Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The Baron on Immigration
The nation which fails to control its borders will fail to control its future.
I certainly agree.
I eat crow
WHAT DID THE 9/11 COMMISSION CONCLUDE? Despite the highly coordinated nature of the attacks, the enormous scale of the plot, and the commando tactics used by the hijackers--a combination of elements that had not previously or since been seen in al Qaeda attacks--the report concluded that the only state which sponsored Osama bin Laden in 9/11 was Afghanistan and its Taliban government. The report explicitly concluded that no operational connection existed between the 9/11 attacks and governments in Syria, Iran, or Iraq. The panel laid the blame for the failure of the United States to prevent the attacks on our intelligence communities and their political leadership, and added during public hearings recent administrations (George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) had failed to "connect the dots." Its recommendations comprised an expansion of the bureaucracy.It would seem there are NO exceptions. Distrust anything that a government commission or committee publishes.
None of the above data points is mentioned in the Commission's final report. They all indicate a possibility that other state sponsors had close ties to al Qaeda. They also indicate that the scope of the Islamist war has little to do with American policy but instead with the establishment of a latter-day caliphate for the ummah, and after that, global Islamist domination. More to the point, however, they all demonstrate--along with Able Danger--that the intelligence services had recognized the threat and tried to take at least some action to stop it before it could fully form against the United States.
Costs of environmentalism......
When your flight is cancelled or you can't get a seat and really need to, go find an environmentalist and thank them appropriately.
.....or I told you so already.
UPDATE: Also from Drudge, an article in the UK Sunday Times online gives some facts on the US refinery squeeze and shows the strange thinking of the European Bureaucrat:
Nervous traders, however, maintained their bearish outlook on the scale of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, which forced widespread shutdowns of production and refining facilities in the Gulf area. At the hurricane’s peak, eight oil refineries in southeastern Louisiana were closed, disabling almost 10 per cent of America’s refining capacity. About 1.4 million barrels a day, or a quarter of American total crude oil production, was affected. Analysts said that it would take at least a week to assess the extent of damage caused by Katrina.I love it, they've already screwed up their markets with taxes and regulations, and now want them to reduce consumer consumption. By all means don't lower taxes. They keep the price artifically high. Lower the speed limit instead. That didn't work here and it won't work there, but it increases the control of the government over their lives.
The price of a barrel of US light crude touched $70.85 a barrel, five cents higher than Monday’s peak...
The record prices prompted governments in France and Belgium to flag populist measures to protect consumers.
However, the International Energy Agency (IEA), a leading forecaster, and analysts advised against government intervention, saying that the $70 price could provide the much-needed jolt that would force consumers to reduce their oil consumption.
The French Government was in disarray yesterday, with ministers squabbling over a proposal to cut the national speed limit to reduce fuel consumption. Dominique Perben, the Transport Minister, had called for a 115kph (71mph) limit on motorways, down from 130kph at present, saying that it would save motorists €7 on a 500km journey and also reduce the road death rate. His call sparked fierce criticism from within the governing centre-right Union for a Popular Movement. A spokesman for the party said that the measure was “inappropriate”.
In Belgium, Didier Reynders, the Finance Minister, proposed a €75 government cheque for every household to soften the blow of expensive fuel.
Claude Mandil, the IEA’s Executive Director, said that a much-needed change in consumer habits, required to halt the oil-price run, would not happen if governments intervened by lowering taxes on the price of fuel. He said: “It’s not because I want people to be hurt, it’s just because I think that market signals are useful.”
Problem is, every time we go to school on Europe we seem to take back the failed lessons not the useful ones.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Where libertarianism doesn't seem to work
Now that all the grandstanding is over.....
AHMED HIKMAT SHAKIR IS A shadowy figure who provided logistical assistance to one, maybe two, of the 9/11 hijackers. Years before, he had received a phone call from the Jersey City, New Jersey, safehouse of the plotters who would soon, in February 1993, park a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center. The safehouse was the apartment of Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, who scorched his own leg while mixing the chemicals for the 1993 bomb.Go read the rest.
When Shakir was arrested shortly after the 9/11 attacks, his "pocket litter," in the parlance of the investigators, included contact information for Musab Yasin and another 1993 plotter, a Kuwaiti native named Ibrahim Suleiman.
These facts alone, linking the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, would seem to cry out for additional scrutiny, no?
The Yasin brothers and Shakir have more in common. They are all Iraqis. And two of them--Abdul Rahman Yasin and Shakir--went free, despite their participation in attacks on the World Trade Center, at least partly because of efforts made on their behalf by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Both men returned to Iraq--Yasin fled there in 1993 with the active assistance of the Iraqi government. For ten years in Iraq, Abdul Rahman Yasin was provided safe haven and financing by the regime, support that ended only with the coalition intervention in March 2003.
......we are starting to see the missing information in the 9/11 Commission Report
This is news?
Most scientific papers are probably wrongAs written one would wonder that any progress has ever been made in science. Any report depending on statistics has difficulties as noted. The bulk of science in the past was based on factual observation and description or careful chains of evidence dependent on yes/no decisions. It is only in recent years that we have come to be so dependent on statistics to reach conclusions. It has also only been in recent years that science has become so politicized and we have so much junk science. Garbage in, garbage out. All this article really says is that there is a high probability of statistical conclusions being incorrectly obtained, something we should have known all along.
02:00 30 August 2005
NewScientist.com news service
Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.
John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.
"We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery," Ioannidis says.
In the paper, Ioannidis does not show that any particular findings are false. Instead, he shows statistically how the many obstacles to getting research findings right combine to make most published research wrong.
Traditionally a study is said to be "statistically significant" if the odds are only 1 in 20 that the result could be pure chance. But in a complicated field where there are many potential hypotheses to sift through - such as whether a particular gene influences a particular disease - it is easy to reach false conclusions using this standard. If you test 20 false hypotheses, one of them is likely to show up as true, on average.
Odds get even worse for studies that are too small, studies that find small effects (for example, a drug that works for only 10% of patients), or studies where the protocol and endpoints are poorly defined, allowing researchers to massage their conclusions after the fact.
Surprisingly, Ioannidis says another predictor of false findings is if a field is "hot", with many teams feeling pressure to beat the others to statistically significant findings.
But Solomon Snyder, senior editor at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, US, says most working scientists understand the limitations of published research.
"When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about," he says.
Journal reference: Public Library of Science Medicine (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124)
At the finest universities.....
It's been a tough time for French fries lately. First there was the unpleasant association with, well, all things French that led to one of America's favourite foods being renamed, at least within the Beltway, Freedom Fries. Then there was the New York City fat police "request" that restaurants stop using trans fats for frying fries, a move that many restaurant owners say will adversely affect the taste of fries. And finally there was the new scientific study from the Harvard School of Public Health that suggests that eating French fries as a child might lead to breast cancer later in life......the abuse of science for political correctness continues.
The study, by a team of researchers led by Karin Michels, looked at children's preschool diets and the subsequent risk of breast cancer using the long-running Nurses' Health Study which followed 115,195 nurses for sixteen years. Michels' group studied 582 women with breast cancer and 1569 breast cancer free women in 1993. Their interest was the childhood diet of these women and its possible connection with their risk for breast cancer.
