Monday, October 30, 2006

Another Couple of Books

I'm just finishing reading two more books from the library.

The History of the End of the World
How the most controversial book in the Bible changed the course of Western Civilization.
Jonathan Kirsch

This book is about Revelations and how so many individuals and groups through history decided that they had the secret knowledge of the coming of the prophecy and were of course proved wrong. It shows how the prediction of the end actually was for nearer Jesus' death, but that repeatedly down thorugh the centuries Revelations fever took hold. We are now in another wave of Armagedden belief led by the religious right in the United States. Once again they will have been found to have predicted wrong, the end is not near. The book is very detailed of the different cults and crazies that expected the end immediately.

Kingdom Coming
The rise of Christian nationalism.
Michelle Goldberg

This is a good book about the religious right. That makes three books on that subject that I've read recently from the library. It covers chapter by chapter the different issues and how the religious right uses money and politics to gain influence on the laws in America. From intelligent design to abortion to stem cells to prayer in school to anti-gay to etc., the list goes on, the religious right has an agenda to push.

I recommend both books.

Two More Books

Two books that I read from the local library were not bad.

Thy Kingdon Come
An evangelical's lament. How the religious right distort the faith and threatens America.
Randall Balmer

This was a great book to begin to understand how the religious right operates and their agenda and strategy. The author is an historian that was raised by a minister. He argues strongly from a position of a compassionate christian belief that is nearly the opposite track that the religious right is taking this country. As an interesting side note, Balmer was partly raised in Bay City, MI and fell for Tiger's fever in 1968. The author points at the different organizations used to fund the movement. He examines the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition among the many as well as important players such as Jerry Farwell, Pat Robertson, and Dobson. He pokes plenty of holes into religious right ideology that includes Revelationists who believe Biblical prophecy of end of the world. A good book to own.

Twilight in the Desert
The coming Saudi oil shock to the world economy.
Matthew R. Simmons

This book is great for a reader with oil geology expertise, but only good to me. I understand the theory, that the Saudi oil is much closer to running out than believed, but the writing is jammed with oil technology detail that overwelms the average reader. He is offering detailed assesment of the conditions of all the oil fields and what that might bring to the world in reaction.


Dis-history is what I call what the "information" on TV and in the media these days that is being recorded for history.

An example of dishistory is the war on terror. As historian Howard Zinn and author of the People's History of the United States explains, "I don't accept the war on terror. The war ITSELF is the terror." You've got to have nothing but sorrow for the people of Iraq.

The US supported Saddam Hussein in the 1980s to help make stronger the man responsible for the Iraqi's misery. First Saddam fought a long and bloody war with Iran (the US gave weapons and info to Saddam) and then invaded Kuwait to start the Gulf War. After the US-led coalition ousted the Iraqi Army, in which we left the Kurdish to be attacked and also George H.W. Bush promised help if any faction rose against Saddam and when the Shi'ite in the South did, Bush turned his back and Saddam slaughtered them.

Through the 1990's we had economic sanctions that only persecuted the people due to lack of food and medicine, Saddam enriched himself while the people suffered. Then we have Bush's Iraq War with the shock and awe opening salvo on the Iraqi people. Three and a half years later and the people are still being killed. A John Hopkins study suggested 650,000 Iraqi's dead since the war started. Another estimate is that one million have left the country. And who knows how many maimed and poor and starved and homeless and displaced and sickened due to the war there are. We know that they only get electricity a few hours per day, this three years and more into the war.

People don't want to admit that Iraq is in a sectarian civil war. Dishistorians look back and see no precedence in their version of history. They don't see that civil wars of the past have always had things like fuctioning government and economy occuring during the war. Look at the US civil war, though different in style, the war fought on while cities and towns not involved (the vast majority of them) went right on manufacturing things and farming. The people of Iraq farm and have an economy but also a shaky government, and the war and Baghdad violence goes on around them. Car bombs, IEDs, highjackings and torture killings, this is no place to live for the Iraqi people.

Dishistory barely looks at how the Iraqi people have suffered in more than two decades of wars and sanctions. If Bush wants to include Iraq in the war on terror then my only conclusion is that he wanted to terrorize the Iraqi people themselves, because war IS terror.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Posting a Post Mortem Tiger Post

Dear Mortem,

The Tigers errored their way to losing the World Series, 4 games to 1. Five errors by pitchers, three errors by Brandon Inge (which weren't lazy errors) and lack of timely hitting did in the Tigers.

Well, it was a good run while it lasted, just three games short. What an incredible run! They started with a good road trip at the very beginning of the season and we're vieing for best team in baseball when the came back to Detroit for the home opener. They had a so-so home stand and Jim Leyland called out the entire team and then the Tigers went on a great run to move into first place and cause Tiger's fever. They were the best team in baseball all the way to the All-Star break.

They stayed in front until the days of September where they faultered and by losing the last seven games let the Minnesota Twins take the division. But that didn't matter. The Tigers lose the first game to the New York Yankees but then sweep the final three games of their series. Capping the clinch was Magglio Ordonez's big home run to end the series. Then they play the Oakland A's, the team the Tigers would have played had they won their division, and simply mopped up on them, sweeping four games to extend their playoff winning streak to seven games.

And then they wait until they find out that their old nemisis the St. Louis Cardinals (1934, 1968 World Series) are the National League champs by beating the NY Mets in seven games. What can we say? The Tigers threw away the series. After losing to rookie pitcher ---- in the first game, hot pitching Kenny Rodgers shuts out the Cards and extends his scoreless streak in the post season to 23 innings, among the all-time best. That game will be remembered as the "dirt game" where the Fox broadcast caught the appearance of pine tar on Rodger's hand, it was claimed dirt.

That was the last the Tigers remembered good defense. In the series Justin Verlander made two errors including overthrowing first and third base. Fernando Rodney overthrew first base and Joel Zumaya did the same at third base. Five errors by pitchers in five errors and most were crucial. They pitched well over the five games but didn't support that effort with fielding. Sean Casey was easily the hitting star with two homers and seemingly endless doubles to right. Playoff MVP Placido Palanco went stone cold never getting a WS hit.

The weather played havoc with the series. If it didn't rain (causing one forfeit) then it was cold and/or windy. It didn't seem the Tigers adapted to the weather well. They also seemed to have had rookie nervousness that could account for the mass of errors. Oh well, we'll get 'em next year.

Already the talk is about the improvements that will happen for next year. They have a good core of players, a great pitching staff with more depth in the minors. GM Dombrowski has the chance to make a team even better after a World Series rather than be forced to break up the team like when he was with the Florida Marlins. I have confidence in him, he will make the team even better.