how to get more businesses to be started and old businesses improved in Michigan. Granholm is a decent person, but I don't think she has any idea how to do it; she still sees government as the solution rather than the problem.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Another "Culture of Corruption"

Certain Democratic Congress People (not saying names) insist that the Republicans have a culture of corruption. (In spite of the fact that 40 of the 44 DEM Senators also took money from everyone's favorite scoundrel.)

A culture of corruption may have cost the Liberals their power in Canada.

But the real culture of corruption is local politics in the big city of Detroit. These folks (Democrats all) could really teach Washington and Canada a thing or three about using corruption to rake in the bucks. Detroit City Councilwoman Alberta Tinsley-Talabi has it down to an artform.

While not everything she is doing is illegal, it is certainly questionable. And some of it is illegal. I was especially stunned at her repaying undocumented loans (where she could not prove she actually owed the money) out of her campaign chest.

Before Pelosi and others start complaining about the GOP and corruption, they need to look to their own house first.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Small Victory

A few weeks ago, I posted about an upcoming TV show called The Book of Daniel which was basically a parody of Christianity. The TV show is a bomb and guess what.

NBC has removed it from the schedule. They have not said it has been cancelled, but it looks that way.


Monday, January 23, 2006

There Goes Another American Icon.

THE gun of cowboy movies, the Winchester Rifle may soon be history. (At least the American made version of it might.) The Winchester Rifle plant at New Haven Connecticut will soon close unless someone buys it. It is due to slow sales. Again the villian is cheaper imports. (And the left accuses America of flooding the market with guns.)

While a lot fewer jobs are being lost than in the case of an automaker, it is still a crying shame. That gun is as much an American icon as the Chevrolet. I really hope someone buys it.

Is this an unexpected victory for the gun control nuts who want to get rid of guns by any means possible?

The story is also in USA Today.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

This is NOT a Tough Choice

The decision in Canada tomorrow is being painted as a hard choice between Right-Wing extremists and liberals who are corrupt but have the right idea about what Canada needs. At least that is how Associated Press writer Beth Duff-Brown presents their choice in her article.

The truth is that I would not want to live in Canada right now. A dozen Canadian bloggers could tell you why better than I could.

Calling Harper an extremist shows the extremism of the press.

The choice between Harper and Martin is a no-brainer. Only a no-brain like Michael Moore would favor the Liberals staying in power.

I hope the people of Canada choose freedom from the government.

What Good is an Unenforced Law.

In Michigan, and I assume most other states (and most countries), there are laws about sex offenders working in schools or with children. I would consider these laws sensible. The problem is that they are not being enforced.

According to the Detroit News, a name and birthdate check of 200,000 school employees turned 2,200 felons and over 100 sex offenders. Part of the problem is cost in that it costs $70.00 to run on a check on an employee and poorer school districts cannot afford it and some people looking for work cannot pay for it either. Normally I am against more state and federal funding programs, but I think this one would be sensible and really not all that expensive. I also believe it would be possible to bring the cost down somehow.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Why Did HE Come?

He did not come to change governments (thought it may result in that.) He did not come to bring social justice (though it may result in that.) He did not come to end poverty, racism, or war (though again it may result in that.)

Jesus was perfectly clear on why He came to earth. He came to find and save a lost race. He confronted all of the above problems and more, but He went right to the heart of the matter and dealt with that. He came to free us from sin (the root cause) and reconcile us to God. Without that ideas such as democracy, justice, equality etc. are just window dressing because the poisoned root of sin still poisons them.

That is not how the makers of the film Son of Man see the picture. They portray Jesus as a revolutionary (but at least a non-violent one) who confronts the violence and corruption of contemporary Africa and winds up on a cross. His resurrection is seen as a sign of hope for Africa.

Even though the Son of Man is portrayed as divine, the makers of the film do not that Jesus Himself was divine.

"We wanted to look at the gospels as if they were written by spindoctors and to strip that away and look at the truth," director Mark Dornford-May told Reuters in an interview.