In order to find out about their diets, the subjects' mothers were asked to complete a 30 item food frequency questionnaire about their daughters' eating habits when they were aged 3-5. After correlating the answers to the questionnaire with the women's health status they discovered that women who had had as children one extra serving of French fries per week had a 27% increased risk for breast cancer in later life. Interestingly, foods like ice cream and hot dogs were not associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Commenting on her study, Michels noted that "This study provides additional evidence that breast cancer may originate during the early phases of a woman's life and that eating habits during that phase may be particularly important to reduce future risk of breast cancer." [emphasis mine, bk]
But before we have mass hysteria about the possible role of French fries in breast cancer, there are several things about this study which suggest it probably merits little serious attention. The first of these is the confusion that appears to surround so much science (and even more science reporting) between statistical associations and causal connections. Doctors, for instance, have stethoscopes, but having a stethoscope doesn't make one a doctor. In certain parts of the world there is a strong statistical association between having malaria and not wearing shoes, but failing to wear shoes is not a cause of malaria.
This worry is strengthened by a second problem about this research, namely its methodology, in this case using a questionnaire to find out what someone ate decades before. One of epidemiology's fundamental problems is what might be called its measurement problem. Part of this revolves around the fact that its data is compiled from a subject's or a surrogate's memories, often from decades before. These memories, however, may be extremely unreliable. Many of us have difficulty remembering what we had for lunch yesterday, let alone remembering what we gave our children to eat years before. The mothers in this study were asked to recall with considerable precision not only what kinds but how much food their daughters ate some 30-35 years previously.
But there is another problem with the fries/breast cancer study and that is its terribly low statistical power. The OR (odds ratio) of increased breast cancer risk from early childhood consumption of French fries was only 1.27. In other words it was barely statistically significant. The press, however, reported the increased risk as 27%, which made the increased risk look enormous to readers who knew little or nothing about statistics. But if the number -- 1.27 -- is placed in perspective, its real lack of significance is apparent. Risk ratios (RR's and OR's) are reported as numbers typically ranging from 1.00 to 15 or 20. RRs under 2 are considered very weak; the statistical association is likely due to chance rather than to their being a real link between, for instance, fries and breast cancer.
Still another problem stems from the fact that the study's authors were unable to provide any explanation as to how French fries would lead to breast cancer some year years latter, just as the authors of that Nature study were unable to explain how nightlights lead to adult myopia. Indeed, lead author Michels, appearing on the Today Show, was unable to provide any answer, when asked, as to how childhood consumption of fries might lead to breast cancer. Epidemiologists refer to this as the biological plausibility test. Epidemiological studies are, after all, simply statistical reports. For them to have any scientific authority they must be corroborated by a biological explanation as to how something happens. The fact that this study can provide no biological plausibility significantly weakens its credibility.
Finally, the fries/breast cancer connection is contradicted by other studies that have examined the link between breast cancer and French fries. In a study published in March of this year, researchers at the Karonlinska Institute in Stockholm looked at the diets of 43,000 women in the Swedish Women's Lifestyle and Health Cohort. The study found no statistically significant connection between the intake of fries and increased risk of breast cancer.
Heads up! ........
Environmentalists recently leaked to the New York Times plans for costly regulations that will significantly raise energy, goods and services prices for both businesses and consumers within a nine-state region of the northeast. The regulations will have adverse impacts far beyond the region, too. These increases will materialize, unless vigorously opposed, as early as this coming fall.
The plan, known as the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI or "Reggie"), would impose a mandatory cap on the carbon dioxide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of locally-based power plants. And it would entail the establishment of a GHG registry and a GHG emissions trading scheme overseen by a regional multi-state body.
No matter how the press emphasizes the illusory benefits of RGGI, the facts speak for themselves: the high costs of RGGI will be borne in vain by regional consumers and businesses because RGGI will be unable to deliver the measurable environmental benefits promised.
Our organization participated in a RGGI public stakeholder meeting that took place in Boston this past May. It was telling how little information had been provided to participating industry stakeholders until that time, and how nervous state regulators became after the ITSSD and some industry participants began questioning RGGI economic and environmental modeling assumptions. Apparently, regulators had assumed a paternalistic posture, thinking they knew what was best for the public. This practice sounds eerily similar to the modus operandi of the federalist European Commission regulators in Brussels.
.....a war against the economy disguised as environmental regulation is occurring.
The Circus Is Coming to Town!
WASHINGTON — Democrats plan to question Supreme Court nominee John Roberts (search) about a disavowed Justice Department memo that critics say led to torture in foreign prisons, top Senate Judiciary Democrat Patrick Leahy (search) of Vermont said Monday.And the clowns are already putting on their makeup.
They want an ruling on a moot issue. The Dems and MSM have essentially nothing to work with, so have to bring back Abu Ghraib, and a private memo in which Roberts said Bob Jones of Bob Jones University should "go soak his head." It is amazing that when the stakes are so high, the tactics are so petty.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
As a leading man.....
You scored 26% Tough, 0% Roguish, 61% Friendly, and 14% Charming!
|You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types. |
Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the Classic Dames Test.
|My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid|
.....I am one of my favorite actors!
Wow! I LIKED this test!
Thanks to Peg for the link.
Friday, August 26, 2005
1. Person who most influenced your musical tastes:
My grandmother who would play opera on the Victrola (hand crank, set the arm with the needle on the record and it amplified directly. How many remember those?) for me when I was very young. My mother who took me to the Indianopolis Symphony when in First Grade. I still remember seeing French Horns for the first time. That was what I later played.
Later my partners in an ill-fated biofeedback and psychology practice introduced me to Alan Parson, Pink Floyd, Boston, Klaatu, Kansas, and the Moody Blues.
2. Top 5 songs to drive to:
either what rolls out of a classical station, or Pink Floyd, "Wish you were here"--the entire album, Pink Floyd, "Division Bell" and "The Wall." Alan Parsons--"Try anything once", Alan Parsons--Turn of a Friendly Card or Ammonia Avenue tied.
3. # of CD's you own:
Since I also have an extensive LP collection, I'll count it, for a total of over 300.
4. Song/CD you were listening to when you lost your virginity:
The music was in the event.
5. Song(s) played at your wedding:
None at any of them.
6. Favorite sad song:
Alan Parsons--"there must be something more" from "Try Anything Once"
7. Song you'd like played at your funeral:
The concert overture to "Tannhauser", and Luther's hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is our God."
I will follow my leader's choice and not specifically tag anyone. If someone choses to take up the meme, leave a comment so we can follow.
Another addition to the blogroll
When the government fails.....
.....to protect our warriors, citizens will.
A smackdown is needed
I am hoping that on appeal this will get a thorough dismissal. I expect it to succeed in California. The only problem is that it will have to get to the Supreme Court, since the appeal will be in the Ninth Circuit, the most notoriously left/liberal circuit in the country.
Stay tuned, I think this is a very important case. Complete success will establish the junk science of environmentalism as the ruling dogma for the future.
Thanks to Drudge for the link.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Order of succession
Get your position here
It would take a mass catastrophe for me to get there, and it would be another if I did.
Boiling eggs IS simple, once you understand the details. First of all, very fresh eggs are bad candidates for boiling. They are almost impossible to peel. Second of all, boiled eggs don’t spoil in the refrigerator as far as bacteria, but after several days the yolks start turning green (You actually can keep boiled eggs at room temperature for several days, but they start turning green fast, and the taste goes downhill. They are still safe. This knowledge is the product of a month of living in a cold-water room with no refrigerator.). The main key is in the boiling process itself. If you are in a hurry, you are guaranteed to have a problem with your boiled eggs. Properly boiling eggs takes at least 25-30 minutes. You’re better off frying or scrambling them if you don’t have time.
