Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stop The Bleeding

"It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities." ~ Josiah Charles Stamp

When I was about twenty years old, after saving up what I considered enough money to strike out on my own, I told my parents I was at last leaving home. My mother told me I could leave as long as I understood I couldn't come back. She didn't mean I could never come back to visit. She only meant that I couldn't move back in. My departure was to be permanent.

And so it was. Except for one evening under an extreme circumstance I never moved back home.

I found a small one-bedroom apartment that rented for $115.00 a month (not including utilities, which turned out to be an expense to being on my own I hadn't previously considered), and moved in.

As was predictable, soon after, I was pleading with my parents to help me out of a financial predicament. I promised, "Just this once", and "I will pay you back", and "Just till I get back on my feet". The usual pleas from a prodigal son who's bit off more than he can chew.

All this because of my irresponsibility and ignorance about how to manage my finances responsibly.

Before I learned personal responsibility.

And it wasn't the only time I desperately asked my parents for help. I returned to the well many more times in the next several years.

It's called a bail-out, and it illustrates perfectly the current situation here in America. We're in the same predicament, but on a much larger scale.

Large corporations have made poor financial decisions, and put themselves in difficult financial positions, and, like an irresponsible child, have come to beg for financial assistance from their daddy government.

This will not end with one bail-out. They will continue to return to the well every time their irresponsibility lands them in financial straits.

The only difference between this government bail-out and my personal situation, is we (as in all) Americans are footing the bill.

I am not an economist, but the way I see it, we have lit the fuse on a barrel of gunpowder which will eventually blow up and plunge America into a depression not seen since the great depression of the 1930's. Possibly worse.

These bail-outs are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

We've now bailed out Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. We've bailed out AIG, and others. And now, other corporations are running to the well carrying empty buckets. The latest are the "Big Three" auto makers. If the automakers get the twenty-five billion in aid they are clamoring for, they will be back for more, after they've squandered the money we give them.

And squander it they will, mark my words. See, free money encourages irresponsibility.

Look at AIG, for example. As soon as the government bailed them out, the corporate officers blew millions of dollars on extravagant vacations.

Once the keg has been tapped, the drinker returns again and again until the keg is dry.

As long as we continue to finance irresponsibility and encourage wastefulness, corporations will continue to take advantage of us, and while they get wealthier, the rest of us will continue to bear the burden.

I cry out for common sense and logic from our lawmakers but my pleas fall on deaf ears.

I can only hope others take up the cause and call on our legislators to stop the bleeding before we all bleed to death.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Was In My Head When I Awoke

"What a place for a dog in a pub with no beer." ~ Slim Dusty

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What The ...?

"All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire." ~ Aristotle

The reason I began this blog in the first place is news stories like this one. The original intent was to write opinions on news stories that left me thinking, "What the ...?"

This one is such a story.

The resident didn't talk to the intruder? He didn't question him? He didn't attempt to get him out of his house? I suppose it's possible he didn't do any of these things, but.... why not? I found an intruder in my house back in Kansas City once, and I grabbed him and slammed him against the wall, and demanded to know what he was doing in my house. And he was bigger and stronger than me, too.

The deputy got warrants? Why? Isn't the fact that a man has illegally entered another man's house enough of a reason to arrest him without the need for a warrant? Plural warrants?

There is no indication given for what reason the intruder might have entered the home, but it was very cold here yesterday. Maybe he was just trying to warm up. Or maybe he, like me, wanted to make sure he didn't miss the 3:00PM showing of "Monk".

I'll bet the next time I hear anything about this will be the day the intruder is indicted.

And, I bet they still won't explain.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama And The Establishment Clause

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." ~ U.S. Constitution Amendment I

President-elect Barack Hussein Obama, has stated his belief that the United States Constitution is "fundamentally flawed". Obviously, now that he has been elected President of the United States he is the unique position of being capable of using his power to correct whatever perceived flaws he sees in America's founding document.

I realize that without the backing of the legislature, he can do nothing more than make firm suggestions, but nevertheless, he is in a much better position to get something done than before the election.

Since Obama didn't elaborate on what parts of the Constitution he considers flawed, I decided to do a little research into what Obama believes, or appears to believe, that might provide us with some insight into what in the Constitution he might change, when and if given the opportunity.

I started with the first amendment. Subsequently, I will research further.

