11.30.2010

L.A. Vikings?

L.A. groups have approached Vikings

Excerpt:

The Vikings have been approached by two different groups in Los Angeles that are looking for an NFL team to relocate to the city, according to Vikings vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley.

Bagley revealed this information on Tuesday during a chat he conducted on the Vikings website that focused on the team's attempt to get a new stadium approved during the 2011 legislative session.

"We have been approached by two different groups in Los Angeles - the Ed Roski group and more recently by former Timberwolves CEO Tim Leiweke and AEG," Bagley wrote in response to a question. "In 2009 when the NFL had an owners' meeting in southern California, Mr. Wilf and Vikings management toured LA Live to try to get ideas on building a similar sports/entertainment district in Minnesota.

"Clearly, the Vikings stadium issue is being followed nationally and it's no secret that we're down to the last year on our lease. We've told those groups that we are focused on resolving the issue in Minnesota. We feel solid momentum and feel we're well-positioned with the new legislature and governor. Instead of spending energy speculating on other markets, let's keep the focus on building a world-class facility for the community and the State of Minnesota."

Comment: I could just as well root for the Bears or the Pack

Ant Christ .... Piss Christ

Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus

Excerpt:

The federally funded National Portrait Gallery, one of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently showing an exhibition that features images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as "homoerotic."

Comment: A generation ago it was Piss Christ. The NT speaks to this - "insulted the Spirit of grace" (Hebrews 10:28-30)

A reply to some lies being perpetrated by fundamentalist zealots

Comment: I am posting this today because just today on a Fundamentalist forum, a "fundamentalist zealot" is attacking John MacArthur

What's All the Controversy About John MacArthur and the Blood of Christ?

No excerpts ... read the whole thing!

I wonder, why has Bob Jones never retracted this charge: "MacArthur's position is heresy."

SEMPER FI SOCIETY OF ST LOUIS SPEECH BY LTGEN KELLY on 13 NOV 2010

Comment: Received from my nephew who is a former Marine. Read final comment below for the important context.

Nine years ago two of the four commercial aircraft took off from Boston, Newark, and Washington. Took off fully loaded with men, women and children—all innocent, and all soon to die. These aircraft were targeted at the World Trade Towers in New York, the Pentagon, and likely the Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Three found their mark. No American alive old enough to remember will ever forget exactly where they were, exactly what they were doing, and exactly who they were with at the moment they watched the aircraft dive into the World Trade Towers on what was, until then, a beautiful morning in New York City. Within the hour 3,000 blameless human beings would be vaporized, incinerated, or crushed in the most agonizing ways imaginable. The most wretched among them—over 200—driven mad by heat, hopelessness, and utter desperation leapt to their deaths from 1,000 feet above Lower Manhattan. We soon learned hundreds more were murdered at the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania farmer’s field.

Once the buildings had collapsed and the immensity of the attack began to register most of us had no idea of what to do, or where to turn. As a nation, we were scared like we had not been scared for generations. Parents hugged their children to gain as much as to give comfort. Strangers embraced in the streets stunned and crying on one another’s shoulders seeking solace, as much as to give it. Instantaneously, American patriotism soared not “as the last refuge” as our national-cynical class would say, but in the darkest times Americans seek refuge in family, and in country, remembering that strong men and women have always stepped forward to protect the nation when the need was dire—and it was so God awful dire that day—and remains so today.

There was, however, a small segment of America that made very different choices that day…actions the rest of America stood in awe of on 9/11 and every day since. The first were our firefighters and police, their ranks decimated that day as they ran towards—not away from—danger and certain death. They were doing what they’d sworn to do—“protect and serve”—and went to their graves having fulfilled their sacred oath. Then there was you Armed Forces, and I know I am a little biased in my opinion here, but the best of them are Marines. Most wearing the Eagle, Globe and Anchor today joined the unbroken ranks of American heroes after that fateful day not for money, or promises of bonuses or travel to exotic liberty ports, but for one reason and one reason alone; because of the terrible assault on our way of life by men they knew must be killed and extremist ideology that must be destroyed. A plastic flag in their car window was not their response to the murderous assault on our country. No, their response was a commitment to protect the nation swearing an oath to their God to do so, to their deaths. When future generations ask why America is still free and the heyday of Al Qaeda and their terrorist allies was counted in days rather than in centuries as the extremists themselves predicted, our hometown heroes—soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines—can say, “because of me and people like me who risked all to protect millions who will never know my name.”

As we sit here right now, we should not lose sight of the fact that America is at risk in a way it has never been before. Our enemy fights for an ideology based on an irrational hatred of who we are. Make no mistake about that no matter what certain elements of the “chattering class” relentlessly churn out. We did not start this fight, and it will not end until the extremists understand that we as a people will never lose our faith or our courage. If they persist, these terrorists and extremists and the nations that provide them sanctuary, they must know they will continue to be tracked down and captured or killed. America’s civilian and military protectors both here at home and overseas have for nearly nine years fought this enemy to a standstill and have never for a second “wondered why.” They know, and are not afraid. Their struggle is your struggle. They hold in disdain those who claim to support them but not the cause that takes their innocence, their limbs, and even their lives. As a democracy—“We the People”—and that by definition is every one of us—sent them away from home and hearth to fight our enemies. We are all responsible. I know it doesn’t apply to those of us here tonight but if anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight—America’s survival—then they are lying to themselves and rationalizing away something in their lives, but, more importantly, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to the nation.

Since this generation’s “day of infamy” the American military has handed our ruthless enemy defeat-after-defeat but it will go on for years, if not decades, before this curse has been eradicated. We have done this by unceasing pursuit day and night into whatever miserable lair Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies, might slither into to lay in wait for future opportunities to strike a blow at freedom. America’s warriors have never lost faith in their mission, or doubted the correctness of their cause. They face dangers everyday that their countrymen safe and comfortable this night cannot imagine. But this has always been the case in all the wars our military have been sent to fight. Not to build empires, or enslave peoples, but to free those held in the grip of tyrants while at the same time protecting our nation, its citizens, and our shared values. And, ladies and gentlemen, think about this, the only territory we as a people have ever asked for from any nation we have fought alongside, or against, since our founding, the entire extent of our overseas empire, as a few hundred acres of land for the 24 American cemeteries scattered around the globe. It is in these cemeteries where 220,000 of our sons and daughters rest in glory for eternity, or are memorialized forever because their earthly remains are lost forever in the deepest depths of the oceans, or never recovered from far flung and nameless battlefields. As a people, we can be proud because billions across the planet today live free, and billions yet unborn will also enjoy the same freedom and a chance at prosperity because America sent its sons and daughters out to fight and die for them, as much as for us.

