Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hilarity from Turtle Bay

Iran has apparently been named to the United Nations commission for womens' rights, apparently because the Taliban were no longer available to take the seat, or something like that. These clowns would give a seat on an anti-semitism commission to Hitler, I think.

With insane idiocy like this, can we get out of the United Nations now? Please?

In honor of the newest member of the commission for womens' rights, here you go.

And some more hilarity: Iranian police are apparently vowing to arrest and prosecute any woman who has a suntan. Now given that women in Iran are required pretty much to wear a Persian version of the burqa when they're in public, exactly how police would tell is beyond me, but even so, they're threatening. And how exactly would one differentiate the generally darker complexion of any Persian from one who had gotten some sun?

How not to show you care for mother earth.... a nine million dollar home with nine bathrooms in LA, like Al Gore apparently just did. (h/t Michelle Malkin)

Shoot, I recommend cutting down a tree and buying an F250, and Gore makes me look like I just refurbished a bicycle and started riding it. With a carbon footprint like his, they ought to name the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico after him.

Follow-up thought: I've noticed that once a home gets beyond about 4000 square feet or so, the # of bathrooms is almost always double or triple the # of bedrooms. Does being rich cause incontinence or something? (and no, I'm not talking about of the mouth, which Gore obviously has as well)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Can we ditch Keynes now? Please?

John Lott demonstrates that the nations which pulled out of the global economic crisis most quickly are those.....which didn't enact massive bailouts into law. As one would guess from reading Bastiat, there appears to be tremendous fallout from "that which is not seen," specifically that it's a bad idea to take resources from productive people and put them into enterprises without regard to return on investment.

Systematic Conformity, 1960s version

While cleaning our (small) church last night, my wife picked up a book from Zondervan from the early 1960s, supposedly about Biblical womanhood. She was surprised to find that a book from the 1960s about "Biblical" womanhood more or less parroted the cultural line of "get out of the house and get some good psychiatric counseling." Funny, that's not how I read Proverbs 31...

So no, the habit of rebadging secularism with a cross isn't anything new. Be careful what's on your bookshelves, dear brothers and sisters.

And these people are running DC. Sigh.

I read this morning in the paper that a poll found that 79% of Democrats support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, but only 43% of Democrats support allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military.

Looks like some on the left are desperately in need of a dictionary, or perhaps a basic reading class. In similar news, North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad is trying to argue that allowing tax cuts to expire does not amount to a tax hike.

With thinking like this running the country, our nation's current state should not surprise us.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Systematic conformity....

As a follow on to the "world's shortest systematic theology" post (which was of course stolen/adapted in part from Charles Spurgeon and others), here's a little bit from les freres Bayly about how much of the greatest recent work, theologically speaking, has been self-published.

And so it's very interesting; many volumes of garbage which (at least in my house) found their proper place in the circular file had no trouble getting published at major publishers. The treasures? Not so much.

It suggests a question; are the major publishers simply printing what itching ears want to hear? At the risk of following a theologically simplistic prooftexting argument, I'd suggest the Word has something to say to many mainstream publishers of theological works.

Monday, April 26, 2010

This obviously isn't happening.

I never thought I'd be accusing Fox News of falling for a practical joke, but I must today. You see, they're claiming that Illinois (Land of Capone) lawmakers are pleading that the National Guard be deployed to help the crime rate in Chicago.

This obviously can't be true, as Chicago has banned private ownership of handguns since 1976. There are obviously no handguns there to fuel gang violence, so obviously reports of hundreds of gang related handgun murders there must be false, just like in DC.

Just ask Kal Penn. Nobody is victimized by criminals with handguns in gun free zones. Right? Right?


Systematic theology 101

One of the most precious things a previous pastor of my family's did for us was to educate us on the key issues of theology; specifically, that practical, applied theology ought to be built upon a foundation of exegesis, hermeneutics, Old Testament and New Testament theology, Biblical theology, and finally systematic theology. In a very strict sense, the person wishing to build a Biblical position on issue X needs to first learn to understand the text as it presents itself, how that text relates to other Biblical texts, how larger portions of the Bible interact with and define each other, and finally how the Bible as a whole relates to God and man.

