Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The trip to India and Saudi Arabia

If Obama still chews nicotine gum for his cigarette habit publicly and internationally and in front of cameras, doesn't that mean he's now addicted to the gum? It's embarrassing--especially watching him remove it with his fingers (which I assume has been shaking a lot of hands) and then putting it back. Yuk.…/…/addicted-to-nicorette

I don't generally defend Michelle Obama, but the critics of her clothing/no head covering for Saudi Arabia are just being ridiculous. Remember the outrage when Pelosi covered her head in a Muslim country! Really, folks, let's stick to policy (and rude behavior like chewing gum) and leave the ladies alone. She looked appropriate and was well covered. Should Amish or Hutterite women take off their prayer coverings when visiting a Lutheran church?

In the Christian faith, where this is done (Anabaptist groups, Catholics in an earlier time and some Pentecostals) the cover/veil is to show headship--God, then man, then woman, so the woman was acknowledging the proper male authority within the church. Since Islam took many Christian and Jewish teachings and all were middle east in origin, it may be the same source.The Obamas are United Church of Christ, or were when they lived in Chicago, and although some may wear hats it's not to show headship.

Jibber jabber or Marge and Jen

I’ve lost 11 lbs and gone over 150 miles, but it’s boring to ride the exercycle, so today I pulled my pb Roget’s Pocket Thesaurus (c. 1946) off the shelf.  Turned to UNMEANINGNESS.  Thought of this morning’s news story on Al-Jazeera deciding to forbid “terrorist” and “terrorism” from its new stories.  Of course, the President and Secretary of State’s spokestaff (Marie Harf and Jen Psaki) have already done that.  Here’s what I saw:

Absence of meaning


senselessness, empty sound














ambiguity, vagueness

gibber jabber

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

American Dreams by Marco Rubio

"If we want to restore the American Dream, we need tax policies, regulatory policies and spending policies that make America the best place in the world to invest, and the easiest place in the world to create new businesses and new jobs through innovation." Marco Rubio, American Dreams (2015), p. 11. That would mean undoing just about everything the federal government has done in the last 20 years, wouldn't it? This hasn't just happened in the last 6 years. Even if you remove the word "fair" and "gap" from the bureaucratic vocabulary, we'd have a long way to go. If fathers won't marry the mothers of their children, won't get a full time job, and turn their noses up at minimum wage, I don't see any policy or tax plan that will fix an attitude.

I think last week the president said just the opposite—raise taxes, increase regulations and discourage investment by trying to make everything “fair.”

January 27, 1945

70 years ago. Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Red Army of the Soviet Union. There aren't many survivors left--and most were children then. And there aren't a lot of us left who knew the survivors when we were growing up and listened to their stories. Some were victims of Soviet oppression in the Baltic states; others of the Nazis. Many churches were still resettling people in the 1950s. I went to college with young adults who were children rescued by American soldiers and later immigrated to the U.S. My husband's college roommate was an Italian war orphan. Mine was an escapee from Communist China.

In the early 1980s I became friends with a woman from Bexley (Columbus suburb) whose husband, although born in the U.S., was a child of his parents' second marriage. Both had been married and each had 3 or 4 children in the 1930s, but lost spouse and children in the Nazi concentration camps. After liberation they met each other in a camp and married, came as refugees to the U.S., started a second family for both, and had 4 more children. We are so fortunate to have this type of strength and faith as our foundation for American citizenship.

Cleaning silver plate and silver pieces the easy way

I like to set a pretty table, so every now and then the silverplate needs to be polished. That's a pain unless you learned this 5 minute trick from the internet.

1 Boil the amount of water sufficient to cover items you wish to clean (silverware, silverplate, silver platters,silver bowls or the like).
2 Tear a piece of aluminum foil to fit the bottom of the cleaning vessel; add the boiling water and baking soda (Decrease amount of water and soda if only using a small amount of water). Stir together briefly.
3 Immediately submerge your tarnished silver items in the solution, making sure all surfaces are covered with the water . After only a very few minutes you will have beautifully clean and glowing silver!
4 Remove cleaned items and rinse well with clean warm water. Dry with a soft lint-free kitchen towel and go back to blogging.

