Monday, March 31, 2008

Say what?

A top (?) cancer researcher suggests that cell phone use is more dangerous than cigarettes, as it may double the risk of brain cancer. Having relatives who've died of lung cancer, and not having relatives who've died of brain cancer, I was skeptical.

Turns out my skepticism was justified. Only about 13000 people die each year in our country from brain cancers and tumors, and over 160,000 people die each year from lung cancer--and this doesn't even count smoking-related deaths from emphysema, heart disease, and so on.

Plus, the relative risk for cell phones is 2.0 or less--generally in the "statistically insigificant" category. For smoking, it's about 40--clearly statistically significant.

I do believe that medical journals used to do a process called "peer review" to figure out "subtle" problems with methodology like this. Evidently that's no longer the case.

Weekend report

Well, God's sense of humor is wonderful; I post about the glories of Spring, and this is what we get. Glorious snow; serves me right.

Spent time this weekend at a "Men for Christ" rally at my church. The brownies and coffee were excellent--John M., you missed out--and even a man as dense as I was able to pick out a pattern going to the "break-out" sessions. Ministering to paroled convicts? Don't act as if the sin nature doesn't apply to them. Ministering to couples at a crisis pregnancy center? Don't forget that bowing down to sin got them where they are today--they need the Gospel. Ministering to others? Don't forget know, I'm seeing a pattern here. It's like the Gospel is central to life--oh, and that's the theme of the closing session, too.

Even a dense guy like myself can start to figure that out. Lots of wonderful opportunities out there to serve Him. One fun one; you can love your wife better by stopping snoring. And how to do that? Lose weight--excess fat can vibrate in the nasal passages.

If you wonder why it's important for men and women to have separate teaching from time to time, think about how men would take that one with other men, vs. how they would take it if their wives were next to them.

And for a bit of fun, my family turned on all the lights in the house at 8pm on Saturday in honor of this. The whole thing is really surreal; if all those lights in the city are really unnecessary, why not turn them off all the time and save the money? Of course, if they really cared for the environment, they wouldn't get all that good press.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday video

Don't try this on dial-up, but here's a link to a video that really puts the glorious season called Spring into perspective. H/T, or possibly blame, can be assigned to NightWriter.

Here you go.

Can't you imagine it with a man in a top hat and a woman in Victorian dress and parasol?

A heartwarming story

In our age of vicious personal attacks, brutal politics, and international terrorism, I think that sometimes we need a few inspirational stories to get ourselves through the day. Here's one that I think fits the bill.

Semper Fi, and once they find the punk, I think I'll nominate him for a Darwin Award.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"But they've done so much good!"

It's a common refrain when someone gets caught saying or doing something really foolish, wicked, or absurd; to try and point out "all the good" that person had done. My brother did that once for a junior high school book report. He told about a man who seems to have done a lot for his country: he restored the currency, brought it out of an economic depression, restored his military from decades of neglect, funded the arts, restored his country's industries to great esteem, and re-established normal, respectful diplomatic relations with his neighbors where one-sided domination of his nation by others had been the case.

Then he pulled the book from behind his back. Somehow we don't remember that man for all the good that could be said about him, and for good reason. Just because someone has done something commendable doesn't excuse him from responsibility for the mistakes he's made and the sins he's committed. Romans 6:23.

What can you learn....

....from a candidate's tax returns? Well, plenty, really. Let's take a walk through typical tax forms and see what they can tell us about a man.

Look at the 1040 form, and see if he's got any interest, capital gains, or dividend income. Look at the schedules for those as well. If they've had great income for decades, but not a lot of interest, dividend, and capital gains income, you can infer that they might not be very good at handling money. Do you want to put such a person in charge of a three trillion dollar budget? Not I.

Look at Schedule A. Do they itemize? Do they therefore have before them the impact of the taxes they create and modify? Do they have charitable giving? What does it say when someone supports government charity, but supports no private charities with his own money? Doesn't he suggest that he's not confident enough in his own ideas to support them with his own resources?