"The truth is that Christ was born in an occupied state and preached equality at a time when that wasn't very acceptable."

The truth is that Jesus is the Son of God Who came to save all of us from ourselves (our sin).

I Guess I Don't Have It Too Bad.

Working in the auto industry, I have had a lot of short weeks over the last year or so. But at least I get paid for what I do.

Some people in Iran are not so lucky.

Safe manufacturing factory workers gone unpaid for 7 months

Though 100 workers from the Khorram safe manufacturing factory have done everything from protests in front of many the regimes governmental agencies, the Islamic Parliaments Assembly and Ahmadinejads headquarters, so far not a single thing has been done to help them. They continue to live in increasing poverty and destitution, as month after month they remain unpaid. On Sunday, January 15th, once again, they appealed to the special investigations offices of the president and once again they were handed the same old promises. They said: "We know that once again nothing will be done and that our families will continue to starve..."

(H/T) Regime Change in Iran

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Best Way to Help the Poor

I remember watching the Laverne and Shirley show in the late 70s and there was an episode that I only saw once, that would never have been made today. In it there was a German imigrant that had lost everything he had to con-artists and Laverne and Shirley decided to help him out. Shirley tried to give him money, which his pride would not allow him to take, while Laverne went out and helped him find a job, which was he really needed. That is the difference between the liberal welfare and the conservative way of helping the poor. It is also summed up by the old proverb: Give me a fish and I will eat today; teach me to fish and I will eat for a lifetime.

The Michigan Senate seems to understand that as they voted to allow more small businesses to have tax relief, allowing them to create badly needed jobs and strengthen the jobs that exist. The leftists, however, are complaining that the money should be going to help poor people pay their heating bills.


The best way to help the poor is to create jobs so that they won't be poor anymore!!

Really!!! It's a no-brainer!!!

There are those who understand.

"It's critical that we make an effort to reduce the cost upon those companies in this state that are going to provide jobs for the future," said Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, R-Wyoming.

Of course the other side has its points to make, such as they are.

"Is this really the segment of Michigan's population that we need to help right now?" Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, said of the business tax cut. "At a time of ongoing budget cuts, we cannot afford more tax cuts."

If businesses go down, there will be no more revenues!! Period!

Even in darkest times of the dark ages, our ancestors understood a simple principle. No matter how hungry you get, you don't eat the seed corn or you will starve later. The same principle applies to business taxes today. The cash flow of the businesses that provide jobs and income in Michigan (and elsewhere) are the seed corn. If it is lost - There is no tomorrow.

I guess intelligence is too much to ask of a liberal.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One Thumb Up, One Thumb Down

I have to give this prevention project a 50/50, good/bad review. The idea is to give women who are on drugs money if a doctor confirms that they are using a contraceptive. It has to be one like Norplant or some other doctor administered contraceptive.

I have to applaud the effort to prevent crack babies from being conceived, but I have to wonder if it is a good idea to pay people to be responsible. Can that lead to irresponsible people demanding payment for other things to make them responsible? Will they insist on this as another way to demand bribes to do the right thing?

"Pay me 50 bucks and I won't sleep in the hallway of your apartment building this week." or some such thing.

Of course the left is complaining about it for other reasons. It targets poor and minority women and removes the element of choice from giving birth. They call it coercion. Since when is offering a bribe coercion? Does that mean the lobbyists should be imprisoned for coercing our Congressmen, making those who take the bribe the victim?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Another Lunatic in Charge

The Donkeys have their own version of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I am speaking of the Madman from Vermont. Howard Dean is off his rocker; he has bats in the belfry; he only has one oar in the water; I could go on.

Unlike Ahmadinejad, Howard Dean is not directly threatening Israel or Western Civilization, but he is every bit as crazy.

This is what he said in a phone call to Joe Biden after the Alito hearings (According to The American Spectator).

