Thursday, August 30, 2007

Excrement-hiding bird championed as Liberal symbol

Sometimes truth is so much better than fiction:

The beaver is one of Canada's national symbols and now a senior Liberal wants to make the puffin the symbol of the country's self-proclaimed natural governing party.

Liberal deputy leader Michael Ignatieff says the industrious little seabird -- with its black and white plumage, distinctive striped beak and orange feet -- is a "noble'' creature that exemplifies Liberal values.

"It's a noble bird because it has good family values. They stay together for 30 years,'' Ignatieff said Thursday outside a Liberal caucus retreat in the Newfoundland capital.

"They lay one egg (each year). They put their excrement in one place. They hide their excrement. ... They flap their wings very hard and they work like hell.

"This seems to me a symbol for what our party should be.''

Ignatieff was charmed by the birds during what was supposed to be a whale-watching tour for Liberal caucus members Tuesday. The MPs and senators saw no whales but did get a close up view of a colony of puffins nesting on a rocky offshore island. Link.

Santa Muerte, Death worship.

Very interesting syncretistic religious practices that Mexican organized crime are following:

The Santa Muerte cult could probably best be described as a set of ritual practices offered on behalf a supernatural personification of death. The personification is female, probably because the Spanish word for death, muerte, is feminine and possibly also because this personification is a sort of counterpart to the Virgin of Guadalupe. To believers, the entity exists within the context of Catholic theology and is comparable to other purely supernatural beings, namely archangels. The cult involves prayers, rituals, and offerings, which are given directly to Santa Muerte in expectation of and tailored to the fulfillment of specific requests. These bear some resemblance to other traditions. The origin of the cult is uncertain; it has only been expanding recently. The cult appears to be closely associated with crime, criminals, and those whose lives are directly affected by crime. Criminals seem to identify with Santa Muerte and call upon the saint for protection and power, even when committing crimes. They will adorn themselves with her paraphernalia and render her respect that they do not give to other spiritual entities. Read More.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Growing 'Diaper-Free' Movement Relies on Babies' Instincts, Body Language

The major question is, who's trained?

His mother took the diaper-less tot to a tree in the yard, held him in a squatting position and made a gentle hissing sound — prompting the infant to relieve himself on cue before he rushed back to play.

Parents who practice the so-called "elimination communication" learn to read their children's body language to help them recognize the need, and they mimic the sounds that a child associates with the bathroom. Read More.

Gay Unions Sanctioned in Medieval Europe

Me thinks not. Talk about revisionist history.

Read the whole thing, basically he comes up with nothing. Let's keep in mind we are also talking Catholic France, which would not have been "gay" friendly:

Civil unions between male couples existed around 600 years ago in medieval Europe, a historian now says.

Historical evidence, including legal documents and gravesites, can be interpreted as supporting the prevalence of homosexual relationships hundreds of years ago, said Allan Tulchin of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Read More.

China Wants Control of Reincarnation of Tibetan Living Buddhas

This actually seems true:

As of September 1, China is tightening control over Tibetan Buddhism with a new law requiring government permission for the reincarnation of lamas. Tibetan activists say this is another attempt by communist Chinese leaders to undermine Tibetan culture and even absurdly to control the religious afterlife. VOA's Heda Bayron has more on the story from our Asia News Center in Hong Kong.

The new law bans Tibetan lamas, or monks, from reincarnating without Chinese government approval.

China, which has ruled Tibet for more than half a century, says anyone outside China cannot influence the reincarnation process and only monasteries in China can apply for permission.

Experts and activists say the law is clearly aimed at excluding the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, from selecting reincarnated lamas or Living Buddhas - which form the core of Tibetan Buddhism's leadership. Read More.

1. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of
pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.
2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry
him towards the bathroom.
3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet
and close both lids...
4. The cat will self agitate. You may need to stand on 
the lid to make ample suds.
Never mind the noises that come from the toilet,
the cat is actually enjoying this.
5. Flush the toilet three or four times.
This provides a "power-wash" and rinse".
6. Have someone open the front door of your home.
Be sure that there are no people between the
bathroom and the front door.
7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can,
and quickly lift both lids.
8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet,
streak through the bathroom and run
outside where he will dry himself off.
9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.   
The Dog

HT: Don

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Women in Ministry

Having read such nonsense in quite some time:

...organizations nearing old age learn to recognize the signs, and go out of business when that time arrives. Today, the most trustworthy sign of the arrival of a Christian organization's dotage is their rejection of Scripture's command that woman not exercise authority over man. Read More.

