Friday, December 19, 2008

One qualification not apparently required of judges... apparently to be mature enough to handle criticism, at least in California. How so?

The HSLDA report on how they got a California anti-homeschooling ruling overturned specifically notes that one of the critical things they did was to phrase the appeal in such a way to not offend the judges. A quote:

“We had to thread a needle, because we had to bring to the court’s attention these gross oversights that we knew weren’t necessarily the court’s fault because they hadn’t been presented to the judges in the earlier briefing,” Mason said. “We had to say, ‘Hey, you made a mistake,’ without offending the judges so much they dismissed it entirely.”

Now while I understand the necessity of being polite, but take a close look there. More or less, the speaker is saying that demonstrating a gross oversight in the law to a California judge is likely to get him to dismiss one's appeal without even considering its merit.

In some courts, that would mean that the greater the error by the court, the less its chance of being fixed. Sad to say, it explains some things I've seen. Is it too much to ask that judges also be mature enough to handle criticism?

Unclear on the concept, I think

A Florida woman, being told that her church was going to follow the final step of discipline of Matthew 18:17, has decided to work to "keep her privacy" by talking to Fox News and others. As if people at her church don't read the papers and watch Fox News.

I guess the pastoral staff at her church owe her a thank you for making her sin public and sparing them the trouble.

On the serious side, do pray for this hurting, confused woman, her boyfriend (ex?), and this church. These things do get ugly from time to time, and even if the church is completely in the right, things can get expensive if they lawyer up.

Praise for the White House auto bailout

No, I don't like it. Yes, I think that the UAW and others should have made some major concessions. Yes, I think that a guided bankruptcy--one that prevents the network of suppliers from needlessly going under--would have been a far better choice. Yes, I think that the prospect of the President unilaterally (and perhaps illegally) bailing the Detroit 3 out did prevent meaningful progress from being made in the Capitol. And yes, the eventual bill for bloated UAW contracts just got billions of dollars bigger. Don't forget for a minute that the government pays pensions of companies that go under with underfunded pension funds.

The bill is going to be huge, just like it was for the steel industry.

That said, do you think that things would have turned out better with a greater Democratic majority in Congress and Barack Obama in the White House? Do you think that Bush protected the UAW more than Obama and Pelosi would have?

As ugly as this is, it could have been worse.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another reason to homeschool

It appears that Arne Duncan, Obama's pick for Secretary of Education, once wanted to establish a "gay" high school in Chicago's public school system. It takes a Hahvid grad, apparently, to fail to figure out that if you want to reduce harassment of homosexuals, you don't put them into a letter jacket from "Barnett Frank High School" and require them to ride the bus an hour each way to and from school. Never mind the harassment their sports teams would endure, or the basic impropriety of taking a confused 13 year old kid--fresh from thinking girls have cooties--and putting him in such an environment.

On the light side, word on the street was that the proposed school would have no less than six mascots; a policeman, an indian chief, a military man, a construction worker, a cowboy, and a biker.

H/T SayAnythingBlog

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Uh-oh, I don't like this

Senator Norm Coleman is apparently lawyering up for a conflict about money allegedly paid to him through his wife by a top donor. I certainly hope there is nothing here, but if there is, I would have to wonder if the Minnesota GOP would have done well to tell him to get his financial house in order.

Again, I hope there's nothing here. Few Senators understand the harm of the United Nations like Coleman does. But if there is something, we can again remember that you can get a great idea of what's in a man's heart by looking at his checkbook.

Another Wednesday FAIL

Barack Hussein ARBJPWD Obama appoints the head of Chicago's government schools to be Secretary of Education. Even apart from an apparent grammar gaffe committed in an acceptance speech, I have to wonder about the wisdom of appointing the head of a school system where the average graduate reads only at a sixth grade level. Keep in mind, by the way, that about 40% of Chicago Public students drop out--so the overall reading level of recent former attendees of CPS is probably no higher than the fifth grade.

While it probably would be unrealistic to expect Sen. BHARBJPWD Obama to appoint a homeschooling mom or parochial school headmaster as Secretary of Education or even abolish the post, I would hope that one could insist that the Sec. of Ed. demonstrate an ability to get high school students to read at a high school level. Such school superintendents can be found all over, but especially among the rural districts of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Utah.

