Wednesday, May 31, 2006

ZPG A Boon or a Curse?

When I was in school there was poster available called "Overpopulation" which showed a landscape in which literally every square yard had nude human in it. (I have tried to find an image on the web, but so far have failed.) It was drilled into us that we were going to continue to populate until there was no room anywhere. Star Trek, the Original Series, touched on it with its episode Mark of Gideon. There was a disturbing dystopian novel, The World Inside, by Robert Silverberg which showed an overcrowded world where both birth control and chastity were illegal. (The book was considered marginally pornographic when it was written but is tame by today's standards; it is also a book that I, and others who have read it, found to be a very disturbing book and more than one person wishes they had never read it.) The dangers of Overpopulation were drilled into us.

Things have changed since then and now people are concerned about a lack of children being born in many nations. Many European nations have negative birth rates and it is beginning to concern thinking people. Russia is actually taking steps to encourage childbirth. China's One-Child Policy is a malthusian sucess and an economic disaster waiting to destroy that rising nation.

Some leftists have noted that Fundamentalist Christians have more children than they do, and if they pass that faith onto their children and secure it through home or religious schooling, that would lead to them having more children themselves while the "responsible" leftists have fewer children, it will result in an even more religious dominated America within a couple of generations. That does not exactly work into their plans but encouraging more births also goes against the grain of what they believe.

(The fertility rate of Islam is well noted and needs no comment).

Don Feder, a columnist for FrontPage Magazine also comments on this and he has more interesting observations. He points out that Pope Benedict (please note Mr. Feder is a Jew) calls the problems that lead to Negative Population Growth as "eclipse of love" and "materialistic visions of the universe, of life and human fulfillment" . He also quotes an American Economist Robert J. Samuelson saying "Europe as we know it is going out of business. Talk of a united Europe challenging America is a fantasy. It’s hard to be a great power if your population’s shriveling,"

I am kind of a centrist on this issue. I believe that we do need to be responsible in the number of children we bear, but I also believe that we need to give birth to enough children to sustain our society, culture and economy and that every segment of the population should maintain its numbers. There is danger in going too far in either direction. A few decades ago we may have been having too many children and now we are not having enough.

Having never, to my knowledge anyway, fathered any children I cannot be too harsh on those who have never had any children, but I sometimes do feel unfulfilled when I see people I went to school with playing with their grandchildren. I also feel that I failed to fulfill my obligation to the human race in this manner, but at this point all I can do is encourage others not to repeat my mistake.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Thank You to the Real Vets

I served during a time of peace and was never called put my neck on the line for America, though I was trained, ready and willing. I guess that makes me legally a veteran, but I feel that the real veterans are the ones who actually fought. I too owe them thanks.

To all who fought for what this country (and the world) can and should be, Thank You.

A double Thanks to those who lost life, limb and sanity. Your sacrifice is appreciated.

Also thanks to those who lost children, brothers, friends, kinsmen, parents, mates to the evil things of this world. Your sacrifice is also appreciated.

God bless America and her veterans.

Da Vinci Code is Tanking

After all this concern about The Da Vinci Code may be for nothing. Interest in the movie is falling drastically, a 56% decline; though overall attendance is down for most movies this weekend The Da Vinci Code's decline is huge. Even critics who normally cannot wait to trash true Chrisitianity cannot bear to watch it. No one really seems to like it. Maybe it's just a bad movie period. I don't know as I have no intention of watching it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sneaky, but Ingenius

I received this story via E-mail from a younger brother. I don't know if it's true or a newborn Urban Legend, but it is cute.

(This is from a friend of a friend of a friend.)

I have a friend, Wallace, who is president of his Homeowner's Association in Washington. They are having a terrible problem with trash on the side of the roads around their neighborhood. The reason is the construction of six big new homes which are being built around their subdivision.

Wallace said the trash is being generated by the Mexican work crews at the construction sites. (McDonald bags, Coke Bottles, pizza boxes, Burger King bags, etc.). They have pleaded with the site supervisors and the general contractor to no avail; called the City, County and the Police and got no help. So guess what some people in his community did?

They organized about twenty folks, named themselves the Inner Neighborhood Services" (INS) and started going out at lunch time to "police" the area themselves. What they did while picking up the trash is HILARIOUS!

They got some navy blue baseball caps and had the initials "INS" in gold put on the caps. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, however, to understand what they hoped people would think it meant.

Well, the day after their first pick-up detail - with them wearing the INS caps and some carrying cameras - 46 out of 68 of the construction workers did not show up for work the next morning! And they haven't come back yet! It has been ten days.

Now I understand the general contractor is madder than hell, but can't say anything publicly, because he could be busted for hiring "illegal aliens."

Wallace and his bunch can't be accused of impersonating INS folks because their Homeowner Association allows them to vote to form new committees within the association. They also informed the INS about what they were doing in advance. According to Wallace, the INS basically said “Have at it."


