Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No thanks, Barack!

Lech Walesa did not accept Obama's request to meet with him in Poland after the G8 summit. Not interested in a photo op with someone willing to sell out Poland to "reset" relations with Russia?

Sharia Law's latest victim?

19-year-old Katya Koren may be the latest victim of Sharia Law. What did she do? She entered a beauty contest. Her body was found in a forest, after she was stoned to death.
Moonbattery has the story.

More on Black Swans

I am going to try to write about some of the concepts presented by Taleb in his thought-provoking book The Black Swan. I wish I would have read it before I went through my stock trading days, although that would not have been possible, since he wrote it in 2007, a few years after I squandered money in the stock market. He recommends having 85% of your money in extremely safe investments, and 15% of your money in risky bets.

The book is just chock full of prescient thoughts. For example, he writes about how Syria and Saudia Arabia are ripe for devasting chaos, and he writes about the global economic collapse that occured one year after he finished writing his book.

He points out that it is contagion that determines the spread of a theory, not its validity. One cannot help but think of the Obama contagion in that context.

Taleb has a doctorate in derivatives, and is an options trader. He points out that there have been ten days (Black Swans) in fifty years of trading that have accounted for one half the financial returns.

You and I are black swans, when you realize the extraordinary odds against our being alive. Like Donald Rumsfeld, Taleb writes about the importance of "unknown unknowns." He points out that our military leaders understand his concepts much better than any other professions. He asserts that models of contempory economics are fundamentally flawed, and modern financial theory is dangerous junk science.

He skewers the Nobel Prize (Obama and Gore are recipients; that is enough for me to be convinced it is a fraud). He points out that more people have been killed because of political, social and economic "sciences" than religion, although the left loves to skewer religion.

Taleb wants us to avoid being suckers, to think for ourselves, to be as much in control of our lives as possible. He warns us to avoid "mechanistic minds who don't want to deal with ambiguity," and likewise avoid "mind-closing certainties" induced by mathematical models such as the Bell curve.

More later. It's time to cook some corn on the cob and burgers for the kids.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Above the Law

George Will writes in the Washington Post about Obama's choice to ignore the War Powers Act, which requires that a President terminate military action within 60 days, if Congress has not approved it. The war against Libya began more than 70 days ago. However, Obama has the full support of one John McCain, as Will points out in this final paragraph:
“No president,” says Sen. John McCain, “has ever recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, and neither do I. So I don’t feel bound by any deadline.” Oh? No law is actually a law if presidents and senators do not “recognize” it? Now, there is an interesting alternative to judicial review, and an indicator of how executive aggrandizement and legislative dereliction of duty degrade the rule of law.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Is reality no fun any more?

Have you noticed that for some time now the supernatural has been the big theme in book sales? Well, today's Wall Street Journal says we are again going to be flooded with the supernatural this summer. Tales of zombies, werewolves, ghosts, robots, aliens, magicians, dragons, demons, vampires, and witches were the top items the publishing houses were featuring at the Book Expo America convention this week in New York, which is the book industry's biggest convention. In 2010 358 fantasy titles hit the bestseller lists. Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series sold 116 million copies. The champ, of course, is J.K. Rowling, whose "Harry Potter" books have sold more than 400 million copies.

Are people looking for some way to make sense of their lives? Do we feel trapped in dead end scenarios in our real lives? Is reality no fun any more?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Goodbye Osama

Found this at Andy's Place

Flipping a coin

I have found another really good book. This one is called The Black Swan. It is not connected to the recent popular movie. It was written in 2007 by Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It is about the impact of the improbable. 9-11-2001, for example, was a Black Swan that has had a huge impact on our lives. Taleb is a maverick thinker who is witty and irreverent.

Here is a math problem from the book. I gathered Greg, Jon, Sara and Kim to get their thoughts on the problem. A person has a coin. One side is heads, and the other side is tails. The coin is to be flipped 100 times. The first 99 times the coin ends up showing heads. What will it be on the 100th flip?

Sara said it would be tails (Sara fantasizes more than anyone I have ever known). Kim said a hobo would come up and snatch the coin away from the fool who keeps flipping it, apparently unaware that the coin has value! Jon said the coin should be spent, not flipped. He further added that there was something fishy going on here, and that he expected it would again be heads. Greg agreed, saying that the person who has been tricked is going to hire a hit man and go after that trickster!

