Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blogger Blahs

Man, has December been a busy month! And on top of it all, illness has beset me for the past couple weeks, I've been travelling, and etc., etc....

Then there's been the mental/writing block. It seems that I can only think of worthwhile blogging topics at odd times (like, for example, when I'm driving my car or moments before I fall asleep for the night). Or, truth be told, I have the occasional urge to write on something horrifically controversial, but can't think of a good way to do it. (For example, one of these days I'm going to write a post on why ladies should always wear nylons with skirts/dresses when attending any sort of formal event or church service, but I can't even come up with a good title for the post. Another topic: Who still knows how to dress for a wedding?)

With a lot of huge elections coming up this year, a Sunday School lesson series in the works, and the inevitable events of 2010 looming, I'm sure the writing juices will soon start flowing freely again. Happy New Year to everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Why You Should Still Be Concerned

I blogged earlier about why Senate liberals, despite all their bluster about not getting everything they want in the healthcare bill, will inevitably vote for it. (Howard Dean says he wouldn't, but he does not get a vote.)

This opinion was backed up by, of all people, former President Bill Clinton. From foxnews.com:

Former President Bill Clinton came to the defense of the Senate bill. Clinton, whose ambitions were humbled by the collapse of his own health care remake, reminded Democrats that political pros don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

"Take it from someone who knows: These chances don't come around every day," Clinton said in a statement. "Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder -- both politically for our party, and far more important, for the physical, fiscal and economic health of our country."

Clinton understands how this has worked and how it will work. Quite frankly, so do the Senate liberals/statists. They will argue for what they want, and they will complain about what they don't get...but they will vote for the bill.

It's the (so-called) "moderate Democrats" and the Senators from Maine that we have to put pressure upon.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Republicans in the Senate: Fight!

I read this absolutely first-rate article over at the RedState blog today and thought that I must share it with everyone who reads my blog. I will copy part of it here; you can read the rest at this link.

It is absolutely vital that the contemptible healthcare legislation sitting in the Senate be killed (and then bludgeoned) by whatever means necessary. The means are there. This is how it should happen:

The Senate, unlike the House of Representatives, has parliamentary rules and procedures that give the minority the ability to stall legislation. In fact, unlike the House, the minority have the ability to virtually paralyze the Senate. Doing so is not something we would want or expect for every bad bill that comes through Congress, but the proposed healthcare legislation is probably the worst piece of legislation ever considered by the United States Congress. It is the most intrusive, most damaging, most costly, most dangerous bill to the economic and personal freedom and liberty of individual Americans that Congress has ever considered. If there is any bill that deserves being stopped by shutting down the Senate, it is this one.

There are a whole series of parliamentary maneuvers that could be used by Republican senators to stop this bill. There is a hard backstop to the current process (Christmas). The Republicans’ goal should be to prevent Reid from passing the bill before that time. If he goes past Christmas and is forced to adjourn or recess, the momentum will shift in favor of those opposing the bill.

How could this be done?

Keep reading here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2010 Nobel Prize Nominees

President Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize today, and gave a speech that essentially defended his role in war. I can agree with that...but he didn't exactly pick the most appropriate time to say what he said.

In the spirit of today's event, I was running through my mind some possible nominees for the 2010 Nobel prizes.

Physics: To the guy who was able to use the dinky car jack to successfully change a flat tire on his car in under 30 minutes, and was able to replace everything in the trunk as it was originally found.

Economics: To Dave Ramsey, who could teach a lot of world leaders a lot about such important topics as debt.

Medicine: To the mom who successfully and simultaneously treated three sick kids on the same weekend.

Peace: Me. Just because I'm a nice guy. And I like peace.

Literature: My wife. She writes great poetry about such things as turning 40 and healing after a bout with diverticulitis.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And On A More Thankful Note...

Today I encountered the text of Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation of 1863. With the Civil War continuing amidst a great deal of uncertainty, these words of Lincoln's remind us today that we have all the more reason to be thankful.

Here is the text:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Monday, November 30, 2009

International Environmental Control? It's Being Discussed

I don't tend to believe most of the stories floating around about various groups (e.g., Jews, Swiss, bankers) on the verge of exerting imminent global control of governments, the world economy, etc. Most of them are of dubious credibility.

But then I read this lengthy foxnews.com article describing how a group loosely allied with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has produced a paper...

The ambitious paper, entitled "The UNEP That We Want," was the product of a select group of 20 top environmental bureaucrats and thinkers, including UNEP's current No. 2 official, Angela Cropper. The document was later delivered to UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
The paper contained this statement:
Environmentalism should be regarded on the same level with religion "as the only compelling, value-based narrative available to humanity"
It's been pretty obvious to the observant that the radical environmental movement is, indeed, strangely similar to a religion (or more properly, a cult) in that it has its own doctrine, preachers, and prophets. This cult's members, however, ignore the truth of Scripture about Who created our earth, Who sustains it, and how He decided to grant mankind stewardship over it. The article itself is longer than average, and worth the reading; here are a few excerpts from it (completely unedited):
The purpose of the paper, put together after an unpublicized day-long session in Switzerland by some of the world's top environmental bureaucrats: to argue for a new and unprecedented effort to move environmental concerns to "the center of political and economic decision-making" around the world — and perhaps not coincidentally, expand the influence and reach of UNEP at the tables of world power, as a rule-maker and potential supervisor of the New Environmental Order.


[The document argues for] —a new position in the international power game for UNEP, reaching far beyond the member governments that currently finance its core budget and make up its normal supervisors. "It will have to make itself relevant well beyond the world of those already concerned with the environment, including very prominently its own formal constituency," as the Swiss paper puts it.

—a major restructuring of international institutions to merge environmental issues with economics as the central priority. "We require an Environmental Bretton Woods for the 21st Century," Halle argues — a reference to the meeting that laid the foundations of Western international finance and economic regulation after World War II. "The linkages between environmental sustainability and the economy will emerge as a key focus for public policymaking and a determinant of future markets opportunities," according to the UNEP strategic plan.

—new environmental rules, regulations and standards, and the linking of existing environmental agreements, in a stronger global lattice-work of environmental law, with stronger authority to command national governments. The Swiss paper calls it a series of "ambitious yet incremental adjustments" to international environmental governance. Indeed, the document says, UNEP's "role is to 'tee up' the next generation of such rules."


The official four-year plan uses more restrained language in declaring that "civil society, including children and youth, and the private sector will be reached through tailor-made outreach products and campaigns....
Does this trouble you yet?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Minaret-Free Land?

In a rather surprising development, 57.5% of Swiss voters approved a constitutional ban on the construction of minarets in their country. Although speculation exists that it will be overturned by a Swiss court or the mis-named "European Court of Human Rights," for now, there will be no more minaret-capped mosques in Switzerland.

