Monday, October 27, 2008

In the News L

ANC in the decline in South Africa??? Perhaps....

I reckon that when Mandela passes away away the party will soon cleave into its various fragments: the split between the Mbeki and Zuma groups is already self evident.

Livni leads Netanyahu in the Polls

This is not good news. Israel cannot afford another Kadima government. The damage done to the state by the defeatists in the Olmert regime has already been substantial. I am hoping that Israeli voters will shift to the right as this article in US News seems to suggest.

Israelis prefer McCain over Obama: 46% to 34%.

This is ultimately a meaningless poll but it does seem to indicate the concern Israelis feel over Obama's ability to deal with Iran.

Russia is afraid of Economic Isolation

The West can use this fear to pressure Russia with respect to halting its belligerency in Georgia and its meddling in Iran.

Gender Equality in Iran- the struggle continues

The Western feminist elites rarely speak of this but I am posting this article as a show of support for Women's rights in this reactionary regime.

McCain is looking for a comeback but I wouldn't bet on it...

Nevertheless I am still backing the old warhorse but the chances of him derailing the Obama machine are becoming slimmer each day....

This is how the key battleground states look:

Colorado - Obama ahead by 12 points.........ouch
Florida - Neck and Neck...McCain may pull this one out the hat
Indiana - This is normally solid Republican territory but B.O. might pick it up...spillover from Illinois
Missouri - Anyone's game...however if you believe the MSM fanfare and the crowd pictures (which I don't) than Obama should win it. If St. Barack does win this then based on historical precdedent McCain can bid goodbye to the Oval Office,
New Hampshire - Only New England State where GOP normally has a chance but not this year.
New Mexico - Hispanic vote will sink McCain despite the Maverick's pro-immigration standpoint.
Nevada - Flip a coin...
North Carolina - Surely McCain can't lose this...can he?
Ohio - I am calling this one for McCain but not by much.
Pennsylvania - Has of late almost become a safe Democrat State. Bad News for the GOP.
Virginia - The Polls are backing Obama and I believe that he will win here....Pity
Wisconsin - More Obama territory ...yawn

613 Jewish Commandments

I am always motivated to improve my understanding of my personal faith - Judaism. While I differ from all four of the major denominations on some of the issues and practices my core belief is consistent with the basic tenents of Judaism. Intellectualy I would describe myself as existing in a space most closely defined by the Masorti/Reform overlap. However I have used my rationalism to define a pathway of my own making.

The following is where I stand with respect to the first 51 commandments....I will get to the next 562 in due course.

