Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Double Cousins & the Mystery of the Missing Watch

My wife and I have a friend that's recently written her first book: The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch is the first in a series written for 9-12 year olds and is set in modern day Nebraska.

This is a great book for anyone that wants their kids reading clean (yet still interesting) books that teach Bible principles. While the focus of the book is the story, it also promotes having a right heart attitude all the time -- when we're unhappy, while doing unpleasant tasks, and by not being hasty to judge others. All in all, a great book, that could even be to read to younger children (since there aren't any "scary" sections).

It also focuses on family and contains a small genealogy chart in the front of the book that may spark a child's interest to research their own family tree.

If you want to visit her blog, it's at doublecousins.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Regrettable Reaction

I like to joke about stuff that's not usually "funny" to others, but I'm also a curious person... I like to KNOW any issue when I talk about things. Not to be "superior" in discussions, I just like to see what makes people tick.

Decided to look up Steven Anderson on YouTube after my last post. After listening to the entire (hour long!) message that the article was based on (while I was working, didn't want to "waste" time on him), all I found was it did contain waaay too much politics for my taste, and wasn't heretical doctrinally. (I like to talk about politics, but usually after church, or out of church. When I'm in church, I want to hear The Bible.)

Was surprised to find out his message WAS mostly from Psalm 58 & 109 (like I mentioned earlier), but he also included Psalm 69 & 139, Jeremiah 7, 11, & 14 and some other verses (going from memory, didn't write them down).

I've had one particular friend (for several years) that twists a LOT of verses, so I'm getting pretty good at noticing when that happens, but didn't notice this guy take any verse to twist the meaning to "fit" or "support" his position... he mostly just read the verses and repeated them several times.

I'd started out extremely prejudiced against this guy, so was a little disappointed when he didn't pan out as a obvious "crazy" or a "twister" right away.

I'd say he's a bit on the "younger" side for a Pastor (think he said 28, but might've been 29 -- he started this church 2 years ago). He also seems minimally experienced: had trouble remembering where he was going next and some references... not that I mind... I have the same trouble. The only really "annoying" thing to me was he really likes to interject politics into his preaching. Without the politics he probably could have cut his sermon down by at least 15 minutes, maybe a half hour. If the message is going to be an hour long, then I'd rather have a solid hour of Bible teaching. When I spent a summer in Russia, we had service from 8am to 3pm... that was pretty cool. Never seen any Americans that could handle that much Bible in a day. (There was a seminary there, so the Pastor would preach, the head of the seminary would preach, and they usually had two or three seminary students deliver a message as well. The "scary" part for the students was... after their message, the Pastor and the head of the seminary would stand up and go thru the sermon point by point.... and look out if there was even the slightest hint of heretical doctrine or a verse twisted out of context. But I digress...)

One of his points in the sermon (had no discernible outline to me, so maybe it wasn't "a point," but I think it was supposed to be, and I found it important) was that you can't love innocent victims (abortion victims) and the people that are murdering them at the same time. So you have to make the choice of whom to love: the victims or the murderers. Hadn't thought of it that way before.

He went on to say that worse than just "accepting abortions are legal," if you go further and actually promote abortion, you are not only condoning the murders but also guilty as an accessory to those murders. Therefore, since the government is taking tax dollars to pay for abortions (and has been doing so for awhile) then the government is way past "condoning" murder, and is actually a party in the commission of murders... millions of them... because the govt is financing them. Another thing I hadn't thought about, but that I agree with whole-heartedly.

He was very disgusted at how Obama has repeatedly made fun of the Bible and Christians, and seemed annoyed that people worship this President as some kind of demi-god; those are huge pet-peeves of mine.

He was also annoyed that so many people today are quick to hand over the rights and freedoms we have as Americans... rights that others have bled and died for. So I'd guess he must have had a family member or some friends in the military... I do, and these are annoying to me. It made me realize that I don't really think about handing over my God- and state-given rights on a day-to-day basis, I just stay within the law and don't really think about what my rights are. (I'm glad we don't have Border Patrol checkpoints here in south Florida.)

One of the things he said in his sermon was something like, "Don't go to the rally tomorrow and get a tear in the eye for Obama. Go to your prayer closet and get a tear in the eye for our country." Kinda liked that one... should be the rallying cry of every preacher in America.

Another was, "It's not all Obama; he isn't the source of all wickedness in this country, but he's the tip of the sword for all of the spiritual wickedness in high places." He made it very clear he did not want anyone to go shoot Obama.

He was preaching from the standpoint that we should be praying against not just the wickedness that's rampant in our country, but also anyone that supports it. There wasn't any actual "death threat" or any "fierce opposition" as the news called it. His 2 harshest statements were the ones in the news article. I distinctly remember hearing several (more experienced) preachers deliver very similar sermons with Bill Clinton as the focus rather than Obama. A few older people have told me they heard similar messages where Jimmy Carter was the focus. There wasn't much outcry back then, so I'm wondering if the outcry now is just due to the media's access to YouTube.

Thus ends my doctrinal observations. He was right on track. Everything I thought I had a problem with, he had already done correctly. So it just goes to show me that I need to remember to take everything the media says (even Fox news) with a grand salt-shaker.




Later, I also went thru a bunch of other videos (this dude likes to make looooong vids... so yes, anyone can definitely see the context, but man -- is there ever a lot of repetition and down time to sit through).

Anyway, I'd heard from others that he was a "trouble maker" and was forcibly dragged from his car at a police checkpoint because he wouldn't show his driver's license, or answer any questions as to whether he was a citizen or not. I really don't have much patience for people that mess with the police, so I was ready to condemn him on that point... until I got some more of the facts about it.

I now understand his point of view on the checkpoint thing. There was (and is) no valid legal reason for the US Border Patrol to set up permanent checkpoints and stop all motorists on a major highway over 50 miles from the border -- plus search any car they want to -- with no warrants and no probable cause other than "you won't let us search your car, so you're suspicious." Craziness. This isn't the USSR during the cold war -- Arizona is still subject to the same Constitution the rest of the country is. That was not right... and it is definitely not legal either.

Also... in going through several of his other videos, I never saw him refuse to answer any important questions. He made it very clear in all the videos that he was a citizen, traveling on business between states, not transporting any illegals, and had not been anywhere near a border, needed to go on (for work, home, etc.), but he knew the law states he must stop until they let him leave, so he'd stay there until he could leave.

He seemed to stay well within his rights without being overly confrontational, but he didn't budge on even the slightest of those rights... even if it meant extreme pain and suffering. They actually tazered him twice -- once for 13 seconds, then immediately after for another 7... that is seriously over the top.

One tazering for 5-7 seconds is plenty. Unless you're dealing with a drug-crazed suspect, 20 seconds is past "excessive force" and into "brutality"... that could easily kill a person with a weak heart.

Since I initially thought he was at a regular police checkpoint, I was against him on that point (as well against him Biblically in my earlier post), but he wasn't at a police check point. Then I watched as he was stomped & beaten by Border Patrol just because they wanted to look in his car?? Border Patrol shouldn't even be allowed to ask for anyone's driver's license 60 miles from the border "just because they want to." Their jurisdiction is near the border, not an hour's drive from the nearest border crossing. They had to call to have a state police officer dispatched to "open" the car (since that exceeded their jurisdiction).

This whole thing is just crazy... they could easily have run the plates on his car to see who he was... all the photos from photo IDs are right in state databases for anyone in law enforcement (or any other part of the government) to see. If they had any real concerns they could have chocked his tires, jacked them up off the ground (so he couldn't drive away) and popped the trunk right there with him in the car -- or even had a unit interdict him at his house. Instead they tricked him into closing his eyes, broke both the windows on his car, jammed his face onto the broken window while he was being tazered, beat on him with night sticks, and then threw him on the ground and stepped on his head? Total, complete, irrational, moronic craziness by the Border Patrol. Waaaay out of control.

While I don't think I personally would have sat there that long just to stand up for my right not to be subjected to an illegal search (I'd rather sue them later, with my face intact), he did not do anything nearly enough to warrant any part of that kind of abuse.

I'm still withholding my judgment on whether he's completely nuts (I know I don't want any part of tazering) or just exceptionally patriotic, but the sermon wasn't "unBiblical" or "heretical" in my opinion -- just "not politically correct." (At an hour long, didn't have time to listen to any more than one sermon as well as look at the other stuff too. When I have more time I might go see what other sermon's are there.)

