HTML: The Anchor Tag and the Href Attribute

HTML Links

Correct usage of the A HREF tag when blogging:

  1. Use the "Edit HTML" tab in blogger to Edit HTML (important to correct issues with links!)
  2. Usage: <a href="URL String" target="_blank">Text to display</a>
  3. The URL string takes the form of http://www.w3schools.com
  4. Target="_blank" will open the link in a new brower window instead of overlaying the new URL page over one's blog. Note the underscore ("_") before the word blank!
  5. It is very important to test the link and correct if it does not work appropriately. The link should open the appropriate page in a new browser window!

What Evangelism Isn't

CT: Mark Dever: What Evangelism Isn't

Comment: Read the full article. Points. Evangelism is not:

  1. Imposition
  2. Personal Testimony
  3. Social Action and Public Involvement
  4. Apologetics
  5. The Results of Evangelism

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

Those undemocratic Iowa caucuses

What's the Matter With Iowa? The caucuses are anything but a Norman Rockwell exercise in small-town democracy


The trouble with the Iowa caucuses isn't that there's anything wrong with Iowans. It's the bizarre rules of the process. Caucuses are touted as authentic neighborhood meetings where voters gather in their precincts and make democracy come alive. In truth, they are anything but.

Caucuses occur only at a fixed time at night, so that many people working odd hours can't participate. They can easily exceed two hours. There are no absentee ballots, which means the process disfranchises the sick, shut-ins and people who are out of town on the day of the caucus. The Democratic caucuses require participants to stand in a corner with other supporters of their candidate. That eliminates the secret ballot.

There are reasons for all this. The caucuses are run by the state parties, and unlike primary or general elections aren't regulated by the government. They were designed as an insiders' game to attract party activists, donors and political junkies and give them a disproportionate influence in the process. In other words, they are designed not to be overly democratic. Primaries aren't perfect. but at least they make it fairly easy for everyone to vote, since polls are open all day and it takes only a few minutes to cast a ballot.

Little wonder that voter turnout for the Iowa caucuses is extremely low--in recent years about 6% of registered voters. Many potential voters will proclaim their civic virtue to pollsters and others and say they will show up at the caucus--and then find something else to do Thursday night.
Then there are the problems of reporting the results on election night. At least the Republican caucus is a one-man, one-vote affair where people write their preferred candidate's name on a slip of paper, and whoever gets the most votes wins.

Democrats have a mind-numbingly complex system in which participants divide up into "candidate preference groups" by standing up. No paper ballots are used. Those candidates who don't get support from 15% or more of those attending a local caucus are deemed not to be "viable," and their supporters have to realign with some other candidate.

Comment: Here's to support for regional primaries! The Iowa caucuses are not a ballot, are not secret, and are not truly democratic! See Uncluttering the primary calendar for a better (a much better!) way.

New Year's Eve thoughts from Psalm 90

Psalm 90

  1. Mortal Man's problems:

    1. Our lives are short (vs 5, "like grass which grows up")
    2. We are sinful (vs 8, "You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance")
    3. We experience sorrow (vs 10, "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away)

  2. Contrasted with the Almighty's eternality (vss 1-4) (vs 2, "from everlasting to everlasting, You are God")
  3. The Psalmist's plea:

    1. Teach us: (vs 12, "teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
    2. Satisfy us: (vs 14, "Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy")
    3. Establish us: (vs 17, "establish the work of our hands for us")

From Moses' Prayer:

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

A few days after these words appear in print the old year of our Lord will have gone to join the long procession of years and centuries that move on into the shadows of a past that can come no more.

In the year just gone the world has been writing history, not with ink only but with blood and tears; not in the quiet of the study but in violence, terror and death in city streets and along the borders of nations; and other and milder but more significant history has been written by incredible feats of power in sending man-made objects out to circle the moon and the sun….

To each one fortunate enough to live out [this year], God will have given 365 days broken into 8,760 hours. Of these hours, 2,920 will have been spent in sleep, and about the same number at work. An equal number has been given us to spend in reverent preparation for the moment when days and years shall cease and time shall be no more. What prayer could be more spiritually appropriate than that of Moses, the man of God: "Teach us to number our d-ays aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Amen"

(A.W. Tozer, Tozer on Christian Leadership, December 30)

Spurgeon: “We must consider the whole Psalm as written for the tribes in the desert, and then we shall see the primary meaning of each verse. Moses, in effect, says—wanderers though we be in the howling wilderness, yet we find a home in thee, even as our forefathers did when they came out of Ur of the Chaldees and dwelt in tents among the Canaanites. To the saints the Lord Jehovah, the self existent God, stands instead of mansion and rooftree; he shelters, comforts, protects, preserves, and cherishes all his own. Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the saints dwell in their God, and have always done so in all ages. Not in the tabernacle or the temple do we dwell, but in God himself; and this we have always done since there was a church in the world. We have not shifted our abode. Kings' palaces have vanished beneath the crumbling hand of time—they have been burned with fire and buried beneath mountains of ruins, but the imperial race of heaven has never lost its regal habitation.”

  1. We worshiped at 4th this morning and evening:

    1. AM: Jason Stamper on I Timothy 3:15, "the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth"
    2. PM: Tom Zempel from Hebrews 4, The promise of rest

  2. We are about entertained out. Coming up: Today Kathee is having her brother and sister-in-law by for lunch. They are leaving for Florida next Monday and we won't see them until mid-April. Tomorrow morning (New Years' Day) we are having 2 couples by the house for breakfast
  3. Wednesday back to work and the realities of the stresses of earning a living.
  4. We were thinking and talking today about being 8 years past all the Y2K hoopla at work and 8 years since my Dad died (12/22/1999)

Will Bloomberg shake up the '08 race?

Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President


Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.
Advisers have said Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire many times over, might invest as much as $1 billion of his own fortune (he spent about $160 million on his two mayoral races) on a presidential campaign.

But they warned that while they were confident of getting on the ballot in every state, the process was complicated and fraught with legal challenges, and that Mr. Bloomberg would begin with an organizational disadvantage, competing against rivals who have been campaigning full time for years.

Still, the mayor said this month at a news conference, “Last I looked — and I’m not a candidate — but last time I checked reading about the Constitution, the Electoral College has nothing to do with parties, has absolutely nothing to do with parties. It’s most states are winners take all. The popular vote assigns electoral votes to the candidate, and I don’t think it says in there that you have to be a member of one party or another.”

Comment: I hope he runs. Although I favor John McCain, I think aside from him, the 2008 candidate class is very weak!

Warren Vanhetloo: Prayer

An acrostic concerning prayer (ACTS) is beneficial: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

Probably the prayer pattern of most Christians is the reverse: “Gimmi, gimmi, gimmi; thanks; you’re a good God.” Often there is no confession of any sort, and the honest confession is totally missing. It is good for the soul to adjust to the order and emphasis that pleases God.

