Saturday, April 30, 2011

Did You Know--General Motors

"There are some 13,000 porn films made in the United States generating near $100 billion per year. General Motors owns DirectTV, which distributes over 40 million streams of porn into American homes every month. AT&T and GM rake in approximately 80 percent of all porn dollars."

Read more:

And now through the bail out, we the people own General Motors. The payback then, will be through porn profits?

Working up a tax storm in Illinois -- George F. Will

Illinois, Obama's home, continues to punish its residents.
A study by the Illinois Policy Institute, a market-oriented think tank, concludes that between 1991 and 2009, Illinois lost more than 1.2 million residents — more than one every 10 minutes — to other states. Between 1995 and 2007, the total net income leaving Illinois was $23.5 billion. The five states receiving most refugees from Illinois were Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Texas. Two are Illinois’ neighbors, three have warm weather, two — Florida and Texas — have no income tax. In January, a lame-duck session of Illinois’ legislature — including 18 Democrats who were defeated in November — raised the personal income tax 67 percent and the corporate tax almost 50 percent. This and the increase — from 3 percent to 5 percent — in the tax on small businesses make Illinois, as the Wall Street Journal says, “one of the most expensive places in the world to conduct business.”

Working up a tax storm in Illinois - The Washington Post

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Did You Know--OAA

27 states had old age programs before the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935. They were known as OAA, Old Age Assistance. However, they were restricted to the poor and were temporary which SS isn't. Working Paper, Cohen

Fake Statue of Liberty stamp is sort of a symbol of our problems

We always end up with one and two cent stamps to add to the old stamps after the price increase, so this time at the post office I bought "forever" stamps commemorating the Civil War, 1861.

I'm glad I didn't buy the fake Lady Liberty stamps. The Post Office used an image of the face of a half size replica of the Statue of Libery of resin and styrofoam in Las Vegas instead of the real Statue of Liberty. Apparently its a stock Getty photo, and no one noticed it until 3 billion were printed.

Somehow, it sort of makes me think of other things going on in this country.

Project Home Again

Here's a man who used his wealth for good before Obama could destroy it. Project Home Again is a nonprofit, housing development organization created by The Leonard and Louise Riggio Foundation shortly after Hurricane Katrina to build high-quality, energy-efficient homes for low and moderate-income NOLAns. The city and federal government bogged down in various plans to make it smaller, greener, more chocolate, more market friendly--and more bound up in red tape. Meanwhile, Riggio, founder of Barnes & Noble, just rolled up his sleeves. Project Home should have 100 houses by the end of summer.

Project Home Again

The Fed, Fannie and Fred

"[Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and Barney Frank] are calling to raise the debt ceiling. This will assist them with perpetuating the biggest legal government scam in history [financial institution bailouts of over $12 trillion]. Meanwhile, responsible middle class Americans are barely making it, as their investments are devalued and government expands, finding more ways to collect money from them to support its Ponzi scheme.

This is not capitalism gone amuck, as Barney Frank claims. The government bailing out private banks is not capitalism but quasi-socialism. There is a simple solution to fix this: the banks must be held accountable. There should be a way to sue the banks that originate the irresponsible investments and loans, even if they transfer their risky ventures to other banks. Nor should they be bailed out when they fail. For every bank that fails, another one that is more financially responsible is ready to step up and take its place. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are quasi-governmental lending agencies, so suing them would only hurt the taxpayers. They were responsible for the highest rates of foreclosures. They have grossly failed, and represent government at its worst, so the only solution is to eliminate them." Rachel Alexander

The Biggest Legalized Theft of Middle Class American Wealth - Page 1 - Rachel Alexander - Townhall Conservative

Obama's Millionaire Obsession

President Obama's always been wealthier than we are, even in childhood, and unlike us probably didn't begin in the bottom quintile as a young man, having attended pricy private schools and colleges and then marrying a woman of some means and social connections from Chicago. However, he loves to play the wealth envy card, doesn't he?
With less than 19 months left before the next presidential election, Barack Obama has kicked off his campaign, doing coast-to-coast "town hall" meetings last week. At the top of President Obama's re-election strategy is what appears to be a personal jihad against America's "millionaires and billionaires," many of whom, he seems to think, are—there's no other word for it—un-American. So naturally the place he picked to pitch an assault on the wealthy was the Silicon Valley headquarters of Facebook, a place filled with millionaires and billionaires.
Since he never could acquire wealth on his own efforts, or was never allowed to given his parents' and grandparents' socialist beliefs, he now has to try to strip and demean others who have achieved.

Henninger: Obama's Millionaire Obsession -

Conservative Christians have always given more generously than liberal Christians who prefer to take hand outs from local, state and federal governments, then pass it on to the poor in various "good works." However, even the wealthy give more than their "fair share."
It is an eternal question whether the deductibility of such spending means the charitable activity by these people is bogus and driven only by self-regard. One man's answer: Eliminate the charitable deduction, drop—or flatten—the top tax rate and total giving will rise, not fall. Giving is what Americans do, at all income levels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did You Know--driver's license and registration

63 percent of cited/stopped drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 63 percent, 97 percent are illegal aliens. From Secondhand Soapbox, via Homeland Security and FBI reports.

I don't know how that compares to Ohio, where we have so many acceptable documents for the BMV, including an Offenders Release Card or a credit card, that really, you just have no excuse not to have a driver's license!

Slavery in Brazil

This morning on Catholic radio I was listening to a report about slavery in Brazil. Workers are lured by promises of jobs, but after they arrive in remote agricultural areas thousands of miles from home and family, they are told they have to pay off their transportation debt.

It occurred to me that before our President offered their President Dilma Rousseff (a Marxist in her youth, and daughter of a Bulgarian Communist) money for off shore, deep ocean drilling for oil and gas (which we then will purchase from them) he should have inquired about this problem. When I checked it on the internet, our own State Department which has an anti-trafficking section reported both sex slavery of women, boys and girls as well as labor slavery:
Brazil is a source country for men, women, girls, and boys trafficked within the country and transnationally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, as well as a source country for men and boys trafficked internally for forced labor. The Brazilian Federal Police estimate that 250,000 to 400,000 children are exploited in domestic prostitution, in resort and tourist areas, along highways, and in Amazonian mining brothels. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009
In his speech to the Brazilian people on March 20, 2011, he praised their diversity, the beauty of their country and our similar backgrounds, but failed to note that slavery hasn't ended in Brazil since it is documented both by the U.S. State Department and the Roman Catholic Church, two of the most powerful organizations in the world.
When you think about it, the journeys of the United States of America and Brazil began in similar ways. Our lands are rich with God’s creation, home to ancient and indigenous peoples. From overseas, the Americas were discovered by men who sought a New World, and settled by pioneers who pushed westward, across vast frontiers. We became colonies claimed by distant crowns, but soon declared our independence. We then welcomed waves of immigrants to our shores, and eventually after a long struggle, we cleansed the stain of slavery from our land. Transcript
So even if we ignore the idiocy and hypocrisy of sending our industry south to Brazil and the fact that if there is an accident similar to the one he dithered about in May, we still are doing business with a slave holding country with a Marxist president!

Record rainfall this April

Or not.  According to the Dispatch, Columbus will need about an inch more rain in the coming week to break the record, 7.08 inches, which was set when Grover Cleveland was beginning his second term in the White House in 1893. But it's the wettest since we've lived in our condo (bought in 2001), because we've discovered a spring under the street in front of our house which never bothered us before.  Even on dry days, we drive on wet pavement.