"A couple of nonsense syllables like 'Eeeyargh' screamed at the top of your lungs are worth half an hour of that blathering about your Irish-American background, how you hate Princeton and Dianne Feinstein's eyeglasses any day of the week. It's idiosyncratic, sure, but who's going to think you're a raving lunatic after that? No one, that's who!" Dean reportedly yelled, adding that Biden was "playing in the big dog's yard now" as he slammed down the phone.

Playing in the big dog's yard now ???

Howard Dean needs to go back on his medication.

Abolish the State Senate?

The federal congress has two houses for a reason. It is that way as a compromise between large and small states in the original Constitutional Convention. Most states also have a bicameral (two house) legislature as well.

Some feel that this unneeded at the state level and results in a redundancy and a waste of tax-payers' money. One group believes that it can save the state a billion dollars in ten years if we go unicameral (one house legislature). They have started a petition drive to for a referendum to eliminate the Senate and go with just a House of Representatives. If this passes, it will require a major rewrite of much of our state constitution.

I understand the reasoning but wonder if the solution won't be costlier than the problem. I am truly of two minds about this. Having to convince two houses instead of one has the effect of a second look at all legislation, which is not a bad thing. Secondly, I went to school with our state senator, my younger brother used to play with him, and I really like him and hate to see him voted out of office like this. (But that is not a valid reason, just a personal one.)

I don't know how I will vote on this if it comes up.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

What is Wrong with Him?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, has another wild scheme. He is announcing a conference to discuss the scientific evidence of the Holocaust. What more evidence does he need? We have the testimony of the people who were there. We have the testimony of some of the Germans who did it. We have the testimony of the soldiers who liberated the prisoners.

What more does he need? We have the buildings. We found mass graves.

What more does he need?

His foreign minister says "It is a strange world. It is possible to discuss everything except the Holocaust. The Foreign Ministry plans to hold a conference on the scientific aspect of the issue to discuss and review its repercussions,"

We can discuss everything?

Can we discuss the possibility that Mohammed was a false prophet and the Koran is not the word of God? I don't think he will allow to discussion on that question.

Friday, January 13, 2006

This Won't Fix Detroit!!!!

The town I live in lost a factory about 10 years ago and replaced with a really decent hotel and convention center. The problem is that tourism to this particular city is next to non-existent. (It is only a few blocks from where I live, and I sometimes go by it at night and see three or four windows lit up in the entire building.) We simply do not need this large of a hotel.

Detroit is going to repeat this mistake.

Pizza Barons, the Ilitch family, founders of Little Caesar's, are going to invest in properties in downtown Detroit and make improvements on several landmarks. What they plan to do is good, in and of itself, but believing that hotels, theatres, etc. will turn the city of Detroit around is delusional. These businesses are important but they need to be supported by wealth producing industries. Nothing is going to turn Detroit around until wealth PRODUCING businesses return to this city and more of its suburbs. An unemployment rate of 15% will not support expensive theatres.

There are things Detroit can do. Detroit needs to get rid of its living wage laws which drive businesses out of Detroit. Detroit needs to clean up its crime and violence. Detroit's city government needs to clean out its corruption and cronyism. The people of Detroit need to remember the idea of a work ethic. The unions need to give the city and private employers some breathing room, which I do not see happening. I don't see any of this happening. When I was in school Detroit was America's fifth largest city and it has lost population since then, having dropped below the one million mark. The outlook for Detroit is very bleak.

They Are Asking For It!

So Iran has removed the seals that were in place to prevent them from making nuclear weapons. What does our IAEA Secretary General, Mohammed ElBaradei, have to say about this?

He said he was “losing his patience” with Tehran’s leaders and that “a red line for the international community” was fast approaching.

It is fast approaching. I would say that the red line has come and gone! Iran is lead by madmen, and if anyone has any doubts about that they can check this post by Armed and Christian. If our president has made a mistake in invading Iraq, the mistake was not taking out Iran first! (But then Saddam would have probably built the weapons, altering the current situation only slightly.) Sending France and Germany in to handle Iran is like sending Barney Fife to arrest Al Capone, or to quote an old saw "You don't send a boy to do a man's job."