As far as the beating, I would not classify him as a martyr at all; those actions were for his politics, but the Border Patrol agents were waaay over the top in "exceeding their jurisdiction" -- now I'm curious as to how this will play out legally. I really hope he wins... or the rest of us are in for a horrific next few years.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Imprecatory Incitement

Today I saw Pastor Steven Anderson from Phoenix, Arizona says he is praying for Obama's death.

My first thought was that's sick, but it's still pretty funny. Not funny in the sense that he wants someone dead, but that a "spiritual leader" would be so immature as to voice this opinion in an attempt to get media attention.

Here we have a pastor that has not learned to pray properly. Luke 18 is pretty clear on which person (the Pharisee or the publican) had the better prayer. Christ said the Pharisee that prayed in the middle of the temple (and was condescending of others and their sinful lifestyles) was not "justified" and He went on to say that "every one that exalteth himself shall be abased."

Biblically, I don't have a problem with the man's prayer; only in his application and publication. In looking for Biblical examples of prayer, most people got to Psalm 23 and the Lord's prayer, but never examine those examples closely, or even look at the Imprecatory Psalms (specifically, Psalm 58 and 109) which clearly are prayers of cursing against those that oppress God's people, or are extremely sinful (this President does fit those qualifications).

Just before what is called "The Lord's Prayer" we find these verses on how to pray:
Mat 6:1-6
        Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
        Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
        But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
        That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
        And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
        But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
That's about as clear as you can get on the publication and application sides of prayer. Moving further to the Lord's Prayer we find how we should pray:
Mat 6:9-13
        After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
        Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
        Give us this day our daily bread.
        And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
        And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
I'm sure you're wondering why -- from these verses -- that I have no problem with the prayer against the President's life. It's from the second verse (v. 10b), "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

Obviously, praying that God's will be done is Biblical. Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible does God approve of the killing of innocent children or those that condone those actions. By simply allowing pro-abortion agendas to proceed unhindered, the President can be said to be obstructing the will of God. So I don't see any problem with the man praying against Obama; I do see a problem with shouting it from the housetops -- not Biblical.

Also, I do NOT approve of reciprocity in the form of murder -- that is equally wrong. That is a battle best left to God (Rom 12:19b "...for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord").

David (in 1 Samuel 24:6) put it best when he said, "The LORD forbid that I should ... stretch forth mine hand against ... the anointed of the LORD."

Additionally, if one is going to pray an imprecatory prayer against the President for his stance on abortion, then to be perfectly just, that prayer must extend to all of the others that promote the same pro-abortion position. Many Congressmen, judges, and activists hold the same opinion and are furthering that agenda far more than the President.

Finally, just praying for the death of the President is futile. If his death were to happen (for any reason), there is a prescribed line of succession that would place other individuals with equally bad (or worse) ethics into the same office. All of those people should also be prayed for... that their hearts and minds are changed.

So, if you really feel like you need to increase your prayer life, here is that (most uninspiring) list of succession to the Presidency of the United States--

















Veep:    Joe Biden
Spkr of the House:    Nancy Pelosi
Pres Pro Temp of the Senate:    Robert Byrd
Sec State:    Hillary Clinton
Sec Treas:    Tim Geithner
Sec Def:    Robert Gates
AG:    Eric Holder  
Sec Interior:    Ken Salazar
Sec Ag:    Tom Vilsack
Sec Commerce:    Gary Locke
Sec Labor:    Hilda Solis
Sec Health & Human Svcs:    Kathleen Sebelius
Sec HUD:    Shaun Donovan
Sec Transportation:    Ray LaHood
Sec Energy:    Stephen Chu
Sec Ed:    Arne Duncan
Sec VA:    Eric Shinseki
Sec Homeland Security:    Janet Napolitano


[EDIT: Not really sure why the table dropped so far down from the rest of the post; there isn't any whitespace in the code.]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Founding of the FBI

Today (26 July) marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the FBI. Probably not the greatest anniversary for Average Joe to celebrate, but they've done a lot to ensure the safety of our great nation over the last 100 years. I thought it was worth noting for all those that might be unaware of the fact.

(And it also is proof positive that I'm not dead, just too busy to blog anything long enough to be considered insightful.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Expendability

A brief talk by Nate Saint over HCJB radio: 1949.

I've been reading Jungle Pilot, by Russell T. Hitt. It's a great book about Nate Saint, and I thought this small excerpt would be an encouragement to my friends: missionaries, military members, and others in service to the King.

You can get a copy of this book free here.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
A fact that is mixed in a very important way with our work is the thing that became commonly known during the last war as "EXPENDABILITY."

The flying business is full of illustrations of this basic principle. God has seen fit to make a vehicle that is expendable essential to progress. There is always a price that must be paid.

During the last war (WW2) we were taught that, in order to obtain our objective, we had to be willing to be expendable, and many lives were spent paying the price of our redemption from the bonds of political slavery.

This very afternoon thousands of soldiers are known by their serial numbers as men who are expendable. During the last war we saw big bombers on the assembly line, row after row, powerful, costly implements of war! Yet we all knew--we actually KNEW that many of those bombers would not accomplish even five missions over enemy territory. We also knew that young fellows, many of them volunteers, would ride in those airborne machine-gun turrets, and their life expectancy behind those guns was (with the trigger down) only four minutes. Tremendous expendability!

We know that there is only one answer when our country demands that we share in the price of freedom--yet when the Lord Jesus asks us to pay the price for world evangelization, we often answer without a word. We cannot go. We say it costs too much.

God Himself laid down the law when He built the universe. He knew when He made it what the price was going to be. And the Lamb of God was slain in the counsels of God from before the foundation of the world. If God didn't hold back His only Son, but gave Him up to pay the price for our failure and sin, then how can we Christians bold back our lives-- the lives He really owns?

The Lord tells us that "He that loveth his life" -- we might say that "he that is selfish with his life" -- "shall lose it." It's inescapable.

Missionaries constantly face expendability. And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives. They forget that when their lives are spent and the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.



Some might say, isn't it too great a price to pay? When missionaries consider themselves--their lives before God--they consider themselves expendable. And in our personal lives as Christians, isn't the same thing true? Isn't the price small in the light of God's infinite love? Those who know the joy of leading a stranger to Christ and those who have gone to tribes who have never heard the Gospel, gladly count themselves expendable. And they count it all joy.

"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone." The apostle Paul said, "I die daily." "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

And Jesus said, "There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time . . . and in the world to come eternal life."
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Friday, April 03, 2009

Working On....... Life

In addition to my "normal" everyday work (I do realize that my version of "normal" -- isn't), I've been doing some reading and extensive research in the last few days. (See my personal blog for a better explanation; check my FaceBook links or drop me an email if you've lost the link to it -- I removed the direct link from this blog.)

Am tentatively planning to be finished redoing my (moved) personal blog and getting this slightly redesigned one up to the level of activity I want within the next one or two weeks (that's at the very earliest, if everything comes together nicely). I think one month is a more realistic estimate tho. (Perhaps two months, if one of the offline projects I'm looking at materializes, but if more than one happens, well, don't hold your breath, because I won't.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Opting Out" Of Optometrists

Sometime in early 2005 (January to March), I happened to stumble upon an extremely interesting technology: "adjustable prescription eyeglasses" -- with no eye appointment necessary!

At the time, I worked for a small medical sales, service, and supply company here in south Florida. I've since left that career path, but back then I was "up" on most of the new medical equipment, and tried to keep myself well informed. Medical advances still intrigue me, so I occasionally browse major technological advances in the field. Every once in awhile (like this past week) I still stumble on articles about the creator of these money-saving spectacles. His original site, www.adaptive-eyecare.com hasn't been operative since July of 2007, but you can still read through it at the Internet Archive.

The inventor, Professor Joshua D. Silver, runs the EBIT Group in the physics department at Oxford University.

The concept behind the glasses is fairly basic: the wearer can "tune" each lens (independently) to the exact prescription needed (+/-6 diopters max) and then "lock" that prescription into the glasses by tightening a screw to seal the lenses. With that, Presto! You have the correct prescription -- for your eyes! Of course, that is without the exam fee, the doctor's fee, the extra cost for designer frames (these are ugly, but effective), and without wasting time waiting for the production of new designer glasses.

The only drawback to these adjustable prescription glasses: they're still in "concept" phase, so they haven't become cheap enough (yet) to distribute widely. (Over 30,000 pair have already been donated to the poor.)

Professor Silver's goal for this year is to be able to produce a pair of glasses for around $1 -- and then he'd like to distribute one million of them throughout India.

