Sunday, December 30, 2007

36 Useless Items/Ideas/People

(not in any order)

1. The United Nations
2. The CIA - still wondering if its a rogue agency
3. Education Schools
4. Tottenham Hotspurs Defence
5. The Canadian Liberal Party
6. Sid Ryan
7. The Naomis: Klein, Wolf and Campbell
8. Affirmative Action Programs
9. Thabo Mbeki's government in South Africa
10. The Guardian Newspaper/Toronto Star
11. English Cricket Team
12. FIFA
13. The majority of current High School Math Textbooks
14. Speech Codes
15. Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson
16. Michael Coren's Wednesday Night Show
17. Cough Medicines
18. Astrology
19. The Kyoto Accord
20. Marxist Intellectuals
21. The US-Mexico Border Barrier
22. Anti-Science Hysteria
23. School Detention/Suspension Programs
24. Gun Registeries
25. 99% of the internet
26. Homework for the sake of Homework
27. The majority of Hynotherapists
28. Negotiating with Terrorists
29. Hollywood for the most part
30. The Regular Hockey Season
31. Storylines in many of today's comics
32. The Vietnam War
33. Teachers who don't further their understanding of their particular discipline
34. Most poetry
35. Jimmy Carter dealing with the Soviets
36. Heavyweight Boxing at present

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I lament

I lament…..

……. the death of the traditional bookstore and its replacement by the superstore.
……. our infatuation with materialism.
……. our need to complicate everything.
……. the idea that bigger is better.
……. that we criticize before we attempt to understand.
……. that we have chosen idiots to worships ie. rock stars, actors and sports figures.
……. the contempt we show for the classics.
……..that money governs American elections.
……..the crushing of the free spirit.
……..the age of greed.
……..corruption and poverty.
……..our pettiness.
……..the fast pace of life.
……..that we haven’t discovered a suitable global ideology to replace capitalism, socialism and communism.
……..the domination of the Republican Party by Social Conservatives.

What I have been doing lately?

1. Enjoying the December break away from teaching . I love this time of the year - weather and all.
2. Taking care of my son - His daycare is closed.
3. Catching up on some reading in Physics - Electromagnetism.
4. Working my way through Season 1 and 2 of Boston Public - A great series.
5. Watching lots of British Football - Hoping that Liverpool can salvage the season.
6. Reading Bill Bryson's - A Short History of Nearly Everything
7. Keeping my wife on her toes - and being a nuisance at that..hehe
8. Reading up on the Cold War - a special interest of mine.
9. Scanning magazines reading the multitude of the Best of Articles that normally surface at this time of the year...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Physics Sites

As a Physics Teacher I am always on the hunt for exciting websites.
Here are a few:
Interactive tour of particle universe
More Particle info from CERN.
An excellent teaching site with lots of animations.
World famous Canadian Institute - Center for Theoretical Physics - they run great outreach programs.
A great linkage site for info on Special Relativity
A useful beginners guide to String Theory
Tutorials and Lessons on Statics.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A bit on Religion

'Offences' to Religion

This is a fantastic article that documents 20 Offences to Religion that have occured in the modern era. The comparison of the Christian and Muslim response is defintely worth noting.
Its mindboggling to learn that close to 150 people have lost their lives as a result of the Satanic Verses and Jyllands-Posten Cartoons. Not one person has died as a result of the Piss Christ.


Scientific rationalism attacks Ten Plagues of Egypt
The explanations here are not new and rely on much coincidence. The fly in the ointment of science continues to be the death of the first born.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Computer Dictionary from South Africa

A South African friend of mine sent me this....Its hilarious...of course one has to understand the South African mentality

Keeping an eye on the braai

Get the firewood off the bakkie

Hard drive
Trip back home without any cold beer

Where you hang the bakkie and bike keys

What you shut when it's cold

What you shut in the mosquito season

What mosquitoes do

What mosquitoes did

Mega Byte
What mosquitoes at the lake do

A bar snack

Micro Chip
What's left in the bag after you have eaten the chips

What you did to the lawns

Dot Matrix
Oom Jan Matrix's wife

Where the cat sleeps

Plastic knives and forks you get at KFC

Real stainless steel knives and forks from Checkers

What eats the grain in the shed

What holds the shed up

What spiders make

Web Site
The shed (or under the verandah)

The old bloke what swears a lot

Search Engine
What you do when the bakkie won't go

What you say when the bakkie does go

A steep hill

The person at the pub what brings out the lunch

Mail Server
The bloke at the pub what brings out the lunch

The neighbour what keeps borrowing things

When you have to repair your fishing net

Complicated fish net repair method

When fish maneuvers out of reach of net

When you get the laundry hung out

Off Line
When the pegs don't hold the washing up

Sunday, December 09, 2007

In the News XXXIII

Chavez fails to overhaul constitution and become dictator........for now,1,6173457.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
Don't bet on him giving up though......

Olmert and Abbas to meet again
I hope and pray that Olmert doesn't sell Israel short in order to negotiate a deal with the Palestinians prior to the end of Bush's term of office.

More West inaction in Darfur
Looking forward to the day when the British electorate gibe Brown and co. the old heave ho.

Sarkozy seems to talk tough on terrorism but still cozyies up to Khadafi (just like former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin)

Mbeki support at all-time low
Its still at 40% but by ANC levels that is really low. Has the post-Apartheid honeymoon finally soured?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Footer Rankings

The flawed Football Statistician Ratings has encouraged me to come up with a few ratings of my own

Top 20 French Players (since 1955)

1. Zidane
2. Plaitni
3. Henry
4. Desailly
5. Papin
6. Fontaine
7. Tigana
8. Cantona
9. Viera
11. Giresse
12. Trezegeut
13. Thuram
14. Lizerazu
15. Wiltord
16. Djorkaeff
17. Fernandez
18. Barthez
19. Pires
20. Petit

Top 15 Italian Players (since 1970)

1. Baresi
2. Maldini
3. Zoff
4. Rossi
5. Baggio
6. Cannavaro
7. Buffon
8. Rivera
9. Zola
10. Del Piero
11. Pirlo
12. Bettega
13. Altobelli
14. Nesta
15. Gatuso

Top 15 German Players (since 1970)

1. Beckenbauer
2. Muller
3. Maier
4. Matthaus
5. Rummenigge
6. Klinsmann
7. Kahn
8. Voeller
9. Breitner
10. Bierhoff
11. Littbarski
12. Kohler
13. Ballack
14. Sammer
15. Brehme

Monday, December 03, 2007

Musings of the Mind II

1. It is important to be a skeptic but at the same time never intolerant toward contradictory evidence.

2. I don’t pay much attention to political opinions originating from Hollywood. Anyone who does is engaging in mindless time wasting.

3. What the world needs is more intelligent generalists. What it has in abundance is a cacophony of half-witted specialists.

4. Canada for the most part is a nation of marginal significance its luxury (as an accident of history) though is that it can afford to be so.

5. String Theory is the fly in the ointment of modern physics…..Cleaning up its overriding presence will be the great task of 21st century thinkers in the Queen of All Sciences.

6. I endeavour to constantly challenge my beliefs…Not a day goes by when I don’t drag my assumptions through the ringer. This is both a curse and a blessing.

7. I am a complex person. Sometimes this complexity paralyzes me.

8. It is not my intention to sound arrogant in my writing but it definitely ill affords me to be insincere and to censor myself as well.

9. Classical and Romantic poetry tantalizes me. I have written some poetry myself but looking back at it now these are most streams of consciousness than anything else. A lack of cadence negates the poetic volume. The ideas and richness of thought are however very much present.

10. Humanity is not a great species. Our folly as thinkers is that too often we choose to ignore this truism.

11. Ten Individuals from history that I most admire (not in order are): Winston Churchill, Maimonides, Blaise Pascal, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, Isaac Newton (despite the fact that he was not a likeable person), Marie Curie, Joseph Lister, Abraham Lincoln and Menachem Begin.

12. I was born and spent all of my childhood in South Africa (I immigrated to Canada in 1987 at age 18). Africa as a continent has a special place in my heart and I have a strong inclination towards understanding its politics, people, successes and failures. Sub-Sahara’s five most successful countries are:
South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique (in the last fifteen years) and Kenya. Its ten most dismal failures are: Sierre Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe (under Mugabe), Sudan, Congo (formerly Zaire), Angola (under orthodox Marxist Rule) and Uganda (under Obote and Amin).

