Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Road Sign

If the country continues too far down the path of socialism, this is what we may see:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Michigan, Meet Socialism

Admittedly, we in Michigan have gotten far too accustomed to seeing inept, corrupt, and foolish leadership in places like Lansing and Detroit. But among the descriptors I would use for this same leadership, I would not have looked for this one: Socialist.

The president today, for all practical purposes, saw to it that the leader of what used to be one of the proudest and most successful American companies was, in a word, fired. Dismissed. This man, to my knowledge, broke no laws and made a good-faith effort to lead General Motors in the right direction.

Please understand this: In Washington D.C., a decision was made to remove the leader of a Michigan-based company—not a governmental entity, mind you, but a publicly traded company—because that company was not "successful" financially. Before long, we should not be surprised if the government owns much of that company, and tries to run it, in a manner similar to its ownership stake in several of our larger financial institutions.

Regardless of what the president says.

Some observations:

Socialism will not come to America in a single fell swoop. Our Congressmen know better than to try that. It will come to America incrementally, a little here and a little there, until we are absorbed into it. Obfuscation and thousand-page pieces of legislation will hide some of it from us until it is already done.

Michigan, with the worst economy of any state, may become a socialism testing ground of sorts. Beware of any governmental intrusions—federal or state—into the workings of private businesses.

Power corrupts. Our government, with its current leadership, is assuming far more power than our Constitution grants it. It is time to be vigilant and to pressure our representatives to do what is Constitutional, and to vote against any legislation which tends toward socialism.

Hymn of the Week: It Is Well With My Soul

The story behind this hymn is among the best known of all hymn-related stories. These words were written by Horatio G. Spafford after his four children were killed in a mid-ocean ship disaster. His wife was saved, alone. [Read more here.]

The world today is not the most comforting. There is financial insecurity, war, poverty, cruelty, and the general uncertainty of what a day may bring. Yet when Christ is the center of our affections, and His Holy Spirit dwells within us, we can truly say, "It is well." Those who have never experienced this can scarcely understand it.

Have you never experienced salvation, and the peace it can bring to your heart? Do you not know Jesus Christ, the Savior of men? Please accept Him by faith today. You can learn more about salvation here or here.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin—not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so”—it is well with my soul.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Three Mile Island, 30 Years Later

Thirty years ago today, there was an accident at the Unit 2 reactor at Three Mile Island. It is (and hopefully will forever be) known as the worst nuclear power plant accident in the nation's history.

Even so, no one was killed, and evidence of increased health problems is, at best, sketchy. People even today live right in the shadow of those cooling towers, and fish swim freely in the river around the plant (Yes, it's called Three Mile Island because it's on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River).

The lessons learned from the accident, combined with the later lessons of Chernobyl, contribute today to an impressive safety record among nuclear plants in the U.S. We see now that nuclear power, in addition to being safe and relatively clean, is viable and affordable. Hopefully our nation will embrace nuclear power as a 21st-century option to unleash us from our dependency on foreign fuels.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How Bad Is It? One-Month Treasury Bills Go Negative!

I read this shocking nugget at bloomberg.com:

Treasury one-month bill rates turned negative for the first time since December as investors sought the most easily-traded securities to bolster balance sheets at the end of the quarter.

Financial institutions earn interest on funds deposited with the Federal Reserve. At quarter end, banks prefer to carry securities on their balance sheets instead of cash, driving demand for bills, according to Donald Galante, chief investment officer and senior vice president of fixed income at MF Global Ltd. in New York. He expects rates to rise again by mid-April.

“We’re in a funds rate range of between zero and 0.25 percent,” said David Glocke, who manages $65 billion of Treasuries at Vanguard Group Inc. in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. “If you keep rates this low, you’re going to end up having periods, especially in the Treasury bill market, where the yield goes negative.”

Historical Performance

The rate on the one-month bill dropped to negative 0.04 percent in New York, compared with 0.03 percent yesterday. It was last negative on Dec. 26, when it reached minus 0.05 percent. Three-month bill rates fell four basis points to 0.15 percent, while six-month bill rates fell two basis points to 0.38 percent.

