Sunday, August 31, 2008

How to spot a Legal Profession Series on TV

1. The divorce lawyer is having an affair with his/her client.
2. The junior lawyer is horribly humiliated in their first case which was clearly over their head to begin with (although I hear this is a truism of the profession).
3. Criminal lawyers will largely have innocent clients.
4. There will be at least one bizarre precedent setting case per episode.
5. Trials always start terribly for the lawyer until the Private Investigator unveils some crucial evidence.
6. The evidence is always released five minutes before the shows end.
7. Clients always hide vital information from the lawyer which the lawyer will find out on their own.
8. There is never any discussion of fees or retainers.
9. Guilty clients will cause an ethical dilemma that will split the firm opinion-wise for at the episode.
10. All lawyers are eloquent.
11. There is always a legal assistant studying at night to be a lawyer.
12. Every will is controversial.
13. Cases are decided immediately after crucial evidence is provided. The origin of this evidence is never really discussed.
14. Everybody drawing up a will is a wealthy eccentric.
15. The Judge will call the lawyers into chambers at least once an episode.
16. Justice is not blind to money. The truth always wins.
17. Legal assistants are either young and pretty or extreme battle axes. There are no 'regular person' type legal assistants.
18. A judge is found to be corrupt at least once every three episodes.
19. A lawyer will resort to court room theatrics at least once every two episodes.
20. A lawyer will find the exact legal precedent they are looking for to win the case with minimal research.
21. Court Cases never drag on…Yeah right!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Democrat Party Convention

Democratic National Convention Order of Speakers

5:00-6:00 pm – Jimmy Carter
Topic: Lets give Appeasement a Chance (sung to John Lennon tract)
6:00pm-7:00pm – John Edwards
Topic: Standing erect behind my principles
7:00pm -8:00pm – Jesse Jackson
Topic: I am not bitter and if you don’t believe me
I will cut your nut off. (In place of Al Sharpton’s speech
"Do you smell that? It's a race riot, son. Nothing else on the world smells like that. I love the smell of a race riot in the morning. Actually I love the smell of a race riot in the afternoon too.Come to think of it…….)

8:00pm 9:00pm – Arrival of Al Gore’s personal jet followed by speech
Topic: Do as I say not as I do.
(Snacks to Follow)
(Drinks sponsored by the Kennedys)

Concurrent workshops (8:00-9:00pm)

Workshop A: 150 ways of using the word ‘change’ by the Obama Speech writers collective (Thesaurus not required).

Workshop B: Milking the ‘Blame-it-on-Bush-Line’. Can we get another four years out of this? Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi

Workshop C: Why I plan to go to Cuba for my brain surgery? By Michael Moore

Workshop D: George Soros plays tribute to Obama - background song ‘Puppet on a String’ Sandie Shaw

Workshop E: Some deep thoughts on global politics by Maggie Gyllenhaal/Sean Penn and Scarlet Johansson
(10 minutes only)

9:00 pm -10:00pm – Hilary Clinton: Reciting I could have been a contender from On the Waterfront.

10:00pm – Barack Obama arrives in a chariot to the lyrics of Jesus Christ Superstar
10:00-11:00pm – Barack Obama’s speech.
Special Lottery: Guess the number of references to JFK?
11:00 pm - 'God', one of the few outstanding celebrities, officially endorses Obama (pending ACLU objection). Apparently it was Oprah who swung him over.

Conference Ends. Exit Strategies initialized (except for Hilary who doesn't have one).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

9 Irrational arguments

The following is a list of arguments that are often expressed however each one can be very easily demolished.

1. We had a hot summer last year this proves that global warming has occur ed.
DEBUNKING: Evidence for Global Warming is based on long term models - one summer corresponding to one data point is meaningless.

2. The root cause of Anti-Western Islamist terrorism is poverty.

DEBUNKING: Many of the poorest countries in the world (particularly in Africa, South America and Asia) have no record of terrorism whatsoever. Also many Islamist terrorists and sympathizers are products of affluent societies: Saudi Arabia, UK, Gulf States etc. The terrorism is ideologically driven.

3. We should expect a different standard of behaviour from Islamists as there religion is over 600 years younger than Christianity.

DEBUNKING: The Islamist form of behaviour is a regression to a pre-enlightenment stage that is a characteristic of Wahhabihism and its ilk. Also other forms of Islam, such as the Ismaili version, have standards of behaviour that are in line with modern western thought. Supporting the regression notion is the observation that the predominant Islam of the Middle Age dynasties - the Umayyads and Abbasids - was substantially more progressive than the Islamist ideology of today.

4. Obama represents a force of change and therefore we should vote for him.

DEBUNKING: Perhaps he does but change in and of itself is meaningless. Remember deterioration is a change as well. This slogan carries no weight.

5. Leftists are progressives

DEBUNKING: Depends on what you define by progressive: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot were all leftists. I doubt whether their victims would consider them progressive.

6. Western Civilization is a failure.

DEBUBKING: Western Civilization is successful. It has unsurpassed levels of scientific, cultural and artistic achievement. Also its populations enjoy the highest standards of living, the best healthcare, the greatest freedom of speech, the most individual rights in comparison to any other civilization on this planet.

7. Michael Moore reports what the Mainstream media fails to cover.

DEBUNKING: Well in that case he should do a documentary on the success of the Iraqi surge and the defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Moore reports what fits his selective bias, makes commercial sense and advances his own political agenda. He is a propaganda machine not a documentary maker.

8. There is evidence of design in nature

DEBUNKING: There is evidence of organization in nature. Organization need not require a specific designer. Systems can gravitate to what appears to be an organized state as a result of various intrinsic factors - chaos mathematics has demonstrated this.

9. Intelligent Design is scientific

DEBUNKING: Since it cannot be falsified through any conceivable experiment Intelligent Design is not a valid scientific theory.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the News XLV

Benazir Bhutto's widower to stand for President
Asif Ali Zardari was held in custody on various charges (including murder) from 1997 to 2004 . He was also found guilty by a Swiss court of money laundering in 2003. The fact that this guy is even being considered for the presidency is an insult to the population. For more on the back dealing in Pakistani politics go to the following source. Meanwhile the Islamists are back to their old tricks with a bomb blast that has left over twenty dead.

Obama picks Joe Biden for Veep
He brings the foreign policy experience that Obama so needs. I guess all is for given after this earlier remark from Biden. Talk about selective use of the racism card. Now if a Republican had said this........

