Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sen. Kerry makes push for tighter gun control

From what I understand the really nasty weaponry has been coming from Central America.  Another interesting thing, since when do we make illegal items for the sake of another country?

Senators hear how AK-47s make it to Mexico drug gangs | Chronicle | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
Kerry called for a ban on the imports of assault rifles, such as the AK-47, into the United States. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., opposed the idea.

Assault rifles bought in the United States are favorites among cartel gunmen, who find them effective for the urban warfare, William McMahon, deputy assistant director of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the committee. ATF agents have traced many guns confiscated in Mexico to purchases in the United States, McMahon said.

For example, more than 60 guns seized following a shootout among factions of the Tijuana cartel in April 2008 were traced to purchases in Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and Denver, McMahon said.

The visiting senators were particularly interested in how much violence was spilling into the United States. Cartel-related killings have occurred in Texas, and cities such as Phoenix are experiencing a rise in kidnappings for ransom, which authorities say are related to debt collection among drug dealers. Mexican cartels have extended their networks into as many as 230 U.S. cities, according to federal law enforcement agencies.

El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza said trafficking rivalries and infighting had little effect on crime in U.S. border towns. During those bloody 14 months in Juarez, El Paso had 20 homicides, Esparza said.

"Austin, Houston, Dallas -- they are not seeing their numbers up" either, said Esparza, who is a past president of an association of Texas prosecutors. "The rhetoric has been escalated and exaggerated."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently asked for 1,000 National Guard troops to be stationed at the border. But Esparza said he didn't think militarizing the border was needed.

"We are safe here in El Paso," Esparza said. "If we see a radical change, I would tell you differently."

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Pun for the Ages


Op-Ed Contributor - Pun for the Ages - NYTimes.com
THE inglorious pun! Dryden called it the “lowest and most groveling kind of wit.” To Ambrose Bierce it was a “form of wit to which wise men stoop and fools aspire.” Universal experience confirms the adage that puns don’t make us laugh, but groan. It is said that Caligula ordered an actor to be roasted alive for a bad pun. (Some believe he was inclined to extremes.)

Addison defined the pun as a “conceit arising from the use of two words that agree in the sound, but differ in the sense.” “Energizer Bunny Arrested! Charged with Battery.” No laugh? Q.E.D.

The ammo boom is no dud

Bottom line, people don't trust the government:

Demand for ammo is causing supply shortages - ESPN
Is all the ammo-buying frenzy for naught? Do consumers have a misplaced distrust of politicians who, from a gun owner's perspective, just don't get it when it comes to the Second Amendment?

Last year, legislators in 20 states tried and failed to pass bills requiring ammo manufacturers to make bullets that were "microstamped" or serialized with codes that would identify the batches. Their premise was that ammo coding would make it easier for law enforcement agents to track down the sources of ammunition used in the commission of crimes. However, opponents argued that beyond driving manufacturing costs upward and requiring retailers to keep more records, such laws would have little deterrent effect on crimes committed by people who stole ammo or purchased it secondhand.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Paper Money


BobKrumm.com » Crane
CNBC just interviewed the head of Crane & Co., a well known maker of paper and stationery. They are also the suppliers to the Treasury Department of paper for US currency. The last question the reporter asked him was about changes in the denominations being ordered, and he replied that they have recently seen increased orders for $100 paper.

I wonder if this is an indication that the Treasury Department is anticipating inflation.

Movies With No Sex, Foul Language and Nudity Win At Box Office

Why the studios can't figure this out is beyond me:

Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » Movies With No Sex, Foul Language and Nudity Win At Box Office
Once again, Movieguide® Magazine’s Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry shows that moviegoers prefer movies with no explicit sex, nudity and foul language. This was especially clear in 2008. Movies with no foul language, sex and nudity averaged significantly more money at the theatrical box office in America and Canada than movies with some or a lot of such vulgarity, sex or nudity.

Turn Off Your Lights Tonight for Earth Hour

It will be interesting to learn how many turn off their lights.  BTW, I'm not:

Turn Off Your Lights Tonight for Earth Hour | Geekdad from Wired.com
Earth Day isn't for nearly a month, but tonight you've got an opportunity to help the environment by doing something very simple: turn off all the non-essential lights and appliances in your home for an hour, starting at 8:30pm local time.

Earth Hour began in Australia two years ago, and has since spread across the world, organized by the World Wildlife Fund. My family participated last year, using candles and a wind-up flashlight to provide illumination while the four of us played games at the dining room table. I suspect it has a lot to do with the games, but my kids are really excited about doing it again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, Owner of the Nation's Largest Privately Owned Abortion Chain, Dies in Montana Plane Crash

Make of this what you will, but it is startling.  Another strange fact, the plane crashed feet from the "Tomb of the Unborn."

Christian Newswire
Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults.

But what the news sources fail to mention is that the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery owned by Resurrection Cemetery Association in Butte - contains a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the 'Tomb of the Unborn'. This memorial, located a short distance west of the church, was erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.

What else is the mainstream news not telling you? The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim's memorial, is the family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation.

Family Planning Associates was purchased four years ago by Irving Moore "Bud" Feldkamp III, owner of Allcare and Hospitality Dental Associates and CEO of Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino. The 17 California Family Planning clinics perform more abortions in the state than any other abortion provider - Planned Parenthood included - and they perform abortions through the first five months of pregnancy.

Social Security surpluses gone

This is really not good:

Hot Air » Blog Archive »: Social Security surpluses gone
PBS reports that the Social Security surplus, once considered safe for a generation, now may disappear in two years, next year … or may already have vanished. According to Treasury’s website, we tipped over into deficit spending of SocSec in February of this year. The sudden disappearance of SocSec surplus will have dramatic impacts on budget-deficit projections, as the clip explains, since administrations use the surplus to make the deficits look smaller than they really are:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Death of the Obama dream

And people are surprised this is happening to a political neophyte:

www.washingtonexaminer.com >> Noemie Emery
It all came at the end of what Rick Klein of ABC News called Obama’s ‘lost week,’ which got worse on Sunday, when he was attacked by the New York Times in three columns and one editorial. One warned of an oncoming fall of Katrina dimensions. And these were his friends.

