Thursday, December 05, 2019

Obamacare overrun and fraud

About a year ago they discovered some massive fraud in Obamacare--one report found that about 93% of single people who benefited weren't eligible in the big Medicaid expansion and a huge percentage were earning over $100,000. So I decided to check and see if any heads every rolled. But of course, Obama had left town, and Trump was being blamed for being mean and cruel. This is the most recent I found.

"Medicaid was established to serve the genuinely needy: low-income Americans, seniors, the disabled, and poor children. Obamacare flooded the program with able-bodied, working-age adults—that is, people who could likely secure private insurance on their own.

By the end of 2016, some 11.5 million able-bodied adults had enrolled in Medicaid because of the expansion, more than double the original enrollment projections. This brings the total number on Medicaid to 65.6 million. The cost of the expansion has been higher than expected, too—76% more per person."

What is your acceptable number?

At least 12,000 late-term abortions take place every year in the United States, according to Guttmacher Institute data (research arm of Planned Parenthood). Almost none out of medical necessity. And that's OK with Nancy Pelosi, Pete Buttigeig, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and the rest of the gang. And they perpetuate the lie about "save the life of the mother." Nor will they vote to save the life of a born alive aborted child. There was a time in our history when only one politician would say that--Barack Obama. But, he did promise to fundamentally change the country. Promise kept.

Let me ask you, Democrats, what is the appropriate number of lives to snuff in the name of feminism? You can handle 12,000--how about 20,000? Or maybe 10? What's your number?

Name calling—the last resort for Democrats

I've never been able to figure out how Donald Trump gets slammed with that racist meme. He called MS-13 thugs and terrorists. Well? Did he say all Hondurans? Or all people attempting to break into our country? No.

He tried to block people from a few Muslim dominated countries until they could be vetted--Obama's list--because the countries didn't have viable governments. Do you have any idea how many countries are dominated by Islam? About 24% of the world's population. Do you really think the President was blocking that many people, or that Obama had all of them on a list?

But once ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, Politico, HuffPo, and all the late night comedians, has-been movie stars and women dress in pink body parts costumes get on a roll, they just crash down the mountain.

Here's a photo of President Trump and the award he and other patriotic, diverse Americans--Rosa Parks, Muhammed Ali--received in the 1980s, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which recognizes American citizens who embody “patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood and diversity.”

If Democrats can't call a white person racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic or white supremacist, they are left tongue tied and speechless and go back to their knitting-- promoting abortion.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

So far with my binge watching the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel, my favorite is "Christmas at the Plaza" (2019). Maybe it's because it's the only one I've watched start to finish (others I've watched in sections, sometimes finishing at the gym), or maybe because I marveled at the American accent of Elizabeth Henstridge who was flawless, or maybe because it's about an archivist (2nd cousin of a librarian) or maybe because it was fun to see Julia Duffy whom I haven't seen since Newhart. Or maybe because it even had a senior citizen romance in it. Something for everyone.

Beautiful hymn of praise in the book of Tobit

This morning I've been reading the story of Tobit, Anna, Tobiah and Sarah. Such an interesting cast of characters including a demon named Asmodeus and an angel named Raphael. Such beautiful hymns of praise and promise. It's a shame we Protestants don't use it. You don't need to read it as either fact or fiction, just enjoy it for God's amazing works and the praise offered to him.

I really identified with the husband/wife conversation between Tobit and his wife Anna, that is still being repeated to this day.

Backstory: Tobit was a wealthy, successful man who became blind and lost his wealth. His wife had to support the family so Tobit sent son Tobias off to recover money he had in another land. Anna is not happy! It goes sort of like this as they are awaiting his return.

Tobit chapter 10. Now his father Tobit was counting each day, and when the days for the journey had expired and they did not arrive . . .

Tobit: “Is it possible that he has been detained? Or is it possible that Gab′ael [kinsman] has died and there is no one to give him the money?” And he was greatly distressed.

Anna: “The lad has perished; his long delay proves it.” Then she began to mourn for him, and said, “Am I not distressed, my child, that I let you go, you who are the light of my eyes?” She begins to weep and wail.

Tobit: “Be still and stop worrying; he is well, my love, he is safe. They probably had unexpected business, the man traveling with him is trustworthy and is one of our own kinsmen. Do not worry.” [Women just love to be told not to worry and awfulize.]