As I have said more than once, immigrants from anywhere that are willing to play by the rules and contribute to our society are more than welcome. Immigrants that do not play by the rules, and entering illegally is not playing by the rules, or simply drain our resources are not welcome.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Need For Humility

Today's American Spectator Online has a posting by Paul Beston on the lack of humility, especially on the pacisfist left, toward those who served in the military, thus securing our freedom. I agree with him for the most part but feel that he was unfair in one regard. The right can be a little arrogant at times to. (I personally do not care to listen to Rush Limbaugh, even though I usually agree with him, because his ego puts me off and even if it is just a schtick for his show, I find it distracting.)

That having been said, I consider the left far more arrogant than the right. They just point their noses in the air and consider our boorish conservative views as proof that we are not as intelligent and as enlightened as they are.

What is humility? I've always understood it to mean two things working together, the knowledge of your own limitations and recognizing the value of others and their contributions.

Arrogance is believing that others are stupid or evil because they disagree with you. Arrogance is believing that you know more than the man next to you and he should not even be allowed to question you. Even a six year old might know something that you do not and there is no shame in learning it from them, the folly is in refusing to learn.

We do indeed need a sense of humility toward those whose sacrifices made our freedom possible, and especially towards those who paid the price of life or limb, but we also need humility toward each other. This does not mean we cannot argue or disagree, but we must do so with civility and a recognition of our own fallibility. There has only been one perfect Man in history and I have no nail holes in my hands and neither do the rest of us.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Four Capitalisms

The well-deserved conviction of Ken Lay and his people has gotten me thinking a little. Some people think Capitalism is evil, others think it is good. I think both are very simplistic because there are at least four different kinds of capitalism.

1. Robber Baron Capitalism. This is the type that many on the left think is the only form of capitalism. This is capitalism where the rich and powerful exploit the poor in order to gain total wealth and power over others. It does exist and is an offense to humanity, but it is not the only type of capitalism.

2. Union Capitalism. This was originally a response to Robber Baronism where the workers collectively force the boss to treat them better. While it is a good idea in theory, I believe that most unions are nearly as corrupt and exploitive as the robber barons.

3. Enlightened Capitalism. This is capitalism with morals where the man with the money feels a sense of obligation and responsibility for those below them. Such businessmen do exsit, in fact they are fairly common. They also recognize that their situation is better when the working class is reasonably comfortable and reasonably secure. The difficulty with this one is that it depends far too much on the character of the capitalist which is an uncontrolable factor.

4. Popular Capitalism. As far as I know, this was defined and popularized by Maggie Thatcher. It is where the working class is allowed, encouraged and enabled to buy stock and thus become part of the money system. This is, in my opinion, the best way to do it. The problem is what happened at Enron, but prosecution and restitution to workers and small stock-holders should help.

No system works perfectly, but Capitalism does produce less poverty than Socialism. It may be the lesser of two evils, but if we seek a perfect society then there is no system that will work.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another Possible Columbine Prevented

I wish to congratulate the police department and schools of Oxford Michigan for paying attention to what was going on a connecting the dots, preventing what could have been a catastrophe. A 16 year old Michigan youth in that town had a collection of 16 bombs in his home and few other assorted things along with blueprints for his school. They caught him because of an arson that cost his school district a quarter of a million dollars. As bad as that was it could have been a lot worse. The story is here.

When I think about this I remember when I was in school. We took hunter safety right inside the school. I saw guns in the backs of my classmates cars in the parking lot (a lot of them had gunracks). You occasionally saw one in the building, usually headed to shop class for work on them. (They were allowed in certain areas but there was a strict protocol for bringing them in, storing them and working on them; they could not be loaded and the principal had to know they were coming in, where they were, and who they belonged to, as well as had the power to deny permission, and they were locked up in woodshop until their owners started doing whatever he was going to do to them. I don't believe ammunition of any sort was allowed in the school.) That was a different world.

Times have changed but have they really? A short drive from where I live is the town of Bath Michigan where in 1927 a disgruntled citizen, Andrew P Kehoe, set off an explosion that destroyed the school building and killed many children in a slaughter far worse than Columbine. The story is now part of our local lore. It is not entirely a new problem by any means. There have always been both adults and children willing to kill large numbers of children for whatever reason.

Update: Added a photo of the destroyed Bath School

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What Happened to the Tigers.

I have a question for all those guys playing baseball in Detroit with a gothic "D" on their caps.

Who are you guys and what have you done with the real Detroit Tigers?

AL Central 2005 Final Standings.

