Saturday, December 10, 2016
Friday, November 16, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Monday, December 19, 2011
He does a masterful job of analogizing how humans are different from all other animals, how God is different from humans, and how all rights which we may presume are inherent to humans by nature of our being are originally due to God.
"Where the rights of our Creator and Savior are daily denied with impunity, we should not be surprised that the rights of persons created in his image are denied in a cavalier and selfish way. Until God is given his rights, no human rights will have significance beyond convenience. And when they are no longer convenient, they will be ignored..."
Note: I have just finished A.W. Tozer's "Born After Midnight," which I read on and off for a few months, as my nightly devotional. Fantastic. If your google-fu is strong, you may be able to find a pdf copy online. My morning devotional is John Piper's "Taste and See." I'm sure all of his essays therein are free online, but this book version is nicely printed and IMHO worth it.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The shortage of industrial skills points to a wide gap between the American education system and the demands of the world economy. For decades, Americans have been told that the future lies in high-end services, such as law, and "creative" professions, such as software-writing and systems design. This has led many pundits to think that the only real way to improve opportunities for the country's middle class is to increase its access to higher education.
That attitude is a relic of the post–World War II era, a time when a college education almost guaranteed you a good job. These days, the returns on higher education, particularly on higher education gained outside the elite schools, are declining, as they have been for about a decade.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Harvard: “Anime as Global Pop Culture”. If you grew up in 1990s or later, you've definitely watched an anime. I see you trying to deny it because it’s nerdy or whatever, but I don’t believe you. Even if you didn't like it, you’ve probably at least watched the PokémonTV show for two seconds, seen a Hiyao Miyazaki movie, or played a video game with anime-like stylings at some point in your life. Harvard turns a dorky guilty pleasure into an academic pursuit. Tip: Instead of flash cards, make ninja info cards.
Harvard: “HBO’s The Wire and its Contribution to Understanding Urban Inequality”. While most students use HBO as a way to escape homework, some would rather put their television drama-watching ways to good use. Harvard’s class about The Wire takes a critical look at the critically acclaimed show as a way to analyze urban inequality. Your homework will be to watch TV, and you’ll even learn something along the way.
I leave the rest of the contemplation on this to you.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Isaiah 32 provides explanation for how God even is responsible for our shelter. People generally trust, or have faith in their homes and perhaps even in their cities. Yet Isaiah says you are better off living in the desert:Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vines
13 and for the land of my people,
a land overgrown with thorns and briers—
yes, mourn for all houses of merriment
and for this city of revelry.
14 The fortress will be abandoned,
the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
15 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
16 The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
19 Though hail flattens the forest
and the city is leveled completely...
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
By 1971, the money supply had increased by 10%. In the first six months of 1971, $22 billion in assets left the U.S. In May 1971, inflation-wary West Germany was the first member country to unilaterally leave the Bretton Woods system — unwilling to devalue the Deutsche Mark in order to prop up the dollar. In the next three months, West Germany's move strengthened their economy. Simultaneously, the dollar dropped 7.5% against the Deutsche Mark.Due to the excess printed dollars, and the negative U.S. trade balance, other nations began demanding fulfillment of America's "promise to pay..."
"When the era of floating rates began, in 1971 when President Richard Nixon abruptly abandoned the link between the dollar and gold that had been the foundation of the post-war fixed-currency system known (after the place where it was agreed upon) as Bretton Woods, there was another Asian country widely accused of unfair trading. It was Japan, whose rapid, environmentally dirty growth in the 1960s, based on cheap labour and a cheap, fixed currency, had produced a big trade surplus and was being blamed for America’s trade deficit.
"At that time, America really did have a currency weapon in its hands: by abandoning Bretton Woods and the link to gold, Nixon could force other countries to revalue their currencies against the dollar. He did so as part of a deal, in which he removed a 10% surcharge on all imports that he had imposed several months earlier. The yen soared in value. The Japanese have ever since called this “the Nixon shock” which, combined with the 1973 oil-price hike, forced their companies and their government to move their economy sharply upmarket, towards higher technology and greater energy efficiency.
"Today, there are some crucial differences but one important similarity. The similarity is that tensions over currencies and trade imbalances are centring on a rising Asian giant, one whose rapid, environmentally dirty growth has been based on cheap labour and a cheap fixed currency: China, of course. The differences are that a Nixon-style import surcharge would be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules, and that thanks to floating exchange rates the currency weapon is not in the hands of President Barack Obama but rather the Chinese themselves, for only they can choose to relax capital controls and to float their currency. It is harder now to have an “Obama shock." But it is not impossible."
