Friday, January 29, 2010

Fun Friday Favorites

And here it is, another Friday but I still haven't installed a trackback program.  I did look it up and since Blogger doesn't make it easy, I have to add a second comments feature to the program specifically for trackback.  Oh bleh, I really don't want to!

Boots and Sabers:  How far would you go for a pack of cigarettes? Is the recession really that bad?

Clayton Cramer:  How to start the day on a positive note.

FinestKind Clinic and Fish MarketTwinkies and more Twinkies!

Michelle Malkin:  This is exactly why I read the SOTU speech the next morning.

Hot Air:  A Video on "How to Report the News"

Maggie Farm:  Failing as a Father

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Women Can't be Mechanics

Why can't women be mechanics you ask? 

Click here for the answer.

It's just the mechanics of it....

h/t Maggie's Farm

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Anti-American Sentiment Strong While Helping Haitians

There has been a strong backlash against the US for stepping up and taking the lead for the Haitian aid. Oh, it's not coming from the Haitians, as this Time article reports:
On Monday, the U.S. is sending troops in to help restore order — and far from resenting the intervention, many Haitians are anxious for the American colossus to arrive quickly and to completely take over the running of their country.
Au Contraire!  It's  France and Brazil that are angry about USA's organizational skills, and now Italians that are getting air time complaining about the use of military as humanitarians.  Do a search for "haiti military takeover" and you'll be shocked at the many news references you get.  Ex-Haitian government officials are getting into the act, even as the UN states that military is needed for security escorts.  The French have such an anti-American attitude that their news organizations are using "domination" and "occupation" to describe our organization of aid relief.  It's gotten so bad that President Sarkozy of France had to make a statement against the anti-American blabbermouths.  What's the basis for this argument?
Some French officials had accused the US of sidelining the French effort, including a minister who angrily accused the US of "occupying Haiti" after a French plane carrying a field hospital was turned back from the airport, the Telegraph reports.
Seems the plane was diverted to Dominican Republic. 

The Anchoress has been calling for a strong, public leader for Haitian aid on the US side for a while now. Maybe communication from a front and center international leader could have prevented, or at least nullified this anti-American backlash. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti Updates

Pastor Harrison has updated his blog, Mercy Journey, with a slew of articles. 

We were taking a brief break drinking water to recoup from the exhausting and draining heat when a nurse ran to call us back to pastoral care duty. She said: "The sitution has turned chaotic and dangerous! Please come and calm them! Some are jumping from the second story building fearful that another tremor might kill them!
He also talks about the Medical Mission Team that's on the ground and gives details you won't find in the nightly news.
A team of helicopters, financed by a generous individual had been and continues to fly in victims of the quake. Port au Prince is some 50 miles distant, across the Haitian Border. I write this morning at 8:30 a.m. from the veranda of a large vacant home, which now houses forty or fifty medical professionals, including the LCMS team. The hospital runs on two shifts, and performs about 40 surgeries per shift. About one third of the procedures have been amputations.
The Anchoress has been following Ed who's been posting from his home in Haiti.
We are using our last gallon of gas in the generator as I type. The UN is still not here. A few Christian doctors are here for a couple of days. Though it has been 8 days since the earthquake, it has all been one looooong… day for us. Thank you so much for the prayers and please keep praying.

Friday Favorites Roundup


I've been thinking of adding a couple of other websites that I enjoy reading to the favorites lists but that would make these round ups very long!

Local politics have been a hoot over in Wisconsin this week over at Boot and Sabers. First, their governor is proposing a statewide health care plan and promising that it will be "entirely self-funded."  I guess their Democratic governor didn't learn a thing from the national health care fiasco.  Second, the Milwaukee School Board comes up with three finalists for the superintendent and they all have terrible resumes.

