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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Call it whatever, this is the Islamic Reformation!

Today, thanks to an increase in literacy and education, the advent of technology like the Internet, increased political and secular divisiveness and a "swelling sense of individualism," the authority of Islamic clerics and their schools of law are being challenged as never before. The institutions are becoming more and more marginalized.

Traditional authorities, beginning in the time shortly after Muhammad, viewed holy law as the revealed will of God and subordinated politics to holy decree.

Historically however, it was politics (tribal or otherwise) that invariable shaped Islamic law and led to complex discourse on a subject that was contentious on the surface but at its base rather simple.

The religious precepts are pretty straightforward, but the task of explaining them and choosing a method for their application is left in human hands. This means they are automatically constrained by human limitations.

In the past, for example, a person who had a question about Islam would go to a mosque and question an Imam, who would issue a legal ruling - or fatwa.

Now, anyone can go to any number of websites to access any number of rulings. This allows believers to search for rulings they like, not the one’s they dislike.

Remember, the Koran, just like the Bible, is more than capable of supporting both sides of an argument!

This scattering of interpretations has led, precisely as it did during the Christian Reformation, to a whole host of competing ideologies.

There are groups, individuals and institutions that are literally killing each other to maintain the loyalty and the following of the world's Muslims.

Just as the Protestant Reformation opened the door to multiple, sometimes conflicting and often baffling interpretations of Christianity, so has the Islamic Reformation created a similar situation in which you have voices competing with one another to be heard!

Since there is no single voice - no Pope who speaks for the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world - it is the loudest voices that are heard, and frankly, nothing is louder that the voice that rams planes into skyscrapers.

As individuals seized this authority, it was inevitable also, that men and women with radical ideas of Islam would surface - men like Bin-Laden, who have killed Muslims in pursuit of their goals, but who have also taken on the West.

This is why Al Qaeda is so widespread and popular amongst the radical sects of Islam and it has also given rise to the mis-perception that the West is his primary target.

Bin Laden's (Al Qaeda’s) own messages have often referred to the West as the "far enemy," while his immediate foe is anyone who doesn't share his puritanical version of Islam.

Bin Laden, who is not a cleric or a scholar, issues his own fatwa’s to deliberately challenge the authority of the clerics and he has found a following of disaffected young people, particularly second generation Muslims living in Western countries.

This disaffection, combined with political, sectarian, and even tribal frictions has brought Islam to the point where it is in danger of sliding into a general conflagration in the Middle East.

In Afghanistan, various Islamic factions still loyal to the Taliban are brutally murdering those who are trying to create a secular nation and Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank are little more than civil wars between various Islamic factions!

The question we have to ask now is, what are the factions in Iraq?

Both the Sunnis and the Shi'ites appear to be splitting into smaller, mutually hostile elements. There are indications that among the Sunnis, the secularists, who are mostly Ba’athists and the Islamists, are starting to go at it as well!

Several secularist militias recently made a public announcement that they want the head (severed or otherwise) of al-Qaeda's local rep, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Shi'ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's recent war with the Americans had less to do with resisting the occupation than with positioning himself within the Shi'ite community.

Meanwhile, the shaky ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip held more or less during December, due mainly to Israeli restraint in the face of dozens of unprovoked Kassam rocket attacks upon Israeli civilian communities. At the same time, violent clashes escalated between supporters of the PLO Fatah party and the militant Hamas movement.

This came as international pressure grew upon Israel to hand over more land to the Palestinians - despite the fact that they are obviously engaged in a substantial domestic struggle for power, and therefore can hardly be trusted as reliable peace partners under such tumultuous circumstances.

Then, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday declared Hamas' militia in the Gaza Strip illegal, and the Islamic movement responded by defiantly announcing plans to double the size of the paramilitary unit.

When this is combined with the American's attack upon the Muslims as a recreation of the Crusades, and this all played out against the intensifying Iranian nuclear program, it threatens to engulf the entire Middle East in a major war in 2007.

To show you just how divided Muslims everywhere are, we only have to travel to the U.K. where a "potentially explosive" dispute between Islamic factions inside Wandsworth prison has been revealed by an independent watchdog.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) published a report last week detailing a "schism" that had emerged in the prison between Asian Muslims and those from North Africa and Afro-Caribbean areas.

A particular Imam was said to have caused deep division among the prison's 265 Muslim prisoners and there was a warning that some inmates were pressuring others to adopt "more militant lifestyles and belief systems".

Yes, the fundamentalists, extremists, factions and sects are causing trouble left right and centre, and if the U.S. and Israel are smart, they will just step back and let Islam sort it all out internally!

Your "wait and see" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) at; www.God-101.com

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What 2007 holds for the country.

I gave you my predictions for 2007 a few days ago. Now, these are among the findings of an Associated Press-AOL News poll that asked Americans to gaze into their crystal balls and contemplate what 2007 holds for America.

Another terrorist attack, a warmer planet, death and destruction from a natural disaster.

Six in 10 people think the U.S. will be the victim of another terrorist attack next year, more than five years after the Sept. 11 assault on New York and Washington. An identical percentage think it is likely that bad guys will unleash a biological or nuclear weapon elsewhere in the world.

Seventy percent of Americans predict another major natural disaster within the United States and an equal percentage expect worsening global warming. Fewer than one-third of people, or 29 percent, think it is likely that the U.S. will withdraw its troops from Iraq.

But on a brighter note, only a minority of people think the U.S. will go to war with Iran or North Korea over the countries' nuclear ambitions and a third of people see hope for a cure to cancer.