John Piper on the prosperity gospel

Acts 14:21-22, And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

Acts 5:41, So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Romans 8:16-18, The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2 Corinthians 1:5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. (Comment .... view in context of whole chapter)

Fred's Message to Iowa Voters


Economic butterfly effect

From the sub-prime to the ridiculous: how $100bn vanished


It began with low-income Americans being encouraged to borrow mortgages they couldn't afford.

The economic butterfly effect would eventually cause deals worth billions of dollars to fall apart; the first run on a British bank in 140 years; some of the most powerful figures on Wall Street losing their jobs; wild gyrations on the markets; and dire warnings that the world is on the brink of recession.

At the start of the year, stockmarkets were at six-year highs and £40bn worth of mergers and takeovers were awaiting completion. Private equity firms and hedge funds were gorging themselves on cheap money and a handful of secretive, hugely wealthy individuals were becoming increasingly influential. But it was the millions on more modest incomes who would ultimately shape the events of 2007.

As the US housing market cooled and interest rates rose, many on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder found it difficult to meet their monthly mortgage repayments.

The first real concerns about sub-prime mortgages emerged at the end of February, when Wall Street suffered its worst day since the terrorist attacks of 2001. By April one of the biggest sub-prime mortgage lenders in the US had gone bankrupt and there was talk of a full-blown crisis. Credit more broadly began to dry up as lenders became nervous.

Fear also spread as it became clear that much of the bad debt had been packaged up and sold on around the world's financial system. Nobody, not even the banks themselves, knew who owned the toxic debt.

Some otherwise arcane practices of the financial world such as collateralised debt obligations and structured investment vehicles suddenly became everybody's concern.

Comment: The scary part: "Nobody, not even the banks themselves, knew who owned the toxic debt". 2008 could be very interesting for the US Economy, the dollar, and interest rates. My own take ... all will sort out fine! Just be glad if you are not trying to sell a house!

Another view: Top economist says America could plunge into recession

Robert Shiller, Professor of Economics at Yale University, predicted that there was a very real possibility that the US would be plunged into a Japan-style slump, with house prices declining for years.

Professor Shiller, co-founder of the respected S&P Case/Shiller house-price index, said: “American real estate values have already lost around $1 trillion [£503 billion]. That could easily increase threefold over the next few years. This is a much bigger issue than sub-prime. We are talking trillions of dollars’ worth of losses.”

Comment: I checked the market value on my house on zillow.com about six months ago and then again last week. Per Zillow, my house value has dropped nearly $ 40K!

Is ripping illegal? Ridiculous!

What is ripping?

Ripping also allows content to be losslessly copied for a very low or essentially zero cost and given to those who did not purchase it, possibly substituting for sales of content. Hence it has aroused fierce opposition by the recording industry, who view it as theft.

Since the music or video is transferred to a data file, the files can be shared with other computer users over the Internet.

Although it is legal in the United States to make backup copies of software, the legality of ripping music for personal use without the permission of the copyright holder is controversial. Historically, copying media for personal use was established to be Fair Use under U.S. Copyright by the Supreme Court in the Sony Betamax doctrine. On the other hand, the RIAA, which represents many music copyright holders has maintained that copying rights have not been granted to end users and that Fair Use does not apply.

Depending on the outcome of the trial including the RIAA v. Jammie Thomas, even ripping a cd without permission from the owner of the copyright, even for personal use may be illegal.

Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use


Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

"I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."

RIAA's hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."

Comment: I understand that giving away a digital file of a ripped CD would be a copyright violation, it makes no sense that making a digital file of a CD that I own to be used by me personally (on an MP3 player or an IPOD) would be illegal. This case will be watched closely!

People searches

How to track down anyone online

Comment: I tried the Zabasearch on my name. My address and birth month and year were correct. Search also reported my brother's address as my own. Interesting. This last year I found an old friend via Googling his name. I found his son's phone # and was able to connect with the son and ultimately the father.

Arif and Kathleen Khan's story

The Believers


'They were sweethearts,” the Rev. Albert Martin said. “He led her, and she followed him willingly and cheerfully. That is all biblical, you see.”

Martin was remembering Arif and Kathleen Khan, a missionary couple whom Martin’s church, the Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, N.J., had sent to Pakistan eight years ago. There, this August, the couple were shot to death in their home by three suspected killers ....

Kathleen, the daughter of scarcely observant Christians, grew up enthralled by the stories of missionaries that filled the New Jersey church where her parents sent her for Sunday school. And Arif, born and raised in Pakistan, the son of a preacher in the country’s small Christian community, felt called to carry his faith into nations hostile to the message he brought. They met at a seminary in Massachusetts and married, and soon Arif, who had become an American citizen, led her and their two young children to live in Iran; the family quickly found themselves fleeing Ayatollah Khomeini’s fundamentalist revolution. Next the Khans made their home in another Islamic country, which Martin would not specify for fear of endangering the missionary that Trinity Church now sponsors there. Arif was banished. In 1999, with their children grown, he and Kathleen settled in Islamabad, their home until their murder. Arif knew the risks of proselytizing. He had, shortly before his marriage, been jailed for weeks in Pakistan for preaching Christ’s power in the streets with his father. “He was a marked man,” Martin said. “He talked of dying for Christ as though it was having a mole removed.”

Comment: For more see the sermons page of Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, NJ. Also: The Pakistani Christian Post


Subprime macroeconomic risk

Subprime's Hidden Cost Is Shrinking Leverage


... leveraged investors, particularly banks and brokers, seek to maintain constant capital ratios. As such, when they lose money, they scale back lending to keep their capital ratios -- assets divided by equity or risk-free capital, such as cash -- from falling.

U.S. commercial banks on average have capital ratios of 10 percent, which means that for every $1 of capital lost, they reduce lending by $10. Thus, assuming that $200 billion of the projected $400 billion mortgage-credit loss is borne by leveraged institutions, the supply of credit will decline by $2 trillion, Hatzius said. ``The likely mortgage-credit losses pose a significantly bigger macroeconomic risk than is generally recognized.''

Pulling Back

Meanwhile, Independent Strategy figures that banks will have to shrink lending by 15 percent to 20 percent to return their capital ratios to pre-crisis levels, and hedge funds and brokers by $18 to $25 for every $1 lost. ``A 10 percent reduction in global bank lending would damage corporate investment and consumer-spending growth, adding significantly to the risk of economic recession,'' the firm said in a Nov. 15 report.

Apart from a decision to supply wads of money to relieve the logjam in global credit markets, the performance of central banks has been anything but sterling. They woke up late to the subprime mortgage mess, and some people still doubt that they fully grasp the risks involved -- especially following the Federal Reserves' decision to cut its federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 percent on Dec. 11, when the market was looking for more.

``The timid move by the Fed was very disappointing and even appalling in the wake of intense financial-market turmoil,'' Chen Zhao, Montreal-based head of global strategy at BCA Research Ltd., wrote to clients on Dec. 12. ``The most troubling aspect of yesterday's decision is that it reveals a lack of coherent strategy and focus at the Fed.''