Clayton Cramer has officially started his teaching career as a Professor of World History

The good doctor at FinestKind Clinic and Fish Market has a slew of links to interesting articles published in the UK in respectable papers.   including a reporter, diagnosed with a terrible disease, contemplates suicide but learns to live instead.  The other article is another reporter's personal story, as he announces he's become hetero.  Two articles espousing right-wing ideas in the same week?  What is Great Britain coming to?  If those are too much for you, she has dancing and singing kittens.

Educator Joanne Jacobs highlights the National Council of Teachers of English trying to change the standards of education.  Their idea is that writing should more about self-expression rather than college and career readiness.  Thank you Joanne for keeping us informed of such crap.

Lutherans for Life says they can provide you with a Speaker if you need one for an event.

Michelle Malkin is probably having one of the best weeks in a long while.  Most of the news you're probably heard though the general media so I picked her article about the "The Left's Palinization of the Brown Family".  Now that Mr. Brown is Senator Brown, they're flashing old pictures of his wife in a bathing suit.  Are they ticked that she's sexy?  I just don't get it.

Secondhand Smoke looks internationally as he investigates Scotland's proposed assisted suicide bill.  It would allow non-terminal teenagers to be prescibed suicide drugs plus be administered by non-doctors

That's all folks!  I swear I'm gonna install trackbacks somehow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Charity and Americans

Over at Maggie's Farm, there's an awesome picture graph page of how Americans give to charitySorry, it's extremely large and I can't figure out how to get blogger to let me post it here.  Please do go and take a peak though.

I went to, the creators of this "wallstat", and found a treasure trove of information.  They also have links so that I can embed these awesome stats for you to view also.  I'm sure most of y'all wouldn't have clicked the link to see this.

budget planner –

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Zeitgeist:  A good strong German word but I can't seem to remember it's definition.  I can't pronounce it either but that's nothing new to me.  If you click on the link, you'll be able to hear the word also. 

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: zeit·geist

Pronunciation: \ˈtsīt-ˌgīst, ˈzīt-\
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: German, from Zeit + Geist spirit
Date: 1835
: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era

Friday, January 15, 2010

Favorites Roundup

Over at Boots and Sabers, Owen is ticked about the new taxes being proposed for banks.

Clayton Cramer's rolling his eyes over people who are depressed that they can't live in Pandora, the imaginary world in Avatar.  He's hasn't been blogging as much because he's preparing to teach a college class.  That's a class I wish they would stream for us to watch too.

The doctor over at FinestKind Clinic and Fish Market shows us how to make different kinds of  Fry Breads.  Is that healthy doctor?

We're all talking about the superintendent of Houston's new proposal to fire teachers based on student performance over at Joanne Jacobs.  The comments are very interesting and worth your while.

Life issues are in the news again and Lutherans for Life have rolled out their newest program for Life Sunday on January 24th this year.  Just last week, I was watching Fox News at my sister's place and saw Lutherans for Life in a clip of an pro-life protest they played.  I sure wish I could be there one day. 

Michelle Malkin learned that the veggies used on the Iron Chef White House Special were all staged.  None of them came from the White House garden.  Veggie-Gate!  *laugh*

Last but not least, we're discussing two big topics over at Secondhand Smoke:  the legal defense of justifiable homocide in the murder of the abortion doc and the health care tax exemptions only unions members.  There's always more than meets the eye and Wesley J.  Smith always puts it in prospective for me. 


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helping Haitians

I ask that you help Haitians with your prayers and petitions to God.

You can Fast for Haiti.  Spend the time you would be eating in prayer and donate the cost of your meal to relief efforts.

If you want to help Haitians with your money, I highly recommend Lutheran World Relief.  Okay, I might be a bit biased here but even The Anchoress put us on her list of recommended charities and so did USA Today.  :)  You can also read Pastor Harrison's blog Mercy Journey with all the current updates. 

