"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Monday, September 18, 2006

Separation Sunday Concludes

Pro Football is funny. It's 17 weeks of frenetic activity to make the playoffs, and ultimately win the Super Bowl. It's also an outlet for fans everywhere. In cities with hope (i.e. teams 2-0) there's joy and adoration. In citied with teams that are 0-2 there's angst and verbal venom.

For the fan in an era where loyalty to a community has largely vanished, the fans really pin their hopes on the parties and revelry that winning brings. Any loyalty to the local team is mostly secondary to what the winning does to one's personal mood.

A Kinder, Gentler Islam

The Pope got himself in trouble recently by quoting from a book recounting a conversation involving a 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor--Manuel Paleologos II. He said, according to the book, "'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

To show their disagreement with the "evil and inhuman" comment, a few Muslims responded by torching churches in the West Bank and killing a nun, her bodyguard and a hospital worker in Somalia. Or perhaps this was unrelated and just training for the next zanjeer zani session (see: ritual, Ashurah; or just view the above photo).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where Have All the Men Gone?

American college graduates of the female persuasion are running up against a smaller percentage of marriable options, if academic credentials are important to them. A load of smarts
does not impart an intrinsically high desirability factor, but dismissing the factor altogether isn't without pitfalls either.

Some estimates suggest 60% of females , give or take a few percentage points, make up the university student population of late. That means for every three females there's two available guys who are, roughly speaking, intellectually equal. Therefore, applying musical chair principles, one out of three girls must await a suitor who's either intellectually inferior or from another country altogether. Of course there are the issues of God's sovereignty, physical attraction, the breakdown of the family, and the definition of love that merit examination but we'll leave those aside for now.

I would suggest the American culture has been largely feminized over the past few decades and this has untoward effects in both classrooms and the office place. Young males growing up in America now are unknowingly exposed to an atmosphere that their maleness does not favor or desire. In many cases, this leads to a lack of interest and pursuit of finding a niche in life. Sure, there are slackers but there's others who start out in life meaning well but become disenchanted at some point in their lives because of the inability to male-ize their environment, without the political and economic repercussions.

In an inclusive sense, God designed women to nurture a house and make it a home while males are driven more by work interests. Women by no means are meant to avoid the "work place" but the feminization of it imperils the potential relationship-forming odds for females. At some point the question must be asked if over-feminizing the culture is worth it, especially when you consider having a daughter or two one day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"9-11" ... 5 Years Later

On this 5th anniversary of 9-11 the doubters of the reports put out by the 9-11 Commission, FEMA (of Katrina fame) and NIST (National Institutes of Science and Technology), that jet crashes/fire led to the collapse of World Trade Center 1 and 2 (North and South towers), find themselves gaining momentum in public opinion. A Zogby poll revealed 42% of Americans believed "that the US government and its 9/11 Commission concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence that contradicts their official explanation of the September 11th attacks, saying there has been a cover-up." A cursory review of related material, much of it unfortunately presented in an inflammatory manner, certainly muddies the waters and does seem to warrant a review of the events that unfolded five years ago. Then again, people want the Kennedy assassination case reopened, but who expects that to happen? I don't expect the 9-11 case to be reopened either but greater awareness of what the blackballed voices are saying can't hurt. When was the last time the court of public opinion refused to hear a case?

After wading through lots of www-dot-fill-in-the-blanks, here's a smattering of some of the weightier allegations and bits of evidence that makes this laymen scratch his head. A lot of 9-11 conjecture is foolish, bizarro stuff (e.g. jets never really hit the twin towers, it was made to seem that way using trick filmography) but a lot of it is powerful. In cases like this, every man is his own judge when it comes to weighing evidence. (Only time to read/view 1 link? Go to the "Loose Change 2" link [colored red] below). With that in mind...

