Thursday, January 29, 2009

History of the future is now online

A version of my book A History of the Future (2025-2525) is now online. You can read it at



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Education Commentaries and Resources

The following is a list of some useful commentaries and resources with respect to education - Canadian home schooling resource. Although I myself would not home school my own children (even though I am more than capable of doing so) I fully understand why many parents, who have become disillusioned with our ‘lowest common denominator’ system would. - School vouchers are an excellent method to provide parents with more school choice…it’s a shame that the defenders of the status quo have gone out of there way to combat this much needed reform…especially when many of them (including the Obamas) send their children to private schools. – John Stossel on Education. The ABC man is a Libertarian (which I am not) so one has to judge his argument from that perspective. Nevertheless he does make some useful points. For Stossel’s documentary Stupid in America go to
Public Education has been in free fall for some time now. - The ever present Dumbing Down continues - As expected Dumbing Down has moved to the other side of the Pond. - Added silly government intervention in education – translation – expect the system to worsen. - Men needed in teaching. That the field is top heavy with female educators is no great revelation but men continue to shy away from this vital occupation… – The Bill Ayers phenomenon - More on Ayers and the influence of critical pedagogy and its pernicious presence in education. - Conservative under attack by ‘tolerant’ leftists. Shock horror….Isn’t the left all about toleration? - A libertarian view of No Child Left Behind - More on NCLB.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Loss Deserved

The Democrats now control the House of Representatives, the Senate and of course as we all know with the coronation…oops inauguration ceremony on Tuesday…the White House. They are there in force and number following a much deserved loss by the Republicans. Now lets step back a second….I can hear some readers groaning at the moment. No… I have not gone soft in the head, nor am I a turncoat. In every way I am a Classic Liberal which by today’s standards makes me a conservative. This is not the issue. Why then am I so down on the GOP? Here is a list of twelve reasons:

1. The Republican House members in the last few congresses have acted like small ‘l’ liberals. They increased government spending and seemed averse to tackling the spiraling debt…in short they turned their back on the successful Gingrich Revolution. A return to fiscal conservatism is needed.

2. They tolerated within their ranks such pork belly project seat warmers as Alaskan Ted Stevens. Yes the Dems had former Klansman Senator Richard Byrd, who was just as obnoxious in this department, but surely the GOP has higher standards than what the Dems have to offer?

3. Republicans especially the Bushites continued to endorse affirmative action programs…. mostly by their silence. In fact it seems that only the Young Republican groups on campus take opposition to affirmative action seriously. Affirmative Action is wrong and affront to anyone who believes in meritocracy. Many Republicans in congress claim to agree with this sentiment. Why then did they do so little to advance the fight against such blatant discrimination?

4. University Campuses grew more radical during the Bush years. Allan Bloom’s analysis in the ‘Closing of the American Mind’ is coming to fruition as the far leftist Anti-American monoculture continues to spread in the heart of higher education. Other than the work of David Horowitz and co. (who are not in government) where was the concerted effort from Republicans to combat this imbalance? After all if we lose the minds of the younger generation the future of the GOP and the nation will indeed look bleak. On the same theme why do so few Republicans (in government) stand up for the American people’s First Amendment Rights, in actively opposing the Speech Code lunacy that are commonplace at the nation’s university and college campuses?

5. Too many Republicans (especially the Bushites) cozy up to the Saudi’s as though they are America’s ally in the War against Terror. The Saudi’s for the most part detest the US. Their schools and institutions preach a version of Islam (Wahhabism) that is extremely hostile to the West. It is no accident that the vast majority of the 911 terrorists were Saudis. Saudi Arabia is no friend of the US nor should it be treated a such. If Republicans were truly serious about combating the Islamist threat they would distance themselves from this terror source. In short its time to rethink the influence in the party of the Grover Norquists, Darrell Issas, Spencer Abrams and James Bakers of the world. By the same token how is it that so many radical Muslims have found their away into the US over the last ten years or so. Look at the latest pro-Hamas demonstrations in Fort Lauderdale, New York and Detroit. Not to mention Irvine, San Francisco and Seattle. I thought there would be more vigilance in this area or are we now allowing CAIR to influence our immigration policy?

6. Although I am generally not a fan of Lou Dobbs (his smugness is annoying) he is correct in arguing that Republicans have let down the Middle Class in favour of the corporate elites. The Democrats picked up on this weakness and it cost the Republicans at the polls. It is time to return the party back to its base. The base being those who work for their money and pay taxes.

