Thursday, May 7, 2015

Today will be interesting. At least for political junkies who somehow have been sucked in by Charles CW Cooke's descriptions on the British elections today.

What makes it intriquing is the very likely possibility of the SNP taking all of the seats from what historically has been the Labour Party's strongest region in Scotland. While I do not think that will be enough to erode enough of Labour's vote to give the majority to Cameron's Tories,  I am interested in observing what happens.

Of particular interest will be finding out how much , if any, falloff the Liberal Democrats have as a consequence of their coalition with the Conservative Party, and if Nick Clegg manages to hold his seat. Also will Nigel Farage manage to win in South Thanet, or will the UKIP prove to be a passing fad.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Maybe I should burn a South Carolina flag....

Senator Graham, I know you are not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but what part of "Congress shall make no law ...abridging the freedom of speech...." do you not understand???

Here is the esteemed senior Senator from South Carolina regarding pastor Turner's Koran burning stunt "You know I wish we could find some way to-- to-- to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea but we’re in a war. During World War II, you had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy. So burning a Koran is a terrible thing. But it doesn’t justify killing someone. Burning a bible would be a terrible thing but it doesn’t justify murder. But having said that, any time we can push back here in America against actions like this that put our troops at risk we ought to do it. So I look forward to working with Senator Kerry and Reid and others to condemn this, condemn violence all over the world based in the name of religion."i

I personally think Terry Jones was foolishly and irredeemably provocative with this stunt. As someone who is looking on from afar, considering I do not even know anyone who knows Terry Jones, given the deliberate poke in the eye nature of what he did, I would question his temperament and fitness to hold the office of Pastor. Frankly given what little I know about the man, I would say he is about as qualified for the office of Pastor as Fred Phelps is, which is to say about as qualified as Arnold Schwarzenegger is for US President. But that is my First Amendment protected speech. Given that I have never been an official of the US Government, and have more desire to swallow sulfuric acid than ever be an official of the US Government, my expression has as much impact on Terry Jones' Constitutional rights as a gnat. However, neither Senator Graham, Senator Dingy Harry, nor any other official of the US Government have that luxury. If any Congressional follow through actually occurs, whether hearings or God forbid an actual legislative act, I hope Terry Jones tells the good senators on live CSPAN cameras where they can stick it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Who is the short-sighted and uninfomed one?

I recently came across a note on Facebook from a long time college acquaintance. In the note, h expressed that he was happy Obamacare had passed. This person is one of these extremely nice and considerate people who do not have a critical bone in their body, and cannot and will not see the devil in the details until they are hoisted on Satan's fork. And even then they wonder why there is a farm implement impaling them. Knowing this, I was sure that he had not given any thought to the implications or details of what he was supporting. So, here is the reply I sent to him:

"If you believe Healthcare is a right, sir, I would like to remind you that I also have rights. Your rights stop where mine start, and since healthcare is not free, it has to be paid for somehow. I have a right to enjoy the fruits of my labors, as do you. However Obama's plan will be taking taking taxes from me to pay for healthcare for you, so essentially what you are advocating is that you should have a claim on the fruits of other people's labors, so that you can have subsidized health insurance. This is known as slavery, this idea that you will enjoy the fruits of other people's labor...."

Now I will admit that was probably quite a bit confrontational. And given the tone, I can not exactly say I am suprised at the response I received:

"I am Brad's wife and I am responding to you instead of Brad because he is busy working on his dissertation and struggling to support our family in spite of his health issues. I am afraid that your lack of support for the bill is short-sighted and uninformed. However, you are entitled to your opinion as we are to ours."

Short-sighted and uninformed? Moi? Mrs Brad, may I direct your attention to this little nuggets, and then tell me who is the short-sighted and and uninformed one?

1) All through this debate, we were told that 14000, 0r 20,000, or 25,000 people die each year from lack of health insurance. However, this plan will not fully go into effect until 2014. So apparently Mrs Brad is fine if another 56,000, or 80,000, or 100, 000 people die between now and then from lack of health insurance.

2) From the AP "Companies say health care costs hard to swallow" So far, Deere and Co, Caterpillar, Valero, and AT&T have said they will be writing off millions and a billion in AT&T's case due to higher costs this law will impose. I cannot imagine that none of these businesses will not try to recover these costs in higher prices to their customers, and/or laying workers off. So apparently Mrs Brad wants her surviving neighbors to lose their jobs and have their phone bills to go up huh?