His long term goal:
Distributing one billion glasses to the poor and needy of the entire world!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Wearing Green For St. Patrick's Day... Again

Last year (2008) I was a week late for tomorrow's holiday, so here is a re-vamped version of last year's post: Immured in Green:



Every year I'm asked why I -- as a "religious" fanatic -- never wear green on St. Patrick's Day. While I do attend church every time the doors are open, I'm actually not "religious" -- religions are based on tradition first. In most areas, I'm not a traditionalist by any stretch of the imagination. Although I wear suits & ties with dress shirts several times every week, I quit wearing white dress shirts entirely sometime back in the late 1990s. The one exception being a white shirt I rented for my wedding day. Plus, I usually wear cowboy boots with my suits.

People think of me as "religious" because I do attempt to live right, to base my beliefs on the Bible, and to teach my kids to have their own set of high ethical standards based on the Bible. Of course, just like everyone else, I still succeed some days and fail on others -- depending on the minute, hour, day, week, month, and year, but when it comes to St. Patrick's day I avoid including green in every (visible) part of my wardrobe. Instead, I wear maroon -- and that prominently.

I started my personal "not wearing green" trend in junior high and continued this non-conformist trend throughout high school, college, and to the present. Prior to college, without some explanation, few understood why I wouldn't wear green. Every year I explained that both Catholics and Protestants celebrate St. Patrick's Day, all the Catholics wear green, and all the Protestants wear orange. As an orange-wearing kid, in green-wearing schools, I'd get the inevitable, "Prove it," every year. Thus would commence a short social sciences lesson on the Irish and their flag. I'll relate it here, very briefly, for those that may not have heard it before:

The Irish flag consists of 3 vertical stripes, green at the pole, orange at the opposite end, and white between them. Green signifies Catholics, orange -- Protestants, and white -- the peace that should be between them. Their "Irish-ness" supposedly enough to unify even opposing religious views.

After that brief explanation, most understood my self-imposed abstinence from green for the holiday, and a few others even began to wear orange as I did. In more recent years (I believe it was in college, but am uncertain), I've refrained from wearing orange as well -- this change was brought about by studying church history. I am a Baptist, and Baptist history is a very different, separate "tree" than both Catholicism and Protestantism.

The "dark ages" lasted a little over 1,000 years -- different people observe differing events to "mark" the beginning and end, but the approximate dates are 450 AD to 1600 AD (I usually allow +/-75 years to and from each end). "Protestantism" began as an off-shoot out of Catholicism as the early champions of the Bible attempted to reform the Roman Catholic church. They wanted worship to line up with the Bible rather than the traditions of men. Officially, Protestantism is said to have "started" when Luther broke away from the Roman Catholic church in the early 1500s. The Lutherans were followed by the Church of England, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and many other denominations that all now claim to be Protestant.

The difference between "Baptist-believing" churches and all of the others, is that they existed prior to Luther (as early as the 1400s) and all held to the belief that for baptism to be of any effect, it had to be practiced Biblically. The Bible states baptism is to occur after one's salvation as an act of obedience to God and as an identification with your faith in Christ as Savior. "Baptizo" meaning to "immerse completely," has a definite and entirely different meaning than "rhantizo" -- "to sprinkle."

These Baptistic churches were persecuted throughout the entire dark ages because they wouldn't conform to Rome's mandates, but only to the scriptures. Prior to being called "Baptist" these churches were called by many other names: Ana-Baptists, Anabaptists, Montanists, Novations, Paterins, Donatists, Paterins Cathari, Paulicians, Arnoldists, Henricians, Albigenses, and Waldenses. Generally, these all believed in rebaptizing any new converts coming from churches holding views unaligned with the Bible (i.e. Catholicism and Orthodoxy). Wittenburg wrote in 1607, "Our modern Anabaptist are the same as the Donitists of old. They took no account of the baptism of others ..."

Based on my study, there were churches referred to as "Anabaptist" as early as the 200s -- predating the reign of Catholicism's Constantine (306 A.D. - 312 A.D.).


I said all that to say, as a Baptist, I won't be wearing green for this holiday -- ever. Associating myself with the Roman Catholic religion that has (over many past centuries) killed thousands that believe the Bible as I do would be remiss on my part. EDIT: (I realize, in the USA, as well as most other parts of the world, this is no longer condoned by anyone in the Catholic Church. Although, the Muslims have picked up where the Catholic church left off a few hundred years ago.)

I could wear orange, as many different Protestants of today hold beliefs quite similar to my own (and the general public cannot differentiate between a Protestant and a Baptist). However, in the early days of Protestantism, many of those denominations also held beliefs widely divergent from Baptists, and some went so far as to persecute Baptists, just as the Roman Catholics did.

No matter how similar my beliefs are to those of others, I know that I'm not Protestant. Because I'm a Baptist (of the conservative, independent, and Biblically-based fundamental variety... that have existed "underground" for centuries), I hold to views that are separate from both Catholicism and Protestantism. So, as a matter of personal preference, I eschew BOTH green AND orange on St. Patrick's day.

If I don't have any clean maroon shirts, I'll substitute red -- whatever color I have that is as close as possible to the color of blood. Maroon and red are close to orange (as many of my beliefs are close to mainline Protestants of today and of old), but are obviously different colors.

In this way, if someone asks about my lack of green (or orange), I can point to my red article of clothing and explain God's exclusive requirement of Christ's blood sacrifice to remit any and all sin -- the importance of accepting this sacrifice -- and how (as a Baptist that follows the Bible over traditions) it's my belief that each convert should be baptized after their salvation.

Explaining the green/orange observance of St. Patrick's day has yet to enable me to lead anyone up to (or through) the Bible verses that promise 100% certainty of salvation (and eternal residence in heaven), but maybe this St. Patrick's day will change that.



As a side note, I am part Irish, BUT I am NOT Catholic, never have been, never will be, and if you attempt to punch or pinch me for not wearing green... well, let's just say you may contribute to my delinquency. =)
(That's a joke... don't forget to smile.)


* * * * * * * EDIT * * * * * * *
NOTE #1: Actually left home early in the morning on St. Patrick's Day for an appointment. Was running behind, and couldn't find any clean maroon (or red) shirts -- so I looked for an orange stand-in -- came up short there too. Ended up wearing white. (Was able to find a maroon polo later when I came home for lunch.)

NOTE #2: Was able to use my non-green shirt as an "opportunity" for the first time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Comparison of 128 Years Of CO2 Emissions & Resulting Climate Change

    This entry gets a little more detailed than I normally do, but in the last week I've been having extensive discussions with some individuals that are concerned with CO2 emissions causing the eminent demise of our planet. Seemed to me that replicating the work to my blog would make a good article... for those that aren't interested in "spin" -- but in the truth.

    After you look at this small amount of evidence, and before you go explaining it to "lousy Larry" on the street, just remember what Terence said:
      "Hoc tempore obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit":
      (In these days friends are won through flattery, the truth gives birth to hate.)
I've done extensive work... learning formulas... comparing graphs... studying charts... crunching numbers... plugging along... and the sum total all of my research can be boiled down and expressed by a comparison of 2 simple graphs. (Both are pulled from 2008 data compiled by US govt organizations.)

The first is the CDIAC's estimate of CO2 emissions and the second is NASA's recorded climatological records.

I got this CDIAC graph from EarthPolicy.org. It shows the increase in total CO2 emissions from 1751 to the present (prior to 1825 the amounts were too small to graph):

This NASA graph shows the difference of the yearly US temperature averages (0 degrees C being the mean of the last 128 years) -- from when they were first recorded (in 1880) to the present:

Looking at the two graphs, I see several things:

1) Since the early 1880s, CO2 emissions have increased astronomically.

2) The largest difference in minimum and maximum yearly temperature means for any 5 year period falls between 1917 (low of -1.071) & 1921 (high of +1.119). (A total difference of 2.226 degrees C.)

3) The highest single yearly average mean is actually a tie between 2 years: 1934 & 1998 (+1.238).

4) 1934 had ~1.125 billion tons of CO2 emissions; 1998 had ~6.875 billion. (A difference of ~5.75 billion tons.)

5) The difference in the absolute lowest recorded yearly mean temperature (1917: -1.071 degrees C) and the highest recorded yearly mean (the 2 years listed in #3 & #4) is about 2 degrees C (2.309524).

6) The total change from the first 5 year mean ~(-0.24) to the most recent ~(+0.64) is a difference of almost 1 degree C ~(0.880952).

7) The very first recorded five year mean temperature (1882) is identical to the five year mean temperature recorded in 1977.

8) The last year on the temperature graph -- 2008 -- has an annual mean temperature identical to that recorded in 1890.