I am not looking forward to dealing with Iran because it is going to be messy. This is also the final legacy of the man who let the Shah of Iran fall, the worst president of the 20th Century, Jimmy Carter. (I shake my head in disgust as I remember his old campaign ads "Jimmy Carter - A Leader, for a change.") God help us.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Don't Cut My Pay!

I have repeatedly called for top to bottom pay and benefit cuts at GM. I think most people not directly connected to the business would agree with me but apparently some people in the executive offices do not. GM Vice Chairman and product chief Bob Lutz feels that his lost bonuses and the decline in value of his stock options are enough of a cut. I will admit that these are huge but his failure to accept a cut in base pay while asking others to accept one is hypocrisy. He should be setting the example. (After all, the union could point to changes in healthcare as all the costs that the workers should suffer - I see it as the same thing.) I don't begrudge generous pay to executives of successful companies, but GM is not successful at the moment and it is as much the executive's fault as anyone's. (I would rather see a successful executive paid millions every year than a baseball player or an actor - a successful executive is improving everyone's life. One in struggling or declining company needs to suffer with everyone else.) When good times return, he will benefit far more than others, and if he turns out to be part of the solution then he should benefit when times get better.

Lutz's reasoning about a cut causing a talent drain in GM is worth noting and is a valid point, but it would be more convincing if it wasn't the same people who caused the problems in the first place.

He said "The capability of successfully trying to turn around an unsuccessful automobile company is a very rare and highly sought after skill set. And you do the shareholder no good whatsoever by reducing compensation to the point where everybody leaves." I have seen no evidence that he is the person to turn that company around.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A "Slightly" Disturbed Writer

Today I read a few stories by Howard Phillips Lovecraft (better known as H.P. Lovecraft) whom some consider to be the equal of Poe in chilling tales. If you do not know about him, he was born in 1890 to a once prominent, but now badly declined New England family. He was sickly and (supposedly) homely and was essentially an outcast. He died in 1937. He was an absolute atheist who took his atheism to its logical conclusion - There is no hope for humanity, either individually or collectively. Individuals die and by one way or another, humanity will one day be extinct. Who knows if this philosophy caused his marginal mental state or if his philosophy was caused by his mental state? What is noteworthy about his writing is its despair. It permeates his writings. His universe was peopled by beings far more advanced than humans, who saw us as nuisances, food sources or other less than thrilling uses. His writings include super-powerful aliens, such as Cthulhu, Hastur or terrible books such as the dreaded Necronomicon (which does not exist, so some enterprising individuals had to write and publish it!)

I do not find his writing particularly chilling or frightening, but I find it disturbing in another way. I find the despair and hopelessness that permeats most of his writing to be morbidly fascinating. My favority quote by him is from the poem, The Fungi from Yuggoth where he says

Destroying what he chanced to make in play
The idiot Chaos blew earth's dust away.

That, in his mind is human destiny.

If you never read any of his works you can find them at this site. Four very short stories that I suggest to those who have never read him would be Ex Oblivione, Nyarlathotep, The Quest of Iranon and What the Moon Brings. These short stories will let you see inside the mind of brilliant but only border-line sane mind.

More about him and works can be found here.

His works have never been made into a major motion picture, though some poor quality (and slightly pornographic) versions have been made produced by Director Stuart Gordon. The only one of these that I can even half-way recommend is Dagon (which is misnamed - it is actually based on the story The Shadow Over Innsmouth.) My recommendation comes with severe reservations. Most are simply pornography loosely based on Lovecraft's writing, which is odd because most of his writings are free of sex.

I bring him up because writers such as Stephen King name him as inspiration. Movies such as Alien are strongly Lovecraftian in their style. What influenced him, now influences much of our entertainment industry. Plus he is interesting to read, especially if you take his mindset into account.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

GM is Cutting Prices

A few days ago, I posted rumors that GM was going to lower its car prices. Those are no longer rumors as GM is cutting prices on of 57 of its 76 American models. This includes most lines but excludes Saturn, Hummer and Saab. The average price cut is $1300, which is a significant part of the price. Some prices are being cut as much as $2500.

