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Book Review: “Trial By Ordeal” By Craig Parshall

Trial By Ordeal by Craig Parshall, Harvest House Publishers – Paperback $12.99, 330 pages

I received this book free from Active Christian Media on Thursday and finished the book Friday. I could not put it down. If you like thrillers, by Grisham, James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, you will love this book. To quote the back cover:

Pursuing a good real-estate investment, the professor (Kevin Hastings) stumbles onto a prime chunk of property in downtown Chicago. It just has an old church building to be cleared away. But the dream deal turns into an ordeal when Kevin discovers he’s signed a contract with the mob – one he can’t deliver on.

Kevin’s story is told from his viewpoint. He is a naive, definitely not street smart, kind of an ivory tower history professor, who is spiritually lost. When things get real tough for him he tries to rely on himself, then on lawyers, but discovers he is repelled by his lawyers morals, but doesn’t know why.

He meets people, “Christ-ers”, Born Agains, who invoke the Lord’s name and that feels uncomfortable to him. It is like hearing too much information.

As a History professor, Kevin lectures on some interesting ways Medieval men could prove their innocence. You would grasp a red hot poker, walk 9 yards, your blistered hand would be bandaged, and three days later you would be examined. If, your hand was healed, you were innocent. Trial By Ordeal is Kevin’s story of his ordeal to prove his innocence.

Regarding “Born Agains”, in the book a Rabbi questions Jesus about this need to be born again to see The Kingdom of God.

How can a man be born when he is old? …Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb?But Jesus was talking about something else, something that whispers to us, blows past us like a winsome breeze, from beyond the observable, …”Flesh gives birth to flesh,” Jesus said, “but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

And for Kevin, finding a way through the ordeal starts with his spirit, inside, and determines his actions and comforts him.

Another passage spoke of the Mission where Kevin sought help, as peopled by

Men who wandered the streets of Chicago wearing clothes indelibly discolored with grime – men with faces that showed almost completely on the outside all the broken stuff on the inside.

Not just the hard life on their faces, but their broken stuff. A feeling to me that says if you change the inside, the outside will change.

Parshall wrote the mobster particularly well. I could see Tony Soprano in every scene, even the way Tony moves his head, all without using profanity. Trial By Ordeal ranks up there with The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille. Both books explore what it’s like to have a mobster take an interest in you?

Five out of Five stare for me!

Trial By Ordeal Craig Parshall Book Review Mover Mike

Update:


Salton City Earthquakes

It is interesting to me that since 6/24 there have been 62 75 earthquakes in the Salton City area of California and just today there have been 50 58 so far yesterday and 5 today at 8:49PM .

When I look at the map of Baja and lower California, I wonder how long it will be before the Sea of Cortez joins with the Salton Sea.

Salton City Earthquakes USGS Mover

Update:


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

The headline reads

Rice, Lavrov quarrel on Iraq

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking unknowingly into an open microphone, chastised her Russian counterpart yesterday for bemoaning the killing of five Russian diplomats in Iraq

Seems to me that Rice has been quarrelling more and more with Russian officials. I’m thinking there’s growing conflict with Russia over how we deal with Iraq and Iran, the USD and the Rubel, Gold (via deliberate higher weighting of Gold in Russia’s forex reserves). This is the second time that Condoleezza has had harsh words with Russian officials in a short time. Could be politics, showing how tough she is, but I sense something more.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Russia DiplomacyN Mover Mike

Tracinda Tells GM

From MarketWatch

Tracinda Corp., the investment vehicle of investor Kirk Kerkorian, is recommending to General Motors Corp.

to from a global partnership. Tracinda, through a federal filing, sent a letter Friday to Rich Wagoner, the Detroit automaker’s chairman, saying the two foreign car makers “are receptive to the concept of including” GM in a global partnership and purchasing a minority stake in GM. The deal could generate substantial synergies and cost savings, according to the letter. Tracinda owns about 10% of GM shares. GM shares jumped 11.8% to $30.69 in pre-market action on I-Net.

