Friday, December 20, 2002

I have three other movie recomendations.

First is the Two Towers. The battle scenes rock and overall it stays pretty close to the book. I rarely pay even matine prices for moveis anymore (I like the dollarmovies and am planning to see veggietales Jonah there tonight) but this one is worth it. The three hours fly by. The ents are great and gollum is one of the best CGI creations yet. It took me a few minutes to get used to him, but the whole gullum multiple personalities thing is done very well. The wolves the orcs ride were the only CGI that really stood out to me as the fur did not look real. The hobbits play a bit too small of a role and the action a bit too much. The books are so popular in large part because of the internal struggles against temptation that the characters face and this is done well with all the characters, but I hope they focus more on this aspect of Frodo and Sam in The Return of the King film. Plus some of the little details like the entdraught are left out (hopefully the directors cut will include it). Shelob is hinted at by Gollum, but you do not see her and that is how I heard the next movie will probably start off. Any tolkien fan should see it along with any epic battle fan or action faction fan or anyone who just likes a good story.

My biggest complaint was the insane amount of commercials before hand. After paying six bucks for a matine I should not have to sit through that much crap. But to get a good seat you have to arrive early and you never know when the actual movie starts, so fans are screwed until theater managers or whoever is in charge realize that this really ticks us customers off.. I will remember it next time I debate spending two bucks for a video or twelve bucks to take my wife to the theater. There were ten minutes of just commercials. Not previews-commercials. I paid to see a movie not commercials. This was followed by previews, which I do not mind as much because they are often targeted towards what the audiance likes and are often entertaining, but they went on for 15 minutes. That is twenty five minutes of crap (we ended up timing it) before a three hour movie starts! And some of the previews sucked. Why would you show a preview about some motorcycle movie to a bunch of tolkein fans? A friend sitting next to me made the comment that one of our friends that we joke about having bad taste in movies was probably already clearing his schedule for the motorcycle movie, But it would be a could day in Hell before we went to see it.

My next recomendation is Monsoon wedding. A story about a big Indian family wedding and the families conflicts and secrets. The bride is having an affair with a local TV guy, her little brother wants to be a dancer, which horrifies his father, who in turn is spending to much money on the wedding, whose coordinator is in love with the shy servant girl etc. A good story with lots of beautiful images, especially with the sleazy wedding coordinator and his attempts to win the heart of the servant girl. Tons of memeroble characters, including my favorite: the lazy looser nephew who listens to American music and try to talk like a gangsta. It is in Punjabi, Hindi, and English with English subtitles and is pretty easy to follow. They switch back and forth constantly between the different languages, but it seems natural and isnot hard to keep up with.

Final recomendation is for Lilo and Stitch. This is one of the better recent Disney movies and is not a straight musical like many of the others although it has a great elvis soundtrack. I have been to graceland before and own several elvis cds so this is fine with me and musical montages make sense. It has a lot of good gags and decent action, with lots of beautiful pictures of hawaii. Stitch the alien is digusting (not cute-a change for disney) and destorys lots of stuph. Lilo is cute, but strange. And of course this is disney so she is an orphan (no parents at all just an older sister) and a social worker wants to take even that away. They play well off of each other and have lots of good gags involving him destroying stuff and fighting off the aliens trying to capture him. One thing I liked that was a change for disney is that there is no really evil characters. One of the aliens and the social worker start off kind of bad, but really are not and another alien is bad, but not Cruella Deville/Evil Queen/evil guy in Hunchback/Mulan/Pocahontas type cruel. He is more trying to stop destruction and do his job. One of the better disney movies in recent years that both parents and kids will like.
Speaking of the Russian Front of WWII, I saw Enemy at the Gates a few weeks ago. It is pretty good movie about a duel between a German and a Russia sniper during the batlle of Stalingrad. The two snipers and some of the other soldiers on both sides are presented as regular normal moral people. This is a good trend in movies and I noticed it in Saving Private Ryan and We Were Soldiers. Some soldiers are evil, but most do not want to be there fighting at all. Either they are doing it because their government forces them to or they feel there countries survival, values, etc. is at stake. Saving Private Ryan had the German soldier who who killed the American Jewish soldier with a knife and he was not portrayed as evil, just as another soldier. He is later killed by a cowardly american soldier after he is taken prisoner because the german saw his cowardlyness. We were soldiers has both the Vietnamese commander and a regular soldier shown as normal. The commander is shown as a brave and cunning commander and as a good leader. The only thing bad about him is that he was against america, but in the end he even rights an american flag left on the battle field. The other soldier is just a private, but his is singled out for attention and is given glasses to make him distinct. You see him struggle up his courage to attack the americans and you know he would rather be with the girl he keeps a picture of than out fighting americans.

