Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday: Ego Trips, Ego Traps

CONTINUING WITH PASTOR TIM KELLER'S BOOK, THE FREEDOM OF SELF-FORGETFULNESS based on Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7. In recent weeks I've covered section 1: The Natural Condition of the Human Ego---it's empty, painful, busy and fragile as one-upsmanship rules relationships:
Paul wants the Corinthians to know the difference the gospel makes to our egos and how the gospel has transformed things for him. Look at verses 3 and 4. He shows them how the gospel has transformed his sense of self-worth, his sense of self-regard and his identity. He ego operates in a completely different way on the other side of coming to Jesus Christ.
PART 2: THE TRANSFORMED SENSE OF SELF: verses 1 and 2, he reminds them that he is a minister and that he has a job to do. But then he tells them that , with regard to that role, he cares very little if he is judged by them or any human court. The word translated 'judge' here has the same meaning as the word 'verdict.' It is the thing that Madonna craves----that elusive verdict or stamp of approval.

 Paul does not look to the Corinthians---or any human court---for the verdict that he is a somebody. So Paul is saying to the Corinthians that he does not care what they think of him. He does not care what anybody thinks about him. In fact, his identity owes nothing to what people say. If is as if he's saying, I don't care what you think. I don't care what anyone thinks.

 Paul's self-worth, his self-regard, his identity is not tied in any way to their verdict and their evaluation of him. Paul's identity may not be tied to other people's opinion of him---but how do we reach the point where we are not controlled by what other people think of us? How do you think we get there? Most people would say it's pretty obvious. Practically every counsellor I know would say that it shouldn't matter what other people think of us. They tell us that we should not be living according to what other people say. It should not be their standards that count. It should not matter what they think of us. The only thing that should matter is what I think about me. I should only mind about verses 1 and 2, he reminds them that he is a minister and that he has a job to do. But then he tells them that , with regard to that role, he cares very little if he is judged by them or any human court. The word translated 'judge' here has the same meaning as the word 'verdict.' It is the thing that Madonna craves----that elusive verdict or stamp of approval.

 Paul does not look to the Corinthians---or any human court---for the verdict that he is a somebody. So Paul is saying to the Corinthians that he does not care what they think of him. He does not care what anybody thinks about him. In fact, his identity owes nothing to what people say. If is as if he's saying, I don't care what you think. I don't care what anyone thinks.

 Paul's self-worth, his self-regard, his identity is not tied in any way to their verdict and their evaluation of him. Paul's identity may not be tied to other people's opinion of him---but how do we reach the point where we are not controlled by what other people think of us? How do you think we get there? Most people would say it's pretty obvious. Practically every counsellor I know would say that it shouldn't matter what other people think of us. They tell us that we should not be living
what I think my standards should be. I should choose my own standards. So the counsellors advice is Decide who you want to be and then be it because it only matters what you think about yourself. I someone has a problem of low self-esteem we, in our world, seem to have only one way of dealing with it...That is remedying it with high self-esteem.

We tell someone that they need to see they are a great person, they need to see how wonderful they are. We tell them to look at all the great things they have accomplished. We tell them they just need to stop worrying about what other people say about them. We tell them to set their own standards and accomplish them---and then make their own evaluation of themselves.

Paul's approach could not be more different. He cares very little if he is judged by the Corinthians or by any human court. And then he goes one stop further: he will not even judge himself---like he's saying I don't care what you think, I don't care what I think. I have a a very low opinion of your opinion of me, but I have a very low opinion of my opinion of me. The fact that he has a clear conscience makes no difference. Look carefully at what he says in verse 4, My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent....he knows that even if his conscience is clear, that does not necessarily mean he is innocent. Hitler might have had a clear conscience, but that does not mean he was innocent.

What would Paul say to those who tell him to set his own standards? He would say it's a trap. A trap he will not fall into. ....Paul knows that trying to find self-esteem by living up to a certain set of standards---his or someone else's----is a trap. Now we start to discover where Paul finds his sense of identity. Be forwarned! At this point, he moves right off our map.....Paul moves into territory that we know nothing about....

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Just How Bad the Depression? And How Government Meddling Made It Worse


Friday, September 28, 2012

Mets Knuckleball Pitcher R A Dickey Takes The 20th!


One of the most amazing sports story and tale of redemption ever written. Against all odds, R.A. makes it in the major leagues after decades of languishing in the minors, over-coming childhood abuse and neglect,  and finally dealing with depression, martial infidelity and mediocrity.

 Today, by the Grace of God and extremely hard work, R.A. is on top of the world of baseball winning the respect and admiration of all those who know him and his story.

Will be back with more Dickey links during this busy day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wild and Wonderful: 6 Unconventional Ways To Use Your Dishwasher


MUST BE REALLY GETTING TIRED OF POLITICS or something, because I find the idea of steaming fish, washing baseball caps or cleaning rubber boots all in my dishwaher---not necessarily at the same time---to be utterly fascinating tonight! Maybe I've gone over the edge, but I may just try it soon. Meanwhile, read the whole story here. P.S. Wrap it tightly in tin foil and avoid putting any powdered soap in the doo-dad..

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Happens When Temperatures Cool Down, And DWTS Comment

DON'T HAVE THE FOGGIEST IDEA WHY OR WHAT IT IS, but after months of living in stiffling heat, humidity and western forest fires like much of the rest of the country, it seems when the temperatures start to cool down, even by a couple of degrees, life  and responsibilities start to speed up, sometimes exponentially.

Have been dealing with upgrading rental properties I own, catching up with friends, family, exercising and cooking healthy meals, and that's just the beginning.

 Meanwhile,  I've found out some of our family timber lands that contain some of the best hardwood forests in the country may harbor a couple of meth labs, not to mention piles of trash irresponsible users have left for others to clean up.

 It's easy to poach on large tracts of timber because there are so many ways to get in or around  boundaries. There's no way to fence 1,500 acres of wilderness. I've always wanted people to use this kind of beautiful resource responsibly.& However, when entitled people use this resource without any sense of responsibility, then it's another story.  I've reached the end of my patience and compassion.

 AVTers come in, go round gates and signs and have their way with wild lands whether we like it or not. Irresponsible land use and abuse is a major law enforcement issue and dealing with it is not primary way I want to spend my fall. Or winter. Yet, it's on my plate and so for the last few days I've been fretting about how to begin to solve this conundrum. It's a  huge problem with no easy answers, and no quick solutions.

Good thing I'm the daughter and grand-daughter of foresters and raised among some of the roughest, yet nicest loggers in the world.

Let me tell you my natural inclination were it not for a personal board of directors who keep me in line and on the straight and narrow: My best fantasy is to go up to this beautiful mountain, hide and wait for these poaching ATVers then confront them with my shotgun and blow out all their tires, as a little warning. Sorry to say, but that's what I'd like to do in my most self-indulgent moments

Meanwhile, I and some very good, law-abiding men are hiking to the top of the mountain Saturday, contacting the sheriff and other law enforcement agencies and taking the high road.

I will be on my best behavior. *****

JUST A WORD to say I'm watching DWTS new edition starting last night (Monday). I only have one thing to say: Get Pamela Anderson as well as Kirstie Alley off ASAP. Thought Kirstie's aggressive kiss on the mouth of the host (for his Emmy?!), was one of the most cringe-worthy, inappropriate TV moments I've ever seen.  Please  don't make us watch that again or I may not come back to watch anymore.  What an ill-times boundary violation.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday, Tim Keller On the Fragility of Our Natural Egos


And lastly, as well as empty and painful and busy, the ego is fragile. That is because anything that is overinflated is in imminent danger of being deflated---like an over-inflated balloon. If we are puffed up by air and not filled up with something solid, then to be overinflated or deflated comes down to the same thing. A superiority complex and an inferiority complex are basically the same. They are both the result of being over-inflated. The person with the superiority complex is overinflated and in danger of being deflated; the person with an inferiority complex is deflated already. Someone with an inferiority complex will tell you they hate themselves and they will tell themselves they hate themselves. They are deflated.

