Friday, February 12, 2016

St. Valentine's stories in the news

As a former librarian, I know that selection is the key to a collection.  Banning or promoting a point of view starts in the back room where the purchasing decisions are made.  Public library librarians are 123:1 liberal to conservative, so that determines what is purchased, which determines what people read, which determines what they believe. Same with the news.  How news sources differ just by selection of story was evident with these two human interest stories--St. Valentine's day (tomorrow). Innocent.  Fun.  ABC was on the kitchen, Fox News in my office. I'm walking back and forth. Fox has a report on what people are doing on St. Valentine's day--reported on a soldier sending some home a valentine surprise and a child taking something to dad--I think it was Chic filet. ABC reported on President Obama's plans.

Another news story difference which may indicate who is beating the drum for fear and division. Fox reported on the 5th police officer killed recently (he was black, but that wasn't mentioned--there was a photo); ABC reported on a court case where a police officer had killed a black man. Race was prominent in that story. Both the number and rate of those killed in the course of committing a crime is higher for whites than blacks, but would you know that from news reporting? Why the pressure on the corporate news sources to divide the nation along racial lines?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Obama's speech to Illinois General Assembly

Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois--a Democrat controlled state with a Republican governor in deep budget doo-doo--to give a delusional speech about how great he is. He takes credit for what President Bush did in 2008 to save the country financially and end the war, he won't accept the blame for the partisanship and meaness in politics when the media have been carrying his water for 7 years and he's refused to work with Republicans, he didn't mention the mess with ISIS and Syria and didn't even give the Republican governors credit for their states' recovery which is where the jobs are coming from. Our fuel prices have gone down not from alternatives like sun and wind, but from fracking, which he strongly opposed.   He visits all the celebrities and unions with his hand out, but scolds Americans for the money in politics. Sigh.

Short story snippets with no endings

At Marc's today I was standing next to a very frustrated shopper who had found cracked eggs in her carton, and complained to the clerk about how rushed she was as a "24/7 caretaker."  I didn't know her but put my arm around her shoulder and gave her a hug.  She explained that her husband has Parkinson's and dementia, and she can hardly ever get out of the house and has to rush through her errands and gets very frustrated.

A woman with a heavy accent couldn't find something and the stocker was trying to explain to her.  I later saw her wandering around the dairy section, and I asked if could help.  She couldn't find the "egg beaters," so I told her I would help. (I'd never seen them.)  Finally I found them with the sausage, so I flagged her down, and she selected what she wanted.  I told her we'd been in Spain in September and that I had a hard time finding things in their large super markets.

An elderly man was staring at the shelves of jams and jellies (he was older than me!).  I told him I just love Mrs. Miller's jellies and jams and they really are made by Amish right here in Ohio.  Then I recommended Rhubarb-Strawberry, and I picked up a jar for my grocery cart.  Later I was behind him at check out, and the only grocery item he had (everything else was for home repair) was Mrs. Miller's Rhubarb-Strawberry jam.

I had 13 items, but stood in the 12 item line.  The woman in front of me had one item--a package of English muffins. I commented that she must be having a snack attack because the store was rather crowded to come in for one item.  So she explained she had shopped earlier and forgot this item which she likes to take to work for a snack.  Then we discussed the recent recall on packaged salads, which she also liked to buy (from a Springfield, OH plant); we both agreed you have to wash everything and decided processed food might be safer since nothing can live in it.

At the Volunteers of America store I went right to the book shelves, although I certainly don't need another book. There was a mother and child speaking Russian while looking at toys, shelved near the books.  I was so thrilled I could still understand a conversation between a mom and a 3 years old--that's about the level of my understanding. Kids ask the same things in all languages.

Can Bernie and the Socialists offer free college?

I haven’t visited Manchester University (in Indiana) since the 1990s, and was amazed then at the buildings (not necessarily growth) especially in sports facilities and library, but now when I look at the web site it’s even more so. I was thinking this morning that the “new women’s dorm” where I didn’t live (I was in the old dorm--Oakwood), would now be about 60 years old if it hasn’t be razed, and looking back, that in 1958 when I was a student, a comparable building would have been late 1890s! 
Every college seems to have a bad case of Keeping up with the Jones’s to attract students with first class amenities. It's breathtaking when I walk across the campus at Ohio State--especially the sports and recreation facilities. Plus, there’s been huge growth in non-academic staff and departments to keep up with federal regulations on diversity/gender, health, testing, psychological development, etc. and to spend the ever growing federal aid to education. 
I know students personally who have graduated with no debt, and that’s quite possible in Ohio which has an incredible system of 2 year and technical colleges within driving distance of everyone. Now with online, that may not be such an issue. Living at home, working part time and being selective about important courses, a student can have a debt free education (undergrad) in Ohio thanks to the foresight of Governor Rhodes back in the 1960s-1970s. In European countries we’ve visited their  “free” colleges, but their testing system very early eliminates many children (usual, poorer working class) from the pool, so even if “free” it’s definitely not “fair.”