Look further at the mortgage & investment interest columns. Is the candidate paying more, or less, interest each year? If you've got increasing mortgage interest every year since 2002, you have your hint that they're using their home as a piggy bank--and again, their financial acumen is suspect.

As many pastors will tell you, if you want a good look into a man's heart, take a look at his checkbook and his daytimer. It's not for no reason that the Bible talks a LOT about how a man handles money, and if you can't look at his checkbook and credit card receipts, tax forms are the next best thing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What would you say...

...if the likely Democratic candidate for President reported no interest on his tax returns until 2005, as well as negligible dividend income and few capital gains?

Well, you have your opportunity now. Barack Obama, despite income (with his wife) of around $200,000 per year, reported no taxable interest or dividends in 2001, 2003, and 2004, and negligible amounts in 2000 and 2002--and it appears that neither his tax preparer nor the IRS called him on it.

If other people notice this, it could get very interesting.

The original post notes his low charitable giving; somehow his great affection for his pastor didn't seem to translate into financial support for his church. Sad to say, that doesn't surprise me with liberals anymore--Al Gore was well known to be very stingy that way as well. However, this tax form thing is very interesting.

(and also not unprecedented for a Chicago politician; Harold Washington had a scandal of "forgetting" to file his tax returns for a number of years)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who knew?

It turns out that Robert's Rules of Order were compiled from parliamentary procedure by a general who happened to be a Baptist layman. Given the stereotype about my fellow Baptists not exactly being the most orderly in our meetings, I've got to smile at the irony.

Or maybe it's appropriate. H/T Veith. Hopefully he gets his stamp soon for his contribution to general sanity in meetings.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A bit of fun

Since Ben & Gino haven't done the "six things nobody knows about me" thing, I figured I'd help 'em out with some things that nobody would ever say about either of them. 'cause they're made up. Fiction alert.

1. What's for dinner? Nothing like a nice tofu salad with a big glass of wheatgrass juice.

2. Pilgrimages for both of them next year; Ben to Trent, Gino to Wittenberg.

3. Ben's closet is full of "Blue Devils" apparel, and Gino's got a dresser full of Barry Manilow shirts.

4. Nothing goes down like a smooth cup of Folger's or Farmer Bros.

5. Both are tireless advocates for government schooling.

6. You'll never meet anyone who knows fashion better than these guys. (does this apply to KD too?)

Hey, maybe a fun new theme to carry around; make up six things that are absolutely not like the person, but are not fightin' words, either?

A sermon in five words

When I was a baby Christian, I could count on two things in every church service. There would be an altar call at the end, and the pastor would utter only one sentence before praying for the morning's offering:

"Let us prepare to invest."

I don't remember too many of Howard Sugden's sermons. However, I do remember him shuffling to the podium (he was over eighty years old at the time), placing his hands on either side to brace himself for the weighty duty of prayer, and uttering a simple sermon in five words before thanking God for the provision He was about to make. I think of it almost every time I put something in the plate. It's investing.


Paul Greenberg's Easter column. I would not have guessed that a Reform Jew like Greenberg could so nail that. My hat is off to him!

Friday, March 21, 2008

A thought for Good Friday

I am a Christ-killer.

A forgiven one, thankfully, but a Christ-killer nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gorbachev a believer?

Back in college, when "Glasnost" and "Perestroika" were being introduced in the Soviet Union, I daydreamed about the possibility that Gorbachev might be a closet Christian. Reagan is said to have had the same suspicion.

Today, the news comes out that Gorbachev himself makes that claim, and...quite frankly, I'm not convinced. Didn't our Lord say something to the effect that He would deny him who denies Him?

I hope that Gorbachev has indeed entrusted the safekeeping of his soul to Jesus, or will soon. I'm just not yet convinced that someone who publicly espoused atheism (required for all Communist Party members) can claim that he was simultaneously accepting and denying Christ.

An incredible paradox

We have about an order of magnitude more material resources than our Depression-era parents and grandparents had, but those in the Depression era seem to have had far more things that would last long enough for children and grandchildren to fight over once the patriarchs had moved on or passed on. Here's a little column about the subject; isn't it neat how our grandparents accumulated so much that their children and grandchildren are willing to keep, and on wages that we would scorn today--even if inflation were accounted for?