7. Secure borders are a necessity and illegal immigration has to be curtailed. Republicans failed to show a united front on this issue allowing it to drift from the radar in 2008. Both McCain and Bush were particularly weak in this regards. The Democrats took advantage of this lapse to shift focus to areas where they were most likely to win votes and it clearly paid off.

8. Sarah Palin was a poor choice for VP in 2008 (and would not be a great pick for president in 2012 either). She was clearly out of her depth from the get go and allowed the McCain campaign to forgo their one trump card that they had over Obama et al…that of experience. The prospect of Palin in high office was as a fellow conservative friend of mine stated ‘ a bad Disney movie.’

9. John McCain’s environmental policy was second rate and whether conservatives like to admit it or not green politics will not disappear in the future. Conservatives need to adapt to this reality which is not inconsistent with support for western ideals or the free market. A change of approach may translate into a long term winning ticket. Republicans can make an environmentalist agenda their own by embracing geothermal, wind and/or solar technologies within an entrepreneurial context. Bismarck followed a similar philosophy of thought when he bought in a workable pension system (also an issue of the left) in 19th century Germany and thereby undercut the influence of his Social Democrat opponents.

10. Silly Red Neck Simplicity does not work….Some Republicans counted on this to pick up votes in various regions of the country…but the approach is tired and jaded and lacks vision. The electorate has changed as has the population dynamics of the country. Grow up.

11. Republicans needed to press for more consolidation of the security agencies in the US. Why does the nation need so many different organizations anyway? The CIA, NSA, Military Intelligence, Homeland Security etc? Also it seems that the CIA for one is acting like a rogue agency. After the WMD fiasco the organization should have been purged from top to bottom. Enough is enough…the US needs a world class intelligence system not a bunch of competing Keystone Kops…

12. Too often it appears that the Republicans are waging a War on Science. While this is not the case this meme (expanded on by the MSM) clearly influenced public perception. Republicans can allay such fears by divorcing themselves from the pseudo-scientific intelligent design movement and the anti-stem cell brigade and re-emphasize a commitment to science. An outreach to the scientific community would help in this regards. Obama has already enhanced his credentials in this region by choosing Physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Stephen Chu as his Energy Secretary. The US is the driving force of democracy if it wishes to continue in this regards it needs to be a scientific powerhouse as well. Republicans could take the initiative from the Democrats by championing private enterprise in the field of Space Exploration Industry for example.

In short the GOP has to alter its way of thinking…it should certainly not separate itself from its Conservative base but it must not be loathe to incorporate new approaches to policy either….policies that can only break the milieu of staleness that it currently finds itself in. If it doesn’t it could endure an absence from power comparable to the FDR/Truman era. Times after all they are a changin……..

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Future of the Beautiful Game...

25 developments in world football that can be expected in the near future (2010-2060)

The Formation of a European Super League that will contain the wealthiest 22 Teams in the European continent.

An African Team will win one of the next 5 World Cups.

England will win one of the next 5 World Cups.

The smaller European Domestic Leagues will pool their resources to form several leagues to compete against the European Super League.

Smaller clubs within the same regions will merge to take advantage of the economy of scale.

Mergers will include Hearts-Hibernian, Dundee-Dundee United, Genoa-Sampdoria etc.
Throw-ins will be replaced by Kick-ins in an attempt to increase the attacking nature of the game.

Co-ed Soccer will gain popularity. Co-ed leagues will spring up worldwide.

The US will lose their domination of Women's Soccer to several emerging European, African and South American Soccer Nations.

Teams will employ larger squads (35-40) players. The number of substitutions per team per game will be increased from 3 to 7.

Substituted players will be allowed to return to the game as players.

There will be more types of specialty players. For example some players will function only in the capacity as free-kick and penalty takers.

Better footwear will allow Players to routinely take direct free kicks from deep inside their own halves.

Street Soccer will grow in popularity in the US to eventually rival basketball.

A game will be developed that will combine both the skills of soccer and squash. Players will compete in one-on-one matches against each other by kicking (instead of hitting with a racket) a ball against a wall.

A version of Soccer will be developed for play on ice.

Spin off versions of soccer will arise using balls of a non-spherical nature for play.

A type of soccer will be developed where players chase (in an indoor setting), a laser generated ball.

Beach soccer will become popular, spreading to the rest of the world from its power base in South America.