More capitulation by Israel
199 Palestinian prisoners to be freed by Monday.
More give, give, give from Olmert and his appeasers. Apparently Israel may receive captured soldier Gilad Shalit in return....lets hope its not in a coffin as was the case a month ago with Hezbollah's two kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Trip Down Memory Lane II - Coe and Ovett

As a child of the late 70's and a teen of the 80's I was fortunate to witness the running rivalry of Britain's Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett. Together with countryman Steve Cram (who was still more of the other guy) the three dominated middle distance running during this time period. Coe (now Lord Coe) was the greatest of the three rivals. Here is a list of his achievements:

1979 - Coe sets world record in 800m, 1 mile and 1,500m. He holds all three records simultaneously.
1980 - Wins 1500m at Moscow Olympics and is runner up to Ovett at 800m. Each won each other's speciality at this Olympics.
1980 - Breaks World Record in 1,000m.
1981 - Betters time on 1,000m. New Record will stand for 18 years. Breaks record for the mile twice. Sets time of 1 minute 41.73 seconds for the 800m. This record will stand until 1997 (it was broken by Danish/Kenyan Wilson Kipketer) but still remains as of today as the second fastest time in the history of the 800m.
1982 - Is part of relay team that sets the world record in the 4 x 800m. The record will stand for 24 years.
1984 - Wins silver in the 800m (behind Joaquim Cruz of Brazil) and takes gold in the 1500m at the Los Angeles Olympics.
1986 - Wins 800m at European Championships. Is voted best athlete for the fourth time in his career.

To see Coe's amazing 800m world record run go to

Ovett's achievements should not be scoffed at either.

1976 - Finishes fifth at the Montreal Olympics in the 800m behind legendary Cuban runner,
Alberto 'the horse' Juantorena (who won both the 400m and the 800m that year)
1977 - Wins gold at the IAAF World Championships in the 1500m defeating the favourite New Zealand's, John Walker.
1978 - Takes 1500m Gold at the European Championship. Sets World Record in the 2-mile.
1980 - Wins Gold in Moscow in the 800m but only finishes third in the 1500m. Breaks mile world record and equals Coe's time at 1500m. Breaks world record in 1500,
1981 - Exchanges world records with Coe in the mile - three times in 10 days.

Here is some footage of Cram vs Ovett in their inspiring duel at Crystal Palace in 1983.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Quick Guide to Leftist Hatred

Leftism as a political philosophy is very much driven by a pathology of hatreds. While a vast proportion of the hatred is directed against opposing ideologies, much of the hatred arises from an inability to tolerate success in others. John Ray of Dissecting Leftism goes into great detail with respect to this issue in his various blogs.Having debated Leftists on many an occasion (more times than I care to remember) I have a compiled a list of ten hatreds that are notoriously common to the leftist mentality.

1.Hatred of the US: The US is an economic, scientific and culturally successful free market driven country. It also led the fight that ultimately culminated in the defeat of the Soviet Union (a leftist tyrannical regime - and the main horse that leftists backed during the Cold War). Hatred of the US is a very useful mechanism in uniting conflict leftist ideologies. The leftist extension of its hatred of the US carries over to a vile disdain of other US influenced organizations such as the IMF, World Bank and NATO. This was most recently observed in leftist support for Russia’s invasion of the prospective NATO and Western Ally, Georgia.

2. Hatred of Global Capitalism (GC): GC stands in the way of the world wide spread of International Socialism and its variances (Trotskyism, Maoism, Marxism, Eco-fascism etc) which Leftists seek to promote. It is important to note that it is not globalization that leftists detest - their ideologies hinge on a global outlook as well – but in the proliferation of the free market mantra.

3. Hatred of the Nature View Point: Leftists for the most part detest genetic explanations especially in the field of psychometrics, as it undermines the relevant nurture based constructs that they believe can be manipulated to create the respective nirvanas. Such a bias has manifested itself in such leftist dominated academic fields as sociology and psychology.

4. Hatred of Organized Religion: In Leftist thought the organized traditional religions need to 'fade away' or be annihilated (depending on the urgency) so that the collectivist vision predominates. Organized religions also have a nasty habit of undermining leftist totalitarianisms. Nevertheless Leftists will however tolerate organized religion, if it too opposes a greater threat - such as that of the US. Leftist sympathy for Islamism is an outcrop of such thinking (Despite the fact that Islamism and Leftism would ‘rip each other apart’ in a world devoid of the common bogeyman of Classical Liberalism ).

5. Hatred of Tradition: Leftism centers on the twin notions of destruction and re-building. Tradition represents that which has to be destroyed as it is the product of the ‘old order’ (which in leftist eyes can never be ‘good’). Leftists, from the early days of the French Revolution Jacobins have been hostile to tradition seeking to replace existing structures and establishments with those of their own making.

6. Hatred of Standards: Standards throw a wrench into the workings of leftism and its adherence to moral and intellectual relativism. Standards also provide additional support for the ‘old order’ and validate the tradition that leftists wish to dismantle. It is no wonder that Post-Modernist thinking with its emphasis on anti-establishment rhetoric is so popular with leftists in university settings.

7. Hatred of Individuality: Leftists are ultimately opposed to individuality, although they will tolerate it in the short run as bait for the creative class. Individuality contradicts the group think creed inherent in leftist ideology. In the West this sentiment is evident in education where it manifests itself in an opposition toward home/private schooling and voucher systems.
Elsewhere where leftist regimes have power this extend to state control and censorship of the arts and literature (remember the bourgeoisie art hysteria of the old Soviet Union). With this in mind it is puzzling how so many in the arts continue to back leftist anti-market causes when historically the free market system has provided the best platform for the promotion of artistic self-expression.

8. Hatred of Debate/Counter Thought: Leftists are quick to complain about their voices being marginalized, yet once power is achieved are quick to negate free speech. Leftist championing of university speech codes, human rights tribunals and ‘offense directed’ litigation are testament to this reality in the west.

9. Hatred of Corporations: Leftists see corporations as the face of capitalism and it would therefore suffice, in the Leftist mindset, to loathe them on this aspect alone. However corporations exist at the brunt of this hatred (regardless of their nature of service) as they represent an external challenge to the statism that so many leftists crave. Furthermore like the US, Israel and the establishment; corporations also provide a useful avenue for hate venting that can be utilized in enhancing the footprint of the revolutionary movement.