One in four, or 25 percent, anticipates the Second Coming!

What make this so scary is not the fact that the Second Coming will occur - NO, the scary part is that 25% of Americans BELIEVE IT!

On a couple of side notes here:
1. These people don't have to worry about how many shopping days left till next Christmas and;
2. I still vividly recall when I was twelve years old in 1960 our next door neighbour (who was a heavy-duty Catholic) told me that the world would end that year!
She was just like any other “End of the World” adherent, still trying, after 2000 years, to experience the rapture! All she managed to do was scare the crap out of a kid - me!

Your "pass the kool-aid" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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God Denies Ever Talking to Pat Robertson!

Supreme Being Calls Televangelist ‘Delusional!’
Just days after the Rev. Pat Robertson claimed on his “700 Club” program that God warned him of “mass killings” in the U.S. late in 2007, God held a rare press conference today to deny speaking to the controversial televangelist.

In regards to Pat Robertson's claim that God told him about a calamity that was about to befall the United States, God's lawyers have stated that their client has never spoken with Mr. Robertson!

Off the record, God stated; "I reall don't like all this name dropping from Robertson. I think that little toad needs to be taught a lesson! Maybe I should have done it a long time ago!"

Your "on the spot" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) at; www.God-101.com
And the petition to have people mind their own business instead of yours at; http://www.petitiononline.com/moses/petition.html

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Friday, January 05, 2007

The all-new Axis of Just as Evil!

Beijing (BN)- Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the old "Axis of Evil," China, Libya, and Syria today announced they had formed the new "Axis of Just as Evil!"

One of the former Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new Axis of Just As Evil as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are Just as Evil... in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "Everybody knows we're the best evils... best at being evil... we're the best."

Diplomats from Syria conceded they did ask if they could join the new -Axis of Just As Evil- but denied they were jealous over being excluded from the old "Axis of Evil," "They told us it was full," said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "Apparently an Axis can't have more than three countries," he explained, "This is not my rule, it's tradition!" In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So you can only have three. And a secret handshake!

International reaction to the Axis of Just As Evil declaration was swift. Within minutes, France surrendered!

With the criteria suddenly expanded and all the desirable clubs filling up, Canada, Australia and New Zeland formed the Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice - Just Secretly Have Nasty Thoughts About America.

Elsewhere, peer-conscious nations rushed to gain triumvirate status in what became a game of geopolitical chairs. Cuba, Sudan, and Serbia said they had formed the Axis of Somewhat Evil, forcing Somalia to join with Uganda and Myanmar in the Axis of Occasionally Evil, while Bulgaria, Indonesia and Russia established the Axis of Not So Much Evil Really, Just Generally Disagreeable.

Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Rwanda applied to be called the Axis of Countries That Aren't the Worst But Certainly Won't Be Asked to Host the Olympics.

Meanwhile, wondering if the other nations of the world weren't perhaps making fun of him, a cautious President Bush granted approval for most new Axis, although he rejected the establishment of the Axis of Countries Whose Names End in "Guay," accusing one of its members of filing a false application. Officials from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chadguay denied the charges.

Israel, meanwhile, insisted it didn't want to join any Axis, but privately, world leaders said that's only because no one asked them.

Your "on the spot" scribe;
Allan W Jansen

(With thanks to John Cleese for the original idea!)


Piss on You!

This is another one of those stupid, asinine, outrageous, idiotic instances that drive me up a wall..... It doesn't really need any explanation or clarification, just "what were they thinking?"

DANVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Authorities are dropping a disorderly conduct charge against a 12-year-old -special education- student (read retarded) whom they accused of deliberately wetting her pants at school.

Superintendent Steve Keifer said Thursday that it was a mistake to bring police into a case of school discipline. "I think the situation was one where the parents and school officials were frustrated, and that's why it was done. But, it was probably not a good idea!"

The mother said the girl urinated only because the principal frightened her. The mother said in Thursday's Press Enterprise that the incident occurred last month, after the girl, classmates and teachers ate a holiday lunch at Danville Middle School.

The girl was told to go to the kitchen to wash some pots and pans, but refused, and wet her pants after teachers summoned the principal, the mother said. The newspaper withheld the names of the girl and her mother.

Police Chief Eric Gill had said school officials were at "wit's end" with the girl, and that they believe her actions were deliberate.

District Attorney Robert Buehner spoke with Keifer and Gill on Thursday and decided to drop the disorderly conduct charge. Buehner said, "it makes better sense to just let the school district handle it with the child and parents."

Maybe they should have thrown her in jail and given her the lash, eh!

Your "disgusted" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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Bush Swelters, We Simmer!

If some old guy (like me!) tells you how cold the winters were when he was a kid..... believe him!

The world's 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1994 in a temperature record dating back to 1850, according to the United Nations weather agency.

A UN report issued two months ago said greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2005 and were expected to increase in 2006.

High levels of greenhouse gases and the reappearance of the cyclical warming trend El-Nino make it likely 2007 will go down as the world's hottest year ever recorded, British climate scientists said Thursday.

“There is no sign that [the greenhouse gases] are starting to level off," said World Meteorological Organization climate specialist Geir Braathen. "It looks like it will just continue like this for the foreseeable future."

"This new information represents another warning that climate change is happening around the world," the office said.

"Because of the warming due to greenhouse gases, even a moderate warming event is enough to push the global temperatures over the top," said Phil Jones, director of the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia.

(Me on a hot day!)