Our condo complex is surrounded on 3 sides (if an oval has a side) by a creek.  We've just had hardwood floors installed on our lower level -- so I hope this isn't the first year since 1977 that the creek rises to meet the houses.  Flooding urban creeks often happen because thing clog up the drains further down stream--like furniture, lawn clippings, logs, etc.  I've seen it happen even in areas that aren't near open water.
It was a lot of work, and very expensive.  Rain, rain, go away.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Did You Know--School Uniforms

18% of public schools require uniforms and 55% have an enforced strict dress code.

Sustainability and Google

Sustainability, the word -- About 46,000,000 results in Google until you click to page 11 then it changes to 59,500,000 results, 100 more than 10 minutes ago! Websites include EPA, non-profits, corporations, associations of professionals like architects, engineers and builders, schools, universities, blogs, state and city governments (Cleveland has an office of sustainability), entertainers, auditors (Deloitte), conference organizers and just anyone with his hand out for  government money or a fast buck. Never as a word meant so much to so many, but basically means wealth transfer.  It's the "greenwashing" of America. And that is "green" as in money and class envy, and green as in environmentalism.  If the purpose is political, it is to kill capitalism; if it's corporate, it's to grow capitalism; and if it's personal, it's spiritual.

And did you know, sustainability is displacing diversity as the campus craze du jour?
Diversity authorizes double standards in admissions and hiring, breeds a campus culture of hypocrisy, mismatches students to educational opportunities, fosters ethnic resentments, elevates group identity over individual achievement, and trivializes the curriculum. Of course, those punishments were something that had to be accepted in the spirit of atoning for the original sin of racism.

But for its part, sustainability has the logic of a stampede. We all must run in the same direction for fear of some rumored and largely invisible threat. The real threat is the stampede itself. Sustainability numbers among its advocates some scrupulous scientists and quite a few sober facilities managers who simply want to trim utility bills. But in the main, sustainability is the triumph of hypothesis over evidence. Peter Wood, Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 3, 2010

Bolivia : Law of the Rights of Mother Earth

Or you could call it, "Let's pass more laws against capitalism and all first world countries." Ley de Derechos de La Madre Tierra, Law of the Rights of Mother Earth.
Bolivia is set to pass the world's first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country's rich mineral deposits as "blessings" and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.

The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered

Bolivia enshrines natural world's rights with equal status for Mother Earth | Environment | The Guardian

Lawyer Quits Firm in Rift Over DOMA

It's what lawyers do--unless the gay and lesbian lobby doesn't like it. Terrorists, serial killers, rapists, scammers, child molesters, wife beaters--they all get their day in court with lawyers defending them who may intensely dislike them. But apparently not the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is federal law and which Obama (another campaign promise broken) has decided shouldn't be.
Paul Clement, who worked for more than three years as U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, said he was leaving the Washington, D.C., office of King & Spalding LLP because he disagreed with the firm's decision to no longer represent a group of House lawmakers hoping to fend off a constitutional challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. . .

Big law firms often handle politically sensitive matters but rarely face public criticism for it. House Democrats, gay and lesbian organizations and other advocacy groups attacked the firm for agreeing to defend the law.

Lawyer Quits Firm in Rift Over Marriage Act -

Monday, April 25, 2011

Greatest play in baseball--April 25, 1976

Rick Monday, Chicago Cubs outfielder, saves the flag from protestors attempting to burn it 35 years ago.

Did You Know--how 13 million people became unhealthy

When the blood pressure threshold that established the diagnosis of hypertension was lowered from 160 to 140 mm Hg systolic and from 100 to 90 mm Hg diastolic, 13 million previously healthy persons were transformed into patients requiring medication. JAMA, April 6, 2011, review of "Overdiagnosed."

The Tool for Agenda 21 (global government)

"But how can they possibly bring about the global political, economic, social and religious transformation they desire? The tool employed must be so potent and pervasive that it reaches into every area of society, from local community groups to sovereign governments and multinational corporations. It must have the power to enforce binding international agreements, exert stringent controls over human activities and yet still be acceptable to the general population. It must become so entrenched in legislation and business practice that its necessity is barely questioned.

Such a tool exists. They have been carefully shaping and nurturing its progress for decades. It is known as the doctrine of Sustainable Development. We are all aware of need to address environmental problems such as water and air pollution, and dwindling natural resources, but Sustainable Development is exerting draconian controls and influence far beyond those required for effective environmental management."

The Green Agenda - Sustainable Development

Lest you think this is a right wing conspiracy theory, it isn't. All of their material with mission statement, goals, guidelines, etc. have been published--some go back as far as the 70s, but it really got rolling in 1992. They are on-line, and they aren't shy about their plans. Local mayors, boards of education and pastors of churches (believing for some reason this is what God intended when he put Adam in charge) are signing on to diminish the sovereignty of the United States, so it isn't just Washington DC. You aren't being consulted at any level.

"The task of mobilizing and technically supporting Local Agenda 21 planning in these communities has been led by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and national associations of local government. Now, with the further support of the International Development Research Centre and the United Nations Environment Programme, ICLEI is able to present the first worldwide documentation of Local Agenda 21 planning approaches, methods, and tools in this Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide."

The ubiquitous plastic water bottle

Today I was browsing through some events at CUNY and came across a very boring (only watched a few minutes) panel discussing. . . well, something. . . "Malcolm Gladwell, Jerilyn Perine and Robert Hammond join Graduate Center's John Mollenkopf to discuss NYC's High Line and its impact on urban innovation." What was really odd, besides the chairs and low table which appeared to be uncomfortable no matter the size and weight of the speakers, was that there were 7 bottles of water for 4 speakers. Environmentally insensitive, don't you think?

What I was really looking for was the tax funding for CUNY (couldn't find it). How much of the $4,000+ tuition and fees comes from the tax payers of NY and how much from the rest of us (through federal grants, loans, etc. both for students and buildings). How many tax dollars go to support that Left Forum (a gathering of Communists and Socialists formerly titled Socialist Scholars Conference) being sponsored by the Department of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue,New York, NY 10016.

The topics of Left Forum this year include federal green jobs programs and communist goals; lots of anti-capitalism panels; united left front against the right (that will include tea party groups); links with humanist groups; using art and theater for protest projects; U.S. leftists in Africa; using anarchy to move the cause along; state terrorism in Gaza (I assume they mean Israel); building a left movement in higher education (apparently they haven't checked recently--this has been achieved); lots of topics on race (and being anti-white), islamophobia, etc. Nothing on the oppression of women or homophobia under Sharia law that I noticed.

I also learned by reading this panel promotion that using the word "gimpy" or "gimp" is perfectly OK when referring to the physically disabled--although not if you are able-bodied. I suppose it falls into that "nappy headed" hole whereby black rap groups can use it, but not white talking heads.

Peter Mansoor to speak at OSU Thompson Library on Wednesday

This might be worth a stroll across campus to hear. (I like to park at the veterinary campus and avoid the crowd. I can walk faster than I can find a parking spot on main campus.)

