Dec
02
2007
1

Nutcase

When critiquing people or their ideas with which I disagree, I usually try to be as reserved and objective as possible. However, as I read a Fox News article today, my only response was, “this person is a nutcase!” (Feel free to insert the negative adjective of your choice instead of “nutcase.”)

A British woman who had an abortion 10 years ago and was later sterilized did so because she believes pregnancy is bad for the environment, the London Daily Mail reported Sunday.

Toni Vernelli, 35, hopes her actions would ensure her carbon footprint would be kept to a minimum, the Mail reported. The environmental advocate also sees having children as an egotistical act.

“Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” Vernelli told the Mail, adding she believes bringing new life into the world only adds to the problem.

Seems like she has things a little backwards. In the first chapter of God’s Written Revelation, we find:

Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

It makes me think of Romans 1, where Paul writes,

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (Romans 1:21-23).

This certainly seems like someone refusing to honor God and being “futile in their thinking” and thus becoming foolish. Indeed, only 2 verses later, the inspired writer continues to describe them as ones who “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

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Aug
01
2007
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30 years for murder

The Washington Post today reports that Keith A. Washington has been indicted on charges of murder and attempted murder. Before he was charged Washington was an official with Prince George's County department of homeland security.
 
Most of the rest of the story is your standard dog-bites-man piece. The reason I'm commenting at all is the off handed sentence at the end of the sixth paragraph: "The charges of murder and attempted murder each carry a maximum term of 30 years."
 
Would someone please tell me this is a misprint?
 
Murder in D.C. only carries a penalty of 30 years?! If I ever decide to knock somebody off, I'll have to remember to lure them to Washington just in case I get caught. 

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Written by in: Current Events |
Jul
24
2007
--

Irony in Unionized Labor

A Washington Post article today spotlights a little irony (or maybe I should say hypocrisy) in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

It seems that the union carpenters are hiring homeless people to picket for them because they are "busy working and aren't able to leave job sites."

The homeless people stand and hold signs and chant about the evils of low wages and non-union carpenters.

So let me get this straight. We have non-union "workers" (picketers) picketing about how bad non-union workers are. We have unionized carpenters complaining about companies who employ non-union carpenters to do work, even though the union carpenters are "busy working."

And, oh yes, the homeless picketers? They're making a dollar over the minimum wage, with no benefits.

I can't wait for the homeless people to form a union and demand fair wages and benefits.

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Written by in: Current Events |
Jul
11
2007
--

Lying Babies

From the British Telegraph earlier this year, we learn that "Babies are not as innocent as they pretend."

"Behavioural experts," Mr. Gray writes, "have found that infants begin to lie from as young as six months." This, despite (from the previous paragraph), that no one previously suspected that babies could deceive at such an early age!

I don't know who they interviewed for this article, but I'm pretty sure most parents (and even most careful observers) suspected long ago that very young children were quite capable of deception.

The article continues, "until now, psychologists had thought the developing brains were not capable of the difficult art of lying until four years old."

Last I checked, Adam's nature was just as alive and well at 6-months as at 4 years. But there I go again, letting my theology inform my observations. Or is it the other way around?

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Dec
20
2006
--

Babies on the Couch

From the London Telegraph:

"Toby was eating well, sleeping soundly and was, generally, at one with the world. He did, however, have a seemingly insoluble problem that was causing him quite a bit of anxiety: he wasn't bonding with Sahar, the woman he loved most in the world. Therapy seemed the obvious, 21st century solution. Over the next 11 months, he spent several sessions with Dr Stella Acquarone, a psychologist and psychotherapist, at her private mental health clinic. Not only did his difficulties disappear, but his relationship with Sahar flourished into a loving, life-long bond.

 
Sahar Mientakeivitch and Toby, who had therapy

"Toby, it may surprise you to discover, is not some troubled teenager or an angst-ridden husband desperate to save his marriage. He is now a boisterous 19-month-old baby, the much cherished son of Dan Manor, a hedge fund manager, and his Polish wife, Sahar Mientakeivitch, who live in central London."

The paper goes on to note that an increasing number of parents believe that it's never to early to "establish good mental health."

Toby, it turns out, "began his therapy when he was just one month old."

What did we ever do without therapists?

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Oct
26
2006
--

Gross irresponsibility in Iraq

I can’t believe all the money we’re wasting in Iraq! Defense spending is up 40% since President Bush took office, and in the fiscal year just ended the total defense tab came to around $528 billion!

Incredible, huh?

Well, yes. It is incredible, but not for the reason I’ve just implied. The reason it is incredible is that it is so LOW.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today, the editors note that the U.S. now spends about 4% of the GDP on defense. During WWII it peaked at over 35%, the Vietnam war saw nearly 10% of the GDP being spent on defense, and during the Reagan years we saw 6.2% spending. The Clinton administration drew it down considerably more. Obviously, that trend couldn’t continue indefinitely unless we figured out some way for defense to pay us!

At any rate, the article is a good read. In case you don’t bother to go read it (or wait until it is closed to the general public), here is a chart from the article that is quite interesting.

WSJ chart

WSJ chart

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, my title and opening paragraph are not to be taken seriously. Certainly we have wasted a great deal of money in Iraq through corruption and inefficiency. What operation on that scale could be free of those two flaws? Certainly our strategy has been deficient in many areas (hindsight is 20/20, right?). But the chart above and the article go a long way toward putting it all into perspective. Perhaps our failure has not been spending too *much,* but too *little.*

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Written by in: Current Events |
Oct
26
2006
--

Baby? She must mean fetus.

London’s Daily Mail reports yesterday that Addenbrooke’s Hospital is now incinerating aborted babies in the same incinerator in which they burn trash and waste of all kinds.