The first prevailing concern of the founding fathers was religious freedom. At the time the Constitution was penned, King George III of England was the head of the Church of England, and as head, had strongly urged all citizens of England, including those upstarts across the big pond, to worship exclusively within the Church of England. Those who refused were often persecuted in various degrees. The pilgrims made the perilous journey across the Atlantic in 1620 to escape religious persecution.

For this reason, the Framers of the Constitution considered it of utmost importance that the citizens of the new Republic be allowed to worship God, or not worship God as they choose. For this reason, the first amendment's first words are, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

The idea was not to keep religion out of Government, but rather, to keep Government from establishing a National Church, such as the Governmental led Church of England.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote to Samuel Miller in 1808, "I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises."

I wanted to find out what newly elected President Obama might do to this first statement of the first amendment, the freedom of religion, so I googled "Obama's Christian faith" to see if there was any "Christianity" in Obama's stated faith.

Throughout Obama's campaign, I did not notice any reference to his own personal faith, except for the oft played "gaffe" when he accidentally said, "my Muslim faith" instead of "my Christian faith", in that now famous interview with George Stephanopolis. I will concede that he was responding to charges that he might be a Muslim, and not a Freudian slip, as I had inferred in previous posts. Beyond that, as far as I knew, Obama rarely did more than confirm that he is a Christian, without elaboration.

I found articles by Christianity Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, The Chicago Sun-Times, and other, not so well known publications. All conclude that Obama is at least a professing Christian, if not so much a practicing Christian by my fundamentalist standards. I will concede also, for the record, that Obama is at least, as much a Christian as many of the self-professing Christians in America today.

I found that Obama is actually very vocal about his faith, but speaks of it in very antiseptic, almost secular terms, as if he fears he might be labeled a fundamentalist.

As if that would be unthinkable.

As if that would be a bad thing.

It is an unconvincing argument in light of what I consider his decidedly non-Christian world view. But I will not declare him to be heretic. That kind of judgment belongs to God alone. I cannot nor will not judge his heart. All I can judge him on is his actions and statements.

My conclusion, from reading the different articles, is that Obama will not significantly alter the first statement of the First amendment. He apparently believes, as I do, that Christians should not be compelled to leave their faith at the door when entering a government building, and he doesn't advocate restricting the practice of religion as each of us see fit.

In short, Obama does not appear to have an agenda of denying us any part of our freedom of religion.

However, I did find an interesting article on Obama's church and the peculiar brand of theology it embraces, Black Liberation Theology. In it, the author concludes that Obama's Christianity stems from Black Liberation Theology teaching, and is indeed, predicated on his understanding of that doctrine.

"Trinity United Church of Christ" , The author writes, "Obama's home church for 20 years, subscribes to and promotes the doctrine of 'Liberation Theology.' Exactly what is Liberation Theology?

Simply put, Liberation Theology is an attempt to interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. It is largely a humanistic doctrine. It started in South America in the turbulent 1950s when Marxism was making great gains among the poor because of its emphasis on the redistribution of wealth, allowing poor peasants to share in the wealth of the colonial elite and thus upgrade their economic status in life. As a theology, it has very strong Roman Catholic roots.

Liberation Theology was bolstered in 1968 at the Second Latin American Bishops Conference which met in Medellin, Colombia. The idea was to study the Bible and to fight for social justice in Christian (Catholic) communities. Since the only governmental model for the redistribution of the wealth in a South American country was a Marxist model, the redistribution of wealth to raise the economic standards of the poor in South America took on a definite Marxist flavor. Since those who had money were very reluctant to part with it in any wealth redistribution model, the use of a populist (read poor) revolt was encouraged by those who worked most closely with the poor. As a result, the Liberation Theology model was mired in Marxist dogma and revolutionary causes.

The brand of Liberation Theology promoted by Trinity United Church of Christ is a blend of typical Marxist Liberation Theology combined with a highly charged racial component. This is called 'Black Liberation Theology.'

Obama initially defended his relationship with Rev. Wright, but then later had to distance himself from him after much media pressure. Yet he's never distanced himself from the Marxist Liberation Theology upon which Trinity United Church of Christ is built.

Let's face it, anyone who subscribes to the basic idea of Liberation Theology is a Marxist - at least in principle. There can be no doubt about it, since the doctrine is the epitome of Marxist theory. The real question here is this. Does Barack Obama subscribe to the Marxist Black Liberation Theology upon which 'Trinity United Church of Christ' is built?"

