Thursday, May 31, 2007

I don't remember Ernie Pyle doing this...

The New York Times today has an article in which the reporter more or less argues that pictures of the wounded and killed are necessary to accurately report on war.

Funny, I've got a copy of Brave Men on my bookshelf, and it doesn't seem like Pyle needed pictures of corpses to get his point across. Can it really be true that those working for the Gray Lady forget the journalistic achievements of the past so quickly?

Here's the difference

....between "comprehensive" and "abstinence based" sex education. Although advocates would tell you that it simply teaches children about contraceptives in addition to the basics about sex, that's not exactly the case. You can end your child's innocence very quickly by exposing them to "compehensive" (= morals free) sex education.

You can also end up leading them into situations that will harm your children's relationship with God--don't forget for a minute that He chose marriage to be one of the pictures He uses to describe His love for us.

If you send your children to the government's schools, you owe it to yourself to make sure they're not exposed to the Planned Parenthood/SIECUS perversion curriculum.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wanna help a wounded soldier?

Take a look at those unused frequent flier miles, and consider donating them to "Fisher House," which is using those miles to get plane tickets for the loved ones of wounded soldiers to visit them while they recover. H/T Michelle Malkin.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Minnesota and Michigan both lose, though....

.... to Al-Azhar University in Egypt, home of a scholar that argues ...never mind, read for yourself. You just can't make this stuff up anymore.

And the winner is!

Those outside the upper Midwest are probably not aware of it, but each year, the Michigan and Minnesota state legislatures have a contest to see who can come up with the stupidest bill. They don't quite rank up there with California, but they're trying.

Michigan's entry this year was a doozy; facing a deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars, lawmakers wrote a bill that would have given an IPOD to every student in their government schools under the banner of "improving education." Evidently a significant minority (whew!) of that august body believed that listening to rap and bubblegum pop makes children smarter--must be they had never heard of the soon to be former Mrs. Federline.

So the pressure was on in St. Paul, and WOW did they deliver! Arguments about the superiority of Minnesota's government (public) schools are sure to take a hit after many of their graduates voted to move Minnesota to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. Evidently, the fact that the technology doesn't exist to achieve this with our current standards of living didn't make much of an impression on them.

At least they didn't pass another stadium bill.

Monday, May 21, 2007

How to kill a profession

Last week, I found myself in a fascinating discussion on SayAnything regarding what kind of person is qualified to call himself a journalist, and under what conditions that person may operate. As the husband of a fine lady with a journalism degree, and as the great-nephew of a fairly prominent journalist, it's a subject that means a bit to me.

Kenny died before the Internet became big, but I wonder what he'd think of the state of his profession today. Certainly he knew that television was making inroads, but I'd guess he'd be appalled to see, for example, what's become of the Minneapolis Star and the Minneapolis Tribune.

What's to blame? My take is that it's become too much of a "profession," just like teaching. Where it was once sufficient to have curiousity, writing skill, and the willingness to work odd hours, now it seems that one generally needs a journalism education (the kind Ernie Pyle mocked) and the willingness to interact with an immense bureaucracy.

In other words, the profession has been redesigned to stifle the very creativity that needed to be a decent journalist. I wish it were the only profession so stifled, but sad to say, that's not true.

PS. It probably also doesn't help that my wife's journalism law textbook doesn't even member the Peter Zenger case--and this at a "good" journalism school, Michigan State.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Good news for my town!

The new ice cream store in the old railroad depot in Chaska, "It's Just Perfect", has some really good ice cream. If you get a chance to try the "Zanzibar chocolate," do so, as it most likely is about 30-40% cacao, if the taste be an indication.

I was lamenting the lack of good ice cream shops in Minnesota (vs. the plethora in Wisconsin) recently. Thankfully, those "cheeseheads" are starting to do business here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Leave it to Lexus to make a vehicle that deftly combines a hybrid powertrain, sedan body, and mileage comparable to that of a full size pickup or Suburban. I don't think that I'd throw a deer in the trunk, though, and certainly I'd hesitate to put lots of grubby little fingers on that upholstery.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Friday Babe

No, not what you think. Introducing my 5th child and first son, Samuel, born May 4, held here by my mom. Which explains why I haven't been posting much lately. 7 lbs, 13 oz, 19" long.

Mom & baby are doing great, and Sam's big sisters love having a little brother. And holding him, of course.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Comment of the week

"It sounds like a game where people pass around a dollar bill in a circle, and every time it passes through their hands, they think they've earned another dollar. "

Kudos to Pentamom for pointing this out. All too often, we cite aggregate economic statistics as some kind of sign of our prosperity, and in reality these statistics indicate only our poverty.

All those wages for working wives and single moms? Half to taxes, and the rest to daycare and the costs of working. All those new homes? Don't forget what percentage of them are occupied by single moms and mortaged to the hilt. You're paying to keep a lot of them occupied with welfare spending.

Bright & shiny new school? Don't forget that we're spending about an order of magnitude more per student today than a century ago--for the amazing result that a college degree confers about the same amount of knowledge as last century's 8th grade education.

Prosperity? Let's try "Potemkin Village." I'd guess we could cut the size of our economy by 20%-30% without any citizen being one iota poorer in any real sense.

What can you do to stop it? Look for ways that you can refuse to keep passing that dollar around. A great place to start is by loving your wife and paying off debt, and encouraging your friends to do the same.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The significance of the hireling in economics

Take a look at John 10: 7-18 to get a view of the significance of the term "hireling" in regards to the differences between a corporatist mindset and true entrepreneurial capitalism. It is doubtless true that the central message of this passage is Christ's love for His sheep, but we can nonetheless note that Christ here points out a central difference between the hired man and the owner of the sheep.

And here's an interesting note about the Cal university system refusing to accept high school transcripts if Scripture appears in textbooks. Good luck teaching civics or history with that approach, or for that matter, accurately presenting the life of Isaac Newton.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A definition of capitalism?

Take a gander at this one. H/T WND.

Notice that the author assumes that capitalism is corporatism--really mercantilism. It is a bitter irony that that which Adam Smith argued vociferously against--mercantilism--is being represented as what Smith advocated--free markets. And again, it doesn't help that executive hirelings often characterize themselves as entrepreneurs.

A common misconception

Larger text provided via recommendation of Shawn. :^)

One of the most infuriating things for an aspiring capitalist pig like myself is the fact that far too many people confuse capitalism--and free markets--with mercantalism and other variants of fascism, the "bundling" of the state and private enterprise.

One of the chief ways that the debate is misrepresented is when the managerial class presents itself as entrepreneurs or "bourgeois pigs." Let's compare the historical "bourgeoisie" with the modern manager and see if this holds.

The historic root of the word "bourgeois" is the French word for "castle," "bourg." The Bourgeoisie were those who conducted their business nearly in the shadow of the prince's castle, and their needs from the prince were few; protection from those who would steal their livelihood being chief. In putting their own resources (capital) at risk, they transformed medieval Europe.

In contrast, corporate managers are "hirelings", using the company's resources to reduce risk, preserve market share and too often to extract favors from government. This should not surprise us; the very core of socialism and fascism is, of course, the idea that someone else ought to manage our lives for us.