Monday, February 26, 2007

St Gore the Green

Gore presents yet another case where the very idea of hypocrisy is simply not applicable to Democrats. He lives in a 20+ room mansion that uses 10x the power of the average US family home, and has multiple homes to boot. Of course he is rarely in any of them, but rather traveling around the globe in private jets and running around in SUV motorcades. His "carbon footprint" is the size of a village of average Americans, yet he feels strongly that "the rest of us ought to do something".

If a Republican charges Bill Clinton with infidelity, then any Republican that had an affair in the last 30 years has to be outed as a hypocrite, and we have to point out that Thomas Jefferson may have had an affair with a slave 200 years ago. When Al Gore makes a movie on using less fossil fuel yet burns it in the ranks of the top .001% of Americans himself, there isn't a word spoken.

Here is one link, I'm sure it is "biased", it HAS to be, since the MSM won't touch this story. You KNOW it is true without even thinking about it ... he flys in private jets that burn petrol like a well fire, yet considers himself an environmentalist. Being left means that consistency is not an issue, so hypocrisy is impossible.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Six Frigates

I finished up the subject book by Ian W. Toll this snowy weekend. The book was one of the thoughtful gifts for my 50th B-day last fall from a fishing buddy. I hesitate to figure out exactly how I prioritize my book reading.

The book makes me realize that I need to find more time in my reading diet for history, especially well-written and interesting history as this book was. It opens in 1805 with Nelson at Trafalgar defeating the combined navies of Spain and France, and then backs up to the early 1790s to the origin of the US Navy. The interplay of the Federalists (modern Republicans) and Republicans (modern Democrats) during the whole book is very interesting. A great quote from Hamilton's Federalist #11 is given; "A nation despicable by it's weakness forfeits even the privilege of being neutral". The Republicans then, and the Democrats now seem to believe that weakness is the way to be neutral. The events of of the turn of the 19th century showed the folly of that view and the correctness of Hamilton's, but many people never tire of the belief that fortune really ought favor the weak and wishful, no matter how often the position is proved wrong.

In 1794 the six frigates are authorized. The book includes lots of interesting technical detail on their construction, including the live oak wood that seems to make a huge difference in their durability. In 1799 the Constellation goes to sea and wins the first decisive naval battle for the US against a French frigate that has been helping French Privateers as they take over 300 US merchant ships a year. In that battle a gunner panics and runs, and the officer in charge kills him immediately. It was a different time; the way to insure that sailors do not run is to make the penalty for cowardice death, and nobody has an issue with that standard.

The conquest of the Barbary Pirates is covered in some detail, especially the exploits of Stephen Decatur, a navy officer so handsome that young women regularly fell into a swoon on sight of him. Unfortunately, not one of those problems that I have regularly had to deal with. Of special note during the Mediterranean campaigns, and really through the latter half of the book, is the issue of dueling and "honor". The ideas of character and honor were much more in evidence personally, in battle, and in the dealings of nations in that period. Would it have been possible to retain the focus on character and honor without dueling? At least an interesting question.

A number of naval battles in the period around the War of 1812 are covered in levels of detail including maneuvering, gunnery, boarding, and types and effects of injuries. The Chesapeake's "bad luck ship" history is well covered, and in contrast the, the glory of "Old Ironsides", the Constitution, as it becomes the first US ship to defeat a British Frigate, and the historic significance of that action.

All in all an excellent book that brings to life a critical period in the development of the country, and especially the US Navy.

You Will Lose

Nicely done cartoon showing Congressional support for the troops off Powerline.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The New Business Normal (NBN)

The subject book by Michael W. Wright can be thought of as the executive summary of "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Freidman also here, and here. The Friedman book has become a "standard", but it is quite long, quite repetitive, and short on solutions.

A key paragraph from the Preface lays it out:

The global landscape we have painted seems intractable; we have embraced a the term first introduced into common business use by Roger McNamee, the "New Normal." This landscape is harsh and forbidding, one that will render useless any attempt to palliate through cliche' or dumbing down through generic format. We offer much content along a "how-to" path and cite many examples of successful navigation. But the main mission of the book is to map the scale (size) and scope (diversity) of the landscape. Any organization has to have a clear understanding of its present to divine its future. We we have done is illuminate the time and terrain between today and tomorrow.

