Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A shattering truth

"And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold." Matthew 24:12
It's one of greatest blessings and curses we have as humans: The ability to be shocked.

On the one hand, there is an outrage that has a temporal cleansing effect on civil society. We were, after all, outraged that terrorists killed so many on Sept. 11, 2001. Faceless cowards we called them. Coward, mind you, is a pretty silly thing to call a terrorist who is willing to die for a cause, especially when we call our soldiers heroes for their willingness to put their life on the line. But I digress.

On the other hand, shock value is simply the measure of our consternation when something breaches our comfort zone. Like our conscience, our ability to be shocked is meaningless if it isn't stiffened by a real standard of morality. Never is this better illustrated than in this fantastic quote from the 1961 film "Judgment at Nuremberg." I haven't been able to confirm whether the quote has any basis in the real court record. I just know that the movie version of Judge Dan Haywood, played so ably by Spencer Tracy, issues a compelling call for introspection.
"(Ernst) Janning’s record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial: If he and all of the other defendants had been degraded perverts, if all of the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe. But this trial has shown that under a national crisis, ordinary — even able and extraordinary — men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination."
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Monday, February 25, 2013

There's gold in them-thar emissions

Back in 2007, the EPA succeeded in perhaps one of its most consequential schemes ever. That was the year the Supreme Court held, in Massachusetts v. EPA, that the agency had the authority to regulate so-called greenhouse gases as it does general types of pollution.

Think about this. Throughout the history of the EPA, we've all understood pretty well what air pollution is. It's something we've put into the air that doesn't belong there. So particulate matter and even finer elements have always been a big deal. Smog, acid rain, etc. It's not hard to understand and we've pretty much rid ourselves of those problems relative to our past habits, both from vehicles and industry.

But WAIT. Apparently, some of the naturally-occurring elements in the universe are also a problem. Mind you, anything that occurs in a high enough concentration can kill or do bad things. But no, that's not what we are talking about. For example, I believe Carbon Monoxide is a greenhouse gas. Well, of course that can kill you, as anyone will tell you. Why else do we have all these new fancy detection devices in every new home?

Except, if you notice, the levels (parts per million measurements) dictated by the EPA demonstrate that the regulations have nothing to do with harmful affects. Indeed, the regulators acknowledge that concentrations aren't the problem. The globe is pretty forgiving in how these naturally-occurring atmospheric gases are dispersed.

So how did these gases, which in the atmosphere have no ability to harm anyone, suddenly become pollutants? Well, they will eventually kill us all through global warming, apparently.
That's right, the U.S. Government now sets air quality standards based on something other than air quality.

And....
As usual, there is money to be made. BP Cherry Point Refinery, through a Northwest Clean Air "Agency" grant, has awarded nearly $3.2 million to Whatcom County projects in order to offset its upcoming carbon footprint expansion. 

In a cruel twist of irony, the refinery is only increasing its greenhouse gas output due to a new low-sulfer diesel production facility. That's right, an effort to fight REAL pollution is causing the plant to run afoul of EPA greenhouse gas standards. So they voluntarily find an "authority" like the Clean Air group and funnel money to a bunch of local pet green projects that, until now, would have been pie in the sky. Mind you, we have no idea how effective some of these efforts will be anyway, which is why no one is funding them privately in the first place.

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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Super Sunday

What? You have never watched the super bowl? It's the super bowl. Who doesn't watch it?

That would be the inevitably question were more people aware of my current status as a super bowl virgin. Am I just anti-social or contrary? Actually I'm not always very good at sharing these thoughts with people face to face. I even have trouble when its with otherwise like-minded folk because I don't want to trample on their conscience.

So, I guess it's in that spirit of caution and temperance that I would like to talk about it now.

Let just clear the air. These are NOT the reasons I don't watch the SB:

• It's not my sport. — Actually, I grew up playing backyard football and rooting for my 49ers. My brother and I were an arrogant pair that would take on the entire neighborhood with run patterns of our own making. I was the Jerry Rice to his Joe Montana.
• It's not your team — Well, actually, this year it is. If there was ever a year for me to break down and watch, it's when my beloved San Francisco team is in the big game. Even in other years, you will still find me catching up on Monday to see how it all went.
• I think I'm better than everyone else — No... Just no. Hence my apprehension regarding this topic lest I be misinterpreted. This is a very typical assumption, so there are only a few people I've shared this with. Most of them are fellow believers who I suspect still didn't fully understand my position.

