BIG "7" "0"

We celebrated my Sister-in-Law's (Colleen W's) 70th birthday at the Crossroads Deli (Hopkins) tonight. Colleen (top photo). Roger (bottom). Brother-in-Law Dave wouldn't let me take his picture!

Poor pictures but .... not bad from shaky camera phone cam!


Newsletter from IP-adress.com

New IP to location database
The new IP to location database seems to be very accurate.
Many of our visitors told us that they were scared by the
close pinpointing. How close does it come to your house?


Enhanced satellite IP image
Did you see the new enhanced satellite IP image?
If not, check it out.


Comment: Mapped about 5-6 m from my house (Mapped to Golden Valley, MN). At work it maps to San Francisco (instead of Minneapolis)

This life, in brief

Pyromaniacs: This life, in brief

Proverbic distillation:

  1. For the Christian, all misery is temporary
  2. For the non-Christian, all pleasure is temporary

Read full article

Comment: James 4:14, "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.". Graphic from Desktopscenes.com (Yellowstone steam vents).

Faking greatness

Reggie L. Buddle

Man posed as Marine hero


For pretending that he was a decorated U.S. military veteran, 59-year-old Reggie L. Buddle of Puyallup must tend to the graves of those who really were.

U.S. Magistrate Kelly Arnold in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Monday sentenced the counterfeit Vietnam vet to two years' probation and 500 hours laboring at Tahoma National Cemetery for posing as a decorated U.S. Marine captain and military chaplain in 2005 and 2006.

Buddle, who never was in the Marine Corps, plead guilty in April to unlawful wearing of U.S. military medals and decorations. That followed an investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

After the hearing, Buddle, who served two years as an Army enlisted man but never in combat and never earning any of the medals he wore, apologized in court Monday and said he was ashamed, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle.


One can "fake" Christianity as well: professing to know Christ but not being genuine.

The Scriptures speak to this:

1 Peter 1:6-9, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls."

2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified."

2 Peter 1:10, "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;"

It's possible to have all the trappings of Christianity - putting on the uniform - but not truly be a Christian. One can fool another man, but Christ will never be confused as to His own!

John 10:27, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

Uncluttering the Primary Calendar

Joe Lieberman, Amy Klobuchar, Lamar Alexander

Lawmakers look to revolutionize primary plan


Three senators — one Republican, one Democrat and one Independent — are proposing a plan that would revolutionize the nation’s presidential primary system.

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) announced Tuesday they are proposing legislation that would institute a new primary structure that divides the country into four regions, with each region’s states voting in a different month.

The Regional Presidential Primary and Caucus Act, which would take effect in the 2012 elections, is a result of this year’s rush by states to the front of the line, with big states like California, New York and New Jersey moving to Feb. 5 and Florida jumping to Jan. 29.

A document outlining the plan that was obtained by The Hill said it would “encourage the greatest number of good candidates to enter the race, allow voters an opportunity to hear all candidates’ ideas [and] ensure more Americans a chance to cast a meaningful vote.”

The proposal calls for a rotating schedule of the four regions, while still protecting the “traditional” first states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Comments: Good idea. One thing that bothers me about the primaries is that by the time my state votes, it's "all over but the shouting".


Cars: Buying Used Versus New

Buying Used Versus New


The cost of owning and operating a used car will be fifty percent less than that of a new car, primarily because the tremendous depreciation that occurs in the first year of ownership is no longer an issue. Also, the overall cost is much less because there are no financing fees, and operating expenses, often even repair costs and insurance rates are lower. Indeed, price is the primary reason most people consider buying used cars. At the same time, with the increased quality of cars in general, the excellent well-maintained cars coming off leases, and dealer used-car certifications, pre-owned cars are becoming a great value.

Charles Schwab on "democratic capitalism"

Talking to Chuck


When Mr. Schwab, or "Chuck," as nearly everyone calls him, opened his first brokerage office in 1971, the stock market was pretty much the exclusive sandbox of the richest 5-10% of Americans. Today, thanks in no small part to his company's financial market innovations, investing has been thoroughly "democratized," as he puts it, with more than half of working class adults now owners of stock.

Mr. Schwab describes the Bush administration's capital gains and dividend tax cuts as exactly the right prescription for the ailing stock market after the dot-com crash in 2000-2001. Those tax cuts, of course, are under constant assault by Democratic presidential hopefuls and the Democratic majorities in Congress.
What would be the stock market response to repealing them? "Oh, I think it would probably cost the market 5% to 10%," he predicts. "That may not happen on a single day. But it will certainly suppress prices. And the market is already anticipating these higher tax rates," he assures me, which means stock prices are already being suppressed by tax uncertainty.

Mr. Schwab believes that Americans now live in an underappreciated era of prosperity. "Just drive into any Wal-Mart parking lot and it's just loaded with people, and they're just delving into all of these products that are so cheap. I went yesterday to Best Buy to get a CD player, I looked at the price, and I looked at this thing, and I said, how could it be any good at 29 bucks? I mean, there must be a catch here. I've got to try this thing. Twenty-nine dollars for this incredible CD [player], with earphones and all the things I love to listen to."

"The wealth creation potential of this country is unbelievable; and it's going global," he says excitedly. He insists that one of the best policy changes in Washington in recent years was the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which provided for the automatic enrollment of workers into 401(k) plans. This is going to turn a generation of 20-25 year olds into investors, he says. And he predicts that workers at firms with 401(k)s will become acculturated to saving, and this will vastly expand the investor class in America.

Comments: Read the full article. I found his comments on Sarbanes-Oxley interesting. In sum: hurts small companies! Charles Schwab Investments.