Actually, since he was sworn, in most of his weeks have been lost ones, or at least weeks headed downward, the problem being that three or four variations on the theme of incompetence have had time to harden and set.

First, the financial crisis he was hired to fix has only grown worse under his tutelage, losing another 2,000-plus points on the Dow since his ascension. Second, the ‘smoothest transition on record’ stopped being smooth when Bush went back to Texas, and has since been a mélange of scandals and dithering. Third, the immense sums in his budget are starting to stun the more moderate Democrats, not to mention the Obamacons, who once put their hopes in his ‘moderate’ temperament.

Fourth, he and some of his high-profile picks have shown a repeated addiction to unforced errors and slights---mixing up names, misplacing dates, dissing Nancy Reagan, dissing the British Prime Minister, dissing the Special Olympics, created and run by John Kennedy’s sister—giving the impression the administration is run by the under-informed and the boorish and socially compromised.

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe

Something else to cheer up your day:

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe - space - 23 March 2009 - New Scientist
IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation's infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event - a violent storm, 150 million kilometres away on the surface of the sun.

‘Common Sense Gun Laws’: Obama’s Attack on the Second Amendment

Being "stealthy."

Pajamas Media » ‘Common Sense Gun Laws’: Obama’s Attack on the Second Amendment
Throughout the 2008 election cycle, Barack Obama espoused support for the Second Amendment. He said he agreed with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case against the D.C. gun ban, professed that “there is an individual right to bear arms,” and appeared in campaign commercials shaking hands with hunters in the field down here in Texas. Yet he simultaneously espoused support for stricter gun control measures, because the truth is that he shares the Brady Center’s conviction that the Second Amendment “is not absolute.” This was evident to anyone who took the time to investigate Obama’s voting record. Even the fruit-loopers on democraticunderground.com worried that Obama’s “anti-gun stand” would undo him.

But Obama won. And now, as president, almost all the emphasis in his rhetoric seems to have shifted from professing individual rights to promoting “common sense gun laws” as the Trojan horse from which he and his minions plan to launch a crippling attack on the Second Amendment. This was evident during his inauguration, when he put the handshakes with hunters in Texas behind him and posted the following “urban policy” on his website:

Obama and Biden … favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bush Deficit vs. Obama Deficit in Pictures


Bush Deficit vs. Obama Deficit in Pictures » The Foundry
President Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that his budget would cut the deficit by half by the end of his term. But as Heritage analyst Brian Riedl has pointed out, given that Obama has already helped quadruple the deficit with his stimulus package, pledging to halve it by 2013 is hardly ambitious.

On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda

The thing that interests me concerning those in the west who are pro Hamas is that they and their lifestyles would not be tolerated in an Islamic society. 

On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda - Hudson New York
Listening to some students and professors on these campuses, for a moment I thought I was sitting opposite a Hamas spokesman or a would-be-suicide bomber.

I was told, for instance, that Israel has no right to exist, that Israel’s “apartheid system” is worse than the one that existed in South Africa and that Operation Cast Lead was launched only because Hamas was beginning to show signs that it was interested in making peace and not because of the rockets that the Islamic movement was launching at Israeli communities.

I was also told that top Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for masterminding terror attacks against Israeli civilians, was thrown behind bars simply because he was trying to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Furthermore, I was told that all the talk about financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority was “Zionist propaganda” and that Yasser Arafat had done wonderful things for his people, including the establishment of schools, hospitals and universities.

The good news is that these remarks were made only by a minority of people on the campuses who describe themselves as “pro-Palestinian,” although the overwhelming majority of them are not Palestinians or even Arabs or Muslims.

The bad news is that these groups of hard-line activists/thugs are trying to intimidate anyone who dares to say something that they don’t like to hear.

When the self-designated “pro-Palestinian” lobbyists are unable to challenge the facts presented by a speaker, they resort to verbal abuse.

On one campus, for example, I was condemned as an “idiot” because I said that a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas in the January 2006 election because they were fed up with financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority.

On another campus, I was dubbed as a “mouthpiece for the Zionists” because I said that Israel has a free media. There was another campus where someone told me that I was a ‘liar” because I said that Barghouti was sentenced to five life terms because of his role in terrorism.

And then there was the campus (in Chicago) where I was “greeted” with swastikas that were painted over posters promoting my talk. The perpetrators, of course, never showed up at my event because they would not be able to challenge someone who has been working in the field for nearly 30 years.

What struck me more than anything else was the fact that many of the people I met on the campuses supported Hamas and believed that it had the right to “resist the occupation” even if that meant blowing up children and women on a bus in downtown Jerusalem.

Extra Vitamin E: No Benefit, Maybe Harm


Personal Health - Extra Vitamin E - No Benefit, Maybe Harm - NYTimes.com
Here, then, is what we now know about vitamin E from recent randomized, controlled clinical trials, the gold standard of research if the right questions were investigated.

Cardiovascular disease. An early hint of no benefit to the heart came from a 2001 University of Pennsylvania study of 30 healthy men, which found that at doses of 200 to 2,000 I.U.’s, vitamin E did not prevent oxidation of blood fats that can damage arteries. Four years later, the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation trials, which looked at nearly 10,000 patients 55 and older with vascular disease or diabetes, found no heart benefit from taking 400 I.U.’s of vitamin E daily for an average of seven years. In fact, those taking the vitamin were more likely to develop heart failure, which prompted the heart association warning.

A few months later came a report on healthy women. The Women’s Health Study, of nearly 40,000 women 45 and older who were followed for an average of 10 years, found no overall benefit in taking 600 I.U.’s of vitamin E every other day for major cardiovascular events (heart attacks and stroke) or total mortality. There was, however, a 24 percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths.

A fresh report on men was released last November. In it, the Physicians’ Health Study, 14,641 men 50 and older were followed for up to eight years, it was found that 400 I.U.’s of vitamin E every other day had no effect on the incidence of major cardiovascular events, including cardiovascular deaths.

