Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Quiet Triumph May be Brewing

This could be very good news. Hopefully it is correct:

There are signs that the global Islamic jihad movement is splitting apart, in what would be a tremendous achievement for American strategy. The center of the action is in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the very territory which is thought to harbor Usama, and from which Al Qaeda was able to launch 9/11. Capitalizing on existing splits, a trap was set and closed, and the benefits have only begun to be evident. Read More.


Expect major changes in France:

He is constantly in motion. Even when he sits in his office, he shifts his legs nervously. His interlocutors have a hard time completing a sentence before he interrupts them. He does not stop working for a moment. When having a meal with visitors, he does not hesitate to run to his office to examine a document or talk on the phone. Whenever possible, he prefers to walk rather than ride. Like his predecessor, he also needs an extra portion of love and admiration.

Not a day or even an hour passes without hearing or seeing him. One time it is about a new reform, another time a new project or program. All are the handiwork of Nicolas Sarkozy. Lionel Jospin, the former prime minister, described this constant presence as "intolerable" and "nerve-racking."

France has never witnessed a phenomenon like this. Last Thursday, in a special interview with France's two main TV channels, he was asked where he gets his energy. "I was not elected to take a siesta," he retorted. "I was elected to work and deliver the goods, and I intend to work from morning till evening for five years, up until the last moment." Read More.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Satellites confirm reports of Myanmar violence

This is remarkable. Civilian satellites are confirming the reports of atrocities coming out of Burma. Talk about a new twist on the old adage "You can run but you cannot hide" analogy:

Satellite images confirm reports of burned villages, forced relocations and other human-rights abuses in Myanmar, scientists said on Friday.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science said the high-resolution photographs taken by commercial satellites document a growing military presence at 25 sites across eastern Myanmar, matching eyewitness reports. Read More.

Divorced From Reality

From the annals of negative reporting is just more fun than positive reporting:

Last week’s release of new divorce statistics led to a smorgasbord of reporting feeding the myth. This newspaper warned readers, “Don’t stock up on silver anniversary cards” because “women and men who married in the late 1970s had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later.” And apparently things are getting worse, as “the latest numbers suggest an uptick in the divorce rate among people married in the most recent 20 years covered in the report, 1975-1994.” Other major newspapers ran similar articles.

The story of ever-increasing divorce is a powerful narrative. It is also wrong. In fact, the divorce rate has been falling continuously over the past quarter-century, and is now at its lowest level since 1970. While marriage rates are also declining, those marriages that do occur are increasingly more stable. For instance, marriages that began in the 1990s were more likely to celebrate a 10th anniversary than those that started in the 1980s, which, in turn, were also more likely to last than marriages that began back in the 1970s.

Why were so many analysts led astray by the recent data? Understanding this puzzle requires digging deeper into some rather complex statistics.

The Census Bureau reported that slightly more than half of all marriages occurring between 1975 and 1979 had not made it to their 25th anniversary. This breakup rate is not only alarmingly high, but also represents a rise of about 8 percent when compared with those marriages occurring in the preceding five-year period.

But here’s the rub: The census data come from a survey conducted in mid-2004, and at that time, it had not yet been 25 years since the wedding day of around 1 in 10 of those whose marriages they surveyed. And if your wedding was in late 1979, it was simply impossible to have celebrated a 25th anniversary when asked about your marriage in mid-2004.

If the census survey had been conducted six months later, it would have found that a majority of those married in the second half of 1979 were happily moving into their 26th year of marriage. Once these marriages are added to the mix, it turns out that a majority of couples who tied the knot from 1975 to 1979 — about 53 percent — reached their silver anniversary. Link.

As Prices Soar, U.S. Food Aid Buys Less

This is a real issue for many people. While the ethanol program helps the US with it's reliance on foreign oil, it does impact on corn as food:

Soaring food prices, driven in part by demand for ethanol made from corn, have helped slash the amount of food aid the government buys to its lowest level in a decade, possibly resulting in more hungry people around the world this year.

The United States, the world’s dominant donor, has purchased less than half the amount of food aid this year that it did in 2000, according to new data from the Department of Agriculture. Read More.

HPV and Men:

This can be categorized under eww and a sign of the times:

Anal cancer is not something you often read or hear about in the daily news.