And now, we have come full circle. And with this article, my charge that Obama is a Marxist seems to be justified, as it is not out of line with Black Liberation Theology, as if any brand of Christianity can be compatible with Atheistic Marxism.

It certainly would explain a lot about Obama's political ideology.

But that isn't the point. I just thought it was interesting, and certainly explains how Obama's apparent adherence to Marxists teachings and his Christian faith are interconnected.

While Obama may monkey with the Constitution, and even the First amendment, I am fairly confident he will keep his hands off the establishment clause for now.

And I'm glad of that. Perverting the establishment clause would be the first big step to complete totalitarianism.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What Do They Do Now?

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." ~ H. L. Mencken

I snagged this from Ms Green's blog.

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

'nuff said!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sick, And Proud Of Myself

"The engineer is the key figure in the material progress of the world. It is his engineering that makes a reality of the potential value of science by translating scientific knowledge into tools, resources, energy and labor to bring them into the service of man ... To make contributions of this kind the engineer requires the imagination to visualize the needs of society and to appreciate what is possible as well as the technological and broad social age understanding to bring his vision to reality." ~ Sir Eric Ashby

About 31 or so years since the last time, I once again have the flu. I am so healthy normally that anytime I get the least bit sick, I feel like I'm dying. So it is with this bout. If I stop blogging, it could be that I'm dead. I'm kidding, but I really feel horrible.

Right now, the way I'm feeling, death would be a relief.

Anyway, besides that, I am feeling rather proud of myself. I am not a mechanic, nor could I ever be mistaken for one. But I am proud to say I actually made a successful diagnosis of my car problem the other day.

Do you see this?

That little black flat rectangular thing attached to that hose is what's called a Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF). It is situated on the hose that links the air filter with the air intake. The MAF is supposed to sense and monitor the amount of air flowing between the air filter and the manifold. It is electronic. If it fails, or simply reads the air flow wrong, it causes major problems with the car.

In my case, the car runs but it runs badly. It chokes and sputters and stalls when the car is stopped. As long as I'm moving, the car runs fine. But whenever I stop the car at a red light or a stop sign, it has a tendency to stall. Although, if I put it in neutral while stopped it idles a little higher and lessens the chance for stalling. If it stalls anyway, it starts right up again.

I thought, because I really don't know much about cars, that it was a bad fuel filter, particularly after I took the car to AutoZone, and had them run a computer diagnosis on it. They will do that for free. That must be a little known secret because auto shops in the area here charge up to $100.00 for a computer diagnosis.

The computer said the the EGR valve (one of many Emissions control devices which bleeding heart liberal sob sisters pressured the automakers to start installing under the pretence of saving the Earth) was bad and the fuel/air mix was lean. That would mean the fuel injectors weren't getting enough fuel, or more air than fuel. That would logically explain the way it was acting.

So, I bought a fuel filter, which should have been easy to replace, but due to my clogging arteries, every time I attempted to get under the car to change it, I would get dizzy and light headed. So, I took it to my local mechanic and asked him if he could install it for me. He said he would do it for $59.00 but "It's not the fuel filter". Then he said he would run tests on the car for $80.00, but I turned him down.

Not only could I not afford eighty dollars just to find out what was wrong, but if he fixed the problem I knew it would cost much more. They are great guys there and are excellent mechanics but the last time I had him do a tune-up, it cost me over $600.00.

So, I returned the fuel filter and spent about $30.00 on a EGR sensor (Valve?) and installed it. It took two days due to the fact that it was difficult to get at, and because I was trying to turn the nut in the wrong direction. (it only took me two days and a broken socket wrench to figure that out) A mechanically-minded friend managed to get it off for me. From there, it was relatively simple to install the new one. Then I started and ran the car to see if that did the trick.

It didn't.

So, I took the car back to AutoZone and ran the computer test again. This time it indicated there was another problem with the air fuel mix, and said "Suspect bad MAF". I asked how much a new MAF sensor was, and was told it costs $121.00.

So, MAF-less, I went back home and started poking around that part of the engine with a screw driver. I took off both ends of the hose that the MAF is on and ran the engine with the hose (and MAF) disconnected. It ran perfect without the MAF sensor! That told me the MAF was definitely the problem.