Yes, we are at war, and are winning, but you wouldn’t know it because successes go unreported, and only when something does go sufficiently or is sufficiently controversial, it is highlighted by the media elite that then sets up the “know it all” chattering class to offer their endless criticism. These self-proclaimed experts always seem to know better---but have never themselves been in the arena. We are at war and like it or not, that is a fact. It is not Bush’s war, and it is not Obama’s war, it is our war and we can’t run away from it. Even if we wanted to surrender, there is no one to surrender to. Our enemy is savage, offers absolutely no quarter, and has a single focus and that is either kill every one of us here at home, or enslave us with a sick form of extremism that serves no God or purpose that decent men and women could ever grasp. St Louis is as much at risk as is New York and Washington, D.C.. Given the opportunity to do another 9/11, our merciless enemy would do it today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. If, and most in the know predict that it is only a matter of time, he acquires nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, these extremists will use these weapons of mass murder against us without a moment’s hesitation. These butchers we fight killed more than 3,000 innocents on 9/11. As horrible as that death toll was, consider for a moment that the monsters that organized those strikes against New York and Washington, D.C. killed only 3,000 not because that was enough to make their sick and demented point, but because he couldn’t figure out how to kill 30,000, or 300,000, or 30 million of us that terrible day. I don’t know why they hate us, and I don’t care. We have a saying in the Marine Corps and that is “no better friend, no worse enemy, than a U.S. Marine.” We always hope for the first, friendship, but are certainly more than ready for the second. If its death they want, its death they will get, and the Marines will continue showing them the way to hell if that’s what will make them happy.

Because our America hasn’t been successfully attacked since 9/11 many forget because we want to forget…to move on. As Americans we all dream and hope for peace, but we must be realistic and acknowledge that hope is never an option or course of action when the stakes are so high. Others are less realistic or less committed, or are working their own agendas, and look for way sot blame past presidents or in some other way to rationalize a way out of this war. The problem is our enemy is not willing to let us go. Regardless of how much we wish this nightmare would go away, our enemy will stay forever on the offensive until he hurts us so badly we surrender, or we kill him first. To him, this is not about our friendship with Israel, or about territory, resources, jobs, or economic opportunity in the Middle East. No, it is about us as a people. About our freedom to worship any God we please in any way we want. It is about the worth of every man, and the worth of every woman, and their equality in the eyes of God and the law; of how we live our lives with our families, inside the privacy of our own homes. It’s about the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable right.” As Americans we hold these truths to be self-evident. He doesn’t. We love what we have; he despises who we are. Our positions can never be reconciled. He cannot be deterred…only defeated. Compromise is out of the question.

It is a fact that our country today is in a life and death struggle against an evil enemy, but America as a whole is certainly not at war. Not as a country. Not as a people. Today, only a tiny fraction—less than a percent—shoulder the burden of fear and sacrifice, and they shoulder it for the rest of us. Their sons and daughters who serve are men and women of character who continue to believe in this country enough to put life and limb on the line without qualification, and without thought of personal gain, and they serve so that the sons and daughters of the other 99% don’t have to. No big deal, though, as Marines have always been “the first to fight” paying in full the bill that comes with being free…for everyone else.

The comforting news for every American is that our men and women in uniform, and every Marine, is as good today as any in our history. As good as what their heroic, under-appreciated, and largely abandoned fathers and uncles were in Vietnam, and their grandfathers were in Korea and World War II. They have the same steel in their backs and have made their own mark etching forever places like Ramadi, Fallujah, and Baghdad, Iraq, and Helmand and Sagin, Afghanistan that are now part of the legend and stand just as proudly alongside Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Hue City, Khe Sanh, and Ashau Velley, Vietnam. None of them have every asked what their country could do for them, but always and with their lives asked what they could do for America. While some might think we have produced yet another generation of materialistic, consumeristic and self-absorbed young people, those who serve today have broken the mold and stepped out as real men, and real women, who are already making their own way in life while protecting ours. They know the real strength of a platoon, a battalion, or a country that is not worshiping at the altar of diversity, but in a melting point that stitches and strengthens by a sense of shared history, values, customs, hopes and dreams all of which unifies a people making them stronger, as opposed to an unruly gaggle of “hyphenated” or “multi-cultural individuals.”

And what are they like in combat in this war? Like Marines have been throughout our history. In my three tours in combat as an infantry officer and commanding general, I never saw one of them hesitate, or do anything other than lean into the fire and with no apparent fear of death or injury take the fight to our enemies. As anyone who has ever experienced combat knows, when it starts, when the explosions and tracers are everywhere and the calls for the Corpsman are screamed from the throats of men who know they are dying—when seconds seem like hours and it all becomes slow motion and fast forward at the same time—and the only rational act is to stop, get down, save yourself—they don’t. When no one would call them coward for cowering behind a wall or in a hole, slave to the most basic of all human instincts—survival—none of them do. It doesn’t matter if it’s an IED, a suicide bomber, mortar attack, sniper, fighting in the upstairs room of a house, or all of it at once; they talk, swagger, and, most importantly, fight today in the same way America’s Marines have since the Tun Tavern. They also know whose shoulders they stand on, and they will never shame any Marine living or dead.

We can also take comfort in the fact that these young Americans are not born killers, but are good and decent young men and women who for going on ten years have performed remarkable acts of bravery and selflessness to a cause they have decided is bigger and more important than themselves. Only a few months ago they were delivering your paper, stocking shelves in the local grocery store, worshiping in church on Sunday, or playing hockey on local ice. Like my own two sons who are Marines and have fought in Iraq, and today in Sagin, Afghanistan, they are also the same kids that drove their cars too fast for your liking, and played the God-awful music of their generation too loud, but have no doubt they are the finest of their generation. Like those who went before them in uniform, we owe them everything. We owe them our safety. We owe them our prosperity. We owe them our freedom. We owe them our lives. Any one of them could have done something more self-serving with their lives as the vast majority of their age group elected to do after high school and college, but no, they chose to serve knowing full well a brutal war was in their future. They did not avoid the basic and cherished responsibility of a citizen—the defense of country—they welcomed it. They are the very best this country produces, and have put every one of us ahead of themselves. All are heroes for simply stepping forward, and we as a people owe a debt we can never fully pay. Their legacy will be of selfless valor, the country we live in, the way we live our lives, and the freedoms the rest of their countrymen take for granted.

Over 5,000 have died thus far in this war; 8,000 if you include the innocents murdered on 9/11. They are overwhelmingly working class kids, the children of cops and firefighters, city and factory workers, school teachers and small business owners. With some exceptions they are from families short on stock portfolios and futures, but long on love of country and service to the nation. Just yesterday, too many were lost and a knock on the door late last night brought their families to their knees in a grief that will never-ever go away. Thousands more have suffered wounds since it all started, but like anyone who loses life or limb while serving others—including our firefighters and law enforcement personnel who on 9/11 were the first casualties of this war—they are not victims as they knew what they were about, and were doing what they wanted to do. The chattering class and all those who doubt America’s intentions, and resolve, endeavor to make them and their families out to be victims, but they are wrong. We who have served and are serving refuse their sympathy. Those of us who have lived in the dirt, sweat and struggle of the arena are not victims and will have none of that. Those with less of a sense of service to the nation never understand it when men and women of character step forward to look danger and adversity straight in the eye, refusing to blink, or give ground, even to their own deaths. The protected can’t begin to understand the price paid so they and their families can sleep safe and free at night. No, they are not victims, but are warriors, your warriors, and warriors are never victims regardless of how and where they fall. Death, or fear of death, has no power over them. Their paths are paved by sacrifice, sacrifices they gladly make…for you. They prove themselves everyday on the field of battle…for you. They fight in every corner of the globe…for you. They live to fight…for you, and they never rest because there is always another battle to be won in the defense of America.