Anna: “Oh stop it! Be still and stop deceiving me; my child has perished.” And she went out every day to the road by which they had left; she ate nothing in the daytime, and throughout the nights she never stopped mourning for her son Tobi′as, getting no sleep at all."

Now, doesn't that sound familiar?

P.S. It all turns out and God is praised--see Chapter 13 for Tobit's song of praise. Raphael the angel when he reveals his true identity tells Tobit, "A king's secret is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be made known with due honor."

Monday, December 02, 2019

The Lakeside Pavilion—Giving Tuesday

Tomorrow is "Giving Tuesday," and my in-box is swamped. We'll be donating to Lakeside Foundation to help restore the pavilion built in 1988. It's special to us. We attend church there on Sundays during the summer, and I understand the east deck will be dedicated to Rev. Irwin Jennings, our summer time pastor. We had our 50th wedding anniversary there in 2010. Bob is a member of the sailing club which is tucked inside. It was a very hot summer in 1988 and we were strolling on Oak Street and saw a cottage for sale. The lakefront looked good -- better than anytime in our memory. The 1909 pavilion had been replaced by something really ugly in the early 1960s, and it was replaced by a fairly authentic replica. So we took the plunge and although loans were over 10% then, we became cottage owners. Here's the story of the Lakeside Pavilion.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

How to kill the gig economy

I've never used Uber or Lyft, but I can see the big hand of government regulation killing the gig economy. "The Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation Monday that will establish a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers and raise per-ride taxes to pay for city programs." All in the name of protecting the worker. So tell me again city officials how some of the poorest, but most ambitious people, are going to build your "affordable" housing ($52 million) and the City Center connector ($56 million) that is millions in debt and which you've failed miserably to build?

Jesus is Lord even if we are mad at him and don't want Christmas

Mother's Day 2010
In the early years of the United States, many Christians didn't celebrate Christmas at all--it was just another day--because it had been spoiled by drunken parties and materialism common among the British. Sort of like today. My mom never had a Christmas present as a child, although I think there were cards exchanged at school because I have some of them. My dad did remember getting a new pair of overalls as a kid and somehow they scraped together enough money to buy candy. Ironic that they were so poor and my mom's parents had money, yet dad's family found something to celebrate and mom's made it just another day, no celebration. They did loosen up after grandchildren, and learned to enjoy the holiday.  Just the other day I bought a box of art supplies that reminded me of something they gave me when I was maybe 8 years old. I'll probably never open it, because I don't draw anymore, but it was fun to see it.

The first Christmas I remember was 1944 in Alameda, CA when Dad was in the marines in WWII. Scary times. I know I had memories earlier than that because I can remember I thought that singing carols in the fog (that smell of the Bay has stayed with me) was very different than singing carols in the snow in Illinois--I just have no specific memory of 1943 or 1942. Also we didn't have a church which seemed odd to me. We went to the school gym for a Christmas program. I suppose the military towns had grown so fast there was no thought of churches. There was death and destruction everywhere, so people probably thought God had left town.

My faith was just something passed along to me by community, family and tradition until 1974, then I believed. Lots of questions I plan to ask Jesus because things haven't always worked out. I don't know how 20th century American Christians got the idea that faith was all happy clappy touchy feely. 100 million people lost their lives in the 20th century due to socialism/communism totalitarian governments--a huge number of them where Christians. And neither God nor the U.S. military saved them. And that doesn't count the war dead--another 40 million--and then it was Christians fighting each other!

On the other hand, I've had so many blessings over the years that others have missed, I'll probably ask about that, too. Although, I sort of suspect everything will become clear without even asking. As Paul says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood."

Things are really foggy for me now, but someday I'll know.

