Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is Obama the Darth Vader President?

Obama doesn't want America to give in to the "dark impulse" of prioritizing ME Christians as refugees. A nation's ability to accept refugees is finite. Given that, selectivity is perfectly rational.

When Christians are being targeted by Muslims for rape and crucifixion, when Christians, unlike Muslims, pose no threat, when the character of the host country is itself Christian, it is not a "dark impulse" to say we will bring them in.

Discrimination is not always bad. The wilful, blind failure to rationally differentiate is the dark impulse.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Paris Massacres: The Worst of Both Worlds

The authorities probably hoped the attackers weren't home-grown, that they were foreigners who had snuck in. On the other hand, they probably equally hoped that the terrorists hadn't slipped in on the recent Get-Into-Europe-Free card wave of "migrants" -- conservatives had been warning of the dangers.

As it is, they got  -- the worst of both worlds - home-grown "Frenchmen", and foreign imports who had indeed slipped in during the open-borders wave of migrants.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Only One Mention of the Word "Muslim" in BBC Paris Report

By convention, the phrase "Muslim terrorists" is not used in mainstream reporting of Islamic acts of terrorism.

Last night, the BBC managed to report on the Paris carnage without using either the words "Muslim" or "Islam". Apparently, they figured readers had no interest in knowing who might be behind the mayhem. Or perhaps, in a backhanded compliment to Islamic terrorism, they assumed everybody already knew.

This morning the BBC are reporting that ISIS was responsible. Inevitably this story becomes at least a teeny bit about Islam. The BBC used the word Muslim only once:
Its controversial ban on the burka face veil for women has been interpreted by some Muslims as being anti-Islamic.
Did you catch the context? It's in one of those "the West is bad"/ "it's our fault" sentiments. When the BBC uses the term "Muslim" the context is not terrorism, it is Muslim victimhood and the west's anti-Islamic bigotries.

Unless we are willing to articulate who our enemy is, and take rational steps to minimize the threat, there is no hope things will get better. Terrorist acts will continue and will become an acceptable price of western wishful thinking and deadly political correctness.

Mark Steyn weighs in at SteynOnline. Please swing by and read what he has to say.


Friday, November 13, 2015

BallBounces Car Travel Tips

We just completed a four-day drive from Toronto to Phoenix with our two dogs. Here are some of my travel tips. What are yours?

* pack the car early and take the day before off. This will prevent you being overly tired on the first day of the trip

* treat the day before as the first day of the trip: get to bed early.

* get an early start each day-- an early start means everything in terms of meeting mileage objectives and driving during daylight

* use stops wisely: differentiate between full dog-walk stops and short human stretch time stops; try to go a set time or distance between stops, but take a stop if you really feel like one

* gas-up the car at the end of each day to avoid an unnecessary gas-stop the next day; gas-up on a comfort stop when tank is less than half full to avoid a stop for gas later

* each day's travel begins the night before: have the car filled with gas and get to bed early

* leverage west-headed time-zone changes to your advantage: go an extra hour on the day the time zone changes; get up the same absolute time as the day before -- you are up an hour earlier and on the road sooner

* don't tank up on caffeinated soda at lunch -- this will result in an afternoon energy crash. Rather, keep a stock of diet Pepsi in the car and sip away throughout the afternoon. This was a new discovery for me this trip.

* Drive during daylight from dawn to just before dusk

* If you are going to "push on" beyond your normal stop time, have a place to stay -- you don't want to be scrambling for a motel at the end of a tiring day

* Enjoy the trip!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Road Trip Toronto to Phoenix: Day Four - Albuquerque - Phoenix

Drury Inn Albuquerque Quick-Start breakfast then on the road early. Crossed into Arizona. On to Winslow, AZ and the Turquoise Room for 2nd breakfast. Arizona Green Chile Eggs and a pancake side. Possibly the best breakfast on the planet. Expensive, but worth every penny.