It is interesting to see that Europeans are starting to awaken to the presence—the very uncomfortable presence—of Islam in their midst. Switzerland's Muslim population is about 6% of its total.

This sentence was telling:

Sunday's results stood in stark contrast to opinion polls, last taken 10 days ago, that showed 37 percent supporting the proposal. Experts said before the vote that they feared Swiss had pretended during the polling that they opposed the ban because they didn't want to appear intolerant.
There are many people in this world who don't "want to appear intolerant" toward Islam because they fear the repercussions. To stand in opposition to Islam is to invite violence and jihad into one's midst.

One more reason to appreciate the secret ballot.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Comparison of Obama v. Bush

A friend of ours e-mailed this to our computer.


If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how he inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?


If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?


If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?


If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?


If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?


If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?


If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?


If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?


If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?


So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hymn of the Week: I Surrender All

The title and the lyrics give as plain a message as any hymn: Have I surrendered everything to Jesus Christ? Have I surrendered my life, my desires, my assets, my family? Have I surrendered my wants, my entertainments, and my pleasures? In short, do I hold back anything that I am not willing to surrender to Christ if that is what He wants?

This hymn, written by Judson W. VanDeVenter, is typically used as an invitation hymn, and especially when the emphasis is on salvation or dedication to God's call on one's life. It also makes an excellent daily reminder.

Have we surrendered all to Jesus Christ?

This hymn was one tweeted at @hymnthoughts this week.

I Surrender All

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my bless├Ęd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

Refrain

Friday, November 20, 2009

Math and Laundry

As reported by Reuters (and picked up at such interesting news sources as this and this), one Carin Froehlich of Perkasie, PA, has stirred up local debate because she practices the barbaric habit of hanging her laundry out to dry in the fresh Pennsylvania air and sunshine.

Her struggle against those who would make her hang her "unmentionables" somewhere else has even prompted her to write a book on this topic. Toward the end of the article, however, I encountered this quote from Mrs. Froehlich:

Besides, it saves money. Line-drying laundry for a family of five saves $83 a month in electric bills, she said.
Not so fast.

$83 a month? The article states that Mrs. Froehlich is 54 years old, and there's a picture of her average-sized-looking house, so I am presuming she does not have an army of youth living at home. On the other hand, I have four growing children, and my entire electric bill doesn't even come close to $83 most months. Not to mention the fact that we use lights, a computer, TV sets, etc., etc.

I suppose if Mrs. Froehlich is using one of the worst energy-efficient dryers in the commonwealth, and likes to change her clothes five times each day, it might be possible to use that much electricity in a month.

But I suspect this is the more accurate statement:
A dryer is typically the second-biggest electricity-using appliance after the refrigerator, costing about $85 to operate annually.
The media is not generally composed of experts in mathematics or statistics; take numeric data with a grain (or many grains) of salt.

P.S. On the entire matter of whether hanging laundry is a barbaric practice to be stamped out and made illegal, I offer the following premises:

1. To hang one's undergarments (or those of the family) in public view is never in good taste, and should be discouraged. Hanging other laundry is quite acceptable. If you live where families can see your backyard, keep this in mind.

2. To make illegal the practice of hanging laundry is grossly inconsistent with the other tenets of the use-environmental-regulations-to-control-people crowd. (See also #3)

3. To make illegal the practice of hanging laundry is to essentially admit that you really don't believe that whole "man-made global warming" baloney.

4. On the other hand, if you joined a homeowner's association of your own free will, and that association doesn't allow the hanging of laundry, then keep your word and don't do it. Until you can legitimately convince the association to change, that is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Might Universal Healthcare Look Like? Issue #2

It would be instructive for all of us to consider what universal healthcare would look like in a practical sense. Various bloggers and others have pointed to actual examples in Canada, Britain, and various other countries.

I would argue that we are already seeing elements of it in the United States. I wrote on this topic once already, concerning the availability of vaccines.

Now we learn that a task force at the Department of Health and Human Services (yes, your taxpayer dollars at work...or perhaps, your grandkids' taxpayer dollars at work) recommends against women having regular mammograms before the age of 50. Not simply stating that they are not as important as once thought, mind you—they are recommending against them.

The more cynical among us will consider the future under such task forces. Here's what I envision if universal healthcare becomes a reality.

Women reaching the age of 40 will continue to request mammograms; indeed, some of their doctors will want them to get mammograms due to family histories, medical problems, or other reasons. "Task forces" will decide who gets mammograms. Age and other limitations will be summarily enforced; those who simply "want to check," or who "want peace of mind," or who "felt something suspicious" will likely either be at the end of the line or removed from it. Those who receive mammograms will have to wait for them; women who are found to have cancer will not be able to receive treatment as early for this reason...and consequently, survival rates will decline.

Of course, those who are well-connected or who learn how to game the system will be able to receive healthcare services in a more prompt fashion. Think Soviet Union, 1970's.

My wife is not too far away from this stage of life; I certainly don't want her to face that in the future.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

National Debt Reaches $12 TRILLION Dollars

Yes, today the national debt is believed to have reached $12,000,000,000,000.00. According to the twitter site @NationalDebt, it increased by a mere $40 billion dollars YESTERDAY.

This is an astonishing amount of money. Let's break it down into more manageable pieces.

For some time now I have had a "National Debt Clock" at the bottom of this blog. (Scroll down and enjoy those rapidly increasing numbers at your leisure.) Given the estimated U.S. population of 307,710,000, that averages out to about $39,100 for every man, woman, and child. My family of six? Our share of that is $234,600. Ouch.

If this debt stopped growing immediately and were paid off at a rate of $1,000,000 per day, without any interest, it would be paid off in the year 34,863 A.D. At $1,000,000,000 per day, it would still take 33 years.

Our current penny weighs 2.5 grams. How much would $12 trillion in pennies weigh? 30 million metric tons!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Twitter Hymn Site

@hymnthoughts

The above twitter site will periodically broadcast a stanza or other portion of a well-known hymn that should bless your heart. I encourage you to follow @hymnthoughts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Political Correctness at the Navy

According to the Navy Times, of all things:

Naval Academy leaders removed two midshipmen from a color guard that performed at the World Series last week because they were white men, and replaced them with a non-white man and a white woman so the academy could present a more “diverse” profile, according to several sources, a move that has reportedly angered mids and alumni.
Disgraceful. And then on top of it all, the "non-white man," a Pakistani, left part of his uniform behind and didn't participate after all. I learned later in the article that (a) all eight of them [six original and the two "replacements"] would have performed, but (b) an honor guard must have an even number of people. All eight were sent to New York for the appearance.

Since the "non-white man" could not participate, one of the original six white guys was kept out. The "white woman" participated with five white guys.

