Saturday, April 18, 2015

15 minutes a day with the Harvard classics

If I began on today April 18, it would be in Don Quixote, according to the guide and I would learn how the naming came about. So I would know 15 minutes more than I knew 15 minutes ago.

Don Quixote

Here is the guide for reading 15 minutes a day.

And here is an English professor who tried it and found it quite useful.

A Year of 15-Minute Daily Doses From the Harvard Classics

“I discovered that a reading regimen, even if only 15 minutes a day, requires discipline. William James wrote that discipline is needed in the formation of any new habit. In this case, the habit was reading regularly and outside my comfort zone. I often had to fight against an inclination to skip a day. But the relative brevity of the selections kept me on track—a hint to teachers who assign too much and thereby encourage cribbing and cramming. With a 15-minute assignment, I could push on, knowing that the end was near.”  Paula Marantz Cohen, WSJ, Dec. 26, 2014

Save Nigeria

Nigeria is the wealthiest African country, and Nigerian-Americans also are at the top of the charts in education and income. Disagree if you wish, but in my opinion this is a result of Christianity and capitalism, just as in the USA. Sixty years ago, Christianity was only about 20%, outnumbered by Muslims, and now Christians outnumber Muslims. Christian missionaries were faithful and prolific, targeting education and agriculture along with the gospel. Other African countries which depended on foreign aid from the World Bank and their former colonial powers got 70 years of roller coaster failure (like our own War on Poverty the aid held them back). But aggressive jihad is threatening the Christian culture of Nigeria. It's a country in peril.

Save the girls of Chibok--you don't hear much now except from the tiny Church of the Brethren. It's lost 8,000 members to recent Muslim attacks on Christians in Nigeria. The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (160,000 members according to the World Council of churches website) is now over twice the size of its mother church.  I remember the COB missionaries visiting our little church when I was a child to raise support.  Now they need our help again, but this time to saves lives on this side of eternity.   http://www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis/

http://www.cananusa.org/

Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN, is calling on the US President Barack Obama to reinvigorate America’s support to the effort to rescue the over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted exactly one year ago by Boko Haram terrorists.

As the whole world marks one year after the disturbing abduction, CANAN wants the US government to renew and upwardly review its military and technical assistance to the Nigerian government’s effort and those of the neighboring countries in confronting the terrorists. April 15, 2015

http://www.cananusa.org/index.php/campaigns/press-release.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kerryadolan/2014/11/19/africas-50-richest-2014-worth-a-combined-111-billion-up-nearly-7-percent-from-a-year-ago/

http://www.forbes.com/profile/folorunsho-alakija/ Richer than Oprah.

The Three Hierarchs

When I ride my exercycle in the morning, I don’t find much on TV, but since my computer is directly behind me, I type a topic in Google and do a YouTube search.  I usually don’t have to see the person, but I can through the reflections of the painting on the wall.  I really like the writings of John McGuckin, (whom I found in The story of Christian spirituality) so I Googled him.  I found many men and interesting topics by that name, but I was looking for the theologian. I settled on a good lecture on the Three Hierarchs, Basil the Great (also known as Basil of Caesarea), Gregory the Theologian (also known as Gregory of Nazianzus) and John Chrysostom. I like to dabble in topics about which I know nothing.   McGuckin has written on Gregory, so that was his part of this three topic lecture. Lots of humor.  I guess Gregory was a funny guy.

https://youtu.be/xWhpQpbV1o8

These three are called “doctors of the church” by the western church and Hierarchs by the eastern church.

This particular lecture focuses on the Greek language and culture, the Roman social and legal system, and the Jewish moral teachings as the Christian basis for the role of the early, ancient church in social justice. The idea that God is in suffering changed civilization.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dirty jobs pay well

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Bernie the Socialist wants more money

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The top quintile pays 84% of the income tax; the bottom two pay negative taxes.  That’s not good enough for socialists.  No one should be successful. Hillary has raised $2.5 billion; why is he worrying about $900 million?