Maybe it’s too taboo to talk about this part of the body. Actress Farrah Fawcett did not mention what type of cancer she is battling, but, according to reports, the 59-year-old actress has a rare form of anal cancer. Read More.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gary Kasparov on Putin

From Kasparovs view Putin should be considered more of a mafia type head, scary:

Gary Kasparov, the man who was a world chess champion for 15 years in a row is trying now to checkmate Vladimir Putin in politics. Wishful thinking? A mirage of the West projected onto Russia? Maybe. Leader of the opposition movement "The Other Russia", Mr. Kasparov admits quite sincerely: "We are not trying to win the elections, we are trying to have elections!"

A guest of honor at the European Ideas Network in Warsaw last week, Mr. Kasparov made some worrying statements:

Putin doesn't run a country, he runs a corporation. He is the ugliest mixture of Karl Marx and Adam Smith. He is not interested in restoring Russia's influence, he's just interested in Gazprom's and Rosneft's influence. Actually, Putin is destroying the Russian state. If we look at the functions of the state, they are gradually transferred to the state companies: Now the Duma voted that Gazprom and Rosneft can have its own armies. These so-called state companies are run by Putin and his KGB-buddies - him being a sort of "capo di tutti capi." And for those doing business with KGB Inc., I remind them that the KGB shareholders are very active shareholders. Read More.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

US Home Price Decline Accelerates

This could be significant but it is also not that surprising. The market could not sustain the double digit growth rates. When houses are going up so much faster than inflation something has to give. So while I see this as disturbing, I am not of the opinion the sky is falling. We have all seen these market corrections before:

The decline in U.S. home prices accelerated nationwide in July, posting the steepest drop in 16 years, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday. Read More.

Marines Barred From Filming Commercial on Streets of San Francisco

San Francisco is a warm open loving city to all who are in need, ethnic background, sexual identity etc. All that is except conservatives the military and Evangelical Christians:

They're the strong and the proud, but the Marines aren't free to stand on the streets of San Francisco. Read More.

Monday, September 24, 2007

5 Tips: How to Read the Bible the RIGHT Way

Good satire with a strong dose of how not to read the bible.

First rule of Today's GQ Man

Why didn't GQ publish an article against Hillary?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hsu Held without Bail

I do believe that this is going to be a major issue for this election cycle. The plot keeps getting thicker and the money deeper. I may be wrong but this is really going to hurt Hillary. Smells too much like the whiffs of scandal that kept cropping up in Bill's presidency. Nothing that would usually stick, but the smell was there.

Fallen Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was ordered held without bail Friday, and his attorney accused the FBI of extracting a confession while the convicted swindler was recovering from an apparent suicide attempt.

Hsu appeared briefly in San Mateo Superior Court on a 15-year-old grand theft conviction, one day after federal authorities charged him in New York with bilking investors out of $60 million. Investigators say he donated some of that money to numerous Democratic candidates and causes over the past several years. Read More.

Bad Medicine

Interesting take:

Almost daily we're bombarded with apocalyptic warnings about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. Senator Hillary Clinton wants to require everyone to have it, to require big companies to pay for it, and have government buy policies for the poor.

That is a move in the wrong direction.

America's health-care problem is not that some people lack insurance, it is that 250 million Americans do have it.

You have to understand something right from the start. We Americans got hooked on health insurance because the government did the insurance companies a favor during World War II. Wartime wage controls prohibited cash raises, so employers started giving noncash benefits like health insurance to attract workers. The tax code helped this along by treating employer-based health insurance more favorably than coverage you buy yourself. And state governments have made things worse by mandating coverage many people would never buy for themselves.

Competition also pushed companies to offer ever-more attractive policies, such as first-dollar coverage for routine ailments like ear infections and colds, and coverage for things that are not even illnesses, like pregnancy. We came to expect insurance to cover everything. Read More.

Friday, September 21, 2007

George Soros: The Man, The Mind And The Money Behind MoveOn


The Left: The smear ad published against Gen. Petraeus has drawn attention to its sponsor, But the fingerprints of the group's chief financial backer, George Soros, were all over it. Who is this man and what is he up to? Read More.