01-13: LCMS World Relief and Human Care responds in Haiti with emergency funds after devastating earthquake

As news of what is being called the largest earthquake to hit Haiti in more than 200 years reached LCMS World Relief and Human Care (LCMS WR-HC) on Tuesday, the Synod’s mercy arm began preparing to reach out in the Caribbean nation with much needed assistance and working in cooperation with Lutheran partners.

Only hours after getting reports of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, the Synod’s mercy arm announced it was making available funds to meet initial emergency needs. "The unfolding drama in Haiti calls for unlimited mercy on the part of the people of the LCMS. The needs are urgent and overwhelming right now," said Glenn F. Merritt, LCMS WR-HC director of Disaster Response. "I appeal to God's people to respond as generously as possible during this most difficult time."

Early reports indicate extensive property damage and terrible suffering among people trapped in collapsed buildings in an impoverished country already challenged by longtime political strife and poverty. Haiti is widely known as the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

News of the devastation triggered numerous calls and e-mails to LCMS Life and Health Ministries Director Maggie Karner who, even before the earthquake, was preparing to send the first LCMS WR-HC Mercy Medical Team (MMT) to Haiti next month. Ironically, on Monday Karner sent a massive MMT recruitment appeal to LCMS pastors and congregations asking for physicians, pharmacists, and other medical professionals to volunteer for the team that is scheduled to serve in Haiti March 11-21.

"Our preliminary legwork for the first MMT team to Haiti in March will serve us well as we prepare to respond," Karner said Tuesday night. "Perhaps now, because of this tragedy, people will see the desperate need in Haiti and prayerfully consider how they can use their gifts and talents." (To learn more about the MMT trip to Haiti, contact LCMS WR-HC’s Jacob Fiene at 800-248-1930, ext. 1278, or

LCMS WR-HC is working cooperatively with LCMS World Mission, Haitian missionaries, and partner churches to provide relief in a timely fashion. Funds are urgently needed to help Haitians who have lost loved ones and homes.

To share Christ’s mercy with suffering Haitians, make a gift by clicking the Give Now button below, call toll free 888-930-4438, or mail donations marked “Haiti Earthquake Relief” to LCMS World Relief and Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.

End of Year Lists

Over at Lowering the Bar:  Legal Humor. Seriously, Mr. Underhill has released his Lowering the Bar 2009 Awards showing us the "best of 2009's worst."  Here's a couple of the nominees for Best Lawsuit:

•Speaking of banks, reports in July said that Wells Fargo had sued itself in Florida. Depending on who you ask, this was either a really clever strategy or a thoroughly stupid mistake.

•Hilton v. San Francisco Int'l Airport, et al.: Stanley G. Hilton sued lots of people, including his realtors and the airport, for allegedly failing to warn him that his house was close to the airport. He blamed the noise, pollution and stress for his divorce.

•White v. Wal-Mart: Plaintiff sued for injuries she suffered in a store when a “large wild nutria” jumped out. (She panicked and ran over her own foot with a shopping cart.) White argued Wal-Mart was responsible because its employees harbored the rodent, claiming they had given it a name. “You had an encounter with Norman,” one allegedly told her.

•Elliott v. Keyes, et al.: in March, Rev. Dr. Cheryl Elliott sued the United Pentecostal Church and its pastor alleging that he had knocked her over backward while “laying hands” on participants in a church service, and did not apologize afterward. There was a similar case last year in Tennessee.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gov. Perry Supports States' Rights

The Houston Chronicle sure picked a nasty, opinated title for this article:

Perry won't let Texas compete for federal school money

The federal government is hanging a $700 million dollar carrot in front of needy school districts this year.  All the Texas government has to do is totally cede all local and state control of their schools and change to federal ideals.  The Governor laid out a number of valid reasons Texas in his speech and press release why we should not join the "Race to the Top" that the Chronicle just glossed over in their reporting.  Here are some quotes for you to read yourself.
I am here to announce that Texas will not apply for federal “Race to the Top” funding because our state and our communities must reserve the right to decide how we educate our children and not surrender control to the federal bureaucracy.  This program is not a “Race to the Top,” but a sprint to the middle where soaring costs and one-size-fits-all approaches will leave our children ill-equipped to compete in the global economy.

