Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
I agree that a primary reason for the Southern States' departure was the difficulty in consensus among the States about slavery. While there were other major issues such as taxes and the role of the Federal Government (sound familiar?), "slavery" is rightly seen as a good representative "reason for secession".
The two sides fought for differing reasons, however. The South fought to put reality to their declarations - they wanted self-determination and independence from the other States (think Federal Government). The North (again, think Federal Government) fought to deny independence to the Southern States.
Make no mistake, Lincoln - if he is to be trusted - tried to arrest the exodus of States by declaring in his First Inaugural Address, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
He also stated to Horace Greeley, "If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also so that."
Further, when some counties of Virginia broke away from that State, Lincoln welcomed them into the US as a slave state as West Virginia.
If Lincoln was fighting to free the slaves, he did so not on principle, but as a means to his primary end - maintain dominion over the Southern States.
I've learned that the history of slavery in the US is more complex that I originally thought. I've learned that blacks in the South sometimes owned slaves - sometimes many slaves. I've learned that whites were sometimes slaves - though not at the time of the Civil War. Complexity brings about differing opinions that ought not be derided simply as "spin". The Civil War was fought for reasons good and bad, but it is not as clear cut an issue as Mr Dionne states.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
People have, in recent years, noticed a decline in the Honeybee populations. This is regrettable because it makes the honey more expensive. Some have suggested that the trouble is caused by the ever increasing number of radio waves that we shove through the air.
Monday, December 20, 2010
|Country||GDP per capita||% GDP for food||% food exports|
The title: Nations most at risk for a food shortage.
(triple-click the word "Nations" in the line above for the answer, but first put your guess in the comments)
Sunday, December 19, 2010
For the first time in many hundred years, a Lunar Eclipse will match up with the Winter Solstice. (Those who write horoscopes must be going nuts!) Starting Tuesday, just after midnight, the moon will start to hide in the shadow of the Earth - full moon to no moon. It will take a few hours for the hiding to the Peek-a-boo on the other side to complete. And whatever else is happening, it promises to be cold in MN. So find a warm spot inside the house or car with some people or things to keep you awake, and you may well be able to see this "once-in-four-hundred-year event". Then, of course, you could otherwise try and get a good night's sleep.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I was witnessed to a few days ago by some JWs (Jehovah's Witnesses). I love talking with them (seriously, I do). The latest of their AWAKE magazines rails against Christmas. So that was the issue for discussion. Of course, we had plenty in common - against consumerism and the advertising. They went further and attacked the roots of planned celebrations altogether. Strangely, I defended our practice of celebrating Christmas - by trying to illustrate that Christmas at our house was really focused on the birth of Jesus first and foremost. Now, I have to put my hand to the plow and make sure it happens that way as best I can. I have some ideas, but would welcome suggestions.
- Sing Christmas songs as a family
- Read the Bible / Nativity stories
Friday, December 10, 2010
I'm not one who much relishes visiting relics. Heck, I didn't get misty-eyed trooping around Israel for a month. (Walking the same paths that Jesus and David walked - oh well.)
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
It has just been brought to light an important study in the Social Sciences. A study in human behavior out of Sweden as it relates to Chess. Yes, chess.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I have a disorder. Now, I haven't been medically tested, but I'm sure my family members would corroborate: Selective Eating Disorder. (If only my parents would have known . . . .)
Sunday, November 28, 2010
It seems to represent many of the things I believe politically - thought I'm more extreme on the abortion position. (I'm a single-issue voter, except for all the other issues.)
Friday, November 26, 2010
Read transcript here.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I never thought of it that way - that "root canal" procedures simply keep dead body material in the body to decay and harbor infection.
Read his entire article with a Q&A here.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Appalachian melody drifting softly down
Instruments of gold and red and brown
Do not need no dulcimer or banjo-fiddle sound
For right now I'll watch these leaves come down
How peculiar liking old dead leaves against the sky
There is something more than meets the eye
Funny how I sit and watch these leaves come down from high
But these things are music to my eyes
Such a pretty song I see, have I been beguiled
This day is not imagination's child
Every time the leaves come down I've just got to smile
For they sing a melody so mild
But these things are music to my eyes
Mark didn't write a song about winter as I recall.
