Friday, December 31, 2004

 

Happy New Year!


From Moscow, SNovum Godum (Happy New Year). I am spending my New Years eve with my bride and her Mother and brother Roman (visiting from Saratov). We are watching Russian New Years entertainment. Variety shows are very popular; think Sonny and Cher or the Osmond family. Lots of singing with comedy bits thrown into the middle.

Let me know what you guys are doing this New years eve. I am curious. Consider this our first open thread/post/whatever. I can guarantee, 2005 will be a year full of surprises and change. Let us celebrate what we have found in the past and look forward to living for a new year. Kind Love, Bill

Thursday, December 30, 2004

 

Faux Ami

Center for Security Policy

Is it time to rethink our support for a united Europe or can the U.S. influence EU foreign policy via "New Europe"? These are questions that need to be answered very soon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

 

A Tsunami Surtax?

To prove the US is not stingy...

... by forcing US taxpayers to fund a relief effort. Unbelievable.

I'm confident the US will offer an appropriate amount of aid to the people of the affected countries. But whatever the US does, it won't be enough for some.

Individual Americans have responded generously to the pleas for donations. From The Washington Post:
At Amazon.com alone, more than 53,000 people had donated more than $3 million by yesterday evening after the company made an urgent appeal on its home page. Catholic Relief Services was so overwhelmed with Web traffic that its site crashed. Online donations to the Red Cross outstripped traditional phone banks by more than 2 to 1.

The online generosity was a key part of a massive U.S. response to the crisis in South Asia.

Though we are setting a nice example for the rest of the world, I doubt the relief effort will come close to raising even a fraction of the $14 billion (at least) Munich Re (the world's largest reinsurer) estimates will be needed.


 

The US and Mexico

An interesting article in the Houston Chronicle about the Mexican housing market.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

 

UN official terms US aid to tsunami victims "stingy"

Unclear on the concept of giving

From today's Washington Times
"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really," the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. "Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."

"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."

Mr. Egeland is correct. We do want to "give" more though we want to "give" in the literal sense of the word. And we are giving more, only in a way that he, like many on the Left, cannot comprehend.
In response to Mr. Egeland's comments, Mr. Duffy pointed out that the United States is "the largest contributor to international relief and aid efforts, not only through the government, but through charitable organizations. The American people are very giving."

The US government may be the stingiest in the developed world in dispensing foreign aid. The American people are the most generous aid donors in the world. Contraty to Leftist dogma, the two previous sentences are not contradictory.




 

The next POTUS? I like it! Time to get this meme rolling. Posted by Hello

White House bio

Wikipedia

Both Dick and Lynne Cheney were born in 1941. That would make her 67 in 2008. I don't know Dick Cheney's ambitions but I have heard he is not keen on running for president next time around probably due to his age. He has a history of heart trouble. Lynne Cheney appears to be the picture of health. She is a smart, outspoken conservative. I think she would be a shoe in for President and we would get four more years, at least, of Dick Cheney's strategic brilliance. It appeals to me as someone who likes to shove leftist sanctimoniousness back in their face that the first female President would be a conservative Republican woman. Hahahaha.

 

. Posted by Hello

Fat Albert

Kenan Thompson attends a New York film screening July 7, 2004 in a New York file photo. Thompson, who plays the title role in the new 'Fat Albert' movie, hopes he doesn't get typecast.

Just a suggestion, then.

 

The next great schism

While reading a link from LGF about a Muslim organization (Muslim Public Affairs Council [MPAC]) attacking the work of Steve Emerson I ran across a list of names from various Christian denominations and three Rabbis supporting the work of the MPAC. At the top is the name of a Episcopal Priest, J. Edwin Bacon. Why am I not surprised? For years leftists in mainstream church organizations have been pushing these denominations farther and farther away from the mainstream. Anyone familiar with this trend knows about the National Council of Churches. They have been communist apologists from the beginning. My father often railed against leftists in the Episcopal church, a losing battle, while the leftists did their best to drive out all conservative voices in the church. Much like our University system, many churches reflect the leftist values of these infiltrators.

There is a backlash and I am afraid that the only solution to the division in many churches is schism. Leftist ideology is too well entrenched in the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA)for conservative churchgoers to have much influence over decisions made on the national level. As you can see from the link above, some churches have gone over the head of the national church appealing to the largest part Anglican communion, the conservative African church. This drama is playing out. But I do not see either side backing down. Ultimately, this will be good for the average Episcopalian who does not support the leftist agenda of ECUSA.

The other disturbing revelation is that leftist clergy have bought into the radical Muslim/leftist nexus. It is amazing that two diametrically opposed ideologies can find common ground. That common ground being hatred of America. It does give us great insight into how morally bankrupt the left has become. They are slaves to their dogma. If the US foreign policy is the root of all evil, then Muslim extremists must be supported. This has lead to another schism of sorts within the leftist community.