My college expenses in 1957-58 and 1958-59 were right around $1,000, although I did have occasional part time jobs at the schools. I had saved enough for my freshman year by working while in high school. I doubt anyone could do that today. My father would have considered it an insult if a child of his needed a government loan. Very different today. But he also considered a married daughter the responsibility of someone else, and for my senior year (I was married), I borrowed money from him for tuition. 
A few years ago I checked and Manchester was about $30,000 a year (although with aid and scholarships it’s difficult to know true cost, just like health insurance). University of Illinois from which I got my B.A. and MLS was higher (was the same back in the 50s), but probably in $35,000 range. 
Whether talking education or poverty or environment, progressives/socialists/Democrats push government programs, then years later sound the alarm that they aren't working or are too expensive, blame the situation on the Republicans for not giving them more money to throw at failing programs, when in fact, they created the situation (although Republicans always go along and renew the funding).  So it is with soaring education costs.  They are reaping what they have sown, and found it bitter or poisonous. 

A note of history: "Mount Morris College in Mount Morris, Illinois [where I grew up and both my parents and grandparents met], merged with Manchester College in 1932. Founded as a Methodist seminary in 1839, Mount Morris had been purchased by representatives of the Church of the Brethren in 1879 and operated under the name of the Rock River Seminary and College Institute until 1884, when the name was changed to Mount Morris College. The merger of Mount Morris College and Manchester College came about when the Church of the Brethren decided its educational program would be strengthened by pooling its resources in a smaller number of colleges [and after MMC suffered a terrible fire on Easter Sunday 1931]" from Manchester's website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A few political thoughts for my angry, atheist troll

I think I know how Bernie wins with young people. About 5 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I was looking through a history encyclopedia in the public library. Slick, new, great publisher. History had already been revised, and of course, academe is very liberal. As I recall, there was no entry for "USSR." There was a x-ref to WWII, I suppose because USSR was our ally in the 1940s. Nothing about millions of starving Ukrainians, or 5 year economic plans that always failed, or city people sent to the countryside for political mistakes, or the 1930s trials and executions of loyal Communists, or empty shelves in government run stores.

Ilya Somin who writes for Washington Post, mentioned today that his father (born and raised in Russia during the Communist era) had this to say about Bernie: "In his victory speech Bernie complained (or boasted) of his poor childhood, when he grew ...up in a 3.5 (what is that 0.5?) room apartment with his parents and a brother..... He should thank his "Polish" immigrant parents for that (somehow he does not want to say they were Jewish). Under socialism I grew up in one room with my parents in a communal apartment with several other unrelated families each also having one room (and this was considered luxurious)."

Yesterday I heard that most college students feeling the Bern can't tell you who their U.S. Senators are, but naturalized citizens can--they need to know this for citizenship. OK Ohio. Listen up. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown are our Senators. They faithfully send me e-mails. I've watched some of Watters' World, and they also are crickets on what socialism is, and can't name the Vice President, either.

Dennis Prager mentioned today the huge gap between single women and married women in voting. Married women are much more conservative and over 50% vote Republican, and about 1/3 of single women are conservative. And then when the married women become parents, it's even more pronounced. He was wondering why, and I assume listeners were going to call in but I was on my way to a funeral and didn't hear the comments. It does make you wonder if the downgrading and demeaning of marriage and children (even to the point of not letting them be born) by progressives is a ploy to get more votes from women. Just keep them single and dependent on the government for love.

There's an article in the Atlantic that points out something I said on this blog 9 years ago about graduating with college debt. If you borrow money for living for four-five years you'll have debt. In Sweden college is free but apartments, food, transportation and utilities aren't, so Swedish students also graduate with high debt. Someone should tell Bernie's fans who seem to be lining up for free stuff.  Since 1985 college costs have soared over 500%, a direct result of the federal government funneling money to the colleges who then raise tuition and fees.  This is much more than any other sector of the economy.  This was the government's doing, so who is screaming the loudest?  The socialists.