This is good, but it still does not cover inflated management and labor costs which are way out of line. Management needs to have a significant cut in pay and hourlys too should see some adjustments. I hate to say that because it could effect me but if the company does not survive and prosper my paycheck won't either.

GM did recently wow the Detroit auto show with a new Camaro which got some positive attention but it is apparently not slated to go into production right away.

Plus there is a rising star in GM's executive offices, the Chief Financial Officer, Frederick Henderson, who is described as no-nonsense "let's get the problems fixed" sort of guy. If that is indeed what he is then he may well be part of the solution. The Detroit News described him but was quite sketchy on specific plans he might have. Is he going to be a real help or is he another empty suit? Time and results will tell. I do like this though: he openly admits that GM has a credibility problem. That is definitely a start.

There must be some good news or something that investors really like because GM stock has been rising for the last few days.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Just Who is He?

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, "Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; some say Elijah; and others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" and Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16: 13-16 NASB)

That question is still not settled to many people. Today's Lansing State Journal has a short article discussing how other religions see Jesus.

The question is one which too many answer without thinking about what it means. That goes for those who recognize Him as the Son of God as well as those who consider Him to be a prophet, guru, mere man or myth. Even as a man, He is unique in that He is revered by many religions, not just Christianity. That alone is testimony of His greatness.

Wall Street is Soaring

For the first time since 9-11, the Dow Jones Industrials have risen above 11,000 running on what appears to be a true bull market for 2006. For most people this is good news. Even GM stock improved considerably as the stock market now believes that bankruptcy in unlikely anytime soon. (This is good news but it needs to translate into jobs! and job security!)

This alone does not make the economy run but is an indicator of how it is doing. Employment, outside of certain areas of the country (and sadly I am in one of those areas) is not bad at all. Michigan does need to catch up in a lot of areas, but our state government has bigger concerns - like the replacing the robin as our state bird. (Groan)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Busy Today

Not much blogging today. I am studying the html tutorial (thanks Lone Pony) and learning a little about it instead.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

You Really Shouldn't Laugh (But You Can't Help It)

The Religious Policeman has a very interesting (and darkly humorous) posting on a major problem Saudi Arabia is having right now, namely Witchcraft. He starts with

There is an upsurge in Sorcery, as this letter to the Saudi Gazette shows:. SirIt was amazing to know that some gangs of sorcerers were busted in Jeddah, while performing dirty tricks, black magic and other life-threatening evil acts. .... These people perform these tactics by writing amulets by writing Qur'anic verses on it upside down or with the blood of snakes, and writing satanic names with their own waste, and making an innocent's life miserable. The authorities must be tough with them.

The article goes on quite a ways but it includes a link to this astonishing site: Protection From Black Magic, SunniPath An Islamic Academy. This apparently official site makes several points.

1. It definitely exists.

2. It was created by a Jew pretending to be a Muslim. (Why does that not suprise me?)

3. You can protect yourself from it by quote the proper texts or, alternately, by eating 7 ajwa dates every morning.

4. He also says (with suprising wisdom considering what I read earlier in the text) that you should be very cautious about accusing people of using black magic; look for non-magical reasons for your problems first.

I definitely needed to know all that.

Michigan Voters to Decide on Affirmative Action

About a month ago I posted on how the State Board of Canvassers here in Michigan was disrupted by a mob determined to prevent a statewide vote on Affirmative Action. According to this article in the Lansing State Journal it looks like it's going to be on the ballot.

At the moment it looks like it's restricted to government employment and contracting, and education programs including university admissions. Private employers may still use it if they see fit.

Opponents claim that trickery was used to get people to sign petitions for the proposal. First off who in their right mind would sign a petition without reading it first? Secondly, if it didn't have enough signatures from people who understood it and went to the ballot, wouldn't it be defeated because by then people would understand what they are voting for. Trying to prevent a referendum by mob action is undemocratic; working to defeat it at the ballot box is very democratic.