Shores of Tripoli

Various Arab rulers on the Barbary Coast of North Africa would regularly declare war against European countries and then begin seizing their ships and men using fast, cheap warships. The captured crews would be held for ransom or sold in the market as slaves. This practice had been going on for centuries. As many as a million and a quarter Europeans had been enslaved by Muslims operating out of North Africa by the eighteenth century.

When Thomas Jefferson served as America’s minister to France in the mid-1780s, he once confronted an Arab diplomat, demanding to know by what right his country attacked Americans in the Mediterranean. The Ambassador answered “that it was founded on the laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran that all nations who should not have answered to their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.”

In spite of Jefferson’s appeals to other American leaders, the kidnapping and ransoming of American merchantmen continued for another twenty years. President Adams said, “We ought not to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever.” By the time Jefferson became president, the United States had paid out almost $2 million, nearly one fifth of the federal government’s yearly income, in ransom to various Muslim rulers. After Thomas Jefferson became president, he sent in the Marines (“to the shores of Tripoli”), and by 1805 they had won this nation’s first war on terror in the Middle East.

Warren Vanhetloo - Cogitations. July 30th, 2007

Comment: Warren Vanhetloo is a retired Pastor and Seminary professor. Image is from Ship Store Galleries

Financing a new car

From the Motley Fool:

Financing That New Car, Part 1

Financing That New Car, Part 2

Two good articles. I add this advice:

  1. Arrange financing before the sale. A good strategy is to put $ 100 to hold that car of your dreams, and walk away and arrange the financing. Dealers will normally hold a car for a couple of days with just a fully refundable $ 100 check!
  2. LendingTree.com is a great way to get a car loan. We've used this service in the past. My one time with LendingTree.com ... we walked into a car dealership to buy a new car. The dealer offered me a certain rate. When I told the dealer I had a lower rate from LendingTree, the dealer bettered the LendingTree rate. We also used LendingTree.com for our last home refinance!
  3. Open an account at a local credit union. Here in the Twin Cities we have The Postal Credit Union. Open the account well before you want a loan. You'll get a good rate on deposits and build a relationship that will enable a reasonable car loan.

OpenDNS (more)

Earlier Post

What follows are screen shots with brief comments:

Note the DNS addresses. These will be used in the setup.

DNS addresses in Netgear router. OpenDNS provides complete instructions for various routers, devices (eg Palm), and workstations (Linux, MAC, PC).

Illustration of content blocking. Why waste one's time, mind, or spirit on these sites!

Anti-Phishing. I've never been fooled but nice to have this protection!

Eg of shortcuts. Eg. "WF" resolves itself to Wells Fargo Banking


Dunckley Memorial Fund

Sgt. Allen James Dunckley

8 March 1982 -- 14 May 2007

“The one thing I believe in, above all else is love. I love my Savior, my family, my freedom and my friends. Most people view love as a word of emotion, I view love as an act of commitment. My act of love is my service in the military protecting and preserving all the things I believe in most, so that my children, family, and friends can enjoy true freedom. I've seen war first hand, and have met people that have never known any of the freedoms we take for granted and I never want that for the people I care for most. Semper Fi” – Sgt. Allen James Dunckley

A Trust fund has been set up for his children:

Sgt. Allen James Dunckley Memorial Fund
Univest National Bank & Trust
40 East Street Road
Feasterville, PA 19053

Comments: I posted this with the permission of Sergeant Dunckley's Father, Rev. Allen Dunckley. I encourage my readers to send a memorial gift. All Sgt Dunckley posts


"What's it all about...actually?"

Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter New Baptist Covenant Clambake Unravels


The New Baptist Covenant, a conglomeration of some 31 Baptist denominations in the U.S.A. and Canada, was conceived of and instituted earlier this year by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, both of whom claim to be Baptists, with Carter having been active in the Southern Baptist Convention until the 90s and still a Sunday School teacher in his home church. A convocation of the NBC is planned for next January in Atlanta. Among the speakers are Carter, Clinton, Bill Moyers, Al Gore, and Marian Wright Edelman, as well as a number from the religious community. Although it seems cast as a mini-democrat convention, republican senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley are also slated to speak, their only bona fides, one presumes, being that they're Baptists, though one also wonders about the "token" thing.


The overwhelming consensus among Baptists is that homosexual behavior is totally unacceptable, sinful. They believe this because the Holy Bible is unmistakable in its absolute denunciation of homosexual practices, actually lumped in with those of such other perversions as bestiality. Homosexuality is excoriated in scripture just the same as fornication and adultery, sins of the worst kind with regard to family and its place in society, not to mention in the sight of God.

Carter, of course, knows this as a life-long Baptist and Bible scholar but has attempted -- for whatever purpose -- to form an organization of people who in the main absolutely disagree with him on this matter, an extremely important one that goes straight to the heart of the primary unit in society -- the family. One wonders, then, what his actual purpose is in forming the NBC. He is also bound to know that the so-called "mainline" denominations have been wilting on the vine for decades trying to accommodate homosexuals in an official way, welcoming them already in worship and even membership but being terribly conflicted over ordination and same-sex unions, since scripture undeniably militates against both.

Official Site (Note: Called "an authentic and genuine prophetic Baptist voice in these complex times")

Wiki: New Baptist Covenant

Contrast the above with authentic historic Baptist creedal doctrine!

London Baptist Confession of Faith (1644)

The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)

The New Hampshire Baptist Confession, 1833

Comment: The New Baptist Covenant: "What's it all about...actually?". Apostasy!

After Dinner Guests

Roger (Brother) and his spouse, Kathy came by after dinner on Saturday for fellowship. Our kitty Blue between them.