Both of these movies and Enemies at the Gate, do a good job showing you where the action is and what is going on. This is a skill that has been lost by most action film directors who think that just having lots of choppy editing makes a movie exciting. If you can not tell what is going on that is confusion not excitement. I recomend all three movies for people who like war or can handle war movies. They all show the human face and cost of war, but none of them are antiwar movies. Spielberg is the same director who gave us Schindlers list and funds holocost rememberance stuff so you know he thought Normandy was a good idea, even though it caused tons of suffering for both sides. We were soldiers shows how brave and skilled the Americans who fought in Vietnam were and I can not think of a Vietnam film since John Wayne's Green Berets that shows that. Enemies at the Gate shows how bad both sides were, but it does not say the Russians should not have fought back and given up.

One last thing about enemies at the gate was that is was hard to know who to root for/against: The Nazis or the Commies? I like the Simpsons version where they are all commie-nazis.
Some other propalestinian types ask what would you do if you were in the palestinians position and America was taken over (ala RED Dawn) If the U.S.A. started a war of agression and lost, then (although I would not like it) our enemy would be justified in taking our territory from us if they could. I would defintely not respond, lets say to a Canadian invasion, by intentionally murdering Canadian two year olds in their sleep, or by blowing up pizzarias and discos filled with teenagers, or blowing up old Canadian civilians attending chruch, or blowing up schoolchildren on a bus. And this is true whether or not the Canadian invasion was justified.

I would fight. But I would fight justly, with honor and courage.

Canadian soldiers would have to watch out for me and they would fear me since my goal in life at that point would be to kill as many Canadian soldiers as possible. But innocent Canadian civilians would have nothing to fear as long as they avoided being around soldiers and military instilations and if they avoided attacking me. Even if this meant I might lose and we would have to suffer under the tyranny of harsh Canuk rule and be forced to sing Oh Canada before every baseball game, then I would still not target the innocent. I would do this even if it meant I would more likely die by attacking soldiers than by attacking civilians.

I would die an honorable man.

Why is this so hard for some to grasp the difference between how America and Israel fight and how Hamas and Al-quaida fight?
Some propalestinian types claim that it is unjust that Israel controlls the west bank and Gaza. They say as long as this unjust "occupation" occurs than there will be no peace. This ignores the fact that there was no peace before the occupation anyway, but this is besides the point for today's subject. They claim the occupation is unjust. Lets see with some examples from WWII ho wconsistent they are with their outrage.

Germany attacked the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union responded with a defensive invasion of Germany. They won control of about half of Germany. Even though I think the Soviet Union was evil, they were justified in taking over East Germany. Germany attacked them. The Germans stopped killing Russians and until the Soviet empire collapsed, the Russians kept control of East Germany. They same propalestians never complained about the Soviet control of Germany being unjust. If they complained at all it was because the Soviet treatment was harsh and unjust. No one thought it was unjust that the Russians had conquered Germany in the first place.

Take Germany and France for instance and compare it to the current Israel situation. Germany started a war of agression with France with the object being the complete destruction of France. Germany lost. France took Alzace from them as a just conquest of war. Germany has accepted the fact that it lost and was at fault and no longer tries to kill French people. The Palestinians started a war of agression with Israel with the complete destruction of Israel as its goal. They lost. Israel took the west bank and gaza from them as a just conquest of war. The Palestinians refuse to accept that the land is no longer theirs.

The difference between France and Russia vs. Israel is that Israel is merciful (a mistake I believe). The French and Russians (and the other allies) expelled all the Germans they wanted to, killed their leaders and helped denazify the country. The Germans no longer try to kill the French or Russians. Note that it would also have been just for the other allies (as in the US) take control of the Axis territories (if it wanted to keep west berlin for instance) like the Russians did with the Sakhalin Islands or how Poland and Czechoslovokia did with Silesia. The Israelis have let too many leaders live, have not expelled enough people, and have not denazified the Palestinians. The Palestinians still try to kill the Israelis.

However, none of the propalestinian types are advocating for the return of the Sakhalin Islands (even though Japan wants them back). None of them are advocating the return of Silesia. Or Alzace. Or heck, even California. If they are advocating it, they are awfully quiet about it.
We have a tree next to our bedroom window. I am a heavy sleeper, but this morning I awoke to the sound of a very loud bird I thought was outside my window. It kept making the same cawing sound every five seconds or so. I was about to go over to my window window and start banging on it to scare the thing off, when I realized it was not coming out of the window, but from my wife's side of the bed and she was not there. We got a clock radio alarm that can make nature sounds and my wife had accidently set it to the nature sounds last night, and this morning she woke up before it went off and forgot to turn it off. I hit the alarm a couple times and it went off.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I just finished reading Huck Finn the other day. I had almost forgotten how good of book it is. I still have not decided if I like Huck or the adventures of Tom Saywer more, which I reread a few months ago. I still fail to see what the ig controversy is. Jim is the most simpathetic character in the book. He is the only major character without any malice or deceit in him. The best and most emotional story in the whole book is when Jim tells Huck about the time he struck his daughter for disobeying him, without realizing she had gone deaf and dumb. The conflict and guilt in Jim for trying to do the right thing in diciplining his daughter for something she had no idea she had done is very sad.