Where they do their best to ignore the Federal Department of Education, of course.

For more nausea-inducing FAIL, check out Time Magazine's hagiography of their Person of the Year. For those weak of stomach, no link will be provided.

Another way to marital "bliss" and Wednesday FAIL

Apparently, Drew Peterson (married four times, suspected in the deaths of at least two of his wives) has found another fiance. Now I realize that sometimes women want a man who is a little bit dangerous (and not a "Nancy boy" too common these days), but a guy credibly suspected of two murders?

And another epic "FAIL"; a couple in Pennsylvania is appalled that a store wouldn't put their son's name on his birthday cake. Dumb me, I thought that it was cruel for parents to give their kids a name like "Elvis", and here these rocket scientists name their bundle of joy after Schicklgruber.

It's almost as dumb as zero interest rate policy. Thanks, Ben.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Marrying too young?

My friend Terry noted on an earlier post that a distressing reality has shown itself among his friends who married young; a lot of them are getting divorced. Like Terry, I married a little bit older, and like him, I'm grateful that I was a little bit more mature when I married.

That noted, note the key word; it's not "age," but rather "maturity." What might Terry's friends have done to reduce their risk for divorce?

Well, I obviously don't know them, but I'd have to suggest that acting the part of a grown man might help a young man avoid divorce. Serve in a meaningful way at church--ushering, nursery, etc..--and don't simply settle for a "leadership" position in your age group. Find and keep a real job. Learn to save money.

And yes, give blood. Would it have saved every marriage? Doubtful, but it might have helped. Marriage is, after all, all about looking out for someone else's good, no?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here's some irony

Captain Capitalism links to a Bloomberg report that 30% of hedge funds are supposedly going to be going out of business due to the downturn. Now pardon me for asking, but wasn't the purpose of hedge funds to be to "hedge" for crises such as this?

Seems like some fund managers needed to brush up on basics like "debt makes your assets more, not less, volatile."

Give blood, young man

One of the things that gets me to praying is to see a lot of my church's young people putting on years and waiting, waiting, find a spouse. And so it was interesting when my wife and I donated of the phlebotomists noted that she was having an interesting time with guys who more or less expected the girl to ask them out.

And so Mrs. Bubba and I agreed that single young men could do little better than to give blood. Who knows--they could meet a pretty young phlebotomist who would be delighted to meet a young Christian man who's at least man enough to risk a needle poke.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Hugh Hewitt (or is that Hew Hughitt?) is making a big deal of something called "Twitter," and is suggesting that unless the GOP masters the use of this "crucial new technology," we're pretty much doomed. Kinda like his Ohio State Buckeyes when they go to Pasadena, I guess, or the Cleveland Indians just about any year, or the Browns just about any year.

Now while he may be correct about this, I weep for my country if he's right. Aren't we illiterate enough as a nation without coming to the point where we can't understand anything with more than 140 characters? So if you love your country, read some Russian novelists and make sure you cheer for the black and gold on December 28.

Or, as Hugh was told in the immortal movie in which he played "Ralphie,"

You want Twitter for Christmas? You'll put your eye out!

Or, for those of you already "twitter-pated"; remember lex scribendus nocturnus; the first part of "twitter" is "twit."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Environmentalism so good you can taste it!

Aussies are being encouraged to eat camels and kangaroos. If you're wondering how to cook it, I'm told that kangaroo is a very lean red meat, and I'd guess that camel is about the same. Cook it using one of your favorite recipes for venison.

If you don't have a good recipe for venison, here are a couple of recommendations:

1. Lots of garlic and a bit of salt and pepper in a slower cooker works great, or at 250F in a dutch oven with a touch of water. Cook to taste.

2. A wonderful marinade for steaks is Italian dressing with a touch of brown sugar and soy sauce. An added blessing is that if you throw them on a hot grill, a cloud of steam can be thrown off that will cause your neighbors to wonder if they should call the fire department. (guilty)

3. Slow cooking in a barbeque sauce.

4. Ground venison/camel/kangaroo is an excellent protein for chili and spaghetti.

My apologies, of course, for taking this prototypically feminine blog into the masculine regime of cooking. I hope you will forgive me.

