Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ephesus announcement pt3

This project isn't meant for unbelievers, or those who have just converted. While they may find good stuff in here - it is meant for the Christian who, after years of sitting in Church and listening to the preacher, and after hearing others talk about the Bible for years, decides to dust it off and read it for his (or her) own self.

I hope those whom I did not create this project for can also find enlightenment, but I think they would be better off seeing their local Baptist Pastor (yes, I am a Baptist. While there are other good Christian denominations, this is the one I know) for advice.

For those of you already reading Luke, I recommend reading and considering each passage (a passage is somewhat shorter than a chapter), rereading it if necessary, to remember it. Except the last half of Chapter 3. Starting with verse 24, this genealogy is in there for some important reasons that are clear to Bible scholars, but are unnecessary (unless you are REALLY into genealogy) for a beginner. In fact, I never read this particular passage, but will look things up in it from time to time.

This book, the Gospel according to Luke, is written by Mary's personal physician (this can be discerned from the first chapter, and some other various clues), to a high ranking theologian. It is fairly simple to read, and while largely written from the viewpoint of an observer, it was largely (but not completely) observed firsthand.

Monday, December 24, 2007

follow up to anouncement

Maybe I should have mentioned yesterday, that the best place to begin reading the Bible, especially if you have never read any more than a verse or a quick passage, it the Gospel according to LUKE.

This is especially relevant today, since the Christmas story is in Chapter 2.

I recommend that beginners read Luke like a story (but not necessarily in one sitting, only pausing to reflect, and only re-reading to insure you really remember what you read. If you happen to be reading from a Bible with notes at the bottoms of the page, you can glance at them, but you should concentrate on the text of the story itself, at this time.

I will go more into detail about Luke in the near future.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Anouncing the Ephesus Project

For some time now, I have been known in some parts as knowledgeable on the Bible. For a similar time, I have been attempting to put together a pamphlet on the subject of Bible study.

In my first attempt at Bible study, I began (without any one's assistance) with Genesis Ch. 1 and soon crashed and burned badly. My second round was more successful - I read all of the Bible , but ultimately proved Acts 8:30,31 (where a disciple asked a man "do you understand what you are reading" and the reply was "how can I, unless someone guides me?"

In addition, I have made some brash statements in this blog and on Combat Effective about what I do or don't believe, that I fear theocracy, and that I feel the Roman Catholic Church has been leading people astray. Well then, what do I believe? I believe each and every Christian who has normal mental faculties should read, study and learn (and learn about) the Bible for their own self.

That is all well and good, but I just got through saying that my first two tries were less than successful, so why do I try to hold my fellow Christians to such a high standard? Because, for one, the Bible says we should (but I'll get to that later). There are other reasons. Mainly so that other, less scrupulous people won't lead them astray. And to aid in their study, I am embarking on a series of articles to help them through that first few months of study where most people seem to flounder.

As I said at the beginning, I have been trying (without much success) to put this all into pamphlet form. There are many good books, some hundreds of pages long trying to cover this same subject. But face it, if you were inclined to read them, you would be inclined to have read the Bible by now. On the other hand, I have found getting this into pamphlet form near impossible. So the next best thing is a series of interlinking articles, where you can skip around, and pick and choose what you need, when you need it.

I call the whole thing the Ephesus project. A detailed study of the ancient city of Ephesus and a study of the Bible would explain why I chose that name, but for now, it is just a name to make it easy to find my articles on this subject.

I will be looking forwards to writing more on this, and I hope to get some feed back along the way.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Importing our demise

(Some hope at the bottom of this rant.)

Just a couple weeks ago, I ranted about the poisoning of our food (and toys) by eastern nations. Well, as a follow up, there is more bad than good. President Bush, at the time, promised more scrutiny of our imports, but I have seen no evidence of it.

In addition, we might consider prescription drug imports. Does anyone remember, from 2003 and 2004, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials claimed (see paragraph 9) that reimporting prescription drugs from Canada is unsafe?

Then why are we deliberately pursuing importing drugs from a country that has a history of trying to pass poisonous products through the supply channels?

The FDA claims to perform 100 percent screening of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Well then, why can't it get and screen a list of ingredients in childrens toys?

There is some hope. While only up since August this year, there is a new blog focusing on China free products.

UPDATE: the china free blog above isn't what I thought it was, but here is a better one: this web site is for sale, however, so I don't know how long it will last. In the mean time, check along the right side of it for good links to stuff not made in China.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I began worrying about this company a few months ago. They have historically been known for providing batteries in larger quantities to those of us who use quite a few batteries. This means that as we began embracing LED's, and our use of batteries has dwindled, they might have a hard time staying around. This became more of a concern for me when the local Lowes hardware store stopped carrying Ray-O-Vac batteries (leaving me with virtually no reason to go there).