The book opens with some key one-liners to remember. Some key ones that stuck with me were:
  • The rule of three prevails. This essentially means that in a finite market three or fewer players will own at least 70% of the market share. Think of the top hamburger company in the world. The 2nd? How about the third? No doubt McDonalds was easy, maybe you picked a 2nd, by the 3rd, the basic answer is "who cares"?
  • The old comparison is "have or have not", the new comparison is "know or know not". The only "security net" that anyone has in the NBN is knowledge.
  • Dual-income households are an econimic necessity. Humorously, the new "trophy wife" is a PH. D. from China with her own business!
  • Value has migrated from the product to the experience. Customers what the value of the experience without the responsibility or burden of product ownership.
  • The basic level of human existence is at a higher level of anxiety for all. Everyone can be both in their own universe and connected all the time (internet, cell phone, iPod)
  • Achievement depends on successful integration and marshalling of groups of varied interests.
  • In the NBN a company will not let anyone get between them and their customer. "Co-destiny" with the customer is potentially the only remaining "business differentiator".
  • The cry of today is "What are we good at?". The cry of tomorrow will be "What do we need to be good at?".
  • Competitive advantage revolves around highly skilled people able to share information quickly and effectively.
  • In the NBN, two discernible workforces have broadly taken shape: the under-fifties and the over-fities.
  • Knowledge workers will eventually become the largest single group of older Americans in the workforce.
  • The NBN for corporations is to innovate and manage the creation, but outsource its execution and administration.
  • Asian companies see innovation as a process, not a spark of genius. They see change as an opportunity and are willing to abandon their past to create the future.
I could go on, but I think those are the biggest keys. What it all means to me is:
  1. Success has always meant dealing directly with reality, taking risks, being flexible, and making correct moves (changes). The only difference now is that is happening faster and all over the globe.
  2. Better communication and transportation means that the playing field is wider. That means greater opportunity and greater risk. Being "the best in the neighborhood or the best in town" is no longer good enough. If the business isn't location dependent (haircuts, dining), then the market is global.
  3. Loving what you do gets more and more critical since in order to compete, it is critical that the level of professional commitment to the task has to be high.
The book is only 126 reasonable print pages long. It is VERY well worth reading on your own.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ivy League Education

I had one of the best weeks at work ever in my nearly 29 year career. A three day class that started out with Michael Wright, Author of "The New Business Normal" current CEO of Entegris, and veteran of a 25 year career in leadership positions in high tech.

Tuesday was spent with Dr Edward Joyce Associate Dean of the Carlson School of Management on the subject of getting the right information out of cost accounting systems.

Wednesday was spent on a subject that I never enjoyed in school, English and grammer, with Dr Steven Wilburs whose web site is extremely informative.

Every one of the instructors was both extremely entertaining and extremely informative. It made me wonder if I may have experienced a taste of what an education at an "overpriced" Ivy League school may be like? I have no way of knowing, but I've never had days in class fly by to the same extent. I hope to get some time to write a bit more detail, but the workload left by taking 3 days of class has limited my time.

The bottom line was that it is always very possible to get A LOT better at what we do, and there is ALWAYS a lot of opportunity, as well as risk of course. The key is figuring out what you really like and becoming very good at it. Cost Accounting and English would be two areas that I would have thought dry beyond hope of anyone really exuding a contagious passion for, but I was proven wrong in the extreme!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Release Your Anger, And Joy

The events of the past week, along with of all things a couple of little books of wise quotations picked up at the CAR WASH of all places (that is where I got the Franklin quote) have coalesced in my feeble mind. The book "Be Positive" by Wally Amos (The guy that created Famous Amos cookies, among other things) contains this worthy page:
Keep Moving Toward Your Goals: Confucius said. "It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop" Truer works were never spoken. You succeed by not stopping. You are guaranteed to lose if you quit. You never know what will happen if you just keep going. So go as slow or as fast as you need to go, but whatever you do, please do not stop.
Interesting that Wally Amos is black, and most of a  James W. Loewen  talk last Tuesday at "Rochester Reads" was on the horrors of racism in this country and how hamstrung blacks are because of it. No doubt there is a lot of truth in that ... as well as there is in the case of physically and mentally disabled people, people abused as children, those that have less innate motivation --  the list is infinite. To be human is very much about limitation; but being a victim of our limitations will have a completely different outcome than seeing those limits as learning opportunities.