In my personal opinion, affirmative action is permitted only in specific situations when there has been actual discrimination that can be pointed to, documented and exact names given. The burden of proof in such a case must lie with the accuser. It should never be a general policy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The "Total Value Promise"

GM has a great idea for increasing its total sales and increasing its revenues. I am not being sarcastic; it really is a good idea. What is that great idea? Lower initial prices. The Detroit News carries the story.

Rather than give incentives to buy they will simply lower the initial price of the vehicle and they are going to begin doing it this year. They believe the simplicity of this will be more effective than the complex thinking behind incentives. This is a very important start but will not in and of itself save the company. They also need to look at their product itself and their costs (especially their inflated labor and management costs.) I believe they are finally doing this and wish they had been doing it 25 years ago.

The article also points out something GM did do for America that America was ungrateful for; they effectively lowered the prices of vehicles through 0% financing after 9-11 to help sustain the US economy during that tough time.

Do People Come First?

I am not a big fan of the Christian Science Monitor, but I went to it this afternoon when I saw a quote from it in USA Today. It was easy to find the quote at the Monitor's own site.

The recent deaths in coal mining is a tragedy at all levels, but some see an even greater tragedy in the mines and it's not the deaths of the miners.

Nonetheless, fatal mine accidents, while serious, are not the major damage from coal usage. Pollution is considered coal's biggest killer, not to mention its likely contribution to global warming from carbon dioxide emissions.

These nuts think that pollution is a bigger problem than a few deaths in a mine! I give them a D in their reasoning and an F for style. That remark is not only untrue but also shows that they have absolutely no class at all.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Good Ol' Pat Robertson

Reverend Pat Robertson is shooting off his mouth again.

You know I love the man and think he's good intentioned, and in his own way he really thinks he is saying what God wants him to say, but he is also a little, shall we wisdom-challenged. It seems he removes one foot from his mouth just in time to insert the other one.

And of course the MSM wants every foolish thing he says to be broadcasted to the entire world, because they think it reflects what we say and believe.

Is This Fair? Is it Right?

According to today's Lansing State Journal, a 51 year old woman embezzled around $69,000 from Michigan State University, her former employer. They believe she took more but cannot prove it. Her punishment is probation and she has to give the money back. This was in exchange for a guilty plea.

I say she got off little easy. As one other MSU employee told the Journal, she got an interest free loan. I would like to know if she did take more.

What would have happened to most of us if we took that much from our employers?

I tend to be quite merciful, but I believe there is difference between mercy and folly.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Washington Post Needs a Little Pressure.

The Washington Post recently published a letter by Father whose son was killed in Iraq, entitled "A Life was Wasted." While I grieve for his son and understand his reaction, I do not agree with it, nor does another father who lost his son in Iraq. He too wrote a letter that can be read at Crazy Politico's Rantings and he also has a link to contact the Post and urge them to publish both sides of this opinion. Both men are fathers who lost sons in Iraq, so they speak with equal moral authority but have opposite opinions. Please go to Politico's blog, read the letter, and follow the links to encourage the Post to publish this grieving father's letter as well.

"Before You Go"

This link is to a beautiful tribute to the World War II veterans in song and photos.

They are now in their eighties and nineties and are dying off. This song is a tribute to them before they go.

We owe so much to them. Very few of us are fit to stand amongst them.

Before You Go is the name of the song.

Thank you to my Brother who lives in Florida

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

That's It!

That's it! No more federal funding for these guys. No more government grants. No more student loans. Everything DePaul University gets from now on it will get through private fundraisers and profitable activities.

Yeah only in my wildest dreams.

Here is what DePaul University is up to now. You really have to read the article.

At the very least, I would deny funding to any college or university that bans military recruiters. I would also require that all pay going to anti-American professors and funds for anti-American courses be privately raised. IN OTHER WORDS, If I had my druthers, If a professor runs down our country and its way of life, that is his or her privilege but they cannot run a country down and then depend on it for their income. Students cannot use federal grant money to pay for those classes, that classes books, or class projects. They must demonstrate that every penny that went into that class was privately raised and the school must charge the professor for lights, heat, class and office space. They are free to say whatever they want but they cannot make a government they hate pay for it. That is the way to do it.

