Friday, December 31, 2010

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology


10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology - "Your gadgets and computers, your software and sites — they are not working as well as they should. You need to make some tweaks.

But the tech industry has given you the impression that making adjustments is difficult and time-consuming. It is not.

And so below are 10 things to do to improve your technological life. They are easy and (mostly) free. Altogether, they should take about two hours; one involves calling your cable or phone company, so that figure is elastic. If you do them, those two hours will pay off handsomely in both increased free time and diminished anxiety and frustration. You can do it."

Alabama Republicans Come to Power, Pass Ethics Law


Alabama Republicans Come to Power, Pass Ethics Law | The Weekly Standard: "Elections have consequences, and in Alabama the consequences have come quickly and decisively.

On November 2, Republicans captured the Alabama legislature for the first time in 136 years and within days the new members were sworn in. Then Republican governor Bob Riley called a special session of the legislature and, just before Christmas, it passed and the governor signed a sweeping ethics law that’s one of the strongest in the nation."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Second Time is Farce: Frances Fox Piven Calls for a new Cloward-Piven Strategy for Today

Very interesting:

Ron Radosh » The Second Time is Farce: Frances Fox Piven Calls for a new Cloward-Piven Strategy for Today: "Writing in The Nation magazine on May 2, 1966, sociologists Richard Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven published what was to become in later years one of the most famous and influential of leftist articles. Titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,” the two socialist intellectuals developed a new so-called “crisis strategy” — that of trying to use the existing welfare system to create chaos that would weaken the corporate capitalist state and eventually foment revolution. “Discover the Networks” has a good summary of their thesis."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Mexico, only one gun store but no dearth of violence

What a country with extreme gun control looks like:

In Mexico, only one gun store but no dearth of violence: "To buy a gun, clients must submit references and prove that their income is honestly earned, that their record is free of criminal charges and that their military obligations, if any, have been fulfilled with honor. They are fingerprinted and photographed. Finally, if judged worthy of owning a small-caliber weapon to protect home and hearth, they are allowed to buy just one. And a box of bullets.

Mexico has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the world, a matter of pride for the nation's citizens. Yet Mexico is awash in weapons."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In The Worst Economy Ever, People Are Quitting Their Jobs With Nothing Else Lined Up

The unintended consequences of extended unemployment benefits:

EXCLUSIVE SURVEY RESULTS: In The Worst Economy Ever, People Are Quitting Their Jobs With Nothing Else Lined Up: "One piece of career advice has been ingrained in all of us: never quit a job without another opportunity lined up. It is much harder to get a new job when you don't already have one.

In the crummiest economy ever, this advice is losing its luster."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Handel's Messiah

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.  May the Son of God be the center of your life.

Why the Terrorists Can Never Win

Kind of puts things in perspective:

Federalist Paupers » Blog Archive » Why the Terrorists Can Never Win: "The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That’s great. There were over 600,000 hunters.

Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world – more men under arms than Iran; more than France and Germany combined – deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay.

But that pales in comparison to the 750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan’s 700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia, and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world."

Big Dupes at Big Peace: Religious Left Dupes

Very interesting:

Big Dupes at Big Peace: Religious Left Dupes: "This is the most recent installment of exclusive interviews with Dr. Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College, on his book revealing how communists, from Moscow to New York to Chicago, have long manipulated America’s liberals/progressives. Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century is based on an unprecedented volume of declassified materials from Soviet archives, FBI files, and more.

“Face it,” says Michael Novak, “you are going to have to read this book.” Big Peace’s own Peter Schweizer calls Dupes the “21st century equivalent” to Whittaker Chambers’ classic Witness."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Would global warming be so bad?

A good question:

Would global warming be so bad? - "What has always troubled me the most with the view that we needs to stop 'climate change' in the form of 'global warming' is the idea that it would be bad if the Earth became warmer.

Sure, that could be negative in some areas for some reasons, but it would also be beneficial in other areas for other reasons. Suppose for example that Antarctica, or at least parts of it, would become habitable due to a warmer climate, wouldn't that be a good thing that could possibly outweigh possible problems elsewhere?"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Will DADT repeal cause problems for American troops serving in Muslim countries?


Will DADT repeal cause problems for American troops serving in Muslim countries? - Yahoo! News: "Though President Obama signed the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ Wednesday, critics of repeal say important questions remain about the external problems the new policy may create, such as those revolving around gay troops serving in Muslim countries.