The Iraq War: Opportunities Missed, Lessons Learned, and the Way Ahead" will be presented by Peter Mansoor, Colonel, U.S. Army (retired), and the General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Chair of Military History at Ohio State, from 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday (4/27) in 165 Thompson Library.
When Gen. Petraeus was appointed commander of U.S. forces in Iraq in January 2007, he tapped Col. Mansoor to be his executive officer. Over the course of the next 15 months in Iraq, Col. Mansoor helped orchestrate the surge of 30,000 additional U.S. troops into Baghdad and the implementation of a new U.S. counterinsurgency strategy that was controversial because it called for an increase in troop numbers, saw the U.S. military cut deals with one-time insurgents and prioritized protecting the local population even though it meant a short-term increase in U.S. casualty numbers. The moves are credited in many circles with reining in the violence.

In late 2008, Washington and Baghdad inked a deal to withdraw U.S. troops by the end of 2011. U.S. President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to end the war, and shortly after coming into office, he set the Aug. 31, 2010, deadline to bring home all combat troops, leaving 50,000 trainers and support staff in their wake.
The speed of the recent combat wind-down didn't sit well with many who invested years in Iraq, including Col. Mansoor.

"I'm not enamored with President Obama's decision to pull our combat forces out before they had to go, which isn't until the end of next year," he says. "But I don't feel bad about the way things are there now. I think that Iraqi politicians will find a way to move the ball down the field. But in their usual Iraqi method, they will do so at the 11th hour and beyond, and probably at the moment when everyone thinks all is lost."
From August 2010 WSJ article

If he didn't support going into Iraq in 2003-04, imagine how our military leaders must feel about going into Libya led by a president who campaigned on getting us out of war!

In my opinion, the United States has not been on a "winning" team since WWII--we need to stop going in to break things and kill people if victory, which always means fewer deaths of civilians and military alike, isn't the goal. We are not going to "free" the middle east from bad government, military dictatorships, and fundamentalist Islamic kooks. Let the Libyans free themselves, Senator McCain.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Did You Know--Light Rail economics

Instead of pouring money into low return light rail, the government could simply purchase cars for the light rail riders without them, still have enough money left over to provide all the other riders with substantial credits to use for bus service or other subsidized mass transportation options. Political Calculation

Resurrection Sunday Dance in Budapest Hungary, 2010

"look to the sky but not for Airforce One. . ." How true! Hungary, a former Communist country, is the center of revival in Europe. Faith Church started as a house church in 1979--now has 50,000+ members with 250 branches.

This is danced all over the world. Here's a look at a training session in Ashville, NC for 2011 (today's dance). and one in Honduras

Ready for Easter Dinner

Everything's ready--but first we'll go to the 11 a.m. traditional service at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church on Lytham Road in Upper Arlington. Usually, there are 9 services in 3 locations, but I think today there are 12. We've had some wonderful services this Lenten season and Holy Week, two particularly stick in my mind: Pastor Reuben Mellem's (retired Lutheran pastor) sermon on April 14, and Pastor David Mann's (our missionary in Haiti) on Good Friday evening. I'll probably write about them at my Church of the Acronym blog--it's unusual for me to remember a sermon 5 minutes out the door, but these were definitely keepers.

Here's the menu: Honey Baked Ham (couldn't lift it out of the frig to put it in the photo; potato salad, green salad (romaine, tomatoes, peas, olives, yellow peppers, cukes), asparagus, bakery sandwich buns, and mixed fruit. DeCaf coffee. For dessert, we're having fresh strawberries on sugar free ice cream, and sugar free lemon cake (yes, we have diabetics watching such things). Mustard, mayo, butter, etc. are on the sidelines ready to do battle.

Years ago I bought a pastel colored table cloth, but this seems to be the only time I use it. I didn't receive china for wedding gifts (hadn't picked a pattern), but during the first decade of our marriage, my mother bought most of this, Syracuse Countess. The center piece are items from my son-in-law's mother, who either collected or created the eggs.

My husband ushered at the 8:15 service. He said there were about 100 at the 7 a.m. service, and maybe 150 at the 8:15. The only people dressed up, he observed, were the children, although he did see one woman with a hat. My outfit is about 12 years old--my mix and match navy, light blue and beige--but I'm a hold out for skirts on Sunday. It's about the only time I wear one.

Guantanamo Bay: How the White House lost the fight to close it

Verbs and nouns matter. So do biases. While the press wrote or implied, "Bush lied (about everything)," when it comes to Obama, it's a much more delicate wrap up of his campaign promise to close Guantanamo, the reason so many moderates voted for him (other than a pretty face and empty rhetoric). According to WaPo, on that promise he just made a pragmatic decision, a miscalculation, his plans were undermined, there was confusion, even timidity and passivity that reflects his "style." Oh crap. The man lied to get in office. About everything. He didn't even write his own autobiography which created the empty suit. The only things he has followed through on, some within days of taking office, are funding embryonic stem cell research, removing religious symbols in public events even if it's a church's building, redistributing wealth from the upper class to the middle class, and weakening our position in the Middle East. Although that last one he's apparently had second thoughts about with decisions to bomb Libya.

Shame, shame on the Washington Post writers Peter Finn and Anne E. Kornblut. Not that I expected anything different, but shame is the only word to describe WaPo's fall from being a watchdog to being a lapdog.

Guantanamo Bay: How the White House lost the fight to close it - The Washington Post

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Did You Know--Hollywood films share the Gospel

One such film is Warner Brothers' 1979 film "Jesus." Based on the Gospel of St. Luke, the film, funded in part by money raised by Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, did poorly at the box office. But in 1981, Campus Crusade began translating it for use in the mission field. Known as "The Jesus Film," the movie has now been translated into more than 1,100 languages. Seen by literally billions of people around the world, it is arguably the most watched film ever—with many millions of viewers professing faith in Jesus Christ as a result. It is still being shown world-wide today. John A. Murray, WSJ, April 22, 2011.

Why start a magazine?

My hobby bloggy is called In the beginning. It's about the premiere, first issue, and Volume One issues of magazines, journals and serials that I own. One of the things I do when I decide to write about one of them is look at the "From the publisher," or "From the Editor" letter, usually at the beginning. It's a lot of work and money to start a magazine; so why do it? Today I was packing them into a box and looked at AEI Foreign Policy and Defense Review. After looking it up (v.1, n.1 was 1979 when Jimmy Carter was president), I see it actually had an earlier existence as AEI Defense Review (1977-1978). This journal ended in 1986. Here's what William Baroody, Jr., the publisher said 42 years ago:
This inaugural issue of the AEI Foreign Policy and Defense Review appears at a time when the future of American foreign policy has become highly uncertain and when the role of the United States, as the preeminent power in the world, has become especially difficult to define. To operate effectively in an international environment in which political, economic, and security issues increasingly overlap demands a careful ordering of priorities and of long-term goals. In recent years, government actions on foreign policy and public debate about them have moved from issue to issue without the consensus or the continuity evident in the decades following World War II. Concern has been expressed abroad and at home over the inconsistencies that result from the lack of a clear, overall rationale rooted in the American diplomatic tradition. Questions about our long-term national interests remain not only unanswered, but often unasked.
So let's see, 42 years ago things were uncertain; it was difficult to define the role of the United States in the world. The government was moving from issue to issue without consensus, and there was concern abroad and at home over the inconsistencies resulting from lack of a plan. Well, welcome to the second decade of the new century.

President Ronald Reagan said of AEI in 1988: "The American Enterprise Institute stands at the center of a revolution in ideas of which I, too, have been a part.

AEI's remarkably distinguished body of work is testimony to the triumph of the think tank. For today the most important American scholarship comes out of our think tanks--and none has been more influential than the American Enterprise Institute."

