"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Monday, August 31, 2009

Massachusetts Madness

The Massachusetts state senate has passed legislation that can mandate state residents get the H1N1 (Swine flu) vaccine and awaits action by the state house. A handful of state legislators may make the entire state populace wards of the state. Gotta love it. $1,ooo a day fines and/or imprisonment await those who assert their constitutional right and refuse said vaccine.

Maybe now is a good time to come down with an allergy to vaccine adjuvants.

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California Prisoners Ready for the Streets

It seems the California prison system has 70% more prisoners than it's designed to accommodate and the state may release 20-something thousand prisoners early. If California applied God's teachings in Exodus they would require the prisoners to become the property of whomever they defrauded in the first place. In this way they could make restitution for their crime. If the offended party felt insecure about such a responsibility they could sell off this property to a willing third party. This is not a call to restore antebellum slavery as that was a perversion of what is prescribed in Exodus 21.

The released prisoners risk being reimprisoned if they run afoul of the law again once released. If they were property of someone else they risk being beaten by rods if they choose to be slothful. Under this plan not only is restitution made (or partly made), the slave owners get the rewards of labor that heretofore the state had deprived them of; law-abiding Americans, especially Californians aren't subjected to an expected surge in crime; the tax burden drops, the incentive to commit crime from a lack of conseuences flips to a major disincentive, etc.

This position has largely been passed over by the modern day church. Arguments that the New Testament teachings abolished slavery have not been convincing. Arguments that involuntary servitude for the purposes of making restitution are more compelling. Having said this, apart from a widespread increase in Christian self-government, any nation that expects to see success in applying cherry-picked standards of the Bible is poised for disappointment and floundering. You have to start somewhere though, right?

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Why KennedyCare Would Fail

Man is sinful and as such apart from regeneration pursues death whether the intentions are noble or not. Even a life well-lived has a disastrous conclusion in eternity apart from salvation in Christ while alive.

American government is not devoted to Christ. If you factor in the fact it protects abortion, spends money it doesn't have, levies excessive taxes, winks at sexual sins it's easy to make a case its devotion is to self-interest. Medicare and Social Security attest that government-run healthcare and retirement savings run up debts that would bankrupt any similar private sector-run company.

If the Obama White House signs off on any forthcoming bill to subsidize any aspect of healthcare it will serve to hasten the demise of the republic primarily through the utter devaluation of the American dollar (or whatever fiat currency might replace it one day).

Americans could do a lot to shore up the existing system but unfortunately it has little faith in the loving God who demands living in a manner consistent with Biblical dictates.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Global Warming?

A little something for Al Gore.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Review of Food, Inc.

Christians, conservatives, independents, moderates, libertarians and others are not likely to plunk down a few bucks to see the movie Food, Inc., dismissing it as a left-wing, Michael Moore-inspired, PETA-friendly propaganda piece. Having viewed this documentary the other night, to some extent those are valid arguments. However, there is enough compelling information and video in the flick to warrant viewing by a large swath of the inhabitants of our mother land.

The thrust of the important part of the film was the vast majority of the American supply of poultry, meat, corn and other seed products are funneled through a handful of large multinational corporate giants that mistreat the animals, the assembly line workers, and sell a product to your local grocery store that is “plagued” with problems from a health and safety standpoint. Of course, one can draw their own conclusions from what they see and hear in Food, Inc. but there’s little to suggest the interviews are coerced or the video photo shopped. As you might expect, George Bush is faulted for being too friendly with Monsanto, the King Kong of the genetically modified soybean industry, inclusively, but Bill Clinton is rightly faulted as well for the same coziness with said agritech giant. Obama’s name is never mentioned in the film, and it’s likely his election to the office of president occurred after the principal footage was in the can, so we’ll give the writers and producers a pass on excluding him. However, the agents of change—Obamabots—must admit Obama is definitely not using the bully pit to expose the abuses of an industry—da food—abuses abhorred by some of his most ardent, left-wing supporters. It’s doubtful any politician seek a national office will touch the food industry because they need the donations and votes tethered to it, and don’t want to see the same go to their opponent(s) if they stump for independent farmers.

Of special interest to right-leaning movie goers would be the film’s coverage of America’s departure from a grass-fed beef-consuming culture to one of antibiotic-pumped, pesticide-tainted, grain-fed meat culture. The same grain issues affect the poultry industry as well. The film makes a great case for how such a transition is likely linked to the sometimes fatal E. Coli 0157:H7 outbreaks that surface from time to time. There’s splendid coverage of all the food additives made from cheap, government-subsidized corn, especially high fructose corn syrup, and how these chemicals make it into the majority of our processed foods and school lunches. While Americans are quick to donate money to the American this and that societies to reduce heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other diseases, it’s notable that the food industry largely gets a pass, with much fewer dollars going to correct the problems in this industry that undoubtedly seeds many of the health problems we throw money at today. (The writers missed a splendid opportunity to indict the industry for distorting the disease-causing Omega 6:Omega 3 [“bad fat:good fat”] balance in the American food supply here, but you can’t have it all I suppose).