 To be deflated means you were previously inflated. Deflated or in imminent danger of being deflated---it is all the same thing. And if makes the ego fragile. Empty, painful, busy and therefore, fragile. Let me give you a perfect example of this. I am not trying to lift her up as being worse than other people at all. She actually shows a tremendous amount of self-awareness and I have a lot of admiration for her. But if you want a perfect example of what I am talking about, here is an excerpt from an interview with Madonna in Vogue Magazine some time ago where she is talking about her career. This is what she says:
My drive in life comes from a fear of being mediocre. That is always pushing me. I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being but then I feel I am still mediocre and uninteresting unless I do something else. Because even though I have become somebody, I still have to prove that I am somebody. My struggle has never ended and I guess it never will.
I will tell you one thing: Madonna knows herself better than most of us know ourselves. Every time she accomplishes something, these are the kind of thoughts she has: 'Now I have got the verdict that I am somebody. But the next day, I realize that unless I keep going, I am not. My ego cannot be satisfied. My sense of self, my desire for self-worth, my need to be somebody----it is not fulfilled. I keep thinking I have won it from what people have said about me and what the magazines and newspapers have written. But the next day, I have to go back and look somewhere else. Why? Because my ego is insatiable. It's a black hole. It doesn't matter how much I throw into it, the cupboard is bare. I have become somebody---but I still need to become somebody.'

We might be tempted to think she (Madonna) is neurotic. No, she knows herself. She is ahead of most of us. That is the normal state of the human self. It is what Paul is talking about to the Corinthians. All these people who are fighting over him and claiming a special relationship with him are showing tremendous amounts of pride. They are unable to enjoy the fact they know Paul. They have to use their relationship with him for one-upmanship over each other in the church. Paul wants them to know the difference the gospel makes and how the gospel has transformed things for him. Look at verses 3 and 4 (1 Corinthians 4:3-4). He shows them how the gospel has transformed his sense of self-worth, his sense of self-regard and his identity. his ego operates in a completely different way now.

(End of Chapter 1)

-----Pastor Tim Keller

Nehemiah's 5 Steps for Handling Conflict

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Robbery On the Rise Everywhere, Especially When Traveling Abroad


LAST WINTER MY CAR WAS BROKEN INTO AND MY PURSE STOLEN. I was at a  park hiking with a friend early on a cold Saturday morning. The robbers had been staking out the parking lot in a black SUV with tinted windows (so the police told me) and watched for dumb, carefree women like me who nonchallentally stowed their wallets etc in the back floor under a blanket before getting out and disappearing on the trail with friends.

I made myself a total sitting duck. Hopefully I won't let it happen again. After I hiked away, the team of vandals smashed one of the back windows with a big rock and I'm still vacuuming pieces of glass out. What a mess. What an inconvenience. Since then, there have been countless articles in local newspapers about the growing crime robberies in cars at state and metro parks---specifically in parking lots after hikers have hit the trail.

Think  I've learned my lesson not to take a purse with me, or if I do, to take only what I'm willing to carry in a pack, or stow in a secret compartment before leaving home. Still there are no guarantees. The video above on pick pockets abroad reminded me what a masssive inconvenience getting robbed is no matter where you are. My sister got her purse snatched with her passport and wallet with all kinds of credit cards and money when she arrived in Madrid several years ago.  Spending your vacation at the American embassy  trying to reconstruct your identity is not my idea of a fun vacation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

@ MarksDailyApple: Absolute Best Movements (With Progressions) To Stay Fit

SINCE BEING INTRODUCED TO THE PRIMAL/PALEO LIFESTYLE LAST YEAR, I'm learning so many improved ways to eat, drink and exercise. The amazing thing is it's so simple. Cooking is more basic and delicious. Exercise for key muscle movements can be done inside or outdoors without having to go to the gym and use the weight machines. I can even do a lot of the movements when I'm on the road traveling.

Earlier this year, I included Mark Sissom's blog MarksDailyApple on my sidebar and now checking into this invaluable resource is a part of my daily routine. Some days the featured post is about food and cooking, others it's about healing and exercise. Today Mark posted several videos of the basic primal movements everybody should be able to do or work up to for basic fitness.

Going to link both to the piece and post several of the videos. I love how Mark makes it easy, accessible for all levels of fitness. I'm a big walker and hiker, but constantly need to focus myself on upper body strength even when I don't want to. With MarksDailyApple I've come to the right place. Watch and be encouraged and also go to the post and see much more. Here are a few from Exercise Primally: Move, Life andSprint. Below Mark demonstrates the pushup, squat and plank for all fitness levels: Perhaps the best thing about these routines for me is they can be done outside while walking/hiking on nearby trails. Efficient and great fun. Aren't these terrific videos. In this day of sitting in front of computer screens, what is better than getting out---or staying in---and re-energizing ourselves with these movements?



MY IDEA OF A REAL, SURE NUFF DUDE. He may be an axe murderer in real life for all I know, or a serial bad guy, still I have to admit the photo of this antique biker blowing through Jackson in today's Jackson Hole News and Guide caught my eye.
Sean Duggan and a group of antique motorcyclists stop for the evening during their cross-country ride called the Pre-1930 Motorcycle Cannonball. Duggan joined a pack of 50 riders in a two-week endurance run from Newburgh, N.Y., to San Francisco.ShareThis PRICE CHAMBERS/JACKSON HOLE DAILY
Duggan is my idea of male swagger with an attitude. Doesn't he just look like he could clean out the Cowboy Bar in ten seconds if he wanted to?  Seeing him today is enough to take my mind off politics, economics and the Middle East  which means it's more than worth its weight in salt....or something!  


 Meanwhile, a pic of the today's air quality report in Jackson Hole.  It's still no where near good and a good friend emailed calling it horrific.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Food and Sugar Industry Mesmerizing, Hooking Kids On Mobile Gaming Aps


Cookie Dough Bites Factory, SuperPretzel Factory or Icee Maker, anyone?   No thanks,  no thanks and no thanks as the powerful addiction industry marches on to capture the hearts and stomachs of our littlest children. 

Romney Unleased

HOW MUCH MORE POLITICALLY REAL CAN MITT ROMNEY GET ABOUT VOTERS?  His so called gaffes are like a strong cup of coffee which wakes us up at 5am.  But to the elite left, he's like a hated school principal who just ran his fingernails across the politically correct blackboard.

Good for Mitt for standing up and not backing down from his 47% remark in the face of the frothing left's latest mass excoriation and execution?
He's Done! Screeches Mike Tomasky at The Daily Beast delighting in this morning's political death sentence.

The Epic, Ironic Tragedy of Romney's Gaffe That Cost Him the Election, Nicolas Carlson assures readers at Business Insider.

Romney is not saying that Americans who get some kind of monthly check from the government are bad, lazy or indigent people.  What he is saying I think is that these people don't want to risk losing any of their government benefits---social securiyt, disability especially---by voting for a presidental candidate they fear might try to cut their benefit checks due to pressing fiscal demands of the country's economic woes and rising debt.  Romney has never said he plans to cut these programs but Romney--gets this harsh reality and because of limited resources and time, he will concentrate on the voters he has more chance of swaying to vote for him in November.  Most of these are tax paying citizens who are concerned at the ways our tax dollars are being spent and often wasted.

UPDATE:   Two conservative criticisms of Romey's statements.