To understand why certain things must be done, we need to know something about the structure of eggs. The important parts to us are the iron in the yolk, the sulfur in the whites, the membrane between the white and the shell, and the air pocket. The shell itself is important only in that it may have hidden cracks or weak spots.
Green yolks come from the combining of the iron in the yolk (of which there is a lot) and sulfur which comes from the breakdown of sulfur-containing amino acids in the protein of the yolk. Proteins in the white break down after excessive cooking or long storage. So that is why you don’t want to over cook them or store them too long. It is also why you want to cool eggs rapidly. The cold temperature on the outside of the shell draws the sulfur of the protein away from the yolk which is hotter. When the sulfur is released from the white, it forms hydrogen sulfide, a gas which is the smell of rotten eggs. The cold water on the shell causes the gas to migrate with the temperature gradient to the outside.
The membrane between the shell and the yolk is the key to peeling the egg. When eggs cook the protein of the white coagulates and wants to shrink. If eggs are very fresh, they contain enough water in them that the white cannot shrink, and it remains so close to the membrane that it sticks. After a few days, eggs lose some water through the shell which is porous, and when the white cooks, it shrinks, pulling away from the membrane. If the egg is tightly held in the pan while boiling, the part of the shell that touches the pan will be hotter, and it will also be the lowest point inside the shell. This does not allow the white to shrink away from the membrane, so that even if everything else is right, the white will stick at that point when peeling.
The air pocket is an aid to peeling. It is usually on the large end, though I often see it on the side of the egg when peeling. It gives a place where the shell is already pulled away from the white, so that when the egg is cracked and you start to peel, you have an easy entry to the process. The membrane is actually a double membrane, and it is at the air pocket you can see this. The pieces of shell will be stuck to the membrane like safety glass to its center membrane, but there will be a membrane on the white at the bottom of the pocket.
When peeling the egg, if your hands are wet or you hold the egg under a small stream of water, it will peel easier. It is like lubricating something; the water eases the separation of the membrane and the white. Once you are aware of the membrane, you can see where it does and does not come off. Where it is still present, the egg will have a dull look and not be slippery. Gentle rubbing with a wet thumb or finger will usually roll it up and off the white. Getting your thumb between the white and the membrane is the key to rapidly and easily peeling the egg. You will know it is happening if the shards of egg shell stay together as you are peeling.
So now that you know more than you wanted to about eggs, what is the best way to boil them?
Fill a pan with cold water high enough to cover the eggs completely. Make sure the eggs have some room to roll around a bit in the pan. Place the eggs gently into the pan, and place it on high heat to bring it to a boil. Start with cold water so that the air in the egg has time to escape while expanding. This prevents forcing the white through the cracks in the egg or opening a weak spot that allows the white to escape.
Once the eggs come to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 13-15 minutes. They will cook no faster boiling than simmering, the water temperature is the same. Simmering prevents overheating one particular spot on the egg. The time is important because we need to cook the white enough to properly congeal, but not enough to start breaking down. Less then 13 minutes can produce a slightly orange yolk which is less dry, but can cause the eggs not to peel properly (The whites are not completely shrunk.), and over 15 minutes will cause green yolks.
Once the cooking time is up, the eggs must be rapidly chilled. The main purpose of the speed is to prevent green yolks. The chilling is necessary to peel them cleanly. Remove the eggs from the stove and gently pour off the hot water in the sink, and cover with cold water. Drain this water, and cover again just barely. Now add as much ice as you can to the pan. Either fill the pan or use up your available ice. If you have an ice maker you are in good shape. Otherwise, remove the cubes from the trays ahead of time and store in a bowl to add quickly. The eggs must cool for a minimum of five minutes and ten is better. The chilling firms the yolk and causes it to shrink further from the membrane. Also during cooling the condensation of the steam in the air pocket will create a partial vacuum in the egg that will draw in water to lubricate the separation of the membrane from the white. This is why ten minutes is better. The water is drawn in slowly.
To help peeling, you can gently shake the pan of eggs to crack them before adding the cold water. However, if the cracking deforms the egg shells, when the whites cool, they will be permanently deformed. Not a problem for cooking with the hard-boiled eggs, but may ruin their appearance for deviled eggs and canapés.
To peel the eggs, sharply rap the large end against the side of the sink to create an area of shattered shell. You can pinch this up to make an opening into the shell for peeling. I do not crack the entire egg. I have found that by pushing with my thumb away from me, I will usually remove larger pieces of shell at a time, and they will stay together better. As mentioned above, a wet hand and/or a small stream of water will ease the process. Once the egg is peeled, make sure all the little fragments of shell are removed (They can be as fine as sand.). A quick rinse will do this.
If you have done it correctly, the hard-boiled egg will have a firm but still slightly soft textured white and the yolk will be perfectly yellow with no green. The taste will be light and not overly “eggy”.
I have tried a suggestion from a professional chef--put the eggs in water and bring them to a boil, then set the pan off the heat and let them set for about half an hour. When I tried it, I got green yolks.
Put about 1-2 Tablespoons of salt in the water. If an egg is cracked, this prevents the white from running out, because it denatures the surface of the white to solid protein, sealing the egg.
 Nutritionally eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of good stuff you can eat – high protein, high iron, and high lecithin, which is used to make acetyl-choline, the main neurotransmitter in the brain. The cholesterol has given eggs a bad rap. The amounts are many times less than your body manufactures daily, and is of concern only to those with very high cholesterol in the blood. It is not even in a form to be readily used by the body.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Addition to Blogroll
Fixing things III
However, I would submit that homelessness such as is seen in this otherwise lovely city [San Francisco, bk], is a reflection of an underlying cancer that is threatening to destroy our civilization from the core. This homelessness is a celebration of Rights without responsibility, a measure of solipsistic hedonism; the triumph of the individual over the family and over the shared culture. It is interesting that the left, with its historical collectivist ideology, should now support such atomized tribalism, but I suppose that is an inevitable outgrowth of their philosophical outlook. If all of reality is a construct and any construct supported by the power structure is a priori oppressive, eventually true individual freedom will be achieved when we are all free to be homeless and substance addicted.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Madison was not trying......
Founders' Quote Daily
"A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species." --James Madison.....to be prescient. However, he succeeded.
A great Supreme Court Justice.....
Federalist Patriot No. 05-26
"And it is no less true, that personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice." --Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution (1833)......stated the current problem.
I think he believed the courts would keep their integrity. Too bad they didn't.
Madison would be astounded....
Federalist Patriot No. 05-26
"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. ...[T]hat alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own." --James Madison.....to see what government does to property today.
Monday, August 22, 2005
My friend, the AnalPhilosopher, has a very nice post on the ID vs. evolution debate. Here is an exerpt:
Many of those who oppose ID are dogmatic in their insistence that science provides only naturalistic explanations. I have seen no convincing argument that it must (or should) be so limited; and I've seen at least one plausible argument (by Richard Swinburne) that it should not be so limited—that the standard methods used by scientists not only do not lead to atheism, but lead to theism. Not that this clinches the matter, but the word "science" means knowledge, not naturalistic knowledge. To assert that science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic explanations is to beg the question against those who believe otherwise. It is conceptual legislation.