Liberalism is different though. As I watch and listen to the new powers in Washington, I'm often transported to the scene in Star Wars VI, "Return of the Jedi" where Luke is fighting with Darth in the presence of the the Emperor, who tells him to "release his anger" in order to defeat Darth. Since there is no transcendence in the liberal universe, the human condition has to be lofted to deity, which of course it completely lacks the capacity to fulfill. The intellect and reason are as "good as it gets" as the "highest functions", but the emotions are too omnipresent to be ignored. To carry on the Science Fiction motif, Spock might say; "one does not worship logic".

The Democrats spent the whole week on "Give up, it is taking too long, there is no hope, it is like Vietnam ...". "Victory" to the left is when the forces of good give up and the communists, terrorists or just plain criminals win. Even the act of someone "giving up", especially if it is the US is a "win". When anger, hatred, lust, and especially hopelessness can gain, all is right with the liberal universe; no god is in heaven, life (and especially sacrifice) is meaningless, and prospects for hope are dimmed. Hail, Lord Beelzebub, your constituency has had a "positive week".

Harry Reid even released his anger so well that he said that "Iraq was the worst foreign policy mistake ever". It would be interesting to know his criteria, I'm thinking that the 57,690 US killed in Vietnam might have a couple of words on that ... US involvement in WWI, Spanish-American, some of the actions in Mexico, Philippines...oh , I don't know, it seems "unlikely" even if Reid and the Democrats manage to make it as big a defeat as they can.

In Sunday School today we discussed Philippians, which is a wonderful set of verses to keep the current events in the right perspective.

4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice.

4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

This week we enter the season of Lent. While those of faith believe that the ultimate victory has been won, we still live in a time where souls have the freedom to choose whom they serve. Adversity is a good reason to be thankful for the plan and the patience the of the author of hope.

Slow Bleed

Whether the actual name for the Democrat / Murtha strategy was actually their own name or not, there has rarely been a better term for a Democrat strategy, indeed, "slow-bleed" tends to come pretty close to an embodiment of a liberal view of pretty much everything.

Last Tuesday night I went to a local lecture by Dr. James W. Loewen, author of "Lies My Teacher Told Me". It is a book that I have not read, but his lecture wasn't much on the book anyway. He pointed out that; "Unless the US is the worst monster in history (and he was not asserting that), then an honest appraisal of past history should be no cause for concern". His other assertion was that "Nobody will believe what we say if we don't point out the faults in our history, nor can we learn from them".

I thought those were interesting thoughts, I wonder if he follows that with his wife?
 "Honey, have you been putting on a little more weight lately? You know I love you very much, but I think you are bit broader in the beam than formerly, and your general presence has a bit more of a "sag" than it used to. Note that I only tell you this because I love you, and I want you to know how honest I am so you will trust me more."
 The thought; "with friends like that, who needs enemies" comes to mind.

Is it "a lie" for a public US school paid for with US tax dollars to give a "positive bias view" of the US? Loewen and many liberals think so. That is in fact the main item that makes Fox news "biased"; they specifically call themselves a US news outlet, and indicate that their bias is "pro-US".

The liberal mindset raises criticism, defeat and even hopelessness to virtues. Indeed, it is a sign of "sophistication" to point out the flaws in all manner of things, especially your own country. Somehow liberals seem bent on "tough love" for their country, but they never see that as a good idea for their children. As Bush pointed out Tuesday, the Senate just confirmed Petraeus 81-0, and he had made it clear that he supported the surge. This past week the House thought it was important to spend the week castigating the surge and then taking a non-binding vote to show they didn't like the surge.

If one had any convictions, would they do everything in their power to hold up a confirmation of a general supporting a strategy they oppose.  No, not if you are a liberal. You seek "cover" behind a "slow-bleed", looking to insure failure in any way you can, but making sure that Bush gets all the blame.