The liberal press reaction is very predictable. It almost writes itself at these websites. Never mind that President Obama long ago cast the country into two distinct  'percentage' groups whether we like it or not---  the down-trodden 99%  verses the empowered, greedy, victimizing 1%.  For his information----I don't consider myself either of his broad sweeping, over-simplified categoies.

Incidentally,  if you weren't roused or offended by Mitt's  remarks, then the MSM insists, that you become offended. They're  professional insult baiters--telling us when our feelings and sensibilities should be hurt and when they shouldn't. They tutor us as to when Arabs and Muslims need to be protected from our 1st Amendment freedoms of free expression so they don't get their feelings hurt and  burn down the entire Middle East. 

I doubt that Mitt will beat our president in November,  so I really hope he will say what's on his mind and keep telling the truth about our country, letting the voting chips fall where they may.

He might even convert one or two recovering liberals to a  view of taking more personal responsibility.  But I won't get my hopes up too much, even as the Obama camp lowers the bar for the debates.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Several Great Reads For a Rainy Monday

BEEN POURING CATS-AND-DOGS HERE.   Kind of day you want to cancel everything and stay in to catch up on mail and desk work or take a nap.  Also perfect for reading.  While browsing online this morning,  I came across  several fascinating articles I think are well worth passing on.

First, a piece just posted on Vanity Fair called Obama's Way by Michael Lewis (The Big Short, Liar's Poker) that gives readers inside access into a slice of President Obama's wobbly life in the White House. It's long, but I couldn't walk away till I'd read it all. Michael Lewis is a masterful reporter, writer and wordsmith. It's clear from the piece---which was written long before last week's Libyan crisis---he was charmed by the president and especially his basketball acumen. Or something like that. Clearly Lewis had major access to the leader of the free world and enjoyed every minute of it.  Go see what you think if you can bear to read another word on the man currently in the White House.
Josh Brown comments on the piece @ The Reformed Broker.

Second,  Laurence Lemear @ The Daily Beast has written a dynamite smack-down piece on Arnold Schwarzenegger who is now trying to reinvent himself and his movie career in Hollywood after being governator of California. It's called He Won't Be Back---Arnold Schwarzenegger's Doomed Comeback and thusly beings,

He's fishing for a career revival with a juicy autobiography, but it may be too late to salvage his name. Laurence Leamer reveals the messy drama that brought down the Governator—including new details on how Maria Shriver apparently found out about his affair and his alleged refusal to continue couples therapy with her.

If you had even an ounce of admiration left for Arnold, you won't after reading Lemear's piece. He's a world-class egomaniac and womanizer. I have a good friend who was accousted one evening by Arnold and two of his thug bodyguards in a hotel elevator in Toronto, and says she escaped the man who doesn't like taking No! for an answer by the skin of her teeth. He and Bill Clinton are in the same class when it comes to such indiscretions. Only between the two, Arnold is a lot more scary.

If you can handle one more piece, I saw this last night @ the WSJ Online.

Called The Kid Who Skated to Yankee Stadium, it tells the story of a kid of 25 who skated and walked almost 400 miles in a Babe Ruth uniform to catch a game at Yankee Stadium:

On Friday morning I got an email from my friend Dan, who lives in New Jersey, not far from the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge into New York City. He said he'd just encountered a kid who was walking from Buffalo, N.Y., to Yankee Stadium. In a car that trip is about 400 miles and takes about seven hours. The kid had left Buffalo 10 days ago.

Read the whole thing here.

Finally, was murdered, former Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens a gay man in a truly homophobic Muslim country  kills and imprisons homosexual men and women?  If he was, what was the Obama administration----and Secretary Clinton----thinking? Or were they  thinking?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday, Keller Writes More On the Natural Condition of the Ego




SO, FIRST OF ALL, THE EGO IS EMPTY. Secondly, because it is like a bloated stomach that is distended, it is also painful. And thirdly, the ego is incredibly busy---in other words, it is always drawing attention to itself, It is incredibly busy trying to fill the emptiness. And it is incredibly busy doing two things in particular---comparing and boasting. You can see them both in the passage. First of all, in 1 Corinthians 14:6 that there is no full stop after the word pride. Paul does not say, 'Then you will not take pride.' No, he says 'Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.' That is the very essence of what it means to have a normal human ego. The way the normal human ego tries to fill its emptiness and deal with its discomfort is by comparing itself to other people. All the time.

In his famous chapter on pride in Mere Christianity,  C.S. Lewis points out that pride is by nature competitive.  It is competitiveness that is at the very heart of pride:

Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich or clever or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about.
In other words, we are only proud of being more successful, more intelligent or more good-looking than the next person, and when we are in the presence of someone who is more successful, intelligent and good -looking than we are, we lose all pleasure in what we had. That is because we really had no pleasure in it. We were proud of it. As Lewis says, pride is the pleasure of having more than the next person Pride is the pleasure of being more than the next person. Lust may drive a man to sleep with a beautiful woman---but at least lust makes him want her. Pride drives a man to sleep with a beautiful woman just to prove he can do it above the others. Pride destroys the ability to have any real pleasure from her.

When I was at school, my mother kept saying things like, You know, honey, you ought to join the chess club. I would say, Mum, I hate chess. Yes, I know, she would say, but it will look so good on your college application...So, at school, I did all kinds of things that I had absolutely no interest in doing for themselves. I was simply putting together a resume. That is what our egos are doing all the time. Doing jobs we have no pleasure in, doing diets we take no pleasure in. Doing all kinds of things not for the pleasaure of doing them, but because we are trying to put together an impressive curriculum vitae. By comparing ourselves to other people and trying to make ourselves look better than others, we are boasting. Trying to recommend ourselves, trying to create a self-esteem resume becaue we are desperate to fill our sense of inadequacy and emptiness. The ego is so busy. So busy all the time.

---Pastor Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church

Next week, Keller deals with the last characteristic of the natural ego, it's fragility before beginning the section on The Transformed View of the Self under the auspices and guidance of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit---our condition is otherwise hopeless!



Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Christ-Centered Gospel Project For Kids



IT JUST CLICKS. What a great resource for parents, kids and grandkids.

When I was born-again and gave my life to Christ in earnest seven years ago, I looked for kids Bibles and resources like this to review the stories of the Old and New Testaments that I had learned as a child and young adult. It was so much fun and easy. Since then, I've gone on to read the entire Bible once through each year, now in my sixth reading. OneYearBibleblog on my right sidebar is a wonderful resource for that. I click the top link first thing each day and read God's Word. It is a precious part of my day, each and every day.

MORE, Why Little Kids Need Big Gospel Words @ Gospel Coalition.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rule of Law Prevails In Ireland, Albeit Not Without Unparliamentary Language---Still It's Better Than Guns Or Worse



Real men get genuinely furious at times, then take full responsibility for it.  It's very attractive to men, and also to women,  even if not politically or religiously correct.   He's truly frustrated over the dismal state of the Irish economy. After losing it, he agrees he lost it inappropriately.

God love him.

H/T Powerline

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Unlimited QE, Santa Claus Comes To Town To Stay And Stay---Loses Sleigh, Reindeer, Then Appeal Completely


TODAY'S IMPERIAL FED CHAIRMAN MAY VERY WELL HAVE SINGLE-HANDEDLY RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT OBAMA. Is anyone surprised? After all, Bernanke knows he will no longer have a job if Romney wins. But I predict, once Obama starts a second term---and yes I think he will win in November--- the economy will deteriorate rapidly and to such a degree that he'll wonder why he ever wanted four more years.

This move by the Fed to buy mortgage backed securities (with money printed out of thin air) will bring more instant euphoria before it brings long-term belt-tightening and teeth gnashing. Moody's is days, if not hours, away from downgrading our debt again. The Dollar is falling as gold skyrockets. When the Dollar falls, our buying power drops and buys less---less food, less gas, less necessities.