Presumed guilty

The hypocrisy is galling:

ON THE night of March 13th 2006, 47 lacrosse players at Duke University, North Carolina, paid a couple of strippers to entertain them. Things went badly from the start. The girls arrived late. One of them, Crystal Mangum, was so drunk that she could not utter a coherent sentence. Her “dance” lasted four minutes. But over the next few days a sordid evening mutated into a life-ruining tragedy. Ms Mangum alleged that some of the players had beaten and gang-raped her. And the full force of the American legal system and media machine was deployed against a group of young men who were presumed to embody all the evils of America's demons of racism and sexism. The students Ms Mangum accused are white: Ms Mangum is black.

The accusation was a transparent lie from the start. Ms Mangum, who had been picked up by the police, brought up the subject of rape only when she was confronted with the possibility of a spell in a mental hospital. She recanted her accusation and then recanted her recantation. She told conflicting stories that numbered her assailants at anything from two to 20. Her co-dancer described her claims as “a crock”. The police who interviewed her on the first night regarded her charges as incredible—and, in truth, she had a long record of alcohol and drug abuse, mental instability and making up far-fetched stories. Read More.

When the Acceptance of Biological Evolution has Personal or Professional Repercussions

This is an issue that is going to continually crop up. Evolution is here to stay as a topic and Christianity needs to deal with it and recognize that our understanding of the creative nature of God is incomplete:

Grappling with the implications of biological evolution can be a difficult theological challenge. However, for most of us, it doesn’t directly affect our personal or professional lives. For others though, the impact is much more direct. For pastors in Evangelical churches, or for faculty in Christian academic institutions, coming to a personal understanding of the coherence of evolution and faith may be the easy part. Much more difficult is dealing with the aftermath when these personal understandings become public. Read More.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The death of relativism


I used to believe that the world essentially divided into two types of people: those who were broadly tolerant, and those who felt threatened by differences. If only the former ruled the earth, I reasoned, the world might know some measure of peace. But there was a problem with my theory, and it was never clearer than in a conversation I had with a Pakistani friend who told me that he loathed people like George Bush who insisted on dividing the world into "us" and "them". My friend did not realise that he was in fact falling straight into the camp of people he loathed.

This is a political version of a famous paradox formulated by Bertrand Russell. The stronger you insist on the necessity of tolerance, the more intolerant you become toward those who disagree. The moral lesson is that there is no such thing as unqualified tolerance; ultimately, one must be able to expound intolerance of certain ideologies without surrendering the moral high ground normally linked to tolerance. Read More.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

House Prices?


If you haven’t noticed, Los Angeles returned to its previous median record price of $550,000 last month. Before you scratch your head in dismay, let us take a look at what is really happening. As you know, higher priced homes are still moving while lower priced homes are stagnant thus skewing the numbers. If a home doesn’t sell, it doesn’t show up in the data. Similar to taking an immensely hard mathematics course where half the class drops out, but those that remain push grades higher. When calculating the final overall class performance the statistics show the best of the best and those that stuck the course out, but what of the students that dropped out? Well as you can see from the Real Homes of Genius examples, prices are coming down. So what do we make of this seemingly contradictory information? Read More.

Tony Snow's Article in Christianity Today

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings

Greenspan: The smoking gun that didn’t

Talk about the story that died for the progressives:

Opponents of the war in Iraq thought their moment had finally come yesterday. This was it: the culmination of all their hopes and dreams of the last five years. This was their Adlai Stevenson moment.

Former Treasury Secretary Alan Greenspan had apparently confirmed what they’d known all along: that the Iraq war was all about oil. And this wasn’t some disgruntled junior flunky blowing the whistle on the administration – this was a man who’d been at the heart of government for the past 18 years.

The game was finally up for Bush, Cheney and co, thought the lefties. The media – their media – would have this story all over the airwaves and the internet for the next week. The more the Whitehouse tried to play it down, the more guilty they’d look. There would be apologies, resignations and, ultimately, impeachment.

