Vox Day illustrates something that should scare the dickens out of us; overall debt levels in our country exceed levels seen at the peak of the Great Depression. Scarier; consumer spending didn't recover until over a decade after that peak of debt. Scariest; the only part of debt that appears to be declining, and that only marginally, is individual debt. One would infer that individuals right now are acting more intelligently than corporations, government, and government sponsored enterprises.
All in all, it seems that overall debt levels have gotten to the point where the only way out is mass repudiation of certain debts. Hopefully government allows this to happen before we "bail ourselves out" into poverty.
It's been a rough year with losing my mom, but there was a comfort this weekend as my family met relatives of my wife's we never knew existed. Apparently, her grandmother had had a child out of wedlock, allowed her to be adopted, and she'd grown up and come to know Christ just a few hours from us in Minnesota. We met four generations of faithful followers of Christ, including a cousin who had adopted eight children out of foster care after being told that one biological child was enough.
One of them had lost most of her hands and legs to an infection, but stole our hearts as she gamboled around the house almost as ably as any other child--my wife didn't even notice due to her activity and cheer.
How do they get to four faithful generations? I don't know completely, but I have a hunch it has something to do with worshipping together and then getting together each Sunday for a meal. Potlucks have an important part in (informal) Baptist theology, and our new family members sure showed us how powerful this can be.
A pop-up screen showed me this new book from Zondervan; The Dude Abides, the Gospel According to the Coen Brothers. I guess that says something about our lives when a most powerful cultural connection to the Good News is a documentary like "Fargo," but I hesitate to speculate on what that message might be.
Or, at least a little part of it, specifically a little procedure that women love to hate. I'm referring to the "pap smear," and this gynecologist indicates that the primary reason for that procedure is STD infection, specifically HPV. Evidently, about half of sexually active teens and young adults have it.
And so we can figure out one little part of the cost of fornication. Due to the legitimate fear of HPV and cervical cancer, approximately 100 million women at least ought to have this procedure done every year or so at a cost of around $100 plus the cost of the appointment--about another $100 or so. End result is that this STD--just one of 28--likely costs the nation somewhere between ten and twenty billion dollars annually (assuming some don't get it done), even before treatment costs for cervical cancer are accounted for.
Needless to say, I highly recommend Dr. Matt's blog. I also am tempted to see what kind of reaction my wife gets if she suggests to her ob/gyn that she'd like to reduce the frequency of testing due to the low risk we're blessed to have.
I want to fly to Greenland or Murmansk and buy my dear sweet wife a coat made of polar bear fur. Right after I enjoy a large piece of meat for dinner while wearing leather shoes and praising God for the good things we have because of animal testing.
Or, put differently, if the IQ scale is truly a normal distribution, we know who occupies the negative portion of the curve. Environmentalists and animal rights activists.
(and just to make things clear, my friend ColdFusionGuy is not one of them!)
.....is the recent "study" that purported to provide evidence against routine mammographies and self-examinations. Now apart from the scientific evidence, which appears to be unequivocally on the OTHER side of the argument, there is a very interesting fact; no oncologists were included on the panel.
You read that right; a study about cancer did not bother to consult any doctors who are trained to treat it. It gets worse.
Nobody on the panel appeared to notice or care that this was happening. Certainly nobody resigned in protest, which would have been the responsible thing to do.
Government healthcare; where the untrained don't know or don't care that it's important to have somebody around who knows what they're doing. One would think that our nation's most famous smoker might clue in to possible consequences to disregarding oncologists, but apparently not.
Apparently a hacker has released a number of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climactic Research Centre--emails which seem to indicate that scientists there are actively manipulating data to make it seem as if the theory were valid when....real data actually would not indicate this. If you want to look at the evidence yourself, the link has a link to a zip file with the emails.
If true, it looks like any number of people should have research grants revoked about yesterday. This is also a great reason why science must be reproducible; when results are shared or duplicated--or not--shenanigans like this are exposed for the frauds they are.
Afterthought: given that the person who released the files apparently knew where to look for incriminating documents, I am guessing that the heroic party who released these documents is an IT professional at the University of East Anglia. Whoever you are, thank you!
....is a Biblical view of work, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal. Here's the author's weblog if you'd like to see more of her work. H/T Cold Fusion Guy, and I'm off to get some remunerative antidepressants!
part MMMCXVII, courtesy of the IAAF, which claims that sex tests on runner Caster Semenya will be "kept secret."
Apparently, they expect us to believe that they wouldn't have been trumpeting the results--and decrying the need for a test--had the tests found Semenya was a girl. We will have our answer as Semenya does not participate in further world class track events, as this silence makes it pretty clear that Semenya is a boy.