3) From the same article "Consumers Energy, a Michigan gas and electric company with 2.9 million customers, said it will not take a big first-quarter charge because, like most utility companies, it can try to recover the added costs from its customers through rate hikes." So Mrs Brad also wants her neighbors in Michigan that are still around and still have jobs to pay higher gas and electric bills too.

4) If anyone buys vitamins, adult incontinence products, women’s products,OTC remedies, or anything else sold over the counter that you normally buy with your HSA or Flex Spending account, buy them before 7/1/10. After 7/1/10 there will be essentially a 40% tax imposed on these products, and, no HSA spending on these items will be tax deductible after 7/1/10.
ObamaCare "restricts individuals with these pre-tax accounts to buying a “medicine or drug only if such medicine or drug is a prescribed one. And ironically, this tax that will raise health care costs substantially by creating incentives for the use of more expensive prescription drugs even when OTC drugs are just as safe and effective." Source is here. So, Mrs Brad also wants her still employed neighbors to pay more for Nyquil, or to pay much more for a prescription.

There are undoubtedly more examples, and as our Dear Speaker Nurse Nancy said, they will be trickling out over the next few weeks as more of the now law is actually read

So I ask again, who is the short-sighted and uninformed one?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Deitrich Bonhoeffer for our generation

I have long admired the courage of Deitrich Bonhoeffer in his resistance to the Nazi Germany regime and giving his life as a martyr. Bonhoeffer was safe in England and America in the 1930's and it would have been easy for him to stay, while Hitler and the National Socialist agenda attemped to destroy the Church in Germany by neutering it. Yet Bonhoeffer returned to Germany, all the while knowing that his return may cost him his life, and indeed it did.

I came across a story today about another young man who was living in relative safety, and yet chose to go into a place knowing such a journey may also cost him his life. Instead of a German pastor, this time it is a Korean American, named Robert Park. On Christmas Day 2009, Robert crossed the border between China and North Korea, where he has disappeared. When asked why he was doing so, in a Reuter's interview, Park said:

"The North Korean human rights crisis by murder rate is the worst in the world. An estimated 1,000 people a day die by starvation and starvation is a murder case. North Korea has been sent more food aid than any nation in the world but the food has not gone to the people who need it. So this is murder.But not only that, there are concentration camps in North Korea that are of the same brutality as in Nazi Germany. Responsible governments are completely silent about the issue. The United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea have a huge responsibility to speak out about this because all these nations played a role the arbitrary division of the Koreas, where not a single Korean was consulted. Yet the lives of these people are of no issue to these governments. That is a crime. It is a huge crime."

Later in the interview, Park was asked "
how can you change this? You are going in well aware of the dangers

His response:
My demand is that I do not want to be released. I don’t want President Obama to come and pay to get me out. But I want the North Korean people to be free. Until the concentration camps are liberated, I do not want to come out. If I have to die with them, I will. I am Christian and it says in the Bible that we must love the lost. We must love the poor and the needy. We must love them more than ourselves. These innocent men, women and children, as Christians, we need to take the cross for them. The cross means that we sacrifice our lives for the redemption of others.. I am going in for the sake of the lives of the North Korean people. And if he kills me, in a sense, I realize this is better. Then the governments of the world will become more prone to say something, and more embarrassed and more forced to make a statement. "

May God grant peace to Robert Park. I hope he can survive and live to see his desire for the North Koreans to know freedom. However knowing the vile evil of the Kim Jong-Il regime, I very much doubt that he will. So my prayer for him echoes what Bishop Hugh Latimer said to Nicholas Ridley -
Be of good comfort, Master Park and play the man; You may this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in North Korea, I trust shall never be put out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If you vote for Obama, you are my enemy and an enemy of freedom

For weeks now I have resisted any postings, because I was not sure I could keep quiet on what I am about to write. But I cannot continue to remain silent.

I am torn as to who I am going to vote for next week. I have been contemplating voting for no candidate and leaving the Presidential space unchecked, or checking Bob Barr, or McCain, or Nader, or writing my dad's name in. But under no circumstances will I ever vote for Barack Obama. Obama is not to be trusted at all.

