Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reading Habits of Americans and Me

One-fourth of American adults did not read a single book last year revealed an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. The 27% of people who fessed-up to not reading books tended to be rural minorities, were older, less educated, and had lower incomes. One third of the non-readers were men and a quarter were women.

Midwestern suburban white folks topped the list of readers. Southerners who admitted to reading skills, however, read more books than people in other regions. Hispanics and Blacks read less than whites while Asians either were not included in the survey or don't read at all. Those claiming to never attend religious functions actually read twice as much as the church-goers; perhaps because we have all that extra time on our hands.

The most popular book read in America is still The Bible. It is read by two-thirds of the respondents questioned. That is more than all other categories. Nearly 50% said they also read histories, mysteries, biographies, and pop fiction. Another 5% admitted to reading romance novels (no gender breakdown was given.) Fewer than 5% cited classical literature, poetry, and politics as among their preferred titles and subjects.

In every reading category, women out number men, except histories and biographies. Even in the fantasy world of reading, men prefer nonfiction just as in real life, except Liberal Democrat men who prefer fiction and fantasy in all things. Liberals and Democrats, however, read somewhat more than Republicans and Conservatives. Perhaps the Liberal Democrats need more constant and consistent reassurance and re-enforcement in order to cleave to their silly beliefs.

So all this got me to thinking: what do I read? What have I read in the past 12 months? To tell you the truth, the list surprised me. I had no idea I read so much as I only read two books at a time.

Herewith, in no particular order, is the reading list of Indigo Red:

1. Collapse, Jarrod Diamond
2. The World is Flat, Thomas L. Freidman
3. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
4. The Life and Religion of Mohammad, Rev. J.L. Menzes
5. Freakonomics, Steven Levitt & Stephen D. Dubner
6. Culture of Death, Wesley J. Smith
7. The Age of Consent, Robert H. Knight
8. The Story of American Freedom, Eric Foner
9. Custer - A Soldiers Story, D.D Kinsley
10. The Lance and the Spear: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull, Robert M. Utley
11. Rise to Rebellion, Jeff Shaara
12. The Glorious Cause, Jeff Shaara
13. The Killer Angels, Jeff Shaara
14. Gone for Soldiers, Jeff Shaara
15. Custer's Fall: The Native American's Side of the Story, David Humphreys Miller
16. Sitting Bull, Peter & Connie Roop
17. Boots and Saddles, Elizabeth B. Custer
18. Vile Florentines, Timothy Holme
19. For the Flag, Jules Verne
20. QB VII, Leon Uris
21. The Valachi Papers, Peter Maas
22. Franklin and Winston, John Meacham
23. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
24. Revolt 2100, Robert A. Heinlein
25. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
26. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
27. The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark (last book read)
28. The History of Chile, John L. Rector (current day book)
29. The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel, Walter Wangerin, Jr. (current nightstand book).

Up next:
Self-Made Man, Norah Vincent
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Do you think Elvis had to get permission from Beijing? After all,he did have that bizarre connection with President Nixon, the guy who opened China and brought Ping-Pong to America.


The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, August 20, 2007

From Cradle to Grave and Beyond!

In their zeal to control the lives of the people from the cradle to the grave, China has reached beyond the grave and declared reincarnation illegal. Buddhist monks must obtain permission from Beijing to reincarnate.

The Administration for Religious Affairs, says the law is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." Of course, it isn't just any garden variety reincarnation Beijing wants to control.

By regulating reincarnation, Beijing means to control the influence of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of millions of Buddhists in China, Tibet, and around the world, but mostly Tibet. If they can control reincarnation, Beijing believes they can control who becomes the next Dalai Lama. The soul of the deceased Dalai Lama is, according to tradition, reborn as another human being to continue the work of relieving suffering and by extension, the strangle hold China has on Tibet. Maybe they will catch him in the act of reincarnating - that would be a real coup!

It's doubtful Chinese apparatchiks can pull-off this legal hokus-pokus as the Dalai Lama has been dying and reincarnating for 600 years; it's hard to believe anyone is going to suddenly stop him now. The current incarnation is 72 years old and has no plans to die and be reborn in China or Tibet, so permission won't be needed. But, it will be fun to watch the Commies chase spirits around.

Those silly Chinese!


The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Illegal Immigration Down; Mexican Jobs Up

Illegal immigration apprehensions are down 38% from October '06 through June '07, says the U.S Border Patrol. Mexico's central bank reports a remittance of only 0.6% in the first half of 2007 as opposed to the 23% increase during the first half of 2006. Immigrant shelters in Mexico are full of people headed south, not north. American cities and towns like Carpentersville, Illinois, reports illegals are leaving.

One-half of Mexicans believe emigration (population outflow) is the nations most important problem a recent Pew Survey revealed. One out of seven Mexican workers are now residing in the U.S. While U.S. immigration and border enforcement was slipshod and the cost of crossing the border was cheap, Mexicans entered roughshod in numbers that eventually could not be ignored.

The demographics of recent years indicates the growth in the Mexican work force has peaked. Political scientists have seen improvements in Mexico's economic development. In 1970, the Mexican population growth reached a high of 3.3%, while today it is 2%. The Mexican government began encouraging emigration in 1990 and even opened a Ministry of Emigration to get people to move out of Mexico. At the same time, those workers born at the highpoint of Mexican population growth were entering the job market. As Mexicans moved to the U.S., got jobs, incomes rose, and sent remittances home, Mexico was opening its markets to the global economy. Mexico also began to face the problems of drug trafficking and corruption. They improved governance and began enforcing the rule of law.

Mexicans now have access to honest and legal employment which are enticing them home or keeping them there. Taxes are being cut, property rights created and enforced, industry is turning to privatization, and jobs are being created. Confidence in the Mexican economy is growing and incomes are rising. The average Mexican Jose Seis-pack earns $7,000 per year, the highest in Latin America and nearly equal that which they earn in the U.S.

The Calderon government claims 500,000 new jobs have been created and $300 million reserved to cover the social security cost of first time job holders for one year. The government is encouraging workers to join the formal tax paying work force and the establishment of small and medium sized businesses.

On all counts Mexico has a long way to go, but the numbers here indicate they are on the right path and the illegal immigration problem may self-correct with much prodding from the Border Patrol, Homeland Security, and U.S. employers who are afraid of being raided by I.C.E. agents. The hefty fines being leveled at the employers has made hiring illegals far more difficult and expensive.

The rule of law and open capitalism are the life blood of all free and prosperous societies. Calderon vowed in his election campaign to transform the Mexican economic and legal systems to more resemble those in the United States. So far, it seems he's keeping his promise. Interestingly, the same approach also would work in America. It worked at one time, and it can work again.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.