They were burning the midnight oil at the HuffPo and Kos comments boards. ‘Greenspan’s admission confirms that the U.S. is merely slitting the throats of the Iraqis to get their wealth, like any common thug,’ said one commenter. ‘Moment of truth!’ exclaimed another. Read More.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Move Along Move On

This is probably the beginning of the end for this group:

To prepare for General David Petraeus's long-awaited testimony on Iraq to Congress last week, the liberal pressure group wrote itself into the history books with an anti-Petraeus ad so repulsive it ranked with Lyndon Johnson's infamous 1964 TV spot in the campaign against Barry Goldwater: A little girl picking flowers dissolved into a mushroom cloud, and then the screen went black. (Evidently by voting for Goldwater, you expressed your support for nuclear holocaust.) But gleeful Republicans who are certain that MoveOn has finally tipped its hand and shown America what the left is all about should remember that Johnson won that election, in a landslide. Because MoveOn headlined its ugly ad with an ugly rhyme ("General Betray Us"), it will stick in the public mind. But it is just possible that the public will invite MoveOn to take their ad and ShoveIt. Read More.

Osama's New Video

The Non-Existent North American Union

I'm feeling out of touch, I did not know much about this new "conspiracy":

Other than the 9/11 conspiracy theory, the most popular conspiracy theory these days seems to be the North American Union. Go to Google and you'll find more than a million hits on the words "North American Union." Prominent conservative online magazines regularly run columns by people who believe in this conspiracy theory. Getting emails that reference it? It's almost an every day thing...even though the odds of the NAU coming to pass are slightly less likely than a Dennis Kucinich/Rosie O'Donnell ticket winning every state in 2008.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to logically prove to people who buy into the NAU (Try to stifle a giggle here) that George Bush isn't going to merge the United States, Canada, and Mexico together to form one giant nation -- because there's no logic, consistency, or reasoning behind the theory. It's nothing more than the worst sort of black helicopter paranoia combined with naked ignorance about how our government works -- promoted by con men, nuts, and ignoramuses who think they'll increase traffic to their websites, raise money, or sell more books by convincing people that the North American Union is actually going to happen.

But, rather than just hurl more invective at the NAU wackos, let me give you a general rundown of the nuts and bolts of the theory (with heavy emphasis on the nuts).

If you buy into the North American Union conspiracy theory, you probably believe that: Read the rest.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Interpreting the Genesis Creation Accounts in the Light of Modern ANE History

Food for thought. One of the mistakes many christians make is to read scripture as a 21st century document. It's not. It was first written to a nomadic people's with a very different worldview than we "moderns" have today. So many of the questions we may have concerning creation, cosmology, or even how we view the world through modernism, are questions that would never have been asked 3,000 years ago. so let's be careful and not try to make the Bible into a science book answering questions it was not intended to answer:

Modern evangelicals have one unfortunate thing in common with modern atheists, modern agnostics, and modern liberals—they are all modern. In other words, we all tend to have inappropriate and unrealistic expectations as to what something written by the hand of God should look like to 21st century believers 3500 years after the fact. Here is just one example: Read More.

The Gospel in 6 Minutes

From John Piper:

What’s the gospel? I’ll put it in a sentence.

The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.

That’s the gospel. Read the rest.

What If Existed 65 Years Ago?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Even Dogs Have Standards

Young Muslims begin dangerous fight for the right to abandon faith

They are going uphill in this battle. It is a death sentence within Islam to renounce there religion. this is a group that needs our prayer and support. Even if they are not killed they will be shunned by their entire family, making life very difficult:

A group of young Muslim apostates launches a campaign today, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, to make it easier to renounce Islam.

The provocative move reflects a growing rift between traditionalists and a younger generation raised on a diet of Dutch tolerance.

The Committee for Ex-Muslims promises to campaign for freedom of religion but has already upset the Islamic and political Establishments for stirring tensions among the million-strong Muslim community in the Netherlands. Read More.

California marks marriage milestone: majority are unwed

This seems to be indicative of the rise of moral relativism. Granted more research would need to be done but it has become clear that the institution of marriage is no longer held in very high esteem:

The newest minority in California?

Married couples.

For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of the state's adults are single or separated, according to new federal data.

As recently as the 2000 Census, about 52 percent of Californians 15 or older were married. But 2006 population data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau says that share of married Californians has slipped to 48.5 percent this decade as the share of adults who have never wed has grown.

From the state's high cost of housing for families, to an increase in opportunities for women, to something as fundamental as our image of love - there is no shortage of reasons to explain the decline.