I would imagine GM’s 10% shareholder can throw around a lot of weight. Sounds like a forced merger to me.

Tracinda GM Finance Mover Mike

FED Funds, At the High?

Is this why the market surged, the USD swooned and Gold took off like a rocket?

Chart of the Day says

While the last Fed tightening cycle (gold dashed line) fell a touch short of average, this tightening cycle has already witnessed a run that is a touch more than average.

To me it means the FED has reloaded. We now are at a point where interest rates can be reduced, after all, that debt has to be repaid and interest is a big expense. When it comes down to a choice between an economic collapse or inflation, the FED is going to flood the world with liquidity. This is great for Gold, lousy for the USD!

USD Gold Mover Mike

Our USD Policy

With the confirmation of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the general thinking of this administration has changed from Treasury Secretary O’Neil

“in favor of a strong dollar(?) I can’t imagine why anyone would think to the contrary.”

to a weaker dollar would lower Americans’ appetite for imports, make U.S. exports cheaper on global markets and therefore help shrink the deficit.

What Americans should expect is the inflation of rising prices. We have outsourced the manufacture of a large number of consumer items and we may never manufacture them again in this country. We will see prices rise on those items. A lower dollar is expected to shrink the deficit, when in fact it will rob value from foreigners who hold our debt.

Everyone in the financial arena knows the USD is going lower. The trick will be, manage it another 30% lower over time without inducing a panic to sell. We need to raise the temperature of the water gradually, so the “frogs” don’t realize too soon that they’re cooked. (Hat tip to Le Metropole Cafe)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
U.S. Treasury Secretary O’Neil”
Gold Trade Deficit USD Mover Mike

Update:

Speaking of U.S. Treasury Secretarys, did you read what former U.S. Treasury Larry Summers said? Lawrence H. Summers has cautioned developing countries that the return “will be zero” on those Treasurys after inflation and currency changes!

Ray LaMontagne Coming to Portland

Just got an email from Ray LaMontagne. He’s coming to Portland, opening for Guster on October 4th at the Crystal Ballroom. I just signed up for tickets at $32.50 for General Admission. If you haven’t heard LaMontagne go here to visit his web site.

His new CD is due out on the 29th of August!

Ray LaMontagne Guster Mover Mike

Strange market!!!

Strange market! The FED raises interest rates for the 17th time and signals more to come. “They” say rising interest ratwes are not good for Gold but Gold finished the first session at $586 up about $5 and in the afternoon it is now $597 up another $11. OIl is over $73, the USD should be up, is down and the stock market is up 180. Meanwhile Fed has raised the Fed Funds rate to 5.25 and the 10-year treasury is 5.20 down .04. Strange market!!!

FED Interest Rates USD Gold Mover Mike

CO2 Science

Let me take a different tack with Global warming. Here’s CO2 Science on Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming

There is little doubt the air’s CO2 concentration has risen significantly since the inception of the Industrial Revolution; and there are few who do not attribute the CO2 increase to the increase in humanity’s use of fossil fuels. There is also little doubt the earth has warmed slightly over the same period; but there is no compelling reason to believe that the rise in temperature was caused by the rise in CO2. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that future increases in the air’s CO2 content will produce any global warming; for there are numerous problems with the popular hypothesis that links the two phenomena.[…]

The observation that two things have risen together for a period of time says nothing about one trend being the cause of the other.

When I was a stockbroker, there was an amazing correlation between the direction of the stock market after the Super Bowl and the winner of the Super Bowl called the Super Bowl Effect.

According to the unconventional but surprisingly accurate indicator, stocks rise when a team from the National Football Conference or one from the pre-1970 National Football League wins the Super Bowl. It’s worked for 26 of 29 Super Bowls.

