Saturday, February 28, 2009


Evidently, there are plans out there to put microchips into your drivers' license to make it scannable as you walk by. If they actually try it, here's a simple way to defeat its scannability; wrap it in aluminium foil. That forms a "Faraday Cage", whereupon you can ask any government nannies where the 4th Amendment says they have the right to scan your drivers license without your consent--when they complain that their machine couldn't scan your license.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh, the horror!

As I try to apply the Bible to my life, I've come to know the dignity of all honest labor, with the exception of professions intrinsically sinful--you know, things like prostitution, drug dealing, being a hit man, or being a corporate manager.

I took a career aptitude test.

You guessed the result. No, nothing associated with the Mafia, Columbia, or Bill Clinton, thankfully, but how humiliating! Even stranger, my current (former?) profession was one of the lowest ranked professions in the survey--though (at least when management allowed me to do my job) I've actually enjoyed the engineering I've done.

Now read that last sentence carefully, and you might figure out why I scored so well for "management" but not "engineering." Many big companies seem to prefer to use their engineers as "glorified technicians," allowing them to play all day in the lab, but not to participate in decision making based on their work. Hence, an engineer who actually likes to, say, create something and see it get to market is going to get stifled.

And so I think that the survey would do the same thing with Edison, Kettering, or any of a host of others--and we wonder why our country is losing its technical edge. Corporate structures seem to be designed to allow those with the least technical skill (upper management) to call the shots for those with the most.

Thankfully, it seems that entrepreneurship is another way of describing what I saw on the career survey. Even so, I didn't need caffeine to keep going this afternoon because of the shock.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

All hail Deflation!

Getting sad at all the spendthrift bills concocted by Pelosi/Reid/Obama to prolong and deepen the recession? Yes, me too, but there are ways to cope. One great way is to embrace the bane of FDR, that blessed deflation.

Blessed deflation? You bet. If you look at consumer prices from 1800 to today (provided by Harry Browne in one of his books), you'll see that price variations really only became acute when government did something profoundly stupid, like starting a war, changing the monetary standard, or chartering a federal bank. When government stopped the stupid act, inflation stopped, ordinary deflation occurred, the economy recovered, badly thought out loans were written off, and badly chartered banks failed. Investors learned not to put their money in banks that made loans to new cannon manufacturers, and a powerful disincentive existed for war and wasteful government spending.

See why government types dislike deflation now?

Enter the Fed in 1913, and the first postwar period to not feature a period of deflation. Yes, the Fed kept things going for a few years, but we do remember the end of that story, even if our politicians don't. So how do we get some deflation going?

You can start by paying off debt at the highest responsible rate--keeping just enough in your bank accounts to make it a few months. In doing so, you work against the fractional reserve "multiplier" effect of deposits--each dollar you remove from savings and use to pay off debt removes $10-25 from the overall money supply. Remember, the proper definition of "deflation" is "reduction in the money supply," not "drop in prices." The effect (prices) follows the cause (money supply).

Going further, urge your state, city, and do on to refuse "spend-u-more" dollars. Provide evidence that FDR actually extended the Depression, write letters to the editor, protest if need be. Do your best to refuse government money for unemployment and so on, and encourage friends to reject it as well. Government cannot spend money if people don't take it.

One interesting way to do this; buy grass fed beef. No kidding--you can help cut out billions in subsidies for maize this way while improving heart health and water quality at the same time. (my father-in -law raises it--leave a note if you'd be interested in getting some at a pretty good price if you're in MI or MN)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Now it's a real Depression

Cost Plus World Market, my favorite choice for nice chocolates in this area, is closing its Twin Cities stores. How bad is it for them? They were playing classic country on the radio when I came instead of vapid "world" elevator music. It was a great improvement--now if only they would have dropped the cost of the chocolates by 60% instead of just 15%, it would have been really good....come on deflation!

And so I got this song stuck in my head for about the next day. But on the bright side, George Jones points out something that's really decent theology; that a man stops loving his wife only when they put his nicest suit on him and lay him in a box, no matter what happens when he's alive. (and arguably he keeps on loving her even then, at least if he's not subject to excessive heat in the afterlife)

Another good thing is happening due to the Pelosi/Reid/Obama Depression; Quizno's in Waconia closed, and has been replaced by a Vienna Beef store. Yay!

There's incentive to get my resume out there and get a new job. :^)

Monday, February 23, 2009

A reminder

Yesterday's sermon; prayer, from 1 Timothy. One quote read by our pastor, by John Macarthur, reminds us that if we devoted as much time to prayer as we do to political activism, we might really start to have an effect.

Not that it's wrong to point out the absurdity of what happens in DC on our blogs, or to write a note to our Congressman, or whatever, but remember that the effectiveness of one's letters is often proportional to the thickness of the callouses on our knees. It's desperately needed in this age!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

If the Vikings go to...

...Las Vegas, their logo should be a blond haired guy with nothing but the shirt on his back (and pants of course) dying of thirst in the desert along I-15 carrying a sign "Please help me get back to Oslo."

...Los Angeles, their logo should be the same guy in full Viking regalia being greeted by victims offering him IOU statements because the state is broke....

...but either way, GO VIKINGS, and take Senator Franken with you!

Amen, brother

When visiting here last week, my brother (who differs with me on almost everything) noted that one pet peeve of his (as an environmentalist) was that apparently about 95% of environmentalists were incapable of doing even basic math, and provided as evidence the fact that San Jose's bus system achieves about 25 passenger-miles per gallon of diesel fuel--a similar efficiency to what a Suburban would have if it had a diesel engine, really.

Amen, brother, but one step further. I think they generally have problems with basic logic, too. Not a surprise.

