Monday, November 5, 2018

I am voting “NO” on Marcy’s Law

On the November, 2018 ballot in Kentucky, there is a Kentucky Constitutional amendment known unofficially as “Marcy’s Law.”  I will be voting “no” on this issue and I urge you to do the same if you are voting in Kentucky, or another state with a similar proposal.  Here is why.

1.  The proposed language to be changed in the Kentucky Constitution is not on the ballot.  The proposal is very general.  It is so general that you cannot know what you are voting for without significant searching, which most people will probably not do.  It was not easy finding the exacting wording of the proposal.  When I did I found a long list of things.

2.  Even if some of these things are good ideas, they do not belong in a state constitution.  Rather, they should be statute law.  That way, if they do not all work out as hoped, they can more easily be changed.

3.  The whole idea of “rights” connected to this proposal is wrong-headed.  You do not, and should not, get a new set of “rights” because you have been the victim of a crime.  For example, if someone accused of a crime against you is threatening you, you have a right not to be threatened not just because of the situation.  It is the same right you had to be free of threats before any crime was committed.

4.  What state governments can best do to protect victims is to quickly, but justly through due process, punish those who commit crimes against other citizens.  If that is not being done adequately, it should be addressed by changing criminal codes, not amending a state constitution.

5.  Other states that have passed similar amendments have had various kinds of problems that were not foreseen.  You will have to look into the details of that for yourself.

6.  Finally, appeals to (truly) pathetic stories of victims is almost never a good reason to amend a state constitution.  It is far too easy to abandon reason in such matters and just accept the emotional appeal of it all.

So I am voting “NO” on the Constitutional Amendment on the Kentucky ballot for November 6, 2018.

I will be surprised, however, if it does not pass easily.  Too many of us vote emotionally rather than rationally.  But I can do nothing to change that.  Only you can.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Mark Galli: Demonstrating Both Ignorance and Stupidity

In a recent Christianity Today article, editor in chief Mark Galli wrote about gun violence.  In this he said:

“So while we support the legitimacy of owning guns, given the violence of our land and God’s hatred of violence, we also see a need to regulate the purchase and use of guns. In particular, we Christians should work to ban weapons whose main purpose is to kill a lot of people very quickly, to keep guns in general out of the hands of unstable personalities, and to ensure that everyone who buys and owns guns can demonstrate they know how to use and store them safely.”

Galli would do well to know something about guns before saying things that make him sound stupid.  Having just reviewed the statistic showing that past “regulation” of guns had no significant effect on gun violence, he still proposes to “regulate.”  He supports the “legitimacy” of owning guns, but has little to say about the right to both own and carry firearms that the “law of the land” declares “shall not be infringed.”  I suppose he supports obeying the law, except when it interferes with his plans to “regulate” something he doesn’t like.

He urges Christians to “work to ban weapons whose main purpose is to kill a lot of people very quickly.”  In the most recent school shooting, a shotgun and a revolver were used.  So exactly which guns have a “main purpose” to “kill a lot of people very quickly”?  Most shotguns would be very useful for killing a lot of people very quickly if some evil person decided to put one to that use.  So does he want Christians to work to ban shotguns?  He leaves that matter very vague, perhaps because he has no idea what he is talking about.

He want gun owners to be required to “demonstrate they know how to use and store guns safely” - presumably demonstrate this to the state.  What, exactly, does this mean?  Must a gun owner somehow prove to the state that he has a certain level of marksmanship before he can even own a gun?  How does one do that without owning one?

What government agency will decide if you are storing your guns “safely” or not?  Must everyone, even people with no children in the house, own a certain kind of gun safe?  Will government inspectors visit the homes of all gun owners (without regard to Fourth Amendment rights, of course) to make sure guns are “stored safely”?  Must all legally-owned guns be locked away so they cannot be easily used in case of a home invasion?  Again, Galli is very vague, hinting that he has no idea what he is talking about.

If we take Galli’s approach, why shouldn’t Christianity Today be subject to government preemptive rules to make sure they do not abuse their First Amendment rights?  Galli says elsewhere that since we regulate driving, we should regulate gun rights.  So why should we not regulate free speech rights?  After all, if we allow Galli to say whatever he wants, he might say something stupid - as he does in this article!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oh No! It’s Some Cotton!