I almost do not like the last few chapters where Tom has his elaborate scheme to free jim, but Tom is only a boy and only knows what he has read in books. His theories are quite entertaining if you remember that Jim is going to be free by the end anyway. One thing I like about both books is that they are told as a series of anecdotes and not just a straight plotline. You could pick either up and randomly read a chapter and still understand what is going on and be entertained by the satire. The best anecdotes tend to be the ones involving the two con men, the Duke and the Prince. As long as they are not being completely evil they are entertaining and enlightening on how people can be conned. All it takes for them to be outsmarted in the end is a man with just a little bit of learning. It is also a good book in that it avoids being heavy handed and yet still makes good moral points, which is no easy task.
I quit my job on Monday. It felt really good. I liked my boss and my coworkers, but I was in sales and was not making much off of commissions and not enjoying it much the past four or five months. I am going on vacation in a couple of days and plan to really strt looking for a job in the beginning of January. I will probably stay in finance, but will not take another commission sales job.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

new link about nuclear weapons added. Cool pictures.
I was summoned for Federal Jury duty recently. You have to call every sunday night to see If you are supposed to be there on monday for a month. I was looking forward to getting called but it did not happen.

I served on a Jury once before. No one esle my age that I know has ever served on a jury before. I was on summer vacation after my freshman year in college and got called for a workers compensation case. I was by far the youngest person (19) on the jury and even though I had only one year of college one of the most educated. The plaintive was a woman who used to work for a local police agency. She claimed work related stress had caused her so much anxiety that she had to quit. They had several psychologist who testified she was pretty psychologically messed up and all the jurors agreed on that. But none of us thought it was the result of improper workplace treatment (she claimed she was treated poorly by coworkers since she was a lesbian) or even work related stress. The plaintives presented no proof that work had messed her up. The plaintiffs lawyers tactics angered me. The insurance company (which was the defendent) seemed to be pretty polite and professional when dealing with her complaints, but the plaintiff claimed that they were just trying to screw her over even though they gave her some compensation already, she just wanted more. Plus he said that the defendents were relying on our prejudices againsts homosexuals to try to sway our verdict, even though they never brought up her sexuality, only the plaintiffs did. It took the Jury about five minutes to come up with a foreman and to read our instructions and about a minute to come up with a conclusion that the defendant was right and that this had been a waste of our two weeks. We waited around a few more minutes to make it look like we had spent a little more time deliberating, but there was no doubt in anyone's mind since there was no proof her work had caused any of her problems. We had a unanimous verdict, even though we only needed 9 out of 12 votes to make a decision. It gave me little more confidence in a juries that we were not fooled by the junk the plaintiffs lawyer spewed out and that we sided with the faceless insurance company over the poor messed up plaintiff.

Plus in all the down time I got through a couple hundred pages of Les Mis by Hugo.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

I do not know if you heard about this story, but a group of veterans was going to have a showing of Tora!Tora! Tora! in San Pedro CA for Peral Harbor Day. They were going to have it at a public museum, but the museum employee canceled it because he thought it would be insensitive to Japanese-Americans. You can get the story here Tora! Anyways, after much fuss and complaining they backed down and are going to let the Veterans have their show. Here is an exerpt from an email I sent to Councilwoman Hahn, (who was originally part of the forces of PC evil dedicated to stopping the film showing, until she realized it made her look bad) before she changed her mind:

"I am saddened to hear that you are encouraging the censoring of Tora! Tora! Tora!, a film that shows the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Note I said "Japanese" not "Japanese Americans". You claim to care about the sensitivities of Japanese Americans. How exactly will they be offended by this film? If they are loyal Americans, (which I assume they are) I fail to see how they would be offended by this film, which is about Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, not some Japanese Americans attacking Pearl Harbor. Tora! Tora! Tora! has been widely praised for its accuracy and evenhandedness. Do you think Japanese-Americans are too sensitive to handle accuracy and evenhandedness?"

"Also, I am deeply saddened by the lack of sensitivity, not of the film, but your lack of sensitivity. You have shown no sensitivity to the hundreds of thousands of veterans who sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears to defeat imperial Japan. You have shown no sensitivity to the thousands who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. You have shown no sensitivity to the widowed wives and orphaned children they left behind. You have shown no sensitivity to the POWs who were tortured and abused by the Japanese during WWII. You have shown no sensitivity to the loyal Japanese Americans who fought, sacrificed, and died against Imperial Japan and the other Axis powers during WWII. And finally you have shown no sensitivity to the freedom of speach and _expression that all of these people fought to protect. As an elected official you need to realize that the only reason you were able to be elected was that thousands of men, like the ones who died at Pearl Harbor, fought to ensure that we Americans can exercise the right to representational government."

Hopefully letters, calls, and emails like mind helped her to change her mind.
lots of new links!

Monday, November 11, 2002

superfly will be out of action for a few days posting. I will explain latter!
A question among some supporter of the U.S. in the current conflict between the West and Islamofascists terrorism is whether or not the left and democrats are "the enemy". I do not think all democrats are the enemy. But, I do think a lot of the "left" which includes part of the Democratic Party, has chosen to side with our enemies, both communist and Islamofascist.

