This is an inspiration for those of us who are senior citizens  and interested in physical fitness.

This video is of a 75-year-old UK woman doing a very energetic salsa. The video appears on the November 25th, 2009 broadcast of the Spanish-language show, Nico Y Paddy, Tu Si Que Vales.





 dollarsign This morning, on December 8, 2009, Peter Shane, a law professor and author of “Madison’s Nightmare: Unchecked Executive Power and the Threat to American Democracy” posted an article on the Huffington Post titled WH Releases Open Government Directive: Transparency (Plus) Engagement (Equals) More Democracy. It is a somewhat breathless article about a supposed new openness from the Obama White House.

Regardless of how much credit you want to give to the President for sponsoring openness in government, one item jumped out to me. That is the mandate that government documents to be made public must be placed in an open format. That’s interesting and may cost Microsoft millions. Here’s why:

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It is Monday night, November 30, 2009, as this is being written, and President Obama has apparently committed to sending tens of thousands more troops to  Afghanistan. This is a  terribly flawed decision, and absolutely no good can come of it.

Instead of sending more troops, the United States should just bring all the troops home now from both Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is a huge difference between defeating a country in war and conquering a country. The US did not find it difficult to drive the Taliban out of state power with military action.

But conquering Afghanistan, imposing a new form of government on it from the outside is a different task.

As Michael Moore in his heartfelt open letter to President Obama says:

There’s a reason they don’t call Afghanistan the “Garden State” (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan’s nickname is the “Graveyard of Empires.”

Graveyard Of Empires Indeed!.

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This is a rather extensive update of a piece I wrote and originally published in several places in December, 2006. It was updated in November, 2009

Most American politicians and many pundits now concede they were wrong to support Bush’s invasion of Iraq, stating that the administration lied to them about its justification. Politicians who voted to support the invasion, especially liberal politicians, say that the Bush administration lied to them about its reasons for this invasion. It is hard to believe this, especially in the case of bright, educated, and talented people like Hillary Clinton and others. The Bush administration’s phony excuses did not fool many ordinary American citizens, who did not have the same access to information as did the Clinton-style politicians and inside-the-beltway denizens.

When trying to justify launching this war, the Bush administration and its apologists gave reasons that included:

  • Saddam’s supposed cache of weapons of mass destruction
  • Saddam’s nose-thumbing UN weapons inspectors in the face of UN sanctions
  • The undoubtedly brutal nature of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship
  • The supposed desirability of creating an Arab democracy that would serve as a beacon in the Middle East, the latter a more “politically correct” and polite version of early 19th century meme of carrying “white man’s burden” and securing the “blessings of western civilization.”

But the truth is that none of these stated reasons were the real reasons for this war. These currently transparent excuses were really nothing more than a now-failed public relations ploy.

As demonstrated below, the American corporate rulers had planned this war a decade before the initiation of hostilities. This war planning had always been about control of energy resources and marketplaces, not democracy, not terrorism, not Islam.

Moreover, this war was not an aberration from American moral principles that supposedly guide its foreign policy. It was the natural outgrowth of a longstanding foreign policy, a strategy that stems back from the days of the Spanish-American war of 1898 and before.
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Godly Men’s Conference. (Satire)

A participant (Wynne R) in the wonderful Castlecops forum provided this link to a story about an organization for Christian men only, as in no females allowed. The idea is that participating fellows can be real guys, let down their hair as far as their crewcuts allow, and level with each other without the sissifying influences of the distaff side of the human race. Guys can talk cars, rock-and-roll, barbecue, etc. Oh, and no preachers are allowed to talk, just the regular guys.

But I would really be afraid of attending that God-man thingy, and I am a big guy. Moreover, I would certainly would discourage my sons from going. There is too much risky behavior in such venues. It sounds like it may be a place where young guys could easily contract the dreaded medical condition called MBMAS (Male Brain Migration Arrest Syndrome). Read the rest of this entry »

Legacy of Vietnam and Iraq Wars

Lately, pundits, politicians, and even President Bush have drawn parallels to the Vietnam war and the present war in Iraq. But there is another, not-talked-about parallel, and it is much more important. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuclear Arms Race and North Korea

According to this CBS news story, former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung is afraid the current UN-North Korea flap over nuclear arms will cause a military conflict. This is a real possibility. After much browbeating, arm-twisting, and probably not-so-subtle US threats of unilateral action, the UN unanimously approved a resolution to block military and luxury-item shipments in and out of North Korea, in effect making such shipments illegal.
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I originally wrote this in December of 2004. This is the first part

Dec, 26, 2004, reposted October 20, 2006
Dealing With Terrorism-What Is Terrorism-1