10. Hatred of Israel: Israel is a successful country, for the very same reason that the US is, in that it values economic and personal freedom. It is also a reliable ally of the US. Leftism’s extreme hatred of Israel is motivated by an opposition to Judeo-Christian values (suffused in many cases with an unhealthy dose of anti-semitism), the ever present leftist hatred of success in others and a pragmatic need to win allies, this time from within the Arab/Muslim world and the anti-Jewish diaspora.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the Name of God(lessness)

Dennis Prager (one of my favourite political commentators) has an excellent article in Front Page Magazine. I am reprinting most of it.
For the full article go to the Source

So, while it is not possible to prove (or disprove) God's existence, what is provable is what happens when people stop believing in God.

1. Without God there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label "good" and "evil." This does not mean that an atheist cannot be a good person. Nor does it mean that all those who believe in God are good; there are good atheists and there are bad believers in God. It simply means that unless there is a moral authority that transcends humans from which emanates an objective right and wrong, "right" and "wrong" no more objectively exist than do "beautiful" and "ugly."

2. Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. We are all merely random creations of natural selection whose existence has no more intrinsic purpose or meaning than that of a pebble equally randomly produced.

3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we suffer, we die -- some horrifically, many prematurely -- and there is only oblivion afterward.

4. Human beings need instruction manuals. This is as true for acting morally and wisely as it is for properly flying an airplane. One's heart is often no better a guide to what is right and wrong than it is to the right and wrong way to fly an airplane. The post-religious secular world claims to need no manual; the heart and reason are sufficient guides to leading a good life and to making a good world.

5. If there is no God, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers. Only if there is a good God do Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler have different fates.

6. With the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many Westerners believe in little. That is why secular Western Europe has been unwilling and therefore unable to confront evil, whether it was Communism during the Cold War or Islamic totalitarians in its midst today.

7. Without God, people in the West often become less, not more, rational. It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed in the utterly irrational doctrine of Marxism. It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed that men's and women's natures are basically the same, that perceived differences between the sexes are all socially induced. Religious people in Judeo-Christian countries largely confine their irrational beliefs to religious beliefs (theology), while the secular, without religion to enable the non-rational to express itself, end up applying their irrational beliefs to society, where such irrationalities do immense harm.

8. If there is no God, the human being has no free will. He is a robot, whose every action is dictated by genes and environment. Only if one posits human creation by a Creator that transcends genes and environment who implanted the ability to transcend genes and environment can humans have free will.

9. If there is no God, humans and "other" animals are of equal value. Only if one posits that humans, not animals, are created in the image of God do humans have any greater intrinsic sanctity than baboons. This explains the movement among the secularized elite to equate humans and animals.

10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with "art" that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo's art in the Sistine chapel. The latter elevates the viewer -- because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all men.

11. Without God nothing is holy. This is definitional. Holiness emanates from a belief in the holy. This explains, for example, the far more widespread acceptance of public cursing in secular society than in religious society. To the religious, there is holy speech and profane speech. In much of secular society the very notion of profane speech is mocked.

12. Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.

13. Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. Evolution confers no rights. Molecules confer no rights. Energy has no moral concerns. That is why America's Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed "by our Creator" with certain inalienable rights. Rights depend upon a moral source, a rights giver.

14. "Without God," Dostoevsky famously wrote, "all is permitted." There has been plenty of evil committed by believers in God, but the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes -- specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes -- dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.

Monday, August 18, 2008

In the News XLIV

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf resigns

I never liked Musharraf - he overthrew an elected government (albeit a corrupt one) - and failed to take the initiative in sealing his border from Taliban insurgents thereby enhancing the problems faced by NATO in neighbouring Afghanistan. He talked tough but failed to deliver. However I have my reservations as to whether his successor will be an improvement. Nuclear armed Pakistan is very much a concern especially if such weapons were to fall into the hands of a rogue group (of which there are no shortages thereof in Pakistan). Musharraf's successor needs to clamp down with rigour against the Islamist threat. Whether they will (I believe they can - Pakistan has a strong military) is the critical question? If not NATO may have no choice but to act in a manner which facilitates such neutralization.

US will protect Poland with anti-missile shield

The US is correct in supplying Poland with a missile system to defend against external belligerency. The West failed once at the end of World War II when it allowed Eastern Europe to be taken over by the Soviet/Russian Bear. Repeating the mistake would be an insult to generations past.The fact that the Ukraine is willing to follow the same pathway as Poland is also a favourable development.

More yammering in Africa to save Mugabe's hide

So far its only tiny Botswana that seems to be taking a strong line in defense of Democracy. South African President Thabo Mbeki's pro-Mugabe stance is an insult to the Freedom Charter that the ANC claims to champion.

The Chinese take on Olympic Protests - not bloody likely

As expected China has turned down all 77 applications for protest.

McCain/Cameron better choice than Obama/Brown when facing International threat

Its all about decisiveness and courage to act with conviction.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

9 Possible World War Three Scenarios

This is more of a brainstorming exercise than anything else but it is worth thinking about nevertheless.

1. China against the US - A war of ideology and Economic influences. Principal theaters of conflict would be the Pacific, South East Asia and Eastern Russia/Manchuria.

2. China allied with the Islamic World against the West - similar to scenario #1 but with more parties involved.

3. US against Russia - The original Third World as envisioned by Cold Warriors. Less likely to happen than in the time before the 1990s (collapse of Communism) but nevertheless it is still a possibility. Would be apocalyptic as both countries still possess the largest nuclear arsenals on the globe.

4. West and India against China and Russia - China and Russia fighting to avoid encirclement by their enemies. Could occur if Totalitarianism is resurrected in Russia.

5. US and China against India and Russia - Would be a possibility if Russia reasserted itself and realigned with India, Another Cold War Scenario come to life.

6. The Americas against Asia - A late 21st century war possibility that could occur as both continents strive for domination of the mining rights to the Planet's largest Ocean.

7. War of the Corporations - A war situation in a post-nation state world where corporations battle one another for control of the planet's resources. This war could quite likely move into the region of space near Earth.

8. The War of the Next ideology - A war in which the next counter-capitalism ideology raises its head, spreads out across the border and challenges the existing capitalist infrastructure. Counter-capitalism culture could take the form of rejuvenated Marxism or a totally new ideology (perhaps New Age) that has yet to be synthesized.

9. The Oil Wars - Decreasing energy resources may force the West to take matters into their own hands and force OPEC to hand over its assets.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What are the goals of Leftism?

Leftism as a political movement carries with it a drive that is ultimately destructive. In my numerous debates with leftists I have noticed many commonalities that are worrisome, in the way that they reflect this belief. These have been outlined in an earlier post. While not all players who fall under the leftist label can be described asuch, the overall intended direction and ambition of the movement, is unmistakingly characterized below.