QE 1 and 2 had zero effect on the most pressing issue---creating jobs, jobs, jobs---but Bernanke doesn't care. Everything serves his (false) religion of Keynesian economics.

I don't want to talk about it anymore.

The One Big Problem with QE TO Infinity @ ZEROHEDGE

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Liz Cheney On Obama's Dismal Foreign Policy and Our New Perceived Weakness In the World

BEEN OUT-OF-TOWN TODAY. Just now getting back to comment on the terrible events of the past 48 hours in Libya and Egypt. All day, I had the strongest deja vu sense of the Jimmy Carter presidency and the Middle East Iranian embassy hostage crisis during the last year (1981) of his term.

Carter's one-term presidency was marked by making nice with our enemies and sending our allies down the river. The Middle East was in turmoil and America quickly lost face in the midst of the growing crisis. Gas prices were sky-high and the economy was in shambles---to put it nicely. Is it any wonder I thought of former president Carter all day as I'm sure many others did as well? President Obama seems to me to be a recycled Jimmy Carter and for the life of me, I can't understand how he could possibly be re-elected to a second term. What is our electorate thinking to even consider it?

There are two articles I saw tonight that eloquently nail what I've thought for a long time. I'll link to both and use a few salient quotes.  First Liz Cheney writing in the WSJ says it best when she sums up Mr. Obama's first term accomplishments:

APOLOGIZING FOR AMERICA, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies and slashing our military are the hallmarks of Mr. Obama's foreign policy. The Obama economy, with its high unemployment, massive debt and out-of-control spending, has rightly demanded our attention. As we head to the polls in November, we cannot ignore what is an even more dismal national-security record. An America already weakened by four years of an Obama presidency will be unrecognizable after eight.

I have to agree with Cheney that four more years of President Obama could be devastating to our country from a national security standpoint alone, even before we bring up the flailing economy and massive unemployment.  She adds that our president's appearance today in the Rose Garden was just more of same old-same old:

In response to the attack in Cairo, diplomats there condemned not the attackers but those who "hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." The president appeared in the Rose Garden less than 24 hours later to condemn the Libya assault and failed even to mention the attack in Egypt. The message sent to radicals throughout the region: If you assault an American embassy but don't kill anyone, the U.S. president won't complain.

Though the administration's performance in the crisis was appalling, it wasn't surprising—it is the logical outcome of three-and-a-half years of Obama foreign policy.

Again here's the link to her whole piece, well written and worth reading.

Here's the second piece I'm going to link to and then comment more on tomorrow. Getting too sleepy to write more now. Entitled Egypt and Libya Say Thank You Barack Obama, Staurt Schneiderman summed it up better than anyone else. Are you ready?:

Thrilled to receive the Obama adminstration’s wholehearted support for their revolution Egyptian Islamists scaled the walls of the American Embassy in Cairo yesterday, shredding the American flag and replacing it with an Islamist banner.

Overwhelmed by the generosity of an American administration that was first in the world to recognize its legitimacy the government of Muhammad Morsi stood by and allowed it to happen.

The Washington Post reported that the attacks were retaliation for a movie circulating on Youtube and Egyptian television:

Protests in Libya and Egypt appear to have been sparked by clips of a film produced by Sam Bacile, a California real estate developer who calls himself an Israeli Jew. The film calls the prophet Muhammad a fraud and depicts him having sex; pieces of the film were put on YouTube and showed on a Cairo television station.

Under siege by Islamists the American Embassy in Cairo quickly apologized for the movie. Its weakness was almost inviting an assault.

Since retracted, the original statement read:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

The White House later declared that the statement had not been cleared, but still it has a Hillaryesque quality that sounds like it was put together in the Lady’s Room.

Now that Hillary Clinton has turned the upper echelons of the State Department into a pink ghetto, no one should be surprised to see that the Cairo Embassy is trafficking in girltalk.

Even though everyone has condemned the statement, few people have pointed out that it’s the language of teenaged girls.

Stuart sure can think, then write extremely well. Bottom line, we can't negotiate with terrorists, now or ever. Our show of weakness emboldens our enemies who will push our largess as long and as far as they can. Only a show of strength can get the job done in a deteriorating Middle East, not to mention America, and Europe.

Thank you sir, for writing such a great piece with which I agree wholeheatedly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So Far, So Good: Radical Atheists Verses 9/11 Cross

IT FRIGHTENS ME TO SEE THE RADICAL AND HOSTILE TACTICS these god-loathing people will go to in their efforts to wipe every last jot and tittle of God of the Bible out of the American psyche, our history and founding. It's a power trip and a  destructive a-'religion' which so far has not succeeded though it has made inroads. I am posting this entire article from NRO without further comment:

The American Atheists organization has sued the National September 11 Memorial and Museum over the installation of the “9/11 cross” in the museum. The organization’s president, David Silverman, insists that it will not “allow this travesty to occur in our country.”

The 20-foot cross — two steel beams that had held together as the building collapsed — was discovered in the rubble of Ground Zero on September 13, 2001, by construction worker Frank Silecchia. The 9/11 cross became a venerated object, and many of those who were searching for survivors and clearing debris from the “pit” took solace from its existence. On October 4, 2001, it was moved to a pedestal on Church Street, where it was treated as a shrine by visitors to Ground Zero for the next five years. In October 2006 it was removed to storage, and in July 2011 it was returned to the site for installation in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

The cross will not be displayed in the memorial; it will be included in a section of the museum featuring ways workers sought to “[find] meaning at Ground Zero.” Its inclusion is for historical purposes, and not as a religious memorial. Yet the American Atheists decided that this was offensive and filed a lawsuit alleging that the display of the cross violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, equal-protection laws, and civil-rights statutes.

Unfortunately for the American Atheists, the law is clearly on the side of the September 11 Museum. The Establishment Clause is the centerpiece of the American Atheists’ case. They argue that “the challenged cross constitutes an unlawful attempt to promote a specific religion on governmental land.” This argument is specious in two separate ways. First, the museum is not a government organization; it is run by a private foundation, and thus its actions should be construed as private speech. Second, the display of the 9/11 cross in the museum falls well within the guidelines for displays of religious objects that the Supreme Court has upheld time and time again.

In one of the landmark cases on the Establishment Clause, Lynch v. Donnelly, the Court held that religious displays on government property were acceptable because “in the line-drawing process called for in each case, it has often been found useful to inquire whether the challenged law or conduct has a secular purpose, whether its principal or primary effect is to advance or inhibit religion, and whether it creates an excessive entanglement of government with religion.” In other words, if there is a secular purpose for the display, it is allowable. One of the examples of acceptable behavior provided by the Court in this case clearly supports the September 11 Museum’s position: “Art galleries supported by public revenues display religious paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries, predominantly inspired by one religious faith. The National Gallery in Washington, maintained with Government support, for example, has long exhibited masterpieces with religious messages, notably the Last Supper, and paintings depicting the Birth of Christ, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection, among many others with explicit Christian themes and messages.”

Lynch v. Donnelly concerned the legality of a crèche on government property; the 9/11 cross is a historical object in a museum. If a crèche is constitutional, how can the 9/11 cross not receive the same protection?

An amicus brief filed by the American Center for Law and Justice in support of the September 11 Museum echoes these points. The ACLJ’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, explains that, “in urging the court to dismiss the suit, our brief concludes that ‘a museum — public or private — has the academic freedom to display religiously-themed artifacts of historical or artistic significance. . . . Acknowledging history does not establish a religion, and Plaintiffs’ lawsuit is without merit.”