9) The estimated yearly output of CO2 emissions in 1890 was ~0.375 billion tons, in 2008 was ~8.375 billion tons. (A difference of ~8 billion tons.)

10) There is only one yearly mean that falls more than 1 degree lower than the 128 year average: 1917, but there are 5 yearly means that fall more than 1 degree above the 128 year average: 1921, 1931, 1934, 1998, & 2006.
(Incidentally, 3 of those 5 occur well before the beginning of the explosion of CO2 emissions that started in the 1950s and have continued since).

There is no observable correlation in the data between the graph of CO2 emissions and the graph of yearly temperature means.

This is only ONE comparative example of MUCH data that I've sifted through. After extensive digging, I have yet to find even one piece of recorded scientific evidence that reflects a direct tie-in to CO2 emissions and climate.

Therefore, it's apparent to me (based on the last 128 years of recorded global temperature change) that the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions to "save the planet" from catastrophic climate change is an unmitigated hoax.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Recent Stories I Have NOT Seen In The MSM... Yet

Being sick (again) seems like a bit of a cop out for not posting anything, so I grabbed several of the links I read last week and added my own commentary:

A "friend"-ly warning:
A new variant of the old "Koobface" worm has been rewritten for FaceBook. It tricks unsuspecting users into going to a fake YouTube site, downloading the worm, and then the worm takes over their computer, replicates and sends itself to everyone in their FaceBook friend list.
With friends like that who needs frenemies?

No fear of God:
Some brazen thief robbed a large church in Nebraska (7,000 member congregation is large to me) of their weekly offering... of $145,000! He walked in, said he was there for the weekly deposits, they handed it over, and he calmly walked out with them none the wiser -- because he had an armored car uniform on! 15 minutes later the real guard got there and they realized they'd been robbed.
I'm the treasurer at my church -- we've never had a weekly offering that large. Anyone want to change that?

Bad day:
While moving containers at a shipping yard in Turkey, a tractor trailer pulled in front of a train, got hit, was pushed across a parking lot until the cab of the truck slammed into a concrete wall, and the trailer smashed into another trailer parked nearby.
Worse day:
The man standing next to the tracks saw the truck go by, but not the oncoming train. He got hit by the (then sliding) truck so hard that his helmet was knocked off and went flying... then the truck went over him. (See video below... no sound included)
video
Beautiful day:
The train stayed on the tracks (so didn't fall on him), the man went under the trailer between the wheels, awakened with no memory of the crash, and had only minor injuries. Dumb luck?

Fruits of his labors:
The recent election of our current President has not only caused a run on guns and ammunition nationwide, but also a backlog of 95,000 people seeking concealed weapons permits -- that's 95,000 just in Florida! Might be faster to take a few self-defense classes, or enroll in the martial arts.

No wonder people don't like leftovers:
From the company that brought the world "kangaroo-poo paper" (in 2005) we can now purchase green OR gold paper made from... the poo of wombats!
Yuck.
"Going green" I can understand, "Being Brown" I cannot. (The company name "Creative Paper" is literally a "gross" understatement... of less-than-epic proportions.)
Just don't forget and lick your fingers while you're turning the pages.

"Green" I can believe in:
A French firm has developed the "AirPod" -- a car that runs on compressed air. The 46 gallon tank can take you approximately 140 miles, and recharging can be accomplished in a few minutes at specialized gas stations, or you can plug it in overnight (~8 hours) and the on-board compressor will fill the tank. Retailing for the equivalent of $7,500, it sounds like a great deal to me. The only drawback is the current version only holds 3 passengers -- I have a wife and 4 kids.

Cashing in on our dead relatives:
It seems that one of the best ways to collect a debt in today's economy is to get it from surviving relatives. New technology is enabling debt collectors to quickly file claims after the death of a debtor. In many cases, the surviving family isn't legally required to pay these bills from their own personal assets, but most do -- some even send "Thank You" letters afterward! Talk about selling an ice maker to an Eskimo.

A new low in passing counterfeit bills:
Five $20 counterfeit bills were used to purchase cookies from Girl Scouts' Troop 40411 in Bremen Washington. The troop is going to have to "eat" the losses. Girl Scout cookies aren't "necessary expenditures" for making ends meet or surviving, what kind of bum would scam little kids?

Stupid criminal file:
An obviously unintelligent thief attempted to rob a gun store in subruban Chicago (Waukegan). He took 1 in the leg and 2 in the chest before the cops got there to save...er... I mean arrest him. Charges unlikely against the store clerk.
(This idiot is lucky to be alive. There's a nice little gun store a few blocks south of O'Hare that I like to visit when I'm in Chi-town. About 10 years ago an idiot tried to rob that store, too. Just "happened" to be several off-duty cops and several clerks in the store at the time -- all were carrying. In his report, the M.E. wasn't exactly sure whose bullet killed him -- he was full of holes.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

a poor President

Long ago (elementary school), I was the shortest kid in my class -- every class; I also remember being a little more plump than most of the other kids, too. Thankfully, I wasn't always ridiculed, harassed, or "picked on" by the bullies, but it always irked me to see the results of the inevitable "pecking order" in school. As a result of occasionally having people think of me as "different" and (very few) bad experiences, I still dislike it when others call people names, ridicule them, or attempt to wrongfully impugn the character of any weaker person, nor do I (usually) do so myself. Of course, I do have a few exceptions: if the description is spot-on truthful, the person continuously annoys me, or if the person is a friend, everyone around is a friend, and all know it's in jest.

Unfortunately, there is no jesting today. Our President's life story is the least stellar of all who've come before him. Several times in the last year I've blogged about his utter lack of legitimate qualifications to hold the office. If you don't want to read that huge (old) link, here are a few points (distilled and refined) from which I drew those conclusions and a few new ones to round out my convictions:

    * Who, exactly moves to Chicago for it's exemplary politics?? any honest people you know ever do that? not me.

    * Who believes any person could sit under that many years of Jeremiah Wright's version of Farrakhan's theology and not be affected? (I'm not impressed with Oprah's theology, but even she couldn't take the continuous stream of hate-filled hurl he has spewed from his pulpit.)

    * Does anyone believe both of his books were not ghost written? (Especially when he was asked to describe his feelings about multiple passages in both, and he was clueless?)

    * How many other incompetent, inexperienced politicians have ever been so highly worshiped by the media? (yet, he only reads teleprompters well -- his impromptu speaking ability stinks)

    * I'm supposed to believe that it was a complete coincidence that a socialistic nobody moved to the city Ayers lived in, got himself introduced to Ayers, moved next door to the man, taught with him, served in numerous positions alongside him, and started his political career in Ayer's LIVING ROOM? ALL of that is pure happenstance?

    * What other US politician has ever asked every school he attended to seal his records? and then there was no media outcry? what's he hiding from the public?

    * How far will the troops trust a President that just told The Marine Band he doesn't want them to play for him anymore?

    * Why is he the only politician in recent memory that's ever gotten a pass on self-contradictory statements? stupidity? admitted drug use? etc...

    * Why have there been so many attempts by him to promote a whole slew of crooks to fill high level positions in the government? isn't the "normal level" of corruption in government enough? Any "regular" Americans would be doing jail time with the types of records these nominees have, yet all his guys keep getting off scott-free?

    * No McCarthyism intended, but why is this the first time any U.S. politician hasn't been questioned for associating in a friendly manner with Gaddafi, multiple anti-US Muslim-terrorists, and terrorist supporters (both Hamas & PLO)? Aren't we still in a war against said terrorists? Isn't there a double-standard in "consorting with the enemy" here?

    * Why does he bristle if he's asked anything but softball questions? and those at his leisure? yet still doesn't give definitive answers even to those?

    * Where is the "transparency" in this administration that we heard so much about? so far (less than a month in office) "transparency" has just been a word bandied about in a failed attempt to shore up his political image and crashing poll numbers. There's only so much mileage in repeating untruths, especially if crooks are repeatedly proffered as "preferred teammates" in running the show.

    * What valid reason prohibited even a few questions by the mainstream media of the caliber of the man when viewed in the light of the questionable and low moral character of his numerous associates? Was there, perhaps, no "valid reason" -- only collusion?

    * He has consistently castigated and belittled average Americans from all walks of life (often) in his previous efforts to appear most appealing (to whatever group to whom he was speaking at the time), so just how many campaign promises should we realistically expect will be kept? are TWO too many? and which ones do we choose? Oh, I forgot, he's already railroading us on the murder of our future citizens (pro-abortion) and killing our economy (with this massive government-waste plan).
In short, the President is a shyster on all counts. I have yet to find one thing with which he has enough experience to make an intelligent decision about. He has snowed the world (and our nation) with his empty rhetoric, platitudes, and idol-like messiah complex.