Freedom of speech gives you the right to say what you think but not the right to expect those who disagree with you to pay you to say it.

Back to Work

After 2 weeks off for Christmas and New Years, I went back to work today.

A little advice. Never install a new computer game on your computer the day before you go back to work, especially if you have to get up at 4:45 AM. It's a bad idea. Trust me! I now know.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I Knew This was Going to Happen

OK, Lone Pony tagged me. Let's see, 5 unusual things about myself, well actually I could write a book about strange things about me so I'll do that right away and then tag 5 people later once I can find a few who haven't been tagged yet.

1. I really don't like to drive. I don't mind country and highway driving, but traffic makes me very nervous. Most guys live to drive, not me.

2. I have not watched a network television show in more than 6 months. I don't watch TV, though I do rent and buy alot of movies.

3. Some of my favorite music is from 70's "bubble gum acts" that critics ran down and are largely forgotten today. I love Tony Orlando and Dawn, the Bay City Rollers etc. I would rather listen to them than a lot of the major groups that cultured 70s people are supposed to like.

4. I have been told that I look like Charles Manson, act like Christopher Lloyd's character Jim from Taxi, have a mind like Albert Einstein and a heart like Mother Teresa. I could be a lot worse I guess. I could look like Mother Teresa, have the personality of Einstein, the mind of Jim from Taxi, and the heart of Charles Manson.

5. I talk to myself constantly.

I'll tag 5 others later.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Ultimate Question

On several blogs that I frequent there are debates and arguments amongst people who normally agree, with debates centering on Intelligent Design and the existence of God. One of the better reasons that agnostics and atheists point to is that the origin and existence of God cannot be explained.

That misses a philosophical point of great significance. Why does anything exist? I am not talking about teleological purpose but the why as in the origins of existence. Existence itself can be analyzed but in the end, it cannot be explained.

We know that everything is made up of atoms which in turn are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, which in turn come from various quark configurations, or at least so I understand. It has been a few years since I looked at anything on sub-atomic particles. However, about 20 years ago, I was playing AD&D with a group that were mostly graduate students, including 4 or 5 Christians, 2 Atheists and 2 Neo-Pagans. (We got along well enough to play the game.) I remember a conversation between a couple who doing graduate work in Physics at MSU and they discussed a hypothesis that they were working on where quarks were simply 4 dimensional folds of 3 dimensional space. (I do not know if this is still a working hypothesis or if it's been discredited, but it really doesn't matter for what I am saying.) If this is the way it is, that means everything is 4-D waves interacting with 3-D space, and if you think about it, that could explain both charge and mass. If this is the truth, still much is unexplained such as how does space fold on itself, why does it, and whatever forces it to do so must be outside of our entire sphere of reference. If it is not the way it works, the final question still stands.

In truth, the only thing we can be certain of is our own existence (I think therefore I am), but to philosophically center on that would put us in the absurd position of that guy in the second book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series who believed that he was the only thing that existed and only interacted with others because he felt like it and it was better than sitting around being lonely. There is a point at which we need to trust our senses and our senses tell us that existence is real.

But existence itself cannot be explained. The universe was born of a big bang, but what was the so-called Cosmic Egg that existed before the big bang? Or did nothingness itself explode. We have to go to a point where something came into being out of nothing or we have keep going back forever and ever. Either path will lead to a point where reality itself as we understand it will break down. We intuitively pass over that point in a leap of faith that leads some to Atheism and others to God, but it is a leap of faith for both.

When we say that atoms are made of certain elementary particles which are constructed of quarks, we may be more factually accurate than the ancients but we in the end come to the same spot.

The earth sits on the back of giant elephants
Who stand on the shell of a great turtle
Who swims in a great sea

but what holds the sea, no one knows.

Science too will reach the point where reality passes beyond what we can see and analyze. The point where everything either goes on forever, or is made of nothing.

