Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Arizona: doing the work the federal government won't do.

Ummm, unfair burden on employers? What malarky. That's about as crazy as not recognizing that letting tax cuts expire is actually a tax hike. But offending employers are correct: it should be federal law.

Posted on December 8, 2010 at 6:54 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday on Arizona's employer sanctions law.

The law allows prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants...

Eleven U.S. and Arizona companies challenged the law.

They claim sanctions for employing illegal immigrants should be federal law and that the Arizona law puts an unfair burden on Arizona employers.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black Tears

Sadly for the Arizona, after 229 bodies were recovered the Navy was forced to stop because of increasingly dangerous conditions. Not long after, a decision was made to leave the dreadnought where it lay and in the process create a lasting and powerful tribute to those who lost their lives and remain entombed in the ship. When the Arizona sank it also took well over a million gallons of fuel to the bottom. Now, at a rate of two quarts a day, tiny oil droplets, known as "black tears," rise to the surface every 20 seconds -- and will continue to do so for decades to come.

Remember the Arizona!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One of the most important days in the history of the world

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, also marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. On Nov. 11, 1918 the Germans signed the Armistice, bringing an end to the hostilities of WW I. This year we observe Veterans Day on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010.

In Nov. of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclamation, setting the tone for future observances:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation."

In 1938 Congress passed a bill that each Nov. 11 "shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace and ...hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day."

After WW II, there were many new veterans who had little or no association with WW I. The word, "armistice," means simply a truce; therefore as years passed, the significance of the name of this holiday changed. Leaders of Veterans' groups decided to try to correct this and make Nov. 11 the time to honor all who had fought in various American wars, not just in World War I.

In Emporia, Kansas, on November 11, 1953, instead of an Armistice Day program, there was a Veterans' Day observance. Ed Rees, of Emporia, was so impressed that he introduced a bill into the House to change the name to Veterans' Day. After it's passage, Rees wrote every state governor asking for their approval and cooperation in observing the changed holiday.

In 1954 Congress official changed the name of the holiday to Veterans' Day. For a brief period (1971-1977), the holiday was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October, but Congress reverted back to Nov. 11 in 1978.

The observance has since evolved as a time for honoring living veterans who have served in the military during wartime or peacetime.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy 235th Birthday

United States Navy Birthday

On Oct. 13, 1775, the U.S. Navy was born when the Continental Congress authorized the arming of two sailing vessels with 80 men and 10 carriage guns in order to intercept British supply and munitions transports. The Declaration of Independence came nine months later, followed by the creation of the Department of the Navy in 1798. Today, our Navy is the most powerful in the world.

HT to Patriot Post

Here's to you, sailors!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I understand better now

I don’t think I mentioned about a month ago I finished reading the Bible. I had planned to read it within a year but was about 8 months late. As the months passed I was happy to adopt a leisurely pace. I am reading a little less of the Bible now, as I breeze through a few other books. A friend loaned me “Thr3e” by Ted Dekker, a psycho-thriller which ends with this quotation by Paul:

“I do not understand what I do...It is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me...For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing...I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me...I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin. I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7:15-25

I am not about to say I understand this paradox, which is like so many other unsolvable mysteries. However I am convinced we are, as Bruce Cockburn sang, “habit and skin,” and what follows is surely commonplace to contemplatives. We thoughtfully decide to do very few things per day compared to the vast number of habitual actions: putting on our pants, one leg at a time. Consider further that a significant percentage of those habits are neither neutral nor “good.” So we have taken into ourselves habitual sinful activity: over-eating, being prone to anger, tuning out one’s family...But here’s the rub: we are no longer slaves to that sinful nature. One cannot serve two masters: “one must either serve the one and hate the other, or love the other and despise the first.”

God can free us as readily as we have taken these sinful habits into our daily routine. It is not rocket science, my reader. However it does require a small step of faith. Stop doing it, one time. Pray every day. Allow yourself to be convinced it is actually sinful, and that your life will be better without it. Don’t do it the next day, either. Be thankful for and celebrate the good habits: daily prayer, being circumspect, listening to others and feeling compassion. When asked what God requires of us, I have often said, “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” The Westminster Catechism is perhaps less specific however delightfully instructive: “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” So many Christians in my life were never taught, nor did they consider the enjoyment part. Please do! “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world!”

