Histories Over-rated and Under-rated

April 13, 2009

I decided to do a series of comparison lists of histories over-rated and under-rated as they relate to each other.  This list is political and military leaders.

Some of the comparisons require a little thought.  For example, Hamilton and Jackson.  Hamilton is the most respected financial pioneer in American History, but Andrew Jackson is the only President to eliminate National debt and operate a trade surplus, so Jackson is under-rated as compared to Hamilton.

Over-Rated Under-Rated
Christopher Columbus Marco Polo
Ronald Regan Richard Nixon
Queen Elizabeth Queen Victoria
Franklin Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt
Hitler Napoleon
Alexander Hamilton Andrew Jackson
JFK RFK
Sitting Bull Crazyhorse
Grant Lee
Alexander Caesar
William Wallace Robert Bruce

Best Bad Science Fiction Movies, that we had to watch (Since 1980)

March 30, 2009

1.  Flash Gordon, 1980.  The worst plot and production values ever, but you just can’t look away.  “FLASH…Ah Ah”

2.  Clash of the Titans, 1981.  Sir Lawrence Olivier had to regret signing up to play Zeus in this Claymation nightmare.

3.  Attack of the Clones, 2002.  By far the worst movie in the Star Wars sage.  This is maybe the worst directing job of all time.

4.  Starship Troopers, 1997.  The worst acting ever, but the production value and effects were not bad.  The script was a disaster.  Stat: More ammunition was used during filming that any other movie ever.

5.  Battlefield Earth.  Travolta +future alien battle+ Scietology = the worst movie ever made.

Best Picture Academy Award

February 23, 2009

AFI’s Top 25 movies of all time include only eight best picture winners.   The best year ever has to be 1962 with Lawrence of Arabia, The Longest Day, Mutiny on the Bounty, and To Kill a Mocking bird.  1994 has a good argument with Forest Gump, the Lion King, Shawshank Redemption, and Pulp Fiction.

↓ ↓ ↓

AFI Rank

Title Year Best Picture Place on list
1 Citizen Kane 1941 How Green was my Valley NR
2 Casablanca 1942
3 The Godfather 1972
4 Gone with the Wind 1939
5 Lawrence of Arabia 1962
6 The Wizard of Oz 1939 Gone with the Wind 1
7 The Graduate 1967 In the Heat of the Night NR
8 On the Waterfront 1954
9 Schindler’s List 1993
10 Singin’ in the Rain 1952 The Greatest Show on Earth NR
11 It’s a Wonderful Life 1946 The Best Years of our Lives 37
12 Sunset Boulevard 1950 All About Eve 16
13 The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957
14 Some Like It Hot 1959 Ben Hur 72
15 Star Wars 1977 Annie Hall 31
16 All About Eve 1950
17 The African Queen 1951 An American in Paris 68
18 Psycho 1960 The Apartment 93
19 Chinatown 1974 The Godfather Part II 32
20 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 1975
21 The Grapes of Wrath 1940 Rebecca NR
22 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 Oliver! NR
23 The Maltese Falcon 1941 How Green was my Valley NR
24 Raging Bull 1980 Ordinary People NR
25 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982 Gandhi NR

10 Most Influential and Significant Books in history (non-religious)

February 7, 2009

The Illiad and Odessey, Homer. 8th Century BCE

Histories, Herodotus. 5th Century BCE

The Republic, Plato. 380 BCE

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, 167

The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli. 1532

On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Nicolaus Copernicus. 1543

Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Isaac Newton. 1687

Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith. 1776

The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx. 1848

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin. 1859

World War III

January 29, 2009

Here is a fictional account of a possible 21st century world war. 

Allies: USA, Great Britain and Commonwealth Nations, Japan, Greece, Israel, India, South Korea

Eastern Alliance (EA): Russia, China, North Korea, Turkey, Southeast Asian Nations, Pakistan, Middle East, North African Nations, Former Soviet Republics.

Neutral: European Union, Sub Saharan Africa, Central and South America

Build-up:

Russia, China, Pakistan sign a treaty to share oil reserves and military intelligence. This causes fear in India, so they mobilize their Military to protect their borders. Iran is invaded from two fronts through Afghanistan and Iraq by the United States Army. A world wide Islamic call to arms causes all Middle Eastern nations to declare war on the U.S. This includes Pakistan. India then declares war on Pakistan and launches nuclear strikes which Pakistan returns, killing millions. The United Nations holds an emergency meeting and all members of the Security Council sign a pact to not deploy any nuclear weapons in the coming conflict.

Conflict: Year 1

Russia mobilizes along the former Iron Curtain and then signs a peace treaty with the European Union. Russian troops move into Afghanistan and Iran first as defense, but then they start to seize oil fields. The U.S orders the Russians out but China and Pakistan back Russia because of their treaty.