Californians are waiting longer than ever - and longer than people in many other states - to get married, or they're just skipping it altogether. About three in 10 women in California have never married, a percentage topped by only three other states, according to the new census data. An even higher percentage of men - 38 percent - have never married. Read More.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Resistance "is a normal thing, and a right for everyone"


Perhaps more than any other element, contextual local perspective is missing from analysis about Iraq as a whole and Fallujah in particular. Western media, media consumers, and the political class offer strategic assessments about the conflict that confine the opinion and motivations of Iraqis to the general abstraction of religious sects and cherrypicked polls. It is a glaring oversight.

I spoke with dozens of Fallujans -- policemen, interpreters, day laborers, politicians, volunteers for the neighborhood watch -- in my quest to understand them and I still do not have the complete picture. And a single interview certainly cannot encapsulate the diversity of opinion in a major city. Sections of Fallujah trend together but have different atmospherics; you will get many more waves to a Humvee on the south side of the city than you will in the northwest, for example. But many narratives and beliefs are widely shared among the population, and the people of Fallujah have a worthy spokesman in “Leo” the interpreter. Read More.

How To Hate The Non-Existent

Remember to never get an angry atheist...angry!

Suffice it to say that I have never received such hate mail as when I suggested that religious people were better than non-religious in their conduct. It seemed that many of the people who responded to me were not content merely not to believe, but had to hate. Although I had not denied that religious motivation could motivate very bad behaviour, something which indeed can hardly be denied, I was treated to a summary of the historical crimes of religion such as many adolescents could provide who had recently discovered to their fury that they had been made to attend boring religious services when the arguments for the existence of God had never been irrefutable. Read More.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jesus and Mohammad, Version 2.0

This article is very good and points out some interesting problems with revisionist history.
HT: Ray

Few things are more demonstrative of the sad state of affairs of modern academia than the increasingly fictionalized portrayals of the founders of the two largest religions in the world: Jesus and Mohammad. Though the same dubious methods are used for both — ignore the most historically valid texts and documents, build ponderous theories atop evidence of the most tenuous kind — the goals are markedly different. In academia today, we find Jesus, far from the Son of God, portrayed at once as a wandering “magician” and a hippie-like philanderer inclined to homosexuality. Mohammad, whom the most authentic Muslim sources portray as, among other things, a warlord who had entire tribes executed and plundered, their women herded into harems, their children sold into slavery, appears as a peaceful and altruistic ruler whose governance ushered in, among other improvements, a sort of seventh-century “feminism.” Read More.

What happened to the twelve apostles?

thought provoking:

Amidst some uncertainty, one thing is clear the basis of their martyrdom was the same in all accounts. They died because they proclaimed to have seen Christ die and then to have seen Him alive. They all died because of an unwavering, unrelenting claim that Christ rose from the grave. Read the rest.

Archeologists find tunnel used by Jews to escape Romans

They are still making new discoveries in Jerusalem:

Under threat from Romans ransacking Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, many of the city's Jewish residents crowded into an underground drainage channel to hide and later flee the chaos through Jerusalem's southern end unnoticed.

The ancient tunnel was recently discovered buried beneath rubble, a monument to one of the great dramatic scenes of the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 A.D.

The channel was dug beneath what would become the main road of Jerusalem, the archaeology dig's directors, Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said Sunday. Shukron said excavators looking for the road happened upon a small drainage channel that led them to the discovery of the massive tunnel two weeks ago. read More.

BUSTED!... Schumer Wipes Away Disgraceful Line From Website


Atheistic Overconfidence

I have noticed the same thing. We will have to start distinguishing mere atheism (or agnosticism) from fundamentalist atheism!

Richard Dawkins is often accused of being a fundamentalist atheist. He dismisses theism almost without argument. The arguments he gives are often straw men or miss the point in some other way. He shows little familiarity with the best philosophical representatives of theism, and since his work on atheism is actually philosophy he's really dropped the ball in backing up his views. It ends up looking like mere dogmatism without much allowance for dialogue with the other side, i.e. fundamentalism. Read More.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun?

Amazing this was at a British site:

Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls?

The short answer is that “gun controls” do not work: they are indeed generally perverse in their effects. Virginia Tech, where 32 students were shot in April, had a strict gun ban policy and only last year successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus. It is with a measure of bitter irony that we recall Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, recording the words of Cesare Beccaria: “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” Read More.

