Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Once For All!

Also known by the title "Free From the Law," this hymn by Philip P. Bliss reminds us that salvation was provided "once for all" by Jesus Christ when He bled and died on the cross and rose from the dead.

But it is also a perfect salvation—it needs nothing else! No works nor any thing we can do provides us salvation, because Christ provides it—perfectly!

Rest happily in the knowledge that if you have accepted Christ's gift of salvation, it is yours forever.

Once For All! (Free From the Law)

Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus has bled and there is remission,
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

Refrain

Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.

Now we are free, there’s no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation.
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.

Refrain

“Children of God,” O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call;
Bless├Ęd salvation once for all.

Refrain

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Date Night!

It's Saturday. I would really like to take my beautiful wife out for the evening. I'll get a babysitter for the kids, get dinner reservations and tickets for a play, and fly her on a private jet to NYC Saturday afternoon, with a late return trip on Saturday night. Those planes are expensive to park on the tarmac, you know.

And we'll probably just skip church on Sunday.

Then it hit me—I don't have the money for this! My bank account is pretty short, and after all, there are a thousand more prudent choices I should be making with those kinds of dollars. My word!—a trip like this would cost what I make in six months or a year!

Yet it's OK for the President of the United States to essentially take his wife for a recklessly expensive date on our dime. Or is it?

Should he be spending multiplied thousands of taxpayer dollars for what is essentially a personal expense? Tying up the Saturday night traffic in NYC for his own personal pleasure? Can he be billed for the expenses of the evening?

Has the FOIA request been filed yet?

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Samuel 8, and Our Present Day

In the eighth chapter of I Samuel, the people of Israel come to Samuel and demand that they be given a king to rule over them, so that they might be like the nations around them. [They apparently wanted a "change."] Samuel, realizing that this was neither the will of God nor a particularly good idea, gives them ample warning about the king they would receive, in these verses:

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
Notice the italicized and bold print words...and think about the "king" [i.e., president] we have in Washington D.C. today! He will take what's yours, and give it to his servants. Scary! And in verse 12, notice the phrase "his chariots," which reminded me of certain auto companies. Even the mention of taking "the tenth" sounds ominously like a national sales tax somehow....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chrysler Shakedown? Updates and Statistical Analysis

My last blog posting considered the possibility that the Obama administration may have targeted a disproportionate number of Republican-donating Chrysler dealerships for closure. Not having the time to do the original research myself, here are some links to several items of interest related to this story:

Directorblue

Washington Examiner

Gateway Pundit

Red State

Libertarian Republican

theblogprof

These alone (and there are more) have a wealth of data—and they're linking more all the time, it seems—that seems to demonstrate some statistically interesting conclusions.

Since most Americans (alas!) are woefully weak when it comes to statistics, I am going to try to focus on the key issues that must be statistically demonstrated to (a) exonerate the Obama administration, or (b) blow open the greatest Washington scandal since Watergate.

Here are some of the assertions that are beginning to be made:

1. A disproportionate share of the dealers on the closure list gave political contributions to Obama opponents and Republicans.

2. A disproportionate share of the dealers on the closure list are in "red state," GOP-leaning districts across the country.

3. The administration claims that the closed dealers were less profitable and/or losing money may in fact not be true.

Here is how they should be statistically analyzed:

1. Two key sets of data must be obtained: The percentages of dealers giving to each of the various political groups (Republican, Obama for president, Hillary Clinton, etc.; and those who did not give to any political groups) in 2008, and possibly previous years; and the percentages of each of those groups of dealers which were put on the closure list.

For example, it has been speculated that car dealers in general are Republican leaning. Let us say, then, that 60% of dealers give to the GOP [Note: Data used as examples is fictitious and only for the purpose of illustration]. If 75% of the closed dealers are GOP donors, it would then be relatively easy, once the data is in hand, to conclude if this is a statistically significant difference, and if so, to what level of confidence (90% confidence? 95%? 99%? 99.999%? I'm not joking about that last one, either). Confidence intervals, by the way, are quite interesting as a statistical topic.

The same can be done with the Obama donors, or with any other political group. The data could potentially indicate that there are no statistically signficant differences, in which case this whole story will, of necessity, quickly fade away. But just imagine a press release like this:
"We [insert statistician(s) name(s) here] conclude, with a 99.9% level of confidence, that there is a statistically significant difference between the political giving of dealers overall and those who were closed." The impeachment proceedings should begin within days.

2. This will be the easiest of the three, and the process mirrors #1 above. The two key sets of data this time are how many dealers are in "red" areas, and how many of the closed dealers are in "red" areas. [Note: Defining "red" geographically could be done at the state level, or at the congressional district or county levels. Here in Michigan, a blue state overall, the west side of the state tends to be red, while the east side is deep blue. No doubt the analysis will be done at state, district and county/local levels.]

Tests for statistically significant differences are then performed, as with #1.