One of the UK's best-known scientists, Professor James Lovelock, says only a catastrophe will prompt the world to tackle the threat of climate change.

Professor Lovelock won acclaim for developing the Gaia Hypothesis, which suggests the Earth functions as a single organism which maintains the conditions necessary for its survival.

Professor Lovelock said global warming was "the response of our outraged planet", and "the consequences for humanity were likely to be far worse than any war!"

"We are at war with the Earth itself", he said. "We are Gaia's target now." Professor Lovelock added that we had still to wake up to the seriousness of our plight, with some people continuing to deny that global change exists.

The Bush government, meanwhile, is still telling everyone that "Global Warming" evidence is "inconclusive!"

We have to remember that these are the same people who went on about W.M.D. and get Osama,etc. etc! Plus, they are still pissed at, and keep going on about the Dixie Chicks, even though that is four year old news.

The Presidential elections in the good old U.S. of A. can't come soon enough!

Your "summer in the city" type scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dick Tracy Wrist Phone

Here is what a "Dick Tracy Wrist Phone" looked like in the comics and a modern wrist phone today!

Dick Tracy's actual phone was a little bigger in real life!
These are some of the world's first "cell phones!"
Your ""Operator"" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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Labrador policewoman cops to abuse!

Police in Labrador have apologized to a woman who was held naked in a lockup for two days last winter, and have disciplined an officer for mistreating her.

An internal RCMP report has found that police did not follow procedure in a case involving Carol Ikkusek, 26, who was kept naked in a small lockup cell that had no mattress.

Ikkusek, an Innu resident of Nain on Labrador's northern coast, was brought into custody in Happy Valley-Goose Bay last February, and was waiting for a court appearance on charges of assaulting a police officer. (Now we know why they abused her!)

An internal RCMP report said Ikkusek threatened to use her clothing to harm herself, so Cpl. Edwina Tuttle intervened, taking Ikkusek to hospital for a medical assessment. A doctor there recommended that Ikkusek be admitted, however, the hospital's secure room was not available, so Tuttle took Ikkusek back to the lockup.

Ikkusek was stripped and left to sleep on a steel bench with no blanket. Ikkusek was given a blanket after 16 hours, but she remained naked for another day and a half. (Inside or not, we have to remember that this was winter in northern Labrador and global warming doesn't help much up there!)

Details of Ikkusek's treatment surfaced during sentencing.

Insp. Greg Bursey made an apology on Tuesday to Ikkusek, on behalf of the force's Labrador district. "I'm sorry she felt that she was mistreated in any way or put through any undue hardship, but certainly there was no intent," Bursey said. "I'm satisfied, within reason, that it shouldn't happen again."

Tuttle was disciplined for not following procedure. She still works with the RCMP in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Meanwhile, Boyd Rowe, chief executive officer of the regional health authority, says there's a need for more secure medical holding areas. "More and more, we are utilizing that particular secure room, and it has led us to give some thought to designating another space within the facility," Rowe said.

Nobody with the Ikkusek family could be reached to comment on the police report. (P.S. Even if they could reach them, they would be too afraid to file a complaint, let alone charge the cop with assaault!)

Your "on the beat" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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We now take a break from regular programming for this intermission!


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God Has Talked To Pat Robertson......... Again!

Joe Gandelman has a site called "The Moderate Voice" and can be found in the "Blogs worth a read" section.

One of my favorite topics is Pat Robertson, (Since we don't have Jim Baker to kick around anymore!) and Joe puts it all into perspective!

By Joe Gandelman:
He has gotten another message from Him again. Sometimes He gives him good advice, sometimes a bum steer, but the latest message he gets from his private pipeline is: Be afraid, Americans!

Broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a “mass killing” late in 2007.
“I’m not necessarily saying it’s going to be nuclear,” he said during his television show “The 700 Club” on the Christian Broadcast Network.

“The Lord didn’t say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that.”

Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat. God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.

We recently featured a post here about a Canadian spy agency warning about how easy it would be for terrorists to make a “dirty bomb.” But apparently their source wasn’t as good as Robertson’s…who has admittedly had mixed results in his — or, rather, his Source’s — accuracy so far:

Robertson suggested in January 2006 that God punished then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke for ceding Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinians.

In May, Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America’s coastline in 2006.

Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring’s heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction.


This would be a good time to remind you of a quote that is over on the left side of the page; "When we talk to God, we're praying, but, when God talks to us, we're schizophrenic!"

While we are talking about "delusional" how's this:
Bush to Announce Exit Strategy from Reality.
Plans Complete Withdrawal from His Senses by Year End!

Your "up to the minute news" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) at; www.God-101.com
And the petition to have people mind their own business instead of yours at; http://www.petitiononline.com/moses/petition.html

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Don't beat your wife, kick the dog instead!

Men in the Middle-East have such a way with women!

Here is a word for word piece of advice from a Mid-East "Advice for the lovelorn!" (This sure isn't Ann Landers or Dear Abby!)

Look, let me tell you one thing. You can't get your wife to be faithful to you by just beating her or imprisoning her, or by spying on her all the time, or by subjecting her to test after test. That won't help!

Love her and keep faithful to her and bring her only food and goods which you bought with clean money– money that you earned by the sweat of your brow. Do that and then entrust your wife to God's care.

If she is a good wife she will stay with you, by the grace of God. If she turns out to be a wicked woman, God will find you a solution.