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Man and A Class

We will continue to search and apply means of grace in these United States, but I certainly have been spending more time in contemplation than documentation. The early life of John Paul II as told in the movie "Karol: the man who became pope" was truly eye-opening.
While his friends chose armed rebellion against the Nazis, he became a priest and prayed for freedom. The prayer option certainly appears to take longer, however God's ways are not our ways.

This essay hit me like a ton of bricks. Excellent synthesis of why so many Americans are resembling who Nixon called "The Silent Majority." Well, with the Tea Party movement, they're becoming less silent.

Hmmm, Nixon...JFK...who is doing a better job of re-enacting Camelot, Clinton or Obama?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tipping Point

Postnote: a friend wrote me to say thankfully the Harvard crowd are never in doubt but usually wrong...nice!

America, please stop this slide into economic Europeanism...the whole world will suffer for it.

"...the tipping point is often when the cost of servicing an empire’s debt is larger than the cost of its defense budget.

“That has not been the case I think at any point in U.S. history,” Ferguson said. “It will be the case in the next five years.”...

“Having grown up in a declining empire, I do not recommend it,” Ferguson said. “It’s not a lot of fun, actually, decline. To be more serious, a world in which the United States is no longer predominate is not likely to be a better world, actually.”

"In what he called his “light moment,” Ferguson said, “I think there is a way out for the United States. I don’t think its over. But it all hinges on whether you can re-energize the real mainsprings of American power. And those two things are technological innovation and entrepreneurship."

Friday, July 2, 2010

The hour is fast approaching

"[T]he hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty -- that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men." --George Washington, General Orders, 1776

hattip to Founder's Quote Daily

32"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

35"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' " --Gospel of Mark, Ch 13

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What Rights Do You Have

At the heart of this blog is whether humans enjoy "natural rights" at all. As a human construct John Locke's exceptional philosophy underpins the American experiment and, as such, I give it what honor is due to the finest human accomplishment. I cringe at modern social movements which attack its defense of private property and freedom worldwide. And further, the most observant Christians of the founding fathers (and more specifically, the framers) would be unlikely to have issue with this, however...

As Christians we are slaves to Christ. As one concerned commenter wrote, isn't God the ultimate sovereign from which we must flee to attain liberty? The answer is yes, and no. God is sovereign, and that relationship makes the free and rich Western person have more difficulty fathoming that relationship. Here is a recent example of the dilemma, if there be one:

I love the practical consequences of the First Amendment as much as the next person, but I worry that it is built on a faulty foundation, that it derives from ideas about the human person and human dignity that do not cut the anthropological mustard, and like everything built on a faulty foundation, it may not be as sturdy as it seems. We can keep the issues fuzzy, but at the end of the day, the fact of the Incarnation calls into question the very idea of autonomy. I submit this is the central issue in our Western culture today and the point at which the Church remains the most counter-cultural influence in the West: How do we rescue human freedom and all the manifest good that flows from a politics in which human freedom is valued, from the nasty Enlightenment influences that require the privatization of religion?

The author responds:

It is possible (indeed, it is common) to think about, interpret, and apply the First Amendment as if it were a philosophical statement about the nature of truth (e.g., "it can only be found through the operation of an unregulated marketplace of ideas") or human flourishing (e.g., "no one is any position to judge whether or which ideas and statements are damaging or harmful"). But, it can also be understood, in a more pedestrian way: "Generally speaking, the government is an unreliable, or even untrustworthy, regulator of the search for, and debates about, truth. So, we disable the government from regulating speech not because there is no truth, or because ideas never cause harm, but only because the government-speech-regulation cure will too often be worse than the disease."

