Friday, April 25, 2008

I Have Only Come Here Seeking Knowledge

Michael Totten is going to the Balkans. I find myself glad to hear the news. That's another part of the world that I know far too little about. I know he'll get the story and get it right.

I find myself wishing I could do what he is doing. I can't, so it's a good thing he can.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh Senator Reid...with mind so small...

Further evidence that Sen. Harry Reid, (D) Nevada, is either stupid or dishonest--or both:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid noted after Gates’ announcement that any war commander must be committed to “implementing major changes in strategy” if directed to do so by a new president.

“The Senate will carefully examine these nominations, and I will be looking for credible assurances of a strong commitment to implementing a more effective national security strategy,” said Reid, D-Nev.

The President--any president--outranks anyone in the military. If the President gives an order--even a stupid one--they will obey.

Or does Harry Reid really think that the military is just waiting for an excuse to stage a coup?

As for implementing a more effective national security strategy, that is their job! That's what they live and breathe. Unlike Harry Reid, who lives and breathes getting his name in the paper and blindly adhering to his failed strategy of pushing for defeat in Iraq.

Of course what he really means is that he's looking for assurances of commitment to implementing Harry Reid's idiotic strategy of defeatism and isolationism. We HAVE an effective national security strategy. What evidence does he have that we don't?! Exactly what criteria is he using for defining an "effective strategy"?

General Petraeus will do what he is ordered to do, which is why I have very definite ideas about who I want giving him orders. What I hope is that whomever that is also has the brains to listen to good advice in return.

It's quite obvious to me that one should not look for good advice from Harry Reid.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Father-n-Son at the Mortuary

My five-year-old got a remote control truck for his birthday. When fully charged it goes really fast--too fast for adequate control in our living room. It's more a matter of how many items can it bounce off in less than a minute.

So for our "date" last night I thought it would be fun to take it someplace with a bit more room. There's a funeral home nearby with a fairly large and usually empty parking lot. That would do nicely.

So we drove his truck around the parking lot until the battery ran down. His favorite part? Sitting on top of the van. The lot is big, and he's...well, five. I figured he'd be able to see better from up there. He wasn't too sure about it at first, but evidently it grew on him.

It was a beautiful Spring evening. And, knowing how kids' minds work, a good memory for both of us for some time to come.

We're Having An Ice Age...a Tropical Ice Age!

Are all the Global Warming fanatics screaming up the wrong tree? Should we be more concerned--or at least a little concerned about Global Cooling?

From Phil Chapman of the Australian:
All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

The proposed culprit? The Sun:
This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

Of course unlike some, Chapman is willing to admit he may be wrong:
That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern.

If he then goes on to paint a rather alarming picture he can be forgiven. Global Warming advocates have been doing that for years. It's hard to put a happy face on the notion of a prolonged cold period. Plants do better in warm weather with lots of carbon dioxide. They don't do so well in cold weather. If you think the food shortages now are causing problems, just wait until the US and Canada--the breadbasket of the world--gets hit with cold weather for several years.

The Global Warming advocates claim we should dedicate resources to planning a response to increasing temperatures. I think it's only fair that, given the mounting evidence, we ask that resources be applied to planning for the opposite. To quote Chapman quoting Oliver Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Birthday Bash

Just for the record let me state that throwing a birthday party for five-year-old boys is not the same as a birthday party for five-year-old girls. It's like the difference between a 4.0 scale earthquake and a 6.0 scale earthquake.

We threw a party for our middle boy yesterday, and invited four friends. We've had several of these boys over before, but never at the same time. Seemingly mild-mannered kids suddenly become loud, energetic, and lose all attention spans. Fortunately it was only an hour and a half. We managed.

Special thanks goes to my sister who sent us a "Here Comes A..." series DVD a few years ago for Christmas. We had a firefighter theme for the party, so "Here Comes A Firetruck" was perfect. About half an hour before the end of the party things were quickly spiraling toward a five-way tantrum, so we pulled out the DVD as our ace in the hole.

Worked like a charm. They sat still and quiet for twenty minutes. It was great! Saved our sanity and possibly the party. Thanks, Sis!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

In a campaign season rife with hypocrisy I still have to call Obama on this one:
“So the problem that we have in our politics, which is fairly typical, is that you take one person’s statement, if it’s not properly phrased, and you just beat it to death,” he said. “And that’s what Senator Clinton’s been doing over the last four days.”