Art field trip

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

State sponsored terrorism—Cuba and Iran

I understand why Obama lied about traditional marriage in order to get elected, but what does he have to gain from getting cuddly with Cuba and Iran? Both are top listed for state sponsored terrorism. http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2013/224826.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/15/world/americas/obama-cuba-remove-from-state-terror-list.html?_r=0

Regular exercise reduces falls and fractures—Harvard Medical School Healthbeat

“Your bone strength and size peaks by age 30. After that, bones tend to become less dense, making them more fragile and subject to breaks. Bone strength in later life depends upon your peak bone mass in youth. An active lifestyle in youth can increase maximum bone density.

Even if you're older, exercise is still a great way to protect your bones. The physical stress placed on bones during exercise stimulates the growth of new bone tissue. The type of exercise you do matters. To bolster your bones, you need to get regular weight-bearing exercise. This includes weight lifting and resistance training, as well as any type of activity that forces you to work against gravity by standing or carrying your body's weight, including running, walking, dancing, and stair climbing. Activities such as swimming or biking aren't weight-bearing and thus don't build bone. Generally, higher-impact activities (such as running) or resistance exercises (such as strength training) have a more pronounced effect on bone than lower-impact exercises, such as walking.

Only the bones that bear the load of the exercise will benefit. For example, running protects bones in the hips and legs, but not the arms. A well-rounded strength training plan can benefit practically all of your bones.

Because exercise improves your overall strength, coordination, and balance, it also makes you less likely to fall, which means less opportunity to break a bone.

Five quintiles, four races, four pillars of success

There are five quintiles the government uses to show economic groups in the U.S. The top quintile (incomes about $94,000+) pays almost 84% of the income taxes. The quintile figure doesn't provide number of earners in a household, and most in that quintile have two  earners, which lower the quintiles may not.

There are four groups tracked--Asian households have the highest income, then white, then Hispanic, then black. There are four pillars holding up the higher and upper middle earning groups--1) marriage, 2) higher education, 3) social capital by which they contribute to their community--local clubs, politics, sports, and 4) organized religion.

There are a lot of sources to check for this information:  The CBO, https://www.cbo.gov/publication/49440 and Charles Murray "Coming Apart" (2012) and  The Heritage Foundation to name a few. http://blackdemographics.com/households/marriage-in-black-america/  The Wikipedia article has a good bibliography, but is about 6-7 years old.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Arrest-related deaths among whites

Among reported arrest-related deaths, 42% of persons were white, 32% were black, and 20% were Hispanic. (DOJ NCJ 235385) That might sound reasonable considering the percentage of the population that is white, however, the rate of crime among blacks is much higher; the offending rate for blacks is almost 8 times higher than whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher (most victims are also black). This would mean the rate of arrest related deaths for whites is higher than black . (http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htius.pdf)

Natural and organic is big business, government supported

USDA is heavily involved in “natural” and “organic” farming  (certification, regulation, promotion, collecting economic data, lending, etc.) As in all things big government, when it gives you money to do something, it wants something in return. A few years ago I could buy unrefrigerated eggs at a farmers market (they’ll keep for weeks and taste completely different—like when when you were a kid), but last time I asked I was told they needed to follow regulations and refrigerate them before marketing. Perhaps it had been that way much longer, but the little guy I purchased from didn’t know the regulations.

Also, many people who donate to food pantries think these are church run (and they do provide that service for the government), but almost everyone along the way from farmer, to harvest, to processing, to storing at your local “food bank” is all government paid. It’s a massive loop, employing millions of people. It’s an all-growth industry feeding the poor.

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/farmersmarkets

The government controls competition:  http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5094336

USDA provides funds to publicize Farmers Markets: http://www.nutrition.gov/farmers-markets

http://www.foodpantries.org/

http://stmarysdorchester.org/food-pantry/

This is an interesting article in that it doesn’t really explain the role of the federal government in food pantries. http://www.foodbankrockies.org/wp-content/uploads/Tips-for-Organizing-and-Operating-a-Food-Pantry-Program.pdf

National Library Week

Julia Quinn's photo.

Nice to know we’ve always done something right

Although I’m not so sure we’ve changed the world. . .

Today is Tax Day

I was going to say this, but he already did.