Poverty in America

From the Heritage Foundation:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Violence against women in Pakistan

An interesting read from Amnesty International. I certainly don't agree with much of their politics but this transcends that:

Women in Pakistan are severely disadvantaged and discriminated against. Violence against women in the home and community as well as in the custody of law enforcement officials is on the rise. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) found that in 2000 a woman was raped every two hours, and that hundreds were victims of "honour" killings, domestic violence, burnings and murder.

While a few positive changes have taken place over the last couple of years, the government is still failing to protect women from these abuses.

Many cases receive media attention and the involvement of human rights organizations, but they are quickly forgotten. Other women suffer abuses in silence for years, die violent deaths and get buried in unmarked graves.

Women's awareness of their rights has increased thanks to the work of Pakistani women's rights groups. However most women remain ignorant of even their most basic rights. A newspaper survey in 2000 reported that almost 90% of women did not realise that they had any rights at all. Read More.

Ted Haggard Appeals for Funds

This is really not amusing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Theocracy in America

Worth the read.

For several weeks CNN has been hyping their miniseries God’s Warriors as an “unprecedented six-hour television event.” The series dedicates two hours each to “God’s Jewish Warriors,” “God’s Muslim Warriors,” and “God’s Christian Warriors.” Prior to the first airing, CNN invited several bloggers to preview a few clips from the series and to submit a question for Christiane Amanpour to be answered during a special webcast. Link.

I'm a Christ Follower

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Little Military Coup Anyone?

From the Huffington Post. Amazing.

Dear General Pace,

I note with admiration your courage in making clear your private concerns about the safety of the US military and the longterm danger to US national security caused by the President's stubborn refusal to acknowledge the quagmire in Iraq.

Though you are Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President's principal military advisor - President Bush has shown his disdain for your honesty and wisdom. Though you are a decorated Vietnam war hero - who has served his nation honorably for four decades - the President is dispensing with your services. You have one month left in your position before you are tossed out by the President.

President Bush is going to ignore your advice. Just as he has ignored the advice of other Generals who have had the courage to respectfully point out how terribly wrong he is in respect of the Iraq War and the safety of the US military he is sworn to protect. Highly-decorated colleagues of yours such as General Anthony Zinni (Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command), General Eric Shinseki (Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army) and General John Abizaid (Commander of the U.S. Central Command).

General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice. Read the rest.

30 killed, 60 wounded as terror strikes Hyderabad

There has been multiple explosions in India.



Friday, August 24, 2007


Color me skeptical, but this is the buzz in Miami.

Lockheed Martin’s MULE (Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment)

Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be Fearful of Men?

Thought provoking:

When children get lost in a mall, they're supposed to find a "low-risk adult" to help them. Guidelines issued by police departments and child-safety groups often encourage them to look for "a pregnant woman," "a mother pushing a stroller" or "a grandmother."

The implied message: Men, even dads pushing strollers, are "high-risk."

Are we teaching children that men are out to hurt them? The answer, on many fronts, is yes. Child advocate John Walsh adviseparents to never hire a male babysitter. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers rather than male passengers. Soccer leagues are telling male coaches not to touch players.

Child-welfare groups say these are necessary precautions, given that most predators are male. But fathers' rights activists and educators now argue that an inflated predator panic is damaging men's relationships with kids. Some men are opting not to get involved with children at all, which partly explains why many youth groups can't find male leaders, and why just 9% of elementary-school teachers are male, down from 18% in 1981.

People assume that all men "have the potential for violence and sexual aggressiveness," says Peter Stearns, a George Mason University professor who studies fear and anxiety. Kids end up viewing every male stranger "as a potential evildoer," he says, and as a byproduct, "there's an overconfidence in female virtues." Read More.

Andrew Breitbart Takes On Caller Who Compares Radical Islam to Radical Christianity


Mother Teresa Did Not Feel Christ's Presence for Last Half of Her Life, Letters Reveal

This is not really a surprising revelation, especially in light of her ascetic lifestyle. I think it is quite normal for people to have doubts about most things in life. Why would a belief in God be any different?

It will be interesting to read all of her correspondence. I have often found (not always) that extremely legalistic and or ascetic people tend to be the most unsure in there belief system. I of course have no way of knowing this about Mother Theresa, but it would not surprise me.