Bionics will create a new generation of soccer players capable of feats of amazing skill and strength. These will include the ability to head the ball into the goal from the half way line as well as the prowess to jump twice the height of the goal post. Augments of such a nature will force changes to the rules of the game to minimize these advantages. Bionic Supporters will set up Spin off leagues for bionic only players. Games in these leagues will by their very nature tend to be high scoring.

Better physical conditioning will greatly extend the playing life of the average soccer star. It will become common for players to peak at the age of 35-40 and to finish their careers at age 60.
With improved medicine, playing games lost to injury per player will decrease rapidly. By 2050, 95% of substitutions will be carried out for non-injury related purposes.

Action replay will become a growing feature of the professional game. Eventually the referee will be replaced by a panel of judges watching the game from a monitoring booth. The panel will have access to view all angles of the game from cameras strategically located around and sometimes within the pitch.

Genetic engineers will create a generation of superstars cloned from the DNA of such greats as Pele, George Best, Johan Cruyff and Maradona.

Agents of Foreign Policy

The factors influencing US foreign policy are more complicated than any single purely ideological analysis takes into account. These are ten that I have personally identified:

Money Men - Those who see US Foreign policy as a way of extending their individual business interests throughout the globe.

Children of Democracy - Those who feel that that the US has an ideological mission to spread democracy.

Gamers - Those who see US Foreign Politics as a game of good against evil that must be won at all costs by the forces of good.

Stabilizers - Those who feel that US foreign policy should work at all cost to stabilize the world and ensure 'peace'.

Christian Elite - Group that argues that US politics must act to prevent the spread of such anti-Christian ideologies as Islam and Communism.

Single Power Proliferaters - Those who believe that the US has no allies at all and should operate covertly or in any way possible to prevent the emergence of a legitimate competitor to American hegemony.

Single Enemies of Choice - Group that are obsessed in stopping the actions of one power in particular. This power could be: China, Russia, the Moslem World etc.

Namesakers - Individuals who see foreign policy as a stage for making a name for themselves. They are motivated by nothing else.

Cold Warriors - Those who are still nostalgic for the Cold War and wish to recreate the period in some form or another again in the near future.

Competitor groups - opposing factions in the US, who are not necessarily ideologically driven, but see Foreign Policy as a vehicle or stage to ensure their individual group influence and strike a blow against their competitor faction.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nine Possible Outcomes for Canada (2015-2200)

Take your pick..............

1. Quebec will separate to form its own state. Rest of Canada will exist as its own state as well.
2. Quebec will not separate from Canada but will gain special status within the Canadian Federation.
3. Quebec will separate. Rest of Canadian provinces will join with the United States.
4. Quebec will separate. Several provinces (not all) will join with the United States.
5. Quebec will separate. US will split up. Rest of Canadian Provinces will pair up with different US states to form regional power entities.
6. Quebec will not separate but Canada will be absorbed into the United States to form a new North American nation.
7. Quebec will separate. Remaining Canadian Provinces will join selectively with each other to form separate nations. ie. Alberta-BC, Manitoba-Saskatchewan, Ontario and the Maritimes.
Canada will break down into even more independent entities following the separation of Quebec. For example cities such as Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver may become nation states unto their own. Several native homelands may gain independence as well.
8. Quebec Nationalism is watered down, by immigration of diverse populations from all over the globe, until it eventually becomes insignificant. The difference between provinces on crucial issues of identity decreases over time until the Province structure collapses and Canada becomes one single united nation.
9. Status Quo prevails...

A Personal Clarification

I believe that I have always been a conservative in that I have great admiration and respect for the foundations that underpin Western Society. It is this basis, rooted in Judeo-Christian ethics, that have contributed to the success of the civilization in the political, scientific, cultural and judicial spheres. It also has provided the guarantees upon which the democratic freedoms that we enjoy today are anchored. I am therefore supportive of the notion of tradition not as a complete rigidity but as a framework for growth and meaningful progress. My conservatism is one of Classic Liberalism that respects the right of the individual against the horde of the collective. It is a philosophy that has emerged from history as a bulwark against the totalitarianism and frivolities of radicalism and I believe it is the only long term mechanism we have to counteract the emerging barbarisms.

While there is a certain idealism to my belief there is also a strong recourse to a pragmatism that seeks workable solution within the construct of absolute morality. It is not one of pacifism and abstract equivalencies but a thinking that remains rooted to our proven avenues of survival and overall betterment.