Will DADT repeal aid America in pushing these countries down a path of cultural openness, or inspire a harmful backlash? This concern, critics say, was not dealt with in the Pentagon’s report on the DADT repeal and was overlooked in the rush to pass the repeal legislation."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top 50 Blogs by Theology Professors

Good resources:

Top 50 Blogs by Theology Professors: "You might think that professors would have little time for blogs, but it appears that many theology professors use their blogs to announce news, to test out new theories about religious faith, practice, experience and spirituality, and for communicating with students and peers. While not all the professors listed in our top 50 blogs by theology professors focus entirely on theology in their blogs, the authors are at least current in their updates. And, they often are engaging, sometimes controversial, and many have been blogging away in the blogosphere for quite some time."

Muslims in Pakistan Burn, Beat Evangelist Unconscious

Unfortunately we will be hearing more of these reports:

Muslims in Pakistan Burn, Beat Evangelist Unconscious: "Area Christians said they found the Rev. Wilson Augustine, 26, of Village No. 44-SB, unconscious with burns on his head, hand and arm on Nov. 22 near the bus stop of Village No. 101-NB on the outskirts of Sargodha."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Astronomer Sues University of Kentucky, Claiming Faith Cost Him a Job

This is going to be great publicity:

Astronomer Sues University of Kentucky, Claiming Faith Cost Him a Job - "In 2007, C. Martin Gaskell, an astronomer at the University of Nebraska, was a leading candidate for a job running an observatory at the University of Kentucky. But then somebody did what one does nowadays: an Internet search.

That search turned up evidence of Dr. Gaskell’s evangelical Christian faith."

Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic


Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic | The Economist: "There is an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of PhD positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

‘Unprecedented’ Drone Assault: 58 Strikes in 102 Days


‘Unprecedented’ Drone Assault: 58 Strikes in 102 Days | Danger Room | "Even as the Obama administration’s assessment of its war strategy nodded to the primacy of the CIA’s drone campaign, Predators underscored the point. Over the past two days, four Predators or Reapers fired their missiles at suspected militants in North Waziristan, with three of the strikes coming early today.

They represent a geographic expansion of the drone war. Today’s strikes come in Khyber, an area abutting Afghanistan’s Nangahar province, that’s been notably drone-free. It has become an area for militants fleeing military action in South Waziristan to take succor."

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Read the whole thing:


AND YET APOLOGISTS IN AMERICA WERE COMPARING HIM TO THE EARLY CHRISTIANS: Mao’s Great Leap To Famine: “The worst catastrophe in China’s history, and one of the worst anywhere, was the Great Famine of 1958 to 1962, and to this day the ruling Communist Party has not fully acknowledged the degree to which it was a direct result of the forcible herding of villagers into communes under the ‘Great Leap Forward’ that Mao Zedong launched in 1958. To this day, the party attempts to cover up the disaster, usually by blaming the weather. Yet detailed records of the horror exist in the party’s own national and local archives. . . . Starvation was the punishment of first resort. As report after report shows, food was distributed by the spoonful according to merit and used to force people to obey the party. One inspector in Sichuan wrote that “commune members too sick to work are deprived of food. It hastens their death.”

Socialism starves. Capitalism enriches. It’s been proven over and over again. But remember: Communism is about “human dignity.” See:

In all, the records I studied suggest that the Great Leap Forward was responsible for at least 45 million deaths.

Between 2 and 3 million of these victims were tortured to death or summarily executed, often for the slightest infraction. People accused of not working hard enough were hung and beaten; sometimes they were bound and thrown into ponds. Punishments for the least violations included mutilation and forcing people to eat excrement.

Communists are as bad as Nazis, and their defenders and apologists are as bad as Nazis’ defenders, but far more common. When you meet them, show them no respect. They’re evil, stupid, and dishonest. They should not enjoy the consequences of their behavior.

Is the Evangelical Left Fizzling? | The Weekly Standard

I never really considered it a major part of Evangelicalism, we're a pretty conservative lot:

Is the Evangelical Left Fizzling? | The Weekly Standard: "Exit polls of actual voting by evangelicals indicate that the evangelical left remains primarily a phenomenon among evangelical elites on seminary and college campuses and among some parachurch and activist groups. The prolonged wars, culture clashes, and ultimate financial collapse during the George W. Bush years undoubtedly moved some evangelical elites and young people to the left. But the ongoing recession, explosion of government spending, and liberal stances on abortion and homosexuality by the Obama administration (the NAE quietly opposes revoking “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”), along with the president's discomfort with American exceptionalism, have likely solidified grassroots evangelicals overall within their traditional conservative politics. Like left-leaning mainline Protestant elites starting decades ago, evangelical elites increasingly will probably denounce their own constituency for its lack of political enlightenment."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TaxProf Blog: Estate Tax Commentary

A listing of various up to date estate tax articles:

TaxProf Blog: Estate Tax Commentary :

Time For Real-Estate Watchdogs To Start Howling Again

I am seriously hoping not:

Watchdog Blog » Time For Real-Estate Watchdogs To Start Howling Again: "You might not know it from reading the news, but the nation’s housing prices are in free fall again.