Hillary's Prayer: Hillary Clinton's Religion and Politics

I have heard some of these ideas about Hillary before. Very interesting from a Christian point of view:

It was an elegant example of the Clinton style, a rhetorical maneuver subtle, bold, and banal all at once. During a Democratic candidate forum in June, hosted by the liberal evangelical group Sojourners, Hillary Clinton fielded a softball query about Bill's infidelity: How had her faith gotten her through the Lewinsky scandal?

After a glancing shot at Republican "pharisees," Clinton explained that, of course, her "very serious" grounding in faith had helped her weather the affair. But she had also relied on the "extended faith family" that came to her aid, "people whom I knew who were literally praying for me in prayer chains, who were prayer warriors for me." Read More.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Advanced Russian Air Defense Missile Cannot Protect Syrian and Iranian Skies


DEBKAfile’s military experts conclude from the way Damascus described the episode Wednesday, Sept. 6, that the Pantsyr-S1E missiles, purchased from Russia to repel air assailants, failed to down the Israeli jets accused of penetrating northern Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean the night before.

The new Pantsyr missiles therefore leave Syrian and Iranian airspace vulnerable to hostile intrusion. Read More.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Guilty in the Duke Case

So ends the sad case of Nifong and the Duke rape case. Hopefully others will learn from this:

One night in jail: So concludes the Duke lacrosse rape case -- rape fraud, as it turned out. The legacy of this incident should include hard thinking about the deep pathologies underlying the media sensationalism and the perversion of academic ideals that this fraud inspired.

The 24-hour sentence was imposed on Mike Nifong, the disbarred former district attorney of Durham, after a contempt-of-court trial last week for repeatedly lying to hide DNA evidence of innocence. His prosecution of three demonstrably innocent defendants, based on an emotionally disturbed stripper's ever-changing account, may be the worst prosecutorial misconduct ever exposed while it was happening. Durham police officers and other officials aided Nifong, and the city and county face the threat of a massive lawsuit by the falsely accused former students seeking criminal justice reforms and compensation. Read More.

Impending World Economic Crisis Explained


Most say UK is in 'moral decline'


More than eight in 10 people believe that Britain is in moral decline, a survey has found.

The poll, for new BBC One show The Big Questions, found only 9% disagreed that moral standards were falling.

Of 1,000 adults asked, 62% said religion was important in guiding the nation's morals, while 29% disagreed that faith had a role to play.

And people said they were more likely to help a stranger who had collapsed than try to stop anti-social behaviour. Read More.

Global Warming May Cancel Next Ice Age

This is very interesting, and puts global warming in a whole new perspective:

Finally, there's some "good" news about global warming.

All that we've emitted into the atmosphere could mean no more ice ages any time soon, new research says.

Most research into the effects of the carbon dioxide accumulating in our atmosphere has looked ahead only to the next century or two.

But the emitted carbon dioxide isn't just going to disappear after that. Research has shown that some of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now will hang around for quite awhile, probably tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. Read More.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Switzerland: Europe's heart of darkness?

I think we are going to see this happening in quite a few European countries. For all the tolerance that the Europeans espouse, they are actually quite intolerant. Not surprising and quite justified in many instances. But their hypocrisy towards the US is getting quite tiresome:

Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the United Nations. Proposals for draconian new laws that target the country's immigrants have been condemned as unjust and racist. A poster campaign, the work of its leading political party, is decried as xenophobic. Has Switzerland become Europe's heart of darkness? Read More.

Gay couple left free to abuse boys - because social workers feared being branded homophobic

Absolutely incredible:

A homosexual foster couple were left free to sexually abuse vulnerable boys in their care because social workers feared being accused of discrimination if they investigated complaints, an inquiry concluded yesterday.

Craig Faunch and Ian Wathey were one of the first homosexual couples in the country to be officially approved as foster parents.

They looked after 18 children in only 15 months. Read More.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

For Montana Sect, Cellphones Send Mixed Message

Interesting contrast showing the problems modern technology can bring to a closed cultural group:

Elsie Wipf lives a simple life, picking vegetables, sewing clothes for her brothers and sisters and butchering chickens. She also goes to church every day and knits slippers in her spare time.

That is, when she isn't sending her friends text messages, like "btw how r u 2 day."