Took highway 87 down to Payson. Took a side trip in Payson looking for spruce trees and discovered Payson has some lovely neighborhoods with upscale homes. Then on down into Scottsdale Phoenix area.

Arrived at Anasazi Condo Village around 4pm. CenturyLink had promised to restore internet by 5pm. They didn't. Came on around 7pm.

Four hard days on the road, but we made it safely. The dogs are ecstatic, and so are the humans. A neighbor had stocked up our fridge.

We thank God for safe arrival. Hope you enjoyed the trip!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Road Trip Toronto to Phoenix: Day Three - Tulsa - Albuquerque

Early start out of Tulsa down to OKC and then west on I-40. Through Oklahoma and into Texas. Skipped Cattlemen's Steakhouse in OKC because it was too early; stopped at Red River Steakhouse in Amarillo. VG steak, delicious grilled mushrooms and fresh-cut french fries.

Temperature got up to 25 Celsius.

Out of Amarillo and into New Mexico. Past Tucumcari, Santa Rosa and into Albuquerque. Staying at the Drury Inn in Albuquerque. Arrived in time for Kick-Back.

Today: Oklahoma - Texas - New Mexico.

We plan to leave early tomorrow in order to arrive in time for breakfast at the Turquoise Room in Winslow, AZ. Then, down the back country route into Scottsdale/Phoenix for an easy fourth day.

That's the plan, Stan.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Road Trip Toronto to Phoenix: Day Two - Indianapolis - Tulsa

Early start out of Indianapolis after Drury QuickStart breakfast. Looped around Indianapolis and headed southwest. Through Terre Haute, IN into Illinois. The highway was much better in Illinois. Lots of recent and current construction. They have smoothed the route through Effingham, IL. Tip: I view current construction as an investment in future travel, and express gratitude that they are making the road better for us; we don't have to do anything, they do all the work -- this helps minimize frustration at any delays that may occur.

Down to East St. Louis, IL and then through and around St. Louis. Missouri has improved the loop through/around St. Louis -- it is no longer a terrifying as it was.

Other side of St. Louis, making good time so skipped planned IMO's pizza stop and survived on energy bars. Headed on southwest to Springfield, MO. Detoured down to Ozark MO and Lambert's Cafe -- Home of the Throwed Rolls. The Pulled Pork sandwich is amazing. There's no point having one anywhere else. Throw in all the fixin's they pass around, not to mention the throwed rolls -- what a place!

Back on the highway, over and down to Joplin, MO. Decided to push on into Oklahoma and Tulsa via the 75mph toll highway. Cell phone died so we could not vet hotels ahead of time. First one wanted an additional $20+$20 for our two small dogs; second one wanted $25+$25. Plus, the roads off of I-44 in Tulsa are insane, especially at dusk and after dark -- all one-way and back-tracking and merging and looping and just hair-pulling insane. Finally, a guy having a smoke outside one of the hotels suggested we try the Red Roof Inn two miles south. We did and that is where we stayed. Around $70 and no surcharge for the pets. Much appreciated. Basic room, but newly renovated and clean. It'll do for a night's sleep.

Today: Indiana - Illinois - Missouri - Oklahoma.

Tomorrow: We hope to get to Albuquerque, NM and make this a four day trip to Phoenix instead of five. Planned culinary stop: Red River Steakhouse, McLean TX.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Road Trip Toronto to Phoenix: Day One - Toronto - Indianapolis

On our way 7am. 401 to Windsor to Detroit via the Ambassador Bridge. Nexus cards in hand. No line-up. Breezed through Nexus, declaring our dog food, US cash, etc. Paid bridge toll -- $5 US or $6.25 CAD.  Opted for Canadian to get rid of some change and preserve US dollars.

I-75 south out of Detroit down to Toledo, OH. Got a couple of take-out dogs at a Tony Packos in Sylvania -- delish, and, boy, are their pickles strong!

