Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This one will be interesting

Evidently, the Supreme Court has acccepted a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Chicago's gun bans. It would be refreshing to see a strong rebuke to the idea (endorsed by the 7th Circuit) that somehow citizens have (Heller) the right to keep and bear arms, but that right can be arbitrarily rejected by states and cities. Yes, you can count me as one who views anti-incorporation arguments as legally dubious, to put it mildly.

Put differently, exactly how do we have the right to free speech, assembly, religion, to keep and bear arms, and so on if the city of Chicago can decide that only aldermen and the mayor have these rights? It's preposterous.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sign of someone with a great sense of humor

A coworker who is six months pregnant wore this shirt to work today.

Good or bad news?

Fraters Libertas links a number of reasons why one man feels that the Pelosi/Reid/Obama recession will last quite a long time. While some of the reasons seem quite indicative of a long recession, others bode quite well if one thinks Biblically. Specifically, lending is down quite a bit, and if a good portion of that is people wising up to the bondage that is debt, we can expect many of those people to enjoy far better long term prosperity and help their neighbors out of the recession.

The article lists some very ominous signs as well, such as incredible inflation of the money supply and B. Hussein's version of Smoot-Hawley, but I have the hope that people are indeed figuring out that bondage to the Federal Reserve and debt is a bad thing, and acting accordingly.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Let no man separate

One of the things that became very clear to me as my family held the funeral for my mother is that, although my parents had divorced 26 years ago, many of the affections and wounds from that far back were still working. No, we did not have a scene, thankfully. Rather, it was touching to see my father--parted from my mother for that long--stop to pay his respects. Prior to that, he had done what little things he could to provide a bit of comfort for my mother.

It seems that some wounds just don't heal. In the same way, my wife and I just bought a home from an older divorced man, who commented that the divorce had just about killed him. It leads me to contemplate the possibility that when He said "let no man separate", He wasn't just referring to something we should not do. In a manner of speaking, He was telling us about something we could not do.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In honor of my mom; a cake recipe

Since my wife seems to have put this together better than I, I'll just send you to her blog. The cake is really good, especially when one uses dark cocoa and espresso.

How not to teach gun safety

Like this. If there is anyone confused out there about this, there is really only one rule of gun safety; always treat every gun as if it were loaded and ready to fire the moment your finger brushes against the trigger.

That means you never trust the safety. You never point it at anything you're not willing to destroy. You keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire. Never, ever hand a firearm to someone who doesn't know and appreciate this. Let that person handle an unloaded firearm and get the "hang" of not pointing it at your head (or his own) before you give him ammunition.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prayer Update

Pray for those of us who are not walking on streets of gold and sitting at the best banquet table ever created, especially my stepdad.

My mom entered into rest sometime between 10pm Sunday and 4am Monday, probably towards the latter. About a dozen family members and friends spent most of the last three days of her life holding her hand, talking to her in the 5% of so of the time she was awake, reminding her of God's promises to His people regarding death and Heaven, and helping the nurses keeping her comfortable. There is a certain, huge, blessing in getting to spend three full days together helping someone who really can't say "thank you" in any significant way--and especially without the TV blaring in the background.

Friday, September 18, 2009

NIV update

This account suggests that the gender-neutered changes for which the NIrV and TNIV/NGV are rightly infamous may not survive in the next revision of the NIV. Now I should be happy about this, but I'm not, as the source indicates that political pressure, not principle, may be the reason. I'm far happier with an honest Zondervan/Biblica collaboration that rejects my view that translation ought to be "essentially literal" than with the same groups privately rejecting my views, but publicly appeasing them.

Seems that there was something in Exodus 20 about this, and I tend to agree with Ehrmann; Biblica was saying one thing publicly in 2005, now they're saying the opposite, and they've not released a significant document explaining their change of course. That would tend to indicate pragmatism (Zondervan saying "you're killing our profit margins!") instead of principle.

I hope I'm wrong here--who wants to accuse brothers in Christ of lying?--but that's where the evidence points now.

Whatever the outcome, I think I'll be sticking with the KJV, NKJV, Luther translation, and Berlenburger Bibel portions that I've got now. And hopefully learning a bit more Hebrew and Greek as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A gentle reminder

Dey tell me dat Saturday's "Talk like a Pirate Day." Vell, ya know, dose Vikings vere pirates, too, so here are some books dat vill help you talk like a real pirate. Don't forget da hotdish ven ya go pillaging!