In contrast, most of today's "Biblical" teaching more or less mixes a few proof-texts with a heavy dose of the wisdom of our own culture, generating ton after ton of slender paperback books over which well-meaning but theologically immature people can debate ad infinitum. With theological training like this, is it any wonder that many churches split like amoebae?

And so I humbly offer an extremely truncated systematic theology; if whatever exegesis, hermeneutic, Biblical theology, systematic theology, or practical theology does not point to Christ and His Gospel of forgiveness of sin through His work on the Cross, it needs some work.

The hills are alive.....

....with the sound of ....

.....haggis? Sadly, Julie Andrews' voice is still not back, so we won't be able to look forward to a highlands version of her famous alpine movie. Oh well.

On the serious side, if in fact many Britons do not know what this delicacy might be, it speaks volumes about the government education system over there. Unprintable volumes, of course.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why the Blago scandal broke when it did?

According to an unredacted document released mistakenly, the Blagojevich defense team claims credible evidence to indicate exactly where the investigation was going. Again, it's dangerous to take the claims of attorneys in general, and especially defense attorneys, at face value, but if this is indicative, there may have been much bigger fish to fry in the investigation than a governor with a 15% approval rating.

Hopefully some inquiring minds take a very close's a good thing to be curious, you know.

The importance of curiousity

Looking at this account of a man who is currently imprisoned for his role in a crash of a 1996 Toyota, it appears that the defense has uncovered a sticky throttle in the vehicle, as well as evidence that the filaments on the brake lights were hot when the car crashed--one may actually be able to determine this from their condition when broken.

This uncovers a bunch of questions. First of all, given that the clear testimony of the man and his whole family was that he was trying to stop, it seems odd that there was no investigation at the time as to whether the throttle was stuck. If the defense lawyer is telling the truth (we can't assume that, of course), there are some very real issues of "withholding of evidence" in play here--which should get the man immediately released with compensation, and the prosecutor needs to be fired and disbarred. This is, after all, a pretty basic Constitutional issue.

More ominously, if indeed an obvious sign that someone needed to look at the gas pedal was missed at this time, it's entirely possible that about thirty people have died needlessly because an over-aggressive prosecutor didn't follow obvious signs that something was very wrong with the car involved.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brilliant picture of the environmental left right here. With about $32 million in government funding, Smith Electric Vehicles is building a mighty....

....100 vehicles per year, a subsidy currently of about $32000 per vehicle. This is not that far from the ordinary cost of a new diesel delivery truck, and it has the additional benefits of a useful range of less than 50 miles, and a top speed of 50mph. With the acceleration promised by that top speed, that ought to go over REAL well in most cities...."need a push out of that loading area, bub?"

Lenin's Birthday update; lunch at a drive-in.

How to observe Earth Day

Today is Lenin's Birthday--I mean Earth Day--and I figure I ought to share some tips about how well meaning people really ought to help preserve our planet for the future.

Tip 1; instead of taking transit, drive a 3/4 ton diesel pickup or Suburban to work. It's actually a more efficient way to get to work than taking the bus or train.

Tip 2: eat a nice big portion of grass fed beef--or perhaps a critter you shot--for dinner. Grasslands need to be grazed to be healthy, environmentally speaking, and the balance between grasslands and herbivores can be maintained by shooting a portion of the herbivores.

Tip 3: Cut down a tree or two. There is no sweeter song on Lenin's Birthday ("oops," Earth Day) than the buzz of a chainsaw. Plus, some trees need to be burned to be replanted, and it's a great way to cook your dinner.

Tip 4: Buy your wife a fur coat, sparing the environment from wastes from producing polyester and other synthetics.

Tip 5: Whatever you do, don't buy a hybrid or electric car, a windmill, a photovoltaic system, or other boondoggles loved by the environmental left. You can reduce your impact on the environment far more and spend far less money.