What is remarkable is that she kept going, this shows an inner steel. I also think she will be surprised to now learn that it is during these times of darkness that Christ is holding us up. We just don't realize it. Read the article.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Summary of the New Perspective on Paul

Which brings me to another interesting piece of scholarship going on today concerning Paul today. The New Perspective. It has become quite an issue so I thought I would link to it. A word of warning, it is not necessarily an easy read.

Depending upon one's point of view, the current state of Pauline studies is either exciting or alarming. Traditional interpretations of Paul's letters are being examined afresh with increasing frequency as scholars diligently work to reconstruct Paul's historical context. The fact that these studies may not corroborate traditional Reformed interpretations can be used to discount the growing consensus or to reconsider contemporary approaches to soteriology. Read More.

Review of Don Garlington: An Exposition of Galatians

Interesting. I have been out of academics just long enough that I am no longer fully up to date on the state of NT and OT scholarship. Ran into this review and thought it might be interesting:

The introduction covers lots of ground including: ocassion and purpose of the letter, the message of Paul's opponents and Paul's reply, the new perspective on Paul, what time is it?, Galatians and Anatolian folk belief, Galatians and Pauline rhetoric, and offers an outline of the letter. In sum, Garlington dates Galatians pre-Jerusalem council, Paul's opponents were Jewish Christians arguing for a covenantal nomism, he is unconvinced about structuring Galatians along the lines of a rhetorical handbook, and he regards the letter as an "epistolary sermon".


Garlington writes: "In this regard, the Reformers were correct that if justification is not by Jewish tradition, then it is not by church tradition either. Salvation is not by 'religion', however conceived. This is the hermeneutical 'significance' or application of the historical issue at stake: only Christ can save, not religion or tradition. Christ must be, in the familiar phrase, a 'personal saviour'. When Paul became a Christian, he left 'religion' and came to Christ" (p. 25). Read more.

Remember: for Cambodia, read Iraq

A look back at Cambodia and how it could relate if the US were to leave Iraq. This is a sobering assessment:

The Killing Fields illustrates brilliantly part of the long disaster that has been Cambodia over recent decades. It is a compelling film that follows the story of a young Cambodian, Dith Pran, who worked for the New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg in Cambodia during the brutal five-year war that resulted in the communist Khmer Rouge victory in April 1975. Read More.

Britain's rising levels of gun crime

The number of young people prosecuted for firearms offences has soared by 20 per cent in the past five years, it was revealed earlier this month.

In 2001, 1,193 youngsters under age 21 went to magistrates courts on gun related charges. By 2005, that had risen to 1,444. The statistics come after a recent wave of gun crime in Britain’s inner cities, with many victims not even out of their teens.

Shadow home affairs minister James Brokenshire said: “The rise in gun crime demonstrated by these figures is alarming.” Read More.

Well duh. It was beginning to rise when we lived there in 94 and continued to rise. That's what happens when the crooks know that they are the only one's armed.

Cape Wind

You know your in trouble as a liberal when Greenpeace attacks you!

And this one:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

No room to deny genocide

Something you don't hear about often:

Was there an Armenian genocide during World War I?

While it was happening, no one called the slaughter of Armenian Christians by Ottoman Turks "genocide." No one could: The word wouldn't be coined for another 30 years. But those who made it their business to tell the world what the Turks were doing found other terms to describe the state-sponsored mass murder of the Armenians.

In its extensive reporting on the atrocities, The New York Times described them as "systematic, "deliberate," "organized by government," and a "campaign of extermination." A Sept. 25, 1915, headline warned: "Extinction Menaces Armenia." What the Turks were embarked upon, said one official in the story that followed, was "nothing more or less than the annihilation of a whole people." Read More.

Why Are Atheist Books Best Sellers?

Good question. They seemed to be based on emotionalism and the evils of Islam. Let's face it, for the non-religious Islam is giving all religions a bad name.

You're in a Bad Neighborhood and 10 Men Approach You . . .

Would you want them to be coming from a bible class? Read the rest.


I would say this pretty well sums up Thabo Mbeki:

When the real history of African National Congress South Africa will be written, the Rockefeller Foundation--for all the good it did there and elsewhere, and some not so good--will be saddled with the fact that it anointed Thabo Mbeki as Nelson Mandela's successor.