Four words, Senator: McCain-Iraq-100-Years

If you're not part of the cure, you're the problem. Or is purposely misrepresenting someone's words somehow excused?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Worthwhile Films

We watched "Why Did I Get Married?" for our date night this weekend. I chose it primarily because Orson Scott Card highly recommended it. Since I've come to value his opinion on many things (as you've no doubt noticed) I decided to take a chance that I also agree with him on entertainment.

We do on this one, at least. Though the movie is a little gritty and frank at times, it is everything a movie should be. It comes labeled as "Black Entertainment", but that's largely irrelevant. Perhaps I don't get all the black subtext, but so what? I'm pretty sure I got what the move was about, what I was meant to get from it. And perhaps I got to understand a bit how the black community is different. I don't think that's a bad thing, either.

Because for one thing, the black community is a faith-based community, and that's a good thing. This movie openly and unashamedly talks about religion and God and living the way you're supposed to. Characters are allowed to give lengthy declarations of faith, and give God the credit for the good things that come from that faith. It's refreshing, and it's about time.

It's a movie with good people trying to do the right thing--and those who are not are not shunned, but not given any comfort in their sins either. One character is almost unredeemably selfish and mean, and though his friends stick with him, they don't have any problem letting him know that they do not approve. An amazing example of hate the sin, love the sinner I wish I could emulate.

Anyway, it's a good movie; funny in spots, sad in spots, uncomfortable in spots, happy in spots--it's a lot like life, and it covers some broad, important ground truthfully. It's worth renting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Great Name For A Blog

I found this out on I Can Has Cheezburger today:

Cream of Angry Soup

I'm tempted to go lock down "Cream of Angry Soup" as a blog name, but then I can't imagine what sort of stuff I'd post there.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It's All Relative

From National Review Online:
Go see the comparison chart, but in 1996 the Democrats were calling the economy the healthiest it's been in three decades. Today they're calling it the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover.

The actual facts show a different picture. Not that we can be bothered by those. We have an election to win.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Fun With English

While watching General Conference yesterday one speaker told a story from his Vietnam War experiences, which included loading the wounded soldiers into choppers. My daughter leaned over and asked, "Daddy, why are they putting the soldiers into the chopper?"

It took me a moment to realize that the problem was with the word "chopper". So far in her short life her only experience with a "chopper" has been when the tree trimmer came to chop up the willow tree that blew over on our house. He put all the branches into his chopper.

She was quite relieved to find out that they were loading them into helicopters to take to the hospital rather than running them through a chipper.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bush Listened, People...uh...Glistened?

I, too, am tired of hearing the old meme "Bush Lied, People Died!". It's not true, but let's never let the truth get in the way of soundbites. That sounds so much better than "Bush Listened To People Who Were Later Proven Wrong!"

But since I don't have a national column, I'll leave the refutation to the professionals (Norm Podhoretz in the Wall Stree Journal).

It used to be that the history is written by the victors. Now-days they're not even waiting to see who won before they try to rewrite it.

Life Imitates Art, Mass Panic Ensues

I know I'm not the first person to note the surreal quality of musical theater: people are having a normal conversation when all of a sudden music plays from nowhere and everyone starts singing and dancing. It's okay, because everyone on the stage is in on it, so we don't really notice.

But what happens when the part of the "townsfolk" is played by actual townsfolk? Behold the Food Court Musical! (Hat tip: Orson Scott Card)

It's not the greatest performance around, but it's a hoot! And the townspeople turn in some Oscar-worthy performances!


O.S.C. also posts an interesting essay on Barak Obama and Rev. Wright, and on Hillary vs. Michelle Obama through their senior theses. I don't know if he's changed my mind any, but he's added some perspective. That's not a bad achievement, either.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fun With Spam!

I check my spam box now and then just to make sure nothing important got stuck there. This morning I realized I'd missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

From: Job Openings
Re: DEVIL, great pay!

Tempting (no pun intended), but no. It may be a fun job, but as I understand it, the long-term outlook is not good. Besides, this is definitely one job where I would want to know, "Why is this position open?"