My Idea of Classic Cars

I see many postings on Facebook about American “classic” or more explicitly “muscle” cars of the 1960’s and 1970’s.  It’s a mix of photos from the day, photos of other people’s restored cars, or in some cases their own children or grandchildren restoring them.  Few things will warm a Boomer’s heart than more than this stuff, mostly because most Boomers went through some rite of passage in one or more of them.

In spite of my brother’s infatuation with cars such as the Grand Am and GTO (Gas, Tyres and Oil) he managed to cut short my intro into the muscle car world by getting my father to put me in the baby blue Pinto.  But the 1600 cc Cortina engine may have had a subliminal influence: the classic cars that really get my attention came from the UK.

The Telegraph has put together a magnificent slide show of classic cars from British television shows.  Although I missed most of the shows, I managed to either rent or own cars similar to some of those in the slides.

One show I didn’t miss: The Prisoner, “KAR120C” is shown here.  Be seeing you!

The Plot to Take Their Shoes Away

A program from–where else–Tennessee:

Temple Israel and Unity of the Palm Beaches are collaborating on a project that is soulful — and sole-ful.

Rabbi Cookie Lea Olshein of the temple and the Rev. Rhonda K. Liles, senior minister at Unity of the Palm Beaches, will go barefoot Oct. 11, to raise awareness for Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects new and recycled footwear and matches them with people in need.

The social-action initiative encourages people to donate shoes of all brands and sizes. Shoes in disrepair can be sent to Third World countries where people learn the shoe repair trade and micro-enterprise efforts to eradicate poverty.

The idea of two up-scale religious organisations having their ministers go barefoot is, to me, hilarious.  Are they secretly protesting the fact that their well-heeled (literally as well as figuratively) congregations don’t pay them enough?  I’ve always thought that one reason Episcopal and other Main Line clergy went to big for social justice issues in the 1960’s was a subliminal protest against their own ministerial poverty vs. the wealth of their congregations.

But since we’re looking for a hidden agenda, how about the fact that Soles4Souls is Nashville, TN based?  Tennessee has always been the butt of jokes from places like Palm Beach for its “primitive” living conditions and the idea that the residents don’t wear shoes.  (So who do Tennesseans look down on?  Arkansas and Kentucky, who else)!  Is this a clever ruse to get even at last?

Hopefully the explicitly intended beneficiaries of this program will actually get something out of it.  But, more than ever, people who attend houses of worship such as these need to do more than feel guilty about their state or pass the plate.  They need to get out of their bubbles and see how the other half lives.  Like “those people” in the Pentecostal churches…

A Fistful of Rials Gets Old Fast

Al-Jazeera takes note of the events across the Gulf:

Iranian riot police have clashed with protesters in the capital Tehran over the collapse of the rial, the country’s currency, which has lost a third of its value against the dollar in a week.

Police on Wednesday reportedly fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators, including currency exchange dealers.

It was the first sign of public unrest over the plunging currency.

The fall of the rial, which has now lost more than 80 per cent of its value compared with a year ago, with 17 per cent of its value shed on Monday alone, has been largely blamed on Western sanctions imposed over the country’s nuclear programme.

The rial slipped another four per cent on Tuesday to close at 36,100 to the dollar, according to exchange tracking websites.

To say that Iranians are shamed over this is an understatement.  To say that the economic sanctions are having an effect is an understatement too.  Hyperinflation, where people’s savings evapourate, is destabilising.  Whether it’s enough to overcome the regime’s security apparatus is another story.  That was the dilemma about Saddam Hussein: his mismanagement of the economy, coupled with sanctions, produced hardships, but his internal security was so strong that the power challengers were stymied from taking action, until George W. Bush showed up with “democracy in the Middle East”.

Recent history re U.S. support of Iranian dissidents isn’t encouraging.

Speaking of power challengers, this is also interesting:

Mohammadi also said holding talks with the US was not an option.