The bottom line of all these reports was that supplements of vitamin E could not be relied upon to protect against heart disease and stroke.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Congress isn't feeling much heat from Obama's 'army'

The campaign is over, at least for most people:

Congress isn't feeling much heat from Obama's 'army' | McClatchy
President Barack Obama's army of canvassers fanned out across the nation over the weekend to drum up support for his $3.55 trillion budget, but they had no noticeable impact on members of Congress, who on Monday said they were largely unaware of the effort.

"News to me," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, a House Budget Committee member, of the canvassing. Later, his staff said that his office had heard from about 100 voters.

Bank of America’s Bernstein Says Sell Bank Stocks After Rally

This doesn't sound like good news after the rally today:

Bank of America’s Bernstein Says Sell Bank Stocks After Rally - Bloomberg.com
Investors should sell bank stocks after they rallied 12 percent today because the Treasury Department’s plan to buy toxic assets won’t stop profits from dropping, Bank of America Corp.’s Richard Bernstein said.

Removing devalued loans and securities from banks’ balance sheets is a short-term solution that will delay the problem’s ultimate solution, which is bank takeovers, Bernstein said. The government won’t be able to inflate the prices banks receive for selling bad assets indefinitely, he added.

“The history of bubbles shows quite well that financial sector consolidation is inevitable,” Bernstein, Bank of America’s chief investment strategist, wrote in a research note. “Financial stocks will be attractive when the government tries to speed up that inevitable process. However, to the contrary, the government continues to attempt to stymie that inevitable consolidation.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama Upsets Sarkozy With Letter to Jacques Chirac

Another example of good judgment:

Gateway Pundit: Obama Upsets Sarkozy With Letter to Jacques Chirac
In his latest faux pas Obama managed to pi$ off France...
President Obama wrote Jacques Chirac saying he was looking forward to working with the former French president in the coming four years(?)
Monsters and Critics reported:

US President Barack Obama has indirectly praised former French president Jacques Chirac's fierce opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq, the online edition of the daily Le Figaro reported on Thursday.

In a letter described by Chirac as 'very nice,' Obama wrote, 'I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.'

The use of the word 'peace' was taken to be an indirect reference to Chirac's stance against the US intervention in Iraq, which Obama had also opposed as senator.

Update: Not as bad as it sounds.

Friendly fire: NYT hits Obama

The Times, they are a changin!

Friendly fire: NYT hits Obama - Jonathan Martin - POLITICO.com
The leading liberal voices of the New York Times editorial pages all criticized—and, in some cases, clobbered—President Obama on Sunday for his handling of the economy and national security.

It's not unusual for Barack Obama to take a little friendly fire from the Times. But it's perhaps unprecedented for him to get hit on the same day by columnists Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd—and in the paper's lead editorial. Their critique punctuated a weekend that started with a widely circulated blog post by Paul Krugman that said the president’s yet to be announced bank rescue plan would almost certainly fail.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Financial Crisis Explained

Get twice as much from landscaping by adding fruits and vegetables

What an interesting idea:
Home and Garden : Knoxville News Sentinel
Landscaping with edible plants saves time, money and space. Ornamental kale and cabbages have long been a mainstay for adding winter interest to flower beds, yet other edible options often get overlooked, Epperson added.

Okra, for example, has lovely pale yellow flowers with a dark purple center and makes a great border. Like many vegetables, eggplants and squash begin with pretty blossoms.

It's Obama's Crisis Now

I have a felling someone may start having trouble sleeping at night:

www.washingtonexaminer.com >> Politics
You might have missed it, but a key moment in Barack Obama's young presidency occurred Wednesday afternoon as he began his trip to California to become the first sitting president to appear on a late-night comedy show. Heading for his helicopter, Obama made a statement about the AIG bonuses, and he didn't use the word "inherited." As in "we inherited this crisis."

"Ultimately, I'm responsible, I'm the president of the United States," Obama told reporters. "The buck stops with me." That makes it official: Barack Obama didn't start the financial crisis, but he owns it now.

Before anyone gives the president an award for political courage, remember that provisions regarding the bonuses -- and who knows what else -- were buried deep inside the $787 billion economic stimulus bill that Obama and his fellow Democrats rushed through Congress. Every single Republican in the House voted against it, and all but three GOP senators did the same. There's no way Obama can blame the stimulus, and its contents, on anyone other than himself.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Barack Obama's Teleprompter's Blog

For those who want to understand Obama's teleprompters viewpoint on the issues.

Barack Obama's Teleprompter's Blog

North Korean Counterfeit And Few Seemed To Care

This is frightening:

Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » North Korean Counterfeit And Few Seemed To Care
How good were these bills? Almost perfect. The bills were printed with the same color-shifting ink as in our genuine bills and printed on cotton-fiber paper using the intaglio printing process. The bills contained the security fibers as well as the watermarks. They were so good that a top analyst at Secret Service initially opined the bills were real. It wasn’t until the bills were examined under a microscope the flaws were detected. In fact, when I saw enlarged photo comparisons of the bills, the imposter looked better than the real thing.

According to my Secret Service case agent, this was the first time anyone accused of possessing the Supernote went to trial. In the past, those caught entered guilty pleas. Liu, a Taiwanese national, decided to take his chances with the federal judicial system. With a twelve year sentence, he may now be re-thinking his decision to roll the dice in the Las Vegas federal courtroom. In one exhibit we played a video recording of an undercover meeting I had with one of Liu’s co-conspirators, Chao Tung Wu. Wu, believing me to be a criminal confederate, said on camera the money was manufactured in North Korea and distributed through the Russian embassy in Beijing.

Obama's $500,000 book bonanza

Try as I might, sometimes it's hard not being cynical.

Washington Times - EXCLUSIVE: Obama's $500,000 book bonanza
As he empathized with recession-weary Americans, President Obama arranged in the days just before he took office to secure a $500,000 advance for a children's book project, a disclosure report shows.

The terms of the book deal were disclosed in a Senate financial disclosure report filed Tuesday.