So remember guys, if you have a bad day at the office, don't go home and beat the wife! Leave her to God's will and kick the dog instead, you will feel better and so will she!!!! ;-)

Your "philosophical" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

(Can we spell misogynist?)

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) at; www.God-101.com

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bush is up to something!

Georgie Porgie is up to something!!!!!!

He now has the problem of Saddam solved by killing him before he could spill the beans on the CIA. Any of the other trials he was scheduled to "attend" would have afforded him too much of an opportunity to do damage to the Administration!

What he has planned next is not entirely clear, but he will definitely have to do something as time is against him. A good war is always a sure-fire (no pun intended this time!) way to divert attention from domestic problems!

The Pentagon is sending a second aircraft carrier and its escort ships to the Gulf, defense officials said Today. This is supposedly as a warning to Syria and Iran.

With this in mind we can expect some sort of manufactured "crisis" in the Middle-East some time in the next few weeks!

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John C. Stennis strike group would deploy this month. It will put 5,000 more U.S. sailors in the region, bringing the total to 16,000. (The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier group entered the Gulf in December.)

Pentagon representative Bryan Whitman declined to comment, saying the Defense Department would not discuss future deployments, ship movements, or reasons behind them!

However, military analysts said the move was intended to demonstrate U.S. resolve in the face of acts by Iran and Syria that it sees as provocative, such as Tehran's pursuit of its nuclear program.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates previously said the increased American presence in the Gulf was a message to the region as a whole and not a response to any specific action by Iran.

"I think the message that we are sending to everyone, not just Iran, is that the United States is an enduring presence in this part of the world," Gates told reporters on a December visit to Baghdad. "We will be here for a long time and everybody needs to remember that -- both our friends and those who might consider themselves our adversaries."

As if the civil war in Iraq is not enough, God only knows what is in store for us next!

Your "war analyst" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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Femi-Nazi's of the World United!

I ran across a site on the web today that is both as interesting as it is disturbing!
Holla Back Canada is a place for Canadian women to post photos of, and shame, their male harassers!
Although we are not affiliated with Holla Back New York City, this website is based directly on their concept.

Basically it's a site for women to identify males whom they think are inconsiderate of feminism's objectives!
Now I realize that it can be used to identify stalkers, rapists and other legitimate purposes but the whole thrust of this web-site seems to be to let women take out their hatred of men for any and every reason.

Here is the propaganda they use to describe it!

If you are a Canadian woman who is harassed, cat-called, commented on, kissy-noised at or otherwise bothered by a man on the street, whip out your camera and snap a pic of the offending jackass. E-mail the picture, along with the location and particulars of the incident (as specific as you like) and your comments!

We will post it for the world to see!

I sent them a letter stating my thoughts on what they were doing and how this was sure to be abused. Not only did they not publish it, I got a "not so sweet" reply telling me where I could put my thoughts!

If you would like to send them a short message telling them how you think they are "fucked," (pun intended) then this is the address!

Mail to: hollabackcanada@gmail.com

Have a look at their site first so that you know what you're up against!

Holla Back Canada

Your "stand up for our dignity" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

(P.S. I like the part where they say, "whip out your..........camera!")

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Wet Dreams!

Dubai, a place that represents what happens when people have way, way too much money, is going to be home to Hydropolis, the world's first underwater luxury hotel.
Costing nearly $590 million to build, the 220-suite hotel should be completed in December.

I don't know about you, but every movie I've seen about people living underwater ends with everyone thrown left and right in a submarine, aliens arriving, a giant squid attacking them, and then the Russians shooting off a nuke or something.

I'll stick to dry land, thanks!

Your "still wet behind the ears" scribe;
Allan W Janssen
(With thanks to Adam Frucci)

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Hey!! Is it just me, or do all these "celebrities" do what they do, and then spend all their free time either getting stopped for D.U.I. while on their way to rehab, getting a divorce --- or adopting kids?

Inquiring minds want to know!!

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That's It!

This is it folks, take down the tree, get back to work, get normal! That is unless your Ukrainian, then Christmas is this Sunday and New Year is Saturday January 13th. (By the way I have a friend who is Jewish but doesn't know it! His parents didn't want to tell him because he likes Christmas so much!!!!)

Your "home from the holidays" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Now you know the rest of the story!

O.K., here's the deal, maybe it will help explain things!!

Got a letter from a guy (A Mister B. Brown) who commented on the list of "Stuff worth a read, for better or worse."

He said; "Why do you deem Phelp's site, God Hates Fags, worth reading? Inquiring minds, at least one of them, would like to know?"

To which I replied; "So you can see just how fucked up some people are. I couldn't believe it wasn't a put-on when I first saw it. When I realized Westboro Baptist Church was for real I was shocked!!!!" Allan

He then said; "I have run into him several times over the last 20 - 25 years. He is a piece of work. One of my best friends, the Sheriff of a Kansas County that contains a military base, has to deal with him frequently - every time one of the lads are buried locally. I Enjoy your blog. I'm still trying to figure out what in the hell you're all about, but that is half the enjoyment. Thanks for responding."

I then said; "Don't try and figure it out, this is just shit that runs through my head and it's as much for my amusement as yours!
Just tell your friends!!!!!!

Back to him; "Once I can forgive you for being Canadian you will probably find yourself on my "Great Reads" list. Or something like that!"

To which I have to reply; Listen to this Yank! ;-)
Thank You Canada!

OR THIS; Thank You Canada


Your "patriotic" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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Let's hear it for the little guy!

My wife turned 60 last week and when we went into the bank today they informed her that she no longer has to pay service charges!