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever expanding number of government jobs will be statists -- sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily "compassionate" statists, sometimes patrician noblesse oblige statists, but always statists. The short history of the post-war western democracies is that you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life: the people can elect "conservatives," as from time to time the Germans and British have done, and the left is mostly relaxed about it all because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha'penny would agree to go and take the chill off the toilet seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects were ready to stroll in and assume their rightful place. Republicans have gotten good at keeping the seat warm.
In 1945, Hugh MacLennan wrote a novel set in Montreal whose title came to sum up the relationship between the English and the French in Canada: Two Solitudes. They live in the same nation, sometimes in the same town, sometimes share the same workspace. But they inhabit different psychologies. In 2008, David Warren, a columnist with The Ottawa Citizen, argued that the concept has headed south:
In the United States, especially in the present election, we get glimpses of two political solitudes that have been created not by any plausible socio-economic division within society, nor by any deep division between different ethnic tribes, but tautologically by the notion of "two solitudes" itself. The nation is divided, roughly half-and-half, between people who instinctively resent the Nanny State, and those who instinctively long for its ministrations.
John Edwards, yesterday's coming man, had an oft retailed stump speech about "the two Americas," a Disraelian portrait of Dickensian gloom conjured in the mawkish drool of a Depression-era sob-sister: one America was a wasteland of shuttered mills and shivering "coatless girls," while in the other America Dick Cheney and his Halliburton fat cats were sitting 'round the pool swigging crude straight from the well and toasting their war profits all day long. Edwards was right about the "two Americas," but not about the division: in one America, those who subscribe to the ruling ideology can access a world of tenured security lubricated by government and without creating a dime of wealth for the overall economy; in the other America, millions of people go to work every day to try to support their families and build up businesses and improve themselves, and the harder they work the more they're penalized to support the government class in its privileges. Traditionally, he who paid the piper called the tune. But not anymore. Flownover Country pays the piper, very generously, in salaries, benefits, pensions, and perks. But Conformicrat America calls the tune, the same unending single-note dirge. David Warren regards these as "two basically irreconcilable views of reality": "Only in America are they so equally balanced. Elsewhere in the west, the true believers in the Nanny State have long since prevailed."
Increasingly, America's divide is about the nature of the state itself -- about the American idea. And in that case why go on sharing the same real estate? As someone once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The Flownover Country's champion ought, in theory, to be the Republican Party. But, even in less fractious times, this is a loveless marriage. Much of the GOP establishment is either seduced by the Conformicrats, or terrified by them, to the point where they insist on allowing he liberals to set the parameters of the debate -- on health care, immigration, education, Social Security -- and then wonder why elections are always fought on the Democrats' terms. If you let the left make the rules, the right winds up being represented by the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, decent old sticks who know how to give dignified concession speeches. If you want to prevent Big Government driving America off a cliff, it's insufficient.
The Conformicrats need Flownover Country to fund them. It's less clear why Flownover Country needs the Conformicrats -- and a house divided against itself cannot stand without the guy who keeps up the mortgage payments.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They shall spring up among the grass
like willows by flowing streams.
5 This one will say, 'I am the LORD’s,'
another will call on the name of Jacob,
and another will write on his hand, 'The LORD’s,'
and name himself by the name of Israel."
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."
In Genesis 26, God confirmed it to Isaac thusly:
"...For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.”
Then I looked ahead at the Jesus' Great Commission to His disciples in Matthew 28:
"...Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Next, consider what the Holy Spirit did to the disciples at Pentecost, in Acts 2:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God–fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
Consider that God gave the disciples this miraculous power so they could fulfill this central mission: to reach the ends of the earth. God poured out His spirit at Pentecost in a way that Isaiah prophesied: the disciples would take the Good News to lands which were dead to the knowledge of God. This is how God planned to fulfill His promise to Abraham and Isaac: through their descendents He would pour His spirit and bless the entire earth.
So on one hand the Great Commission is a command to get to work, but on the other hand it is a great comfort to know the reason for that is to share God's blessing which was originally given just to Abraham and the Jews, with the purpose to enrich the world. Comforted are we to be God's chosen people in adoption!