Comment: See earlier CFG post: Subprime Economic Shock

Ma Verite Sur la Planete

Gore Milks Cash Cow, Sego May Run Again: What France Is Reading

Excerpt (Re Global Warming):

The most conspicuous doubter in France is Claude Allegre, a former education minister and a physicist by profession. His new book, ``Ma Verite Sur la Planete'' (``My Truth About the Planet''), doesn't mince words.

He calls Gore a ``crook'' presiding over an eco-business that pumps out cash. As for Gore's French followers, the author likens them to religious zealots who, far from saving humanity, are endangering it. Driven by a Judeo-Christian guilt complex, he says, French greens paint worst-case scenarios and attribute little-understood cycles to human misbehavior.

Allegre doesn't deny that the climate has changed or that extreme weather has become more common. He instead emphasizes the local character of these phenomena.

While the icecap of the North Pole is shrinking, the one covering Antarctica -- or 92 percent of the Earth's ice -- is not, he says. Nor have Scandinavian glaciers receded, he says. To play down these differences by basing forecasts on a global average makes no sense to Allegre.

He dismisses talk of renewable energies, such as wind or solar power, saying it would take a century for them to become a serious factor in meeting the world's energy demands.

Let Us Eat Cake

To his relief, France has taken another path: Almost 80 percent of its electricity comes from nuclear reactors. What's more, France has a talent for eating its cake and having it, too: Although it signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the country is nowhere near meeting the agreed targets.

``Ma Verite Sur la Planete'' is published by Plon/Fayard (240 pages, 18 euros).

Comment: Read on about "Les Precheurs de l'Apocalypse" and "Ma Plus Belle Histoire, C'est Vous" (w Ségolène Royal's kooky idea of "having the military deal with unruly juveniles"!)


Our 33rd Anniversary

Kathee and I celebrated our 33rd anniversary with Lynn and Jane R and Pastor and Mrs Kilian (Fourth Baptist) with dinner at the Northland Inn

Lynn and Jane share our exact wedding anniversary - December 28th, 1974.

Jane & Lynn

Jim & Kathee w. Jane and Lynn

Carol and Roger

Jim and Kathee

Bitter over 'prosperity' 'gospel'

Believer bitter over 'prosperity' preachings


The message flickered into Cindy Fleenor's living room each night: Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches.


  1. Give to your local church ... attend business meetings and have a confidence that the monies are used wisely!
  2. And give to organizations that submit public 990 forms to the IRS (churches are not required to, by the way). Use Guidestar.org to view 990 forms.

Then STOP!

Pakistan: the little I know

Target: Pakistan - Losing in the West, the jihadis hit Pakistan, with its nuclear prize.


"In Pakistan there are two fault lines. One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism." Thus did Benazir Bhutto describe the politics of her country during an August visit to The Wall Street Journal's offices in New York. She was assassinated yesterday for standing courageously, perhaps fatalistically, on the right side of both lines.

Comment: Kathee and I were talking this morning about the little we know about Pakistan. What I know about Pakistan is from two major sources:

  1. Long lost friends from Colorado: M Khan, B Khan, and their Father H Khan. (First names omitted for their privacy. Last name is common in Pakistan!). I met M while taking a C programming class. A friendship developed and we met on numerous occasions. We had dinner in his home, met his Father, met his Brother. We had M and B and H in our home as well. We met many Pakistanis and many Afghanistanis as well. M's parents arranged his marriage and I wanted to go to Pakistan for his wedding. It was more than a year before M's wife could come to the United States and join him. We had M and his bride in our home. I know a lot about Pakistan from M. M's wife had a pet monkey in Pakistan and I learned enough about pet monkeys to know I would never want one.
  2. From Dr Viggo Olsen, author of Daktar. Dr Olsen was a Baptist medical missionary to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). His books provide a first hand testimony to the history of Pakistan and Bangladesh. We were privileged to meet him in a casual home setting when I was a Pastor in New Jersey.

Strangely the Pakistan that M Khan presented to me was a country friendly to the West, a country I wished I could visit. M brought a massive pictorial of Pakistan to our home and as we viewed page after page he spoke to me about his experiences growing up and living in Pakistan.

The tragic murder of Benazir Bhutto puts Pakistan in the forefront of the news. My hope for Pakistan is a moderate democracy. My fear for Pakistan is that Islamic fundamentalists will gain control of Pakistan's 60 some nuclear weapons!

CT: Remembering Benazir - An Indian Christian mourns the charismatic Pakistani leader


Pakistan stands at the center, geopolitically, for much of what is yet to happen between Islam and the rest of the Western world. More so, I believe, than the Middle East or even Iraq or Iran, not only because of its enormous Muslim population (more than 160 million), but also because of its growing brand of radicalism, which, due to Al Qaeda's influence, is gaining control of Islamic radicalism worldwide.

Newsweek: What About the Nukes? Despite its claims, Pakistan's nuclear weapons are vulnerable.


Over the years I have had the opportunity to discuss the loose nukes issue with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf on three separate occasions. On each he insisted that there is no possibility that corrupt custodians or terrorists could steal the country's nuclear weapons and materials. But in the third of these conversations, which occurred in December 2003, just a week after terrorists came within a second and a half of blowing him up, I managed to penetrate his standard defense. How plausible is it, I asked, that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is more secure than the president of the country himself? His answer: well, there you may have a point.

A witch's brew that includes political instability, a burgeoning Islamic insurgency, a demoralized army and an intensely anti-American population, puts Pakistan's nuclear weapons at risk.

Peggy Noonan: McCain, Hillary, the others

Be Reasonable: As Iowa sizes up the candidates, so do I.


John McCain? Yes. Remember when he was the wild man in 2000? For Republicans on the ground he was a little outré, if Republicans on the ground said "outré," as opposed to the more direct "nut job." George W. Bush, then, was the moderate, more even-toned candidate. Times change. Mr. McCain is an experienced, personally heroic, seasoned, blunt-eyed, irascible American character. He makes me proud. He makes everyone proud.


Hillary Clinton? No, not reasonable. I concede her sturdy mind, deep sophistication, and seriousness of intent. I see her as a triangulator like her husband, not a radical but a maneuverer in the direction of a vague, half-forgotten but always remembered, leftism. It is also true that she has a command-and-control mentality, an urgent, insistent and grating sense of destiny, and she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.

But this is not, actually, my central problem with her candidacy. My central problem is that the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial--crucial--that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.