3. This one will be the most challenging of the three to assert from a statistical viewpoint, as there will likely be various viewpoints on what constitutes "profitable," "growing," etc., combined with the fact that many dealerships are quite private about their financials. [Question: If the car companies are government owned, can a FOIA request unlock this data?] Furthermore, whatever statistics Chrysler may have used to comprise the list of dealer closures would need to be incorporated into the analysis.

Assuming the data becomes available in sufficient detail, the essence of the analysis will be a comparison—but there is more than one way to do it.

  • Comparison of all dealers to closed dealers. I would be surprised—nay, shocked—if there was not a statistically significant difference here, but the magnitude of the difference will be informative.
  • Comparison of closed dealers to dealers in the lowest 25% of profitability overall. It would also be interesting—and fairly easy once the data is known—to determine the degree of overlap in these groups. Which brings us to...
  • Comparison of closed dealers to the lowest 25% profitability dealers who are allowed to remain open. This one could be fascinating, because if the closed dealers are not worse off from a profitability perspective than the lowest quarter of those who remained open, the stink will rise.
Whether or not the Obama administration more closely resembles the blindfolded Lady of Justice or the cast of the Godfather remains to be seen.

Godspeed, accuracy, and best wishes to all those data crunchers out there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Did Campaign Contributions Determine Which Chrysler Dealers Were Closed?

This is a question now being scrutinized (see one site here) by some who have begun to notice that among those dealers closed, a seemingly disproportionate number of them were significant donors to the Republican party and Republican candidates.

If it could be shown that the Obama administration forced Chrysler dealerships to close and that the manner of selecting those dealerships had political motives, this would be a scandal far greater than any seen in the last 35 years at the presidential level. Closing these dealerships summarily already has legal implications (like, say, breach of contract) which the owners have the right to fight in court—regardless of anything else.

If it is true, then what we will see is the worst of Chicago-style thug-politics-from-the-gutter being practiced at the very highest level. The mob bosses may actually become envious.

I hope to see this thoroughly researched. Soon.

Thanks to theblogprof for alerting me to this story.

Indians Come Back From 10 Down to Win

Trailing 10-0 after four disastrous innings, the Cleveland Indians scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth Monday night to mount a highly surprising 11-10 victory. I don't recall a Cleveland come-from-behind victory of this size since they rose up from 14-2 after six innings to beat the Seattle Mariners in a 2001 late-summer game.

The Seattle Mariners won 116 games that year, eclipsing even the great 1998 Yankees team that won 114. They won 14 more than any other AL team in 2001. But when they blew a 12-run lead in the final three innings (they lost in eleven innings), and even a 5-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, I pronounced that they would not win the World Series.

Seattle met Cleveland in the American League Division Series and won in five games. The Yankees beat Oakland in five games in the series that saw Derek Jeter's flip to home plate while roughly 118 feet from his normal shortstop position. The Yankees then thumped Seattle in five in the ALCS before bowing out in the World Series.

The moral of all this: I pronounce that Tampa Bay will not win the World Series this year. And I highly doubt they will get there, either.

How Bad Is It? 29-year-old has 21 children by 11 women

Alas, tis so. Examiner.com tells us:

As if Octomom wasn't bad enough, a Tennessee man, 29 year old Desmond Hatchett has now fathered at least 21 children he can't support. Hatchett was in child support court again last week. His name appeared on the dockett 11 times in one day, representing 15 of his children.

Hatchett says he wasn't out to set a record. He says he never intended to have this many children, "It just happened." He fathered the children by at least 11 different women and he claims all of the mothers knew about his large family. The children range in age from newborn to 11 years old.

This is a sad story at all levels. The children cannot be supported by their father, and likely have no good male role model (since their daddy isn't filling that position). The women are reaping the consequences of their sin by, among other things, having to support these children without a father. Since Desmond only has a minimum wage job, and since only 50% of his income can be taken (by law) for child support, and since it has to be split so many ways, some of the women get just a few dollars a month. The taxpayers, of course, will be saddled with massive costs related to the upkeep of these children (and probably their mothers, too).

Desmond should be put in jail if he ever fathers another child out of wedlock.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Funding For The Arts: Done The Right Way!

In today's Kalamazoo Gazette, I read an encouraging article that began this way:

KALAMAZOO -- As dwindling arts funds are further cut, some organizations are coming up with creative ways to raise money without the help of a government bailout.

One such organization is the nonprofit SmartShop Metal Arts Center, at 516 E. North St., where the "Forge the Future Fundraiser 2009" will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday to raise funds to support day-to-day operations and staffing at the arts center, as well as scholarship costs for those in the community who can't afford to take a class or workshop there.

The fundraiser "goes to the things that we are having and have had a hard time getting funding for," said Holly Fisher, founding executive director and instructor at the SmartShop.
It was interesting that nowhere in the article did I read any bellyaching about how the state/county/city/federal government was cutting their funding, or that it was somehow government's responsibility to step up and pour money into their accounts. They simply are planning what many private schools, organizations, and non-profits do when they feel a need for additional funds: They plan a fundraiser that they believe will be entertaining for their constituency and profitable for themselves. Good for them!