Until the results of this past election cycle came in, I didn't realize "mystique" and "rhetoric" had the slightest chance at trouncing "ethics" and "administrative experience" so soundly. What a pathetic commentary on the general lack of intelligence and objectivity of the citizens of our once-great nation. I will be surprised if he can muddle through the next four years without ruining our nation.


P.S. I was just thinking, we're stuck with him for four years unless, of course, some poor deluded soul kills (or attempts to kill) him; then we'll have a new "National Martyr/Hero" of epic proportions -- imagine the combined worship of past heroes and idealization of the world's worst dictators. That outcome would be worse than letting him run his course -- and be the root of his own demise.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good Government Spending?

The massive work projects following the Great Depression kept our nation's economy depressed longer than most of the rest of the world. It forced many of our citizens into low-paying jobs for years on end. The only benefit was to the government: the cheap labor to build infrastructure. If it hadn't been for the high labor demand (caused by the advent of WW2), we would have been affected even longer.

Why would we as a nation ask for that again? If this administration fails to stop the flow of funds to bad loans, all of this spending will do nothing other than increase inflation.

I'm reminded of a quote by Hegel:
    What experience and history teach is this -- that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles.
"Good Government Spending" is never "good" for us, it's an oxymoron -- akin to "government intelligence" (intelligence is never encouraged by bureaucracy, it's quashed by it), "social security" (what socialist nation is safe? they just lack freedom), and a host of other failed government programs of the past.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Trumped!

I was surprised to learn President Obama has, once again, made history within a few days of assuming the Presidency. In addition to him keeping his Blackberry (that was a shocker, hope he doesn't get cracked), the White House announced that there is now an "official" White House Blog.

Just what does this bode for bloggers everywhere? I believe it conveys (to everyone not in the blogosphere) some measure of legitimacy to us poor deluded souls that enjoy seeing our lives and opinions posted in an electronic-print format -- constantly read, reacted to, and discussed by friends and total strangers everywhere. There is one other (probably overlooked) aspect that we (as bloggers) should also be aware of: None of us have any chance of making it into the top spot for at least another four years. No, my blogging buds, no matter how long you've been posting -- we've all been trumped. The title of "World's Most Influential Blogger" was captured at the first post of the new blog. (Not like I had a shot anyway.)

Granted, 44 will probably not be making a majority of the posts on the blog, but it is his House now, and his blog. No need to consider the viability of adsense on his blog. (Although, the value of renting the blog's white space would more than pay for the team administering it.) Wonder just what kind of salary I could draw as an "official" blogger for the President of the USA?

I was also wondering just how Obama chose who got to be on the blog-team? No matter what your political affiliation, that would definitely be a very cool business card to have in your pocket. Can you imagine handing your brand-spanking new business card to one of your parents (or a grandparent) and getting to say, "Yes, I'm now the first-ever 'Official Blogger' of the President of the United States." Of course, my family would want to know what a "blog" is, what a "blogger" does, and if it came with long-term benefits. (They're so practical -- and non-tech-savvy.)

I think it would be even better to show up at my high school reunion with that business card. Yeah, the nerd has finally made it big by blogging for the President -- and the school jock is -- what? moving furniture?

The keyboard IS mighter than the letterman's jacket!
At least... for a few bloggers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Day, A New Way!

Last May, I blogged about a conservative political candidate I supported: Dr. Marion Thorpe. My one regret was not that he was running against Alcee Hastings (I was quite pleased with that). Rather, I wished that I could have had the opportunity to vote for him -- but he wasn't running in my district.

In our current political climate, Hastings was a very difficult incumbent to challenge, even for another African American that fit the district's demographics better than the incumbent. I thought Dr. Thorpe had a great opportunity, but unfortunately, Hastings' "normal" amount of support was greatly bolstered by the turnout to elect Obama. (Most likely, had it been a "normal" year for Hastings, the number of votes Dr. Thorpe received would have easily catapulted him past Hastings.)

However, I am glad he lost that race. Because of that loss, one year from November, I may get the opportunity to cast my vote for Dr. Thorpe in another, bigger race! Wednesday, January 7, Dr. Thorpe officially announced his intent to run for one of Florida's two seats in the U.S. Senate! (The one being vacated by Mel Martinez.)

To say I was excited would be a gross understatement. It's been quite awhile since I've gotten to vote for a true conservative -- in any office. I've had to vote for the "best" of the worst for so long, I didn't expect to have the opportunity for vote for a candidate I can support. I knew Dr. Thorpe had been considering the idea of running for some seat in government, but he'd been waiting to make sure his friend, Jeb Bush, wasn't interested in any of the same offices in which he, Dr. Thorpe, might have an interest. That Wednesday evening at church, he told me (and a few others) Jeb didn't seem to be interested in the Senate seat, and he'd finally decided to throw his hat in the ring. Did you notice, I said "at church" was where he told us? Well, Dr. Thorpe is one of a minority of politicians that makes no apologies for his belief in God.

In very few politicians, or even candidates for that matter, will you find a person with enough conviction to regularly attend church services. If you do find one, it is the rare individual that feels any responsibility to attend a service on a week night as well as just Sunday morning (when they can shake more people's hands). Throughout all of last year's hectic campaigning, Dr. Thorpe made the time to regularly stop and "recharge his spiritual batteries" with us.


I do know my blog may suffer, but I'm going to help in this race even more than the last -- as much as I'm physically and mentally able (without disrupting my commitments to my church and the provision for my family). My professional experience "happens" to be in small business consulting; thankfully, several of my past contracts have given me some experience that may assist Dr. Thorpe in keeping track of the finances of his campaign.

There are still papers to be filed, and an "official" fund-raising campaign to begin (it will actually help accelerate the filings if unsolicited donations started mysteriously "rolling in"). If you, or anyone you know is interested in supporting Florida's first Republican, African-American candidate for the U.S. Senate, please (for those that know me personally), let me know. For those that don't, but have a FaceBook account, you can join the Dr. Marion Thorpe for US Senate group. And for those that only have internet access (or just want more info on the candidate), you can visit Dr. Thorpe's site directly. Support can consist of your time, your skills, your money, or any combination of the three. Whatever it is, it won't be turned away.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Straw Officer Of Movie Night

Last week, I heard 2 different questions that I thought would be interesting enough to address in detail here (I do plan to cross-post this to a FaceBook note tho).

= = = = = = = = = = = = =

The first question was something to the effect of, "Did you see the news conference with the President-elect?"

To which I responded, "No, it's a straw office and completely irrelevant, why would I waste my time watching?"

After attempting to explain "straw office" (combine a straw man argument with a political office) to the person (he could not understand), he said, "What do you mean it's irrelevant? How can Obama be irrelevant? It says right on the front of the podium, 'The Office of the President-elect' -- how could that possibly be irrelevant? He's the President elect!"

I gave him a simple answer (which he still didn't understand, thank you crummy public education system), but decided to write out a more detailed response here. Knowing that people who read blogs would at the very least understand me, even if they (you) don't agree with my position.

I personally believe Obama must be insecure (or the world's biggest grandstander) to allow that to be placed on his podium. Yes, of course, he IS the President elect, and everyone knows it, but what you see on the podium is a made-up title for a non-existent "office."

There is no "office" of President-elect. By adding "The office of" and placing it around the seal of the President of the United States, Obama has created a placeholder title with absolutely no standing, political or otherwise. Until the day he's sworn in he is a nobody, with no official status (Just like every other President before him). After the ceremony is when he holds The Office. Until that time, he's technically only the (winning) "Democratic Candidate for President."

Just why he has done it is open to supposition, but it's my opinion that rather than make normal press releases, he felt it was imperative to keep his face before the American people AMAP (as-much-as-possible). He's too proud to make all of his speeches (as President elect) without overt recognition of himself, so they're most likely just working on image-building.

Furthermore, I cannot recall any other President-elect in history that felt the need to hold "official" press conferences prior to assuming office and used "The office of President-elect" displayed on a podium as a title. It's an immature, unprofessional placebo -- a back-handed attempt to pressure the out-going President.

[EDIT: Come to think of it, I could probably expand this post using chronological campaign references, historical comparisons of previous Presidential candidates, and write a best-selling book: The Audacity of Hype. Anyone want to set me up with an advance?]

= = = = = = = = = = = = =

For question #2, someone else asked me if I was going to record the inauguration. Without thinking about the possibility of offending him, I laughed and answered, "No, I'm not even going to watch it."