Comment: I pray that the next President does not face "another big bad thing"! New word (for me) ... outre


Thursday happenings

Kathee and I had today off and we had a productive but relaxing day:

  1. Kathee made a great breakfast of eggs, toast and oatmeal.
  2. We ran errands: Petsmart, Walgreens, Home Depot, Lunds
  3. We had the Impala serviced: oil change and transmission fluid changed
  4. Kathee put new light bulbs in the front garage door carriage lights. (Thankfully the weather was mild today so this was not a difficult job
  5. I plowed snow away from the mailbox. The snow plow had piled quite a ridge of packed snow against the mailboxes and we could not maneuver the car close enough to access the mail
  6. Kathee made Reuben sandwiches for dinner (one of her specialties!)
  7. Roger and Kathy (brother and sister-in-law) came by and we exchanged gifts.
  8. Kathee served apple pie with cinnamon ice cream.
  9. Roger got me Banking in the Great Northern Territory: An Illustrated History (signed by the author!)
  10. Kathee and I read Christmas cards and letters and I corresponded with an old friend from New Jersey

Kathee and I finished reading Esther. This is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Onto Job (one of my least favorites).

We are enjoying these days that we have off from work.

Tomorrow is our 33rd anniversary.

Joe Lieberman's endorsement of John McCain


My Fellow American,

Last week I went to New Hampshire to ask Republican and Independent voters to support John McCain in the first-in-the-nation primary on January 8.

I know that it is unusual for someone who is not a Republican to endorse a Republican candidate for President. And if this were an ordinary time and an ordinary election, I probably would not have done so. But this is no ordinary time -- and this is no ordinary election -- and John McCain is no ordinary candidate.

In this critical election, no one should let party lines be a barrier to choosing the person we believe is best qualified to lead our nation forward. The problems that confront us are too great, the threats we face too real, and the opportunities we have too exciting for us to play partisan politics with the Presidency.

My friend John McCain is that candidate, and that is why I am so proud to endorse and support him for President.

I have worked closely with John for many years on many issues. I have seen John, time and again, rise above the negativism and smallness of our politics to get things done for this country we love so much. John McCain has proven that we can trust him to do what is right for our country, not only when it is easy, but when it is hard; to do what is necessary, not only when it is popular, but when it is not; and to tell us the truth, not only when it is easy to hear, but when it is not.

As President, John McCain will bring America together again. He will inspire a new American unity and a new American patriotism. He will push all of us to work together to solve our biggest problems, and defeat our most dangerous enemies.

Throughout our history, succeeding generations of brave Americans have risked their lives for the cause of freedom -- which is America's cause. Throughout his career, from the ranks of the military to halls of the Congress, John McCain has made freedom's cause his own. He learned the ideals of patriotism and service from his father, he taught them to his sons, and he will hold those ideals high as an inspiration for all Americans.

When others were silent, and it was thought politically unpopular, John had the courage and common sense to sound the alarm about the mistakes we were making in Iraq and to call for more troops and a new strategy there. And when others wavered, when others wanted to retreat from the field of battle, John had the courage and the common sense to stand against the tide of public opinion and support the surge in Iraq, where we are at last winning.

There are many fine people running for President. Many of them are good friends of mine. But I have concluded -- and I hope you will, as well -- that John McCain is the candidate who can best reunite our country and lead us to victory.

Now I ask you to do all that you can to elect John McCain the next President of the United States. Every one of us should make a contribution. You can follow this link and make a secure donation right now.

After you have contributed to the cause I want you to follow this link to volunteer to make phone calls into the early primary states on behalf of the campaign. John McCain is the right man for the times and we all need to do our part to further the cause of liberty and freedom for all Americans.


Joe Lieberman
United States Senator

PS. When it comes to keeping America safe in this time of war, John has proven that he has the experience, the strength, and the character, to be our commander-in-chief from day one. I have traveled the world with John, so I can tell you how much he is liked and admired by leaders across the globe. He will be a President our friends will respect and our enemies will fear, and a President who will lead our nation on the world stage with purpose and principle. Please join me in doing all that we can to support the election of John McCain

Comment: Previous CFG Joe Lieberman posts


Calculating Net Worth

Almost 20 years ago I took a "Personal Financial Planning" class at Denver's Metropolitan State College. It was one of the most profitable courses I've ever taken (and a lot of work!). Interestingly I was older than my professor.

One valuable tip that she suggested: On New Year's Day, calculate your net worth.

If you've read much of my blog, I hope you know that there are many things more important (much more important!!) than one's net worth! Like being saved!

A brief word about that:

Matthew 16:26, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”"

Acts 16:30-31, "And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved""

One could be a kazillionaire and not have Christ ... and all is lost!

Another could be ill, infirm, and living in abject poverty ... and have Christ! And have true riches and an eternal hope!

2 Corinthians 8:9, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich"

Dear reader, this section between the red bars is very important!!

Because finances are a "fact of life" in this life, it is valuable to periodically assess what one's debt is and what one's assets are. This defines the function of the Personal Net Worth Statement.

Here are some helps. I use Google Apps (Spreadsheet) for our own net worth statement (because it is "in the cloud" and easily shareable with my spouse!). Excel would be another good tool, or even pen on paper.

Excel Personal Financial Statement

CNN Money: What are you worth?

How To Calculate Your Net Worth

Why I do this: I want my dear wife to know exactly where we are financially in case God calls me home. It is a way to provide financial accountability and communicate with my wife in an organized way our personal financial position.

More on Peer to Peer lending

USA Today: Alternative lending sites often have good deals


Borrowing money from your peers has its perks. You might be able to secure lower rates than what financial institutions charge for unsecured loans. (That said, if you owned a home and could get a home-equity loan, you'd probably get a lower rate than you could get borrowing on peer-to-peer sites.)

This type of lending isn't for everyone in need of unsecured cash. Most peer-to-peer sites limit the amount you can borrow. And there are generally more borrowers than lenders online, so not every loan will be funded. In addition, those who are more comfortable tapping the generosity of family and friends have little need to seek out these sites.

"There's only so much capital out there," says Jean Garascia, an analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research. "The (online) community is basically calling the shots and figuring out who's going to get loans."

The main reasons why borrowers turn to peer-to-peer lenders? They want to find low interest rates and to avoid piling up credit card debt, according to a November survey conducted by Javelin.

Some peer-to-peer lenders are more exclusive than others. Virgin Money facilitates loans among family and friends, rather than strangers. Virgin says that avoiding eBay-style loans among strangers allows lenders on its site to feel more comfortable issuing large amounts, such as the down payment on a home.

Lending Club and Zopa offer loans only to those with minimum FICO credit scores of 640. (Scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best.) Even with a good score, though, Lending Club will accept only borrowers with what it regards as manageable debt. The two companies say their policy reduces the risk of default for lenders.

Lending Club also tries to connect borrowers and lenders who have like-minded interests — those from the same school, say, or who work for the same company — to "increase accountability," says Renaud Laplanche, founder and chief executive of Lending Club.

Prosper is the most laissez faire of the peer lenders: It allows almost anyone to borrow and lend on its site, after it checks that person's credit and verifies his or her identity. At Prosper, borrowers with the worst credit scores could be stuck with rates as high as 30%, if they're funded at all. Consumers with great credit might be able to receive rates of 7%.

