Monday, April 30, 2007

Terrorism by the Numbers

This article from the LA Times last fall puts terrorism into "perspective". A key part of it is this:
"Even if one counts our dead in Iraq and Afghanistan as casualties of the war against terrorism, which brings us to about 6,500, we should remember that roughly the same number of Americans die every two months in automobile accidents."
This comparison of terrorism deaths with automobile accidents is an interesting one which the left seems to find very applicable. The WSJ Best of the Web included a link to the number of lynchings from 1882-1964, which turns out to be 4,742 people, and asks if the left would then come to the conclusion that lynching was not a serious problem?

I think the answer is pretty clear; situational ethics. The left was in fact "OK with lynchings" from 1882-1964, and only when they determined that it was politically possible to turn support for civil rights into a net win did they change their stripes. To the left there are no moral issues, only issues of popularity and the push for complete rule by the masses--bereft of meaning beyond popularity.

The materialist finds no meaning beyond measurement. Lives are calculated like any other number, with no distinction as to person, nor any as to cause of death. While the calculation to consider "lynching bad" turned out to be a good political calculation for the left post '64, it is a mistake to think that it makes any real difference to Bob Byrd or Teddy Kennedy to be a racist or a champion of civil rights. The only difference is what calculation has been made to gain the most power ... in that calculation, they DO display consistency.

I disagree with the WSJ. They mistake the left as actually thinking that lynching would be identified as a problem "universally". I think the evidence shows that to not be the case, and to realize that the left will always seek a solution to gain power. Any claim of "morality" for the left is always situational.

Unfortunately, such is usually the case more most politicians.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Litter Bit Better

Our local community had a program to clean up the town called "A Litter Bit Better". The program was organized by a couple of guys that I spent a few years with on a local board, which made it more interesting. One of them was out walking his dog, noticed a bunch of trash, and realized that our town was becoming much trashier than it used to be. As he was muttering under his breath, the thought occurred to him that DOING SOMETHING was a better idea than just complaining.

I suppose if he was Lee Iaccoca he might have done something more helpful like write a book castigating our leadership, but he decided to work with the city and a number of local organizations, Kwik Trip, the trash haulers, neighborhood associations, churches, schools scouts, and many others to perform a city-wide cleanup in connection with earth day. Something over 20K lbs of garbage was picked up over the week-long effort.

My wife organized our own neighborhood effort, and on Saturday AM out of a neighborhood of a few thousand people, in perfect weather, there were FIVE that showed up to work. In talking with the guy that organized it, he said that was not uncommon at all ... while a TON (10 tons to be more exact) of work was done, the vast bulk was done by a very small percentage of people. The 5 of us picked up 20+ bags of garbage in the 3 hours we worked.

The Pareto Principle, was originally the "80/20 rule" and it means that in many human endeavors, 20% of the group is responsible for 80% of the significance ... good and bad. There is a LOT of evidence that Pareto is moving to 90/10, and beyond. Where 20% used to do 80% of the work, now 10% are doing 90% and it apparently keeps getting narrower. The sad thing is that the negative is true as well ... it is nearly a certainty that 90% of the litter was put there by less than 10% of the population. If you map the giving in your church, the volunteerism in the community, and the production of the nation, the same thing is true, and increasingly, the set of people that provide that "get it done" are conservative in political leaning. Why?

I picked up one clue along the road. A little "ticket" that had apparently been left under the wiper of an SUV by a person of the left "doing something good". The "ticket" said "SUV Owner: Citation for driving a wasteful vehicle". It had a lot of other stuff on it, but one of the organizations was "earth on empty". My guess is that some lefty was able to feel very smug for a good long time by putting the piece of litter under a wiper blade. They most likely felt that they had done a great deed for the day or even the week or month.

Most likely the ticketer felt much more smug than I was able to feel picking up the garbage, since to their mental calculation, pointing a finger at someone and feeling "outraged" is a HUGE good deed, and they bear no other responsibility. Things like "doing and responsibility" are something for OTHERS to do ... "leadership", "the wealthy", "corporate America" ... someone, but certainly not them. When one accepts even a tiny amount of personal responsibility, then "outrage" isn't nearly as fun, because it often means that you are required to do something other than complain.

