Federal authorities, believing that government schooled adults are too dumb to comprehend the concept of gas mileage, are pushing a plan to put letter grades instead of mileage numbers on new car stickers. If they have anything resembling a case, this would be exactly why you want to help your kids avoid Chicago Math by teaching them from Saxon or other drill-based curricula at home.
...in which he demonstrates exactly why I don't like "revised" versions of literature (including many modern translations of Scripture), and also exactly how "whole language" reading instruction originated, and if you live near a school district that uses it, you will probably want to educate your children at home.
As the owner of a minivan with 211,000 miles on it who is wondering whether he'll be able to keep it long enough to wear out the current set of Michelins, I'm not exactly thankful. Between CAFE regulations and this, it's not exactly easy to find a good car anymore.
Going further with earlier thoughts on whether we ought to use statistical methods in the church, there is something that comes to mind as we (should) engage in active discipleship; what do we do with the commands for husbands to love their wives, and for wives to submit to their husbands?
Of course, we ask our friends that question, and they say yes, and then we go on with life, don't we? And then we wonder what that happy couple just got a divorce, right? What's going on? Well, we've forgotten Deming's Law; In God we trust, all others must bring data. No, it's not just for quality control; it's essential to discipleship. So how do we apply this?
Simple; one asks for specific actions one is taking. "Bob, tell me how you're showing your love for your wife." "Jane, tell me how you're submitting to your husband." "Tell me how you're training your kids for Christ." "Tell me what you're doing to help manage the family budget better."
In quality, it's called "corrective action", and it's high time that the church--this humble writer included--took it seriously. If we do, we might hear this kind of response:
....new mother is told to clean her room only two days after her C section. Even beyond the absolute cruelty of such an order is the fact that, ahem, a woman on heavy painkillers and with her abdominal wall held together with stitches and staples is not exactly going to do a very good job at the task. If you were trying to set up a way of ensuring that the next patient would have a significant risk of infections, you could hardly do better.
Terry's post about a recommendation that churches measure their divorce rates over time to measure how well the church is doing spiritually. Now, to start, I would agree fully that how marriages are doing is an excellent measure of a church's vitality and spirituality; if a believer does not understand that his marriage reflects on Christ's relationship to the church, something is very wrong.
That said, I've got two big reservations about using statistical methods in the church. The general problem is that those who use them a lot in a corporate setting know very well that they tend to be applied in an impersonal, "hands off" way. Management loves these in great part because it allows them to "do something" without really interacting with the people involved. Disaster often ensues because the statisticians and managers don't realize that what they've found only correlates to the real problem--but is not the real issue. To get at the real issue, they've got to get themselves on the shop floor, or (perhaps better) out to the smoke shack. (I don't smoke, but I do a lot of good quality engineering with the lovers of cancer sticks)
Now consider that the goal of the church is to enter into close--really intimate in a way--relationships and make disciples of all nations. The "hands off" approach is generally a problem in a corporate setting; it can be a disaster in a church. It often distracts the deacons and elders/pastors from what they really need to be doing; again, making disciples.
Regarding the proposal specifically, it falls into the problem of measuring outputs instead of inputs; a divorce is not a cause, but is rather the result of years of poor decisions by one or both spouses. The husband decides he doesn't need to be discipled, or to disciple his family. The wife looks elsewhere for spiritual leadership. Without discipleship, that wonderful part of marriage gets neglected. One or the other looks elsewhere, and then things go rapidly downhill from there. Church members who have said "hi" to them for years, or decades, are shocked.
While at the church, this couple has had three different pastors, ten different boards of deacons, and has interacted with a number of people that is four times the current membership. Statistically speaking, how do your sort it out? There are simply too many variables.
You sort it out, of course, by remembering what our Lord tells us to do in Matthew 28; make disciples. If one desires statistics to be used by church leadership to evaluate how the church is doing, ask the pastor how many members he's gotten to know well. How often is he a guest at their homes, and vice versa? Ask the deacons the same thing, and then.....
....ask the members. Put simply, if you want a statistic that you can use to improve your church (and reduce the divorce rate), count the number of members who are actively discipling their families and each other, and have the pastor and deacons guide that effort.