What is your prediction?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Potion

Now that school is out for the summer, parents need to be vigilant in protecting their children from all manner of potential mishaps. Or, as in my case, you need to encourage your kids to practice good preventive health. This morning Jon and Greg decided to go outside and collect items for a health potion. If anyone is injured, they just need to drink from this magic potion. Here are the ingredients:
Snake eye goop
wild mushrooms
Leprechan blood
Zandernach (a dragon monster) blood
goblin piss
black powder
evil flowers that bite
dried Rhinosasaurus tears (a creature with three tails)
the brain of a thing only Jon and Greg know how to spell and pronounce
Armadillo milk
Fire Ant (this is the most important ingredient)

Cook for fifty minutes on high
Mush everything up as you cook
Freeze until ice forms
Thaw it out
Freeze it again
Thaw it out
Pour it in an old aspirin container
Try to get your little sister to drink it.
Run when your father intervenes.

Let's go back to pre-1959 borders!

I just heard a funny thought (by listening to Mike Rosen's talk radio show). Someone wrote to the White House Facebook page, and suggested that the United States go back to pre-1959 borders, before Hawaii became a state. That way Barack Obama would no longer be President.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Play Day!

What a fun day. I took the three youngest back to the most beautiful town in America: Golden, Colorado, where they spent their first few years of life. Each had won an award at their school, which is now out for summer recess. Jon won two awards in the fifth grade: Best Reader, and Most Likely to be a Millionare some day. Greg won the fourth grade award for Most Creative. Sara won the first grade award for Funniest! While I am bragging, but not taking any credit, Kim got straight As in the 11th grade, and Erik got straight A's in his first year of technical college, where he is studying to be a diesel mechanic. More importantly, he got his scholarship renewed for his second year! On the way home we called the fifth sibling, Thomas, who was leaving Wisconsin for a 900 mile jaunt to Oklahoma: just another day in the life of an over-the-road trucker!

In Golden we hiked, fished, netting eight crawdads, ate pizza, jumped, ran, climbed every tree, statue, and other structure not built for climbing, posed for pictures, dipped our toes in creeks big and small, swung, and slid. I promise to figure out how to post photos soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

By the grace of God...

via Joan at Primordial Slack, who urges conservatives NOT to shut up!

Comin' in by the tractor trailer full!

The Wall Street Journal today has this X-ray photo of one of two tractor trailers filled with hundreds of people coming illegally into the United States. This one has people from Guatemala. They paid $7,000 each for the privilege of being smuggled into Mexico on their way to the U.S. Mexico does not take kindly to people coming into Mexico from neighboring countries, even if they are just passing through to the U.S.! Can you imagine how long it took them to save $7,000? Would we be willing to make that kind of a sacrifice to come to America?

We are staggering each other!

Did you know that the Middle East is "staggered" by the cost of wheat? According to the Wall Street Journal, wheat prices have increased by 17% this week alone! They are up 91% in less than one year! The main two factors causing the rise are wetness in the United States and drought in Russia. Wheat is the main staple of Middle Easterners. Tunisians, for example, consume 478 pounds per person per year, whereas in the United States we consume 177 pounds per person.

So, while we are "staggered" by the cost of Middle East oil, they are staggered by the cost of our wheat!

Did the President of the United States throw down with the enemies of Israel?

Which of the Jihadist groups now taking power throughout the Middle East is willing to disavow Iran's call for the destruction of Israel? I'm waiting... Give up? How do you make sense, then, of Obama's speech today calling for Israel to return to 1967 borders?

Obama a war criminal?

President Obama has until tomorrow to comply with the 60 days he has under the 1973 War Powers Act to ask Congress to declare war on Libya. It was 59 days ago that he went to Congress to tell them about his "kinetic military action" in Libya. Jim Geraghty has the details here. Ace wonders if that will make Obama a war criminal.

A field guide

Innominatus gives us here the first accurate history of the Hippie movement. I don't know where he got that picture of me, though.

Thin skin

When President Obama visited Boston on March 6, the Boston Herald featured an op-ed piece by Mitt Romney. Yesterday, because of that, the Herald was frozen out of full access to Obama, as he again visited Boston. The Herald vows not to be intimidated. We'll see.

He's on his way!

Adversity can make us or break us. When my oldest stepson was 17, because of his own honesty, and desire not to repeat the lifestyle choices of his birthfather, he confessed to having committed a crime, when he was 15. The juvenile justice system gave him a severe consequence. He asked himself who he was and who he wanted to become. He worked hard in therapy and religiously followed all the rules of probation.