The sheep have been marketed to, entertained, and manipulated with generally no connection to God or even history for at least the TV age, and even before. It is little wonder that they buy into the idea of "feeling good without cost". Picking up litter is harder than complaining about global warming, but global warming is mostly about "good feelings" rather than anything scientific. A great little George Will column points out that a Big Mac is more "greenhouse costly" than a BMW (manure and cow flatulence creating the greater problem of methane as opposed to the BMWs CO2) and that a Prius is actually environmentally WORSE than a Hummer because of the environmental effects of creation and usage of two sets of batteries over the life of the car.

Feeling smug while driving your Prius, ticketing a SUV, or while riding on a jet to a "green vacation" are easier than picking up sodden garbage from steep road embankments. Telling someone else that they ought to pay more taxes to provide whatever you want is much easier than getting more education, taking more responsibility in your job, or saving and investing. As a technologist, I lament that technology--TV, movies, internet, music, etc is certainly the "mainline" through which the drug of meaningless feeling is pumped into our culture. Technology is neither good or evil in itself, but creates leverage that is unfortunately able to be used in negative ways.

Technology allows the 90% to wallow in more "good feelings", and increasingly link up with only the information that fits what makes them feel best, while the 10% use the leverage to learn and do at an ever increasing rate. Unfortunately, Ayn Rand seems to have been right about the phenomenon of "looting". The 90% have an insatiable appetite for outrage, emotion, and less responsibility. No matter how much "better" in terms of mindless consumption and ease their lives are made, the fact that the 10% increasingly "have more" is a constant irritant.

The phenomenon is as old as "killing the goose that laid the golden egg", and it is very much a part of human nature. My sense is that '06 was a tipping point--the goose chase has begun.

Democrat Intelligence on Iraq

This clip shows what the Democrats on the intelligence committee were saying on Iraq then and now.

Since 80% of people supported going into Iraq and removing Saddam, they apparently want to have a "simple answer" to absolve themselves of responsibility. The combination of the MSM and the Democrats with the "Bush lied" mantra must just be too convenient. Complex problems often require simple answers for the masses, and the idea that Saddam certainly DESIRED to be seen as having WMD in order to increase his stature, and the fact that "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence" must just be too complex compared to "Bush lied".

The belief of Saddam having WMD was never a "minority position" ... certainly there were folks that disagreed, but there are flat earthers and holocaust deniers as well. The unusual case is that a failure to find evidence has caused a majority to fall into actual denial of their own past thinking. PROVING a negative is one of the hardest things to do ... as evidenced by UFOs, Bigfoot, and Loch Ness. When scads of leaders, including former President Clinton, candidates Kerry and Gore, and virtually everyone else decide to contradict their own historical on-record quotes, and somehow "blame Bush" (who in many of the cases in the Clinton administration case was YEARS from office), the mind wanders at the ability of the lefty brain to deny simple reality.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mission Accomplished

Harry Reid has come out in agreement with George Bush on Iraq relative to winning of the military action part of the war; "The military mission has long since been accomplished. The failure has been political. It has been policy. It has been presidential"

Of course the "other part of the war" is lost according to Harry; "I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week,"The fundamental liberal fallacy is that worthwhile things should be easy, quick and natural.

The opposite is usually true--from success in life, education, finances, thought, freedom, health and certainly war. Consistency, persistence, not giving up, focus on higher values and meanings, adapting but not wavering, understanding that there is no "over"--especially if you believe in eternity, but even if you only believe that the sun will rise tomorrow.

Very few liberals think about "What comes after?". Whatever it is they assume they will simply "blame Bush and make political gains"--maybe worse would be better. Without some sort of vision for the future, it can always get worse. Getting the US "out of Vietnam" saved US lives, but at a cost of millions of others. "Giving up" on the diet, exercise, classes, saving, the job, the person or the race is always an option that seems easier at the moment--but often is the wrong choice when looked back at from the future.

No, unfortunately there is no dogmatic "always right", only tendencies. There are always valid reasons to consider other courses of action, but it is very hard to see how specific dates of pull out play into any hands but those of the terrorists. Such things mean little to guys like Reid. It is obvious that he will say what he thinks will appeal to the most people on a given day.

Consistency, commitment, discipline--very hard to believe in if one is without values that transcend how they feel. The ability of our minds to see beyond the moment, the year, the "next bend", to project a better future--even a future that is hard. All progress forward demands that uniquely human capability that is an important part of our higher selves, but in order to follow that part, we have to often forgo what we want today. We have to bypass the easy for the hard.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Infant Baptism

We traveled to IA this weekend for the baptism our little grand niece. I was raised in the Baptist church which does not believe in infant baptism because they believe that salvation needs to be a "personal decision". Interestingly, such churches also tend to believe that if the personal decision is "correctly done", the person is "once saved, always saved.."