Sometimes, it really is as simple as.....the Gospel.
Check this out. Apparently, an anti-smoking group commissioned a study of whether Minnesota's restaurant smoking ban hurt restaurant and bar business, and the conclusion is that, because employment over 2.5 years was steady, there was no problem.
Now I am no friend of tobacco, and I hate to go places (Lost Wages, Wyoming) where all too many establishments reek of stale cigarette smoke. Ick. I'd be glad if a number of these places either closed, or went cigarette-free.
That said, the study involved does not appear to have a control; in general, a 1-5% shift in population is indeed a measurable shift as long as a control is used. Hence, we do not know whether this is far better, far worse, or about the same as we would have expected without the law's enactment. Garbage in, garbage out.
It's statistical analysis worthy of the original EPA study used to justify the ban--where the EPA was publicly rebuked by a judge because they had arbitrarily changed the criteria for statistical significance when correlating second hand smoke exposure to the risk of lung cancer.
And what's scarier than the fact that this study apparently made it through planning stages and even peer review; someone probably got their PhD for doing such a transparently flawed study, and may end up teaching your children as a result.
A quick look at insurance/accident statistics from Indiana reveals that those who have taken driver's education courses are actually four times more likely to end up in an accident than those who learned from their parents--5% have accidents by age 18 vs. a bit above 1%. The article suggests that the problem is that driver's ed is for basic driving skills, not accident avoidance, but I'd suggest that there might be some other issues in play.
First of all, "Student Driver" signs create an artificial bubble around new drivers that is removed.....just as they start driving on their own. Bump. Also, student drivers are forced to completely obey the rules of the road--hence they never get the feel of careening along the Borman going into Chicago at the prevailing pace of 75mph with a semi on their bumper. (and then they do, alone--yikes!)
Probably more importantly, parents simply have more at stake in their own children's driving (their childrens' lives and limbs, of course), and they're not hamstrung by the school's rules. In other words, they simply have the motivation, and the means, to teach real world driving to their children.
A final correlation might simply be that many parents who send their children to driver's education classes simply neglect to do some instruction themselves. Oops, oops, and oops. Looks like it's time to take back drivers' education from the teachers' unions.
Update: apparently there is a bill in the Minnesota legislature to require drivers with learners' permits to post a sign stating "student driver" on their cars--and I'd have to argue it would make our problems worse.
I've been thinking about how one might make the point about why one ought not support Democrats this election cycle, and the thought occurs to me that the theme "just plain irresponsible" comes to mind. To wit:
Democrats voted nearly unanimously for a stimulus ("spendumore") bill before either they, or their staffs, could possibly have read it to know what was in it. Would you do this with a contract to purchase a car?
Democrats voted nearly unanimously for a health insurance deform bill before either they or their staffs could possibly have read it to know what was in it. Would you do this with a credit card application?
Democrats voted nearly unanimously for a financial services deform bill before either they, or their staffs, could possibly have read it to know what was in it. Would you do this with a mortgage?
Trillions of dollars and millions of jobs are lost because....the Democrats are perfectly willing to vote for bills with no understanding of what is in them. They're just plain irresponsible.
Evidently, a $500,000 grant has been given to the city of Dayton, Ohio, population 166,000, for the purpose of tracking whether residents are actually using their recycling bins. If the bin doesn't make it to the curb, then trash supervisors will go through your garbage to make sure you're recycling.
Never mind the little issue of how much time, effort, and yes, energy it takes to send someone out to your house to quantify what percentage of your garbage you recycle, as well as the fact that recycling isn't necessarily more efficient than throwing your bottles and cans in the garbage. It demonstrates, once again, my (environmentalist) brother's dictum; "environmentalist" too often means "person who cannot do math."
(my brother is environmentalist to the point of cancelling trips to visit family because of the carbon footprint...yes, I'm encouraging him to send Gore a note so Gore can cut down his travel so we can see my brother and his family more often)
Finally, an engineering hint; if you have a "microchipped" recycle bin, simply cover the microchipped area (top and bottom) with aluminium foil, glued down securely and painted with spray paint of the color of your recycling bin. Watch with delight as the city sends its highly paid administrators out to your house once a month to find....nothing!