Drove southwest to Fort Wayne. 70 mph with cars making right turns onto the highway -- definitely rural! Then down to Indianapolis. Got a coupon-rate at the Drury Inn, Indianapolis. When we stay at Drury Inns, our goal is to arrive in time to enjoy evening Kick-back. We arrived around 5pm -- in lots of time.

Ontario - Michigan - Ohio - Indiana. So far, so good.

Tomorrow's goals: IMO's pizza in St. Louis and Lambert's Home of the Throwed Rolls in Ozark, MO. Stay in either Springfield or Joplin MO. There's a time zone change that works in our favour tomorrow.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Road trip Toronto to Phoenix: The Plan

We leave with our two dogs leave tomorrow morning for Phoenix. Travelling in a 4-wheel drive 2006 Toyota Matrix.

Day one, heading for Indianapolis via the Detroit bridge. Plan to stay at an Indianapolis Drury Inn at their coupon rate. Would like to get some Esther Price chocolates if I can find a Kroger that sells them.

Four culinary highlights on the planned route: IMO's St. Louis for thin-crust pizza. Lambert's, Ozark, MO - "home of the throwed rolls" for pulled-pork, throwed rolls, and fixin's. Cattlemen's in Oklahoma City for a T-bone. Turquoise Room, Winslow AZ for Arizona green chile eggs breakfast.

I'll try to do nightly updates.

Enjoy the ride!

Friday, November 06, 2015

BallBounces' Plan to Save Ontario

Ontario is drowning in debt. Meanwhile, government employees enjoy job security along with salaries and benefits that are higher than the private sector.

Here's my plan to save Ontario: 

* Reduce all civil servant/public employee salaries/benefits by 3% a year until the budget is balanced. (If you want to be aggressive, make it 5%.)

* No bonuses whatsoever paid out in fiscal years that run a deficit. Bonuses tied to amount of fiscal surplus.

* Any future deficits result in a 5% reduction in salaries/benefits in the next fiscal year. 

This would encourage better planning and responsible use of scarce funds. As it is, governments just keep blowing the debt balloon ever bigger while the worker-beneficiaries hope they are no longer around when it all goes pop.

Editted for clarity and content 11/7/2015.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

CBC: This bad place called Canada

I had the misfortune of listening to CBC radio on a drive to PEI on election day. Within an hour, this is what I heard:

* Canada is bad because there are permanent residents who can't vote because they haven't been granted citizenship. They found a Filipino nanny who complained she had lived here for 11 years but didn't get to air her gripes via the ballot box.

* Israel is a bad because settlers killed an innocent person they mistook for a Palestinian terrorist. The Palestinians who go around stabbing people, not so bad.

* Canada is bad because it hassles women wearing nijabs at citizenship ceremonies. The guest speaker, a taxpayer-funded academic, provided a litany of past oath-taking controversies and ended with a faux-apology asking the Muslim lady to forgive us because Canada is bad and we always get things wrong. What he really meant was non-progressives are bad while enlightened progressives feel your pain.

* Canada is bad because it requires photo IDs to vote and this is a hassle for people without photo IDs and, get ready for this… transgendered persons.

All this within a single hour.

The CBC is so drippingly ideological. I wish they would have the decency to acknowledge their bias and insist they have no right to expect others to fund them.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Is This Justin Trudeau's Finest Moment?

David Suzuki says Trudeau called his views on climate change 'sanctimonious crap' in heated call.

I'm gobsmacked.

Is this Justin's finest moment? His most astute observation? Will he build on this moment of lucidity -- or is it all downhill from here?

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Fishy Mohammed Clock Caper…

"Naming your kid “Ahmed Mohamad” and sending him into school with a ticking briefcase is just asking for problems."

No kidding.

Was it really an invention? Or was it just a re-hashed clock from Radio Shack? If so, what was the purpose of this caper? Was it a set up?