The pastor today touched on the classic story of daddy holding the little child's hand as opposed to the little child holding daddy's hand. The story is somewhat instructive, but I believe the orders of magnitude to be off in the region of "ten to infinity". The God we worship is beyond material, so beyond our measurement. My faith, my "grasping for God's hand" is of little significance. Yes, he does allow me free will, so I can "get away", but otherwise my efforts at "holding on" are of little use.

The fundamentalists often point out that "infant baptism isn't in the bible". Partially true, but less true than for Sunday worship, Christmas and Easter celebration, or nearly anything else about our modern worship. There are a number of places that when a man believes, he and his household are baptized. Children aren't explicitly called out, but they are not excluded either. Is there a case where a woman is explicitly baptized? I don't recall, but I believe not. It would be in keeping with the time the Gospels were written to not bother to report on the baptism of women and children.

I'm not a fundamentalist, since I don't believe that there are still people that watched Christ ascend into heaven around today (Matt 16:28). Therefore, the lack of specific biblical statements on celebration of the birth of Jesus, day of worship, or infant baptism aren't my largest concern.

After raising two boys through confirmation, having been young once myself, and from everything I have seen in interacting with other families and children, the pragmatism of "suffer the little children unto me" is at least clear. Baptism begins a journey of faith that we pray lasts a lifetime. The "fathers hand" through confirmation, communion, the word, church fellowship and prayer are always there as long as we don't "push away" in refusal, our hope is secure. We pray for ourselves, those we love, and especially fervently for our kids.

The bible says that the "road is narrow", and it is also quite clear that there are ditches on both sides ... legalism and works righteousness on one hand, loss of truth and meaning on the other. The stakes are very high, and the standard isn't our standard, our parents standard, or the standard of an opinion poll. The best path seems to be "humble confidence in God". It isn't clear that any denomination has a corner on that, but it seems that finding a congregation is a critical part of walking that road.

Again, it wasn't declared to be easy, but the symbolism of the first step having been taken on our behalf before we were able to understand always wells up in my breast on seeing a new child of God welcomed to the fathers hand.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Getting It Right

A friend at work finished the subject historical novel by William F Buckley and I couldn't resist. The three or four other books that I have in various states of reading went on the shelf and I went cover to cover on this one. I found a more detailed review that gives on more specifics than I intend to include here.

The book is historical fiction about the late '50s and early '60s when Buckley and the National Review are working in the realm of ideas on the Republican Party. The fiction is told in the context of a romance between Woodroe Raynor a young John Bircher, and Lenora Goldstein, a follower of the Ayn Rand camp of "Objectivists". By virtue of his National Review magazine, as well as his intellect and developing connections, WFB was very involved in dealing with the conflicting sometimes conflicting forces of the Birchers and the Randians.

It stuck me how both groups fell prey to "reductionism/fundamentalism" and became "doctrinaire" in their own limited point of view. As regular readers of this Blog are aware, I continue to search for "the perfect word" to describe that path. Tonight I'm going with "dogmatic and doctrinaire" to see how they fit. As humans, we always operate far from perfection, the issues are just "how far and which way". The scribe and pharisee types fall in the ditch on the dogmatic path, the general lefty veers into the "whatever I do (today) is right" ditch.

The Birchers found a "communist conspiracy" everywhere all the time ... including Eisenhower and National Review. The Randians pretty much just "worshiped Ayn". The total inability for them to tolerate religion made them "less than compatible" with the conservative movement. I've always had respect for Buckley as an "intellectual pragmatist". He is extremely intelligent and educated, but keeps the "Dirty Harry Dictum" (A man has got to know his limitations") solidly in mind. Movements and people in general have far too much of a tendency to assume that "they have found the answer, leader or secret".

The biggest insight to form in my brain from this book was that when comparing integration in the South with sending in Federal troops to force it, many Conservatives found that to be "too big a cost in freedom for states rights". Interestingly, to the extent that the Kennedy wing of the Democrat party was representative, their position had moved 180 degrees in the 100 years since 1860, and coersion was now the way to go. Too big a question to even attempt to answer in this blog, but the book drew the fact of the dilemma out clearly.