The 613 commandments and their source in scripture, as enumerated by Maimonides:
1. To know there is a God Ex. 20:2 - Agree and follow
2. Not to entertain thoughts of other gods besides Him Ex. 20:3 - Agree and follow
3. To know that He is One Deut. 6:4 - Agree and Follow
4. To love Him Deut. 6:5 - Agree and Follow
5. To fear Him Deut. 10:20 - Not as often as I perhaps should
6. To sanctify His Name Lev. 22:32 - Room for improvement here
7. Not to profane His Name Lev. 22:32 - Ditto
8. Not to destroy objects associated with His Name Deut. 12:4
9. To listen to the prophet speaking in His Name Deut. 18:15 - I fall short here
10. Not to test the prophet unduly Deut. 6:16 - Not very succesful here
11. To emulate His ways Deut. 28:9 - I try to but often fail
12. To cleave to those who know Him Deut. 10:20 - Do poorly here
13. To love other Jews Lev. 19:18 - Love may be too strong a word in my case
14. To love converts Deut. 10:19 - See 13
15. Not to hate fellow Jews Lev. 19:17 - Not even Noam Chomsky? Norman Finkelstein?
16. To reprove a sinner Lev. 19:17 - Easier said than done
17. Not to embarrass others Lev. 19:17 - Not so good when it comes to embarrasing enemies
18. Not to oppress the weak Ex. 22:21 - Agree and follow
19. Not to speak derogatorily of others Lev. 19:16 I have awareness of this fault...ongoing project
20. Not to take revenge Lev. 19:18 - Agree in principle not always in practice
21. Not to bear a grudge Lev. 19:18 - Same as 2o
22. To learn Torah Deut. 6:7 - Working on this
23. To honor those who teach and know Torah Lev. 19:32 - What about Rabbi Dovid Weiss?
24. Not to inquire into idolatry Lev. 19:4 Agree and follow
25. Not to follow the whims of your heart or what your eyes see Num. 15:39 My ongoing daily challenge...not easy at all
26. Not to blaspheme Ex. 22:27 Agree and follow
27. Not to worship idols in the manner they are worshiped Ex. 20:5 Agree and follow
28. Not to worship idols in the four ways we worship God Ex. 20:5 Agree and follow
29. Not to make an idol for yourself Ex. 20:4 Ditto
30. Not to make an idol for others Lev. 19:4 Ditto
31. Not to make human forms even for decorative purposes Ex. 20:20 I can't say I follow this
32. Not to turn a city to idolatry Ex. 23:13 Agree and follow
33.To burn a city that has turned to idol worship Deut. 13:17 Can't say I have done this
34. Not to rebuild it as a city Deut. 13:17 Ditto
35. Not to derive benefit from it Deut. 13:18 Ditto
36. Not to missionize an individual to idol worship Deut. 13:12 Ditto
37. Not to love the idolater Deut. 13:9 Ditto
38. Not to cease hating the idolater Deut. 13:9 If the idolator is a Jew does this contradict #15?
39. Not to save the idolater Deut. 13:9 What about saving the idolator from further idol worshipping?
40. Not to say anything in the idolater's defense Deut. 13:9 What about Freedom of Religion?
41. Not to refrain from incriminating the idolater Deut. 13:9
42. Not to prophesize in the name of idolatry Deut. 13:14 Agree and Follow
43. Not to listen to a false prophet Deut. 13:4 One reason I don't like Barack Obama
44. Not to prophesize falsely in the name of God Deut. 18:20 Fair Enough
45. Not to be afraid of killing the false prophet Deut. 18:22 I won't go that far.
46. Not to swear in the name of an idol Ex. 23:13 Agree and Follow
47. Not to perform ov (medium) Lev. 19:31 Agree and Follow
48. Not to perform yidoni ("magical seer") Lev. 19:31 What about Scientific Illusion?
49. Not to pass your children through the fire to Molech Lev. 18:21 Seems obvious
50. Not to erect a pillar in a public place of worship Deut. 16:22 Not my schtick anyway
51. Not to bow down on smooth stone Lev. 26:1 Agree and Follow

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Liverpool defeat Chelsea - go top of League

Absolutely Fantastic!!!

Liverpool ended Chelsea's 86 unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge defeating the Blues 1-0 (goal courtesy of Xabi Alonso).

For the full game report go to:

As it stands now the top half of the EPL table reads as follows:

Liverpool - 23
Chelsea - 20
Hull - 20 (it won't last)
Arsenal - 19
Aston Villa -17
Man U - 15 (although the Devils have a game in hand)
Portsmouth - 14
Man City - 13 (shoud have more points)
Sunderland - 12
West Ham -12

Liverpool have seven wins in nine games with two draws.
The Reds are also the only unbeaten team in the League.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Canadian Federal Election 2008

Some Observations after the Tory's were returned to power with a minority government (albeit a stronger one than before).

1. The Bloc is really a Block and an immovable one at that - will we ever obtain a majority government of any type with their 50 seats or so blocking the way? They now have added clout to continue blackmailing the Rest of Canada.

2. The Liebrals won over 90% of the seats in the GTA (only Trinity-Spadina and Toronto-Danforth held out with their selection of Mickey and Minnie Mouse) but took less than 25% of the seats nationwide - it just goes to show you how out of step Toronto is with the rest of English Canada (Canada is basically a small c conservative country). For some reason - based on nothing in particular - the Liebrals have duped Toronto's large immigrant population into believing that the Grits best serve their interest...If ever there was a snow job this is it....