He said, "Why not? This is history being made! The nation's very first black President will be sworn into office!"

So I proceeded to explain that:
1. No, Mr. Obama is not our first "black" President, his race is actually quite well mixed, but I do hope, whenever we finally get one, that the first black President does a good job.

2. I don't care if someone is black, brown, yellow, red, purple, or green-with-pink-and-blue-polka-dots -- the color any man or woman's skin is irrelevant to their performance. If any person "of color," "without color," or anywhere in between is elected to any office in our government, I only care that when holding their office (President, Governor, Senator, Congressperson, or anything else), that they govern responsibly -- in a manner that seeks to promote our country above their own ideology.

3. This is only a "passing the baton" ceremony for the office of President, eventually, there will be another President. I don't recall ever going to a basketball game for the primary purpose of watching the cheerleaders; I'd rather watch the game -- so I'm going to pass, just as I did for Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., and Reagan (I was too young to remember the ceremonies before Reagan). I'm sure the highlights of the Obama-bash and all of its "beautitudinous glory" will be all over the news, anyway. (Come to think of it, I was always kinda leery of the guys that didn't like basketball, but still went to every game and only watched the cheerleaders -- creepy-ness.)

And finally,
4. I'd rather stay home, ignore the fluff and circumstance, and instead spend time with my family -- maybe we'll watch a movie.


I've since decided I like that third point (of #4) quite a bit. In fact, we might even rent The Manchurian Candidate -- for obvious reasons.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Legitimate Lockup -- Understanding Gitmo

I've been continuously appalled at the lack of intelligence on the part of those that wish to close Gitmo and bring those detainees here -- to US soil. Obviously, the media has been remiss in reporting the reasoning behind holding them there, and has instead focused on the lack of a warm-fuzzy feeling of good-will when contemplating the plight of these poor, underprivileged, misguided, freedom-bashing terrorists. I was glad to see Obama state that he wouldn't rush into dismantling the detention center (even tho he does want it closed). I hope he sees the wisdom of having this detention center before he does serious harm to our nation. Here are the main points for my opinion:

I. The US has never in the past, does not currently, and should never in the future agree or disagree to any so-called "human rights for all" merely to promote warm-fuzzy feelings all around; that would be immature, unprofessional, and completely irresponsible. We grant rights to our citizens. Period. Full stop. End of sentence.
    A. Each nation on earth grants & restricts the rights of its citizens according to the individual charter or constitution of each state. Our nation DOES NOT grant rights to citizens of other nations, but if citizens of other nations attack our troops, our citizens, our land, or our interests, we have reserved the right to take steps to protect all of the above. (As have all other nations.)

    B. By our nation's "right" of self defense (as recognized by the UN as well as numerous international treaties) we have choices of how we prefer to stop the commission of any of the acts of aggression. It is fully legal to "shoot until dead" any aggressors that choose to act against us; however, our nation takes the "high moral ground" of exercising the "right of restraint" as often as possible. Attempting to capture and incarcerate these terrorists is much more expensive, but our current government (all 2 days of it that's left anyway) would rather spend the money than leave piles of bodies. What most bleeding heart liberals propose to grant these detainees goes well past what is legal (and moral) and even further -- far beyond the edge of lunacy, right into the heart of it.

II. There is no "political loophole" for Guantanamo.
    A. It is FULLY legal (by ALL international treaties) to hold enemy combatants for the duration of whatever conflict they were involved in at the time of their apprehension. Has been for many years. "The Great" FDR did the same thing, yet no one had a problem with it back then.

    B. The right of incarceration of combatants has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Cuba has, or has not, ratified conventions binding the US. Instead, they are detained in Cuba because no other country in the world wants them held on their soil. (Since our lease of Gitmo from the Cubans is not subject to a lease extension anytime in the near future, we can pretty much do as we please.)

    C. Some would like to classify these detainees as "civilians" rather than "unlawful combatants;" this would mean they are covered by the 4th Geneva Convention. The 3rd Geneva Convention (1949) outlines incarceration of combatants, here is my opinion on these detainees:

      1. These are not people that have racked up excessive library fines, stolen a handful of rice to feed their families, or jacked a bubble gum machine for kicks. They are actively engaged in warfare against our nation, citizens, and soldiers. They want us dead or our nation destroyed -- and have gone to war to attempt to bring it about by any means necessary. That is what excludes them from civilian status. Since they operate well outside the bounds of the convention (engaging in some type of combat while not in the direct employ of a nation) they are obviously (to me) enemy combatants, not civilians, and as such, fully subject to the 3rd, and not the 4th.

      2. Even tho the people in Gitmo are UNlawful combatants, they have still received the same humane treatment as lawful combatants, less the representation. The detainees receive three (Muslim) squares a day, medical, clothing, showers, hygenics articles, freedom to worship, mail privileges (screened), and regular visits from the Red Cross. Our govt has gone well beyond the bare minimum in their care.

    D. As I see it, the "problem" today is actually a pseudo-problem: (primarily) socialists are using this as a platform to push their ideology on the American public. Much of the media is either in lock-step with these political ideals, or ignorant of the implications of pushing this. Don't be in a rush to jump on this bandwagon until you've explored the endgame:

      1. My definition of Socialism is pretty straightforward. Most people understand the redistribution of wealth and supposed "equal opportunity" of Socialism. It is more than that. Socialism also advocates collective ownership AND central administration of not only all types of production and all of the distribution of all of the goods, but also, every aspect of the entire system of exchange. Old-school hardliners propose total state control, while most of those found here in the US think everything could be structured into a pseudo-free-market economy.

      2. The danger of collectivism for OUR society is in the details of administration. Most of the liberal media (due to their influence from countless socialistic professors across our nation) think that the current opinion of "the people" should dictate all US policy. However, "the people" is an abstract, barely-definable concept (in terms of quantification). Who is to say which portion of "the people" make the easy decisions? let alone the controversial, hard ones? As soon as we digress from our only framework of "fairness, justice, and equity" (our Constitution and codified laws), we begin a downward spiral toward a complete dictatorship; in which one person (the dictator) is the voice of "the people" and is highly unlikely to keep their interests at heart.

      3. The media is being used. It appears their dislike of Bush has become a flagpole on which they hoist their own standard: a socialistic worldview. By couching their abhorrence in terms that appear to put "we the people" into positions that are opposed, disliked, or hated by any segment of the "victimized global citizenry" they instigate class- and racial-tension in our country. Possibly even escalating to a general "struggle" during a transformation from capitalism to communism. While this is not a true "proletarian revolution" in any sense, it would be fatal for our economy.

      4. I doubt there is a physical "playbook" for this, but it's obvious to me that the media operates in concert to promote their agenda.

      5. We (the people) cannot swallow their line, to insist on melding these detainees (citizens of the world) into the collective melting pot of US citizenry because it is "humane." It is not humane, it is a criminal surrender of our rights, as citizens of the USA, to proffer the same rights we have under our Constitution to those who are our sworn enemies and wish for nothing less than the complete destruction of our nation.

      6. The phrase "citizens of the world" is a feel-good, fallacious attempt to desensitize the patriotism of citizens -- every nation's citizens. Accepting it as a valid argument would be an extremely dangerous step by any sovereign govt. The result of wholeheartedly subscribing to this ideology is a socialistic, one world govt in which all rights are subservient to the good of the whole.

      7. It is also a straw man argument. There are no "citizens of the world" -- just as no aspect of "humane" and "ethical" should be afforded those that have actively participated in any attempt to destroy of our way of life, our soldiers (many of whom are my friends), or my country. Any attempt to eradicate any of the above must be stopped.

III. These Gitmo inmates DO NOT DESERVE a trial.
    They are NOT criminals, but enemy combatants. The US has detained enemy combatants in EVERY major conflict in our nation's history. Just like soldiers, enemy combatants may be detained or face military tribunals, but they NEVER get a trial. (The "Nuremburg Trials" weren't trials, they were international tribunals, convened after the cessation of all conflict.)

IV. For any that still do not understand the importance of the semantics, I'll make it very simple: there are only 2 kinds of enemy combatants. (Both types participate in armed aggression against our nation.)
    A. "UnLawful" enemy combatants (Gitmo detainees) participate as private citizens while NOT employed by any state (i.e. not soldiers in a military), or while affiliated with a terrorist organization. Thus, the Gitmo detainees fully conform to every definition of unlawful enemy combatant recognized by every member of the UN (every definition I've ever read anyway... going back to the Hague Convention). Unlawful enemy combatants are not POWs, because they bear arms, operating as soldiers and or terrorists outside the guidelines of the 3rd Geneva Convention.