In the contemporary world I am aware that my views are to the right of the political spectrum and I have no qualms of classifying them a such (especially as the center today remains adrift in a sea of relativism). For it is with the right (in particular the new right) that such keystones as freedom of speech, private property and meritocracy are most likely to be protected.

Conservatism however is a broad field and the variations as expanded on by numerous thinkers have certainly enriched the dynamic. I take pleasure in this differentiation as I seek to mold from its richness a better understanding of the world. This is not to say that I have ignored the landscape of political thought that exists outside this milieu. Indeed I have spent much time studying the thinking of leftist and left-liberal thinkers and while there have been some convincing arguments especially in the regions of health care and the environment I have for the most part found these ideological pursuits, at best lacking in sound thinking and at worst dangerous to the plight of humanity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Era Dawns...A take on the next four years

Gitmo is closed down and the captives are awarded a fully fledged tax payer provided vacation courtesy of the US government on the condition that Roseanne Barr and Rosie O’Donnell accompany them. The captives immediately ask to be returned to Gitmo instead.

Bill Ayers authors the new Education Policy for the Obama Education…..First Grade reader books open up with such phrases as ‘Kill the Pigs now’, ‘See Jane Bomb, bomb , bomb’ and ‘Give it to the Man’. Now every child can be left behind…..but at least its equitable.

A crisis breaks out in the Jihadist world when it is revealed that the organization supplying the 72 virgins for suicide bombings is teetering on bankruptcy. Democrat Dennis Kucenich immediately orders a bailout. A similar motion is put forth by George Galloway in the UK .

Alex Cockburn at the Suckerpunch... oops… Counterpunch rag admits that his struggling journal is close to financial ruin although he manages to secure funding at the 11th hour from a consortium led by North Korean interests, who urge him to tone down his extremist rhetoric.

Jon Stewart collapses in silence after some jester mixes up his cue cards. ‘ How dare somebody do this to me’ explained Stewart…..’they know I am not funny when it comes to off the cuff humor’.

Noam Chomsky bags his 1000th leftist groupie…apparently he will write about his experience in his new book – Milking Dissent.

Isolated and depressed with no Republicans to attack Mike Moore tries to make a movie decrying the Pizza Industry and championing the benefits of Venezuelan tacos. For some reason nobody takes him seriously.

Colombia University invites Satan to come speak on campus….Christ interrupts but the ACLU complains arguing that religion has no place in the University System. Student groups led by visiting professor Cornel West, argue that Satan has been marginalized for too long throughout history and should not be silenced any longer….

Hamas agrees to amend its hateful anti-semitic charter provided that all Jews in the Middle East agree to relocate to a small raft in the Mediterranean Sea . Richard Falk praises Hamas’ commitment to peace while Jimmy Carter scolds Israel for not taking the offer seriously.

In a move to appeal to a more diverse audience Stephen Colbert agrees to sideline his clueless Conservative alter ego for that of the ‘dimwit liberal’ but later changes his mind when it is revealed that there are already enough liberals doing that for real.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In the News LI

On Blue Dogs in the Democrat Party
According to the WSJ Blue Dogs may hold the key to the Party's future success.
If I were an American I would probably be a Blue Dog so this is music to my ears.

Victory over Hamas
Ronald Radosh makes the vital case as to why Israel must defeat Hamas.

Term Limits for Hugo Chavez
The people of Venezuela can impose term limits on this egomaniac. They should before he runs the country into the ground...

The Messiah comes to Washington (On the Obama Inauguration)
He is taking the path followed by Abe Lincoln...I wish him well but express reservations...

British Liberal Democrats buys into the disproportionate stupidity argument
No surprise here the party flew off the rails some time ago...Still they are way better than that anti-semite George Galloway and his terror lovers at RESPECT. Here is a fun quiz on Galloway

A You-tube where Mugabe says - 'Let me be a Hitler ten-fold....' and to think the leftist intelligensia at the University of Edinburgh once gave this guy an honourary doctorate.

Ask yourself why this mass murder in the Congo was so undereported by the Anti-Israel obsessed press who claim to champion human rights?

Canada's dumbest and equally hateful academic Michael Neumann, who apparently teaches philosophy at last chance Trent U, had this to say in one of his many rants against Israel...