The fact is that Mbeki is a nut-case and a cruel nut-case besides. To him you may credit his likely successor Jacob Zuma, a demagogue on the old Communist model, and corrupt besides.

There's a little back-story in today's Guardian about Mbeki (by Chris McGreal) that begins, "The South African president, Thabo Mbeki, earned the nickname 'Comrade Undertaker'..." well read why. He is also much responsible for the survival of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, a more secure survival than the 5 million HIV patients in South Afiica whom Mbeki has imprisoned in a garlic and vitamins regimen for a cure. Read More.

Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege

Strange post, but it underscores what is happening within academic circles. The free flow of ideas is only acceptable as long as they fall within certain narrow parameters:

In academic feuds, as in war, there is no telling how far people will go once the shooting starts.

J. Michael Bailey’s book about gender enraged some transgender women.
Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times

Alice Dreger, an ethics scholar, investigated the accusations against Dr. Bailey.

Earlier this month, members of the International Academy of Sex Research, gathering for their annual meeting in Vancouver, informally discussed one of the most contentious and personal social science controversies in recent memory. Read More.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've got a message from the Lord

Rusty's got a point.
Or to put it another way, when is it the pizza talking?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Don’t bring that gift in here

Gifts in ministry today! Unfortunately not if a lot can help it, which is a shame. Some seem to agree with me. Link.


This is why Mom says not to run with a sharp object in your hand!
HT: Mike W.

The Peace Racket

Why is it that those who always yell peace, peace are the one's who seem to allow war?

This is a long article, but well worth the read.

If you want peace, prepare for war.” Thus counseled Roman general Flavius Vegetius Renatus over 1,600 years ago. Nine centuries before that, Sun Tzu offered essentially the same advice, and it’s to him that Vegetius’s line is attributed at the beginning of a film that I saw recently at Oslo’s Nobel Peace Center. Yet the film cites this ancient wisdom only to reject it. After serving up a perverse potted history of the cold war, the thrust of which is that the peace movement brought down the Berlin Wall, the movie ends with words that turn Vegetius’s insight on its head: “If you want peace, prepare for peace.”

This purports to be wise counsel, a motto for the millennium. In reality, it’s wishful thinking that doesn’t follow logically from the history of the cold war, or of any war. For the cold war’s real lesson is the same one that Sun Tzu and Vegetius taught: conflict happens; power matters. It’s better to be strong than to be weak; you’re safer if others know that you’re ready to stand up for yourself than if you’re proudly outspoken about your defenselessness or your unwillingness to fight. There’s nothing mysterious about this truth. Yet it’s denied not only by the Peace Center film but also by the fast-growing, troubling movement that the center symbolizes and promotes.

Call it the Peace Racket. Read More.

An economic noose tightens in Zimbabwe

It just keeps getting worse. Zim is about to collapse:

bulawayo, zimbabwe -- He has lost his export customers, struggled with power cuts and shortages of foreign currency and raw materials. He has raised prices several times a month to keep up with hyperinflation. He has shrugged off government inspectors angling for bribes.

Through it all, clothing manufacturer Anthony Robinson has always managed to turn a profit.

Until now.

The new enemies of President Robert Mugabe's regime inhabit one of the country's last productive sectors -- manufacturing and retail. In an Orwellian twist to Zimbabwe's downward spiral, more than 7,000 of them have been arrested and jailed in recent weeks, accused of breaching draconian new price controls.

Among them are many senior black managers of national retail chains. Robinson, a 60-year-old white Zimbabwean, fears he could be next.

"Everyone is terrified," he said. "To be honest, you don't have to contravene anything. If they want to put you in jail, they'll put you in jail."

Even if he doesn't end up behind bars, Robinson says, he'll probably be out of business in a couple of months. Read More.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Well somehow missed this one. Via Phoenix Preacher.

It was unveiled to us since 1985 that the collapse of
the Roman Catholic Church will occur on August 7, 2007.

The Holy Bible described to us how the GREAT CITY, which refers to the
VATICAN CITY of the Roman Catholic Church, will be destroyed as stated:

"And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." (Rev. 16:18 KJV). The GREAT CITY OF BABYLON split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So God remembered all of Babylon's sins, he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. And every island
disappeared and all the mountains were leveled." (Revelation 16:19-20 NLT).

NOTE: As stated above the GREAT CITY OF BABYLON will split into three sections which means fissures will form to split it into three sections. Also, cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble. So, the city of Rome in Italy is not the only one that will be ruined but also cities of neighboring countries.

