Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Yahoo! News - Principal Sorry for 'School Prayer' Poem To the people who complained: if the shoe fits, wear it!
Monday, November 29, 2004
Yahoo! News - Top general warns Iran not to underestimate U.S. military "Why the Iranians would want to move against us in an overt manner that would cause us to use our air or naval power against them would be beyond me," Army Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in an interview on the way to his headquarters here from Afghanistan. ... Abizaid, the top commander for Afghanistan and Iraq, said any nation perceiving a weakness in the U.S. military should think twice. "We can generate more military power per square inch than anybody else on Earth, and everybody knows it," Abizaid said. "If you ever even contemplate our nuclear capability, it should give everybody the clear understanding that there is no power that can match the United States militarily." I'd like to see that whole interview, to get some context. But how much you want to bet that folks start screaming about how the top US general is threatening to nuke Iran?
Hugh Hewitt asks for modern novels worth re-reading. I confess that my recreational fiction reading tends towards the mind-candy technothriller. These are generally single-use books, though the plots and characters tend to be repetitive enough that reading two of them might be considered the same as re-reading either. I've run across one or two books, though, that are worth re-reading. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet tells the story of the building of a cathedral at the transition from the Romanesque style with barrel vaults and thick walls to Gothic architecture, with its soaring expanses of stained glass and flying buttresses. The story captures the everyday squalor of medieval life and the power of the mounted man-at-arms over the peasant. The pervasive influence of the Roman Catholic Church is depicted without affection; the spiritually sympathetic character is a woodland "witch" who is persecuted for being a premodern feminist. This anachronism aside, it's a terrific read. I was therefore curiously disappointed when I reread Follet's Night Over Water, an espionage thriller set on a fictional flight of the grand Boeing Flying Boat at the outbreak of WWII. I recalled the book as going into a lot of techical detail about this marvelous flying machine. On the second reading, though, the story seemed to be mostly about sex. I finally got around to reading the last installment of the Left Behind series. The first couple of books were fascinating, but the quality of the writing seriously deteriorated as the series dragged on and on. You'd think that for a Christian author, describing the Parousia would be like an organist playing a Bach tocatta - a chance to pull out all the stops. But it falls flat. Frank Peretti wrote a couple of books that are worth a second look, particularly This Present Darkness. Someone really needs to make that into a movie. With today's digital effects, a competent visual storyteller could really bring to life this tale of Good versus Evil in a small town. Roy Scheider is probably too old to play the central character. Maybe Ed Harris? (Yes, I know he played a good guy opposite Max von Sydow's Devil in Needful Things.) My wife is currently re-reading the Zion Chronicles series by Brook and Bodie Thoene. And of course, C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia should be read and re-read. Aloud to your children.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
IMAO: Our Military: Letters to Michael Moore "Michael Moore asked for letter from veterans, and some responded and were nice enough to forward me [Frank J. at IMAO] their letters." Be careful what you ask for. You might get it. :-D
Monday, November 22, 2004
Yahoo! News - Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents Why am I not surprised?
Yahoo! News - Jet Crashes Before Picking Up Elder Bush I'm playing amateur NTSB investigator here. The plane clipped a light pole on final approach in IFR. The weather map shows a stationary front across the flight path from Dallas to Houston. I'm guessing that the pilots may not have set their altimeters correctly for the approach. Coming from an area of relatively high barometric pressure to an area of low pressure, the altimeter would read higher than the actual altitude. (The low pressure makes the instrument think it's at a higher altitude than it really is.) Tragic.
Friday, November 19, 2004
MSNBC - Hardee's unveils the �Monster Thickburger Ok, so welcome to last week. But GOLLY, this looks yummy! I suppose yet another way to divide people are those to whom the Monster Thickburger looks like death-on-plate, and those of us to whom it looks like some Serious Lunch.
IranPressNews (English): A 14 year old boy is sentenced to 85 lashes for breaking his Ramadan fast ! A 14 year old boy died on Thursday, November 11th, after having received 85 lashes; according to the ruling of the Mullah judge of the public circuit court in the town of Sanandadj he was guilty of breaking his fast during the month of Ramadan. Beating a child to death for eating, and do it in the name of God. I am speechless with rage and fury. Is this the fast that God desires?