"We think it defeats the purpose if you have to know people" to borrow and lend money, says Chris Larsen, Prosper's CEO. "It's kind of like on eBay. If you can only sell products to family and friends, we think that doesn't lead to the best prices."

Zopa, a peer-to-peer lender that started in the U.K. and began operating in the USA this month, probably has the most unusual model: Borrowers with good credit can get a loan from one of six credit unions that partner with Zopa. And people looking to earn interest on their savings can buy one-year FDIC-insured certificates of deposit from the credit unions. The CDs pay rates of up to 5.1%.

Comment: Peer to Peer lending sites:

  1. Zopa.com
  2. Prosper.com
  3. Lendingclub.com

I have my own experience with Prosper.com. One of my borrowers (for $ 50) defaulted after 2 payments and now has filed for bankruptcy. This borrower had a "C" credit rating. For this loan, I've lost $ 48.00. I intend to expand with Prosper in a very limited way ($ 50 per month) and limit my future lending to "AA" and "A" only.

Easy money, loose lending, greed and fraud

Blame abounds for housing bust


This year's housing bust is shaping up to be one of historic proportions. Sales and construction have sunk to levels not seen since the 1990 savings and loan crisis, while foreclosures and price drops are the largest since the Great Depression — and expected to get worse next year.

Many parallels can be seen with earlier housing debacles. Each episode had some combination of easy money, loose lending, greed and fraud that turned a housing boom into a speculative bubble. But few housing bubbles have ended so badly as the one today, when the nation is confronting the prospect of mass foreclosures and family dislocations.

John Stumpf, president of Wells Fargo & Co., the second-largest U.S. mortgage lender and a survivor of the housing busts of the 20th century, blames today's crisis on unscrupulous lending practices, which joined in a toxic mix with outright greed and extraordinarily low interest rates to send house prices soaring 90 percent between 2000 and 2006. When the bubble burst, house prices collapsed by 5 percent to 20 percent in cities nationwide.

"We have not seen a nationwide decline in housing like this since the Great Depression," Mr. Stumpf told investors in New York last month as major banks and securities firms reported an accumulated $80 billion of losses on their portfolios of mortgage investments and widely cut back on lending as a result.

Comment: When one considers housing costs logically, they should not consistently rise faster than the rate of inflation. It was a bubble that was ripe for bursting!


Christmas photos

Roger's breakfast frittate



Christmas roast

Grandma's gifts

Someone did not want to have their picture taken

A journey of reason

Atheist looks at science, decides there is a God


We are often told that belief in God is simply a matter of personal faith, perhaps even a leap in the dark. We are entitled to our religious beliefs, but we are not intellectually justified in holding them.

The distinguished octogenarian British philosopher Anthony Flew will have none of this. His journey has been one of reason, not faith. Although recent best-selling books that promote atheism, such as "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins, claim that belief in God is positively irrational and retrograde, Flew disagrees.

For the vast majority of his life, Flew was an outspoken and well-respected atheist, publishing numerous books and articles and participating in debates with Christians. But Flew claims that he has always tried to follow Socrates' advice "to follow the evidence wherever it leads." In 2004, Flew revealed that the evidence from science had convinced him that there is a God who designed and created the universe.


  1. First, he takes the consistent and rational laws of nature to indicate a divine mind that created and orchestrated them. He cites a number of modern physicists who, in their study of the universe, have discerned regularities that are "mathematically precise, universal, and tied together." That is, they are designed and not accidental.
  2. Second, Flew points out that the universe is "fine-tuned" for sustaining life. A large number of factors are balanced on a razor's edge to make it so. Without these "just so" arrangements, there would be no life in the universe.
  3. Third, recent discoveries in biology regarding the vast complexity and information-rich nature of life pose a serious challenge to the atheistic account of life's origin, which grants no designing intelligence, but only unthinking matter. Flew asks, "How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replicating capabilities, and 'coded chemistry' "?
  4. Fourth, Flew is impressed with the evidence for the Big Bang, which indicates that the universe came into existence out of nothing billions of years ago. If so, the only possibilities to explain this are that it came into existence without a cause or that there was a cause outside of the universe that brought it into reality. But, in the words of an old song, "Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could." Thus, God is the best explanation.

Comment: There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, by Antony Flew

Catnip knit toys

Kathee and Roger are making breakfast. I'm watching 2 of our cats play with their Christmas toys.

I purchased them from Arcata Pet Supplies

Here are pics of the other 4:


Christmas Eve photos

I snapped these photos as we left for church. This has been a very snowy December.

I bought 6 of these little catnip stuffed toys for Blue, Emily, and Daisy

Central banks: "between Scylla and Charybdis"

Crisis may make 1929 look a 'walk in the park'


"The central banks are rapidly losing control. By not cutting interest rates nearly far enough or fast enough, they are allowing the money markets to dictate policy. We are long past worrying about moral hazard," he says.

"They still have another couple of months before this starts imploding. Things are very unstable and can move incredibly fast. I don't think the central banks are going to make a major policy error, but if they do, this could make 1929 look like a walk in the park," he adds.

The Bank of England knows the risk. Markets director Paul Tucker says the crisis has moved beyond the collapse of mortgage securities, and is now eating into the bedrock of banking capital. "We must try to avoid the vicious circle in which tighter liquidity conditions, lower asset values, impaired capital resources, reduced credit supply, and slower aggregate demand feed back on each other," he says.

New York's Federal Reserve chief Tim Geithner echoed the words, warning of an "adverse self-reinforcing dynamic", banker-speak for a downward spiral. The Fed has broken decades of practice by inviting all US depositary banks to its lending window, bringing dodgy mortgage securities as collateral.


Yet still the central banks shrink from seriously grasping the rate-cut nettle. Understandably so. They are caught between the Scylla of the debt crunch and the Charybdis of inflation. It is not yet certain which is the more powerful force.

America's headline CPI screamed to 4.3 per cent in November. This may be a rogue figure, the tail effects of an oil, commodity, and food price spike. If so, the Fed missed its chance months ago to prepare the markets for such a case. It is now stymied.

This has eerie echoes of Japan in late-1990, when inflation rose to 4 per cent on a mini price-surge across Asia. As the Bank of Japan fretted about an inflation scare, the country's financial system tipped into the abyss.

Comment: Meaning of "between Scylla and Charybdis" (EQ "between a rock and a hard place")

The dilemma is this: Normally declining interest rates fuel the economy by stimulating borrowing and spending. But this action also pushes inflation. The credit markets are so uncertain becauase investors are unclear about the real value of the underlying securities (compare Caveat Emptor in the financial markets). The fear is stagflation: out-of-control price inflation combined with slow-to-no output growth, rising unemployment, and eventually recession.

Christmas Eve

Church was snowed out last night! This doesn't happen very often (and I cannot recollect the last time!). The conditions were just right for very slippery roads: Friday was in the high 30's or even 40 degrees. Saturday we had about 2" of wet snow. Pavements that were not plowed got very icy as the temperature dropped dramatically.