I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they are…about the quality of the steel in their backs…about the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines. The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Islaned. They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.

The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something likfe: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different. The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event—just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured…some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.” “What he didn’t know until then,” he said, “and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal.” Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” “No sane man.” “They saved us all.”

What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “…let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.

It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have know they were safe…because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread should width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty…into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.

We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth—freedom. We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious—our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines—to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can every steal it away. It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the “land of the free and home of the brave” so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm. God Bless America, and….SEMPER FIDELIS!

Final comment:

Ladies and gentlemen-
For those who haven't seen it yet, this is a very moving speech given by Lieutenant General Kelly -- three days after his son was killed in Afghanistan. He didn't mention his son once, but rather told an amazing story about two young Marines who gave their lives in the face of grave danger to save more than 100 Americans and Iraqis. It's worth your time to read. Here are the two most gripping passages:


One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, "They'd run like any normal man would to save his life." "What he didn't know until then," he said, "and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal." Choking past the emotion he said, "Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did." "No sane man." "They saved us all."


The protected can't begin to understand the price paid so they and their families can sleep safe and free at night. No, they are not victims, but are warriors, your warriors, and warriors are never victims regardless of how and where they fall. Death, or fear of death, has no power over them. Their paths are paved by sacrifice, sacrifices they gladly make...for you. They prove themselves everyday on the field of battle...for you. They fight in every corner of the globe...for you. They live to fight...for you, and they never rest because there is always another battle to be won in the defense of America.


Semper Fi,
Paul


LtCol Paul T. Deutsch
Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow
Center for a New American Security
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 403
Washington, DC 20004

The Origins of “OK”



The Origins of “OK”

Excerpt:

The phrase “OK” is everywhere, but where did it get its start? A new book tackles its history, and NPR interviews the author, Allan Metcalf. The phrase originated with a few newspaper editors in 1839. “They had a lot of abbreviations that they were using and made up on the spot and thought they were terrifically funny,” says Metcalf. “And OK was an abbreviation for ‘All Correct.’” The phrase gathered momentum during the 1840 re-election campaign of Martin Van Buren. “He got the nickname Old Kinderhook, and early in 1840, OK clubs sprung up with the slogan, ‘OK is OK.’ So taking that funny little word and making it a mainstay of the political conversation in 1840, suddenly OK was way OK.” All right then.

Comment: Wiki: Okay. Wiki suggests that it is a Choctaw language loanword.

11.28.2010

That not so innocuous memory stick


How 250,000 US embassy cables were leaked

Excerpt:

An innocuous-looking memory stick, no longer than a couple of fingernails, came into the hands of a Guardian reporter earlier this year. The device is so small it will hang easily on a keyring. But its contents will send shockwaves through the world's chancelleries and deliver what one official described as "an epic blow" to US diplomacy.

The 1.6 gigabytes of text files on the memory stick ran to millions of words: the contents of more than 250,000 leaked state department cables, sent from, or to, US embassies around the world.

Comment: Treasonous comes to mind!

11.27.2010

Does "all" always mean "all men - every single man" in the Bible?

As in this verse:

1 Timothy 2:1-4, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

The issue is with verse 4. "[God] desires all men to be saved" (Greek: "ος παντας ανθρωπους θελει σωθηναι και εις επιγνωσιν αληθειας ελθειν")

1 Timothy 2:4 - An Exegesis

Next to 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4 is by far the most cited verse that Arminians use against Calvinists. The intention behind quoting, “who desires all people to be saved,” is to throw water on any idea that God has elected individuals to be saved, and to deny a particular intention in the atonement, as well as deny any notion that God has a special salvific love for his children.

Questions:
  • Since all men are not saved (unless one is a universalist or a second-chancer),
  • Does God have two wills? One more akin to a desire and the other His sovereign decree?
  • Can men thwart the will of God?

I provide some helpful links that address this better that I could, but first I ask readers to consider 2 Timothy 4:16, "At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me" (Greek: "εν τη πρωτη μου απολογια ουδεις μοι συμπαρεγενετο αλλα παντες με εγκατελιπον μη αυτοις λογισθειη")

Consider this because:
  • It is the same Greek word and construct as 1 Timothy 2:4
  • It is Pauline
  • And it obviously does not mean "every single man"! One may ask - how do you know that not every single man abandoned the Apostle?
    • In the context (vs 11) , Luke and others had not forsaken him!
    • And per vs 19, at least 9 more had not abandoned him!
    • Thus proving, I believe, that "all" does not always mean "every single man" but sometimes means "all types" of men

More helpful links for those interested:

SVU .... my "Turkey" stock of the year

Not every stock turns out as well as one had hoped. The end of the year is a good time to re-balance one's portfolio and perhaps take some capital gains and cut one's losses. I have some capital gains from my Fifth Third trade. This week I will be selling SuperValue (SVU). I bought it for $ 13.44 and will be selling at approximately $ 8.75 for a loss of approximately $ 470.

I've thought about using the wash-sales rule and turn around in buying it again in 31 days but probably will just sell it and use the loss to offset capital gains. The ex-dividend date is 11/29 so I will wait to the end of the week to assure that I will get this quarter's dividend.

In investing one must not be too emotional! It just didn't work out. Time to move on without looking back.

The Wash-Safe rule and investment losses

Smart Year-End Tax Moves for Investors

Excerpt:

If you sell an investment at a loss, you don't get the loss if you also buy the same holding 30 days before or after the sale. What many don't know is that these rules apply only to losses, not to gains. In the above example, Susan was free to re-acquire the stock she sold right away at a higher cost basis, which will reduce her taxable gain in the future. As long as transaction costs are low, it often makes sense to "scrub" your gains if you have losses.

Comment: More on the "Wash-Safe" rule. I have one investment that I may sell and take the loss to offset gains.

New Jersey: fear that unprofessional pumpers would blow themselves up



Self-Service Nation Ends at Garden State Gas Pumps

Excerpt:

People in New Jersey pick their own strawberries. They chop down their own Christmas trees. They check themselves in at airports and check themselves out at supermarkets. Lately, a few New Jerseyans have been wondering whether it isn't about time they were allowed to pump their own gas.

Pumping your own gas is illegal in New Jersey. It has been for 61 years.

...

Bikram Gill and his partners have bought up 26 New Jersey stations. They don't fix cars; they sell cappuccino. Their burden is finding workers to push the buttons on their self-service pumps. "Any idiot can do it," says Mr. Gill.

If that category includes New Jersey drivers, Mr. Gill figures self-service would let him cut prices by eight cents a gallon.

...

In 1949, the year New Jersey banned them, America had 200 self-service gas stations. Thirteen other states had banned them, too. (Portsmouth, Va., banned attendants on roller skates.) The fear was that unprofessional pumpers would blow themselves up.

...

The state's Supreme Court, upholding the verdict in 1951, declared gasoline inherently "dangerous in use."

Comment: When it is below 20, I would gladly pay 8¢ a gallon to have a "professional" pump. Source of vintage age. For many when I wss back in H.S. ('63-67) pumping gas was a job.