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Yahoo! News - Kmart, Sears to Merge in $11 Billion Deal Sounds like they plan to give Wa-Mart a run for their money for the title of King of Mediocrity. I remember the Sears Catalog - especially the toy section! - from when I was a kid. It was the Big Wish Book. I spent hours poring over that thing, dreaming. In college, Sears Craftsman tools were still the best you could get for the home shop (yes, the professional grease monkeys used Snap-On, but they were EXPENSIVE. I figure they bundled the cost of their pin-up calendars with the price of the tools.) But in the past 20 years or so, Sears just seems to have slid. Maybe it's inept marketing, maybe poor management, but it's just not the same. And now, this. Kmart marries Sears. It's just not exciting.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Yahoo! News - U.S. Researcher Says Finds Atlantis Off Cyprus Very, very cool. There are ancient stories all over the globe of cataclysmic floods. I've never been one to take Genesis literally - especially the pre-patriarchal stories, but it's clear that Genesis does preserve ancient "racial memories" - stories handed down from generation to generation, like the Austrailian Aborigine "Dreamtime."
Yahoo! News - U.S. to Probe Shooting of Wounded Iraqi Here's the nub of it: ...a Marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... BTW, wasn't it just a few weeks ago that a man running for President claimed he was qualified for the job in part because he once chased down and killed a wounded enemy combatant?
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
normblog: Gone wrong A left-wing blogger asks a probing question - why were so many Kurds and Iranians happy to see George Bush win the election? Shouldn't downtrodden people yearning to be free fear a conservative adminintration? Shouldn't they look for hope to the marchers for "peace and justice?" Mazlow's ladder, Norm. Mazlow's ladder. You can feel free to march for a woman's right to kill the fetus living within her when she does not have to fear being publicly executed for being pregnant out of wedlock.
100,000 Dead�or 8,000 - How many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war? By Fred Kaplan But read the passage that cites the calculation more fully:
We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.Readers who are accustomed to perusing statistical documents know what the set of numbers in the parentheses means. For the other 99.9 percent of you, I'll spell it out in plain English—which, disturbingly, the study never does. It means that the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.) This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board. Figures don't lie, but liars can figure. Figures, doesn't it?
Michelle Malkin: MOST CHARITABLE STATES--RED OR BLUE? Hey, those of us in the Red states may be ignorant homo-hating Biblethumping anti-science keep-the-wimmin-barefoot-pregnant-an-in-the-kitchen gaptoothed redneck inbred uneducated NASCAR WWF country-music-lovin' idiots, but at least we're generous....
Friday, November 05, 2004
I just witnessed in microcosm what might have happened had Kerry won. For several years I've been a member of Guitar.com. One of the features of that site was a free-wheeling discussion board called "Misc." The language there was often pretty rough, as you might expect fromm anonymous adolescent rock-n-roll fans. But I considered it my mission field, as it were. One thread on Christianity grew to over a thousand posts and lasted more than a year, with a rolling conversation between myself, a couple of other believers, and a handful of atheists (not to mention the trolls). The board was moderated, so if anyone got too far out of line they could be banned (forcing them to come up with a new user ID) and their posts deleted. Well, this evening someone guessed an admin's password. The hacker gave every user the power to be a moderator. It was an electronic version of the Fall of Rome. People were being banned left and right, posts deleted, truly offensive content being posted - pandemonium. The site owner just took all the discussion boards offline. ALL the boards, including sedate forums devoted to beginners tips, the technical minutia of recording techniques and signal processing. The children got put in charge, and all hell broke loose. Had Kerry won on Tuesday, the foreign and domestic policy of this nation would have been dictated by the likes of Michael Moore and MoveOn. Thank you, God.
Yahoo! News - Arafat Fighting for His Life in Paris: "A prolonged Arafat incapacitation -- or death --could have profound impact on the Middle East. " One presumes that Arafat's death would indeed be "prolonged." These AP writers must be too young to recall SNL's "Francisco Franco is still dead" headlines....
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Match the speaker with the speech. Can you discriminate between John Kerry, Michael Moore, and Osama bin Laden? I got 12 out of 20 right. I got 3 Kerry quotes right, 4 Moore quotes, and 5 OBL quotes. I looked at the style of the language, since the content was pretty much indistinguishable. Scary. I missed 2 Kerry quotes and 3 each of Moore and Osama, attributing 2 Kerry quotes to Moore, 1 Moore quote to Kerry, 2 Moore quotes to OBL, 2 OBL quotes to Kerry and 1 OBL quote to Moore. Twice I thought it was Kerry, but it was Osama. Twice I thought it was Moore, but it was Kerry. Twice I thought it was Osama, but it was Moore. At least I didn't attribute any genuine Kerry quotes to Osama. Still pretty scary, though, how hard it was to tell the difference between a mass murderer, a radical film maker, and a man who a lot of people want to be the next President of the United States.
Captain's Quarters So now John Kerry is going to single-handedly revise the US Constitution to please a Finnish election observer. Simply. Amazing.