What will occur on August 7, 2007 will be the worst earthquake in the history of mankind. It will be
an ultimate earthquake. Most likely this earthquake will also produce an ultimate tsunami.

The undersea Indian Ocean earthquake that occured on December 26, 2004 which devastated Thailand and other countries in the Indian Ocean region is a prelude on the devastation that will occur on August 7, 2007. Italy and the neighboring countries together with its islands in the Mediterranean Sea will see devastation which is unimaginable. Between Spain, France, and Italy are islands like Sardinia, Corsica, Majorca, Ibiza, Isla de Cabrera, Isla de Frontera, and Minorca.

Also, countries in
Northern Africa are bordering the Mediterranean Sea like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. They are also in danger of being hit by tsunami. There are many other nations that are bordering the Mediterranean Sea as you can see on the map.


Bummer how those pesky dates can get in the way of a good interpretation.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Professors on the Battlefield

It's about time. Have talked to some guys in the Army and this seems to be playing out. They were quite culturally up to date. That is a really good thing.

Marcus Griffin is not a soldier. But now that he cuts his hair "high and tight" like a drill sergeant's, he understands why he is being mistaken for one. Mr. Griffin is actually a professor of anthropology at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. His austere grooming habits stem from his enrollment in a new Pentagon initiative, the Human Terrain System. It embeds social scientists with brigades in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they serve as cultural advisers to brigade commanders. Read More.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Better Off Stateless: Somalia Before and After Government Collapse

Thoughts on anarchy and Somalia. Long but fascinating. Also see Eugene Volokh for a summary of articles.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Marine poetry slamfest

Update: This is SSG Lawrence E. Dean II. And this poetry was in response to his Grandmothers question on why he would go to war.

Update 2: An interview with the marine.

This video has gone viral:

Three Marks on the Horizon

The new post from Michael Yon.

Some Thoughts on the Fall of Rome, Sparked Conveniently, by the U.S. Comptroller

Very interesting:

I'm all for using ancient and medieval history to inform our understanding of the present, and for drawing comparisons between the modern, ancient and medieval eras. The comparison between the Roman Empire and the United States is a particularly popular one. Drawing from the "internal maladies" thesis advanced most famously by Edward Gibbon, the comptroller of the U.S., David Walker, draws such a comparison:

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were "striking similarities" between America's current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including "declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal responsibility by the central government."

"Sound familiar?" Mr Walker said. "in my view, it's time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time." Read More.

BMW Sedan Performs Worst in Side-Impact Crash Test

I think this is a case where no publicity would have been better.

Dutch bishop: Call God ‘Allah’ to ease relations

This will make a lot of people happy! He actually has a point only in reverse. You don't use a foreign term for God "allah" in an established country with its own liturgy and theological language. In the Middle East the term "allah" can be redefined and used for the God of the Bible but a ton of explanation and teaching must follow. The English term for God comes from the German "Gott" and was originally a tribal deity. So a redefinition of the term can be done.

This Bishop however, is going in reverse all in the name of being politically correct. A sort of cultural relativism in reverse:

AMSTERDAM - A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understanding, stoking an already heated debate on religious tolerance in a country with one million Muslims.

Bishop Tiny Muskens, from the southern diocese of Breda, told Dutch television on Monday that God did not mind what he was named and that in Indonesia, where Muskens spent eight years, priests used the word "Allah" while celebrating Mass. Read More.

Patriotic parents needed to reignite Ruskie baby boom

I would say that Russia is in demographic trouble. There population is shrinking and in another twenty years it will become serious. Unless things get turned around and they get their birth rate up they will cease to be much of a nation:

The baby-poor Russian region of Ulyanovsk wants to its people to procreate, and has come up with a holiday and prizes to encourage them to their duty for Mother Russia.
Ulyanovsk has declared Sept. 12 the “Day of Conception” and for the third year in a row will give couples the day off from work . . . so they canwork on making babies.
Couples who “give birth to a patriot” nine months later during “Russia Day” festivities - June 12 celebrations marking the end of the Soviet Union - will win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes. Read More.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

String Theory

Who edits Wikipedia?

Thanks to a new wikiscanner those who makes edits can be traced by their isp address. This is a link to some of those edits: Link.

Hitler's Handouts

This review of Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, by Götz Aly, New York: Metropolitan Books. Is a fascinating look into how the holocaust could have happened. Aly focuses on the socialism aspect of Nazism and how this enabled the government to literaly get away with murder.