The Navy hasn't exactly handled this well in the days since, either. What they did is not in keeping with naval tradition, and the after-the-fact forbidding of discussion about it is hardly in keeping with American customs.

We have the finest navy in the world and we have the finest naval personnel. This is not going to help their image. Political correctness is no substitute for doing it right.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How Will the Senate Liberals Vote?

Some are drawing attention to the fact that there are those in Congress who—however moronically—do not think the House healthcare bill went far enough in its takeover of the American healthcare system. These folks opine that the government needs to be more involved, private insurers less so, and that a new system of bureaucracies is the way to go.

They are, of course, morons, and enemies of the Republic.

There are some in the media who report that these liberal folk will go so far as to not vote for any bill that does not constitute a full government takeover of the healthcare system.

My thesis: This is a complete lie.

These liberals want nothing less than government power over greater and greater percentages of your life. If given a choice between (a) voting for government control over a much larger part of your life, (b) voting for government control over a part of your life, and (c) not voting for either of the first two choices, I can assure you (c) is not the choice they will make.

The liberals in Congress will take whatever degree of control they can get, and then they will plot for more. Do not get a false sense of hope that they will vote against a "watered down" bill. They will not. Remember this. Call your Congressman. The fight isn't over yet.

Hymn of the Week: My Hope Is in the Lord

My hope is not in man. It better not be! My hope is not in Congress...and certainly not after Saturday night's House vote! My hope is not in anyone's good works. My hope is certainly not in myself.

None of the above can save my soul. None of the above is Truth. None of the above can determine my eternal destiny.

Only the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, can provide me with hope, for only He can save a soul. He alone can deliver me from my deserved damnation. When all else fails, and when depressing thoughts grip the soul, He alone can give grace, hope, comfort, and strength.

My hope is in Him. Is yours?

My Hope Is in the Lord

My hope is in the Lord
Who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.

Refrain

For me He died, For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.

No merit of my own
His anger to suppress.
My only hope is found in Jesus' righteousness.

Refrain

And now for me He stands
Before the Father's throne.
He shows His wounded hands, and names me as His own.

Refrain

His grace has planned it all,
'Tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.

Refrain

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another Picture of What Universal Healthcare Might Look Like

According to a story broken by Business Week earlier this week, a number of large, well-known companies, such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, have received quantities of the H1N1 vaccine to provide to their employees who belong to high-risk groups, as defined by the federal government.

It should be noted that, at this time, it appears that these companies participated in the acquisition process in a perfectly legal manner, and are bound to distribute the vaccine only to those with the greatest need. In other words, they have done nothing wrong.

Of course, this does nothing to quell the criticism and the rumor-mongering that these companies have somehow gamed the system to garner more benefits than they are due. When I first heard about this on the Today show yesterday morning, you would have thought the mob was involved.

This story is instructive, however, in one way: It gives us a glimpse into what the world of government-run healthcare might look like. There will be times when the demand for a healthcare supply or service will exceed the demand. Some will obtain the supply or service; others, for whatever reason, will not. Those who are "in the know" or have connections will be more likely to receive it; others will not. Furthermore, it is likely that some will not only be "in the know" but will be able to circumvent whatever bureaucratic-nightmare procurement process will be in place.

You may not be near the front of the line. You may not even be told where the line is. You may see others obtain healthcare while you or your loved ones do not. You may not be able to do anything about it.

Americans will respond to this predictably: Some will complain; others will establish a "black market" (as it will inevitably be called by some) to provide healthcare and related supplies outside of the government's bureaucratic system. Some will make use of this market.

And those of you my age and older will start to wonder how similar this is to the Soviet Union of the 1970's and 1980's.

Healthcare, Democrat-style. Just a peek into your future.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Scary Hillary Clinton Photo

This troubles me on more levels than I can keep track of (Thanks to blogprof for finding it):


Correct me if I'm wrong, but which political party is it that threatens to sic the IRS on your church if it takes positions politically??

Another Bad Congressional Spending Idea

In a sweeping 98-0 vote, the U.S. Senate voted yesterday—with the U.S. House possibly voting today—to expand and extend the Homebuyers' Credit that gives first-time homebuyers up to $8000. The AP story was brought my way on comcast.net, and is consequently light on details, but here's the basic idea:

Buyers who have owned their current homes at least five years would be eligible for tax credits of up to $6,500. First-time homebuyers — or anyone who hasn't owned a home in the last three years — would still get up to $8,000. To qualify, buyers in both groups have to sign a purchase agreement by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30.
The current credit ends next month. I found it interesting that three senators were quoted in the article. Here's one of them:
"This is probably the last extension," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a former real estate executive who championed the credits.
Really?? Whatever makes him think that?

This bill is expected to cost the Treasury $10,800,000,000. Given the state of our deficit right now, this does not seem like a good idea, especially considering this quote:

Extending and expanding the tax credit for homebuyers is projected to cost the government about $10.8 billion in lost taxes. While the measure passed the Senate by a 98-0 vote, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., questioned its efficiency in stimulating home sales.

"For the vast majority of cases, the homebuyer tax credit amounted to a free gift since it did not affect their decision to purchase a home," Bond said. "And for the small minority of buyers whose decision was directly caused by the credit, this raises the question of whether we are subsidizing buyers who may not have been able to afford buying a home in the first place." [Emphasis mine]

Exactly!! We can probably conclude that much of that $10.8 billion is going to go to people who have no real entitlement to it, while the rest is going to encourage a lot of people to make a financial decision that helped get us and our economy to the place we are at now!

Note also that Sen. Bond voted for the bill...just like everyone else.

Another reason why we need change in Washington D.C.

Why Conservatives Should Appreciate the N.Y. Yankees

The New York Yankees won the World Series last evening, completing a 4-2 defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies. Those of us who have been longtime Yankees fans are quite happy about this, but there are others who, for various reasons, bitterly express the following wayward opinion:

Well, they just buy championships!

That's not exactly true. Anyone who watched the games realizes that the Yankees won because of superior pitching, hitting, and fielding (and despite lousy umpiring). The team they defeated has a fine collection of talent and should be commended for their successes this year and last. Money did not decide the outcome of any game.

Republicans, conservatives, and Christians should all be perfectly OK with this (unless you are a Phillies fan—then just be gratified that your team had the level of success it did). The Yankees demonstrate several features that these groups should admire:

  • They are an example of capitalism at work. They invest in players, expecting a profitable return. This entails risk. They accept this risk willingly.
  • They attempt to get stronger and improve their market share every year. What good company doesn't?
  • They play by the rules. ["They" in this sentence refers to the organization. Yes, they have had individual players who have not always kept the rules. Neither I nor the team endorses that.]
  • They pay their taxes, including the MLB "luxury tax," which is essentially a form of socialism for the league. I can relate to that—I pay my taxes, some of which are supporting socialist plans beyond my control.
  • They bulldoze some of their profits back into the team, attempting to make it bigger and better.
There is nothing wrong with any of these things. Of course, others in this industry have a degree of envy for the Yankees' success both financially and on the field. If anything, this should encourage them to mimic the Yankees' ability to assemble a good team on the field while producing a profit for the ownership.