Chicago 99 - 63 .611
Cleveland 93 - 69 .574
Minnesota 83 - 79 .512
Detroit 71 - 91 .438
Kansas City 56 -106 .346

Current AL Central Standings.
Detroit 30 - 14 .619
Chicago 29 - 15 .659
Cleveland 22 - 22 .500
Minnesota 19 - 25 .432
Kansas City 10 - 32 .238

Of course it's far too early to tell if the Tigers are for real or if they're just playing very well at the moment. But it is astonishing ... Kind of like the 1969 Mets. It's also about time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Good Idea -- From Lansing of All Places

If I don't show up for work I don't get paid except under limited circumstances. That is how it should be. You're paid to do a job, not simply be on a payroll with a job description you may or may not be doing.

Some congressmen, at both the state and federal level, have a habit of missing work.

Rep. David Law, R-Commerce Township has a proposal. He says that you are going to miss a few votes but if a legislator misses 100 or more votes in a year, his pay should be docked. That may not be a bad idea. It will have to be approved by the citizens of Michigan but I can see that passing.

Now about those guys (and gals) in Washington. Do you think they could be convinced to pass such a law?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Four Little Known Movies That I Love

When we talk about movies that we like, we often talk about blockbusters that everyone loves (even if they're forgotten five years later.) However we all have favorites that were not blockbusters and some were even flops. I want to talk about 4 little known movies that I really like.

1. The Villain (1979) Starring Kirk Douglas, Anne-Margret, Arnold Schwarzenegger: This is one of the last movies to include Arnold Schwarzenegger in the cast and he was not the headliner. It is basically a live-action Roadrunner cartoon in which Arnie and Anne-Margret are collectively the Roadrunner and Kirk Douglas (playing an inept outlaw) is Wile E. Coyote. Ms. Marget plays Charmin Jones who is carrying a bag of money in a cross country journey while Arnie rides shotgun for her (and plays a stupifyingly naive good-guy named Handsome Stranger - named after his father - think about it). Kirk Douglas is Cactus Jack Slade who is trying to steal the money but his horse is smarter than he is. It is a slapstick comedy with a lot of gags that you miss if you only watch it one. Quotes from the movie.

2. Being There (also 1979) Starring Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine: A role only Peter Sellers could play. He portrays a man who was basically a slave in a wealthy house who was never allowed to learn to read or leave the house and is totally ignorant of the real world. However his speech, dress and mannerisms are upper-class. He is evicted from the house and forced to wander the streets until a series of unlikely events lands him in the home of a very wealthy man who assumes he is a formerly wealthy businessman down on his luck. He introduces him to the President of the United States who is utterly impressed with him and takes his simplistic remarks as metaphors for a deep understanding. Before the movie ends it is beginning to look like this totally ignorant man is going to be the next President. The movie is a satire on how the media creates major personalities. Quotes from the movie.

October Sky (1999) The true story of a coal miner's son named Homer Hickman who dreamed of being more than a coal miner. He wanted to be a rocket engineer and in his coal-mining town in 1957, he and some school chums set out to build a rocket. This movie tells of his failures, challenges, misfires, and other difficulties that ultimately led to him growing up to become a NASA engineer. Loving model rockets like I do, this movie has a special place for me. Quotes from the Movie.

Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) Woody Allen, Dan Ackroyd, Helen Hunt, David Ogden-Stiers: Ordinarily I see Woody Allen and I head the other way, but this movie is different from most of his movies. Instead of playing a neurotic loser, he plays a private investigator who is actually a likeable rascal, far different from his typical typecast. He is investigating a series of burglaries, but the twist is that he, under post-hypnotic suggestion, is commiting and forgetting the very crimes he is investigating. He is very puzzled when all the evidence points to him. Quotes from the Movie.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Jesus vs Mohammed

The American Thinker has the first part of what looks to be like a two-part posting comparing Jesus and Mohammed. They are as different as night and day in many, many ways.

A Major Breakthrough, If It's Not a Hoax

Lone Pony has a link to a very interesting news story. If this is not a hoax and it could well be, then it could well be a major (and good) sign of things to come.

HHO (aka H2O) (Using water as a fuel source.)

I for one will keep on a eye on this for a while.

Another Blasphemous Movie -- What of It?

A lot of people are losing sleep over a movie again. I'm not and here's why. When I was a young teenager there was another movie made to belittle the Christians and their beliefs and that movie was Jesus Christ Superstar. This movie also strongly suggested that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were sexually intimate, in fact it all but wrote it in big bold letters. If you recall, the movie asked a question, (Who was Jesus?) but made no attempt to answer it. People saw the movie and left thinking about the question.

The results? In my early teens the "Jesus Movement" happened and millions became Christians, seemingly overnight. A lot of them blossomed and wilted quickly, but many of them remain Christians to this day. I do not believe that it was a coincidence that the "Jesus Movement" happened shortly after Jesus Christ Superstar was released. The people who saw the movie started asking questions and looking for the answer and many found it.

As CS Lewis had the demon Screwtape saying in The Screwtape Letters (and keep in mind that the speaker is a demon and the "Enemy" is God.):

The trouble about arguement is that it moves the whole struggle on to the Enemy's own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propoganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly inferior to Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awaken the patient's reason; and once it is awake, who can forsee the results?