June 17, 2007 004

My china gifts from my mother, my thrift store silver plate which got polished this morning, my garage sale chairs, my grandmother’s glassware and dessert bowls, a vase from friends in Finland.

Without Texas, the SOTU speech would have been very different


“Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined. Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist ten or twenty years ago – jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla.”

Where are the best hotels?

U.S. News & World Report just released its Best Hotels of 2015. The rankings are separated out geographically across the United States, Caribbean, Canada and Mexico. Of the best hotels in the US, the top five were:

  1. Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa (California)
  2. The Lodge at Sea Island (Georgia)
  3. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort (South Carolina)
  4. The Allison Inn and Spa (Oregon)
  5. The Four Season Seattle (Washington)

For the others, see the Forbes article.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I’m in Goochland County (riding my exercycle)

I’ve gone 153.4 miles since Dec. 26.  I don’t do more than a mile or two at a time because I don’t want to aggravate my bursa.

What members of a Facebook political interest group are reading--Part 2

Someone asked Fans of James Taranto's Best of the Web Today (about 8800 members)  FOBOTWT what they are reading.  Here’s part 2.  For Part 1 check here.  Links and authors are included if I can find them.  Some were using Kindle or Nook, some audio, but most print on paper.

Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway - The Great Naval Battles as Seen Through Japanese Eyes

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

Number 5 in a zombie apocalypse series.

The Book Thief

A Walk Among the Tombstones (Matthew Scudder Mysteries Series Book 10)

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (The Liberation Trilogy Book 3)

The Vault of Walt: Volume 3: Even More Unofficial Disney Stories Never Told

No shortcuts to the top: climbing the world's 14 highest peaks


IRS Publication 17

Black Moses... Bio of Marcus Garvey

The Making of the President 1964

How to Make an Examination of Conscience [Kindle Edition]

The Prince by Jerry Pournelle

Soldier Dogs

The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society

Department of Energy, Construction Management Procedures and Practices.

50 shades of grey—a Muslim mother’s warning

This Muslim mother warns girls about the book "50 shades of grey" -- Christian moms can agree.…/fifty-shades-grey-young-muslim-…/

Christian Grey in Real Life:

1. It is not okay to be sexually abused by someone and then accept the abuse as a lifestyle, just because the abused starts enjoying the abuse.
2. It is not okay for a man to lure a girl into marrying him with his money or good looks while expecting her to overlook his habit of objectifying women as mere sexual objects.
3. Decent men normally don't stalk girls.
4. Grey is domineering, a control freak, a stalker, and a manipulator. In real life, these character flaws cause real marital problems. Unlike Ana, most women can't endure being stalked, watched and forced into submission while compensated with wealth and erotic intimacy. In real life, most men simply do not have the luxury of gifting the company where she works to the wife while forcing her into submitting.
5. One legitimate fact in the book worth pointing out is that Grey has a problem with Ana's male friends. Yes, that I can assure you dear daughters, especially those of you who have studied with boys and have Facebook friends of the opposite gender from school or work, that your husband may raise this objection. Or if you are used to “hanging out” for school projects at a public place, he may ask you to stop doing so. You either talk this through before marriage or you should be prepared to “submit” on this point after marriage and keep in mind that in exchange for your obedience, a  luxurious ski trip to Aspen in a private jet with your girl friends is not guaranteed.

Addiction and BDSM:

6. It is not okay to marry an addict especially if a girl finds out about his addiction before the marriage. This is a serious matter and unlike the book, addicts don't lose their addiction just by marrying someone they love.
7. It can take years for an addict to overcome his addiction. Addicts almost always have relapses and those relapses can take a tremendous toll on the marriage.
8. I've come across countless men who have issues of child molestation, mother-father family issues, and desperately need therapy, but they will refuse to acknowledge any problems with their behavior let alone seek therapy. Our hero Mr. Grey, seeks counseling even before Ana asks him to seek help for his psychological issues. Dear daughters, the unfortunate fact of life is that it may take months of convincing, even arguments, and at times even family/friends' intervention, before the husband finally agrees to seek therapy.
9. It is not okay for a man to inflict physical pain on his wife for his sexual pleasure.
10.Sadism/Bondage/Submission and Dominance (BDSM) are acts of sex that may develop among couples in a halal way but it takes time. Initially a relationship needs understanding and normal intimacy. Once both partners, especially the wife, become comfortable and confident then they may experiment with different types of intimate practices.
11. After both husband and wife become comfortable with each other especially during intimacy, they may play around with different techniques and a variety of intimacy including BDSM. However, if it reaches to the point of inflicting pain where a wife starts crying with discomfort, or her eyes overflow with tears trying to endure pain, that's crossing the line. There is a difference in “delirious pain” and tearing up with pain.
12. Spanking the wife for rolling her eyes is wrong (even though it maybe an acceptable practice among the Christian Domestic Discipline). Hitting the wife with a belt to inflict physical pain for a husband's sexual pleasure is physical abuse. A decent man will draw his own limits for his sexual pleasure and a wife doesn't need to burst out in tears and start crying for him to realize that what he was doing was beastly.

