Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How About Silence?


I spent some time recently in a couple of waiting rooms.  Blaring away was the ubiquitous television.  One happened to be ‘The Price Is Right’ – annoying when watching, unbearable when used as a ‘background sound.’  In the other some nit-wit blabbered away while a camera was trained on the door of an airplane from which ‘Yo-Mamma Obama’ was supposed to appear at any moment.  As long as I could stand to look, nothing happened, and the voice stumbled around for time killing, thought mostly meaningless, words.

We live in a world full of constant media sounds.  Every restaurant must play music, often far too loudly.  Who just sits quietly any more?  It is a nearly lost art.

On the college campus many students walk around with ears always ‘budding’ and somewhere in there the mp3 player blasting.  Yesterday at the local grocery store the store manager was trying to tell the ‘cart collection’ boy something.  She had to shout while about two feet from him because his ear buds were in place and, apparently, his music was echoing around in his (empty?) head.  Help must be hard to get these days!

Even at church we suffer from this condition.  You might think Christians would at some point take to heart the admonition, “Let all the earth keep silence before Him!”  If we do, it’s not places I attend church.  There is always noise – on purpose.

We play music before the official ‘show’ begins.  Even during communion, we can’t just be quiet – we play ‘background’ music every and always.

I know this is not, perhaps, some great problem.  But I do often wonder why moderns cannot stand the sounds of silence – and I don’t mean the song by that title.  What goes on within us that we cannot tolerate being alone with our thoughts for even a short time?  Are we empty?  Do we hate what we find within?

I will now be silent so you can think about this for a while.  Try doing it without music playing.

Hot, Cold, or Inbetween – It’s Global Warming!


This AP story is making the rounds recently:

River Ice Jams Hard To Predict, Scientists Say
Mar 27, 2009 6:31 PM

[The story reports that]  Kate White, a civil engineer at the Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., and one of the nation's leading experts on ice jams [said] climate change caused by global warming likely is changing ice conditions and adding to the unpredictability.

Kent comments:

This has been said before, but is worth repeating in light of a flood (take it as a pun if you wish) of this kind of reporting for the last far too many years.

First, a civil engineer is cited as though she is an expert on ‘global warming.’  The problems with that are obvious.  Even worse is the role the ‘global warming’ hypothesis is now expected to carry in the news culture.

On very hot days, global warming is always now the culprit.  It’s never just summer, when it is often hot in many places in the world.  Hot summer days confirm, it is always implied, the global warming hypothesis.

But, paradoxically, so do cold spells.  So does an ice jam in a river.  So does any storm of any kind.  So does some vegetation growing faster than usual.  So does EVERYTHING.

While that is all considered good reporting down at AP and their kin, it isn’t science.  An hypothesis which is confirmed by any evidence we might encounter is not much good as an hypothesis.  It’s as though the suspect in a who-done-it plot is shown to be guilty because she owned the gun or because she didn’t own the gun; because she was at the scene of the crime or because she had never been near the scene of the crime.  In other words, the evidence doesn’t matter, she’s just guilty.

If nothing can conceivably count against the hypothesis of global warming, nothing really counts for it, either.  We just know its a big, bad problem that must be solved by any means whatsoever.

All of which makes it a lot more like superstition than science.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


This just in from “Vote! Earth


On March 28 you can VOTE EARTH by switching off your lights for one hour.
Or you can vote global warming by leaving your lights on.

The results of the election are being presented at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. We want one billion votes for Earth, to tell world leaders that we have to take action against global warming.

According to these people, ‘Your Light Switch Is Your Vote.’

I will not review the fallacies of environmental-mania here.  You can find some of that elsewhere.

But I do plan to vote.  I plan to vote for more light, more power generation, and fewer ‘environmental’ nitwits.  Here is what I plan to do.

This Saturday (March 28) at 8:30 pm we are going to light our house up until it glows.  When all is glowing, I am going to take a picture of a well-lighted house, and post it here and on Facebook.

And I am here also to campaign for your vote.  Vote for more power generation, more light, and fewer ‘environmental’ nitwits by lighting up your place on Saturday at 8:30 pm, taking your picture, and posting it on a Facebook group that I am going to create right now.

The environmental maniacs love darkness.  I urge you to love light.

This Saturday, VOTE FOR LIGHT!!!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Everyone, Anyone, & Their Kin

‘Ain’t it the truth?’

Today we set aside theology and all that for another kind of complaint:  the way supposedly smart people use the English language.

Yes, yes, I know that not every occasion calls for formal English.  In conversations we often bend the rules.