Carter's rose colored glasses

Duped in North Korea: From Obama's Mentor to Jimmy Carter

Excerpt:

In June 1994, Carter visited North Korea. He was hosted by Kim Il-sung, a tyrant, who died mere days later. And yet, Carter reported that Kim was "vigorous, alert, [and] intelligent" and had engaged in "very free discussions with his ministers." Kim spearheaded a militantly atheistic regime, which jailed Christians; Carter, however, discovered a Kim "very friendly toward Christianity."

For the impressionable ex-president, Kim provided the full Potemkin village treatment. To say Carter was suckered is an understatement. He wrote this report:

People are busy. They work 48 hours a week. ... We found Pyongyang to be a bustling city. The only difference is that during working hours there are very few people on the street. They all have jobs or go to school. And after working hours, they pack the department stores, which Rosalynn visited. I went in one of them. It's like Wal-Mart in American stores on a Saturday afternoon. They all walk around in there, and they seem in fairly good spirits. Pyongyang at night looks like Times Square. They are really heavily into bright neon lights and pictures and things like that.


Of course, in truth, North Korea is draped in darkness, as well-known satellite photos attest. Worse, within just one year of this incredibly gullible appraisal by Carter, 10%-15% of the North Korean population (two to three million people) starved to death -- the worst famine in modern times.

Adding insult to injury, a few years after that, North Korea announced that it was a nuclear state, a direct violation of the "Agreed Framework" brokered by Carter in 1994. Then, Carter triumphantly assured us that "the crisis is over" -- words headlined by both the New York Times and Washington Post.

Needless to say, the crisis was far from over. And when George W. Bush, saddled with this agreement, which North Korea was clearly violating, declared the Kim regime part of an "axis of evil," Carter protested. "I think it will take years before we can repair the damage done by that statement," sniffed Carter.

Comment: A very good and very well documented article. Love the quote, "very friendly toward Christianity"

11.26.2010

Faces of bankruptcy

Rebuilding Lives After Bankruptcy

Excerpts:

Tamara Ricks of Sunset, Utah, was offered a billing position by the municipal water, sewer and garbage department in nearby Washington Terrace, contingent upon a credit check. Ms. Ricks says she was upfront with the company about her bankruptcy: She and her husband filed a Chapter 7 petition in February 2010 after their ice-cream parlor went under and her husband's construction work dried up. They listed more than $33,000 of debt to creditors including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Discover Financial Services.

The interviewer, she says, explained that would be a problem; shortly afterward Ms. Ricks received a letter saying she had been turned down. "There's no doubt in my mind it was the bankruptcy," Ms. Ricks says. "I was very surprised. I would've thought that they would've taken the circumstances into consideration."

The city treasurer, Laura Gamon, who also oversees human resources, says Washington Terrace doesn't comment on personnel matters but that its policy is to require credit checks for employees who deal with finances or consumer information. "It's a way we protect our citizens," Ms. Gamon says.

Federal law bars public employers from denying someone a job because of bankruptcy; the laws for private employers are more vague.

Ms. Ricks now steers clear of positions that require credit checks. She is working part-time in a school lunch program and her husband is receiving unemployment benefits. Both are searching for full-time work.

...

Linda Frakes filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2008, listing nearly $310,000 of credit-card debt owed to everyone from American Express Co. to Home Depot Inc. The bulk of it was from the cost of eight Curves fitness centers in which she had invested. After brief stint in a dental office, Ms. Frakes is now unemployed, living on $330 a week of unemployment benefits and odd jobs.

After losing her house to foreclosure, Ms. Frakes began her search for rentals in the Atlanta suburbs. Duplexes turned her down; so did owners of single-family homes. Eventually she zeroed in on a house within walking distance of her teenage son's school. Although the owner was reluctant, Ms. Frakes says she talked him into it, and offered to show his other properties in the neighborhood to prospective tenants.

Apartment complexes sometimes will take into account individuals' circumstances. Archstone Operating Trust LLC, which operates about 70,000 apartments throughout the U.S., uses credit-scoring software that predicts an applicant's likelihood of default based on credit history, income and other factors.

"There are good bankruptcies and bad bankruptcies," says Donald Davidoff, Archstone group vice president. "If someone has a bankruptcy but it's clear he didn't just go on a credit binge, there's still a chance we'll rent him an apartment."

Getting a car presented another, ultimately surmountable, challenge for Ms. Frakes. After her car was repossessed, most dealers refused to finance a new one. Then a local dealership offered to finance a used 2005 Jaguar station wagon. "I ended up buying the Jaguar because they are the only ones that would loan me the money," Ms. Frakes says. "I'm still floored. It was a ridiculous interest rate, but I was happy." She paid about $1,400 upfront and makes $300 monthly payments at an 18% interest rate.

Comment: More in the article. Bankruptcy has dire consequences (as it should).

Banks: 75% of consumers opt-in for overdraft protection

Customers Opt in for Overdraft Protection

Excerpt:

Rather than face the embarrassment of being declined a purchase, 75% of consumers are opting to pay a fee—sometimes as much as $34—each time they overdraw on their debit-card account, according to Moebs Services Inc.

The choice is a recent one, thanks to new rules that came in as part of an overhaul of consumer-protection regulations. Since Aug. 15, banks have been required to ask consumers to "opt in" for overdraft protection on their debit cards and the added fees. Previously, that fee would be automatically charged without a customer's explicit consent. If consumers don't opt for the overdraft, the bank will now decline the purchase.

The large acceptance of overdraft fees comes as a surprise to some, as many analysts and banks expected consumers to balk at the prospect of more fees.

Comment: Our overdraft protection is tied to a home equity line. But we have never triggered it.

How to squander $ 10,000,000

Family’s Fall From Affluence Is Swift and Hard

Comment: A morality tale! Might be some lessons in there for readers.

Excerpts [slightly reordered]:

How it started:

[Their ]luxurious world was fueled by a check Mr. Martin received in 1998 for $14 million, his share of the $600 million sale of Martin Media, an outdoor advertising business begun by his father in California in the 1950s. After taxes, he kept about $10 million.

...

Mrs. Martin recalled the summer night in 1998 when the family was having a spaghetti dinner at home in Paso Robles, in central California, and a bank representative called to ask where to wire the money. “It seemed like an unbelievable amount,” she said regretfully.

How they spent it:

Their garage held three stylish cars, including a yellow Aston Martin; they owned three horses, one that cost $173,000; and Mr. Martin treated his wife, Kate, to a birthday weekend at the Waldorf-Astoria, with dinner at the “21” Club and a $7,000 mink coat.

...

First, the Martins bought a house in Somerset, England, near the home of Mrs. Martin’s parents, and he decided to write a novel. At about the same time, they spent $250,000 on the 3.5-acre camp with four structures on Tupper Lake, deep in the Adirondacks, as a summer home. They began extensive renovations at the lake, adding a stunning three-story boathouse and two other buildings.

..

They managed their expenses for a while, but the costs mounted and mounted some more as they worked at refurbishing the Adirondack property — eventually totaling a staggering $5.3 million, Mr. Martin said. He poured another $600,000 into the Vermont property, he said.