Have you ever noticed where Jesus was (Matthew 15:21) when He said "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel"?
In the coast of Tyre and Sidon, of course--among the Gentiles. This region had once paid tribute to Solomon, but had never really been part of Israel. So what was He doing at this point? Going to the coast of Tyre and Sidon to minister to Jews was like going to Green Bay to find Bears and Viqueens fans, or to Congress to find an honest man.
My hunch is that He was confronting the Pharisees and scribes sent (Matthew 15:1) to monitor His Work. First, He leads them among the Gentiles, and while ministering to one of them, He implicitly rebukes them by sarcasm. While the woman responds admirably--and in the vein of what the Pharisees believed about Gentiles--the central point of Jesus' healing of the woman's daughter is that His ministry was to the goyim as well. As one, I'm grateful......
Addendum: one might also infer from the context that Jesus could be pointing out to the Pharisees how they are departing from their "traditions of the elders"/"Oral Torah" by leading them far among the Gentiles. He is presenting, implicitly, the Gospel to them. Along the coast of Tyre and Sidon, they would have traveled approximatly 200 miles from Jerusalem. Given that they were most likely rather soft-footed scholars, this travel demonstrates they--and most likely the Sanhedrin as well--were taking His ministry very seriously.
The death of chivalry, of course. The Washington Times reports that as our nation abandons (as it largely has in the debate of whether homosexuals can marry) the concept that a man ought to give special deference to a woman for that reason alone, the social manifestations of special deference for women disappear.
On the other hand, the survey also exhibits a remarkable disconnect from reality on the part of those surveyed, who believe that women are paid less than men for the same work (false), and that they're discriminated against for high positions (the opposite is true). So perhaps we don't have as much a problem with chivalry as we do with....
.....people assuming that they ought to be treated like kings and queens no matter how they're behaving.
Rest assured, of course, that the management and staff at this blog are committed to the idea of chivalry.
Michelle Malkin's site gives us a list of the crimes of which Rod Blagojevich was accused. Apart from the crime of which he was convicted--lying to investigators (who were of course perfectly free to lie to him), the jury was deadlocked, and with good reason.
The reason: convicting a person of extortion and bribery is helped if you have an agreement to take a bribe or extort something from someone. For some reason, however, someone in the prosecutor's office decided to talk to the Chicago Tribune before Blago could close the deal. It's possible that someone in Patrick Fitzgerald's office simply started talking after too many cans of Old Style, but I'm guessing that someone in Chicago--Blagojevich, Daley, or possibly someone even more interesting--got a mole into Fitzgerald's office and torpedoed the investigation before it could reach the big players in Chicago politics.
How to clean it up? Simple; stop paying for the excesses of Chicago politicians in Springfield and Washington, DC, and the scumbags there will realize that there is better money to be had elsewhere.
Evidently, our President chose to snarl LA traffic during rush hour so he could get some campaign money for the Democrats. Apart from judgment reminiscent of Bill Clinton snarling LAX so he could get a $200 haircut, this gives me a thought about how one could rein in campaign finance spending.
Require those who use government facilities--Air Force One, Marine 1, the Secret Service, and so on--to pay the bills when government transportation and security is used to host partisan events. If the Democrats had been charged the $40,000 per hour plus security costs of this event, maybe they'd have thought twice about snarling up LA traffic for it.
I read yesterday that one part of feminist theory--I'm not quite sure how radical it is, as it's really not something I'm that interested in--was involved in rejecting "patriarchal" words for certain body parts because, well, they came from patriarchal, militaristic societies.
There is a great humor in this; ordering a meal is going to be difficult without using words from patriarchal societies for the simple reason that non-patriarchal societies have trouble defending themselves. If such a society ever existed, I reckon they would have been slaughtered by the first patriarchal, militaristic society that came by. Hence, you don't find too many words from non-patriarchal, pacifistic societies because they didn't exist very long, if they existed at all.
This is something that I reckon our churches--and our society as a whole--ought to consider as we drift away from our patriarchal roots. Does our new authority structure provide adequate security against those who do not think as we do?