The USA has been in a war on terrorism now for several years. And yet, it appears that the USA does not have a legal definition for terrorism. As a consequence, people in the USA are not officially charged with terrorism but other crimes. There is quite an interesting breakdown of this oddity on a web page maintained by the North Carolina Wesleyan College (NCWC) here. Read the rest of this entry »

I had mistakenly labeled this as part 1 previously. It is part 2

January, 4, 2005
Dealing With Terrorism-9/11 In America

Like most Americans, I’ll never forget September 11, 2001. I got up early in the morning to go to work and heard about the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I figured it was a freak accident. As I was getting ready for work, I had on my portable radio set, listening in fascinated horror when the second plane crashed into it. Of course, by then it was obvious this was a deliberate attack. I woke my British-born wife to tell her about it, and at first she thought I was making a bad joke.

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I originally posted this on the Cakewalk Forums, Coffeehouse Section back in 2004. During their normal housekeeping, they removed this posting. It got quite a few comments. I have edited it slightly.

There are two fallacies about homosexuality that many sincere people believe. Here are some considerations for all fair-minded individuals to consider:

Logical fallacy 1: Many Christians Feel Homosexuality Is Against God’s Law.

  • This argument is based on faith. As the Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and evidence of things unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1). An article of faith purports to be a bit of knowledge that does not come through rational evidence. If something can be known from physical evidence and replicable experiment or logic based upon physical evidence, it can’t be faith. Those Christians who have been saying that homosexuality is a sin on this forum have quoted the Bible to prove their point. But their point cannot be accepted unless one unquestionably and uncritically accepts at least those verses as being the revealed word of God.
  • As a consequence, there has been a fair amount of heat between those who think homosexuality is some kind of sin because some verses in the Bible say so and those who don’t accept the validity of those verses. But there can never be a meeting of minds unless the believer is willing to accept as valid the mounting evidence that homosexuality is a natural human variant like left-handedness. Moreover, many animal species, including dogs, penguins, bonobo chimps, and sheep have members who practice homosexuality. Therefore, if God created these species, God must approve of this behavior in them. However, because most believers will accept faith over any evidence science can come up with, faith trumps reason and this argument does not convince them.
  • There are things in the Bible that no Christian on this board believes. For example, in Deuteronomy 21:18-21, the Bible says that if parents have a stubborn son, they should turn him over to the authorities to be stoned to death. In Leviticus, Chapter 19, Verse 19, it says that one should not plant two types of plants in a field, and one should not wear cloth woven of more than one type of thread. So a logical question to ask of these Christians who condemn homosexuality as being unbiblical is this: If one is not going to “pick and choose” which Bible verses to act upon or believe, why would you not turn your disobedient son over to the authorities for death by stoning or punish all those miscreants wearing Dacron-cotton overalls while they tend their organic farms that have a variety of plants?

Logical fallacy 2: The natural function of sex is procreation, and so homosexuality is a dangerous perversion of what is natural.

  • This also is fallacious because it assumes what it sets out to prove. That is known as a circular argument. One of the natural functions of sex is procreation, but very few believe that it is the only function. But to say that the only natural function of sex is procreation is quite different than saying one of the natural functions of sex is procreation. That is like saying the natural function of the tongue is to taste and so using it to speak is a perversion. To me it seems quite likely that sex also has a social and interpersonal function. We are social creatures, and the humans and bonobos are the only species whose females have the ability to enjoy sex. For both humans and bonobo chimps, sex plays an important role is social institutions, relationships, and loyalty. And homosexuality is widely practiced by the bonobos as noted above, even more than among humans. Therefore one cannot logically conclude that homosexuality is unnatural because it cannot lead to procreation, because this argument assumes that procreation is the only natural function of sex against much evidence to the contrary.
  • A sub corollary to this fallacy is the often-made statement that if all humans were to be homosexual, the human race would be extinguished, and so homosexuality must be a perversion. I have heard both Christians and Muslims say this. However, this is the famous slippery-slope fallacy. If all humans were to be stonemasons, the human race would die out too, because we would have no farmers or carpenters. If all humans were to be full-time musicians, we would all die out too. Human history shows that homosexuals are always a minority, as are left-handed people or people with eyes of different color, etc. And contrary to what many social conservatives think, the vast majority of homosexuals are not trying to “convert” anybody. As a matter of fact, I suspect that the ratio of heterosexuals trying to convert homosexuals is about a billion times greater than the number of homosexuals trying to convert heterosexuals. I don’t think you can find any homosexual web sites dedicated to converting heterosexuals. but you can find plenty of Christian web sites about converting homosexuals.

Comments are welcome.