Virginity and Intimacy:

13. No virgin has multiple orgasms on her first night. Do not enter your marriage with this misconception.
14. It may take days to weeks before a virgin experiences vaginal orgasm. (In rare cases, it may take up to months and may need therapy)
15. Communication and comfort is essential in making intimacy successful and pleasurable, especially for those girls who've guarded their chastity and are experiencing intimacy for the first time.
16. In normal circumstances, acts of BDSM should not be practiced on a girl who's been recently deflowered.
17. Men are not born expert-lovers. In real life, couples have to discuss their fantasies and communicate what they like and explain their desires, and not just once. Sometimes these fantasies have to be explained many times before the spouse finally understands. It may take months, sometimes years before sexual fantasies become realities. The book definitely raises the bar of expectations in many ways.
18. Yes, sex is a lot more than just penetration (as most Muslim women complain about their intimacy being dry and boring) but most Muslim men are not as experienced and “sex gurus” as Grey, especially those who have kept themselves pure before marriage.
19. Grey can read Ana's body language and knows exactly what will turn her on and what will bring her pleasure AND he is always ready to give her that. Dear daughters, in real life things are very different.
20. In the beginning of a marriage, most Muslim men don't know how to make a women experience an orgasm during every intercourse. They need to learn and the wives need to help them learn. It is a give-and-take relationship.

Romance between Ana & Grey:

21. There is never a “dull moment” in their romance. In real life, issues start rising after a few weeks of marriage–real issue—issues that need to be talked through and resolved. These issues cannot be resolved through “erotic intimacy” and “expensive gifts”.
22. Unlike Grey, men have mood swings too and they may not be romantic all the time.
23. Men want their wives to be romantic too and take initiatives and plan romantic events, dinners, outings etc. Unlike Grey, real men are not always full of romantic surprises.
24. Real men in real life have work to do at work. They simply cannot romantically email back and forth all day from work.

I hope the top 10% continues to do well—they are the ones paying most of the taxes

We have a very "progressive" income tax in the U.S.--the top 10% of earners pay over 70% of the income tax. Because I am a pensioner, my income comes from investments in my state teachers' pension and my 403-b, the 15% of my salary I socked away while I worked. (I'm not eligible for Social Security--that would be "double dipping.") Now I'm with the bottom 50% who pay about 2.3%. I can only live well if Obama and other Democrats don't target investors, risk takers, entrepreneurs, and the big spenders who keep the wheels of the economy moving.

What members of a Facebook political interest group are reading, part 1

Someone asked Fans of James Taranto's Best of the Web Today (about 8800 members)  FOBOTWT what they are reading.  Here’s a partial list. Links and authors are included if offered. Very interesting. People on social media continue to reading.  Some were using Kindle or Nook, some audio, but most probably print on paper.  Part 2 here.

Ready Player One

A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention

Gulag by Anne Applebaum

American dreams by Marco Rubio

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War


The Brothers Karamazov

Mr. Mercedes

Hollywood Traitors: Blacklisted Screenwriters – Agents of Stalin, Allies of Hitler


Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

Ghost Wars by Steve Coll 

Endangered Species by Lawrence Grobel

Falkenberg's Legion by Jerry Pournelle

The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

Bill Quick's (aka Daily Pundit) "Lightening Fall"

"Stonewalled" by Sharyl Attkisson

Legionnaire by Simon Murray

Napoleon's Buttons

Daughter of Persia

The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War by Graham Robb

The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch

Looming Tower: Al Queda and The Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright

See Part 2 here.