I haven't Snoped this

WSYX ABC 6's photo.

Monday, February 08, 2016

The Great Recession was made great by President Obama

The last recession was over (according to the way the federal government figures these things) in June 2009, before any of Obama's ARRA programs hit the pavement and wallets of unions and government workers. And today he's taking credit for turning around the longest "Great Recession" in our country's history, and proud that unemployment is at 4.9%. Could be, but homelessness in Columbus is at an all time high, as is SNAP participation, and labor force participation is lower than in the 1970s, and people are scrambling to pay for health insurance. He even takes credit for the slowing increase in health care costs, even though that had been going on for 4 years before he took office, and is now on the way back up. The turn around we do have is because Republican governors pulled it out for their states with rebuilding small business and finding new sources of energy. The absurd length of this last recession's fits and starts economic "come back" can be laid right at his socialism feet. The only president who took longer was FDR.

On this day in 356. . .

The Date: February 8, 356.
The Place: The church of Alexandria, Egypt
The Event: Armed troops barged in at the middle of a worship service to capture a single unarmed man -- the pastor, Athanasius.

He fought the good fight against Arianism. . . the belief that Jesus was not fully God but a created being. In the Council of Nicea that earlier rejected this view, Athanasius had been the clearest speaker for the Orthodox position. Even today, there are fundamentalist Christian groups that claim the church lost its way and true believers went underground only to emerge after the Reformation. Athanasius' list of the authoritative books later became the Canon--our Bible. He survived the Feb. 8 attack and died in 373.…/athanasius-and-the-creed-of-c…

 Most Christians use the three major creeds in worship at some time during the year, some every Sunday; Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian (which I think our Lutheran church uses about once a year). Athanasius didn't write this creed, but it concerns the Trinity which he defended with his life. 

A few Christian churches announce that they are non-creedal, and don't use them. To me, this is like saying I renounce my genealogy because I never met my great-great-great-great grandfather, and besides I've heard stories about him . . . Maybe so, but he still made you what you are today.

 From the book by Carl Trueman, The Creedal Imperative. on the role of confessions and creeds.

1. All churches have creeds and confessions. They may not recite them. Failure to acknowledge this can be disingenuous.
 2. Confessions delimit the power of the church.They mean the church has to answer to something above it!  Too many Bible only churches think they are the first to find something because they don't know history.
3. They offer succinct and thorough summaries of the central elements of the faith. Good creeds do this, but here the Confessions are even more thorough.
4. Creeds and confessions allow for appropriate discrimination between members and office-bearers: that is, not everyone has to be the expert; but leaders ought to be theologically informed.
 5. Creeds and confessions reflect the ministerial authority of the church … and, yes, this cuts against the grain of our anti-authoritarian culture, but it’s hard to have leaders who don’t lead, or pastors who aren’t to some degree theologically sound and capable of leading, and elders who don’t know their stuff.
 6. Creeds and confessions represent the maximal doctrinal competence the local church aspires to for its members.
7. Creeds and confessions relativize our modern importance and remind us we are part of a long history and Story!
8. Creeds and confessions help define one church in relation to another — this is about information not schism.
9. Creeds and confessions are necessary for maintaining corporate unity.

Eat all the colors

87% of Americans don't meet recommendations for fruit consumption, and 91% don't meet recommendations for vegetable consumption, according to a new U.S. report published by MMWR. If you're brown bagging, tuck in some carrot sticks and slices of apple. You can even eat vegetables for breakfast. There's just nothing more yummy than a sweet potato, hot with a little butter and salt, in my opinion. Filling, too. When you're my age, you'll be glad you protected the body God gave you with good food and exercise.