Israel is certainly entitled to protect its citizens by evacuation and other non-violent measures, but it is not entitled to harm a hair on the head of a Palestinian firing rockets into Israeli cities, whether or not these rockets kill innocent civilians.
(Source: Counterpunch)

Is there any wonder that Ultra-Leftists such as Neumann are often labelled as 'Jews for a Second Holocaust'? Steve Plaut has more on this in his excellent blog.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I don't believe in Hell.........

I don't believe in Hell but if there were such a place the following individuals should be there:

1. Adolph Hitler
2. Josef Stalin
3. Pol Pot
4. Che Guevera
5. Yasser Arafat
6. George Habash
7. Reinhard Heydrich
8. Josef Goebbels
9. Adolph Eichmann
10. Josef Mengele
11. Lavrentiy Beria
12. Herman Goering
13. Klaus Barbie
14. Hernan Cortes
15. Mao Zedong
16. Hafez Assad
17. Enver Hoxha
18. Sheikh Yassin
19. Atilla the Hun
20. Genghis Khan

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

20 People/Organizations who have disappointed me

1. Condi Rice - Very wishy-washy in her role as Secretary of State...Made me look forward to the arrival of Hilary.

2. John McCain - Gave up the good fight against Obama well short of the finish line...I don't believe his heart was in it at the end.

3. Niall Ferguson - A great historical mind but at times falls prey to the delight of revisionism.

4. Dinesh D'Souza - Regressed from his excellent Magnum Opus 'Illiberal Education' to a silly thesis that Liberals were to blame for 911.

5. Lynn Margulis - A first rate biologist but what is she doing hanging around 911 truthers?

6. George W Bush - Has not taken a strong enough stance against illegal immigration into the US nor has he done much to decrease American dependency on Foreign Oil...

7. Annie Lennox - Eurthymics singer who now protests alongside supporters of Hamas terror.

8. Richard Dawkins - Has allowed his own religion of scientism to override the limits of science.

9. Rafa Benitez - His rants against Alex Ferguson have no value in the game...Liverpool managers have always had style.

10. Madonna - Her videos linking John McCain to Hitler were disgraceful.

11. Ban Ki Moon - Actually as UN Secretary General he is basically par for the course.

12. George Soros - Seemed to be a positive force in Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War - he has now become the daddy moneybags for a host of Far Leftist causes that are damaging to the US.

13. Donald Rumsfeld - Failed to Apply common sense thinking to the post Iraqi War Situation.

14. Nelson Mandela - Has not taken a strong stance against Robert Mugabe's tyranny in Zimbabwe.

15. Sean Penn - His acting credentials are without question but his uber left politics (gushing over Saddam Hussein and later Chavez) have much to be desired.

16. Andrew Sullivan - Once a voice of reason in the blogosphere now just another Obama lackey.

17. Cato Institute - For putting financial greed way ahead of National Security.

18. John Murtha - For not coming clean about his Haditha witch hunt.

19. Harvard University - For allowing Feminist radicals to drive out Larry Summers via a malicious smear campaign.

20. Rudy Guiliani - For running one of the worst presidential campaigns in American History.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Israel v Hamas - Reactions from Canada

Sid Ryan, the proverbial windbag from CUPE Ontario, attempted to stir the pot further by initiating an academic boycott against Israel. As usual Ryan went off on a rant comparing Israel to that favourite cliche of the hard left...Nazi Germany. With tongue-in-cheek (to replace his foot-in-mouth) he apologized and then was made to eat humble pie on the Michael Coren show when his entire case against Israel was deconstructed and found wanting....Will this change Ryan's attitude? Not bloody likely...he is so in bed with the Anti-Israel chattering classes that he and has absolutely no desire to fully understand this issue. Ryan is a silly little man with media exposure and a vehicle to express it..the person who coined the term loose canon may have had him in mind. On a further note why does a Union representing Ontario public service labour issues need a foreign policy anyway?

Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal Party's PM in waiting, endorsed Israel's fight against the Islamofascists of Hamas. As an Israel supporter this should inspire me to do cartwheels...but I am not.... Ignatieff (like most Liberals) has a history of backtracking...he did so in 2006 in the fight against Hezbollah and I believe that it is only a matter of time before the Pro-Terror crowd within the Liebral party forces him to recant and inappropriately condemn Israel for defending herself...