But in public speaking, in written public announcements, and in related venues, I expect to see some attempt to use the language correctly.  We are in the midst of a severe pronoun misuse problem lately.

So, Americans, get this through your thick skulls:  the words ‘everyone’, ‘someone’, ‘anyone’ (and a few others related words) are singular, not plural, in number.

This means that if you want to connect any of these words to another pronoun, it too must be singular.

Here is the sort of mistake that has become common:  “Everyone can pick up their copy of the book at the door.”  It is clear to most people that ‘their’ is plural – plural possessive, in fact.  But it should also be clear that ‘everyone’ is not plural.  You can do a little experiment to convince yourself.

Would you say ‘Everyone is going to the store.’ or ‘Everyone are going to the store.’?  The second way sounds wrong, and it is, because ‘everyone’ is singular.

But, maddeningly, one constantly hears and reads in the public forum things like, “Anyone can can cash their check at our bank for free.”

Why is this mistake so common?  It has to do with the inane views of feminism.  What should be said is, “Anyone can cash his check at our bank for free.”  Sometime in the last twenty-five years feminists convinced us all that this is a sin, because ‘his’ is masculine in grammatical gender.  It was contorted into an insult to use good grammar in this way.

People tried things like ‘his or her’ and ‘his/her’ but these were too awkward.  So rather than rub the feminist sensibilities in the wrong way, we have resorted to perverting the English language.

Yes, this is yet another one of the many benefits of feminism:  bad grammar.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Real Communists Ought to Know

Just in case any doubt remains in your mind, you might want to check out the speech given by the chairman of the Communist Party USA upon the election of Barack Obama.  It concludes with this:

Let me finish by saying that it sure feels good to be on the winning side. I’m sure everyone feels the same way. At the same time, because of this historic victory, we – and the broader movement that we are a part of – have our work cut out for us in the coming years. It’s a big challenge, but we have met other challenges. So let’s go out there and do it with a sense of confidence that the best days for our country lay ahead of us. Yes we can! Si Se Puede! Thank you.

Before someone starts complaining that ‘you can’t blame Obama for what someone says about him’ I want to make it clear that this is not my point.

The point is that real communists think the election of Obama is a good thing.  They think he will in some way help move their agenda forward.

And real communists ought to be a credible source for what is good for communism.  The chairman of the Communist Party USA says, “Obama is.”

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Maddening Modesty of Postmodernism

I have recently been reading Te Deum:  The Church and Music by Paul Westermeyer (Augsburg Fortress, 1998).  It is an intriguing textbook-ish (I don’t count that as necessarily a bad thing) treatment of church music across the ages, with a focus on the western church.

Early in the book, in his consideration of the influence of Psalms in church music, Westermeyer says:

Underneath this whole discussion of the Psalms has been an implicit sense that for Christians they are related to Christ.

Notice the hint of retraction here:  the Psalms are related to Christ ‘for Christians.’  As if this were not enough, Westermeyer adds this footnote:

This does no disservice to the Jews who use the Psalms in their own (sometimes messianic) way.  It simply is the way Christians interpret things, especially the Psalms.

As politically correct as this may be, it leaves one wondering:  are the Psalms related to Jesus the Christ, or not?  Or are things only related if someone relates them?  (This would be the ultimate in relationship subjectivity.)

I must conclude the Westermeyer thinks the Psalms are related to Christ, but he thinks that relationship exists only because he invented it for himself.  So then, in fact, are the Psalms related to Christ?  Apparently Westermeyer does not think such a factual relationship is knowable, even if it should exist.

But the footnote continues:

We live together best if we acknowledge honestly our own position, fully aware that others may not share it and that we have no business trying to force it on others.

And there you have it:  that soul-griping, post-modern relativism that has overcome our ability to think, all in the name of ‘sensitivity.’

I appreciate the call to honesty, but Westermeyer and his kin should go further in their honesty.  Because, honestly, if matters like the connection of Christ to the Psalms (and a whole host of other matters) are simply things we invent for ourselves, why do they even matter?

If the Psalms are in fact related to Christ, how does my mention of it ‘force’ it on anyone?  Can’t the Jews – or anyone else – simply be wrong sometimes?  Why can’t we just say, “The Psalms are related to Christ.  Non-Christian Jews, of course, don’t recognize this.”?

This in no way ‘forces’ anything on anyone.  Except that it does, perhaps, force those like Westermeyer to think more about reality and our ability to know it.  Because if everything that someone might dispute is simply an invention of our minds, why ever write a book?  Why ever be a Christian?