There is great value in keeping our eyes on the true prize, what Paul called "winning the race." We do this through self-discipline, so let's not get so caught up in political parrying that we forget the Source of our blessings, Who loves us and is active in the world today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Land of the Free

I'll bet most people who spend a any portion of their lives contemplating the Bible not only inform their lives with its principles, but also analogize some of its passages in a completely different context. Here's one:

The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians is a powerful, short letter in which he fleshes out to what extent Christians are "under the Law" and how that compares with faith in Christ. It struck me that this argument bears much similarity to the current state of politics in the USA. Why would we want to return to a state of tyranny, whether under the guise of socialism or otherwise? This is the land to which other people flee...and we wish to model ourselves on those rejected models? Isn't this very issue why our country was founded in the first place?

"For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

I challenge you to take 15 minutes to read this book of the Bible and consider this analogy. If you can only spare 10 minutes, read 2:11-5:23.

Now I certainly don't mean to diminish the Word of God by making an analogy to human politics. However, I'll bet the founding fathers wouldn't see anything wrong with it, and might even chime in: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Arizona struggles on life support

ETA: it passed. I truly hope it does everything as promised, and that the economy doesn't suffer as a result. However taxes rarely perform that way.

Food for thought… re: Proposition 100, the “temporary” 1% (one percent) sales tax increase.

"The debate over Prop 100—the plan to raise the state’s sales tax by 18 percent—is in full swing and Goldwater is working hard to explain why this tax increase is unnecessary. Goldwater Institute President Darcy Olsen will be debating the issue on Channel 3 this Sunday, May 2, at 5:30 p.m. We hope you’ll have the time to tune in.

"You may remember that 10 years ago we raised the state sales tax with the promise that the new money would go to classrooms. Earlier this year, the state’s Auditor General looked into how that money is being spent and found that just over half makes it to the classroom. The rest gets spent on administration. In fact, less of each dollar spent on education in Arizona makes it to the classroom than before we raised the sales tax ten years ago. About an hour ago we posted a 30 second video on You Tube to explain this little know aspect of the sales tax debate."

emailed to me From: "Starlee Rhoades" of the Goldwater Institute
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2010 3:47:49 PM GMT -07:00 U.S. Mountain Time (Arizona)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Make it stick

I've played around with JB Weld a few times but never before done a large project with epoxy. My most recent endeavor was fixing a “modern” auto key: they have tiny computer chips embedded within the plastic, so if the plastic ring part breaks (has happened to us 3 times now), you can’t just drill a new hole into the steel key and have it start your car. Maybe it’s due to the dry air…I just call it bad design. At $100 a pop, I wasn’t about to buy extra car keys. So after sanding the broken area, I drilled a tiny hole on each side of the key, and inserted a short length of twisted wire bicycle cable, anchored with a drop of JB Weld in each hole. Bingo: the key stays on the ring, and it looks kinda cool, too. Take that, you modern key selling pirates.

After purchasing a box of Marine Tex, I realized I was in a different ballpark. You don’t want to mess around with this stuff…without being thoughtful. All the lessons my Dad taught me 20+ years ago came flooding back: (1) don’t use the same tools for scooping out resin and catalyst, (2) read the instructions, (3) have all your tools and clean-up stuff ready to go, (4) make plenty of extra…and be ready with extra projects to fix with the left-over. And so forth. You don’t want to be a doofus by blowing the job, which could get much more expensive than the cost of the epoxy.

Once the job was complete, I pondered the art of epoxy. Like welding, it’s a true art and one which is coming to a close in this post-modern world. Like hunting and farming. I encourage you to learn another skill and teach it to your kids. Like sharing the Gospel, it won’t be a fruitless endeavor for both you and the recipient.

Monday, April 19, 2010

235 years ago

While at school out East, I took a winter's field day to Concord, crossed the North Bridge, and tested the ice on the creek. Yeah, I got my toes wet. I recall thinking it isn't much of a creek, across which a shot was heard 'round the world. But numerous times since, I've wondered how quickly I'd have scrambled up and down its banks with a musket on my shoulder...

"The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.[8][9] They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.

About 700 British Army regulars, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were given secret orders to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. Through effective intelligence gathering, Patriot colonials had received word weeks before the expedition that their supplies might be at risk, and had moved most of them to other locations. They also received details about British plans on the night before the battle, and were able to rapidly notify the area militias of the military movement.

