Movie Review: Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire

Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire

[Rating = 3]

This 4 DVD documentary from the History Channel covers the period from the end of the Roman Republic to the end of the Roman Empire. It is more or less divided up by Emperor, describing each in turn as it takes you through the rise, expansion, division and ultimate collapse of the Roman Empire. It provides a decent overview of the various stages and the Emperors in power at each point. While not as detailed as most, it is still sufficient to make one familiar with the overall history of the Roman Empire. A good starter for the student of Roman history.


Book Review: The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origin of Atoms

The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms

This book tells the story of the search for the origins of atoms, from the first concept of atoms as indivisible particles to our present day understanding. There is a great deal of the history of science in this book without it being overly technical or dry. The origins of atoms of various elements, from the big bang, in the hearts of stars or in their cataclysmic deaths as supernovae, are all addressed in an interesting and informative manner. If you are interested in the origins of atoms or physics or astronomy there is something in this book for you and you will enjoy reading it.


Book Review: The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850

The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850


Published in 2000, this gives a historical account of climate conditions between the Roman Warm Period and the Industrial Revolution. Fagan describes the period of substantially cooler weather in terms of agriculture, habitable regions and weather patterns from an archeological perspective. He presents evidence for the natural causes of cooling – volcanic activity, solar activity – predating any manmade causes (albeit with a nod to Anthropogenic Climate Change claims, as any book from the early 21st Century must to in order to survive politically correct scrutiny) without making any unsubstantiated assertions.

All in all a good read.

Book Review: Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud

Covering numerous topics including Joe Newman’s energy machine, cold fusion, homeopathic medicine, anti-vaccination movement, power line cancer, magnetic therapy and assorted other items ranging from questionable to absurd, this book from 2000 describes the lengths the self-deluded to criminal will go to in the pursuit of vindication or to perpetrate a scam. The various categories of voodoo science, be it pathological self-delusion, pseudoscience, junk science or plain old superstitious mumbo jumbo are discussed thoroughly in a humorous and perhaps snarky presentation (one of the best lines in the book is “the attempt to extract the oxygen you need from water is called ‘drowning'”) that will evoke a snicker or two. You will wonder why anybody, perhaps even you, fell for some of these claims. But you will like the book.


Book Review: The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear

The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear

Beckmann discusses the issues surrounding the use of nuclear power in this still-relevant book from 1976. He proceeds not by whitewashing the potential dangers of nuclear energy, but by comparing it to other existing sources of energy in an apples-to-apples fashion. Beckmann makes the case that nuclear energy, while not totally clean and not totally safe, is actually both cleaner and safer than viable large-scale energy production from other sources. Even though the book is now 40 years old, it provides a comprehensive analysis of the relative risks and rewards of nuclear power versus the others with a degree of prescience regarding the technological advances in the energy industry.


Classic Leftist Distortion

In a classic example of leftist misrepresentation by the hate rag bird cage liner, asking that the police do the policing rather than campus administrators makes anybody doing so a part of the ‘Rape Lobby’ and an advocate of legalizing rape. Yes, read that again. In an article published March 25, 2015 claims that FratPAC (more formally, the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee), “the political arm of the nation’s fraternities and sororities … plans to lobby Congress this spring to make it more difficult for colleges and universities to investigate sexual assault allegations.”

They arrive at this conclusion in spite of the fact that what FratPAC is asking for is simply due process, a right guaranteed by the US Constitution in not one, but two different places. How are administrators of a college or university legally qualified to dispense justice regarding a criminal accusation? As far as I know, that is exactly what the justice system is for. The Founders must have had a reason for establishing it, after all.

Remember what happened to the Duke LaCrosse players when they were falsely accused of rape? Their lives were trashed, even though all the charges were eventually dropped. In fact, Crystal Mangum, the woman that accused them, was eventually convicted of murder, and we heard barely a peep about that until, uh, well, ever.

Rape is a terrible crime. And we don’t even know how many occur as many, perhaps 2/3, are never reported by the victim for a variety of reasons. That number, fortunately, seems to be declining and reporting rates are increasing. Compounding that is some number of false accusations that do occur. According to some feminist groups that number is only 2%, but an actual study, albeit a small one, places the number at 41%. I’m pretty sure that neither of those is particularly accurate given the nature of the data, but at least the 41% number actually has data to support it.

Notorious race-baiter Al Sharpton couldn’t let this one pass, as the accused rapists are ‘privileged’ white kids and the accuser herself black. He appeared on the O’Reilly Factor to defend Mangum but later recanted. Tawana Brawley, anybody?

And, as far as the victims of the accusation are concerned, the whole mess is a gift that just keeps on giving. Even though the accuser’s claims have been discredited, the charges dropped and the District Attorney removed from the case and eventually disbarred for his misconduct, there are those still trying to rewrite the story and to make them appear guilty after all.

Back to the point: the idea that some administrative body not constitutionally empowered to enforce and adjudicate the law should have the primary responsibility for doing so is ridiculous, and, in fact, unconstitutional. If the campus police aren’t up to it then the appropriate thing to do is to send it to the town or county or state police, depending on the circumstances, location and nature of the alleged transgression. What’s so hard about that?