Marijuana and mental health

Marijuana may increase psychosis risk, analysis says


Using marijuana seems to increase the chance of becoming psychotic, researchers report in an analysis of past research that reignites the issue of whether pot is dangerous.

The new review suggests that even infrequent use could raise the small but real risk of this serious mental illness by 40 percent.

Doctors have long suspected a connection and say the latest findings underline the need to highlight marijuana's long-term risks. The research, paid for by the British Health Department, is being published Friday in medical journal The Lancet.

Smoking just one cannabis joint raises danger of mental illness by 40%


A single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent, a disturbing study warns.

The Government-commissioned report has also found that taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness.

Overall, cannabis could be to blame for one in seven cases of schizophrenia and other life-shattering mental illness, the Lancet reports.

Comment: While, I have never used marijuana before, I have limited personal experience with this. I know several who were heavy marijuana users in their youth. Now in their 30's ... well let's just say "they aren't quite right!".

Minneapolis Surveillance Camera Project

Minneapolis Surveillance Camera Project


How Watched Are We?

To what extent are pedestrians in downtown Minneapolis monitored on surveillance cameras? Are most of the downtown cameras owned by the city or private businesses? Is the footage from these cameras recorded or just viewed? How long are the recordings kept? Who has access to the public camera footage?

The Minneapolis Surveillance Camera Project exists to answer these questions. Working with a shoestring budget, and a lot of very dedicated volunteers were working to inventory all the security cameras that record public spaces within the downtown area. Anyone is free to help out, just report any cameras you see that aren't on our list.

Why Are You Doing This?

This project's aim is only to answer the factual questions above. We do not intend to actively campaign for or against cameras watching public spaces -- indeed one of the project's volunteers owns surveillance cameras that catch public space in their field of view.

Comments: Site is neutral on surveillance cameras. I'm ok with them. Where I work (100 Washington) has few reported cameras.

Earlier Newsweek article: Big Brother's Big Business



PCMag Review: OpenDNS


To use OpenDNS, you sign up for the service online, then make some changes to your router settings or to the network settings on your computer. After that, OpenDNS is nearly as transparent as the unadorned DNS service you already use. The principal advantages of OpenDNS come from the large, distributed caches of domain names the service stores to improve speed, along with more intelligent systems for interpreting URLs in order to weed out typos and fend off phishing attacks. In addition to intelligence and performance improvements, OpenDNS also offers selective domain blocking and URL shortcuts.

What's a DNS? Domain name system


Comment: I read the PCMag review yesterday and frankly did not understand what this service was or how it could benefit me. Having time on my hands tonight, I signed up (it's free) and impleted on my NetGear router. It is very easy to sign up and set up. Suggest you give it a try. Deactivation is simple! I won't provide all the advantages of the service here - suggest you read the PCMag review, read the WIKI, and check out OpenDNS.

Here's some things I like about it:

  1. Shortcuts: EG WF converts to http:www.wellsfargo.com (custom setup)
  2. Filtering (at the network level): Eg. Adult content, etc.
  3. Statistics: Since I've only been using for 30 minutes, not much to view. But looks promising
  4. Dashboard: All options easy to utilize.

Pistol Packing Pastor

Pistol Packing Pastor Nabs Theft Suspect


A former Bakersfield police officer turned pastor helped nab a man who allegedly stole a car from his church's parking lot.

James Kilgore, pastor at Taft Free Will Baptist Church, said he always keeps a gun and handcuffs in his fanny pack. They came in handy on Tuesday, when one of his elderly parishioners left Bible study to find his car had vanished.

Kilgore and Walter Brenton, 72, drove around looking for Brenton's 1986 Ford Crown Victoria, and spotted the alleged thief driving it a few blocks away.

The pastor followed the driver until he crashed, tackled him as he crawled out of the car and then handcuffed him until police arrived on the scene.

Comment: My view: 2nd Amendment + Romans 13:4!

Why did the brook go dry?

Elijah Receiving Bread from the Widow of Zarephath: Giovanni Lanfranco: Italian, Rome, 1621 - 1624

Why Did God Let that Brook Go Dry in the First Place?


"Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you" (1 Kings 17:9).

Why did God send Elijah to the home of a Gentile widow?

There's much in these circumstances that is surprising and unexpected ...

Read full article

Previous Article: The Drying Brook

Comments: Both articles ministered to me!

Mini "walks on water"

Miracle Car? Look, it's the Jesus MINI!


This messianic MINI will be appearing at Spain's Mediterranean beaches throughout the vacation season. Not only is it a cool publicity stunt, it's also given us a possible answer to the question, "What would Jesus drive?"

Comment: I'm not sure what my Lord would drive (moot point!), but if I could fit into on of these (they are too low to the ground for me and it would be hard to get my crutches in the back!), I would drive one!

Turf wars at Christianity's epicenter

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

'The Mother of All Churches' - One site in Jerusalem unites, and divides, Christians


In 1757, after Greek Orthodox clergy violently wrested majority control of the church from the Roman Catholics, the Ottoman rulers of Jerusalem decreed a status quo for the city's holy sites. For the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, this meant that control was split primarily among the three patriarchates of Jerusalem--the Latin, the Greek and the Armenian--and secondarily among the churches of Egypt (Coptic), Syria and Ethiopia. The arrangement, formalized in 1852, has been enforced by the British, Jordanians and, today, Israel.

But this has not created harmony. Back in 1869, Mark Twain visited and noticed the denominations chanting, sometimes simultaneously, in their own languages: "It has been proven conclusively that they can not worship together around the grave of the Saviour of the World in peace." And the cease-fire's fragility persists to this day.