To those of you who are bitter baseball fans (yes, that includes most of you who root for the Twins, in particular): Please don't whine about "buying" championships. Those are decided on the field, not the business office. The Yankees are able to get it done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Words From College Football

These first two quotes are from Pat Forde's column on espn.com. They are both insightful and witty:

Regarding Brandon Spikes "gouging" of a player last week:

Gators coach Urban Meyer (4) reviewed the video and used it as a teaching moment. The lesson Meyer delivered: Nothing, not even thuggish behavior, will be allowed to substantively interfere with our pursuit of a repeat national title. That was the unmistakable message sent by Meyer's semisuspension of Spikes....
Regarding the recent spate of "alternative uniforms," and which colleges aren't likely to succomb to that temptation:
Penn State (19). Some 200 years from now, when Joe Paterno finally has shuffled off this mortal coil, they might try something different -- a logo on the helmet, words on the jersey, something radical like that. Until then, forget it. There is a better chance for the Yankees to replace their pinstripes with plaid.
Shocking statistics from conferences you may not care about:

If Duke wins its remaining games, it will be the ACC football champion. (When did that last happen? When dinosaurs were roaming the earth?) Duke could possibly play in a BCS bowl game.

Temple is undefeated in league play. And it's November. They could win the MAC. Really...they could win the MAC.

Why I Will Not Open a Business Venture in Kalamazoo

From the Kalamazoo Gazette:

KALAMAZOO — Kalamazoo city voters decisively adopted an ordinance Tuesday that extends anti-discrimination protections to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals.

The ordinance passed 7,671 to 4,731, making Kalamazoo the 16th city in Michigan to adopt such a gay-rights ordinance that grants the protections in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
As a Christian, I cannot give my approval in any way to that which God labels as sin. The ordinance that passed last evening would make it illegal for me to do any of several things, including:
  • Not hiring a homosexual for a job involving contact with children
  • Keeping a cross-dressing man from using the ladies' restroom in my business
  • Renting a home or apartment to a pair of homosexuals
My conscience and my common sense would require me to do what the ordinance does not allow. Although I have no business, rental property, or any such thing in Kalamazoo—and never have—I have decided that I never will...unless this ordinance is removed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Planned Parenthood Director Quits After Watching Abortion on Ultrasound

Planned Parenthood Director Quits After Watching Abortion on Ultrasound - FOXNews.com

I have learned that while abortion "providers" (I prefer not to call them "doctors") need to use ultrasound in order to accomplish their evil deeds, the mothers are almost never allowed to view the ultrasound. Why? Because then they will see the obvious: That the child inside their womb is alive—it is a real, living human being.

Even the nurses, in general, prefer not to look at the ultrasound.

The story linked above tells us of a 29-year-old former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. While it is encouraging to know that she realized the atrocity of abortion and became pro-life, it was also disturbing to read how the profit motive figures into the abortion industry.

Here are some excerpts:

Johnson said she became disillusioned with her job after her bosses pressured her for months to increase profits by performing more and more abortions, which cost patients between $505 and $695.

"Every meeting that we had was, 'We don't have enough money, we don't have enough money — we've got to keep these abortions coming,'" Johnson told FoxNews.com. "It's a very lucrative business and that's why they want to increase numbers."


But Johnson said her bosses told her to change her "priorities" and focus on abortions, which she said made money for the office at a time when the recession has left them hurting.

"For them there's not a lot of money in education," she said. "There's as not as much money in family planning as there is abortion."

Without a doctor in residence, she said, her clinic offered abortions only two days a month, but the doctor could perform 30 to 40 procedures on each day he was there. Johnson estimated that each abortion could net the branch about $350, adding up to more than $10,000 a month.

"The majority of the money was going to the facility," she said.

Johnson said she never got any orders to increase profits in e-mails or letters, and had no way to prove her allegations about practices at the Bryan branch. She told FoxNews.com that pressure came in personal interactions with her regional manager from the larger Houston office.


"Ideally my goal as the facility's director is that your abortion numbers don't increase," because "you're providing so much family planning and so much education that there is not a demand for abortion services.

"But that was not their goal," she said. [Emphasis mine]

Abortion is the cold-blooded murder of an innocent human being. To encourage others to have abortions in order to line one's own pockets is beneath contempt.

Pray that others, especially mothers and abortion providers, realize the enormity of their sin.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Now I Belong to Jesus

This hymn by Norman Clayton reminds us of the eternal security of the believer: That once we have accepted Christ by faith as Savior, we are His children forever. Some would have us believe that salvation can be lost or forfeit; the Bible does not teach this. John 10:27-30 remind us,

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
This doctrine of "eternal security" should be a great comfort to the hearts and minds of Christians. Nothing Satan can do can disturb the certainty of an eternity with God someday! And while some would use this as a license to spend their earthly days pursuing fleshly and selfish desires, it should have the opposite effect, drawing us toward God and to obedience to Him and gratitude for what He has done.

To meditate upon salvation and a certain eternity in Heaven should be a great comfort to every Christian!

Now I Belong To Jesus

Jesus my Lord will love me forever,
From Him no power of evil can sever;
He gave His life to ransom my soul—
Now I belong to Him!

Refrain:

Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me—
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.

Once I was lost in sin's degradation,
Jesus came down to bring me salvation,
Lifted me up from sorrow and shame—
Now I belong to Him!

Refrain

Joy floods my soul, for Jesus has saved me,
Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me;
His precious blood He gave to redeem—
Now I belong to Him!

Refrain

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Basics of Christian Education

True Christian Education, regardless of where it takes place, must have these two basic characteristics pervading it:

1. It must be thoroughly Christian. It must exalt all three members of the Trinity. It must follow the Word of God at all times and in all things. It must encourage and edify—and when needed, rebuke—believers to serve God with every part of their lives. It must point the non-Christians in its midst toward God as Savior and King. Rules under which it operates encourage godly, biblical living.

As a consequence, it will not be happily received by most non-Christians; many Christians will likewise chafe at times.

2. The quality of education must be excellent. The teacher must be well-prepared, diligent, and surrendered to God; the teacher must also love the students. The curricula must be chosen on the basis of both academic soundness and ability to point its users toward Truth.

These two characteristics must be found for education to be "Christian," whether that education takes place in a school building, a church, or a home.

Ideally, there will be other characteristics found in the classroom. Students need to be desirous to learn; if they are without salvation, spiritual things will not make much sense to them. Logistical matters from attendance taking to restroom usage must be efficiently planned. Technological innovations, while not always essential, should be employed in ways subservient to education goals, not as the educational goals.