Eric Baxter, a senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty,(named after  Thomas Becket) emphasizes that “This is even a step further removed from government-endorsed speech, as it is not a government entity that is trying to make some statement with the cross. There is a government landlord, the Port Authority, but the museum that leases the property is run by a private foundation, and the museum makes decisions about what it displays.” Both Mr. Sekulow and Mr. Baxter are confident that the court will reject the American Atheists’ case and affirm the constitutionality of the display of the 9/11 cross.

If the American Atheists’ lawsuit prevailed, it would by implication require the removal of every religious object from every museum in America. This would be a drastic rewriting of history. Religion — as much as the American Atheists despise it — is a part of our national heritage.

— Nathaniel Botwinick is an Agostinelli Fellow at National Review Online.


A few other thoughts:  I believe the Establishment Clause was included in the First Amendment to protect religious people (and non-religious people too)---many fleeing  the Church of England---  from Congress establishing a similar state religion in the fledgling new country.  It was meant to protect citizens from big government  religious coercion but not from religion itself.  It assumed any private citizen could walk away---self censorship freedom under the First Amendment---from any religious establishment or ideology that was offensive or unattractive to him or her.

Again  atheists have twisted the meaning of the Establishment clause to mean that government must protect them from any and all images or allusions to religion in America including public and private property and even churches---calling any religious image a travesty.  How ridiculous!

 Establishment's real meaning  is to protect citizens from a state mandated religion established a la Church of England by the federal government---specifically by Congress.  In a fallen world this is one of the biggest lies/misunderstanding that has taken hold in our mixed-up country that is quickly forgetting its Judeo-Christian roots and history.

And I for one think it's scary though so far lower courts and SCOTUS have not gone along with radicals' righteous indignation entirely. They are a self-righteous pit of vipers whose religion and zeal are to wipe out all true religion in our country just as the Pharisees murdered Christ But they will never be successful because God is in control and will keep a remnant of believers strong and steadfast in the United States.. I pray God has mercy on our increasingly secular and atheistic country.  I pray for revival here.

Thick Smoke, Fast Moving Fire Continues As East Jackson Prepares for Evacuations

AIR QUALITY IN JACKSON HOLE continues to deteriorate rapidly with the fires inching closer to town---as the ongoing summer heat and drought brings little rain and relief.  In addition, high day winds have brought a dangerous crisis to Jackson Hole and its residents not seen since the 1988 Yellowstone fires. Living through that carnival-like summer of fire, smoke, evacuations, tent camps and the invasion of thousands of firefighters---including air assault, helicopters tossing napalm bombs---one time was enough for me. (Have lived through many lesser fires.)

Since then, the advance of the pine beetle blight in the west has decimated thousands and thousands of acres of soft wood timber, only making conditions for larger, mega fires worse.

This summer of extreme fire, smoke and toxic air conditions was not hard to see coming with little snow in the Rockies last winter and less rain in the spring. I hated with all my heart to flee in July---which I've never done---yet the coming firestorm was obvious to anyone who's hiked the mountains and fly fished the rivers as much as I do.  I believe these conditions will only get worse in the years to come which makes me incredibly sad as I watch web cams and check in daily with friends.

These fires are nature's way of cleansing the dead timber and stagnant conditions before rejuvenation can eventually occur. But it will not fully return in our lifetimes. Like major floods,  it's terribly difficult when people are in the destructive path. Sadly, people are still throwing millions and millions of dollars at realtors here and other resort community in order to live in harm's way. Renting is now the only option for me after selling out of the market a while back.

As East Jackson prepares to evacuate on a moment's notice today, I pray for these people and their relief from the white-hot-windy conditions. I pray for rain, or better yet, an early season snow storm like the one we had in early September of 1988.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday: Continuing Keller's Explanation of the Natural Condition of the Ego



I THINK THE IMAGE SUGGESTS FOUR THINGS about the natural condition of the ego:  that it is empty, painful, busy and fragile...

First there is emptiness at the centre of the human ego. And secondly, it is also painful.  A distended and overinflated ego is painful. Have you ever thought about the fact that you do not notice your body until there is something wrong with it? When we are walking around, we are not usually thinking how fantastic our toes are feeling. Or how brilliantly our elbows are working today. We would only think like that if there had previously been something wrong with them. That is because the parts of our body only draw attention to themselves if there is something wrong with them.

The ego often hurts. That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it. Something unbelievably wrong with it. It is always drawing attention to itself---it does so every single day. It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated. People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can't be hurt! It is the ego that hurts---my sense of self, my identity Our feelings are fine! It is my ego that hurts.

Walking around does not hurt my toes unless there is already wrong with them. My ego would not hurt unless there was something terribly wrong with it. Think about it. It is very hard to get through a whole day without feeling snubbed or ignored or feeling stupid or getting down on ourselves.
That is because there is something wrong with my ego. There is something wrong with my identity. There is something wrong with my sense of self. It is never happy. It is always drawing attention to itself.

So. first of all, it is empty. Secondly, because it is like a bloated stomach that is distended, it is also painful. And thirdly, the ego is incredibly busy---in other words, it is always drawing attention to itself. It is incredibly busy trying to fill the emptiness. And it is incredibly busy doing two things in particular---comparing and boasting. You can see them both in the passage.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ten Most Read Books


WOW, LOVE CHARTS LIKE THIS of the 10 books that are all-time most read. The Bible tops the list by a very long shot. I'm surprised the Quran and  my favorite C.S Lewis aren't here.

Anyway, over at the Gospel Coalition linked,  on my sidebar, there's a new series in which a Christian writer takes a different book from the above list and examines the specific worldview that book author expounds.

First up is J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings which  is analyzed by Douglas Wilson.

Wilson begins by iterating that some of the modern books listed today might not stand the test of time. However, Tolkien's book is a classic keeper:

.....imagine what the test of real time will do to our literature that is not worth preserving. Imagine what it will look like when our century and the last one have that huge neighborhood garage sale, the one where we sell off all our old Book of the Month Club selections at a nickel a box. What will we keep? What will be left over?

I want to argue that The Lord of the Rings will be among the keepers. And schoolchildren several centuries hence will then be able to imagine that the 20th century was a time of literary giants, all of them with a Christian worldview---when there was a Tolkien on every corner.

Not Just Harry Potter for Grown-Ups

I have taught courses in Tolkien (and in Lewis), and whenever you do this the teacher has quite a daunting challenge. If I were to teach a course in George Herbert, or T. S. Eliot, or Shakespeare, I would get students enrolled in the class who were interested and engaged, of course. But with a class on Tolkien, you will invariably get one or more students who have the entire middle section of The Silmarillion memorized. "No, no. Beren and Lúthien went through the Gate after they had put that spell on Carcharoth." The same disadvantage attends any who would write about Tolkien as well. And so I begin this modest discussion, suitably abashed.

Those who dismiss The Lord of the Rings as simply Harry Potter for grown-ups, or as a source of bumper sticker material for aging hippies to put on their Volvos ("Not all those who wander are lost") have really missed the central prophetic vision of the books---a prophetic stance taken against modernity . . . or perhaps what we might want to call mordornity. This is the prophetic element that makes Tolkien's vision a fundamentally Christian one. There are places where I prefer Lewis's Protestant take to Tolkien's Catholicism, obviously, but on this issue Tolkien reflects the ethical perspective of the entire Christian tradition. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

The Gospel as Power Under

This is the wisdom that acknowledges the small are great, the last are first, the humble are exalted, and the servants are lords. For those who think in carnal categories, power is always power over, and this means that for them the difference between white magic and black magic has to be power over for good ends, and power over for evil ends. But the gospel is power under. Jesus humbled himself in obedience, even to the point of death on a cross, and God has therefore highly exalted him and given him the name that is above every name.