Jeet Heer is another one of those third rate Academic minds who pontificate in our University system (and they say that University is a place of knowledge). In an article in the usually Conservative National Post he argues that Jews should start paying attention to the blog writings of three leftist Jewish bloggers. Thanks for the advice Jeet...but a Second Jewish Holocaust is not an option. Nevertheless Heer does make a point and a very sad one indeed...too many diaspora Jews are apathetic about the Israel situation...I blame it on a lack of understanding of history (a product of our dumbed down education system) and the trap of prosperity that allows many Jews (like many others) living in the Western World to have the luxury of removing themselves from the world of reality to their own bubble existence. Compound this with an endless flow of pro-Terror Propaganda, a predominance of Israel bashing academics (such as Heer, Juan Cole, Falk etc. ) a large core of spineless others and you can see why this is the case. Its time for Jews to stand up and counteract such nonsense.

The following is a list of worthwhile articles to read

Yes, Israel Can Win in Gaza

Stop this Slaughter! England Must Stop Waging War on the Nazis

The War Against the Jews and its Western Apologists

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Israel Strikes back

It took them long enough...months and months of restraint against the backdrop of the Sderot shelling...but Israel has finally decided to do something about Hamas' terror ambitions.

The following list of articles are worth reading

Israel must fight and win by. W. Thomas Smith Jr.
The Necessity of Israel by Charles Krauthammer
Europe Embrace Evil Again by Pamela Geller
(of interest...sadly as it seems was the presence of two more useful idiot celebrity figures, Annie Lennox - of Eurthymics fame and Bianca Jagger, at a pro-Hamas rally in London. Maybe they deserve the Londonistan that they will soon be living in).

In the mean time my pray and best wishes are with the Israeli forces and people at yet another critical point in Jewish history.

International stupidity

As usual Victor Davis Hanson - one of my favourite commentators says it so well.......
Source: National Review

There is something especially nauseating about the latest Middle East war — scenes of worldwide Islamic protests with photos of Jews as apes, protesters (in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida of all places!) screaming about nuking Israel and putting Jews in ovens, parades of children dressed up with suicide vests and fake rockets, near constant anti-Semitic vicious sloganeering, Gaza mosques stuffed with rockets to be used against civilians — all to be collated with creepy Hamas rhetoric about the annihilation of Israel. This is the world in which we now live.

Almost no other issue in recent memory has illustrated the moral bankruptcy of much of the international community. Hamas has no pretensions, like the PA, of being a governing authority; it used violence to rout the PA and then bragged that its charter pledging the destruction of Israel remained unchanged. Israel evacuated Gaza; Gazans in response looted their own infrastructure, alienated both the PA and Egypt,and then sent off more than 6,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, while eagerly becoming a terrorist puppet of theocratic Iran.
Nothing could be more clear: either the fact that a constitutional republic was trying to avoid civilian casualties while a terrorist organization was intent on killing Jewish civilians as it used its own citizens as shields to protect mostly young male terrorists; or the world's craven reaction to all this.

Again all very creepy — the stuff of Tolkien's Mordor. It is now clear that the so-called and much praised "international community," the hallowed U.N., the revered EU, all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy. Only the U.S. (for now) stands by a constitutional state in its war against a murderous terrorist clique, with annhilation its aim and religous fascism its creed.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Movies that I have seen lately

Seven Pounds – The story dragged considerably and the hints were sparse as to what was to happen at the end (lets face it we all new that something big was on the horizon). As usual Will Smith played his part well although I am not sure whether his character was too much of a deviation from his actual personality (on the surface level anyway). Rosario Dawson was bearable and Woody Harrelson virtually negligible with Smith dominating the moving in its entirety. This is more one for the DVD player than it is for the Big Screen but all-in-all I don’t feel two bad about the two looneys I coughed up to watch it.

Rating: 6/10

Frost/Nixon – As a history buff I find the material fascinating so I was on board with the story line from the get go. The movie appeared to walk the fine line between criticizing Nixon and letting the 37th President ‘tell his side of the story’ for at least the first three quarters of the movie before degenerating into the normal holier-than-thou stance that liberals take when speaking about Watergate. Frank Langella was first rate in his portrayal of Nixon, and deserves an Oscar for his work, as was the acting of Michael Sheen (he of the cat-in-the hat-grin) and Kevin Bacon. As for the history there is no doubt that the movie exaggerated the significance of the interview. It also failed to mention at the end that Nixon had a very favourable post-Presidential role as a foreign policy advisor to a host of presidents while writing several books on international relations at the same time. This leaves uninformed viewer with the false impression that Frost (who career after the interview has not grabbed the world by storm) actually derailed the Nixon intellectual express. Nevertheless I must complement the cinematography as well as Ron Howard’s directing skills in bringing to life a topic that could have spiraled into nothing.

Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, January 02, 2009

On Jewish Survival

The following is the next installment in my Reply to John Ray of Dissecting Leftism fame.

On Jewish Survival

To John

It is certainly on the mark to argue that Jewish history has been cursed with a litany of horrors. It is also correct to note that the Judaism with a history over three thousand years ultimately survived these horrors. What is open for real questioning (as you duly infer) is whether this survival has been one of style and from a strategic standpoint could it have been more impressive in both number and in form. Your argument makes a good point in noting that the Jews, from a numerical perspective are a relatively small population. I agree less than fifteen million in a world closing in on seven billion souls is clearly small potatoes. Many a biologist would scoff at such notions of real survivability especially in a world where offspring numbers seem on the surface to be a clear indicator of success in nature.

However numbers, particularly in a biological framework, can mislead perhaps just as easily as they affirm. The Passenger pigeon for one dominated North American skies up until the 18th century, but today it is extinct. The same fate would likely have befallen the American Bison if it not for the brave work of conservationists. Biological history is suffused with other creatures whose numerical advantage proved to be of little ultimate value in the duration of the survival game. On the other hand the rare Coelecanth has survived from Ancient times outliving a plethora of other fish that once dwarfed it in abundancy. The same is true of that living fossil, the crocodile. (While it is true that crocodiles sit at the top of the food chain and therefore have no predators, as a top predators it is even more likely to face extinction as its energy requirements aren’t usually tolerant of a compromise in the trophic levels below them).

So what do these life science examples mean for the Jews? We know that temporally related number counts are not everything. The Great Empires of the past boasted large numbers but most lie on the scrap heap of history today. Each of the Akkadians, Hittites, Lydians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks, Nazca, Mayans, Aztecs, Incas all fall into this category. Not to mention the Old Celtic and Harappan civilizations. All had their style once but now that style is more of a curiosity than anything else. One could say that some have survived under a different guise: The Zoroastrian Persians are now predominatly Shi’ite Muslims - an outsider cultural takeover if ever there was one - while the Ancient Egyptians have been assimilated into an Arab World that for all intent of purpose has regressed considerably from the Golden Age. I am therefore not convinced that this qualifies as survival at all. The Jews on the other hand stared down many of their adversaries (and pf course suffered for it at times), but the core of the culture, the very basis that certainly defines it has emerged largely intact despite the turbulence.

Yes Ashkenazic Jews do differ from Sepharidic Jews. In fact each of these categories have sub-categories within them (leave it to the Jews to find some minor points to squabble over) rendering such a classification system partly meaningless. However at its core (among Judaism’s adherents) lies a commonality which champions free will and the responsible philosophy of ethical monotheism. This is part of the Jewish survival strength. Not easily quantifiable but certainly background significant.

On additional point you mention that Christianity has expanded in number to the point where its followers number around a billion. However what you didn’t mention is that Christianity’s rapid expansion (a physicist may call this inflation) was largely due to its vigilant promotion by the Roman Emperor Constantine, following his defeat of his rival Maxentius at Milvian Bridge in 312AD. Constantine was a zealot in his stance. He actively worked to eradicate paganism and promoted Christian bishops to high positions in his court. There is some arguments as to why he adopted this pro-Christian stance. One school argues that it was for the sake of political unity (Rome was divided by a multitude of conflicting beliefs…Constantine may have been an original opponent of multi-culturalism…and needed a new glue to bind his subjects to a common cause). Others believe that his transformation was genuine and of spiritual significance. Regardless how one sees it, the end result was Christianity received the single greatest growth boost in its history.

A further milestone was reached when Theodosius, the Eastern Emperor and Gratian, his counterpart in the West, recognized Christianity as the official Religion of the East (380 AD) and Western portions of the Empire respectively. The religion’s dominance was now solidified. Judaism on the other hand would never be the recipient of such official sponsorship from such influential figures. European History is filled with further examples of local leaders first converting to Christianity (for one reason or another) and then bringing the bulk of their populace into the umbrella of the church in the follow-up.