However, just because there is correlation doesn’t imply cause. CO2 Science goes to point out

In thus considering the seven greatest temperature transitions of the past half-million years – three glacial terminations and four glacial inceptions – we note that increases and decreases in atmospheric CO2 concentration not only did not precede the changes in air temperature, they followed them, and by hundreds to thousands of years! There were also long periods of time when atmospheric CO2 remained unchanged, while air temperature dropped, as well as times when the air’s CO2 content dropped, while air temperature remained unchanged or actually rose. Hence, the climate history of the past half-million years provides absolutely no evidence to suggest that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 concentration will lead to significant global warming.

Global warming CO2 Science Mover Mike

Update: Check out Maxedoutmama for a further discussion of the “crock” of global warming in Journalistic Scientific Malpractice

Global Warming? Give Me A Break!

I didn’t post anything at the time, just tossed it off as another bit of propaganda by Michael Milstein and Richard L. Hill of The Oregonian. But, this first paragraph in Sunday’s front page story set my teeth on edge:

The debate over what to do about global warming remains divisive and politically charged. But few scientists dispute we live on a planet where average temperatures are higher than they were a century ago and will continue to climb. In the Pacific Northwest — a place defined by glacier-clad mountains, rivers and the sea — the effects are now seen and measurable.

Milstein earlier in the month interviewed Al Gore about his movie and there was this exchange:

Q: You recall in the film that when you started discussing global warming in Congress, you expected that everyone else would be as concerned as you were. But they weren’t. Why do you think that is?

Al Gore: Yada, Yada, Yada

You know, I’ve been trying to tell this story for 30 years, and what’s different in the last several years is the debate’s over. There’s no more debate. No more debate among serious people about five points. Number 1: Global warming is real. Number 2: We human beings are largely responsible for it. Number 3: The results are catastrophic. Number 4: We have to fix it, and we have to act quickly. And number 5: It’s not too late. We still have time. (emphasis added)

Milstein doesn’t challenge Gore on any of that false science. Then he and Hill follow with the Sunday piece on the front page!

Well, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works just issued a report accusing AP of bias and guess what they said:

AP chose to ignore the scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth”.[…]

The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann, which claims that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century, and that the 1990’s were the warmest decade in at least 1000 years.

[…]

Gore’s film also cites a review of scientific literature by the journal Science which claimed 100% consensus on global warming, but Lindzen pointed out the study was flat out incorrect.

“…A study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words “global climate change” produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.”- Lindzen wrote in an op-ed in the June 26, 2006 Wall Street Journal.

I am sick and tired of newspapers and reporters treating this global warming propaganda as science and saying it is settled science. And, I am sick that our president, elected as a conservative, would cater to this hoax. Here’s the Philippine News on June 28th saying

I don’t think many would dispute the impact global warming is having upon the world. Even Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush have admitted its existence to some degree. I also understand the impact global warming is having but I have issues when it comes to some of the responses we have taken to lessen its impact because it goes against the theory of evolution.

This is propaganda, plain and simple. If you think James Frey’s book should have been labeled “fiction”, then Al Gore’s movie should be called “An Inconvenient Fiction”!

Al Gore Global warming An Inconvenient Truth Mover Mike
One more thing about that infamous “hockey stick” TCS has this to say:

In their attempt to not publicly scold Mann and his coauthors for questionable data analysis methods, the authors of the new report instead chose to restate the evidence for how warm the Earth has gotten recently. What the media didn’t notice, however, is that the 1,000 year figure that was central to the whole hockey stick debate had now been replaced in the report by a figure of 400 years. Since most of the last 400 years was dominated by the “Little Ice Age,” the warming during the 20th century should be welcomed by humanity.The report says that surface temperature reconstructions before this period (about 1600) have “less confidence” and that “uncertainties…increase substantially backward in time…” for any of these proxy estimates of ancient temperatures. One review panel member told me that the statisticians on the panel were amazed when it was revealed that the method underlying the hockey stick had essentially no statistical skill when validated.

This is pretty harsh language for an NAS report written by review panel members, several of whom are equivalent to foxes guarding the hen house.(emphasis added)

And don’t “uncertainties…increase substantially FORWARD in time…?”

Update:


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