Other than the fact that this is one of the few benefits of getting older,
I figured out that this would save us about $120.00 a year.
(12 x $10=$120)

That also means that my bank will have to deduct $120.00 from the 4.5 billion dollars they make a year in profit$!

Son-of-a-bitch, eh!

Your "rich in friends" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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Here's a Little Ditty About Jack and Diane!

Two American kids, doing the best that they can!

I have said repeatedly on this blog that there are fundamental cultural differences between us and the Middle-East. (North Americans and Europeans, this includes Blacks, Hispanics, Orientals etc. We are talking Culture, not Race!)

Nowhere was this brought home to me more that a survey I read about public attitudes and opinions in Egypt, and by default most of the Mid-East. Pay special attention to the last part!!!

Western culture is very pervasive amongst Egyptian youth, but the values still aren't accepted, since Western societies are viewed as immoral. (You people with your sexual freedoms and the not committing of honor crimes!)

So.... If someone dis-honours you in the Middle East it is still required that you avenge yourself to regain your families Honour!
(Machismo and tribalism run wild!)

A far cry from the laws we have here, and something to remember when someone says all people are alike, or, are they really any different? And especially when someone suggests that we should have Sharia law over here - as happened recently in Ontario.

Yes, people are basically alike, but the culture they come from can be a world removed from us!

Your "W.A.S.P." Scribe;
Allan W Janssen

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I Think, Therefore I Are!

O.K. boys and girls, this is one of those rare times when we have to get serious about something.

I ran across an article by Dennis Overbye in the New York Times that is not only fascinating, but I also consider it extremely important for anyone that has an "inquiring mind!"

Now I know it's awfully long but please bear with me because this guy is very knowledgeable and puts things in such a way that they are easy to understand. (For poor dullards like myself!) If it gets too tedious skip down a bit or come back to it but please DO read it!!

Free Will: Now You Have It, Now You Don’t

Published: January 2, 2007

I was a free man until they brought the dessert menu around. There was one of those molten chocolate cakes, and I was suddenly being dragged into a vortex, swirling helplessly toward caloric doom, sucked toward the edge of a black (chocolate) hole. Visions of my father’s heart attack danced before my glazed eyes.

My wife, Nancy, had a resigned look on her face.

The outcome, endlessly replayed whenever we go out, is never in doubt, though I often cover my tracks by offering to split my dessert with the table.

O.K., I can imagine what you’re thinking. There but for the grace of God.....

Having just lived through another New Year’s Eve, many of you have just resolved to be better, wiser, stronger and richer in the coming months and years.

After all, we’re free humans, not slaves, robots or animals doomed to repeat the same boring mistakes over and over again. Right?????

As William James wrote in 1890, the whole “sting and excitement” of life comes from “our sense that in it things are really being decided from one moment to another, and that it is not the dull rattling off of a chain that was forged innumerable ages ago.”

Get over it, Dr. James. Go get yourself fitted for a new chain-mail vest.

A bevy of experiments in recent years suggest that the conscious mind is like a monkey riding a tiger of subconscious decisions and actions in progress, frantically making up stories about being in control.

As a result, physicists, neuroscientists and computer scientists have joined the heirs of Plato and Aristotle in arguing about what free will is, whether we have it, and if not, why we ever thought we did in the first place.

“Is it an illusion? That’s the question,” said Michael Silberstein, a science philosopher at Elizabethtown College in Maryland. Another question, he added, is whether talking about this in public will fan the culture wars.

“If people freak at evolution,” he wrote in an e-mail message,“how much more will they freak if scientists and philosophers tell them they are nothing more than sophisticated meat machines, and is that conclusion now clearly warranted or is it premature?”

Daniel C. Dennett, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at Tufts University who has written extensively about free will, said, “when we consider whether free will is an illusion or reality, we are looking into an abyss. What seems to confront us is a plunge into nihilism and despair.”

Mark Hallett, a researcher with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said, “Free will does exist, but it’s a perception, not a power or a driving force.

People experience free will. They have a sense that they are free.

But, “The more you scrutinize it, the more you realize you don’t have it,” he said.

That is hardly a new thought. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, as Einstein paraphrased it, that “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”

Einstein, among others, found that a comforting idea. “This knowledge of the non-freedom of the will protects me from losing my good humor and taking much too seriously myself and my fellow humans as acting and judging individuals,” he said.

How comforted or depressed this makes you might depend on what you mean by free will. The traditional definition is called libertarian or deep free will. It holds that humans are free moral agents whose actions are not predetermined.

This school of thought says in effect that the whole chain of cause and effect in the history of the universe stops dead in its tracks as you ponder the dessert menu.

At that point, anything is possible. Whatever choice you make is unforced and could have been otherwise, but it is not random. You are responsible for any damage to your pocketbook and your arteries.

“That strikes many people as incoherent,” said Dr. Silberstein, who noted that every physical system that has been investigated has turned out to be either deterministic or random. “Both are bad news for free will,” he said.

So if human actions can’t be caused and aren’t random, he said, “It must be — what — some weird magical power?”

People who believe already that humans are magic will have no problem with that.

But whatever that power is — call it soul or the spirit — those people have to explain how it could stand independent of the physical universe and yet reach from the immaterial world and meddle in our own, jiggling brain cells that lead us to say the words “molten chocolate.”

A vote in favor of free will comes from some physicists, who say it is a prerequisite for inventing theories and planning experiments.