Did he not realize that taking a ticking box filled with loose wires and electronics could be misconstrued? What about his parents/dad -- in this day and age would you innocently send your kid -- muslim no less -- off to school with what looks like a bomb without at least notifying the teacher ahead of time? Is this civil, civic-minded behaviour, or is this wilful provocation?

Did the police over-react? (Answer: yes -- but that's what liberal-left zero-tolerance policies gets you.)

He got the knee-jerk invite to the White House. Would he have got this invite if he were a white kid?Why does he get to go to the White House, but a kindergarten kid who gets expelled for eating a pop tart into the shape of a gun does not? Obama rarely misses a chance to "make America look bad" and fan the flames of racial/ethnic/religious animosity. 

Provocation, meet the provocateur-in-chief.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Great Moments in Global Warming: "Gas Prices triple by 2015”

Daily Caller:
ABC News ran a news special in 2009 called Earth 2100, a program warning its viewers about the dangers of climate change. ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff says the show “puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world. The first stop is the year 2015.” A Harvard University professor says, “We’re going to see more floods, more droughts, more wildfires.
Gas prices triple by 2015. Suburbs abandoned. Don't miss EthaHAUL --  it appears at the end of the video.

Don't expect a retrospective boy-were-we-duped retraction from ABC.

Warning: PG. Scary, apocalyptic scenarios. Could frighten children.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Great Moments in Environmentalism: “In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death"

 In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate”
h/t  Watts Up With That

Folks, we have five years to save the planet. So, get busy. Here are the top five practical steps you can take to save the planet:

5. Write your Congressman or MP.

4. Shut off your air con/heating.

3. Ditch the car and get out your bike.

2. Install solar panels and wind mills in your house/condo/apt.

1. Stop breathing.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mann Bites Dog Mann

Most of you are aware of the litigation-media war between Mark Steyn and Nobel Piece-of-a-Prize winner Michael Mann.

This is a review of Steyn's latest salvo, the book-length "A Disgrace To The Profession: The World's Scientists, In Their Own Words, On Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick And Their Damage To Science - Volume I" (Compiled and edited by Mark Steyn, with illustrations by Josh). So there.

I expected the book to be on the dry side compared to Steyn's usual joyous romps. I was wrong. It was a pleasure to read. I was laughing by the time I reached the Table of Contents. Steyn organizes scientists' criticisms of Mann by theme and keeps the "plot" moving. Criticism, meet witticism.

The book's organization is brilliant: each section begins with an overview by Steyn, followed by a series of two-page, bite-sized critiques of Mann. They're like a Pez dispenser, you finish one, another pops up, staring you in the face. Daring you. OK, just one more. Just one more. This is definitely the last. No more Pez today!!!

What a compendium of biting criticisms. As the litigation proceeds, we'll see how these Mann bites dog Mann.

Two bristlecone pines, way up!

Get the book here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Greece: The Greasy Slide Down (and the way Up)

Greek financial/capital markets are tanking.
Greece is a festering sinkhole of dishonesty and corruption. It is reaping what it has sown. It is a capital repulsion force field.
Ever notice how western nations characterized by corruption are either Roman Catholic or Orthodox? I say this not out of enmity or bigotry; as far as I can see it is an observable fact. Greece needs a Protestant Reformation; one that upholds the Ten Commandments as a societal obligation before God.
Look to Singapore for an example. It started from scratch after WWII (actually started with a Confucian-Protestant British cultural heritage) and prospered through integrity, hard work, and good decision-making. It became a capital magnet. It prospered. It took a generation. There are no quick fixes -- especially when the problem is cultural and moral.

May God bring enlightening, uplifting moral reformation to Greece.

And that's the way the praying Ball bounces.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reading the Koran at the Vatican

Reading the Koran at the Vatican -- is this passes for "contending for the faith" these days? Does the present pope really believe that the Koran is an authentic revelation from God, or is he just playing nice, some kind of evangelism-by-stealth?

Apparently Francis -- if that's his real name -- said: "It is my hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of a new journey where we seek the things that unite, so as to overcome the things that divide".