Analysts say there don't appear to be any rules that would bar such transactions after a president takes office, but it's unclear whether an incoming or sitting president has ever signed a book deal upon entering the White House.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The 5 biggest myths about Obama

Not sure I agree with all of these, but it is interesting:

The 5 biggest myths about Obama - Alex Conant - POLITICO.com
By trade if not by choice, I have become something of a Barack Obama aficionado. POLITICO’s Mike Allen wrote last week that I have “probably listened to more President Obama speeches than any human besides [White House spokesman Robert] Gibbs.” Working at the Republican National Committee last year, I closely watched every public appearance by Obama. And I learned a lot about our new president along the way.

He loves pies, but he doesn’t appreciate beer. And when he is presented with an uncomfortable question at a town hall, he usually turns the question on the questioner. (Q: Will my son’s death in Iraq be in vain? A: How did your son die?)

I’ve concluded that much of the conventional wisdom about Obama is wrong. Here are five of the biggest misconceptions:

Evan Bayh’s new gang targets Obama agenda;

This is significant:

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Evan Bayh’s new gang targets Obama agenda; Update: Video added
Republicans aren’t the only people growing disenchanted by Hope and Change through Incompetence, it seems. Evan Bayh, who got passed over as Obama’s running mate, has formed a new Gang of 15 in the Senate, only this gang is exclusively Democrats. They want to put some speed limits on Obama’s agenda:

There is rising doubt among Democrats — particularly moderates already concerned about the big costs and deficits called for in Obama’s budget — that either Obama or Washington have enough bandwidth this year to stimulate the economy, overhaul the failed financial sector and move on to a far-reaching domestic agenda.

“From the standpoint of the Congress, there’s only so much that we can absorb and do at one time,” Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told POLITICO Tuesday. “To maintain a schedule like the one we’ve got at this moment, throughout the year, I don’t know if it will be healthy.”

Democrats’ comments were muted, with few directly criticizing Obama for being too ambitious. But several lawmakers made clear that they have trouble with Obama’s logic that deep economic troubles make it more urgent, not less, to take on expensive projects such as health care and education reform.

“Everybody has to bring something to the table,” said Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, a leader of a 15-member caucus of conservative and centrist Democrats. “That doesn’t mean that you have to postpone your aspirations forever. But until we’re through this crisis and growth has resumed, there’s going to be some belt-tightening that’s necessary.”

These doubts reflect conflicting currents in Obama’s political circumstances just 60 days into his administration.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama Received a $101,332 Bonus from AIG

This is interesting.  Via Drudge:

Right Side Politics Examiner: Obama Received a $101,332 Bonus from AIG
Senator Barack Obama received a $101,332 bonus from American International Group in the form of political contributions according to Opensecrets.org. The two biggest Congressional recipients of bonuses from the A.I.G. are - Senators Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama.

The Real AIG Outrage

This is going to hurt.  AIG is blowing up in the administrations face:

The Real AIG Outrage - WSJ.com
President Obama joined yesterday in the clamor of outrage at AIG for paying some $165 million in contractually obligated employee bonuses. He and the rest of the political class thus neatly deflected attention from the larger outrage, which is the five-month Beltway cover-up over who benefited most from the AIG bailout.

Taxpayers have already put up $173 billion, or more than a thousand times the amount of those bonuses, to fund the government's AIG "rescue." This federal takeover, never approved by AIG shareholders, uses the firm as a conduit to bail out other institutions. After months of government stonewalling, on Sunday night AIG officially acknowledged where most of the taxpayer funds have been going.

Since September 16, AIG has sent $120 billion in cash, collateral and other payouts to banks, municipal governments and other derivative counterparties around the world. This includes at least $20 billion to European banks. The list also includes American charity cases like Goldman Sachs, which received at least $13 billion. This comes after months of claims by Goldman that all of its AIG bets were adequately hedged and that it needed no "bailout." Why take $13 billion then? This needless cover-up is one reason Americans are getting angrier as they wonder if Washington is lying to them about these bailouts.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mexico to impose sanctions on US exports

Trade wars can't be a good thing right now:
FT.com / Americas - Mexico to impose sanctions on US exports
A long-simmering trade dispute boiled over into sanctions on Monday after Mexico said it would raise tariffs on $2.4bn of US exports in retaliation for ending a pilot programme to allow Mexican trucks on American roads.

The announcement marks one of the first big tests for trade policy under President Barack Obama, who has sought to tread a fine line between assuaging his domestic constituencies and upholding the US’s international obligations.

Mexico said it would increase tariffs on 90 industrial and agricultural goods, likely to include politically sensitive farm products, after Congress last week killed a pilot programme allowing a limited number of Mexican trucks on American highways. Mexico obtained a judicial ruling in 2001 under the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) allowing it to impose such sanctions, but has held off since the US introduced the pilot scheme.

DOD Ends Sale of Expended Military Brass to Remanufacturers

I'm not sure how serious this is, but it does give me pause for concern:
DOD Ends Sale of Expended Military Brass to Remanufacturers
Now it has come clear...now we know what they intend to do.

It is an end-run around Congress. They don't need to try to ban guns--they don't need to fight a massive battle to attempt gun registration, or limit "assault" weapon sales.

Nope. All they have to do is limit the amount of ammunition available to the civilian market, and when bullets dry up, guns will be useless.

Think we jest?

Here are copies of two letters sent to Georgia Arms just Thursday evening--effectively cancelling a contract he had to purchase 30,000 pounds of expended military brass in .223, 7.62mm, and .50 caliber:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On The Left-Wing Reaction to John Galt, Ayn Rand, and Tea Parties

Why the "tea parties" are taking off:

On The Left-Wing Reaction to John Galt, Ayn Rand, and Tea Parties by Edward Cline -- Capitalism Magazine
The nation -- indeed, the world -- is waking up to the idea that ideas have consequences. One idea is that sacrificing is not a life-enhancing option and will lead to misery or death. Another is that the heedless policy of a spendthrift is not a rational course of action. Another is that adopting the policy of a spendthrift benefits no one but a politician who advocates it as a sound fiscal policy. Envy is not a paying proposition. “Class warfare” in the form of “soaking the rich” to help the poor assures mutual impoverishment. There are so many more altruist and collectivist ideas that are being grasped by millions as a collective prescription for penury and extinction.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

The Obama Rosetta Stone

Newt Gingrich mentioned this, very interesting.  The full report can be seen here.