Five years ago, Ethiopians, exiled since 1658 to quarters on the roof, resented the placement of a Coptic priest's chair there, and the ensuing brawl sent 11 monks--seven Ethiopians and four Copts--to the hospital. A couple of years later, Greek clerics tussled with Franciscans.

The turf wars also paralyze maintenance. A wooden ladder has rested on a ledge over the church's entrance for at least 150 years. The edicule, braced with scaffolding, is falling apart. The Chapel of St. Nicodemus, over which both the Armenians and the Syrians claim ownership, has for that reason never been restored. To prevent denominational disputes, the very keys to the church have since the days of Saladin been entrusted to Muslims from the Nuseibeh and Joudeh families.

Comments: I don't know and I don't care if this was the site of Christ's crucifixion and burial. I know He was crucified, buried, AND ROSE AGAIN!. I did find this intesesting and ironic: "To prevent denominational disputes, the very keys to the church have since the days of Saladin been entrusted to Muslims from the Nuseibeh and Joudeh families"!

Glorified tap water

Aquafina labels to tell water’s source — the tap


PepsiCo Inc. will spell out that its Aquafina bottled water is made with tap water, a concession to the growing environmental and political opposition to the bottled water industry.

According to Corporate Accountability International, a U.S. watchdog group, the world’s No. 2 beverage company will include the words “Public Water Source” on Aquafina labels.

Comment: I wasn't surprised about Aquafina and I doubt many are! Frankly what one is buying is convenience anyway! I have a bottle of "Ice Mountain" by my computer right now! Better than soda!


Google bookmarks

Want to make your Internet bookmarks independent of your PC? Try Google bookmarks.

One can add and organize bookmarks by categories. Provide your Google password, and your bookmarks are PC independent and available on any PC (and any platform! (Linux, MAC OS X))!

"It didn't happen"

Democrats go soft on crimes against humanity


Barack Obama's latest pronouncement on Iraq should have shocked the conscience. In an interview with the Associated Press last week, the freshman Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate opined that even preventing genocide is not a sufficient reason to keep American troops in Iraq.

"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now--where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife--which we haven't done," Mr. Obama told the AP. "We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea."

Mr. Obama is engaging in sophistry. By his logic, if America lacks the capacity to intervene everywhere there is ethnic killing, it has no obligation to intervene anywhere--and perhaps an obligation to intervene nowhere. His reasoning elevates consistency into the cardinal virtue, making the perfect the enemy of the good.

One may take the position that genocide would not be the likely result of an American retreat from Iraq. That is the view of Mr. Obama's Massachusetts colleague John Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee. Mr. Kerry, who served in Vietnam before turning against that war, voted for the Iraq war before turning against it. He draws on the Vietnam experience in making the case that the outcome of a U.S. pullout from Iraq would not be that bad. "We heard that argument over and over again about the bloodbath that would engulf the entire Southeast Asia, and it didn't happen," he said recently.
"It didn't happen"--just as Mr. Kerry predicted it wouldn't. In his June 1971 debate with fellow swift boat veteran John O'Neill on "The Dick Cavett Show," the 27-year-old Mr. Kerry said, "There's absolutely no guarantee that there would be a bloodbath. . . . One has to, obviously, conjecture on this. However, I think the arguments clearly indicate that there probably wouldn't be. . . . There is no interest on the part of the North Vietnamese to try to massacre the people once people have agreed to withdraw." Mr. Kerry acknowledged that "there would be certain political assassinations," but said they would number only "four or five thousand."

Here is what did happen:

In 1973, the U.S. withdrew its troops from Vietnam, as Mr. Kerry had urged. In December 1974, the Democratic Congress ended military aid to South Vietnam. In April 1975, Saigon fell.

According to a 2001 investigation by the Orange County Register, Hanoi's communist regime imprisoned a million Vietnamese without charge in "re-education" camps, where an estimated 165,000 perished. "Thousands were abused or tortured: their hands and legs shackled in painful positions for months, their skin slashed by bamboo canes studded with thorns, their veins injected with poisonous chemicals, their spirits broken with stories about relatives being killed," the Register reported.

Comment: We need to stay in Iraq until that country is stable!


Why is America resistant to Calvinism?

J.W. Hendryx Interview with Dr. Steven J. Lawson

Comment: Read the entire interview!


Tragically, the church in America, I have found, is the most resistant to the doctrines of grace. I think that this is caused by a culture and church that is saturated with political correctness, individual autonomy, and financial prosperity, as well as spiritual apathy and theological superficiality. All these elements have a deadening effect upon understanding the truth and feed Arminianism, in one way or another. Sad to say, the church is just as man-centered in other parts of the globe as it is here. We, who believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation, remain islands of reformed thinking in the midst of oceans of semi-Pelagian doctrine.

Giving up tangerines (Elizabeth Edwards' folly)

No tangerines for you!


The politics of global warming got very concrete, and oddly difficult, In a meeting with local environmentalists in the coastal town of McClellanville today, where Elizabeth Edwards raised in passing the importance of relying on locally-grown fruit.

"We've been moving back to 'buy local,'" Mrs. Edwards said, outlining a trade policy that "acknowledges the carbon footprint" of transporting fruit.

"I live in North Carolina. I'll probably never eat a tangerine again," she said, speaking of a time when the fruit is reaches the price that it "needs" to be.

Comment: Read the article and then read to comments. Note the phrase above - "reaches the price that it "needs" to be". What that means is that these global warming policemen want to raise our taxes! Watch out!


Inane drivel

Comment: The title - "Inane drivel" - sums my view of the CNN Democratic Youtube debate last night. No I did not watch! Newsweek comments below:

Cancer patients, gay couples and snowmen: voters, not journalists, asked the questions at the CNN-YouTube debate. Was it a breakthrough for democracy or a publicity stunt?