  • He told both Hillary Clinton and John McCain that he would accept public financing. McCain has done so. Obama has not. He lied
  • He has claimed that his vote in Illinois against the Born Alive Infant protection act was because there were already laws in Illinois protecting the right to life for abortion survivors. There were no such laws at the time. He lied.
  • He has said that he will not raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000. He has also gone on record that he will allow the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 to expire as scheduled in 2010. Go to the IRS tax tables for 2000 and 2002, and compare your taxes from 2007 to what you would have paid in 2000. Your taxes are less now than they will be come 2010. Once again, he lied.
  • He said the tax increase threshold is $250,000. Today in the noted Right wing paper, the New York Times, noted ultraconservative columnist Paul Krugman writes "Mr. Obama proposes raising rates on only the top two income tax brackets — and the second-highest bracket for a head of household starts at an income, after deductions, of $182,400 a year." So in this case, either Krugman is lying, or Obama is. My bet is on Obama as the liar here
  • Yesterday during an interview with WNEP TV in Pennsylvania, Obama's Vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden, said, and I quote "What we’re saying is that $87 billion tax break doesn’t need to go to people making an average of 1.4 million, it should go like it used to. It should go to middle class people — people making under $150,000 a year." Lat time I checked $150,000.00 is less than $250, 000.00. So yet again, Obama is lying.

Barack Obama is not only a liar, he is an enemy of freedom. The ability to keep and use the monetary fruits of our labor is one of the clearest measures of our freedom. With Obama's many statements on his tax policy, he shows that he is more than willing to take more and more of this freedom from Americans. And his lies, particularly about the tax thresholds, show that he will take this freedom from many more Americans than those he claims that he will limit his tax increases to.
Furthermore Obama's intention to levy significant tax increases on "wealthy corporations and oil companies" will result in corresponding increases in the costs of the goods and services these "wealthy corporations" provide. Not only will Obama take more of your money and thereby limit your freedom directly through personal income tax increases, he will also take money from Americans indirectly by increasing what we pay for such things as clothes, food, gasoline, cars, electronic equipment, and so on.

Obama further shows he is an enemy of freedem with his intention to replace retiring federal judges with nominees that have a judicial philosophy similar to his. He he wants judges who "got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." In other words, Obama wants judges that will ignore what the law actually says, and that will instead make their rulings based on what policy that particular judge wants implemented in our society. Constitution be damned, the opinions and desires of the American citizenry be damned, representative lawmakers be damned. Obama wants the courts that will implement rule by robed dictators, rather than the will of the people, with no accountability, no vote, and no chance of erasing what these judges rule.

Obama finally shows himself as an enemy of freedom with his support for "Card Check" union organizing. He wants to take the rights of workers to vote privately and secretly on the question of unionization, in favor of a public vote, with all the potential for fraud, and threatening pressure on dissenting workers that this public vote will represent. Furthermore, the legislation that Obama supports will take away the freedom of union dissenters to not have their required union dues go to support causes the worker opposes, a freedom that is currently enjoyed (although difficult to enforce).

I could go on and on, but I would rather stop here. I will conclude though with this : if you support Obama, you are just as much an enemy of freedom as he is. And should he win, you will also be my enemy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Musical Monday

When one considers the real purpose of the day, rather than a day to go to the lake and have a cookout, there is something poignant about a Memorial Day when our military forces are actively deployed in a war. Particularly when the war in question that has so divided the country as the current one.

However I do not want to besmirch the sacrifices and memory of those who have given their last full measure of devotion by a political debate - not today anyway. I am reminded of another time when the country was in a divisive war, and just as today, many people would have rather given up the fight rather than pursue victory. And in honor of those who paid that cost in blood, toil, and despair, not only in the war in question, but in all wars, I invite you to ponder the price the American soldier has paid so that we could do whatever we will do today.