3. The Green Party ultimately flopped - they only won 6.5% of the popular vote and came away with no seats (not even Guelph). Elizabeth May predicted that the Greens would win eight about missing the mark.....I can see a possible leadership change here as well...Also did she honestly think that she could defeat the high profile Peter MacKay in his back yard? Do the Greens still deserve a spot in a future National Debate?...I don't believe so anymore...there already was too much dilution this time around - boy were those debates a waste of time.

4. Other than the GTA the Torys emerged as the new power in Ontario - Don't be surprised if Peter Kent develops into an influential figure in the Harper administration over the next few years.

5. The country is still concerned about awarding the Conservatives a majority...but I believe this particular outcome was largely driven by Liebral/NDP/Media hysteria about the economy and Harper's poor performance in articulating a response that allayed such fears.

6. The public thankfully didn't go for Jack Layton's suggestion that he be given Stephen Harper's job...The NDP improved their position in parliament (with a strong showing in the Hamilton region in particular - overall they went from 31 to 37 seats...I see this a type of creep...) but right now all Layton can really claim is that he is the leader of Canada's fourth powerful political party (with less than half seats of a watered down Liebral caucus). The NDP needs to move beyond the dull ideas of 1960's Euro-Socialism if they wish to make meaningful progress nationwide.

7. Loudmouth and turncoat Garth Turner lost his Oakville seat - good riddance - the man makes the likes of Sid Ryan seem bearable (and this is saying a lot)

8. The Tory's picked up the riding of former Tory-turned-Liebral- Belinda Stronach in Aurora - Business as usual...

9. Wajid Khan who crossed the floor from the Grits to the Torys in 2006 was ousted as well..message to all politicians thinking if crossing the floor..Forget it...the same goes for that dude who crossed over to give the Greens their only seat in parliament..start sending out the resume mate.

10. Nobody can even think of bringing down a government for some time now...the public simply has no appetite for another election. This years extremely low turnout is indicative of that.

11. Book you seat at the Next Grit Coronation/Circus ...hopefully for them Gerard Kennedy and his allies (including the anti-semitic fringe of the party) on the loony left side of the party will not sabotage the choice of Bob Rae who seems to be the Party's best choice right now (this of course is not saying much as Rae and his fellow wonks at the Not a Democrat Party virtually bankrupted Ontario when they held power here in the 90s).

12. Stephane I really need to go into this?...he seems like a decent person but what did they say about nice guys?.....message to Liebral Party..choose a leader who can converse in a language that the majority of Canada speak.

13. Justin Trudeau was elected as an MP...its only a matter of time though before he becomes a future Grit leader..for better but most likely for worse (such is the lack of quality politicians in Canada)...He certainly is not the intellectual figure that his over-hyped (and extremely modest) father was.

14. The Torys will have to hold back on eating baby's for some time...In the mean time the other Parties can continue their brainstorming rhetoric about a hidden agenda...

15. Another Message to the Liebrals - Never mention anything about a new tax when an election looms on the horizon...(although I personally believe that the Green Shift Plan made some sense).Yes I know you indicated that income tax reshuffling will be utilized as a method of returning money to the public but this sounds more like added smoke and mirrors from a party that once advocated scrapping the GST and never followed through with it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Fisking of Howard Zinn

I enjoy a good fisking…..Comments in Red

Let's not waste $700bn on a bail-out, but use 'big government' for what it's best - shaping a society that is fair and peaceable In whose image?

This current financial crisis is a major way-station on the way to the collapse of the American empire. I have read similar articles from around the time of the Great Depression, Vietnam War, Watergate etc. - Clearly they were premature just as Zinn is with this alarmist statement – this line is more of an attention grabber than a meaningful statement. The first important sign was 9/11, with the most heavily-armed nation in the world shown to be vulnerable to a handful of hijackers. 911 was a wake up call reflecting the extent that the Jihadists will go to in the struggle against the West – it however only represents a potential milestone in a collapse if we fail to take heed of its importance – which many leftists, liberals and paleo-conservatives have done.