Should not have worried, though. If I had kept up with the technicle news, I would have known that they have diversified their product line. I discovered this when I needed a new flashlight for my wife's car (you will recall that I work outdoors, and often at night, so I have several lights for myself). As I browsed through the displays, I noticed a couple of new LED flashlights from Ray-O-Vac, and that got my curriosity going.

I have been lamenting that the technology for the headlamp I use at work is getting a bit dated, but it looks like they are creating an assortment of products that I may switch to in the future. This one that I use has been reliable far longer than the ones I used in the past. The switch is getting some wear, but still reliably turns on (the detents are worn almost smooth, however). The only part that seems to be wearing completely out is the elastic headband.

In case the engineers at Ray-O-Vac are listening, a bit less red light in the night vision setting and a 1-watt LED instead of the kripton lamp would be an improvement, and maybe market a replacement headband for when they wear out, would be nice. Otherwise keep up the good work.

For the rest of you, they have several methods for sales outlets, one of which is Rayovac Direct, and no, this isn't a paid post. I don't do that (yet), but I do think a visit to their website is worth the trip.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Another attempt at undermining America by rewriting its history and denying its Christian traditions.

Seattle School Administrator spreads a myth about myths.

Keep in mind, this is not a teacher, and as such has no tenure, in addition, she is not engaging in freedom of expression, but rather trying to compel teachers to express untruths to their students.

It should also be noted that the 11 myths that this person foisted upon these teachers and children were not from some carefully researched study, but mostly a PC rewrite of history done be a few "scholars" in resent years. The many of the footnotes of this PC piece of crap lead to other PC pieces of crap.

Friday, November 16, 2007

possibly a good book

This is just a cut and paste from an advertisement for the book. I don't know much about this book, and have always been somewhat skeptical about the publisher's motives, but the ad comes through a news service that is military friendly, and seems legit. On the other hand, many years ago, when I used to read the Doonesbury comic strip, the author seemed pretty even handed on how he handled issues from all sides of political debate. (Anybody still read him? My current newspaper doesn't carry him)

A series of dispatches from servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been compiled in a new book that offers a glimpse of life on the front lines. Conceived by Garry Trudeau, creator of the long-running, satirical comic strip Doonesbury, "The Sandbox" is a 309-page compilation of roughly 90 online journal entries penned by scores of the military's most talented scribes, the thousands of military bloggers (or milbloggers) in Afghanistan and Iraq who use the Internet to tell an unfiltered version of war to family members and friends. Proceeds from The Sandbox will be donated to the Fisher House Foundation. Visit the Fisher House Foundation website for more information.

This is where I copied the ad from, and where to get the book.
military bloggers compile new book

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Under mining our knowledge

In recent times, there has been a concerted effort at either hiding information about candidates, or spreading misinformation about them. Now, I find out that Wikipedia, too, has been undermined as a reliable source for information. Candidates today have staff memebers who, on a regular basis, "massage" the articles in Wikipedia to place their candidates in a more favorable light. Or to just plain remove information they don't want us to know about. The articles get changed several times a day for this reason.

I noticed this first with Nancy Polosi's Wiki entry. A paragraph about the book keeping she did on favors (credits and debits) for her father's political career while she was in college (or was it high school) disappeared while she was campaigning for office.

Wikipedia article on WikiScanner

Wired article on WikiScanner

The WikiScanner website
(scanner goes down often due to high traffic)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Evil in our midst

From time to time, the evil in our midst becomes just a little too much for me to not write about it.

I don't know which is worse for our country, the so-called free trade agreements that allow other countries to poison our food supply, or Hollyweird trying to poison our childrens' minds, or the attempts by certain corporations to undermine democracy by poisoning our voting system.

Poisoning our voting system:

I voted tuesday, and once again, e-Slate voting machines (known as direct recording electronic - DRE - voting systems) were the thing advertised in the polling place. Fortunately, several of us who know about computers and voting machines were there (at least while I was there to vote) to insure they could not falsely tell people the machines were secure.

I should note that e-Slate is just one of several systems in use, and I only name it because it is the poison of choice here in Central Texas. None of these systems can be trusted unless they print out a paper ballot and allow you to drop the paper ballot into a ballot box. This has been proven over and over, and the corporations who build and market this snake oil keep hiring "experts" to tell us what they are paid to tell us.

One site I recommend for good info is Verified Voting Foundation.

Article discussing Corporations trying to hide the facts.

And a Resolution on Electronic Voting that is also a good digested read on the issues.

As a parting word on the subject: Several of us stated that we worked with computers and therefore understood that the systems could not be trusted, and so we wanted paper ballots. I wonder, in order to preserve the economic interests of these manufactures, will they make such statements illegal in the future? (currently it is only illegal to discuss items on the ballot at the polling place, not the ballot itself) And might they try to force us to change to the DRE systems by creating shortages of the paper ballots? (This is how Microsoft forces us to new computing platforms.)