The DaVinci code is nonsense but non-Christians will see it and will start to ask questions: Is the Bible true? Was Jesus really the Son of God? Once reason is awakened some will seek and find the truth. I don't think that a whole lot of people will be lost by this movie who aren't going to be lost anyway.

I am not happy about the movie but neither am I sweating bullets that people are going to believe it. If you believe it you will believe anything.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Welcome to New Appalachia

During our national golden age, between WWII and around 1970, there were still pockets of hard poverty in various places, including Indian reservations, southern blacks dealing with Jim Crow, and Appalachia. Poverty remained strong in these areas despite a national hyper-prosperity.

Today it seems that Michigan has gained that distinction.

While we are not in a national golden age by any means, the country as a whole has a pretty good economy. Michigan sadly does not. According to an article in the Detroit News today, Michigan has an unemployment rate that 2.5% more than America as a whole. Simply put, a working class person in Michigan is half again as likely to be unemployed as a typical US worker. Even scarier is that Michigan could lose 10% of its remaining manufacturing jobs by the end 07.

I would like to see a County-by-county breakdown of Michigan and see how truly bad it is in Auto-country, as opposed to the western counties (furniture country), the farming areas, and the northern counties (mining, tourism, agriculture and lumber). When I get the time I could probably do that myself. Some time ago Detroit had a staggering 15% unemployment rate but I don't know what it is today. Flint and Saginaw are also being hit very hard. (Lansing has a bit more diversity in its economy but is still feeling quite an impact.) It does not hurt only auto-workers, but service and retail jobs that serve them. A Walmart in an economic ghost town is not going to need a lot of workers.

As has been said before, Michigan, especially the Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Saginaw area, depends too much on one industry and both GM and Ford made very bad decisions a number of years ago and it is devastating this state. As I have also said before, I consider it more of a cultural problem (the belief that one is automatically entitled to a good paying job) than a political one (though there is a political element.)

What can Michigan do? First off the people need to change their attitudes about work and their work ethic. People who worked for "Generous Motors" have told stories of laziness and worker fraud that just astounds me. We need to make Michigan more business friendly in terms of regulation and taxes. We need to concentrate more on education. There is a lot we can do. We have a lot going for us including natural resources like few other states have but we are not using them to full advantage. (We have abundant water, petroleum and natural gas, minerals and metals, wood, and agriculture like you wouldn't believe.)

Now there are a few bright spots, but they are not nearly big enough to offset the trends here in Michigan.

We are still in for more rough times. Welcome to New Appalachia, the old one is now much better off.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Possibly Legal - But Still Dangerous - High

When one thinks of kids getting drugs we usually think of someone who looks a little like me standing at a street corner selling illegal drugs.

Not always so.

Kids today are getting a buzz off over-the-counter painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, and according to this Detroit News Article the number of kids abusing drugs that can be purchased easily and legally in many types of stores may be as high as 1 in 5 kids. There is a mistaken belief that a legal drug is a safe drug and many of them don't understand that no drug is safe when abused.

The best answer to this is also given in the article. Parents should monitor what drugs they have in their home and keep an eye on it. Several good suggestions are given on this.

I also note that the medical term for improper use of a legal drug is drug diversion. Just an interesting little tidbit that I did not know. Learn something every day I guess.

Monday, May 15, 2006

UAW Shenanigans

The UAW is the first to scream bloody murder if a company shows favoritism, and it is their job to do so, but to quote the old proverb, "Who watches the watchmen?"

According to an article in todays Detroit Free Press three UAW officials prolonged a 1997 strike at a plant in Pontiac Michigan, not to benefit the other workers but to force GM to place friends and kinsmen of the union officials into coveted, high-paying jobs. Two of them are facing trial while the third one has died. Equally important is that members of the UAW tried to sue these men and the UAW for half a billion dollars, but the case was thrown out on a technicality (the plaintiffs waited to long to sue - I am doubtful if that ruling is correct as I would not put it past some judges to (ahem) strongly favor the UAW.) It was also the workers who alerted the feds about the corruption in what is supposed to be their union.

These are the people that are supposed to be preventing this nonsense, but I guess it's alright when the union does it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Real Life

Sometimes real life does not leave a lot of time to blog. Sorry about that. See you tomorrow. (hopefully).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Straight Time Blues

Sung to the tune of the old Jim Croce song

"I got them steadily depressin
downright mind messin
Saturday at straight time blues."

We had a day off this week because one of our suppliers could not get parts to us, so we made it up today, as they finally got the parts to us this morning and General Motors wanted them Thursday. Only in the auto industry.

One day weekend this week, but I had Thursday off. At least I got a full week in and I wasn't so sure on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Experts Have Spoken.