I'm sure there are more false reasons to debunk, but let's get to the point.
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Friday, April 06, 2012

Sunday morning

So Tim Tebow is continuing his preaching tour this Easter Sunday in Georgetown. It's starting to get on this Christian's nerves. Check out this quote from the pastor of Celebration Church, where he will spend 20 minutes speaking:

“There will be the sacredness of Easter. It's not a Tim Tebow show. It's not about a celebrity. There's really only one celebrity that we are going to honor and highlight,” added Pastor Champion.
Ok, so the hypocrisy is just dripping from this. And that's not even the real problem.

The problem is that he called Easter sacred.

The real problem is the fact that EVERY Sunday, God's people are supposed to be celebrating Christ's victory over death by keeping the day "holy" (you know, set apart). Instead, they only spend an average of 2 days out of the year pretending to remember His existence, much less all of His attributes, work and authority. So bringing Tebow in really isn't a surprise, even on Easter. Afterall, the rest of the year, most mainstream evangelical churches are just self-help clubs with a clever business model.

Funny thing is, if someone reads this, they will assume that I'm one of those nasty Tebow bashers...and then I will just point out to them that this post wasn't even about Tim Tebow

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Friday, January 20, 2012

The tragic Newt Gingrich

I've really been trying to bite my tongue.

But I can't. I just read this from a deranged Newt supporter:

"I don't care a bit if he had one wife or 21 wives and 21 girlfriends, and you shouldn't care, either. What I do care about is a guy who can lead this country..."
That's an ironic development from a group of people who seem to be suspicious of Mormon politicians -- you know, with that sect's history of polygamy. But it doesn't matter apparently, as long as you are a louse with the trappings of a southern gentleman.

Let's just say that "conservatives" have come a long way since the Clinton era. Perhaps you all need a crash course on how personal integrity DOES affect capacity for leadership. How is this even up for dispute? No one with an understanding of leadership would deny that first and foremost, integrity is critical for real leadership.

Suggested reading: "The American Leadership Tradition," by Marvin Olasky. Tolle Lege! Yes, there's a tragic chapter on Clington and an updated edition should definitely include a similar chapter on Newt Gingrich.

There, I was able to post this without telling you who I will vote for. Let's just say my inclination has not changed from the beginning of the campaign and probably won't till the end of it.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Communication squared

So I'm definitely not among the average user of communication electronics. Neither is the coworker with whom I discussed this recently-released statistic: Cellular/wireless plans/devices in the U.S. now outnumber the population they serve.
"Connected devices with wireless subscriptions rose to 327.6 million in the second quarter, according to a new report from wireless industry association CTIA. That represents a 9% increase since the same period last year. The U.S. population currently clocks in at 312.4 million, the U.S. Census Bureau said."
And you thought population was growing fast.
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Corporations are people, my friend

"...any time you tax a corporation or a business, you're taxing people at one place or another, so we can't pretend that somehow, there's an entity out there made of steel and concrete and it's going to pay money to the government."
-Mitt Romney


Just when plenty of well-meaning conservatives are jumping on various shallow bandwagons (too many names to name), Mitt Romney starts to seriously impress. He impressed me at the end of his campaign last time round and this time, he as done a much better job of not trying to pander to whoever his audience is. He let loose in Iowa (find the full video and watch it) and is now taking flack for telling the truth about taxes and deficit spending, stating the obvious "Corporations are people, my friend."
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Unthanksgiving

My how the times do change!

It couldn't have been more than 8-10 years ago when Black Friday was probably some obscure date in history... Maybe it was the day someone invented some horrible weapon or something. Or maybe it was some stock market crash we all forgot about.
But now, here we are in the twenty-first century, undoing something officially started in the nineteenth century when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the final Thursday in November as an official day of Thanksgiving while still in the midst of a bloody civil war. Only FDR tried to change it since then, moving it up a week, thinking it would boost the economy. That proposal went down in flames, so little did people like the holiday tampered with.
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