Even more humorous were a couple of the attempts to rename things; using Hindi, polynesian, or native American words for those body parts. Hindi, of course, is the language of the people who came up with sati, the polynesians used to strangle the widows of their dead (John Paton's autobiography details this), and of course when we think of peaceful nations, we always think of the Inca, the Aztecs, and the Pawnee--the Pawnee practicing ritual child sacrifice of girls.
In other words, in order to overcome the muted patriarchy of our society, feminists are pushing to utter barbarity. Oops.
Evidently, John MacArthur's blog has asked a question about living in our rhetorical "Sodom." Others ask at what point do we leave? Along the same lines, a woman at church noted that she'd seen something on TV about people heading for the hills in Nevada to escape the coming fallout of our nation's choices.
My take is very simple; as one who lives currently in the hinterlands (a town of 9000 surrounded by corn and soybean fields), I wonder where one would go. Here in a town we can call "good earth" (what the town's name means in the Dakota language), I've seen more single moms than I can shake a stick at, more tattoos than in a Yakuza convention, enough bars to keep a crowd of Vikings fans happy, and far too many of them persuaded that their infant sprinkling keeps them safe for the final judgement. You see a fair number of people obviously on meth, and I've also become fairly good at spotting small stands of marijuana in cornfields. Yes, I'd still pass a drug test. :^)
As someone who loves small towns and farmland, it's what I've seen everywhere. And so my response to "how to escape Sodom" is that, apart from egregious examples like Washington DC, one does not leave Sodom by changing one's mailing address. One leaves Sodom by leaving worldliness behind, and a great place to start is by turning off the TV.
I was never personally in much danger of giving a valedictory speech, but this struck me; more or less, a young lady used her position on the podium to more or less make John Taylor Gatto's argument; that schooling is not the same thing as education, and modern "schooling" really serves more to make compliant subjects than anything else. It certainly does not work to make thinking citizens, by and large.
There are any number of things which can be said. First of all, kudos to school administrators for not pulling the plug on a fairly confrontational valedictory, and kudos as well to Miss Goldson for presenting it. Both decisions had to take some guts. I hope that, apart from those who already are convinced by Gatto, it receives the hearing that it deserves.
That said, there are questions as well. What do we make of a valedictory speech that more or less mocks the very concept of a school? Is it too incendiary, or is it speaking truth to power? Moreover, do we know.....how well Miss Goldson thought this it? It looks very good, but....
.....but never mind. If Miss Goldson's speech is not an original gem, as it appears to be, she's still made the case that 13 years of schooling is not capable of generating an original valedictory. Which brings me to my real one and only complaint about Gatto's work; he tells us admirably what is wrong with American education, but does not really give us a chance to fix it.
On a similar note, one thing I learned about German culture (way back in the 1980s) was that the educated classes lamented the American pattern being implemented; teach, test, forget. The word for it is "Verschuling," and the concept refers to taking academic (university) coursework and treating it as if it were a trade school.
In other words, the Germans, from whence we derived our Prussian style school system in part, recognize the inherent problems in it. We should take a hint.
Many familiar with international news may be aware of earthquakes on the islands of Vanuatu, formerly known as the New Hebrides. These are the islands ministered to by John Paton a century ago, and even now there are active missionary efforts--including some by a dear friend of mine from Colorado, who I'll call "Mike" because that's his name. He was visiting his friends "Steve" and "Jane."
Now, for the real things which went on in Vanuatu:
11. Gutteral sounds of spoken Hebrew in discussions between Mike & Steve mistaken for quake.
10. Rumbles started during heated debates over the impact of Calvinism on whether Australia or Colorado is truly God’s country.
9. Mike missed dinner--aftershocks were just his stomach growling.
8. Shaking was the islands’ nervousness over the environmental impact of Al Gore’s profligate lifestyle.
7. Aftershocks resulted from Mike shooting feral pigs to feed cannibals to avoid being eaten himself.
6. Steve and Mike were running away from tribesmen who worship the Prince of Wales, need to lose some weight.
5. Mike jumped too hard on soapbox while doing street preaching.
4. Theological debate between Mike & Steve got too heated, table pounding registered on Geiger counters.
3. Too much spices in Jane’s cooking for Mike’s delicate intestines caused quakelike rumblings.
2. Arguments between Mike and Steve over whether Aussie or U.S. football was better got out of hand. (Mike lost with Tim Tebow’s new haircut…ouch!)