So if anti-Semitism alone cannot explain the fate that befell European Jewry, what can? According to Götz Aly’s Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, most previous treatments of German complicity in genocide overlook a significant aspect of Nazi rule. Aly, a historian at the Fritz Bauer Institut in Frankfurt and the author of more than a dozen books on fascism, urges us to follow the money, arguing that the Nazis maintained popular support—a necessary precondition for the “final solution”—not because of terror or ideological affinity but through a simple system of “plunder,” “bribery,” and a generous welfare state. When first published in 2005, Aly’s book caused a minor sensation in Germany, with critics accusing him of everything from sloppy arithmetic (a charge he vigorously denies in a postscript to the English translation) to betraying his soixante-huitard roots by implicitly connecting West German social democracy to fascism. After the massive success of books like Günter Grass’ Crabwalk and Jörg Friedrich’s The Fire, two bestsellers stressing that Germans too were victimized by fascism, Hitler’s Beneficiaries shifts the brunt of the blame back toward ordinary Germans...

To understand Hitler’s popularity, Aly proposes, “it is necessary to focus on the socialist aspect of National Socialism.” Read more.

Some Baby Bibs Said to Contain Levels of Lead

If China keeps this type of shoddy goods a comin they are going to single handedly slow down there explosive economic growth. Seems like something is being recalled every other day:

Certain vinyl baby bibs sold at Toys “R” Us stores appear to be contaminated with lead, laboratory tests have shown, making the inexpensive bibs another example of a made-in-China product that may be a health hazard to children. More.

Newsweek's Global Warming Crusade

A solid article on the difficulties posed in trying to overcome global warming:

We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades. Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. A recent Newsweek cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It's an object lesson of how viewing the world as "good guys vs. bad guys" can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story. Global warming has clearly occurred; the hard question is what to do about it.

If you missed Newsweek's story, here's the gist. A "well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change." This "denial machine" has obstructed action against global warming and is still "running at full throttle." The story's thrust: Discredit the "denial machine," and the country can start the serious business of fighting global warming. The story was a wonderful read, marred only by its being fundamentally misleading. Read More.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hope and Despair in Divided Iraq

Fascinating article from Spiegel:

When describing Iraq, the word "peace" is seldom used. Truth be told, the Americans have restored order to many parts of the county. But Iraq remains fractured, and where new schools are built today, bombs could explode tomorrow. Read More.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Queer Topic for a Presidential Debate

This is different. Amazing how our countries ethic has changed to such an extent that this topic is now part of a presidential debate:

Thursday night, MTV’s homosexual cable network, LOGO, and the homosexual “Human Rights Campaign” (HRC) hosted the first-ever presidential debate solely intended to promote the demonstrably high-risk homosexual and “transgender” (gender identity disorder) lifestyles.

All major presidential candidates — both Republican and Democrat — were invited to participate. Each of the Republican presidential candidates declined, while six of the major Democratic candidates accepted. Senators Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) indicated that they had scheduling conflicts.Organizers were clearly expecting the candidates to fall all over themselves trying to prove to the world who was most sympathetic to the left’s twisted version of “tolerance” and “diversity.” And for those anticipating a drastically lopsided “gay”-affirming love-fest, the debate didn’t disappoint. No questions were presented from a traditionalist standpoint. Read More.

Friday, August 10, 2007

DDT spray scares mosquitoes away, study finds

This is very significant. Malaria is a real killer:

Mosquitoes that carry malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever avoid homes that have been sprayed with DDT, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The chemical not only repels the disease-carrying insects physically, but its irritant and toxic properties helps keep them away, the researchers reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.

They estimate that DDT spray reduced the risk of disease transmission by nearly three-quarters. Read More.

China's iClone

Clone anyone?

The little gadget was bootleg gold, a secret treasure I'd spent months tracking down. The miniOne looked just like Apple's iPhone, down to the slick no-button interface. But it was more. It ran popular mobile software that the iPhone wouldn't. It worked with nearly every worldwide cellphone carrier, not just AT&T, and not only in the U.S. It promised to cost half as much as the iPhone and be available to 10 times as many consumers. The miniOne's first news teases—a forum posting, a few spy shots, a product announcement that vanished after a day—generated a frenzy of interest online. Was it real? When would it go on sale? And most intriguing, could it really be even better than the iPhone?