God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three in one, is one of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian religion and is stated in the Athanasian Creed. As stated it is a paradox, because it states that God, a single entity, is also and at the same time three distinct entities. Additionally there is a second very deep problem, that of the Son who is God Incarnate as human. Both of these problems have been pursued at some depth by Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher, and in my religious archive there are still operative links to his posts on the Trinity. Unfortunately, I printed his series on Incarnation but never linked to it. Bill is trying to solve the problems in good analytic philosophical style by trying to find some way in which these two paradoxes can be resolved, or barring that show conclusively that they cannot be resolved.
In my style, which has been validly called avoiding the problem by my blogospheric Godfather, the AnalPhilosopher, I want to approach this in a way that removes the paradox but also does not fit the Athanasian Creed.
[WARNING, heresy may follow.]
I want to start with a milking stool. There is a particular reason for this, a milking stool is a seat with three legs. Generally it is built quite ruggedly, with the seat being about two inches thick, and the legs up to two inches in diameter. Often they are set as tenons into holes in the bottom of the seat and without spreaders, the whole thing being quite solid and fairly short.
What I would like to do is to reinterpret the concept of the Trinity as being God and His manifestations to us. In so doing we will need to imagine a milking stool that has one leg of the three made from a different wood. In my case, I like the entire stool from white oak, a most hard and durable wood, with the off-leg made of hickory because it is also hard, though not as hard as white oak, and very resilient. What I have done is remove the three distinct entities requirement from the concept. It is one entity viewed three different ways.
The seat represents God in His unknowable parts, and the legs those parts made manifest to us. The first oak leg is God as we see him working in the world directly, or in the case of those like me who do not believe He works against the laws of nature, as we imagine him to be in general (only a small part of the whole, which we cannot comprehend.) The second oak leg is the Holy Ghost, or God as he works directly on us as individuals. The third leg, the hickory one, is the Son. Since I do not believe in Jesus as divine, I think of it as equally strong but different. It is the strongest union of the Holy Ghost and man that has occurred in history. Or to put a different way, Jesus was the most open channel to the ideas that God thought mankind should have, or the greatest of the prophets.
Perhaps we are like the story of the blind men looking at an elephant, where each could perceive one part of the beast, but none could conceive the whole. So we also see God as
a being, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son, but have an intuition that it is all one though we cannot perceive the oneness correctly.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Traditionally, witnesses taking the stand in court are sworn in by placing their hand on the Bible (search)......means exactly that.
But when Muslims in Guilford County, N.C., tried to donate copies of the Koran (search) for courtroom use, judges turned them down.
Chief District Court Judge Joseph Turner (search) says taking an oath on the Koran is not allowed by North Carolina state law, which specifies that witnesses shall place their hands on the “holy scriptures,” which he interprets as the Christian Bible.
“This was the first time that we had a judge … going on record and stating unilaterally what is a holy scripture and what is not — what we believe to be a violation of the establishment clause,” said Arsalan Iftikhar of CAIR.
Their case is solid, according to one Duke University (search) law professor.
“I have absolutely no doubt that higher courts, if it gets there, will say that persons of Muslim faith can swear on a Koran rather than a Christian Bible,” said Erwin Chemerinsky. “The case law is so clear here that a person doesn’t even have to swear on a Bible to be a witness so long as they’re willing to promise to tell the truth.”
Stopping radical Jihadist Islam does not mean forbidding the belief in Islam. The whole point of the exercise is to come as close as possible to insuring that the truth is stated in open court. I consider the judge to be personally determining what is sacred and what is not. Considering the extreme reverence that most Muslims appear to place on the Koran, he is a fool not to allow it in the courtroom.
This is a clear case of conservative judicial activism vs. liberal activism that the conservatives complain about.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
New Sisyphus is back!
Don't quit having fun quite yet.
Is there a scientific basis for the basic claim of health promotion that, for example, the two leading causes of death -- cancer and heart disease -- are the products of unhealthy lifestyles and that changing these lifestyles can prevent these diseases? Or are the promises of lifestyle change based on nothing more than hype?If you want to quit smoking, eat less and lose weight, exercise more, etc., then by all means do so, FOR YOUR OWN REASONS. Don't expect to see a payoff in more years alive than your ancestors. However, they may be more pleasant due to overall better health.
The answer, which many will find surprising, is that after over fifty years of international data there is not good scientific support for the claim that lifestyle changes prevent diseases or increase longevity. Take, for example, one of the most extensive and publicized efforts in health promotion of all time, the Mr Fit (Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial) which was specifically designed to establish the truth of health promotion by showing that heart disease and cancer could be reduced through reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking. After sixteen years of study, the intervention groups, which had received extensive assistance with exercise, changing diet and smoking cessation, had results which were not significantly better than the group that had received none of these "health promotion" interventions. Indeed, the intervention group, despite lower rates of smoking, actually had higher rates of lung cancer. What MR Fit showed was precisely how lifestyle interventions failed to reduce mortality from multifactoral diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Nor was Mr Fit a scientific fluke. Consider the Framingham study. Begun in 1950 as a longitudinal investigation of the causes of cardiovascular disease, some 5,209 men and women aged 30-59 were followed for 30 years on the assumption that those who were thinnest would have significantly lower risks for heart disease. But in 1979 when three of the study's lead researchers published their data it was found that for men the highest risk -- that is the worst life expectancy -- was for the thinnest men; men who were 25-40% fatter than the ideal weight were living the longest. For women, mortality was elevated only for the very thin and the very fat. The recent Centers for Disease Control study on obesity and mortality produced similar results.
Go read the rest of the article to see how PC corrupts nutrition science.
Is it possible......
Iraqi officials say Saddam faces execution if he is convicted of crimes committed by his regime during a series of trials expected to start this fall. European Union countries have distanced themselves from legal proceedings against Saddam, refusing to provide forensic and other assistance, because they oppose capital punishment. [emphasis mine, bk].....to try countries for obstruction of justice?
I know it is not, but I think we need to provide some equivalent sanctions for these self-righteous bastards. Or better yet, charge them with being accessories for their roles in oil-for-food.
Sunday Notes 08/14/2005
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”--- Matthew 22: 15bFrom an article in the Weekly Standard daily online edition comes this quote:
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA ("ELCA") is the nation's largest Lutheran denomination, with nearly 5 million members. The ELCA's highest legislative body is its Churchwide Assembly, which convenes every two years. The ninth such Churchwide Assembly has just ended. Yesterday, the Assembly adopted a resolution calling upon the ELCA's members, congregations, and agencies to "participate in the churchwide campaign for peace--Peace Not Walls: Stand for Justice in the Holy Land. . . ."The article focused on the implied inaccuracies in both it and the actual inaccuracies in a supporting article in the Lutheran magazine, the import of which was to support the Palestinians unqualifiedly at the expense of the Israelis. I do not want to discuss the content of this article, but rather the existence of the resolution itself and other related phenomena.
In a nutshell, this resolution should never have been brought up for consideration. It has become very common for churches today (or rather their leadership) to become involved in politics. The ELCA, of which I am a member, has seen its Presiding Bishop, Bishop Hansen, meet with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, when he was in office, and with Kofi Annan. There is no doubt in my mind that he used his position as the head of one of the largest mainline Protestant denominations, and one of the few that is growing, to obtain these audiences. The implication was that he was speaking for five million parishioners. The implication of the resolution quoted above is that it speaks for five million parishioners as well, since it was the product of the Churchwide Assembly. As the article points out, there are sufficient grounds to suspect it actually does not reflect the church as a whole, when its full implications are considered.