A recent article has to be in the top examples of the everything-is-offensive culture.  In the Tennessean came this article:  “Lipscomb president apologizes for cotton stalk centerpieces

According to Randy Lowry, Lipscomb president, “Last night we invited Lipscomb African American students to our home for dinner to discuss their experiences at Lipscomb. Several students shared with me their concern about the material used for centerpieces which contained stalks of cotton.”

Stalks of cotton are now offensive?  No doubt the thought is that cotton was a main crop in the days of the slave-holding south.  But if you are going to be offended by the existence of cotton - stalks, balls, take your pick of the cotton plant – then it might be time to admit that some people just want to find an excuse, no, a pretense, for “offense.”

To jump to everyone’s favorite, stupid example in some of these inane discussions, I notice that every swastika I have ever seen has many right angles.  Should we now expect anyone with any hint of Jewish ancestry to be offended by right angles?

It is time to stop the idiotic cowering every time someone claims to be “offended.”  It is one thing when people actually attempt to be offensive.  It is quite something else when people scrounge, scrape, and dig up something at which they can make the pretense of offense.

If Randy Lowry had any guts or the hint of a backbone (metaphorically speaking, of course) he would politely tell these students, “I am sorry you are so easily offended by something that should not be offensive to any sensible person.  I am also sorry to say that if you lack the sense not to be offended by a cotton centerpiece, you might not be ready for college.  In fact, you might not be ready to function in the world at all.”

Someday sensible people are going to grow weary of this idiocy.  We can only hope that when that time comes, there are enough sensible people left to make a difference.

I hope that someday, at least in the not-too-distant future, the kind of idiocy we are now enduring will come to an end.  But my hope is very slim.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

“Note to employees from [Google] CEO Sundar Pichai” - Insanity or Dishonesty?

The inclusive/diversity mind set is very difficult to decipher.  That is because it contains a logical inconsistency.  On the one hand is the desire to include all viewpoints and people.  On the hand is the fact that there are viewpoints that are not as “inclusive and diverse” as you would like them to be.  The advocates of (their version, at least) inclusivity and diversity could avoid falling into insanity by simply being inclusive enough to tolerate even those who don’t completely agree with their views of inclusion and diversity.  It seems that they cannot, but they are loath to admit this.

That is because they are almost always inclusion and diversity hypocrites.  This has been very obvious for a long time, but we see it again in the incident of the software engineer fired by Google after expressing his views about Google’s internal “culture.”

Of course, a private company should be able to hire and fire as desired, or at least I think so.  But it appears that the Google empire has for some time prided itself on being inclusive and diverse.  It just couldn’t “swallow” an employee who held and expressed ideas that did not comport with the views of Google.

The Google CEO could openly admit this.  He could just say, “You can’t express just any ideas here at Google.  We have certain standards and limits, and some ideas are off-limits.”  That would be very honest.  He could do that, but if he made it that clear, it would sound like their inclusion is not quite all that inclusive and their diversity is not really all that diverse.  That would appear to be a little insane at worst, or hypocritical at best.

So, instead, he has to say things that, taken together, make him, and his Google culture, sound a little bit nutty, to say the least, and perhaps a bit dishonest.  Now some examples.

Separated by just a few words the Google CEO says “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves” and then says that the fired employee’s view is unacceptable because he “suggest[s] a group of our colleagues [females] have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work [software coding].”  So Google “strongly” supports the right of Googlers to express themselves unless Google doesn’t like the view that an employee expresses.  That borders on insanity, or if it is not insanity, it is dishonesty.

The memo goes on to say, “there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent.”  But wasn’t a Google employee just fired precisely because he expressed dissent?  Is this insanity, or is it dishonesty?

Near the end of the memo the Google CEO says, “The past few days have been very difficult for many at the company, and we need to find a way to debate issues on which we might disagree - while doing so in line with our Code of Conduct.”  But that is just another way of saying that Google employees are not allowed to debate and disagree with a set of ideas supposedly included in the Code of Conduct.  In fact, the section of the Code of Conduct quoted by the Google CEO did not directly prohibit raising the kinds of questions raised by the fired software engineer.  One of his key points was that there might be good reasons, other that some kind of discrimination, why there are fewer female coders than there are male coders.  Is that something that cannot even be discussed in a place where “people must be free to express dissent”?!?  Again, is this insanity or dishonesty?