I think that’s despicable, of course, but seems pretty insignificant compared to the abortion itself. So, the news of the new means of disposal doesn’t really shock me. What does are all the outraged, uh, customers. See sample below:

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Jul
06
2006
--

Welcome to the Republican Party

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of the redistribution of wealth. She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, and she didn’t hide her disagreement with him.

Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is you friend Audrey doing?" She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus. College for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0? That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA. Audrey surely needs it and you have plenty. Seems like a fair and equal distribution of GPA." The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!" The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

(Taken from an e-mail forward. Original Source Unknown.) 

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Written by in: Current Events,Humor |
Jun
30
2006
--

$1M… for voting?

Yesterday I wrote about a church paying people to visit their services. Today I'm writing about a state that wants to pay people to vote. Or, at least, some people in the state want that.

In yesterday's post I was a little ambivelant. It didn't seem quite right, and I'm not sure how prudent it is, or if it's a good use of the Lord's money, but I couldn't point to something that made it absolutely wrong. Today, though, I'm a little more persuaded that this is a really crummy idea.

Ok, so what am I talking about? It seems that an Arizona doctor and political activist has decided that not enough people are voting. (I agree, so far, but not with his proposed solution!) So, he's worked up enough signatures for a ballot initiative for this fall, which, if passed, would enter every voter in a lottery for $1,000,000. NPR has an interview with the doc on their website.

This really disgusts me! What ever happened to civic duty? What happened to "Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country!"?

So, what effect will this have on the electorate? Well, you're going to have a lot of uninformed and stupid (those two are not synonymous, btw – think about it) people coming to the polls not because they believe in duty and responsibility, not because they cherish the republic in which we live, not because they value democracy, but because they want a million dollars!

From listening to the interview, it's clear that he's liberal, and, imo, essentially socialist. He cites Australia, which fines citizens $20 (unclear whether that was in US or Aussie dollars) if they fail to vote. He then went on to identify a string of causal links. Two problems with that:

  1. Correlation does not necessarily indicate causality.
  2. The "benefits" he cites are not necessarily benefits!

So, what are the "benefits" which he claims are due to the 95% voter turnout there?

Well, the good doctor says that minimum wage there is over $9/hour! Hmm. I won't take the time to explain why that's a bad idea right now, but maybe I will come back and update this post a little later. He also exults that they have universal healthcare there, another dubious "benefit." Again, more on that later.

At any rate, paying people to vote (or, in this case, offering a chance of being paid $1M to vote), is antithetical to the founder's vision of a democratic republic, in which God-fearing, responsible, mature individuals would elect representitives for the good of the union. Maybe I'll write more on this later, too.

Oh yes, one last thing, even more disgusting. He's made this ballot initiative retroactive! That is, if it passes, one person who votes in this election will get $1M. That's stacking the odds in your favor, isn't it? It'd be one thing to let responsible men and women who already vote (with no thought of winning the $1M lottery) decide the prudence of instituting such a lottery, but that's not what's going to happen. The prospect of $1M will draw all kinds of people who little care about duty and who are there to vote in the lottery initiative and thus gain a free chance at winning.

I sure hope it doesn't pass, but I suspect it will.

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Written by in: Current Events |
Jun
19
2006
--

Fort Knox of Seeds

From the Washington Post today, we read of a "high-security vault, almost half the length of a football field, [which] will be carved into a mountain on a remote island above the Arctic Circle. If the looming fences, motion detectors and steel airlock doors are not disincentive enough for anyone hoping to breach the facility's concrete interior, the polar bears roaming outside should help."

The project has been endorsed by over 100 nations so far. What's inside? Seeds. Millions of them. Why? The article explains:

The "doomsday vault," as some have come to call it, is to be the ultimate backup in the event of a global catastrophe — the go-to place after an asteroid hit or nuclear or biowarfare holocaust so that, difficult as those times would be, humankind would not have to start again from scratch.

Full text here.

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Written by in: Current Events,Technology |
May
31
2006
1

Extreme… Ironing??

So I know there are a lot of so-called "extreme" sports out there. I also know there are a lot of weird people. So it stands to reason that we'd eventually hit upon some really weird extreme sports. Enter "Underwater Ironing."
 
Yep, a team of, umm, ironers, has just set a world record. A team of 55 took their irons to 30m deep and ironed their laundry. No word yet on whether the starch harmed the sealife.
 
 

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Written by in: Current Events,Humor |
May
24
2006
--

Poor Guy!

From UPI, it seems that  Guy Goma (about whom I blogged earlier) may be deported as an indirect result of his accidental interview. 
 
BBC's fake interviewee — an illegal immigrant from the Congo mistakenly plucked from the lobby and interviewed as an expert on British TV — may be deported.

Guy Goma became an overnight sensation after overstaying his tourist visa and several months of unemployment when he was mistaken by a BBC News 24 producer for Guy Kewney, who was supposed to be interviewed about a court case involving Apple Computer and the Beatles Apple Corps Ltd.

Goma — who coincidentally has a master's degree in business from the Congo — tried to blunder through the question and answer session, the Sunday Mail reported.

His cryptic responses in broken English left his identity and expertise in question. The interview session — which has been downloaded 1.6 million times off The Mail's Web site and aired countless times on television — has brought Goma worldwide acclaim.

But it also brought the immigrant to the attention of British authorities who may deport him. That would be unfortunate because Goma recently applied for a technology position and wanted to capitalize on the publicity he'd received.
 
Poor Guy. 
 
(Thanks to Aunt Mary for the tip) 
 
Update: It seems that he's now ok, his paperwork came through, and he will be allowed to stay in the UK. What's more, he's quite famous as a result of all the media attention, and he is hoping to use that to his advantage in his job search. Official Website Here

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Written by in: Current Events,Humor |

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