Christian education suffers today because it succumbs too much to pressure to de-prioritize its two primary characteristics.

On the one hand, there are those who do not thirst for doctrinal purity or biblical standards. They would rather see an "openness" to other points of view, or more practically, would prefer to avoid the issues which cause divisiveness when those who hold the Bible as truth disagree with those who don't. "Standards" arguments are a way this often manifests itself.

On the other hand (and remembering that many people have two hands), there are those who do not feel that academic excellence is either necessary or even practical. They prefer not to "push" students to learn, fearing the "pushback" of students and parents. In K-12, they may feel content merely to outperform the public schools, while further potential for excellence is allowed to waste away.

For those of you in Christian education—at school, church, or home—remember the basics!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why You Should Vote "NO" on Kalamazoo's Ordinance 1856

Next week Kalamazoo city voters will have an opportunity to vote on Ordinance 1856, which essentially grants special rights to homosexuals, crossdressers, and others who are not heterosexual. Much has been written on the topic (some great stuff is here) already, so I will not strive to duplicate those efforts.

There are several good, strong reasons to vote NO on this ordinance. It essentially grants special rights to one group while discriminating against another. It is bad for businesses. It will cause social problems when, for example, men are using women's restrooms.

But the biggest reason to vote NO on the ordinance is this: It brings legitimacy to sin. The Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside of marriage (which, by biblical definition, is heterosexual) is sin. Homosexuality and other deviant forms of sexual behavior are condemned in some of the strongest language found in the Bible.

To grant special civil rights to those who are engaging in sin, and to simultaneously discriminate against those who are desiring to set an example of what is morally right, is cancerous to the body politic. For this reason alone I would recommend that you vote NO on Ordinance 1856.

But if you want a lot more good reasons to vote NO, check here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Going Green" the Capitalist Way

This morning two of my girls and I were taking our morning walk/jog, and it occurred to me that there were some ways to "help the environment" that the MSM seemed to be missing. Furthermore, they are things I have been doing for years.

1. Don't bother decorating for Halloween. I personally don't believe Christians should celebrate Halloween, but even if I did, I would not have electricity-consuming decorations "on" at 6:09 a.m. Turning them off before going to bed would save some fossil fuel, wouldn't it? Even for Christmas (a holiday I joyfully celebrate), I use a timer for my outdoor lights; they generally are off by 11:00.

2. Take a look at your trash can. I have four children living at home. I have a big wheel-it-to-the-curb trash can. Unless we have done some major housecleaning—perhaps once or twice a year—it is never full. Yet I see various members of the neighborhood whose cans, equal in volume to mine, are overflowing on a regular basis. Where is all this trash generated? Perhaps an inventory of what's in there could give people some ideas about conserving resources.

3. Take fewer trips; run more errands on each. My wife and I have been doing this for years, although with more soberness since gas prices eclipsed $2 a few years ago. We simply don't make extra trips. If she needs something to make supper, she calls me and I pick it up on my way home. Grocery store runs happen during music lessons. And so forth.

Notice, too, what all three of my ideas have in common: Each one saves me money! Capitalism, handled properly and ethically, is pro-environment, because we realize that the long-term view demands good stewardship of our resources.

When people see that they can keep more of their own money by doing something that is "environmentally friendly," they will do it. Liberals seem to have difficulty grasping this simple idea.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hymn of the Week: All That Thrills My Soul

This hymn by Thoro Harris should remind all of us that nothing should cheer, bless, and "thrill" us like Jesus Christ. He is indeed "more than life" to all of us who have accepted His offer of salvation.

The verses remind us of several aspects of our relationship with Christ: He loves us; He redeemed us; He supplies our needs. Indeed, meditating upon our relationship with Him should cause us to "praise and glorify the King"!

If you have never accepted Christ's gift of salvation, I pray that you will know Him today.

All That Thrills My Soul

Who can cheer the heart like Jesus,
By His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious,
O how blest to call Him mine!

Refrain

All that thrills my soul is Jesus,
He is more than life to me;
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see.

Love of Christ so freely given,
Grace of God beyond degree,
Mercy higher than the heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea!

Refrain

What a wonderful redemption!
Never can a mortal know
How my sin, tho red like crimson,
Can be whiter than the snow.

Refrain

Every need His hand supplying,
Every good in Him I see;
On His strength divine relying,
He is all in all to me.

Refrain

By the crystal flowing river
With the ransomed I will sing,
And forever and forever
Praise and glorify the King.

Refrain

Friday, October 23, 2009

If the H1N1 Vaccine Is Such a Big Problem...

...what on earth do you think it will look like when the government is in charge of nearly all of your healthcare?

My wife and I have been thoroughly disgusted when we watch the news and see paranoid, physically healthy people act desperate to get the H1N1 flu shot for themselves and their healthy children. (It doesn't help that the news media exploit and perpetuate this paranoia.) The local news crew inevitably finds some poor soul who wasn't close enough to the front of the line to receive her vaccine, and show her pouring out her emotions (anger, sorrow, bitterness, desperation; tears are often present) regarding the shortfall for the 6:00 broadcast.

Such broadcasts usually contain obligatory mentions of the government not being able to deliver the promised number of dosages of the flu shots.

I do not intend to mock those who, having sought the advice of a wise doctor, are attempting to receive something which is medically important or necessary. If your doctor feels that you should get a flu shot this year, far be it from me to convince you otherwise.

What I do intend to mock, however, is the notion that the government can provide for your health needs. Vaccinations are among the more routine elements of healthcare. My children have been dutifully getting theirs at various ages for years.

Yet, here we see that the government cannot even "make happen" the delivery of millions of flu shots, despite months of planning! If we can't count on the government to deliver on a fairly simple promise of flu shot delivery with months of preparation—and mind you, you'd be ill-advised to count on the government for this—how well should we anticipate government delivery of significant and life-saving healthcare?

In other words, if they can't even get flu shots done right, why should we have any confidence in the government's ability to deliver more critical healthcare to its citizens?

Kudos to blogprof for the link; check out his own personal story of how the vaccination quest went!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's Up With a 90% Pay Cut?

Today we learn from foxnews.com (and others):

The Treasury Department is expected to formally announce in the next few days a plan to slash annual salaries by about 90 percent from last year for the 25 highest-paid executives at the seven companies that received the most from the Wall Street bailout. Total compensation for the top executives at the firms would decline, on average, by about 50 percent.

The seven affected companies are: Bank of America, American International Group, Citigroup, General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial.

Smaller companies and those that have repaid the bailout money, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., are not affected.

On the one hand, it can be argued that since these companies have essentially sold (or leased, or mortgaged, or whatever term you prefer) their souls for government bailout money, and since "the borrower is servant to the lender," that the government is perfectly entitled to keep these companies' executives' pay at whatever level it sees fit.