Since it seems that liberals like to claim that being conservative is a mental disorder, it is interesting to turn the tables a bit. Somehow I'm quite certain that the MSM will fail to see a connection between "slow-bleed" and "passive-aggressive" behavior, which actually IS an officially recognized personality disorder. Public Radio has been proudly proclaiming all weekend long that Murtha is going to divert all the funds to "better preparation" so the surge never happens, since what kind of Republican could vote against better prepared troops? The hallmark of "passive-aggressive" is simply delay.

Indeed, if it was "all a game", this kind of arm-chair quarterbacking might actually be more fun, but I have the distinct impression that Iran, North Korea, and a number of terrorist groups around the globe actually believe in what they do. I'm sure they will show us again that while psychological gamesmanship might "look impressive" to the MSM and liberals, the kind of expense incurred is likely to be real bleeding with nothing slow about it at all.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Benjamin Franklin

The following is a little piece of wisdom from Franklin on "happiness".
There are two ways of being happy; we may either diminish our wants or augment our means. Either will do, the result is the same. And it is for each man to decide for himself, and do that with happens to be the easiest. If you are idle or sick or poor, however hard it may be for you to diminish your wants, it will be harder to augment your means. If you are active and prosperous young or in good health, it may be easier for you to augment your means than to diminish your wants. But if you are wise, you will do both at the same time, young or old, rich or poor, sick or well. And if you are very wise, you will do both in such a way as to augment the general happiness of society.

I'd argue that what he is really talking about here is being "financially satisfied", which may well not be the same thing as "happy".

As I observe those of the liberal frame, I find they tend to MAXIMIZE their dissatisfaction by picking those with the highest wealth that they like the least, and focusing on how much those people have and how "unfair" that is. They work themselves up into a "wealth of outrage", but a "deficit of wisdom". They lose their way so badly that they tend to vote for those with the MOST "ill-gained wealth" (their standard). Kennedy(inherited), Kerry(married), Edwards(taken from a combination of the public (higher medical costs) and poor to moderate income people(the people filing suit that Edwards took a big cut of their awards), Hillary (recently wealthy on book deals), Obama(recently wealthy on book deals) ... etc.

They arrive at the point where their ONLY "wealth" is outrage. They may not even have any "wants" of their own, other than to see "the wealthy knocked down a peg or two", and somehow they believe that they can vote for multi-millionaires that would somehow shoot THEMSELVES in the foot (pocketbook)? Not a very likely prospect, but the wisdom of a Franklin is converted to the rage of a Marx, and rather than focusing on creating something good for society as a whole, they attempt to tear down others in a vain attempt to reduce the outrage that has become their only "wealth".

Much of happiness is really a factor of how much of our life is focused on PERSONALLY doing something for the benefit of others. For some reason, those in the liberal frame tend to become "outraged" at some set of people that have had financial success, and then subsequently think that their own personal "contribution" can be their "opinion that the world is unjust". They see themselves as somehow "on the side of good" because they manage to have an opinion that they see as "just", even though their ability (or even interest) in actually DOING anything to help others may be quite limited.

The following is by the author of the book "Who Really Gives", an excerpt on the web here.
BUT EVEN after controlling for all other factors, religiosity, measured by the likelihood of weekly attendance at a house of worship, remains by far the most salient predictor of both charitable contributions and volunteerism. Those who attend a house of worship once a week are 25% more likely to give than those who do so never or rarely. And when they do give, they give four times as much. Nor is the generosity of religious people limited to the religious community. They are 10% more likely to give to explicitly non-religious charities and 25% more likely to volunteer for secular groups, such as the PTA.

Unsurprisingly to those that have read Jesus, the liberal lefties that claim the most "righteousness" relative to their generosity and social involvement are actually far LESS likely to "do unto others" than the very people they malign at every opportunity.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ginned Up

Many folks probably missed the smooth comment by Obama to the Australian PM:

"If he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest he call up another 20,000 Australians and send them up to Iraq."