What did you give up for Lent and were you successful?

I gave up Facebook, and can't say it was a huge sacrifice. I looked at a few messages, and left a comment on my son's page, but I didn't write on my "wall." But apparently I wasn't the only one. Someone did a survey of people on Twitter, and these were the top of the fast list:
"The top vote-getter, you ask? Twitter. Followed by Facebook, with chocolate third, soda seventh, and the teenage troika of transgression—swearing, alcohol and sex—landing fourth, fifth, and sixth."
So I guess I didn't do anything original.

Why the left wants to raise taxes on the rich

We don't have enough billionaires and millionaires to do what Obama wants--fund all our government programs, so why is he going down this road again for the 2012 campaign? If it doesn't help the poor and middle class, why do it? To punish the rich--it's a deeply held moral philosophy.
Republicans need to unmask the philosophy guiding modern liberalism when it comes to taxes. What liberals are interested in isn't growth so much as egalitarianism and redistribution for its own sake. For many on the left, increasing taxes isn't about economics as much as morality. They believe taxing the wealthy is a virtue, to the point that they would penalize "the rich" even if that has harmful economic consequences. Recall that during a campaign debate, when asked by Charles Gibson about his support for raising capital gains taxes even if that caused a net revenue loss to the Treasury, Obama sided with tax increases "for purposes of fairness."
The Incredible Shrinking Obama

The second most powerful Congress member

Speaker of the House of Representatives is the most powerful office in Congress--this person (Pelosi last time, Boehner this time) is third in line for the Presidency. But who is the second most powerful? Well, a friend of mine who was part of the political process for many years and should know, told me it is . . . the one who hands out the parking spaces for Congress!

Come, now is the time to worship

Occasionally I've heard old time, public domain hymns from the the last 3 centuries set to modern instruments and heart rates.  If the message is right, they are quite good and bring these golden oldies to a new audience. This morning I was listening to "Come, now is the time to worship," a 1998c Vineyard song that seems to be sung in multiple denominational and non-denominational churches that provide a contemporary service.

The words are beautiful and taken right from scripture.
"One day every tongue will confess You are God; One day every knee will bow/ Still the greatest treasure remains to those/Who gladly choose You now."
But I did wonder how it might sound without the throbbing guitars and banging drums which artificially create emotion.  Maybe a symphonic or chorale rendition?  YouTube--are you out there with such an arrangement?

We want a sacrifice of praise, but not while wrestling our minds to the ground with repetitious choruses and killing our hearing.

Feds Grant $2.1 Billion Loan Guarantee for California Solar Farm to German developer

While Obama blames evil corporations for "outsourcing" our jobs, he hands our green money over to Germany and our old fashion fossil fuel money to Brazil.
The United States Department of Energy on Monday offered a conditional $2.1 billion loan guarantee to German developer Solar Millennium to finance the first half of a 1,000 megawatt solar thermal power plant to be built in the Southern California desert.
Feds Grant $2.1 Billion Loan Guarantee for California Solar Farm - Todd Woody - Green Wombat - Forbes

Public land projects

I haven't been able to track down exactly what the "synthetic oil" is or how it is made. Here's a bit more information on using molten salt.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Did You Know--the oldest female Air Force veteran is 103

Mildred McDowell is 103 and enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in 1943, was discharged in December 1945 and reenlisted in March 1946 and later transferred into the Air Force. She lives in Vandalia, Illinois.

Obamacare secret meetings being investigated

It seems no one knows what's in Obamacare, but if Rep. Fred Upton, (R-MI) has his way, at least we might find out who put what in it.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton is expanding his investigation into the meetings between special interest groups and the Obama White House that set the stage for the passage of Obamacare, sending document requests to 12 industry groups and unions that played a key role in the negotiations. . .

The industry groups and unions subject to Upton’s request [for documents] are AARP, AFL-CIO, AdvaMed, AFSCME, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Business Roundtable, Federation of American Hospitals, PHRMA, and SEIU.
Surprise surprise. The White House isn't cooperating. Would take too much time.

Fred Upton | Obamacare | secret meetings | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

Conestoga trip to the Air Force Museum, pt. 3

After lunch in the cafeteria we attended the IMAX showing of "Fighter pilot, operation red flag" about the final training of a young pilot, with memories of his grandfather who fought in WWII.

It's so realistic, I had my eyes closed during most of the film. Then we continued our walking tour (without a guide) starting with the Korean War, then the Cold War, then Vietnam and southeast Asia, visiting the space flights and finally a look at our current wars (except Libya). We then gathered in the lobby for the next part of our trip, dinner at the historic Red Brick Tavern on Rt. 40 near London, Ohio.

I think this is a Thunderjet, used in the Korean War, but the light was so poor, I can't see the number. According to Wikipedia, "the Thunderjet became the Air Force's primary strike aircraft during the Korean War, flying 86,408 missions and destroying 60% of all ground targets in the war as well as eight Soviet-built MiG fighters." The better photo is from the museum site.

Symbol of the Cold War--the checkpoint and the Berlin Blockade. There was quite a display of the provisions flown into Berlin.

USAF 517 Grumman HU-16 B Albatross arrived here in July 1973. According to the website, "Grumman designed the versatile Albatross to meet a U.S. Navy requirement for an amphibious utility aircraft which could also operate from snow and ice with skis. During the Korean War, Albatrosses rescued almost 1,000 United Nations personnel from coastal waters and rivers, often behind enemy lines. They also made numerous dramatic and hazardous rescues in Southeast Asia, on occasion taxiing many miles over rough, open water when unable to take off."

I think the Iraq war display was in the Cold War area.

Conestoga trip to the Air Force Museum, pt. 2

There's no way to describe how BIG the museum at Wright Patterson is; but here's an idea--there's an early years of air flight gallery, a WWII gallery (we toured 1934-1945 with a guide for 2 hours), a Korean War gallery; a Southeast Asian war gallery (being renovated); a Cold War gallery; a missile and space gallery; a presidential R&D gallery; middle east wars section (don't know if it's considered a gallery since much of that aircraft hasn't been retired); and various outdoor exhibits. The campus is 17 acres and includes nearly one million square feet of public exhibit space with more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of historical artifacts on display.

I came away with a new respect for the way wars advance technology in all areas and change entire cultures almost overnight--at least in hind sight. The exhibits have been updated and expanded to bring more focus on people and events as well as the hardware of airplanes, military transport, jets and equipment. Many displays had full size mannequins to illustrate a particular event, like a training accident or Jimmy Doolittle.

It was also stunning to see by walking through these huge hangers that my entire lifetime the U.S. has been at war. When I was younger, I'd say, "When the war is over. . . " and now I know better. I knew that intellectually (I was born as Hitler marched into Poland), and even the era I think of as relatively peaceful was called The Cold War. I know our wars stretch from King Philip's War in the 1600s to Obama's War in Libya in 2011--wars with Indians, Mexicans, Muslims, British, Germans, Russians, Vietnamese--but I wish it weren't so. And if Americans weren't suffering and dying, many Russians and East Europeans and Germans were. Plus, the U.S. has bases all over the world--I think at least 662 in 38 foreign countries either owned or leased--for a total of 4,999 counting our home bases--with advisers, trainers, soldiers, mechanics, spies, librarians, etc. whose lives are constantly at risk.

Where is Martin Luther when you need him?

