Saturday, October 29, 2011

Please visit my friend Jim's blog

...and read this carefully.  Every time we "soak the rich" and encourage present consumption over capital investment, we impoverish ourselves more quickly than we think.

Or, put differently, if we take $500 million away from Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (and thus Microsoft or Apple) and let President Blagojevich give it to Solyndra or other money pits, do we really think we're doing ourselves any good?  The reality here is that Gates and other wealthy men are more careful with their own billions than any bureaucrat will be with the public's trillions.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blessings of fatherhood versus GATT and NAFTA

I am currently working a situation at work where our Chinese factory has made a bunch of faulty product, and when the customer representatives asked whether I could make a trip, it was great to be able to say "Given that I've got a three week old son at home, I think I'll do well to handle this from home."

And along the same lines, because we insanely tax incomes instead of imports, I know a whole class of people whose resume and paychecks depend primarily on the number of customs stamps on their passports rather than on their actual skills, and whose frequent flier miles would make a decent salary for many people.  I don't want to go back to a 45% tariff of abominations that helped cause the Civil War, but I think it would be appropriate for the nation to pay for the Coast Guard, Border Patrol/ICE, and Navy out of revenues from trade.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Because we need to subsidize law school graduates....

.....President Obama has issued an executive order capping student loan payments at 10% of income, because it's not like the nation has any interest in giving the burnouts protesting Wall Street an incentive to actually find a decent paying job and start paying off their debts.  Instead, we need more people with little or no incentive to contribute materially to our society, because it's not like we have a $1.3 trillion deficit and over fourteen trillion dollars in "on the books" debt and close to one hundred trillion dollars in debt when calculated according to honest (GAAP) accounting methods.

Except, of course, that this is exactly what's happening, and just like Obama's proposed giveaways to underwater homeowners, it creates a nasty perverse incentive to do the wrong thing financially.  Get that quarter million dollar degree from the Ivy League school and then start working for $25,000/year doing performance art or social work.  It's not like the world needs creative engineers,scientists, doctors, and businessmen, after all.  As any old time barber would tell you, society needs more leeches.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another reason to flee the government's schools

According to the HSLDA's Home School Court Report,the government in Sweden has mandated that all schools, public and private, must use the government approved curriculum, with the education ministress stating that it meets the needs of all children, no matter what the religion, ethicity, and so on.  (report is available to members of the HSLDA....join today!)

Beyond the reality that the new laws effectively ban homeschooling there, I'd like the gentle reader to consider the reality that the government schools in Sweden are "educating" the children more or less by telling them that there are no competing theories. 

I'm not quite sure what is more reprehensible in this; that the kids are being trained to believe anything the government tells them (training for totalitarianism, really), or that they're being trained to believe something that any thinking person knows is patently false.  Or, perhaps, both of my objections are really the same thing, aren't they?

If you love your kids, train them to question and test the assumptions of the ruling class.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Big Ten Logic

Apparently, one of the defensive linemen for my alma mater, a gentleman (loosely speaking) named Gholston has been suspended for one game due to a punch thrown at an offensive lineman who had just dragged him to the ground with his face mask.

OK, apart from whether Gholston was a thug the whole game--and evidently there was a tackle of the QB that put some stress on his neck--I'm at a loss to explain why punches thrown are punished more severely than dragging a guy to the ground with his face mask.  The one leaves a bruise and (if the helmet is off) maybe a concussion, the latter can inflict some serious damage on the victim's neck, perhaps even breaking it. 

If we wonder why football is getting ever more thuggish, this would be a great example of the mindset that is leading to the problem.  I don't contest that the Spartans should face the Badgers without the services of this gentleman.  However, given the provocation, I'd have to suggest that the Wolverines should be facing Purdue one short on the O-line as well.  Offensive linemen have no business grabbing defenders to begin with (unless they pick up a fumble), let alone grabbing a face mask.

Unless, of course, player discipline in the Big Ten is a sham with little resemblance to the likely consequences of thuggish behavior or the rules of how the game is played. 

In the world of Wal-Mart

The last two times I've bought lettuce at Wal-Mart, the checker did not know that what I was buying was red leaf or romaine lettuce.  I am guessing that the average Wal-Mart shopper's diet is not exactly heavy on vegetables and salads.  (a look at the rear ends of many Wal-Mart shoppers would of course tend to give the same impression)

Even sadder and funnier; one time, the "cheat sheet" used by the checker was in grey scale instead of color, so they were trying to match lettuce (in very real color) with a blob of grey that might as well have been garlic mashed potatoes.  I'm thinking that somebody's cost saving method went awry with that one.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do they teach this in business school?