World Trade Center 7 (47-stories) also collapsed on 9-11, hours after WTC1 and WTC2 collapsed, as seen in this video. Unlike WTC1 and WTC2, Building 7 was not hit by a jet but said to have suffered collateral damage from the twin towers. Its collapse was at free fall speed and very controlled demolition-like. World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein is on video stating that WTC7 was "pulled" (industry speak for "demolished" by way of explosion). Silverstein had closed on a bid to insure several of the WTC towers on July 24, 2001, including a caveat in the policy covering terrorist-related damage. Silverstein was awarded nearly $5 billion for his losses. With respect to the "pull it" comment by Silverstein, if he meant what he said, when and why was demolition material rigged there in the first place? Were the tenants informed? The 9-11 Commission Report fails to even mention the WTC7 collapse at all. An interesting omission.

Consider the squibs. Squibs are blasting caps used in initiating explosions that produce a plume of debris as a byproduct (see middle, left photo above). This 57-second video reveals many squibs, several floors below the pancaked areas in fact, during the collapse of the North and South towers. This 30-second video featuring squibs is a plea from reopen911.org to, well, reopen the investigation (see "assassination case, Kennedy). For comparative purposes, go to implosionworld.com and double-left-click on the third little icon from the left, lower row. It's a 45-second video of the demolition of the Southwark towers, a South Philadelphia public housing project. The squibs begin at about the 37-second mark and last for a couple of seconds--can't miss 'em. Note the similarities.

Tsts run by Brigham Young University physics professor Steven Jones on previously-molten metal samples from the tower debris have yielded preliminary results which tested positive for thermate. Young suggests thermate was likely the explosive used to bring down the twin towers. His report can be viewed here. Among other things, Jones points out that the NIST report failed to mention the many witness reports of explosions. Not recognizing these witness accounts conveniently relieves the need to address them. Professor Jones was placed on paid leave for probing this area of "free speech."

The Boeing 757-223 jet that hit the Pentagon had two six-ton, nine-by-twelve foot Pratt and Whiteney engines. A rotor from a much smaller JD8D turbo jet was found at the site instead. The physics911.net site has an exhaustive list of other questions, photographs and diagrams used in support of its claim that the findings documented in the 9-11 Commission Report related to Flight 77's crash into the Pentagon are inconsistent with the evidence. For much more on the pentagon chapter of 9-11 watch this video.)

Hani Hanour, who allegedly flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, according to flight school training records had struggled to land a small plane just weeks earlier. Now he flies a Boeing 757 into the first floor of the Pentagon without even scraping the ground in the process? The 60 ton plane mostly vaporizes?

This site reports that eight of the hijackers are alive and well. Are they? I don't know. But at this point anything seems possible.

The twin towers, like WTC7, essentially fell at free-fall speed. This is consistent with a controlled demolition project, not with a steel high-rise falling because of fire. Many claim there has never been a steel high-rise to collapse secondary to fire. With 9-11 you have 3 steel high-rises collapsing in the same day! Add that to the two disappearing planes.

The six-story lobby in the North Tower suffered severe severe damage secondary to an explosion(s) while the fire in the tower was about 90 stories higher. See the wildly popular Loose Change 2 video for more detail on this curious finding.

Popular Mechanics (PM) has been in the lead in the extra-governmental assault against those questioning the veracity of the 9-11 Commission, FEMA and NIST. PM bases its arguments partly on some of the more bizarro public allegations. Jim Hoffman addresses this basic straw man tactic here.

There are a slew of interesting subplots, some of which include--the lack of debris from the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, the "cell phone calls", the "buffoonery" of NORAD, Rudy Guliana stating he was warned the towers would be falling, witness reports of C-130 military planes in the air space, the seismographic record, the collapsing of the North tower antenna in relation to the building itself, the swiftness with which the steel evidence was shipped to China and India, the molten metal at the bottom of the rubble weeks after the attack, the similarity of the pyroclastic flow (video link) when comparing the WTC tower collapses with known explosive events. It's certainly a topic with an extensive root system. The collective weight of the pieces of evidence certainly raise suspicion as to what exactly happened that day.