"I’m probably in the minority, but as Tax Day approaches and as we analyze and compare tax burdens, I would like to personally express my sincere gratitude to: a) the 3 million Americans in the top 1% with incomes above $615,000 for shouldering almost half of the total US income tax burden with only 17% of the total income,. . ." http://www.aei.org/pu…/tax-day-approaches-lets-thank-top-20/

She defines dysfunctional politics when she speaks and acts

“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment,” Clinton said at the first event of her 2016 presidential run. This she said while her foundation was taking donations from countries with which she was negotiating while Secretary of State. Wants to change our constitution to suit Democrat political dynasties which are not held accountable even by the laws we already have on the books that make their behavior illegal.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

$422 SNAP allotment for mother and 2 children—food bill; eat your heart out Gwyneth Paltrow

This is a wild estimate using this week’s flyer for Marc’s in Columbus, OH. It’s a lower price, discount store.  I haven’t included taxables in this list—just food.  The USDA allows $89 contribution from cash for this family of 3—so I would use that for the taxables of soap, cleaning supplies, pop, etc. I’ve got a balance of about $40 which I can use for what I’ve forgotten, or for a treat at McDonald’s (love those sausage biscuits).

School age children receive breakfast, lunch and after school snack at school.

 

image

Vegetables

10 lb. potatoes $3.00; 2 lb. onions $7.00; 5 sweet corn ears, $2.00; Broccoli heads (2) $3.00; cauliflower (2) $3.00; Red pepper (1) $.70; Green beans 2 lb. $3.00; Frozen peas (2-1 lb) $2.00; Frozen mixed veg. (2-1 lb) $2.00; canned black or red beans 16 oz (4) $3.60; Canned vegetables 6-23.5 oz  $18.00; mixed greens for salad $3.00; baby spinach $4.00; lettuce (3) $3.00

Fruit

Strawberries 4 lb.  $6.00; Apples Jazz 8 lb.  $7.00; Oranges (10) 8 lb. $4.00; Pears 5 lb. $5.00; Canned fruit 6-23.5 oz  $18.00; juice 59 oz (3) $10.00; tomato sauce (pasta) 66 oz. $4.00; Canned tomatoes (8) $10.00; golden raisins 16 oz. (2) $5.20; bananas 18  $6.00

Meat

Chicken leg quarters 10 lb. $4.90; Chicken thighs, bone in  $14.00; Lean ground turkey 2 lb. $4.60; Bacon 2 lb. $5.00; Tuna 5 oz. (4) $3.00; Chicken sausage, 1 lb $3.30; Lunch meat 8 oz (2) $7.00; Ground  sirloin, 2 lb. $10.00; Ground beef, 2 lb. $8.00; Cheese-franks, bun size $1.35; pork sausage 1 lb $4.00; Bratwurst $6.00; Ham, shank in $10.00; Beef roast $12.00;

image

Dairy

Sour cream 16 oz. $1.50; eggs, grade A large, 18, $3.30; Milk 4 gal. $12.00; block cheddar 24 oz. $5.00; yogurt, plain 16 oz. $3.00; butter 2 lb $6.00; Pepper Jack cheese 1 lb $5.00;

Miscellaneous

Peanut Butter, 2 lb. natural, $5.80; jelly 12 oz (2) $5.60; Coffee 33 oz. $6.70; tea bags $2.00; salad dressing (2) $3.00; soup 4 cans $5.00; walnuts $6.00; Almonds $7.00;  condiments and spices $15.00; Sugar 4 lb $5.00; Flour 5 lb $4.00; Bisquick  $3.60

Grain based  

egg noodles, other wheat pasta 16 oz. (4) $5.00; rice 2 lb.$2.00; bread 20 oz. (4)  $4.00; English muffins (2) $4.00; Crackers 16 oz (3) $9.00; frozen pizza  12 in. (2) $9.00; frozen pierogi  $2.50; oatmeal $4.00

Dessert

cake mixes 3, $3.60 (used to make cookies); ice cream 1.5 gal. (2) $6.00; pudding mix (4) $3.60

Oops. Forgot carrots and cabbage. $5.00
----------------------

$384

Free range kids, over protective parents, and overstepping government authority

I listened to the free range mom on Glenn Beck this morning. Although I was a helicopter parent before the term was invented, my own generation as children was certainly "free range." I did things like riding my bike to the next town on the highway, or galloping on a blind horse. When I was 11 I was babysitting for infants--didn't even know how to change a diaper. When I was 13 I was a corn detasseler (removing tassel to cross or hybridize corn plant) either walking the rows or riding equipment with a teen driver for supervision.

pinky2

Pinky, the blind horse who was also a family babysitter.