So you're clear on this: If you invested $10,000 in one-month bills, you would lose $4 annually!?! I know the Federal Reserve has lowered the prime rate dramatically, and that other interest rates tend to follow similar trends...but this is disturbing. Disturbing, as in, banks and investors are buying these! On purpose!

What does this say about the state of our economy and financial institutions? In fairness to the discussion, the article gives some reasons why the rates have sunk so low and why, in the short term, some banks might choose to purchase such securities. Furthermore, they are expected to return to positive ground in a few weeks.

On the other hand, it might be a great time to refinance your mortgage.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Your Government Wants a Lot More Power

Two sobering thoughts to think about—without having to go any further than today's news.

Tim Geithner told a House panel today that the Obama administration desires sweeping regulatory changes over Wall Street that would allow the government to step in and essentially take over a financial company if it deems the company poses too great a risk to the economy. Presumably, this risk will be defined by the government itself, leaving open the possibility that if abused, the government could simply step in and take over any financial institution whose practices it does not approve.

Harry Reid is trying to manipulate Senate rules to make it easier to ram through overwhelming changes in health care and a disastrous cap-and-trade energy policy. Both will have crippling effects on the American economy. He does not appear to care. Even some Senate democrats are opposed to such a brazen abuse of Senate rules.

These two examples encapsulate the fact that the Obama administration and the democratic leadership in Congress seem to have no known limits on how far they will go to get what they want. Where will they stop? Will they stop?

Do they have any respect for the Constitution anymore?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Two Nuggets From Leviticus 19

Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. (vs. 2)

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. (vs. 15)
The first verse reminds us of what we also read in Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:15-16: We who are Christians are to be holy, because God Himself is holy, and we are His children.

The second verse reminds us of a principle we must see in our society today: Righteous judgment. Neither the poor nor the rich is to receive preference (or discrimination) in judgment.

Even in what many people consider an obscure Bible book, there is much to be learned!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Catholics Are Angry....I'd Be, Too!

But I am a Baptist...so my anger is not so strong as theirs.

Catholics who devoutly hold to their church's doctrine are outraged that Notre Dame, the most visible Catholic university in the Western Hemisphere, has invited President Obama to be the commencement speaker at its graduation this year. He will also be receiving an honorary Doctor of Law degree.

I read a most interesting article today by a professor, Ralph McInerny, whose 54-year tenure at Notre Dame will be ending this year with his retirement. He chastises the university for its decision. He should. Notre Dame is abandoning its moral high ground by inviting Obama, a consistently pro-abortion politician, to speak and to be honored. He clearly stands against the teachings of the Catholic Church and cannot be called her friend. And to give him an honorary degree on top of it? What has he done, from the perspective of Scripture, that is worthy of honor?

The article contained these quotes near its end:

...Abortion is an essentially evil act, both from the viewpoint of natural morality and from the explicit teaching the Church. There is no way in which an individual, a politician or an institution can finesse that fact.

By inviting Barack Obama as commencement speaker, Notre Dame is telling the nation that the teaching of the Catholic church on this fundamental matter can be ignored. Lip service may be paid to the teaching on abortion, but it is no impediment to upward mobility, to the truly vulgar lust to be welcomed into secular society, whether on the part of individuals or institutions.

....By inviting Barack Obama to be the 2009 commencement speaker, Notre Dame has forfeited its right to call itself a Catholic university. It invites an official rebuke. May it come.

I think I would be equally outraged if the Protestant university from which I graduated did the same; and if it did, I would likewise be repulsed by the "truly vulgar lust to be welcomed into secular society."

To my Catholic friends and acquaintances: I share your outrage. I hope your university changes its mind and disinvites the President. If my alma mater ever does something like this, I hope you will share mine.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Does Extortion Work?