The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington. The militia were outnumbered and fell back, and the regulars proceeded on to Concord, where they searched for the supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, several hundred militiamen fought and defeated three companies of the King's troops. The outnumbered regulars fell back from the Minutemen after a pitched battle in open territory.

More militiamen arrived soon thereafter and inflicted heavy damage on the regulars as they marched back towards Boston. Upon returning to Lexington, Smith's expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Lieutenant-General Hugh Percy. The combined force, now of about 1,700 men, marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and eventually reached the safety of Charlestown. The accumulated militias blockaded the narrow land accesses to Charlestown and Boston, starting the Siege of Boston.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his "Concord Hymn", described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the "shot heard 'round the world," even though it was not the first shot of the war.[10]

God, please bless these United States of America!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our state of health

Here is the best summary I've seen about the practical impacts of the new Health Care law. We are free to think either, "It's the right thing to do," or, "It's socialist," but it is worth knowing specifics...

Here's are two samples:

"Tax on Home Sales. Imposes a 3.8 percent tax on home sales and other real estate transactions. Middle-income people must pay the full tax even if they are “rich” for only one day – the day they sell their house and buy a new one."

"Tax on investment income. ObamaCare imposes a 3.8 percent annual tax on investment income of individuals making $200,000 or more and on families making $250,000 or more. The new tax is not indexed to inflation, so more people will fall under it each year. Seniors on fixed incomes and people with IRAs and 401(k) plans will be hit particularly hard."

How do you think that's going to affect homeownership, the real estate market, individual investing, the economy? Just remember, a government discourages activities by taxing them. Hmmm.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mustard Seed

To preface, here's another recommendation for the Chronological Bible. I began the New Testament a few months ago, and the way the Gospels are woven together is a treat and a blessing. I have a feeling I'll be reading the Gospels again quite soon.

In our Bible study tonight we discussed I Peter Chapter 2, in which we are called to respect all human authority which is over us. This is one of the Bible's "hard sayings," especially for Americans, not only because it calls us to do something difficult, but also because we have a hard time understanding practically what it means. Similarly, the chapter continues by instructing slaves to obey their masters. What can this possibly mean to Americans?

My friend Dave, AKA Troubled Corinthian, made the point that Americans are under the Constitution, and that every American is, in effect, a sovereign individual. We have no master but God. This has interesting ramifications when applied to whether we should obey a law which we understand to be un-Constitutional, let alone such laws as may be in violation of our Christianity. Be that as it may, the focus here is that Jesus is our Lord, and we are slaves to Him. I repeat, this is difficult to understand for the modern mind, let alone to live under. All Americans are equal under the Constitution (if not treated equally in practice, another topic for another time), and all Christians are slaves to Christ.

Let's consider Mark 9:14-29, the story of the demon-possessed son, whom the disciples did not have faith to heal. Jesus rebuked them for their faithlessness, and we recall another saying of Christ, that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea, and it will. Now consider Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, and gave them all kinds of power. Do you have faith that is true? Although we often bemoan particular losses of liberty in recent decades, imagine American life compared to human history: how blessed we are with political freedoms and earthly riches! Not only a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, but a TV in every living room as well! Few of us contemplate how different much of the outside world is, where the right to gather and worship God is not protected by law. May the American dream help move our faith a little closer to appreciating the difference between a fisherman's life before and after Christ entered his life?

The founding fathers said, "Yes." They used overtones of the Great Commission and adamantly believed it was God's Will that the United States be formed and consciously planned to spread liberty. If we are truly thankful for the many blessings America bestows--especially compared to the rest of the world and all of world history--how much more should we be thankful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever, who died to redeem humanity and now lives, Whose yoke is easy and Whose burden is light? His love and power is infinite, and He has invited us to be adopted sons and daughters into His kingdom. What an inheritance!