1. The end of Free Markets - Free Markets create income differentials which run in antithesis to the leftist ideal of monetary equality. The fact that income differentials are a key driving force to the overall wealth of all does not concern leftists. In leftist thought it is better that all are poor than that some are wealthy. I believe that this may be guided by a pathology of inferiority that underpins the philosophy of leftism as a whole.

2. The eradication of the Judeo-Christian ethos - Judeo-Christian philosophy, work ethic and initiative fostering has been vital in driving and sustaining Western Civilization. This is anethma to Leftists whose underlying Radicalism is driven by the notion of 'destroy, clear out and recreate'. Such a truism defined the two most influential 20th century Leftist Philosophies - Communism and National Socialism. Leftists in short detest Judeo-Christian philosophy as it has a proven record of success in historical terms and this ultimately invalidates Leftism itself.

3. The creation of a new elite - The new elite will carry through the necessary programs of social engineering. Leftists believe that the environment is the key variable that can be manipulated to establish their specific utopic scenario. In Leftist thinking the elite must be stern in their manipulation of the environment. They must furthermore act with no recourse to the opinion of the masses whom leftists ultimately believe are in the dark about the truth anyway. Leftist fondness for re-education training (a common policy in Communist nations), sensitivity training in the West and opposition to private education (a milieu where the elites are more easily challenged) colours such thinking. Leftist claims of support for non-hierachial structures (a popular misconception) is nothing more than a smokescreen to encourage resistance to current hierarchies that they seek to destroy. It is important not to forget that in every case that leftists have succeeded in destroying a hierarchy (Nazi Germany, Soviet Union and Cambodia etc.) they have replaced it with another hierarchy that has been far worse.

4. A Single World Government - Leftists claim to detest globalization but what they
actually loathe is the spread of global capitalism not globalization itself. Leftists actually are arch globalizers as they wish to see the whole world recreated in their utopic ideal - and a single world government providing one source of action certainly facilates this approach. Communism, Trotskyism and Anarchism all have a global outlook as do the radical faces of environmentalism and feminism (these two movements have moderate forms as well that are not necessarily leftist). In the US an ever present leftist ideology overwhelmingly advocates making US foreign policy subservient to the United Nations (the closest example to a body of potential World Government that exists today). The fact that the UN is more of a collection of dictatorships than democracies is of no importance to leftists as leftism itself ultimately abhors democracy.

Olympic Watch II

The Olympics have reached their half-way point and these have been my three personal highlights.

1. Michael Phelps' 7 Gold medals - he now has 13 Gold Medals overall in his Olympic Career. Phelp's last race the 100-m Butterfly was won by a hairs breadth but such is the nature of the swimming. What is not impressive though is how poorly the archdeacon's of the US Olympic Committee have treated all-time great Mark Spitz - whose seven gold medals at a single Olympics Phelps has just tied. Blogger Debbie Schlussel has more on this.

2. Kristy Coventry from the troubled nation of Zimbabwe winning the 200-m backstroke - she had already won three medals in other events.

3. 9.69 seconds........... Usain Bolt the 21 year old Jamaican literally runs away with the 100m Mens Final and it wasn't even close (he was 2/10ths of a second faster than second place Richard Thompson of Trinidad). World Champion American Tyson Gay failed to qualify for the final - he was carrying an injury - but I doubt whether he even at full health would have been able to stop Bolt (who looked as though he was cruising at the end and could have easily run a sub 9.6 seconds). Bolt can add to this Gold by winning the 200m (his speciality) and the 4 x 100m relay. Here is some old footage of Bolt's earlier world record time of 9.72 seconds that he has of course eclipsed.

4. Roger Federer recovers from an upset loss in the singles to lead Switzerland to Gold in the Men's Tennis Doubles.

5. Swimmer Rebecca Adlington of the UK breaking Janet Evans' 19 year old mark in the 800m freestyle. Evans is arguably the greatest female swimmer of All-Time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some Realizations about Life

1. I believe that there are many ways to relate to G-d and that any group/or person who claims that 'mine/ours is the only path' is guilty of a narrowest and possibly deceptive outlook.
2. It is important to evaluate progress towards one's life goals to ensure that the correct focus is maintained. Don't be afraid to be self critical (although not to excess) for its through personal self-analysis that we grow.
3. G-d's creation is revealed with science. There is also nothing in theistic belief that makes it mutually exclusive from science (despite the best efforts of biblical literalists and scientific materialists). I am an integrationist in this sense.
4. It is important to have faith in G-d who endowed us with reason as a tool to make sense of the universe. Reason and logic can solve many a problem.
5. Keep an open mind although there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of scepticism.
6. Be weary of groups/organizations that are centered around the thoughts and actions of one person. They too often have a tendency to take on Cult-like characteristics.
7. Take with a grain of salt anyone who describes themselves as the ' foremost expert in...' . Real 'experts' need not use such hyperbole.
8. I see the matter world as the condensation of the spirit counterpart. The two are the same and are defined by the 'milieu of the existence framework'. This is not the same as the strict dualism of mind/body but may be related (I am working in this) with principles of complementary superposition (such as the quantum particle/wave divide).
9. There is a design to the universe but this transcends the simplistic as envisioned by the Intelligent Design Movement. This higher design incorporates the notion of chance - so apparent randomness is an illusion.
10. Evolution is consistent with belief in G-d, so is natural selection. It is not necessary to envision a low level designer as championed by the ID movement. The direction from G-d can very easily be defined by a mechanism that appears 'random' to us. Also keep in mind that scientific empiricism and rationalism are ultimately limited at the extremes of the material periprhery.
11. A person should aim for the highest level of pleasure - the spiritual. Aspiring to such pleasure involves many routes - for some its prayer, for others its good deeds, for many its both. I elevate myself to the spiritual by helping others as a teacher, acting with a goodness and communicating to G-d.
12. It is important to better oneself. Improving my skills as a teacher, expanding my knowledge in various subjects and a constant litany of self correction techniques are paramount to my life.
13. One should not be afraid to think and allow one's mind to wander. Society often frowns on the latter - which is unfortunate as 'Mind Wandering' is a great mechanism for the initiation of useful thought.
14. Acknowledge one's weaknesses - work to improve these shortfalls - but don't let it dominate your lives. Imperfection is not necessarily a 'bad' phenomenon.
15. Exercise Free Will with informed thought.
16. A dialectic approach can further cultivate our understanding of the universe - it is vital to synthesize contrasting points of view- but this need not be a symmetrical synthesis. Critical thinking and logic must be used to reject aspects of the inferior position (whether it be thesis or antithesis).
17. Most problems have multiple solutions.
18. The worst output of any one of our passions is indifference to mediocrity.
19. No Book has all the answers.
20. Live by your own standards not others.
21. There is nothing wrong with pleasure but there are different levels of pleasure.
22. The universe is dynamic - adjust with purposeful thought.
23. Do not confuse Relativism with Dynamics - the former attaches itself to nothing which leaves itself further adrift and lost in a continual sea of change.
24. People have a natural tendency to gravitate towards the lowest level of pleasure, the physical. It is impossible to renounce the physical (doing so is a meaningless exercise - asceticism - a failed philosophy) what is achievable is to manage the physical keeping it in perspective - with a lower priority to that of the intellectual and spiritual.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In the News XLIII