With the health care debate in full swing and the possible nationalization of America’s health care system looming, it’s illustrative to note how the growth of the food industry assembly line worker pool has exploded through the decades. And the final products have taken up greater residence in the diet of the poor families of America. If there were ever good intentions in the hearts of the movers and shakers at the top of the food industry pyramid and the government oversight entities (i.e. FDA, USDA, etc.) it most certainly has backfired. It’s inevitable such a consolidation of the health care industry will endure a similar fate. Whenever the federal government departs from enforcing contracts and instead simultaneously enters into and “polices” contracts the massive conflict of interest issues portend misery on multiple levels. Food, Inc. spends sufficient time documenting the mistreatment of the poor in the food industry, both in the supplier side and on the consumer side.

Documentaries bring back painful memories of watching educational videos in elementary school. Food, Inc. does a good job of making some good arguments in spite of its inability not to be almost completely left-wing-friendly. Do yourself a favor though and see Food, Inc. and weed out the propaganda from the rest of the meat of the film that is worth your consumption. You won’t experience any lulls for the duration of the film. If nothing else you’ll likely make wiser food choices in the future and might even plant a small garden one day. You might also come up with a reasonable theory for why our borders are so to cross.

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Not Resting While Vacationing

Barack Obama and family are beginning a 10-day vacation on a multi-acre estate. This is the man who said, "That's why when I'm President, I will put comprehensive immigration reform back on the nation's agenda during my first year in office, and I will not rest until it is passed once and for all." And, there's this nuisance of a quote, “As far as I’m concerned, we won’t have a recovery as long as we keep losing jobs,” Obama said. “And I will not rest until every American who wants a job can find one.” And who also said, "I will not rest until the education system if fixed in this nation."

There's a whole lot of resting underway for someone who said repeatedly he wouldn't rest until... Now, vacations are good, even for a president. The rub is if he thought he would take a vacation why did he make those outlandish promises about not resting until they're satisfactorily met? And one wonders why he's so distrusted. Words matter.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Her Kid Nearly Died in Canada

Anecdotal stories must always be treated for what they're worth--a single piece of evidence. Presidents like to single out a person at the yearly State of the Union address to gloat over when in reality the person is brought in as a pawn to promote an agenda. At town hall meetings politicians will cite Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so as an example of whatever for the same political reasons. I at least warn you to consider this anecdotal story about a Canadien woman jumping through hoops in Canada to get her deathly ill son seen by a physician before he spiraled down to casket fitting. Don't take this one example as the standard but remember it when a Canadien is paraded in front of American cameras to gush over how well the Canadien health care system treated them.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Hold Music. Not Hold the Music, but Hold Music

Jeffrey Tucker wrote a brief piece on "hold music"--the music one hears when you place a call and get put on hold. I agree with many of his points. Coincidentally, last Friday night was one of the extraordinarily rare moments when I enjoyed the hold music and hung on for about ten minutes before a live person picked up. In my case, I was calling a physician to question a medication order in a hospital. The "hold music" was a composer's version of Fiddler on the Roof. Having seen the play, with Topol himelf playing the lead, just a few months ago I was familiar with the tunes. I heard about three consecutive numbers before the answering service person picked up and enjoyed every minute of the long wait. Had the hold music been typical I would have hung up after about 3 minutes and tried again later as the issue was not life-threatening. The patient benefited nonetheless as he received his medication at a more appropriate dose in a timelier fashion--thanks to the physician's office choice of hold music.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Should "Birthers" Be Shot On Sight?

After reading the media reports about "Birthers" one gets the impression they should be open season for any true-blooded American with a pistol, rifle, assault rifle, bow and arrow or molotov cocktail. They have been labeled by some as nut cases, plain nuts, nuts, conspiracy freaks, racists, white supremacists, crazy and more. Birthers of course is the polarizing name ascribed to those who don't believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii as he states and backed up with his "Certification of Live Birth" (COLB).

The Tampa Tribune ran a story today by stand-up comedian and occasional Huffington Post blogger (two facts they failed to mention) Tina Dupuy that is in the typical vein of most major media reports on the subject. She dutifully used the term "birthers," ridiculed them and failed to address some of the more cogent and reasonable arguments against the validity of Obama's COLB.

If you're interested in the topic a laundry list of the evidence the Birthers hope to see addressed in the media and elsewhere can be found here. Photoshop buffs and anyone interested in a private investigator career can have a field day with these allegations. (Note that the author of the report--Polarik--has come under assault to discredit him. It doesn't matter if the allegations against him ultimately are proven true, as the evidence stands or falls on its own merit. For example, if Charles Mason stated if you fold an unfolded sheet of paper once you have one fold, the fact his crdibility is questionable does not prove his statement false).