13. Asia’s (not including the Middle East) nine greatest success stories are: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, India (in the last ten to fifteen years), Thailand, Malaysia and China (economically but definitely not politically). Asia’s list of failed states include: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Cambodia, Myanmar, Phillippines (for much of its history), Sri Lanka, Laos and North Korea.

14. Above anything else I value my role as a father.

15. Modern Leftism and the anti-intellectualism that suffuses its being nauseates me. Unfortunately all too many in Canada and Western Europe have bought into the false dreams that Leftism alludes to. In doing so they often tend to short circuit reasoning at the expense of ill-thought out idealism.

16. If I was an American I would have voted for: Truman (48), Eisenhower (52), Stevenson (56), Kennedy (60), Johnson (64), Nixon (68 and 72), Ford (76), Reagan (80 and 84), Bush Snr (88), Clinton (92 and 96), Gore (00) and Dubya (04). Having said that of all the candidates listed the only three that I truly admire are: Truman, Kennedy (even if he is a bit overrated) and Reagan.

17. In Canadian politics I have voted once for the Liberals (Jean Chretien in 93 – my first election vote in Canada). All other times I have backed either the Progressive Conservatives or their later incarnation the Conservative Party of Canada. I regret voting for Chretien and consider him to be one of the worst Prime Ministers in Canadian history. Despite my opinion on this issue I am no fan of Brian Mulroney either but would have voted for him as the ‘greater’ of a bunch of lessers in 84 and 88.

18. For US 2008 I am backing Rudy Giuliani. I will not be averse though to see Al Gore come out of his self imposed exile to steal the Democrat nominations from Hilary (whom I don’t like but do respect). I am completely opposed to the candidacies of Obama, Edwards, Romney, Kucinich (the moron’s choice), Gravel, Huckabee, Tommy Thompson, Tancredo, Biden, Brownback, Hunter, Ron Paul and Chris Dodd. I am indifferent to Fred Thompson but have much time for John McCain. (although the Arizona senator shot his bolt some time ago with respect to 2008).

19. I have diverse movie tastes that span the continuum from foreign films to black comedy to political intrigue to biography. I have even been known to enjoy the occasional ‘chick flick’ or two. A trip to the video store often results in an unpredictable array of movies. On average 30% are gems, 40% mediocrities and the remainder duds. My wife sees this as being part of the crapshoot of marriage with me.

20. Britain’s three best prime ministers of the 20th century were Churchill, Lloyd George and Thatcher in that very order. Baldwin, Blair, MacDonald, Macmillan, Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith and Wilson were average while Chamberlain, Callaghan, Atlee, Major, Heath, Eden were sub-par. The rest – Hume, Balfour, and Bonar Law (who was Canadian-born) weren’t in power long enough to register an impact on the political Richter Scale.

21. I can think of only two French politicians in the 20th century whom I believe to be admirable. These were Georges Clemenceau and Leon Blum.
De Gaulle was malicious and arrogant, Mitterand and D’Estaing inconsistent, Daladier ineffectual and Chirac both useless and dangerous. Pompidou was a competent president but nothing special. I will not waste my time analyzing the leaders of the Failed Fourth Republic. I am hoping that Sarkozy brings a fresh outlook to French Policy (a movement away from short-sighted Anti-Americanism would be a start) but the jury is very much out on this one.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Interviewing G-d

If I could ever interview G-d these are the types of questions I would ask the almighty

1. How old is the Universe?
2. Does the Universe have purpose?
3. Does life have purpose?
4. Is randomness the driving force behind evolution?
5. Did Jesus exist? Who was he?
6. Who shot Kennedy? Was there really a conspiracy?
7. Are ghosts real?
8. Is their order underneath quantum fuzziness?
9. Will humanity survive the century?
10. What percentage of intelligence on anerage is genetic?
11. Did you really communicate with Abraham, Issac and Jacob, Moses and the other prophets in the way the Bible states? Were these individuals even real?
12. Was the Torah really given on Mount Sinai?
13. How much truth is there to the Buddhist concept of Enlightenment?
14. Is Karma real?
15. What other figures throughout history have you communicated with?
16. Did Shakespeare really write all his plays? If not who is the unknown author? Johnson, Marlowe or Bacon?
17. Why didn't you prevent the holocaust?
18. What is the purpose of Evil?
19. What absolutes should one follow?
20. Why are human beings so weak?
21. Is knowledge finite?
22. Do angels exist?
23. What happens to us after we die?
24. What really is consciousness?
25. Why did Hitler not give the deciding order at Dunkirk?
26. Does extra-terrestrial life exist? If so is it intelligent life and will we make contact with it?
27. Will humanity colonize other planets?
28. Will Cancer be cured? How about AIDS?
29.Why have the Jews suffered throughout history?
30. Is ESP real?
31. Is Free Will an illusion?
32. Who built the Pyramids? Stonehenge? Easter Island Statues?
33. Was Atlantis ever real?
34. Who wrote the Bible? To what extent were they divinely inspired?
35. Is there any truth to reincarnation?
36. Is there any truth to Mind/Body Dualism?
37. Is Time Travel possible?
38. Do multiverses exist?
39. Will Islamo-Fascism be defeated?
40. How long will the State of Israel survive?
41. Will the Messiah ever come?
42. What diseases will be of historical significance only..... one hundred years hence?
43. How do you measure success?
44. Is the Speed of Light truly an upper limit?
45. Is Irreducible complexity in Biology a reality or an oversight?
46. What is the best type of test for intelligence?
47. What are the lower limits on the 100m, metric mile and marathon running times?
48. Will England ever win the World Cup again?
49. What advice should I give my children as a father?
50. How best can I overcome my weaknesses?

Musings of the Mind

There is no order to these realizations…which is exactly how I want it for now….. if one must call it a stream of consciosness

1. I am a compassionate person but not a bleeding heart. Bleeding hearts sicken me.

2. I become bored very easily. Challenge me or else I drift off.

3. The five areas of science that interest me the most are: Modern Physics, Psychometrics, Mechanics, Evolutionary Theory and Kinesiology.

4.Stupid People annoy me… and I mean really annoy me.

5. What the world needs is more intelligent generalists. What it has in abundance is a cacophony of half-witted specialists.

6. Logic and Reason are paramount to my thinking. On observation though it seems to be a peripheral issue with most of humanity.

7. I enjoy following politics – especially analyzing election results and proposed policy.
I am a strong opponent of Islamo-Fascism, Communism, Marxism, Fascism, Leftism and the various incarnations of radicalism. I champion the conservation of the Western Tradition of excellence and believe that the gains of the enlightenment and scientific rationalism must be guarded at all costs.

8. I support a women’s right to choose. However I am opposed to late term Partial Birth Abortion which I consider to be ethically unsound.

9. I take much pride in the Jewish gifts to humanity. These include the vast and disproportionate (with respect to population size) contributions to:
Physics, Chemistry, Music, Art, Medicine, Mathematics, Philosophy, Theology, Economics, Social Sciences etc.

10. I believe in G-d but I also believe that G-d is not definable and is essentially unknowable (the Kabbalistic concept of Ein Sof makes much sense). I do see G-d as omnipotent but also unknowable. I reject deism as I believe that it is more logical to believe that G-d continues to influence the universe. In short I am a scientific theist.

11. I reject intelligent design and see it as an instrument of selective scientific cherry picking.

12. Global warming appears to be a real phenomenon however I am skeptical with respect to the notion that humanity is the chief driver of the trend. Nevertheless I still believe that it is imperative that humanity reduce its Carbon footprint. I am opposed to Kyoto as I see it as an economic sell out to China and India that will make environmental conditions worse. I consider myself a realistic environmentalist and I am not at all supportive of the Green Movement hysteria that has engulfed so many in the West.

13. I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel but have accepted the fact that it is only a matter of time before a likely Palestinian State will exist in the West Bank . Only time will tell if the West Bank State will be viable. I am moderately pessimistic as I have little faith in the Arab political mindset.

14. I support the death penalty for special cases – serial killers for example. The execution should be carried out by firing squad as I believe it to be a more humane alternative to lethal injections, gas and the electric chair.