So for breakfast today I'm having a "shake" made of banana, blueberries, cranberries, carrots, and orange juice. Remember that blue and orange makes grey, which can be unappetizing, so balance it with some red (the cranberries) to get a beautiful, rich purple.  I cooked the carrots and cranberries first, otherwise the shake would be too difficult to eat.  Four fruits and one vegetable in one delicious drink.
In his Whole Foods Newsletter today, George Mateljan writes: "If your New Year's resolution is to lose those extra pounds eating more vegetables is essential to get the nutrients you need combined with the reduction in calorie intake necessary for healthy weight loss. No other food group can do this for you. I recommend including from 5-9 servings of vegetables each day and making sure you include a variety of vegetables with a wide spectrum of colors. [Just like Mother said.] The colors reflect the special health-promoting phytonutrients found in vegetables. And this does not have to be difficult to achieve. One serving of raw leafy greens such as lettuce is 2 cups but a typical salad meal would typically contain about 3-4 cups usually accompanied by other vegetables as well. One salad meal could easily constitute half of your recommended vegetable intake for the day! And a serving of cooked leafy greens is only half of a cup."

87 percent of Americans don't meet recommendations for fruit consumption, and 91 percent don't meet recommendations for vegetable consumption, according to a new U.S. report.

 How to eat all the colors--a guide

This is one of the soldiers sent to look for Bergdahl

Miriam Anne Gaddis's photo.
Bowe Bergdahl was honored by the President when he was exchanged for some dangerous prisoners.  Where is the honor for the men who originally tried to find and rescue him?

And poor Bowe, he's got nerve damage in one arm and can't lift heavy objects.  I wonder how heavy this soldier is?

Cursive writing--is it good for children to learn?

WKRN-TV Nashville's photo. 
A new bill proposed in the Tennessee state legislature says that cursive handwriting should be taught in all Tennessee school districts in the third grade. Supporters say it helps motor skills, reinforces learning and it's an art form.

I'm not sure if cursive does all that, but I know since I use it less these days (keyboard mostly) my motor skills are weaker , I'm gaining more weight, the house is messier and I'm not as smart as I used to be. But then, I'm 76 and I didn't used to be that either. Also, the sentence should be "jumps," not "jumped" so you get all the letters to practice.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Super Bowl Trafficking in Persons

"When it came time for the Super Bowl, Clemmie Greenlee was expected to sleep with anywhere from 25 to 50 men a day. It’s a staggering figure, but it doesn’t shock advocates who say that the sporting event attracts more traffickers than any other in the U.S." (Huffington Post, 2013) Then today I saw an article at Huffington Post claiming that an increase in Super Bowl prostitution was a myth. But the articles are still coming.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Task Force says the business of selling sex is up in the weeks and days leading up to the Super Bowl.“The ads have increased, both with the females in the prostitution and the males looking for prostitutes,” said Jensen. Last week, a prostitution sting at four massage parlors in Santa Cruz led to four arrests.

Marching orders from Paul's letter to the church at Rome

Romans 12 has an extensive list of how Christians behave who have received grace. We studied this chapter in class this morning. Some statements are clarifications of those that came before, some are in the negative.
Present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God

Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world,

Be transformed by the renewing of your minds

Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think

If your gift is . . .[list of gifts] prophesy, service, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy. . .do it!

Love should be shown without pretending

Hate evil

Hold on to what is good

Love each other like the members of your family

Be the best at showing honor to each other

Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic

Be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord

Be happy in your hope

Stand your ground when you’re in trouble

Devote yourselves to prayer

Contribute to the needs of God’s people

Welcome strangers into your home

Bless people who harass you--don't curse them

Be happy with those who are happy

Cry with those who are crying

Consider everyone as equal

Associate with people who have no status

Don’t think that you’re so smart

Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions

Show respect for what everyone else believes is good.

Live at peace with all people

Leave room for God's wrath

Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.
Romans 12:1-12 CEB

Fasting and feasting for Lent

Lent begins next week with Ash Wednesday, and for many Christians it is a time of fasting. Here's a lovely thought from Methodist pastor William Ward (1921-1994).

Fasting and Feasting
By William Arthur Ward

Lent can be more than a time of fasting. It can also be a joyous season of feasting. Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season to:

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ living in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on appreciation.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal hope through Jesus.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicions; feast on truth.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from thoughts of weakness; feast on promises that in spire.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.
Fast from everything that separates us from the Lord; feast on everything that draws us to the Lord.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

What Gary learned from watching the Democrats debate

WHAT I LEARNED FROM WATCHING THE DEMOCRAT’S DEBATE from Gary's Facebook page (I didn't watch it, but this sounds very accurate based on what I know about the candidates)

* Black Lives Matter, All Lives Don't Matter.

* College should be free and all student loans cancelled.

* All medical treatment should be free.

* To become an American citizen you just need to show up here.