Now four years later, he has become an absolute joy to be around. He has a warmth, softness, and vulnerability that I find very appealing. He is happy in his job as an over-the-road trucker, going back and forth across this great land, or at least the eastern half of it. He is responsible and loving. This world is and will continue to be a better place because he is in it!

Growing up in orphanages.

I met a woman today who told me she had just had a great experience. I asked her what it was. She said she had just gone shopping! I asked her what was so great about that? She replied that she had just returned from South Africa, where she had been working in two orphanages, and had not shopped in months. She said that because of the AIDS epidemic, 40,000 African adults die each year, leaving their children without a parent. She said that in homes where there are older children, the babies are often raised by the older children. Where there are no older children, the young ones are raised in orphanages. She said there is a huge need for adoptive families.

Losing confidence in Blogger

My post about our politically incorrect school was dropped by Blogger after it initially published. I don't enjoy having to type it again. What can we do to back up posts?

A politically incorrect school: Yay!

Even though Sara has been the victim of some stupid racial remarks by peers, I like the school where she, Greg and Jon attend. The school board was very receptive to our offer to help them write policies for the next school year. The school year ended yesterday, since today's scheduled field day events were cancelled due to much-needed rain.

Today I am writing about the fact that the school does some politically incorrect things, despite pressure from Michelle Obama. Here, for example, is a poem for which Sara was assigned to read and draw accompanying images.

Burgers and Fries

Oh burgers and fries,
burgers and fries!
How my mouth waters,
they light up my eyes!

I pour on the ketchup,
pile on the cheese,
stuff in some pickles,
but no onions, please!

I heap on some bacon,
butter the bun,
pass me the mayo,
and mustard, a ton!

I glop a tomato
right on the top,
drop on some mushrooms
add bun with a plop!

Now it's all ready,
pass me the fries!
Grab me a napkin,
I'll gobble my prize!

Oh burger and fries,
burger and fries!
How my mouth waters,
they light up my eyes!

Some interesting facts emerge from the census

Today's Denver Post has some interesting analysis from the recent census data. Over 40 percent of residents in Denver live alone! Statewide the number is 28 percent. Only 32.6 percent of households in Denver are occupied by married couples, while the average for the state is 49.2 percent. Of married couples, the percentage who have children is now only 21.4 percent statewide. There has been a 35.7 percent increase in households where "other relatives" live. There has been a 60.2 percent increase in vacant housing. To read the whole article, go here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"A provocative thinker, but a promiscuous talker"

That is what Brit Hume called Newt Gingrich last night. Gingrich disparaged Rep. Paul Ryan's efforts to control federal spending as "right wing social engineering." Krauthammer says Gingrich is done as a candidate. I also remember Gingrich supporting those who claim global warming is human caused. Goodbye, Newt.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Arab Spring?" or "an extremely bleak Mideast winter?"

Ben Stein writes here that the so-called "Arab Spring" as a force for democracy, human rights and peace in Egypt seems to him to be a fraud. He believes it has been a gigantic regional coup by Iran.

He would have preferred a gradual adjustment.

Via Ace of Spades

Making the case for a civil society

I finally got around to reading Mark Levin's excellent book Liberty and Tyranny a conservative manifesto. I think the reason it took me so long is that I never really was that impressed with Mr. Levin when I listened to his talk radio show. I don't like the way he loses his temper and screams at lefty callers. However, his book is excellent. His use of the term "statist" is so appropriate, and, I think, more accurate than the term "socialist." He makes the case for a civil society led by people with strong conservative principles.

Food for thought

While we are thinking about Paul Ryan, here is this from the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin: "To paraphrase the Jewish sage Hillel, if not Ryan, who? If not now, when?"
via Instapundit

Telling the truth about the "stimulus" program

From Powerline: "Economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor have studied the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the purported stimulus bill) with great rigor.' Earlier this week, they reported their findings:
"Our benchmark results suggest that the ARRA created/saved approximately 450 thousand state and local government jobs and destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment. The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services."
via Instapundit

Because we need to hear from this man in his own words, rather than through the prism of the biased media

Via Dr. Sanity

Chomp away, Dems!

Via Dr. Sanity, who thinks the phrase Cognitively Dissonant Democrat is redundant.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What? " It's time to grow up?" Oh, no!