Another example that, as we shall see, is the inverse of the above, is the passage of the rule a few years ago by the Kansas State Board of Education, that evolution would not be taught in public schools. In this case it was pressure from religious conservatives forcing their particular doctrines into the government-run school system. Extreme forms of this are the existence of Shiria law in Iran, its former existence in Afghanistan, and its current promulgation in Canada.
Returning to the verse from Matthew, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” There are two important extensions from this, do NOT give to God that which is Caesar’s, and do NOT give to Caesar that which is God’s. To make explicit the message, in this passage Caesar is the proxy for all of government and its functions, and God is, of course God, but also all that is part of religious belief and practice. So restating slightly we can say, do not bring politics into religion and do not bring religion into politics. We will discuss this last statement in depth, it does not mean politics should have no morality.
Our first example, renders unto Caesar, that which is God’s. (Biblically I always think in King James language; it was what I was raised on.) Bishop Hansen is not the only cleric afflicted with this problem. It is common in the leadership of the Council of Churches, and the Roman Catholic Church (not just the Pope, but many US Cardinals and Bishops). The example takes the membership of the church in total, which is a thing of God’s, and places it in the service of politicians and activists looking for support for a cause. In the process, it abrogates the free expression of the persons represented, the vote not withstanding. They voted on a desire or a wish, but the document that expresses that desire or wish, was political in nature, and deceptive. It even addresses what is a secular, not a religious, problem—the political situation in Israel.
The other examples render unto God that which is Caesar’s. They abrogate publicly debated and established law with religious doctrine. God is now in direct control of the government, for at least part, if not all, of its functions. To some believers this is a desirable state of affairs. I would argue it is a violation of God’s wish for us to practice our morality freely and voluntarily—a destruction of free will.
What is the role of God and religion vis-à-vis Caesar? It is the guidance of the people individually to express themselves collectively in a moral way. If we are to have free will, we must be free to understand God’s message for ourselves. We may use our churches and their leadership for guidance, but not for pronouncement. If a pastor or priest urges a political action from the pulpit, or publishes a political statement in the name of the church, he has erred. He has the right to present his personal position, as an individual, but not to state the collective political will of the church.
The church may state that its doctrines consider some event or set of events to be wrong or evil. They may state that their belief does not support given legalities. But they do not have the right to propose specific remedies in the name of the organization, because the remedies are political not religious. If members of a church have a common belief in the immorality of a practice, it is their right to voluntarily abstain from that practice. It does not give them the right to enforce that abstinence on others of different belief. They may campaign as individuals or members of a secular, political organization to create changes in law, but not in the name of the church. That they are motivated by religious doctrine does not impugn the validity of their efforts. All of us have a base of belief that provides our moral stance. In the world of politics, all such stances are equal, as long as they do not violate a common moral base, e.g., do not kill, steal, or lie.
Though I would never advocate the diminishing of churches and denominations—they have far too much value, as I have written in the past—we must remember that they are human institutions led by humans, even as they are inspired by God. It is in the nature of institutions to want to increase their scope and power, and it is in the nature of leaders to do the same. This is true of both the secular and religious world. The politics of the town council are the same as the politics of the local parishes, and the politics of the Federal Government have their parallels in the politics of the nationwide denominational leadership. It is our task to keep these institutions and leaders from over-reaching and to remain devoted to building the faith and guiding the faithful. For if we don’t, eventually we will have neither the political freedom that permits religious freedom, nor the freely-given and joyful worship of God.
Separation of church and state not only means that the state must leave the church alone, it also means the church must leave the state alone.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
And thus we get......
Federalist Patriot No. 05-25
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." --Thomas Jefferson......the alliance of the rich-by-inheritance with the poor seeking entitlement.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
The seventh day of the week as a day of rest extends in Judeo-Christianity all the way back to the beginning in the Genesis stories, "On the seventh day, God rested." It then became a commandment, "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy." Thus a day of rest also became a day of worship. From sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday practicing Jews rested and worshipped God (Yahweh). As time went on, and cultural conflict arose, the Torah and then the Talmud defined more and more precisely what was work and what was not.
When Christianity arose, the early Christians attempted to observe both the Sabbath and their own day of worship, Sunday, the day that Jesus arose from the dead. This became more and more burdensome, until finally they dropped the observance of the Sabbath. Even today, the Sabbath is sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, not Sunday. Like the Jews, Christians for years had very defined ideas of what was work and what wasn't. They were a bit more flexible, but even in the 19th century, good Christian farmers took care of their livestock before sunup on Sunday and after sundown. There were also blue laws on the books enforcing Sunday closings of businesses.
As time has gone on, and our culture has become more secular, the blue laws have quietly been disappearing. Some remainders can still be seen in the laws concerning the consumption of alcohol on Sunday.
Over time the day of rest became a day of worship and now appears to be heading towards becoming just another day off from work, but not necessarily a day of rest. From a six-day work week, we now have a general five-day work week, and it appears to beheading for a four-day work week. In some computer shops three-day and four-day work weeks alternate for twelve-hour shifts.
So for many of us, Saturday and Sunday (the Sabbath and its Christian substitute) have become days to catch up on what we didn't get done during the week, or to do the longer projects, yard work, house repairs, etc. Some of us run side businesses duing that time or work extra jobs. If we do something that resembles rest, e.g., go to a ball game or eat out, it requires that someone else work on Saturday or Sunday to supply the activity. However, those who work on the weekend are generally given another day or days off during the week.
Yet, we actually do need a Sabbath or its substitute. Activities in either synagogoue or church can fall into the classification of types of sin and our remorse for them. In actuality, an examination of that which we have done and whether it is sinful or not. It also provides a renewal of the community of people we worship with, and a chance to express our faith and practice its rituals with others.
As for the day of rest part, that seems to be provided usually by our work schedules. Rest is essential, but many of us remain busy seven days a week. If there is a change of activity for one or two of those days, it might provide mental rest, at least. But there are many changes of activity that do not provide mental rest, just mental stress in a different format. In such a case, to have at least a few hours in worship becomes even more important.
To remember the Sabbath is to give us a much needed mental, emotional, and physical rest and opportunity to heal.
Friday, August 12, 2005
This is exciting
Thanks to New Scientist for the link.
Even our friends.....
.....may not really be our friends, except in our imaginations.
IT GETS NO CLEARER THAN THIS
Pape-al Fallibility: It's Not All About Us
By Michael J. Totten
Islamists have killed thousands of Westerners over the past couple of years -- thousands in New York City alone. But they have killed far more of their own fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, and too many other places to list. The Terror War, or whatever we ought to call it, is not about us. It's a war waged by totalitarian Islamists against the rest of the world. We aren't targets because of what we do or even because of who we are. We are targets because we are not them. They hate everybody and we're part of "everybody."
So many Westerners, liberal and conservative alike, are only interested in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world at the points of inter-civilizational contact, when and where its problems intersect with us and become our problems. It's understandable, but it's blinkered. Islamism exists independently of the West, not merely in reaction to it, and it would continue to exist if America and the rest of the West did not. It's not all about us.
Pat Buchanan's American Conservative magazine recently published an interview with University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape:"The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland...Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us." [Emphasis added.]
So Pape thinks Islamic fundamentalism isn't the problem. Foreign occupation is. Therefore, no foreign occupation...no suicide terrorism.
It's total nonsense.
First of all, let's get one thing out of the way. "Terrorism," suicidal or otherwise, isn't the enemy. Totalitarian Islamists are the enemy. They won't go away just because Western troops go away. Terrorism is merely the tactic they use against Westerners because they're too militarily incompetent to use anything else.