On New Years Day I blogged about psychics and their predictions and my skeptical attitude toward professional psychics, but the other kind of prognosticator is often wrong as well. Many experts have made serious predictions that call their expertise into question. The American Spectator has a short but interesting article on people making wrong predictions.

Here is a real beauty from Newsweek in 1975:

"The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the Earth's climate seems to be cooling down," it warned. "The present temperature decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.
"Satellite photos showed "a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72,"

That is sure a different scenario than they are describing today.

I remember a certain nationally known disc jockey predicting that Elton John would be a "One-hit wonder" when Your Song hit the charts. (I won't say his name because I can't document it.)

Books such as the pessimistic Future Shock and the optimistic Megatrends have proven equally mostly wrong and both partly right.

Watching the movie 2001, A Space Odessey is depressing to a space buff like me when I think of where most people honestly believed we'd be today. Who would have believed in 1970 that there would be such a huge gap between the Apollo moonlandings and the next landing; it will probably be in the ballpark of 50 years (Apollo 11 was 37 years ago!). I miss the optimism and spirit of adventure that the space program had in those days.

When I was in Junior High (@1970) we read that within 20 years cars would be computer guided with no driver. I see that has happened too.

I guess the future is quite unknowable and even experts are making educated guesses.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

War and the Prince of Peace

Our president recently got a missive from the president of Iran and he asked a valid question, though his conduct is proving his question to Mr. Bush to be sheer hypocrisy.

One of the questions is how can a follower of the Prince of Peace declare war?

That is a good question and a valid one which Jesus Himself answered.

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10: 34 NASB)

And He said to them, "When I sent you out without a purse and bag and sandals you did not lack anything, did you?" and they said, "No, nothing." And He said to them, "But now, let him who has a purse take it along, and likewise a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one." (Luke 22: 35-36 NASB)

Jesus WILL eventually bring peace to earth when He personally returns to reign on this planet, but He knew that the intervening time would be a time of violence and war. I believe that Jesus wants His people to be peaceful but not pacifists; what that means is we must not go looking for a war but, unlike a pacifist, we must be willing and able to fight when it comes to us.

This war was not started by Christians and it is not Christians who are seeking to wipe another nation off the map which Iran says it wants to do. (We do not wish to destroy any nation but civilize, and yes Christianize them -- Jesus wants all to become Christians, however while we may meet violent evil with violence, we must never use the sword to force another to convert and punish those who refuse. Militant Islam looks at that a little differently.)

Equally absurd is the claim that because America is not perfect it has no right to criticize other nations. I will answer that with an example from real life. My high school Algebra and Trig teacher was a brilliant man who really knew his math and yet one time, he was running through a problem on the blackboard and he added, I forget the exact numbers, but for some reason his 3+4 that day was a "6". It was a human error. Does mean that he did not have the right to mark our work wrong when it was simply because he too had made a mistake? The answer is obviously no. America does things wrong because we are human but the fact that there might be a difference between how blacks and whites live does not mean we cannot criticize genocide and slavery in other countries. Just because there are more men in positions of power in America than women does not mean we have to shrug our shoulders when women are treated as chattel. We have grown much as a nation in the last 200 years and have learned from many of our mistakes, and there is nothing arrogant about sharing the lessons we have learned with other nations.

War and peace share one thing and that is both must be honorable. A dishonorable peace is no better than a dishonorable war. A dishonorable peace means the good guys surrendered and the bad guys won (like Vietnam) and a dishonorable war means we are INTENTIONALLY TARGETING good and innocent people for no good reason.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fantasy and Reality

When I first read the 5th Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix) I noticed a similarity between the reaction of Ministry of Magic and the Magical Media's reaction to Harry Potter's claim that Voldemort had returned and much of our elite media's reaction to the war on terror. I do not know what R K Rawlings' politics are and this could be a coincidence that runs completely contrary to what she believes. From this American Thinkier article it becomes clear that others made the same observation.

(Spoiler Alert) In the 4th book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter saw Voldemort return to full life and returned to report it to the authorities but the authorities found the idea of Voldemort returning to power was so terrifying that the magical government and media refused to even acknowledge the possibility. They did everything they could to undermine Harry and prove he was a liar and troublemaker while Voldemort, unacknowledged, gathered strength, much as the left wants to make it out the GWB and America are the true terrorists while the Islamic Jihadic groups plan to kill and destroy on their way to establishing a worldwide Umma or perhaps Caliphate (and just by mere coincidence - kill their apologists on the left). When Voldemort did strike at the Ministry of Magic, it was the so-called "troublemakers" who were ready and responded to his movement and afterwards those who refused to acknowledge the return of Voldemort lost their political power to those who were prepared to fight him. I could go point by point in the book but am not inclined to do so; I just could not believe how much the Daily Prophet describing Harry Potter sounded like the MSM describing those who were willing to fight the terrorists.

Here is a direct quote from the article.