I also found it encouraging that this organization has an educational component:
Vincent Faust, president of the SmartShop's board of directors, said the SmartShop is worth supporting because it offers the community skills-based instruction in the metal arts both from an arts perspective and a practical, job-based perspective through its classes and workshops in welding and forging. He said the center offers special programs for those in the community who are in need.
No matter how high-tech our world gets, there will always be some degree of need for those who weld, forge, and work with large-scale metal projects. I commend them for filling a niche—without my taxpaying dollars—and wish them success in the future.

Hymn of the Week: There Shall Be Showers of Blessing

This morning I awoke to the sound of rain. It was a good sound; we have had no rain for several days and I knew it would be good for the plant life on my property. Rain makes things grow and keeps them healthy.

Similarly, God showers more blessings on me than I realize. I may think a day goes by without these showers, but this never happens. Every single day, I am blessed with more than I realize. His blessings provide me with breath, health, strength, and provision. God is good to us all.

This seemed like a good hymn on which to meditate about God's blessings today. Enjoy!

There Shall Be Showers Of Blessing

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Refrain

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.

Refrain

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Republican Wisdom From My Wife and 10-year-old Daughter

The other day my wife—also a conservative, I am happy to report—came up with this acronym that I thought was worth sharing:

We believe that
Responsible free
Enterprise
Provides
Unlimited
Benefits, that
Limited government
Is best, and that God
Condones
Abortion
Never!

She is beautiful, talented, smart, and politically right thinking—I am such a blessed man.

My daughter actually tried her hand at this first. Like the parents, our children are happy Republicans. These are her two efforts:
Responsible, sign is an
Elephant,
Patient, stand
Up for the candidates,
Believes in
Limited government
Included with
Caring for unborns more than
Animals with
No
Souls.

This fine effort was followed by this one, for the president:
Outstanding is he not, very
Boastful and
Awful to me and
Money I think is all he cares
About.

Democrats will no doubt label that as the politics of personal destruction. I'd like to point out that my daughter has never gone to public school (and probably never will) and that she did this on her own. What a girl!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One of the Nation's Richest Counties....in Michigan?!?

Yes, indeed: According to this data, Oakland County, Michigan, has the 48th highest per capita income of the three-thousand-or-so counties in the entire United States. That is like the 98th percentile—pretty good!

So let's contemplate something: How does this occur? How can the overall prosperity of a county be that high, much less in a region of the country where the cost of living isn't so exorbitant as to artificially inflate the data....and in a region of the country where the state unemployment leads the nation (on the wrong end)?

Does this county have higher taxes than neighboring counties? I don't think so.

Does this county have a pro-business or anti-business climate? I'm guessing pro-business—there must be employers there, after all, to pay those good salaries.

Does this county have leadership that wants to micro-manage, tax, and control the economy, or is it more inclined to allow free enterprise to work its wonders? I think I know....

Congratulations, Oakland County. May you be an inspiration to the rest of our state.

Pentagon Briefings No Longer Quote the Bible

Pentagon Briefings No Longer Quote the Bible

Back in 2003, it appears that the daily intelligence briefings sent to the White House by the Pentagon began to have a Bible verse on the cover. And—surprise, surprise—they have stopped this practice. The verses were intended to be an encouragement to President Bush during a time of war.

I'm not really surprised by this; no doubt the Obama administration was not inclined to tolerate the practice. But I'm a bit annoyed by this gratuitous quote:

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, on Monday said U.S. soldiers "are not Christian crusaders, and they ought not be depicted as such."

"Depicting the Iraq conflict as some sort of holy war is completely outrageous," Lynn said in a statement. "It's contrary to the constitutional separation of religion and government, and it's tremendously damaging to America's reputation in the world."

Why I am annoyed? Here's why:
  • Who cares what this guy thinks? He's not part of the story.
  • Nothing in the article in any way indicated that soldiers were being portrayed as anything other than...soldiers.
  • Nothing in the article in any way indicated that the "Iraq conflict" was being portrayed as anything like a "holy war."
  • To quote Scripture in this context is no more unconstitutional than to quote Shakespeare or Thomas Sowell.
  • America's reputation was unimpacted before this story came out, since the use of the Scripture was not common knowledge.
So basically, this fool said nothing of value. So why was he quoted??

Parents Fuming as Texas Schools Let Gideons Provide Bibles to Students

Parents Fuming as Texas Schools Let Gideons Provide Bibles to Students

This foxnews.com story tells us that the Gideons dropped off Bibles at thirteen middle and high schools in Frisco, TX, for one day, as described here:

The Gideons are now taking advantage of a school policy that allows them to leave Bibles on a tabletop in the schools' front offices, though they're barred from interacting with students or remaining there during school hours.
Sounds insidious, eh? Nowhere in the article was it implied that members of the Gideons came into the schools to conduct organized proselytizing. Note these comments by parents:
"If they're God-fearing Christians ... they should be giving those items wherever they worship. School is a place to learn, not a place to worship."