1. The Word of God is not just a double edged sword, it’s also apparently a jackhammer.
Apparently, at least some of them come from U.S. narcotics control agents. Not only should this qualify as a "jackbooted thug of the week" case for our friends at the Northern Muckraker, but it also serves as an example of why border security--and transitively control of the firearm and narcotics trade across the border--should not rely solely in the integrity of federal agents involved.
Reality is that narcotics and BATFE agents can and are bought by drug and gun cartels. However, a border fence, being inanimate, is a bit less susceptible to a bribe. Even a vehicle barrier would do a lot to curb illegal trade in guns and drugs by making it more difficult to simply drive across the border in many areas, and would not hurt native wildlife.
Courtesy of Lew Rockwell, it's a great summary of the basic ethical problems with the current "majority hypothesis" of climatology. In a nutshell, the data are cherry picked, and when someone wants to take a look at how, they get a stiff arm.
In a court of law--at least if it's not in California--any good lawyer would pounce on that like a Rottweiler on a T bone. Unfortunately, the media have largely forgotten how to think, and hence the majority hypothesis is protected.
If, say, Blue Cross or United Health had been accused of paying doctors to be silent about the failures of their systems, what would the public response be? I would guess that we would see a major action by the Department of Justice, definitely including civil lawsuits, and probably including a few criminal cases, no? In addition, the media attention "lavished" upon these companies would make WWII coverage of Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini look positively tame in comparison.
Well, according to the UK Independent, that's exactly what the English National Health Service has done with no less than 170 doctors. (h/T Northern Muckraker) If you value your doctor's ability to honestly tell you what your medical problems might be, you will do well to reject socialiised medicine. You'll work to overcome this year's health insurance deform act.
Unless, of course, you want your doctor bound to byzantine procedures which allow young women to die for lack of basic antibiotics, and you want that same doctor bound to silence when those byzantine procedures allow innocents to die.
Check out the implicit definition of "deflation" in the tenth paragraph of this article linked by my friend Jim; more or less, the New York Times is arguing (along with two prominent economic analysts) that "stable prices" (0% inflation) is equivalent to deflation--which is usually defined by mainstream economists as a drop in prices.
Interesting bait and switch, and what's even more interesting is the implicit assumption; that when prices do not rise, the economy will stall. The analysts are more or less assuming that every borrower requires prices to rise (including their revenues/income) in order to make their debt payments.
Thankfully, if there is a threat of deflation (we've had only one quarter of actual price dropping since 1954), it's not something that tends to hurt the economy. The 1954 deflation actually ended the 1953-1954 recession, and....the previous deflation in the 1930s actually accompanied an improvement in the economy then--which of course FDR torpedoed in 1937 with ill advised spending. Recessions end when the reward for using your money exceeds the security of keeping it in the bank, or under your mattress, and deflation is key to this.
So if you care about the economy, pay off your debts and pray for deflation. Actually, if enough of us pay off debts, we will get some, and it will be a good thing.
Unless, of course, the new FDR (and this is not a compliment), Barack Hussein Roosevelt Ayers Rezko Daley Blagojevich Khalidi Wright Pfleger Jackson Alinsky Soetoro Obama, does something incredibly foolish, like releasing people from their foolishly contracted debts.
....if you've got a few minutes, take a gander at this video (H/T Breathing Grace) from England which demonstrates a rather pervasive bias against portraying men as doing honorable things. Here's another bit from Betsy Hart on what this disdain has done for men as well. Apparently a lot of men are finding it far easier to get sex than respect.
And then, of course, having waged war on all things manly, women and girly-men (no insult to the ladies intended here) wonder where are the manly men have gone when the situation calls for a little bit more strength, assertiveness, and yes, testosterone. One can see that when society denigrates the legitimate roles of men, it doesn't turn out so well for women and children, either.