Read the entire piece by Wilson.

 I agree it's a real keeper. Will post more worldviews as they're written. Remember Wilson's last words on this tome: We can teach them---by handing down stories like this one---that being able to do something doesn't mean that you should.

Noonan Nails the Dem Convention

PEGGY NOONAN IS THE BEST POLITICAL OBSERVER/WRITER IN THE BUSINESS. Today's piece in the WSJ, wrapping up the Democratic convention, is a shining example of Noonan at her best. I'll cut and past excerpts from her piece making a few additional comments between the lines:
Barack Obama is deeply overexposed and often boring. He never seems to be saying what he's thinking. His speech Thursday was weirdly anticlimactic. There's too much buildup, the crowd was tired, it all felt flat. He was somber, and his message was essentially banal: We've done better than you think. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

There were many straw men. There were phrases like "the shadow of a shuttered steel mill," which he considers writerly. But they sound empty and practiced now, like something you've heard in a commercial or an advertising campaign.

It was stale and empty. He's out of juice.

His daughters have grown beautiful.

I agree with Noonan: There were many straw men. Don't these people know we see through these faux issues of perpetual racism, sexism and victimhood? Apparently not. It's not only a monumental bore, it's an insult to our intelligence.

As for Joe Biden, I love him and will hear nothing against him. He's like Democrats the way they used to be, and by that I do not mean idiotic, I mean normal—manipulative only to a normal degree, roughly aware of the facts of normal life, alert to and even respecting of such normal things as religious faith. I wish he did not insist on referring to his wife as "Dr. Jill Biden." I'm sure she has many doctorates, but so do half the unemployed in Manhattan.

John Kerry was on fire. It was the best speech of his career. He drew blood on foreign policy: "Talk about being before it before you were against it!" Obama will take that message, on Afghanistan, into debate.

The above part of Peggy's piece is a little much for me but I'll indulge her this one. More than anything else, it's obvious that this neo-democratic party in Charlotte this week is not your grandfather's old democratic party. It's been dwarfed and hybridized--- genetically engineered like the new indigestible strains of mass-produced  modern wheat---over the past 30 years into a shadow of itself made up of professional victims from every nook and cranny of  our country's life. The race/sex/culture baiters aim to make every last voter a perpetual ward of the nanny government state. The idea of rising through the ranks and bettering oneself in life is met with derision, and shaming. No one does it better than the dems who want to keep those who are down, down and dependent. Those who are not down are the next targets for demolition by these liberal left hacks.

Comparing the Republicans to Nazis—extreme. The almost complete absence of a call to help education by facing down the powers that throw our least defended children under the school bus—this was extreme, not mainstream.

Yes, it's extreme, Peggy, and completely out-of-touch with reality. Nazis? What are these people smoking? Yes it's business as usual:  demonizing the other side is the first step in intimidating us into submission to a radical agenda.

The sheer strangeness of all the talk about abortion, abortion, contraception, contraception. I am old enough to know a wedge issue when I see one, but I've never seen a great party build its entire public persona around one. Big speeches from the heads of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, HHS Secretary and abortion enthusiast Kathleen Sebelius and, of course, Sandra Fluke.

"Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception," Ms. Fluke said. But why would anyone have included a Georgetown law student who never worked her way onto the national stage until she was plucked, by the left, as a personable victim?

What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think—and her party apparently thinks—that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they're not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That's not a stand, it's a non sequitur. She is not, as Rush Limbaugh oafishly, bullyingly said, a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.

And she was one of the great faces of the party in Charlotte. That is extreme. Childish, too.

Here Noonan really shines. How could anyone say it better? Of all the problems facing our country: the economy, the unemployed and homeless, the price of food and gas, these affluent, entitled women want to continually create the straw man of sexual and reproductive victimhood then ram it down taxpayers' throats. It's beyond ridiculous. To think these poor females are trying to fight and refight a battle that was won for them---lost to Christians---decades ago is beyond comprehension....except they take others for fools and are hoping their shrill whine will elevate them to fame and power.

We all know it just ain't so and never will be without consequences no matter what the federal government does.

Something else, and it had to do with tone. I remember the Republicans in Tampa bashing the president, hard, but not the entire Democratic Party. In Charlotte they bashed Mitt Romney, but they bashed the Republican Party harder. If this doesn't strike you as somewhat unsettling, then you must want another four years of all war all the time between the parties. I don't think the American people want that. Because, actually, they're not extreme.

Actually the American people are not extreme unless they're pushed far, far beyond where they are willing to go for too long and shamed for not going nicely into the radical liberal night.  With tax-payer funded birth control and abortions, I shudder to think what will be coming down the next entitlement pike:  taxpayer funded  marriage certificates and adoption procedures for gays?

Bill Clinton is The Master. That is stipulated. Almost everyone in the media was over the moon about his speech. It was a shrewd and superb moment of political generosity, his hauling into town to make the case, but it was a hack speech. It was the speech of a highly gifted apparatchik. All great partisan speeches include some hard and uncomfortable truths, but Mr. Clinton offered none. He knows better than so much of what he said. In real life he makes insightful statements on the debt, the deficit and the real threat they pose. He knows more about the need for and impediments to public-school reform than half the reformers do. He knows exactly why both parties can't reach agreement in Washington, and what each has done wrong along the way. But Wednesday night he stuck to fluid fictions and clever cases. It was smaller than Bill Clinton is.

And, Peggy, that can be a very small body on a very large, over-inflated head.

Still, Clinton gave the president one great political gift: He put Medicaid on the table. He put it right there next to the pepper shaker and said Look at that! People talk Medicare and Social Security, but, as Mr. Clinton noted, more than half of Medicaid is spent on nursing-home care for seniors and on those with disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism. Will it be cut?

Here's what I'm seeing the past 10 years. The baby boomers have been supporting their grown children and their aged parents. They are stressed, stretched and largely uncomplaining, because they know that as boomers—shallow, selfish—they're the only generation not allowed to complain. And just as well, as complaints are the only area of national life where we have a surplus. But they are spiritually and financially holding the country together, and they're coming to terms with the fact that it's going to be that way for a good long time. They're going to take a keen interest in where Medicaid goes.

Romney-Ryan take note: this will arrive as an issue.

True. Baby boomers are holding the country together. But we don't want to give up our double-mocha-latte frappacinos with whipped cream just yet. So yes, Romney and Ryan had better bone up on that and plan to make it clear we can have our Starbucks and sip it too.

People left both conventions talking about only one thing: the debates. They know they didn't move the needle in Tampa and Charlotte. The people in charge of politics aren't so good at politics anymore.

Campaign fatigue has certainly set in. Let's hope the debates elevate the discourse above a three-ring circus. Time will tell.

Again, thanks Peggy Noonan for a terrific write-up.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Taking a Look At Clinton's Pants-On-Fire Speech

WILL BE BACK LATER TO EDIT THIS AND WRITE MORE, but for now this fact-checking piece by Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post no less is well worth reading.

Let's begin with Clinton's statements from Wednesday's speech, then the rebuttal in bold:

“He [Obama] has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade. For every $2.5 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues, 2.5 to 1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan commission. … It passes the arithmetic test.”

----former President Bill Clinton

The repeated claim that Obama’s budget reduces the deficit by $4 trillion is simply not accurate.

By the administration’s math, you have nearly $3.8 trillion in spending cuts, compared to $1.5 trillion in tax increases (letting the Bush tax cuts expire for high-income Americans). Presto, $1 of tax increases for every $2.50 of spending cuts.

But virtually no serious budget analyst agreed with this accounting. The $4 trillion figure, for instance, includes counting some $1 trillion in cuts reached a year ago in budget negotiations with Congress. So no matter who is the president, the savings are already in the bank.

