Saturday, December 22, 2007

Blair Converts to Catholocism

This news is shocking indeed...I wonder how far we would have to go to find a Catholic (ex) Prime Minister of England.....Disraeli was Jewish. Clearly his wife Cherie (who is Catholic) has had an influence on him. This is huge news I think. I am pretty sure the PM has a say in the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury. So good thing he waited to get out of office before doing it.

Japans hidden Christians

The Portuguese tried to Christianize Japan in the mid 16th Century. After some initial success the religion was banned in the early 17th century. However certain pockets survived in the remote Islands and is present today as "Kakure Kirishtian" - Hidden Christianity in Japan. They have evolved into a very unique form of the religion that has elements of Shintoism and Buddhism in it. A fascinating story indeed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jim Cramer Loves Canada

Jim Cramer, the madman of MSNBC's "Mad Money" was on Tim Russert this weekend and I was blown away by his over the top endorsment of Canada. Right on the money. Canada is doing well because the politicians there are worried about substance. In America we are worried about whether Mitt Romney believes in the Lord Jesus or whether the Bible is inerrant or whether Obama is Osamas adopted child or whether Rudy Guiliani supports the concealed handgun law because "guns dont kill people, just rednecks with guns"....:) - you know...the important stuff. Here is the transcript.

RUSSERT: You also mention a country—Canada. Buy Canada.
CRAMER: These are always hard for Americans to admit. Canada was a stepchild for a long time. The dollar used to be king. The loonie, as they call it in Canada, is king. Any Canadian mineral stock, oil stock or bank stock is—I hate to say this, Tim—better than American.
CRAMER: More fiscally conservative country, a country that has very little inflation versus its tremendous resource base, and a country that is very supportive of the stock market. Everybody’s invested up there, and their stocks are assessable, they look like ours, but they’re—most of the companies are better run. The Canadians finally are being recognized for what they are, fabulous capitalists.
RUSSERT: Why? It’s right across the border. How could they be so much better?
CRAMER: Well, they’ve got a government that is much more prudent than our government. They are a country that is not addicted to debt. They are not letting others pay their bills for the government. We do all these things. They don’t have a big deficit. They’re us in 1955.
RUSSERT: Prudent.
CRAMER: They’re prudent. We’re not.
RUSSERT: Why aren’t we?
CRAMER: We are unwilling to raise taxes. They raise taxes all the time. No one gets fired or gets unelected because they raise taxes.
They are not afraid to pay for their own bills. They have courage. Their politicians have courage. They are not afraid to stand up and say, we’ve got to pay for it ourselves.
RUSSERT: You’re not going across the border are you?
CRAMER: No, no. But I think people should recognize there’s a reason why the Canadian dollar is worth more than ours. They have politicians who bite the bullet. We don’t. No one is willing to take any sort of responsibility here. Up there, it’s responsibility, prudence and a notion that we’re reckless. And I’ve got to tell you, they’re pretty right.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How important is identity?

Fareed Zakaria presents an idea to the rest of America that I think any Immigrant instinctively knows is right. Our perspective when it comes to understanding the world outside America is unique and nuanced because for a long amount of time many of us were not American or did not live in America. This gives us an ability to understand the impacts of policy in a far more realistic way than a native born American with limited world exposure (ie the majority of the US population). I found myself in violent agreement with his thesis. Good read.

The Power of Personality
"When I talk to people in a foreign country, no matter how strange, they are always familiar to me"

I never thought I'd be in this position. There's a debate taking place about what matters most when making judgments about foreign policy—experience and expertise on the one hand, or personal identity on the other. And I find myself coming down on the side of identity.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Say it aint so Roger.....

If the Mitchell report is right and Roger Clemens used performance enhancing drugs and if Barry Bonds is convicted in the current perjury case before the courts, then both the greatest pitcher and the greatest slugger of the last 20 years will not get into the Hall of Fame.

Sen. Mitchell talks about the hundreds of thousands of children who look up to these players as role models. Therefore I feel that the damage has already been done. These kids have grown up with the super muscled MacGwires and Bonds and have seen what steroids can do to a players ability on the field. It can raise a good player to great and this will be a huge incentive for these kids to play follow the leader. No other baseball scandal whether it be Pete Rose or the Black Sox were an existential type threat to the game. We have seen the glory of steroids with 70 homerun seasons and 3.0 lifetime we need to see the punishment.

Sen. Mitchell does not think that they should be criminally punished (and I agree). However Major League Baseball and the sports writers need to impose some kind of punishment. I think keeping them out of Cooperstown will serve as a start. The other punishment should be to asterisk their records (The Baseball equivalent of a Scarlet letter) and possibly even have their career records stricken from the books. That would be a powerful statement to young players that steroid use has serious consequences.

And finally almost all of this has happened under Bud Selig's reign and it would be highly unjust if he doesnt bear some of the resposnsibility for allowing Americans pastime to be so permanently tarnished.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Too Much God?

Since I'm just a dumb immigrant I am getting very confused about whether the election next November is to elect the Commander in Chief or the Pastor in Chief of this nation.

While I have never been in a Papal Conclave I am pretty sure that the College of Cardinals in the Vatican probably has less references to God during their election of a Pope. This is getting downright silly. If Huckabee becomes President how different is the United States from a theocracy like Iran? You will have an ordained Baptist preacher as the head of Government. A Christian Ayatollah in the White House!!!!

Sure he likes Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd but he also reads Genesis literally. Isn't it a great shame that the country that has become synonymous with the separation of church and state may have a man of the cloth at its head (small chance but possible).

While Romney's speech was inspiring and soaring I also felt it highly improper. Why does a political candidate have to state on National TV in a highly publicized speech, in the 21st century for God sakes....that he "Believes that Jesus is his Lord and Savior and is God incarnate" - I cannot imagine a single western country where any politician will feel the need to make that statement. (In fact I am reasonably sure that those kind of statements might even be rare in non western countries).....To me that was the Christian equivalent of Romney shouting Allahu Akbar.

Maybe when those Godless communists in China (or some country that does not believe that Jesus is their Lord and Savior) seriously kicks some Jesus / God fearing American ass the US will ratchet down this God talk a bit. There is this unstated notion that Americans are exceptional, a favored people, perhaps even one of the lost tribes of Israel. This is the sin of pride and we all know what the good book says about pride going before a fall.