I don’t pretend to know what J.K. Rowling was thinking when she wrote Order of the Phoenix, but I can’t help but see in this post-9/11 book a perfect analogy to the situation the West faces today, in the real world, in its War against Islamofascism. Some of us, like Harry, know that we have seen evil, acknowledge its existence, and are prepared to fight it. But just as Harry must deal with a government Ministry bound and determined to explain away or ignore the evil in its midst, we too face an anti-War movement that endlessly ignores, explains away, and excuses the most vile acts of terror and human degradation. I have to believe, however, that there are at least some young people who experienced the Twin Towers falling as the formative event of their youth, and who will find guidance and inspiration in Harry’s struggle to wage overcome both evil itself and a cultural indifference to that same evil.

The author, who writes under a nickname for some reason, also points out that many blockbusters of the last few years have pointed to the same lessons. She points to the Lord of the Rings and I can think specifically of Wormtongue's (such a suitable name) work to keep the people of Rohan from facing the danger of Saruman's plans to conquer them and again I see a similarity to the MSM and as Aragorn shouted toward the end, in spite of the actor's claim to the contrary, it is time for the Men of the West to arise and many have.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Star Wars series, and even the Dragonlance Chronicles (which unfortunately will probably never be made into movies) shows that evil must be confronted and fought against, sometimes violently, instead of excused and explained. I noticed in the 6th Harry Potter Book (The Half-Blood Prince) that Voldemort's evil is explained but it is not excused. What Voldemort's father did do him was despicable but Voldemort's reaction to it is a million times worse. Tom Riddle had a choice later and chose to become the evil Voldemort and most who follow evil have chosen to do so. They must be fought against.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Local Bookstore Is Going to Love Me.

I see yet another I am going to want to read.

Victory In Tripoli by Joshua E. London is the story of America's first war against Islamic Terror. The wars with the Barbary States very early in our history as an independent country have many similarities and very few differences with our current war on terror. It is probably going to require the same solution that the first war required. The author is interviewed at FrontPage Magazine.

Conspiracy Theory Video.

Conservative UAW Guy linked to this video about 9-11 conspiracy theories. It is long and sometimes has a buffering problem, but it is worth watching. Warning: a lot of foul language.

I have to agree with the hosts that these theories are overblown and insulting. I do not discount all conspiracies but tend to shake my head at most of them including these.

Another Misleading Title For a News Story.

GM's 1st quarter: From red to black

That is the title of an article from today's Detroit News. The story is that General Motors earned a profit of $445 million in the 1st quarter even though they had earlier posted a loss of $323 million that quarter. What happened to all that red ink?

Even the first paragraph of the story raises some questions in my mind.

General Motors Corp. revised its first-quarter results Monday from a preliminary loss of $323 million to a $445 million profit after changing the way it will record its obligations as part of a health care agreement struck with its workers last year. (Bold lettering is what got my attention.)

Alot of it looks like the company may be headed for a sounder footing in the near future, but creating profit by creative accounting (as the above paragraph suggests to me) makes me nervous.

Some of it is legitimate but not easy to repeat next quarter, such as the cash influx from selling their holding in Suzuki (but what major asset can they sell this quarter?)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Another Excellent Blog

While reading through the Gates of Vienna I came to a link to a Dutch blog (written in both Dutch and English, that's why Babelfish is so useful.) It is called Eurabia and it is a fascinating read by a Dutch blogger concerned about losing his homeland. His headline "De boemerang Eurabia, wij betalen voor onze eigen euthanasie" translates "The boemerang, we pay Eurabia for our own euthanasia."

I was especially fascinated by the post of Persian Islamic Art (Islamic Art???) showing women in Hell for various reasons and the punishments they got. It includes Islamic portrayals of the face of Mohammed (along with Buraq and Gabriel).

Let the riots begin.

Please pay this excellent blog a visit.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

System Wide Global Warming

Global warming seems now to be a bit more than a global problem. Jupiter has developed a "Red Spot Junior" and the source of this gigantic storm is none other than:

The latest images could provide evidence that Jupiter is in the midst of a global change that can modify temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit on different parts of the globe.
The study was led jointly by Imke de Pater and Philip Marcus of University of California, Berkeley.
"The storm is growing in altitude," de Pater said. "Before when they were just ovals they didn't stick out above the clouds. Now they are rising."
This growth signals a temperature increase in that region, she said.

Mars too seems to be experiencing global warming and the rocky snow that covers parts of Mars is actually disappearing.

It does appear that much, but perhaps not all - a small concession, of the global warming is in fact of solar rather than human origin. Please take note of the following quote by Eugene Parker which appeared in the June 2000 Physics Today:

6) The general level of solar activity doubled or tripled from 1900 to 1950, an estimate based on sunspot numbers and on the intensity of geomagnetic activity. This increase suggests an increase in solar luminosity by perhaps one part in 2000, and the author suggests it is interesting to note that the mean temperature in the northern temperate zone, as well as the surface sea water temperatures, rose during the same period. "Warmer seas, of course, reduce the rate at which atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed into the oceans. It appears that the global warming since 1950 is in part a consequence of the continuing increase in solar brightness, seriously aggravated by the extravagant burning of fossil fuel. So the mystery of the variations in the total luminosity of the Sun is part of the complicated picture of global warming."