Kathleen Flake wrote an article first published one month ago in The Monterey Herald, and it is now in the Denver Post and "Special to the Washington Post." It is about the fact that Trey Parker's and Matt Stone's musical comedy The Book of Mormon is a smash hit on Broadway and two of George Will's short list of viable Republican Presidential candidates are Mormons. Flake's conclusion is that "Latter-day Saints have proven good neighbors, citizens and politicians. It's time to admit them to that well-populated club of people whose religion is not our own and even seems fantastical (virgin birth, predestination or infant damnation anyone?), but who are deemed perfectly acceptable presidential candidates.

Or, as Parker and Stone are saying, it's time to grow up."

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Who has more "guts?"

Michael Moore is not impressed with Obama's "gutsy move." The Looking Spoon has the FULL story.

Photos? Phooey! Bring on the videos!

"CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports the 40 minutes it took to kill bin Laden and scoop his archives into garbage bags were all recorded by tiny helmet cameras worn by each of the 25 SEALs."
Via Brutally Honest

If it can happen there...

Innominatus has made a rare find: people in Portland, Oregon (of all places) singing our national anthem with gusto. Maybe there is hope after all!

Hollywood tweets Bin Laden's killing

here. My favorite? Sean Penn:
The celebrations disgust me. We should never celebrate the death of anyone. We should all live in peace. Wake up America. There is no place for violence. Is that a camera? Were you going to take a picture of me? You MOTHERF##)($#!!!! I’M GOING TO CRUSH YOUR F#$##$##) SKULL!!!

Well, okay then!

via Chicago Boyz

I guess we should keep on electing liberals!

Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on Bin Laden and postmodern thought: "Death ends legal issues, and in our postmodern, out-of-sight, out-of-mind world it is apparently as acceptable to act as judge, jury, and executioner of terrorist leaders (and rogue leaders like Qaddafi) as it is considered illegal and immoral to detain or water-board them."

More: "It’s also easier to conduct assassinations abroad if the Commander-in-Chief is liberal. This neutralizes criticism from the media, universities, the legal community, and Hollywood. Obama the law professor can assassinate bin Laden in Pakistan, dump his body in the ocean, and with first-person emphasis boast of our brilliant mission in a way Bush the Texan could not get away with—in the same manner that killing the son of Qaddafi, and the effort to kill Qaddafi himself, are not really forbidden targeted assassinations under Obama, and in the manner that Guantánamo, tribunals, renditions, preventive detentions, Predators, wiretaps, and intercepts that so bothered Senator Obama and others are now deemed essential. This paradox is just the way it is; the media will report a liberal president’s Predator drone attack or commando hit as done with reluctance and without other viable choices. Were a conservative leader to take the same actions, he would be portrayed as a trigger-happy war-monger reveling in the violence. Thus, the street celebrations that ensued when news of bin Laden’s death broke are seen by the media as a new unity inspired by Obama. Three years ago, they would have been seen as macabre triumphalism."

Doomsday? Wait until after the heroin poppy season!

Many people predicted that the death of bin Laden would result in escalated violence. So far, after two weeks, the terrorists have managed to strap a twelve-year-old boy with a vest loaded with explosives, and he walked into a market in eastern Afghanistan and blew himself up, also killing seven civilians and injuring 34 others. A suicide bombing in Pakistan's northwest killed at least 80 people at a training academy for paramilitary cadets. The Pakistani Taliban declared that the attack — the first by militants since bin Laden's death May 2 — was revenge for the al Qaida leader's killing, though many experts doubted that claim.

Cain versus Obama?

Herman Cain was the clear winner in Mr. Luntz's focus group after the recent South Carolina Republican candidates debate.

Should we pretend we don't see it?

China, Russia, and Iran are courting South American countries.

The money of George Soros

Maggie's Farm links to this article showing that over thirty major news organizations have links to George Soros.

"Cosmic Law"

One Cosmos today featured this animated discussion of Socialism, which gave me a chuckle. I have been reading Mark Levin's book Liberty and Tyranny, which is excellent and has a good discussion of "Natural Law." Dr. Bob today makes many good points, as usual, but the one I liked best was his point that the term "Natural Law" is misleading, and should rather be called "Cosmic Law." To quote Bob:
"...Cosmic Law, i.e., those laws that are authorized and handed down by our Creator.

For only if there is a Creator can there be any universally applicable law. Otherwise we are ruled by custom, opinion and convenience, which in the end devolves to power, not truth.