    B. While it is legal to detain both types of enemy combatants, only LAWFUL enemy combatants ARE ELIGIBLE for all of the protections afforded POWs -- under ALL the treaties and conventions that have been signed to date.

V. There is one final aspect of trying these detainees on US soil that most people overlook. If they are afforded US rights, they must also be tried by US laws, and face US punishments. Ergo -- they have committed treason.
    The laws currently on the books in the US (for treason) call for death, so in that sense, I would not be opposed to allowing any unlawful enemy combatants currently being (legally) detained at Gitmo a military trial on US soil. As long as all guilty verdicts result in immediately carrying out the execution of the convicted. (Of course, since they've not broken any civil statues, they wouldn't be eligible for civil trial with juries and appeals processes, only military trials.)

In conclusion, I'll offer my advice to the ignorant (that so frequently proffer opinions garnered from the liberal media as fact):
    If you are going to look to some source (such as the media) for general information, check the info they are disseminating. If they feed you false information, even if only intermittently, then make sure you are consistent in checking sources and seeking the truth on any matters of importance to you (or your nation).

Every media personality with any semblance of intelligence or integrity knows full well that Gitmo detainees are there lawfully, detained legally, and completely ineligible for ANY trial of ANY type on US soil. Anyone in the media that does not inform others of this is (whether knowingly or in ignorance) participating in an effort to undermine our nation, our government, our military, the rights of our citizens, and our way of life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Optometry Oddidity

Received a call from my optometrist late last Friday afternoon. (Didn't realize it was the actual optometrist on the phone at first, thought it was one of his assistants.) He told me that the four-year membership I purchased was expiring unused on Tuesday (save for the purchase of my glasses and a one-year supply of disposable contacts). However, if I wanted to be seen at the reduced "plan" rate, he would honor the same price all week. I was wearing my my last set of contacts and planning to call him anyway, so I scheduled my appointment for 10 am Monday morning.

Sunday night, my wife surprised me when she decided she wanted an exam the next morning too. Personally, I could care less; if she wanted to willingly go see a doctor, then that was her problem. I'm the type person that doesn't go see any doctor -- of any kind -- unless I'm near death or in dire need of something. (Which may have been obvious, since I haven't been to the eye doctor in four years.) Anyway, since I do like to see clearly, I was "in need."

Our arrival (driving through all green lights!), parking (one space was left -- at the door), check-in (we were first), wait (brief), and exam (wife & I went in together) were only "eventful" in that absolutely nothing went wrong! I was almost dreading the rest of the day -- thinking there may be paybacks somewhere.

Amazingly, no paybacks either. Instead, he shone bright lights in my eyes then had me read the little chart on wall (with the big prescription-finder thingy in front of my eyes). When I asked how much worse my eyes had gotten, he didn't answer directly. He told me that, "One of two things has happened in the last four years." (I so dread it when I hear doctors offering options.) Either,
1. on my previous visit, my eyes were diagnosed incorrectly (and I've been using the wrong prescription for four years), or
2. sometime in the last 4 years, my prescription in one eye has attained a slight astigmatism, while both eyes have (miraculously) improved exactly 0.5!

This was one of those rare moments in which I was totally speechless.

My wife laughed and said, "And they say long hours staring at a computer screen are bad for you." She also had the presence of mind to ask if my recent (bi-monthly and more) migraines may be attributable to having this prescription too strong: "Possible," was his reply.

I was expecting to purchase contacts; I was not expecting to need new glasses. Nor was I expecting any eye improvements. They did sell me contacts (at the "deal" pricing), but won't give them to me until I wear this free loaner pair for a few days. They want to make sure I can still see clearly.

It's been a few days, today is Thursday. My last migraine started early Monday morning (although it wasn't horrible until my eyes were dilated). Since then, I can still see pretty well (I was reading the 20/15 line on his chart), but I think the astigmatism diagnosis might be incorrect: if I move too quickly, things look a little wonky until my eyes adjust. I'll have to go back tomorrow and have him check.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

[EDIT: It's now Friday. I went back again this morning and I can still see the 20/15 line. I told him about the occasional equilibrium problems and that I'd noticed one other thing: a continuous tension in the muscles around my right eye. He held weaker and stronger lenses in front of my eye, but neither was better. So, I'm going to give it another week. He thinks it might be because my eyes are adjusting to this prescription.]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Book Give-Away!

As an insatiable reader, I don't watch much TV, but I do follow numerous blogs. One of my favorite book blogs, Books Ahoy!, is going to be giving away a book this month!
Yes, I said G-I-V-I-N-G... as in free book and free shipping!

There are very few things I like more than a free book (most of those things being "more than one free book"), but this isn't an ordinary run-of-the-mill book that's been sitting, moldering on someone's shelf -- this is brand new and unreleased (until the 26th)! It's titled, "The Survivors Club : The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life" and is put out by Hachette Book Group.

I'm not normally a paranoid person (do have a few paranoid friends tho), but always enjoy soaking up any little bit of information that could keep me alive, safe, or just out of a tough spot. Can hardly wait to see who gets it. If you think you just might be interested, the contest starts today (Tuesday, January 13th) and runs until Friday, the 23rd of January. Head over to Books Ahoy! and check out the book, enter the contest, and browse Lisa's blog; you may find something else you'd enjoy reading.

My Apologies To Shakespeare:

To Post, OR not to Post, that IS questionable.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous children (in silence)
Or to take up words against a sea of troublesome-ness,
And by exposing, laugh at them?
Thus begins my latest installment of the vagaries of having children:
The other evening Sugee was s'posed to be going potty, washing her hands, then getting into her jammies before having a snack and trundling off to bed. Sugee doesn't always do s'posed to very well -- she has her own little world she inhabits and its... well... different.

After an extraordinary amount of time in the bathroom, I decided it would be wise to go find her. (Bear in mind, this is the same three and a half year old child that two Saturdays ago crammed a Gobstopper up her nose -- as far as she could reach her "pinky" finger!)

This Saturday evening, I found her -- in the bathroom? Yes.
Completely finished and ready for bed? No -- try stark naked.

Furthermore, she was patting at her soaked, wet hair with the used (and very dirty) foot-towel.

Realizing she was merely attempting to copy Mommy, but making a mess of herself, I stifled my smile and laughter, asked what she had been doing, and (of course) received the typical sugar-coated answer of "Nothing Daddy". After some verbal pressure, she did reveal that she had just finished "washing her hair in the bathtub" -- albeit, I hadn't heard any water running (except in the sink) so I was not convinced. Willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, I had her wash her hands and finish getting ready for bed.

Once dressed, she did finally admit that she had NOT used the bathtub to wet her hair.
No . . . my sweet, innocent, blond-haired, green-eyed, cherub-faced daughter had just participated in a SELF . INDUCED . SWIRLY ! ! !

(And for the curious-minded, no: I did not check to see if the water she used was pre- or post-potty -- I really did not want to know.)

I'm hoping she survives being a toddler . . . and that her baby sister doesn't take after her in any way shape or form.
And thus the natives' hue of exploration
Is o'er laid with the hearty cast of memory,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this affection their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of trouble. - Soft you now!
The fair Sugee! Nymph, in my orisons
Be all thy sins -- forgotten.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Small Milestone

My three and a half year old son (Tank) came to me a few weeks ago and begged to have his training wheels removed. Thinking he was too young, I put him on his big brother's "blue-bike" and let him make a few attempts. Tank, at three, is actually heavier than Little Bear (who turns six in March), and only a few inches shorter, so the "big" blue-bike is all of one inch taller than the "little" one. (Both bikes are blue, the smaller one has racing flames on it, so they've dubbed it the "fire-bike.") Tank wasn't quite ready for me to let go, but he was surprisingly good. I didn't remove the wheels from the fire-bike at that time, but decided to let him try again -- soon.

Last week, one of the training wheels came loose on the fire-bike; Tank went down pretty hard, but shook it off (hence the nick-name). He brought the bike home and laid it in the driveway in front of my wife's van for me to fix. (Daddys can fix anything you know.) Seeing the bike in the driveway reminded me of our "escapade" a few weeks ago, so I let the bike lay there for a few days. (Long enough for poor little Tank to be dying to ride his bike again.) Saturday (while my wife was out shopping) I took off his other training wheel, put him on the fire-bike, and told him to pedal. Guess what he did?