When I listen to our local Catholic radio (St. Gabriel's, 1580 am, which includes many programs from EWTN), I’m still hearing the 16th century abuses of the church about which Martin Luther spoke and wrote: purgatory (a special place of judgement and penance we Protestants know nothing about since it's not in the Bible), indulgences to reduce time in purgatory (out of favor after the reforms of the 1960s, but returning since 2000 and becoming more popular), merit dispensed by the church (tradition), transubstantiation (consuming the real physical body and blood of Jesus), special privileges, rights and positions of honor for ordained priests (one in particular who resides in Rome, called the Pope) rather than the priesthood of believers with a single high priest, Jesus Christ, worship (veneration) of Mary the Mother of Jesus and other saints and praying to them for protection and guidance, proving various miracles after death of some believers to achieve sainthood for them, complex doctrines and stories completely unfamiliar to me like visions and relics. And it's not hard to hear at least a reference to all of these in just a day or two, with only a nod or a few minutes for grace and trusting in nothing but the merits of Christ. But that's where the freedom is, and that's what changed the whole western world 400 years ago, and is creating revolutions today in Africa and Asia.

On the other hand, if I choose to listen to so-called "Christian radio," which is a hodge-podge of Baptist, Pentecostal, dispensational, non-denominational, and personal opinion groups bound together with syrupy praise songs and Vineyard tunes, I can practically starve, spiritually speaking.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Did You Know--marijuana's carbon footprint

Medical marajuana needs powerful indoor light. "Each cannabis joint produced indoors has a carbon footprint of about one whole kilogram."

The carbon footprint of indoor cannabis production | Asian Correspondent

We paid our dues, where's our change? song

“Dear Mr. President we honor you today sir
Each of us brought you $5,000
It takes a lot of Benjamins to run a campaign
I paid my dues, where's our change?

We'll vote for you in 2012, yes that's true
Look at the Republicans - what else can we do
Even though we don't know if we'll retain our liberties
In what you seem content to call a free society

Yes it's true that Terry Jones is legally free
To burn a people's holy book in shameful effigy
But at another location in this country
Alone in a 6x12 cell sits Bradley

23 hours a day is night
The 5th and 8th Amendments say
this kind of thing ain't right
We paid our dues, where's our change?”

ABC blog

Obama poor-mouths poorly

Barack Obama continued his 2012 presidential campaign first by complaining that Ryan's plan is "radical," and then by presenting himself to the Facebook audience as a poor boy who'd come up through the welfare system. Some how, even though Bush ran up the bill for social programs higher than anyone before it went through the roof with Obama, he's still trying to needle Republicans for being stingy with the poor.

And poor? That's odd. He lived with his grandparents, and his grandmother was a vice president of a bank in Hawaii. As a child in Hawaii he attended a private school. That his grandparents got social security and Medicare later in life, means they worked for living. If you don't work, you get different perks. His Muslim step-father, Lolo Soetero, went on to become an oil executive, although the family lived modestly when chubby little Barry lived in Indonesia.

His mother, he said to this audience of entrepreneurs and non-government employees, while getting her PhD briefly got food stamps (was this in his autobiography?). Why didn't she ask her own parents for money if she was short a little cash for a month or so? I did--then paid it back. Maybe transferring the wealth is considered acceptable in that family even if you don't need it? And Obama wasn't living with her then anyway. Lots of people are eligible for food stamps (now called SNAP) who never apply--the threshold is probably not far from what many students regularly live on and manage.

So he got scholarships for college? Just about everyone does. What does that have to do with Paul Ryan's proposal to cut government spending? And by the way, if he got scholarships, does that mean we will eventually see his school records, because those records are really scarce.

On the other hand, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. thinks Obama is giving Paul Ryan name recognition, something he really needs to be a presidential contender.
Last week when Obama asked Budget Committee Chairman Ryan to attend his "fiscal policy" speech, he put Ryan in the front row. There he astonished Ryan by exposing him one of the most partisanly abusive speeches I have ever heard from a president. He accused Ryan of being "un-American," among other enormities. Ryan was expecting some sort of "olive branch" to be extended to him. It would be, he thought, the start of serious negotiations between the two men. Instead he was put on display as the archenemy of all New Deal, New Frontier and Great Society programs -- as "un-American." Ryan was surprised, as he told Mark Levin on Levin's radio show.
The American Spectator : The Man Who Made Paul Ryan Famous

Ohio among top 15 for favorable tax climate for small business

I’m surprised that Ohio is #9 -- it doesn’t feel like we’re a good state to draw business, but then there are 18 measures, some of which I don’t know much about.
The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s (SBE Council’s) “Business Tax Index 2011” ranks the states from best to worst in terms of the costs of their tax systems on entrepreneurship and small business. The Index pulls together 18 different tax measures, and combines those into one tax score that allows the 50 states and District of Columbia to be compared and ranked.

The 15 best state tax systems are: 1) South Dakota, 2) Texas, 3) Nevada, 4) Wyoming, 5) Washington, 6) Florida, 7) Alabama, 8) Alaska, 9) Ohio, 10) Colorado, 11) South Carolina, 12) Mississippi, 13) Oklahoma, 14) Virginia, and 15) Missouri.

The 15 worst state tax systems are: 37) Illinois, 38) North Carolina, 39) Nebraska, 40) Connecticut, 41) Oregon, 42) Rhode Island, 43) Hawaii, 44) Vermont, 45) California, 46) Maine, 47) Iowa, 48) New York, 49) New Jersey, 50) Minnesota, and 51) District of Columbia.

Conestoga trip to the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum

On Wednesday, April 21, our Conestoga group (an organization that supports the Ohio Historical Society) toured the National Museum of the United States Airforce at Wright Patterson Air Force base near Dayton, Ohio. Although we'd been driving past the direction signs for 43 years and wondered about it, we'd never been there. It's our loss. This is a fabulous place, and it's free! If you live within a hundred miles, it's an easy trip with good roads, and you won't regret it. Our tour guide, Dan, suggested beginning our morning tour with the mid-1930s to see what military aircraft was before the war and closing with the ending of WWII at lunch, then either taking in an IMAX film or accompanying him with more touring. Those who'd visited several times chose to continue touring with Dan (he was an outstanding guide), but we chose the IMAX.

Our tour began with the Boeing P26-A, the Peashooter, which was the first all metal monoplane, and ended with the plane Bockscar, that dropped the bomb the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. The lighting was so dim inside the huge building, most of my photos really didn’t turn out well enough to post, but here is the Peashooter from a media photo (outside) and mine. What we saw was a reproduction, but they were used by the U.S. from 1933 to 1938, and then later by the Chinese and the Phillipines. It was really amazing to see how the technology changed so quickly in just 10 years--particularly when we saw the German made V-1 and 2 rockets.

Use of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki is still questioned by some, but I do believe it saved lives in the long run--particularly of Americans because the U.S. would have lost many more soldiers in an invasion. And I know it’s a controversial idea in these days of dithering about troup strength in old wars while rushing into no-fly zones in new wars with political negotiating only to kick the can down the road, but the point of war is to win (and that means killing people and destroying property and resources). But it probably also saved Japanese lives because incendiary bombs were used on 60 cities between November 1944 and July 1945 in Japan resulting in approximately 800,000 casualties and deaths. The use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki actually produced fewer casualties in each case than the 3-day bombing of Tokyo earlier in 1945. Considering how many Japanese gave their lives for 2 tiny islands, Iwo Jima and Okinawa (121,000), American leaders concluded, rightly I think, they would defend their homeland even more fiercely.