Moreover, the administration is also counting $848 billion in phantom savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the administration had long made clear those wars would end.

In other words, by projecting war spending far in the future, the administration is able to claim credit for saving money it never intended to spend. (Imagine taking credit for saving money on buying a new car every year, even though you intended to keep your car for ten years.)

Rather than good arithmetic, independent budget analysts called the maneuver “a major budget gimmick.”

The administration also counts $800 billion in savings in debt payments (from lower deficits) as a “spending cut,” which is a dubious claim. We didn’t realize that debt payments were now considered a government program.

There are a number of other games being played, so fake money is being used to pay for real spending projects. In effect, most of Obama’s claimed deficit reduction comes from his proposed tax increases.

Meanwhile, both Clinton and van Hollen claim Obama’s budget has the “balanced approach” of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission proposal. But the Simpson-Bowles plan is actually quite different, calling for tough spending cuts and substantial tax reforms — not the faux proposals contained in the president’s budget.

“We could have done better, but last year the Republicans blocked the president’s job plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another job score. President Obama: plus 4.5 million. Congressional Republicans: zero.”

— Clinton

Obama’s jobs plan was more of a rhetorical device, aimed at Republicans, rather than a real plan. He even used the same $1 trillion in previously-agreed savings with Republicans, mentioned above, that was supposed to be in his budget in order to pay for this plan. The jobs plan also would be paid with the imaginary money from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The administration argued that the budget had never passed, so the money could be used again.)

Get the picture? Clinton praises Obama both for his sound budget math and for his jobs plan, even though the money to fund the budget and the jobs plan are used twice. That certainly doesn't pass the Arkansas 2+2=4 test.

We have noted the problems with Obama’s claim that 4.5 million private sector jobs have been created. (It is a cherry-picked figure.) As for whether 1 million jobs would be created through Obama’s jobs plan, that is merely a fuzzy and optimistic projection. Bloomberg News surveyed 34 economists and found that the median estimate was that the plan would add or keep 275,000 workers on payrolls.

“During this period, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. That’s the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.”

— Clinton

Clinton is referring to the period since February 2010, the administration’s preferred date for counting employment figures. If you count from the beginning of Obama’s term, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that manufacturing jobs have declined by more than 500,000. Manufacturing jobs have been on a long steep decline since the middle of Clinton’s term, with some 2 million jobs lost during the recession that started at the end of George W. Bush’s term.

“More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents’ policies can cover them.”

— Clinton

Interestingly, Clinton frames this more accurately than President Obama. The Department of Health and Human Services in June reported that more than 3 million young adults would not have health insurance without the health-care law.

Obama prefers to cite a private survey, published by the Commonwealth Fund, that showed that 6.6 million young adults “stayed on or joined their parents’ health plans” in 2011. Not all of those people were uninsured; some simply joined their parents’ plans for other reasons.

“For the last two years, after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years, health care costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time in 50 years.”

— Clinton

Clinton tried to attribute this decline in health costs to the health care law, but much of it has not yet been implemented. Most economists say the slowdown is more likely because of the lousy economy.

“It’s tempting to think that provider initiatives are truly denting costs, but it’s hard for changes in provider behavior to influence costs before they occur,” said a recent article in Modern Healthcare magazine. “Instead, the drop in healthcare cost growth is primarily attributable to the Great Recession’s impact on employment, private health insurance, government revenues and budgets.”

Indeed, government actuaries in June published an article in Health Affairs predicting health care costs would begin to spike as the health care law was implemented. “For 2011 through 2021, national health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.7 percent annually, which would be 0.9 percentage point faster than the expected annual increase in the gross domestic product during this period,” the article said.

“Soon the insurance companies — not the government, the insurance companies — will have millions of new customers, many of them middle-class people with pre-existing conditions who never could get insurance before.”

— Clinton

Actually, the original Congressional Budget Office estimate is that 16 million people would end up in private coverage and 16 million would end up on Medicaid. But the Medicaid number may shrink as a result of the Supreme Court ruling allowing states to opt out of the expansion of the program.

“The administration agreed to give [welfare] waivers to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment.”

— Clinton

We have written previously how the Romney campaign is exaggerating the immediate effect of the change in welfare rules, while at the same time it appears clear the Obama administration issued this notice without much consultation with Republicans in Congress. Something fishy may be going on.

The subject is worthy of a longer fact check in the future but it is worth noting that prominent critics of the shift have raised interesting questions about this supposed 20-percent requirement. Clinton used this figure as a defense of the administration’s move, but there may be less to this than meets the eye.

“Democrats will preserve and strengthen Medicare. Republicans will end the Medicare guarantee.”

— House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)

“He also didn’t tell you that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wanted to end the Medicare guarantee and turn it into a voucher, which would leave seniors with the increased cost.”

— Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

The claim that Republicans will “end the Medicare guarantee” has been a frequent refrain at the convention, perhaps in response to fact-checker complaints about the incorrect charge last year that Republicans would “end Medicare.” But this phrase is a bit odd since there is no actual “guarantee” for any program that can be changed by some future Congress.

The most recent version of the Medicare overhaul promoted by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan would allow all seniors to remain on traditional Medicare or try private plans subsidized by the government. The plan’s emphasis on reducing costs might require seniors to pay more out of pocket, but much is still uncertain about the full impact — years from now.

“Let me ask you: What do you think Mitt Romney would have done if that call came in? Well, Mitt Romney already told us what he would do. Mitt Romney says he likes to fire people. And Barack Obama? He likes to see people hired.”

— Gov. Jack Martell (Del.)

“After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people.”

— Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren

These are a good examples of Democrats taking comments out of context, just as Republicans at last week’s convention devoted an entire evening to an out of context Obama quote. (Of course, it was Republican rival Jon Huntsman who first tried to make hay out of the “fire people” statement earlier this year.)

Here’s what Romney actually said, in a speech to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce: “I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means that if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If, you know, if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say, you know, that I’m going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me.”

In other words, he was making a point about choice in health care — not hiring.

The remark about corporations, meanwhile, was a jocular response to a heckler.

For more, look at the four videos we have produced that show how both campaigns have taken such gaffes out of context.

“Because when Mitt Romney says he’ll get rid of Planned Parenthood and turn the clock back on a century of progress, it has real consequences for the three million patients who depend on Planned Parenthood each year.”

— Cecil Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

This is another example of Romney’s remarks being taken out of context.

This is his full statement:

“You get rid of Obamacare, but there are others,” Romney told CNN affiliate KDSK of St. Louis. “Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can’t afford to borrow money to pay for these things.”

In other words, he was talking about government funding.

“He singled out some areas of the budget he would eliminate or curtail, all in the name of achieving a balanced budget,” Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said later. “It would not be getting rid of the organization. They have other sources of funding besides government operations, but in order to achieve balance, we have to make some tough decisions about spending.”

A federal budget cut might be painful for the organization. Planned Parenthood’s budget is more than $1 billion, of which $489 million is for government health services grants, much of it for Medicaid funding. About $75 million of that is for family planning, none of which can be used for abortions.

“No, there wasn’t any discord….it was absolutely two-thirds.”

— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), DNC chair, interviewed on CNN

Wasserman Schultz, who on Wednesday earned Four Pinocchios for denying she made a statement that was caught on tape, insisted to the news network that Democrats were united in adding a reference to the Democrats’ platform that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital. The move was made after Republicans called attention to the fact that language from the 2008 platform had been dropped, alarming Jewish Democrats.

Yet Wasserman Schultz’s remarks are puzzling statement because Convention Chairman Antonio R. Villaraigosa had to ask three times for “aye” votes before concluding that the amendment had a two-thirds majority.