The Obama Rosetta Stone - WSJ.com
Barack Obama has written two famous, widely read books of autobiography -- "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope." Let me introduce his third, a book that will touch everyone's life: "A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise. The President's Budget and Fiscal Preview" (Government Printing Office, 141 pages, $26; free on the Web). This is the U.S. budget for laymen, and it's a must read.

Turn immediately to page 11. There sits a chart called Figure 9. This is the Rosetta Stone to the presidential mind of Barack Obama. Memorize Figure 9, and you will never be confused. Not happy, perhaps, but not confused.

One finds many charts in a federal budget, most attributed to such deep mines of data as the Census Bureau or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The one on page 11 is attributed to "Piketty and Saez."

Either you know instantly what "Piketty and Saez" means, or you don't. If you do, you spent the past two years working to get Barack Obama into the White House. If you don't, their posse has a six-week head start on you.

Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, French economists, are rock stars of the intellectual left. Their specialty is "earnings inequality" and "wealth concentration."

Messrs. Piketty and Saez have produced the most politically potent squiggle along an axis since Arthur Laffer drew his famous curve on a napkin in the mid-1970s. Laffer's was an economic argument for lowering tax rates for everyone. Piketty-Saez is a moral argument for raising taxes on the rich.

Bill Richardson: A lame Duck

Having family in New Mexico I can safely say that dirty politics is the norm there.  Richardson is just another player.

The Man Obama Double-Crossed - The Daily Beast
In the span of a few short months, Richardson has gone from a luminous star in America’s political galaxy to a powerless pariah in the twilight zone. The second-term governor of New Mexico, whose term does not expire until 2011, is now plagued by the aura of scandal and is the lamest of lame ducks. Fending off a plethora of accusations, Richardson has watched his in-state approval ratings plummet to his all-time low of 41 percent. His political clout with the state legislature is severely weakened, and party leaders are discreetly lobbying for his resignation so that Democratic Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish can ascend as planned. “His popularity has really declined in the state,” says Democrat Timothy Jennings, the state senate’s president pro tempore.

Sales of guns, ammo still high

And so it goes...The situation in Oregon is the same, no ammo.

Tulsa World: Sales of guns, ammo still high
Four months after the election of President Barack Obama, firearms and ammunition sales in Tulsa remain at a fever pitch.

Popular self-protection ammunition is often sold out at local stores, weapons are flying off shelves and the state reports an 87 percent increase in concealed carry permit applications for February 2009 over February 2008.

"People are hoarding. They're creating a shortage," Jim Prall at Sports World on 41st Street said of ammunition sales. "We've sold more ammunition in the last three months than we sold last year."

Gun sales spiked in November with the election of Barack Obama and Democrats adding to their majority in Congress. But local gun dealers say the spike is turning into a steady climb with political worries about gun rights as well as worries about the economy and potential for increased crime.

Prall said his store planned ahead for the increase, having seen a similar spike
after Bill Clinton was elected, but the previous jump in sales pales in comparison to what's happening now.

"Most we're selling now we got back in September, but we bought pallets then where normally we wouldn't have ordered that much."

The surprise sales come with .380 caliber semi- automatic pistols. A relatively small self-protection weapon, it's not one that people typically fire in great quantity at the firing range, Prall said. Yet, the ammunition is now hard to find. "Nobody would have predicted that," he said.

"What's happened is everybody is afraid because the Democrats are anti-gun," said David Stone, president of Dong's Guns and Ammo on East Admiral Place.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The lame anti-Rush billboard — and a response

Obama and Gun Control

Interesting quote from Obama.  It's not hard to figure out where this will lead:

Obama: Troop move to Mexican border under consideration | McClatchy Washington Bureau
"We expect to have a comprehensive approach to dealing with these issues of border security that will involve supporting Calderon and his efforts in a partnership, also making sure we are dealing with the flow of drug money and guns south, because it's really a two-way situation there," said Obama.

"The drugs are coming north, we're sending funds and guns south," he said. "As a consequence, these cartels have gained extraordinary power. Our expectation is to have a comprehensive policy in place in the next few months."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Putting Obama on the Couch: Time for Therapy

Sounds like some administration has gotten stuck:

Putting Obama on the Couch - Capital Commerce (usnews.com)
The White House, fatigued if not overwhelmed by the horrific economic crisis, may be suffering from a number of "cognitive biases" as identified by the burgeoning field of behavioral economics. This approach looks at the various flawed ways humans make choices in the real world vs. the "econ" world where supposedly we're all cool, calculating "rational agents." (Such analysis helps explain irrationalities like asset bubbles and the success of the film Paul Blart, Mall Cop.)

The irony here is that one reason econ wonks -- and columnist David Brooks -- have been so infatuated with the president's policy team is that it seemed fully aware of this intellectual revolution. Key advisers, such as Austan Goolsbee and Cass Sunstein, are from the University of Chicago, a hotbed of behavioral research, as is the president himself. How ironic, then, that Team Obama may have fallen victim to several psych-economic pitfalls. Decide for yourself:

1) Anchoring Bias -- relying too heavily on past choices or events when making a decision. Stock analysts do this, for instance, when they stick too closely to their initial earnings forecasts or price targets. In Team Obama's case, they've pretty much hewed to their original campaign agenda -- healthcare reform, green technology, cap-and-trade -- even though the cracking global economy should have created a sense of urgency around fixing the banking system and creating real stimulus focused on keeping and creating jobs in 2009 and 2010. But as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel put it, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?

Fascinating.  I wonder who these people were? The Daily Mail speculates it could be the garden of Eden, interesting but really can't be proved.

Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine
Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.

The coming evangelical collapse

Drudge linked to this so it will get a lot of air play.  There is some good stuff but it is speculation and quite honestly he has a mis-understanding of cultural relevance. 