Seems like the essence of smoothness, maybe there is a good reason Obama seldom says anything off the script. If he had an "R" next to his name, we would hear the endless view of how "poorly he treats allies" or something oddly made up about how "ginned up" could be misconstrued to be something about having too much gin. A conservative can't even say "niggardly" without a racist charge, and that is a real word rather than a slang expression.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Anthropic Principle

I got to hear Stanford University physicist Leonard Susskind talk on the subject on MPR via the net. Yet another great feature of the modern world, the net allows us to listen to what we want to when we want to.

I have blogged on his recent book and as I said, really enjoyed it, as I did his talk on the radio. What struck me as I listened was something from "Change or Die", a short little somewhat self-helpish / business sort of book that I picked up and read through recently that ties back to "Frames", ala a series of posts that I made on a George Lakoff book back in December '05 and January '06.

We humans run around with tiny time-delayed models in our heads that are less reliable because everything even manages to be perceived in those models must be filtered through a set of "frames", which are "meta-models" that tell us what conclusions are the most "beneficial" for us to "jump to". "News at 11", all experience is SUBJECTIVE, and "meaning" is even MORE biased!

It is completely unsurprising that a physicist that seems it as a "grave weakness" to "fall into" belief in God and realizes that we are even wired naturally to believe in a "higher power" would seek out nearly ANY explanation to justify how we could just "happen" to live in a Goldilocks universe "tuned" to 10 to the -120th accuracy to allow us to exist.

 The "Anthropic Principle" is essentially Descartes "I think therefore I am" writ large. "We are here and able to comprehend the universe, therefore it is obvious it would have all the parameters for us to be here".

How about folks like me that believe that God DOES  exist?

It is certainly an open issue if a finite brain can even "imagine the transcendent", but **IF** we have any hopes of escaping the "frame" of physical reality, the path would seem to have to lie in that direction. Our ability to have pure thought, mathematics, religion, love and I'd even argue boolean logic and computer programs takes us as close as we can come in this life to "slipping the surly bonds and touching the face of God". To even attempt to envision escape from the models, frames and incompleteness of the material world seems to me to give a HOPE for a "better perspective".

"Near Panic"

CNN Headlines

As I struggle to write cogent prose, it always strikes me as odd when a major media outlet titles something "Trial Shows White House In Near Panic", and then when one goes out to the linked article, there isn't a single thing about any sort of "panic" ... near or otherwise. What would the line be between "panic and NEAR panic"? Where is the line between either of those phrases and "angry because a person hired by the CIA turned out to not be covered by a non-disclosure agreement and has leaked false information in an article". Subsequent testimony BY Joe Wilson himself shows that in fact his own trip ADDED credibility to the "attempt to purchase uranium in Niger"

I held my nose and watched the video. It as amazing orgy of analogy and emotionally laden terms ... have "Tactic" over and over, "Cheney as puppetmaster", "damage control turned to circle the wagons", "Libby was being thrown to the wolves", "one guy asked to stick his head into the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others". No news, just a lot of accusation in prose. Might be decent fiction writing.

The VERY funny part about all of this is that the current media state secret is that this whole trial is WAY more "about nothing" than the Clinton follies ever were. The media COMPLETELY avoids making it clear that any of the supposed intrigue here is completely wasted, since the source of the leak was Richard Armitage, admitted by himself and reported by CNN!

This is one of those stories that would be impossible to make up if one wanted to prove that the MSM is so biased that they make Rush Limbaugh and even Sean Hannity actually seem "unbiased" in comparison. At least those shows will STATE the facts ... although they often slant them once they do. The MSM has decided to just "leave off" the fact that this whole special prosecutor probe has been known to be bogus for 5 months, and all we are left with is a parody of "justice" in an attempt to prosecute a minor functionary for political purposes because he may have gotten a proven to be unimportant date / name wrong under oath.

It is amazing how important "perjury" can suddenly be to the same people that previously thought it was no crime at all.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Late Night Book TV

Stayed up late last night and watched Sam Harris (End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation), Reza Azlan ( No God But God ) and Jonathan Kirsch ( History of the End of the World )
debate on "Religion and Reason" on Book TV CSPAN-2. I ought to have Tivoed it, but it was kind of fun to stay up late for a change on a cold night. I discovered while I was watching that Chris Hedges was going to be on discussing his new book "American Fascists" about the scourge of the "Christian Right" in the US.