“Past experience shows that speaking of negotiations in these conditions only sends a signal of weakness. The enemy only makes concessions and takes you seriously when you’re strong,” he wrote.

Maybe that’s an admission of weakness in and of itself…

But perhaps there’s something to be proud of here.  Twenty years ago, Russia experienced similar (if not quite this many zeroes) inflation, and I had this exchange with my Russian representative:

Socialist states love to trumpet their own successes, real or just propaganda. The collapse of the rouble left just about everyone in the Russian Federation with more than a million roubles (about US$770 in early 1994) of net worth. So I declared to my representative, “Seventy years of socialism, and everyone’s a millionaire!”

His response: “It was their greatest achievement!”

Congo Pulls the Plug on Chuck Murphy and the "AMiA"

Getting out of bed and checking the email must be getting painful for Chuck Murphy these days:

The archbishop of the Anglican Church of Congo, the Most Rev. Henri K. Isingoma has sent a formal letter to Canon Kenneth Kearon, General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, saying that the Congo will not grant any canonical license to any clergy from [the] AMiA nor will it ordain any priest or consecrate any bishop from AMiA.

“The Province of the Anglican Church of Congo is a full member of the Anglican Communion; thus the individual actions from Bishop Bahemuka Mugenyi William (Diocese of Boga) in this regard with AMiA are illegal and he will solely account for them.”

As I’ve said before, the Africans like “team players“, and evidently Bishop Isingoma has a few on his end that need to be reminded of that.

And, of course, so do we…the best (if not perfect) solution to this would be for Murphy’s organisation to merge into ACNA, with all of its faults and problems.

Note re Anglican Communion: organisations/provinces on both sides of the Atlantic make a big deal about being in the AC, even to the point of betraying the point of the Anglican Revolt by cozying up with the Episcopalians.  I don’t know whether the new Archbishop of Canterbury will bring clarity to this issue (finding clarity in Anglicanism is no mean feat at best) but everyone needs to remember one simple fact: like the Russians discovered with “Rome”, “Canterbury” is portable.  With the current location being overrun by secularists (along with the same Muslims who did in the “second Rome” Constantinople) a move is probably in order.

And that would at least cut out some of the “footsies” we’re seeing in places like Northern Virginia.

Perot Thinks We May be Taken Over. Maybe We Need That.

Ross Perot, the man who messed up the 1992 election, is at it again:

“We’re on the edge of the cliff, and we have got to start fixing it now. Otherwise, we’re leaving a disaster to our children’s and our grandchildren’s future,” he said.

Wolf spoke with Perot as part of an interview for C-SPAN, where additional clips have been posted (the full interview is set to air Monday night).

In it, Perot talks about his fear of the United States being taken over.

“If we are that weak, just think of who wants to come here first and take us over and the last thing I ever want to see is to see this country, our country taken over because we’re so financially weak we can’t do anything and we’re moving in that direct. … We could even lose our country if we don’t get this fixed and straightened out and nobody that’s running really talks about it, about what we have to do and why we have to do it. They would prefer not to have it discussed.

On both sides of the political spectrum, we have the idea that representative government (usually but not precisely characterised as democracy) is the best for ourselves and everyone else.  We overlook, however, the simple fact that a functioning representative government requires a citizenry responsible enough to sustain it.  Our Founding Fathers were well aware of this but we have forgotten it, to our peril.  (That was, as I’ve said before, George W. Bush’s key error in Iraq: trying to bring “democracy” to a people totally unprepared for it).

Perot, perhaps without meaning to, brings up a key question this time around: are we capable of sustaining the form of government we have?  Given the way we’ve run up our unsustainable debt and the other irresponsible things we have done, that’s a legitimate question.  If we are not, as he warns, there are plenty of others who would like a crack at running this country in our place.

And there are some of us who would, depending upon who ends up doing it, come out ahead with someone else doing the governing.  Would you?