"I am not atheist — I believe in God," she told FOXNews.com. "But I just don't want any religion forced on my child at school. That's why my child goes to a public school."
The point these parents seem to be making is that they want religion to be expelled from their public schools. And this is a shame. A deeper understanding of the Bible and a personal relationship with God would make many of those students better academically, socially, and in other ways. That would make the school better.

Bibles are not the problem, folks; sin is the problem. Why is it OK for sinful practices (For example, think: Sex education) to be promoted in our schools but not OK for Bibles to be distributed? Why is there such antagonism toward the Scripture?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Saved by the Blood

After reading through this text, I noticed something: The number of exclamation points!

What God did to accomplish our salvation should indeed bring excitement to our hearts. We were not worthy of the "ransom" he paid for our "pardon." Be joyful that you are indeed "Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!" And if you are not, please accept His gift of salvation today.

The words were written by S. J. Henderson. The music was written by Daniel B. Towner, who also wrote the music for such hymns as At Calvary, My Anchor Holds, and Trust And Obey.

Saved by the Blood

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
Now ransomed from sin and a new work begun,
Sing praise to the Father and praise to the Son,
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Refrain

Glory, I’m saved! Glory, I’m saved!
My sins are all pardoned, my guilt is all gone!
Glory, I’m saved! Glory, I’m saved!
I am saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
The angels rejoicing because it is done;
A child of the Father, joint heir with the Son,
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Refrain

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
The Father He spake, and His will it was done;
Great price of my pardon, His own precious Son;
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Refrain

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
All hail to the Father, all hail to the Son,
All hail to the Spirit, the great Three in One!
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Refrain

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More on Gambling on the Horses

In my post-Kentucky Derby post, I discussed a scenario by which if you had bought a $2 ticket on every potential superfecta combination in that 19-horse race, you would have earned a profit of more than $370,000. I also pointed out that this was true because the top four finishing horses in the race were not favorites and had fairly long odds.

I also suggested not making this kind of wager. I hope you followed my advice today, in the Preakness; here's how it played out today:

There were 13 horses in the race. That means there were a total of 17160 possible superfecta wagers. Had you bought a $2 bet on each of them, you would have spent $34,320.

And you would have been very, very sad. The top four finishers were among the favorites and the superfecta paid only $2903.80. Your loss would have been $31,416.20.

The moral remains the same: Don't wager on the horses.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good News! Majority of Americans Now "Pro-Life"

As you can see from this graph, a new Gallup poll has determined that there are now more Americans who identify themselves as "pro-life" than "pro-choice." This is very encouraging for those of us who view abortion as a moral evil.

So the question arises: Why are more people identifying themselves as pro-life? Are there simply more people coming around to the proper point of view? Are more Americans repulsed by our president's militant pro-abortion views? To be honest, I have no idea...but I am glad to see it.

Thanks to theblogprof for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two Articles For Your Reading Pleasure

This morning I was privileged to read two articles before I began my workday.

The first was this month's Imprimus article by Mark Steyn, titled "Live Free or Die." It is an important reminder that the Obama administration, to an even greater extent than liberal-minded government before his time, wants to take away our freedoms and liberties and make us ever-more-dependent on the state. You can click here and choose the article (2009/04) from the list.

The second was a Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled "Chrysler and the Rule of Law." It reminds us of the importance of contracts and contract law, both as foundational to our government in particular, and to the Chrysler bankruptcy in particular. The fact that the Obama administration is trying to strong-arm companies and investors into something other than what their contracts and the laws require is deeply troubling, both in the short term and in the long term.

Happy Reading!

Who's In Charge of Your Credit Cards?

Congress today is going to be considering legislation that would, in essence, tie the hands of credit card companies in many of their dealings with their customers.

The only reason I could fathom for this, aside from the fact that our government seems tenaciously determined to exert more control over our lives, is that people must want it.

So let's ask: Why?

If you have one or more credit cards, let us consider who might possibly have control over them. There are three possible sources of control:

  1. You
  2. The credit card company
  3. The government
Let us also examine what each of these sources might do with the credit card.
  1. You. It's "your" credit card. You use it from time to time and pay the bill in full in a timely fashion. In so doing, you avoid any charges, to the likely chagrin of #2. If you are displeased with the customer service or find a better deal elsewhere, you cancel the card and take charge of a new card. Or you simply pay off the bill and walk away from it altogether, bringing a smile to the face of Dave Ramsey.
  2. The credit card company. They have every intention of making money from the card. You are, at some level, aware of this; therefore, you should be responding accordingly. They will make money by charging interest—which you knowingly agreed to when you signed the cardholder agreement—and any fees which cardholders allow to fall upon themselves. Credit card companies wish to expand the number of cards in circulation to expand the potential for profit. Ideally, they seek people who can pay their bills but will likely carry balances; this maximizes their profit opportunity.
  3. The government. The government, with its recent scorn for signed contracts, wants to tell the credit card companies how much interest to charge, what fees to charge, when and how these can be changed, and how long they must allow for cardholders to pay their bills. The natural response to this (should currently proposed legislation become law) will be the opposite of what some in government desire: Card companies will limit their exposure to loss by denying credit cards to larger numbers of (irresponsible) people. But notice: It is still government exerting control.
So it must be time to make up your mind: Who are you going to allow to be in charge of your credit card? You? This can only happen if you pay off your entire balance on time every month when the bill arrives. The credit card company? Even with governmental interference in the way they deal with customers, they will still be able to charge interest and fees if you allow them to. The government? Do you really want that?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another Type of Beauty Paegant

This article is fascinating on a variety of levels.

It describes the "Miss Beautiful Morals" paegant in Saudi Arabia. It was briefly described this way:

But at Saudi Arabia's only beauty pageant, the judges don't care about a perfect figure or face. What they're looking for in the quest for "Miss Beautiful Morals" is the contestant who shows the most devotion and respect for her parents. [Emphasis mine]
Given that Islamic law requires women to be almost completely covered, swimsuits and curvaceous-ness are not part of the program. Instead of fleshly beauty, the focus is on (as one organizer said) "beauty of the soul and the morals" of the contestants.

Some interesting facts:
  • The paegant is now in its second year. 75 women participated last year; this year it is nearly 200.
  • Contestants are between the ages of 15 and 25.
  • The contestants will spend ten weeks taking classes and quizzes on various elements of Islamic ladyhood. They will also be observed for one day at a country house, being judged on how each interacts with her mother.
  • The paegant is not televised and all the judges are women. Therefore, they are not always required to wear the long robes that are worn in public.
  • The winner receives about $2600 and other prizes. Two runners-up each will receive $1300.
  • Prior to this paegant, the only "beauty paegants" in Saudi Arabia were for animals.
Last year's winner had this to say:
"I tell this year's contestants that winning is not important," said al-Shurafa, a 21-year-old English major. "What is important is obeying your parents."
Seems a far cry from the Miss USA paegant, huh? Might this be one of those areas where the Western and Islamic realms really could learn something from each other?? Imagine: A beauty paegant with modestly-dressed women (and I don't mean that in the Arab-world sense) being judged on their respect for parents, their intelligence and skills, and their beauty? Could this work?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Thought of the Day

If the president and various other people think waterboarding is torture, how do they justify abortion?

Did anyone ever die from waterboarding?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Heritage Christian School of Findlay, Ohio; and the Curious Case of Tyler Frost

The national news media has, since Friday, been starting to pick up a minor story from Heritage Christian School of Findlay, Ohio, which told a student that he would be suspended if he chose to attend the public school prom. The student, one Tyler Frost, defied the school, attended the prom, and received the suspension today.

A couple of media stories can be found here and here. As is almost expected these days, the student's dad is threatening to sue if the suspension is not lifted.

Naturally, most people today have no understanding about why the school made this decision, or why it has the policy in the first place. Most will not bother reading what the school has to say about the matter. The majority of the public feedback so far favors Tyler.

The majority is wrong.

There are several key facts in the case:

  • First of all, Tyler and his parents signed a statement of cooperation each year. Regardless of their personal feelings toward the school policies, they agreed to abide by them. Tyler has attended Heritage Christian since kindergarten, and his grandmother is a teacher there. There were no surprises.
  • The school's policy regarding proms (and such) is consistent with the school's view of the Bible and the school's understanding of, and teaching about, Christian living. Attendance at a prom is incompatible with Christian living. Tyler knew this.
  • Tyler and his parents are dragging the school's reputation as far down as they can, and are bringing a lot of unnecessary, unwarranted, and negative media coverage upon the school. Quite frankly, in my opinion, for this alone Tyler should be expelled.
  • Tyler's behavior is nothing short of defiant rebellion. He, with the willing support of his parents, is parading his defiance for all to see. This is entirely inappropriate where lawful authority is concerned, and all the more galling when intentionally done in front of a world which has very little understanding of God or of obedience. Tyler probably claims to be a Christian, but his actions portray something else.
The school is entirely within its rights to suspend this young man; I would argue that the school would be within its rights to also expel him for the circus he has instigated.

As a footnote, I know a few folks who are affiliated with HCS. The school has had an excellent all-around reputation for a long time. I would be quite pleased to put my children in that school if we lived anywhere near Findlay, Ohio. I'd even be happy to teach there.

The "Americans With No Abilities Act"

My brother sent me the following via e-mail; it is both funny and realistic-sounding. My commendations to the anonymous author.


The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA)

Washington , DC - (Dateline May 11, 2009)

President Barack Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress are considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society," said California Senator Barbara Boxer - Democrat. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability (POI) to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they work hard and have some idea of what they are doing."