Texas’ curriculum standards, which determine what students are taught in Texas classrooms, are set by the elected State Board of Education (SBOE). The SBOE recently adopted one of the nation’s first college- and career-ready curriculum standards in core subjects after receiving widespread input from Texas education and business leaders.

...“Race to the Top” was slipped into the so-called stimulus bill.  This legislative sleight-of-hand was a cynical attempt to sidestep state protections included in the federal “No Child Left Behind” legislation passed in 2002 that prohibited the use of federal funds for the creation of national standards and tests “Race to the Top” is clearly an effort to entice states into abdicating responsibility and surrendering their legal rights in exchange for short-term, immediate funding.

While Texas could be eligible for up to $750 million in Race to the Top funding, it would cost Texas taxpayers upwards of $3 billion to realign our education system to conform to the U.S. Department of Education’s uniform vision for public education.
I totally agree with Gov. Perry that Texas should not jump onto this eternal federal mandate for a tiny one-time payment.  It's shameful that only Texas and Alaska didn't sell their soul for a couple more pennies.  I think it speaks poorly of our country.  Remember, if somebody is hanging a carrot, it means they're riding you like an ...

Birthday Fun

Yesterday, my husband and kids woke me up by serving me breakfast in bed and singing me Happy Birthday.  A couple minutes later I asked my husband what the date was.  :)

I had a wonderful birthday and got lots of presents.  The kids got me a new four slice toaster as the old one was not toasting correctly.  I love useful gifts.  My neighbor asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I replied,"Well, I could really use some new kitchen towels."  She very sternly replied that she was not going to buy me dish rags as a present.  Instead she got me Bon Jovi's new CD, something that hubby would never buy me.  My friends and I went to Chili's and pigged out.  Even I'm shocked at how much food I ate. 

Hubby got me a new laptop, again.  I originally recieved it as a Christmas gift but when we started it up, all it said was "Windows:  Error".  The new one came the day before my birthday.  :)  Now I just need a ton of stuff for it! 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Holiday Sale

At the store the other day, I found Christmas clearance, Valentine chocolates, and this....

And yes, I bought it.
In other news, Cadbury is under attack from a hostile bid takeover by Kraft.

Just Laws

I didn't have to study any of Martin Luther King's writings in high school until my senior year. When my teacher put in on the syllabus, I was sure it was the same ol' "I Have a Dream" that's been done even more than Elvis impersonations. Ms. August picked Letter From a Birmingham Jail and, to my surprise, I really enjoyed it.  We studied the definition of a just law and examples laid out in the letter. I'm surprised to find myself needing that information today.

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.


Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

The same problems with law that MLK saw are not new in governments around the world. As a young adult, I just thought that those problems would never occur here. We studied the corruption in the national government under President Grant, but that was just a blip on the screen of our history. Civil rights movement was up against the abuse of law but was more of a cultural change than a corruption of our government.

The midnight vote for health-care "reform" was quite creepy to me. It felt dirty, hidden. Then the bribery in the bill started breaking across the Internet news sites. Have you seen them? The general public is so against the bill that the senators had to secure extra goodies for their vote. They needed to be able to tell their constituents that they're been taken care in an extra special way. The senator will wave his seniority flag and proclaim that such needed details wouldn't have happened without his expertise. This keeps the voters lax and fills the election coffers by those that were helped directly.

But there's a darker explanation at work here this time. A lot of time, the pork gifting has absolutely nothing to do with the bill. But in this case, the "reform" in this bill is so bad that senators were securing additional funds for their state to ensure they weren't hurt by the reforms. They don't want the health care bill to apply to them. They don't want the people and hospitals of their states to have to pay. They know it's bad, they know it's bad for hospitals and doctors, but they're going to secure goodies for their state to help alleviate the distress the bill will inflict. The rest of the country can rot as long as their state is taken care of.