The overwhelming majority of Islamist killers aren't terrorists. They are soldiers and members of state-sanctioned death squads. Most victims of Islamists violence aren't Westerners...they're the Islamists' fellow Muslims. It's easy to forget this -- or not even be aware of it -- if you aren't interested in what happens inside the Muslim world when George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and the rest in the West aren't involved.
The Islamist regime in Sudan has killed more than a million people all by itself in the Christian south and in the Muslim region of Darfur. It would take tens of thousands of terrorists to do worse than that.
But the Islamists in Algeria gave it a hell of shot. More than 100,000 were killed during the past ten years in that country's civil war between radical Salafi fundamentalists and literally everyone else.
Iran's Islamist regime killed its way into power and kills to remain in power. Afghanistan's former Taliban regime likewise killed its way into power and killed to remain in power.
Naturally Islamists want to push Westerners out of what they think of as their part of the world. That's one part of their plan. But it's only one part. Westerners and other non-Muslims are also attacked when they get in the way of Islamist imperialism.
Hamas, for example, does not wish merely to liberate the West Bank and Gaza from Israeli occupation. They intend to conquer Israel itself -- Tel Aviv, Haifa, all of it.
Jemaah Islamiyah hopes to create an Islamist "superstate" in South Asia called Daulah Islamiyah -- and that superstate would include the non-Muslim countries of Thailand, Cambodia, and Australia. These are the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists who murdered almost 200 hundred Australian tourists in Bali before the Iraq invasion had even begun.
This is the same jihad that rages in Thailand where more than 600 people have been killed by terrorists and in clashes with the police.
Iran's Lebanese proxy militia Hezbollah fought a guerilla war against Israeli occupation. But they also killed hundreds of people in Argentina, a nation that has never in its history occupied Muslim lands or fought a war against a Muslim country.
Spanish police found a bomb on the high-speed railway connecting Madrid and Seville that was almost identical to those used to kill hundreds in Madrid's train stations last year. This bomb was planted on the tracks after Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq.
Meanwhile Britain's political party Hizb'ut Tahrir, as the BBC put it, "promotes racism and anti-Semitic hatred, calls suicide bombers martyrs, and urges Muslims to kill Jewish people." The party is banned in most European countries, and for good reason. They not only want to see Western countries withdraw from Muslim lands. They want to Islamicize Europe and turn the West (along with the rest of the world) into a global Islamist theocracy.
Terrorism is not about us. It's about them and their totalitarian designs.
It also is not about Islam. At least it's not about Islam per se. It's about the radical fascist (and counter intuitively modern) Wahhabi and Salafi sects of Islam. A certain kind of conservative believes any and all Muslims are ideologically wired for jihad against Western infidels. I suppose it's easy to believe that if, like Robert Pape, they only pay attention to Islam when it violently collides with the West.
Intra-Muslim conflicts tell us as much about what it all means as conflicts between Muslims and the West. Take Iran, for instance. The regime is Islamist. "Death to America" is one of its rallying cries. But the Iranian "street" prefers "Death to the Ayatollahs." Few people in the world are as pro-American as the average Iranian. Those who want nothing more than to hang the mullahs from cranes are Muslims, too. They aren't driven to jihad against the West. They are gravitating toward the West, and specifically toward the U.S.
The Sunni Muslims in Iraqi Kurdistan also are among the most pro-American people on Earth. Their only "jihad" is against the Baathists and the theocratic fascists -- the very same people who just so happen to be our enemies.
Moderate Muslims aren't an urban legend imagined by politically correct liberals. They already make up the absolute majority in some parts of the world. They are our friends as well as our allies.
Robert Pape thinks we should withdraw from the region completely and "secure our interests in oil," as he put it, from a distance. If we take his advice we won't end the threat from our enemies. We'll give them military victories for free. And we'll throw our liberal Muslim friends to the Islamist wolf. It's the most disgraceful and despicable thing we could possibly do, not to mention one of the dumbest. Empowered liberal-democratic Muslims with guns will defeat the Islamists in the end. We can't do it without them, and they can't do it if they're languishing in mass graves and dungeons.
Michael J. Totten is a TCS columnist. Visit his daily Web log at http://michaeltotten.com.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Fixing Things II
I took a quick survey of my Korean students a couple days ago, asking them whether they gave to the beggars who routinely roam Seoul's subway system. As I expected, most of them said, "Yeah, sometimes."Kevin's comment contains much of what I was saying, that many of the homeless don't want help. George does not sound like a psychotic, he simply has found a different way to survive in our society, one that we are not comfortable with. It was also obvious that Kevin had contact with many that would be considered mentally or emotionally impaired(MEI). In the cases of the MEI, we see something better and want to have them have it also. But the problem is in motivating them to want it. It would be enormous work on their part, work they might not be capable of and certainly don't see the value of.
That "sometimes" exemplifies the confusion you're talking about. There's no established rule for helping these folks out. Sometimes you see an especially pitiable case; sometimes you see a potentially dangerous individual. Sometimes you're moved to help; sometimes you're not.
When I used to work in Washington, DC, which has a huge homeless problem, I would occasionally sit down and share lunch with a guy named George, a lanky black man who liked to talk about anything and everything. Having worked with the homeless before, I felt comfortable around George. I rarely gave him money; we most often shared meals and conversation. George was cheerfully honest, too. I'd ask him, "So watcha been up to?" and he'd cackle, "Hustlin'!" I liked George a lot.
But during that same period of time, I walked past plenty of beggars who were asking for quarters or dollars. I've had some of them leer at me as I averted my eyes. I had one angry homeless woman refuse the money I offered her as she stared coldly at me.
What do you do in such cases? What's the rule? There's only one I can think of: either you make the choice to commit yourself full-time to the care of these people, or you continue in your "sometimes" ways. I, like many other folks, have chosen the latter path. The sheer enormity of these people's problems can't be balanced with my personal plans and hopes.
This realization isn't comforting. It's a recognition of powerlessness, a sort of cosmic shrug in the face of human misery. I'm not proud of the basic choice I've made, which dooms me to practice a half-assed compassion, but I can't see any way around it without sacrificing other, equally meaningful pursuits.
So I'll end this comment on one enormous question mark.
What can we do? What should we be doing?
But we have to be careful of falling into the liberal trap, that wanting to help gives us the right to force our help onto the victims. Just because we think our vision of a better life is right, does not make it right for someone else. The difficulty of the homeless is that to us, what is self-evident, to them is neigh-on impossible if not impossible.
We have no right to force them to accept our vision, but if it is too removed from their vision, it has no meaning. In many instances the responses we use are the most appropriate. For those we think would benefit, provide a meal or a item of physical comfort, e.g. clothes. My own philosophy says never give them money. Give them time, such as Kevin gave George. But many of them want to hate us or don't want contact with us. We have to allow that, regardless of the pain it causes us.
Unless one is a full-time social worker with the homeless, we should accept that we cannot solve their problems. The help we give, when accepted, should be such that it doesn't enforce their patterns, e.g. money when what they need is food. If they don't wish to accept it, honor their decision. Despite appearances, they need to be treated with the dignity of autonomous human beings. We may not agree with their decisions or thought processes, but to ignore their expressed wishes is to rob them of part of their humanity. Believe me, despite how we consider their decisions and thinking, they know when they are being patronized.