Pre WWII there were a lot of Nazi/Fascist sympathizers on the right in America. But when WWII started it took about five minutes for the right to be completely on the side of America. No sympathizing with Hitler over the Versailles treaty or asking what did we do to deserve Pearl Harbor. The earlier Nazi sympathizers were either kicked out by the right or abandoned the Nazis when the U.S. was threatened. People like Charles Lindbergh, who had been an isolationist and a Hitler fan, volunteered to serve for our military in defeating Hitler. Now a days I think it is impossible find a right wing person who sides with Hitler in any position of authority or respect among the mainstream right in America (that is not true in Europe).

The left has chosen not to distance itself from communists and other enemies like Islamic fascists/terrorists (the PLO for instance), like the right did earlier with fascists. Earlier this year three Democrat congressmen went to Iraq and offered Saddam aid and comfort. One said publicly that he trusted Saddam's regime more than Bush's. All of this when they knew our country was probably about to go to war with Iraq. So far the democrats’ leadership has not publicly criticized them for doing this.

Stalinist groups that want to overthrow our government through violence lead the leftist groups protesting the war on Iraq. That means the groups organizing the antiwar protests want to kill you and me or else lock us up in reeducation camps to do slave labor. Other leftists, including at least one congresswoman, openly accuse our government of being the ones who attacked us on September 11.

And the Left is silent. As are most of the leaders of the Democrats (Zell Miller a conservative democrat being a notable exception)

Occasionally you will hear a Christopher Hitchens who says the real enemy is not the GOP, but Al-Quaida. Some lone voice crying out in the wilderness of the left who still thinks not everything that is wrong with the world is the America's fault. Unfortunately, it is the Hitchens who are forced out of the left not the Vidals or Chomskys, who publicly state that the U.S. government blew up the twin towers to build some pipeline in Afghanistan.

Too much of the Left (and some parts of the Democratic Party) hates America (or hates Republicans and conservatives) more than they love or hate anything else. As long as that part of the left sides with people who want to kill me just for who I am and what I believe, whether they be communists or Islamofascists or any other form of tyranny, I will see them as a threat. Not all democrats or leftist are like this, but a large portion of them are and the rest of the left seems to be doing nothing to hinder them.

I think it is good to have a loyal opposition party. But the loyalty to America and to freedom have been sorely lacking as of late.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

I recommend The Gospel According to the Simpsons to anyone who likes the Simpsons or is interested in the relationship between TV's favorite family, the media, and religion. Chapters of the book cover major characters and religious themes. Chapters are devoted to Reverend Lovejoy, Lisa, Ned Flanders, and Apu. As well as themes like prayer, morality, and views of the devine and covers Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism.

The author is Mark Pinsky, a Jewish newpaper writer from Florida, who started out as sceptical of the Simpsons as a lot of people who have not watched the show do. They assume it is antifamily, antichristian values, and shallow because it is a cartoon and because of its early controversy. After watching the show with his young son wanted to watch it, Pinsky started to realize that it has more depth and satire than almost anything else on television. I have had similar experiences in my own life. I have one very conservative friend from church who is in his late fourties who never watched the simpsons and assumed it was a morally bad and shallow show. On my recomendation he watched it and now loves it and because he has not seen most of the episodes he tries to watch it ever night. Of corse not with his children present.

The author also realized that it dealt with people's spiritual lives more than any other show on TV. The characters all go to church and the church is a regular settng on the show. They all pray when they need or want to. They have arguments about religion and morality. The show treats religion like any other subject that people deal with as a normal part of their lives. That distinguishes them from almost every other sitcom or drama on tv, save the intentionally religious ones like touched by an angel or 7th heavan..

The best chapter is the one on Ned Flandres, "the evangelical next door." Pinsky argues that Ned is the most well known example of evangelical Christians for young Americans and is probably also the best. As annoying as he is, he is not hypocritical, which is a major break from media portrayals of conservative Christians. He is also nice, prays, is generous, forgiving and tries to do the Christian thing all the time. Pinksy mentions the shows writers ask critics whether they would want homer (a pagan at best) or Ned as a neighbor. The answer is always Ned.

The first flaw of the book are that it makes a few misquotes and mistakes from the show that the diehard simpsons fan may notice. The second flaw is that he has not seen a good portion of the episodes and having a more in depth knowledge may have added some more depth. But all in all this is a quick and good read for people interested in these subjects.
U.S. electorate to Saddam:

All your base are belong to us.

You have no chance to survive make your time!

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

I finished the gospel acording the simsons the other day and will be reviewing it shortly. It is a good and perceptive book, but I noticed several errors in episode references. I recomend it for anyone intereted in pop culture, religion, the media, and how they interact.
I forgot to post after the Angels won the world series. I grew up going to Angels games (and the occasional dodgers game). My earliest baseball game memory was seeing Reggie Jackson (who was my favorite player at the time) strike out while pinch hitting. The Angels lost that game. It is especially good since I did not expect them to even make the playoffs before the season began and they stunk for the first few weeks of the season. I have always liked the dodgers a tad bit more. I was depressed when Lasorda retired from managing (partly because that was the end of lifelong managers) and usually followed the dodgers more because they were almost always a better team. One of my earliest TV baseball memory is Kirk Gibson's home run in Game 1 of 88.