From Mallard Fillmore.

Also from Mallard Fillmore
H/T To Brainster for one of the link on the Global Warming on Mars (as well as a bit of encouragement that he gave.)

Here is a satirical comment good for a chuckle.

I Need to Add This to My "Must Read" List

Frontpage Magazine, a source of much enlightenment, has an interview with Efraim Karsh, the author of the new book Islamic Imperialism: A History and is a professor and head of the Mediterranean Studies Programm, King’s College, University of London.

His basic theme is that Islam is inherently militant and imperialistic and that in order to work with it properly we must recognize that fact.

I have a couple of co-workers who are very anti-Semitic and they both insist that there would peace on earth right now if Israel did not exist because the existence of Israel is the source of all conflict in the world today. They say if we were not friends with Israel the Arabs would love us.

Mr. Karsh has a much better view of why so many Arabs hate America.

This in turn means that if, today, America is reviled in the Muslim world, it is not because of its specific policies but because, as the preeminent world power, it blocks the final realization of this same age-old dream of a universal Islamic empire (or umma). In the historical imagination of many Muslims and Arabs, Osama bin Laden represents nothing short of the new incarnation of Saladin, defeater of the Crusaders and conqueror of Jerusalem. In this sense, the House of Islam’s war for world mastery is a traditional, indeed venerable, quest that is far from over.

As far as Western "Intellectuals" who blame America and the West for this he says:

There is a pervasive guilt complex among left-wing intellectuals and politicians, which dates back to the early twentieth century and stems from the belief that the West “has been the arch aggressor of modern times,” to use the words of Arnold Toynbee, one of the more influential early exponents of this dogma. This has resulted in a highly politicized scholarship (especially under the pretentious title of “post-colonial studies”) which berates “Western imperialism” as the source of all evil and absolves the local actors of any blame or responsibility for their own problems. But this self-righteous approach is academically unsound and morally reprehensible.

Of course nothing will change the mind of the "Blame America First" crowd.

Here is one of the more interesting things he says, which I had not considered, but I now realize is probably true.

Consider, for example, the pan-Arab invasion of the newly proclaimed state of Israel in 1948. This, on its face, was a shining demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But the invasion had far less to do with winning independence for the indigenous population than with the desire of the Arab regimes for territorial aggrandizement. Transjordan’s King Abdullah wanted to incorporate substantial parts of mandatory Palestine into the greater Syrian empire he coveted; Egypt wanted to prevent that eventuality by laying its hands on southern Palestine. Syria and Lebanon sought to annex the Galilee, while Iraq viewed the 1948 war as a stepping stone in its long-standing ambition to bring the entire Fertile Crescent under its rule. Had the Jewish state lost the war, its territory would not have fallen to the Palestinians but would have been divided among the invading Arab forces.

He then points out how the Arab nations kept the Palestinians in squalor rather than allowing them to become part of their own nations. I often wondered why the rest of the Arab world did nothing to ease the suffering of their "brothers and sisters" in these camps. The truth is they don't care about the people themselves, but a group in misery is a good source of "martyrs" to use against Israel. All they wanted was for the land to be under an Islamic banner and the people themselves meant nothing to them.

Read the interview. Better yet, read the book.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Clemency Sometimes Works.

It seems that most people who go to prison wind up in a revolving door -- in and out, in and out. But some people get their lives together in prison as did this woman.

Why did clemency work for her?

As I see it it worked for one very good reason.

She took responsibility for the fact she was in prison and did not blame others (which is avery good start.) Those who blame their crimes on others or society at large have no incentive to reform. Those who know that they screwed up and can blame no one but themselves have an incentive to reform. Who they blame for the fact that they are in prison should be a good indicator of what will happen to them when they get out.

I hope she does well.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The World's Fastest Growing Religion?

Conventional wisdom is that Islam is the world's fastest growing religion. I don't know if it's true or not. A religion that grows from ten people to a hundred in the space of a year is growing at a rate Islam could never hope to match.

I have been aware for some time that while Christianity is in serious trouble in Europe it is doing quite well in America and even better in Latin America and Africa.

This concerns Ahmad Al Katani, who is the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.

According to him, Islam loses about 6 million converts a year to Christianity in Africa alone. He is understandably quite upset about it. What really boils his blood is how we do it; we take care of the poor by feeding and healing them (you know, kind of like how Jesus did). He feels that by using charity as a pretext evangelism we are taking advantage of their poverty, but again Jesus did the same thing. (He fed them and healed their diseases and then He preached to them.)