Their current situation:

[He] he drives 14 miles in an 11-year-old Ford Explorer to a sparsely furnished tract house that he rents for $900 a month on a dead-end street in McFarland, a smaller town. Just across the backyard is a shed that a neighbor uses to make cartridges for shooting the prairie dogs that infest the adjacent fields.

...

Mr. Martin’s current salary [is] $51,000. Their household income is down from $250,000 four years ago.

Comment: Read their story and leave a comment.

Interesting Motley Fool article on investing

5 Ways to Play a Dying Dollar

Excerpt:

But just as some foreign stocks are highly dependent on the U.S. economy, so too are many U.S.-based stocks well-positioned within the global economy. Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), for instance, gets two-thirds of its business from abroad. Unlike purely domestic businesses, companies that do enough foreign business could potentially survive a massive dollar collapse without themselves imploding.

Comment: All round good article. Mentions Gold EFTs

Peggy Noonan: "Everyone's got an Inner Duke, even grandma"

The Special Assistant for Reality - Obama needs to hear a voice from outside the presidential bubble

Excerpt (John Wayne going through TSA checkpoint):

John Wayne removes his boots and hat and puts his six-shooter on the belt, he gets through the scanner, and now he's standing there and sees what's being done to other people. A TSA guy is walking toward him, snapping his rubber gloves. Guy gets up close to Wayne, starts feeling his waist and hips. Wayne says, "Touch the jewels, Pilgrim, and I'll knock you into tomorrow."

Comment: Noonan suggests that Janet Napolitano be fired!

SAR [Special Assistant for Reality ]: Well, every businessman in America already thinks you've been grabbing his gonads. You'll continue that general symbolism.

President: Janet Napolitano won't like it. Drudge is always after her. He'll get all "Big Sis Bows Now." She might quit.

SAR: Oh God, yes. A twofer!

President: I'd look like I got rolled.

SAR: Then look strong. Fire her. She's been a disaster from day one. Now she's the face of the debacle.

President: Won't they think I'm weak?

SAR: No. They'll think you returned to Earth. They'll think ground control broke through to Major Tom. They'll think you took a step outside the bubble.

Comment: Love the David Bowie reference: Major Tom

11.24.2010

What does it say when we have to ask China to support us?

Obama Likely Spurned as China Stands by North Korea Ally

Excerpt:

resident Barack Obama’s call for China to put more pressure on North Korea to stop military attacks on South Korea may go unheeded in Beijing, where officials refuse to pin any blame on their ally, analysts say.

Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak called for China to use its influence to control North Korea’s behavior, following yesterday’s deadly artillery salvo.

Comment: China has our money and now seemingly has our will!

I'm thankful I can walk



Bionic Legs For Paraplegics? Want To Try It Out Yourself?

Comment: 23 years ago today! I walked out of Craig Spinal Cord Rehab Hospital. They wanted me to have a wheelchair and I refused. They called me stubborn. Could be!

The Two Koreas - Motivations

North Korean Radio Explains Clash

On what motivates the North - excerpt:

In an interview with the BBC, Brian Myers, an American expert on North Korea, suggested:

We need to keep in mind that North Korea is a self-described ‘military-first’ state — in other words, a state which justifies its existence not on the basis of any kind of economic promises or economic claims but on the basis of the claim to be the stronger of the two Koreas, the Korea that is standing up for itself. And when you have that kind of raison d’etre, then you need military victories on a periodic basis — or, at least, provocations of the outside world.

New Focus on North’s Food Shortage

More on the North - Excerpt:

“They’re in a desperate situation, and they want food immediately, not next year,” Mr. Choi said on Wednesday. “Food is the No. 1 issue.”

Others used harsher terms.

“This incident seems to fit the pattern of a Mafia shakedown,” said Tim Peters, a longtime resident in Seoul and head of Helping Hands Korea, an nongovernmental organization that works with North Korean defectors. “It’s a Mafia extortion by the Kim regime. And it has worked for them before: It’s the feed-us-or-we’ll-shoot-you approach. And now with winter coming on, they’re trying to get more food aid.”

“The regime wants just enough food to keep the population from turning.”

Analysts Puzzle Over Cause of Flare-Up

North alleges that the South fired first - Excerpt:

The South Korean Defense Ministry said the attack on the island was unprovoked. In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Lee called the attack “unprecedented.”

“It was a premeditated provocation and an indiscriminate attack against civilians,” he said.

But North Korea, through its official news agency, said the South had fired first, sending live rounds from a battery on another island onto its side of the maritime border.

“What has been missing in all the analysis is that we’re not listening to what North Korea says,” said Michael Breen, the author of a book about the two Koreas and a biography of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader. “Because of the blustering language the North Koreans always use, you tend to dismiss it.

“But if the North was holding live-fire exercises five miles offshore from South Korea, it wouldn’t just be business as usual. These waters, they consider theirs. What’s the point, anyway, of doing these live-fire drills so close to North Korea?”

The South Korean deputy defense minister acknowledged Tuesday night that the South had fired artillery close to North Korea, but he insisted the shots were aimed away from the North. Defense officials also said the North had known about the exercises.

Anxiety in Seoul as Civilian Deaths Are Reported

And the South - Excerpt:

And in Seoul — which lies well within range of North Korean missiles — people seemed caught somewhere between calm and dread, angry over the deaths but perhaps slightly relieved that things had not escalated.

Kwak Kyeh-nyong, a lighting designer, said the situation certainly had him worried on Tuesday night.

“It felt quite serious last night, and I was thinking that if a war started, I would have to go back into military service,” he said, sipping an early-morning espresso to nurse a hangover after a night of prebirthday partying. He turned 27 on Wednesday.

“I did my military service very close to the North Korean border. Every day I went to the DMZ. If a war had started, I would have been dead within five minutes.”

Comment: I'm just thinking ... if the young men of our greatest generation had a dread of dying and concerned about going into military service as they nursed hangovers, I would either be speaking German or Japanese today! Perhaps With the Old Breed should be translated into Korean!

I'm getting some spam comments


I'll do my best to delete them when I see them. Thanks for your patience!

11.23.2010

North Korea: Decades of Appeasement







1968: The USS Pueblo Incident

1994: U.S. and North Korea Sign Pact to End Nuclear Dispute

2002: NORTH KOREA SAYS IT HAS A PROGRAM ON NUCLEAR ARMS

2010: S. Korean Navy Ship Sinks in Disputed Waters

And we wonder why they continue to provoke us!


Comment: Helpful NYTimes interactive

I give thee my troth

THE least-heard marriage truth

Excerpt:

Well, marriage is by its nature a vow, an oath, a covenant (Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14). But in addition to that, at least in our culture, we usually take on ourselves oaths, vows, as part of the marriage ceremony. Remember the traditional ones:

Ths husband is asked, "WILT thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?" He promises, before God and everyone, that he will.

The wife is asked, "WILT thou have this man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?"

The husband promises his wife, before God and everyone, "I N. take thee N. to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth."

The wife promises her husband, before God and everyone, "I N. take thee N. to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth."

...