In the past ten years or so I have been to 7 major league baseball games that I can recall, 3 dodgers, 1 phillies, 3 astros, and 0 angels. I have been to more clippers games (2) than angels games over the same period. But when I was a kid I loved Reggie and the angels and went at least once a year and my parents still go once or twice a year.

Plus this was a great series. I think 3 (maybe 4) games were decided by one run and two others were also close. Game six was amazing. coming back from a 5-0 deficit in the 7th inning of an elimination game. It does not get any better. And 7 was good too. I especially liked the guy who hit the giants right fielder with a thunder stick. but only because it did not hurt, did not really interfere and did not cost the angels an out. Also I am glad the Giants lost to the angels. They are the baseball team I hate the most. Mainly because I am a dodger fan and the giants took the Dodgers rightful spot in the plaoffs many times.. While in the past the angels usually just screwed up and cost it themselves.

What was with Baker starting such a bad pitcher against the best hitting team in baseball in game 7 of the world series? Mike Soscia changed his rotation when he was unsure of his starter, who was better than the giants. And all those kids in the dugout? That is just a disaster waiting to happen. Professional atheletes have been sent to the hospital after being hit by balls and bats in the dugout. Baker does not seem to be that great a manager.
It looks like the republicans will win for the most part tonight! Yeah! In Texas election news Tony Sanchez is acting like a sore loser (big surprise).

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

#28 a few years ago the voters of California passed a proposition making it a crime to slaughter horses for food. What business is it of the government if I want to eat a horse (not that I have any desire to do so)? That is my big problem with propositions (at least in Cali) is that issues that have no business being on a statewide ballot make it. Why does California even bother having a state legislature?

I prefer the Texas legislature, which does almost nothing and only meets a few weeks out of the year. Pretty much the only thing our government does here is capture and execute criminals. And that is the way I like it. One of our local columnists said Texas had the lowest per capita spending of any state government. I don't know if that is true, but I hope it is.
Check out some my new links. I recomend Little Green Footballs to anyone who wants the U.S. to win the war on terrorism and militant Islam. The stuph posted there will show you the real evil that we face.
It turns out that those Al quaida guys yesterday were blown up by the CIA. I think this is great. CNN thinks otherwise. CNN had a pole up asking if it was right that they did this instead of putting them on trial. Would CNN have put this poll up during WWII? "Was it right for Dolittle to blow up part of Tokyo without first putting the emporer on trial?"

We are at war. You do not try the enemy while you are fighting him in a war. You kill him. CNN, along with a great chunk of society like the academy, media, and some government institutions like the State department and congress do not realize we at are war.
Keith Oberman on Salon today had an article on how we should require people to vote. What a dumb idea. If people do not bother to vote now, what makes you think that they will inform themselves about the candidates? For democracy to work the voters have to be informed and care about the outcome. His propasal does not address these problems. Plus most people who do not vote are probably happy with the status quo. There not voting is a choice. But liberals only like choice when it results in actions they agree with.

Oberman also goes on to say that the president should not be allowed to campaign for other people. When does being president cause you to lose your first amendment right to freedom of speach? Oberman and his ilk love the first amendment for themselves, but do not think other people should get all of its benefits. Witness campaign finance "reform". Both the Washington Post and NY Times have run editorials in praise of the McCain Feingold campaign finance law, which basically says that journalist get to say whatever they want to in the media and spend as much money as they want to do so, but non-journalist types can not. I suspect Oberman was a big proponent on this attempt to stiffle free speach as well.

This all goes to show how liberals like those at Salon care more about controlling people who disagree with them than they do about freedom.
I like the Texas voting system better than the California system (punch cards) that they used when I lived there.

Both are better than the stupid touch screen blaots. What idiot came up with that idea? There is no physical record with touch screen/internet ballots. That is a recipe for disaster. What isf they computers are corrupted, hacked, etc. At least with paper balots this is obvious when it happens. Plus people do not know hoe to use computers. My wife had to teach a cowroker (who was in their her) how to use the A: floppy disk drive the other day. I do not want to even start with the stories of how I tried to teach my grandfather to use IBM's voice recognition software.

Texas (at least my area) has a paper ballot where you mark your vote with a sharpie pen. No chads, no corrupted files. And idiots can use it pretty easily. Plus we have early voting which eliminates the problems of crowding, bad weather, not enough ballots, etc. for the most part. And you have to show ID in the form of your voter card, which eliminates a lot of potential fraud. In some states you present no ID (I read maryland is like this over at junkyardblog) and that in Minnesota you can register on the day of the election. Why do the voters of these states put up with systems that just cry out to be abused? At least in Texas we avoid this nonsense.
Vote! or else!

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

I don't like us siding with dicatators, but it is an unfortunate necesity. Besides, democracies are sometimes more tyrannical than dictatorships. I suspect that if most of the muslim world was democratic that we would get more dangerous regimes, not less. American style Democracy is great, but it does not come to societies quickly, easily or naturally.