So although as Americans we struggle to understand what it means to suffer for Christ, or to be a slave, our imaginations are blessed nonetheless by comparing our blessings here on earth to the endless riches God has yet to unfold. Let us never take our blessings for granted, nor forget even America is only a tiny glimpse of the freedoms in store for all believers in Christ.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Christianity in the Middle East

This is hilarious...and true IMHO...

ABC News found that Trijicon, which makes rifle scopes for the military, stamps references to Bible verses on its equipment [1]. The defense contractor subsequently announced [2] that it will voluntarily stop stamping these references on combat rifle sights. These sights are used in Iraq and Afghanistan — sometimes to train Muslims, sometimes to shoot them. According to ABC News, this is very important. If a Muslim were to see this code on the side of a rifle and then look up the verse in one of the many Bibles you can easily find in Muslim countries, then that Muslim might become indoctrinated with Christianity and then … chaos or something.

read it all...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Of Machinery and Parasites

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824

Boy, this sure sounds like a host of federal bureaus to me. With Massachusetts electing a conservative senator to fill "Ted Kennedy's seat," I look forward to seeing that big train turning.

Hattip again to Founders Quotes Daily

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Years Revelations

I've been blessed with a few enlightening DVDs over the past 12 months, so here goes:

Star of Bethlehem: you will be amazed by the ground-breaking astronomical discovery behind this, whether you're a believer or not.

John MacArthur: Taking the mystery out of knowing God's Will. In short, God Wills that you be:
1. Saved (from your sins, and eternally)
2. Spirit-filled (Holy Spirit)
3. Sanctified (separated from sin)
4. Submissive and humble before Almighty God
5. Suffering in this world, as did Christ, but NOT like He suffered, necessarily
6. Thankful
7. Free to act as you will, as long as you do the above!

And the glue which holds us all together, awesome science and speaking. Here's an excerpt:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Life Principles

I again refer to and quote from Gabe Suarez's excellent Warrior talk emails.
Chalk this as one of those lists which would do well do tape on the mirror.

What are the components of the Warrior Mindset?

1. A firm belief in G-D
2. Knowing the deep love of family, friends and country
3. Belief in the sanctity of human life
4. Knowing the difference between what is right and what is wrong
5. Having the strength to act on what is right
6. Having the strength to resist that which is wrong
7. Strength to overcome fear when necessary
8. Taking responsibility for one's safety and the safety of dependants
9. Wisdom to be selective in one's battles
10. Alert to one's surrounding
11. Profiling and evaluating people and things on a constant basis
12. Making plans of action dynamically and continually
13. Being committed to any necessary action
14. Placing the outcome of one's actions above the personal cost of the action
15. Willingness to terminate the life of another who threatens innocent lives
16. Accepting the possibility of death as a consequence of engaging evil
17. Commitment to training and further improving skill sets as well as deepening the understanding of the spiritual basis for being a Warrior

Pruning Knife

Hey, most people I know are sharpening their pruning knives,
while the government violins get new strings and play on. Enough.
(If you haven't yet signed up for Founders Quotes Daily, get thee hence.)

"The multiplication of public offices,
increase of expense beyond income,
growth and entailment of a public debt,
are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Spencer Roane, 1821

Unless you think the founders weren't that smart,
or that their thoughts don't apply to modern society, or... which case I'm not sure what to do with you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Founding Minds Write

My friend Troubled Corinthian is moved to spread the reading of our founding documents to anyone who will get together. He gave me the book "5000 Year Leap" for Christmas which should be required reading for all U.S. high schoolers. I suggested this book would be a great starting point, since most Americans (let alone students) are rarley able to digest the founders' writing.

Indeed, unless you are a law student, it's a rare person who picks up, say, the Federalist Papers for light reading. Also, I think the below service is excellent for sharpening one's mind in the writing of our founders. I easily recall how in college my mind worked to process reading Shakespeare, and within a few plays it was cake. Much easier than learning a new language, but it takes a little patience and attention at the start. Of course the founders came much later than Shakespeare, and their language is the same as ours...excepting their glorious choice of wordsmithing...e.g.:

"There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instil prejudices at any price; or as the serious." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 29

I thoroughly enjoy daily quotations from this service, followed by weekly editorials.