Now let us turn to the comment from Anonymous:
That was me, Bill, and I could have really used a hand at that moment...The longer I look at this comment, the less I like it. Anonymous is claiming to be a psychotic, homeless person at one time, and at the time he/she was homeless and psychotic, they would have taken help. And now that he/she is healed, she/he looks back on the event and says that a helping hand would have been accepted. If Anonymous is really an ex-homeless person, then they are still not healed and being quite dishonest with themselves.
I will flat say that a true ex-homeless person would not have stated it in that way. I think the statement is a fake, an attempt to counter my arguments with some emotional appeal. Just as the prior Anonymous was all for helping despite the victim, so this Anonymous wants us to think that all victims want help. Sorry, but Kevin's comment shows quite clearly that many of them do not.
Decent people want to help those who appear in distress to them. But unless the object of help wants the help, all of our good wishes and desires will be to no avail. If we force our help on them, it will do no good. We have to live with the pain of our frustration. It's part of living.
UPDATE: One of the things we do as humans is to empathize or imagine what we would feel in the same situation and then attribute it to another person. This works quite well when the backgrounds and histories of the two people have much in common. But when there are large discrepancies, our empathy is mis-guided and most likely in error. The other person often does not feel the way we imagine them to. When we act as if our empathy is valid without a reality check, then we experience the kinds of things that Kevin described, and wonder why our efforts to do good are resented or even resisted or fought.
Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs
It seems as if you can't turn anywhere without hearing that industry is destroying science these days. Former editors of the New England Journal of Medicine allege that pharmaceutical companies are perverting health science. The National Institutes of Health have instituted strict new ethics rules that forbid researchers dirtying their hands by collaborating with industry. And at the end of July the American Journal of Public Health devoted an entire supplement to essays alleging that industry was somehow distorting the legal and regulatory processes through a series of laws and judgments.Read the entire article to understand how and why this is occurring and why it will kill the goose.
All these allegations have a similar purpose: to delegitimize industry's involvement in the scientific process. The result, if they are heeded, will be a de facto nationalization of basic science. As I show in a new paper for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, that would be philosophically unjustified, would ignore financial reality and would ultimately lead to disaster for American science.
Just remember that Thomas Edison, who had around 1000 patents, did it for the money.
Yet another unintended consequence
Now the airlines are in danger of not having enough fuel. Nevermind the high prices, it might not be there at any price. Please make sure you thank an environmentalist. With no new refineries in the last 20 years, no domestic oil production of consequence, and overdemand for natural gas because it is "clean", we now have a crisis coming.
Nobody is stating the obvious
EL PASO, Texas — Texas has become the fourth state to have a non-white majority population, the U.S. Census Bureau (search) said Thursday, a trend driven by a surging number of Hispanics moving to the state.When the majority of a population is composed of immigrants that arrived in a short time, the culture breaks down that attracted them in the first place, since they are not assimilated. They have no idea what it takes to maintain it, and the multiculturalists would let them live in their ignorance.
According to the population estimates based on the 2000 Census, about 50.2 percent of Texans are now minorities. In the 2000 Census, minorities made up about 47 percent of the population in the second-largest state.
Texas joins California, New Mexico and Hawaii as states with majority-minority populations — with Hispanics the largest group in every state but Hawaii, where it is Asian-Americans.
Five other states — Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York and Arizona — aren't far behind, with about 40 percent minorities.
Public policy analysts said these states and the country as a whole need to bring minority education and professional achievement to the levels of whites. Otherwise, these areas risk becoming poorer and less competitive.
Unless something changes, whole states are headed for a welfare and political disaster, while both parties court the hispanic vote by not enforcing our borders and providing a proper immigration policy.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Whose children are they.......
David Parker (search) of Lexington, Mass., is scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 21 for asking his son's public school to provide parental notification before discussing homosexuality with the 6-year old..........the parents' or the state's?
The actual charge is criminal trespassing. But the real issue is whether parents or schools will control the teaching of values to children.
The state now wishes to impose probation upon Parker, along with other restrictions — such as banning him from Lexington school properties without prior written permission from the superintendent of schools. This means he is barred from places to vote, as well as school committee and parent-teacher meetings.
Otherwise stated, schools are usurping the parental role of teaching personal values to children. They are not acting as educators but as guardians, "in loco parentis" (in the place of a parent). Some schools clearly consider this function to be their right, even over parental objections. Thus, Estabrook defends its "right" to teach Parker's son to accept same-sex marriages.
It is time this kind of thing was stopped. School administrations have become more and more overbearing, arrogant, and destructive of parental control. Do not kid yourself, in many, if not most public school systems, the school considers it a duty to indoctrinate our children with ideas contrary to ours. They deliberately tell children all the ways and reasons to report their parents to social services. At the same time when a child has real needs for support, they are never there. I speak from experience.
Also notice that they control his right to vote which has no relationship to the problem at hand.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Apparently, even lawyers.........
Others, however, are raising the question in a more temperate way. Cathy Young writes in Reason, for example, that:
"A candidate's or nominee's ideology should be fair game whether it's religious or secular in nature, whether it's rooted in conservative Catholicism or liberal feminism."
I think this is a legitimate point deserving a fair response.
In the end, however, I come down with Garvey and Coney -- where a Catholic judge believes his participation in a particular case would constitute formal cooperation with evil, the judge should recuse himself. The possibility that a judge (or justice) might have to recuse himself in occasional cases, however, does not strike me as a legitimate reason to deny the judge a seat on the bench.
If I were a senator, I would therefore confine my questions to Judge Roberts about his faith to the following:Do you believe that a judge should recuse himself if his participation in a particular case would constitute formal cooperation with evil? Would you recuse yourself under such circumstances?I'm inclined to think that one should not ask Judge Roberts whether he believes reviewing death penalty, abortion or euthanasia cases would constitute formal cooperation with evil. Even hot button constitutional issues are often highly fact specific. It would be unfair and unworkable to ask a judge to prejudge every possible variant of every issue that might come up in a long career. Indeed, given Judge Roberts' youth and the ever-evolving complexity of society, he is likely to face moral issues during his tenure on the court that are not on anybody's radar screen today. What matters is the general principle.
..........don't read the Constitution as written.
It very clearly states in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
In addition, his question is about something that is Judge Roberts' problem. The obvious fear is that Judge Roberts would rule according to his faith and not precedent. But we don't ask secular judges if they would rule according to some secular doctrine. This is simply another form of religious persecution buried under a big blanket of bullshit.
A perfect example.....
LOS ANGELES — A California company has developed a high-tech alternative to bomb-sniffing dogs, but recent cuts to mass transit security funding may prevent some bus and subway systems from taking advantage of the technology.
It’s called the Siegma System (search), a suitcase-sized device that has the ability to sniff out the chemicals associated with homemade bombs in as little as 15 seconds.
The device works by showering an object in neutrons and measures the gamma rays that are emitted in response, determining what, if any, explosives are present.
The devices cost around $300,000 each. Among the first transit agencies to purchase the system is the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (search) in Philadelphia, which purchased two of the devices.
But while mass transit advocates see new devices such as the Siegma System as a way to thwart terrorist attacks, they point out that the technology comes with a high price tag — and they say that Washington needs to help.[emphasis mine, bk]
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the aviation industry has received more than $18 billion in federal funds to upgrade and enact security measures, while the nation’s bus and train systems have received around $250 million.
Congress had been moving toward cutting around $50 million from the mass transit security budget for 2006 but lawmakers began to reconsider the move following the July 7 London terror attacks.