Tip 6: make sure your representatives get a note asking them to stop federal funding for a number of environmental boondoggles like ethanol, hybrids, transit, windmills, and so on.

Tip 7: if there is a statue of Lenin in the neighborhood, defile it in some way.

Again, if you want to do something for the environment, just do the OPPOSITE of what the environmental left suggests, and you won't be too far off.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Consequences of immodesty

Apparently, curators and "models" at New York's Museum of Modern Art have discovered that when an exhibit removes his clothes, visitors suddenly feel free to touch the exhibit. This illustrates one of the wonderful functions of clothing, that of a barrier to prying eyes and fingers.

Yes, it's not anyone's "right" to do this kind of thing, but it illustrates what your grandma (or maybe your momma) would have told you. Dressing, or not dressing, in certain ways is simply asking for trouble.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It could could is!

Thomas Sowell knocks yet another one out of the park by comparing slavery and big government. When we depend on achieving goals by legislative degree and use of government force, we forget what slaveowners learned all the way back in Rome; if you want something done that requires a degree of thinking, you don't do so by shaking a whip or pointing a gun at the person you want to do it. You do it with positive incentives.

Hopefully our nation remembers this before it is too late.

Du vill get avay von da salt shaker!

Evidently the FDA, having solved all major problems with safe food and drugs already, like e coli in ground beef and apple juice, is going to start "working with" (read "bullying") companies to reduce the amount of salt in processed foods.

As if processed foods aren't disgusting enough already without salt to mask the off flavor. If the government really wants to do something about our health, they need to do something with the school lunch, and end subsidies and tax credits for daycare. More moms cooking means less processed food eaten.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Take a look at Acts 6:15, where Stephen, at his trial, had a face of an angel. Now consider what Scripture tells us angels say when they appear to us:

Fear not.

And then consider that, confronted with a visage like that of one of His mighty messengers, the Sanhedrin still dared to murder him. If we wonder whether a direct sign from God will convert a man apart from the "heart tenderizing" ministry of the Holy Spirit, wonder no more. Just like Israel ignored Moses' staff, Elijah's fire, and the Resurrection, they ignored Stephen's angelic face, too.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Evidently, Congressman Waxman's lawyers talked some sense into him, and he's cancelling the planned hearings to bully companies who actually complied with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements to share information that might impact their bottom line.

Which is something of a bummer, as I was hoping that companies would stand up to him and make it very clear that they were simply complying with a bill that Waxman had supported, and that to back off from what they were saying--or for that matter to hold hearings to intimidate those who told things Waxman didn't want to be heard--would be a felony. It would have been a great thing to watch with a big bucket of popcorn.

Church music wars?

For the past few months, I've had the privilege of leading most singing at my little church--aided of course by a bucket to help me carry the tune--and one thing that I've noticed as I try to search out special music is that a lot of hymnals.....kinda tend to emphasize certain areas of the Christian life. The one my Baptist church uses emphasizes the joys of life in Christ--one inherited from my Methodist ancestors emphasizes more of the fatherhood of God.

And so I wonder what a truly mature hymnody ought to look like. I once had the privilege to have a pastor tell the congregation to come in time for the singing, because there is often as much theology in the songs as there is in the sermon--never mind the little fact that it's often more easily remembered. And so I wonder, well, whether it's consistently a very good sermon.

Time to look into the Psalms a little more, I think.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

If you happen to own or drive a Toyota.....

.....keep in mind that if the gas pedal does indeed become stuck, there is a pedal called "brake" that should stop the car in almost any situation, and a little thing called the "transmission" where power can be disengaged, making braking easier and more reliable.

The article makes very clear that there is a big danger to our "pushbutton" cars--too often, the diver forgets the workarounds that the basic structure of the machine allows, and when something goes wrong, the failure mode is "less than graceful." If you love your children, teach them how to drive a vehicle with a clutch.