Civil War


Here’s what has been and continues to be happening: Obama signs executive orders that bypass Congress to implement policy that he could never get through Congress. Then they end up getting challenged in court, but usually much later, after the damage is done. Even then, the process is likely to take years to resolve and in the mean time a large number of people end up in legal limbo. The only way to fight this is by fighting fire with fire, or in other words, executive order with executive order. Obama is over the line, exploiting a loophole that should never have existed. Kudos to Governor Brewer for her recognition of this problem and courageous solution. How many states will follow suit? I think we’re about to see a civil war waged by executive orders and in the courts.

An Insult to Our Intelligence


burning flag On September 11th, 2012, mobs attacked the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and also the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing one American, all, supposedly because of some movie that was insulting to Islam. Really? That isn’t the insult I hear. The insult I hear is to our intelligence. Are we supposed to believe that some no-name movie, so obscure that even the people attributing the violence to it can’t name it, just happened to incite crowds in countries now under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood to attack American diplomatic missions on the anniversary of the 911 attacks?

No, it wasn’t pious believers being offended by some movie that virtually none of them have ever seen. It was barbarians celebrating the attacks on America that occurred 11 years ago. What if Americans took a page from the barbarians’ play book and attacked the embassies of those countries that contributed men and materials to the 911 attacks, or contributed resources protecting, supplying or training Al Caida? That would make a hell of a lot more sense. So why don’t we? Because we are NOT, by and large, barbarians.

Add to it the first reaction of the Obama administration’s State Department: apology for offending the radical islamists, the Salafiyyah, who are stirring up trouble all over the place including Morocco, Egypt, Libya, India, Germany, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Albania, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Algeria and pretty much every place where there are non-fundamentalist Muslims or non-Muslims unwilling to be subjugated. It is difficult to distinguish between Al Caida and the Salafists in general (or Wahabbists, for that matter), so in essence, Obama apologized to Al Caida for offending their radical ideology. And, yeah, I know how they spell it; I just spell it according to the rules of the English language and will continue to do so as long as I am an English speaker. Too bad if that bothers anybody.

So much for the Arab Spring in Egypt and Libya. Obama’s clumsy foreign policy is now looking alarmingly like Carter’s equally inept handling of the conflict in Iran that led to the overthrow of the Shah and the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran along with 66 American hostages. While there is certainly an argument to be made that Carter is not to blame for the destabilization of Iran (things had gone pretty far down that road before he even took office), there really isn’t much good to be said about how he handled the parts of it that ultimately occurred on his watch. Don’t be surprised if tensions and incidents escalate. Some Ayatollah-wannabee just might have ambitions in that direction. I wouldn’t want to be in Egypt, Libya or any of those other areas where Salafists have substantial influence if Obama wins the election. Anybody caught up in that could be looking at being a hostage for a lot longer than 444 days. Or worse.

Update: The American Ambassador to Libya has been killed along with three more staffers – making the total number of Americans killed in Libya five – in a rocket attack while he was attempting to help them to safety. The details are still a bit vague, but it sounds like he was being a hero when he could have just gotten himself out of danger with relative ease.

DNC Delegates Can’t Read a Teleprompter, Either


donkeyWe are all familiar with Barack Obama’s Teleprompter dependency, even though he still stumbles and stammers his way through a speech even with the assistance of one. This affliction appears to be epidemic among the delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Did they catch it from Barack? Or did he catch it from them? We will probably never know. And then, of course, there’s Joe Biden.

The DNC, in a desperation move after their platform was hijacked by radicals, imposed the will of the empty chair and re-included language, over the stiff opposition of many of the delegates, supporting Israel and Jerusalem as its capital. Of course, a two-thirds majority was required for such a change, but even though it did not exist, the changes were ‘approved’ anyway.

What do we know from this? We know that the DNC is chock-full of, and the platform was written by, radicals. We know that there is a very strong anti-Israel constituency in the Democratic Party. We know that rules don’t matter, not even their own rules, when a high-ranking player is involved. We know that if they see a negative reaction they will flip-flop – at least until the election is over.

Pericles Had A Point.

Pericles Had A Point“Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean that politics won’t take an interest in you” – Pericles

“First they came for the Jews, and I said nothing…”

We have had the privilege, the luxury, of being able to ignore politics and still have no real worries. We have had the luxury of being able to say “I’m not political.” We have said “your relentless political postings have changed my political views. NOT!” because politics is a distasteful business full of crooks and liars and dirty money.

People have deliberately distracted you with shiny baubles while they stole your country. They deliberately tuned you out of the political process by making it sordid and unseemly, by being divisive and accusatory. This is deliberate. In order for them to take what you have they have to make you look away in disgust, or at something else in anger.

Politics does not have to be deception. You can make a difference. Pay attention to the issues. Not the made up fake issues, but the real issues. It’s about your children and grandchildren and the kind of country, society and legacy you will give them. Pay attention not only to what the politician promises you today, but what that means for tomorrow. Pay attention.