Top 11 reasons for men to be ushers at church

H/T to the Nihilist in Golf Pants for inspiring the "top 11" lists, of course. This list is inspired by someone who shall remain anonymous to protect the guilty--who argued that the function of greeting those coming to church, handing them a bulletin, and perhaps ushering them to a seat was somehow degrading. Obviously, I disagree, and here are some reasons why.

11. You get to actually meet people in your church outside of potlucks and the obligatory shaking of hands during the service.

10. Your wife might like how you look in a suit and tie. Or a person who could become your wife might like how you look in a suit and tie, if you happen to be single.

9. You are forced to look people in the eye, shake hands, and interact with them. It's a great way to learn to work with people.

8. Learning to be comfortable in a suit and tie will serve you well in your career.

7. It gives you an extra incentive to get to church with enough time to settle your mind on the wonderful time of worship. No more skidding into the parking lot with seconds to spare while urging the kids to get out of the car NOW.

6. Seeing the faces of those people coming to church and interacting with them gives you more reason and ability to pray for them.

5. You get a chance to interact on a closer basis with other men who happen to be ushering as well.

4. You get to model the reality that church isn't just for women. There the men are; greeting, handing out bulletins, taking the offering, and helping people to seats.

3. You have an excuse to upgrade your wardrobe and get some exercise to be ready for Sunday ushering. Did I mention that your wife, or wife to be, just might like how you look in a suit and tie?

2. Worried about how someone might take advantage of churchgoers? You are part of the security team. (consider a carry permit where allowed, or at least pepper spray, just in case)

1. Did I mention that your wife, or wife to be, might think that there is something attractive about a man serving God as an usher while wearing a suit and tie?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another thought on Blagojevich

Reading the indictment, one ought to quickly become aware of the fact that the apparent motive for Rod Blagojevich's alleged attempt at getting a bribe was to ensure his financial well-being. Knowing that exactly the same motive seems to have been behind the Clinton family's mis-adventures in Blackwater, cattle futures, and such, I wonder what voters would have found if they'd taken a look at Blagojevich's financials.

I'm guessing that observers would have found that Mr. Blagojevich had not been a good steward of his finances, and that hence, it wasn't a good idea to put him into office. Just like the Clintons, just like Joe Biden, and just like Barack Hussein Jackson Blagojevich Ayers Rezko Daley Pfleger Wright Khalidi Obama.

Here is an article about his compensation. If he couldn't save money on that income, he had some very serious problems. I dare suggest that qualification #1 for political office is the ability to handle money. As pastors say, if you want to know where a man's heart is, look at his checkbook.

Have they ever heard of passbook savings accounts?

Apparently, some people are literally lending the government money at a negative interest rate. If any of them happen to be reading this humble site, do keep in mind that you can do better with a standard checking account, or even by hiding it in your mattress.

However, if you still desire to throw your money away, you can write me a check at....


H/T John Lott and Schadenfreude Now.

Not just awful pizza anymore!

Evidently, the new hot spot for assault and disturbances is Chuck E. Cheese's. "Come to watch your kids run amuck while eating gosh-awful pizza, leave with a black eye or a court date."

Faith in action

I hope never to find out, but to be as stalwart in the face of tragedy as Dong Yun Yoon would seem to bring honor to His name. Well done, brother. May He be your eternal comfort.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A fun thought

If we assume that the allegations against Rod Blagojevich are true, that would imply that any number of people are also implicated in OFFERING the bribes to him, no? One would infer that the Illinois Democratic Party might soon be able to meet in taxpayer funded facilities for free. Specifically, facilities featuring bars, guard towers, and concertina wire.

I can at least hope.

A point of rejoicing

My wife and I were talking a few days ago about how glad we were that we're not "smart enough" to realize what we cannot do. We didn't realize that we couldn't have a bunch of kids. We didn't realize that we couldn't homeschool with all those kids. We didn't realize that we couldn't start to learn Latin and logic with them. We didn't realize that we couldn't refinish a 1930 canoe, make quilts, pay off our mortgage early, learn smocking and knitting, teach the kids firearm safety, and any number of other things.