In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi – Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – Democrat - pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U.S. employer of Persons of Inability. At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons of Inability (63%). Labor unions are another great example of getting Persons of Inability into the work force.

Under AWNAA, more than 25 million mid-level positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance and improving their self-esteem. Mandatory non-performance-based raises, promotions and awards will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility and recognition for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, "Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?" "As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, due to her inability to remember rightey-tightey, lefty-loosey. "This new law should be real good for people like me," Gertz added. With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat-IL), "As one of many senators with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that many elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so."

How Far Until Bankruptcy?

Today it was announced that the projected federal deficit for fiscal year 2009 has been upped to $1.8 trillion. To provide some context:

  • That is four times the size of last fiscal year's whopping record deficit.
  • That is 12.8% of the nation's GDP.
  • In proportion to revenue, it would be the equivalent of a person earning $1000 per week spending about $1500 per week. How long could you keep that going...especially if you are already in debt up to your eyeballs?
  • Last week the Obama administration announced plans to cut $17 billion from 100 programs. An annual deficit of $1.8 trillion would eat through this in a little more than three days.
And for the ten fiscal years following (2010-2019), it is projected that the annual deficit will never run below $500 billion, and will total an insane $7.1 trillion. And these figures are from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), an arm of the Obama administration! The Congressional Budget Office and some private forecasters have predictions yet more grim.

At this rate, how long must it be until our country's economy begins its inevitable spiral into bankruptcy?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hymn of the Week: God Moves in a Mysterious Way

Yesterday I was reading a little bit about the providence of God (Not by Chance, by Layton Talbert) and was reminded yet again that God is in control. I was also reminded that God is in control whether I understand His plan or not. I frequently do not.

Therefore, I began searching for a hymn on the providence of God and encountered this one by William Cowper (1731-1800). [Cowper's most well-known hymn is probably There is a Fountain Filled With Blood, a beautiful hymn about Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross.]

God's ways are often mysterious—to us. This hymn reminds us, in beautiful poetic detail, how God knows what we do not, and that His plans are infinitely better than our own. There is no reason to fret or fear; God is in control.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Obama at Notre Dame, and an Interesting Quote

According to this article, in comments today to Catholics at a national prayer breakfast, Archbishop Raymond Burke slammed Notre Dame University for inviting President Obama to speak and to receive an honorary degree; specifically, he called it a "scandal." I have addressed this subject already.

He also spoke about Katherine Sibelius, a Catholic, who has been appointed to Obama's Cabinet, and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians; the article contains this quotation from the archbishop, in reference to these various Catholic politicians:

He added that it "grieves me to say that the support of anti-life legislation by Catholics in public office is so common that those who are not Catholics have justifiably questioned whether the church's teachings regarding the inviolable dignity of innocent human life is firm and unchanging. It gives the impression that the church herself can change the law that God has written on every human heart since the beginning of time." [Emphasis mine]
Wow! As a Baptist myself, concerned with my own testimony and that of my church, it scares me to think what we would be like if, due to the pervasive subversion by us of Bible doctrine, we gave the impression that we (Christians individually, or the church collectively) were able to change that doctrine to suit our own purposes.

This does not extend only to the "sanctity of human life" issue. If thousands of Christians (or Baptists in particular) were to publicly support a doctrine that says Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, would that give an impression? If thousands were to claim that salvation could be achieved through our own works, would that give an impression? If thousands were to claim that evolution is the explanation for how we got here, would that give an impression?

What impression are you giving those around you? What impression does your church give on Scriptural matters?

Something to think about for the weekend.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Would You Buy A Used Car....?

Here's a funny picture I encountered a few days ago:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Obama's Decision to Observe National Day of Prayer Privately Draws Public Criticism

Obama's Decision to Observe National Day of Prayer Privately Draws Public Criticism - Presidential Politics | Political News - FOXNews.com

Posted using ShareThis

Notice what Obama does choose to notice publicly:

  • Invite gay families to the Easter Egg Roll
  • To advance abortion
  • Defend his tax cheat nominees for high office
But to publicly participate in something like prayer? No.

New Democrat Specter Loses Committee Seniority

New Democrat Specter Loses Committee Seniority - Presidential Politics | Political News - FOXNews.com

Posted using ShareThis

So in addition to investigating that "Share This" tool on Foxnews.com, I wanted to mention that Arlen Specter made a mistake at yet another level: Assuming that his friends the Democrats would let him retain his committee seniority. They did not!

Moral of the story: Never, ever trust the Democrats in Congress. They don't even treat their own very well.

Carrie Prejean and I Corinthians 6:19-20

It came out in the news yesterday that Carrie Prejean, Miss California and runner-up in the Miss USA contest, had previously posed for naked and/or near-naked photos. She issued a statement regarding this; two paragraphs are copied below.