Soviets...oops Russians....expanding Empire

The Russian invasion of Georgia (which apparently took the US by much for satellite technology) is extremely worrisome. Not only has the sovereign territory of an independent nation being violated but Georgia is a democracy and a pro-Western Ally (didn't the US go to war for less in liberating the autocratic Kuwait from the Iraqi invaders in 1991?) that deserves our support in the fight against Putin's thuggery. The WSJ has an article where it likens Putin to Napoleon Bonaparte. This may be the case - Russia is certainly acting in a manner that resembles the Soviet Union, who invaded Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968 (both during Olympic Years ?) to re-affirm its authority. In addition Russia has been meddling for some time in former Republics of the Soviet Union especially Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States.
Anyway at least lame duck president George W. Bush seems to be talking tough with the Russians. Will this help? I doubt it. What the US needs to do is exert its economic clout.

Ezra Levant defeats Enemies of Free Speech in Canada
Levant, who is a strong opponent of Islamofascism, went to great lengths to fight off this phony human rights charge. His effort has been somewhat justified (as was Mark's Steyn) but he suffered severe financial ruin in the process. If Free Speech is a priority in Canada (which it should be in any democracy) the government ought to take steps in abolishing the plethora of Human Rights Commissions who have grown into unnecessary watchdogs and stiflers of reasonable opinion.

Cuban Baseball players defect from leftist 'paradise'
Sorry but I couldn't resist the sarcasm.

More sniping in the US Presidential Election
It seems as though McCain's celebrity taunts have hit a nerve with Obama. As understood Hollywood endorsements can be more of a curse than a blessing.

Hamas tries some fuzzy logic
According to Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas spokesman, 'the militants that fired rockets at Israel on Monday are collaborators with Israel

Mugabe enabler Thabo Mbeki racks up additional frequent flyer miles
and so the saga continues........more yakking as the country chokes

The Average Poll has Obama ahead of McCain by an average of 4.8%
I don't have much faith in polls as a rule but there seems to be an unusual consistency amongst these.

Here is a question I would love pollsters to ask:

If the Russia/Georgia situation does erupt onto a larger scale which candidate would you rather have as Chief-of-Staff?

Olympic Watch

Michael Phelps on target for eight golds at Beijing

Nothing short of a coming apocalypse seems to be able to derail Michael Phelps from winning eight golds at Beijing. Phelps won the 200m freestyle today band has three gold medals so far (to add to the six he won in Athens). His nine life time gold medals in total ties him with Olympic legends: Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Paavo Nurmi and Larissa Latynina. Is it possible that Phelps may be the greatest Olympic Athlete ever?If he completes his task of eight gold medals in China this should must is a plausible argument.

India wins first its first individual Gold medal

The Olympic Games' most significant underachieving nation finally won its first individual gold at Beijing. The event: Shooting - The winner: Abhinav Bindra. Well done.

China takes Men's Olympic Team Gold in Gymnastics

Favourites China took Gold in this prestigious event placing first in five of the six apparatus (wow!). Japan walked away with silver whilst the US was forced to settle for bronze.

Aaron Piersol repeats

American Aaron Piersol came from behind with a classic turn at the midpoint to win the 100m backstroke (the stroke I liked least during my rather amateurish swimming days), Piersol won this same event in Athens 2004.

China: 11 Gold, 3 Silver, 4 Bronze: Total = 18 (Has most Golds)
US: 7 Gold, 6 Silver, 8 Bronze: Total = 21 (Leads Total)
Korea: 5 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze: Total = 11 (Big Surprise these Olympics)
Italy: 3 Gold, 4 Silver, 2 Bronze: Total = 9
Australia: 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 5 Bronze: Total = 9
Russia: 2 Gold, 4 Silver, 3 Bronze: Total = 9 (how the mighty have fallen)

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Scientist Snippets

The following is a list of some important items taken from the New Scientist edition of July 12-18 2008.

1. It is now possible to grow sperm from tooth stem cells - talk about putting your money where you mouth is.

2. Lawyers, surgeons and ethicists from 78 countries are calling for a ban on the international trade of organs (such as kidneys) - why it took them so long is anyone's guess (organ trading is a disgusting practice that targets the most poor in society).

3. Flatfish caught evolving due to its roving eye - looks like another missing link has been found.

4. Men who have sex more often less likely to develop erectile dysfunction

5. Chelation heart trials creates furor.

6. Freezing embryos for IVF does more good then harm - apparently the stronger one's survive producing a fitness benefit.

7. Lamarckian inheritance is back in vogue - environmental factors can cause change in 'junk' DNA which can then be passed on and expressed in offspring (under a mechanism of gene control). I never liked the term 'junk' DNA anyway (I figured it was a scientific cop out).This new realization - aka transgenerational epigenetic Inheritance - looks as though it may force us to re-write some of the biology textbooks.

8. A fully bevy of lunar missions are scheduled from 2008-2020. The US, Europe, Russia, Japan, China, UK and India will be the key drivers. Being a space zealot myself this move to return to our trusted natural satellite can only be viewed in a positive light. Its about time........

9. Breast Milk still trumps formula in almost every health measurement (risk for diabetes, obesity, respiratory and urinary tract infections, middle ear problems etc) but formula companies are working diligently at improving their product. Several human milk proteins have already been produced in GM food crops - rice in particular.

Science and Religion - A Middle ground

I consider myself a spiritual person in that I believe in a reality that transcends the material world. This is not inconsistent with my love for reason and my adherence to the scientific method as both the empirical and rationalist underpinnings of science are by their very nature limited to the material realm. My spiritualism extends to belief in an entity of undefinable complexity that is both the ultimate cause of all that there is and the singular answer to the eternal question - 'why?'. Kabbalistic thoughts defines such an entity as Ein Sof (without end) - traditional monotheism sees it as God. Such semantics are irrelevant what is critical are the defining properties of the entity - omnipotence, uniqueness an extension beyond space and time and a resistance to ultimate external qualification.