One thing that does stand out is his emphasis on "ignorant" Christian's.  It's true, we have an entire generation that cannot articulate what they believe, then we wonder why they struggle in college.

Some good insights are here, just remember it is commentary and not Scripture!

The coming evangelical collapse
We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

Testing David Wilkerson’s Prophecy

For those who haven't read Wilkerson's prophecy it's here.  Piper's position is sensible, Wilkerson has a history of making wild prophecies that never come to pass.  I am not saying that he is completely mistaken, but I am highly skeptical.

Testing David Wilkerson’s Prophecy :: Desiring God
What shall we make of this? The part that depends on the Bible we should take with absolute seriousness. You don’t need to have special revelation to know that the rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord is the norm in America. Therefore, we stand under the judgment of God and it is only a matter of time till the present judgments (Romans 1:18-32) give way to spiritual awakening or punitive calamities (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8).

But the part of the prophecy that goes beyond what the Bible says, we measure by biblical standards. Two things give me pause in Wilkerson’s extra-biblical specifics.

First, it does not resonate with my spirit when he claims that God told him to “lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials” because when disaster comes “grocery stores are emptied in an hour.” God might have said this. But it doesn’t smell authentic to me. Too prudential. Too reminiscent of the embarrassing Y2K excesses.

Second, my confidence level drops when the Scriptures are not handled carefully. Wilkerson says, one way we can respond is: “As David says, ‘He fixed his eyes on the Lord on his throne in heaven—his eyes beholding, his eyelids testing the sons of men’” (Psalm 11:4).

This does not have the feel of authority to me because what Psalm 11:4 really says is: “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.”

So my take on this prophetic word is that the scare will probably do good for a lot of people. The Bible is a scary book. And the future that is coming on unbelievers is scary beyond anything any preacher could conjure up.

Micro-worms to the Rescue?

Definitely high on the ick factor. Have you had your worm patch this week?
Micro-worms to the Rescue? | Popular Science
Doctors are trying to treat the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) with hookworms. Yes, worms. (You might be familiar with these types of tiny parasites from an incident with your cat or dog.) Ewwwww. But whatever works, right?

Researchers at The University of Nottingham in the UK have recently announced their clinical trial ,in which 36 patients will receive the experimental worm treatment.

Apparently, people with naturally acquired hookworm infections seem to do better with their MS symptoms because the body’s reaction to hookworms might decrease inflammation. MS is a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the nervous system, leading to progressive loss of nerve function. The disease affects more than 2.5 million people across the world.

The researchers will administer a dose of 25 microscopic hookworms through an arm patch and let them do their mischief in the body. After nine months of treatment, the hookworms will be killed with drugs.

Botchmen! A new brand of zero hero!

Via Instapundit:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Jacob: Touched by God

From Sunday March 8, 2009

What happened next is a story with which many are familiar.

Genesis tells us that when Jacob had been left alone, “a man wrestled with him until the break of day.” Jacob, it is said, wrestled with God through the night, refusing to let go, even when he had been wounded, holding on until he had received a blessing.

The Hebrew word used here for “wrestle” warrants our attention. It is a seldom used word in the Bible, appearing only three times in the Old Testament.

What is fascinating is that it comes from the root word which means “dust.” Quite literally then the word means “to get dusty” or even “to sit in the dirt at someone’s feet.”

Jacob had gone to the Lord in prayer, seeking deliverance and a blessing from God, but he wasn’t sure that his prayers would be answered.

He feared for his life, and he knew he could not go forward without the Lord being with him.

So Jacob went back to God in prayer, but this time he got down and dirty with God. He wrestled with God, he got in the dust with God, and he would not let go, he would not stop struggling, he would not stop praying, until he got what he came for.

The Jacob that came away from this wrestling match (this dusty-dirty, prayer with God) was a changed man. Most noticeably, Jacob now had a limp.

Jacob held on to God until he received God’s blessing, but he was not unscathed. We read that the man touched the nerve of his thigh, crippling him for life.

Jacob had wrestled with God, and God gave him what he demanded, but God also left his mark on his life.

No longer was Jacob the strong and self-sufficient man he had made himself out to be; he was now solely dependant upon God for his strength and his prosperity.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More Americans Say They Have No Religion

Notice the demographic that is decreasing the fastest in Christianity, mainline denominations.  There is a direct correlation between churches that take scripture literally and hold that Jesus is the only way and those denominations that have relativized truth.
FOXNews.com - More Americans Say They Have No Religion - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News
A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

"No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state," the study's authors said.

In the Northeast, self-identified Catholics made up 36 percent of adults last year, down from 43 percent in 1990. At the same time, however, Catholics grew to about one-third of the adult population in California and Texas, and one-quarter of Floridians, largely due to Latino immigration, according to the research.

Nationally, Catholics remain the largest religious group, with 57 million people saying they belong to the church. The tradition gained 11 million followers since 1990, but its share of the population fell by about a percentage point to 25 percent.

Christians who aren't Catholic also are a declining segment of the country.

In 2008, Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults, compared to about 77 percent in 2001 and about 86 percent in 1990. Researchers said the dwindling ranks of mainline Protestants, including Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, largely explains the shift. Over the last seven years, mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17 percent to 12.9 percent of the population.

How to Get Your Family out of a Financial Crisis

It's so easy!

Financial Crisis - wikiHowl - The How-To Manual YOU Can Laugh At
So you lost your job because you were doing a little too much wheeling and dealing. It is hard to know what to do when you lose your job, especially if you still have teenagers living in the house. Now, the very fact that this crisis is largely of your own making means that it's not beyond your ability to solve. Your problems are rooted in past mistakes, not your capacity for future greatness. It will take time, perhaps many years, but you can rebuild that lost trust and confidence. You can restore opportunity and prosperity.


1. Announce a Family Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jump-start job creation and long-term growth. Since the reason you are in trouble is that a job has been lost, you need to get a job, or better yet, two or three jobs. Only by having jobs in the family can you get yourself back up on your feet. But how are you going to get those jobs when no one is hiring? There is an easy answer.