Ex*tor"tion\, n. [F. extorsion.]
1. The act of extorting; the act or practice of wresting anything from a person by force, by threats, or by any undue exercise of power; undue exaction; overcharge.
2. (Law) The offense committed by an officer who corruptly claims and takes, as his fee, money, or other thing of value, that is not due, or more than is due, or before it is due. --Abbott.
3. That which is extorted or exacted by force.
Syn: Oppression; rapacity; exaction; overcharge.

extortion. (n.d.). Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Retrieved March 23, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/extortion

It is now said that 15 of the top 20 AIG bonus-getters are going to pay (or have paid) back their big bonuses they recently received—a total of about $30 million. The aggressive attorney general of the Empire State, Andrew Cuomo, seems happy to report this.

Here's some more about Cuomo from the article:

"I applaud the employees who are returning the bonuses," Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. "I think they are being responsive to the American people."

Cuomo said 9 of the 10 people receiving the largest awards have agreed to return their bonus. Additionally, 15 of the top 20 bonus recipients have consented to returning their money. Cuomo said some have refused to return the money, while others are still considering it....

Cuomo said he doesn't plan to release the names of the employees who have agreed to return the bonuses, and said there is no implied threat that if an employee doesn't consent to returning the bonus that their name will be released.

I'm not so sure about that last sentence.

(I also suspect that lawyers for the bonus-getters have found some way to keep open the door to a lawsuit at some future time to get those bonuses back, when the conditions are more favorable to such a possibility.)

Question: If the AIG bonuses were legally obtained (no matter how dimwitted) by work in a law-abiding company, and the government pressures them into giving those bonuses back by various threats of taxation (and the potential of deep public shame), is this extortion?

Answer: According to the definition above, Yes.

Question: Does Extortion Work?

Answer: In our current government, Yes.

Question: Who are you going to vote for in the next election?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Be Still, My Soul

Classical music lovers will recognize the author of the music of this hymn as Jean Sibelius, as the tune comes from Finlandia. The author was an 18th century woman from Germany [the words were originally written in German] named Katharina von Schlegel.

The main message of the song is in its title: Be still, my soul. There will be grief and pain; dearest friends will depart; the future is uncertain. Many other things will distress the soul—nevertheless, the Lord is on your side! Leave to God to order and provide. He will guide the future. He will love you and soothe your sorrows and fears.

The day will come when God's children will be forever with Him. If you are one of His, be still and rest in this. He is in control. He loves you and will take care of you.

If you are not one of His children, I hope and pray that you will become one!

Be Still, My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hysterical Blog!

If you haven't listened to Rush Limbaugh this week, you might not have heard of Barack Obama's Teleprompter's Blog. This is perhaps the most amusing little bit of writing I have encountered in a long time.

Tele Prompter tells it from his perspective as the TOTUS. (Think about it—you'll figure it out.) Earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh asked him a series of questions, which he is working on answering over the course of several days.

It is hysterical. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

FDIC Says: Bank is Too Cautious with Customer Money!

The FDIC has criticized a Massachusetts bank, East Bridgewater Savings Bank, by branding it with a "needs to improve" rating under the Community Reinvestment Act. You know, the act that prodded many banks to make risk-heavy loans to people whose ability to repay them was (to put it kindly) suspect.

East Bridgewater Savings Bank's faults include the following:

  • Its ratio of loans to deposits was approximately 1/3 the industry average for banks their size.
  • They do not have a website.
  • They seem to focus on fixed-rate mortgages.
  • (And perhaps most egregious of all) They did not make risky loans to people whose ability to repay them was suspect. They seemed to limit their loans only to the credit-worthy.
In short, East Bridgewater Savings Bank is one of the most cautious banks in America. One article used the word "paranoid" in the title...and I think that was a complement.

And it should be! This cautious little bank in Massachusetts has demonstrated the lesson that there is wisdom in caution, and there is wisdom is not trying to stick your neck out to maximize a profit that is already adequate. And, yes, the bank made a profit (albeit a small one) last year.

I wish this bank were near my home town. I would put my money there!

Can I Have Chuck Schumer's Pay?

I find it deeply troubling that Congress is seriously discussing what amounts to the illegal confiscation of legally-obtained compensation of AIG employees.