Poisoning of our childrens' minds:

Golden Compass is a movie designed to counter "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" Release Date is planned for Dec 7, which is ironic for something designed to help undermine the US by undermining our Christian heritage. On the other hand, it is perfect for the kind of sneak attack on our values that this film represents. Plot Outline is stated:
In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.

But the mysterious organization is a thin veiling of the Christian Church and
to save her best friend, she has to kill God.

A little more on the controversies surrounding this project.
His Dark Materials

Deliberate poisoning of our food by eastern nations:

I heard on the news today, in addition to lead paint on our toys, several oriental countries have been shipping us tainted fish.
This is a good read from Fox News.

This has been known since June

Why are Americans falling for the "free trade" crap? Just a quick rundown
from a WorldNewsDaily article:

Those reports, so far, have documented poisoned pet food, seafood unfit for human consumption because it was produced in sewage-contaminated water, toys and fireworks that were dangerous, electrical products that failed to meet safety standards, even honey that had been tainted with a potentially life-threatening antibiotic.

Free Trade? Does anyone remember the occasional defect in our food supplies that resulted in the possibility of contamination with hormones, genetically enhanced food, or other problems? Possibility. Our food was banned immediately and completely.

I guess the "free" in free trade only runs one way. We must live up to perfect standards, and the rest of the world (china in particular) is allowed to get away with literally murder.

There is a concerted effort afoot to undermine our nation, and we had better wake up and do something about it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

November Chronicle Part 2

Haven't written much in here in the past month. Had to do some soul searching. Among other things, I have been wondering what I will do in the not too distant future. Unless Fred Thompson wins the presidency, or unless there is a conservative uprising (yeah, I know they have been predicting a resurgence for a few years now), it will become very dangerous to speak the truth on the net in a couple of years. Not that anything will happen right away, but archives of what we write will be kept longer and longer, and will be scrutinized in the future for evidence of "hate speech" towards Islamists, social progressive race baiters, gay (and child molester) rights activists, evangelical atheists, and other assorted groups. In other words they will be watching for who is willing to tell the truth, so they can criminalize us.

White House helped Craft Bill
Jail Grandma for Hate Speech
Bible as Hate Speech
Hate Speech Laws (Conservative Voice)
Hate Speech Laws (Interfaith)
Google Calls Christian Advertisement Hate Speech

An old Russian Proverb says: Speak the truth, then leave quickly.

I thought briefly about taking this blog down, but then I can't easily remove my comments from several other blogs where I have spoken on these topics. In addition, I ran across the words "stand fast" in my Bible (Ephesians 6:13), and decided the best course of action for the near future is to forge ahead.

So here goes.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November Chronicle

I had planned an end of month news round up for yesterday, but then my wife and I decided to take in a homeless dog that had been passed from one friend to another around our town for a while. We are keeping the dog. She wants to call him Baily, which I think sounds too much like a girl, so I will call him Beetle Baily, after the cartoon charactor.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

News about WW2

Not it's not. But Penraker has a great review about a recent release called "The War." While he pans it in general, he makes a note that the history of WW2 is being overwritten by the politically correct crowd, and that is why I decided to make a note here.

I think this would be a great Christmas or Graduation gift for anyone age 19 to 30, as they generally have no clue about our nations struggles in the past.

Penraker review of it

Amazon Link where you can get it.

Monday, October 01, 2007

beginning a new fiscal year

Thought I would start off the new (government) fiscal year with how various government agencies are taking care of the people. (yeah, right)

Veterans Affairs control of property and personal data (this is stuff they have been required to secure for years, but never seemed to get a handle on it, and seem to be getting worse.)
The VA: still not doing its job for those
who did their job of keeping America safe.
Not a new problem - headline from two years ago:
Weaknesses Persist at Federal Agencies Despite Progress
Made in Implementing Related Statutory Requirements

And they are not alone. The two year old document states:

Pervasive weaknesses in the 24 major agencies' information security policies and practices threaten the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of federal information and information systems.

And this document says:

Federal agencies have recently reported a spate of security incidents that put sensitive data at risk. Personally identifiable information about millions of Americans has been lost, stolen, or improperly disclosed, thereby exposing those individuals to loss of privacy, identity theft, and financial crimes. The wide range of incidents involving data loss or theft, computer intrusions, and privacy breaches underscore the need for improved security practices.

Well, this stuff has been going on for some time now. Five years since the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 was passed, and 33 years since the Privacy Act of 1974 began to require protection (among other things) of personal data.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

low tech - Reading Glasses

If you are in your 30's you should be especially aware that in a few years if you are not already wearing glasses, you will be. It is just a fact of life that almost everybody, as they get into their early 40's, lose the ability to focus close up.

Now, what to do about it. While there are a number of reasons to visit an eye doctor, needing glasses to read is not one of them. If you have been to one in the last 5 years, you might want to save some money and stop by that little display at your grocery store and get a $10 pair of glasses. (yes, they vary from $3 to $30, but $10 is a reasonable price)

For a little more detail on the subject you can read about "readers" here (be aware, this site is indirectly involved in the eye ware trade and may have some conflict of interest), but there are some other things you might want to know. Like how to tell how strong to get your first pair.