I dare suggest that we've got something to learn here. Personally, I've noticed that the furniture I've received from my parents and grandparents seems to hold up a lot better than the stuff you can get at Wal-Mart or Target. Maybe filling the McMansion with the new stuff (and paying through the nose on the mortgage) isn't that good of an idea after all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What do to?

...about skyrocketing STD infection rates, asks Gabrielle. Darned good question. Where to start?

Well, start by taking part in leading young people (and others of course) to Christ, and help to disciple them in the church. Encourage their parents in the marriages God has given them, and help to provide a safe place for them to be when their parents need to be elsewhere.

More? Well, what about helping those who wish to homeschool, or to take in foster children? Can you think of a more vulnerable group to this kind of thing? I can't.

Done all that? Wonderful--I envy your achievement! What about taking a look at your local schools? Read the paper; do they need chaperones at school events? Maybe an "untrained" ear like yours might be able to figure out that somebody seriously needs to edit the playlist at the sock hop, or that the "dance" team is going to be qualified for something a bit less dignified than the Bolshoi, or that local football fans need a bit of training in etiquette?

Little things like this can turn down the temperature. Give it a try.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Watch out for engineers!

According to sociologists at Oxford, it turns out that engineers are over-represented in Islamic Jihad, even outpacing squirrels, apparently. When the perpetrators of outrages are identified, it turns out that about 40% of successful terrrorists who hold a college degree happen to be engineers. I guess I should be shocked and outraged, but in reality, I'm not surprised.


Well, the historic roots of the practice of engineering lie in the creation and operation of engines of war--hence the "Military Science" degrees historically conferred at West Point. Terrorists are known for creating and deploying unconventional engines of war. Thus, to find a high proportion of engineers among people who make things that go BOOM is about as surprising as finding drunks at a bar.

Leave it to sociologists to downplay the obvious reason for a phenomenon in order to try to score political points.

(reason # 534, 233, 785 why you need to teach your children logic--so they won't grow up to be sociologists at Oxford!)

An example of kinism destroying a church

....courtesy of Anthony Bradley. Yes, Obama's pastor isn't the ordinary hue of those who would (pretend to) reach out to only those of their own race or ethnicity, but he's a kinist every bit as much as the "Little Geneva" crowd we knew and cringed at. Observe how he's doing everything BUT preaching the Scriptures. Playing racial politics in the pulpit will do that to you.

It may be exactly what his flock wants to hear, but I do think the Scripture says something about preaching to "itching ears" instead of the Word of God. It also says something about bringing the Good News not only to Jerusalem, but also Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Kinists of all colors would do well to remember Matthew 28.

Some good news in the culture wars.

No kidding, and it has to do with a lot of the things that we would think are really scary, sad, sinful, and horrible. Things like the Eliot Spitzer debacle, the ongoing trend of teachers molesting students, and someone finding out her "husband" actually was a woman--seven years after they married.

Why is this good? Simple; each disaster gives us a chance to talk about how it should be, and exactly why the perversions are exactly that. Let's go out and talk about these things--and use this as an extra excuse (not that we need any) to figure out a new way to show our wives how much we love them.

Let's remember the second part of "Where sin abounds," and rejoice in that.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Six things about KingDavid

KingDavid is apparently having some difficulty playing "it," so I figured I'd help him with the "six things" meme. Here goes:

1. His favorite foods are chicken and tofu.

2. He has five pet squirrels, all of them from Afghanistan.

3. All of his shoes are Corfam to avoid cruelty to animals.

4. He roots for Army to take the Commander in Chief's Trophy every football season.

5. He's really enjoying the extra hour of daylight when he comes home from work.

6. This is his home.

You're welcome, KD. :^)

Some sad news

It appears that the maker of Hostess and Wonder (if it's) Bread is emerging from Chapter 11 protection. Given what this manufacturer does to innocent flour, sugar, and other ingredients, I was hoping for Chapter 7, or at least for one of their Quality people to a reputable bakery to find out what real baked goods taste like, and change their product line.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A scary statistic

40% of sexually active teen girls have an STD, according to the CDC. This is really scary, as it indicates not only the danger, but also the nature, of sex for teens.