Being smart enough to realize these things seems like the ticket to a really boring life. I praise God that He chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.

Suicide and guns

uBeR's inspired me to take a look at suicide rates in high gun ownership nations and low gun ownership ones. Here we go, courtesy of Gun Owners of America:

United States: 11.6/100,000
Japan: 16.7/100,000
Denmark: 22.3/100,000

So obviously gun ownership prevents suicide overall, except for the fact that Switzerland has good gun laws and a high suicide rate of 21.4/100,000.

So maybe trying to link firearm ownership with suicide is a fool's errand, as there's obviously a 700 pound gorilla called "culture" and "environment" working a little bit with the statistics. Of course, if the NAS (and perhaps yet uBeR) cannot figure out that the victim of a firearm suicide just might be likely to be the owner of the gun, this may yet escape them as well.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Another funny one

NightWriter evidently tested this humble site this weekend on "Genderanalyzer", and found that there was an 80% chance it was written by a man. I put up three posts on guns, pastoring, and bankruptcy, and now it says there's a 63% chance it was written by a woman.

I don't feel any different.

Here's some brilliant logic

I was told that a NAS study from 2004 had found that firearm owners were more likely to commit suicide using a firearm.

Well, yes, unless you assume that people are borrowing firearms to take their lives, I would guess you would have to assume that. "Hey, Bob, can I borrow your Glock? I'd like to take my own life--OK if it's returned with my brains all over it?"

"Sure, Fred. Just be sure to use hollowpoints so you don't damage the sheetrock. .40S&W penetrates, you know."

I looked it up, and I don't believe that the study actually claimed this, but it was really funny. (it also turns out that when the time-frame and other factors are changed for looking at suicide rates, the actual NAS conclusion that firearm ownership is related to to suicide rates in general also is iffy at best)

Correction: Uber writes and informs me that the NAS did indeed claim to statistically verify something that ought to be self-evident to anyone who has passed Logic 101. This of course puts a lot of doubt about whether their other statistical tests are worth anything, either.

This explains a lot....

....about politics today. Recently Republic Windows and Doors of Chicago declared bankruptcy due to their bank's refusal to extend credit, and now there is apparently a firestorm about what happens to the severance and vacation pay owed employees. Even President-elect Obama is feeling obliged to weigh on on the controversy.

And it says a lot about our society that there is a demonstration over this; reality is that in bankruptcy court, wages and such are among the first things to be paid, and if a company doesn't maintain funds to cover vacation and severance pay owed, that's warrant for putting the company's officers in jail. No need to demonstrate; just talk to the DA and the bankruptcy court, and things will get done.

It also says a lot that one of the displaced workers is worried about making a $1800/month mortgage payment. What kind of person told an immigrant worker (she was interviewed in Spanish) that she could afford such a home? What kind of math skills did it take for her to accept such a loan?

For those who will learn, there are a lot of lessons here.

Hoist him on his own petard!

Gabrielle links to some comments made by a man about why he does not like most Christians. He's probably got some valid criticisms, and hence I would encourage those who think like our dear brother to go to an erring brother or sister in Christ and gently rebuke them per Matthew 18:15-16. If this does not work, of course, he ought to go to the pastor of these people and arrange Biblical discipline.

The irony here is that the one who is complaining about the behavior is (ahem) himself a pastor, most likely THE pastor to at least some of the people he was complaining about. Let us take a lesson here; there are times when the latest technology--blogging, printing press, text messaging, twitter, whatever--is nowhere nearly as effective as simply talking to the offender or sending him a gentle note.

(and yes, I did....thanks to all for keeping ME honest here!)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Good news in the National Parks

As someone whose car was searched to find evidence of an armed robber when I visited Yellowstone a few years back, this comes as very welcome news. No longer can criminals assume that their victims will be disarmed for their convenience.

The strangest thing, in my opinion, is that the rule dates back from the Reagan administration. I dare say the Gipper missed the boat on this one.