That is especially true when it comes to quantum mechanics, the strange paradoxical theory that ascribes a microscopic randomness to the foundation of reality.

Anton Zeilinger, a quantum physicist at the University of Vienna, said recently that quantum randomness was “not a proof, just a hint, telling us we have free will.”

Is there any evidence beyond our own intuitions and introspection's that humans work that way?

In the 1970s, Benjamin Libet, a physiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, wired up the brains of volunteers to an electroencephalogram and told the volunteers to make random motions, like pressing a button or flicking a finger,

Dr. Libet found that brain signals associated with these actions occurred half a second before the subject was conscious of deciding to make them.

The order of brain activities seemed to be perception of motion, and then decision, rather than the other way around.

In short, the conscious brain was only playing catch-up to what the unconscious brain was already doing. The decision to act was an illusion, the monkey making up a story about what the tiger had already done.

Dr. Libet’s results have been reproduced again and again over the years, along with other experiments that suggest that people can be easily fooled when it comes to assuming ownership of their actions.

Patients with tics or certain diseases, like chorea, cannot say whether their movements are voluntary or involuntary, Dr. Hallett said.

In some experiments, subjects have been tricked into believing they are responding to stimuli they couldn’t have seen in time to respond to, or into taking credit or blame for things they couldn’t have done.

Take, for example, the “voodoo experiment” by Dan Wegner, a psychologist at Harvard, and Emily Pronin of Princeton. In the experiment, two people are invited to play witch doctor.

One person, the subject, puts a curse on the other by sticking pins into a doll. The second person, however, is in on the experiment, and by prior arrangement with the doctors, acts either obnoxious, so that the pin-sticker dislikes him, or nice.

After a while, the ostensible victim complains of a headache. In cases in which he or she was unlikable, the subject tended to claim responsibility for causing the headache, an example of the “magical thinking” that makes baseball fans put on their rally caps.

“We made it happen in a lab,” Dr. Wegner said.

Is a similar sort of magical thinking responsible for the experience of free will?

“We see two tips of the iceberg, the thought and the action,” Dr. Wegner said, “and we draw a connection.”

However, most of the action is going on beneath the surface. Indeed, the conscious mind is often a drag on many activities. Too much thinking can give a golfer the yips. Drivers perform better on automatic pilot.

Fiction writers report writing in a kind of trance in which they simply take dictation from the voices and characters in their head, a grace that is, alas, rarely if ever granted nonfiction writers.

Naturally, almost everyone has a slant on such experiments and whether or not the word “illusion” should be used in describing free will.

Dr. Libet said his results left room for a limited version of free will in the form of a veto power over what we sense ourselves doing. In effect, the unconscious brain proposes and the mind disposes.

In a 1999 essay, he wrote that although this might not seem like much, it was enough to satisfy ethical standards. “Most of the Ten Commandments are ‘do not’ orders,” he wrote.

But, that might seem a pinched and diminished form of free will.

Dr. Dennett, the Tufts professor, is one of many who have tried to redefine free will in a way that involves no escape from the materialist world while still offering enough autonomy for moral responsibility, which seems to be what everyone cares about.

The belief that the traditional intuitive notion of a free will divorced from causality is inflated, metaphysical nonsense, Dr. Dennett says reflecting an outdated dualistic view of the world.

Rather, Dr. Dennett argues, it is precisely our immersion in causality and the material world that frees us.

Evolution, history and culture, he explains, have endowed us with feedback systems that give us the unique ability to reflect and think things over and to imagine the future. Free will and determinism can co-exist.

“All the varieties of free will worth having, we have,” Dr. Dennett said.

“We have the power to veto our urges and then to veto our vetoes,” he said. “We have the power of imagination, to see and imagine futures.”

In this regard, causality is not our enemy but our friend, giving us the ability to look ahead and plan. “That’s what makes us moral agents,” Dr. Dennett said. “You don’t need a miracle to have responsibility.”

Other philosophers disagree on the degree and nature of such “freedom.” Their arguments partly turn on the extent to which collections of things, whether electrons or people, can transcend their origins and produce novel phenomena.

These so-called emergent phenomena, like brains and stock markets, or the idea of democracy, grow naturally in accordance with the laws of physics, so the story goes.

But, once they are here, they play by new rules, and can even act on their constituents, as when an artist envisions a teapot and then sculpts it — a concept sometimes known as “downward causation.”

A knowledge of quarks is no help in predicting hurricanes — it’s physics all the way down. Does the same apply to the stock market or to the brain? Are the rules elusive just because we can’t solve the equations or because something fundamentally new happens when we increase numbers and levels of complexity?

Opinions vary about whether it will ultimately prove to be physics all the way down, total independence from physics, or some shade in between, and thus how free we are.

Dr. Silberstein, the Elizabethtown College professor, said, “There’s nothing in fundamental physics by itself that tells us we can’t have such emergent properties when we get to different levels of complexities.”

He waxed poetically as he imagined how the universe would evolve, with more and more complicated forms emerging from primordial quantum muck as from an elaborate computer game, in accordance with a few simple rules: “If you understand, you ought to be awestruck, you ought to be bowled over.”

George R. F. Ellis, a cosmologist at the University of Cape Town, said that freedom could emerge from this framework as well. “A nuclear bomb, for example, proceeds to detonate according to the laws of nuclear physics,” he explained in an e-mail message. “Whether it does indeed detonate is determined by political and ethical considerations, which are of a completely different order.”

I have to admit that I find these kind of ideas inspiring, if not liberating. However, I worry that I am being sold a sort of psychic perpetual motion machine.