15. I would classify myself economically as a Classic Liberal – I support Free Enterprise, private ownership of property and low taxes. I do however see the ever important need for government regulation of some industries especially health, utilities, mass transportation etc. I therefore am not a libertarian although I can relate with earnest to what they have to say.

16. I am an opponent of dogma although I am fully aware of the danger of my own views becoming a personal dogma.

17. Mathematics is a very useful tool in understanding the universe (or modeling it rather). It is ultimately limited in that it is not verifiable in and of itself. All practioners of mathematics including physicists, economists, engineers, ecologists and chemist must constantly remind themselves of this inherent bias. Having said this, I do not believe that thgere is any other tool other than rigorous empiricism is more suited to advancing human knowledge.

18. I am extremely passionate about teaching but realistic nevertheless. I have very little patience for students who do not wish to learn, are loathe to think and consistently choose the path of least resistance in their studies.

19. The Cult of Self-Esteem and its twin sister ‘the-blame-others’ mentality has probably done more harm for education than any other movement in the history of pedagogy.
Education schools are for the most part nesting grounds for second grade intellectuals.

20. Capitalism and Free Enterprise systems are not synonymous. The former rejoices in oligarchy. The latter detests it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Top 100 Soccer Stars of all-time

I personally find this list - a product of the Association of Football Statisticians - to be way off base.
I have colour coded various names with my own interpretation.
Red - Should not be on this list all.
Green - are rated too high. Should receive a lower ranking but still remain on the list.
Blue - are rated too low. Need a higher ranking.
Black - about right more or less (the Goldilocks option)

16 Wonderful Players missing from this list:
George Best, Gianfranco Zola, Bobby Moore, Stanley Matthews, Josef Masopust, Garrincha (should be in the Top 10 never mind the Top 100), Jairzinho, Just Fontaine, Roger Milla, Jimmy Greaves, Sandor Kocsis, Gento, Eric Cantona, Ian Rush, Lev Yashin and Lato.

1.Pele (Brazil)
2.Ronaldo (Brazil)
3.Romario (Brazil) - 30 at best.
4.Luis Figo (Portugal) - shouldn't be in the top 40
5.Zinedine Zidane (France)
6.Diego Maradona (Argentina)
7.Lothar Matthaus (Germany)
8.Gerd Muller (Germany)
9.Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
10.Cafu (Brazil)
11.Roberto Carlos (Brazil)
12.Marco van Basten (Holland)
13.Michel Platini (France)
14.Rivaldo (Brazil)
15.Paolo Maldini (Italy)
16.Zico (Brazil)
17.Raul (Spain)
18.Ruud Gullit (Holland)
19.Eusebio (Portugal)
20.Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)
21.Johan Cruyff (Holland) - should be Top 10
22.Alfredo di Stefano(Argentina) - Top 10 as well
23.Bobby Charlton (England)
24.Jurgen Klinsmann (Ger)
25.Kenny Dalglish (Scotland)
26.Ali Daei (Iran)
27.Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
28.Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)
29.Michael Laudrup (Denmark)
30.Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
31.Dennis Bergkamp (Holland)
32.Frank Rijkaard (Holland)
33.Thierry Henry (France)
34.Pavel Nedved (Czech Rep)
35.Gheorghe Hagi (Romania)
36.Peter Schmeichel(Denmark)
37.Andrei Shevchenko (Ukraine)
38.Sepp Maier (Germany)
39.Didier Deschamps (France)
40.Lilian Thuram (France)
41.Enzo Francescoli (Uruguay)
42.Hakan Sukur (Turkey)
43.Paolo Rossi (Italy)
44.David Beckham (England)
45.Jean-Pierre Papin (France)
46.Kevin Keegan (England)
47.Marcel Desailly (France)
48.Oliver Kahn (Germany)
49.Alessandro Costacurta (Ita)
50.Clarence Seedorf (Holland)
51.Dino Zoff (Italy)
52.Patrick Kluivert (Holland)
53.Jari Litmanen (Finland)
54.Daniel Passarella (Arg)
55.Bixente Lizarazu (France)
56.Gary Lineker (England)
57.Ronaldhino (Brazil) - should be Top 20
58.Sylvain Wiltord (France)
59.Bebeto (Brazil)
60.Alessandro Del Piero (Italy)
61.Davor Suker (Croatia)
62.Ryan Giggs (Wales)
63.David Trezeguet (France)
64.Demetrio Albertini (Italy)
65.Patrick Vieira (France)
66.Jurgen Kohler (Germany)
67.Laurent Blanc (France)
68.Michael Owen (England)
69.Youri Djorkaeff (France
70.Frank De Boer (Holland)
71.Emilio Butragueno (Spain)
72.Hugo Sanchez (Mexico)
73.Rudi Voller (Germany)
74.Djalma Santos (Brazil)
75.Giacinto Facchetti (Italy)
76.Kanu (Nigeria)
77.Franco Baresi (Italy)
78.Gianni Rivera (Italy)
79.Roberto Baggio (Italy)
80.Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina)
81.Gheorghe Popescu(Romania)
82.Jon D. Tomasson (Denmark)
83.Raymond Kopa (France)
84.Carlos Valderrama (Colombia)
85.Rui Costa (Portugal)
86.Gary Neville (England)
87.Edgar Davids (Holland)
88.Claudio Taffarel (Brazil)
89.Paul Scholes (England)
90.Diego Simeone (Argentina)
91.Bryan Robson (England)
92.Roy Keane (Rep of Ireland)
93.Brian Laudrup (Denmark)
94.Henrik Larsson (Sweden)
95.Fabien Barthez (France)
96.Michael Ballack (Germany)
97.Jan Koller (Czech Republic)
98.Edwin van der Sar (Holland)
99.Robert Pires (France)
100.Johan Neeskens (Holland)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cumulative Unit Assignment - Physics - Grade 12

For all High School Physics Teachers working on the Energy and Momentum Sections
please feel free to borrow from this Cumulative Unit Project that my colleagues and I helped develop.

Cumulative Unit Project


1. An analysis of Automobile safety and automobile collisions.
2. Examination of a design to reduce collision frequency and promote vehicle safety.


Students will:

Describe the physics of automobile collisions in terms of momentum, energy, force, impulse, displacement and acceleration.

Analyze video segments of automobile collisions. Noting all physical features present and absent
Describe the process of accident reconstruction.
Outline methods that safety administrators use to ensure highway and general road safety.

Teacher will provide:

Some class time to work on the project
Links to Accident Reconstruction sites:
· A Rubric for Evaluation
· Organizing student Groups (no more than three students per group).

Student Groups will be responsible for:

· Group Organization and Division of Labour
· Literature search
· a well-defined project proposal for the video analysis of automobile collisions which includes (1) a statement of the purpose, (2) a step-by-step procedure for collecting data from the video segments, and (3) a clearly-defined procedure for interpreting experimental data.
· A model based simulation of an accident – to be designed by the group.
· A proposal for safety features (in and out) of the vehicles to prevent such accidents or in the worst case reduce their severity.
· One Report per student showing: experimental procedure, literature survey, experimental tables, any graphs, results, the discussion of automobile safety.

Key Questions to think about:

Use free-body diagram analyses to describe the forces acting upon cars prior to a collision and during collisions.
Define and distinguish between elastic and inelastic collisions and relate such terms to automobile collisions.
Define impulse and momentum and use the impulse-momentum change theorem to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze automobile collisions.
Explain the law of momentum conservation and use it to perform mathematical analyses of collisions.
Describe how the vector nature of momentum can be used to mathematically analyze collisions.
Use the work equation and the work energy-theorem to explain the role of crumple zones and chassis deformation in a collision and explain how measurements of the amount of chassis deformation can be used to make estimates of pre-collision speeds of vehicles.
Describe the methods used, the questions asked, and the information sought in an accident reconstruction scenario.
Identify a few safety devices used in automobiles and use diagrams and words to explain the underlying science.

Source of idea for this project:

Ed School Baloney

I graduated teacher’s college with 6A+’s and 2A’s as well as three excellent references from host practicum teachers. However the in house university program itself had many flaws as my point-by-point synopsis below reveals.

The following is a list of personal conclusions reached during my one year period of pedagogical training..

1.The vast majority of in-class assignments were a complete waste of time and had nothing whatsoever to do with the actual practice of teaching.

2. 95% of the usefulness of the program is realized during the practicum. Regular Classes serve more a time wasting functionality than anything else.