The first few times I stopped by the display, I noticed there was a little blurb written to explain what strength glasses to get. The test they described didn't make sense the first time I read it and after reading it several times, then actually using reading glasses for a few months I realized it was nonsense.

If you didn't wear glasses when you were 35, and you have begun to notice you are having trouble with small print, you should begin with the weakest glasses you can find and concentrate on what style you want. I initially made the mistake of getting "moderate" strength, a pair of which I keep around in case I need to look at something really close up. As a general guide, if you can focus on print closer than one foot, they are plenty strong. Referring back to the article, you will need to decide whether you want them for general reading (newspapers and books) or if you need some that you can look over the top of when you need to see far away. I have a job that sometimes requires me to look at a list in my hand, then immediately look out the window at some equipment several hundred feet away. Half glasses are great for that, otherwise they are second best. On the other hand, after some practice, I learned in Sunday School to wear regular glasses and just ignore the fact that people across the room are a little blurry. (My Sunday School is like a round table classroom, with books and study guides and Bibles)

As time goes by, the average person's eyes get a little worse (see note 1) and after a year or two, you may find you need stronger glasses. Keep the old ones for tasks that don't require as much strength. My monitor is 30 inches from me, and I use some weak glasses while at my computer desk. (as opposed to this idea about computer glasses)

Of course, my life is ecletic - I almost never do the same thing for more than a couple of hours before I have to attend to a different task. If your job requires you to focus at one distance for hour after hour, you may need to spend the money and get something made just for you.

Also, if you have any other problems with your vision, like astigmatism, all of this may go out the window, since readers are not currently made to compensate for that. (See Note 2)

Well, here's to going through our 40's.
Keep reading.

1. Optometrists used to use this tendency to tell their patients "you have to wear these to keep your eyes from getting worse," and some people used to say don't watch TV in a dark room or your eyes will go bad. Nowadays, some charlatans use this tendancy to say that eyeglasses are a crutch that will cause your eyes to get weaker and you need to use our secret to see clearly without glasses. All three of these ideas are bull.

2. This is something I would love to see fixed. The vast majority of people could be served if only eight variations of asigmatic lenses were available. While this wouldn't work a the grocery level, it could be marketed through a web site. It could be boiled down to 8 astignatisms, times 12 primary strengths, times 12 styles - for a total of 1152 variations. With a customer base of thousands it wouldn't work, but with a customer base of millions it would.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Latest Spambots Attack Blogs

Just the latest varient in the ongoing spambot wars.

BBC Tech News

"The criminals responsible for this spam campaign are experts at exploiting social engineering to propagate their botnets," said Bradley Anstis from security firm Marshal.

The spam messages have been changed to capitalise on news events and the viral payload has been updated many times to fool anti-virus programs.

Just don't click on - errr, umm, interesting things - that don't belong in the blog.


Friday, September 07, 2007

CFC and United Way

I have written about this in the past, for instance
The CFC and You (link disabled)

The government will be pushing the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) again this fall. This is the military (or government) equivalent (extension, actually) of the United Way, which is also kicking off their Fall Drive. I DO NOT support these campaigns, for the following reasons:

1. They don't have any way to vett the list to insure that the organizations on the list are actually trying to help people. In fact, an attempt a few years ago to insure there were no terrorists on the list was derailed by the ACLU and the NAACP. (The ACLU didn't want to have to determine if they were supporting terrorists, either.)

2. Any attempt to "direct" your donation to some specific organization will be undermined by the accountants employed by the CFC in order to insure "fairness"

3. Some organizations on the donation list have been mortal enemies of each other for many years (ie. Planned Parenthood and Right to Life are both recipients)

4. My attempts to determine if there have been changes to the above were fruitless - as the CFC doesn't seem to advertise (at least not on line and in advance) who is going to benefit from donations.

5. All of the links I have found while attempting to gather information on this subject are out of date, which is why I am posting this. Also, I haven't found anything recently to tell me if they provide your name and address to others, which would put you on mailing lists, resulting in your getting tonnes of junk mailings asking for more money.

As I have said before: I believe it is important to give to charities, but it is best to give to local ones, or ones your Church supports on a regular basis (in which case you can give through your Church). Today, it is best to also give anonymously.