The fact that the compensation is undeserved is beside the point—it was agreed upon in a legal fashion.

The fact that the public is outraged is also beside the point—the contracts were signed, to my knowledge, following our laws.

The Democrats in Congress, though foolish, are not so bluntly stupid as to merely declare the contracts invalid; they know they can't do that. The courts would surely rule (if perhaps on appeal) in favor of the recipients of the money. They also realize, though will not admit, that they passed legislation that allowed this money to go to these employees.

Furthermore, the AIG recipients are smart enough to realize that the Democrats are grandstanding; after some months go by, and some meddlesome lawsuits, they will almost certainly get to keep the money, as they would have kept it in 2008, 2007, or 1975. They are also probably smart enough to realize that this won't happen again, and will find new employment—rendering the idea of "retention bonuses" laughable.

So where does Chuck Schumer come in? Consider this quote from yesterday:

"If (AIG CEO Edward) Liddy does nothing, we will act and will take this money back and return it to its rightful owners, the American taxpayers. We will take this money back by taxing virtually all of it.

"So let the recipients of these large and unseemly bonuses be warned. If you don't return it on your own, we will do it for you."

Did you catch that? We will take this money back. Take. As in, Steal. Confiscate. And why should it be taken from them? Because, in short, they did a lousy job at their workplace yet get compensated far above their value.

So in a similar vein, can I have Sen. Schumer's pay? After all, he does a horrid job and has a popularity level only slightly above smallpox. His pay comes straight from my tax dollars, and I am outraged that he does such a lousy job at his workplace and is compensated very well anyway. He and his kind, more than anyone (including AIG), are running this country into the ground. And this country is a lot more important than AIG is.

Can I take his paycheck, please, and return it to the Treasury?

Record Numbers of Births, Births to Unwed Mothers

The headline reads, "More Babies Born in 2007 Than Any Other Year in U.S. History." The reported number was 4,317,119 births.

This is going to get some mileage in the press because it exceeds the previous record, set 50 years earlier, at the height of the "baby boom." It is not particularly impressive when one considers that fifty years ago, the number of women of childbearing age was approximately half of what it is now.

Consequently, the "rate" of birth is not even close to what it was back then.

The more important and troubling aspect of the story is this: About 1.7 million of those births were to unwed mothers. This means that, on average in 2007, there was a baby born to an unwed mother every 18 seconds...a child who will, statistically, likely grow up without the blessings of married, loving parents who demonstrate biblical marriage and morality.

And if you consider how many babies are aborted annually, you will see that only about half of the children conceived in the wombs of American women will make it out of the womb to be greeted by married parents.

Proverbs 14:34: "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." We should be praying to God for His mercy upon our nation. Our reproach is deserved.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Observations on the ESV

I wrote in an earlier post how I prefer to use the KJV Bible, but was recently encouraged to take a look at the English Standard Version (ESV). Anyone can browse it by going to its website.

However, for the month of March, anyone can have free online access to the notes and maps which accompany the text by signing up. So I did this, because I had reached the book of Leviticus in my devotions—and if any book is a challenge to understand in the KJV, Leviticus is.

Some observations, specifically regarding Leviticus:

  • There is a greater "ease of reading" without an apparent sacrifice of accuracy (Not knowing Hebrew, I can't speak authoritatively on its accuracy...so I won't).
  • The notes are extensive and helpful. The online notes are hyperlinked, too, as they presumably are on the online version you have access to once you have purchased a copy of your own. Being able to click right to another verse is handy.
  • Since the purchase of an ESV Bible entitles you to the full array of online helps, I would be interested in owning a copy for that reason alone.
I look forward to completing Leviticus and learning more from the Scripture.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Little Is Much When God Is in It

This hymn is a great encouragement for those times when you feel that the work you are doing for the Lord is of little consequence, or appears unsuccessful. It also encourages those who are discouraged in the work God has called them to do.

No work done for God is too small. Even the most apparently-unsuccessful work may just be the "watering" that precedes the "increase" (1 Cor. 3:6). Do not the devil or men convince you otherwise!