So we had a VERY liberal Muslim and a Jew discussing with the guy that wrote "Leter to a Christian Nation" for an hour and 1/2. They were all agreed that ANYONE that believed in the virgin birth, resurrection from the dead, diety of Christ would be "scary and out there" ... but of course according to Azlan and Kirsch, nobody sane DOES believe in that anymore. Religion is a "sophisticated social thing" ... it changes all the time, doesn't really have any fixed morals, so they were able to dispose of Harris pretty well. It had me almost pulling or Harris. I guess the conclusion would have been that at least a religion that isn't really a religion is "reasonable".

None of these folks seem to want to consider what I consider the fundamental question; "Is there a God beyond materialism that wants to be connected with us?". While I was watching, I was reloading my brain on the Knuth "Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About" book. Interesting that Donald Knuth is clearly one of those "unreasonable people" that is a practicing Lutheran. Guy Steele, a Fellow at Sun Micro Systems takes part in a panel and sounds quite Christian as well. A REAL discussion would be about the issue of REAL religion, the kind that changes lives and saves souls being "reasonable". At one level, the answer is "of course not". Is love "reasonable"? Beauty? Consciousness? Can human beings transcend their material existence? Harris along with Dawkins would argue "NO, and the price of keeping love, hope, faith, etc is "too high"" ... we "reasonable people" have to throw those items out and worship the material universe only.

Then Chris Hedges got going. I suppose I have to read what sounds like a hate-filled tome that he has written at some point. The bottom line is that one takes the results of massive rates of divorce, promiscuity, abortion on demand, drug use, and lives wrecked by the hoplessness of of the Godless culture, and "blame it on a Republican plot". Then use the "What's the Matter With Kansas" logic to say that the Republicans have "created the "religious right" and moved all those poor folks that they "disenfranchised" into a "magic world outside of reality with virgin birth, 6-day creation and Noah's Ark" on the way to making them "Brownshirts". According to Hedges we are "one more 9-11 short of a facist takeover".

Throw in a bit more conspiracy theory and some "parallels" with Nazi Germany, and you have a "clear and present danger" ... again, it sounds like he doesn't say what REALLY has to be done, but when one is faced with the immenent takeover by "Brownshirts", one would think that almost anything would be justified. In the bookstore discussion, nobody talked for the other side. Could it ever be possible have someone calling people "Fascists and Brownshirts" "hate speech"? Of course not ... I really don't believe in labeling speech like that on EITHER side, but note how unlikely such a thing is when applied to Christians.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Great Divorce

Having to suffer through Dawkins for the good of Christendom was a bit of a burden, and I felt that I owed my soul a bit of C. S. Lewis, so I dug out "The Great Divorce" that I had first read out west in like the late '90s, and had ended up thinking of and quoting rather badly to others at times. It is a very short little fable, 125 not very dense pages, and well worth the time.

It is a Lewis vision of heaven, hell, earth, and maybe purgatory. "Hell or purgatory" are a somewhat "always nearly dark city" that spreads on to what seems like infinity when you are there, but is really only like a little crack in the "ground" when you are in heaven. You can "get on a bus" and go up to the outskirts of heaven, but in order to enter, you have to accept both sovereignty and grace of God. There is just "no other way" ... without it your soul isn't strong enough exist in the light of ultimate truth.

There are a number of little vignettes when the authors character encounters various souls that are "visiting". One is the classic hard-bitten realist that "has seen it all before" and "knows the score".

"Anyway," said the ghost, "who wants to be rescued? What the hell would there be to DO here?"
"Or there?" said I.
"Quite," said the ghost. "They've got you either way".
"What would you like ot do if you had your choice?" I asked.

"There you go!" said the ghost with a certain trimph. "Asking ME to make a plan. It's up to the Management to find something that doesn't bore us, isn't it? It's theri job. Why should we do it for them? That's just where the parsons and the moralists have got the thing upside down. They keep on asking US to alter ourselves. But if the people who run the show are so clever and so powerful, why don't THEY find something to suit their public?".

How well that captures so many. It is always "the folks in charge", "the big shots". They were given the gift of life, but they abdicated the honor of being responsible for living it to some mysterious "them". Few things are sadder, and Lewis captures the sadness of the inability to move to even a positive eternity because of a life lived not wanting to be "anyone's patsy".