Just like your mom told you—eat more vegetables


“Unlike fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin A, E and D) that our bodies can store for future use, the water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and folic acid) can only be stored in small amounts or not at all. Since vitamins cannot be produced by the body and can only be obtained from the food we eat, they are called "essential nutrients." Vegetables' rich concentration of water-soluble vitamins is just one reason why the U.S. government guidelines for a healthy diet recommend filling at least half of your plate with a combination of vegetables and fruits.

Eating a variety of vegetables as a regular part of your meal plan helps you to stay slim and provides the energy and vitality necessary to really enjoy daily life. All of us depend on complex carbohydrates for energy and vitality. The starchy portion of complex carbohydrates is converted into glucose, which is used to produce energy in our cells. However, the energy contained in glucose can only be released in combination with vitamins and minerals.

The most important of these include all of the B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals like zinc. Vegetables are concentrated sources of these nutrients essential for turning carbohydrates into energy rather than storing them as fat, and vegetables provide them for the least calories. So, eating plenty of vegetables rich in complex carbohydrates is a sure way to help you stay both slim and energized.”

From WHFoods Weekly Newsletter, by George Mateljan, Jan. 26, 2015

Last week I made pickled fresh beets, but the best part is the beet tops/greens, which I just love. I think they are tastier than kale, mustard greens, or collard greens, and of course, there’s the bonus of the roots.  I occasionally have a baked sweet potato for breakfast. Also, helps me remember Mom’s garden delights of 30 years ago.

  • The top greens are an excellent sources of vitamin-A; 100 g leaves provide 6326 IU or 211% of RDA. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Diet rich in this vitamin are known to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • They are excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides 400 ug of this vitamin that is about 333% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

  • 100 g of fresh leaves contain 30 mg or 50% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a moderately powerful water-soluble antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

  • This leafy vegetable is notably good in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, folate, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that are essential to the body as part of co-enzymes during the metabolism in the body.

  • Its leaves are also rich source of minerals like magnesium, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.

Obama and Bush on the sanctity of human life

Thirty-six percent of abortions are for black babies. Seventy-nine percent of surgical abortion clinics are in minority neighborhoods. The last official proclamation President Bush made in 2009 was for the Sanctity of Human Life Day. President Obama consistently praises the work of Planned Parenthood and one of his first acts in 2009 was to rescind Bush's order on embryonic stem cell research, even though research had progressed beyond the need for it. In 2002, Bush signed into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which extends legal protection to children who survive an abortion attempt. Obama was not in the U.S. Senate in 2002, but he was in the Illinois Senate and voted against such a bill for Illinois (word for word the federal bill). To my knowledge, no one else voted against saving aborted born alive infants.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Walk for Life, 2015

“Planned Parenthood clinics performed 327,653 abortions in fiscal year 2014, according to Planned Parenthood of America's latest annual report — 487 more than the previous year and an average of 37 abortions per hour.

Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million from government grants and reimbursements last year, accounting for 41 percent of its revenue.

The federal government is barred from paying directly for abortions through Title X family planning grants and reimbursements, but federal funds do pay for Planned Parenthood operations, including the clinics where abortions are performed, CNS News reported.

Documents filed with the IRS for 2012 showed that [PP President Cecile] Richards received total compensation of $492,200 that year.”

Newsmax Jan. 25, 2015

No charges by FBI against Officer Wilson in Ferguson investigation

“Federal investigators interviewed more than 200 people and analyzed cellphone audio and video, the law enforcement officials said. Officer Wilson’s gun, clothing and other evidence were analyzed at the F.B.I.’s laboratory in Quantico, Va. Though the local authorities and Mr. Brown’s family conducted autopsies, Mr. Holder ordered a separate autopsy, which was conducted by pathologists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s office at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the officials said.