Children under 5 are in danger, but it's their parents, not strangers or neighbors. Particularly their mothers and their boyfriends, and it's not guns either. Homicide has drastically gone down in all age groups the last 25 years, but has gone up in that one, and black children are way out of proportion to their population. When was the last time you heard of a black parent being arrested for allowing a child to play unsupervised in the park or street? http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/homicidechildrenyouth.pdf

I don't know why homicide in young children is going up, but my suspicion is it has to do with abortion and the devaluing of young lives.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/13/parents-investigated-letting-children-walk-alone/25700823/

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/31/living/florida-mom-arrested-son-park/

Monday, April 13, 2015

Turn right? Hospital next?

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Gwyneth Paltrow probably can’t eat on $29/week

The S in SNAP is 'supplemental' and no one is suppose to use only this allotment, although it is quite possible with good budgeting and basic cooking knowledge. Now that EBT cards can be used at fast food and snack bars, many children will be hungry.

This is how SNAP benefits are figured:

Example: Calculating a Household’s Monthly SNAP Benefits

Consider a family of three with one full-time, minimum-wage worker, two children, dependent care costs of $81 a month, and shelter costs of $858 per month.[16]

  • Step 1 — Gross Income: The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Full-time work at this level yields monthly earnings of $1,256 monthly.
  • Step 2 — Net Income for Shelter Deduction: Begin with the gross monthly earnings of $1,256. Subtract the standard deduction for a three-person household ($155), the earnings deduction (20 percent times $1,256, or $251), and the childcare deduction ($81). The result is $769 (Countable Income A).
  • Step 3 — Shelter Deduction: Begin with the shelter costs of $858. Subtract half of Countable Income A (half of $769 is $384) for a result of $474.
  • Step 4 — Net Income: Subtract the shelter deduction ($474) from Countable Income A ($769) for a result of $295.
  • Step 5 — Family’s Expected Contribution Towards Food: 30 percent of the household’s net income ($295) is $89.
  • Step 6 — SNAP Benefit: The maximum benefit in 2015 for a family of three is $511. The maximum benefit minus the household contribution ($511 minus $89) equals $422.

The family’s monthly SNAP benefit is $422.

Here’s what $29 looks like.

$29 food stamp

$29 food bill

If I were doing it, I wouldn’t buy salt, processed meat, or cold cereal.  I’d assume I had a few things in the cupboard like condiments.

Here’s what Gwyneth Paltrow bought:

$29 food Paltrow

And I sure wouldn’t buy limes.

Walker and Jindal, my top choices

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Please, no more dynasty candidates.  No more candidates with one term in Congress.

A new Maisie Dobbs novel

While purchasing two Maisie Dobbs novels for my husband’s birthday, I found the 2015 title, "A dangerous place." It's 100 years since WWI, and her mysteries involve that era--or the ramifications of the war into the 1930s. Here's an essay she wrote in 2004. http://www.jacquelinewinspear.com/essays-skylarks.php

“Maisie Dobbs returns in a powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy: a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gibraltar leads the investigator into a web of lies, deceit, and danger. Spring 1937”

A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs Series #11)

Library Journal 3/15/2015

Admirers of Winspear's Agatha Award-winning series may be surprised that this 11th installment jumps the psychologist/private investigator's narrative forward several years. At the close of 2013's Leaving Everything Most Loved, Maisie was at a crossroads, shuttering her London office and preparing a journey to India while weighing a marriage proposal from her dashing lover, James Compton. The new book opens four years later in 1937, with a now-widowed Maisie devastated by James's tragic death and her ensuing miscarriage. Reluctant to return to England, she's temporarily taken refuge in Gibraltar, a military outpost and hotbed of geopolitical intrigue. There she stumbles upon the body of a murdered photographer and steps into a mystery touching the local Sephardic Jewish community and nearby turmoil of the Spanish Civil War. Within the tumult, the always introspective Maisie uses her work to regain a measure of inner peace.