Some Background Information:

CFC calendar of events:
(this article is hostile to my point of view)
"all charities...must now certify that they do not knowingly employ individuals or have ties to organizations found on any terrorist related list promulgated by the U.S. Government or other international sources."
the ACLU’s executive director, Anthony D. Romero, admitted never having consulted the terrorist lists.
NAACP joined the ACLU and 14 other organizations in a coalition (aclu article) to protest the new policy.

wikipedia - Combined Federal Campaign
"Terrorist screening controversy" portion is out of date, but good news - the ACLU quit the CFC
And in more good news - the ACLU also turned down money from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations instead of certifying the money would not be used to further terrorist aims.
(Strom, Stephanie, "ACLU rejects foundation grants over terror language,"
The New York Times, October 19, 2004)


Thursday, August 30, 2007

U.S. Prosecuter we should have Fired

I started out looking for something current on the US Mexico Border Fence Project, but was immediately attracted to an apparent crime committed by a US Prosecutor in West Texas.

Did the US prosecute Ramos and Compean at the request of Mexico?

Is Attorney Johnny Sutton working for the Mexican government?

Or is the corruption higher up?

These are questions that must be answered, especially knowing that Johnny Sutton. is a born liberal, UT grad, who presided over a shrinking Texas Prison System.

He (and the Judge, who seems to be colluding in all of this) gave a drug dealer, not just immunity for testifying, but basically carte blanch to cross back and forth across the border while the trial was going on - allowing him to continue his smuggling operation during his testimony basically amounts to paying him to testify against the agents.

But he is not the only one attacking and trying to tear down the integrity of the United States, unnamed officials of the Dept. of Homeland Security met with Rep. Ted Poe, Rep. John Culberson, Kenny Marchant and Michael McCauland accused the Ramos and Compean of being "out to shoot Mexicans" but have given no proof, and yet some are themselves hiding, behind anonymity.

Johnny Sutton and his superiors continue to push the lie that the smuggler was basically shot in the back, using the word "behind" to describe the location of the wound, instead of his hip, which might shed light on the fact that the bullet entered his side - confirming that he had turned towards the agents, as the agents have said all along.

In addition, Johnny Sutton claims there was no way to prosecute the smuggler
since he had gotten away, leaving no evidence (another lie) to connect him with the scene. On the other hand, they found him
without too much help,
and connected him to being shot by the agents, even though ballistics evidence did not support him being shot by Ramos's gun, and the use of a statute adding 10 years to their sentences for discharging a firearm in the commission of a crime (since when is apprehending a smuggler a crime?) shows the vindictiveness of the prosecution.

In addition to the above hiding the evidence of fingerprints, and ballistics, and
Johnny Sutton hid the fact that the smuggler left a cell phone in the van,
the fact that the van was owned by the smuggler, and that he was acting on behalf of the Mexican Consulate.

This is not the only prosecution of law enforcement officials at the request of the Mexican government, there are others, indicating that this is a coordinated effort to prevent the Border Patrol and other law enforcement from apprehending illegals and smugglers entering the US.

We hear, on a regular basis, about the "activist judges" who thwart law enforcement efforts by legislating from the bench - and there seems to be plenty of that in this case also - but we need to remember that the renegade judges are only one part of the equation. Renegade prosecutors acting on orders from criminal regimes such as Mexico and China, and an Executive Branch so intent on creation of a North American version of the EU are just as damaging to our nation.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gas Price Forcast

It is time for my annual forecast of gas prices for the next fiscal year. This is not meant to be anywhere nearly accurate enough to help anyone invest in commodities markets. It is really meant to (and is a reaction to the failure of) allow people and organisations to figure into their budget, the right amount for gas expenditures for the next year.

Bottom line right here on top:
Expect to be paying $2.65 this fall
and expect prices to spike
to $3.46 next April and May.

Gas varies seasonally, and right now it is running high, but slowly declining as it does every summer. It will spike upwards if any hurricanes travel through the Gulf of Mexico (higher costs and risks involved). It will drop further in the fall, usually near the end of September, but sometimes the drop isn't seen until November. It will begin to rise again next February, and will spike upwards around the end of April.

These seasonal changes reflect mostly our driving habits, but also reflect the increased cost for summer blends required to beat the evaporation that otherwise would take place as summer heats up.

My formula for next April May price spike is as follows:
Take the predominant price of crude oil in July, (that was $74, I think) divide by 25 (giving $2.96) and add $.50 to account for the taxes.
Therefore my forecast for next May is $3.46

The last factor will vary widely by location, as taxes and EPA regulations add more in many locations. The table below only gives a partial picture, I add an extra $.10 to the tax listed in that table in areas where transportation is easy and EPA regulations don't aggravate. In "LA", Chicago, Deming or Las Vegas New Mexico, and some other parts, add extra.
Gasoline Tax Statistics by State 2002

A different method is to look at the price you were paying in May this year. Subtract $2.60 from it and use the remainder instead of the $.50 in the figures above.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Christian vs Catholic

The Pope took me by surprise earlier this month, by stating "saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation."

I decided immediately to write about refutations to his claims. This took a lot longer than I thought, and I was surprised at the difficulty in finding good scholarly works refuting Roman Catholic Doctrine and this doctrine in particular.