"My comments defending traditional marriage have led to intimidation tactics that seek to undermine my reputation and somehow silence me and my beliefs, as if opinion is only a one-way street," says Prejean.

"I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid website that openly mocks me for my Christian faith."

Let us examine these issues one at a time.

First, her courage to publicly say that she does not support gay marriage was commendable, especially considering that she sacrificed something she wanted in the process. Yet no one—and certainly not a Christian—should be surprised when the ungodly world attacks a Christian who stands up for what is right.

The Bible teaches clearly and repeatedly that marriage is between one man and one woman, until parted by death; that all sex outside of marriage is sin; and that homosexuality, in particular, is an abomination (probably the strongest biblical word for sin) to God. Those of us who believe the Bible accept these things, as well as the fact that we must love those who sin. Those who hate the Bible also tend to hate those who love the Bible and the God Who authored it.

To address the second paragraph, let us first look at I Corinthians 6:19-20:
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Carrie has made a serious biblical mistake. The emphasized words above point out that her body, beautiful though it may be, is not hers to parade publicly—it is God's, to be used for His glory.

It is taught throughout the Bible that modesty is a virtue, and that to be immodest and provoke lust in the mind of another is sin. I heard on the radio this morning that the first released photo of Carrie, wearing nearly nothing, was getting thousands of web hits every second. Thousands of men—if not millions—are going to lust after her body because...she allowed them to. God is not pleased when a Christian flagrantly disobeys Him, nor is He pleased when a Christian seeks to rationalize or justify his or her sinful disobedience.

Naturally, those who hate Carrie are going to crow about her hypocrisy—You claim to be a Christian, yet you do this!—and, sadly, their observation is correct. David was rebuked in II Samuel 12:1-14 because not only did he take his friend's wife, and arrange for his friend's death, but also because "thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme."

I believe that Carrie's biblical responsibility now includes the following:
  • To repent of her sin of immodesty
  • To publicly apologize for allowing herself to be photographed in this manner
  • To humbly resign from her position as Miss California
  • Going forward, to exemplify the life of a Christian
That last item can still include promotion of biblical marriage and exemplification of modesty and beauty. And I hope it does.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just How Bad Is It In Detroit? Pretty Bad!

Detroit, to those of us who live in nearly every other part of Michigan, is probably the most embarrassing city in our state. Its most recent claim to shame is being named the "#1 Worst City for Jobs" in the entire USA by Forbes.

And then I read this impressive conglomeration of claims to shame that Detroit has amassed. Most dangerous, most miserable, worst air...they even have the Detroit Lions.

The point is not to glory in the depths to which Detroit has sunk. It is worth noting, however, that Detroit has been dominated and run by democrats for at least the last 50 years—and has gone from a proud, robust city to the hulk it is today.

And when the democrat we have as president is through, it will be even worse there.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

God's Simple Plan of Salvation

Below is a simple summary of the Bible's plan of salvation.

In John 3, when Nicodemus came to Jesus and asked him questions, Jesus told him "Ye must be born again" (vs. 7). He explained that this was not a second physical birth, but a spiritual birth. Toward the end of this discussion Jesus gave what is perhaps the most well-known verse in the entire Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Why does each of us need to be born again?

In Romans 3, we learn that all men are sinners, from verses 10 and 23:
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
We were all born sinners, and every day of our lives has provided evidence that we are neither perfect nor holy in our flesh. What are the consequences of being sinners? They are not pleasant, according to Romans 6:23:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
That "death" in the first part of the verse is not only a reference to physical death, but also a reference to "spiritual death"—which we see in other verses is a literal, eternal, lake of fire—a place we call Hell. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that this is a real place, where those who reject God's offer of salvation will spend eternity.

But the latter part of Romans 6:23 provides us with hope: There is a gift! It is something every person on earth can receive by following what Jesus Christ Himself said in Mark 1:15:
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
It is as simple as that: Every one of us must repent of our sins, and believe that Jesus Christ can save us from the just consequence of our sins, and will take us to Heaven to be with Him eternally. Romans 10:9-10 elaborates,
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:13 also points out that the opportunity is open to all:
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Have you done this? Have you asked Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and placed your faith in Jesus Christ to do just that? There is no way that anyone else can do this for you; neither your church, your family, nor your friends can procure your eternity in Heaven.

If you would like to know more or have questions, please leave a comment to this post; please leave an e-mail address. Comments intended for private correspondence will not be publicly posted. It would be a joy to share with you the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Hymn of the Week: Just As I Am, Without One Plea

Among Baptists, this is perhaps the best-known hymn of invitation. I suspect many souls have come to Christ while this music played on an organ or piano in the background.

The point here is that when one comes to Jesus Christ for salvation, he cannot "bring" anything of value to Christ. Our works are as filthiness; our righteousness as rags. His offer of salvation is independent of any "worth" that we have tried to acquire. His offer of salvation is free, and it is an offer to every man and woman. To accept His offer, we have to recognize that our sinful nature precludes us from earning His gift. We must come to Him, as we are, with a repentant, believing heart. There is no other way to salvation.