I made a hastily arranged flight to China to find out. Ella Wong, a marketing manager at Meizu, the Chinese company building the new phone, had invited me to come to the annual Hong Kong Electronics Fair only days before it began this April. We had been trading e-mails for weeks, negotiating access to the miniOne and the operation that produced it. Meizu cloned Apple's iPod Nano last year, establishing itself as a significant force in a music-player market far larger than Apple's: international consumers who had little access to either Macintosh computers or the iTunes music store. The miniOne was going to be on display at the fair, and Jack Wong, Meizu's CEO, would also be there. If I made a good impression, I would be invited to the company's headquarters and research facility on the mainland. "You'll be warmly welcome," Wong wrote me. Read More.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cape Wind Opponents

South Africa's Betrayal

South African foreign policy has disturbed me for some time:

Last September, not long after the Israeli-Hezbollah war, South Africa's minister of intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, praised the Islamist group committed to Israel's destruction. The Iran News Agency, albeit prone to exaggeration, reported that Mr. Kasrils "lauded [the] great victories of the Lebanese Hezbollah against the Zionist forces" and "stressed that the successful Lebanese resistance proved the vulnerability of the Israeli army." The comment received no attention in the South African media; nor, for that matter, did the international press seem particularly interested. And yet, the scandalous comment occurred immediately after the South African government had warmly received the visiting Iranian foreign minister and expressed support for Iran's campaign for uranium enrichment--in spite of the passing of a United Nations Security Council deadline that same week regarding the suspension of Iran's nuclear program.

This stance toward Iran is cause for concern on its own. Unfortunately, it is also illustrative of a much broader and more chilling trend in South Africa's postapartheid foreign policy: one that cozies up to tyrants, and is increasingly orientated against the West--even at the cost of its self-proclaimed principles of human rights and political freedom.

Postapartheid South Africa's easy relationship with dictatorships, it should be noted, is not a new development. Until very recently, however, it has largely been overlooked by the media. This oversight is likely due to the fact that, much like its out-of-control crime rate, any bad news about South Africa is viewed as a blemish on the popular and self-comforting narrative surrounding the country's emergence from apartheid. Indeed, that a country scarred by so many years of violent racial segregation could transform itself into a fully functioning democracy with a robust economy while simultaneously avoiding the wide-scale racial bloodbath feared by many is nothing short of miraculous. But judging by its international relations, South Africa--by far the most politically stable, economically productive and militarily powerful country in sub-Saharan Africa--appears to be moving into the camp of the anti-Western powers, a loose but increasingly worrisome consortium not unlike the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement. Drawing heavily upon its history as a liberation movement, the African National Congress cloaks itself in a shroud of moral absolutism that not so subtly implicates its critics as racists, Western stooges, or apologists for apartheid. Read the rest.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Christianity finds a fulcrum in Asia

This is going to completely change the face of Christianity. No longer will it be a western religion. In fact it isn't already. Christianity is becoming non-western and southern hemisphere, and the rise in Asia will fuel the non-western part.

In two generations Christianity will not be the same as it is today:

Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by the National Catholic Reporter's veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world's largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history. [1] If you read a single news article about China this year, make sure it is this one. Read the rest.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Jon Soltz and the Politics of Rage

I fear this is all to true:

I had never heard of Captain Jon Soltz before I saw him respond so dramatically to Sgt. David Aguina in front of Andrew Marcus’ pitiless video camera. Soltz leapt to his feet in high dudgeon to threaten the earnest and somewhat naïve Aguina with all the might of military justice for the evidently cardinal crime of speaking (very deferentially, almost obsequiously) at a political event while in uniform.

Whatever the gravity of the crime, Soltz’s reaction was clearly out of control. He took poor, confused Aguina aside, scolding him like an errant child while glaring at the camera like a movie star whose privacy had been invaded. Anyone with the slightest media savvy (or human sophistication for that matter) would have realized a polite pat on the head to Aguina and the sergeant would have vanished into the anonymity from whence he came after a few bland words. (Instead, his visage wound up on Drudge, like Mr. Smith come to a virtual Washington.) Something had turned Soltz into an irrational bully. Read More.

Remember Global Cooling?