CNN hyped the event heavily on its Web site, crowing in its recap that though the cable network "vetted the questions, it was the first time that a journalist or a professional has not dictated what is asked of the candidates. The control was solely in the voters' hands." Actually, the control was in Anderson Cooper's hands—a fact which rankled many dedicated YouTubers, who would have preferred that CNN air the most popular videos submitted. It was the telegenic young anchor who moderated the event, struggling to keep meandering candidates on topic. And it was Cooper, we are told, that led the initiative to whittle the 3,000 video submissions down to 25-30. Perhaps we should be grateful. The debate kicked off with a rundown of videos that didn't make the cut. A child asking about Social Security was clearly being coaxed and coached by her parents; a lady in a giant chicken suit was just too weird.

Still, some strange ones slipped through the gates. A pair of hammy hillbillies from Tennessee asked if all the will-he-or-won't-he over former vice president Al Gore's intention to run hurts the candidates' feelings; an animated snowman asked what the candidates planned to do about global warming ("a silly video on a serious topic," explained Cooper). But most of the questions were posted online in advance of the debate, giving candidates ample time to see what appeared to be at the forefront of voters' minds.

Comment: Questions may be viewed at Youtube. Search "CNN debate". I'm skipping this too!

Tehran's fashion police

Iran's fashion police put on a show of chadors to stem west's cultural invasion


Tehran's Imam Khomeini mosque hosted the country's first Islamic dress fair, in which ankle-length manteaus, or overcoats, and all-covering black chadors supplanted the sexually daring styles favoured by European designers. The 10-day event is being organised by Iran's police force along with the commerce ministry and the state broadcasting corporation, IRIB, to promote the idea of women dressing stylishly in line with the values in the Qur'an.

Hundreds of women, most wearing chadors or other forms of conservative dress, browsed an array of outfits, many of which appeared strikingly uniform in their dark colouring and full length. But representatives from the Tehran-based Superior Hijab Production Company modelled a blue chador that departed from tradition by coming with sleeves - solving an age-old practical problem.

The sales pitch was reinforced by a fringe exhibition of quotes extolling the virtue of Islamic hijab. One, from the prophet Muhammad, read: "Any woman with faith in Allah and the resurrection day won't expose her adornments to any man except her husband. Any woman who does these things for other than her husband has betrayed her faith and provoked God's anger."

The exhibition was a response to recent trends among many young Iranian women towards short, tight-fitting manteaus and headscarves pushed back to expose elaborate hair styles. Earlier this year Tehran city council ordered a police crackdown against women whose dress was deemed insufficiently Islamic.

On patrol with Iran's fashion police


It all starts with one simple sentence, spoken almost in a whisper, but which has a thunderous effect.
A female police officer deployed in Tehran's latest moral crackdown tells a woman that her manto (overcoat) is too short and infringes Iranian Islamic dress rules.

"Azizam (my dear), good afternoon, if possible could we have a friendly chat, please allow us to have a small chat," the officer, a graduate of Tehran's police academy, tells the young woman.

"My dear there is a problem with your manto. Please do not wear this kind of manto. Please wear a longer manto from now on."

Some are just let go there, but others are escorted to waiting minibuses with dark black tinted window panes and labelled "Guidance Patrol."

A girl in a short white manto whose long hair was tumbling out the front of her headscarf is taken by the police to one of the minibuses on Vanak Square in central Tehran -- an unexpected and unhappy end to her shopping trip.

Another arrested woman is already inside the bus. She begins to cry. "I promise, I promise!"

And the minibus doors slam shut.

Tehran's police have said they are operating a three stage process in implementing the new wave of a crackdown on dress deemed to be unIslamic, which started with some intensity on Monday afternoon.

Iran: As spring rolls in, so do the religious, dress-code police


The latest crackdown on dress-code violations, which also calls for men to don conservative threads, got started in earnest last weekend. However, this year, angry parents of some of the women who have been apprehended have been "unafraid of making their feelings clear to the police." Notes Agence France Presse: "Even the overall head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged police against heavy-handed actions.... 'Hauling women and young people to the police station will have no use except to cause damage to society,' the reformist Etemad Melli newspaper quoted Shahroudi as telling a meeting of local governors. 'Tough measures on social problems will backfire and have counter-productive effects,' he warned."

Comments: When religion and state are commingled (not separate), things get messy!

Cheesehead nation

Image from Robert Dobbie

Cheese Headcases: Wisconsin reveals the cost of "universal" health care.


This exercise is especially instructive, because it reveals where the "single-payer," universal coverage folks end up. Democrats who run the Wisconsin Senate have dropped the Washington pretense of incremental health-care reform and moved directly to passing a plan to insure every resident under the age of 65 in the state. And, wow, is "free" health care expensive. The plan would cost an estimated $15.2 billion, or $3 billion more than the state currently collects in all income, sales and corporate income taxes. It represents an average of $510 a month in higher taxes for every Wisconsin worker.

Employees and businesses would pay for the plan by sharing the cost of a new 14.5% employment tax on wages. Wisconsin businesses would have to compete with out-of-state businesses and foreign rivals while shouldering a 29.8% combined federal-state payroll tax, nearly double the 15.3% payroll tax paid by non-Wisconsin firms for Social Security and Medicare combined.

... One reason to expect costs to soar is that the state may become a mecca for the unemployed, uninsured and sick from all over North America. The legislation doesn't require that you have a job in Wisconsin to qualify, merely that you live in the state for at least 12 months. Cheesehead nation could expect to attract health-care free-riders while losing productive workers who leave for less-taxing climes.