Friday, November 19, 2010
A couple from Apple Valley, MN has posted an online poll and asked people to vote on it. It is open until Dec. 7, so if you have an opinion . . . . Here's the thing, they are pregnant. And the poll question is: "Should we give birth or have an abortion?". Though I haven't read it on their site explicitly, I'm presuming that they will go with the majority vote. Currently, it's 4-1 give birth.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
One of the "blog-roll" lists that I have on the right side is Post-Secrets. It is a blog that posts secrets, confessions, thanksgivings, confusions, and wonderings. As a person for whom life is sometimes confusing, and for whom people sometimes seem so alien, this website can be really therapeutic. Of course, it is all done without names - and very often faces are blurred - to protect identities.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Now we get word that Humanitarian AID is having disastrous unintended consequences for the recipient countries. Case in point, Ethiopia. Remember "We Are The World" back in the mid-1980's? The song-spinners asked us to give money to help the poor and starving in Ethiopia. While we saw that people were indeed starving, we didn't see that there was a war going on - and that the AID prolonged the war and ultimately brought a repressive dictator to power. This dictator is still in power and he is still repressing his own people.
The starving children of Ethiopia were not the victims of drought, as most people believed at the time. They were the victims of politics. The government of the time was using famine as an instrument of war, and the rebels were more interested in defeating the government than in feeding famine victims. As William Easterly, a leading aid skeptic, puts it, “It’s not the rains, it’s the rulers.” Political famines attract the food aid industry, with the consequence that governments or rebel groups are able to feed their own armies and divert resources to buy more weapons. Humanitarian aid in conflict zones is always problematic. It helps the bad guys as well as the innocent.
Friday, November 12, 2010
There is a petition going around in the San Fransisco which would make it a misdemeanor (a crime with possible jail time) to circumcise a male under the age of 18. Of course, it is just a petition. Even if enough people sign the petition, it would still need to be voted on. Even so, just goes to show that San Francisco is on the 'bleeding edge' of government regulation. Just recently, they banned Happy Meals (that is, toys included in meal packages to entice children to purchase insufficiently healthy foods - like Joe Camel on cigarette cartons).
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
On the way home, after singing during 3 Sunday morning services, I debriefed with Anjali about the story told about David. The presenter/teacher was probably 23 years old, and his audience was somewhere between 5 and 11 years old. This was one of the reasons that he told the story why he did. But understand this, David did not fall in love with Bathsheba when he committed adultery. This is what is called "lust". He wanted to share privacy parts (a term our family uses). He was the king and he would not be denied. Had very little to do with love.
David was very sorry for what he had done. Well, lets see. Probably took 45 days or more to determine that Bathsheba was pregnant. He tried to get Uriah back home to sleep with her. That didn't work, so David hatched the plan to kill him. All these attempts to keep away from the blame took more time. It wasn't until Nathan confronted him that he owned up and showed sorrow for what he had done. Sure, he was sorry, but make no mistake, he first went to great lengths to cover it up.
The baby died as a result of David's sin because God wanted to punish David. While this is actually in the text, the one who actually got hurt the most was, of course, the baby. No mention of the baby.
What do we do when Bible stories are told and they don't match the Bible? Even if the teacher's lesson is a good one, I'm going to encourage Anjali and Mark to rely on the text as much as possible.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
There is presently a castle for sale in France - not far from Paris. (I hear it even has French-style gardens.) Really, all that is needed to complete its refurbishment is a Princess and a Prince. The price is negotiable, though the negotiating starts at just under 5M euros. What could be nicer than to wile away the time in a castle of your own? And whoever said "Spare the rod - spoil the child" never had a dungeon at their disposal for alternatives to the rod. Anyway, it'd be worth a try.