Kittie L. Suffield is the author of this hymn.

Little Is Much When God Is in It

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.


Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

In the mad rush of the broad way,
In the hurry and the strife,
Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,
Give to them the Word of Life.


Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.


Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.


When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child—well done!”


Friday, March 13, 2009

NEW Blog: Van Buren County Republican

I would like to recommend the blog "Van Buren County Republican" to all of my friends, especially those who live here in Van Buren County, Michigan. The stated purpose of this blog is to communicate with Michiganders about the political, social, and economic state of our county and our state.

Today, you will find an excellent piece from Rep. Tonya Schuitmaker, who represents Van Buren County in the state legislature, explaining her "No" vote on the "Hire Michigan First" legislation. She does an eloquent job explaining the shortcomings of this legislation.

We look forward to hearing from other Republican county and state officials regarding how they contribute to the betterment of Van Buren County and the state of Michigan.

Tuition = Taxes??

Here in Michigan, Gov. Granholm wants to see two things happen this year:

  1. Michigan public universities freezing tuition
  2. A 3% cut in state operating support to public universities
As if often the case, our governor has ideas which lack a basis in economic reality. Honorable ideals, perhaps (sometimes)...but generally out of touch with economic reality.

Then we have this quote on Granholm's desires, originally reported in Gongwer:
Granholm did not reveal any specifics on how that would be done, but reiterated her view that it is important that tuition be frozen so students don't see "their tuition taxes go up."
Tuition taxes?? What?? Students who attend Michigan public colleges (or their benefactors) are paying for a service—education—which they receive. This service is already deeply subsidized by me and the other taxpayers of Michigan. For the government to merely "subsidize something to a lesser degree" (when many of us would prefer not to see it subsidized at all) does not amount to a "tax" on those who purchase that service.

Students, like other consumers, are free to take their tuition dollars where they choose. To call their tuition a "tax" is disingenuous; we are not free to take our "taxes" where we choose!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This is a follow-up to an entry I wrote last week.

Last week Phil Kerpen (Americans for Prosperity) wrote the following list of Obama's top-five broken promises...so far. On Wednesday, he wrote an equally insightful follow-up to it, under the title, "Promise-Breaker-In-Chief Puts Pork Over Principle."

It appears that Obama will sign the pork-laden omnibus bill very soon, despite the promised five days of review on the White House website. And in doing so, he breaks another promise about signing pork-filled, earmark-heavy legislation.

I would be inclined to add that he spent much of calendar year 2008 promising "Change" in Washington. This bill isn't change—it is more of the same wasteful and foolish spending flowing from Congress. If the president really wants change, he should veto the bill...and maybe for good measure, throw it into a burn barrel on live TV. Perhaps that would send a message about change.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Michigan Is STILL #1—In Unemployment

Yes, indeed: For the umpteenth month in a row, Michigan has secured the top spot in the unemployment rankings (see map here). Here are your top five—and notice the margin with which we lead!

  • Michigan, 11.6%
  • South Carolina, 10.4% (up 1.6%)
  • Rhode Island, 10.3%
  • California, 10.1% (up 1.4%)
  • Oregon, 9.9% (up 1.6%)
A total of eight states, plus the District of Columbia, topped the 9% mark. The national average was 8.1%.

Forty-nine states did not see a drop in unemployment; Louisiana went from 5.5% to 5.1%. Wyoming still leads the other end of the list with 3.7% unemployment.

I thought Governor Granholm said we were "going to blown away"? Did she really mean that Michigan was going to blow everyone else away in this department?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Obama and Education: Observations

President Obama discussed the topic of education Tuesday. There are two elements of the discussion that I want to comment upon.

First, he suggested "tightening standards for teachers." I did not find any specifics about what this means.

My view: Much of the "high standards for teachers" now, and particularly since the No Child Left Behind law (grrr...) passed several years ago, amount to collecting the right educational credentials. Most of us who are deep into education recognize that there is little correlation between the true abilities of a teacher to teach, and the size of the credential pile a teacher can (or chooses to) amass. If a way to select teachers can be found that doesn't emphasize transcripts over skills, my ears are open.

