Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Edge of a cliff

A newly discovered neighbor in the solar system

Astronomers are claiming they have discovered a tenth planet in our solar system. However, there's some controversy over whether this "kuiper" object on the outer edge of the solor system and others like it, including Pluto, should be classified as "planets" since they are so different from the other planets in the solar system. In any case, I think it's fascinating when these new discoveries are made. Our own planet contains so many wonders and amazing sites to see. It's incredible to think that an infinite number of other, perhaps much more amazing planets, lie out there in the universe completely untouched and unexplored by humans (of this earth at least).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A real knight

The Guardian is reporting that former British Prime minister "Sir" John Major (he was recently made a knight) said clerics living in Britain who spew hatred and promote terrorism should be deported. He also said the war in Iraq has not create a new wave of Islamic attacks, but groups were organizing to attack several years ago. He also condemned those who live in England who teach their children to hate the country. John Major is talking about the new reality: that those who promote terrorism cannot expect their rights to be protected when they hate and want to destroy the very country that is giving them those rights.

Celebrities in politics

Congratulations to Lance Armstrong on winning his 7th Tour de France. It's an amazing accomplishment particularly considering he had to overcome cancer to do it. ran an article today discussing the possibility of his political career. Is fame all it takes to be a leader these days? His success in cycling certainly demonstrates he possesses some qualities that might make him a good leader, but the fact that he's popular because of his cycling success does not mean he can lead.

What's really comical about this article though are the quotes by his girlfriend Sheryl Crow concerning war:
"War is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow," she explained. "I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is not to have enemies."
Yeah. O.K. Thanks Sheryl. It was certainly the answer to giving America freedom and the answer to keep Hitler from ruling the world and the answer to giving the Kuwaitis freedom. but you're right, let's just all be friends. That works great in celebrity land, but in the real world it takes wars to keep peace. So stick with what you know best: singing. That brings to mind the question: if it is so great being a celebrity, then why are so many of them looking for second jobs as political activists to find "fulfillment"? Just keep entertaining us and let the wise lead.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Boy Scouts

This is a tragic story of the deaths of four scout leaders at a camp. The Boy Scouts have had some difficult issues to deal with recently (albeit, totally unrelated to this story). Hopefully this organization will be able to continue and keep building boys into good men. It's ironic that in claiming to preserve the rights of the people, the ACLU is taking more rights away, many more, than they are preserving. What is happening to the Boy Scouts is just one example.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Death toll rises

CNN is now reporting the death toll at at least 83 in Egypt.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More senseless killing

This time in Egypt. There was also an explosion in Beirut in a Christian area. This can't go on forever. Hopefully it's only a matter of time before the majority of Muslims begin to seriously fight terrorism at every point in its germination. One way or another it has to stop. The current restraints of political correctness and tolerance will dissolve if this continues to plague the world and civil liberties will have to yield to public safety. Powerline has an interesting post on Muslim sentiment following the shooting of the bombing suspect in the London tube.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

CNN's QUICKVOTE: The limits of public opinion relevance

Not to make fun of other people's work, but there are times when the CNN quick votes are just a joke. I realize they are not intended to be scientific or statistically significant, but sometimes they ask questions that from a public opinion standpoint are completely meaningless. Today for instance, they posted this question shortly after the London bombings. How in the world would the general public know if these bombings are related to the first and what good would it do to know the peoples' opinion on this question? Thankfully they quickly replaced this question with a question much more suited to polling public opinion: "Would the London bombings prevent you from visiting the city?" (No. Nearly 3 to 1). My purpose is not to criticize, but to point out that with a little extra thought put into it, this poll could be much more useful and relevant. There are questions asked that are very good.

Strong as the heartland

How long and hard the battle?

Although apparently no one was killed, today's bombing in London still disrupted normal life in a significant way. Terrorist experts debated the effect of the bombing throughout the day. Although terrorism may be a major thorn in our side for some time to come, I can't help but think that there is no way these terrorists can succeed. The more frequent their attack, even though small, become, the greater will be our force in abolishing them. And if their attacks are significant like 9/11 or the worst case scenerio of a nuclear attack, the repercussions will be enormous, drastic, but effective. The bottom line is that we will win. It's only a question of how long and hard the battle will be.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Democrat's launch faith Web site

Led by Senator Harry Reid, the Democrats have created a new Web site to showcase their efforts to reach those with faith. While the picture on the front page of Democratic leaders praying in a meeting brings to mind a certain biblical passage (to be fair, it could also be interpreted as this passage, or this one from the Book of Mormon), I think it is encouraging that faith is finding a new-found popularity in America. An article this week in the L.A. Times titled "A Time of Doubt for Atheists" chronicled the rising stigma that comes from being an atheist. Hopefully this resurgence in faith on so many different levels is sincere and deep and not just a passing fad and an attempt by some to be seen as religious, which now is becoming popular.

London mayor sympathizes with terrorists

Ken Livingstone, the mayer of London, basically said he understood why the terrorists attacked London and said they were motivated by Western policies. His statements oversimplify the issue and are disturbing in that they justify terrorism. To say that the west "fueled" terrorism gives anyone license to be a terrorist just because they strongly disagree with the policies of an organization or country. There are civilized and humane ways to dissent without killing innocent people. These comments make his previous comments condemning terrorism quite empty. Quite a contrast to the way another mayor handled a terrorist attack in his city.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

John Roberts nominated

President Bush nominated a new Supreme Court justice tonight. Although I know little about him, John Roberts seems like a decent man and someone who could defuse some of the opposition the Democrats were cooking up in anticipation of the nomination. It will be interesting to see if there are a whole new set of candidates when Rehnquist retires or if the next nominee is chosen from this same set of candidates.