Meanwhile, the new Islamic Unified Army launches a massive attack against Israel who does not deploy nuclear weapons but manages to hold off the invaders. Egypt takes control of the Suez Canal and refuses to allow the Allies access. The Allied bases come under attack in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They decide that they cannot hold onto these areas with Russia and China looming so they withdraw to bolster Israel.

North Korea launches a huge offensive in South Korea and China’s entire Navy cuts off the US from reinforcing Seoul. South Korea falls with huge US casualties and the U.S. forces in Korea surrender. This is a huge moral boost for the Eastern Alliance. Japan maintains a national defense and navy, but they do not launch an offensive to help the US troops.

A massive Russian Land and sea force mounts in eastern Siberia. The Allied Pacific fleet moves north to counter the Russian Navy. Alaska is heavily fortified causing a stand-off between Russia and the USA across the Bearing Sea.

Australia sends troops to bolster India who is invaded across the Himalayas by China and from the west by Pakistan. A bitter fight for the Indian subcontinent ensues.

Turkey invades Greece from the east, and Russia invades from the North. The Allies officially declare war on Russia and China. Greece is lost to the EA because the allies put the defense of Israel as the first priority. The Black sea oil trade and all access to Asia is now lost to the Allies. India is holding out, and Israel is the only foothold that the Allies have on the entire Asian continent.

Year 2

With the bulk of the US navy in the Bearing Sea, China dominates the south Pacific. Japan will still not engage the Chinese or Koreans. Australia is threatened by the Chinese, so they pull out of India for the defense of Australia. India soon falls to China and Pakistan. The Allies desperately try to get Europe to enter the war but they still refuse. Poland asks for support due to the massing of Russian troops along its border. The allies fear a land war with Russia, so they do not mobilize in Europe.

Cuba, Columbia and Venezuela join the EA and attack the Panama Canal. The allies ask Mexico and Brazil to join the war effort, but they remain neutral. The U.S. deploys troops to defend Panama which they do easily. Cuba is taken by the US and all of North and South America is secured, although not officially with the Allies. With the US defenses weakened in Alaska, the Soviets launce the largest naval battle in History against the US Pacific fleet. China’s Navy then moves into the pacific and attacks Hawaii. The U.S. Navy is victorious against Russia, but with heavy losses.

The U.S. takes the offensive and moves most of the forces into The Middle Eastern theater. This weakens the west coast, but the US gambles that Russia and China will not invade the United States. The British lead an offensive breakout from Israel and retake the Suez Canal and most of Egypt. The Islamic Unified Army crumbles and the Allies retake most of Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, securing much needed oil reserves. The allies are constantly engaged by insurgents and holding the area is very costly.

Year 3

Russia and China launch a joint counter offensive into Iraq, and the largest land battle in human history ensues. It is nicknamed Armageddon because of the massive death and destruction on both sides. The battle is an allied victory, but they are weakened and susceptible to insurgent attacks.

The US navy begins an offensive into the south pacific after the Russian Navy is subdued. China is no match for the US with its heavy aircraft carriers now in the mix. Japan finally joins the war and they launch attacks into Korea and China. The U.S. blockades the entire Pacific Rim and tries to force the surrender of China. Russian Navy moves into the Atlantic and begins pirating European shipping. A stalemate begins to develop and no land battles exist for the last half of year three.

Year 4

The Allies now hold naval and air supremacy and blockade all EA ports. Russia, desperate for food, oil, and money invade Poland. This breaks the stalemate and allows a new European front to open up. This is just what the allies needed. Germany joins the allies and they begin a land invasion of Russia. Moscow is besieged and the Russian people are dying by the millions. India revolts and retakes the subcontinent with support from Allied air power. The allies liberate Tibet, and invade western China. Japan invades China and a huge land war takes place along the great wall. The US opens an eastern front by invading Russia from Alaska. With all hope of victory lost Russia surrenders to the European Union’s demands and remains in control of all territory it held before the war. The US army in Siberia now heads south and takes Manchuria and Korea.

China and Japan agree to a mutual ceasefire. As do India and Pakistan. The Middle East is the last battleground of the war. The insurgents are still active, but the allies now have the full force of their armies along with the European Nations. The entire Middle East is put under the control of the United Nations. The national boundaries are reformed into states with a representative democracy controlling the new union of Middle Eastern states. All of the monarchies and dictatorships are collapsed and the fundamentalist movement is subverted by democracy.

Year 5

China is severely weakened, and remains the world’s only communist country. Manchuria and the western province of Xinjang have been taken over, and are now new nations. Aided by the CIA, a people’s revolution rises up in China and overthrows the government. A new democratic constitution is ratified in China marking the official end of the War to end all Wars.

10 Worst days in Dow Jones History.

August 12, 2008
Rank Date % Chg
1 12/12/1914 -24.39
2 10/19/1987 -22.61
3 10/28/1929       -12.82
4 10/29/1929 -11.73
5 11/6/1929 -9.92
6 12/18/1899 -8.72
7 08/12/1932         -8.4
8 03/14/1907         -8.29
9 10/26/1987    -8.04
10 7/21/1933 -7.84

What is a liberal?