Second, Obama supports merit pay for teachers, or in the euphemistic language of the hour, "innovative compensation schemes."

My view: Merit pay is a grand idea with precious little foothold in reality (much like, for example, socialism). If the teachers' unions ever let it take hold in our public schools, I predict it will become an ugly game.

  • If merit pay is based on test scores, look for teachers to teach to the test or for administrators to fudge the scores to their advantage. Or just look for fraud.
  • If merit pay is based on other statistics, look for the statistics to be manipulated.
  • If merit pay is based on administrative evaluations, there will be problems both with teachers who try to illegitimately curry favor to get a good evaluation, and with administrators who wield these evaluations as a club to accomplish their own goals or to punish teachers with whom they clash.
  • And, heaven forbid, if merit pay is based on what the students think of their teachers, our education system is in monstrous trouble.
If a merit pay system can be constructed that can objectively measure the ability of every kind of teacher to have and impart wisdom and knowledge, to demonstrate and teach good character, and to give their best efforts to succeed and to breed success in their students, then I am for it. I just don't think I will ever see that day on this earth.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Democrat Hypocrisy, Now vs. 2006

You may have already read or heard the story by now, but a 2006 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll showed that 51% of Democrats (and 34% of Independents) did not want President Bush to succeed.

So why, I wonder, are the big-shot Dems in DC griping about Rush Limbaugh saying he wants Obama's policies to fail? Those people badly wanted President Bush—not just his policies, but the president himself and the war in Iraq—to fail.

The hypocrisy is overwhelming. Remember that.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Near to the Heart of God

Meditate upon these words and consider the blessed privilege of prayer in the believer's life.

Near to the Heart of God

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.


O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.


There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Crazy Headline of the Week

"Jail Inmate Escapes for Cigarettes, Tries to Sneak Back In"

It gets better: He broke into a store to steak 14 packs of cigarettes.

The jail, incidentally, is a smoke-free facility. Here's the story.

Ironic Headline of the Week

"Chavez Urges Obama to Turn to Socialism"

Really. You can read the whole article here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Americans' View of U.N. is Getting More Accurate

Foxnews.com reports that in Gallup's annual poll of American views toward the United Nations, the U.N. received an all-time worst approval rating of 26%. This is even lower than the previous nadir during the Reagan years (28%) and is even lower than American's current approval rating of Congress.

Of course, the U.N. is even more inept, corrupt, and foolish than Congress.

The article also reports that nearly $3 billion was "contributed" by American taxpayers to the U.N. last year. I would rather see my tax dollars go to fund pig odor research (one of the ultimate pork-barrel projects) than go to the United Nations, an organization which is heavily anti-American and anti-Israel.

What is encouraging, of course, is that more and more Americans are realizing what a useless, amoral, antagonistic entity the United Nations is. Now we need Americans to realize an accurate opinion of their own national government....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Can't We Even Talk About Guns in a College Class?

Last October, a student at Central Connecticut State University was called to come to the police station on the evening after he, and two classmates, gave an oral presentation about a relevant media issue. Their choice? Presenting their view that had students and staff at Virginia Tech been allowed to carry guns, the bloodshed which happened in 2007 would have been reduced.

Apparently the professor was "concerned" for the "safety" of the campus community...and decided that calling the police about this student was the appropriate thing to do.

The student went to the police station as requested and was asked about his guns. He lives off-campus and keeps the guns in a safe (guns are not permitted on the campus). No further action was taken.

Let's apply a smidgen of logic to this scenario.

  • Point: The professor thought this student was a potential threat to others because he discussed guns.
  • Point: The professor was concerned (scared?) about safety.
  • Suggested Conclusion: If the professor had been carrying a gun herself, would she have felt safer??
Never mind the fact that on the secular college campuses of today, where free speech typically means that any kind of atheist, filthy, or decadent cant is allowed to flourish, we have here a student who expressed a reasonable opinion—and had to go to the police station!?!