Free wills, ideas, phenomena created by physics but not accountable to it. Do they offer a release from the chains of determinism or just a prescription for a very intricate weave of the links?

Therefore, I sought clarity from mathematicians and computer scientists.

According to deep mathematical principles, they say, even machines can become too complicated to predict their own behavior and would labor under the delusion of free will.

If by free will we mean the ability to choose, even a simple laptop computer has some kind of free will, said Seth Lloyd, an expert on quantum computing and professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Every time you click on an icon, he explained, the computer’s operating system decides how to allocate memory space, based on some deterministic instructions.

But, Dr. Lloyd said, “If I ask how long will it take to boot up five minutes from now, the operating system will say ‘I don’t know, wait and see, and I’ll make decisions and let you know.’ ”

Why can’t computers say what they’re going to do? In 1930, the Austrian philosopher Kurt Gödel proved that in any formal system of logic, which includes mathematics and a kind of idealized computer called a Turing machine, there are statements that cannot be proven either true or false.

Among them are self-referential statements like the famous paradox stated by the Cretan philosopher Epimenides, who said that all Cretans are liars: if he is telling the truth, then, as a Cretan, he is lying.

One implication is that no system can contain a complete representation of itself, or as Janna Levin, a cosmologist at Barnard College of Columbia University and author of the 2006 novel about Gödel, “A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines,” said: “Gödel says you can’t program intelligence as complex as yourself. But, you can let it evolve. A complex machine would still suffer from the illusion of free will.”

Another implication is there is no algorithm, or recipe for computation, to determine when or if any given computer program will finish some calculation.

The only way to find out is to set it computing and see what happens. Any way to find out would be tantamount to doing the calculation itself.

“There are no shortcuts in computation,” Dr. Lloyd said.

That means that the more reasonably you try to act, the more unpredictable you are, at least to yourself, Dr. Lloyd said. Even if your wife knows you will order the chile rellenos, you have to live your life to find out.

To him that sounds like free will of a sort, for machines as well as for us. Our actions are determined, but so what? We still don’t know what they will be until the waiter brings the tray.

That works for me, because I am comfortable with so-called physicalist reasoning, and I’m always happy to leverage concepts of higher mathematics to cut through philosophical knots.

The death of free will, or its exposure as a convenient illusion, some worry, could wreak havoc on our sense of moral and legal responsibility.

According to those who believe that free will and determinism are incompatible, Dr. Silberstein said in an e-mail message, it would mean that “people are no more responsible for their actions than asteroids or planets.” Anything would go.

What about Hitler?

Dr. Wegner of Harvard said, “We worry that explaining evil condones it. We have to maintain our outrage at Hitler. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a theory of evil in advance that could keep him from coming to power?”

He added, “A system a bit more focused on helping people change rather than paying them back for what they’ve done might be a good thing.”

Dr. Wegner said he thought that exposing free will as an illusion would have little effect on people’s lives or on their feelings of self-worth. Most of them would remain in denial.

“It’s an illusion, but it’s a very persistent illusion; it keeps coming back,” he said, comparing it to a magician’s trick that has been seen again and again. “Even though you know it’s a trick, you get fooled every time. The feelings just don’t go away.”

In an essay about free will in 1999, Dr. Libet wound up quoting the writer Isaac Bashevis Singer, who once said in an interview with the Paris Review, “The greatest gift which humanity has received is free choice. It is true that we are limited in our use of free choice. But the little free choice we have is such a great gift and is potentially worth so much that for this itself, life is worthwhile living.”

I could skip the chocolate cake, I really could, but why bother? Waiter!

Dennis Overbye will answer select readers' questions regarding this article. E-mail your questions to askscience@nytimes.com. E-mails may be published. Answers will be posted on nytimes.com/science on Friday, January 5, 2007.

So there you have it! Complicated? Yes! Important? Definitely! But, free will aside, the study of consciousness is even more convoluted and we won’t get into that here!

Let’s just leave it with a phrase that satisfies me:

Consciousness is the physical manifestation of GOD within us!

Or this;

** I AM – GOD

** I Think, Therefore I am -Descartes

** I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam. –Popeye

Your "inquiring" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) at; www.God-101.com
And the petition to have people mind their own business instead of yours at; http://www.petitiononline.com/moses/petition.html

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Warning Will Robinson, Warning!

Anyone who has a blog, downloads music or links to something or other had better read this!!!!!!!!!

The End of Free Internet as We Know It?

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Cough, Cough!

First of all Happy New Year!

I am in the middle of a prolonged "discussion" with my wife about the rights of smokers and non-smokers. (Or anyone else for that matter!)

Since this is January 1st there are quite a few places around the world where a ban on smoking in public places is taking effect.
(Hong Kong, Calgary, etc. etc.)

Now I have to start out by saying that I have NOT smoked for many years and consider it a foul, disgusting habit that is one of the greatest health risks to anyone! BUT!

My position is that the State has no business telling anyone where or when they can smoke. My wife of course does not agree with this and the more legislation in place the more she likes it!!!

I do believe that any establishment that permits smoking has a legal obligation to post warning signs that cigarette smoke is present, and then non-smokers can decide for themselves if they want to go in or not. To just arbitrarily say "no smoking" is an infringement on our rights!

I don't care if the government taxes the shit out of tobacco products to make up for the horrendous health care costs of smoking, (you know, like cancer, heart disease, emphysema, dry wrinkled skin for the ladies and a limp dick for the guys)) but don't tell them they CAN'T smoke, especially if they are Bingo players!