The 35-year-old Ms. Wipf, who got her first cellphone three months ago, is a Hutterite. The roughly 49,000 members of the Anabaptist Christian group, living in colonies in the northern U.S. plains and in Canada, are related to the Amish. They strive to live lives built on faith and family. They grow their own food, make their own clothes and shun many practices of the outside world. Read More.

Does a loving God send people to hell?

This is an interesting take on a question that comes up frequently with non-christians:

I love it when someone tells me that he or she doesn't believe a loving God would send anyone to hell. That remark is a wonderful opening to share the gospel in an extremely personal way. I usually tell people who express this opinion that they're right. God doesn't send anyone to hell. In fact, God has done everything he can to keep you from going to hell. Even though each of us has sinned and rebelled against God, he sent his son to die to pay the penalty for our sins. He has given us a wonderful creation that points to His glory. He has given us the Bible to record his gospel and his wisdom. He has given us prophets and preachers to point his way. He has given us friends and family members who pray for us to go to him. God has gone way out of his way to keep us from having to go to hell.
But some of us still insist on going there. We resist God's efforts to draw us to himself. We ignore God's warnings about our current course. I tell them: If you go to hell, it is because you insist on running straight toward hell with your fingers in your ears so you don't hear God telling you not to go.
They usually say something like: "Well, I've never heard God telling me not to go to hell."
"Yes you have," I respond, "God has put me right here, right now, to tell you not to go." Read More.

Pope Says Protestant Blogs are not "Real" Blogs

Heh, this is good.

Christian Plagiarism?

Yep, and way too much of it. Link.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Chinese military hacked into Pentagon

Just a little scary:

The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say American ­officials. Read More.

Mosque Building Gets a Mixed Reception in the West

Interesting that the US is always accused of being intolerant, yet it is Europe that shows the most cultural exclusivism:

Campaigns for and against new mosques cities have become defining issues in local politics across the U.S. and Europe, each controversy measuring how well Muslims have integrated into those communities, writes the Economist. The content of the controversies in cities including Boston, Rome, and London varies widely, the Economist says. In the U.S., objections tend to focus on practical considerations like parking and zoning laws. Those objections are usually overcome. A mosque in Chicago successfully challenged a regulation that banned parking for three hours on Friday afternoons, when worshipers would be arriving. Read the rest.

HT: Ray

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt

This is an excellent article on tribalism and the security situation in Iraq today:

Some aspects of the war in Iraq are hard to fit into “classical” models of insurgency. One of these is the growing tribal uprising against al Qa’ida, which could transform the war in ways not factored into neat “benchmarks” developed many months ago and thousands of miles away. I spent time out on the ground during May and June working with coalition units, tribal leaders and fighters engaged in the uprising, so I felt a few field observations might be of interest to the Small Wars community. I apologize in advance for the epic length of this post, but it's a complex issue, so I hope people will forgive my long-windedness. Like much else, it’s too early to know how this new development will play out. But surprisingly (surprising to me, anyway), indications so far are relatively positive. Read the rest.

McGreevey enters Episcopal seminary


The nation's first openly gay governor is headed back to school Tuesday - as a seminary student.

Jim McGreevey will begin full-time studies at General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in Manhattan, seminary spokesman Bruce Parker confirmed. McGreevey switched his religious affiliation from Roman Catholic to Episcopalian earlier this year and expressed interest in pursuing a call to ministry. Read More.

Swiss Expulsion Proposal Draws Criticism

Can you imagine an American political party holding to these views? The backlash would be horrific:

The campaign poster was blatant in its xenophobic symbolism: Three white sheep kicking out a black sheep over a caption that read "for more security." The message was not from a fringe force in Switzerland's political scene but from its largest party.

The nationalist Swiss People's Party is proposing a deportation policy that anti-racism campaigners say evokes Nazi-era practices. Under the plan, entire families would be expelled if their children are convicted of a violent crime, drug offenses or benefits fraud.

The party is trying to collect the 100,000 signatures needed to force a referendum on the issue. If approved in a referendum, the law would be the only one of its kind in Europe. Read More.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Justice Opens Investigation Of Hsu

I think we are just seeing the tip of the ice berg on this one. If it turns out Hsu was working for China or Chinese nationals...this could get really stinky for the Democrats.

The Captain has more.