I Wonder if the Canadians are Proud

Recently the Canadian Supreme Court (which makes ours look like a paragon of reason, a major accomplishment) ruled that Sex Clubs for consenting adults (sometimes that term seems like an oxymoron) were legal in Canada. That combined with lowering the age of consent to 14 years creates a troubling possibility in Canada. (h/t Brainster's Blog) Link Byfield, who wrote the article, is not proud and is deeply troubled.

Today the Detroit News is carrying an article about how parts of Windsor, Ontario are getting ready for the Super Bowl. The escort services have been taking reservations for over a year now. Will Canada replace Thailand as the Sex Tour destination of choice?

But here is something that should worry even those who think sex clubs are all right. Beverley McLachlin is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and she said something that should chill anyone who believes in Constitutional Law.

In a speech to law students in New Zealand last month, Queen Beverley stated she is not bound even by our written Constitution.

Rather, when she feels so moved, she will apply "unwritten constitutional principles" as she perceives them.

In other words the Constitution says whatever the judge believes it SHOULD say. That makes judges the supreme law of the land and that must never be allowed. What scares me is something I read last summer, but cannot find the link, where our old buddy George Soros (Sorrows?) had a seminar in New England where his people said basically the same thing about our Constitution.

I can see the headlines now "Supreme Court Declares Constitution Unconstitutional"

How Much Do We Owe Them?

Bob Stein has an excellent posting the American Spectator on line on how we should view the military and how much we really owe them.

While I was busy being born (and not dying), men and women were getting blown to pieces by German 88's and Japanese mortars to win the big one. While I was growing up, our freedom was saved by the Strategic Air Command ("Peace is our Profession") and by men and women patrolling in the Arctic Circle. While I was in elementary school, my cousin Joe and my uncle Bob were fighting and fine men and women were dying at Cho-Sin Reservoir.

And at the moment I was looking at the stars in perfect peace, far better men than I were getting killed in ambushes in Vietnam.

We often don't give enough thought to the men and women who really put it on the line for all of us. Listening to that great song by Toby Keith (American Soldier) from time to time does not cut it. We those owe these people a lot.

I did serve, but I never saw a bit of military action (indeed, the only thing that happened while I was in was the rescue of the Mayaguez and I had nothing to do with that as I was only a E-1 in the reserves waiting to begin training - I belonged to the Navy only in a legal sense, which is enough.) So I too owe it to the guys who actually fought and died, many of them far better than the people they are defending.

Psychic & Expert Predictions - Is There a Difference?

Predictions for 2006 are popping up everywhere, from the tabloids to just people talking.

The National Review Online has a series of predictions by its various contributors, ranging from serious predictions to a couple spoofing the psychics. I especially appreciated this one by John Derbyshire: General Motors will be purchased by Google. Of course some are inevitable such as Kathryn Jean Lopez's prediction: Ted Kennedy says something obnoxious about our war effort. We can go on and on but let's go elsewhere.

Today there is an article in Yahoo about various ways of predicting the future and a few predictions by Psychics. Earth will be hit by an asteroid according to Annie Stanton, a web psychic; I guess I better start building an asteroid shelter (sigh). Does anyone know where I can find instructions? :-D

Or take a look at this page. Like I'm going to take these people seriously.

I see countless people who know their fields making predictions, some based on serious trends and inside information while others are just wishful thinking.

I have a few predictions of my own. It will take the earth 364.25 days to circle the earth in 2006 (which include a few hours of a different year.) There will not be a Febuary 29th this year. The Lions will have another embarrassing season. The liberal side of the blogosphere will get even loonier.

Here are some guesses that I consider likely. The Republicans will have problems in 06 but will hold their majorities. There will be another terrorist attack, probably just before the election. Hillary's star will begin to fade as other Democrats who want the nomination start to dig up dirt on her. I do not expect the Rapture or the Return to occur this year - but I do believe He is coming.

"I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future."

Update 8: 03 AM The Anchoress has predictions that I consider sensible but uncertain.