After researching the internet to find out more about the MAF, (I was actually trying to find someplace that would tell me it's ok to drive without the MAF connected, which I didn't learn) I found I could clean the MAF, and that might actually solve the problem. That would save me a bundle!

Cost for a can of MAF cleaner? $6.49.

Ok, now we're cooking!

But then, it occurred to me that maybe I didn't previously run the car without the MAF long enough, as I had started it at the time, cold, and the car really doesn't start acting up until it has warmed up. So, after driving to AutoZone, the tool store, and Sears in a vain search for a screwdriver bit, I returned home and let the car run while I removed the air intake hose with MAF attached. While I was loosening the screws that hold the hose on, the car died. I finished taking the hose off and then re-started the car. It ran perfect again, and this time, I let it run for about 20 minutes to see if it would die.

It didn't. Then, I was absolutely sure the MAF is the problem.

One small problem however: The MAF is held on by two tiny screws with a star shaped hole in the heads, unlike any screw I had ever seen before. The can of MAF cleaner directions said the removal of them would take a "T20 Torx* security bit". That is a screwdriver bit, made specifically for removal of MAF screws in Fords.

Naturally AutoZone doesn't stock T20 Torx security bits, but they referred me to a tool store down the block, and said they would have one.

They did, but it was one bit in a huge tool kit with about a hundred various types and sizes of screwdriver bits. Cost: $10.00. But I have absolutely no use for all those other bits. I didn't want to spend $10.00 for a fifty-nine cent part, besides, I have only $10.00 until a week from Friday.

I need a bare minimum $16.49 plus tax.

So, the actual repair will have wait a while.

I said all that to say this: I correctly diagnosed the problem using logic and common sense. I am very proud of myself. And I'm not even a mechanic!

But I am sick.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

"[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

I found this at Poison Pero's blog, The Right is Right. It says what I want to say much more eloquently than I could:

By: Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Lt. Col., USMC
Originally Posted @

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another—or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Untroubled Waters

"When troublesome waters are rolling so high,
I lift up my voice and to heaven, I cry:
'Lord, I am trusting. Give guidance to me,
And steady my boat on life's troubled sea.'

Then gently I'm feeling the touch of his hand,
Guiding my boat in safely to land.
Leading the way to heaven's bright shore,
Where troublesome waters I'm fearing no more."
~ Iris Dement

Here is a photo I took with my fairly cheap Kodak Easy Share digital camera:

In case you can't tell, the untroubled lake creates a mirror image of the trees above it on shore. My wife says it is the best of all the photos I took on this particular memory card. I'm not so sure. Here are some others. I'm thinking of making one of these photos the wallpaper on my desktop, but I haven't yet made up my mind which one. What do you think?

The above photo was taken a few weeks earlier than the others. The leaves hadn't started to change colors yet. Not that you can tell anyway.

This photo, and the one below it were taken at a different location. The one on top is kind of spoiled by the prescence of houses in the background. I've always been kind of a purist when it comes to landscapes. I don't like people, or anything man-made in them, but without trekking through acres of weeds and underbrush, it's hard to find places unspoiled by civilization. I prefer to take pictures of interesting sights I see as I drive.

I like the one below better, but the reflection of the sun was a little too bright.

The above was taken at the same location as the first one, but from a few steps to the right.

So, which photo do you think would make the best wallpaper?


By the way, I have been invited to be part of a brand new team blog called American Descent, although I have no idea why. I was flattered to be asked, anyway. I have put a link to it on my sidebar with a fancy shmancy thing-a-ma-jig. (it's the thing-a-ma-jig at the top of my sidebar) In the upcoming days, I will be editing my blogroll. It is getting too long, and there are some blogs on it that I rarely visit anymore, and some that rarely visit mine, if at all. Those will go. The new and favorite ones will, of course, stay.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Homosexual Adoption: Child Abuse

"Allowing homosexuals to adopt children is child abuse." ~ Me

One of the positives of Tuesdays elections was the California initiative in which voters reversed the District Court's ruling on Gay marriage. The measure was voted down by a majority of California voters, proving that California hasn't yet gone completely insane. They have voted against allowing same sex couples to marry.

As was expected, the pro-gay lobby in California is filing lawsuits.

Hand-in-hand with that ruling was the less publicized vote in Arkansas where voters passed Initiative Act 1 with 57% of the vote. The measure bans unmarried couples in that state from adopting or foster parenting.