Update:

Controversies cause Episcopalians to leave, join other faiths
BY MICHAEL GARTLAND Of The Post and Courier Staff

Harriet Borom couldn't stand all the controversy in the Episcopal Church.
"I couldn't in good conscience go and take Communion," she said. "I'm very traditional."
The departures from convention grated on her so much that one day while kneeling for the Eucharist, the Eutawville woman hit her breaking point. She'd leave the denomination she'd been a part of her whole life.
That was 1997.
That's six years before a gay Episcopal priest become bishop and six years before the same-sex marriage debate bubbled up as a denomination-wide issue. When Bor-om left, it was because a woman had offered her Communion.
The two more recent controversies have prompted conservative members of the church to break ranks and join other faiths. Church leaders and secular scholars see those issues as symptoms of a much larger problem in the Episcopal Church, one which dates back to the 1960s.
In February, Anglican leaders from around the world will gather in Belfast to discuss whether the controversy can be amicably resolved and if the Episcopal Church USA will remain part of the larger, worldwide Anglican Communion.
David Hein teaches religion and philosophy at Hood College in Maryland and has written extensively about Episcopal history and theology. He described the central problem in the Episcopal Church now as a general decline in its moral authority, especially in the hierarchy. That erosion began in the 1960s and '70s when the civil rights and women's movements, the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal prompted people to question traditional authority and institutions, including government, military and churches.
Those clashes resulted in sweeping changes in civil rights and government, but they also created confusion.
Changes in Episcopal prayer books in the 1970s and the decision to allow women into the priesthood also shook up the denomination, Hein said.
And for many traditionalists like Borom, the prospect of receiving Communion from a woman eventually forced the issue.
Sam Howell, an attorney in downtown Charleston, left for the Greek Orthodox church 14 years ago because of debates over new prayer books introduced in the 1970s.
"I felt I didn't have any personalenergy left to fight for my own salvation and benefit," he said.
The current controversies have compounded the problem.
"People are just looking at the Episcopal Church now and scratching their heads," he said.
Reasons run deeper than elevating a gay priest to bishop, he added. The installation of the Rev. Gene Robinson as the first gay Episcopal bishop brought the issue of homosexual clergy to the forefront of denomination-wide debate, but it also has thrown long-held attitudes toward premarital sex into disarray, Hein said. The effect all of this has had on the denomination's number is negative, he added.
"It stabilized in numerical growth in the last five years, but when this kicked up, people started leaving again," he said.
Exactly how many is unclear. The Episcopal Church population has experienced a steady decline since the mid-1960s when its membership peaked at 3.7 million. According to statistics issued by the denomination's headquarters, the Episcopal Church USA's population now hovers at 2.3 million. The rate at which people have left over Robinson's elevation is still unclear, though.
Maria Christodoulou, a research assistant at the Episcopal headquarters in New York, said population statistics for 2003 are not ready, but others in the church contend numbers are available and staggering.
The Rev. Kendall Harmon, the S.C. Diocese Canon Theologian and an opponent of gay ordination, estimates that about 36,000 members of the church left in 2003, many of them over the ordination of Robinson.
"They don't want to be a part of a church that has capitulated to culture, rather than tried to change the culture," Harmon said.
People who feel this way often leave for the Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches, he added. Many remain in the Anglican communion but distinguish themselves from the U.S. denomination in their opposition to Robinson's ordination. Some go to other mainline Protestant denominations, such as the Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutherans. Others join congregations that are more closely associated with evangelism.
South Carolina hasn't seen the exodus that other dioceses have experienced, some say. The Rev. Greg Snyder, an associate rector at St. John's Episcopal Church on Johns Island, said that more liberal dioceses are most likely seeing more of a drain on numbers.
"Because this diocese is really conservative, no one has really left," he said.
Christodoulou noted that recent statistical breakdowns of departures from particular dioceses are not available, and that quantifying "conservative" and "liberal" dioceses would be statistically impossible.
In Raleigh, Garland Tucker and about 200 other Episcopalians formed Holy Trinity Church, a member of the Anglican Communion Network, an organization that opposes gay ordination and the general direction of the Episcopal Church. Tucker faults a drift toward moral relativism as the main reason for the Episcopal Church's declining membership.
"If this were a company, the shareholders would be asking for new management," he said. "The election of Gene Robinson is the focal point, but it's been building for a long, long time."


Monday, December 27, 2004

 

Black Ice

One of the joys of winter in Moscow is the phenomena of black ice. I discovered this the hard way during a visit in December, 2003. Being back in Moscow during the holidays had me in a good mood and I was going out for the evening, of course, starting after 9 pm. In a fit of joy I decide to hop over a snow bank to the sidewalk. When my right foot hit the pavement/ice it went out from under me and I came down hard on my left knee. Swelling and bleeding, I decided to call it a night. I spent the next few days inside icing my knee and cursing my luck. I watched New Years Eve on TV. It was a particularly cold year so I was not tempted to try and endure the crowds in Red Square.

Black ice results from the huge amount of pollution in Moscow and the month or so when temperatures hover around freezing which keeps the sidewalks slushy during the days and freezing at night. A layer of ice forms over the pavement that is black as night and it is very easy to mistake this ice for the street under it. Moscow is a city of apartment buildings and the owners of these buildings do not consider it their responsibility to clear the sidewalks in front of their buildings. Surprisingly, few businesses bother, either. Snow fall is prodigious and maintaining clear sidewalks would be a fulltime job. Considering how cheap labor is in this country, you would think they could get this done.

Walking in Moscow is great exercise. You have to shuffle your feet while leaning forward to avoid slipping. It isn't easy to master. I was told Russians can spot non-Russians by the way we walk. They know if the foreigner is American if the person is smiling, also.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

 

Clinton's Pro-China Legacy

A nice example of how trying to address even a small part of the damage done to US national security by the Clinton Administration causes problems.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

 

Terrorism in Canada

A little noticed incident in Canada.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

 

China

Thomas Barnett says China is now similar to the US in the first two decades of the 1900s and the nexus between globalisation and Americanisation is nearing an end. (From Asia by Blog)

More on China from Barnett here.

Monday, December 06, 2004

 

China and Iran

Friends in need

If this is true, its more evidence of a burgeoning strategic relationship between Iran and China. Will the relationship be mostly an economic one or will military ties deepen too? The Chinese have much to offer the Iranian missle program courtesy of the Clinton Administration. What a legacy.

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