Why so? Well, consider that in 1999, the CDC estimated that about 65 million adults, or about 33%, had been infected with an STD. The numbers are probably somewhat higher now, but we're left with the interesting phenomenon that STD infection rates for teen girls are about the same as those for adults.

Lots of implications here. To start, the parity in rates indicates that most of the seducers of teen girls are adults--it's hard to get an STD from a virgin, after all. One might also infer a fairly high rate of promiscuity--we're not exactly talking about two young hearts falling prey to nature's course after the dance, but rather more of the scene Tom Wolfe described in I am Charlotte Simmons.

Going further, we have a slightly declining rate of teen pregnancy, but a rapidly increasing STD infection rate--we've got to infer that the condoms we're throwing at teens are more effective at stopping some things than others, to put it delicately.

Finally, an exploding STD infection rate ought to put the kibosh on the idea that the main sex ed method--that of SIECUS and Planned Parenthood, not the abstinence method--is having any beneficial effect on helping teens to make intelligent decisions in this area.

I know that I'm not supposed to....

....wish harm on anyone, but I cannot help hoping that Mrs. Spitzer is inspired by Dick Armey's response to the question of what he would be doing if he'd done what Bill Clinton had done to Hillary. I now for sure that I'd have trouble convicting her for that if I were on the jury.

At the very least, it would be refreshing to see a politician come out there with a black eye or two and without his wife, and flat out tell the truth and offer his resignation and a real apology.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Great comment

Mark told me that my links are too scary to click. Insult? Nah, just reality. I took a look at FoxNews on Friday, and realized that the headlines I was seeing on Fox (and elsewhere) today are those that I'd have expected on the Weekly World News a decade or so ago.

Actually, a few of them were so bizaare, I don't know that the WWN would have covered them. It's weird out there.

No links today. You're welcome, Mark. :^)

Friday, March 07, 2008

The real Barack Hussein Obama evidently a man in favor of leaving Iraqi civilians defenseless against Islamists, massive gun control, abortion on demand, and spending and tax hikes that make LBJ's look like child's play.

Evidence with links. By the way, he's said he wants to ban all forms of semi-auto weapons. That would include your bird shotgun, your carry pistol, the Garand you got from the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and more. In other words, it's DC, but nationwide.

What's wrong with politics today.

OK, a LOT, but what I was thinking of at the moment is something that Mona Charen pointed out in her column about Barack Hussein Obama's book:

Once you get past the happy surprise of finding a politician who can actually write, the book contains some disquieting elements.

Now let that sink in; Charen is saying that legislators, whose very job is to write the laws we all live under, generally cannot write their way out of a cardboard box.

If you wonder why, say, the IRS code is so difficult to understand, Mrs. Charen has your answer.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Evidently, homeowner's equity has decreased below 50% for the first time on record--since the Fed started tracking it in 1945. Part of this is falling markets, but I'd suspect another part is that the old ethic of "pay off your debts" is going by the wayside.

And our economy is paying for it in a big way, sad to say.

You've been at the Hofbrauhaus too long...

....when you start talking about German Neo-Nazi rappers converting to Islam and carrying out rap feuds with their "Muslim" brothers.

Oh, wait. That's real, evidently.

I'm wondering if their "fly girls" are heavy-set, pasty-white German girls in burqas with SS & crescent insignia.

H/T Veith.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yet another environmental disaster....

....masquerading as an environmentally sensitive project is this (H/T Roosh).

Why a disaster? Well, a chief problem of central California farmland is a lack of organic material, along with a lack of stable fertilizer. (remember; topsoil is clay or sand + organic matter) Without this organic material to hold water and fertilizer, the amount of water and fertilizer needed (and thus pollution created) goes up exponentially.