Photo from B-29 source

Obama's Likability Gap

Daniel Henninger of the WSJ thinks candidate Obama 2008 and President Obama 2011 are two different guys.
Obama.2008 was engaging, patient, open, optimistic and a self-identified conciliator.

Obama.2011 has been something else—testy, petulant, impatient, arrogant and increasingly a divider.
Not me. I always "heard between the lines"--sarcasm, dislike for us, and whining. The way he treated Joe the Plumber is not a lot different than his treatment of Paul Ryan. The way he supports today's union thugs looks pretty much like what he promised SEIU while campaigning in 2008. What was optimistic about hearing he wanted energy prices to go up so we'd become more willing to accept green myths and stories? Where's the hope in higher taxes for small business people earning more than $200,000? Didn't anyone else hear that?
Henninger: Obama's Likability Gap -

Question: What was your favorite book growing up?

Norma: Any book with horses. I loved the Marguerite Henry books--especially the illustrations by Wesley Dennis. I still have my King of the Wind, with the book cover intact. I could put myself right on those ponies or horses. However, for cuddling with mom in a big easy chair, it was Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House series) hands down. She was a great reader, and I could also picture myself in Laura's life. Like this author, I didn't own any Wilder books (used the public library in Forreston and Mt. Morris), nor was I a fan of the TV series. It was a wonderful surprise in the 1990s when I was doing my research for publication on women and farm journals to discover her life as a newspaper columnist.
Leave a comment or send an e-mail, and I'll add your favorite (without your name if you prefer).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Did You Know--the 1918 pandemic

The 1918-20 pandemic "killed more people in absolute numbers than any other sudden outbreak of disease in history. During the 1300’s, the Bubonic plague or Black death, a uniformly fatal bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis and spread by flea bites, killed a higher percentage, more than 25%, of the European population, but less in absolute numbers. In perspective, the 1918 pandemic influenza virus killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS has so far killed in 24 years, and more people in a year than the Bubonic plague killed in a century." Book summary, "The great influenza" by John Barry.

Returning a good deed

A week ago Friday, our first day back from California, I was at my usual spot at Panera's, but a little later since I hadn't quite readjusted to the eastern time zone. Shortly before I got up to leave I noticed a five dollar bill on the floor. I vaguely remembered the woman who had walked past me a few minutes before, but she had already left the parking lot. The following Monday I was early--maybe the 2nd customer, and so was she. So I asked her if she had lost any money on Friday. Yes, she responded, five dollars, because she had gone to lunch with colleagues from work and had to borrow money to pay for her lunch. So I gave her the five dollar bill. She was so shocked; we paused to exchange names and a few details of our lives and I hadn't seen her since, until this morning.

Today she sat down at my table and said something about good deeds being passed along, and gave me a ten dollar gift card to Panera's! Now it was my turn to be surprised. That wasn't at all necessary, but don't ever turn down a kindness on that basis--just pass it along. That's what she was doing. Someday, I'll be in line with someone who has forgotten her wallet or purse, and I'll buy her coffee.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Did you know--travel warning for Mexico

The United States Consulates General in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, and Monterrey advise American citizens that the U.S. government has received uncorroborated information that Mexican criminal gangs may intend to attack U.S. law enforcement officers or U.S. citizens in the near future in Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and San Luis Potosi. This information is being distributed to all U.S. government employees in the three states.

It's never enough, is it?

Although seven agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice devoted $11.9 million in grants for elder justice activities in fiscal year 2009, it's not enough. [This is just federal money, not state.] The GAO report of March 21 (corrected) says we need more federal action (aka tax dollars). With so many agencies and so much money, there's a lot of incentive to double count or over count, to empire build, and to expand your critical staffing levels.

You'll find the usual "abuse" participles--not of people, but grants. Soft, squishy words like facilitating, promoting, establishing and conducting. That should bump up government employment a few points.

A sketchy history of Title VII of the Older Americans Act which seems to be charged with handing out the money. Some of these grants, like the $10,000 ones, seem to be handed out like candy, but for the life of me I can't figure out what you could do with them other than buy stamps, envelopes and maybe get a new computer for the office. But collectively, passed around to hundreds of "collaborations" at the local level, they add up to read money.

Does GAO ever report on the federal government abuse of citizens through taxation, over regulation, disincentives, porous borders, poor energy policies which raise prices of everything, and other "fixes?"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Socialists aren't happy with Obama and the Democrats either

Although I think they're wrong to distrust the success of this President, whom they helped elect, it's nice to see that conservatives, libertarians, and the hard right aren't the only ones unhappy with Barack Obama.

"DON’T TRUST THE DEMOCRATS – NOT A ONE. Especially the progressive Democrats.

Millions believed Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to create a humane, affordable and inclusive health care system and rein in the copious abuses of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. On the campaign trail, Obama proclaimed these corporations were greedy and more concerned about profits and patents than the needs of patients. Some thought because Obama was a former supporter of a single-payer system, he might just enact it when he won the Whitehouse. How wrong they were.

No one could have predicted how much influence and control over health care reform President Obama would give to the very corporate interests killing and bankrupting the American people, and who just a few months earlier, had fiercely attacked and called out by name. No one could have predicted the scale and scope of the sell out. It is truly astounding given the soaring rhetoric of before and the cruel and sleazy reality of now."
Helen Redmond: Beware the Progressive Democrat

Did you know--the 2010 census

Of the 51 metropolitan areas that have more than 1 million residents, only three—Boston, Providence, and Oklahoma City—saw their core cities grow faster than their suburbs. City Journal

Three cups of BS

Our book club did this title--Three cups of tea--but I didn't attend that one. I really hate to see this type of scam--people donated to his schools in good faith. Why does no one blow the whistle on these groups?

Why do women let gay designers dress them like sexless rag dolls?

Not sure but I think this is Dree Hemingway. It certainly does nothing for the dress. That looks like a toilet stall pose by a woman who's had too much to drink. Is that toilet paper in her hand or a diploma?

Join the Tea Party, Murray sez

Both parties have failed us, according to Murray, a semi-regular contributor to this blog. Our only hope now is the Tea Party, he told me in an e-mail. He's even mad at Michelle Bachmann (I still have confidence in her).
It represents the only viable chance to stop the bleeding and institute real positive change for our country. I know it's tough to abandon the party of your choice but I think if you are honest with yourself when considering what's going on and listen to the deception and lies, you'll realize both the Democrats and Republicans have failed us miserably. It's so important to get involved now. Join or donate to your nearest Tea Party for the solutions. It will be tough to overcome the billion dollars that Obama will more than likely raise. He spent his first two years selling Obamacare and campaigning worldwide.He will be spending the next two years campaigning for re-election and ticking you off.
Of course there's the chance you want more of the same but I don't think so. But that's just what you will get if you keep playing the Democrat vs. Republican game. It's time to kick butt.
Maybe so, Murray, but remember third party Ross Perot who put Clinton in office by draining away almost 20 million Republican votes from Bush I? Obama intends to destroy the country by collapsing it from within--not so sure even a lily livered RINO wants that!

Monday Memories--Our wedding party

On the average, probably not too bad.