It was simply a fun book to read, and it was great to get this picture of some of the people of this very eventful time ... Ayn Rand and her group, Kennedy, Robert Welch, Goldwater, and others.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gettysburg, Stephen W Sears

I read this book before and during the trip out to Gettysburg and DC. What a marvelous opportunity for education; to be able to read an excellent book, and then take in the sights of the actual battlefield, having the history and geography come to life in that special way. If I had such an opportunity as a youth, I may well have been a historian today ... or who knows what else. We have a desperate need to find ways to leverage our computer and video technology as well as travel to improve the quality of education. How sad that for all the advances since since the Civil War, the most common method of education is STILL to put a bunch of kids in a room with a teacher. Other than the dress and the quality of the building, they may as well be in Civil War Times. Maybe it was better then? Only the children of the North had to deal with "Union Teachers" ;-).

The book is very well written and focuses mostly on the actual events leading up to, during, and immediately after the battle. Lee and his army were very confident after whipping the Yankees at Chancellorsville, but it appears that the loss of Stonewall Jackson may have been more grave than they realized. They came north to beat the Union on their own turf and turn public opinion against the Republicans and the war. Some things really do stay the same.

As a business person, one of the items that jumps out are the managerial, political and logistical problems of a war effort the size of two 80-100K armies maneuvering, being supplied, planning, communicating and acting. Naturally there are vast differences in style between generals, and all of them make mistakes. Even "St Lincoln" seemed to be unable to understand the difficulties involved. I had not remembered that Hooker was replaced with Meade 3 days before the fighting began on July 1, 1863. Jeb Stuart set off to "ride around Hooker's army" and ended up having a new general named while he was riding.

The issue of Jeb Stuart and the missing cavalry is a topic made well known during the book, but never fully made clear what really caused it. It is clear that Stuart picked up a Union wagon train that slowed up down, and just seemed to run into a lot of bad luck, but the fact that he was not there to provide intelligence and screen the movements of the Rebels was a critical factor in Lee's poor showing.

At least in this battle, not dealing with Stuart being missing was one of the many areas in which Lee seemed to lack the flexibility to adapt to the situation that he found himself in. Lee is considered almost a God in the south, and Pickett is often blamed for the failure of the charge, but it is clear in this book that the primary responsibility rests squarely with Lee. Had Longstreet's advice been taken and the Confederates flanked Meade and got on high ground between Gettysburg and Washington, Meade would have been forced to attack, and the Democrats would have most likely had their day.

Gettysburg is the point where rifled gun barrels and precision cannon fire made defense of a position a real advantage. We can see today where air power makes staying stationary pretty much suicidal. Prior to Gettysburg, the inaccuracy and difficulty in reloading of the smooth bore musket gave the advantage to the rapid charge. The movie characters like "Outlaw Josie Wales" give some idea of the technique -- 4, 6, or even more loaded pistols on a brave horseman charging into the line and killing numbers at close range, then galloping behind the lines to cover, reloading, and killing more -- including unarmed supply workers, horses, etc.

Massed infantry with cartridge rifled barrel firearms and coordinated cannon fire turned the infantry and cavalry charge into a slaughter.

Over 50K soldiers died in 3 days of fighting at Gettysburg. With all that people have in this country today, most can't think of anything worth dying for, yet Muslims living in a culture that is the antithesis of what the left calls "good" are willing to die either individually or in large groups. The soldiers from the South died to preserve a way of life--a way of life that included slavery to be sure, but also honor, tradition and the right of states to exert political control greater than the federal government. We ALL paid a high price for the South's loss.

The main factor that aligns Lincoln with modern Republican ideas is "principal over popularity". He was forced to make a decision between conflicting principles--the value of the freedom of the Southerners to govern themselves, vs the huge loss of individual freedom caused by slavery. The Democrats were of course the party of "the easy way", the way of public opinion. As political opportunists they picked up the pieces of the civil war and presided over the "little slavery" of blacks in the south under Jim Crow for 100 years.

It is a book that I will long remember having walked the streets of Gettysburg and toured Little Round Top, The Wheat-field, The Peach Orchard, Cemetery Hill and stared at The High Water Mark. I hope to have more opportunity to mix book and maybe even classroom study with other areas of the world. The Panama Canal and parts of Europe are a couple that leap to mind.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Your God Is Too Small

I finished the subject book by J B Phillips before our trip and failed to blog on it. It is a book I would highly recommend to Christian and Non-Christian alike. As the title would lead you to believe it goes through a number of "models" that humans have to visualize God, and why each is inadequate. Naturally, they all MUST be hugely inadequate. Our finite physical brains hold very little information about even this physical universe, let alone anything close to enough to somehow fully perceive an infinite God that is beyond the material.