This little gem is worth pulling out of context:

"Milton was right," said my Teacher. "The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words; "Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven". There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy-that is to reality. Ye see it easily enough in a spoiled child that would sooner miss its play and its supper than say it was sorry and be friends."

Apparently, he ran into Dawkins making a visit (according to physics, it is possible that everything that happens is happening all the time and always has been).

There were materialistic Ghosts who informed the immortals that they were deluded: there was no life after death, and this whole country was a hallucination."

It is a tiny book, well worth just picking up and reading. Two of the characters that I especially love are the book-ends of one a moralist, who can't enter heaven because a guy that he knew as a drunken murderer is forgiven and there. The other is a liberal minister that just won't accept the ultimate truth and reality of God. He believes that those that "honestly disagree" have to be saved as well.

Were our society just "balanced", rather than a secular cultural wasteland, C. S. Lewis would be one of those names held up very highly. Another name that I realize that Dawkins somehow failed to mention is that of Donald Knuth, who wrote a book "Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About" That oddly enough, I seem to have, and read before I started blogging. Perhaps I need to return to this, and of course such things can always be borrowed. For those of you NOT of exactly the computer scientist persuasion, Donald Knuth is the author of The Art Of Computer Programming which is as close as there is to a "Bible" in computer science.

Somehow Dawkins failed to mention him while denigrating the idea that one could really be "scientist" and believe in God.

Explaining Perjury

Yes, yes, I realize that Ann is almost as bad as Dawkins, but she is A LOT funnier! Oh yes, her wit is full of acid, but she is so darned smart, and a tiny bit cute too, in her own overly skinny blond way. Anyway, ann does a great job of explaining perjury here.

I find it hard to imagine how they can seriously go on with the Libby "perjury" trial at this point, she explains if the only way that it would seem that it can be explained. It is always OK to persecute Republicans, there really doesn't need to be "a reason". Her "what is perjury, what is not" descriptions pretty much restore common sense to the issue, which is actually what I think the law intends.

The law is another one of those things that I know almost enough about to realize that I know nothing about it. I work reviewing invention disclosures at my job, so this weekend I buzzed through a number of those, and am also reviewing the patents at our site from last year for potential extra awards, so I'm looking at "100's" of patents and disclosures this month and next. Other than some odd twists of language; "those schooled in the art", "a plurality of ...", etc a lot of it actually does come rather close to "common sense" at times, although always with enough "mystery and judgement" to keep it somewhat interesting.

Anyway, Ann is wishfully thinking that conservatives are EVER going to "protect their own" like Democrats. The core of liberalism is being amoral, which certainly isn't the core of conservatism. Yes, having the order of when you talked to whomever wrong is really NOT perjury, but conservatives tend to be MORE likely to follow the rules and they don't make exceptions for "their own". In fact, usually they ESPECIALLY don't make exceptions for their own since they view it as "a test", and realize that were they to do so, then they would have no more standards and consistency than the left. We all know that conservatives are just as human as everyone else, so they DO fail, and when they do, that is NEWS! The MSM and the left loves the show of "hypocrisy", but of course one has to have some sort of standard to be a hypocrit! At least that is one thing that neither Bill or Hill will ever be accused of!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Biden is a "D"

CNN covered the Biden remark. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

My view is the only reason that this got covered at all was because he made it to the NY Observer, a conservative outlet, and I don't agree with the "Right Wing Media" (RWM?) making something of it. It seems obvious that nothing was intended by this. To the extent that there gets to be more RWM, they will have the opportunity to be just as awful and unfair as the MSM ... unfortunately, probably the best that we can hope for.

HOWEVER, were he an "R", it would be the complete end of his canidacy. It shows how black Americans have veto power when someone states something that can be taken out of context and "construed" to be racist. If Obama, Sharpton and Jackson responded with; "Well, it raises questions, one has to look at it in the context of the canidates overall actions on programs for minorities and other groups that he works with ...", then the piling on begins.

When you are a Republican, even misspelling "potato" is enough cause to end your career. With the MSM, it is important to "get your mind right", and the only way to do that is with a "D".