And so with this bill, I'm seeing a new low. A bill that applies to thee but not to me. An unjust law that isn't applied to the whole country. A law that some people will pay for, but not others. A law that exempts some hospitals but won't exempt those hospitals that are built later.

I'm not going to be a sissy moderate and settle for order rather than justice. I sure hope other folks in other states don't look the other way. They need to ask themselves if their senator really represents what they think a senator should be. A bribe here or there, a lie here or there, bring home the bacon and I won't ask where you got from kinda guy? When you vote, I hope you're voting for somebody that you'd introduce to your mother. Somebody that you have no qualms about your teenage son spending time with. Somebody who actually represents you, a person you're willing to be associated with.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welfare History

I just started reading A Christmas Carol today. It doesn't even belong to me, but my 13 yr old daughter. I don't know where she got it but she sure didn't buy it with her own money. She's written her name inside the front cover or I wouldn't even have known where it came from. I had forgotten that it was even a book, not a movie, and that it was written by Charles Dickens. I once started reading his book Hard Times and found it extremely boring. That being said, I remember the beginning with the evil teacher refusing to address little girl by Sissy, saying it wasn't a real name. It's strange that a small section of a book that I quit reading should be so burned in my memory.

I was only through a couple of pages in the first stave (he calls them staves, not chapters, keeping with the "carol" theme of the title) but something caught my eye: "Poor Laws". And yes, he capitalized them, making me think these were government laws about the poor. "Welfare laws in the 1800s England? Nah," I thought. I kept reading the book but, in the middle of the rising action, as Marley's ghost haunts poor Scrooge, bells ringing, chains banging, all I could think about was those dang Poor Laws.

I'm such a boring person that I looked them up to tell you about them.

It seems the Poor Laws were in fact, welfare laws. Charles Dickens wrote his book in the 1840s and they were already well established. The first Poor Laws were passed as far back as the 1500s.

From The Victorian Web:

1563 — Justices of the Peace were authorised and empowered to raise compulsory funds for the relief of the poor and, for the first time, the poor were put into different categories

those who would work but could not: these were the able-bodied or deserving poor. They were to be given help either through outdoor relief or by being given work in return for a wage.

those who could work but would not: these were the idle poor. They were to be whipped through the streets, publicly, until they learned the error of their ways.

those who were too old/ill/young to work: these were the impotent or deserving poor. They were to be looked after in almshouses, hospitals, orphanages or poor houses. Orphans and children of the poor were to be given a trade apprenticeship so that they would have a trade to pursue when they grew up.

I can't help but laugh at the relief given to the idle poor.

A flurry of laws passed in the 1500s were consolidated into the Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1601. The Law authorized the raising of funds, opened alms houses and orphanages, and gave relief to people out of work. The idle poor weren't whipped though the streets anymore, but sent to workhouses. It also put responsibility on families.

Part of the 1601 Law said that poor parents and children were responsible for each other, so elderly parents were expected to live with their children for example.
I'm glad to say that my family still holds to this. It is an aberration of our society that children don't want to take care of their parents and that seniors think that they can get by on their own.

But the history of welfare goes back even further than the 1500s. In False Economy, I read about the grain welfare distributed by the Roman Empire. The grain was bought cheaply from the Egyptians, sailed across the Mediterranean to Rome, and distributed to poor Roman citizens. The cost of transporting the grain overland was astronomical and welfare was restricted only to those in the city. This, of course, led to the city suddenly surging with population of poor folks from the country. I can't remember exactly but I believe that the statistic presented was that at one time 300,000 of a city population of 1,000,000 were on grain welfare. It's simply astonishing how the Roman Senate failured to recognize the ramifications of their law.