Arr, yashure youbetcha.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prayer request

Things are not going real well for my mom right now. Right when they thought the cancer was in control, other things are happening.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here's a cool idea

Back as an undergrad at Michigan State, all electrical engineering students took a trip out to the campus power plant and learned exactly why the dorm rooms were so hot in the winter and into the spring; the waste heat from the power plant was being used to heat--and cool--all buildings on campus. Although a great deal of the heat went through the single pane windows of Bryan Hall and other dorms (we left the windows open when it was zero outside, it was so hot), the efficiency of the "cogeneration" system was said to be about 60%--roughly twice that of the average coal fired power plant of the day. Even today, it's about 50% better efficiency than the best coal and gas fired power plants.

Enter Volkswagen, which has developed a nifty little natural gas fired power plant that will be sufficient to power a few homes, and will produce waste heat for hot water and heat. Now it's a hefty price at 5000 euros (roughly $7500), but if it indeed replaces a $2000 heater, a $500 water heater, and $100 or so a month in electric bills, this could indeed be the first thing that actually comes close to being an ecologically and economically sound replacement for centralized generation and distribution of electricity.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Well, it's not like they were using them....

....NFL players to donate their brains to science.

To be fair, they're only donating them after they die, of course, but I just couldn't if only they can get Kanye West to help out, too....

Some other recommended censures

Apparently House Speakress Nancy Pelosi has decided that since Joe Wilson was not sufficiently "contrite" in her opinion, she's going to pursue censure unless he humiliates himself on the House floor.

OK, fine, she's doing this. But what about far more significant realities of bribery (William "Cold Cash" Jefferson), tax evasion (Charles Schumer), corrupt associations (Barnett Frank sleeping with Fannie Mae executive and not recusing himself from Fannie Mae-related votes), or the forty or so Democrats who mocked President Bush in 2005?

I guess we need to assume here that what's important to Mrs. Pelosi is not the dignity of Congress, but rather making cheap political points. After all, she's remarkably silent when it comes to the things Democrats are doing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Win at all costs?

Evidently, a South African sports minister is threatening "world war" if runner Caster Semenya is banned from competing as a woman, even though an IAAF gender test has allegedly revealed that she has no womb, no ovaries, and two (internal) testicles. Apparently South African sports authorities never thought anything was amiss when a young lady built like a linebacker and with the voice of Richard Sterban started running times close to those of Jarmila Kratochilova, all the while being coached by a former East German track coach and showing sky-high testosterone readings on doping tests. Nobody ever bothered to ask questions about why she'd never had "that time of the month," why people who had known her for years didn't know her sex, and why her face (and waist) is clearly that of a man.

Now it is certain that this person's life is being trashed, but let's place blame where it belongs; on the sports authorities who ignored clear signs that something was very wrong because "she" could run a blazing 800 meters.

Regarding "You Lie"

The best justification I can figure out for prohibiting Congressmen from shouting "you lie" to an obviously lying President giving a speech is that if they did that consistently, it could shut down Washington, DC.

Sounds like a good idea to me. :^)

Let's be serious here; one of the biggest problems in politics today is that the perceived requirements of civility prevent people from pointing out that fertilizer is indeed fertilizer. I think it's time to remember that there is a point where someone's dishonesty can cross a line where one is not only not prohibited from immediately pointing out the lie, but is morally required to point it out. See Proverbs 26:4-5.

Now there is of course a fine line between Proverbs 26:4 and 26:5, and of course there is also the reality that one objecting to the speech of a lying fool can also become one himself. However, I see no purpose served in simply listening politely to speech one knows to be false. It simply creates the perception that wicked speech, like Obama's health care speech, is somehow respectable, and that is also wicked.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lessee if I got this one straight

Joe Wilson says something obviously true, if gauche, about the President during Obama's speech last night, and Democrats are calling for a censure. On the other hand, House member Charles Rangel gets brother in law pricing on mortgages he's supposed to be regulating, fails to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of assets on financial disclosure statements, fraudulently and illegally keeps rent controlled apartments in New York City, and cheats on his taxes. No response from Democratic leaders.

Actions speak louder than words, and the Democrats are shouting "corruption" right now.

How to really fix health insurance

If you want an analysis of Obama's speech, go here. Suffice it to say that it was not a speech directed at thinking people who understand some of the realities of health insurance, and had I been there, it would have required mighty restraint not to shout a quaint country phrase relating to manure from male bovines about once every 30 seconds.

Perhaps it would be good for Mr. Obama had a few people there done so.

That noted, I did do some thinking about how one could really fix health insurance costs, and came up with the following list.