Proverbs 27:2 an applicable passage when a second President has evidently characterized himself as "humble." In a Biblical worldview, of course, the moment you say you're humble, you've proven just the opposite. The previous person to make this claim was Mr. William Jefferson Clinton, and it is interesting that Democratic politicians seem to have a need to proclaim their humility. I'd suggest there might be a reason.

In other interesting news, Dear Leader is evidently bragging that tax refunds are bigger this year, as if that proves that the overall tax burden is less. Since there have been no significant reductions in overall tax rates, maybe we should take a look at what's really going on.

Simple; look at the 3% or so of workers (about five million if I calculate correctly) who lost their jobs last year, as they were hit with a double whammy. First of all, their regular income (before they were let go) is taxed as if they'd worked the whole year, and second, any severance received is taxed at a 25% rate as if it were a bonus.

Not surprisingly, these millions have submitted their tax forms, and their refunds are immense.

And in an act of sheer....."humility," Dear Leader has the unmitigated gall to suggest that these huge tax refunds are a good thing. Personally, I'm less than enthusiastic about the fact that I've been required to give Uncle Sam an interest free loan for several thousand dollars for the past year.

I guess that would be why Comrade Obama is praising his own humility. He sure isn't going to get that praise from me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Metrodome II sans roof

Got a glance at Target Field, the new stadium stolen from the taxpayers by the Twinkies, and....well....let's just say it's no Wrigley, Fenway, or even Coors Field. With all due respect to Fraters (one of whom helped design it), methinks the architectural team needed to spend more time on Addison, or at least off I-25 in Denver, to get it right.

(to be fair, including luxury boxes in there doesn't help matters, but yeesh.....)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unintentionally hiliarious

Recently, my local paper (the Mankato Free Press) carried a story about a young man who was hoping to "help the environment" by getting a grant from Pepsi to fund electric bikes for college campuses. If the guy is serious, he's saying a lot of bad things about the state of education in our country today.

How so? Well, we can start with the fact that substituting an electric moped (powered by a coal fired power plant) for a gasoline powered version is hardly ecologically sound, and when one considers the ecological impact of adding another vehicle to the standard student's garage, it's not even clear that using it instead of a car would be an environmental bonus, given that it would be used only a few hundred miles per year. Never mind the little fact that battery powered vehicles don't do so well at 20 below.

And then the final bit of hilarity is, of course, that most students would not be replacing a car with this, but rather their bicycle or walking shoes. Which, of course, burn no gasoline or electricity, work during the winter, and help students achieve a "freshman 15" instead of a "freshman 50."

If a hallmark of true education is being able to think through the consequences of an action, Mr. Leenhouts is not saying nice things about his alma mater, to put it mildly. He also apparently needs to get fitted for a helmet--I would recommend this kind, and an appropriate vehicle to go with it.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A way to unravel historic racial animousity?

Pat Buchanan writes about a conflict that is apparently causing some difficulty in Virginia; evidently after an eight year hiatus, the governor has decided to issue a proclamation in honor of Confederate History Month. One would figure that GOP governors would realize that republicans have enough trouble getting black votes without doing this, but evidently not.

My take is that the governor should have instead isssued a quite different proclamation--one that would honor Frederick Douglass, Robert E. Lee, Harriett Tubman, and Thomas Jackson in one stroke. How is this possible? Simple; take a look at history.

Slavery only existed due to government. Who is going to risk their life returning their neighbor's servant to slavery if the law doesn't require it?

Jim Crow only existed due to government. What businessman spends an extra hundred bucks to install an extra drinking fountain if the law doesn't require it?

Secession was (in 1776 and 1861 both) largely a response to overbearing government power.

The impoverishment of the South for a century (roughly from 1840s to 1940s) was largely a result of federal government action--specifically tariffs that impacted the South being used to build railroads and other benefits for industry in the North.

All the governor had to do was note that because Virginians of all races had suffered from the abuse of government power, the best way to honor the heroes of the past who had fought that abuse of government power is to keep government out of the observance.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Here's something interesting

When you add everything up, total government subsidies for growing grain are in the neighborhood of ten billion dollars or so. Just for fun, let's calculate how that works out for the two million or so families participating.