Now we all tread different paths in life but what we ultimately seek is pleasure. Whether it is the lower pleasures of the physicality or the higher form of enriched knowledge and spirituality - the need is there. Some scientists believe that such a need is hard wired in our genetic code. Others argue for more of a nurture approach. Both may be true but what each postulate fails to answer, as mentioned, is the enigmatic 'why'? The asymptote to all scientific philosophy.

In fact it is the 'why?' to many a question that tames science and prevents this great discipline from entering the narrow road of its own fundamentalism (scientism, behaviourism, extensive logical positivism, mechanistics etc). Scientists should see this as a blessing. Acknowledging one's limits is both cathartic and empowering - after all it clears the road to focus on the necessary and tangible.

However by the same token religion needs science - as no other epistemological instrument is as effective in understanding the material world as is science. Religious zealots who dismiss science when it appears to challenge scripture do so at their own peril. They must learn to broaden their outlook to address the challenges that free inquiry reveals.

In short Albert Einstein was correct when he said - " Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Its a shame that so many fail to heed these words as they set up camp in the polarized extremes of both pursuits.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Movies III

A brief synopsis on some movies that I have seen lately


I was 14 and still living in South Africa when the Stander gang caused all sorts of mayhem. This movie attempts to be faithful to the original story but like almost every screen adaptation from the Rainbow nations turns into a mini rant about Apartheid. It is worth seeing but is not spectacular by any means.
Rating: 6/10


This film about some small town losers making a porno is essentially another version of the Jeff Bridges show. As much as I like JB, the rest of the cast (including Ted Danson) appear as ornaments. The story is predictable, and although funny in parts, did not live up to expectations.
Rating: 5/10

The Happening

Pure tripe and by far the worst M. Night Shyamalan movie of all-time. There is nothing redeeming by this movie which falls well short of the high standards that the director set for himself in the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and the Village (I didn't care much for Signs).
Rating: 3/10

Green Street

I am not a big fan of Elijah 'Frodo' Woods but this movie was tremendous. The storyline (which deals with English Football hooliganism) flowed toward a logical conclusion and the acting was spot on. Definitely worth the rent.
Rating: 8/10

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Summer Olympic Nostalgia

I have followed the Summer Olympic Games since Montreal (1976).

These are my personal Top Forty best memories

1. After a long absence, due to political sanctions, South Africa competes in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and wins two medals.

2. Brits Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett dominate Middle Distance running at Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984.

3. Canadian Donovan Bailey wins the 100m sprint in Atlanta. He then goes on to lead Canada to victory in the 4 x 100m Men’s relay.

4. Michael Johnson wins both the 200m and 400m Sprints in Atlanta establishing World Records at both.

5. Michael Phelps wins six swimming Gold medals at Athens 2004.

6. The South African swimming team wins the Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle relay in Athens. The team includes Ronald Schoeman from my place of birth, Pretoria.

7. American sprinter Carl Lewis wins four Gold Medals in Los Angeles (1984) thereby mimicking the feat of Jessie Owens in Berlin 1936 (Owens was much more of a Class human being though).

8. The Dream Team ‘jazzes’ up Olympic Basketball to win Gold in 1992.

9. Brit Daley Thompson clinches Gold in both the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Decathlon. In my opinion Thompson is the greatest decathlete ever.

10. Canada dominates Women’s rowing at Barcelona (1992).

11. Nigeria defies all odds to win Soccer Gold at the Atlanta Games.

12. Matt Biondi wins five swimming gold medals at Seoul 1988 to add to a silver and bronze in the same Olympics. He already won two golds at Los Angeles (1984) and will win a further gold and silver at Barcelona in 1992.

13. The US Women’s entry puts in a tremendous performance to win Gold in Atlanta in Gymnastics Team.

14. Aussie Ian Thorpe sets the swimming world ablaze at Sydney 2000.

15. Newly independent Zimbabwe’s Women’s Field Hockey Team wins Gold at Moscow 1980.

16. Lennox Lewis wins boxing Gold in 1988 fighting for Canada.

17. Gal Fridman becomes Israel’s first ever gold medalist when he wins sailing’s mistral men’s in Athens (2004).

18.American Greg Louganis dominates diving in two successive Olympics (Los Angeles and Seoul)

19. An exciting young Spanish team takes Men’s Soccer Gold at Barcelona 1992.

20. Carl Lewis wins a fourth consecutive Long Jump Gold at the Atlanta Olympics.

21. British rower Steve Redgrave establishes himself in sport as winning gold at five consecutive Olympic Games.

22. Romanian Gymnast Nadia Comaneci scores a perfect 10.00 at Montreal 1976.

23. The US Track and Field team wins both the 4 x100 m and 4x400m relays in World record time at Barcelona 1992.

24. South African Josiah Thugwane wins the Men’s Marathon in Atlanta 1996.

25. Jackie Joyner Kersee, arguably one of the greatest female athletes of all-time wins Heptathlon gold at Seoul and Barcelona. Like myself Kersee is an asthma sufferer.

26. Former Graves disease victim Gail Devers wins gold in 100m track at both Barcelona and Atlanta.

27. Randy Barnes takes Gold in the Men’s shot put in Atlanta

28. Ethiopian Runner Haile Gebrselassie wins Gold in the 10000m in Atlanta. He will repeat this performance in Sydney four years later.

29. Gymnast Kyle Showfelt clinches Olympic Gold for Canada in the Men’s Floor Exercise in Atlanta. This was Canada’s first ever medal in artistic gymnastics. More to follow…hopefully.

30. Scotsman Alan Wells wins the 100m sprint in Moscow (1980). He is the last white athlete ever to do so.

31. Doubles Tennis team Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval win a silver medal for South Africa at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

32. Swimmer Penny Heyns wins two gold medals for South Africa in the 100m and 200m breaststroke in Atlanta.

33. Canadian Mark McCoy wins the 110m hurdles at Barcelona (1992).

34. American Edwin Moses wins the 400m hurdles at Los Angeles (1984) to add to his 1976 Olympic Gold in the same event. Moses dominated this distance between 1977 and 1987 and would undoubtedly have won a gold at Moscow (1980) had the US competed.

35. Brit Linford Christie takes gold at the 100m sprint in Barcelona. (1992)

36. Great Britain wins the 1988 Men’s Field Hockey Title.

37. Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny wins his third consecutive gold medal in Sydney (2000).