Note this about all those vows: not one of them is premised on the other's keeping his vows. In other words, it is not, "If you keep your promise, then I promise that I will...." The promises are unilateral, unconditional, and therefore binding as long as the marriage lasts.

All that to this simple observation: keep your vows. If you are not doing so, you are sinning, and must repent, find God's forgiveness -- and start keeping them.

Let me add this. Many are "counseling-happy" today. I'd suggest that anyone wanting marital counseling first take out his/her wedding vows, and ask himself before God, with brutal honesty, whether he/she has provided any legitimate basis for charging that he/she is failing to keep those vows. If the honest answer is "No," then counseling may be an option. If the answer is "Yes," then the only counseling he/she should seek is from his/her pastor, as to how to remedy this sin-pattern in his/her life.

And to Christian counselors, I would suggest this: what if you started with this? Start by meeting with each individual. Tell each to bring the wedding vows, for review. Go over them closely and Biblically. Deal with sin honestly and brutally.

Then see if there is still really any need for counseling.

Comment: This blog post is 6 years old! (Back to about when blogging started!). The post is still fresh! The meaning of troth!

The TSA: "the last straw for many travelers"

For Air Travelers, Small Affronts Start to Add Up

Excerpt:

The airlines have already taken away the free meals and the pillows. They have been charging for checked bags and extra legroom and raising fares whenever they can get away with it. They have cut back capacity so steeply that planes are nearly always filled to the brim.

Now, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday — traditionally the busiest time of the year — the Transportation Security Administration has imposed tough new security measures.

And that may have been the last straw for many travelers.

Judy Dugan, the research director at Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group, argues that the anger that has welled up against the new security procedures is an expression of travelers’ overall attitude toward air travel.

...

And don’t expect any change for the better anytime soon. While many travelers may complain about their travel experience, the industry for the first time in years has found a way back to profitability by holding the line on the number of flights they offer.

United States airlines scheduled 526,000 flights in September, according to the Air Consumer Travel Report, down from more than 600,000 in September 2007. And each flight is now fuller. Load factors, which measure how many seats are filled by paying customers, have risen above 80 percent on average at most airlines and will probably be 90 percent or more over the holidays. Only a few years ago, airlines were achieving load factors of 70 percent.

Just between Chicago O’Hare International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York, American Airlines and United Airlines scheduled 1,400 fewer flights in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period three years ago, a drop of 17 percent.

Fees are also piling up. Bag fees, for instance, brought in $1.7 billion in extra revenue in the first half of the year. In many cases, passengers are paying for services that were once free. Changing a ticket on US Airways, for instance, now costs $150 to $250; sending an unaccompanied minor on a Delta Air Lines flight, $100. Pet charge on Southwest, $75; an alcoholic drink on United, as much as $9.

“Air travel used to be glamorous and exciting — and now, it’s just a pain,” said Mary C. Gilly, a professor of marketing at the University of California, Irvine. “Airlines have become very cost-oriented as opposed to service-oriented. They are catering to their investors, not their customers.”

More problems may be on the horizon, some experts say. New federal rules have pretty much abolished instances of planes sitting on the tarmac for more than three hours. But the rule, which went into effect in May, may have had the unintended effect of forcing more flights to be canceled, some airline experts say.

Comment: See Dan Phillips post: TSA's grope-'n'-porn: your experiences, plans, proposals?

North Korea: Like a bratty little brother!

A Nettlesome Neighbor for China

Excerpt:

North Korea’s unending appetite for confrontation has left many wondering what its bottom line is, none more so than its supposed patron and big brother, China.

Despite its impoverishment and heavy dependence on Chinese aid and support, North Korea seems to take a perverse pleasure in defying every Chinese diplomatic initiative, from efforts to keep the Korean peninsula nuclear free to avoiding violent confrontation.

China’s influence is rising steadily around the world. But the problem of how to manage its Communist neighbor and one-time ally appears to befuddle China’s leaders, who stumble from indulging the North to sending occasional signals of pique, all without making the country adopt a path toward greater openness or stability.

“At the moment China has limited influence,” Cai Jian, a professor of Korean studies at Fudan University, said in a telephone interview. “On one hand it’s unhappy with North Korean actions and its provocative behavior, but on the other hand it still has to support North Korea.”

The support continues because China fears the vacuum created by a sudden collapse there would open the door to rule by South Korea, “and that will put an American military alliance on the doorstep of China.”

Mr. Cai said that during a recent trip to China, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was told by the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, that they should communicate better so that China would not be surprised by its behavior.

From the North, a Pattern of Aggression

Excerpt:

While the North has sought to send strong, militaristic messages to the United States and its allies in the past, the new provocations have been more forceful and lethal than in recent decades. Analysts say the government may be trying to ensure that the Kim family dynasty continues for a third generation by winning the loyalty of the powerful military with shows of force.

The escalation may also reflect the increasing insecurity or even desperation of the isolated North, which often has trouble feeding its own population, much less keeping up with the rising technological and military capabilities of the far wealthier South.

“The North reacts with sea clashes whenever it feels slighted or threatened,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “The North wants to send a message to the South that it will never yield.”

Comment: One of these days, this will boil over and be a war. I'm surprised it hasn't so far. More from the 2nd article on the logic (there must be some logic one would think!) of the North's actions.

Excerpt (I added the numbered list and the bolded headers):

Analysts admit that trying to make sense of these seemingly random and often violent acts is a bit like reading tea leaves. However, they tend to offer three lines of analysis in explaining them.
  1. Get Washington's attention: The first is that the North is raising tensions on the peninsula in order to get Washington’s attention. In particular, North Korea appears keen to hold bilateral talks with the United States, something both the Bush and Obama administrations have been wary of doing. The Bush administration preferred to hold collective discussions with North Korea as part of the so-called six party talks that also involve China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. The Obama administration has not held direct talks with the North.
  2. Stir domestic population by creating a crisis: The recent provocations could be a show aimed at the broader domestic population, to once again rally them behind the government by creating an air of crisis. Some experts have also speculated that the recent acts were ordered by the younger Kim to establish his leadership credentials with the military, arguably the most powerful institution in North Korea.
  3. Bargaining chip: One of the North’s ultimate goals may be ensuring the Kim dynasty’s survival by negotiating with the United States, most likely for a peace treaty to conclude the Korean war, which never formally ended. North Korea could conceivably offer its nuclear program as a bargaining chip in exchange for security guarantees that would include a pledge never to attack the North.

Sid Hartman: "you can't fire 53 football players, so the coach becomes the victim"

Players, not coach, the Vikings' problem

Excerpt:

There is no doubt in my mind that had the Vikings defeated the Packers, and had fans been celebrating rather than criticizing the coach, that Childress still would be employed today.

The fans, the sponsors and a great number of second-guessers had come down hard on Childress because of the team's losing record, and the Wilfs were convinced the franchise needed a change.

Unfortunately, you can't fire 53 football players, so the coach becomes the victim.

...

.... players win and lose games, and if the Vikings don't get some better players on the offensive line and especially in the secondary, changing coaches won't mean a thing.

Comment: Sid Hartman is 90! and still active!