On the other hand, it can be argued that government interference in the compensation of law-abiding company employees is a gross violation of civil and corporate rights, and sets a horrific precedent for future government interference.

So which side of the argument is correct? I would suggest that both sides are correct.

How is that so? This entire argument is based on a false premise: The idea that government should ever have "bailed out" the aforementioned companies in the first place. Whenever the government gets involved in an area that is beyond its constitutional boundaries or that interferes with the God-given rights of its citizens, it spawns a new set of issues...issues which generally have no simple means of resolution.

American citizens should be angered both by the arrogance of corporations to lavish wealth on executives who are taking their money while running these corporations into the ground, and also on the government, for interfering in the process. Their greatest anger should be directed toward the fact that we ever got here in the first place.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him

Praise the Savior! It is something every Christian should do automatically and frequently, but we (alas!) do not. The five stanzas of this hymn give us a variety of reasons why we should.

My favorite verse (today) is the 3rd: A reminder that no matter what happens here on earth, nothing can separate us from our Savior. That is a great reason to offer praise!

Meditate and be blessed.

Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him

Praise the Savior, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.

Jesus is the Name that charms us,
He for conflict fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
While we trust in Him.

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever,
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.

Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving
To Thyself, and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys with Thee.

Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be,
Things that are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fox News Polls: Some Interesting Statistics!

Fox News Poll: 43 Percent Would Vote To Re-Elect President Obama - Political News - FOXNews.com

The headline-grabber from this batch of statistics is above: Only 43% of voters would vote to re-elect the president today. Considering that he won about 53% of the popular vote eleven months ago, this tells us that he would receive approximately 19% fewer votes. Considering that his vote total was about 69.5 million in 2008, a 19% drop would shrink that to about 56.3 million—about 3.6 million fewer than John McCain actually received.

Perhaps we can conclude that at least 13.2 million Americans have awakened. That's a good start.

On the other hand, 60% of voters think the president is "a strong and decisive leader." So there's still work to do.

Did Obama deserve the Nobel Prize? 38% of democrats, 74% of independents, and 91% of republicans did not think so. Overall, that's 65% of Americans who think he did not deserve it.

Then there's this closing paragraph from the article:

Finally, in a rare example of bipartisan agreement, majorities of Democrats, 53 percent, Republicans, 78 percent, and Independents, 61 percent, agree the country is more divided these days. All in all, 64 percent of Americans think the country is more politically divided today -- that's more than twice the number who say it is not more divided, 31 percent.
"Bipartisan" refers to two parties. Three groups are mentioned. Hmmm....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Sharpton!

From this foxnews.com article comes the news that Rush Limbaugh's participation in a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams has been, um, ended. It is unfortunate that the liberal establishment was able to so easily interfere with the free market.

But from the article comes this nauseating tidbit:

The move was hailed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the most vocal critics of Limbaugh's bid.

"It is a moral victory for all Americans — especially the players that have been unfairly castigated by Rush Limbaugh," Sharpton said in a statement. "This decision will also uphold the unifying standards of major sports."

Sharpton added in a telephone interview that major sports leagues shouldn't welcome owners who are "divisive and incendiary."

Every major pro sports franchise has dealings with its community, he said. "It's unfair for taxpayers to be underwriting people who denigrate them," he said.

I have no idea where that last quote came from.

Al Sharpton, to put it simply, is a "divisive and incendiary" man—the poster child of race bating, white-man-hating, complain-instead-of-do-something-worthwhile liberal America. He is a fool. The fact of his skin color is irrelevant—he is a fool.

What I want to know is this: Why is this man paraded out (or, as if often the case, he parades himself out) into the limelight so often? Why do the news cameras not come to visit me for what would surely be better-thought-out, better-delivered, less hateful commentary from someone with fewer bad hair days? Why do they instead trumpet the opinions of a hateful, divisive, and incendiary foolish man?

Hypocrisy is often defined as pointing out the flaws in another when you have not dealt with those same flaws yourself. Al Sharpton may someday get his picture in the dictionary next to that word.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hymn of the Week: He Is Able to Deliver Thee

You cannot get to heaven by your own good works, no matter how good or how many. Deliverance from the eternal punishment we deserve comes only through the salvation provided by Jesus Christ. He, and He alone, can deliver us!

Have you been delivered by faith in Christ?

He Is Able to Deliver Thee

’Tis the grandest theme through the ages rung;
’Tis the grandest theme for a mortal tongue;
’Tis the grandest theme that the world e’er sung,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

Refrain

He is able to deliver thee,
He is able to deliver thee;
Though by sin oppressed, go to Him for rest;
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

’Tis the grandest theme in the earth or main;
’Tis the grandest theme for a mortal strain;
’Tis the grandest theme, tell the world again,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

Refrain

’Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll,
To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;
Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

Refrain

Thursday, October 8, 2009

High Expectations: Raising the Bar

My alma mater publishes a quarterly magazine for nearly everyone on its mailing list (prospective students, donors, alumni, parents, etc.) called the BJU Review. We always enjoy reading it and learning about various things going on at the university.

It is also well known that my alma mater is among the strictest schools in the land when it comes to the activities students are permitted/required to participate in. I have no problem with this, nor did I when I was a student. Even if I did not like every single rule, I voluntarily went there, understanding all this and agreeing to obey those rules.

I also knew then, and much more so now, that rules, obedience, and discipline are highly significant to the development of character. I am a better man today because of my experiences as a Bob Jones University student nearly two decades ago. I hope that my children likewise get to experience what my wife and I did as students there.

BJU catches a lot of flak for requiring arcane things like...

  • Keeping your dorm room clean
  • Attending your classes...on time
  • Forbidding the beverage use of alcohol
  • Going to bed instead of staying up all night doing the things you should have done during waking hours
  • Going to chapel...on time
  • Keeping your hands off members of the opposite sex
I have no regrets about the character that was developed in my life as a result of putting myself under these rules. In this quarter's BJU Review, there is a very well-written article entitled "Raising the Bar" that discusses the fact that, as it says at the top of the page, "BJU's high expectations are intentional and give our students a practical edge." I want to quote a few segments from the article below.
"Of course, as a Christian college, expectations for moral excellence are a given. Cheating, substance abuse, immorality and other unbiblical behaviors are never tolerated. They're simply not part of our campus culture, because these activities are condemned in Scripture no matter what the context.

"But our high expectations go beyond moral considerations. We maintain a high standard of professional dress. Residence hall students are expected to keep their rooms clean. Students are accountable for their attendance at classes, chapel, and cultural programs—and for getting there on time. And they're strongly encouraged to take on extra responsibilities by ministering to the community and to area churches.