Hopefully he gets the help he needs to live a relatively normal life.
OK, no sense being relentlessly negative all day. Here are a couple of pieces of good news, as well as something quite absurd.
First of all, a Somali pirate attack on a Maersk container ship was repelled by armed guards. The only downside, IMO, is that they didn't have a few "ma deuces" to tear the pirate boats to shreds before they could even come within range of the pirates' AKs and RPGs. Well done, though.
Second, a Delaware store clerk has shot and killed at least one armed robber--and possibly wounded others--who apparently had no clue that liquor store clerks are often armed for this very reason. One thug off the streets, and no legal or incarceration bills for the taxpayer to pay.
Now something absurd; drug companies are apparently trying to develop drugs for women with "low sex drive" which apparently work by reducing inhibitions. Never mind the fact, of course, that alcohol, flowers, chocolate, backrubs, and other "inhibition reducers" are readily available without a prescription. Just consider the fact that SSRIs (this drug is one) aren't removed from the blood within hours like alcohol is, and the further reality that it's not exactly safe for a woman to be walking around with permanently reduced inhibitions. Rather, they're trying to develop a drug to cause one of the classic symptoms of manic depression.
I've been thinking about (H/T a lot of people like Mitch and ColdFusion Guy) the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Neuvo York, and the following thoughts come to mind.
1. Whose brilliant idea was it to try a POW in civilian courts, directly against the rules of the Geneva Convention?
2. Exactly why did this person think a 9/11 conspirator could get a fair jury in New York? The law allows change of venue for a reason, after all.
3. Exactly why does this person apparently think that Islamists here in the U.S. will not attempt to intimidate the jury once it's in place? Trials are, after all, public, as are the identities of jury members.
4. Exactly why does Mr. Holder think there will be no problems in the (likely) case he's acquitted?
5. Exactly why does Mr. Holder think that there will be no problems with presenting classified evidence in a public courtroom?
We have met the enemy, and he is one of us. Basic rules of evidence and law known to every first semester law student are being blatantly ignored by our Attorney General and President, both of whom have somehow passed the bar.
and he is us. Older readers may recognize the reference; it's how Pogo would signal his disgust with the world. These days, it's more appropriate than ever.
Start with my alma mater's basketball team, which nearly blew a home game against unranked Gonzaga last night. How'd they do it? They came in there with adrenaline pumping, and Gonzaga used that fact to cajole them into playing Gonzaga's game instead of State's.
Well done, Gonzaga. Hopefully this wakes up the Spartans.
In similar manner, where is most of the most effective evidence against health insurance deform bills coming from? The Congressional Budget Office, of course. One would think that Madame Pelosi might consult some actuaries and accountants BEFORE submitting a bill, but then again, the thesis is, again, that the enemy is us.
Finally, I had the privilege of analyzing a little pamphlet from "Chick" publications recently that endorsed the exclusive use of the 1611 KJV. Guess where I got the best evidence against Chick?
You guessed it, the preface to and text of the 1611 KJV. One would think that someone who claims to love a translation might have actually read the notes from the translators and understood them, but apparently not.
Word has it that American Standard has issued the University of Michigan a bowl invitation for the second straight year....and if the Spartans aren't careful vs. Penn State this weekend, they might have a rematch with the Wolverines this winter.
H/T Say Anything Blog. Evidently, Newsweak has come out with a cover story portraying Sarah Palin as a problem for the GOP and the country. Now apart from whether Palin is the next Reagan or the next Carter (my opinion; neither), and apart from the fact that Newsweak has been a fishwrapper for decades, consider the headline on the cover:
How do you solve a problem like Sarah?
Sound familiar? Yep, it's a play on the song from The Sound of Music, and ever oblivious to the implications of actual literature, Newsweak conveniently forgets the fact that Maria is the heroine (correction courtesy of Pentamom) of the story, undermining Evan Thomas' thesis.
One would figure that the liberal arts grads that work the editorial pages of Newsweak would be able to figure this one out more quickly than an engineer like myself, but I guess not.
Helmets might be the reason that there are so many head injuries in football. Counter-intuitive, to be sure, but think about it; if you didn't have an inch of foam around your head, would you bang it against another player?
I always thought that real men played rugby or Aussie rules anyways. You can't put on an extra 100 lbs of muscle and fat if you actually have to run around with it.
.....you might want to take a look at this article from Dr. Mercola. Yes, I know the man and his views are controversial, but in this case, I think he has a point. I've got several people in my extended family and among my friends who have been on antidepressants, and one thing that I've noticed is that help doesn't seem to come from a bottle of Prozac (apologies to my brother-in-law who works for Lilly). Rather, it comes when a man takes responsibility for his life and starts making healthy choices.