A periodical forwarded to me by my manager had this interesting tidbit; the BBC (yes that BBC) is letting 2000 employees go, including 300 senior managers.

Now I'm not clairvoyant or anything, but I've got a wild guess that one of the BBC's problems is that they were (and probably remain) a wee bit top heavy in their organizational structure.  Just a wild, wild guess.

(if I can assume that a reasonable number of subordinates is at least five, and "senior management" means at least the second level of management, a well run organization should have no more than about 5% senior let 15% go means that the average manager has no more than three subordinates, which means he's not managing squat)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Obligatory cool and cute post

First, the dinner of champions.  At least on Friday evening, or whenever you want it.  A Challah with Nutella!

And some obligatory baby cuteness.  Don't worry, little Benjamin/Ben/Benny/Bibi will be playing cops and robbers soon. Just let him learn to walk and talk!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to protest Wall Street

Upon reading Terri's post about the "Occupy Wall Street" protests--which incidentally does not seem to have done squat to actually, say, shut down Wall Street--some thoughts on how one ought to deal with the very real excesses of Wall Street come to mind. 

First, one ought to remember that government is not the solution to, but rather the cause of, the problem, from promoting and subsidizing employer paid health care to farm subsidies to the Fed to Fannie and Freddie to corporate welfare programs of all kinds--and for that matter, education subsidies.  Write letters to your legislators and vote accordingly.

Next, one needs to remember that the tentacles of big government and big business are made of debt.  It powers the inflation tax, enables the Fed/Fannie/Freddie, and keeps people in miserable corporate jobs.  If you want freedom, use your spare cash flow to pay off debt--remember the money creation power of fractional reserve banking?  You can put a brake on Ben Bernanke.

Finally, don't forget the power of taking care of what's your own, illustrated brilliantly by one of the big differences between the Tea Partiers and OWS demonstrators; Tea Partiers cleaned up after themselves, while OWS demonstrators left a mess for the government to clean up.  In the same way, how many people are in virtual servitude because they allow big corporations to clean up the messes they've made?  It adds up.

You may not think that you can make a difference with your possibly small income and assets, but you just might be surprised.  After all, hasn't the Chief 1%er been pretty angry that more people aren't taking on debt?  Maybe someone is catching on.  Maybe it's time for you to catch on, too.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To what club does he belong?

Mr. Dilettante gives us a helpful reminder of exactly who is the 1% that people are protesting; it is, of course, our President.

OK, so given that Mr. Obama is obviously a 1%er, the question is to which club does he belong?  Perhaps the Hell's Angels, perhaps the Pagans.....of course, given his record on transparency and openness, I'm thinking that the "Sons of Silence" is probably the club which has admitted him.  Or possibly the "Outlaws," given his respect for law shown by executive orders claiming to modify legislation.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eric Holder needs a husband

How so?  Well, confronted with the horrific weight of reading 100 pages of critical reports each week, Holder chose not to read them. Or at least that's his excuse on why he said he hadn't learned about the DOJ selling firearms illegally to Mexican drug cartels.  It wasn't perjury, but rather that he simply wasn't doing his job.

Now, ahem.  Isn't Holder a lawyer, supposedly having shown his ability of reading and comprehending thousands of pages of legal documents?  How is it, exactly, that this paragon of legal achievement cannot apparently bother to read 100 pages of critical reports, an amount similar to, ahem, the size of the daily New York Times or Washington Post?

Now some people might suggest that this indicates Holder's incompetence  and/or malfeasance (just like the Black Panthers case and numerous other non-prosecutions of voter intimidation when black perpetrators are involved), and that  because of this he ought to resign, optimally on his way to being disbarred.

I, however, am going to take a more charitable view of the subject, and I'm going to suggest that this 51 year old male is simply going through the same postpartum difficulties that affect millions of women each year.  In short, Eric Holder desperately needs a husband to help him out with critical decisions like this.  Maybe Barney Frank is available?

More on patriarchy

In our interactions with the birth of Benjamin, my dear wife and I noted that a lot of the time, it was the parent without pregnancy hormones coursing through his veins who was remembering various critical details, from dosages of painkillers to techniques for successful feeding to details of why a certain procedure might be the right choice.  The one without swollen breasts was also the one who successfully troubleshot problems when wires got crossed in the medical circles--which happens even when the hospital is part of a system founded by two brothers named after a popular salad dressing ingredient.  Not to be grossly self-congratulatory, but in our case, I'm pretty sure that our family did a lot better because I was keeping an eagle eye on everything going on.  In other cases, I'd have to guess that a husband's eagle eye has literally been the difference between life and death for his wife and/or children. 