I plowed Saturday and so our own driveway was basically dry Saturday night.

Sunday afternoon we had between 3 & 4" of snow. That on the base of a packed icy base made side streets very slippery.

As we drove to church Sunday morning, we slide into an intersection at South Shore Drive and 10th. Fortunately no one was coming otherwise we would have been side-swiped.

We got the call that church had been canceled at about 5. I decided I would go out and plow - oh was it cold! After doing our driveway I went up to Mrs. F.'s next door. Roger was working on our walk with a shovel. Mrs. F surprised me as I was plowing. My head was "down" and it was dusk so I did not see Mrs. F exit her front door and walk towards me. Additionally the blowing snow and tractor engine would have drowned out even the sound of her approaching. Suddenly as I backed the tractor up, I looked right and she was just feet from me. She had a Christmas card for me (with a $ 50 bill!). I yelled out of fright at seeing her suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere. Roger heard me yell next door!

Last night we went out to a church family's house at 7. They only live a mile from us and it was all on suburban streets so the drive was easy. About 4 couples gathered for fellowship. We sang Christmas carols, played Electronic Catch Phrase, had a brief Bible time, and shared snacks and dessert. We were there until past 10.

Today I am at work. Kathee is home writing reviews. I left the house at 7:00 and made it downtown in about 40 minutes. The side roads are still slippery but there was very little traffic so it was not dangerous. There are but a handful of co-workers on my entire floor today so things are very quiet.

I intend to work until about 2:30 and then head for home. I want to run the plow over the driveway again to pick up the half an inch or so of snow that collected overnight.

We will be going to Fourth's vespers service at 5:00. Kathee made lasagna and we will be having family and friends by at 7:00.

Denny Burk's The Incarnation ministered to me this morning and I encourage my readers to click over to his article. As we ponder the meaning of the incarnation we ought to those "marvel[] at those things which were told them" (cf Luke 2:18).

Darrell Dow: On Certainty

Darrell Dow: On Certainty


When we set out to ‘prove’ something we begin down a very treacherous path indeed. For outside of a small subset of things — namely those that exist in the physical realm — it is impossible to ‘prove’ anything in the way the word is commonly used.


Like Job I admit that I cannot measure God in a test tube. I cannot place him on a scales or under a microscope to satisfy my curiosity. But I know that my Redeemer liveth. Of this I am certain.

It is at the moment when you acknowledge that you cannot ‘prove’ something yet cannot deny that it is real, that the true understanding of faith begins to take hold.

Job 19:25-27

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;

26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,

27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

Comment: Thoughtful!


Congressional underachievers

George Will: The gift of doing very little


Consider Congress's agreeably meager record:

It raised the hourly minimum wage from $5.15 to $5.85 — less than the $7 entry wage at McDonald's — thereby increasing the wages of less than 0.5 percent of the workforce. Rebuffing George W. Bush, who advocates halting farm subsidies to those with adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000, the Senate also rejected — more bipartisanship — a cap at $750,000. This, in spite of the fact that farm income has soared to record levels, partly because Congress shares the president's loopy enthusiasm for ethanol and wants more corn and other agricultural matter turned into fuel.

Although Congress trembles for the future of the planet, it was unwilling to eliminate the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol. But our polymath Congress continued designing automobiles to make them less safe (smaller) and more expensive. It did this by mandating new fuel efficiency — a 35-mpg fleet average by 2020 — lest the automotive industry design cars people want. And Congress mandated a 12-year phaseout of incandescent light bulbs.

Comment: They did temporarily patch the AMT (doesn't impact me, but needed to be resolved). See earlier CFG posting: Bluto strikes again

Kevin Everett returns to Buffalo

Everett attends Bills game: Buffalo TE returns to scene of Sept. spinal injury


Bills tight end Kevin Everett arrived at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday morning to watch Buffalo's home season finale, less than four months since sustaining a severe spinal cord injury on the same turf.

Everett addressed teammates about two hours before the game against the Giants. He left the locker room in a wheelchair and then, on his own power, climbed into a covered golf cart before being driven up the tunnel and out of the stadium.

Comment: All CFG Kevin Everett postings

The shepherds' Christmas

Luke 2:8-20

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

The shepherds:

  1. Heard the glorious message fearfully: "they were greatly afraid" (vs 9)
  2. Sought the Incarnate God hastily: "they came with haste and found ... the Babe lying in a manger" (vs 16)
  3. Heralded the evangel extensively: "they made widely known the saying which was told them" (vs 17)
  4. Worshiped the Savior continually: "the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen" (vs 20)

Merry Christmas

Dear friends,

We rejoice in God's graciousness to us. We are worshiping our Savior with our brothers and sisters at Fourth Baptist church. Kathee will be making lasagna on Christmas Eve to enjoy after the vespers service at Fourth Baptist. Christmas Day our family will celebrate Christmas with us at our home in Plymouth.

True meaning and purpose in life only comes through knowing and living for the Savior. We trust that the great gift that the shepherds found that first Christmas morning will be discovered by you as well.

Here is that gift: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)


The right answer: absolutely nothing

How to Avoid Recession? Let the Fed Work


The question on the minds of many in Congress and in the White House is this: What they should be doing now to keep the economy on track? The right answer: absolutely nothing.

This advice isn’t easy for politicians to follow. Because economic downturns mean fewer jobs and falling incomes, they are painful for many families. Voters can confuse inaction with nonchalance and send incumbents packing. But just as patients should avoid doctors who recommend radical surgery for every ailment, voters should be wary of politicians eager to treat every economic ill. Sometimes, bed rest and wait-and-see are the best we can do.

Congress made its most important contribution to taming the business cycle back in 1913, when it created the Federal Reserve System. Today, the Fed remains the first line of defense against recession.

The Fed’s control over the money supply is a powerful lever to move overall demand for goods and services. When its trading desk buys bonds and expands the money supply, it lowers interest rates and encourages the private sector to borrow and spend more. The influence of interest rates on the economy is particularly strong in housing, where buyers are rate-sensitive. Because housing woes are the source of the current slowdown, the Fed’s tool kit is well suited for the task at hand.

The recession-fighting effects of monetary expansion, however, are not limited to the housing market. When lower interest rates make fixed-income investments less attractive, investors turn to the equity market and bid up stock prices. Higher stock prices, in turn, make consumers wealthier and more eager to spend. They also make it easier for corporations to expand their businesses with equity financing.

By making United States bonds less attractive to world investors, lower interest rates from a monetary expansion also weaken the dollar in currency markets. A depreciation of the currency is not in itself to be feared. Treasury secretaries often repeat the mantra of favoring a strong dollar, but these pronouncements are based more on public relations than hard-headed analysis.

Comment: Good article about "The Fed"

Christmas carolers

We we blessed to have 4th Baptist Christmas carolers visit us last night. I tried to sing along but my voice is pathetic in contrast with the skills of these my Sisters and Brothers.