Pandora was not able to find other songs similar to Tenting Tonight, so I will add soldiers songs from other American wars
1 Cornwallis Country Dance - American Revolution. Sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle"
2 The Hunters of Kentucky - War of 1812
3 Bonnie Blue Flag - Song sung by the Confederate soldiers in Civil War
4 Over There - World War I
5 What Do You Do in the Infantry? - World War II

PS 5/27 811 PM- I neglected to put the lyrics to Tenting Tonight - which can be found here

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I have a better wife than I often realize

When I got married, almost 8 years ago now, a good friend of mine recommended I read The Five Love Languages by Gary Smalley. While I never actually have got around to reading this book, I am somewhat familiar with the main premise, which is the ways that we express love to our significant other are often radically different, and what kinds of expressions that to me show love, do not always mean the same to her, and vice versa. This premise has been many times demonstrated in our marriage, and often arguments and hard feelings, at their core, can be linked to the radically different means in which Wife and I show love and affection for each other.

For an example, - one of the best ways to show love is to work with me, to help me, in accomplishing the everyday, mundane yet necessary tasks. However Wife does not see this as love, and I all to readily tend to use this as a tool claiming that she really doesn't love me. This, of course, is a pointless argument. Yet time after time I tend to use it anyway, which over time likely has made her even less likely to understand how important it is to me to have her helping me

Well, as the adage goes, it is better late than never. It occurred to me the other day that she is much more of a help to me than I acknowledge. And Indeed the manner at which she helps in this case is far far more valuable to me, and much much more of a lasting benefit to me, than if she helps me with loading and unloading the dishwasher. (which she certainly does, many times).

I have a glitch in my personality that often causes me to either get irrationally pessimistic at the slightest challenge, or irrationally giddy at the slightest blessing, and run down rabbit trails in my thinking. This is a flaw in that if I act on the line of thinking, in either direction, and follow the thought patterns to the logical conclusion, I will invariably make decisions that lead to very bad consequences. Where my wife helps me more than anything, is that in every case that I can recall, where I am either flying high like a kite, or as depressed as a 1929 Stockbroker, she will say something or call my bluff on something, or whatever, that brings me out of my fantasy, into reality.

Every time she does this, every time I get angry and say something stupid, and every time when I take the time to actually process what she has said, I see that her words, and the wisdom behind them, are her showing me more love, and more help, than I realize at the time.

And as the Proverb says, "Let her works earn her praise at the city gate." For truly she is a incredible, undeservable, and all too often unacknowledged, help to me

Monday, March 24, 2008

Special Easter Edition of Musical Monday

If you have never seen Messiah performed live, by a good choir and orchestra, the raw celebratory, indeed triumphant power of the final chorus Worthy is the Lamb, the orchestration and the words both, well, lets just say this video does not begin to do this song justice. And indeed since the core message of Easter is one of incredible triumph - triumph over death, triumph over despair, triumph over sin itself, I cannot think of a better piece for this weeks edition of Musical Monday.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood.
To receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb.
Forever and ever, Amen.

Unfortunately Pandora does not recognize this particular Chorus, I did get these 5 matches for the Messiah oratorio:
1 Gloria in D Major by Antonio Vivaldi
2 Christmas Oratorio, Angels Chorus by Heinrich Schutze
3 Christmas Oratorio, Break Forth, by Johann Sebastian Bach
4 In Dulci Jubilo by The Cambridge Singers
5 L'enfance Du Christ, the Shepherds Farewell to the Holy Family by Hector Berlioz

He is Risen. Alleluia!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

St Patricks Musical Day

Ok - St Patricks Day should be easy, right? An Irish song of course. But ah, thats the rub you see - which song?

So after looking at this one and that one, I decided to go with this one here:

Monday, March 10, 2008

And Trade with the ChiComms benefits the US how again?

I have long been troubled at times, with various levels of concern, about the US increasing dependence on China for manufactured goods. I can understand the appeal of Chinese made goods, namely the low price, but what I fail to get is that far too many American businesspeople ignore or downplay that the Chinese Government runs or manages most if not all of the manufacturing enterprises, While the powers that be in China are no longer strict Communists in the 20th century economic sense, neither does the evidence indicate that the Chinese government gives a flip about individual human rights. Neither apparently do they seem to understand the concept of quality control. As if last years incident where Chinese made pet food ingredient's were contaminated by melamine which caused many dog deaths in 2007, now the popular Blood thinner Heparin has been recalled in the US, Japan and Germany, and it is suspected that a key ingredient, made in China, is a fake chemical that has likely contributed to 18 deaths and many more allergic reactions.

If indeed this turns out to be another example of Chinese quality control, perhaps it is time to re-think all trade with China.