Today is the first day of Advent, a time we look back, to the first Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and forward to when he comes again in glory.  It's the first day of the new Christian year, a time the church gives us to start fresh.  It's true that Christ has already taken his seat at the right hand of God, but

"now he comes to be born in the narrowness of our lives to be incarnate in us, to give his love to the world through us, through our flesh and blood. . . The reason why we are where we are this Christmas, in this house, family, office, workroom, hospital, or camp, is because it is here in this place that Christ wants to be born, from here that he wants his life to begin again in the world"  (Caryll Houselander, "Lift up your hearts" 1978.) From Magnificat, December 2019

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Clarence Thomas on liberals

Justice Thomas: "I felt as though in my life I had been looking at the wrong people as the people who would be problematic toward me," Justice Thomas said in the documentary. "We were told that, 'Oh, it's gonna be the bigot in the pickup truck; it's gonna be the Klansmen; it's gonna be the rural sheriff.' But it turned out that through all of that, ultimately the biggest impediment was the modern-day liberal. They were the ones who would discount all those things because they have one issue or because they have the power to caricature you."

How true. Although I was a Democrat at the time, I was excited about this appointment by GHW Bush in 1991. I remember where I was when it dawned on me what liberal professors at OSU were about. They don't walk the talk. We were at lunch in the Faculty Club and I naively assumed all of us overeducated state employees would be thrilled with this nomination. "Bush is just doing it because he's black," she said, "He's just not qualified."

He has been an amazing justice, and his autobiography is one of the best political and cultural histories I've ever read, "My Grandfather's Son." You'll learn more about the black experience reading that book than attending a year's worth of SJW sniping at a university.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Baby Alexandria

I rarely remember a sermon--and we have such good pastors. Nothing personal--it's a learning disability I've learned to work around since I was a child. Joe Valentino had such a stunning story in his Thanksgiving sermon it's stayed with me--and I'd love to be able to do what those parents did. I may not have all the details correct, but here's the gist of it.

I remembered seeing a notice in the November 17 bulletin about the death of baby Alexandria, and Joe told her story. This much adored and awaited for little girl had a stroke at birth and didn't die, but she was brain dead. Her parents took her home and made a vow to enjoy every moment of her life, to love and cherish her as if each day were their last together. I could hear gasps from the other pews. I believe she died about a week later, and they had kept their vow. We never know what day is our last together, so always be kind and loving and thankful for the time you have.

What happened to my nice life?

I know that the apostles and church fathers spent a lot of time searching the scriptures (what we Christians call the Old Testament) trying to figure out what in the world happened--this isn't the messiah we had hoped for. And to this day, we poke around looking for modern day or future meaning about those old stories of God's faithfulness when we ask, "What in the world happened" to my nice comfortable life that I'd planned out?

While searching for BIG answers, I came across a smaller one today in the story that has inspired a million Sunday School handouts and movies--Daniel in the Lion's Den. Believe it or not, I actually found a warning of what our country will be going through if we elect any of those Democrats running in 2020! Collectively they represent a possible take down of everything important to American Christians, especially the First Amendment.
Stay with me--just a little backstory--We're talking about King Darius the one who follows King Belshazzar, and Daniel, a Jewish survivor (had already been through the furnace story). Darius had a huge, powerful "deep state,"--satraps, etc. and Daniel was one of their supervisors, a pretty great job for a Jewish exile and was highly respected by the King. The deep state hated Daniel and wanted to get rid of him:
"Some men rushed into the upper chamber of Daniel's home and found him praying and pleading before his God. Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition: (think nuns who won't buy health insurance that covers abortion, or bakers and florists who won't celebrate a customer's same sex wedding) "Did you not decree, O king, that no one is to address a petition to god or man for 30 days, except to you, O king; otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions?" The king answered them, "The decree is absolute, irrevocable under the Mede and Persian law." To this they replied, "Daniel, the Jewish exile, has paid no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you issued; 3 times a day he offers his prayer." The king was deeply grieved at this news and he made up his mind to save Daniel; he worked till sunset to rescue him. But these men insisted. They said, "Keep in mind, O king, that under the Mede and Persian law every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable." So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions' den. "

So you probably know how that turns out--Daniel is saved by God and Darius the king ends up declaring that the God of Daniel is the real deal because he saved Daniel from the lions. And Darius writes a really lovely hymn/liturgy we can say today. (Daniel 6:27)
He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thankful. Gratitude. Grateful.

Be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16.

May we give thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Ephesians 5:30

Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Before all men, honor and proclaim God's deeds, and do not be slack in praising him. Tobit 12:6

The word of God for the people of God.

Life expectancy dropping since 2014

Our behavior is showing up in our health statistics as well as our homes.