I hope to speak more of this plan of salvation in my next post.

Just As I Am, Without One Plea

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On the Kentucky Derby and Gambling

You may have noticed that a 50-to-1 shot won the Kentucky Derby today. A $2 bet would have paid $103.20 to anyone lucky enough to have made that wager.

Disclaimer: I do not sanction, endorse, recommend, or excuse gambling of any kind. I do not gamble with my own money.

But like most mathematicians, I find interest and amusement in games of chance and the like. I noticed that the Superfecta—picking the first four horses in their correct order of finish—paid an astonishing $557,006.40. This is because three of those four horses were not considered favorites in the race, and with their combined long odds, someone might have done just as well or better to take a random guess at the first four horses.

Actually, that last sentence is quite true.

In a 19-horse field [there were 19 horses in the Derby], there are 93,024 possible superfecta pick combinations. Suppose you placed a $2 bet on each of them. You spend $186,048, and one of your tickets is worth $557,006.40. You would pocket an incredible profit of $370,958.40!!

Had I known this in advance, I would have bet $20 on each superfecta. So why doesn't every savvy bettor try this?

Simple: It's the odds. If four of the top five or six favorite horses had won, the superfecta payout would have been anywhere from about $1,000 to $10,000, depending on which horses finished in which order. Had the ambitious bettor spent $186,048 on all those $2 bets only to have a single ticket pay, let's say, $3,487, he would have been an extremely disappointed guy.

I still recommend that you not gamble on the horses. Ever.

Obama: Dangerous View of the Supreme Court?

President Obama, a man trained in the field of law, had this to say yesterday regarding the person he intends to nominate to the Supreme Court:

"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation," Obama said. "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."
This is a colossally dangerous viewpoint. You don't even have to read between the lines to realize he is emphasizing the view that we conservatives deem dangerous—that judges can and should put their views and prerogatives above the law, and should in fact bypass or rewrite the law as needed to see their views and prerogatives accomplished.

Let us review some basic concepts of American law (at least, they were basic at one time) and see how this measures up:
  • The Constitution is the highest law of the land. Obama: Empathy may supersede this.
  • The Congress makes the laws. Obama: Justice may require that judges ignore them.
  • Justice is blind, and favors none. Obama [quote from a 3/2/08 speech]: "I want my justice to understand that part of the role of the court is to look out for the people who don't have political power. The people who are on the outside. The people who aren't represented. The people who don't have a lot of money; who don't have connections. That's the role of the court."
That last quote, most likely, is a bunch of campaign swill anyhow. I strongly suspect Obama already knows whom he intends to nominate [pending a thorough vetting of tax returns] and that, like Franklin Roosevelt, he has every intention of nominating Supreme Court justices who see things his way and whom he expects will bend, stretch, or tear the Constitution and laws of this land to his liking.

This is a highly dangerous view of law and justice. This is one of the biggest reasons why we conservatives shuddered at his victory at the polls.

Elections matter. Take note of how your senators vote.

Those Obamas Sure Do Like To Spend Money, Don't They?

Michelle Obama made headlines yesterday by going to a food bank to help feed poor folks...wearing $540 designer sneakers...that didn't match the rest of her outfit. This on the same day that her husband said he wanted to pick a Supreme Court justice who understands the daily lives of the poor and downtrodden.

So she's out of the running, I guess. [Get it?]

Barack Obama's knee-jerk reaction to a new kind of flu is to spend $1.5 billion on it. Never mind the fact that we have barely identified it, researched it, or know its long-term effects—we must spend more money on it.

His spending habits—of our money—are already legendary.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Today's "Pandemic" Update

According to this morning's foxnews.com update, there are now 331 confirmed human cases of this H1N1 virus worldwide, in eleven countries, with 141 of them scattered across 19 U.S. states. To give some badly-needed perspective on the situation, that is approximately 1 in every 2.15 million Americans. Or to look at it another way, approximately 3000 babies will be murdered in their mother's womb today. Somehow that seems far more tragic.

And some of these flu folks are already on the road to recovery.

Some of the overblown reactions include the following:

  • Approximately 300 schools have closed.
  • The president wants $1.5 billion spent.
  • Joe Biden spoke. [See below]
  • An estimated 12,000 people logged on to a government webcast on the topic yesterday.
  • The governor of Wisconsin declared a public health emergency, after two probable cases of swine flu were identified.
  • Slippery Rock University is holding a separate graduation for 22 students who just returned from a trip to Mexico, despite the fact that all of them appear to be in good health.
  • Several countries have placed bans on pork imports; in Egypt, hundreds of hogs were slaughtered. This virus is not transmitted by pigs.
With all respect to those who are suffering from this flu, it must be pointed out that in the worldwide scope of things, this is not a big deal. Thousands of people will die today from things more contagious and dangerous than H1N1.

Be calm, and have a great weekend.