Sunday, April 29, 2012

After America by Mark Steyn

I finished another book. It was After America by Mark Steyn.

It was a while to get it. I had mentioned I wanted it for Christmas but it didn't come in. Then I was on the hold list at the library for a couple of months.

It was worth the wait. It is the follow on book to America Alone. In this book Steyn takes a more pessimistic view. The election of Obama represents a cultural and financial tipping point. From the permanent trillion dollar annual deficits with no plan or intent to get under control, to the house reps who have held their seats for literally decades.

Steyn is thorough. There are many citations to back his presentation of facts. There are around 40 pages of references at the end of the book. The book reads like his columns on National Review and there is some overlap in the material. Still with more pages to work with Steyn is able to expand his ideas more fully.

I like Steyn. I wish I could have gone to Steynamite in Toronto a couple of weeks ago. Despite the more gloomy tone Steyn does also take an inspired tack, especially at the end. For America it's not yet too late. With a birth rate still at population sustaining they are not in as terminal a demographic decline as Europe. The question is does America want to turn it around? Or are they content at this point to stop leading and just manage the decline.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Raymond Taavel murder coverage

Yesterday I had the misfortune of reading the comical herald. On page 3 there was some big splash with Halifax's poet laureate (Halifax has a poet laureate? who knew). Anyway of course it was all about the overexposed and now politicized Raymond Taavel case.

Of course today more of the same. Taavel still front page on the comical and a lead ATV story.

Let's look at this objectively for a moment. Since 2011 there have been around 20 murders in HRM. There's been more Taavel coverage than the other murders put together. Why is that? This morning Halifax council had a moment of silence for Taavel. Did council have a moment of silence for the other 19?

There's no evidence this is a hate crime given the state of mind and reasoning of the alleged perp. So what's the story. At 49 Taavel was not a young man. Around half of the HRM murder victims since 2011 have been under 25. Raymond got to have those extra 25-30 years in his life.

Nor was Taavel any kind of celebrity really. He was apparently well known within a certain specific community. The vast majority, like me, had never heard of Taavel until the murder and at this point have heard all we need or want to.

Of course the media misses the important issue. If you want to get upset about a murder then focus on the Spryfield case where a 72 year old man out for a walk was killed for fun by two teens who didn't know him. Think about what that represents in terms of cultural degeneracy. But where's the outrage there? Where are the concerts, demonstrations, extended front page stories in the herald, government task forces. Where was the poet laureate and the city council moments of silence in the Spryfield case?

Halifax hospital strike

So there's going to be a hospital strike in Halifax as of midnight tonight. 3600 are apparently able to shut down a complex that serves all of the maritimes.

I support the strike. I can think of a couple of reasons.

Every day they are out saves the taxpayers around $1 million dollars. So let them sit a few weeks and it can help with Nova Scotia's financial situation.

I hope it will make people finally realize the folly of setting up a government union monopoly over health care. Where a relatively small number of people can shut down a system that serves a greater population in the millions.

So to that I hope this strike can inspire discussion of real alternatives including privatization. Also then we can have real price discovery as to what this work is worth instead of home team arbitrators dictating absurd and irresponsible 5.1% raises.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter from Islam

In Nigeria a suicide bomber killed 38 while attempting to detonate Easter service. Nice.

Great follow on to Christmas in Nigeria where Islam marked the holiday by burning down a Catholic church during Mass. It's a new tradition for the major Christian holidays in Nigeria. In Bethlehem Christians held "midnight" Mass during the daylight hours. and why was that? do tell.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Halifax police crackdown on kids

Saw a ridiculous story on ATV tonight. On Friday night the Halifax police took time to blow off the usual shootings and stabbings to shut down a kids street hockey game. Nice one cops.

There are what, 15 outstanding unsolved murders in the last 18 months? Never mind, let's bust that illegal kids street hockey ring. It's a disgrace, an embarrassment that Canada's game can be attacked like this. Hockey and kids are our identity and this should not be allowed to stand.

I've written before here about the modern police choosing to avoid pursuing and confronting real criminals and instead pick on easy, soft targets. I'm glad the mom went on ATV to expose this. Too bad ATV didn't do some actual real journalism and expose the individual who called the cops in the first place on the kids and give him some well deserved screen time. Note to ATV: evil cannot be allowed to hide behind a veil of secrecy.


If the Halifax police are now so concerned about street crime how about an update on the case where a co-worker located a stolen cell phone that had been resold on kijiji. The phone and other items had been stolen in a break in from his car. After much prodding and many inquiries the police finally assigned a detective to the case. After much more prodding he identified the kijiji fence.

Of course the police declined to arrest or press charges against the fence. They also traced it back to the number the fence bought the stolen cell phone off. Their excuse for dropping the case was that the number had been disconnected. They were too indifferent to pursue Aliant to subpoena the name owner of the disconnected number at the time the crime had been connected.

Micro by Michael Crichton

I finished another book recently. It was Micro by Michael Crichton. The book was unfinished at the time of Crichton's death and Richard Preston also gets author credit. Like Pirate Latitudes this book was published posthumously.

It was ok. I wouldn't call it his best work. In the book a group of graduate students in biology go to Hawaii on a recruiting visit from the Nanigen company. Alas they stumble upon a dark secret of the founder Vin Drake. The evil Drake uses the Nanigen shrinking machine to make the students about an inch tall and cuts them loose in the rainforest to perish. The novel is the story of their struggles to survive at that size in a hostile world; and the efforts of Drake to cover up his vile deeds mostly by committing more murders.

The best parts were the descriptions of being small. The micro world is quite dangerous and the shrunken humans are threatened by ants, centipedes, spiders, birds, bats, wasps and even ordinary rainfall. There's a real sense of danger reading those descriptions.

There's lots of plot twists and unexpected characters appearing to keep it interesting. Like several Crichton titles there's the who will survive? element that he also uses in Prey, State of Fear, Jurassic Park, etc.

It's still too bad Crichton is passed away. A great writer of our time. Well I've now completed the final books in his career. There's still a smaller number left of the earlier Crichton titles I haven't finished yet.