There's obviously a conspiracy theory at work here. But who are the conspirators? The 9-11 Commission, FEMA, NIST, CNN and FOXNews people, or the slew of independent investigators writing books and uploading their opposing findings and videos on the internet? Two parties not without flaws and credibility issues. Agendas? Surely, but that too is an equal opportunity wart. Somewhere the truth is out there. It's not likely one side will convince the other they're wrong.

So when the media runs its 9-11 coverage on 9-11, look and listen for a few things (in a non- condescending context)-- the squibs, video of the collapse of WTC7, the Silverstein video, the photo of the woman with clean white pants standing in the tower where the plane went in (as above), video of Flight 77 flying into the pentagon in comparison to the clarity of the jet striking the South tower, and any film clips of witnesses using words such as "explosion" or "demolition."
Here's a couple of other great links to videos of interest- Loose Change 1 (29:20) and WTC demolition squibs (5:49).

Note: It's not uncommon for web site visitors (especially on the "You Tube" site), to use profanity when posting comments. I can't edit these out, hence this warning.

Also, Steven Jones' report has been pulled off the internet, coinciding with when he went on paid leave. Hence the link above no longer takes you to his report.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Political Races Bring out the Little gods

It's Negative Ad Season and we're all poised to complain about it. With midterm elections approaching a slew of races are underway which means ads galore. It's difficult to pass an hour without hearing, reading or seeing an ad with a politician promising to fix a decades-old, monumental problem, if he or she is elected. There's rarely a promise to try hard but rather to succeed. History dictates the majority of promises go unfulfilled but that doesn't stop the hopefuls from treating everyone to the Promest Fest.

Politics are inevitable, as are politicians. However we live in a culture that embraces and prioritizes pipe dreams over truth and reasonableness. The inertia of the current political climate flow$ into Washington and out from our pocket$. A growing, maturing and reformed Christian church will be necessary to affecting a change in the nature of politics. Until such a change is evident the present political climate will merely reflect a culture that is happily enslaved while believing it's emancipated.

Crocodile Hunter... Hunted

None of us knew how popular the Crocodile Hunter--Steve Irwin--really was until we all started telling friends and neighbors he was killed by a stingray. Wondering if they knew who he was, we were surprised that they not only knew him but enjoyed his work and succesful television show. Who expected a stingray would thrust its barb into the Crocodile Hunter's heart. A death roll by way of a croc is what most of us probably feared for Steve.

Second guessers will ponder whether or not Irwin could have equaled his commercial and environmental message successes without taking the risks that he did. It's one thing to chase poisonous snakes it's another thing to seize one and hold it up in your face. That's typical of the risks Irwin took. For certain he ascribed a degree of domesticness to wildlife when none really existed. Stingrays aren't like Flipper or Mr. Ed.

I suspect Irwin knew early on that to sell his show he would need that NASCAR crash-type element to it. He knew viewers would want to know there's a chance he could get bit, rolled, stung, chewed or crushed with one small mistake, or else they would tune he and his show out. This was not to be another Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom, which was decent in its day. That's what Steve gave and it worked quite well until this past week. Age 44.

His contributions to spreading knowledge about zoo-type animals was enormous. For a man not seeking to establish a legacy (see- Presidents, recent) his ballooned immediately. Life is not primarily about accomplishments but making one's mark certainly isn't irrelevant either. Irwin set a high standard in his niche market and it will be interesting to see how his proteges respond to the call of the public to pick up where he left off.

A stingray! Crikey. One wonders if after getting impaled Irwin told the ray, "You're alright little fella."

Football Cranks Up!

Football season is once again underway. Sportswriters will gather before coaches in interview rooms around the nation and ask what it will take to improve upon last season. The coaches will say something along the lines of less turnovers, avoid injury, cut back on penalties, and improve on the fundamentals. One thousand years from now, and all the years in-between one champion will emerge each year in spite of giving up turnovers, sustaining injuries, commiting penalties and making errors in fundamentals.

There's always next year.