So more or less, what we have here a nasty tradeoff. Yes, PG&E gets "renewable" methane, but on the flip side, the draining of the Colorado (and lakes in the Sierras) continues, and the pollution of aquifers of the central valley is worsened. It also ought to be remembered that large lagoons like this can do wonders to poison entire aquifers and even rivers if the levee breaks.

Try buying one of these instead.

Six things

Guess I got tagged by Roosh. Six random things about me that others might not know. We'll call it "what living in ultraliberal Boulder, CO did to me."

1. It made me a Nebraska fan. Go Big Red! (Ralphie; it's what's for dinner)

2. It taught me to enjoy shooting sports and reject gun control. (take that, Brady Bunch)

3. It's where I bought my V8 powered, four wheel drive pickup. (take that, Sierra Club)

4. It's where I learned to butcher deer and antelope, and tan their hides. (take that, PETA!)

5. It's where I learned to age and devour large cuts of rare beef. And venison.

6. It drove me to take an active part in crisis pregnancy centers.

Living among the "loony left" wasn't all bad, now that I think of it. It made me, in part, the conservative I am. Now tagging:





Larry Kudlow gets it

Incessant increases in the money supply are a chief cause of recession. I fault Kudlow in only one aspect; he stops short of advocating a return to real money.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I wish I could say

...."I knew it," but I can't. A new study has come out about the "energy savings" of Daylight Savings Time, and the conclusion is.... actually costs energy because it gets people home in the heat of the day, and thus increases air conditioning costs.

So let's skip it this year, and I'll get to church on time this Sunday, and we'll all be happy. OK?

A bit on welfare

As the "Great Society" started its "War on the Poor," one of the architects of our welfare state, Pat Moynihan, warned of something very dangerous; "Aid to Families with Dependent Children" contained a provision he called "father out of the home." To receive benefits, a mother could not be married to the father, or even living in the same house.

Predictably, mayhem broke out as fathers were pushed out of the lives of their children, and the number of people on assistance exploded as people figured out it was "easier than working." Part of this was helped with the 1996 welfare reform act that required work, but it appears that the "father out of the home" rule still applies.

Here's a look at the program today. It appears that somewhere between three and four hundred million dollars is being spent to support about 100,000 families.

That's about 10% of the million families with children in our state, and given limited eligibility (5 year limit), that means that something like 20-30% of kids in our state spend time supported by this--at a cost of something like $35000 per family--yes, that's a middle class income for a mother and a child.

Seems to me like it's about time that we got rid of the "father out of the house" rule. Two minimum wage jobs lift a family of four above the poverty line, after all. It might not hurt, either, if administrators required recipients to name the father of their children to allow child support to be collected.

Some interesting things

First, Dennis Prager puts out a list that isn't exactly making my alma mater look good. The way I see it, even though MSU isn't among the most liberal of schools, it's pretty easy to graduate from there with no understanding whatsoever of western civilization.

And then there's the place I got my master's, "Ski U."

Here's a little bit more on things going on in California, by Cal Thomas. Sounds like time for some California families to vote with their feet.

Want to make the government schools look even worse? I dare suggest that a basic acquaintance with the roots of western civilization and the liberal arts--provided in grade school--might be just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Another bit on schools of "education"

....from Linda Schrock Taylor of The antipathy between actual education and schools of education, in her opinion, is noteworthy.

Four, or five, or one great reason to homeschool.

Check this out. Vox Day reports on reasons for existence cited by the College of Education at Cal State-Sacramento:

There are four main goals that we have and will continue to focus on in the college, which are expressed in the acronym TEACH:

Transformative Leadership
Equity and Social Justice
Human Differences and Diversity

Apparently, "counting to five" does not appear to be one of the strengths of the college, and it's also apparently not terribly important that students learn to read or think for themselves. However, it looks like their graduates will have political correctness down pat when they enter the kindergarten classroom to read Heather Has Two Mommies to their charges.

I visited the website of the college. For some reason, they don't have their newer newsletters online. If this is representative of their work, I can't blame them.