King James Version 1611 - Facsimile



King James Version - 1611

Comment: Worth a look

"Fooled by a smile from a non-Muslim woman"

A Christian perspective: Marry Outside the Faith? The Logic of Christian Marriage

Excerpts:

Statistics indicate that a growing number of Americans are marrying someone from outside their own religious commitments. Is this a trend we should encourage? Not if you are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

...

For Christians, the issue is not settled by sociological data, however. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Apostle Paul commands that Christians must “not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” This command reaches far beyond marriage, but it certainly includes the covenant of marriage within its span. Paul’s principle is clear: The Christian’s commitment to Christ is determinative of his or her other commitments. A believer must not marry an unbeliever, for this violates the very logic of the Gospel and the believer’s union with Christ.

The believer in Christ acknowledges him as Savior and Lord, with an allegiance that exceeds any earthly commitment. When two believers are married, they share this mutual commitment and are commonly dedicated to the Lordship of Christ. Their worldviews and allegiances merge into the strength of mutual discipleship, and the big questions of life are answered by their common faith in Christ.

In contrast, the mixed-faith marriage lacks this mutuality of faith and commitment. Worldview divergences and issues of contrasting beliefs are almost surely to hit where they matter most — in relation to the most significant questions of life.

A Muslim perspective: Muslim men in the West should think carefully before marrying outside the faith

Excerpt:

A Muslim man is discouraged from marrying a non-Muslim woman if there is no Islamic State or if he is not living in an existing Islamic state, since the non-Islamic states do not recognize his rights as head of the family to raise the children Islamically. On the contrary, the children will most likely be brought up in their mother's religion, since the Muslim husband does not have his Islamic rights in his non-Muslim wife's country.

There are many tragic examples of Muslim men who tried to take their children to their Muslim countries after they divorced non-Muslim wives. The women in many of these cases succeeded in bringing the children back to be raised in the non-Islamic societies as non-Muslims. The fathers are referred to as kidnappers (of their own children) in the non-Islamic media. Unfortunately, even the governments in Muslim countries these days help the non-Muslim wives to get custody of the children. This is due to the absence of an Islamic state which would protect Muslim children from being kidnapped by non-Muslim wives to be raised as non-Muslims.

Muslim men should consider these issues before they marry non-Muslim women, especially when the man is strongly influenced by her physical appearance. A Muslim man should look to the future and consider his duties toward his children. The cases mentioned show clearly the damage that can be done to children in interfaith marriages, and while a personal sin may be easy to forget and repent from, one may never overcome the problems that arise because his children were raised as non-Muslims as a result of his negligence concerning providing the right spouse and community for them. Children have the right to be brought up in an Islamic environment by good Muslim parents.

The benefits of marrying a non-Muslim woman are minimal when both live in a non-Islamic state. The woman and her relatives would not see how Muslims live as a community, nor would they have close contact with family, should the Muslim man decide to marry her and live outside the Islamic State. Marrying a chaste Christian or Jewish woman in a non-Islamic state should be considered as a last resort and as the only alternative to keep him from falling into adultery. Men, however, should be aware of the fact that most women in non-Islamic societies do not qualify as chaste women in Islam, (i.e. abstention from unlawful sexual activities). Some Muslim men ignore these conditions and ignore the commands of Allah when they are misled and fooled by a smile from a non-Muslim woman.

Abdullah Ibn `Abbas, a famous companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and a famous scholar, said that Muslim men should not marry Christian or Jewish women from people who are enemies of Islam.

Comment: From decades of working the young adults, I've seen this more than once. I posted the Albert Mohler article at 4BYA.info back in July

A French emergency

World Edgy on Korea, Russia Sees 'Colossal Danger'

Excerpt:

A French diplomatic source said the U.N. Security Council could hold an emergency meeting in the next day or two.

Comment: Had to laugh at this! At work, if we had 10 desktops out of commission because of a software push we would be 24 x 7 to resolve. Well the UN is feckless anyway!

11.22.2010

Nissan Leaf to get equivalent of 99 mpg

Nissan Leaf to get equivalent of 99 mpg

Excerpts:

Nissan Motor Corp. said Monday the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel efficiency window sticker, which provides information about the car's energy use, would estimate the electric car will achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway.

EPA's tests estimate the Leaf can travel 73 miles on a fully charged battery and will cost $561 a year in electricity. Nissan has said the Leaf can travel 100 miles on a full charge, based on tests used by California regulators.

...

EPA calculated the Leaf's fuel economy based on a formula that says 33.7 kilowatts per hour holds the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. The label estimates a charging time of 7 hours on a 240-volt charge. Cost estimates were based on 15,000 miles per year at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Comment: See I reserved a Nissan Leaf

"Chrismukkah": Dumbing down the Christian holidays

Jewish-Christian families face December with secular spirit

Excerpts:

Ron Gompertz, who launched the "Chrismukkah" greeting cards years ago, mashing up Christmas and Hanukkah for Jewish-Christian families, once defended his idea to InterfaithFamily.com, a web site that stresses Jewish choices for inter-married families.

...

were fully aware that strictly theologically speaking, Chrismukkah was nonsense.

...

Take your favorite secular parts from Christmas and Hanukkah -- the food, the lights, the snowmen, the songs -- then mush them all together, being careful to leave the religious parts alone.

Comment: What would a Muslim-Christian Christmas look like? ChristRamadan?

The deceptive fable of "test drive" Marriage

Is Cohabitation the Modern Version of Marriage?

Excerpt:

For many American young people, cohabitation is considered to be a low-cost, no-hassle alternative to marriage, a “test-drive” in some cases, or more often merely an exciting fling of no great consequence. Sadly, they have bought into the seductive cohabitation mythology. It is commonplace to hear them parroting the following specious arguments: (1) Living together is a “trial marriage” to “test the waters” to see if the couple is “compatible.” (2) Young couples cannot afford to get married; they need to wait until they are financially secure and their careers are well-established. (3) A girl should be able to have the big, expensive wedding that fulfills her childhood dreams. And on and on the deceptive fable gets spun.

Comment: No God-fearing Christian with any semblance of Bible knowledge would be drawn into this error!

HTML5: Periodic Table of the Elements

Periodic Table of the Elements

Comment: Hey Daniel ... thought you would like this!

Gloria Allred: I seriously pity this woman!

Gloria Allred On TSA Pat-Down: "I Liked It"

Excerpt:

it was a first time anybody touched them in a long time

Comment:  Speechless! Wiki: Gloria Allred

Brad Childress out but was he the problem?

The Brad Childress Era in Minnesota is over.

Excerpt:

The team relieved the head coach of his duties Monday morning.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will take over as the interim head coach.

Childress, 54, compiled a 39-35 regular-season record in five seasons in Minnesota, including 3-7 this season. He guided the Vikings to a 1-2 mark in the playoffs.

The team had visions of a Super Bowl berth after quarterback Brett Favre put together perhaps his finest season in 2009 and the Vikings went 12-4.

But things went sour quickly, as the Vikings lost three of their first four games. Then the team acquired embattled receiver Randy Moss, then, only weeks later, Childress released Moss without consulting owner Zygi Wilf. It was then that Childress’ job security appeared at its most tenuous.

The firing comes one day after the Vikings were embarrassed by the Green Bay Packers 31-3, their second loss in a row.