The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year, the law enforcement officials said. To bring federal civil rights charges, the Justice Department would have needed to prove that Officer Wilson had intended to violate Mr. Brown’s rights when he had opened fire and that he had done so willfully — meaning he knew that it was wrong to fire, but did so anyway.”  New York Times

Iowa Freedom Summit 2015 Scott Walker Speech

Talks about the death threats he and his family were getting from leftists, Marxists, progressives and Democrats four years ago.  If you were there protesting and helping, shame on you. I’m so glad he didn’t back down; Wisconsin is a better place today because of Governor Walker.

Charles Murray, “Coming Apart”

The elite in the U.S. marry each other after years of expensive pre-school, elementary and private high schools, living in neighborhoods where they never meet anyone not like themselves. Within their "super-ZIPs" they vote heavily Democratic and pretty much approve consistently for Democrat sponsored programs which keep the low income and middle income people out of their exclusive neighborhoods. When your parents and I were growing up, there was much more mixing of classes, a secretary might marry a CEO or a nurse a doctor. Not so much today. Doctors now marry doctors, and lawyers marry lawyers. They move to mcMansions segregated into neighborhoods with strict building codes, and they send their kids to private school where they might rub shoulders with the Obama daughters. Usually they don't send their kids to day care, free or expensive, because mom is the best educated care taker and can take them on trips to Europe or teach them French. None of their kids will go to community college, free or otherwise, but they'll vote for any plan that will keep them away from their Yale and Harvard bound kids.


65% for the poor, low income, and retired.

Charles Murray had a chapter in his book about working class men who weren't working. New York Times just recently caught up and did a lengthy article on the problem of men who don't work at all. Charts, stats, and everything like that.

The Economist has a similar article about the new elite—children of the educated, married, and wealthy.  "Intellectual capital drives the knowledge economy, so those who have lots of it get a fat slice of the pie. And it is increasingly heritable. Far more than in previous generations, clever, successful men marry clever, successful women. Such “assortative mating” increases inequality by 25%, by one estimate, since two-degree households typically enjoy two large incomes. Power couples conceive bright children and bring them up in stable homes—only 9% of college-educated mothers who give birth each year are unmarried, compared with 61% of high-school dropouts." Education and class; America's new aristocracy. The Economist.

Belmont and Fishtown, fictional cities of Charles Murray

“To represent the classes at the two ends of the continuum, I give you two fictional neighborhoods that I hereby label Belmont (after an archetypal upper-middle-class suburb near Boston) and Fishtown (after a neighborhood in Philadelphia that has been white working class since the Revolution). To be assigned to Belmont, the people in my databases must have at least a bachelor’s degree and work as a manager, physician, attorney, engineer, architect, scientist, college professor, or in content-production jobs in the media. To be assigned to Fishtown, they must have no academic degree higher than a high school diploma. If they work, their job must be in a blue-collar, service, or low-level white-collar occupation.

Here’s what happened to the founding virtues in Belmont and Fishtown from 1960 to 2010:

The text covers marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religiosity.

In 1960 9% of the men in Fishtown were not in the labor force; by 2000 it was 30%.  But the unemployment rate was about the same.  The men just didn’t work.  They might get some cash under the table, or work minimally for awhile to qualify for benefits, but then would quit.

Combine men who don’t work with single women raising children, and things don’t look good for Fishtown. Low church attendance and very low civic involvement. Even the men whose income is above poverty level do not participate in the community to make it better and stronger.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mayo Clinic on Chicken Soup for a cold

“There's no cure for the common cold. But if you're sick, chicken soup may help you feel better. Researchers say that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory and temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose. This relieves congestion and limits the amount of time viruses are in contact with the lining of your nose. Plus, soup and other liquids help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration.”

Vitamin C (after you have the cold), Echinacea, and zinc not recommended.

The President’s hope to tax 529 plans for college tuition

“The President wants to allow the Internal Revenue Service to begin taxing distributions from so-called 529 plans, even if they are used as intended to fund legitimate educational expenses such as college tuition. The Obama plan is to treat withdrawn earnings from these savings plans—which are funded with money that’s already been taxed—as regular income to the beneficiary. Therefore this money will be taxed again before it can be used to pay for higher education.