* The economy sucks and after 7 years in office, it's not Obama's fault.

* The Middle Class is shrinking rapidly and after 7 years in office, it's not Obama's fault.

* Average family income is continuing to drop and after 7 years in office, it's not Obama's fault.

* Black youths have over a 50% unemployment rate and after 7 years in office it's not Obama's fault.

* Hispanic youth unemployment is over 35% and after 7 years in office, it's not Obama's fault.

* 50% of the population is paying 100% of all the taxes and they are still not paying their “fair share.” The other 50% are not receiving nearly enough free stuff and deserve more.

* Everyone who votes Democrat will work less, make more money, get more time off, spend more time with family, pay less taxes, and get more government subsidies.

* Government wants even more money to squander on old promises already broken.

* Being a "Progressive" is less cringe-worthy than saying you're a Liberal.

* When America grows up, we want to be Norway, Sweden or the Netherlands .

* There's a quagmire in Iraq and Obama's complete retreat from there has nothing to do with the situation.

* Republicans want dirty air, oil spills, trash in the streets, polluted oceans, no medical treatment, young people without any education being paid the lowest possible wages, starving children, were responsible for Jim Crow Laws and don't believe in equal rights.

* Snowden and General Petraeus broke laws for releasing and not securing secret documents but Hillary Clinton shares no responsibility for doing WORSE.

* If Hilary is elected, everything will be rainbows and Unicorns - just like with Obama.

* Hillary Clinton does walk on water.

* Cheaters do prosper.

* People often cheer stupidity.

* There is only one candidate given a voice in the Democrat Race.

* Hillary and Bill Clinton were born poor Black Children.

* All the qualifications needed to be President is to be a woman.

* Evil looks like anything white, rich, successful and productive.

* You will receive a participation trophy in life.

* Agreements of any kind should be signed and committed to, even if the other agreeing party doesn't live up to its obligations.

* Everyone else does it, so should we, regardless of any results in those other countries.

* Everything is still Bush's fault

Friday, February 05, 2016

Why do Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians use different Bibles?

It's an important question, especially since there are non-denominational and fundamentalist Christian churches that claim to base their faith only on the Bible (and some only on King James Version) and not on historical church teachings or traditions (although they all have their own traditions which govern polity, sacraments, music, Sunday School, etc.)  Technically, there was no Bible for the first almost 400 years of Christianity, but there was written sacred scripture of the Jews, and that was primarily in three languages, Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. So Jesus read and preached and taught from a "Bible" we Protestants don't use--the Septuagint, or Greek Old Testament. That scripture includes the following:
  • Tobit (or Tobias) emphasizes the importance of the sanctity of marriage, parental respect, angelic intercession, as well as prayer, fasting, and alms giving for the expiation of sins, as noted in the Archangel Raphael's speech in Tobias 12:9.
  • Sirach offers both moral instruction and a history of the patriarchs and leaders of Israel.
  • First and Second Maccabees are historical works which describe the end of persecution by the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes through Mattathias and his sons the Maccabees. And so began the independent Hasmonean Dynasty of Israel from 165 to 63 BC. The Rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus (1 Maccabees 4:36-59, 2 Maccabees 10:1-8) is commemorated yearly during the Feast of Hannukah. First Maccabees was first written in Hebrew, but only the Greek version has been preserved. In addition to its historical value, Second Maccabees affirms the theology of martyrdom and resurrection of the just (7:1-42), intercessory prayer of the living for the dead (12:44-45), as well as intercessory prayer of the saints for those still on earth (15:12-16).
  • Judith describes the deliverance of the Jews from the hands of Holofernes, general to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
  • The Book of Wisdom is witness to the trend in late post-exilic Jewish thought that looked forward to life after death: immortality is a reward of the just (3:1-4, 19). The book also notes that all living creatures reflect the perfection of the Creator (Wisdom 13:5).
  • The Book of Baruch, the scribe to Jeremiah, describes the prayers of the Babylonian Exiles and includes the Letter of Jeremiah.
    Martin Luther in his 1534 translation differed from St. Augustine and considered the Apocryphal books "good for reading" but not part of inspired Scripture. The King James Bible of 1611 included the Apocrypha but in a separate section. While there are no direct quotations in the New Testament from the Apocrypha, there are also no direct quotations from Judges, Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ezra, Nehemiah, Obadiah, Nahum, or Zephaniah.