This may be for a number of reasons. First, the web is not geared to the scholarly writings and over time it has become a trash heap of half baked ideas, first drafts and other debris. Second, many who could most resoundingly refute this doctrine are "old school" scholars, and not likely to use the Web. Third, none of this is new, so except for some students (and this is summer break for many universities) many scholars have heard all of this before and may not think it really necessary to discuss it again.

(As a side note: there are other Churches who call themselves Catholic, and thus the distinction "Roman" Catholic.)

Don't get me wrong, there is no shortage of people with the same initial thoughts I had: "Pope shows the true, evil nature, of the Roman Catholic Church" and in researching these, I did come across some really good stuff.

Now, to be sure, just as there are people misrepresenting the views of Islam, there are also people who will misrepresent the views of the Catholic Church. Therefore, I need to show first what the Roman Catholic Church really teaches.
if a person is outside of the Catholic church -- whether they:
  • Are a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or a member of another non-Christian religion,
  • Are a member of another Christian denomination,
  • Consider themselves an unaffiliated Christian who follows the teachings of Jesus, or
  • Are an Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, secularist, etc.
    they cannot possibly be saved

    Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released yesterday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.
    This article also has a question and answer section, which is worth more than the article itself.

    Now, why I disagree with the Roman Catholic Church. First and foremost, my belief is that the Bible is the supreme authority on religious matters. The Roman Catholic Church supplants that with the notion that the Church itself and the Pope in particular are a higher authority than the Bible. In fact, they stand in direct conflict with the Bible in many matters.
    Overview of how Catholic faith contradicts the Bible. overview false teaching
    (This second one is a bit of a cult - more on that in a minute)
    Jesus-is-Savior dotcom - Roman Catholicism vs Bible
    A few other links of interest:

  • Now to be sure, several sects of Christian Churches have their own cultures of exclusionary teachings. As a Baptist, I am familiar mostly with this one:
    The Baptist Standard page id=6626
    Another cultish group is the one that says the only true Bible is the King James Version. While I love that translation, I don't agree with their teachings whole heartedly. And the Jesus-is-Savior dot com site is not only into that culture, but quite far out in their other beliefs too. (wander around the site and you will get an eye full)

    Again, the difference between Christians and followers of the Roman Catholic Church is that we believe the Bible. Beginning with the reformation period associated with Martin Luther and a few others, we have fought a long battle to teach people that the Bible is the true source of wisdom and truth about God.

    Other notes:
    Along the way, I found a couple other works of interest.

    Careful examination, however, shows that the Pope's "Day of Pardon" was in fact not an apology, but rather a day of deception.

    Methods Muslims use to attack Christianity

    (check out their theology quiz)

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Time for a course change: Ethanol

    About a year ago, someone with more knowlege than me wrote that Ethanol is a crock ( CombatEffective Article ). I replied "yes, but it is a good crock" and went into detail on several reasons why it is good that we are burning some Ethanol in our gasoline.

    But often in life, course changes must be made.

    Even as I wrote that Ethanol is a good crock, I knew that there would be a time for a course change (and I said so in my comments at that time). I didn't know it would be so soon.

    We are now producing and using a substantial amount of ethanol. Especially corn based ethanol. Maybe too much. Businessweek has a good chain of article on the debate of how much is too much. (also, see notes below) ethanol-facts

    We are not using it just for E85 blend, but also as an additive to replace MTBE in most regular gasoline.

    The use of corn for Ethanol is beginning to impact our food supply (although only it is only a minimal impact, with petrolium prices being a bigger impact) and if the current trends continue, this could get very problematic.

    GM and Ford, (and others) are scamming us on the Flexfuel by getting a break in their CAFE standards that is out of proportion with reality. Public Citizen Article

    Therefore three things must change:

    1. Subsidies for making Ethanol from corn must be reduced and in the interim some of them should go for Ethanol from other sources.
    2. The CAFE credit for flexfuel cars must be reduced or done away with.
    3. Continue or increase concentration on renewable fuels other than Ethanol.

    These course changes should be a slow taper off of the subsidies we have used in the past and should promote other sources of Ethanol and other renewable fuels.

    1. Businessweek-Ethanol
    2. has a variety of good statistics on Ethanol and Petrolium - especially in their May and June 2007 archives)

    Saturday, July 07, 2007

    Takers, and Caretakers

    The weather is finally drying out. On the 4th of July, we got no more than a light shower here. But 40 miles up a nearby creek, they got one last downpour. There was one last surge of water headed down that creek. Joe headed home at the end of the shift. Maybe he didn't see the dark colored water over the dark colored pavement of the road, or maybe God chose, at that time, to allow his brakes to fail.

    They found his body yesterday.

    In this world, there are takers, and caretakers.
    Joe was a caretaker.
    He will be missed by many.

    Some wonder: why is it that every time a Baptist preacher gets up to say something at a funeral, he talks about getting people saved. It is always about evangelism.

    God doesn't promise us tomorrow. This is not a call to live like there is no tomorrow, that would make you a "taker." The message is Carpe Diem. Often translated "seize the day", but a more accurate translation would be "gather the day," as in gathering fruit or grain.