3. University Education Profs know almost nothing about Class Room Management - Advice often centered on the fluffy and short sighted ethos ‘ that class room management problems disappear when the students are engaged.’

4. Education Profs for the most part are fixated on influencing areas of perceived social justice – Skill training as a primary focus often plays second fiddle to the first initiative.

5. There is almost no testing of content knowledge for subject specific teachers – no wonder so many students eventually find themselves at the receiving end of instruction by those whose competency is questionable.

6. Student Entertainment teaching ('Kewl' Education) has risen in status to a point where it appears to have trumped content.

7. Education of the Gifted has far less of a priority than that of the academically poor.

8. Harsh criticism should be avoided by teachers for fear of injuring the self esteem of the student.

8A. Modern educators don’t really believe in the idea of a due date or even a deadline for that matter.

9. IQ testing and the Genetic basis for Intelligence are concepts which are very much out of vogue.

10. Constructivism is seen as the pinnacle of education theory even though its application outside a strong academic class is largely limited.

11. Many Educators are obsessed with the idea of racism and like Diogenes searching for one honest man - Ed Profs are often on the hunt for racism in areas where it clearly doesn’t even exist.

12. Every student failure can be somehow excused.

13. Multiple Intelligence Theory is championed as the correct way of looking at the world despite the fact that not a thread of evidence exists for its foundation.

14. Failure of a child to learn is almost always blamed on the teacher in the trenches.

15. Mediocrity is commended. If students can’t make it - its preferable to lower the all-around expectations.

16. The Lesson Plans that are demanded from teacher students are excessively bloated, impractical and of no substantial value in real world situations.

17. There is hardly any course work instructing a person to deal with the bureaucracies of education system and day-to-day paper shuffling.

18. Many University Professors see teachers as Social Workers, Psychologists, Surrogate Parents, political activists, environmental advocates. As for being a disseminator of knowledge – don't bet on it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Endorsing Rudy

I am not American so I can't vote in next years' Presidential Election but if I could this is the man who would earn my vote

Rudy Giuliani

For more see:

My reasons for supporting Rudy are:
1. His tough stance against international terrorism
2. His proven track record of accomplishment as mayor of New York
3. A strong bipartinsan history in politics (ie. he can work with the Dems)
4. An unbashed stream of pragmitism
5. He has an admirable record in crisis situations.
6. Is Fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
7. Has Blue and Red State Appeal
8. Will take a tough stance against illegal immigration.
9. Has an excellent understanding of matters of the judiciary.
10. Supports a women's right to choose but opposes partial birth abortion.
11. Opposes the idea of 'bigger government'.
12. Champions School Choice.

The only point I disagree with him on is his opposition to Gay Marriage but then nobody is perfect.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

In the News XXXII

Venezuelan Currency drops as Chavez continues his ruin of the Country
Hugo is writing the rule book on Economic destruction 101.

A strong voice against Olmert's 'Piece' Plan
As Yisrael Katz put it 'Olmert has no mandate to compromise on Jerusalem'.
Personally with his ultra-low approval ratings he has no mandate to do anything of consequence. The man has been an awful Prime Minister.

The Far Left and their Islamo-Fascist Allies stifle free speech once again. much for alternative viewpoints on Campus...One has to love Higher Education.

Possible Turkish Incursion
I believe that this story runs deeper..I wonder if this is not a decoy for Turkey to help the US in the dreadful mess that is Iraq. Defintely worth thinking about...

Polls in California
(without Gore)

Clinton - 45%
Obama - 20%
Edwards - 11%

(with Gore)
Clinton - 35%
Gore -22%
Obama -16%
Edwards - 8%

for more details.

I am hoping that Gore can enter the race to save the Dems from themselves.

Rugby World Cup

I have been over the moon with the victory by the Springboks in the World Cup of Rugby. It was pretty much the Bok's to lose after the All Blacks were knocked out by the French - who did not play particularly well - and the Wallabies were ousted by the Poms - who did. Nevertheless the South Africans still had to complete the assignment and boy did they ever - wiping out the Pumas before grinding down the English (although the final was a bit of a snorefest).

I checked out the new IRB Rugby Rankings. This is how they look at present. Expect NZ to back in #1 in six months. They are generally the best team between WCs.

1. RSA
2. NZ
3. The Pumas (Argentina)
4. The Poms
5. The Aussies
6. France
7. Irish
8. Scots
9. Fiji - had an amazing World Cup - beat Wales and gave the Boks a real fight.
10. Wales

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I am back...

I am back after a one month plus hiatus from blogging. Teaching and the family have occupied my time as of late. Nevertheless I am still working on my personal enrichment - War Made New (by Max Boot), snippets of the Kabbalah and several back issues of New Scientist are currently top of my reading agenda and I have been attending a once a week seminar on Israeli Politics at the Kollel Organization.

Thoughts about G-d are always with me but I feel ill at ease as to how I cam incorprate religion into my life. I very much regard myself as Jewish but do not feel bound to any denomination or movement in particular. Its a bit disturbing as I seek to draw nearer to my belief but shudder when considering all the rituals that still do not resonate with my soul (I wish they would in a way...). I blame some of my negativity on my scientific background that eschews the unbelievable in favouring the logical...but on the same level I have to ask myself how much am I missing by such a strict positivist outlook? Its all very much a personal challenge right now...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Salvador Allende

I had an abridged version of this letter published in Macleans Magazne this week:

Naomi Klein continues to propagate the false mantra of the success of Chile’s leftist Allende Regime While it is true that Allende’s coalition of Socialists and Communists (Allende himself was a Marxist) obtained the most votes of any single party in the 1970 election (36.2%). However he received considerably less than the two conservative opponents that stood against him (62.7%).

Allende was only able to govern as he struck a guarantee deal with Radomiro Tomic of the Christian Democrat Party (the smaller of these two opponents). In an interview with the journalist Regis De Bray, Allende indicated that this was largely a tactical move and that he had no real intention of abiding by it. Allende’s radical economic reforms – the Vuskovic Plans - although promising in the short run were widely seen to be a failure by 1972. Inflation stood at 140%, the black market in rice, beans, sugar and flour was on the rise, and the Average GDP was shrinking.

He furthermore defaulted on loans from international creditors and was forced to freeze all prices whilst raising salaries. The country was beset by violence, strikes and shortages. One of his great supporters Eduardo Frei Montalva called it the ‘carnival of madness’. In fact the Supreme Court declared Allende outside the law as did the Chamber of Deputies. A resolution in August of 1973 virtually encouraged the Army to seize power to rescue the country from chaos, which it did on September 3rd with popular support.

The military regime that followed although brutal at times (it is believed that about 2300 people died during its tenure in power – a large figure but significantly smaller than the millions who perished under the Communist Khymer Rouge in Cambodia) actually decreased the infant mortality rate from 66 per 1000 births to 13 per 1000 births, increased the access to drinking water from 67% to 98% and doubled the standard of living.

For a more accurate portrayal of the Chilean Crisis I suggest Ms. Klein read the works of James Whelan a former professor at the University of Chile and a noted historian of the South American nation.

Gavin Kanowitz
Toronto, ON

Friday, August 31, 2007

Left v Right

Extract from a discussion with a fellow Teacher on Right v Left.
His comments are in black. My replies are in Red. Its slightly humerous.

But therein lies the problem, exactly as you have pointed out. What exactly is left and right?

The terms originate from the French Revolution – it referred to the seating arrangement within the Legislative Assembly (1791). However it has undergone many revisions and interpretations since then.

I see the modern right as supporting smaller government, free markets and a focus on the individual as an entity. The modern left supports larger government, more regulated economies and a focus on the group as the entity.

However even this difference is by no means all that obvious on a case by case basis. A point to remember Conservatism is not necessarily synonymous with the Right nor is Liberalism synonymous with the Left

Leftism (not to be confused with the ‘Left’) though is a philosophy that champions the radical overall of the establishment by violent or non-violent means to fit or resemble a possible utopia. Leftisms include: Marxist-Leninism, Maoism, National Socialism, Stalinism, International Socialism, Trotskyism, Anarchism, Islamo-Fascism, Primitivism etc.

Its legacy has traditionally been one of bloodshed and suffering in the name of a flawed ‘greater good’. Leftism’s modern origin in the West derives from the Radical Jacobins of the French Revolution.