38. Sergei Bubka, the World’s greatest ever pole vaulter, wins Gold at Seoul in 1988.

39. Sprinter Evelyn Ashford wins gold in the 100m race in Los Angeles (1984).

40. Decathlete American Dan O’Brien wins gold in Atlanta (1996).

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Scientist's take on animosity toward Reason

New Scientist (July 26-Aug 1) ran seven articles on Why People Hate Reason (I thought the word 'Hate' was a bit strong but that is what they chose). Seven reasons given were (and the writer who expounded it in the corresponding article are outlined below.

1. Morality can't come from reason alone - Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury).
2. Science is easily abused - sociologist David Miller and linguist Noam Chomsky
3. Reason is better with creativity - artist Keith Tyson
4. People see the world through stories not logic - bioethicist Tom Shakespeare
5. Reason doesn't even follow its own rules - mathematician Roger Penrose
6. No one really uses reason anyway - neuroscientist Chris Frith
7. Absolute faith in a single authority is never sensible - philosopher Mary Midgley

I have an 8th reason myself - comfort. Most people are creatures of habit and detest having their existing paradigms challenged - even if it means taking a stance that is not justified by reason.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

In the News XLII

Soviet dissident and vocal opponent of Communism Alexander Solzhenitsyn passed away this month. His literary legacy which includes the Gulag Archipelago shed very important light on the suppression of free thought that so characterized the 'Evil Empire'. Even former leftist and chronic naysayer Chris Hitchens has something good to say about the Russian writer.

Russia invades Georgia to lend support to the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The Georgians have apparently shot down two Russian planes. Call me pessimistic but I believe this could be one of the initial steps in the recreation of the Old Soviet Empire (with a new face of course Putin for Stalin).

Beijing Olympics begin. It was a travesty to award the Olympics to China in the first place - which is when China should have been taken to task for her pitiful human rights record. Beating the Beijing regime over the head now with respect to Tibet, free speech restriction and other misgivings is a classic case of too little too late.

Terrorists in China kill 16 police officials. More proof that the Islamist threat is a worldwide phenomenon despite much denial from western leftists.

In addition this is an oldie but its worth reading. China almost had its own 911.

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post wants Obama to toughen up. Sounds like desperation on behalf of the Main Stream Media who are at a loss as to why there pro-Obama bias is not paying the great dividends expected. Message to Kurtz - maybe just maybe the American electorate is smarter than you think. Fancy that..........George Will has an interesting take on the issue.

Dictatorship Alert: Hugo Chavez's attempt top rule by decree in Venezuela is rightfully criticized. Chavez. Didn't the so-called 'progressives' once call him a Champion of Democracy. Looks like the left is in error once again.

Bin Laden driver receives a wrist slap. This must be real encouragement for future Jihadists. Worst of all the convicted terrorist will be out in six months. I am sure the ACLU must be celebrating as well.

EU to impose sanctions on Iran. Its about bloody time. However these sanctions have to be rigid and enforceable. I just hope the French don't find some way to undermine them for economic reasons...........this has been too often the reality of the Gallic political machine

'Mbeki's integrity intact' Integrity standards in South Africa are clearly not very high.

Mozambique opposition leader pulls no punches on Robert Mugabe calling him a 'political criminal'. Kudos to Alfonso Dhlakama for denouncing the Zimbabwean autocrat.

Coup D'Etat in Mauritania What this means for the future of democracy in the West African nation is anyone's guess.

Obama on missile defense. This is yet another issue that has yet to come to the fore in the 2008 Campaign but should. The US must go ahead with Ballistic Missile Defense.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Liverpool FC - The Mighty Reds

I have been an ardent and passionate follower of Liverpool FC since I first became addicted to English football in 1976. Liverpool are England's most successful football club. They boast 18 League Titles, 7 FA Cups, 7 League Cups, 5 Euro Cups (Champion's Leagues), 3 UEFA Cups and 3 Super Cups to their credit. Except for FA Cups they have won more silverware in each of these categories than any other English team.

In this post I have prepared a list of the Top 50 Liverpool players since 1970.