The plan is also openly hostile to market incentives that contain costs. Private companies are making modest progress in sweating out health-care inflation by making patients more cost-conscious through increased copayments, health savings accounts, and incentives for wellness. The Wisconsin program moves in the opposite direction: It reduces out-of-pocket copayments, bars money-saving HSA plans, and increases the number of mandated medical services covered under the plan.

Comments: Glad to see Wisconsin try this! (And glad I live in Minnesota instead!). The only solution to rising health care costs is market reform. Economics, business, and consumerism provide solutions - government does not!

Costly "free" credit reports

Costly "free" credit reports are everywhere

Comment: Watch out for the pseudo & spurious "free" credit reports. There is one really free one (a featured link on this blog!) and here it is: www.annualcreditreport.com!


After nearly a decade of bickering, Congress in 2003 finally granted every American the right to a free peek at their credit report each year. Now dozens of Web sites – many of them either owned by or affiliated with the major credit bureaus -- are hard at work tricking people into paying for that free report.

Search for "free credit report" on the Web and you will find pages and pages of Web sites offering free credit reports. All but one, however, charge for those “free” reports and place all sorts of conditions on purchases. One site, for instance, requires enrollment in pricey credit monitoring service, which can only be canceled online after precisely 23 days. Another automatically enrolls users in a discount travel service. And some hint that the real free credit report site established by Congress -- AnnualCreditReport.com -- isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Additional comments: Its a good thing to check one's credit on at least an annual basis. K and I use a pay service - www.myfico.com - that has quarterly reporting and fraud detection. Helpful How Stuff Works - Credit Report article!


Elijah the Tishbite

Our reading tonight was I Kings 17 & 18. These are two of the most dramatic chapters of the Old Testament. I encourage you to read them.

The Drying Brook

Friends will lift you up or drag you down

Artist's depiction of Solomon's court (Ingobertus, c. 880)

Kathee and I are reading in 1 Kings and last week we came across this familiar passage:

1 Kings 11:1 & 4 "But king Solomon loved many strange women ... his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father"

This passage illustrates the truth that friends can either lift one up spiritually or drag one down. Solomon's multiple pagan wives "turned away [Solomon's] heart after other gods". Since God desires our fellowship and commands us to be wholehearted, it is incumbent upon every believer to carefully evaluate one's relationships: friendships and dating relationships (a 'more than friendship').

I am blessed to have my spouse of 32 years as my sole-mate and best friend. Kathee is a deeply spiritual person who loves the Lord. She encourages me in my Christian walk, and I endeavor to encourage her as well.

Obviously we cannot move to a commune or live alone in the desert. God wants us to interact with all kinds of people, even some who are ungodly. I see this in the great commission (Matthew 28:19, "in your going, make disciples").

Note the phrase "since then you would need to go out of the world" in the following passage:

1 Corinthians 5:9-11, "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person."

God does not want his children to be hermits!

There are some relationships that are more entangling than others. Dating and marriage would fall into this category. The one whom one marries will be first one whom one dates. Marriage is a committed relationship ('til death do us part') that should not be entered into lightly or parted without death or the scriptural cause (eg. abandonment, abuse, or adultery). I believe that God's warning of 2 Corinthians 6:14 ("Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?") addresses at the very least, the marriage relationship. Thus it is important that the Christian who is contemplating marriage be careful about the dating relationship.

The Apostle Paul has addition instructions about friendships:

1 Corinthians 15:33 "Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”"

Back to my original premise: "Friends will lift you up or drag you down". In evaluating relationships, these questions may be helpful:

  1. Does ______ evidence personal faith in Christ?
  2. Does ______ encourage me in my walk with Christ?
  3. Does ______ encourage me in my Church attendance?
  4. Does ______ encourage me in my devotional time with God (Scripture reading and prayer)?

Hopefully this is helpful. As always, I invite comments!

Comment: The graphic is from Solomon

More on Christian friendship

  1. I have coffee about once a month with Larry N - a fellow Wells Fargo employee. Larry works in a completely different department. I only see him when we have coffee. He is a member of Berean Baptist Ch in Lakeville, MN. He ministers to me and I appreciate him.
  2. Saturday I had coffee with Terry Lange of Thoughts and Opinions fame (fellow member of 4th Baptist & seminarian)
  3. Saturday night we had a family by for dinner - Ralph & Karla H. What a ministry they had to us: sharing about the mission field, God's provision for them when their daughter was dying of cancer. We also had a fun time playing pool (with their two daughters .. one is very good (at pool) and the other ... NOT!))
  4. I share these comments because my experience is that one must purpose to have Christian fellowship. It just does not happen. It does not happen lined up horizontally in pews!

Prosper.com - first take

Earlier I posted on Prosper.com. I promised then to provide an update. The four images in this post are from my own activity on the site and are deliberately obscured. For full illustrated tutorials, view the Prosper.com website. Enrolling in Prosper.com is free. One does not need to transfer $$ into Prosper.com to be enrolled.

Prosper.com is a peer-to-peer lending. The loans are amortized over three years with no prepayment penalty. They are not secured loans!

Suggestions and warnings:

  1. Not for one's primary savings plan!
  2. No built in safety (FDIC insured) like one's local bank!
  3. One could lose money on Prosper.com!
  4. I am not promoting, inviting, or recommending Prosper.com!
  5. This blog entry is my own personal experience. I have not yet made any money on Prosper.com (but I expect to!)

Transfering money from one's bank is EZ. Cannot loan $$ until transfer takes place.

One bids on either an entire loan or a fraction of a loan. The final loan rate to the borrower is an aggregate of the fractional parts.