On the front side, it looks pretty nice; about $5000 per family in subsidies. Let's look deeper, though.

Given that the average farmer is over 50 years old, we ought to guess that the 2% of adults working on farms account for 4-5% of the total medical bill, or about $80-100 billion. In the same way, an estimated 50% of medical expenses are due to poor diet and lack of exercise.

So if we can assume that sitting on a tractor or combine while eating corn chips and drinking something made with corn syrup might contribute to this, the overall bill to the grain farmer of grain subsidies would be approximately $40-50 billion dollars annually.

Granted, part of this is taken care of via Medicare and Medicaid, and most likely not all of the doubling of medical care costs for farmers is due to eating a little bit more grain products than one would recommend. However, it yet seems likely that--even before accounting for increased land costs due to subsidies--grain farmers in fact pay a very heavy price for grain subsidies through medical care costs.

Shame, shame--a recipe to help Fraters gentlemen

Chad of Fraters Inebritas admits that his family actually buys frozen french toast. While I understand about "convenience," there is a point where making things from scratch is so easy, it's almost harder to open the box, unwrap the product, and put it in the toaster. So here goes:

Bread (your choice)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whiskey to taste

Crack eggs into a bowl (no shells, Chad), add milk,vanilla, and spirits ( no more than 1/2 shot, Chad), beat well.

Heat up griddle and add a little bit of oil--I favor cooking bacon to demonstrate the griddle/skillet is at temperature and add some flavor. Dip bread into egg mixture on both sides, coook in skillet/griddle until both sides are browned, turning at least once. Enjoy with maple syrup, honey, cinnamon sugar, or other syrups.

Use space in freezer not taken by Eggo french toast for something useful, like ice cream.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What happens when you presume upon the future

Your pension plan ends up underfunded by tens of billions of dollars, of course. Or, in the case that your pension plan is handled by the government, tens of trillions of dollars.

Hopefully our nation repents of this presumption upon the future before it's too late. I'm not terribly confident, however.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Leadership methods that don't work

I've been thinking from time to time about the methods used in business to lead, and two things that I'm pretty sure don't work are the concept of "coach" and "general." Why so?

Very simple; the training of the soldier or athlete is in general that of classic conditioning. One trains for hours and hours, honing appropriate skills to more or less instant reactions, and then one goes into either battle or "the big game."

In contrast, modern management theory spends very little time on training subordinates, and business tends to require a thinking response, not a conditioned response. As such, when modern managers use the methods of a coach or general--generally a high pressure situation--they do not get what they desire because they have not trained to generate a conditioned response, and the high pressure tactics trigger the "fight or flight" response in subordinates--more or less shutting down the thinking process that is desperately needed in business.

What's the alternative? Well, if the government wasn't taking steps to prevent it from happening, the historical method of leadership and training for employees and craftsmen is called "apprenticeship." If one could make it work in one's own business, one would quickly find a huge advantage over businesses where leadership views itself as a Woody Hayes or Patton.

Addendum: the recent case of a Navy officer removed from command due to cruelty to her subordinates, as well as interaction with the husband of my childrens' piano teacher (Navy-retired), indicates that even the military doesn't think that the "Patton" stereotype is a useful leadership model.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Thoughts on Saul and David

I'm currently reading through 1 Samuel's passages about the persecution of David by Saul, and it strikes me that Saul's behavior is--absent its ancient Middle Eastern setting--worthy of Dilbert. The "pointy haired king" ignores all kinds of signs from the Almighty to keep chasing after David--his own daughter refuses to help him, his own son refuses to help him, he and all of his messengers are transformed into naked prophets, and everybody in Israel except for Saul and his army can find David. His denial of reality is worthy of any "pointy haired boss" or "executive with good hair."

So if you're having, or have had, "a bit of difficulty" at work, God's Word tells us "Been there, done that, here's how to respond." It's a good deal.