And now, another sign: both major parties rushing to get an agreement to spend $700bn of taxpayers' money to pour down the drain of huge financial institutions which are notable for two characteristics: incompetence and greed. I’ll give him this point at least part of it….both are characteristic of financial institutions…… however this is not the full story….Many financial organizations were also forced to make loans to unsuitable candidates to avoid ‘discrimination’ based litigation. The financial organizations are not the only greedy party here.
There is a much better solution to the current financial crisis.

But it requires discarding what has been conventional "wisdom" for too long: that government intervention in the economy ("big government") must be avoided like the plague more low growth Keynesian economics? , because the "free market" will guide the economy towards growth and justice. It has with economic growth – the jury is still out with respect to Justice…but them again socialist systems have failed on both accounts

Let's face a historical truth: we have never had a "free market", we have always had government intervention in the economy, true – libertarians would argue that the lack of a true free market is the actual problem and indeed that intervention has been welcomed by the captains of finance and industry sometimes but not always….I am not sure that ATT welcomed the break up into the Baby Bells or Microsoft – the anti-competition investigations by the attorney general during the Clinton years They had no quarrel with "big government" when it served their needs. Of course – big business has no shortage of hypocrites – but then so does big labour...

It started way back, when the founding fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the constitution. The first big bail-out was the decision of the new government to redeem for full value the almost worthless bonds held by speculators. And this role of big government, supporting the interests of the business classes, continued all through the nation's history. Fair enough – However it also saves Jobs as it did with Chrysler in the 1970s – Isn’t an expansion of big government a bailout in and of itself at least as far as the taxpayer is concerned?

The rationale for taking $700bn from the taxpayers to subsidise huge financial institutions is that somehow that wealth will trickle down to the people who need it. This has never worked. Based on what evidence? The 700 billion is needed to add liquidity to the market and ensure future loans...Zinn is more ignorant of economics than Jack Layton (Canadian Federal NDP leader)...and that is saying much
The alternative is simple and powerful. Take that huge sum of money and give it directly to the people who need it. Let the government declare a moratorium on foreclosures and give aid to homeowners to help them pay off their mortgages. Good Point - but this is easier said than done...Create a federal jobs programme to guarantee work to people who want and need jobs doing what? and for whom "the free market" has not come through.

We have a historic and successful precedent. Roosevelt's New Deal put millions of people to work,rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, and, defying the cries of "socialism", The current thinking is that the New Deal may have also prolonged the depression delaying the recovery – WWII is what finally turned the US economy around
that finally kickstarted the US established social security. That can be carried further, with "health security" - free health care free health care is an illusion…someone still has to pay for it,,,,Zinn is starting to believe his own feel good propaganda - for all.

All that will take more than $700bn. But the money is there. In the $600bn for the military budget, What will happen to all those who are let go from the myriad of Industries AND spin offs operations that benefit from military spending…telecommunications…computers….medicine etc ? I guess Zinn will put them all on social security….great plan…????once we decide we will no longer be a war-making nation. Somebody should maybe tell the enemies of the West this...without the US there is no arsenal for democracy.... And in the swollen bank accounts of the super-rich such as George Soros, JK Rowling and Oprah Winfrey , by taxing vigorously both their income and their wealth. They will just move their money abroad and invest in other markets…The US isn’t the only show in town

When the cry goes up, whether from Republicans or Democrats, that this must not be done because it is "big government", the citizenry should just laugh. Its hard to laugh when you lose your job….not everyone has university tenure like Zinn and his fellow elitists

And then agitate and organise on behalf of what the Declaration of Independence promised: that it is the responsibility of government to ensure the equal right of all to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" Pure dramatics… What does this really mean anyway? …yes it sounds great…but is ultimately a very broad statement and in this context empty…

Only such a bold approach can save the nation Saved from what? - not as an empire, but as a democracy This is language that George Lucas would be proud of...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

In the New XLIX

Liebrals and NDP continue fear mongering in Canadian election run up
- it seems to be paying off
Now Stephane Dion is using it to wriggle out of his agenda - Typical Lieberal - say anything to win election then back-track when the going gets tough.
However as expected the Lieberal plan does not add up.
They also might be their own worst enemies.