And for that matter, it looks like his prescription would do a lot of good for those at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and possibly even cancer.
Evidently, the Kasota police deputy who shot and killed an unarmed man after pursuing him in an unmarked vehicle and fighting with him in plain clothes has been cleared by a grand jury.
Call me puzzled; you have 19 witnesses who say unequivocally that the officer did not identify himself and shot a man who was retreating from him, and the testimony of the officer involved and a person driving past the situation in his car exonerates him? Keep in mind here that the person in the car is not likely to have even been able to hear the man identify himself as an officer because of road noise.
I hope that there are some exonerating circumstances for the grand jury--say like incredible conflicts between the testimony of the 19--but this sure looks like a classic coverup for police crime here. I also hope that the police get the hint and remind officers that people can't guess they're an officer if they're not in uniform.
Apparently, at least two people working for the CDC have raised an alarm that CDC studies of the effectiveness of abstinence based sex education were deliberately, and politically, manipulated to undermine data demonstrating statistically significant reductions in sexual experimentation after abstinence based sex education.
No surprise to me; I took a look at one such study from Minnesota back in 2004 or so, and what I found was that the "study" hadn't even bothered to select a control sample or perform any statistical tests. When I did so, I found exactly the opposite of what the study had--with 99% statistical confidence. A paltry nine weeks of sex ed significantly reduced sexual experimentation, even in our sex saturated culture.
As I've noted many times before, peer review doesn't guarantee competent research anymore, if it ever did.
Dear Leader is apparently going to "get you" somehow for being evil and standing in the way of the progress he desires.
But don't worry too much. Due to the actual climate change we've had (just the opposite of what the IPCC has predicted), his brownshirts are going to have to struggle through the snowdrifts to get to your house.
Update; apparently the first two people to be "silenced" are EPA lawyers who dared to point out that "cap and trade" simply creates a new bureaucracy and actually runs the real risk of making the problem far, far worse. (if you accept the global warming hypothesis, that is) SayAnythingBlog has a working link to their presentation.
While I don't agree that we need to phase out fossil fuels to avoid catastrophe, they do a wonderful job of explaining why cap and trade, carbon credits, and such do not and can not work.
....by voting 98-0 to extend unemployment benefits for the nation's jobless. Now having participated in the Pelosi/Reid recession myself, I understand fully how comforting it is to have a safety net when you can't find work. On the other hand, studies have documented how many people "magically" seem to find work when their unemployment benefits run out. It suggests that the best way to help the economy is not to extend benefits, but rather to reform them to encourage, ya know, work.
In other news, Israel has accused Iran of a war crime in finagling a shipment of weapons to the PLO/Hamas that was mercifully intercepted by Israel. I have to wonder whether such acts of war would decrease if Israel really treated them as acts of war and took appropriate action.
My family has recently moved, and one thing we're noticing in our "new to us" home is that it's really important how the home is designed. With fewer rooms to go to, we're spending more time together. Musical instruments long left alone are coming out.
Having a tough time getting family time? Might be a good idea to take a look at whether your house makes sense for your family. My family is learning that a well designed, and somewhat smaller, home is making a difference in our family life.
Froma Harrop writes about something I've suspected for a long time; federal subsidies to prospective homebuyers with poor credit are likely setting the stage for the next round of foreclosures, and transitively the next recession--not that I'm anticipating getting out of this one any time soon.
If I were in government, my adage would be the from the Hippocratic Oath; "First, do no harm." I likely wouldn't get along with most Congressmen, either.
Take a quick look--or a slow one if you like--at Acts 23, and consider what Paul was doing before the Sanhedrin. Ask yourself:
Is there any chance that Paul failed to recognize (vs. 3-5) the garments worn by the high priest after decades in rabbinical school? Doubtful; what Paul is more likely saying here is that the (Roman-installed) high priest really isn't a "high priest" in the Aaronic line. I'm guessing that the point was not lost on the Sanhedrin.
Paul doesn't stop there, though; he proceeds to set the Pharisees and Sadduccees against one another by declaring he is there because of his faith in the resurrection--instantly transforming an inquisition against him (where ordinary enemies might agree for the sake of "getting" Paul) into their old argument.
In short, he realized they weren't going to listen to the Gospel, and diverted his attention and time to more fruitful activities--using the Roman courts to go to the Gentiles. Innocent as a dove and wise as a serpent, Paul avoids a trap of the devil with rhetorical jujitsu. We should take the hint.