If you thought, "Sat still and cried his eyes out," you were right. He remembered the previous attempt -- as well as going down hard last week. Not to be deterred by a few tears (Momma was shopping, remember -- he couldn't "tell on me" until later) I told him I wouldn't let him go, but he had to pedal. After several bent-over jogs up and down the street (holding onto the bottom of his seat), I thought he was almost able to ride on his own (there'd been very few forays into the grass). So first thing, we sat down for a few minutes -- I don't jog very well bent over and needed to catch my breath. While I was resting, I had Little Bear take the fire-bike, told him to ride up & down the street, and called Tank to come sit with me to watch. He complained the whole time, but dutifully got right back on the bike when I was ready.

As we headed down the street once again, I did let go, but kept jogging behind him -- and he did fine. We turned around (I helped) and he went back up the street -- this time I ran right next to him. He was concerned, but started getting excited when he realized he could ride with no training wheels. We turned the last time and started back down the street (with me still running alongside) when my wife started up the road. Without him knowing, I signaled to her to stop and (as she waited) told Tank to "pedal to Mommy" and show her "how good he was doing with no training wheels."

In case you don't know, there is something built-into 99.999% of all men: we must show off in plain view of females. As a child, the female of most import is Mom, but Grandmas, Aunts, friends, neighbors, and siblings follow close behind. Tank falls in the 99.999% category -- as soon as he saw his Mommy flashing the headlights of the mini-van at him, he needed no more help. At least, no more help riding -- he doesn't stop well yet. He didn't let that deter him though -- he crashed into the neighbor's mailbox, jumped up, and told his mother what he'd just done. At every opportunity since, he's been telling friends and family of his latest accomplishment, and begging to ride some more.


P.S. Sorry for spilling the beans guys, but ladies -- if you want your man to get something done, word your request in a manner that feeds his ego, then make a big deal out of what he's accomplished for you -- preferably in front of other females that are important to him.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Fautography?

My friends know I'm constantly looking for reliable "newsy" sites. Well, today after a hearty early morning breakfast (at Cracker Barrel) I found another great one: www.bizzyblog.com. I'll be adding it into my blogroll shortly.

Anyway, here is the article that caught my attention, CNN Doubles Down; Reposts Withdrawn Video of Apparently Faked CPR Attempt on ‘Dead’ Palestinian Child. I watched the video at CNN (and grabbed it, just in case it's taken down -- again), I read his article, and I must say I agree with him. Here is my take:

Simply put, it appears to me that there is more fauxtography in the works. Perhaps I'm wrong, but my initial impression of this video by CNN appears to me to be another fake. (You can click the link to see it on CNN, or watch my version embedded below. If you read my comments first, the discrepancies are glaring.)

There are two parts of this video that make me think this video is not what it's been reported to be: the roof scenes, and the hospital scenes (which is actually most of the video).

Starting with the roof:
    1. The extent of visible damage shown in the entire clip was no more than fragments of one cinder block? Unbelievable. I know the destruction caused by an American missile (even one fired from an unmanned drone) would have been much greater than one partially-shattered cinder-block on the roof of a house. Any of our missiles would've at least blown a large gaping hole in the roof, but (more likely) leveled the home. Since the Israelis get many of their weapons from the US, I know their missiles would cause the same extensive damage as ours.

    2. The pattern of destruction matches those received in Israel to a "T" -- Hamas fires missiles with yields this low (and accuracy this poor) all the time. In my opinion, this was Hamas' missile and they're trying to shove the blame off on the IDF.

    3. The video says that guy doing the filming, "got a call. The family home had been hit by a rocket." Maybe I'm hung on semantics, but rockets are fired from the ground -- by Hamas.

    4. The light gauge metal sheeting around the perimeter has blood spatter on it, but no holes thru it? I have a pellet gun that will shoot thru that stuff. How small was this blast? Surely a piece of cinder block propelled by an exploding missile or rocket would have enough force to puncture light-gauge galvanized sheeting.

    5. The furniture on the roof (what looks like a bookcase and a plastic chair) has no holes in it either, but is covered in blood spatter. All this is supposedly from the blast of a military-grade IDF missile?? If the chair was close enough to the blast zone to be bloody, but wasn't even knocked over, I'd say it's highly unlikely a military missile was the cause. The concussion of even a hand grenade would knock the chair over. (My three and a half year old son takes great pleasure in throwing similar chairs around the yard.)

Moving on to the hospital. The "doctors" in the hospital are either bad actors, or completely staging this. (My first-born son has had extensive medical problems, I've lived in the hospitals for months on end.) Here are some of the questions this video raises in my mind:
    1. Why is the "lead doctor" looking at the monitor? I've watched emergency surgery performed on my son several times. I've never seen a lead doctor watch a monitor! During surgery, he (or she) work on the patient -- while looking at the patient. If the lead surgeon needs supplies or equipment, they ask; if they want a status report, they ask for it. Yet, all I see of this doctor is him pointing at a screen, moving supplies around, and wiping the boy off with an alcohol pad!?!?!? If he's not staging this, he should be fired for incompetence; he wasn't even moving quickly.

    2. According to CNN's video, the boy was "hit by a rocket" that left the rooftop "... now pockmarked by shrapnel and spattered with blood." If so, then why is there NO blood on the lead doctor's gloves?!? Didn't he do anything beside point at the monitor, move stuff around, and gesture for the camera?

    3. Why does the person that was doing CPR have only a small amount of blood on his gloves?? I've seen more blood on a doctor's hands from inserting a simple chest tube. The amount of damage caused by an explosion should have shredded skin and blood vessels, making anyone who touched the child a bloody mess.

    4. Continuing on with the same reasoning: Why aren't the lab coats bloody? at all? (I wonder if perhaps they forgot to change into dirty ones for the video?)

    5. How did the sheet that was under the victim (the one they wrapped him in after their "failed attempt" to save him) have so little blood on it? (Especially since the bed below the sheet was severely blood-stained?)

    6. I'd have failed my CPR certification if I'd done it like this -- even on an infant. It's laughable how little effort was taken to make sure the man was doing it properly.

    7. A genuine effort to save the child would include getting oxygen inside his lungs. If the blood were really being pumped thru his heart (by the fake CPR), then forcing air into his lungs at the same time (with a ventilator, if they have it) would keep him alive (when you don't have a vent and you do it by hand -- it's called "bagging"). They don't have a ventilator here -- why is no one bagging?

The lack of blood is telling. When you quit bleeding it's because [A.] you're out of blood -- you're dead -- or [B.] the flow has been stopped, and you're alive. This unfortunate child had quit bleeding by the time the video was taken, maybe even before he reached the hospital.

The lack of effort and genuine medical practices is telling. In this video, these doctors did not do anything -- except pose -- and that poorly.

Finally, the lack of serious structural damage is telling. Even the smallest hand grenade carried by any IDF soldiers would have caused more destruction than was on that rooftop. The rocket was probably homemade (by Hamas) and their accuracy was nonexistent. I do think this boy was killed, but I highly doubt that anyone but Hamas could have fired the rocket that killed him.

While I do feel badly for the family, I'm appalled that they would allow their dead child to be prostituted in this manner:
video

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fauxtography

I've seen very little fauxtography during this conflict. Obviously, the Palestinians have noticed their typical propaganda tactics backfired. The one (sickening) instance I've seen involves what appears to be a badly burned child. I've saved each picture from the original sources (in case they're moved or taken down), but if you want to see them in their original locations, click either photo caption and they will open a new window with the corresponding photo.

faux-tography 1 -- dirty, dressed, and burned baby girl on the left and on the right, dirty-but-not-quite-as-dirty, undressed, and burned baby girl

The first photo is an AP photo bearing the caption:
A Palestinian carries a child into the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, wounded during the Israeli army operation in Gaza, Sunday Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against the Hamas group gained momentum.

I cropped the second (Getty) photo to the same size as the other (before combining them in one image). The second caption is:
A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City on January 4, 2009 as Israeli troops continue its ground assault in Gaza. The half dozen hospitals in Gaza cannot cope with more patients and casualties are overflowing out of regular wards into corridors as Israeli troops push deep into Gaza. At least 40 people have been killed since Israel launched the night-time offensive yesterday after eight days of air strikes in which at least 485 Palestinians died and more than 2,400 were wounded, Gaza medics said.

Obviously, it is the same baby; the burn mark on the forehead is the same. Even if the face wasn't visible, the orange and green clothing would be suspect. Perhaps the second photo wasn't staged, but I'm not sure why a different man would be carrying the same (undressed) baby into another hospital. It sickens me that such a badly injured child is no more than propaganda to these people.