I was looking at this photo of our wedding party--a very low budget wedding, September 11, 1960. Our best man, Tom--married 50 years this June; our maid of honor, JoElla--48 years; our usher Dick, 50 years; the bride and groom, 50+ years; our usher, Scot--married 4 times, at least (we see him at class reunions); our mystery usher--don't remember his name nor what became of him (not sure we ever saw him after the wedding).

Update: Extensive research (reading the newspaper article about our wedding, and checking the Tech Cannon 1957) reveals the mystery guy is James Schafer, but I still know nothing about him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Did you know--ACORN

"Senior ACORN executives Amy Adele Busefink and Christopher Howell Edwards were convicted of providing cash bonuses to voter-registration canvassers for exceeding daily registration quotas. Campaign workers received cash if they registered 21 voters or more. Fittingly, the Las Vegas-based program was called Blackjack." Matthew Vadum

Last year, ACORN settled a racketeering lawsuit in Ohio out of court and agreed to leave the state. In the settlement with the Buckeye Institute’s 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, ACORN agreed to “cease all Ohio activity” and surrender all its state business licenses.

An oxymoron--paid volunteers

A better deal than Americorps! That only pays a stipend and qualifies you to be a "public servant" to repay your college debt. Charity for Debt might pay off your college loans at up to $20 an hour for your "volunteering." Plus, if you join Americorps to pay off your college loans you might get stuck recruiting people for food stamps.

We need a new name for this feel good enterprise (Charity for Debt is a "non-profit," but I don't know if it receives government grants for its own staffing and programs). Look. It's not charity if you're working off your debt. In the 17th century we settled a lot of the east coast with people working off debt--it was called indentured servitude. Some people worked off their trans-Atlantic passage. And you're not volunteering if you get your debt reduced for each hour you work. Oh, and it's tax free pay so an hour of work may go 30% further in "volunteering."

I can't balance my check book, but I know that much about how the non-profits (and the government) spin. I've also been a volunteer.

Andrew Breitbart introduces Sarah Palin

Andrew Breitbart calls out Trumka and other lefties, unionists and community organizers April 16 in Madison for what they are--divisive, angry, rude and haters. The Tea Party, on the other hand, has been the most peaceful, clean-up-after-themselves protest group in the history of America, he says. They were gathered to protest high taxes. (Is it 102 days we work for the government?) When you see and hear the leftists screaming and yelling at anyone who disagrees with them, you realize that Obama's Arizona sermon on civility was verbal foreplay for the left and tossing his hat in the ring for the next campaign (when isn't he campaigning?). "Lack of civility" is their code phrase for "we hate the Tea Party."

I think Breitbart's "go to hell" directive is probably accurate in geography, and is language they can understand. And don't you love how the pundits are shocked, just shocked, at language they hear everyday at the office and on TV . . . anything but the issues is good fodder. And Sarah gives it to the GOP for their wimp factor on the budget and urges them to fight like a girl.

"We didn’t elect you just to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic," Palin said during a rally in front of the Wisconsin statehouse in Madison. "What we need from you, GOP, is to fight." Pointing to the national champion University of Wisconsin women's hockey team, Palin said the GOP could learn from its resolve and “needs to learn how to fight like a girl."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Did you know--HIV and TB

Tuberculosis is the number one killer of people with HIV? IDSA News.

It's the week-end

Busy Friday. At least for me, because I usually don't plan much. Attended a lecture at the Faculty Club at Ohio State by Loren Haarsma of Calvin College, on "Is Faith the opposite of Reason?" [No, irrationality is the opposite of reason, and unbelief is the opposite of faith.] I parked at the vet college, and since it was a beautiful day, walked the 20 minutes to my destination, giving both my body and mind some good exercise.

In the evening we had our date night at the Worthington Rusty Bucket with Wes and Sue, and then back to their lovely condo in southern Delaware county for strawberries and angel food cake. Lovely evening and we always enjoy getting together with fellow Lakesiders

Today I joined with women from my Saturday Bible study group to walk for MS at the Columbus Zoo. There was a huge crowd, with many teams. Also could see many participants with canes and walkers and wheelchairs who are afflicted with this terrible disease. One gal took a photo with her cell phone, but doesn't know how to send it, so it may or may not get added to this blog. Our team's name was "Overcomers" for Jim Manos [totals not in yet], but we were also walking for Jackie's husband--she's part of our group. I'm not sure why but certain areas of the country have more MS than others, and Columbus is one of them. Panera's was very generous and provided with a really nice snack at the end of the walk--love those Asiago bagels!

This afternoon we went to the Mill Run Tavern movie theater (the theater has been there a long time, but I think the food service is new) to see Atlas Shrugged. It's a good thing I keep up on politics and governmental economic mischief with my blog, or I might have been a little confused. The bad guys have such great lines in this movie, just like our elected officials and some corporations on the government dole. It's only part 1, so we'll have to wait and see what happens. The book was written in 1957, but the plot of the film takes place just about 4 years from now. I can't say it was great film making, but the actors did an adequate job--didn't recognize anyone. Ayn Rand was a libertarian and an atheist, so Christian conservatives won't like a lot about this film. I do think it shows the direction we're heading with more and more government regulation and distribution of wealth (except the truly wealthy get to keep theirs).

Tomorrow is a joyous day, being Palm Sunday--but we all know Friday's next and then Sunday's coming. And actually that's good news too--in fact, that's what it's all about, for Christians. Tomorrow night we're getting together with our couples group from church to hear about a mission trip to Romania.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Did you know--health statistics

Persons were considered uninsured [in a MMWR article] if they did not have private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program insurance a state-sponsored or other government-sponsored health plan, or a military plan, or if they had a plan that covered only one type of coverage or had only Indian Health Service coverage. If they were uninsured for any period of time, even if only 1 day, during the year they were considered "uninsured."

You need fossil fuels for wind energy

Shhh. Wind Turbines are Fossil Fuels. | Institute for Energy Research

Time's Nearly Up for Elizabeth Warren

Czarina Elizabeth may be in trouble with her schedule to get this nonsense up and ready, but be assured, the concept will stay. And even if she's bumped, like Van Jones, she will be in the wings, because it is ideology, not the economy, not love of country, not even what's best for all nations, that matters to our president.
Elizabeth Warren is the architect behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new agency created to police many financial products, including mortgages, and a centerpiece of the Administration's reform efforts. Opposition from Wall Street, Republicans, and some moderate Democrats prevented the Harvard law professor and longtime critic of the banking sector from being nominated to head the bureau after its creation last year. Instead, President Barack Obama appointed Warren as a special adviser in September and asked her to prepare the bureau for its July 21 launch. The move was seen by her supporters as a chance for Warren to placate her critics and clear the way for an eventual nomination.
Six months later, she's not on target, and Obama is looking at replacements. Probably it takes some business or management experience to tackle this job--ya think?

Time's Nearly Up for Elizabeth Warren - BusinessWeek

VIP Tickets to Emanuel’s Inauguration: $50,000

Some mayors take their oath of office at City Hall or in their chambers and then go to work. Not Rahm Emanuel. He's the second Chicago thug to throw his Democrat hat in the ring and he's doing it by charging $50,000 a head to attend his inauguration. He of the foulest mouth with a reputation as a knee capper, who slid between the lines of the rules for residency in Chicago to be its mayor, has bigger plans, I'm sure. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if he didn't stab his old boss Obama in the back to grab 2012.

VIP Tickets to Emanuel’s Inauguration: $50,000

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Did you know. . . pay equity

"In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts." Carrie Lukas: There is no male-female wage gap.