A whole series of models including resident policeman, parental hangover, grand old man, meek-and-mild, absolute perfection, pale Galilean, etc are covered. All are well done, but given my fundamentalist youth, I especially liked "Absolute Perfection" with the discussion of Christ saying "Be ye perfect". Ever met any perfect Christians? I liked this section; "The modern high-pressure Christian of certain circles would like to impose perfection of one hundred percent as a set of rules to be immediately enforced, instead of as a shining ideal to be faithfully pursued. His short cut, in effect, makes the unimaginative satisfied before he ought to be and drives the imaginative to despair."

Many fundamentalists make Christianity a game of on-upmanship on rules. "I don't listen to rock music" ... "Well, I don't watch TV" ... "I read my bible an hour every day". Does God appreciate our efforts? Certainly, to the extent that they are efforts of response and we don't believe that we have improved our position because of them, but do them out of simple love. I like to think of our efforts as artwork done by a 3-year old for their parent. Nothing could be loved more, but nothing is farther from actual valuable art. So too the "sins" of the 3-year old -- the only ones that make us jump out of our skin are the ones like dashing away into traffic that could harm them. Naturally, like all nice little human models, mine is as childish as any other, and probably worse.

The bottom line is that those in the most danger are those that are sure they have arrived. Jesus attacked the Pharisees with the most bitter scorn. The "arrived / correct / certain" religious, atheist, or some other stripe, are "the rich man" and in grave danger. " is a mistake to think that Pharisaism disappeared after the death of Christ. The danger of such a system, and the reason that Christ attacked it so violently, is that its values are artificial. The proud and correct feel "right with God" just when they are not, and the sensitive humble man feels hopeless and overburdened for the wrong reasons."

I appreciated the end of the book, but it is hard to summarize. I liked this section: "Now if it is true that God is both Truth and Love it will readily be seen that the greatest sins will be unreality, hypocrisy, deceit, lying, or whatever else we choose to call sins against truth, and self-love, which makes fellowship with other people and their proper treatment impossible. Forgiveness must then consist in a restoration to Reality, i.e. Truth and Love."

My "youthful religious scars" were of the "if you aren't good enough, then you can't REALLY be a Christian, so get ready to burn" kind, so those passages spoke to me. The book goes after people in the "once saved always saved" ditch as well ... find someone that grew up Unitarian if you want that review!

The book is a small book, only 140 pages, and very readable. It is certain to "expand your God". I am often struck that a major part of wisdom is the recognition of what we don't know. Ignorance is often far too confident.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Franken Support

The left and MSM decries "big money in politics"-when the money comes from business. They applaud it when it comes from actors, and even lawyers to a significant degree. A leading hallmark of the left is that consistency is not an issue, yet it is always possible to predict the position that a person of the left will hold. Why?
clipped from

Al Franken's Senate campaign gets off to big start

POSTED: 5:36 a.m. EDT, April 14, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scores of actors, writers, producers and others from the entertainment industry have contributed to Al Franken's Senate campaign, helping the Minnesota Democrat get off to a strong fundraising start.

Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" star who hopes to take on GOP Sen. Norm Coleman next year, raised the maximum $4,600 from actors such as Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jason Alexander and Larry David, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday.

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A Giving Comparison

To CNN's credit they actually reported this-late on a Friday evening. My prediction is that it will get VERY little coverage, as Al Gore's contributions for 1997 got VERY little coverage of his $359 in contributions for a year. My guess is there were the numbers reversed, there would be a lot more coverage in both cases. There is now a book out that shows what pretty much any thinking person knows; Conservatives give much more to charity in all forms (not just Churches) and volunteer more to boot.

Why? Because people that believe that there is more to life than just the here and now invest in education, savings, time with their children and a whole host of other worthwhile causes including charities. People that believe that the system is corrupt, there is no such thing as real truth, life is unfair and others have too much and ought to do more tend to live for today and not invest in anything beyond the immediate. These "investment decisions" tend to hold over virtually all parts of their lives and shapes their character until it becomes pretty obvious who is in which camp.

My guess would be that Al Gore was not embarrassed by the small amount he gave, and George Bush is not particularly proud of the amount he gave. The MSM finds the amounts to be "out of character", but actually they are directly IN character. If Gore has any beliefs at all, he certainly must believe that the important "giving" is in all his public work. He sees control of individuals by the state and the increased removal of money from them by force as "good". Bush sees individual responsibility and decisions about both the making and the dispersal of financial assets as being important for both the individual and the nation. The results show up in a stark dollar contrast here, but the real differences in character are always much more evident to those not blinded by the MSM mind control.

