Sunday, December 26, 2010


Word of warning to all my beloved readers: I will be in Reynosa, Mexico from December 26-31 with my church, for a work ministry trip. 

It's been great before, and I have the highest expectations of my God for our productivity and safe return. The plan this time does not involve me becoming sick, after the experience in July I seek to avoid eating all pastries that are older then 6 hours. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Ever Expanding Troop Levels in Afghanistan

H/t to Cato.
Interesting to note, the troop levels have essentially tripled since this administration began handling things. Geopolitically, Afghanistan is a phenomenal place to stage a ground threat to Iran, Pakistan, and even possibilities into China. So all this may be muscle flexing for the future relations with these nations.

Or it could just be that we're in a war we should not have entered with a society that is trying to deal with a mandate for 4000 years of social evolution within an 8 year time frame. Bombing a people out of the stone age is a foolhardy approach to world change.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Republicans Make a Good Move

The Exchequer: "Today is definitely a love day in my love-hate relationship with the Republicans. A 2,000-page pork-bomb replaced with a one-page continuing resolution? That is some nice work, Senator McConnell.
Other words that do not trip easily from my keyboard: John McCain really pulled it through.
Something has got into the Republican leadership, and that something is: fear. Wonderful, salubrious fear."

He makes a good point. Even with how incompetent a candidate O'Donnel was, it shows that the TEA partiers are just mad enough to run anyone at anytime if they think its more ideologically pure. Which can scare the stuffings out of an establishment electoral class, and that can be a good thing. 

Review: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I love this series of books. I was treated to a terrific adaptation of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was witness to the horrific butchering of Prince Caspian. The first was faithful to the original material, brimming with the life and vitality of Lewis' work. The second was deviant in the extreme, vapid and a treatise on how to mis-characterize in an adaptation. 

Enter Dawn Treader. I finished reading this wonderful book (again, 7th I think) within the past 2 weeks. Its a story of a nautical adventure in strange and uncharted waters, with little stringing the various chapters together but character growth and an ever present desire to account for all 7 of the missing nobles. 

Technically, this movie was well presented in 3d. Nothing on par with Avatar, but it didn't give me a headache either. Pleasant, but not worth paying extra for. 

What I appreciated immensely with this Narnia film was the accurate and meticulous characterization of the primary ensemble. Edmund, Lucy, Eustace, Caspian, Reepicheep were all done splendidly, vividly echoing their page-bound characters. This was a vast improvement over the previous film. 

The visualizations were stellar, an enchanting and vibrant world of fantasy from Lewis' fiction. The ship and the sea and the stars and the salt and the serpents felt real and concrete.  

The message was presented with alacrity, the avoidance of all temptations whilst striving to reach the land and quests Aslan set before them. Turn away from temptation and choose what is right, ect. 

What was excruciating to sit though was the plot deviations, such as the 'isle of evil' that sent 'green mist' amongst the sea seeking to devour all manner of creatures. The altercation of Eustace's dragon adventure was a horrific mistranslation of Lewis' tale. The addition of the 'seven swords to set the world to right' that needed to be laid upon Aslan's table. The alteration of the Sea Serpent from a rampaging monster of the deep, to something somehow created from the mists of evil.

I enjoyed this film, but to call it a representation of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader is grotesquely misleading. Nevertheless, I would recommend seeing it if you like fantasy movies, the Narnia series, or talking mice.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Good News on the Appointment Front

Announcment: "Rep. Ron Paul, Chairman, Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee

Jurisdiction: Domestic monetary policy, currency, precious metals, valuation of the dollar, economic stabilization, defense production, commodity prices, financial aid to commerce and industry."

If you want to know where this guy stands on monetary policy, read the short and pointed book by Mr. Paul, End the Fed. (This blogger enjoyed it enormously)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

International Income and Lifespan Over Time, Refined, with Play by Play

Swedish Professor Hans Rosling, a statistical visionary. Seriously, this stuff is boring as a dry flapjack until he starts doing play by play on it.
This BBC piece is the short bit, for a real earth shaker, watch this TED talk he gave in 2009 to the US State Department.

The best part? The statistical algorithm and display program he is using is freely available, and if it isn't the coolest data-correlation device available for socio-economic information, nothing is. Gapminder is the name of the group and software. (Interesting oddity? Rate of Child abuse / Washington DC)