But the President’s plan would only apply the new taxes to withdrawn earnings on money contributed to these accounts in the future. All past contributions to 529 plans would continue to grow and then be withdrawn tax-free to pay for school.  . .“ 

Nice for families like the Obamas who have daughters heading for college soon.  His plan won’t affect his family (assuming he has a 529—don’t know if millionaires use them). Wall Street Journal

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says it is Congress who is supposed to be proposing taxes and collecting taxes.  The President only gets 6 assignments, and 5 of those deal with security and protecting the nation.  Oh well . . .he certainly isn’t the first. He’s got a lot of company on this one.

The folks at Catfish Corner—Chicago

Obama’s new proposals are anti-marriage

"The Obama policies [SOTU speech] would also increase anti-marriage incentives in the welfare system. While the two-earner credit would reduce marriage penalties in some cases, the expanded EITC for non-parents and for absent fathers is larger than the two-earner credit and is blatantly anti-marriage. Absent fathers and other males would receive this new EITC credit only as long as they were not married. When they marry, the new credit would be removed. Overall the Obama policies increase rather than decrease penalties against marriage in welfare. Policy should seek to reduce marriage penalties, rather than take another strike against it."

Marriage is our society’s strongest protection against childhood poverty. Do we really another reason to discourage it?

1700 private carriers flitting off to Davos carrying pampered liberals, celebrities and vacationers

This is how seriously liberals take climate change/global warming. I want a clean environment for everyone, potable water for desperately poor countries. I don't want billions wasted so political hacks and non-profit CEOs in the U.S. and Europe can feel good about themselves.

The influx of private jets is so great, the Swiss Armed Forces has been forced to open up a military air base for the first time ever to absorb all the super rich flying their private jets into the event, reports Newsweek.

“Decision-makers meeting in Davos must focus on ways to reduce climate risk while building more efficient, cleaner, and lower-carbon economies,” former Mexican president Felipe Calderon told USA Today.

Davos, which has become a playground of sorts for the global elite, is expected to feature at least 40 heads of state and 2,500 top business executives. Former Vice President-turned-carbon billionaire Al Gore and rapper Pharrell Williams will be there as well; each plans to discuss global warming and recycling respectively.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Free stuff

I’ve been lured with free stuff. The entitlement generation. I’ve never paid much attention to “Silver Sneakers,” and wasn’t sure if I was supposed to have it or not. But after 10 years on Medicare, they finally sent me a card—probably because the price of my policy has gone up. The theory is, if Seniors stay healthy, then we’ll cost the insurance company less. I’m guessing it is more like, if you’re already healthy, you can use this perk—free passes to exercise facilities.

So this morning I went to the one closest to my house Metro Fitness and tried out 2 machines, but only for a total of 15 minutes. I’m nursing a sore hip (bursitis) so I don’t want to do anything to aggravate it. I did the treadmill for 10 minutes and a reclining bike with a back rest for 5. It had all the digital bells and whistles where I could enter my age, weight, check my heart rate, calories, distance, etc.

There are also “free classes” for seniors daily. There were chair aerobics today that I looked in on. One facility further away has a whirl pool and other goodies, but I don’t want to drive another 3 miles in the morning traffic. I have an exercycle at home and am using a free program on the internet having cycled 139.2 miles since Dec. 26 and lost 10 pounds (not from exercise because that doesn’t do it, but from not eating my favorite snacks, desserts, having wine with dinner, and sandwiches at lunch). I’m also in an exercise class at church that is about $1 a session. I could also walk around the condo grounds or the block for free. Yes, I’m on the government dole.

metro fitness

Anyway, I just wanted to thank the rest of you taxpayers for a perk that costs much more than if I had a private membership the way the other people using the facilities do.

The Private Library

Today I found the sweetest, beautifully written, and most informative blog about books and collecting (which I don’t do, but like to read about it) called The Private Library.  Unfortunately, it ended three years ago.  I did find this:

For many years L.D. Mitchell's blog The Private Library showed collectors that it is possible to build a collection without the benefit of much money. He published numerous articles on every imaginable subject of book collecting, he wrote about the most beautiful, the most important, the most common, the most attractive, the most unusual, the most interesting, the most extraordinary, the most amazing ... books one could read, buy, collect and simply enjoy. The Private Library has become an irreplaceable resource for all booklovers. Since April 2012, it is a static archive. L. D. Mitchell will no longer post new original content.