A clear definition is needed. Or complete avoidance of the terms as they do tend to obfuscate issues. True For example, you mentioned that Turner's a big Democrat fan and therefore CNN is not right wing. But I would argue that the Democrats are also right wing. Figured you would. (As I heard once, 'it doesn't matter who's in power, because business always pulls the strings.'

So if the NDP came to power would they become right wing or are they right wing already?

But that doesn't really clarify anything as you have rightly pointed out.Perhaps this dilemma has something to do with corporate vs collective. Corporations and those who come from the corporate elite rule by decree Castro came from an elite family and pretty much rules by decree with very little real consensus. Does that make him right wing? within their domains, but collectives 'rule' by some form of consensus.

So the Western Liberal Model is Left wing then??? Mmmmm – Key issues are often decided by a vote in the Legislature (a type of consensus) not by decree.

I see some faults with this corporate/collective dichotomy. The Borg from Star Wars are a Collective does that make them left wing compared to the right wing Federation?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

On the Space race..Taming a Critic

My replies in Red to **'s critique of the Space Program.

And ironically the lack of commentary is a direct result of the corporate voice dominating every official public discussion. Isn’t this presumptuous? Are you going on feeling or actually bona fide research? How about the militarization of space and the military-NASA program? Such as building a missile shield to protect the US from foreign warheads? How awful.........

Do you ever hear any critiquing of the 'space program' in the corporate media?


Never. Why? Because the snow job is so intense and so complete.

Have you ever heard of Occam’s razor……….'s_Razor . It would be reasonable to apply it here before treading down the path of the grand conspiracy.

Sell it hard and sell it to the young kids as 'glamorous' and fun. Hey, even sell it to teachers!

It is. Space Exploration is an incredible example of the scientific spirit at work, international co-operation, creative use of brain power etc. It is a wonderful way to promote a love of the Sciences. As a Physics and Chemistry teacher I champion it with the greatest of enthusiasm. Sorry **, but sucking the life out of a subject because it does not fit in with one’s ideological framework is in my opinion a disservice to the students. Here are some side 'non-military' benefits from the Space Program:

If you look carefully, you will find that NASA is mostly military and mostly a huge waste of money going into the pockets of in-the-know cronies.

Ever wondered how many people have employment and can feed their families thanks to the funding of the Space Program and the growth of its spin off industries? Would you rather they go out of work to prove your point?

"Got a wrench for $30 thousand? What a bargain. Let's buy it! A screw for $150 - sounds good!" This type of graft is going on all over, all the time.

Yes there has been waste like any other project – but why do you always focus on the negative?I believe these waste issues are being dealt with under the New NASA leadership of Mike Griffin.Besides NASA’s budget of $16 billion or so out of a total US Budget of $1000 billion ( <1.6%)>

And still we have media types and politicians pushing the war toys sales job on the public with the corporate media carrying the message for free. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to hear even one syllable questioning the intelligence of wasting vast quantities of public money on 'white elephants of destruction' such as these.

Point has already been dealt with.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On Ward Churchill

The following is a reply that I sent to an individual who I regularly debate concerning Ward Churchill.

To **

In an earlier posting I described Ward Churchill as a pseudo native, an intellectual charlatan and an individual who lacks academic integrity. I believe all of these descriptions to be accurate and his dismissal warranted. This is not to say that I disagree with all that Churchill necessarily has to say (a topic for a later discussion) – I have read two of his books From a Native Son and A Little Matter of Genocide as well as several of his essays – but there are greater issues at hand here that we as educators cannot afford to ignore.

False claims of Aboriginal Descent (Pseudo Native)

Churchill has claimed on several occasions that he is an American Indian. He has used such an identity to advance the position that he is an authentic and genuine voice of the indigineous people of North American However the man is a fraud. He has at various times claimed to be Creek, Cherokee and even Metis sometimes changing the percentage makeup of each.

A research into Churchill’s background revealed the following:

As Churchill has lurched through Indian identities, he has not found a single Native relative or ancestor. He is descended from a long line of Churchill’s that Hank Adams has traced back to the Revolutionary War and Europe. Adams, who is Assiniboine-Sioux and a member of the Frank's Landing Indian Community, has successfully researched and exposed other pseudo-Indians. Adams traced Churchill's ancestors on both sides of his family, finding all white people, including documented slave owners and at least one spy, but zero Indians.

The above excerpt is taken from Suzan Showan Harajo’s Why Native identity matters: A cautionary tale

For more on Churchill’s heritage read

Churchill also claimed enrollment in the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. The band had this to say:

Ward Churchill received an "Associate Membership" from the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) council in May, 1994. He was not eligible for tribal membership due to the fact that he does not possess a “Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood” (CDIB) which is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Interior / Bureau of Indian Affairs. Because Mr. Churchill had genealogical information regarding his alleged ancestry, and his willingness to assist the UKB in promoting the tribe and its causes, he was awarded an ‘Associate Membership’ as an honor.

Churchill still continues to claim that he is a bona fida Band member. Associate Membership does not imply Native background – Bill Clinton was an associate member of the Band as well.

Why is this important? Because as an aboriginal person Churchill greatly benefited from an affirmative action program. He was hired as an assistant professor despite the fact that he has no Ph.D, and was granted tenure the following year. His fast tracking through the Ethnic Studies Department (not normal policy at the U of Colorado) was largely based on his experience speaking as a NATIVE.

Intellectual Charlatan/Lack of Academic Integrity

Ward Churchill was not only guilty of plagiarism and poor citations but also of FABRICATIONS and FALSIFICATIONS.

See Smallpox Blanket Genocide: "Did the U.S. Army Distribute Smallpox Blankets to Indians? Fabrication and Falsification in Ward Churchill’s Genocide Rhetoric by Thomas Brown

See General Allotment Act:

Churchill also plagarized the writings of three authors Fay Cohen, Annette James (his ex-wife) and Rebecca Robins.

Now as a supporter of free speech I would not fire Churchill based on his Little Eichmann’s comment (even though it was completely uncalled for and callous in every sense) nor would I dismiss him based on the fact that he turns his classrooms into a forum for spewing his own ideology (a fact that he admits to and that I personally detest) but the lack of academic integrity shown above makes dismissal the logical decision.

This is not a case of free speech this is an issue of protecting academic standards. If we don’t protect academic standards why bother having universities in the first place?My position is very much consistent with a Classical Liberal Viewpoint and I believe it to be reasonable.

Thanks Gavin

Letter to Michael Coren

Hi Michael

A few remarks about you recent shows:

1. On the healthcare debate - Full marks to doctor Yoel Abells - he articulated both sides of the argument very well, had fair criticisms and seemed to be extremely open minded in working on an optimum solution for all. In short he has not let dogma blind him to reason which seems to be the case with Dora Jeffries. Also on healthcare - I was surprised that none of the four guests bought up the idea of pegging user fees to income.

2. A few weeks ago you questioned Sid Ryan on the left's apparent silence towards the suppression of Trade Union figures in Iran. It would be interesting to know how he would respond if you suggest CUPE boycott Iran as they did (and very unfairly so) with Israel.

3. You often entertain debate on Faith based schools however in all the discussions I have witnessed so far I have never once heard anyone mention the fact that the publicly funded Catholic system discriminates against teachers based on religion with respect to hiring. While it makes sense to have Catholic educators teach religious based courses (I have no objection there) I fail to see how one's faith plays an issue in the teaching of secular subjects eg. Physics, Math, Chemistry, History etc. Last time I checked Newton's Laws of Motion worked regardless of the type of God one chose to believe in.

Any thought to the ideology in education meme?

Tough luck about the Man U result on Sunday the Devils were lucky once again.



Friday, August 24, 2007

Political Philosophy Positions

The problem with debating online is that it is so easy for others to misinterpret your views - partially this is intentional on their behalf but I believe it could have something to do with poorly developed comprehensive skills. The following is a list of positions that I sent out to a recent forum to clarify my position on several issues. It is by no means inclusive of all political topics but it is a start.

These are my positions.

1. I am a Classical Liberal in that I believe in free enterprise, private ownership of property, electoral democracy, human rights and civil liberties.

2. I support a strong and often interventionist Foreign Policy by the western nations that does not shy away from confronting and dealing with totalitarian challenges such as Fascism, Communism (in its various incarnations), Islamist Militancy etc. If this makes me a Neo-Con then so be it. I will not apologize for that.