2. Create jobs by hiring your family members. Just go out and do it. But what, you ask, are you going to hire them to do? And what are you going to use for money? The trick is to kill two birds with one stone, by putting your house into better shape at the same time as you create those jobs.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Clinton gift gaffe: 'Overcharge'

They can't even get the language right?
Clinton gift gaffe: 'Overcharge' - David S. Cloud - POLITICO.com
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.

Instead of "reset," Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”

Obama's Radicalism Is Killing the Dow

Read the whole thing:

Michael Boskin Says Barack Obama Is Moving Us Toward a European-Style Social Welfare State and Long-Run Economic Stagnation - WSJ.com
...From the poorly designed stimulus bill and vague new financial rescue plan, to the enormous expansion of government spending, taxes and debt somehow permanently strengthening economic growth, the assumptions underlying the president's economic program seem bereft of rigorous analysis and a careful reading of history.

Unfortunately, our history suggests new government programs, however noble the intent, more often wind up delivering less, more slowly, at far higher cost than projected, with potentially damaging unintended consequences. The most recent case, of course, was the government's meddling in the housing market to bring home ownership to low-income families, which became a prime cause of the current economic and financial disaster.

On the growth effects of a large expansion of government, the European social welfare states present a window on our potential future: standards of living permanently 30% lower than ours. Rounding off perceived rough edges of our economic system may well be called for, but a major, perhaps irreversible, step toward a European-style social welfare state with its concomitant long-run economic stagnation is not.

While Obama Fiddles...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Fifth Amendment

Guilty or innocent, don't talk to the police!

President Obama's czar system concerns some

Can we say Presidential irony?  Think about it in relation to power in the executive:
President Obama's czar system concerns some - Los Angeles Times
He has appointed special advisors who will work from inside the White House on healthcare, the economy, energy and urban issues, with more to come.

"The challenges coming at us are bigger than anything we've seen since the Depression," said Jim Messina, deputy White House chief of staff. "It's crucial to have people in these positions who can help us meet them head-on."

But some lawmakers and outside experts fear that Obama is setting up a system that is not subject to congressional oversight and creates the potential for conflict among his many advisors.

Obama's safety net: the TelePrompter

Via Drudge:  This explains why he is so hesitant to be questioned by the press.

Obama's safety net: the TelePrompter - Carol E. Lee - POLITICO.com
President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.

The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.

Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.

Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.

After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.

Another bulldozer attack in Jerusalem

Imagine if Israel had gun control:

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Another bulldozer attack in Jerusalem
Think of this as a metaphor for the overall Palestinian movement. They settle on a strategy that doesn’t work, but they keep trying it even as it becomes obvious that it won’t work. The third bulldozer terrorist attack ended as the first two did, with the driver dead — and this time no one else:

A Palestinian man driving a large construction vehicle was shot dead after intentionally attacking a police car on Thursday afternoon. Before he was shot, the man tried to tip over additional vehicles including a public bus at the Golomb intersection, near Jerusalem’s Malha Mall. Army Radio reported that the tractor driver was critically wounded immediately.

How did he get so badly wounded so quickly? That’s worth discussing on its own:

One witness, a taxi driver identified as “Dor,” told Israel Radio that he chased the driver as he witnessed the attack.

“I saw the police car fly into the air. He flipped it over twice, then continued dragging it toward a bus that was stuck in traffic,” he said. He told the station he fired four shots at the man, wounding him. “Then a policeman came with his M-16 and finished him off finally,” he said.

Thankfully, the taxi driver carried a firearm, surely for his own protection. In this case, he saved lives, and not just the two police officers trapped in the vehicle. The bus that the terrorist targeted was filled with young girls going to a Purim party at school. The driver’s bullets slowed him down, and allowed the police to quickly dispatch him. Good thing that the Israelis don’t fall for gun-control nonsense and allow their law-abiding citizens to arm themselves.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Obama Market

BobKrumm.com » The Obama Market
We were warned:

Neither the Big Money crowd nor the Mr. Market crowd has fully priced in the prospect of a Democratic president and a heavily Democratic Congress. A total electoral blowout could result in (1) healthcare reform that is more heavily tilted toward government control than is currently suggested by the candidates’ proposals, (2) greater than anticipated tax increases, including a doubling of the capital-gains-tax rate and a surcharge on wealthier Americans—in addition to a rollback of the Bush tax cuts.
- James Pethokoukis, February 6, 2008

. . . a new land mine is lurking: “the Obama market.” Political ramifications represent a significant added market risk that should not be ignored,” he says. Initial polling suggests that Senator Obama will be the next president, a view Mr. Allmon shares. An Obama presidency is certain to mean a big tax increase, he says. He also points to the likelihood that the senator will seek to raise the marginal tax rate to 52% from 39.6% and hike the capital gains tax rate to at least 25% from 15%. “He’ll cause more damage to the stock market and even make Jimmy Carter look good,” Mr. Allmon says.
- Charles Allmon, June 30, 2008

Investors this summer have been placing their bets on an Obama presidency, and for the most part that hasn’t been good for the market. . . they are voting with their shares by tossing financial, health insurance, manufacturing and high-dividend stocks into the ash can, and are growing skeptical about energy companies as well. . . Obama’s rhetoric on taxes and health care is scaring common wealthy people with large capital gains from investments made over the past decade, and a lot of them don’t want to wait around to see whether it’s just populist fluff that might be set aside once he takes office.
- Jon Markman, July 14, 2008

How low will the stock market go?

Read the whole thing:

How low will the stock market go - Megan McArdle
Incidentally, if you think that people still have a vestigial view of housing as an investment asset rather than a consumption good with residual value, this implies that housing will substantially undershoot as well. Right now, what consensus there is on the housing market thinks that it will fall just about half again as far as it has fallen, to the historical average. But if it follows a stock-like pattern, you should see it plunge to about 50% of the historical price-to-rent ratio, which has generally stood around 1.1. That implies prices well below where they were in the 1990s.