The system reports on loans won (with the rate) and loans outbid!

Multiple reporting options are available. This one shows loans I've won.

My experience and observations:

  1. I've invested $ 200. in Prosper.com. Ultimately I would like to invest $ 1,000 but I do not intend to invest more until I've actually made some money! It is "small potatoes" in my investing strategy: after my 401K and other savings and investments.
  2. I hope to have a return of at least 10%.
  3. My first loan bid was for the full $ 200. I was not in the low bidder list (low interest rate). After I lost this loan, I purposed to keep my maximum investment in any one loan at $ 50 (the Prosper.com minimum). Thus ultimately I invested in four loans.
  4. I invested (some from my heart) in:

    1. A soldier who needs to have his engine replaced.
    2. A divorced woman recovering from bankruptcy and consolidating her debt.
    3. A man in Oregon refinancing his Toyota Camry.
    4. Someone with medical bills and doing some condominium repairs.

  5. The aggregate loan rate for the 4 micro-loans is 14.71%
  6. Keep in mind, as of yet, no payments have been made. None of the above loans are secured. If anyone defaults, I lose $ 50! I probably will not have a success story for a number of months.
  7. This blog posting focuses on the lending side of Prosper.com. I view Prosper.com as a borrower's last resort.
  8. I'm not a financial advisor, but I recommend that every family have a safety savings plan and an emergency fund of at least one month's income.
  9. Your local bank, or an Internet bank (see links on right column) are good places for savings accounts!
  10. Many of the borrowers on Prosper.com have a very checkered credit history. I urge everyone to read your credit report annually (see link list on this blog site!) and to maintain good credit! Good credit is one's friend. Bad credit history is one's enemy!

As always, I invite comments and views.

Doing the right thing!

Wells Fargo pulls popular subprime loan from mix


The company in an e-mail said it ended on Friday retail offerings of so-called 2/28 loans, which at 65 percent of all subprime mortgages last year are the staple of the industry. Payments on 2/28 adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) are based on rates that are fixed for two years and then are adjusted twice a year for the remaining 28, if the loan is not refinanced.

Decisions were partly driven by the $583 billion market for subprime mortgage bonds, where sales rely on opinions of rating companies such as Moody's Investors Service, Wells Fargo said. Rating companies in the past two weeks have unleashed a flood of downgrades on subprime bonds in response to rising delinquencies and increased their assumptions of losses that new loans will produce.

"These changes are being made to align our practices with industry guidance, as well as appropriately respond to recent downgrades by key ratings agencies regarding subprime bonds," the San Francisco-based bank said in a statement. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is in Des Moines, Iowa.

Comment: Good to see this! I favor Mortgage brokers being licensed with a license that can be revoked forever if borrowers are misdirected fraudulently. The Mortgage broker needs to have the interests of the borrower at heart! (I'm naive!)

What would be wrong with that?

Euro vs. Dollar: More factories may be U.S.-bound


How's this for a wake-up call on the state of the dollar: "If the dollar keeps slumping against the euro, the United States could become the next Mexico -- a low-cost manufacturing haven for European automakers and suppliers." With the dollar at $1.38 to the euro as of now, and expecting to drop further, European makes either need to raise prices, move production to "cheaper" countries like the US, become more efficient, or be happy with less profits. Fewer euros in the till isn't really an option, and price wars are already difficult enough to navigate. That leaves relocation or finding cost efficiencies in other markets.

Comment: That's the way the Balance of Trade and Exchange Rate are supposed to work! I remember the fanfare leading up to VW building its first plant in Westmoreland Co, PA ... and the pain when it closed and jobs were lost!

Excerpt: (Time machine ... way back to 1987!):

At its peak in the early '80s, Westmoreland employed 6,000 on two shifts. But VW says the plant has run at less than half capacity for more than five years. Other sources estimate it was at 28% of capacity when the closing was announced.

More than 1.5-million VW cars have rolled from the plant since it opened in 1978 with hoopla and a precedent-setting contract with the UAW. The Big Three domestic automakers complained at the time that the agreement gave the newcomer a significant cost advantage because of hourly rates that were initially lower.


Remembrance: 7 RTD

Biography of Sgt. Allen James Dunckley

Sgt. Allen James Dunckley was born March 8, 1982 and stepped into glory May 14, 2007 due to surprise enemy gunfire. James made a profession of faith when he was just a little boy around 4 years of age. He struggled with security until he went to youth camp at age 16. There he was able to talk with his spiritual mentor and came back with his eternal destiny secured. So much so that he coined the phrase “Ready To Die” which he shortened to RTD. He also chose the number 7 as his favorite number and when asked, “Why?” he responded, “Because it is God’s number.” Later on he designed his own personal logo with the number 7 coupled with the letters “RTD.” He would often say, “I am ready to go to heaven.” Just the Wednesday before he was killed, he expressed the same thing to his dear wife, Jennifer.