Rush Is Right


In a recent Washington Post article Kathleen Parker weighed in on the recent ‘Rush Limbaugh wants Obama to fail’ debate.  The key paragraph in what she said was this:

Where Limbaugh wants to slash and burn, Romney wants to build and repair. Where Limbaugh wants Obama to fail, Romney wants "our country to succeed, no matter who's in power. We want America to be prosperous and secure, regardless of who gets the credit ..... in good times and bad, the interests of this great nation come first."

But I have to agree with Rush on this one.  And I have to think that Kathleen Parker is being a bit disingenuous in her attack on Rush.

Romney wants our country to succeed.  But so does Rush, and I think Parker probably knows this, or she should if she pays attention to what Rush actually says on the topic.

Rush realizes that Obama’s current policies will work to the detriment of the United States – unless, that is, your goal is economic fascism of some kind.

Rush doesn’t care ‘who gets the credit’ – he is simply a freedom-loving anti-socialist who is, necessarily, opposed to socialism-creating policies.

While I can’t speak for Rush, I am quite sure that if Mr. Obama would advocate individual property and freedom respecting policies, he would receive nothing but praise and adoration from Rush Limbaugh.

Like Rush Limbaugh, I want Obama to fail, in the sense of failing to implement destructive policy.  I want him to fail for the same reasons (and I am not making a total equation here, just an analogy) – for the same kind of reasons I wish the policies of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao would have failed.

What is this so hard for people like Kathleen Parker to understand?

Environmental Pharisees

Environmental Pharisees

Jesus frequently came into conflict with the Pharisees--hyper-strict religious leaders of His day--because they erected rules that went far beyond the requirements of divinely revealed law. He accused them of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel; loading people with burdens no one could bear; and substituting the traditions of men for the commandments of God.

Some modern environmentalists are not much different, promulgating hyper-strict rules with unjustified moral fervor. They confuse debatable prudence with divinely revealed principle.

A case in point is opposition to soft toilet paper. Because recycled paper won't work, soft toilet paper must be made from freshly pulped trees. But, says Dr. Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council, "No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper."

Got that? "Should" is a moral term, and “no forest of any kind” makes it an absolute moral judgment. But whether or not we may cultivate trees solely to make toilet paper is a prudential judgment on which reasonable people can differ.

Legalism may be easier to satisfy than the law of love, but the Apostle Paul strongly condemned it:

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
(Colossians 2:20-23)

Kent comments:

I didn’t write the above – I’m not that talented!  But you can find a wealth of good information about the environment where this came from, which is We Get It.  Go there RIGHT NOW and sign up for their weekly email.  Just do it!  You won’t regret it.

Science Is A Sacred Cow

from Inside Higher Ed:

Funding Science, Smartly

March 4, 2009

Rep. John Culberson's Web site shouts that the country should "just say no to federal spending," and the Texas Republican boasted at a House of Representatives hearing Tuesday that he has a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union because he consistently opposes wasteful government spending. But Culberson makes an exception, he told his colleagues on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related, for spending on scientific research and science education, given the contribution those things make to the country's economic stability and national security.

"We should find a way to wall off [the National Science Foundation] and other agencies in a way that will protect" their budgets, Culberson said. "We should be looking for funding that is stable and predictable in the years to come."

Kent comments:

Somewhere in my library is an old book titled Science Is A Sacred Cow.  Once upon a time I was a Chemistry major in college, and I still enjoy keeping up with that field a bit.  Science is a good thing, generally speaking.

Even though that is the case, this is no justification for forcing me to pay for your science, anymore than forcing me to pay for your church’s hymnals.

The usual excuse, of course, is that ‘we all benefit from science research.’  In the end, that is probably true in some sense.  We probably all benefit, as consumers, by much of the R&D that is done.  But that is not a good excuse to pick someone’s pocket to pay for it.

Because for any kind of R&D to get to a consumer, some company and its stockholders must first and primarily benefit from it.  I have no problem with that at all – so long as that company and its stockholders pay for their own R&D – and the science that is behind it.

But what about ‘national defense’?  While high tech weapons of defense are very desirable, they could just as easily be purchased by the government hiring private companies to do research and produce the items desired.

If, like Rep. Culberson, you hold to the principle that we should ‘just say no to federal spending’ then you hold a good principle.  But if you compromise it for your ‘sacred cow’ then you are a hypocrite.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Of Course It’s Socialism

Kent comments:

Agnes seems to be at her local ‘public’ school.  So of course it’s socialism!  What did she expect?!