"Between 1959 and 2016, US life expectancy increased from 69.9 years to 78.9 years but declined for 3 consecutive years after 2014. The recent decrease in US life expectancy culminated a period of increasing cause-specific mortality among adults aged 25 to 64 years that began in the 1990s, ultimately producing an increase in all-cause mortality that began in 2010. During 2010-2017, midlife all-cause mortality rates increased from 328.5 deaths/100 000 to 348.2 deaths/100 000. By 2014, midlife mortality was increasing across all racial groups, caused by drug overdoses, alcohol abuse, suicides, and a diverse list of organ system diseases. The largest relative increases in midlife mortality rates occurred in New England (New Hampshire, 23.3%; Maine, 20.7%; Vermont, 19.9%) and the Ohio Valley (West Virginia, 23.0%; Ohio, 21.6%; Indiana, 14.8%; Kentucky, 14.7%). The increase in midlife mortality during 2010-2017 was associated with an estimated 33 307 excess US deaths, 32.8% of which occurred in 4 Ohio Valley states."

Americans can't smoke, over eat, have multiple sex partners, sooth the soul with alcohol and become a zombie with drugs and not have it show up in a study down the road. Although the numbers ticked up 2010-2017, the behavior began much before that--the 1980's-1990s.

And that Ohio Valley information in the study--straight up from Mexico—black tar heroin.  Read “Dreamland; the true tale of America's Opioid Epidemic” by Sam Quinones. He was a speaker at Lakeside, I think in 2018.  The stories of young men in Mexico, independent of the drug cartels, in search of their own American Dream via the fast and enormous profits of trafficking cheap black-tar heroin to America’s rural and suburban addicts combined with Big Pharma.

Baby Boomers exceed all other generations in wealth

Where are you in distribution of wealth--born before 1946, or baby boomer, or gen-x, or millennials? The Boomers after 2005 began pulling ahead of the "silents" in wealth accumulation, and never looked back. Even with a little back sliding by boomers during the recession, I see no way the millennials will ever catch up--have they been given too much or just taken on too much debt.
119;series:Net worth;demographic:generation;population:all;units:levels

Thanksgiving, November 28, 1872

Whereas the revolution of another year has again brought the time when it is usual to look back upon the past and publicly to thank the Almighty for His mercies and His blessings; and

Whereas if any one people has more occasion than another for such thankfulness it is the citizens of the United States, whose Government is their creature, subject to their behests;

who have reserved to themselves ample civil and religious freedom and equality before the law;

who during the last twelvemonth have enjoyed exemption from any grievous or general calamity, and to whom prosperity in agriculture, manufactures, and commerce has been vouchsafed;

Now, therefore, by these considerations, I recommend that on Thursday, the 28th day of November next, the people meet in their respective places of worship and there make their acknowledgments to God for His kindness and bounty.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this 11th day of October, A.D. 1872, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-seventh. U.S. GRANT

If you have a spare prayer this Thanksgiving . . .

The last time we saw Dan was at the funeral of a mutual friend in 2018.  He and Bob used to work together—I only saw his wife at the wonderful Christmas parties.  They had the most beautiful children—dark, Italian and very well behaved.  According to her story, Dan is now disabled and she has arthritis (plus another surgery from 20 years ago over which she has battled insurance companies and doctors without satisfaction).  So she hired a company to rake and take away the leaves.  On Tuesday.  Well, if you live in the tsunami lane we’ve experienced the last 24 hours, you know that all the neighbors’ leaves are now in their yard, and the money and frustration were wasted.  She said this, which is why I’m asking you to pray for this stranger even I don’t know well—and I suspect there is a hidden message in here for her adult children and grandchildren, so you can throw that in also:

“There are days when I just feel like jumping off a bridge and this is one of them. Last week a hit-and-run driver bashed our only car and took off leaving us to deal with the expense and effort to get it fixed. By "us" I mean me because I have to do everything, large and small, by myself now==which isn't all that different than what I have always been stuck with. All I do is work: cook, clean, fix stuff, laundry, yard work, and so on into infinity. If I had known I was going to spend my entire life getting stuck doing the scut-work nobody else wants to bother with so they can enjoy their lives unencumbered by it all I'd have taken that jump a long time ago.”