.....of the problem of federal dependency.
The cities with mass transit systems want the rest of the country to pay for their security needs. No suggestion that they raise fares to obtain the equipment that would make their passengers safe. And of course the passengers don't think they should have to pay for safety, it's the government's responsibility.
And where do they think the money comes from?
(Shhh.... don't ask that question. It's magic.)
Monday, August 08, 2005
Victims of War....
[Steven] Vincent and [Theo] Van Gogh, the art critic and the filmmaker, may have been unlikely casualties, but casualties they nevertheless are....aren't just soldiers, refugees, and civilian casualties of an attack.
In this war, casualties are not limited to soldiers on any designated battlefield. If an art critic and a filmmaker can become casualties of this war for no more reason than expressing a point of view, anyone can become a casualty of this war anywhere.
This isn't Bush's fault or Blair's fault. We are at war with a bloodthirsty, implacably cruel enemy that brooks no deviation at all from its narrow, inhuman beliefs. This enemy makes no distinction between military and civilian. This enemy wants to engulf the world in war. It wants to capture the world for its god. And it hopes the examples of Steven Vincent and Theo Van Gogh and the countless others it has so ruthlessly murdered will frighten the rest of us into submission.
It is up to us to prove this enemy wrong.
the selection is from TCS, "Vincent And Van Gogh"
Thursday, August 04, 2005
The alarm keeps ringing.....
Ms. Fallaci speaks in a passionate growl: "Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty." Such words--"invaders," "invasion," "colony," "Eurabia"--are deeply, immensely, Politically Incorrect; and one is tempted to believe that it is her tone, her vocabulary, and not necessarily her substance or basic message, that has attracted the ire of the judge in Bergamo (and has made her so radioactive in the eyes of Europe's cultural elites).
.....is anyone waking up?
And since when......
Founders' Quote Daily
"It is a wise rule and should be fundamental in a government disposed to cherish its credit, and at the same time to restrain the use of it within the limits of its faculties, 'never to borrow a dollar without laying a tax in the same instant for paying the interest annually, and the principal within a given term; and to consider that tax as pledged to the creditors on the public faith.'" --Thomas Jefferson....has government ever been wise?
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Call to arms
Here in the USA we are not as badly off — in some cases the First Amendment still manages to protect the right to voice an opinion — but the forces of Multiculturalism and Political Correctness still tighten the screws on most sensible discourse. The situation is so severe that major national media do not dare to call this war what it is: the Third Wave of the Great Islamic Jihad.
This suppression of meaningful discussion has allowed the Great Jihad to enjoy success within our midst. Because dissent on such issues is not allowed, taxpayers in Britain have to fund Islamic education in the schools, and Swedish police are not allowed to release rape statistics based on the ethnicity of the perpetrators. Islam is a Religion of Peace, and scrutinizing its tenets and practices is — horror of horrors! — racism. Our toxic tolerance looks the other way while Muslim women are suppressed, straitjacketed, abused, and even killed, all in the name of the most noble of ideals.
So what can be done to hinder this suicidal juggernaut?
Since subversion brought on the current crisis, the time has come for counter-subversion. The duty of a warblogger, as I have said before, is to storm and occupy the national conversation. We have to subvert the dominant paradigm.
We can begin by asking questions, dangerous, politically incorrect questions. We must ask them forcefully and repeatedly until they become part of the collective dialogue. Here are some examples, and you can add your own:
-Is Islam inherently dangerous, or just its most radical forms?
-Are journalists aiding and abetting our enemies in the way they cover stories and utilize terrorist sources?
-Is the UN part of the problem rather than part of the solution?
-Does the destruction of common values by a degraded popular culture play right into the hands of the Great Jihad?
-Why are we so reluctant to tackle the Saudi and Iranian problems?
To jump-start this conversation we have to be willing to ignore the nagging inner voice that tells us, You can’t say that! We have to inure ourselves to the label “racist”. We have to expect that we will be called “tools of the neocons”. We have to learn to brush away the insults.
If we want to succeed in this fight, we have to be subversive. And subversion is a thankless task.
It’s time to take back the culture.
Before it is permanently lost.
Some final words from Steven Vincent
Words matter. They matter desperately and their misuse may cost us our own freedom.
The status of women in any given society matters.
Multiculturalism tolerates and promotes evil.
Islam is tribal and adolescent.
Supporters of the war must take the reins of the conversation from those who are leading it down the path of “insurgency” and move the conversation toward the truth: this is a mission of liberation.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I was filled with feelings of compassion, pity, and a desire to help him. Then it hit me, he doesn't want helped. He doesn't want fixed. He doesn't think he is broken. Even though from my position he looks desparately in need of help, he doesn't think so and wouldn't accept it if offered.
People like him make us feel uncomfortable. I think it is because their behavior is so different from what we usually expect that we feel we have no clue as to what they might do next. Indeed, that is true--I would not have predicted he would jump up and down facing the traffic. So we want to change them, really to make ourselves more comfortable. It is not a safety thing, most people like him are harmless. They may talk to themselves; they may even verbally accost strangers, but rarely, if at all do they harm others.
And so I realize that this is the problem with do-gooders, regardless of political stripe. They are determined to fix what THEY think is broken, regardless of whether it needs or wants to be fixed or not. Then they are always surprised at the resentment that follows. Worse yet, do-gooders always think they have the right to appropriate someone elses means for their ends.
We need to spend more time saying, "IT AIN'T BROKE. QUIT TRYING TO FIX IT."
And yet another quiz
You appear tough and cold, but deep inside you are a hopeless romantic and highly motivated by your emotions and sense of honor and ethics.
Take the Star Trek Quiz
Monday, August 01, 2005
The Brits have it right
British Transport Police have been targeting specific ethnic groups for "intelligence-led" stop-and-searches as part of their heightened security measures.Thanks to Drudge for the link.
BTP Chief Constable Ian Johnston said that his officers would not "waste time searching old white ladies".
OK, wait until the next subway bomb goes off.....
Political correctness won't keep New Yorkers safe from terrorists, a state assemblyman said Sunday — promising to introduce legislation allowing cops to use racial profiling to target Middle Easterners when they search bags.
Dov Hikind (search) charged that it's "insane" to look for bombs in the bags of "75-year-old grandmothers," adding, "The FBI and authorities have a good idea of who is going to commit terrorism. They all look similar, but everyone is terrified of using the word 'racial.' "
Conceding that racial profiling (search) by police currently is illegal, he said he will introduce legislation to remove that prohibition, adding he hopes Muslims will support it.
The NYPD, whose random searches began after subway bombings in London earlier this month, quickly rebuffed Hikind's proposal.
"Racial profiling is illegal, of doubtful effectiveness, and against department policy," said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg (search), campaigning in the Catskills, ducked a question about Hikind's idea.
All four of his Democratic challengers — City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields and Fernando Ferrer — said they opposed racially profiling straphangers for searches.
New York Civil Liberties Union's chief Donna Lieberman called racial profiling "discriminatory," and said it "serves no purpose whatsoever.
"It is bad law enforcement, and it is fundamentally at odds with our basic democratic values," she said.
Wissam Nasr, head of the New York office of the Islamic Council on American-Islamic Relations (search), said, "This is America — we don't do that here. That's Racial Profiling 101 — that's what we're trying to avoid."
......then let's see what PC does for us.
Especially when it was carried by a middle-eastern young man or woman.