Democrats lie about Ryan's plan, and don't even blush

Tonight on Fox I watched a Democrat being interviewed about the lack of specificity in Obama's budget speech, and instead of answering about Obama, he chose to attack Republicans, and even then had no specifics except they want to destroy Medicare. Huh?

Wall Street Journal has unpacked the Democrats' criticism of Ryan's plan, which many people really like, even though he doesn't provide any specific tax cuts. And no, unlike Obama, he doesn't suggest raising taxes during a recession (which technically is over, aren't you glad?)

Here are some highlights, but read the whole editorial.
Federal deficits have increased 259% over the last three years and the Ryan budget starts to repair the damage. It would bring next year's deficit below $1 trillion, down from estimates of roughly $1.6 trillion for 2011. . .

Mr. Ryan proposes smaller deficits for the next 10 years, falling to 1.6% of GDP in 2021 versus 4.9% for the White House. According to CBO, debt held by the public falls to 67.5% of the economy a decade from now from about 69% today, while it rises to 87.4% in Mr. Obama's version. . .

Mr. Ryan's plan [called premium support] is that it offers the true health-care reform that Mr. Obama promised but which vanished in the political drive to put 30 million more Americans on the government rolls. Economists from the center-left to center-right have been recommending premium support for decades, and it was first proposed by Stanford's Alain Enthoven in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1978.

Some version has since been endorsed by everyone from President Clinton's 1999 Medicare commission, chaired by Democrat John Breaux, to Bob Dole and Tom Daschle in 2009. Another iteration was floated this week by a group of Nobel laureates including Ned Phelps, Vernon Smith and George Akerlof.
Heritage says that one of the key provisions of Ryan's plan is eliminating Fannie and Fred.

Ryan's Roadmap
Until recently, Americans were known and admired everywhere for their hopeful determination to assume responsibility for the quality of their own lives; to rely on their own work and initiative; and to improve opportunities for their children to prosper in the future. But over time, Americans have been lured into viewing government – more than themselves, their families, their communities, their faith – as their main source of support; they have been drawn toward depending on the public sector for growing shares of their material and personal well-being. The trend drains individual initiative and personal responsibility. It creates an aversion to risk, sapping the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for growth, innovation, and prosperity. In turn, it subtly and gradually suffocates the creative potential for prosperity.

I am John Galt

Atlas Shrugged is coming to a theater near you (ca. 277 screens)--or at least, me. Atlas Shrugged the Movie will be shown at the Movie Tavern, Mill Run Shopping Center in Hilliard, Ohio, 3773 Ridge Mill Dr., April 15-April 21, showings at 10:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 7:20 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. (Dates and times could change, Movie Tavern is a restaurant/theatre serving food and drink, so you can make it a date night or book club event. The book was written in 1957, but is relevant to today's political and economic realities.

Read a review of book theme and why Conservatives didn't like Rand when she was alive in WSJ. Donald L. Luskin: Remembering the Real Ayn Rand -
When Rand created the character of Wesley Mouch, it's as though she was anticipating Barney Frank (D., Mass). Mouch is the economic czar in "Atlas Shrugged" whose every move weakens the economy, which in turn gives him the excuse to demand broader powers. Mr. Frank steered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to disaster with mandates for more lending to low-income borrowers. After Fannie and Freddie collapsed under the weight of their subprime mortgage books, Mr. Frank proclaimed last year: "The way to cure that is to give us more authority." Mouch couldn't have said it better himself.

But it's a misreading of "Atlas" to claim that it is simply an antigovernment tract or an uncritical celebration of big business. In fact, the real villain of "Atlas" is a big businessman, railroad CEO James Taggart, whose crony capitalism does more to bring down the economy than all of Mouch's regulations. With Taggart, Rand was anticipating figures like Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial, the subprime lender that proved to be a toxic mortgage factory. Like Taggart, Mr. Mozilo engineered government subsidies for his company in the name of noble-sounding virtues like home ownership for all.

To be seen

It wasn't about the workout, which was probably great cardio. It was to be seen. When she's jogging through a busy intersection, dodging cars and trucks, weaving around traffic wearing this

on the bottom and even less on the top, then she's not fooling anyone.

We have several parks within a mile or two of Henderson and Reed, a corner with two busy gas stations and two shopping centers--she could have driven there and had a safe, healthy, exhilerating run without putting herself or others in danger. But who would be there to see her except ladies on a stroll or pushing baby buggies.

Children, wanted and unwanted

It's a great imponderable. My faith and church informs me that God loves all his children, from conception to old age death, both those who know him and those who don't, the ones with blessings and the ones without. For now, I'll just have to trust that, because I don't always see it working in real time and place.

I'm thinking about little three year old Zack (not his real name) who is actually wanted by two different foster families who have been sharing custody of him for a year and a half. The original foster family who raised Zack from birth have negotiated every legal delay and trick to keep him, and although they signed off from the beginning on plans to adopt him (were told this was not an option), it is obviously their goal. The other foster family, which immediately stepped up to the plate when the state discovered it even existed (months after his birth), is Zack's uncle and his wife, who also raised his half sibling. Zack's birth parents are totally incapable of caring for child (although they have visitation rights) both by behavior and intelligence--the mother being mentally challenged and the father being the boyfriend of her mother (grandmother of the child--remember the movie "Precious?") who took advantage of the woman's low intelligence and had sex with her. So here's a little guy loved too much by people who are asking the court to split him down the middle. On the sidelines, I'm left to ponder what motivates people to even agree to raise a child of such doubtful intellectual heritage and future possibilities and problems--but I'm glad there are people willing to take such risks. That's a risk God takes with us, and one we don't see that often at our level. Both a stranger and a relative took him in and want him, and are now fighting over him with lawyers, judges, guardian ad litem, social workers and child psychologists in pitched battle over a little guy who is happy and well adjusted with both families.

The other special group of children God loves are those with Down and Fragile X syndromes. If you keep up with news from the pro-life community, or have followed the vilification of Sarah Palin and her Down Syndrome child born shortly before she was selected by McCain as a running mate in 2008, you know that over 90% of the children are now aborted after pregnancy testing reveals their condition. This has all sorts of ramifications for other families with mentally challenged children, because these families were strong backers of special health benefits, legislation and schooling for their children. They are now out of the advocacy business. But recently a mouse model in which the critical gene is knocked out has been developed that allows researchers to probe the synapses of brain neurons. Even later in life, mice with Down syndrome or fragile X syndrome (FXS) that are given targeted treatment can experience improvements in cognitive function. Findings from such animal studies have paved the way to human trials. And things are moving rather quickly. There is hope on the horizon that there will be therapeutics developed to help those with the most severe symptoms of stereotypic behavior, hyperactivity and inappropriate speech (Sci Transl Med. 2001:3[64] 64ral).

Other drugs are also being tested that show improved cognition in mouse models. One little mouse model, Ts65Dn, has been particularly useful in testing for memory deficits. This is wonderful news--but comes much too late for so many children killed before they saw the light of day. I wish all children, challenged or blessed with good health, could be as loved as little Trig Palin.

If the therapies under study for FXS and Down syndrome prove effective, the approach may have implications for other developmental disorders that involve invtellectual impairment or autism-like symptoms, or even more common disorders like Alzheimer Disease. The brain is more plastic than ever before imagined. (Summary of material from JAMA Jan. 26, 2011)