Is ACORN vote rigging for the US Election in favour of Obama?
It seems as though this might be the case. Read and again and again.

Front Page Magazine has informative look at the link between certain Black Racists and the Global Jihadist Movement.

Same old same old - another defeatist Kadima-Labour Coalition in Israel?
Say it ain't so....

Hamas has a bomb factory in Hebron (probably more elsewhere)
Hardly a surprise but at least it was identified and reported

Venezuelan oil output under Chavez slips
Apparently it has fallen by a how will the revolution be funded?

ANC and DA oppose removing Springbok Emblem for South African Rugby
Good for them - There is only so much cultural genocide a country can take.

More on South Africa's future Dictator: You heard it here.

Iran seeks foreign investment in oil

The global assortment of greed capitalists will likely go for this but what the country really needs is economic sanctions to destabilize a terror supporting regime.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Searching for Consistency

Yesterday was Yom Kippur - the Jewish Day of Atonement. This is never an easy time for I am sure is the case with many of my co-religionists. This had nothing to do with the physicality of the fast and everything to do with the self-reflection that the day requires. I felt as though I was spinning wheels in my mind...debating issues of good and evil, faith and reason without reaching a conclusion one way or another. I have my core metaphysical beliefs that I express on this site but my challenge... and it still remains how can I meld these in a world where science is so critical. What must give and what can stay? How can I remain consistent? True to G-d but loyal to rationality. Where do my assumptions begin?

Monday, October 06, 2008

On Turning 40

I just turned 40 last month - a key milestone in my life - which I have chosen to celebrate as oppose to 'mourn' over. In all truth I cannot complain - I am blessed and have many gifts that have served to make me who I am. My life has been one so far of opportunities and I believe that, for the most part. I have taken them. Yes there were some bumps along the way...a failed marriage...a job layoff....some silly mistakes here and there...but so what?...the positive has triumphed and at the end I am the better for it.

My lovely wife Dina organized a surprise birthday party for me (and really it was a surprise ...I was totally blindsided) which made me realize once again how fortunate I was to have both the support of friends and family.

However I know that my success so far would not have been possible without my strong belief in G-d...a belief that I have combined with a strong affinity towards science and reason. I do not see them as mutually exclusive but as twin facets shaping my worldview.

I rejoice in all of this and once again. Thank G-d.

Teaching Reflections I

I am working through the Electromagnetic section of the Grade 11 Physics Curriculum with my students. Most of whom still seem to be struggling with the 3-D visualization required for each of the Right Hand Rules (Conductor, Solenoid, Motor) which makes me wonder if they are prepared to move onto the next topic: Electromagnetic Induction and the Generator Effect. I will reserve judgement for the mean time but will proceed with caution through both Faraday's discovery and Lenz's Law. The Formal lab which looks at the factors that enhance the strength of the induced current should help but I may have to resort as well to the alternative pedagogic assistance that a computer simulation program provides.

My Grade 10 students have a test on Friday which will conclude the Ecology Unit of the Course. Although some of them have been enthusiastic at times in learning about this subject - which I supplemented with labs, posters, debates and essays - I am disturbed by the lack of critical thinking on their behalf. Class Discussions on such issues as forest destruction and global warming have been (for the most part) flat. Ideas have been scarce as has been the level of thought and reason. I will endeavour to work with these skills but the learned helplessness which seems to have influenced many a soul in these classes is a concern.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Some Funnies

Although I am a fan of John McCain I am not enamored with Sarah Palin.
Be that as it may I had to laugh when Sarah Palin added me to her friends on facebook:

Also of note Sarah Silverman has a plan (albeit not a good one ) to swing the vote in Florida in favour of Obama

Although if the Obama loving Jews move to Florida it could in this unrealistic scenario jeopardize Obama's position in other swing states ie. Ohio and Pennsylvania