I will not enter into the ‘people without a state argument’ as it has already been dealt with in earlier posts by others. However I will take up the ‘choice of allies argument that you put forth’. The Jews I believe have traditionally looked for allies…however where they have erred is that in doing so they often compromised their beliefs to fit in with the nuances of the so-called brothers in arms. This has almost always backfired. The Marxists/communists/socialists offered them lip service (behind a veneer of anti-semitism) in exchange for a divorce from their religious soul while a rush to join the ranks of capitalism has had the consequence of catalyzing a materialistic assimilation. In addition the Christian churches traditionally turned a cold shoulder to any advances.- preferring conversion to accommodation. In short where were the Jews to turn?

Now its true in contemporary times that Evangelical Christians (particularly in the US) have offered a hand of friendship, which I believe that Jews should take. Many have, especially those on the conservative real of Jewish politics (Israel itself has a multitude of programs that encourage Evangelical Christians to visit the Holy Land). The fact that some in the ADL chooses to see otherwise, in turning a blind eye to such assistance, is more of its leadership sinking into the sludge of anti-clerical secularism than anything else.


Gavin Kanowitz
A South African- born Jew in a Canadian court.

Western Indifference??

The following is my reply to a debate I had recently on the internet...Topic Western Indifference to the suffering of Africans (he has not as of yet responded to my replies)

My replies are in Red.
His original wording is in black.
My links posted are in Blue.

I have to agree with Gavin here. the silence of African-American leaders (or any other leaders for that matter) on this issue is very much something that everyone should be ashamed of. Everyone is eager to jump into a discussion on racism, and how to stop racial violence, but when it is people of the same race, there is very little comment.

From Leftist/liberal sources perhaps….Most Conservative News Sources consistently mention these which is why I believe that at the end of the day the right is more universal in its approach to human rights…the left is all about smoke and mirrors and feeling good about oneself the neo-con right in particular is about action

Ironically when neo-conservatives (in the tradition of Leo Strauss and Scoop Jackson) advocate interventionism as a means of preventing future horrors (how many lives would have been saved during the holocaust had the West followed such an approach earlier) they are cynically branded as post-colonial imperialists by the do-nothing contingent of the ‘progressive’ left.

It also shows the lack of regard the west has for the lives of africans.

I don’t believe this is true although the ‘selfish west’ meme has been around for some time (the super inept UN secretary general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was a big popularizer of the idea), Western Countries have donated billions of dollars to Africa on both a government, NGO and private donation level (those evil Americans rank amongst the most generous…. ahead of morally superior Canadians who tend to be a bit stingier with the looney). Ironically and you will hardly see it on campuses (where BDS – Bush Derangement Syndrome is an epidemic) the current US administration has done more than any previous administration in the fight against HIV in Africa for example.

Even the uber-leftist Guradian agrees

In short the West has bent over backwards to save Africa (a continent riddled with corruption and governed by a smorgasbord of incompetents) however the results have not been promising

f that happened in the US, or Canada, or Britain, it would be all over the news and there would be an international furor. but this incident in the congo gets a twenty second slot on the news, and everyone not everyone goes "oh. how horrible" and then don't give it another thought. Its the same thing as we hear about bombings in India or Pakistan.

(On another note if a Palestinian suicide bomber was killed in advance of a sabotage we would all hear about it ad nauseum via a mountain of criticism directed toward Israel)

Unless someone white dies, the west doesn't seem to care.

In a sense you are correct… the Islamists know this as well which explains why so many of the 12,000 attacks that they have orchestrated since 9/11 have been so under reported....Such as this one

Here is another news clip that you won’t find in the Toronto Star or Utne Reader for that matter.

Till later

On Stem Cells

There seems to be a lot more opposition against fetal stem cell usage then there really should be (adult stem cells are not as controversial for obvious reasons). As a champion of Science I believe that the advantage that they offer (in the field of cellular regeneration) far out way the danger posed by the potential harvesting of fetuses for stem cell collection purposes. Nevertheless the ethical concerns must be addressed as even the remote possibility of the latter must certainly send shivers down the spine of any individual who values the sanctity of human life.

The restrictions placed by the Bush administration on Stem Cell Research are on the surface draconian but from a research perspective they may have indirectly catalyzed a growth market in adult stem cell research which could render the use of Fetal stem Cells redundant.....The jury is out on this one as well.

I personally believe that with gene therapy, our growing understanding of the human genome and the factors that switch genes on and off - stem cell therapy may not be as vital a technique in the near future as it is now.....Time will tell...