    Of course, we all know this academically. But when someone you worked side by side with for a few years is suddenly gone, it really hits home. The Apostle Paul wrote "redeem the time." And that is what those Baptist Preachers are doing.

    Joe - we will miss you.
    To the rest of you: Carpe Diem.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    Challenges of Technology

    A few days ago, DW posed a series of questions in response to the article on the extradition of an Australian man for violating US copyright laws.

    I boiled his questions down to:

    1. Technology (science) and globalization has a way of challenging every concept of human interaction and long held beliefs
    2. In the medical profession it challenges responsibility, liability and obligation of health care providers.
    3. In cyber space it challenges the concept of public domain, legal easement, property rights Profit and intellectual property are 'special interest' in cyber space?
    4. Like 'civil rights' we are heading for unforeseen problems of special interest?

    Nothing I have to say on these subjects is highly original, but maybe I can word it so that some folks who found it too abstract in the past can get their arms around this stuff.

    Comments are more than welcome.

    Yes, technology and globalization is a challenge in every aspect of our interaction. For instance, privacy. In 1800, to achieve privacy for a conversation, a couple of people needed only to walk a few hundred feet away from anyone else. And immigration. In 1800, immigrants moved only by walking - or if they were "men of means" they rode horses. There were mass migrations in the days of old, but they usually either followed, or were met by massive losses in population. To say that early Christians would have had a tough time dealing with the lack of privacy in today's society is an understatement. The Bible itself tells us to seek privacy for prayer, meditation, and fellowship.

    In medicine, the Hippocratic oath made sense because when the brain died, or when the patient was unable to breath or eat, the body died. Now we can keep the body alive years after the patient, for all practical (and many philosophical) reasons, is dead. The most vivid example of this in recent history is Terri Schiavo a woman who was, for all reasoned argument, dead, but whose body was kept alive for years on trivial moral and legal arguments. In the end, the result of this was many formerly respectable people making up scientific arguments out of thin air at the behest of a doctor who apparently had already lost his license to practice for bilking people who had no hope by saying he could reverse permanent brain damage.

    There are many other aspects this impacts. Until the 20th century, doctors were "on their own." The professionalization of schooling and practice of medicine was followed almost immediately by the politicalization of medicine. Their latest politcalizations are attempts to undermine the 2nd amendment and to promote vegetarianism by false science.

    In cyberspace? We wouldn't have anything called cyberspace without technology. Now that I have stated the obvious, public domain and easement had to be completely redefined in cyberspace - and are still in the process of being redefined again. Public domain on the Internet mostly means places where anyone can publish. The ultimate used to be USENET = normally a place where anyone can write (the writings are not public domain - just the space where they write it). It is currently being "mailbombed" by some jerk that is piping in articles 30,000 at a time. This renders the area unusable by ordinary users. I don't know if this will ever be fixed, as it has been a problem for years and the USENET community doesn't really want to restrict access to what used to be an area that was free for all to post. Blogspot, Typepad, and Livejournal may be the future.

    Easement would be the traffic flowing across someones network that belongs to someone on another network. The current battle there is "Net Neutrality" and both sides have taken up extreme positions - and have taken up misrepresenting their opponent's position. Just like rePublicans and democRats.

    Property, especially intellectual property rights are a constant battlefield on the Internet. Once upon a time, copyrights and patents were reasonable. Copyright was for up to 14 years. The original reasoning for intellectual property laws was "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts..." as was written in the Constitution. In recent years, however, it has become a counterproductive obstacle to progress, bent only on increasing revenue for corporations - and in many cases, it only increases the activity in their legal departments. The first case of this that I am aware of was IBM's Micro Channel Architecture (MCA). This was in internal system in a computer, developed at the right time to make PC's smaller, faster and more flexible. But IBM got greedy with the patents (100 of them) and as a result, no one except IBM used it. Ultimately this led to the early demise of MCA, and adoption of EISA and VESA architecture. Neither of the new architectures went over as well as MCA had the potential for, and in the end, not only did IBM not make much money on their invention, the rest of the computing world was adrift looking for a solution for several years. PCI eventually caught on, and the world left IBM behind.

    In the area of copyright, the 7 to 14 year rule was essentially replaced with the Disney rule. All copyrighted material since the inception of Disney is still under copyright, as Disney and other corporations kept getting the time extended, until now it is almost 100 years.

