Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I kid thee not

My employer had us take a "time management" class today, apparently because the only reason people aren't managing their time well is because they've never taken such a class.  Despite the fact that anyone who's worked a white collar job for more than a few years has almost certainly taken such a course, of course.

The instructor was late and ran over, all while admitting that she could never quite got the hang of differentiating what was important from what was urgent.  Worse yet, she never quite clued in that a lot of the time, if management doesn't think about what's important vs. what's urgent, everything becomes important for the rank and file.

Yup, my time management class was, ironically, a wasted hour.

Another reason you don't want government running education

In Minnesota, the legislature is debating whether reductions in force in school districts ought to involve ratings of teacher performance.  Now how this criterion ought to be used, or what limits ought to be imposed, but whether teachers should face termination for poor performance.  The teachers' union representative went on to note that evaluating teacher performance would be the hardest challenge they'd ever faced.

Call my cynical or judgmental, but I would have hoped that a good measure of teacher performance would be "are the kids learning what is to be learned?"  And with logic like that--to stand on a soapbox I use often--I guess we understand better a lot of things in our country, don't we?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another risk of global warming

Apparently, if global warming continues, horses will shrink to the size of Robert Reich or something like that.  Because, as everyone knows, large mammals--like rhinos, elephants, hippos, tapirs, zebras, cattle, water buffaloes, and such--cannot survive in a warm climate.  And it's absolutely not like draft horses were developed during the medieval climate optimum or anything like that.  And by no means should we listen to paleontologists who note that dinosaurs are unlikely to have survived ice ages.

One would think that climatologists and hangers-on would check their hypotheses against well known data points, but apparently that's asking a bit much of them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Here you go

The online text of Humanae Vitae.

Well worth reading, and for what it's worth, it illustrates brilliantly what the difference between Protestants and Catholics ought to be.  That is, Protestants ought to be dedicated to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura to the point where the primary source of evidence for a document on human life ought to be derived from the Scriptures.  I'll also admit that it would come fairly close to Humanae Vitae in many areas.

On the flip side, Catholics,with the doctrine (roughly described) as "Scripture plus authority of the Church," would then be free--and ahem required--to produce a document (like Humanae Vitae) that defers extensively to previous documents.

Interestingly, American law used to follow more of the Protestant tradition (with the Constitution being the reference point instead of the Scriptures, of course), but a look at modern legal decisions suggests that we've moved far more to a Catholic view that could be paraphrased as "Constitution plus the historic decisions of the court."  

Given, of course, that our justices are not Humanae Vitae-quoting gentlemen like Gino, we of course find that some of the modern rulings are "not exactly" in the mold of Humanae Vitae.   It's time to pray, perhaps, for some justices in the historic Protestant mold, or at least get some better Catholics on the bench.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Now that's a cool name

I'm not a Catholic, but I've got to concede that the Papal document on human sexuality and reproduction, Evangelium Vitae, has got to have one of the coolest names around.  Translated roughly from its roots, "the good news of life."  Or "the gospel of life."  Or "Evangelism by life."  All true, and too cool.  Well done, Roma!

Monday, February 20, 2012

More on the contraception mandate

Not only is the Obama contraception mandate, with its requirements for people to buy a product they may consider abhorrent, clearly unconstitutional, it also appears to be exactly what the doctor didn't order for our long term prosperity, according to Mark Steyn.  How so?

Simple.  Plunging birthrates mean that the debt accumulated by 100 free-spending grandparents will need to be paid back by as few as 42 grandchildren.  According to Steyn, that's exactly the situation in Greece, and with a little more doing, we could be following the path of Russia, Japan, Germany, and a host of other nations facing the same demographic disaster.

Husbands, love your wives, and you just might want to leave the party balloons and pills at the store.  Your grandchildren's prosperity, and quite possibly your own security in retirement, may depend on it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The tragedy of hyperfundamentalism

I was thinking about the hyperfundamentalism that most evangelicals and fundamentalists--and OK, quite a few in and out of other churches--come into contact with from time to time, and realized that the tragedy of hyperfundamentalism ("I don't drink and I don't chew and I don't go with girls that do") is summed up in a simple precept; it undoes fundamentalism and the good it did and does.

Now for some, "the good that fundamentalism did" is subtle, to put it mildly, but let's remember the real fundamentals; the inerrancy of Scripture in its autographs, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, the physical resurrection, and the second coming.  In specifying these as essential for Christian faith, they provided a needed shorthand where believers could discern sheep from wolves, and thus they created a powerful unifying force where Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, and others could find fellowship despite significant theological differences.  (little known fact; Bob Jones was a Methodist)

Now consider hyperfundamentalism; King James Only, Trail of Blood, Landmark, prohibitions on everything from alcohol to cigarettes to playing cards to red cars, dictatorship of the head pastor in too many churches, hymns only, psalms only, .....and what do we have but a profoundly divisive movement, or....let's face it, set of movements.  What they have in common is substitution of the rules of men for the Word of God and the Gospel, and hence....what do we have but an un-doing of the good that the original fundamentalists did a century ago?