Opponents of this initiative charged that it is a veiled attempt to prevent same sex couples from adopting children.

It probably is, at least in the minds of the majority of those who voted.

Personally, while I think it's disgusting that same sexes would even want to marry, I nevertheless believe they have the right to do so if they want.

It is still a free country, at least until after January 20th.

On the other hand, it can be argued that allowing same sex marriages could lead down the proverbial slippery slope towards all kinds of deviations, including lawful polygamy, bestiality, and pedophilia.

There are merits to both arguments.

However, I am firmly resolved that homosexual unions should not be allowed to adopt children.

Allowing same sex couples to adopt children is child abuse.

In spite of the gay lobby's protestations to the contrary, there is no way children would not be adversely affected by this kind of relationship.

First, it is obvious that a child growing up in a home with two same sex parents would be indoctrinated into accepting the gay lifestyle as normal and natural, leading to confusion of the child's own sexual identity. Despite any unlikely efforts on the part of homosexual parents to raise their children to be heterosexual (as if they would), a child living in a home with same sex parents would grow up with the belief that homosexuality is normal, rather than the perversion we know it to be. That can't be avoided.

If a child is brought up by a father who routinely beats his wife, the child almost always grows up to be a spouse abuser himself. This is not a mere hypotheses. It is a psychological fact. It is also a fact that not all children of abusers grow up to be abusers also. But the fact that some children of fathers that abuse their spouses don't grow up to be abusers themselves is not an excuse to continue to allow spousal abuse to happen. Or to continue to allow children to be exposed to the crime.

The same would be true of children of same sex parents. I have no doubt that some, upon reaching adulthood, might choose to be heterosexual, however, it doesn't alter the fact that raising a child in such a perverse environment could have many detrimental consequences, including an intense sexual identity confusion.

In a home where a child is subjected to abnormal lifestyles such as a mother who is a prostitute, parents who are drug addicts, or either parent is psychological defective, etc, Social Services are called in and the child removed from the home to prevent any further possible psychological damage to the child.

Why would this be different in the case of homosexual parents?

Second, is there any doubt that some same sex parents would sexually abuse their children? Particularly those who adopted the children? I have no doubt that there are indeed some homosexuals whose sole purpose in adopting children is to have their own personal sex toy that they can abuse at will.

How much more convenient to a pedophile is that?

In their efforts to stop war and the Republicans, Liberal Democrats often use the line, "If it saves just one life, it will be worth it." Using the same logic, is not one child escaping the horrors of child abuse worth preventing same sex couples from adopting?

Liberals continually plead for bigger government using the argument that it is "for the children", yet they scream discrimination when it comes to homosexual adoption.

Where is the concern for the welfare of children in this case?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yet There Is Hope

"They did not listen, They're not listening still. Perhaps they never will." ~ Don McLean

By this time we now know Barack Hussein Obama has been elected President of the United States of America. I haven't quite sorted out my thoughts on this yet, but suffice it to say for now, I am disappointed in the gullibility of the American people. I really thought the majority of this country was smarter than this.

I guess I was wrong.

How anyone could have fallen for this untested neophyte's lies is beyond my comprehension.

I will share one thought:

We can only hope that President-elect Obama's administration is as effective as the Democratically controlled Congress and Senator Obama has been in the last two years. The absolute best that we can hope for now is that the Democrats continue to be a do-nothing political party. Then, although America will not have improved, at least it won't have gotten much worse.

More on this when I have collected my thoughts.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Too Important Not To Try

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." ~ Edmund Burke

I can't let this go. This election is too important. Lone Ranger asks how much damage can one man do it two years?

I don't want to find out.

If Obama has the added benefit of a filibuster proof Congress, who knows what damage he is capable of in two years?

This morning I sent Poison Pero's (From the Right is Right blog) "15 reasons to vote for McCain" to my mother, my 5 siblings, and my kids who have e-mail.

I believe all but one are Democrats. I know I risk creating hard feelings with my family, but I feel this election is too important not to take the risk.

To my Conservative friends: If you haven't yet, please take the time to e-mail all your family members and friends and tell them to vote for McCain, or at least, against Obama on Tuesday.

To my Liberal friends: They moved election day back one day. Election day is Wednesday, November 5th, this year.

Update: My brother, who is a minister, sent a couple of e-mails to me regarding the election. I posted them, since they are semi-religious, on my other blog, God's Way/My Way.