Standardized testing

Two bills have been introduced to reduce the number of mandated testing in schools--low quality, redundant, and way too many. NCLB expired 8 years ago. I never met a teacher who liked it. Why is it still around? Children get something like 20 standardized tests a year. No one is doing well with that system except the lobbyists for the testing companies.

I went back and checked the history of standardized tests. "In 1914, Frederick Kelly invented the multiple-choice test. By the 1950s the average public-school student took three standardized tests before graduation." Maybe those were nationwide, because it sure seemed like more--like once a year. But I was a good student and poor test taker. I never took an SAT or ACT or GRE and was an A student.

The first bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and introduced Tuesday, would empower states to reduce the amount of low-quality and redundant testing given to students. While it would not affect the number of federally mandated tests given in schools, it would allow states to use federal funds to audit their assessment systems.

The second bill, reintroduced by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Wednesday, takes a more extreme approach on the issue of standardized testing. The Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act would allow states and schools to scale back federal testing so that a student would only be tested once every few years -- once during grades three through five, once during grades six through nine, and so on. The bill was first introduced in 2014.

Aren’t you glad the president has so much free time?

While thousands of young people were gathered in DC for the Walk for Life yesterday, President Obama chose that time to meet with--wait for it--young people who have YouTube channels. Oh my. Of course, he's a huge supporter of abortion. But even if it weren't the Walk for Life event when hundreds of thousands promote the sacredness of life, this just seems like pandering. The "youth" who supported him in 2008 have moved on, disillusioned ready for something other than slogans. The new faces, new ideas in Washington are the young, dynamic and diverse GOP in Congress. Send in the drones and tax and spend away their future is about all he has for them.

He met with YouTube creators Bethany Mota, GloZell Green (eats Fruit Loops in her bath water to draw her audience) and Hank Green, but won’t meet with Netanyahu, invited to speak to Congress.  I’m guessing some of the following of GloZell don’t even know he is the President.

I’m so glad I’m not a Democrat; this is embarrassing following so closely to the Paris fiasco.

Al Sharpton and Eric Holder

Will Holder eat humble pie or chicken out?  Will Rev. Al ever back down from the shakedowns of corporations? An FBI investigation has not found enough evidence to charge Darren Wilson with the federal crime of depriving Michael Brown of his civil rights, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation. 40 investigators, 200 people interviewed. CNN really parses its words. This reporter wasn’t pleased. Not a single quote from those who believed Wilson.

My TBR list is growing

I've got to stop saying yes--to books to review. They are piling up. Chicks on the Right by Miriam Weaver and Amy Jo Clark; Countdown to the Apocalypse; why ISIS and Ebola are only the beginning by Robert Jeffress; American dreams; restoring economic opportunity for everyone, by Marco Rubio; America in retreat; the new isolationism and the coming global disorder, by Bret Stephens; Practical theology; spiritual direction from Saint Thomas Aquinas, by Peter Kreeft.  I think I even said Yes to one yesterday, but I’ve forgotten the title.  I reject more than I accept. However, I did take a sack of books and magazines to the library yesterday for the book sale.


Father Mario Majano on the sanctity of life

This morning on EWTN (repeated from yesterday's March for Life) Fr. Mario Majano spoke to a stadium of thousands of young people and in his homily he talked about young heroes, telling the story of one young woman who rejected an abortion for 3 crisis pregnancies, one a rape, one when she was unmarried with a young child to care for, and one after being treated for a tumor when she didn't know she was pregnant. I thought he was going to reveal one of the children to now be famous, but then he said, "Thanks, Mama," because he was one of them. (All healthy and normal.)

I checked the website of his parish and see it has a ministry (and staff) for Haitians, Africans, and Ghanans, as well as speakers of Spanish.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lower deficit and State of the Union

Obama took credit in the SOTU for the lower deficit, but it was the spending cuts demanded by the House Republicans and the 16 day shutdown that did that.  He also can't take any credit for increased fuel production which is making us an exporter and safer from dependency on the middle east, Africa and South American sources.  It was fracking that turned that around, lowered gas prices, and put money in the wallets of Americans. He has dragged his feet everywhere he could to satisfy his base on energy. And it's not air quality or climate change--they don't want the U.S. to be strong.