Will the ACLU be rushing to this young man's side to defend his actions?? Read the full story here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Obama: The Top Five Broken Promises...So Far

I came across this list today of the five biggest broken promises that our President has made. Here is a summary:

1. His campaign website said, “Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.”

2. His campaign website also said, “No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.”

3. He has also said on multiple occasions (see website for details) that "no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase," or substantially similar words. The truth: Already raised taxes on cigarettes, and has proposed massive new taxes on energy; these will affect plenty of people who make less than $250,000!

4. On 3/10/08: “The system is broken. We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress’ seniority, rather than the merit of the project." The truth, of course, is that he has signaled his intent to sign a bill full of such earmarks as soon as it reaches his desk. It has already passed the House.

5. “Not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t.” More a statement than a promise...but it is a lie.

Fuller details are given here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Math, Budgets, and the Stimulus Bill—Part 2

In yesterday's Kalamazoo Gazette (p. A4) was an article entitled, "Kalamazoo, Portage Seek Stimulus Funds" which was accompanied by a lengthy chart (not included on the web page). This chart listed projects from the website www.stimuluswatch.org for the communities of Kalamazoo and Portage.

Portage's list included only 9 projects worth over $77 million, with the main one being the I-94 improvements between Oakland Drive and Portage Road, which accounted for $62.5 million. These nine projects were expected to produce 1860 jobs.

Kalamazoo, on the other hand, had a much longer and much broader array of projects. Without a single enormous project like Portage had, their list was worth only $69,539,100, but was projected to produce 4575 jobs.

How many jobs?!? As I was scanning the list, I noticed these examples (I cite three here, but there are other similar ones):

  • Mill and resurface Water Street: Cost—$51,000 Jobs—20
  • New and replacement fire hydrants: Cost—$260,000 Jobs—45
  • Burr Oak Court Street and streetscape improvements: Cost—$96,000 Jobs—35
These are among the smaller projects on the list, but here's the key thing to notice: What is the average cost per job? The reason this matters is because this is the maximum amount each worker will receive for a job that is not very permanent!

The three above examples are simple to divide:
  • Water Street: $2550 per job
  • Hydrants: $5778 per job
  • Burr Oak: $2743 per job
The most that any of those fire hydrant people are going to earn, on average, is $5778!? Considering that some of the cost will go for other-than-payroll expenses (e.g., the hydrants themselves), the average worker on that job will make substantially less.

The overall average for the 4575 Kalamazoo jobs was $15,200 per job. Much of this will go to costs other than payroll. Nearly all of these are one-time, short-term jobs that will end when the project is finished (please fight urge to point out how long government-run jobs take to complete). They are not going to contribute to long-term community job growth, but will merely be patches in the short-term. Furthermore, these jobs will not all be occurring simultaneously, so the gross number of unemployed will change, as a percentage of the workforce, relatively little. Many of these jobs will not pay big-bucks-per-hour, like most of us would want to receive; they will essentially be temporary work.

Please remember this when someone indicates to you that the stimulus bill will have a long-term positive impact on unemployment. It is not designed to do that.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Calvary Covers It All

There remain six weeks until Easter, but any time of year is a good time to remember the cross upon which Jesus Christ died. The themes of this song are simple: Christ died for my sin on Calvary; His sacrifice was complete; My response must be to fall at His feet in repentance and gratitude.

The words and music, still copyrighted, are attributed to Ethel R. Taylor.

Calvary Covers It All

Far dearer than all that the world can impart
Was the message that came to my heart;
How that Jesus alone for my sin did atone,
And Calvary covers it all.

Calvary covers it all,
My past with its sin and stain;
My guilt and despair
Jesus took on Him there,
And Calvary covers it all.

The stripes that He bore and the thorns that He wore
Told His mercy and love evermore;
And my heart bowed in shame as I called on His name,
And Calvary covers it all.


How matchless the grace, when I looked on the face
Of this Jesus, my crucified Lord;
My redemption complete I then found at His feet,
And Calvary covers it all.