I have a question for Mr. Al Katani. Where is the Islamic answer to Mother Teresa? Has any follower of Mohammed ever been like William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army.) Jesus said you would know a tree by its fruit. He also said that the thief enters to kill and destroy while the shepherd enters to bring life. There was a time when many so-called Christians killed infidels and heretics but that, except for a few badly misguided or utterly hypocritical exceptions, ended a couple centuries ago. It continues in far too many places in the Islamic world.

As far as helping people in distress and using that as a missionary method goes; what of it? Jesus did the same thing. Will a stray animal follow the one who kicks it or the one who gives it food? In our compassion they see a flawed but very real reflection of the character of Jesus.

The Christian world has defended itself with the sword and gun, but today we spread the Faith itself with compassion and mercy. We do not kill people who reject us or go apostate but seek to win them back through acts of goodness and reasoning. Maybe Islam should think about that.

Update: In my hurry to post this I rudely forgot to give a Hat Tip to The American Thinker. Thanks guys.

They Must Think I was Born Yesterday

I just got an unsolicited e-mail that just had me shaking my head. I am a 49 yo unmarried man who looks (and occasionally acts) his age, so what did this e-mail say. Some stunningly attractive 25 y/o Russian Girl desperately wants to meet me. Yeah. Right.

Assuming it actually is a she behind the e-mail, I think what she really desires is my account and card numbers.

I see I've got to run my spyware and malware programs again.

Where do these people come from?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Patriotic Professor

We hear all the time about moonbat professors of the Marxist-Skinnerist mindset saying the most absurd things imaginable and then complaining because people get upset about it. But what happens when a professor says something that the left does not agree with? A professor at Michigan State University just found out.

Professor Indrek Sven Wichman, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State, in a private e-mail, made a remark that upset the Islamic community. What precisely did he say? I have not found a copy of the e-mail, though I am sure it is out there, but some quotes from Human Events are following:

he called the group "dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems.

A bit tactless, but unfortunately all too often true.

Moreover, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says Professor Wichman expressed his desire that the group would "return to your ancestral homelands...instead of troubling Americans."

If they're not willing to live by our laws then they are not welcome here. I have to agree with this one.

Suprisingly, and pleasantly so, the usually slightly left-of-center Lansing State Journal is siding with the professor on this one. An editorial states: In the wake of this controversy, the MSA is asking MSU to, among other things, establish mandatory freshman seminars on hate and discrimination. Since Wichman's e-mail is the impetus, this sounds more like code words for ways to muzzle free speech.

According to a seperate article by the Lansing Journal, the Muslim Student's Association (MSA) and the Michigan Chapter of CAIR have the following demands: Both Abdul Azeez and Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR's Michigan Chapter, said they were making the e-mail public because the university had not provided a satisfactory response.
"They should send out an official statement to the public distancing themselves from these types of statements," Walid said, "and confirm for us that they did, in fact, do a formal investigation and that there is going to be some kind of disciplinary action against Dr. Wichman."

Now what about all those academic associations that were so quick to defend Ward Churchill and his right to state his opinion? Where are they now?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Christianity Derangement Syndrome?

The brilliant and clear-minded Dr Sanity has a posting about the Left and why it hates Christianity so much. As a direct quote from her blog.

A definition of Christianophobia or Christianity Derangement Syndrome (CDS), could be formulated thusly:

"The excacerbation of acute and severe paranoia about the imminent imposition of a Christian theocracy in the U.S.; in an individual already suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome as a reaction to the very existence of (1) the Christian religion; (2) the practitioners of Christianity; and (3) symbols of Christianity anywhere within the culture; while simultaneously completely ignoring and dismissing any threat from the religious fanatics of Islam who repeatedly and clearly have stated that their goal is the imposition of a world-wide Islamic theocracy (or "Caliphate")."

So, as a result of this interesting disorder, here we are in a war with Islamic fundamentalism, and many on the left seem to think that the U.S. is at risk in having a Christian theocracy imposed and that the Bushitler is more dangerous than Bin Laden.

This leads to her blog, but her blog navigates a little differently from most (I have yet to figure out how to link to a specific posting of hers.) Go to the posting entitled CDS - CHRISTIANITY DERANGEMENT SYNDROME.

I have often wondered why the extreme left would support the Moslems in their attempt to build a worldwide Caliphate as it would truly enslave them in the manner that they accuse the Religious Right of wanting to do.

I agree with the commenter that said that their hatred of Christianity might actually be a rejection of their parents. It is also true that their fear of Christianity allows them to be in a state of denial about the real threat to their freedom -- Militant Islam. They know they can never defeat Christianity, but believe Islam can and then, in some magic way, they will defeat or control Islam. They are not thinking about this rationally.

By the way, Dr. Sanity claims to be an agnostic, so this is not just some Christian making noise.