Remember that back in the American revolution England, Democratic America's enemy, was a democracy. If we had not allied ourselves with France, a monarchy/dictatorship, the U.S. would not have freed itself from England. Freeing ourselves from a tyrannical democracy was very practical in the short and long run. As long as the world outside our borders remains a hobbsian mess (which will probably be forever) we will sometimes need to ally ourselves with dictatorships.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I have no problem with biased reporting, but I prefer honest bias to lying about not being biased when you really are. Our press used to be run by openly partisan groups with the Party name in BIG LETTERS on the front, the Daily Whig or what have you. That is honest (an important quality in reporting) and you knew what bias to look for. The Europeans seem to have a decent press that is open about its biases.

I also hate fluff man on the street reporting, which is usually just trying to find people who will give
you a quote you want instead of actually finding news. You can find a number of people to support any
belief, 34% of all people know that (polls as news are another rant).
I completely stopped trusting the Reuters "news" agency when they kept putting terrorist in quotes.
Refusing to define any act as terrorism because people disagree about it is just lazy cowardly "reporting". People disgree about lots of things. It is supposed to be a news agencies jobs to go out and find out which one is telling the truth.
I'm kind of surprised that there isn't some media savvy dicatator out there who would put out more
realistic numbers. Even 75% or so would at least open up the possibility to the average free person that at least you might be having real elections and just be popular.

Remember arafat's "election" to a four year term about six years ago where he got over 90% against the one opponent he allowed to run against him (some social worker no one had heard of I think). As corrupt as it was some "peace activists" still site it as a legit source of Arafats power and gives them an excuse to ignore his terrorist past. Note how none of the "peace activists" have called him on his hitler like "single election, then dictator for life." antics, while I bet most would be able to tell you how Bush disenfranchised Florida.
Also in the UN the size of your country makes no difference. A tiny nation like Litchenstein or kuwait gets the same vote as a Russia, China or India. I estimate that just 20% percent of the worlds population could get a resolution passed if a whole lot of really little countries got together and voted on it.
I think the Israelis should see the number of UN reslolutions it has violated as a badge of honor. The United Nations should be called the United Rulers, since most of its members are tyrannies. Israel's democratically elected government gets one vote. The dozens of Muslim dictatorships and their allies get dozens of votes. So Israel pisses of a bunch of tyrants? Good for you Israel! The U.N. (especially the general assembly) is a good idea that has failed in that pesky old real world.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Democracy is no better than any other form of geovernment. In a lot of ways it is worse because it is easily to pursuade the masses based on emotion or on deception. Popularity and rightness are two very different things. Democracy is only better if, like in the U.S., it is constrained with constitutional protections of rights and a whole lot of checks and balances, along with a society that respects the rule of law. Most of the world outside North America, Israel, and some parts of Asia and Europe are completely unready to be governed by its people.

Countries like Pakistan will not be ready for years because they do not have the centuries of rule of law or democractic tradition that the English speaking world has. At least Imperial Japan and Germany had internalized respect
I hereby announce that each year I will give out the "superfly justice award". Whoever does the most to destroy tyranny in the world each year gets it. This year's winner: George W. Bush for leading the fight against the murderous tyranny of the Taliban last year, for leading the worldwide fight agianst terrorism, and for this year continuing the unfinished business of overthrowing the most brutal dictator alive today, Saddam Hussein.

Runners up for this year were Donald Rumsfield, Condeleza Rice, Dick Cheney, and Tony Blair.

Previous winners include: Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, FDR, JFK, Thomas Jefferson, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, George Washington, and Harry Truman.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

A little analogy on how the Germans have been treating us recently (try to figure out who is who!):

Our group of friends for years had a code of helping each other out when threatened. For years I had your back in fights and spent lots of money on you. I confronted a bully who threatened to kill you. Before the bully left there was a drug dealer who roughs up neighbor we are friends with. I go over andhelp the little guy out and drug dealer agrees not to pick on anyone and pretends to give up his weapons

Things are cool in the neighborhood.

Then one day some pimp comes along who had threatened me before, but I do not take him seriously because he knows I can kick his ass. One day the pimp sneaks up behind me and stabs me bad. My riends are sad for me. I go out and kick his ass. He is too beat up to do much to me for a while. In the mean time, the dealer from before starts threatening me. I figure I would not have gotten stabbed before, had I beaten up the pimp when he first threatened me. I decide that I do not want to take my chances with the dealer. Word on the street is that he trying to buy a grenade, but has not gotten it yet. I think now is perfect time to go after the dealer.

I tell my friends, "Hey lets get that drug dealer now before he gets that grenade." They reply, "You are like Hitler. You are worse than the drug dealer. You are doing this to be popular. You want the dealer's drugs. There is no way I am going to help you, you big bully!" I reply, "But I never started any fights before, they did! Don't you remember that you used to fight among yourselves until I stopped you? Haven't I earned your trust by risking my life for you?" They reply, "You are an uncooth cowboy. If you go and have a constructive dialog with the dealer I am sure it will work it out. Away with you and your barbaric violence!"