I did ask myself "Where is the Church in all this? Wasn't the church the one that took care of the poor?" I've never really studied the transition of the care of the poor from the church to the government. Historically, the church has been in charge of the poor and The Victorian Web points out this change:

Before the Reformation, it was considered to be a religious duty for all Christians to undertake the seven corporal works of mercy. These were deeds aimed at relieving bodily distress: in accordance with the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 25 vv. 32-46) people were to

feed the hungry
give drink to the thirsty
welcome the stranger
clothe the naked
visit the sick
visit the prisoner
bury the dead

After the Reformation and the establishment of the Church of England, many of the old values and moral expectations disappeared so it became necessary to regulate the relief of poverty by law.
A change in morals, values disappearing brought about new laws and taxes to take care of the poor? That sounds strangely familiar. The great Roman Empire setting laws that cause a flood of immigrants to the city? Hmm, I've heard this song before. The fact is the Bible treats this very simply: "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" 1 Corinthians 1:20. All our wise programs fail to the simplicity that God asked of us.

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge and his unnamed clerk receive two visitors in his business before heading home: his overly happy nephew and two gentlemen collecting donations for the poor. The nephew is the family, still taking care of, still loving his crotchety old family. The two men represent charity. The nephew puts up a great defense,

"And therefore, Uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my
pocket, I believe it has done be good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless
When confronted by the gentlemen asking for charity, Scrooge hides behind the law saying:

"Are there no prisons? ... "And the Union workhouses, are they still in
operation? ... The Treadmill and Poor Law are in full vigor, then?"
As we all know the ending already, Scrooge learns to love again. He learns to love his family, both his nephew and the lowly unnamed clerk, Bob Cratchit. He learns to give charitably, the giving of ourselves above and beyond the call of the law. We need to take care of our family, no matter how hard, and yes, good things will come of the work. We can't hide behind our social security and fica taxes, saying that we already give to charity. It seems we all have a bit of Scrooge in us and so this small book becomes a great lesson to us even today.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


These are my son's pencils. The boy mentioned in passing tonight that he needed new pencils, that the only one he had had gotten kinda short and hard to write with. He also mentioned that he'd found a second short one on the ground today. Of course, I had no idea what he really meant. I'm sure the other boy is really missing his pencil right now, if you can still call it that.

As punishment, I gave him a Disney Princess pencil to do his homework with.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Self Defense

When the boys come over, the girls have to be prepared for all possibilities.

New Technology

This past year we got a really nice big screen LCD television (it was a gift). Then hubby surprised me with a Blu-Ray player to go with it a couple of months later. (Considering his penchancy for showing up with expensive items that I won't say yes to, I really wasn't that surprised. ) And this Christmas we finally got our first Blu-Ray disc: The Dark Knight. Again, a gift. All the other discs we've watched were rentals. Just the other day we decided that we'll pick up Snow White and Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray since been so highly rated on their re-do. That'll bring our total discs to a measly three.

I guess since we're finally getting into Blu-Rays, I guess I'm not surprised to read this report on the newest and latest television equipment.

From Fox News:
New HDTVs May Soon Be Obsolete? Thanks a Lot, 3D

Just bought a new flat-panel HDTV for Christmas? Enjoying that new Blu-ray disc player? Guess what? They're already obsolete. Everything may be going 3D.

Later this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a slew of companies will be pushing what they hope will be the next big thing in TV: 3D movies and games — even new 3D HDTV broadcasts.

Well, I can definitely see this being a fun invention. After all, we can't watch the current crop of 3D hit movies in our homes without it. This is every gamer's dream come true. If 3D takes hold, Playstation 5 will be something truly out of Star Trek.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Breakfast Muffins

This is what I made my kids for breakfast this morning. I don't know what posessed me to buy this product, much less actually make it. I've seen the more expensive brands offer chocolate chip muffins for a while now but have resisted the temptation with no sweat. Suddenly my favorite thrify brand offers a muffin with even more chocolately goodness, and I fall all over myself to stock up.

I'm sure Bill Cosby's wife is serving them to her grandkids.