What divides Christianity and Muslims?

* The divinity of Christ
* The saving death of Christ
* The resurrection of Christ
* The inspiration and reliability of the Old Testament
* The inspiration and reliability of the New Testament
* Christ, Saviour and Lord, 
* Christ the fulness of God's revelation, i.e., no need for a Mohammed.

Sure. Let's set all this aside -- the guts of the Christian faith -- and focus on what unites Muslims and Christians. Which would be what?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pan Am Tickets? -- Fuggedaboudit.

I thought since I was in Toronto I might as well check out Pan Am tickets for tomorrow.
Went to the main site.

As far as I can tell, it is impossible to know what events are on tomorrow -- the ticket site simply won't cough up this information. Must have been designed by someone who doesn't stand to lose or gain based on ticket sales.

Guess I'll just stay home.

And that's the way the Ball doesn't bounce.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The British Legal Mind -- a Dying Breed?

A woman in the UK gets jail for distracted driving that killed a cyclist. Here's the UK judge's reasoning:
… Judge Lord Kinclaven said driving while using a mobile phone "has the capacity to wreck lives and literally kill". 
He said: "Use of a hand-held mobile phone is in itself an unlawful act. 
He says "unlawful act" as if it were a bad thing?!
"The fact an offender is avoidably distracted by the use of a mobile phone when committing an offence of this sort will always make an offence more serious."

This judge thinks the way I do. I attribute it to my Canadian British Judeo-Christian upbringing, rooted in the notions of personal responsibility and respect for the law.

Compare/contrast this with the wooly thinking that passes for left-wing compassion these days in much of the west. Illegally in the country? No prob. You're just "undocumented". Committed several crimes/felonies? No prob. We feel your pain. Catch and release.

Can a nation that jettisons its own Judeo-Christian roots and despises its own Law long survive?

We'll see.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

My Big Fat Greek Crisis

Coat of arms of Greece since 7 June 1975.
Coat of arms of Greece since 7 June 1975. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Crises like this one usually have one of two root-causes: structural or moral. Greece has both.

Structurally, it leans towards communism/socialism. Retirement at 50. Socialism is de-moralizing; it sucks the moral fibre out of people.

Morally, Greece is a de-moralized, corrupt country. Dishonesty and evasion are the norms -- everyone's on the take, and no-one's a giver. Well, the countries that loaned Greece money were givers. That's about it.

Here's a great example of Greece as a structural/moral problem that I came across in The Telegram:
I am 52 years old, and get a Pension of €1,400 per month, and dont know if i will get the next payment. I would vote NO, i have been retired since the age of 50 and get the money sent from Greece, and can use the council Gyms in London for free, free meals on wheels from Hackney Council, it is a good life.

Free, free, free. A good life = one that someone else pays for.

Greece's problem is not financial; it is moral. It never had a Protestant Reformation.

It needs one.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Did the US Congress Exempt Itself From Obamacare?

Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from ...
Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from Nevada and Majority Leader of the United States Senate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This Forbes article gives the answer: not exactly.

* Prior to Obamacare, Congress enjoyed subsidized healthcare provided by the federal government.

*The Obamacare bill as passed into law required Congress and its staff to purchase their health insurance through an Exchange at full price.

* In 2013, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), (apparently under direction from the President) issued a rule allowing federal subsidies to continue.

* Republican Senator Vitter subsequently introduced a bill to reverse the OPM rule and "require the President, Vice President, executive branch political appointees, and all Members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance through the Exchange and without subsidies from the Federal Government". The bill was blocked repeatedly by Democrat Harry Reid.

There is no law that prevents a US employer from subsidizing a US employee's healthcare. So, there is nothing wrong with an employer subsidy per se.

However, Congress was, by a law they crafted and passed, required to purchase their insurance through an Exchange, without subsidies "as it is written in the original bill which no one read and a majority signed". They then flouted this law with the help of a ruling from the OPM, apparently at the urging of the US President.