That's what I'll call a tragedy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wake up,dad

A young person develops a golden singing voice in church, growing up with seemingly loving parents, and then gets the shot at stardom--finding that in the mix come pervasive opportunities for drug use, fornication, and the general destruction of a man.

We've seen it with Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Katy Perry, Mickey Gilley, Aretha Frannklin, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and now it's taken another life with Whitney Houston--whose mother sang backups for Elvis, for what it's worth.

Dad, when you see your little boy or girl getting the shot at the big time, remember these people, especially Whitney and Elvis, and make sure that your kids know what they're getting into.  Don't let the dollar signs blind you to the fact that a man can gain the whole world and lose his soul.

RIP, Whitney.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Solar subsidies

Apparently, the government is predicting that it will lose up to three billion dollars in loans made for alternative energy out of a total twenty-four billion dollar program.  Sounds pretty bad, right--a loss ratio of 12%, right?

Nope.  Actually, only 8.3 billion dollars have been loaned out, so we're predicting about a 35% loss ratio.  In short, you'd do better "investing" at the house that Bugsy Siegel built.  And in further honor of Mr. Siegel, and in apology for posting a song from Donny Osmond's teen years, here you go.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

How's this for irony?

Take a casino founded by a mobster who died in a mob hit, built with black market materials, named after his live in girlfriend, filled with tobacco smoke, liquor, gambling, and women of questionable morals, and of course all in "Sin City."  What do you have?

The ideal site for the most famous Mormon brother and sister to restart their singing career, of course.  Here's a video done by Mr. Dosmond back in his teen years.

 And here's one from his latest involvement at the Flamingo in Lost Wages.

Marie's looking pretty bad in that one, sad to say.  In other news from Lost Wages, it turns out that Motley Crue has become "Billy and the Boingers", who infamously predicted that "three years down the track we'll be a Las Vegas lounge act."  Took a little long, but hearty congratulations to Bill and Opus for making it to this point of their career.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Thoughts on the Komen brouhaha

Apparently, officials at the Susan Komen Foundation for eradicating breast cancer have gotten into trouble because of an interesting policy shift; they decided that if a group was under investigation for crimes, they would be disqualified from grants from Komen.  Since this affected Planned Infanticide Parenthood and no one else, the pro-abortion movement understandably became very unhappy, and the policy was modified to affect only groups under investigation for non-political reasons.

We would assume, therefore, that if a group provides abortions, then any criminal investigation for child molestation and child prostitution is solely political, even if such an investigation for any other group in the country that did not provide abortions would be a legal and moral necessity. 

So what do we have here?   Before this, we had a group that was ignoring published research which linked (though not conclusively) breast cancer with abortion by funding Planned Parenthood.  In doing so, of course, they were providing a semi-plausible excuse for the claim that Planned Parenthood isn't just about abortions.  That alone should give any pro-life person pause.

Now, that group not only is ignoring this research, but they're also apparently under the impression that if a group kills babies in the womb, that aiding and abetting child molestation and child prostitution becomes a political, not a criminal, issue.

I'm against breast cancer (and cancer in general) as much as anyone, but I dare suggest that with logic like this--and by not seeing the trap that they were falling into--they might not have the intellectual horsepower to do much to reduce this terrible disease.  Those who care about this disease would do well to invest their funds elsewhere, no matter what their stance on abortion.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Recipe: "women's services" brownies

Inspired by this post of Ray's, I offer to you this recipe for "women's services" brownies.  You will like them unless you're allergic to chocolate or somewhat demented.  Here is the inspiration for my recipe, which differs slightly from Rosie's.   I bet it's worth a side excursion to Cambridge if you're ever in Boston, by the way.

First, make this recipe for hot fudge

Now, melt two sticks of salted butter and four ounces of Baker's unsweetened chocolate (you can substitute this fine product if you like) in a 2-3 quart saucepan.  Add 2 cups granulated sugar and remove from heat.  Stir in 4 beaten eggs, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1 cup flour, and 2 tbsp cocoa until well mixed. (feel free to add extra cocoa or  1/2 tsp cinnamon to make them extra good)  Add 1 cup chopped nuts if desired, pour batter into buttered cast iron skillet, and bake 30-40 minutes at 370F--until knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool and cover with hot fudge.  Optional touches are mint leaves, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries.  It's a true "women's service" that might help you have a happy Valentine's Day, or any other day that you might want to enjoy with your wife.

Dunno what you'd call it if you're a woman making them for your husband, but feel free to try the recipe.