Alma mater has record year

UC wins bowl game


The University of Cincinnati Bearcats secured their place in school history today, rolling to a 31-21 victory over Southern Miss in the PapaJohn’s.com Bowl before 35,258 fans at Legion Field.

The victory improved the 20th-ranked Bearcats to 10-3, making them the first UC team since 1951 to win 10 games in a season.

Comment: My Brother (UC,'76) and I ('71) watched out of loyalty to our alma mater. The game wasn't that exciting (frankly). We took a break during the 3rd quarter to play pool (I lost 1-5).

Quicken Online

Quicken Online to support iPhone


On January 8, 2008, Intuit will reveal Quicken Online, a new version of their financial management software specifically designed to work online. The service operates through a Web browser using Adobe Flash 9 technology and will cost $2.99 per month.

Quicken Online isn't designed as a replacement or even as a supplement to the popular desktop financial management software for Mac OS X and Windows, according to Jim Del Favero, Quicken product manager. Instead, it's designed to appeal to a separate kind of users all together.

"We're expecting to appeal to people just out of college to their early 30s," Del Favero told Macworld. "People who have simpler financial needs, who are focused on knowing how much money they have and what bills need to be paid, and how to live within their means."


Intuit utilizes a Multi-Factor Identification (MFI) system to make sure you're you when you log on, similar to what financial institutions require for you to log in to their online systems, though Del Favero indicates that Intuit's system is unique to them. The company is utilizing its own CustomerCentral system to manage data aggregation for Quicken Online.

It's a system that consolidates data from thousands of financial institutions throughout the world, and Del Favero says that this system has a variety of checks, balances, locks and security protocols to prevent thieves from breaking in and stealing your identity. Quicken Online has to go through the same security audit process that banks do, he added.

Comment: See my earlier comments on Cloud computing: "Comment: I've heard but cannot confirm that Intuit will soon offer an Internet based personal financial manager - think Quicken on the Internet."


Buffett buying WFC

Buffett's Subprime Bets


In fact, Berkshire Hathaway has been buying. For years, Berkshire has been sitting on a huge mound of cash, but it's now starting to deploy that money. Berkshire's purchases have been consistent with Buffett's statements that he doesn't expect a depression. For example, the company bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI) -- a cyclical railroad that would definitely be affected by a slowing economy.

Berkshire is also looking for bargains among the lenders. It's been purchasing Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and US Bancorp (NYSE: USB), two companies with excellent balance sheets and conservative management. While these firms did do some subprime lending, their balance-sheet strength should take them through this crisis.

How to Purchase a Water Softener

Kare11: How to Purchase a Water Softener

Comment: Our water softener basically failed. We are getting some soft water but the unit (now 11 + years old) needs major repairs. The question for us was should we repair the old unit or purchase a new unit with a 5 year warranty. We opted for the new unit and it will be installed Monday. The article from Kare11 is helpful for shoppers. I called Surge, EcoWater Systems, and Culligan. We bought the most basic system without the fancy controls.

We new the existing system had problems because the brine tank would fill to the top and overflow. Or the brine tank would be completely dry to the bottom. While we were in Dallas, we had a major overflow.

7 Medical Myths

British Medical Journal: Medical myths


People should drink at least eight glasses of water a day

The advice to drink at least eight glasses of water a day can be found throughout the popular press.w1-w4 One origin may be a 1945 recommendation that stated: A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily in most instances. An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 millilitre for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods. If the last, crucial sentence is ignored, the statement could be interpreted as instruction to drink eight glasses of water a day.

Another endorsement may have come from a prominent nutritionist, Frederick Stare, who once recommended, without references, the consumption "around 6 to 8 glasses per 24 hours," which could be "in the form of coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, beer, etc." The complete lack of evidence supporting the recommendation to drink six to eight glasses of water a day is exhaustively catalogued in an invited review by Heinz Valtin in the American Journal of Physiology. Furthermore, existing studies suggest that adequate fluid intake is usually met through typical daily consumption of juice, milk, and even caffeinated drinks. In contrast, drinking excess amounts of water can be dangerous, resulting in water intoxication, hyponatraemia, and even death.

The List:

  1. People should drink at least eight glasses of water a day
  2. We use only 10% of our brains
  3. Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death
  4. Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser
  5. Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight
  6. Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy
  7. Mobile phones create considerable electromagnetic interference in hospitals.

Comment: I had my own encounter with medical myth # 1 this year. I saw a throat specialist and then visited a speech therapist twice (I was hoarse). The speech therapist said I should drink my weight ÷ 2 ounces of fluid a day. I weigh 235 so that would be 117 oz a day. The speech therapist told me that juice, milk, diet soda, and coffee did not count. It had to be 117 oz of water! I take a large thermos (32 oz) of water to work every day. One day I tried to drink that times 2. 64 oz is a lot of water! I never made it to the 117 oz!

As for medical myth # 4, my bald pate is proof of this myth!

Leaving just two

Oldest WWI vet dies, leaving just 2 comrades


J. Russell Coffey, the oldest known surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, has died. The retired teacher, one of only three U.S. veterans from the "war to end all wars," was 109.

Coffey died Thursday at the Briar Hill Health Campus in North Baltimore, where he had lived for the past four or five years, said Gaye Boggs, nursing director at the nursing home. No cause of death has been determined, she said Friday. His health began failing in October.

More than 4.7 million Americans joined the military from 1917-1918. Coffey never saw combat because he was still in basic training when the war ended.

The two remaining U.S. veterans are Frank Buckles, 106, of Charles Town, West Virginia; and Harry Richard Landis, 108, of Sun City Center, Florida, according to the Veterans Affairs Department. In addition, John Babcock, 107, of Spokane, Washington, served in the Canadian army and is the last known Canadian veteran of the war.

Comment: I found this interesting. Hard to believe that of 4,700,000 only 2 remain! And both of those are over 100!

Kerfuffle over the 'Mosque' at Normandale

Comments: This interests me on several levels: My Son attends Normandale, it is a local story, it deals with religious tolerance and religious liberty, I sensed perhaps a Christian overreaction, and the ACLU is involved. This post documents what I see of the kerfuffle (I like this word!).

Katherine Kersten: Normandale's 'meditation room' is home to a single faith


Last week, I visited a Muslim place of worship. A schedule for Islam's five daily prayers was posted at the entrance, near a sign requesting that shoes be removed. Inside, a barrier divided men's and women's prayer space, an arrow informed worshippers of the direction of Mecca, and literature urged women to cover their faces.

Sound like a mosque?

The place I'm describing is the "meditation room" at Normandale Community College, a 9,200-student public institution in Bloomington.

Until recently, the room was the school's only usable racquetball court. College administrators converted the court into a meditation room when construction forced closure of the previous meditation room.