"At times these expectations cause extra pressure on the student—and that's by design, since a reasonable amount of pressure can be a great catalyst for growth.

"A student having trouble getting projects finished while trying to balance work hours, Saturday morning Bible club and soccer practice can't take the easy way out by skipping class whenever he has a deadline. Instead he has to figure out a way to better manage the time he does have—a skill that will be invaluable down the road when he needs to balance bigger responsibilities such as a career, local church ministry and family."


"Instead of lowering the bar to make things easier, BJU keeps the bar high and then works with students so they can achieve more than they expected of themselves.

"When our graduates go on to the next step of their lives, we don't expect that they'll wear ties every weekday or clean their sinks every morning. These aspects of BJU student life are limited to the college years by design. But we hope that the good habits, high expectations and push for excellence learned during these years will follow them far beyond graduation."


"Student life at BJU is different than at most other colleges. And that makes sense, since we're aiming for a different goal. our high expectations are part of our mission to equip the whole person—and we think they make a lasting difference in the lives of our graduates."
They are right. I'm glad that bar is still set high at Bob Jones University, and I hope it stays there.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Doonesbury: Equal Opportunity Slamming?

Doonesbury, the well-known cartoon by G. B. Trudeau, annoyed me often during the past eight years with its sometimes-vicious insults of President Bush.

Apparently Mr. Trudeau, unlike most of the MSM, does not give the current president the cult-like obeisance they do, as evidenced by this cartoon from Sept. 27 (click on it to view it at full size):

Drawing parallels between Nazis and Obama? I guess this gives him credibility when he claims he slams both political parties.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Victory In Jesus

We do well to remember that in the end, Jesus will defeat the forces of Satan and evil. In the meantime, it is all too easy to focus on lost battles and spiritual defeats that could have been avoided.

The hymn below, written by Eliza Hewitt, reminds us to be upbeat because spiritual victory is coming! Indeed, those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation are already on that winning side.

Be encouraged...and strive to work for Him in pursuit of victory.

Victory In Jesus

Soldiers of King Jesus, raise the shout again,
Victory in Jesus, victory!
Marching to the music of the glad refrain,
Victory in Jesus evermore.

Refrain

Victory, victory, victory in Jesus!
Sing His overcoming blood, sing the grace that frees us;
Ring it out more boldly, song of faith and cheer,
Till the whole wide world shall hear.

O’er the pow’rs of darkness, o’er the hosts of sin,
Victory in Jesus, victory!
Trusting, watching, praying, we shall surely win,
Victory in Jesus evermore.

Refrain

Send the happy watchword all along the line,
Victory in Jesus, victory!
Let all error perish, lives the truth divine,
Victory in Jesus evermore.

Refrain

For His church and kingdom, for each trusting soul,
Victory in Jesus, victory!
From the courts of Heaven joyful paeans roll,
Victory in Jesus evermore.

Refrain

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Detroit Public Schools: Another Outrage!

September 30, in addition to begin the deadline when the state of Michigan is supposed to get its state budget passed, is what we call "Count Day" here in Michigan. The short version of the story is that (a) it is the day when school districts must get an "official" count of their student populations, and (b) that official count is multiplied by a per pupil allowance to determine how much $$$ the district will get from the state for the year.

You don't have to be a multiplication or public policy expert to see that districts want both numbers (the "count," and the per pupil allowance) to be as large as possible.

The Detroit Public Schools (DPS) school district is among the very worst in the civilized world. Its graduation rate is around 25%, pitiful by any standard whatsoever. Its student population has gone from about 160,000 just nine years ago to a projected 83,777 this year—a decline of more than 47% in under a decade! It is unsafe and has a bureaucracy that socialists envy. Its financial integrity is mocked by Bernie Madoff. Blogprof has a running list of commentary on DPS, if you want to immerse yourself in its failures.

So what do you do on Count Day? Do you attempt to restore financial integrity? Do you announce new academic expectations? No. You bribe students to come to school.

Articles in the WSJ and Detroit News give further details. It is a disgrace of the highest order...and that's saying something, considering how disgraceful DPS already is.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Senate Democrats: Abortion = Healthcare

Adding to the growing corpus of evidence that democrats in D.C. want—nay, demand—abortion funding as part of the abominable healthcare bill is a Senate committee vote that occurred this morning. In a 13-10 vote (with pseudo-republican Snowe joining twelve democrats), an amendment offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to "strengthen anti-abortion provisions" was defeated.

It must be remembered that President Obama and most of the key democrats in Congress have already shown clearly that they want to see abortion funding in any final version of the healthcare bill that might pass Congress.

It must also be remembered that abortion is nothing short of the cold-blooded murder of a human being.

And speaking of things to remember...if someone is so cold-blooded as to accept the murder of an innocent life, what will stop their cold heart when it comes to euthanasia? Or "withdrawal of care"?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is McCotter Nuts?!?

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, a Republican from Michigan, is apparently seeking support in Congress for a bill that would amend the Internal Revenue Code....tell you what: I'll just quote from a letter he sent to his colleagues:

"Dear Colleague," the letter reads.

"According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63% of United States households own a pet. Indeed, the human-animal bond has been shown to have a positive effect upon people's emotional and physical well being. In families with children, pets help to create a nurturing environment and provide ample educational opportunities. For people in later stages of life, pets offer important companionship. No matter the age of the owner, pets have been shown to reduce stress, safeguard against depression, improve social skills, and even ease loss.

"In light of this, please join me in becoming a cosponsor to H.R. 3501, the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act. If enacted, H.R. 3501 would amend the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to allow an annual tax deduction of up to $3500 for qualified pet care expenses. Specifically, "qualified pet care expenses" would be defined as funds spent in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a legally owned, domesticated animal."
I first heard this on the radio driving home from work today (and in God's providence, I was stopped at a red light at that very moment, preventing me from driving my car off the road).

Sadly, liberals are having a field day with this—just as we Republicans often do with their loony ideas. Except this idea truly is loony! See examples here and here, if you care to do so.

Our tax code has more than its share of problems and certainly more than its share of illogical tax breaks for special-interest-related reasons. I'd rather see McCotter offer some sort of tax relief related to what I spend caring for the health care of the humans in my household. That would truly be a "HAPPY" day.

Tax breaks for pet care. Think about that.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hymn of the Week: My Sins Are Blotted Out, I Know!

Yes, they are! The Bible teaches us that we can know that our sins are covered by the blood of Christ. We need only confess our sins and repent of them in faith—and Jesus removes them as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).

If you have repented of your sins in faith, be comforted in this. Meditating upon this thought should be a great encouragement to you.

If you have never repented of your sins, let this be the day you do so!

The words and lyrics to this song are by Merrill Dunlop (copyright 1927, renewal 1955).

My Sins Are Blotted Out, I Know!