In a previous memo the Google CEO said, “All your voices and opinions matter . . . and I want to hear them.”  Well Sundar Pichai, apparently you do not.  One software engineer expressed some opinions that you and your company did not like, and you fired him.  That has to mean that you did not want to hear his voice and his opinion, and you didn’t want anyone else at Google to hear his voice and his opinion.  If you continue to insist that you want to hear all opinions while firing those who express opinions you do not like, you are either nuts or a liar.

From this distance, I cannot quite tell which it is.  Could it be a bit of both?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Beware of Biblesoft!

I want to post what amounts to a warning about the company Biblesoft. Find them on Facebook at

I have used Biblesoft's PC Study Bible since the days of MS DOS and command lines. I always liked it, and the way their whole system worked. Now and then they would come out with a program update, and for a modest fee current users could upgrade just their basic program engine. All the collections you owned, which had often been purchases separately as add-on, could continue to be used.

That was both reasonable and to be expected. In the last year, however, Biblesoft has destroyed its good standing with me by attempting to pull off what seems to something close to a con job on its users. I am very sorry to have to say this.

A little over a year ago I received an email from them saying that they would be coming out with an upgrade in the future. Those who wished to make this coming upgrade needed to upgrade, they said, to the latest program engine. I had the next-to-latest, but I was glad to upgrade. Biblesoft promised the cost of this would apply to their coming new version.

The new version has come out, and Biblesoft has been offering all sorts of additional discounts to get people to upgrade. But it turns out that if you own many of their resources, the least expensive upgrade you can use will cost, even with discounts and credits, about $400. That made the need to upgrade to the latest software engine something of a trick. The ridiculous price of the coming major upgrade was not announced at that time, so if you did that but are not now willing to fork over another $400 "ransom" you completely wasted that money.

This I find to be utterly unacceptable and something akin to highway robbery, of the digital variety. Biblesoft claims that people have problems running their "old" program in windows 10. I have had no problems on two different desktop PCs. They continue to send their ridiculous offers for their over-priced upgrade with the warning that your old version might stop working any day now.

So here is my concluding note to Biblesoft: with this customer of long, long standing, you have blown it. I will not pay you $400 "ransom" to keep using the resources I have purchased from you over the years. If at some point Windows 10 stops running your old program, I will just create a Windows 7 virtual machine on one of my PCs and run your old, good program from that. Other than that, I am done with you and your ill-managed company. Rather than put up pointless "devotional" material on your Facebook page, why not run your company with some Christian integrity?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Not “Christian” and not a “Headline”

At something called I saw this amazingly idiotic so-called headline:

Britney Spears Quotes Bible Verse after Being Mocked by Katy Perry

So a messed-up former Mouseketeer quotes the Bible at a rude remark by the wayward daughter of a Methodist “clergy couple.”  It damages a mind to think of something like that as a “headline.”

The short “article” that follows the headline reads like the kind of gossip one might hear in particularly boring small-town circles.  It really still is just that, even if those involved are famous in spite of doing anything important in life.

Hey – somewhere in this world something important is going on in relationship to Christianity.  But this just isn’t one of those things.  It’s not even close.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Don’t Say It!

I read this today: "Business owners have been gifted a much-needed reprieve thanks to Donald Trump's swift action to reduce red tape." My comment has nothing to do with the political side of that statement.

One piece of twenty-first century jargon that needs to be hated is this idiotic word “gifted.”  A “gift” is “given.”  I understand inventing a word when one does not exist.  But what is the point of inventing a stupid-sounding word when a perfectly good one already fills the needed role?

In the sentence at the beginning, “given” does the job needed with elegance, style, and grace.  Those who insist on dropping the worthless jargon word “gifted” in such places need to whacked up side the head with a grammar stick.

There are some other examples of this sort of thing, but this one is perhaps the worst of them.