3. I believe that Western Civilization has for the most part been a success – progress in science, medicine, art, human freedoms, the law, quality of life, economic well being emphasize this point – however I do concede that there is still much room for improvement in most of these aspects.
Political writers/journalists that I generally like include: Charles Krauthammer, Jeff Jacoby, John Stossel, Melanie Philips, Mark Steyn, Victor Hanson, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Paul Johnson, Richard Brookhiser, George Will, David Horowitz, Phylis Chesler and La Shawn Barber.

4.I am opposed to the Death Penalty as it is applied in the US and various other nations but do believe that it has some merits in the case of convicted Serial Killers, Mass Murderers and War Criminals. Nevertheless I argue that those facing a death penalty charge – should have available to them via government funding the access to the best legal defense – some lawyers such as Alan Dershowitz often represent such clients Pro Bona.

5. I support a women’s right to choose but believe that various methodologies used in Partial Birth Abortions are immoral and should be banned. I have strong reservations about abortion after the 16 week limit but argue that these should be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

6. I oppose Affirmative Action as I believe it to be discriminatory, ineffective and condescending to the groups that it is intended to help. The fact that all Democrats and many Republicans cannot see through this fa├žade and continue to support such policies is very disappointing to me.
I believe in policies that champion self sufficiency and avoid the victim-victimizer dichotomy that has become too common in the social democracy.

7. I am not an American so I cannot vote in the US elections. If I could I would consider myself neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I vote based on the Overall merit of the Candidate. Looking back (trying to avoid the benefit of hindsight) I would probably have supported: Roosevelt 32-44, Truman in 48, Eisenhower in 52, Stephenson in 56, Kennedy in 60, Johnson in 64, Humphreys in 68, Nixon in 72, Ford in 76, Reagan in 80 and 84, Bush Sr in 88, Clinton in 92 and 96, Gore in 00 and Bush Jr. in 04.

8. In this current election (2008) I am backing Rudy Giuliani but would not be averse to an Al Gore presidency (although his Global Warming Angle has taken on a seemingly hysterical role as of late). This could change between now and 2008 based on new information available.

9. In Canadian politics I have voted PC, Conservative and Liberal at various times. I have never voted NDP – as I see its economic policies as shortsighted - although I have respect for some of their political figures namely Ed Broadbent, and most recently Joe Comartin.

11. I support a Compassionate Conservatism that argues for the maintenance of the Traditions and Foundations of Western Civilization whilst working to improve the overall human condition.

12. I am strongly opposed to Leftism. This is not to be confused with liberalism. Leftism is a term that describes the various philosophies that seek to radically alter the structures of Civilization to create a proposed utopia. History has shown that movements toward Utopia often have the inverse effect of creating a Dystopia devoid of toleration. Typical leftist philosophies include (but are not inclusive of): Anarchism, Collectivization, Fascism, Forced Atheism, International Socialism, Islamism, Maoism, Marxism, National Socialism, Nihilism, Pacifism, Primitivism, Radical Feminism, Religious Fundamentalism (of any kind), Rigid Environmentalism, Scientism, Stalinism, Strict Socialism, Trotskyism. All of these are anathema to the spirit of human reasoning and are deleterious to the overall progress of our species.

13. I am not a Libertarian (nor an Anarcho-Capitalist) as I believe that taxes are necessary and that there is a need for welfare programs within society. I do not accept the ‘survival of the fittest’ maxim as a guideline for our civilization. In my opinion this encourages a philosophy of self-centeredness that is ultimately damaging.

14. I see the necessity of corporations for large projects that require economies of scale but I believe that it is the duty of government to prevent the rise of oligarchies that restrict the openness of an economic system based on true competition. In short I tend to favour small business Free Enterprise over large organization Capitalism.

15. Government should minimize its interference in people’s personal lives as much as possible but not to the level where such pertinent issues as child and elder abuse, domestic violence are ignored.

16. Liberal Democracy (LD) while not a perfect system is still the best form of practical government that exists. I support LD as it provides a fair balance between the right of the individual and that of the State. All the Leftisms outlined in 12, fail in the long run as they are extremely biased to one side of the individual/state duality.

17. Liberal Democracies have the right and must defend themselves against internal and external threats. If not they risk extinction.

18. I am a supporter of soft multi-culturalism- encouraging various groups to appreciate their own cultures within the context of the LD. I oppose hard multi-culturalism that favours state supported cultural institutions. It is for this reason that I oppose hiring based on ethnicity and funding of cultural and religious schools. The latter should be driven by the community concerned although I do support government funding of the secular aspect of the cultural and religious schools curriculum.

19. I believe that Global Warming is a reality for in the current context but I am not convinced that it is largely driven by humanity. Nevertheless I do support the realistic efforts to reduce our carbon foot print. I am however opposed to the Kyoto Plan – which punishes Western Industry while ignoring the environmental harm caused by the growing Chinese industrial complex. I see Kyoto as more of a Western Liberal ‘feel good plan’ that is inconsistent with the global reality of pollution.

20. I support the use of Nuclear Power but would like to see more government initiatives – through tax incentives – that encourage wind and solar power facilities. I am also encouraged by the progress made by properly using clean coal and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

21. I am heartened to see government support for national Parks and ecological havens (I would like to see even more) and I believe that these should remain off limits to corporate or any other type of exploitation.

23. I do not agree with the radicalism of various environmental groups that spike trees and engage in various forms of eco-terrorism.

24. I am opposed to the Paleo-Conservative (Old Right) movement. It is too geared toward isolationism, social conservatism and the politics of division.

25. I support Gay Marriage as I see it as a logical extension of a vital institution that will grow stronger through inclusiveness.

26. I favour a monetarist approach to economic regulation over Keynesian fiscal initiatives however I believe that there is still room for the latter (up to a reasonable point) in a well run economy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

York University Bookstore - Center of Dogma

York University is located in Toronto, Canada. For more read:

I was recently at the York University bookstore with the intention of spending a $50 gift voucher that I had just received from the Faculty of Education. While the gift in itself is very welcome I was disappointed to see once again how inferior the York Bookstore selection is with respect to world issues. In the politics section I estimated that there must have been over 200 books. I counted exactly 5 with a conservative focus, 30-35 with a liberal bend and a whopping 170+ that can best be described as Leftist. In fact there were twice as many books by Noam Chomsky alone (regurgitating the same old themes) than by all the conservative authors put together.

Regardless of what your position is in politics this reflects a very distinct bias. Conservative writers are every bit as prolific as their leftist counterparts – a scan of political books on the internet will show this truism but somehow within this enclave of academia there was no reflection of this reality. Now one could argue that books by Chomsky are better sellers and that the bookstore is just acting to maximize profits (profits off Chomsky the irony kills me) but if profit was the real motive then surely the bestsellers of Mark Steyn, David Horowitz, Thomas Sowell, Bat Ye’or, John Stossel. John O’Sullivan, Andrew Sullivan would be on sale as well. This of course is not the case. Where is the balance?

As an educator I have always believed in the principle of objective thinking (as much as it is indeed possible) and a criticality of reasoning. If the same University bookstore had been biased in favour of conservative authors I would be equally concerned. Not that I believe that one should dictate to a store what they should carry on a book by book level but University bookstores should have a responsibility to represent a broader spectrum of thought than what was evident on the shelves here at York. If this were an ‘alternative’ bookstore on Queen Street it wouldn’t bother me in the least but I find it sickening that in the university milieu of York where diversity of thought is supposed to be encouraged such an apparent lack of it is so openly on display in such an intellectual setting

Monday, August 20, 2007

In the News XXXI

Peruvian President Alan Garcia promises to rebuild Pisco
It is believed as of the time of this article that 540 people were killed and 1500 injured.
148 bodies have been removed from San Clemente Church alone. 85% of the houses have been destroyed in the city. The Earthquake had a magnitude of 8 that was followed by a 5.6 magnitude aftershock.

French Foreign Minister vistits Iraq,8599,1654291,00.html
The French are first-class meddlers (and normally mess things up) but I will play the wait and see game on this one.