In short, God's design for family is more than a spiritual reality mirroring the Father's relationship to the Son, and the Son's relationship to the Church--although it is of course certainly that.  It is also a way of preserving the family through complementary roles, and it's telling that what our grandparents would have told us without hesitation needs to be spelled out today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Very important (for those addicted to drugs adminstered by knitting needle)

Cascade Yarns, Pima Tencel, 50% pima cotton 50% tencel.

Thanks for all the good wishes, y'all. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Benjamin Patrick

Thursday, October 6, 2:02pm, 7 lbs 3.2 oz, 20.5" long, healthy lungs.  Mom and baby are doing fine; pray for a little issue with Mom's spinal block and for Benny to start eating even better. We are very grateful for the doctors and nurses of Immanual-St. Joseph's for their care of us, and more to God for protecting us from things which evidently could have gone wrong very quickly. (yes, this means that W.B. and others are going to need to pick up the slack in childbearing!)

On the light side, our next larger child, Sammy, borrowed Benny's cap and looked like he was off to the Shul to study the Torah.  Regarding that cap, it's a pima (long staple) cotton yarn that just feels like butter in a knitter's hands--or on a baby's hands or feet.  If you pick up "taking drugs administered by (knitting) needles not prescribed by a doctor," as the local blood center would ask you, my wife and daughters highly recommend this.

Walnuts; W.B., the U. of MN (and I'd guess Iowa State U. too your way) has great recommendations on processing them.  You can cut the husks off while green or wash them with gravel to remove them.  My eldest also figured out you could remove it by stepping on it, but with the problem that your feet will turn black on the bottom--use gloves or shoes while handling.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Money saving tip

Your neighbors who have fruit or nut trees, but don't know what to do with them, may just let you take a few bushels of walnuts, apples, or other produce for free simply to get it off the yard....and yes, yum.  I guess you can be a farmer without actually owning or renting any land. 

Alternatively, you could say "we are such a wealthy country that people actually cannot be bothered to pick the fruit that grows on their own trees."  Yes, the Obama economy is pretty bad, but someone with a bit of creativity and a will to work can do pretty well these days.

Baby update; little one still inside, scheduled C section (not that bad, y'all!) at noon tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Antinomian, legalist, or both at once?

One thing that I've noticed as our family goes through the Gospels and Pauline epistles (we're getting around to those of Peter, James, John, and the author of Hebrews of course) is the interesting position of the law,and how when the "Judiazers" oppose Paul (or Peter) on the basis of "the law," they often do not appear to be doing so on the basis of not the written Torah or Pentateuch, but on the "Oral Torah" or commentaries on the books of Moses.  Translated, this means that the opposition isn't directly in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy, but rather in traditions of the Pharisees of the day--many of which appear in today's Talmud.

In the same way, we also find that in enforcing this "Oral Torah," many of the provisions of the written Torah are neglected--a famous example being when our Lord chastised the Pharisees for neglecting their own parents if they gave money to the Temple.  And so it seems that in the "legalism" Paul and Christ rightly decry, there is an element of lawlessness, or antinomianism.

What about today?  Well, there are many who would enforce various extra-Biblical rules on believers--don't drink alcohol, don't use any Bible but the KJV, don't use the KJV, sing only hymns or the metric Psalms, don't sing hymns or the metric Psalms, don't dance, women must wear a skirt or a dress but never pants--but in the application of those extra-Biblical laws, Biblical morality is often neglected.  KJV-only advocates viciously attack their opponents, fellow believers are slandered, and accusations are thrown across 17 centuries of history with no substantive evidence. 

In short, if you're not living according to the Gospel of Christ, you are likely to become both a legalist and an antinomian, ironically.  Given what it takes to become either, this makes sense; whether one begins with works righteousness or a rejection of the moral law of God, one must begin by rejecting the Bible's authority and setting up one's own moral law. Legalism and antinomianism are, in practice, synonymous.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Public announcement

Will the couple that brought their eleven children to Michigan Stadium please call them back to their seats?  They just scored another touchdown against the Gophers.  Thank you.

(in more important football news, my alma mater beat the school that plays in the horseshoe 10-7)

Why government funding of businesses is a bad idea

While the White House hotly denies pressuring Ford into taking down an F150 commercial critical of President Obama's bailout of GM and Chrysler the United Auto Workers, it apparently is a fact that the White House did "contact" Ford about the matter.  As if Ford can ignore the fact that the White House has (unconstitutionally) arrogated to itself the right to lend, or withhold, tens of billions of dollars of bailouts and lending, not to mention a "nudge" to the appropriations process for government vehicles.

A bloody knife?  No, but even so a clear reason to end government subsidies of businesses.  More or less, President Obama just told Ford "Nice truck ya got there.  Would be a shame if something happened to it!", and that's something that can't be tolerated in a free country.