Does this mean that conservatives are "better"? Unfortunately not in any meaningful way--they are human too. Recognizing that you have cancer doesn't cure the cancer. I saw some ministry folder the other day that said "Jesus loves porn stars". After a couple second brain flip, I realized, yes, of course he does, and all other humans living in every sort of brokenness there is besides, even me. The most spiritual, loving, humble and thoughtful conservative Christian has no concept of the degree of distance between themselves and God--the gulf that God spanned on Easter.

However, as I get ready to head to the health club, recognition IS a fairly useful thing. The realization that life is more than feeling good, and what seems important often isn't gives a fairly huge potential for doing better on average. Just like keeping fit though, it is never going to be easy or guaranteed in any way. You are just far more likely to make the right kinds of investments if you are aware of your state and the state of the rest of mankind.

Link to Clipmark

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush and the first lady paid $186,378 in federal taxes on their income of $765,801 for last year. Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife made twice as much and paid the tax man about $50,000 more than they owed.

The president and Mrs. Bush contributed $78,100 to churches and charitable organizations, including the volunteer fire department in Crawford, Texas, where they own a ranch, according to their tax return, released Friday by the White House.

clipped from

Gores' Charitable Giving Raises Some Eyebrows

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 15) -- In a 34-page 1997 federal tax return, Vice President Al Gore and wife Tipper reported giving $353 to charity, an amount much lower than donations the family has made in previous tax cycles.

That figure is less than one-tenth the typical contribution amount for someone with the Gores' adjusted gross income of $197,729. That fact has caused some bewilderment in philanthropic circles because of the vice president's "good guy" image as an advocate for public service and social causes, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

First They Came for the Political Shock Jocks

The title is paraphrase the old poem that originally referred to the Nazis; "First they came for the Communists". Of course, like a lot of "left legend", the Nazis coming for the communists doesn't really somehow mean that the Nazi's were "right wing" or "conservative", it means that they were an authoritarian socialist (National Socialist ...) group that was going to war with the communists on their eastern front. They also came for religious leaders other than the Jews that opposed them, and the left certainly doesn't ascribe any moral authority to religion because the Nazis came for them too.

Like all other humans, it is pretty easy to not give your enemies enough credit. Just one of the places that the left will need to use the chisel when they finally remove God from the public square is around the top of the Jefferson Memorial: "I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.". I need to read a Jefferson biography, I suspect that back in those days, even though there were a lot of fights between Federalists(modern Republicans) and the Republicans(modern Democrats) the fall to the left was so early that those Republicans would find todays Republicans to be positively leftist, and be unsure what a modern Democrat even was. Come to think of it, in that they would most likely have a lot in common with a modern Democrat, but I digress.

Do I like, approve of, respect, etc Don Imus? No, absolutely not. He should have never been on the radio / TV in the first place. As part of the destruction of meaning, the left uses the clever ruse that "pornography = sexually explicit material". Actually the constant removal of symbolic meaning; destroying all forms of "covering or distance" (as in keeping private life private, formal communication, honor, standards), respect for position or proffession and a host of other areas too numerous to mention is really far more damaging than mere sex. The Imus stock and trade has been belittling public figures of all stripes and both political parties. Yes, he has generally been much more generally a friend of the left than the right, but he made his living saying very outrageus things about people. BTW, he was a HUGE and obvious supporter of Harold Ford Junior, there is NO ISSUE that the guy is a racist in any way shape or form.

So what does this have to do with not giving my enemies enough credit? In allowing Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson the power to remove Imus, we set a precedent. The precedent is WAY different from the Dixie Chicks. Their public decided that they didn't want to listen to them for awhile after they spouted off about Bush. There was a lot of discourse about how the Dixie Chicks was a "Free Speech Issue", but in fact, the Dixie Chicks were just a marketing issue. There was no equivalent of Sharton/Jackson out working to take them down ... you can't name a single person "leading a charge", because there wasn't one.