Socialism:  government ownership of the means of production.  Government ownerships of schools (a means of producing schooling) = socialism.

But let not your heart be troubled.  Soon many more parts of American life will be just like ‘public’ schools, the Post Office, and all those wonderfully efficient and customer-friendly places we have tolerated for so long now.

Socialism is bliss.  Learn to enjoy the bliss.  Promote it.  Thank God for it.  Praise the lord Barack for giving us more and more of it.


George vs. Today


"Harmony, liberal intercourse with all Nations, are recommended by policy, humanity and interest. But even our Commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with Powers so disposed; in order to give trade a stable course."

--George Washington, Farewell Address, 19 September 1796

Kent comments:

If you manage to wade through the 18th century lingo – charming as it is – something striking and wonderful jumps from this statement.  Notice the phrase, “but forcing nothing.”  Washington is talking about international trade.  How would this be accomplished?  According to Mr. Washington, “neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences.”

Imagine modern government doing anything like this!  In other words, allowing people to trade with whom and how they see fit.  What would Mr. Washington say about trade barriers, subsidies, and policies?  It seems very clear that he would say, “Away with all those, and let freedom ring!”  (Or something like that.)

But today, a very different sort of person inhabits the office Mr. Washington once so carefully guarded.

Freedom:  what a novel concept, what a rare condition, what a beautiful arrangement.  We had it, but we gave it up in favor of what we thought would be security.

Pity us fools.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Windows 7 Beta

Here is something you don’t expect in this blog:  an operating system review!

I have been trying the coming-soon version of Windows with the Biblically significant (!) number of seven.  To give you an idea of how to evaluate what I am about to say, I consider myself a computer user of above average experience.  My first PC use came in 1982, and I have been far too interested ever since.

I have built PCs, I maintain a little personal network (I’m wired – I don’t like the idea of broadcasting my data.  It’s a prejudice I will probably give up sometime.)  I worked in an IT department for a few years – at a low level, just so you know.

I ‘grew up’ computerly-speaking in the good old days of DOS.  I came only reluctantly into the era of graphical interface operating systems.  After Windows 3.1 I used OS/2 for a while.  I rather liked it, but it didn’t seem to become very popular.

I skipped Vista for a couple of reasons.  First, I am poor and can’t afford to upgrade at the drop of a hat.  Also, I liked XP and heard too many complaints about Vista.

Right now, in addition to XP, I run an additional older PC with the Ubuntu version of Linux.  My wife’s old PC was sitting around, so I stuck all the old hard drives (I never get rid of such treasures) I had into it.  Ubuntu runs very well on that old PC, and it gives me a chance to escape the dominion of Bill Gates now and then.

So having said all that – probably too much – we come to this latest offering from Bill and the boys at Microsoft.

I downloaded one of the last copies in February.  I was going to burn a DVD for installation (it’s too large for a CD – which it seems are almost obsolete now anyway) and I discovered that I had no writable DVD blanks in stock.  So I put the Windows 7 files on a flash drive, and installed from there.  It was rather fun – you have to perform a couple of special maneuvers to pull that off.  Some web browsing was required to learn just what those are.  (This is one of the things I like about the digital world – you can always try something new, and learn something in the process!)

I put the new version of Windows on my XP machine so that it ‘dual boots’ – that is, you must choose which version you want to boot when you start your PC.  The only drawback is that the default is Windows 7, so if you turn on your PC and go brush your teeth while it boots, you are in Windows 7.  There is probably some way to change that, but I haven’t bothered to discover it yet.

So Windows 7 beta has been loaded now for a few weeks.  I loaded up all sorts of programs, uninstalled few I didn’t like, and generally poked around and with the new system quite a bit.  So far, I have found only one little device utility that I used in XP but wouldn’t work in Windows 7.  All my apps – new and old – work without a hitch.

I must give Bill’s Boys a good grade on this one.  In some ways, it ‘looks’ a bit like Ubuntu to my eyes.  It does seem to require less of your PC power for the operating system.  It does start and close very quickly.  It is easier on the eyes, for me at least, than XP.

The guys at Microsoft are soliciting user feedback for this version, and they seem to be taking it to heart.  They have already made some changes based on the input they have received.  While some of the features aren’t quite where I expect them (remember, I skipped Vista) I have not found it terribly difficult to find where to changes settings and so forth.

I like Windows 7, and I think most users will, too.  It is an operating system I am not likely to skip, as I and so many others did Vista.

[Don’t expect many posts like this on THIS blog!  But now and then, a change of pace is good.]