As The Post’s Scott Wilson reported, “The vote was far from decisive, however, and left many delegates who opposed the reinstatement of the language angry about the outcome. Some stood up from their seats inside the Time Warner Arena, shaking their fingers at Villaraigosa.”

Mark Landler of The New York Times reported that the change was “approved in a voice vote that had to be taken three times because of a chorus of noes in the arena…The changes were meant to be a routine bit of business… But they turned into a minor spectacle after the hall seemed balanced between yes and no votes, providing an unruly start to an evening meant to showcase attacks on Mitt Romney by former President Bill Clinton and others.”

Given such on-the-ground reporting, her claim of “no discord” is simply not credible.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Easy Choice: Watching Eli In N Y Over Slick Willie In Charlotte



Will we be watching Eli Manning whoop-up on Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, or snoozing as smoother-than-silk Bill Clinton attempts to convince gullible single women wanting tax-payer funded birth control and abortions, blacks, gays, atheists, legal and illegal immigrants that they're on their own if Mitt is elected president? That a Repub president will turn his back on middle class people instead of helping them help themselves.  What a complete and total fabrication.

It sells today because presidents are cast by liberals to be a glorified Santa Claus.

No contest on this one---Eli beats Bubba by at least two touchdowns.

Manning will be putting his money where his mouth is, while Bill will be heaping out blame, fear mongering, revised history and excuse after excuse as to why Obama has had such a hard time of it. No thanks, Bill.

Articulate charm is not what the country needs after four losing seasons with Barack Obama as out executive quarterback. We're ready to trade him.

Meanwhile we'll be watching Eli and Tony duke it out in New York tonight.

The Sexual Frontier Marches On

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Michelle's Night On the Platform



LOVED MICHELLE'S TERRIFIC SILK ROSE SLEEVELESS DRESS AGAINST THE BLUE STAGE BACKDROP. Her hair couldn't have looked better. No question the FLOTUS is long on personal style and speaks extremely well for her husband and family. This was her evening in the spotlight and I applaud her as my fuhrer's first lady.  (It's a joke.).....(Sort of)

However at a certain point the BS meter went off the charts in spite of her poise. (Though the skids had already been well greased by that semi-suave major-demagoguing mayor!)  I'll leave the bones I'd like to pick till in the morning after a good night's sleep. Till then I want to reiterate, woman-a-woman, Michelle looked terrific Tuesday night and leave it at that. 

And really, when you get down to it,  isn't getting my fashion applause better than getting my vote in November? (Another joke.)

Good night.

Piece from Human Events

God Love Madeleine As She Tries to Keep Us Women Folk In Line



GOSH MADELEINE, WHAT CAN A DUMB SOUTHERN WHITE WOMAN such as I say in defense of your sweeping, impatient statements wondering why any female voters would ever cast their vote for Mitt Romney in November?

At the outset, I know nothing I  say would ever convince you to reconsider your harsh statement and try to understand. We live in two different world views/ paradigms and moral systems light-years apart. It appears, never the twain shall meet.

Still I'd like to innumerate just a few of the reasons why I plan to vote the Romney/Ryan ticket with impunity in November (and donate to their election) and hope lots of other women will too:

1. Mitt is a grown-up with a world of life experiences.

2. He's a faithful, kind and caring husband to Ann and eschews womanizing, alcohol and drugs, tobacco, foul language and tattoos.  Mitt comes across as a man of character and integrity.

3. Mitt is a father and grandfather who seems to have garnered the love and respect of his entire family over the decades.

4. Romney clearly loves our country and is not afraid to show it in words and action. He can stand up to our nation's enemies and detractors.

5. Mitt knows how to lead and is a leader in his family, his church, his various workplaces---state government and businesses---as well as the non-profit sector, and hopefully, as leader of our country. His record and the many employees---men and women---who know him speak favorably to this reality.

6. He's not from Chicago.

7. He's squeaky clean.

8. Mitt stands more on principle than the latest politically correct  fads du jour. He's not perfect and can certainly change his mind on things. But this man is not a serial flip-flopper.

9. Mitt believes in the sanctity of life and one-man/one woman marriage. It's a quaint and silly notion, but many of us still believe it and will continue to stand up for it in spite of endless badgering and intimidation.

10.  Mitt knows how to pinch a penny which is why he's got plenty of money, has had businesses which have employed hundreds of people. It's why the state of Massachusetts' credit rating was upgraded while he was governor.

11. He's a hard-working, dull (to some) man who makes the world a better place for women and men alike.

12. He has an iPod with uncool music!

13. Mitt's not afraid to be wealthy and successful.

14. Joe Biden is not his running mate.

15. I like all the extremely impressive lineup of women who spoke on behalf of his candidacy at the Republican convention last week from Condi Rice and Nikki Haley to Susana Martinez. They are all feminine accomplished people who have overcome major obstacles in life. Whatta a group of outstanding, hard-working leaders and role models.

There are many more reasons for women to like Mitt, but that's all I have time for this morning.

DNC Assigns Journalists---Many Women----To Dismal, Dirty Motels/Hotels In Charlotte

DEMOCRAT CONVENTION CENTRAL IS CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA THIS WEEK. It's a good thing Charlotte's southern city limits border South Carolina because horrified journalists are arriving, taking one look at motels assigned to them by the DNC then fleeing in horror to find other accommodations where they feel safe and sound. To wit, John Fund reports on some of the accommodations that will make you glad you're not in Charlotte this week.

The Crack Hotels of the DNC
By John Fund NRO
September 3, 2012 8:49 P.M.

The DNC shines the spotlight of the world stage on our Queen City. Delegates from all 50 states, 15,000 journalists, and more than 350 foreign leaders will experience Charlotte . . .

— Charlotte Business Journal, August 31, 2012

I can’t speak for the delegates or ther foreign dignitaries, but many of the journalists I have spoken with here are appalled at the accommodations in Charlotte to which they were assigned by the DNC. National Review was assigned to two Knights Inn properties. Everyone who saw them fled immediately across state lines to an available Marriott in South Carolina rather than stay there. As one of our political correspondents reported:

The Knights Inn was the worst hotel I have ever seen, and I’ve stayed in many bad motels in my life. Two guys were dealing drugs in the room next to me, and a prostitute was working out of the parking lot. And this was in the early afternoon. The room itself was dirty, full of other people’s stuff, etc.

I have never requested a hotel change in 3 years at NR. This was the first time I felt absolutely compelled.

It’s not as if the DNC couldn’t have figured out something was wrong with the properties. TripAdvisor had these recent comments on one of the Knights Inn properties: “wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy,” “scared to death,” and “pimps and prostitutes at night.”

Nor was National Review singled out. Staff members from Politico and the Hill abandoned their assigned hotels, too. Staffers from the Hill found refuge in a cheap Microtel and considered it a comparative oasis.

Tucker Carlson, editor of The Daily Caller, told me that the Quality Inn his staff was assigned to was “the worst hotel you can imagine.” TripAdvisor carried these recent reviews: “barely a Bates Motel,” “scary area and parking lot,” and “the worst.”

Some of the scarcity of good hotels is due to Charlotte’s relatively small size. It is the least populous city to host a national convention since the GOP held theirs in New Orleans in 1988, and the Big Easy had lots of hotels because of its popularity with tourists.

But there really is no excuse for anyone, especially women, to be assigned to hotels that are beyond dingy and in some cases clearly unsafe.


In all honesty, prostitution, drug dealing and worse probably happen at all big urban conventions, including last week's RNC convention in Tampa. Still, it's worth noting, the DNC---that good old political party that's supposed to be such a champion of women certainly hasn't shown much concern in its choices of accommodations. Thanks goodness for TripAdvisor!