CJR and NY Times coverage of culture

The Columbia Journalism Review criticized the NY Times for its coverage of culture and says it is not much better than some of the other entertainment media and could do much better. CJR recommends the paper, and other media, focus more on the effects of culture than just on the entertainment news. I really like the last paragraph of this article:

"If it did, the Times could help spark a debate about pop culture and its consequences. And that in itself would be healthy. Looming over every discussion of this subject is the threat of censorship. That threat is serious. But contrary to Oliver Stone’s fear, the mere discussion of whether some forms of pop culture hurt society does not constitute censorship. Given its vast influence, the Times, by covering pop culture more fully, could help get a national discussion going. That, in turn, might give entertainment executives new incentives — apart from FCC fines or congressional intervention — to consider the social effects of what they produce."

Women bishops

There's an interesting column in the London Times by a woman name Caroline Sandon who used to be a deacon in the Church of England. She comments on the Church's recent decision to begin allowing women bishops. She writes a convincing article about the role of women in religion and explains that they are not second class citizens, but have a nurturing role that they are best at fulfilling. It seems this movement is driven more by political correctness and feminism than by what is really good for believers.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mountain time

Lance getting closer to win

From the NY Times.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Dean's truth bending in Utah

Howard Dean came to Utah this weekend and spoke at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. According to Dean "even in Utah, most people agree with Democrats." Wow, I guess a lot has changed in Utah since Bush won 72% of the vote just last November. Or perhaps those who disagree with Dean aren't actually considered "people." In any case a more untruthful comment was this one "We have a Republican appointed supreme court that decided they can take your house and put a Sheraton Hotel in there." Was it the Republican appointees who made that decision? Of course he doesn't say that the four justices who dissented in the eminent domain case (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas and O'Connor) were all appointed by a Republican president.

People behaving badly

News reports are full of the indescretions of others whether they be scandals about Catholic priests or movie stars breaking the law or reality shows with low lifes. These seem to show up more and more often in the media. It is helpful to be informed about some of other peoples' problems, but much of it is all about the media's attempt to improve ratings because they know we love to watch it. WHY? The intuitive reason is that when we hear above others who have bad behaviors, it allows us to justify our own bad behavior and makes us feel better about ourselves. It that is true then the media is taking us down a slipperly slope where we can justify worse and worse behavior. This just emphasizes how we desperately need quality media that "pricks" at people and makes them want to live better, not worse lives. Where are the new Andy Griffith, Little House on the Prarie and Walton shows?

Friday, July 15, 2005

MSM needs patience

A story on the front page of was headlined "NASA delays shuttle launch...again." My advice to the media: lay off them. In an MBA class I remember watching a video about group think that showed how the challenger launch crew was pressured into going ahead with the launch, even though there were major concerns. The video showed a clip of Dan Rather reporting on a previous launch cancelation and being very critical of NASA for the delay. The media can't pressure NASA to launch and needs to realize that peoples' lives are at stake and safety is more important than the news cycle.

France's Identity Crisis

Isn't it strange for a head of state to have to explain that his country shouldn't envy another country? Quite telling if you ask me.

Nicholas D. Kristof in North Korea

The New York Times has been posting a video blog of Nicholoas Kristof's trip to North Korea. It appears that the blog is intended to show what normal life is like in North Korea, but it gives you the feeling that he is being very careful about what he says (while he's in the country). I find the videos fascinating. What a strange place. It was particularly interesting to hear Kristof talk about the prevalence of elaborate monuments in the city.

GMA Karl Rove coverage

GMA has replaced the Today Show as my favorite national morning show mainly because I get tired of Matt and Katie's "investigative" interviews. This morning however, GMA covered the Karl Rove situation and brought on Sam Donaldson and another "Veteran" reporter whose name I can't remember. They ended the segment by showing a clip from John Stewart's comedy program "The Daily Show" which made fun of Karl Rove. At the end, all of them were laughing. I found it quite it all quite strange. It reminded me of how I felt when Dan Rather ran the first story on the memos. He seemed a little too excited and happy to be reporting that. That's the same impression I get watching the MSM cover the Karl Rove story.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

CS Monitor cartoons

Clay Bennett of the Christian Science Monitor (an excellent newspaper, perhaps the best) is a very talented cartoonist as is demonstrated by the awards he's won. However, I disagree with the premise behind today's cartoon which says our homeland security is faulty. Yes there are holes, but considering we have not had an attack since 9/11 I think is quite remarkable. People, like Bennett, seem to forget how easy it is for terrorists who want to kill themselves to destroy other as well. Securing the well being of an entire country against such wackos is impossible, but I think Homeland Security is doing their best.

The problem with some editorial cartoons is that, while humorous, they criticise without providing any solutions.

Housing Bust?

The WSJ front page today had a story about the leveling off of home prices in Australia. The same thing has happened in England as well. Is the U.S. next?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

CNN video is now offering video on its Web site for free. This is a good move for them because most other news sites do the same thing and I would think few people would pay the subscription fee they were asking for just to view low-quality video online. The video updates are nice.

Best of the Web

If you haven't already discovered it, you'll want to follow James Taranto's blog on It's quite conservative, but he makes some great points and it's hilarious at times.