VERDICT After hinting at change for several books, the series finally appears to have passed a crucial turning point as it nears the precipice of World War II. While some readers may wonder at the way Winspear handled her heroine's doomed offscreen marriage, many will embrace the arresting period detail and emotional resonance of seeing a new, if heartbreaking, chapter of Maisie's life unfold.

I need to get out more

After exercise class today I decided to go to Tuttle Mall—our conveniently located Macy’s closed this spring.  On my way there I glanced in my side mirror and thought the guy behind me was eating vigorously a candy bar.  But he wasn’t.  He was shaving with an electric shaver.  I’d seen jokes about it but had never seen it. Who doesn’t get up early enough to shave? And what happens to all those little stubbly hairs that drop on your clothes?

Then I missed the street into Tuttle, so I took the next one.  There was a huge apartment complex (not particularly attractive) that wasn’t there the last time I shopped up there.  Something Lofts.  I think that means a gathering place for single adults.  Then the older (maybe 5-6 years old) townhouses can be home when they mature a little.

So I was shopping for a red dress or blouse or sweater.  At our church we wear red for Pentecost, and the only red dress I had was too small and I gave it away about 3 years ago.  So I had a 20% off card, and some money left on a Christmas gift card, and I found just the dress I wanted at 65% off (probably a winter dress, but at 100% polyester it is hard to tell.  Then I got a surprise.  It had a built in girdle!  I tried it on—looked pretty good, but I thought I’d have to call for help to get out of it.

Anyway, with the sale, the discount and the gift card, the $60 dress cost me about $4.50.

NY-Collection-Womens-B-Slim-34-Sleeve-Cross-Front-Dress

For $4, I can be a bit uncomfortable.

Shock and Awe—Hillary has announced

A very wealthy white woman who came to prominence on her husband's reputation with no track record of personal accomplishment has announced she wants to be our next socialist president. I'm guessing that in part the campaign will be about gender. She may be the best example of the 20th century woman's movement failures.

Image result for Hillary Clinton

http://theweek.com/speedreads/540672/hillary-clinton-paid-female-staff-72-cents-each-dollar-paid-men-when-senator

http://theweek.com/speedreads/540672/hillary-clinton-paid-female-staff-72-cents-each-dollar-paid-men-when-senator

At least on this blog, Hillary’s weight, age, pants suits and heavy legs are off limits!

Happiness is

image

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iK9PLdVXK4

The General Social Survey (GSS) of the University of Chicago NORC  has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society since 1972. In his book “Coming Apart” (2012) Charles Murray uses its data on self-reported happiness.

For U.S. whites (which is the group to which he limits this discussion) between 30-49 from 1990-2008 31% described themselves as “very happy,” 59% “pretty happy,” and only 10% as “not too happy.” However, when it comes to our closest relationships, family, the currently married report the highest level of happiness—40%. Separated, 16%; divorced 17%; widowed 22%; and never married 9%.

Ladies, ready for this?  The happiest, most satisfied work/vocation category is homemakers at 57%, with paid employment at 44%. For attendance at religious services, those who attend more than weekly are at 49%, with weekly at 41%; those who attend once a year or less are at 26% and 25% (I call them Creasters if they attend at Christmas and Easter and then eat a holiday meal together). Also Murray reports that your involvement in your community contributes to your sense of happiness whether that is in a group, as a volunteer, in politics or even informal social interactions.

All of these relationships and activities add up to what Murray calls “social capital”—satisfying work, happy marriage, strong social relationships and strong religion. You can add to your capital and invest in your future and the future of your country.

And isn’t it interesting the very things that make us happy are those most maligned by media, Hollywood, pop culture and internet memes—it’s almost as though someone/something wants us to be miserable.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mia Love says

“Now more than ever, the American people require a president with a proven record of honesty and integrity. A president who will be a champion for America because it is an exceptional nation built on a foundation of liberty and freedom. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton is not that leader. This is not about party, it’s not about Washington, it's about us and what kind of country we want to leave for our children. If "our" United States of America is going to remain exceptional, we must demand more of those who wish to lead our nation.”

Household hacker-Salt tips

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPSb3Nzk0Og#t=176

Some of these I knew, some I’d forgotten.