Postscript meditation, on Paul's letter to the Galatians, chapter 3:
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
"None of the items listed as having been found in Guerena’s home are illegal, or indeed, unusual, particularly for a former Marine who had served two combat tours. One reason that the warrant information has not been released is likely that it was non-specific. In other words, the grounds for searching Guerena’s home may have been shaky at best."
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
|2 Timothy 1|
English Standard Version
Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You
3I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
"North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.
"A U.S. Geological Survey assessment, released April 10 , shows a 25-fold increase in the amount of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency's 1995 estimate of 151 million barrels of oil.
"New geologic models applied to the Bakken Formation, advances in drilling and production technologies, and recent oil discoveries have resulted in these substantially larger technically recoverable oil volumes. About 105 million barrels of oil were produced from the Bakken Formation by the end of 2007. ...
"The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. A "continuous" oil accumulation means that the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences. The next largest "continuous" oil accumulation in the U.S. is in the Austin Chalk of Texas and Louisiana, with an undiscovered estimate of 1.0 billions of barrels of technically recoverable oil.
"It is clear that the Bakken formation contains a significant amount of oil - the question is how much of that oil is recoverable using today's technology?" said Senator Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota. "To get an answer to this important question, I requested that the U.S. Geological Survey complete this study, which will provide an up-to-date estimate on the amount of technically recoverable oil resources in the Bakken Shale formation."
"The USGS estimate of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil has a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels."
Now check this out:
"The host said to Forbes, "I am going to Ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer; how much oil Does the U.S. Have in the ground?" Forbes did not miss a beat, he said, "more than all the Middle East put together."
But for goodness sake, don't pick your own basil!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
In a letter, Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa said ATF agents told his staff the agency allowed the sale to “known and suspected straw purchasers for an illegal trafficking ring near the Southwest border” and two of those weapons reportedly were recovered at the site of the Dec. 14 shootout that killed Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry.
"Terry, 40, was attempting to arrest bandits who prey on illegal immigrants when he was killed about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexicoborder. A member of the Border Patrol’s elite Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team, he was waiting with three other agents in a remote area north of Nogales, Ariz., when the gunbattle erupted..."
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!"Eliminationist rhetoric right there. Clearly, the Arlington Police would have seized his firearms. What a sad, degraded state for a once proud Commonwealth. It seems that I got out just in the nick of time."
I was told that if I voluntarilly surrendered my firearms, as a “show of good faith”, that my LTC would not be revoked. On the advice of counsel, I did so.
As soon as that transaction was completed, my LTC was yanked. Whether this was planned all along or not, I can not say. Technically, it has not been “revoked”, it has been “suspended”.
In either case, it sure feels like my RKBA has been infringed.
> if they revoked your firearms, did they have a warrant to do so, and under what authority?
MA is a “may issue” state.
As I understand it, under the law, the Chief of Police may revoke my right to store in MA, or carry in MA, firearms, but he may not confiscate them.
None the less, when my LTC was suspended, I was ORDERED to turn in all of my firearms; moving them out of state was not presented as an option.
> Do you have a legal defense fund set up somewhere where we can donate?
At this point in time my legal bills are noticeably but not crushing (my lawyer is ~$500/hr, and other experts we’ve called in have their own price tags). I own a home and a business, and would - at this point in time - feel awkward about accepting any help when there are so many more worthy folks out there. Please feel free to drop an extra $5 in the church collection plate, or give it to the local animal shelter or home for battered women to help those truly in need.
If this legal battle escalates, I reserve the right to revist this topic, of course!
> As you know from my comments on your website, I disagreed with you at the time you posted that. However, no matter how boorish or insensitive your statements, they were not an incitement to violence, that much is clear. What you said was “One down, 534 to go” which to me is no more an incitement to violence than the joke that goes something like this: “What do you call 500 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean?” ... a good start!”
Indeed, the post was meant as an homage to that exact joke.
> And no, Fran, it isn’t lock and load time.
Agreed. I had a long post up on my site, before I took it down, analyzing America’s current political situation in terms of the four point test of Catholic Just War doctrine. I also conclude that we currently only satisfy two of the four points.
> I think this will be turned around in court in very short order.
I’ve got my fingers crossed ... and a good legal strategy, which is a bit more important!
Thank you, all, for your support.