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Health Care Forum in Tampa Got Ugly

Yesterday, U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (Tampa, FL) held a town hall forum on health care in Ybor City. The event was rather boisterous as you can see here. One political blunder was to announce the meeting just 6 hours beforehand. That right there speaks of politics and not facilitation of productive dialogue. Per this article, ACORN and SEIU (union people) were let in an hour early to scarf up the majority of seats, limiting the voicing of the opinions of the opposition. Our local rag failed to mention the ACORN, SEIU thing.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Oldest Living Woman of the Modern Era

Jeanne Louise Calment (Feb 21, 1875 - August 4, 1997) lived to be the oldest person ever once those Methuselah- and Noah-types settled down, back in the days of Genesis. If you disdain math, Calment died at the age of 121. She survived surgery (for a broken femur) just shy of her 115th birthday. She wasn't particular about taking care of herself but some of her habits were quite interesting. She was a huge fan of olive oil (an Omega-9 oil) and chocolate, claiming to eat up to 2lbs per week of the latter. She also liked port wine, garlic and fresh vegetables. She occasionally smoked cigarettes and had her last one at age 117. She had a host of hobbies instead of entering the workforce (her husband handled that) and even took up fencing at age 85. She stopped riding her bicycle at age 100.

Calment had some excellent habits and it's likely the cigarettes would have done her in earlier apart from the counteracting effects of her lifestyle and food choices, genetics and God's soverignty notwithstanding. I don't advocate cigarette smoking but it would be interesting to see studies comparing smokers with bad habits versus smokers with Calment-type habits. This is not likely to happen. (And if a single-party payor system becomes the rule of the day the odds plunge further from there).

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cash for Clunkers - An Anti-Poor People Policy

Politicians are falling over themselves with glee over the roaring success of the cash for clunkers program. This program took a lot of cars out of the market that poor people might otherwise offered to buy. Their market has been pared down.

Big, obtrusive governments don't have a strong track record for upholding a sociopolitical climate that bodes well for the poor.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Single Payer; Single Player; Line up Single File

This short video montage, mostly of Barack Obama, is credible evidence that his long-term vision is the elimination of all health care insurance programs except one--his. The video speaks for itself. His reversal on pork barrell spending is further evidence that President Obama is opposed to provate property rights as God ordained and has a view of government that is highly flawed.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

In his 1972 book (pictured at right) Saul Alinsky includes this quote just before the table of contents-- "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer." (bold-mine)

Saul Alinsky's rules for radicals are posted below. Alinsky was a writer and per wikipedia the founder of modern community organizing. One wonders what impact these ideas had on another ex-community organizer who sits in the oval office, and his Secretary of State. These tactics are easily detected in a multitude of arenas today, not just with community organizing. There's nothing new under the sun so Alinsky should not be given too much credit for coming up with these rules. His attribution to Lucifer in his book is illustrative for his concern being primarily with himself. Hopefully he repented before he passed on in 1972 (age 63). And now, his rules--

RULE 1: "Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have." Power is derived from 2 main sources - money and people. "Have-Nots" must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

RULE 2: "Never go outside the expertise of your people." It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don't address the "real" issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

RULE 3: "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy." Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

RULE 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity's very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

RULE 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." There is no defense. It's irrational. It's infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

RULE 6: "A good tactic is one your people enjoy." They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They're doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid "un-fun" activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

RULE 7: "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." Don't become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

RULE 8: "Keep the pressure on. Never let up." Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

RULE 9: "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself." Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists' minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

RULE 10: "If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive." Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management's wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

RULE 11: "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

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Cash for Clunkers

The government's "cash for clunkers" program is reminiscent of the subprime mortgage disaster. Government meddling in private property matters induces behaviors that would otherwise not surface. With the "cash for clunkers" program the feds have created a mini-bubble in the auto industry much like they did by strong-arming lenders and tempting home buyers into new home contracts of which neither party would have normally engaged.

Never put a starving child in charge of handing out other people's fresh baked, double-chocolate chip cookies. He'll eat too many and likely only give them away to other kids who own Wii's, iphones, ipods and other toys that benefit the cookie manager's access to happy feelings.

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The Disdain for Theocracy

Theocracies are nearly universally maligned. One conjures up thoughts of a resurrected Ayatollah Khomeini and a world run from Tehran. A Christian theocracy (see: Testament, Old) can only afford multiplied benefits because God's law reflects God Himself. Any law system not theocratic in the Christian sense is man-centered and destined to serve as the foundation for bondage and decay. Just because Christians are mistake-prone doesn't justify the advocacy of man-centered legal systems.

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