Truth subordinated to power ends in Crucifixion. Conversely, power subordinated to Truth is Resurrection."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Racism on the High Plains

Four of the six school board members were verbally supportive, and two were stonefaced. One woman in the audience gave a stirring speech in support of racism. I wanted her to talk on and on, because she made our point so well. (Then I wanted Colleen to invite the woman outside).

Now comes the work. The board chairman invited us to help write policy, since heretofore they have had no policy as to what should be done about racial discrimination. We will gladly do so. I was very proud of Colleen, who was there to protect our daughter, and did so very effectively.

Bad outcomes

The Wall Street Journal has this report on the results of Romneycare in Massachusetts. It does not look good for Mitt.

Enough already!

Tonight Colleen and I will address the local school board. We will be telling them about a number of stupid racial incidents Sara has had to endure over the last two years. Colleen has spoken to the principal each time she has learned of an incident, but no consequences have been forthcoming. Tonight we will ask them to make clear consequences for students who practice acts of racial discrimination and staff who don't do anything about it. In other words, please develop clear guidelines about what will not be tolerated and what will be the consequences for those who ignore school policies on racial discrimination.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Hi folks!
Fried modem has been replaced. Posting will resume tomorrow (Tuesday, May 10). Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

No need for subsidies here!

"The U.S. has by far the greatest rail system in the world!" The facts are here.

Don't worry: Islamic traditions were respected.

Frank J. Fleming assures us here on behalf of the U.S. Government that every effort was made to respect Islamic traditions in the care and treatment of Usama bin Laden's body.

What were they watching?

Now the CIA Director admits there was no live video feed when the attack was made on the bin Laden compound. Any ideas on what they may have been watching in the Situation Room?

The May Day Vindication of George W. Bush

Yes, in one day "the entire case against President Bush was demolished by one of his greatest critics: President Obama." Read the whole thing here.

What will it be like?

The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield is a book about a great golf match, but it it is also about a Christlike figure, Mr. Vance. The book makes one think about when Jesus comes back, or perhaps He has already come, and we don't see Him? Can we let go of our own egos long enough to realize His love for us and His presence? Can we surrender our wills to Him, trust Him, borrow His wisdom, strength and courage? Will we detest Him?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rush Limbaugh for President?

Is there one person who has demonstrated an ability to take on Barack Obama on issue after issue ever since then Senator Obama announced his intention to run for the Presidency? Yes! Who is that person? None other than Rush Limbaugh!

Who else would have approximately twenty million enthusiastic supporters ready to campaign for him on the day he would announce his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States? No one, but Rush Limbaugh! Who else would be more of a sure bet to fight for energy independence, a strong national defense, and a commitment to free enterprise?

Some conservative-leaning independents and Republicans, though, would hold back, because they see Rush as arrogant. Is he? If he truly is arrogant, it would be his fatal flaw. I have always thought of his apparent arrogance as schtick, not to be taken seriously. What do you think?

Update: Today (May 13, 2011) Rush explained that he could never be in politics, because he could not tailor his message to appeal to voter groups. He would have the same message, whether he was speaking to a women's group, a men's group, a Hispanic group, a black group, a youth group, or a senior's group. That is just one more reason he should run!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Doing the right thing

After reading my Alinsky post, reader Terri Wagner posed a question, and I gave an answer: "How do you since you had a first ring seat so to speak explain what Alinsky said. I mean his words at any rate speak different from what you are describing."

My understanding of him was, as I wrote, that he wanted real change. He saw the anti-poverty programs as nothing more than welfare programs that would keep the status quo. As a young social worker starting out, I saw things the same way. I wanted people to break free from dependence on these programs, do the things that would enable them to gain self respect and dignity, pride in accomplishments, and personal responsibility.

As time went on, I was personally turned off by his purposeful scapegoating of good people who happened to be in positions of power, such as Clarence Kelly, Kansas City's Chief of Police."

Likewise, I was turned off by Barack Obama's unfair scapegoating of President Bush. However, I am thankful that President Obama has had the wisdom to continue Bush's policies that resulted in the successful operation against Osama bin Laden. Unlike his promises to the left, Obama has kept open Guantanamo, and continued to interrogate the prisoners there. At times we can be thankful that Obama says one thing and does another!

True wisdom is revealed when we respect our opponents and do the right thing.

The death of bin Laden

The world is a better place today, thanks to the courage and skill of our Navy Seals and counter-terrorism officials. However, Hamas, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, leaders of Iran and Syria, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and others remain committed to their deadly goals.