Women and children, to put it gently, are at stake. The opinion--which hopefully will be overturned--states clearly that the judge felt that there was no compelling reason for the State of California to deny the right to marriage to homosexual couples.
However, marriage and family law in general is not predicated on the state recognizing relationships, being interested in people falling in love, or even being able to get a joint checking account without shame (actual example from the case). Rather, marriage and family law is designed to provide a straightforward framework for what happens when a family falls apart, in order to protect the interests of the weaker vessels in a family.
So what has this judge argued? Effectively, the interests of women and children are of no interest to the judge. We won't see the side effects immediately, but if the decision stands, we will see them.
Here's a more scholarly analysis from the HSLDA on the same topic. Again, if you are a woman or child, or have a woman or child you'd like to protect from the state and others, this is a horrendously dangerous decision to you. The state is ever more working to infringe on the special domain of the family.
Update: WND reports that the judge is an open homosexual, raising the question of why he did not recuse himself in a case where he obviously has a personal interest. Sounds like reason to vacate his decision, and quite frankly also to remove him from the bench.
Evidently, women are attracted to men wearing red. I knew there was a good reason I started to wear those Nebraska sweatshirts about the time I started courting Mrs. Bubba. Condolences again to fans of the Buffies.
Apparently, scientists have identified undersea rivers of highly saline/mineralized water in the depths of the ocean, forming channels, valleys, and even waterfalls due to its higher density than other water. It reminds me of Genesis 7:11, where all the "fountains of the great deep were broken up" (NKJV) as the flood waters rose. Given the high salinity of these underwater rivers, it also suggests that the standard geologic model of ocean salinization--runoff from land--may not be the only, or even the dominant, means by which the oceans were made salty.
This, in turn, could undermine one of the arguments for an old earth; the time estimated to salinate the oceans. Very interesting, and very cool.
If the EIA report on monthly gasoline usage is any indication, Americans are still not driving like they did back in 2007. I would therefore assume that commuting, and the economy as a whole, has not yet picked up.
Ironically, since official unemployment statistics are predicated on who is taking unemployment insurance--and it's run out for many--gasoline usage may be a better measure of the economy as a whole than unemployment rates.
Apart from the issue of whether the Southern Cross is truly a racist statement (for some KKK hangers on it certainly is, for others it simply honors their great-granddaddy), there is the hilarious reality that...
....apparently lots of liberals out there either own, or are heading out to buy, a Confederate battle flag, believing fully that the battle flag is a sign of racism.
I infer, therefore, that the left has a serious problem with racism that they really need to deal with.
....is the Iranian women's national rugby team, which is playing rugby in traditional headscarves and long flowing garments. Yes, they're covered up. They are not particularly what I would call an "eye gate" problem. However, in doing this, they are entirely missing the point that feminine modesty is supposed to be, you know, "feminine." It's what happens when one follows a list of laws without having them in the context of Christ.
...and apparently dairy farmers are still hurting pretty badly. Somehow methinks that if we ended corn and ethanol subsidies, dairy farmers would be given a nice incentive to allow those eight hoof drive forage collection systems out into the meadow, reducing actual milk production to the level that the country will actually buy.
Nah, that would make way too much sense. Never mind.
I thought it was hilarious enough; it's a Chevy Cobalt that gets the mileage of the much larger (and nicer) Chevy Impala with a Cadillac price tag, and it's "environmentally friendly" plug in hybrid system effectively runs the first 40 miles on coal--that's what the power company runs during the night when demand is low.
No, it's even more hilarious. Evidently, to get that mighty 30mpg (not much better than my minivan on a 90 degree day) with that compact four seater (not even as good as a Cobalt in space or mileage), you need to use premium gasoline. Cadillac price, Cobalt size, and....OK, let's be fair to the Impala. It doesn't get the mileage of the Impala, but rather of a 2000 Venture with 210,000 miles on it, but without the room, comfort, or towing capacity of the minivan. All while running on sulfur-and-soot-emitting bituminous coal from West Virginia and Wyoming.
If there is any better picture of why government needs to get as far as possible from designing our cars, it's the Chevy Volt, which can only get sales with a $7500 government tax credit for buying the stupid thing.