August 3, 2008

Liberal has become a negative slander. A pejorative to describe a weak person who wants everything handed to them by the Government. That is the opposite of what constitutes a liberal.

Liberal is the root word of liberty and liberate. It means freedom. The true definition of a liberal is a person who holds individual freedom to be the most important political issue. The limitation of government interference in business and individual lives is the real central theme of liberalism. It was the foundation upon which the United States of America was built.

Modern liberal political issues like welfare, universal healthcare, and progressive taxation, are not liberal at all. They are socialist issues. The limitation of government in individual lives along with the increase in government programs to aid people is a true contradiction. The modern political liberals want to have their cake and eat it too. If people want to protect individual liberties, they have to be willing to limit the size and power of the federal government. If they want social programs to provide equality and assistance to everyone, then they have to give up individual liberties. There is no way to have it both ways.

The founding fathers knew this, and they knew the nature of human ambition. If you give elected officials absolute power, they will take away liberties, and become corrupt. If you guarantee liberty, some people will try to take advantage of the free market system. If everyone is equal, we will all be poor. If economic incentives exist; the smart, diligent, industrious people will rise to economic power. If the government continues to eliminate economic incentives with high taxes, interest rates, no patent protection, etc, then the smart, diligent, industrious people of the world will invest their money and ideas somewhere else.

The true future of the nation has to be in economic conservatism and social liberalism. The Republicrats will eventually take over! Something has to give, and that is an economic survival of the fittest. People unable or unwilling to compete economically will be poor. It is that simple. If we can tolerate that, the nation will long endure.

Where do our tax dollars go?

August 1, 2008

Ever wonder where your tax dollars go.  I find it strange that we spend more than twice as much money on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan than we do in th entire U.S. Department of Education.  Our interest payments on debt is more than the budget for the departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs, HUD, and Homeland Security combined.

· Discretionary spending: $1.21 trillion (+4.9%)

*The financial cost of the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan are not part of the defense budget; they are appropriations.

Global military spending

July 29, 2008
Rank Country Spending ($ b.) World Share (%)
World Total 1339 100
1 Flag of the United States United States 547 45
2 Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 59.7 5
3 Flag of the People's Republic of China China 58.3 5
4 Flag of France France 53.6 4
5 Flag of Japan Japan 43.6 4
6 Flag of Germany Germany 36.9 3
7 Flag of Russia Russia 35.4 3
8 Flag of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 33.8 3
9 Flag of Italy Italy 33.1 3
10 Flag of India India 24.2 2
11 Flag of South Korea South Korea 22.6 2
12 Flag of Brazil Brazil 15.3 1
13 Flag of Canada Canada 15.2 1
14 Flag of Australia Australia 15.1 1
15 Flag of Spain Spain 14.6 1

Early development of different continents

July 25, 2008

What is the reason that Europe and Asia evolved faster than the rest of the world? The same natural resources exist all over the world.  So, Why Eurasia and not the Americas, or Africa? There are four theories:

Animals: The availability of domesticated animals allowed farming, transportation, and surplus food. This allowed people to find other things to do other that look for food all day. Horses, Camels, Sheep, Pigs, Chickens and Cattle all came from Eurasia. Native Americans never domesticated the Buffalo or Antelope. South America domesticated the Lama and Alpaca which provided pack animals which allowed the Inca and Maya to form advanced civilizations. Africa never domesticated the Zebra, Hippo, or Elephant (only the Asian elephant can be trained.)

Horizontal Axis: The other continents are tall and thin, Eurasia exits on a horizontal axis that provides 4 seasons. Animals migrated from one end of the super continent to the other which gave people longer hunting seasons. The cold winters in the Northern Hemisphere made them plan ahead with planting, harvest, storage, shelter etc.

Iron: When Spain engaged the Aztecs, they were fighting with wood and stone weapons. They had not yet developed sails for ocean vessels or wheels to provide transportation. While Iron was plentiful, they had not yet learned create a fire hot enough to make steel. The Aztecs had bronze and gold, but they used it for decoration rather than weapons. A few hundred Spanish Calvary soldiers with guns and steel swords conquered several million Aztecs. It seems unthinkable, but imagine a few hundred American special forces troops going back in time two thousand years. They could have taken over the Roman Empire. What would medieval knights have done against a stealth bomber? That was the difference of technology of the Aztecs and the Spanish.

Staples: Europe had wheat and barley, Asia had rice, North America had corn, South America had potatoes. These are all pretty similar in calories and abundance. Sub Saharan Africa lacks a solid native staple food product. They do not have a clear planting season. The warm summer rains and long, hot days are not conducive to farming, so the feast/famine cycle has existed to this day in Africa.


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