I stand back and reflect on the betrayal and cowardice of my friends. I wonder if it was worth it when I helped them fight off the earlier bullies. Will they be there if he gets the grenade? I wonder what I must have done for them to be so mad. Then I realize it is not me that is wrong. A few of my friends start to take my side (especially that scrappy little Jewish one that my other friends are always picking on and calling a bully because he sticks up for himself and who the dealer and many others have shot at before).
If they want to come along that is fine, but I will take the dealer on by myself if need be. I wonder what
I will do if a new dealer goes after them next time.
I do not get the argument "why are we attacking Iraq now?" Bush said in the debates that he would takeon Iraq given the chance and would not put up with stuff Clinton put up with. And to answer why now is different than before, just to fill you in, on September 11 of last year terrorists flew planes into the New York and the pentagon killing around 3000 people. For some odd reason that really made Americans want to make sure that this did not happen again. We used to assume that no one (including Iraq) would be stupid enough to attack us like that. We were wrong. We do not want to be wrong again.

Yes we supported Iraq against Iran. At the time Iran was more of a threat to us. No we did not fully destroy Iraq the first time. That is because Americans do not like killing people. We signed a conditional cease fire because we thought that would be the end of the killing. We were wrong. Iraq has continued to be in violation of the cease fire for years. I do not get why timing matters here in the first place. If anything, it shows he is not going to change. Saddam should be attacked or he should not be. You do not stop going after a killer just because he has not killed anyone in a few days and he got away last time.

I have a question for whoever does not agree with me so far. Knowing on sep. 10, 2001 that Osama had repeatedly threatened the U.S. with destruction (like Saddam has over the past decade). Knowing that Osama was responsible for the attacks (Cole, embassy bombings etc.) on hundreds of Americans across the globe (like Iraq's attempted assassination of GHW Bush, his support of terrorism, his repeated ttacking of American planes over the no fly zone). But not knowing what was coming tomorrow, would we have been justified in waging war on al-quaida to the extent that we did after Sep. 11? I think the answer is yes. They were waging war on us through these actions. Iraq is waging war on us. They shoot at our lanes on a regular basis. Let me repeat that: THEY SHOOT AT OUR PLANES. We shoot back at them. This has been going on for years. Nations at peace do not do this. Why should we not believe that a nation that has been trying to shoot down our planes for years and tried to blow up a former president and that is led by an aggressive, tyrannical nutjob, who says he wants to destroy the U.S., will not try to blow up a large chunk of America if given the chance? I personally do not want to wait and give him the opportunity. He has had ten years of opportunity to get rid of his WMD.

Time is on his side not ours.
What is it with people hating the Jews? I really just don't get it. The Jews try not to bother anyone and just want to live their lives without getting gassed, but this must be to much to ask. I guess I could kind of understand why the Israelis are not liked in the Middle East since they have proved they are better than the other peoples in the region, but still this stuff is nuts!

It is hard for me to understand because all the people around me are not a bunch of losers and I do not live in a loser society. Therefore, I tend to assume that non-loserdom is the normal way of life in the world and that if we just keep on doing what we are doing then we will be fine. I do not need to blame the Jews that I am a loser like the Saudis or Europeans do. I suppose that if I was a Saudi I would find it much easier to just blame the Jews for my problems rather than do something hard like actually fixing them.
Why has Lincoln considered a great defender of freedom even though most of the time he acted as a despot? I think that Lincoln has been elevated for several reasons. First he did save the Union from the rebellion and sedition and that is a great thing. Second, whatever his motives, he did pretty much end slavery, the most evil institution in our great country's history. Third, he was a martyr and people love martyrs, often for good reasons. (these are similar reasons to why FDR, the other very popular former president I would consider a despot, is popular despite things like the supreme court packing. He helped save us from facism, tried really hard to do what thought was right, is generally thought to have made the depression less worse, and was a martyr, in large part beacuse of the stress he was under) The despotic things he did are not held against him today for good reason. First, Lincoln did not want to be a despot-it was thrust upon him if he wanted to save the union. Second, the despotic things he did probably were necessary to save the constitution and our liberties in the long run. Suspending habeous corpus for instance, helped win the war by allowing the Union to imprison some very dangerous people. Third, the despotic things ended once the crisis was over. We have habeous corpus today. (Although because of the afore mentioned FDR the constitution is much less powerful an instrument in preventing government excess than it was before.) Finally, our country is freer today because of Lincoln's despotic actions than it was before he took them. His despotism ended slavery.
The world is a very hobbsian place, but most of the western world does not realize it. The West has gotten rid of most its nasty stuff and has created a system where governements are in gereral honest brokers with each other and with their citizens. They have learned that it can be quite pleasant to live at peace with each other and they (mainly Europeans) assume everyone else in the world has arrived at the same conclusions about how nice peace and freedom are. Unfortunately most of the world has not learned this lesson, and thinks things like vengence, honor, hate, and war are better ways to live.