If Imus had lost his program because ratings dropped and the station said they were taking him off the air, then I'd say "great"--over this comment or thousands of others over the years. It is a horrible statement of our "culture" (really lack thereof) that he or Howard Stern are even ON the air at all. BUT, in taking Imus out, the target was chosen wisely. Imus has effectively "no friends"--he has been enough of an equal opportunity abuser that nobody on either side is standing up for him. The left finds it "chilling" when people don't want to have their TAX DOLLARS go to support a crucifix in urine or the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung. Rush Limbaugh and Fox News being on the air are also chilling to the left as are the Ten Commandments in a public place, or the Easter Bunny at the city building up in the cities.

We hear a lot about the "Facist Theocracy" that we are either living in, or on the verge of depending on which lefty one talks to. What does one call it when Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson decide who gets to be on the air?

Late Leopard

My iMac 24" will have to wait until at least October --at which time I'll have to be checking to see if they are due for a hardware technology boost. Oh well, much better to have it right.

Apple delays Leopard release until October

Apple Inc. on Thursday conceded that it will be unable to release its next generation operating system in June as previously planned and now says it anticipates launching the software in October.
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Thursday, April 12, 2007

DC to Home

We finished our MN -> Gettysburg -> DC -> Air and Space at Dulles -> Raleigh NC -> Air Force Museum at Dayton OH -> Rockford -> MN jaunt. Little over 3K Miles, watched the 2000 Chev Suburban roll over 100K at Gettysburg. I like to see the country by road, it gives a lot better flavor.

Much like government anywhere, DC looks to be in great shape. Lots of big stone buildings with inefficient thermal and space designs. Big pillars, lots of windows. Governments way of tell the rest of us "we don't have any competition and we don't have to make a profit ... if you cut our funds, we will just do things like let give soldiers sub-standard pay, but we will stay in our lifetime union jobs with full benefits when you retire ... and complain that the rest of you don't pay enough taxes".

It was a lot of fun to take in all the "free" airplane museums to see Apollo 11, Space Shuttle Enterprise, the X-1 that broke the speed of sound, the Spirit of St Louis, the original Wright Flyer, the Concorde, a B-36, the 707 that was Air Force One from '60 - like '90, the only remaining XB-70, 2 different X-15s, a B-52, a B-1 ... and too many other cool planes to mention. Yes, it costs a lot of money to keep all that running, but hardly enough to be a footnote in a 2.7 Trillion budget of which 1.7 Trillion are entitlement spending.

Oh well, it is tax weekend, we certainly do way more than our part in paying for all of it, so we might as well get a little enjoyment out of it once in awhile. The Raleigh NC area seems to be going gangbusters ... lots of businesses going up, new roads, houses. It reminded me of Austin Texas when I used to go down there. Surprise surprise, both TX and NC are low tax business friendly places. MN just elected a bunch of Democrats and thinks that a lot more taxes are the way to improve the state. In three short months they have turned a billion dollar surplus into a 1.5 billion "deficit" that simply MUST be "taken care of" by the "wealthy". My youngest has 3 more years of HS; we may be tax slaves, but last I checked we aren't INDENTURED ... we may just have to move out and let the fine people of MN do some more study on how economics works in our absence.

We returned to cold and now snowy MN that is on it's way to the coldest April on record. The name change from "Global Warming " to "Climate Change" seems to have been a required marketing change. Now this cold weather can be blamed on the awful carbon producers as well!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Delusional Connections

If only corporate corruption was as localized and disconnected as global terror, we could avoid the cost of Sarbannes - Oxley when an Enron is discovered. We need to run studies on how global terrorists can all seek "death to America" but yet maintain solid firewalls proving a negative beyond a shadow of a doubt. The only other negative so proven is "there are no intelligent Republicans".

Cheney Sticks to His Delusions

Special to
Friday, April 6, 2007; 1:20 PM

Faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, even President Bush has backed off his earlier inflammatory assertions about links between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

But Vice President Cheney yesterday, in an interview with right-wing talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, continued to stick to his delusional guns.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Free Press Democrat Style

"Free Speech" means "whatever Democrats approve of". I generally don't think very much of Don Imus, but I think less of Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson deciding who gets to say what, and who gets to be offended when. If they were REALLY offended by "Ho", then all the Hip-Hop stations are going to be closed tomorrow.
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Imus to appear on Sharpton's radio show

POSTED: 4:30 a.m. EDT, April 9, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Don Imus will appear on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show on Monday, five days after Imus made racially charged comments on his own show about the Rutgers women's basketball team, Sharpton and MSNBC announced Sunday.

"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.

"If he has a right to use that platform to insult and degrade, then we have a moral obligation to picket NBC and to protest," Jackson said. "If he can violate us in that platform in the name of free speech, we'll be picketing NBC in the name of free speech."