1. Stop subsidizing grain and sugar. If indeed obesity costs $1400 per obese person in excess medical costs, this should be a no-brainer. You'd also end up cleaning up aquifers.

2. Build the border fence and enforce immigration laws so the load on medical services, especially emergency rooms, is reduced. Could save hundreds of billions of dollars.

3. End the special tax treatment for employer paid insurance, and require employers to offer half what they would pay to employees who want to get their own insurance (usually far cheaper if you're under 50 and don't smoke).

4. Reform the tort system so that the loser pays reasonable legal bills for the winner, always.

5. Reform medical tort law to put a reasonable limit on damages.

6. Admit that unfunded liabilities for Medicare cannot be paid out of reasonable economic estimates, and end it over the next few decades. Let people know that they will be on the hook for significant diseases and watch behavior change.

7. Stop subsidizing daycare. Seriously; how many infections occur because baby is taken away from mother and put in the petri dishes we call "daycare centers," especially since that generally means that baby isn't breast-fed anymore?

8. End lifelong gold-plated insurance for current and former members of Congress, the President, and judges. What we get, they get.

9. Allow interstate commerce in health insurance. Competition saves money.

10. Stop subsidizing air travel and shift the tax burden to tariffs from the income tax. How many diseases reach our shores on a 747 from Asia? Why should people pay income taxes to pay for a Navy and Coast Guard to keep sea lanes open, but no duties should be assessed on imported goods?

11. Reduce government insurance mandates.

Of course, this is about exactly the opposite of what Comrade Obama is proposing, so I won't be holding my breath. Since it's the opposite of what he proposes, though, it would actually reduce costs.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The new NIV? Think NTNIV, or "NNGV"

Dr. Veith links a this article, and this article, that make it appear that the revised NIV will be a new "New Gelded Version," sad to say. I'll be glad to be wrong, but signs are pointing that way.

How not to give a speech

No, I didn't listen to the whole speech Pres. Obama gave to the young skulls full of mush, but I did hear excerpts and read it, and it relates to something I've noticed about politicians speaking in the past few years. Specifically, Obama was giving a stern lecture--in some places more or less yelling--at kids. The best part was when he angrily tells kids that if they do get a bad grade, it doesn't mean they're stupid--his tone saying exactly the opposite thing to any sensitive soul.

Communicating the magic and wonder of learning? Not in there. Wisdom for its own sake? TOTUS apparently forgot to include that one. Grouchy lecture about struggling through boring classes to get a good job and be a good servant to the government? That you got.

If many classrooms heard many students sobbing quietly after that speech, I wouldn't be surprised. The speech belongs on those "demotivational" posters saying "despair".

Politicians need to learn what fundamental Baptist preachers have learned (too often the hard way) over the past few years, it seems; that increasing the volume doesn't mean that you're communicating effectively.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm seeing a pattern here

Appointment of Communist Van Jones to position of "czar" in White House. Rejection of Honduras' application of its own Constitution and threatened non-recognition of new government after legitimate election--a position shared with (Marxist) Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Casual acceptance of Marxist book from Mr. Chavez with no complaint or mockery. Attempted implementation of major steps to single payer healthcare without allowing debate, or even reading of bill.

Life as a community organizer. Membership in Trinity UCC. Friendship with (Marxist) Bill Ayers. Money to ACORN. Cap and trade. It's looking more and more like the hammer and sickle in the White House aren't just for Michelle's garden.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Book review: Reforming Marriage

At the advice of some of my readers, I took a look (three times through actually ) at Douglas Wilson's "Reforming Marriage," and...the long and short of it is that it's well worth twenty bucks (or fifty, or one hundred) to get it on your doorstep. Why so?

Wilson builds from creation (who does he think he is, Ken Ham?) to really build the case that we really do have a reason for the way things are, and more than any other person I've read, he does so while avoiding the usual (H. Norman Wright or Gary [Stuart?] Smalley) "do this list and have a happy marriage" pelagian error.

Well, he almost completely avoids it; the only criticism that I have is that at times...he doesn' t make the connections between the Creation and the Gospel as clear as they ought to be, and so it somewhat appears to be lapsing slightly in to H. Norman territory. And so perhaps I will make my plea for a revised edition where he could clean that up.

Or perhaps I'll read through it a fourth time. Probably a good bet for both.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Fatness Friday: State Fair on a Budget

This time of year, many of us would love to go to the "Great Minnesota Get Together," but for sad reasons like "I live 1000 miles away" or "I've been hit hard by the Pelosi/Reid/Obama recession," not all of us can make it. So here's a way to have a big portion of the State Fair experience on a budget.

