Friday, April 20, 2007

Taking personal responsibility

There seems to be a core divide between people who believe they are responsible for their own choices, even bad ones, and those who blame others for the bad choices they made. This is the divide between me and the Virginia Tech killer. I have no sympathy for his sob story of discrimination because I lived it myself. He knew right from wrong, and he definitely knew what he was doing was wrong or he wouldn't have shot himself. He was a loser because he blamed others for the wrong choices he made and especially because he made the additional bad choices to take his blame out on innocent people. Those of you who sympathize with this loser should take a close look at yourself because there is only one choice that differentiates you from this mass murderer.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Wahhabism is a what Muslims derogatorily call an extreme version of Salafism, the most conservative and violent root of Islam. A good Christian comparison would be the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament. Although the Bible contains the Old and New Testaments, most Christians create their own view of God which excludes the violence and bloodiness of the God in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, Islam is currently in the state where Salafism holds the mainstream view. However, this doesn't mean Salafi of Saudi Arabia are the same as the Salafi of Al Quaida. The difference between the two would be similar to the equivalent difference between the strict Southern Baptists and the KKK. This is why Bin Laden issues fatwahs to kill while Saudi Arabia issues fatwahs that suicide bombing is against Islam. The trouble is that the advocacy of fire and brimstone tends to breed intolerance and that is what Islam has more than Christianity now. Islam is sorely in need of its version of Martin Luther to reform Islam and bring its moderate roots like Sufism into the fore. Until this occurs, Islamic equivalents of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition (e.g., Al Quaida and the Taliban) will likely maintain permanence.

The two battlefields

It amuses me when people talk about the US military being bent to the breaking point. Our military is a federal agency with all the bureaucracy and inefficiency that is inherent. When we talk about it reaching the breaking point today, we are talking about niceties like long periods of time away from combat, being fully equipped and trained, having sufficient support, etc. If we were in a real war like WWII, the US military would suddenly find incredible reserves of capability. That's the trouble with how we view the war in Iraq. We don't think of it or treat it like a real war like WWII. That is a complaint you will hear from many soldiers. Only a small percentage understand that this is a real war while the rest are really not affected by it and frankly don't really care except that the negative news makes them feel bad which is why there are so many people on the left who believe that they can support the troops and yet not support the mission and why there are so many people on the right who aren't providing the troops the resources and freedom they need to win.

On the other side of the coin, it amuses me when people talk up the efforts of Al Quaida, Sadr and their followers. Let's put it this way. If the US military is on the breaking point, their enemies have been broken even before they began to fight. Each successful attack is plastered all over the media, but what is ignored are the hundreds or thousands of attacks that failed and the disproportionate amount of casualties those who attack our soldiers have taken. If you had to choose a side to fight for that would ensure your greatest survival and military success, it would be definitely be the US military "on the breaking point" rather than the "triumphant" enemy.

The trouble is that battlefield of the hearts and minds of the American people became just as important as the battlefield on the ground from Vietnam and on. A loss on either battlefield means a loss on both. We are winning militarily on the ground, but we are losing the war with the American people's patience and commitment. Our enemy has the easy job because they can fail hundreds or thousands of times, but it only takes relatively few successful attacks to affect the fickle US public significantly. Not only that, we have those, mostly on the left, who use this for their own agenda as well which becomes a force multiplier for the enemy attacks on the American hearts and minds.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Congress couldn't disgust me more, but I could be wrong

The blatant addition of billions of dollars of pork in front of the eyes of the whole country to the military spending bill has peaked my disgust at congress. I don't care what party you belong to. Everybody should be questioning the politicians, especially the Democrats who were supposed to be better than the Republicans after taking over but have ended adding the bulk of the pork. The Democrats have just reverted to their standard operating procedure of corruption which led to them being kicked out during Clinton's reign. Corruption was the main issue affecting local politics which led to the Democrats retaking congress. You would think they would get the message, but either they are too stupid or too corrupt.

The middle class

The definition used in media of the American middle class is vague, at best. It isn't the statistical middle class, so comparisons over time are subjective to inaccuracies inherent to population changes, inflation and uncountable other factors. So the analysis I am doing here is the statistical middle class defined as the middle quintile (20%) of our population as defined by table HINC-05 of the census tables located at One key data that is given is the lower bound of the income for the middle class and the lower bound for the higher quintile which is basically the same as the upper bound for the middle class:


What this shows is not as headline catching as the news outlets are willing to present. What it basically says is that the 2001 recession impacted the lower and upper bounds of income for the middle class until 2003 where the upper bound started to move up and starting with 2004, both the lower and upper bounds moved up. It's nothing earth shaking, but it brings to earth what headline news tries to make
political fodder.

11/13/2007 - added line for 2006
07/15/2010 - added lines for 2007 & 2008
07/09/2013 - added line for 2011
01/04/2014 - added line for 2012