Winding down with the Constitution

Busy early Thursday--house guest, Bible study, fascinating presentation at lunch by Rod Crane talking about the role of volunteers with the Red Cross during Katrina, and a doctor's appointment. Winding down now by reading the U.S. Constitution. It's powerful and short.

I'm always shocked by the short list of responsibilities (6) of the President--which comes after a rather long list (about 25) for the Congress--which the Founders put ahead of the President. 1) Commander and chief of the various military branches, 2) granting reprieves and pardons against the U.S., 3) with the advice and consent of the Senate he can make treaties, 4) with advice and consent of Senate he can appoint Ambassadors and other public officials like judges, 5) fill vacancies that might happen during the Senate recess, and "from time to time" he can give a State of the Union address as he judges necessary and expedient, 6) receive ambassadors and other public ministers. Five of the six really deal directly or indirectly with national security, or relations with other nations.

I can find nothing about child care, free college tuition, health insurance, climate, advocating for any particular fuel system, or chastising citizens for discerning ethnic and religious shortcomings. So why have we and our parents and grandparents allowed this president and those before him to usurp the power of Congress? If the President strays into the Congress' job description, who will do his job?

About that pay inequity?

Mr. President,

the 60s called Tuesday night. They are upset that you don't know your history, employment law or what JFK did. The law about equal pay for equal work was passed in 1963. Employers are not allowed to discriminate based on gender. If they are not obeying the law, why didn't you do something? If they are not obeying that law, why will another one help? Also, women have earned 9 million more college degrees than men since 1982. They haven't been earning the same kind of degrees nor working the same number of hours, however. Last I checked, a mining engineer earned more than an art museum curator. Also for over 5 years, young, single college educated women have been earning more than young, single college educated men--in some cities like Atlanta and Memphis it's as much as 20%. Black women are so outpacing black men in college degrees, it is alarming. I think they get about 71% of the masters awarded to blacks students. What will you do about those gaps? Demand more laws?

Georgetown University did a study in 2011 of differences in gender and race in selecting a major. The study found that white men are concentrated in the highest-earning majors, including engineering and pharmaceutical sciences, while women gravitate toward the lowest-earning majors like education, art and social work.  The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education noted that educated white women were less likely to work full time than educated black women, accounting for the difference in their pay (educated black women earn more).,8599,2015274,00.html

Employers can't discriminate by law, but I’m sure they can read resumes.  And HR reps can talk among themselves and note absences, difficulties with co-workers, willingness to travel, etc.

Flashback on taxes and Democrats

John Kerry and John Edwards in the 2004 presidential race ran on a platform of repealing tax breaks for the rich. Sound familiar? Wasn’t that mentioned in Tuesday’s SOTU?  They didn't like Bush's tax cuts of 2003 for capital gains despite the fact the cuts brought in a 68% increase in tax revenues. Why do tax cuts bring in higher revenues? Lowering the rate provides incentive to sell, and that means money to reinvest which means more growth, which means more jobs, which means more taxes for our Congress to spend. That makes Democrats very unhappy, because it also means the rich get richer. They'd rather everyone suffer than have the upper quintile (other than themselves) get more. Bush inherited a recession too, although he didn't mention it every time he was in front of a microphone. He just put a stop to it. Obama wants higher taxes not to help the middle class (we'll never see a penny of it), but to punish the successful.

George Stephanopoulos

Georgie Porgie puddin' and pie,
Kisses Obama which makes us sigh.
When GOP comes out to play,
Georgie Porgie runs away.

Broadcast media should have different standards than cable. The FCC regulates them. We all realize George was a Democrat operative in the 90s and staffer for years, but really, give him an opinion show. George isn't a news correspondent--he's practically on the White House staff.

We’re past 6 years on the job.  How is this a rescue?  A coach or CEO would have been fired years ago. But then FDR is still hailed as a hero, and he kept us in a depression for over a decade.

Without laughing, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday’s World News Tonight advanced the White House hope that Barack Obama will be seen as Ronald Reagan was in 1987, as a President who rescued the economy and was rewarded by voters. -

Paraprosdokian--a late 20th-century neologism

Paraprosdokians are figure of speech where the latter part of the phrase is humorously surprising or unexpected and causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.