Go shopping, and get 1-2 lbs of hot dogs (we did Ambassador), cornbread mix, a bottle of oil, flour, eggs, milk, wooden sticks, flour, and powdered sugar. Mushrooms are a double bonus, or you could even do hard boiled ("Scotch") eggs.

Make 1 batch of cornbread mix very thick. Test thickness with hot dog (it should coat it well), and then pour about 1 quart of oil into large dutch oven. Heat until a slight haze forms over the oil. Stick sticks into hot dogs (1-2 per adult), coat with cornbread batter, and place into dutch oven to fry. Turn to get even coating.

While the corn dogs are cooking, put sticks into mushrooms or hard boiled eggs and dip them in cornbread batter. Place them into dutch oven for cooking when corn dogs are done. Drain corn dogs on paper towels and serve. Do the same with mushrooms or eggs. Serve with lemonade or other desired beverage; bonus if the lemonade is made with real lemon juice, of course. Turn off stove while eating!

After the first sumptuous repast, reheat oil, and add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of flour to remainder of cornbread batter, add 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, and milk to make a slightly "runny" pancake like batter. Pour through funnel to make your own funnel cakes at home. Top with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar and enjoy.

There you go. The essential Minnesota State Fair experience without the crowds, and for $20 or less for a family of seven.


Apparently, the agency that would do the most to operate health care reform regulations would be none other than the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Washington Examiner's review of H.R. 3200. Yes, the most rogue agency outside of the BATFE--and probably the most feared--would be handling a great portion of your healthcare.

I usually try to refrain from vulgar humor here, but this one merits an exception. Whoever came up with this idea had better not eat too much spicy food or beans, lest he blow his head right off.

On the bright side, it gives a very real objection to "Obama-care"; the IRS would indeed be handling your healthcare and gaining access to portions of your medical records. I think even liberals can figure out why that might not be a good thing.

H/T Cold Fusion Guy.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

President who?

Apparently, one in five construction jobs attributable to the "Spend-U-More" plan is in Illinois, although Illinois (with about twelve million subjects) has only about 4% of the nation's population, and is not nearly the worst affected in the current recession. Looks like President Daley is being true to his Chicago and Illinois roots.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Yet another reason to homeschool

Comrade Obama has apparently decided that he has the right to give a speech to all the kids in government schools around the whole country, and has had Arne Duncan prepare "lesson plans" about the virtues of Dear leader. Now apart from the reality that this differs little in principle from Big Brother of 1984 in terms of shameless propaganda, I'm more than a little bit troubled that he thinks it's OK to torture schoolchildren with mindless drivel.

Seems to me that Obama is definitely nicer to terrorists than he is to the CIA or schoolchildren, and I see as well that there is a very good reason his kids are at Sidwell Friends instead of DC Public, and it's not just the fact that those schools are war zones where relatively few actually learn how to read.

Seriously, someone definitely needs to have this so-called "Constitutional Law Professor" take a quick look at the actual powers of the Presidency, and realize that this is not among them.

Updates coming to the NIV

Apparently, the TNIV (or more accurately, "New Gelded Version" or "NGV") will also be removed from publication when the new NIV comes out. Count me as nervous; are they really removing the "NGV" because of poor sales, or because they're going to "nudge" the "real" NIV towards where the "NGV" is today?

I hope that it's the former, not the latter, but reality is that the history of the NIV (including changing "Sarah" to "Abraham" in Heb. 11:11, if I remember right) does not inspire confidence in the translators. If you want an object lesson in the importance of translation methods, look at the history of the NIV/NIrV/NGV.

I'll be sticking with the KJV, NKJV, and ESV myself for this very reason.

Another big reason; if I cannot understand a Bible translation with a copyright date of 1984, how can I possibly hope to understand ANYTHING written at that time or before? If we wonder why it's important to read old books, we need look no further than this.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Chutzpah defined!

Democrats are saying that the best way to honor the late Ted Kennedy is through a civil debate.

Yeah, like we don't remember what that guy did to Bork and Alito. Yeesh.

Why "The Wealth of Nations" isn't required reading in schools

Evidently, one of the key points made by Adam Smith, according to National Review, is that the wealth of nations has something to do with the institution of marriage and how many children are born. Obviously, we can't be promoting real marriage and real family over the imitations--at least not in the government schools. However, it looks like I ought to buckle down and finally get myself a copy of Smith's magnum opus.

H/T Brothers Bayly.