Monday, November 8, 2010
A very old board game, The Game of Goose, was a wonder to the people of the Middle-Ages. It had everything one could want: dice, geese, mazes, prisons, and a race to the finish.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
It was the moment I realized that nothing I believed about how God looks ever mattered. It was like St. Paul trying to convince the disciples that, "Hey, what we're doing here is totally different! We're not Jews following Jesus. We're Christians!" Get the difference? God had given me a new vocabulary, and a new set of eyes, that wasn't tied to the hot-button issues of terra firma. It was more than what the eye could see.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
It has been discovered that fulvalene diruthium (Ruthium is element #44 - and quite rare). Umm, let me start again.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
There are plenty of aspects of life that are uncomfortable - so we give these things a name shield us from the raw encounter with what it is about.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
- Classify the book according to kind and subject matter.
- State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity.
- Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole.
- Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.
- Come to terms with the author by interpreting his key words.
- Grasp the author's leading propositions by dealing with his most important sentences.
- Know the author's arguments, by finding them in, or constructing them out of, sequences of sentences.
- Determine which of his problems the author has solved, and which he has not; and as to the latter, decide which the author knew he had failed to solve.
- You must be able to say, with reasonable certainty, "I understand," before you can say any one of the following things: "I agree," or "I disagree," or "I suspend judgment."
- When you disagree, do so reasonably, and not disputatiously or contentiously.
- Demonstrate that you recognize the difference between knowledge and mere personal opinion by presenting good reasons for any critical judgment you make. p.164-165
Sunday, September 5, 2010
... a word can have many meanings, especially an important word. If the author uses a word in one meaning, and reader reads it in another, words have passed between them, but they have not come to terms. Where there is unresolved ambiguity in communication, there is no communication, or at best communication must be incomplete. p.96
VW is working on a new car - a very slight car. Strangely, it is both inexpensive and economical at the same time. It will move people (a person) without much room for groceries, and it will be easy to park. Supposedly, it's very safe.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
THE MAN HE KILLED
by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
(poem from here) (picture from here)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
When I was younger, I followed baseball with a passion. I followed it forwards and learned about its history backwards. One of the great moments of Baseball history was The Shot Heard 'Round the World, a 3-run home run off the bat of Bobby Thompson to win the pennant for the Giants. Over time, I managed to obtain one of Bobby Thompson's baseball cards.
Bobby Thompson died on Monday. (video on linking page)
On a side note, did you notice the number of people in the stadium who were well-dressed. (Nice hats). It would be easier to count the people who weren't in their Sunday best. I'm going to my first Twins' game at Target Field tonight. (I've been to the Metrodome and Met Stadium many times before.) How should I dress? (And where will I get a fancy hat?)
Sunday, August 15, 2010
We eventually went to the lobby and the computer room. This made for a more pleasant day! Projections were for 10% of the registered people to show up to vote. We got close to 20% - at nearly 300 voters. 40 of them were newly registered voters.
Since we were a Rec Center, people came in and out who were not voters. One such person came through during a slow part of the day for us. One of the judges asked him if he was going to vote. The conversation went something like this?
Judge: Are you here to vote?
Man: No, I'm not going to vote.
Judge: Why not?
Man: I don't like the government.
Judge: How else are you going to change it if you don't vote?
Man: Doesn't matter who is in it, I dont' like the government.
Judge: It's the government. You can't escape it.
The man didn't vote. Inside, I had huge admiration for this guy. But the Judge, also, was right. You can't escape the government. "Change the name, change the faces, but the story's still the same." While that might be true, it has some flexibility - which is why I voted.
Here's the oath the all the Election Judges took before the polls opened:
I, ______, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will perform the duties of election judge according to law and the best of my ability and will diligently endeavor to prevent fraud, deceit and abuse in conducting this election. I will perform my duties in a fair and impartial manner and not attempt to create an advantage for my party or for any candidate.(I've got more to say on this, but I've got to get ready for Church.)
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Some while ago, I bemoaned that Greek beaurocrats were getting retirement benefits nearly equivalent to what they made when they actually produced (check that) worked. I said that it seemed like a nice job if you could get it, but I proclaimed it immoral as it put untold burden on future workers (check that) producers as they must continue to pay for work done years before. What was immoral was the promise to pay into the extended future (with unknown length) a wage for work that was not being done.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The title comes from a movie, Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life". It is spoken as an answer to the question "What is the meaning of life?" Of course, there is a great deal of discussion about this very curious answer. It is worth watching, (especially if you are about to have a baby) but is only for adults - rated R.