And yes, yet another example of how transit does NOT help the environment.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Modern day man-stealers

One of the most depressing things about antebellum history is the apparent lack of traction gained by probably the best argument against the "peculiar institution"; that the very process of procuring "servants" involved man-stealing, a capital crime under the Torah. One would have thought that it might have gotten somewhere, but apparently not--at least beyond the Constitution's provision for a delayed end to the slave trade.

Sad to say, the "spend-u-more" bill shows that Senate Majority Leader Reid and President Obama are modern day man-stealers. How so? They got eight billion dollars dedicated to a high speed rail line from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

And thus, we have a very interesting thing going on here; we have a Mormon Senator and the President putting pork into the "spend-u-more" bill to get more people to gamble (along with many other guilty parties) in Vegas, virtually guaranteeing that those who drive through Nevada will see a very sad sight more often--bankrupted gamblers hitchhiking their way home. It's not like the addictive nature of gambling isn't plain to see for anyone who pays attention when visiting Nevada.

(another example; I watched an old man feeding the slot machines being completely oblivious to the scantily clad waitress going within a foot of him to bring drinks to other patrons...anything that overrides a man's tendency to violate Matthew 5 has got to be powerful!)

No thanks, Senator Reid and President Obama, for taking part in this theft of the livelihoods of innocent citizens. I would have thought that you two, of all people, would have known better, but I am apparently wrong.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why so bloody? A lesson for today.

Terry's post about President's Day, including some of the less known facts about President Lincoln and the Civil War, has given me a chance to present something about why our nation's Civil War was so bloody, while other nations did not participate in the carnage--most notably Great Britain under the leadership of great men like Wilberforce.

Specifically, let's take a look at a bit from the biography of Robert E. Lee, specifically the circumstances around the inheritance of the Lee-Custis estate (now Arlington National Cemetery), and a less known fact about Lee; while there is evidence he knew slavery was wicked, and while his father-in-law provided for the liberation of his slaves, Lee ended up treating them cruelly in an effort to pay off his father-in-law's debts.

And so we have one big reason why the institution could thrive among even those (Washington, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln's in-laws) who abhorred it; they were collateral for the debts of the owners. And so, bound by chains of debt and pretended honor, they plunged into an abyss of war.

Thankfully, we're not on the brink of civil war (I hope), but in an age when chains of debt are strangling our economy and transforming our politics, I think it is a lesson we'd do well to heed. It is not for no reason that the Bible says that the borrower is servant (Latin "servus," meaning "slave") to the lender.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A touch of art

Apparently, at least one young artist is cutting back on her work due to the lack of support for the arts, I figured I ought to supply something to keep the art world going. One is titled "Screen Door Window at 20 Below at Night", and the green one is "Screen Door Illuminated by Green Range Finder Light of another camera at 20 Below."

I'll be expecting a call from the Met and the Louvre any day now.

And now a public service regarding the Obama-Pelosi "Spend-U-More" plan. How many jobs will it really produce to take $800 billion from those who know how to make a dollar do the work of two, and giving it to those who know how to make a dollar do the work of fifty cents?

Well, now you know, don't you? I'll remember those who voted for this abomination come 2010, and invest accordingly.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Here's a thought.

If the election of Barack Obama has given the left renewed patriotism, are they not conceding that conservative claims about their lack of patriotism were at least in part true?

I'll be waiting for the apology from the Daily Kos types any day now. But not holding my breath. Seriously, the lack of critical appraisal of our new President and his staff (minions?) is flat out scary--the sign of a society that is (per Daniel's prophecy) worshipping a god of power. I don't know that this fulfills that prophecy, but it's scary.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Another book review

This one of "Idi-Aba, down memory lane" by Oyeronke Lawoyin and a host of her former classmates at Idi-Aba School in Nigeria. What? Let me explain.

Back in 1909, Southern Baptist missionaries saw a need to educate Nigerian women in the basics of modern living--reading, cleaning, music, and more--and sent a few missionaries to Lagos to start a school there. God blessed them, and today there are literally thousands of Idi-Aba "old girls" in Nigeria, forming a core to their educated classes. However, as all good things must come to an end, the Nigerian government nationalized education back in the 1970s, and the distinctive education of Idi-Aba came to an end.

For a while. Now, the school, or at least portions of it, are being returned to the Nigerian church, and the "old girls" (that's what they call themselves, don't blame me) got together to return the school to its former stature. The book is simply a series of testimonies to what Idi-Aba did for them, and how it worked--and it is refreshing to see a group of people so enthusiastic about the school they attended, and so earnest to see the renewed success of their alma mater.

If you'd like to support this work, the publisher is Xulon Press. And a side note; yes, I thought how different our nation's history might have been if the Southern Baptists had been more eager to found schools like Idi-Aba in places like Mississippi and Alabama, too.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Let me get this straight.....

Tax troubles should have doomed the nominations of Geithner and Daschle, but working for the IMF and lobbyists should not have done so? Did I get that right?

Seems to me that working for the IMF, which strangles developing countries by loaning money not to businesses, but rather governments, is far worse than cheating on taxes. So is, for that matter, being a large part of the cause of the recent housing debacle. (why again are we hiring people from Bear Stearns and Citibank to "fix" these problems again?) In the same way, Tom Daschle is a brilliant example of what's wrong with DC--the pay to play lobbying that results in bloated spending and excessive taxation.

If the GOP had any brains, they'd start responding to these highly flawed nominations with the bigger reasons why they're flawed. Don't neglect the "cheating on taxes" angle, of course, but there is simply a lot to say against these Obama nominations that doesn't have to do with their tax evasion.