Funny, I actually remember this article. It was also a topic that was being discussed at school at the time:

In April, 1975, in an issue mostly taken up with stories about the collapse of the American-backed government of South Vietnam, NEWSWEEK published a small back-page article about a very different kind of disaster. Citing "ominous signs that the earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically," the magazine warned of an impending "drastic decline in food production." Political disruptions stemming from food shortages could affect "just about every nation on earth." Scientists urged governments to consider emergency action to head off the terrible threat of . . . well, if you had been following the climate-change debates at the time, you'd have known that the threat was: global cooling. Read More.

Extracurricular lesson in free speech

Free speech vs. college students. Free speech tends to take a back seat:

In my Politics of American Government class last winter, I learned that there are limitations on our right of free speech, limits delineated by terms such as "fighting words," "clear and present danger" and libel. During that same term, I also discovered just how restrictive many college students' idea of free speech really is.

In an editorial for a school newspaper, I criticized how the school's four ethnic theme dorms (African-American, American Indian, Asian and Latino) stereotyped minorities by categorizing individuals by race rather than considering broader personal experiences and values. The response: How dare I condemn the established multicultural institutions on campus! Didn't I know that I had no business commenting on the issue since, as one student stated on a campus forum, I was just a "white, libertarian girl from the O.C." Considering how often students refer to their right of free speech when they criticize the school or presidential administration, their reactions to my article were stunning. Read More.

Friday, August 03, 2007


HT: Ken

What If We Win?

The sad state of American politics, wanting your country to lose:

Most Democrats seem so invested in defeat in Iraq that they apparently have no "Plan B," which would be success.

Like the character Billy Bigelow in the musical "Carousel," who is dumbstruck when he realizes he has not thought about the possibility that his pregnant wife might actually deliver a girl, instead of the son he wants, Democrats appear unable to conceive of victory, or at least stability in Iraq. Read More.

Dems split on the war

Looks like the Dem caucus is split over whether they want the US to win or not:

The Surge is working. The initial success on the field by the American army is splitting the Democratic caucus in the House between those who want to Lose At Any Cost and the Weathervanes Who Follow The Polls.

Those polls are bad. Only 3% of Americans approve of the Democratic Congress’s handling of the war. Bush is at 24% in this category. Overall, Bush has better poll numbers than the Democratic Congress.

Rank-and-file Democrats already are worrying about the fate of all incumbents in 2008. They see the shift in public support. 42% now think the war was a good idea, up from 35% in May. These Democrats are tacking back. Read More.

Where the Left Is Moving Right

Seems we are trailing Europe after being ahead!

In Europe, reforms are in vogue. Though many special interests are fiercely resisting change, it is striking to see just how many European Social-Democrats have come to recognize the need for structural reforms to welfare states.

Witness Gerhard Schroeder, the former center-left Chancellor of Germany: in 2003, he called for a "change of mentality" in his own party, the SPD, as well as in German society as a whole. "Much will have to be changed to keep our welfare and social security at least at its current level," he added, as he argued in favor of reforms that would trim entitlements, and cut taxes. The Chairman of the SPD, Franz Müntefering, supported Schroeder by saying that "we believe that things must be rearranged and restarted in Germany in this decade." Not long thereafter, Schroeder took the lead in making German labor laws more flexible. Read More.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Geopolitics of Turkey

Turkey has broad implications for the entire region. The Turks have had a Kurdish problem for some time and have accused the PKK of using the Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq to attack elements within Turkey.

Here is the dilemma. The Kurds are the strongest allies the Us has in the area. If Turkey were to attack into Iraq and destabilize this area it would cause all kinds of headaches for the US:

Rumors are floating in Washington and elsewhere that Turkey is preparing to move against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an anti-Turkish group seeking an independent Kurdistan in Turkey. One report, by Robert Novak in the Washington Post, says the United States is planning to collaborate with Turkey in suppressing the PKK in northern Iraq, an area the PKK has used as a safe-haven and launch pad to carry out attacks in Turkey.

The broader issue is not the PKK, but Kurdish independence. The Kurds are a distinct ethnic group divided among Turkey, Iran, Iraq and, to a small extent, Syria. The one thing all of these countries have agreed on historically is they have no desire to see an independent Kurdistan. Even though each has, on occasion, used Kurdish dissidents in other countries as levers against those countries, there always has been a regional consensus against a Kurdish state. Read More.

Obama might send troops into Pakistan

One of those "I can't believe I read it" kind of articles. Gee let's attack a country that has nuclear weapons!

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would possibly send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.

The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

"Let me make this clear," Obama said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will." Read More.