For the many Americans who have (or had) most of their wealth tied up in their homes, the consequences of this will be profound. The effect on nationwide consumption will inevitably be severe. In fact, there are some not inconceivable scenarios in which the housing market could just take the economy down with it again."

Monday, December 13, 2010

ShrinkWrapped: The Morality of the Übermensch

The logical conclusion of postmodernism and a post Christian society:

ShrinkWrapped: The Morality of the Übermensch: "There is almost no way to construct a rational, legally based morality that forbids incest between adults. Most of us have a visceral reaction of disgust when we think about incest because the taboos are so deeply ingrained but the incest taboo can not be supported by rational argument alone."

Wikileaks – Anti-Israel Foreign Policy Experts Got Saudi Arabia, Other Arab Countries 100% Backward On Iran Attack | Mere Rhetoric

Not surprising the experts are "agenda" driven:

Wikileaks – Anti-Israel Foreign Policy Experts Got Saudi Arabia, Other Arab Countries 100% Backward On Iran Attack | Mere Rhetoric: "So two theories about happened at the Obama/Abdullah meeting. One theory says that the Saudis were literally screaming their heads off about Iran, the implication being that experts who describe overarching anti-Israel outrage are more manufacturing it than commenting on it. It’s not that Arab leaders don’t care about the Israeli/Arab conflict, or that they wouldn’t want to see a Palestinian state, or that they won’t pay lip service to linkage. It’s just that they really, really care about stopping Iran by any means necessary – something that foreign policy experts who obsess over Israel’s ostensibly central regional role can’t have be true, lest their insistence that a Palestinian state is a necessary prerequisite to action on Iran seem more like personal fantasy than objective analysis."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Crisis of the Middle

This is fascinating:

The Crisis of the Middle - Rich Lowry - National Review Online: "Our elites, broadly defined as the top third of our society, aren’t nearly as decadent as advertised. According to Wilcox’s data, the highly educated (with a college diploma or higher) are less likely to divorce, less likely to have children out of wedlock, and less likely to commit adultery than the moderately educated (high-school degree or some college) and the least-educated (no high-school diploma)."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Economic Storm Clouds on the Horizon

I certainly hope not:

» Economic Storm Clouds on the Horizon - Big Government: "The experts charged with determining when recessions begin and end tell us that the latest of these unpleasant events ended a while ago. Technically, they are no doubt right. But that does not mean that the economic crisis we have been facing is over. I suspect that we have thus far only seen its first act. The drama to come may be far, far worse. To see why, one must recognize that economic downturns come in two different forms."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Abandoned on Everest

A gripping and disturbing story:

a sea of lead, a sky of slate: Abandoned on Everest: "In 2006, a lone climber attempting the summit of Mount Everest for the third time was, purely by chance, caught in an amateur photograph taken by another climber of the scenic mountaintop ahead. The climber in the photograph was making his way up what is known as the Final Push of the Northeast ridge, between Camp VI at 8,230 m and the summit. It was late in the afternoon, a foolishly reckless time to undertake the lengthy and dangerous route."

Stuxnet Worm Still Out of Control at Iran's Nuclear Sites, Experts Say

Must read: - Stuxnet Worm Still Out of Control at Iran's Nuclear Sites, Experts Say: "Iran's nuclear program is still in chaos despite its leaders' adamant claim that they have contained the computer worm that attacked their facilities, cybersecurity experts in the United States and Europe say.

The American and European experts say their security websites, which deal with the computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Tehran and other places in the Islamic Republic, an indication that the worm continues to infect the computers at Iran's two nuclear sites."

From the Archives | The Weekly Standard

From after the election in 1994 and the consternation reporters had about what a "Republican" was. Very funny.

From the Archives | The Weekly Standard

Here, then, are the results of my reporting.

The days when moderates like George Mitchell controlled the Hill are gone, at least for now. Most of the new Republican congresspersons and staffers are adherents of the right-wing philosophy of "conservatism." Conservatism can be traced to such right-wing thinkers as Franco, Pinochet, and William F. Buckley Jr. Conservatism, in brief, calls for dismantling the entire government while simultaneously controlling the most intimate decisions of a person's life. Contradictory? Sure: like cutting taxes, increasing defense, and balancing the budget, all at the same time! Let's make sure our readers understand the impossibility of doing this.

Several sources emphasized that in reporting our stories, we should take care not to call staffers or congresspersons on Sunday morning, when the vast majority of Americans stay home to watch Brinkley. But apparently many Republicans "go to church." Some of you will be familiar with churches in Cleveland Park for their marvelous chamber music concerts. Our new Republican friends, however, go to church for "services" -- patriarchal rituals that date back to the early 1900s or even earlier. This also has something to do with "turning back the clock," another right-wing tenet of conservatism.