Worldnetdaily: BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS - 'Mosque' uncovered on college campus

Terry Hagedorn thread: 'Mosque' Uncovered on College Campus

Minnsota Sun Sailor: Normandale intended meditation space for all faiths, college president says

Minnesota ACLU: ACLU-MN inquires into Normandale Community College Meditation Room


The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota announced today that it is investigating Normandale Community College's meditation room after receiving complaints of improper use. The ACLU-MN is concerned that way the prayer room is currently structured may violate the establishment clause, which states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

The ACLU-MN sent a letter yesterday to Normandale Community College asking for more information about how exactly the prayer room is used, and explaining what the current laws say about reasonable accommodation. ACLU-MN does not oppose allowing students a space to pray but the school must allow students of all denominations equal access to space. In the letter to Normandale Community College we urge that if the allegations are indeed true that Normandale must take immediate action to remedy the problem.

"The wisdom of our founding fathers on the entanglement of religion and government is as important today as it was 200 years ago," said Charles Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU Minnesota.

Comment: A kefuffle indeed! ... life goes on! Best not to overreact! (The ACLU has sometimes been criticized by Christians: eg. when school prayer was ruled unconstitutional by the Supremed Court (The ACLU represented Engle in Engle v Vitale (1962))

Sam Macalus: Plymouth Metrolink's 500,000th rider

Plymouth Metrolink rewards 500,000th rider


It's easy for one day to blend into another when a person follows the same routine day after day, but Friday, Dec. 7, broke the pattern for one area resident.

When Plymouth Metrolink pulled into Plymouth's Station 73 Park and Ride Friday afternoon and Sam Macalus stepped off the bus, he was greeted by Plymouth Transit Coordinator Bernie Maciej and a series of camera flashes.

Macalus was the 500,000th rider on Plymouth Metrolink in 2007.


The bus-stop celebration came as a complete surprise to Macalus, who lives in Maple Grove and rides Metrolink on his way to the University of Minnesota, where he's a student.

"It's really nice to be able to get downtown so fast," Macalus said. "It's faster than driving, and I'm never stuck in traffic."

Comment: Sam worships with us at 4th Baptist. The print edition of the Sun Sailor had a picture of Sam on the front page today!


Long weekend

Kathee and I have tomorrow off. Kathee has many projects and I have a few little ones. Kathee makes German Christmas candy, Ginger bread cookies, and homemade Chex Mix. Those are her tomorrow projects.

My tomorrow project is to have our water softener serviced (I don't do the work ... Surge does! But I need to be there for that.).

I had my hair cut at the Crossings Skyway Barbers today. I had a free half an hour and walked over there. It's the first haircut I've paid for in several years. I got it all cut off ... shorter than Kathee does it. The young stylist, Chelsey, asked me what I wanted ... I told her I wanted hair extentions with beads and a blue stripe. We got off to a good start!

Living without Microsoft Office

Yes, There Can Be Life After Word


The advantage to Google Docs is that you can work on a document at home on one computer, store it and then grab the same document on another computer, even at the office. You could work on the document with any computer that has an Internet connection. (There’s the hitch: you can’t work on it while on a plane.)

Actually, there is another hitch. You store the documents on Google servers. That might make someone dealing with important documents nervous, if you think Google might be looking at them or that someone might hack in.


You can also get good free office applications that reside on your PC the old-fashioned way from
Abiword.com or OpenOffice.org

Comment: I'm a little spoiled because I have all the tools provided by my employer. We can even buy Office at a substantial discount for personal use. I love computing "in the cloud" ... having everything on the Net instead of on my MacBook, or Dell, or Vista HP, or Lenovo Thinkpad. Work stuff ... is on a shared drive. Personal stuff is "in the cloud". I've used Open Office on a Linux workstation for work processing and for spreadsheets ... it does everything that I would do in Word of Excel. The Office product that I love is Access. I've used AbiWord as well. It is capable!

How John McCain will win the GOP nomination

The McCain Scenario: Traveling with the candidate in New Hampshire, you see how he could be the GOP nominee


In a new Rasmussen poll in the Granite State, McCain has already surged to within four points of Romney, who as the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts has been on the air here for five years. Once again independents gravitate to McCain. Should he even finish a close second, he'll beat the expectations spread, though he arguably needs to win in order to get the money necessary to stagger to the next primary.

Comment: In my own view, Huckabee will Iowa but falter in New Hampshire. I have held all along that McCain is the strongest GOP contender!

Wells Fargo Economists: 2008 forecast

Wells Fargo Economists: Economy Continues to Slow, Recession Unlikely in '08


"Healthy export growth and continued business spending will help the economy steer clear of an outright recession, but I believe that won't be significant enough to prevent an economic slowdown in 2008," said Dr. Scott Anderson, senior economist for Wells Fargo & Company. "Rapidly cooling earnings growth and rising economic uncertainty will make U.S. companies reluctant to undertake ambitious expansion plans in 2008."

Jim Peet's Forecast for 2008

Comment: I'm not much about forecasting (so this is probably near worthless) but I thought I would take my own stab at forecasting and then check back a year from now and see how badly I did:

Sports: Green Bay and New England in the Super Bowl ... Green Bay wins! (If I really had any "faith" I would say the Vikes and New England ... but I am a realist!

Politics: Hillary vs. McCain. McCain wins the Presidency! (Frankly I don't really have a clue ... but I am putting my stake in the ground and will wait to see what happens)


Stock 12/20/07 Forecast 12/20/08
Dow 13,180 14,200
NASDAQ 2,617 2,800
S&P 500 1,451 1,525
WFC 30 36
MMM 84 97

Gasoline: Today in Plymouth = $ 2.799 ... in a year = $ 3.290 Plymouth gasoline prices

Fourth Baptist Church: Our Senior Pastor will be installed on March 2nd, 2008 (please know I have no inside track! Don't take this as anything other than a guess!)


The New Tolerance--Believe Evolution, or "You're Fired!"

In March of 2004, biologist Nathaniel Abraham, Ph.D., was fired from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a highly esteemed research facility based in New England. The cause? His religious beliefs differed from those of his supervisor. Dr. Abraham believes that God created the world. His supervisors believe that the process of evolution explains all that now exists.

Dr. Abraham, a scholar and noted research scientist whose specialty is the zebrafish, was fired after revealing to his supervisor in a private conversation that he believed in Creation, a belief that is somehow widely discouraged and disapproved of in today's scientific community. Dr. Abraham’s private beliefs did not affect his ability to do the job for which he had been hired, but his supervisors refused to tolerate his private faith. Although the tenets of evolution cannot be proven in laboratories any more than Creation can be proven according to the scientific method, most scientists would rather place their faith in evolution than in a Creator. And they are now apparently attempting to require that everyone who works in the field of science share their personal faith in evolution or be banned from that profession.

The Christian Law Association is representing Dr. Abraham in a lawsuit against WHOI to test whether America’s courts will permit this sort of blatant religious discrimination, which would result in limiting those working in the field of science to only those that share a common faith in the tenets of evolution.

To read more about this ongoing case, click on one of the following links:



Comment: From Christian Law Association Email Alert