Libya releases five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor
The charges against the Medics were trumped up but once again the party in the wrong (Libya) comes up looking reasonable and approachable. Iran played the same game with the captive British sailors earlier this year, as did Hamas in the Alan Johnston saga....A definite pattern.
I wonder how much nuclear assistance the French have promised the Libyans? This is the frightening part? For me the jury is still out on Sarkozy......I do not believe that he is the darling that the conservative media makes him out to be.

Suspiciously absent: Palestinian Authority anger for the charges against the doctor? Now if Israel had did this...which they wouldn' would never hear the end of the complaints.

PresidentialCampaign 2008
taken from:


R. Giuliani - 33% (Value is holding firm)
F. Thompson - 19% (down from 21% - last month - although officially not an entry)
M. Romney - 14% (up from 8% - Straw Poll in Iowa helped him out)
J. McCain - 11% (down from 16% - I can't see McCain survibing the race)
M. Huckabee - 4%
R. Paul - 3%
D. Hunter - 2%
The rest - 4%
Undecided - 11%


H. Clinton - 36% (holding strong)
B. Obama - 21% (consistent over last several weeks)
A. Gore - 15% (not even standing)
J. Edwards - 9%
B. Richardson - 3% (my choice)
J. Biden - 2%
D. Kucinich - 1%
The rest - 1%
Undecided - 10%

Footer on Sunday

A poor refereeing descision robbed Liverpool of a win over Chelsea at Anfield. Stevie G. set up Fernando Torres who scored to put the Reds up 1-0 at the half but then an alleged penalty by Steve Finnan on Florent Malouda gave Chelsea the equalizer.
For more on the game read:

On the positive note Man City defeated Man U at the Eastlands 1-0 and Blackburn held the Gunners to 1 -1 tie at Ewood.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Past Times that I enjoy (not in any order)

Reading - especially History, Politics, Futurology, Science and Philosophy
Watching English Footer - especially Liverpool FC
Debating and Discussing Ideas with others (Live in person or on the Internet)
Spending time with my Wife
Playing with my son
Watching Movies
Using my imagination
Solving Physics/Math Problems
Following International Tennis, Footer and Rugby
Reading Quality Comics


There are many popular past times/Fads/Products that for one reason or another I have never taken to. Here is a list of some of them:

Boy/Girl Groups
Reality TV - except for Dog the Bounty Hunter - He seems more real than the rest
American Football
Game Shows other then Jeopardy
Drinking on Restaurant Patios
Sitcoms since Seinfeld
Electronic Personal Organizers
Text Messages
Watching You Tube
Rap/Hip Hop/Grunge
Country Music
Sandwich Wraps
Salads for Lunch
Shopping - unless it involves Books and Toys for the Little Guy
Ordering Pasta at Restaurants
Reading Modern Novels
Hockey in Canada
Reading Douglas Copeland
Harry Potter
Dan Brown Novels
Manga Comics
Electronic/Computer Games
Daily Stock Trading

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Response to Lefty #2 - Hamas Radio Closings

He tries to compare Chavez's shutdown of RCTV with Israel's closeure of pro-Hamas stations that have been aiding terrorism. This is not so.

His responses in Blue
My Responses in Red.

How do you know the Palestinian station in question was as you describe it?Read: Israeli military and foreign ministry officials told RSF during a fact finding visit to Israel in December that the Israel Defence Forces targeted media on the basis of their use for military purposes and not because of their programming. Seems reasonable because if Israel wanted to target stations based on programming only there would be many more stations (with larger listnership) that they could close down – lots more.

Have you ever seen the vile hatred projected by several Arab station towards Jews in general or does that not really concern you? I posted some video clips. This is common information. Many of these stations still continue to broadcast despite the fact that Israel has the means to shut them down. Aside from an educated guess, it seems quite presumptuous of you. More like logical…Sorry the Vulcan in me

And if indeed the station was practicing #3 and #4, surely there were other means at the disposal of the Israeli government (5th most powerful military on the planet) to prevent that particular hate from being broadcast. Such as what? Give an example? Blowing up the stations – methinks not.

The west bank is certainly not as lawless as Rwanda was before the genocide there. Understatement of the Year The perpetrators were known and they could be found (perhaps they were even imprisoned) but then you would have complained about that as well – Damned if you do! Damned if you don’t !! Israel's court system is used all the time to prevent westerners from even entering the west bank, Yes on a case by case basis but the fact that there is so much on site reporting on the Israeli/Palestinian segment of the Israeli/Arab conflict indicates that this is much less than in other conflict areas. . Lets not forget as well that the Israeli Court System often contradicts the IDF on various issues -

m not convinced by your explanation. **, I am not sure anything would convince you. It seems as though you made up your mind some time ago on this issue and are sticking to it.Also, the catch-all "associated to one degree or another with the Islamist Militancy" is a recipe for abuse and especially human rights violations. "Oh well, they must have been militants. Shut it down!"

Except that many other sources of Hamas propaganda are allowed to continue their programming unabated from within the West Bank, Gaza and Israel proper in some cases. You are resorting to the good ole flood gates argument.


My earlier post

Gavin writes:

The Stations in the article you referenced are all associated to one degree or another with the Islamist Militancy. . (Hamas and co. etc – Hamas is an organization who in its very charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews). The stations in question are associated with:
#1 Promoting biased coverage
#2 Doctoring footage to misrepresent the actions of the Israeli military and government
#3 Calling for the Death of Jews – (using programming that is often targeted to children see
#4Encouraging violent action and suicide bombing against civilians#
#5 Using their broadcasts to compromise Israeli military position in the war against proven Islamist Terror threats.

I am willing to excuse #1 and #2 in the interests of freedom of speech (as much at the Hamas portrayal sickens me – Leftist Israeli stations are constantly guilty of this as well). Cases #1 and #2 appear to be similar to the RCTV incident…

#3,#4 and #5 are not. In fact #5 alone is justification for Israel to shutdown the stations.

The Venezuelan Economy

Taken from a discussion with a fan of Hugo 'dictator-in-motion' Chavez

(All are my words)

The Unemployment rate in Venezuela sits around 8.9% - which is not bad relatively speaking It is slightly better than Brazil and Argentina but not as good as Chile and Peru.However it has dropped considerably over the decade so far – although this seems to be a phenomena across most of South America – which makes me wonder if it may not be associated with the long term impact of fiscal conservatism that has become a mainstay of South American economic thinking since the hyperinflation years of the 80’s and 90’s.

Nevertheless I will give Chavez some credit for the lower rate. In late 2004 I visited Venezuela, a beautiful country, with a very warm and friendly populace (based of course on my limited experience there – no I didn’t stay in a resort for a full week if that’s what you are thinking – but actually toured the countryside), but I couldn’t help noticing how much job duplication there was. For example in Canadian restaurants we normally have one ‘busboy’ per table in most Venezuelan restaurants there were 2 or 3. It reminded me of my sister’s account of visiting Hungry in 1989 (in the dying days of the cold war) – she said that in many of the washrooms for example there were several individuals employed to dispense soap and hand out towels – not exactly efficient but I suppose from a human issue standpoint it does provide work and of course makes the unemployment numbers look good.

Inflation in Venezuela is a problem, It sits around 20%. This does represent a sharp decline from the 1996 era however the vast drop in inflation did not occur under Chavez’s watch but under the previous government as the graph shown on indicates. In fact around June 2003 it skyrocketed again to 50%+ levels. The raise in oil prices may have played a large factor in this. You are correct, ** that there was a steady decline in the 2004-early 2007 period but as of June 2007 inflation appears to be on the increase (It could be related to expectations of handouts following foreign oil investment nationalizations that have become more apparent of late).

The problem with the Chavez plan is that it has a ‘candy-to-the-kid-element’. It looks good right away and is appealing to the populace but the long term implications of increased nationalization are usually disastrous (case in point most of Africa and many European countries in the 50’s and 60’s, not to mention the East Bloc Nations)– it decreases foreign investment and discourages a competitive market that ultimately would favour long term/sustainable growth and overall improvement in the standard of living.The economist five year forecast discusses this issue further.

As for Crime rate – here are some articles worth looking into



Saturday, August 11, 2007

Debate with Silly Leftist #1 - Part Deux

My earlier comments in blue
His Replies in Green
My Secondary Replies in Red
Side comments grey - Did not appear in original dialogue

actually the US was largely isolationist between WWI and WWII and conflict free for the most part Banana Wars and other wars in Latin America…I said they were largely not completely isolationist …..please read my wording properly The Americans needed to build their military; they were not quite ready to interfere in Europe and colonies in Africa……..and of course after that they were planning to aid the Klingons against the Romulans to bring in Regime change…. This is all baseless speculation.