Childress also had a increasingly combative relationship with likely Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, who signed with the Vikings as a free agent before the 2009 season.

Vikings fire Childress; should beat writers lose jobs, too?

Excerpt:

The Minnesota Vikings fired head coach Brad Childress today, but what has my Twitter stream fired up is whether the local beat writers should go, too.

The argument goes something like this: the local sportsfolk haven't broken the biggest Vikings stories this year, including Brett Favre's return, the Randy Moss trade, and now, Chili's firing. Depending on how you parse out credit, the scoops belonged to ESPN, the NFL Network and Fox Sports. So why should, say, the Strib have three guys working the Vikings/NFL beat when they can't bring home the biggest stories — especially when less sexy but more important news beats have one or no reporters?

Comment: My own take is that Favre is a problem and should not be retained. Whoever at the Vikes made the decision to bring back Randy Moss should also be fired. As for Brad. I liked him and considered him a good coach. Since he just signed a contract extension a year ago, the guy probably will never need to work again. Enjoy your holidays watching the NFL instead of being in the maelstrom and melodrama of the Minnesota Vikings.

From 1 year ago:


The Minnesota Vikings signed Brad Childress to a contract extension that will keep the coach with the team through the 2013 season, a source told ESPN.com Thursday.

Financial terms weren't immediately available but the deal is believed to be between $4 million and $5 million a year, the source said. In 2006, Childress signed a five-year, $10 million contract, which was scheduled to expire after the 2010 season.

"Brad has done a tremendous job leading this football team and we value the positive environment he has created for the Minnesota Vikings on and off the field," Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement. "He has continued to positively impact this team and create a strong foundation for future success."

A note to Zygi Wilf. I will not pay for your stadium. Move your second rate team to a second tier TV market like Las Vegas!

"What else gets eliminated accidentally?"

Method to erase traumatic memories may be on the horizon

Excerpt:

Soldiers haunted by scenes of war and victims scarred by violence may wish they could wipe the memories from their minds. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University say that may someday be possible.

A commercial drug remains far off — and its use would be subject to many ethical and practical questions. But scientists have laid a foundation with their discovery that proteins can be removed from the brain's fear center to erase memories forever.

"When a traumatic event occurs, it creates a fearful memory that can last a lifetime and have a debilitating effect on a person's life," says Richard L. Huganir, professor and chair of neuroscience in the Hopkins School of Medicine. He said his finding on the molecular process "raises the possibility of manipulating those mechanisms with drugs to enhance behavioral therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder." ..

For now, there aren't yet drugs to erase memories. But there are medications also targeting the amygdala and used with behavior therapy that can lessen the emotional response to painful memories in those with PTSD, such as propranolol, a beta blocker commonly used to treat hypertension.

Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University in Atlanta, says permanently erasing memories in humans, if it can be done, wouldn't be a lot different ethically than such behavior modification. Both are memory manipulation. But he said erasing memories is fraught with many more potential pitfalls.

He also said that PTSD sufferers, such as service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, frequently experience more than one traumatic event, and trying to eliminate all the memories could significantly alter a person's personality and history. So could forgetting a whole person after a painful loss or breakup, as depicted in the 2004 movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Wolpe said it can be called dementia when someone forgets that much of their past.

"I don't know what it means to erase that much of a person's life," he said. "You'd leave a giant hole in a person's history. I tend to doubt you'd even be able to."

Further, he said, the safeguards necessary to protect the process from abuse would be difficult. Inmates or soldiers in danger of capture could be subjected to it, for example. Many questions should be decided before testing is pursued in humans, because its use may become "too tempting," he said.

Wolpe could see only limited uses for erasing a memory for now, such as for those suffering after a rape or single terrifying event.

"Certainly, there may be appropriate applications," he said. "But human identity is tied into memory. It creates our distinctive personalities. It's a troublesome idea to begin to be able to manipulate that, even if for the best of motives."

Comment: Shades of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

11.21.2010

Ménage à trois? No big deal, "I also stole a honey bun from a store when I was 7 or 8 "


Pastor who banned Facebook had three-way sex affair

Excerpts:

The Rev. Cedric Miller didn't need Facebook to be part of an extramarital affair.

Miller, 48, who gained national attention this week when the pastor banned his church's leaders from using Facebook because he said it is a portal to infidelity, had himself engaged in a three-way relationship with his wife and a man a decade ago, according to testimony he gave in a criminal case.

Miller, pastor of the 1,100-member Living Word Christian Fellowship Church on Route 35, admitted in his testimony to a sexual relationship that included his wife and a church assistant. Sometimes the assistant's wife was present, he testified.

...

"It has come to my attention that a very painful part of my past has resurfaced,'' Miller said in an e-mail response Friday, stating that the same testimony was mailed to his church leaders and other pastors a number of years ago.

"This was resolved at that time and accordingly we will not allow it to detract from our mission at hand to save as many marriages as we can,'' Miller wrote.



In his testimony on April 15, 2003, Miller said his wife had an extramarital affair with a church assistant and that he (Miller) said he was present at many of their meetings. And sometimes the assistant's wife was present, Miller said.

"We would talk and laugh and play and just beyond what was appropriate,'' he testified.

Pressed by a defense lawyer to give more detail about what Miller meant by saying "we had crossed the line many times,'' the pastor said: "I mean between the four of us. It was just, I mean there was touching, there was … it was crazy, it was as wrong as wrong could get. Yes.''

"Okay, it was sex, correct?'' the lawyer asked.

"Yes,'' Miller said.

"And you knew about it.''

"Yes.''

"And you watched it.''

"Yes,'' Miller said.

"And you knew your wife was engaging in this freely and voluntarily. Correct?''

"Yes.''

"And it happened many, many times?''

"Yes.''

...

He testified that the encounters "came to a crashing halt'' when several women in the church accused the assistant of sleeping with them.

"My wife found out about it and she just wanted nothing to do with what was going on with us,'' Miller testified. "And I didn't know what it was for awhile. And it wasn't till, as the other women came out publicly, that's when I found out about it. So, at first I didn't know why she just didn't want any part of it.''

In his e-mail on Friday, Miller said: "There are some very innocent people who could be hurt irreparably by the revisiting of this incident.

"I also stole a honey bun from a store when I was 7 or 8 which I was also reminded of,'' he said.

Comments: Previous article Rev. To NJ Church Leaders: Thou Shalt Not Facebook

Another illustration of the abysmally low standards for Pastoral leadership in some churches.

More on Stuxnet worm

Stuxnet so sophisticated it was like 'the arrival of an F-35 fighter jet on a World War I battlefield.'

Excerpt:

Compare the worm to "digital warheads" that detonated on not only Iranian centrifuges - even those we possibly don't know anything about - but also at the new reactor at Bushehr:

Langner said that the portion of the worm that targeted Uranium enrichment plants manipulated the speeds of mechanical parts in the enrichment process, which would ultimately "result in cracking the rotor, thereby destroying the centrifuge."

He said the strategic importance of such an attack is that it was able to "attack and destroy centrifuge facilities that are unknown to IAEA inspectors and the world," saying that this was likely the main goal of the worm's first "warhead."

Comment: All Stuxnet posts