H/T Muckraker.

Love your wife as she is

After seeing Terry's comment about "real women have curves," I got to thinking a bit about how I appreciate my own wife, and that got me to thinking about the disdain for the imagery used in the Song of Songs that is too often prevalent in Christian circles today--along the lines of "what man would ever compare his wife's nose to a tower?!".

Now the usual explanation for this is that people just don't understand the Hebrew imagery. I'm not convinced that this is the case; I rather think that Solomon and his contemporaries had learned something that we've forgotten today; that a husband's job (or wife's) is to appreciate the wife (husband) he's (she's) got. In other words, we've understood the image, but have rejected it.

For example, take a look at verse 7:2; the husband compares his wife's belly to a mound of wheat. Evidently Solomon's wife didn't do enough crunches, right?

Yes and no. Yes, she probably wasn't doing a lot of crunches, but no, Solomon doesn't view it as a fault. He simply knew that this was what a real woman looks like, and that "belly bump" is evidence of her fertility.

In the same way, let's pick on the men in verse 5:14; the wife compares her husband's hands to gold rings inlaid with beryl, but his body is carved ivory. In other words, he's got a farmer's tan and somewhat wrinkled hands. Obviously, not enough sunscreen, and he needs to get some rays to the rest of his body, right?

As surely as he didn't use much "Hawaiian Tropic," I don't know that his wife was worried about her man's non-model-like looks. Rather, they represented how her husband provided for and protected her.

And so I think we might arrive at a very sound inference; that the reason many don't appreciate the Song is not that we don't get the images. All too often, we do, and we fail to appreciate that precisely this may be the beauty that God commends.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

How to be safe in an age of terrorism

Chad of Fraters Libertas posts a link to an article about how to stay alive in a hotel beseiged by terrorists. While I commend Chad's, and Mr. Goldberg's, interest in the matter and quite frankly helpful suggestions, they trouble me.

Part of me--the part that likes to see new parts of the world--isn't going to be exactly thrilled at seeing what kind of club sandwich I can eat in my hotel room that's virtually indistinguishable from what I could get anywhere in Iowa. Nothing against Iowans (my granddad grew up there), but if I'm going to bother flying halfway across the world, why not see some of it?

More importantly, if it's too dangerous to go to a train station or hotel lobby, or to eat in a hotel restaurant, why exactly are we doing business there? I know it's a small world and all that, but perhaps the biggest thing many developing nations need is the warning that there will be no dollars coming their way if they allow this sort of thing.

And yeah, the same thing goes for a lot of large cities in the United States.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Say what now?

Evidently, Dan Neil has never experienced Amtrak, and has never taken a look at the "successes" of five year plans of the USSR, China, and other Communist nations. He's also apparently never considered the "great success" of British nationalization of coal, rail, and other industries.

How do I know this? Well, to endorse nationalizing automakers, one must ignore the fact that things run by the government generally aren't run well. Looks like the LA smog has taken its toll on Mr. Neil's cognitive abilities.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lessons from Mumbai

I'll make this short and sweet; just like Columbine and Virginia Tech, the tragedy at Mumbai ought to remind us that when life and death is a matter of seconds, the police are only minutes or hours away. If you're not ready for a carry permit for whatever reason, pepper spray can be obtained in most places for less than $10 (can't carry it on a plane, though), and there are any number of places where one can get training in basic methods of self-defense.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A breathtaking lie

Ron Gettelfinger of the UAW tells the world that his union's labor contracts are cost competitive. Now while I realize that autoworkers and their union bosses are not exactly hired on the basis of their math skills, even Gettelfinger ought to be able to figure out that when his union requires 20% more hours to build a car and earns 15% more in base pay per hour, not to mention an additional $20/hour in burden costs due to pensions and medical care for retirees, his union's product is not cost competitive with the labor employed by Toyota, Honda, BMW, and others in this country.

His lie is almost as bad as the fiction that loaning the Detroit 3 billions of dollars is going to somehow fundamentally change their business from fundamentally unsound to fundamentally sound. It seems that we've forgotten Exodus 20:16 just at the time we need honest witness the most.