The same as "the powers that be," have NO right to tell you if you can do drugs, kill yourself, pray to Thor or Odin, live like a hermit or drink your money away on loose women and song.

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing a government has an obligation to do, is to use our tax money to provide the minimum requirements for living if we should become incapacitated or sick.

I am not a right-wing Conservative, (Republican) by any means, but this seems to be a perfect platform for them, so get in the game boys!

This is one of the reasons I posted a petition to have people stop "interfering" with others and mind their own business but as usual what the hell do I know, right?

Your "leave me alone" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of the petition to have people mind their own business instead of yours at; http://www.petitiononline.com/moses/petition.html

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fearless Predictions and Forecasts for 2007

Well here it is on the last day of 2006. Hope it was a good year and I hope next year is even better! What's in store for 2007?

After "much research" and soul-searching I have compiled list of stuff that should be relevant to us in the New Year! Some of it is obvious, some of it just makes sense and some is out in left field.
(Which is apparently also the position I play in the game of life!)
Social Networking: By now, almost every online marketer has heard of social networking sites (such as MySpace) and have figured out that they are most likely the future of media. Many online social networks started out small, and now a few are becoming a global brand.
However, marketers need to be creative in order to develop campaigns that integrate messages without offending those who don’t want to be marketed to.

Targeted Marketing and Digital Email: With the increase in social networking we will also see increases in targeted niche marketing. Improved email execution will enhance messages and make email efforts more relevant.
Soon, marketers will replace the plain HTML or text messages with dynamic content and include more strategic and forward thinking to make sure their emails get opened.

Online Video: Online content will continue to evolve, and will include more online video than ever before.
However, the right audience and the right offer need to be determined first, if streaming video is to have a big effect on sales. When the right factors are in place, results have shown as much as a 1,000% increase.

Vista will be the last major release of Microsoft Windows. The next generation of operating environments will be more modular and will be updated incrementally. The era of monolithic deployments of software releases is nearing an end.

Proliferation of RSS - RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts. Users of RSS content use programs called feed readers or aggregators: the user subscribes to a feed by supplying to their reader a link to the feed; the reader can then check the user's subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user. (Did you get that?)

Blogging will Peak in 2007 and Start to Mature. In 2005, blogging and bloggers had fun, tasted the waters - some liked it and some moved on. In 2006, blogging matured (slightly). Blog Networks buckled down and started believing in themselves as a business - it’s time to take it to the next level, and that’s revenues. In 2007 … I believe the cream will rise to the top in blogging. (ME?) You’ll have your 10% of highly dedicated (and influential) bloggers, blogs and blog networks and the rest that will just plug along.

WAR: Many visionaries foresaw 3 great wars (WW1, WW2, WW3.) taking place in the same century and they were right. A lot of people don't realize that the "Cold War" was actualy WW3. In 2007 we see regional conflicts escalating, especially in the Middle East.

*US Lifts Cuba Travel Restrictions: Fidel Castro’s eternal rule over Cuba ends with his passing in mid 2007. Diplomatic relations immediately improve between the US and their neighbour to the South. Travel restrictions will be lifted, and Americans will flood Cuba. By the end of 2007, Cuba will find itself in a position to be one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the world while at the same time Canada pulls out of Afghanistan and invades and annexes the Turks and Caicos Islands.

*Housing: I predict a holding of prices in early 2007 due to sellers not willing to drop. Then we will see prices dropping in June/July, after a few months of increasing inventory.

*Hockey and soccer gain popularity. Why? Large flat-panel televisions. Fast-moving goal sports are hard to follow on small TVs. The action turns compelling on 50-inch or larger high-definition LCD or plasma screens. If you're old enough, you remember how boring football was on TV before color and instant replay. With their advent the NFL's popularity exploded in the 1960s.


*The blurring of the lines between journalism and entertainment.

*The blurring of lines between news and opinion.

*The blending of news and advertising, sponsorships or other commercial relationships.

*Recruitment shortfalls lead the Pentagon to hire temps to fill some positions and outsource some work to the Indian military.

*Jimmy Hoffa's body will be found in Elvis Presley's grave. Location of Elvis unknown - last seen in a Mall in Minneapolis!

*The problems and pitfalls inherent in pack journalism go to ridiculous extremes.

*I prognosticate and project that the the prolonged, professed and prohibitive tendency towards pessimism proliferates progressivly in profound proportians by profiteer's. In other words, the growing media fascination with the pathetic, the perverse and the pathological continues!

*Social orthodoxy, or political correctness will finaly start to wane.

*The next six months in Iraq will prove to be critical for determining how the following six months are going to go.

*Increasing strife in the blogosphere leads to the appointment of a Blog Study Group, which proposes dividing the blogosphere into three autonomous Liberal, Conservative and Moderate blogistans.

*An increasingly bellicose Switzerland announces plans to develop nuclear weapons to thwart the threat of North Korea.

*John Kerry repeatedly uses the n-word in a joke gone horribly wrong.

*Pictures of Rudolph Giuliani in drag will surface, scuttling his plans to run for President.

*Rupert Murdoch crashes his computer while trying to load a page in MySpace and angrily sells the company.

There you have it Folks
Your "Swami" Scribe
Allan W Janssen

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This is Sunday, Go to Church - NOW!

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) at; www.God-101.com
And the petition to have people mind their own business instead of yours at; http://www.petitiononline.com/moses/petition.html

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