Which is about par for the course for the Obama era.

Related articles

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter Sunday: We Have A Winner!

English: Icon of Jesus Christ
English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Good Friday, everybody (with the exception of the disheartened disciples) was sure they had come out on top; they had won.

The political-religious establishment was sure it had won, because it had proved victorious over the One who challenged its power.

Mankind was sure it had won, because it had silenced the accusing Voice.

The Devil thought he had won, because he had killed the Holy One, his archenemy and nemesis.

But God, largely absent as an overt actor on Good Friday, knew he had won because what went down went down according to his plan.

The cross is a fascinating intersection of competing interests, all of whom, according to their own terms, thought they had "won". But on Easter Sunday, after Evil had thrown everything it had in the Son of God's face, God played his hand. He raised Christ from the dead.

A singular act in history. Trump card. Game over. God wins.

God took everything Evil had and triumphed over it. That, by itself, is an incredible message. But, there's more. He didn't just triumph over it; he used evil's power to effect his win. Because of the crucifixion of Christ, mankind in Christ had been justly punished for its rebellion; an acceptable sacrifice to God had been made. Now God could justly and freely forgive and declare innocent whomever he chose. As the apostle Paul put it, God proves through the cross to be both just, and the justifier, of those who trust in Christ. God used evil's power to destroy evil's power.

It wasn't just a win; it was  a complete and utter rout. The message that God used evil to overcome evil is too sublime to be of human origin. It has the earmarks of the divine. It is worthy of belief.

* * *

As humans we tend to think that the death of Jesus was the easy, natural, thing, and the resurrection the hard, spectacularly supernatural thing: Christ -- easy to kill; hard to raise. In fact, the opposite is true. Christ was sinless. He could not justly be put to death. God, who cannot perform an unjust work, needed some help. He needed injustice to do the evil work of killing Christ. And evil's malign intents played right into His hands.

In fact, the resurrection was the easy part. How hard could it be for God to raise up the divine, sinless One whom Scripture says death not only did not hold, but could not hold (Acts 2:24)? While the cross is the strange, if sublime, work, the resurrection is simply God being God, albeit an unparalleled display of his power.

There are two streams at work in human life. The stream of evil, sin, and death. And the stream of resurrection life. The person without Christ operates in the first stream only. The end-game is death. The Bible calls it "perishing". It's an end-game from which there is no escape. Apart from Christ.

The person in Christ operates in both streams. The power of the cross cancels sin, renders sinful human nature inoperative, and negates the devil's sublimely evil influences over our lives. But we also pivot to the new life offered in Christ. As Scripture puts it, if we were reconciled to God through Christ's death, how much more shall we be saved by his life (Romans 5:10).

Because he lives, we shall live also. At Easter, God won -- and so did we!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday: Everybody Was A Winner

The Devil and Evil won, because they succeeded in killing the Holy One, the Devil's archenemy, master, and tormentor.

Mankind won, because it succeeded in silencing the Voice accusing it of sin.

The political-religious establishment won, because they were victorious over a major pain in their butt.

God won, because things went according to his plan.

The cross is a fascinating intersection of competing interests, all of whom, according to their own terms, "won". The question: can God use the greatest display of evil to achieve the greatest display of good?

Stay tuned…

It's Friday, but Sunday's coming.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

“A Senator’s Job Description is Public Service”

A Canadian Senator has huffed and puffed that “a senator’s job description is public service”.

Unfortunately for tax-payers, "public service" is now progressive-speak for "massively entitled".

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Militant Islam And the Language of Appeasement

President Obama excels at exculpatory language when it comes to militant Islam, as do most quisling European political leaders.

Western politicians' unwillingness to use honest language regarding the threat of Islam in general and militant Islam in particular is perhaps driven by an unwillingness to differentiate between "us" and "them". As such, it amounts to a cultural death-wish.

Mark Steyn, as always, is one of the best sources for clear-headed analysis.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"