He was a patriot and loved his country, and he loved youth and had a real ability to connect with them. His desire was to be a youth minister; but then 9-11 happened. This event disturbed him deeply and he felt he needed to do his part to stop the terrorists. At 19 he joined the Marines and went to war against Iraq in 2003. He was meritoriously promoted four times while in the Marines, attaining the rank of Sergeant within three years. After his return home, he and his wife Jennifer had two children; Joshua now 3, and Hannah, now 2. However, after his discharge from the Marines and with much soul searching and prayer, he believed that God wanted him to reenlist. In February of 2006 he reenlisted with the Army and trained as a paratrooper and then as a sniper. Among the several military awards James received were the Good Conduct Medal for his dedication as a soldier and the Bronze Star Medal for heroic conduct under fire. James’s feelings are best expressed in his own words:

“The one thing I believe in, above all else is love. I love my Savior, my family, my freedom and my friends. Most people view love as a word of emotion, I view love as an act of commitment. My act of love is my service in the military protecting and preserving all the things I believe in most, so that my children, family, and friends can enjoy true freedom. I’ve seen war first hand, and have met people that have never known any of the freedoms we take for granted and I never want that for the people I care for most. Semper-Fi”- Sgt. Allen James Dunckley

His life and testimony touched many; there were over 1,300 people that attended his memorial service and all but about 30 knew him personally. James’ consistent walk with the Lord before those he worked with caused one of his supervisors to give his life to the Lord, and leave his job to attend seminary; he is now a youth pastor himself.

James’ hero was the Biblical David, and like David, James was a warrior, a leader and a man of God. He was not afraid of death because he knew he had eternal life through Jesus Christ. Just as David did, he desired to serve God and was truly a “man after God’s own heart.”


Biography by Dr. Allen Dunckley, father of Sgt. Allen James Dunckley who was killed May 14, 2007 while defending his country.

DOD annoucement

Earlier post


“Disease mongering”

Giving Legs to Restless Legs: A Case Study of How the Media Helps Make People Sick

Defined (quote):

“Disease mongering” is the effort by pharmaceutical companies (or others with similar financial interests) to enlarge the market for a treatment by convincing people that they are sick and need medical intervention. Typically, the disease is vague, with nonspecific symptoms spanning a broad spectrum of severity—from everyday experiences many people would not even call “symptoms,” to profound suffering. The market for treatment gets enlarged in two ways: by narrowing the definition of health so normal experiences get labeled as pathologic, and by expanding the definition of disease to include earlier, milder, and presymptomatic forms (e.g., regarding a risk factor such as high cholesterol as a disease in itself).

Comments: I've been really skeptical about RLS. It strikes me that drug manufacturers cook up a drug and then make up syndromes to treat with it. I think that by and large the E.D. drugs are this!

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings

When you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change


Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer.

Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

Read full article here


My heart aches because someone close to me has very serious cancer. To that one, know that I am praying for you faithfully. We are praying for each family member specifically and by name.

Several nights this week, I was awake in the middle of the night thinking about my dear relative and his family. And I wondered: "how I would react? What would Jim Peet be like?" Yesterday Kathee and I had a long discussion about hope and how we would respond to the news of cancer. This article ministered to me today and I trust it ministers to all who read.

Potter Madness

If one wants: drama, action, character development, good vs evil, miracles, wicked kings, 'Jezebel' queens, prophets, seers, family rivalies, etc ...

Look no further than ...

I'm amazed by the frenzy over "Pottermania"! Americans are ignorant of the greatest book ever! The Holy Scriptures. And unlike Harry ... the Scriptures are TRUE!

  1. Romans 1:2-4, " ... which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. "
  2. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, "Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."
  3. 2 Timothy 3:15,16, "and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

We will give an account for how we handle truth. Read a novel if you wish - but don't let the Bible be a forgotten book!

On a personal note: Kathee and I are reading the Old Testament together (2 chapters a night generally). It is exciting stuff! And it is God's Holy Word!

What's the best Bible! Well unless you read Hebrew, I would not suggest the Bible in the picture above. Bibles I have and recommend: King James Version, New American Standard, New King James Bible, New International Version, and the English Standard Version. All are available at Amazon.com, Borders Bookstore, and other locations. Many probably have one right in your home, perhaps gathering dust from disuse!

The Day the Music Died

Detroit's riots destroyed the city's music scene and its black middle class


DETROIT--"A roar went up in the city of Detroit," says Martha Reeves, recalling the late afternoon of July 23, 1967, when she and the Vandellas were getting ready to sing "Jimmy Mack" at the Fox Theatre. Though the song was already a national hit, they hadn't yet performed it live in their hometown. "I never heard a roar like that before and hope never to hear it again."

It was the sound of a riot, one that began 40 years ago next week and would become one of the largest and costliest in the nation's history. The riot's immediate spark had been a rough police raid on an illegal drinking and gambling establishment. The deeper causes included decades of police abuse and discriminatory labor practices.

The burning and looting would wipe out most of the commercial streets in black neighborhoods and badly damage many of the residential areas. Over 2,000 buildings caught fire, 43 people died, over 450 were injured and some 7,500 were arrested. Businesses and houses were simply abandoned, plunging the city into a four-decade economic decline.


  1. See yesterday's posting about race riots 40 years ago.
  2. Pic is of Martha Reeves the Vandellas. I remember the song "Jimmy Mack" (but not the group)

Creepy Grapes!

There was a black widow in her grapes


Reardon had bought green grapes from the same stand, but waited until she got home to eat them. While she washed them in the sink, she noticed something crawling in the container.

It turned out to be a black widow spider.

"This thing was cute, and by cute I mean ugly," said Reardon of Andover

Comments: Creepy! I had a Black Widow in my tent one summer at Boy Scout camp. The chills that I experienced then ... have returned!


Minneapolis: The Plymouth riots: 40 years later

A riot on Plymouth Avenue in Minneapolis 40 years ago changed one neighborhood and shaped a new one.

read more

Comment: We drive across Plymouth Avenue on the way home from work. There are still (I'm amazed!) empty lots along this section where the riots occured! 40 years later! Be sure to view the graphic associated with the Star Tribune article!

1967 was the Summer of race riots. Cincinnati (where I lived then) had them. So did Minneapolis! Detroit's 12th Street riot was the granddaddy of them all! What was accomplished: death, destruction, distrust! Nothing else!