I believe North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950 to force a regime change The Americans with the backing of South Korean political leader Syngman Rhee called for United Nations-sponsored elections to ratify the republic of South Korea. Nothing wrong with that. Full Korean elections were unrealistic – the Soviets were not prepared to let this happen as Kim IL Sung’s supporters were outnumbered 2 to 1. Many Koreans in Cheju…? , who were involved in the Korean independent movement, were divested to hear such calls: “The prospect of a permanent division of Korea sparked renewed upheaval. When mass demonstrations failed to stop the sham election, some workers and peasants began localized guerrilla battles in early 1948”(Cummings, Bruce),,, Agreed. Most Koreans wanted a reunion -but under their own terms not those of the dictator Kim-Il Sung and his totalitarian regime.

The Americans (and the Soviets initially - My experience is that Lefties for the sake of convenience tend to ignore that there was more than one player in the Cold War - before they gave the go-ahead for invasion) wanted to create a buffer zone and did not care for the will of the Koreans.

In a way you are correct here (he had a partial point)Cold War real politics influenced judgment significantly. The tragedy of the Korean situation is that both the US and the USSR are to blame (no analysis of Cold War Politics can should forget this dichotomy – we should also not forget China’s role later on) for the problem in the first place as both substituted power politics for the will of the Korean people. On moral grounds this cannot be defended. On practical terms it has worked out well for the South Koreans for the most part.
North Korea is a failed nation…a hermit kingdom…a monument for the transformation of utopic ideals into a dystopic hell….If the UN/America - (90% of the foreign troops were American but troops from 15 other countries including Canada took part – South Korea supplied 50% of the total troops) - had not acted in the Korean War to block the North Korean Invasion it seems likely that 40 million + extra people would have been doomed to live under an autocracy where large segments of the population have faced starvation under a brutal regime. Instead as of 2007 South Korea is an economic success, a democracy and one of the Four Asian Tigers… good for them. It has one of the highest standards of livings in Asia while North Korea has arguably the lowest. History has proven that American intervention in 1950 was the right action. I would give up the defense of North Korea if I were you **, most of the diehard leftists have abandoned that sinking ship a long time ago. Il Sung may have been a ‘progressive’ darling at one time (as Chavex is now) but the ‘nepotistic kingdom’ that he has constructed is an insult to any body who values freedom

On comparing Gitmo to the Gulags

Lets see millions of innocents perished in the brutal Soviet Gulags…. There are a five hundred or so terrorists at Gitmo ….Seems a reasonable comparison…NOT….

You completely miss the pointYou had a point? The United States cannot declare itself as a democratic and free country…it is free and democratic but it is also a nation at war with Islamist militancy………., while maintaining secret prisons. Obviously not that secretive if most us appear to know about them…, where torture and humiliation is the norm. Its not the norm…I agree that it is an issue……. but comparing this to the Soviet Gulags as the Amnesty International article indicated is ridiculous That is the Point.

On a ridiculous poll that argues that most people in the UK see Israel, US, North Korea and Iran as being negative force, I couldn't resist this spin.

Easy to Explain:Those with knowledge chose: Iran and North KoreaThe rest: Israel and the US Right

because all those who criticize America and Israel are ignorant….No but those who take stock in silly BBC polls of this nature go some way to validating your assertion….. . Whatever you say champ. it just wasn't worth the effort to adress a seemingly lack of wit.

He still continues to avoid adressing the question below:

Why is it that non-Muslims such as myself (and many others) seem more concerned about violence by Muslims towards their fellow co-religionists than most Muslims are on the very same issues? Example – The Taliban killings, Darfur, Shi’ite-Sunni violence in Iraq etc. Right, because all Muslims you know think the same wayNote the lack of lcomprehension here..I never said this either? For the umpteenth time read my question, think, then reply. Most Muslims do not ascribe to the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam and their views on Women. Ok – Then why were there so few mass demonstrations organized by the Muslim community against the Taliban when they were in power? Why were there hardly any demonstrations against Saddam Hussein when he was in power? I believe he suppressed both the Kurds and Shi’ites – fellow Muslims?
Moreover, let us not forget who created the Taliban.
A typical leftist tactic diversion

A conglomerate of influence but the main ideological framnework driving the worst excesses of their Taliban behaviour is Wahhabism – a brand of Islam promoted by the Saudis while they mascarade as allies of the West. The tragedy here as well – and I have mentioned this several times before – is that the US has not been tough enough on the Saudis.

As for Darfur:

Good – it took them long enough. Now maybe these organizations can put action to word and start pressuring Russia and China to stop supplying arms to the Islamist perpetrators. I find it interesting though how you had to go to a Jewish site to pick this up. Jewish groups – right and left (and believe me I am no fan of Rabbi Lerner but he is correct on his position with respect to Darfur) have generally been very vocal about condemning the genocide in Sudan. After all as victims of genocide ourselves (– as well as world indifference) – we have seem first hand what the outcome can be.

You have a bad habit of generalizing people. - an act of deperation - but how about this for a doozy of a reply

No just a good habit of not being Politically Correct when genocide is a factor….

For more read:




Friday, August 10, 2007

Debate with Silly Leftist #1

Gavin's original comments in blue
Lefty's comments in Green
Gavin's new comments in Red

But lets be realistic here – comparing human rights in the US to Iran or North Korea is in a way like trying to equate the tennis prowess of an ATP Tour regular with your occasional Sunday afternoon player. Its simply not worth the intellectual effort.

I will admit that the US has taken many steps to correct injustice and has been the champion of human rights for sometime now…. Finally we agree on something.. ….good However, their foreign policies has always been nothing short of malevolentMarshall Plan? Peace Corps? Democracy in Japan? All bad in your books?………, There hasn’t been a period in US history in the last 90 or so years where they have not been in a conflict directlyactually the US was largely isolationist between WWI and WWII and conflict free for the most part or indirectly supporting regime change in a foreign countrySo based on this logic they shouldn’t have entered WWII to force regime changes on Nazi Germany, Japan and Italy? Mmmmmmmm is not true for any of the countries you mentioned I believe North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950 to force a regime change. Thankfully it failed. We know this as the Korean War .
Iran acts to influence regime change through its proxy armies: Hezbollah (Lebanon) and now Hamas (Gaza Strip).
Moreover, in domestic affairs, you simply cannot ignore not ignoring anything just putting it into perspective now what is happening in Guantanamo Bay described as “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International. Lets see millions of innocents perished in the brutal Soviet Gulags…. There are a five hundred or so terrorists at Gitmo ….Seems a reasonable comparison…NOT….

According to a recent poll, Iran, Israel, North Korea, and the US top the list as countries with the most negative influence in the world

Easy to Explain:
Those with knowledge chose: Iran and North Korea
The rest: Israel and the US

He then claimed that Us Supreme Court Justices always mimic the views of the presidents that appointed them.

“....... Presidential appointed judges do not necessarily mimic the views of their President who appointed them. In fact they often don’t. Souter, O.Connor, Kennedy tend to be more liberal than Bush Snr and Reagan.”

I suppose the Supreme court handing Bush the election was just a figment of my imagination

I didn’t like the Supreme Court Decision either. I believe that a new election should have been called. Problem is…, is that new elections are costly and a nation such as the US cannot exist in a state of quantum electoral flux for long periods of time.

… Souter flip flops, O’ Connor comes of as a liberal bc she cares about women rights, and Kennedy is a Libertarian.

Exactly. Judges on the US Supreme Court are independent thinkers. Case proven.

He then said that he likes Sweden as it is a transparent democracy.

I guess you must like paying taxes (not sure what is so transparent about that – seems rather opaque to me).
Sweden has a Standard Value Added Tax of 25% compared to Canada’s 7%.
After taxation the average income left in ones pocket is $14,770 in Sweden compared to $22,050 in Canada.
It is the only country in the world with a total tax revenue of over 50% .
On the positive side Sweden gave the world Volvo, Saab (both now US owned), Scania, TetraPak, Ikea, Bjorn Borg, Abba, Linneaus, Arrhenius, Raoul Wallenberg, Berzelius, the Paris of the North and Bergman movies.