1. Kenny Dalglish - Brilliant attacking midfielder. Scotland's greatest ever player.

2. Ian Rush - A natural goalscorer if ever there was one (like Roger Hunt of the 60's) .

3. Alan Hansen - Helped pioneer the role of the forward moving defender .

4. John Barnes - Brazilian style winger with pure talent and a great footer brain .

5. Steve Gerrard - One of the best ball distributors of all-time .

6. Kevin Keegan - Mighty Mouse. A threat to any defence.

7. Grame Souness - The original midfield general.

8. Emlyn Hughes - The cornerstone of Liverpool's back four in the 70's aka Crazy Horse .

9. Ray Clemence - Arguably one of the UK's top five goalies of all-time.

10. Steve Heighway - Superfast winger. Nightmare for defenders.

11. Mark Lawrenson - Fantastic tackler - Great defender.

12. Peter Beardsley - Creative genius in forward role.

13. Phil Thompson - Long time defender with never-say-die attitude.

14. Robbie Fowler - Prolific 90's goalscorer. Deadly from outside the box.

15. Phil Neal - Long time Liverpool right back.

16. John Toshack - Forward with significant prowess in the air.

17. Terry McDermott - Wide man - critical to the setup

18. Ronnie Whelan - Midfield dynamo.

19. Jamie Carragher - All-heart Liverpool utility man best known for work in center

20. Sami Hyypia - One of the best defensive aerial defenders that the game has ever known

21. Steve McMahon - Tough midfielder. Deadly from wing positions as well.

22. Alan Kennedy - Left back. Scored winner in 81 Euro Cup Final (over Real Madrid)

23. Michael Owen - Speedy goalscorer and England legend

24. Tommy Smith - Defender. One of the toughest to ever play the game

25. Bruce Grobelaar - Goalkeeper known for his heroics in 84 Euro Cup Final (over Roma)

26. Ray Kennedy - Attacking midfielder. Played an important role in late 70's

27. David Fairclough - The original super-sub. Remember St. Etienne (1977)

28. Steve McManaman - Excellent dribbler of the ball. Wonderful set up player.

29. Ray Houghton - Midfielder who could distribute and score

30. Steve Nicol - Defender/midfielder - another (long term) model utility man.

31. John Aldridge - Goalscoring forward. Played key role in glorious 87/88 season.

32. Craig Johnson - Speedy forward. Scored winner in 86 FA Cup Final.

33. Jimmy Case - Midfield star of the 70's.

34. Jan Molby - Passing aficionado.

35. Dietmar Hamman - Defensive midfielder. Key to Champion's League success 2005.

36. Ian Callaghan - Highly proficient long term midfielder - he was more of a 60's player though.

37. Steve Staunton - With Alan Kennedy ranks as Liverpool's best ever left back.

38. David Johnson - Midfielder with a goalscoring sense.

39. Gary McAllister - Inspiration behind 2000/2001 Treble Season.

40. Pepe Reina - Goalie. King of the Clean sheet. First rate penalty stopper.

41. Sammy Lee - One of the hardest workers ever to play the game.

42. Mark Wright - No nonsense Central defender.

43. Jamie Redknapp - Classic midfielder. Career was hounded by injury.

44. Paul Walsh - Forward who 'got the job done'.

46. Fernando Torres - Forward Should move higher over time. Possibly into Top 10.

47. Rob Jones - Right back. Had the potential to be #1 for country as well. Injury cut short career.

48. Jerzy Dudek - Goalkeeper whose actions helped win 2005 Champion's League Final and 2003 League Cup.

49. Marcus Babbel = Right Back whose crosses were extremely valuable in 2001 Treble Year.

50. Joey Jones - Another tough guy in the Liverpool defence.

Honourable mentions: Jim Beglin, Danny Murphy, Chris Lawler, John Wark, Gary Gillespie, Ronnie Rosenthal, Stefan Henchoz, Patrik Berger, John Arne Riise, Brian Hall, Peter Cormack.

Obama - Cult Figure?

One of the most frightening observations of the Obama phenomenon is how pervasive it has become. On the weekend I was speaking to an acquaintance of mine, an astute well-educated businessman who normally can be counted on for level-headed rational thought. As one who is always on the prowl for a political discussion I asked him what his take was on the 2008 Presidential elections. He immediately told me that he was excited by the prospect of an Obama presidency and feared (and I kid you not with this paraphrase) ‘what would happen to the US if he were not elected.’

Taken aback by these words (which echoed a similar phraseology sprouted by filmmaker Spike Lee several weeks earlier) I could not help but ask him if he was serious.
He was and then promptly re-affirmed his initial statement by declaring that an Obama presidency is ‘exactly what the US needs’. Obama represents ‘new ideas and a different way of thinking’ he assured me. I asked him to expand on these ‘ideas’. He continued that the US has built up much global negativity by the actions of the Bush administration and that Obama was the right man to heal the chasm.

I pushed him a bit further and asked him if healing this apparent chasm was more important than the war against the global and self-evident Islamist threat. He hesitated and then as if to downplay the latter and avoid the question stated the now tired mantra that a ‘vote for McCain was a vote for the old – a vote for Bush’. I reminded him of his diversion tactic and stated some key differences between the two – emphasizing in particular McCain’s strength in non-partisan congressional bills and the fact that the Arizona senator himself had already been to Europe several times – which the Obama- obsessed media had barely covered.

‘Yes but Obama is the more exciting candidate it is only natural for them to want to cover him’ he retorted.

‘But that isn’t a good enough reason and you know it. Nor does it represent the actions of a responsible media. Wasn’t Hitler more exciting then the Weimar bureaucrats as well? What about Amin with respect to his opposition? Or Gaddafi? Beware of the excitement factor it is a ruse’ I continued. ‘It seems as though Obama is being built up into some type of messianic figure and that too many are falling for this hype.’

‘We’ll see’ he said. Not wishing to engage in further discussion. We left it at that.

Later on I sat musing about our discussion. I was still amazed at how my friend – a non-radical- had thrown away his critical thinking hat in cowing to the Obama hysteria. What was happening here? In a sense it almost seemed pathological – but it certainly isn’t isolated. My father who holds fairly conservative views on many issues has also become an Obama convert. Had these people not heard about Obama’s flip flops in the Middle East? His backing by the radical but influential grouping? His opposition to the successful surge in Iraq? His repackaged tax and spend economics?

Did they not care that western civilization was at war a barbarism and that they were endorsing a political figure with so little foreign affairs experience? Was this not the big knock against Dubya in 2000? Yet somewhere all these strikes were swept under the rug in the case of the Illinois senator – as he represents ‘change’ and has ‘charisma’. Whatever that might be. Perhaps the collective insanity had indeed triumphed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Brief Re-Cap

I am back blogging after a busy August long weekend break (talk about alliteration). As a teacher one of the perks of the profession are the summer vacations - which are usually well earned - after a demanding school year. So far this particular vacation is living up to all expectations. I normally teach summer school (at least I have done for the last six years - Physics Grade 11 being the regular course) - but this year I was unable to obtain a position. Ever the optimist I have taken this as a blessing in disguise as it has allowed me to spend more time with the family. Considering the fact that Dina and I have a newborn baby this outcome appears to be well worth it.

Being a father is an opportunity that I take very seriously and I consider myself very fortunate to have the luxury of time. In addition I am focusing on several mini-projects for my own personal development. These are:

a. Blogging - I have three Blogs one of which is Worldoreason is one.
b. Learning more about Thermodynamics - this helps enrich my knowledge of physics
c. Reading history - in particular the 19th century - a period that fascinates me
d. Carrying out odd jobs around the house - Dina never tires of finding these
e. Catching up on some must see movies
f. Visiting museums, the zoo and other sights (normally a family affair).
g. Growing my Spirituality via a self identified program of improvement.
h. Watching some Sport - Wimbledon, the Olympics (next month etc).

Friday, August 01, 2008

In the news XLI

Obama Cartoon
Source: Political Humour

Front Page Magazine is always a great source for articles. I have linked to three that are worth looking into. They are: An interview with Ishmael Jones on the Dysfunctional nature of the CIA, a look at Germany's Intifada and a data-rich look at why many illegal immigrants to the US are returning home.

More stupidity in Saudi Arabia: Now the Sale of Cats and Dogs in capital must be banned to keep the sexes apart.

Zimbabwe has a 100 billion dollar note. Check it out here. Meanwhile the Mugabe saga continues in this once prosperous nation.

Victor Davis Hanson makes some great points as to why Europe loves Obama. I agree with all the points except #2 which seems a bit contrived.

Chavez looks to Putin. Both are dictators so why not join forces together. Another threat to the West in the making.

Egypt's Mubarak and Uganda's Museveni wish to give Sudan's criminal ruler, Omar al-Bashir, some time to imnprove. 500,000 have died in Darfur and the brain trust at the AU is looking to give this thug a second chance............Is it any wonder that Mugabe is still in power in Zimbabwe. Don't count on the AU for justice.