Over the years you have been able to develop relations with congressional sources through your kids' schools -- at soccer games, Earth Day ceremonies, Condom Fairs, and the like. But beware! I'm told that many of the new Republicans will be sending their kids to "public schools" in the suburbs, where they don't even charge tuition. As one waggish source put it to me, "Half these clowns have never heard of Sidwell Friends or Georgetown Day!" Good news for you as parents; bad news for you as reporters, who will have to create new avenues of informal communication.

Again, not easy: Many of the Republicans will be living in Virginia, the state across the Potomac from Bethesda (see map attached). These suburbs are usually 1980s-style wastelands of tract houses -- "one step up from the trailer park," another source quips -- that have destroyed irreplaceable historic landscapes. If there's sufficient interest, the paper will be happy to arrange a bus tour. They must be seen to be believed.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Why Religion Makes People Happier

Very interesting. While I may not agree with everything it does point out the importance of relationship within a Church setting:

Why Religion Makes People Happier | Life Satisfaction & Spirituality, Happiness & Church | LiveScience: "Religious people are more satisfied with their lives than nonbelievers, but a new study finds it's not a relationship with God that makes the devout happy. Instead, the satisfaction boost may come from closer ties to earthly neighbors."

China's credit bubble on borrowed time as inflation bites - Telegraph

All bubbles will eventually burst:

China's credit bubble on borrowed time as inflation bites - Telegraph: "China drew a false conclusion from the global credit crisis that their top-down economy trumps the free market, failing to see that the events of 2008-2009 did equally great damage to them – though of a different kind. It closed the door on mercantilist export strategies that depend on cheap loans, a cheap currency, and the willingness of the West to tolerate predatory trade.

China is trying to keep the game going as if nothing has changed, but cannot do so. It dares not raise rates fast enough to let air out of the bubble because this would expose the bad debts of the banking system. The regime is stymied."

Monday, December 06, 2010

Southern Poverty Law Center: Social conservative organizations are hate groups

Good grief:

Southern Poverty Law Center: Social conservative organizations are hate groups | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment: "The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says it will not back down from its decision to label the Family Research Council and other socially conservative groups as hate groups, on par with the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, for their views about homosexuality.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins recently asked SPLC to retract the hate group designation, but SPLC Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok told The Daily Caller that will never happen."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Coming soon: the loud thud of a gold bust

I'm cautious on gold:

Coming soon: the loud thud of a gold bust | Analysis & Opinion |: "Some time in the future the price of gold will crash and it won’t have a fairy-tale ending for the millions of investors who piled on in recent months.

If I could tell you when gold was going to bust, I’d likely be wrong or bigger than Warren Buffett, so I won’t even try. Just be incredibly cautious now. There are too many signs that gold is frothier than a Starbucks cappuccino."

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How to Beat Customer Service Lines - Tech Support Phone Tips - Popular Mechanics

Good advice for those annoying waits:

How to Beat Customer Service Lines - Tech Support Phone Tips - Popular Mechanics: "First step is to make sure you're calling the best possible number. The number published prominently on the website is more likely to lead you into a Kafkaesque labyrinth than toward a human voice. I suggest starting out by going to to find the best number to call for just about any com­pany. The site will also give you company-­specific tips for getting a person on the line. takes it even further—not only does the site include a database of company contact numbers, but it actually does the waiting for you. When you select the company you want to call and enter your number on the site, it makes the call, then rings you back when it finally gets somebody on the line, allowing you to jump in at the last minute. There's also a LucyPhone iPhone app for on-the-go calls."

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

President Obama: 'I'm a Blue Dog Democrat'

Yeah right:

President Obama: 'I'm a Blue Dog Democrat' - The New Editor: "The body of Mr. Obama's writing and experiences before he became a presidential candidate would suggest that he is instinctively pragmatic, typical of an emerging generation that sees all political dogma -- be it '60s liberalism or '80s conservatism -- as anachronistic. Privately, Mr. Obama has described himself, at times, as essentially a Blue Dog Democrat, referring to the shrinking caucus of fiscally conservative members of the party."

Photographs of Native Americans by Edward Curtis


Photographs of Native Americans by Edward Curtis | Plog — World news photography, Photos — The Denver Post: "In 1906, American photographer Edward S. Curtis was offered $75,000 to document North American Indians. The benefactor, J.P Morgan, was to receive 25 sets of the completed series of 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs entitled The North American Indian.

Below are selected images of the Native American way of life chosen from The Library of Congress’s Edward S. Curtis Collection. Some were published in The North American Indian but most were not published. All the captions are original to Edward Curtis."