What a wondrous message in God's Word!
My sins are blotted out, I know!
If I trust in His redeeming blood,
My sins are blotted out, I know!

Chorus:

My sins are blotted out, I know!
My sins are blotted out, I know!
They are buried in the depths of the deepest sea:
My sins are blotted out, I know!

Once my heart was black, but now what job,
My sins are blotted out, I know!
I have peace that nothing can destroy,
My sins are blotted out, I know!

Chorus

I shall stand some day before my King,
My sins are blotted out, I know!
With the ransomed host I then shall sing:
"My sins are blotted out, I know!"

Chorus

Friday, September 25, 2009

Singing the Praises of the President

By now most of us have heard about the video of the elementary kids singing the praises of President Obama. I find it repugnant, and, like so many other things, I am severely disappointed that the media isn't pouncing on school administrators for this. You know, like they would have if two years ago children were singing the praises of the last president.

Now we learn more about the principal of the school. Dr. Denise King (someone please tell me who granted her a doctoral degree) is an Obama fan, and attended Obama's inauguration last January. Consider the following:

  • Pictures she took at the inauguration made it into the school yearbook...despite the fact this was not a school field trip.
  • Pictures of the president adorned the halls and various classrooms of the school. I have no problem with hanging a picture or two of the president on the wall (students, after all, should know who the president is and be able to identify him), but it sounds like this school went a bit overboard.
  • Photos of "Obama-themed activities" were in the yearbook. I wonder what exactly those were....?
However, there were two facts about the principal that I found particularly troubling:
  • According to parents who spoke with Dr. Denise King, "The principal of a New Jersey elementary school where young students were videotaped singing the praises of President Obama is making no apologies for the videotape and says she would allow the performance again if she could" [Emphasis mine].
  • According to public records, Dr. Denise King hasn't voted since 2004! The article states, "A search of public records revealed that King, 46, of Cinnaminson, N.J., last voted in 2004 and had not declared any political affiliation. No records of political contributions could be found."
On the upside, the article made me feel better that my children are not in public schools.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hiding Money Offshore? Be Warned!

As a professional tax preparer for part of the year, I have signed up for the IRS e-mails that are put out several times a week. This one I received struck me as rather interesting.

Context of the e-mail: In its never-ending quest to see that all income taxes are, in fact, collected, the IRS will soon be "cracking down" with greater penalties for those who are caught hiding money in foreign ["offshore"] bank accounts.

The e-mail is copied below. It is also found on the IRS website here. Consider this a sort of public service announcement.

WASHINGTON ─ The Internal Revenue Service today announced a one-time extension of the deadline for special voluntary disclosures by taxpayers with unreported income from hidden offshore accounts. These taxpayers now have until Oct. 15, 2009.

Under special provisions issued in March, taxpayers with these hidden accounts originally had until Sept. 23, 2009 to come forward. Those taxpayers who do not voluntarily disclose their hidden accounts by the new deadline face much harsher civil penalties, where applicable, and possible criminal prosecution.

IRS officials decided to extend this deadline after receiving repeated requests from tax practitioners and attorneys around the country following an influx of taxpayer requests. By extending the deadline for a short period of time, the IRS is providing relief for those taxpayers who had intended to come forward prior to the deadline, but faced logistical and administrative challenges in meeting it. The extension will allow tax preparers and attorneys the necessary time to interview and advise their backlog of taxpayers with these hidden accounts, and prepare the necessary paperwork to qualify for the special penalty provisions.

The IRS also announced that there will be no further extensions.

Hymn of the Week: I Need Thee Every Hour

The message of this hymn is both self-explanatory and profoundly true. No one can survive and have joy without the presence of the Lord. Meditate upon these words today.

(Words by Annie S. Hawks, 1872)

I Need Thee Every Hour

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

Refrain

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou bless├Ęd Son.

Refrain

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Bob Jones University Creed

My alma mater has had the following creed, unchanged since the school's opening in 1927. It succinctly and accurately states the core doctrinal beliefs of the university, and more generally, of true Protestantism throughout most of the past five centuries. It is said in every chapel, in every Sunday worship service, and at Commencement. Students are required to memorize it; some of us can quote it word perfect decades after graduating.

The first two words are, as you can see, "I believe." I do, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I present it here without further comment:

I believe in the inspiration of the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments);

the creation of man by the direct act of God;

the incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ;

His identification as the Son of God;

His vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross;

the resurrection of His body from the tomb;

His power to save men from sin;

the new birth through the regeneration by the Holy Spirit;

and the gift of eternal life by the grace of God.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How Bad is the Big Ten?

No one, except the deluded and the dishonest, is claiming right now that Big Ten Football is the greatest in the land, for the simple reason that the evidence speaks otherwise.

Each of the eleven conference teams has played two games; a total of four losses have been recorded. Three of those were in home games. Ohio State played respectably against a very good USC team, but the other losses are a bit embarassing.

So are these facts: The "directional Michigan" teams (Western, Central, Eastern) went 1-2 against the Big Ten last week and were collectively outscored by only 5 points. And Western should have beaten Indiana. Wisconsin needed two overtimes to beat Fresno State at home. Iowa had to block two last-moment field goals at home to win its first game against Northern Iowa.

Here's a breakdown of the conference so far.

At the top: Penn State. Two solid games, won by wide margins. Against powderpuff teams? Well, yes. But unlike some of the conference brethren, they made their opponents look like powderpuff teams.

Near the top: Michigan. Notre Dame blew their chance to win at Michigan. Nevertheless, Michigan is 2-0 and is crawling into the ratings again.

Not as close to the top as they should be: Ohio State and Wisconsin. Ohio State nearly chokes up a big fourth-quarter lead to Navy, and then can't keep an opponent from driving the length of the field at the end of a game. Wisconsin has barely beaten two powderpuffs.

2-0 for only a limited time: Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa.

If this keeps up, more embarrassments to come: Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State. I know MSU, in particular, has developed gut-wrenching losses into an art form. It appears they might be taking it to the next level.

Schools other than OSU should take note: It does not impress the rest of the college football universe when you do not schedule teams against worthy opponents. If Big Ten football is to show itself the greatest in the land, they have to play the rest of the land!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Tell Me the Old, Old Story

The theme of this song (at least, to me) is that we should want to hear that "old, old story" again and again—that story of "Jesus and His love."

It should never bore us to hear about Jesus Christ and what he did. It should never "grow old" to hear again that He was born of a virgin, that He lived a holy life, and that He died and rose again to provide the necessary sacrifice for our sins. We should never tire to recall how He loves us and blesses us.

And in addition to hearing the story, we should be always ready to tell those who have not heard it. Are you?

Tell Me the Old, Old Story

Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.

Refrain

Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.

Refrain

Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me the story always, if you would really be,
In any time of trouble, a comforter to me.

Refrain

Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

Refrain