The Israelies have finally learned that you can not assume other people can be satified or compromised with if they hate you. If they can not be compromised with then, if they threaten you, you must defeat hem. The PLO, Hamas, etc. has no desire for peace with Israel. Their desire is to destroy Israel. Taking care of Palestinians is a very far back secondary priority. Israel therefore can not compromise or achieve peace with out destorying those who seek to destroy them, even though more than anything else the vast majority of Israeli Jews just want to live in peace, the same way the Canadians or the Japanese or the Swedes do.
I blame U.S. society in general for the lack of attention on terrorism, although our intelligence agencies and some government officials made some bone headed mistakes. In general our government tries to solve the issues the population (i.e. voters) care about. The fact is that pre September 2001 most people thought terrorism/foreign policy in general was not as important an issue as prescription drugs for rich old people, school testing, and whether or not the president understood their feelings. Most people in our country do not have a well thought out political philosophy beyond "I want the government to give me stuff that I like and not have to pay for it."

Ask them questions like "why do we have a government" and "what should the limits be to its power" and most of the time you will get a blank stair. Ask "should the federal pay for granny’s drugs" and you will often get a resounding "yes, but I do not want to pay for it". Ask what should be the primary mission of the president and the federal government, pre September 11, you would not get what I consider to be the
correct answer: to prevent us from getting blown up or enslaved by foreign powers (i.e. protecting our liberty from outside forces). That is the essential reason we have a government in the first place. The only other main reasons are to maintain order (weights and measures, common currency, traffic laws) and to prevent other citizens from infringing on our liberty (theft, murder, kidnapping etc.). Even a lot of these functions are best left to local governments. Other functions like education, social services, entitlements, etc. may be nice and may directly effect millions of people, but they always need to be secondary priorities to preventing us from getting blown up.

However, most people in our society have either removed themselves from the political process (not voting or even paying attention) or just vote for whoever promises them the most stuff. The "people" in the last several elections told the candidates running for president and other elected offices that terrorism was not important and that we cared more about optional issues. Because of that there was a motivation not to divert money and time and manpower and political capital from the secondary issues to the essential ones. We have only ourselves as an electorate to blame for the sorry state of our defense and intelligence agencies.
I replied to one of those Nigerian spam emails the other day. I told him wow sorry I was for his situation, but that I could not help out right now. He has not written me back. I wonder if he is OK.
Abunch of san antonio politicans were arrested by the FBI today for curruption. None of them got bribes that were over four figures in size. How pathetically greedy must you be to risk your entire carreer and risk going to prison when you have a decent job for just a few thousand dollars?
I do not think that Bush is as intelligent as most other previous presidents. However, Bush is wise. He is humble enough to know when he needs help and seeks it out. He is a good judge of character. He is good at setting priorities and has the discipline to follow through on them. He understands human nature. He has the courage to confront evil when other people try to avoid it. These are the same qualities that made other presidents like Reagan and FDR successful, neither one of whom were considered that intelligent. These qualities come out in a crisis and a big part of Bush's popularity comes from people seeing these qualities in him. If you lack these qualities you end up with a Clinton, Carter, or Nixon three of the smartest presidents ever.
Will the war be good or bad for the economy. Historically war is nuetral for the economy in the short and long run. You just do not know what will happen until it has started (short term) or is over (long term). WWII ended the Great Depression. It also helped the economy in the long run by removing the threats of Japan and Germany, both of whom are now two of our biggest trading partners. The boom of the eighties was during the same time Reagan was spending tens of billions building up our military. The boom of the nineties continued during Clinton's shrinking of the military. Also the president can do a lot to change bad policy that is holding back both long and short term growth: Reagan's tax cuts or Clinton's Nafta. However, in a free market economy the price for long term growth is short term corrections and no president can stop short term corrections without endangering long term growth. When making the choices between guns and butter you have to pick which is more important. During the nineties most people picked butter. Right now most people think it is guns. Sometimes spending more on guns now leads to more butter later on and I think that is the case now.
I wonder what a grizzled old man who went through the depreesion and world war II would thing about us not being able to take on Iraq and fix the economy at once....Grizzled old man voice taking over: "For Pete's sake, when I was your age we once took on Japan, Germany, and Italy and fought our way out of a great depression all at once, dag nabbit, and we didn't complain about it neither! We can't fight both Al
Quaida and Iraq and a dinky little recession with 5.6% unemployment and interest rates and inflation in the
low single digits all at once? Now that we have Alan Greenspan and GPS and laser guided bombs? Do you think we had laser guided bombs when we took on Tojo!?! Did we whine about how much it might cost to kill Hitler? No! We just sucked it up and said we were in this for the long haul come hell or highwater!"

I really hope our nation has not become so pathetic that this is no longer true.

Monday, October 07, 2002

i hope to start posting again this week!

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

sorry i have not posted for a while. the man is holding me down. blogger.com has been blocked by my work internet service so i have to do it from home now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Check out the links!
my wife's retreat went well and so did our viewing of predator. Jesse Ventura delivered a fine performance. My friends could not resist pointing out every time he appeared on screen that those wise citizens of Minnesotta thought this guy would make a good govenor. All around an excellent film with plenty of people getting killed by the mysterious jungle alien and Arnold spouting out the occasional great one-liners ("Stick around" as he throws a huge knife through a terrorist and into a wall! Great!).