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

DC to Raleigh

We have completed the Gettysburg and Washington DC portion of the trip and made it down to Raleigh North Carolina to visit the old friend that introduced my wife and I. We are checked in at a Residence Inn; very nice digs for a couple nights before we sprint for home.

The weather the last few days in DC was in the 70's, sunny, really summer for us folks from MN. Looking at the temperatures back home with below freezing highs makes me realize that it could be a bit of a chill when we get back. We saw "all the sites", for those interested see if you can access some pictures here.

Some Notes:
  • I could spend a couple more days at Gettysburg. I'd like to read a couple more battle books as well as review the Burns series. There are an amazing number of monuments and battle scenes. I need to do some full Blogs on the subject, but the Civil War, and thus "The High Water Mark" at Gettysburg bring some fundamental issues to bear. What does "freedom" mean? Was the South free? We have only two political parties that we need to map the sum total of our ideas to at any time. Should we have 3? (potential for House/Senate/Executive to be split). More? What were the main idea mappings prior to the Civil War? After? How many switches between then and today? What are the key ideas today? At the time of the Civil War, MANY people felt those ideas were worth dying for ... to the tune of over 50K men in three days alone, and 600K over the course of the war.
  • It is very hard to do DC without a TON of walking. Huge space, the Washington Monument is one of those things like the Saturn V that was bigger than I expected.
  • There is a certain depression about the city. Thousands and thousands of faceless union bureaucrats in 100s of generally fortress like buildings going about their union protected tasks day in and day out with next to no chance for anything creative to happen. There are elements of this in any large organization, certainly including corporations, but the market creates a lot more real diversity in those environments than exists in DC.
  • The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown was way more moving that I expected. It drives home the thought that the universe is designed. The forces of the left and chaos would LOVE to corrupt the transcendent honor present in the military. HOWEVER, no matter how much the left may wish to escape the idea of transcendence and "powers beyond reason", they know that their pursuit of "if it feels good, do it" relies on protection from others that might find their soft outlook to be an invitation to end the chaotic party desired by the left. The soldier will not give his life for meaninglessness, so the military holds to order, command, honor, tradition, duty ... all the thoughts that the left hates. They hate the military, yet they dare not destroy it. Checkmate.
  • But at the Vietnam Memorial, we see the "High Water Mark" of the left in the World to date (and say a little prayer that we don't return). Just names and dates ... no battles, no locations, no meaning. The personal names, but no divsions, branches of service, etc. War as just a meaningless individual loss, and loss only. Contrast this to WWII, with the theatres of combat, the states and the battles, but NO individual names. The CAUSE was greater than the individual ... the lives were given for something greater than one person. The stars represent the sacrifice and show the magnitude, but they were ALL Americans. That was more important than their name.
  • I was struck by the paintings, statuary, and inscriptions in the Capitol and the Memorials or how much work needs to be done with chisel or covering to remove "God" from Jefferson, Lincoln and the host of quotations around the city. Worse for the forces of the left, the profiles listed around the chamber in the house would seem to give many of those members pause were they to look at many of their works: Justinian, Moses, Pope Innocent III, Lycurgus, Napoleon, etc. It seems that at least at the time of the construction of the Capitol there was the distinct idea that positioning the nation in the stream of western civilization, including of course Christianity, was a VERY good idea. The American mind had not yet closed, and it was well understood that ideas do indeed have consequences.
  • I could spend a lot more time at both the Smithsonian Air and Space Museums. I sure enjoyed the time I did get to spend.
Enough for now. In general, DC isn't what I would call a "great city" in the NYC, San Francisco, London, or even Chicago sense. It seems to be too "sterile and segregated". Maybe I'm not giving it a fair shake due to only a couple of days there, but I've not even spent that amount of time in London. Scarcely more in Chicago, and only a few days more in NYC and San Fran.

God and Science

An uplifting little gift for the Easter season. I'm always willing to look at both sides, but I'm looking forward to reading his book a lot more than "The God Delusion" and "The End of Faith". I HOPE that he bears a lot less hatred and false certainty than the other two authors. From just the synopsis, it looks like it may be a very worthy work. I never really mind reading "the other side", and often there are some interesting points, but it is often a bit sad to be exposed to the level of hopelessness there.
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Collins: Why this scientist believes in God

POSTED: 6:15 p.m. EDT, April 4, 2007

Editor's note: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. His most recent book is "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan.

As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, "Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative."

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