A ratio of 0.55 seems too low, but 0.8 doesn't seem out of the question. With rents falling, that means housing prices would drop at least another third if they overshoot badly on the downside.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cool Churches

Churches usually have difficulties when they try to copy what another church has done.  The key?  Allow God to guide and be authentic to your church setting:
rev.org: Eliminating Church Coolness
Many times, churches all over the country will take a great idea and try to copy it, not realizing that they've taken the heart, soul, and purpose out of the original idea. I was reminded of this when reading a section of "The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Churches" by Ron Gladden. Ron writes:

"If you expect people to come to church just to hear your music, you'll be disappointed. If they want to hear music, they'll pop in a CD. It's better quality than you can do.

The unchurched will not crawl out of bed to watch your drama. They can get a lot better drama on television by watching a rerun of Seinfeld or Friends or whatever show is hot today.

If they want to sit around tables and talk, they'll go to Starbucks...

Present God's Word in a clear, compelling way with a deliberate sensitivity to those you're trying to reach, because the Word of God alone has the power to bring people to Christ and keep them there."

You see, it's more than the cool, hip things we do. Way more important is the message we share. When you see a great idea, please don't just take the idea and forget the purpose. In other words, don't build a coffee shop to serve cool flavors of coffee. Don't try to outplay U2 just to have a cool band. These things should be considered tools that lead to a logical end—an end, as Gladden says: "to present God's Word in a clear compelling way." When we do that, lives will change. When we don't, we simply add another clanging cymbal to the mix of loud cymbals.

A Trillion in Perspective


BBC NEWS | America's trillion dollar question
A million seconds is 11 days.

A billion seconds is around 32 years.

And a trillion therefore is 32,000 years.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Family of God

Excerpt of the sermon on Sunday March 1, 2009

What does it mean to be the family of God? What does it look like for us to live in community? I think the first thing is: A commitment to the hard work of relationships.

It is very frustrating for us as a church when someone says, "I just don't feel like I fit in. It is hard to get to know people here and feel like I am a part of the group."

Most often these are people who never join a small group, become a part of a Sunday School class or come to the ministry opportunities - the things that would help them make friends and be a part.

Richard Wafford says, "Life is a series of giving's that we might gain. Only where there is input can we expect an output. Only when we deposit, can we expect return. Don't participate, don't expect. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could."

I am often amazed and saddened at how little people are committed to relationships and how easily we let go of them.

How little the people of God practice forgiveness and follow the scripture that says, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).

What about the love chapter of the Bible that says that love "is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5). Many people cannot let go of their grievances; they keep a list of them in their head.

A disagreement or disappointment comes and we are more than ready to let go of our friendship with other people. We just set off and look for new friendships which will last only as long as it takes for us to see that they are imperfect as well. Relationships are hard work, but people are often not willing to do the hard work.

...Relationships are difficult, but that’s what makes them interesting. They can also be very rewarding. What makes them rewarding is working through the difficulties and coming out at a new place.

It is difficult for me to understand why some people are so unwilling to work at making a relationship right. They write people off. They criticize them and see them as hopeless. “They will never change,” they say.

A disagreement becomes a permanent barrier. It does not matter that Christ has called us to peace and commanded that we forgive and love one another, we refuse to give up our grievance and resentment.

Here is the problem as I see it. People are more interested in being right than having right relationships.

Let me ask a few questions. Is it more important to Jesus that you are right about doctrine, politics, and cultural and moral issues, or is it more important to him that you have right relationships? (I’m not discounting sound doctrine).

Is it more important to Jesus that you are right in your squabble with another person, or is it more important that you remain in love with that other person? Did Jesus say, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you know how to argue and win a debate”?

Did he say, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have perfect doctrine”?
Did he say, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you are more righteous than anyone else”? No.

He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

If I read the New Testament correctly, you can get into heaven with less than perfect doctrine, but you cannot get in with bad relationships. The reason is that heaven is all about relationships. People are the priority with God.

Isn’t the church to be a foretaste of heaven on earth? Shouldn’t our primary goal be our relationships with each other? Our rational arguments will never convince an unbelieving world, but our relationships with each other will.

How is it that the church, after two thousand years of the teachings of Jesus, still has so little interest in loving each other? I believe it is because it takes hard work. It takes commitment that will see us through difficulties, misunderstandings and disappointments.

When there is a tear in relationships, we have to seek healing. Healing takes place when we seek to be restored with another person.

But so often here is how it really comes down: Someone is hurt or wounded, and instead of going to the other person and telling them how they have been hurt by what has been said or done, the hurt is nursed and a grudge begins to grow.

You begin to avoid the other person. You become quiet around them or even refuse to speak. You expect them to guess why you are upset without ever telling them. You rehearse what the person has done with other people. You recruit people for your side.

Then, other people take up your offense and they too reject the other person and begin to treat them differently. Even if the person apologizes, the wounded person is not willing to let them off the hook that easily.

They hang onto their resentment, they nurse their wound, they wallow in the wrong that was done to them. They want to be right more than they want a right relationship.

Tea Party Protests show Obama's Star Trek shield has big cracks

Read the whole thing:

www.dcexaminer.com >> Tapscott's Copy Desk - Limbaugh, Tea Party Protests show Obama's Star Trek shield has big cracks
Two extraordinarily important political developments took place this week right under the noses of the Obama-worshippers in the Mainstream Media and, as so often happens with the real news, most of them barely knew about it, if at all.

First, there was the record number of attendees - 8,500+ - at the Conservative Political Action Conference and the stem-winding, in-your-face, hour-and-20-minute speech by Rush Limbaugh that sent them back to their communities. Second, there were Tea Party Protests in cities big and small, coast-to-coast.

These two events are critically important because they tell us that Barack Obama's greatest advantage - the historic nature of his candidacy - is no longer the Star Trek Shield that protects him against all critical evaluation.

And, as examples of the flash crowd phenomena, the Tea Party Protests are graphic proof that the Right is beginning to get it concerning New Media and its capacity to focus political movements.

Obama to the troops (a chilly response)

This is awkward:

...the response for Bush.