    As for the argument that intellectual property rights are a "special interest" in cyberspace, this is not strictly true, but cyberspace provides special challenges on both sides of the issue. On the side of people infringing copyright, electronic media is generally easy to make perfect copies of, and the copying can take place at lightning speed. An article, researched for months at great expense can be spread all over the world in minutes, and if the publisher doesn't take extraordinary steps, neither the publisher nor the author will get compensated for their work. On the other side of the issue, the government has been creating more and more laws to try to keep this under control - some draconian in their nature and others just downright intrusive into the private areas of our lives. If you are a software maker and you provide some feature that circumvents an anti piracy protection, you can be prosecuted in federal court - even if there is a legitimate use for that feature, such as software to make Adobe Books available to blind users. And both the FBI and Sony have been known to put software bugs on people's computers to see if they can catch someone making illegal copies or to stop them from making copies. In the case of Sony, this bug both interfered with the normal function of the computer, and left the computer open to attacks by others. Sony was sued, but the legal firm supposedly representing the people whose computers were damaged seemed to be more interested in collecting millions in lawyers fees (they did) than justice. In the end, the people got about $8 each.

    There are many parallels between these "special interests" and civil liberties. In fact, many of these are civil liberties of a sort. Each has a corresponding challenge in the physical world.

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    is it not obvious

    To me, this provides a legal precedent for radical islamic states to demand our (western) governments turn over our citizens to be tried in their courts.

    Australia and US courts

    Besides being shortsighted and unconstitutional, this new revolution in Intellectual Property rights BS is undermining the sovereignty of free countries all over the world.


    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    copperheads, then and now

    I have been running a little behind, (as some of you might have noticed) since April, when I didn't have an postings for a month. That was due to my daughter discovering an employer not filing proper taxes, and attempting to employ my daughter in the scam. Well, not only did she not go along with it, she turned him in to the IRS. I coached her through that minor disaster (got a lot of practice reading up on IRS publications). So now she is looking for another job, and I am back to blogging.

    Which brings me to something written in Christian Science Monitor a couple months ago. About the Copperheads of the Civil War. Dissent in the US is nothing new - ask two Americans about something, and you can get three opinions. But at some point, you have to say enough is enough.

    When dissent becomes obstruction is a good read on the subject.

    The Copperheads of the Civil War paid a high price for their stunts during the war. It is up to us to do what we can to take a toll on their villainous leaders in the near future.

    Hat tip to CombatEffective for the link to the article. (See link at right)


    Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    following up on Mexican hospitality

    I see Mexico is displaying their usual neighborly attitueds.

    Miss USA gives Mexicans lesson in graciousness
    (and just in case that article goes away)

    Guess we could have seen that coming after they
    displayed their sense of balance in politics.

    Border important to Mexico?

    Let's get that fence built
    border fence know thy enemies


    Monday, May 28, 2007

    military related EoM roundup

    My End of Month roundup this month is mostly related to military personnel matters.

    I got interested in MyPay again recently. I have stayed away from it in the past for several reasons, most important of which is their own statement on their front page that Effective July 1, 2005 - if you use MyPay, you must use them for virtually everything. This is, however, contradicted by their FAQ, and if I had read deeper into the site, I would have found that it merely meant that the default was no paper products, and it is still my choice.

    My interest was rekindled when I saw this article:
    "Hackers Gain Access to MyPay Accounts"
    military dotcom report hackers and mypay accounts

    The attack is done thru spyware on the user's computer, and is not the fault of security at mypay. This does however underline why I don't want (in the foreseeable future) mypay to ever become mandatory.

    More on financial systems security is a banking security "feature" developed in the 60's or 70's is now a glaring security hole in the 21st century. That is, the routing and account numbers at the bottom of our checks. The fact that an airman was a victim is incidental. This is aimed at bank accounts in general, and you need to seriously review your statements each month to look for this happening to you. If you find it, I believe banks are liable under current laws - and at any rate, most all of them will take the hit instead of you (but you must file a claim).
    military dotcom report one-cent-deposit scam

    I am fond of saying "War is an expensive hobby"
    This is short for "War is hell, and if you go at it like a hobby, it can get REAL Expensive"
    Some unexpected expenses.
    military dotcom report air-force might cut pay
    military dotcom report interruptions in pay possibility

    There has always been some friction between headquarters, and those in the trenches. This news should make it worse.

    military dotcom report new regulations worrying bloggers
    It is important to note that the vagueness of the new requirements is the main source of friction. Most military personnel still don't understand what exactly is changing.

    military dotcom report fidelity fined for misleading troops
    Here it is noteworthy that many scams such as this, some even getting on base (on post for army) facilities to make their pitches, are sponsored by retired Generals and retired Sargent Majors or Chief Master Sargent's. I don't know if these high level personnel are being duped, or if they have been playing politics so long they have lost their moral compass (and mind you, it is a small fraction of the retired honchos that are at fault). The moral of the story is, don't buy a product just because some honcho endorses it. Do the math yourself.


    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Wolves in Sheeps Clothing

    Just some Wolves in Sheeps Clothing that
    I have noticed in the past few weeks.

    I was astonished at the number of scam web sites attempting to capitolize on the Virginia Tech shooting. First rule of charitable giving is know who you are giving money to. If you don't know them don't give to them. I suppose the second rule could be to let your pastor do the research for the members of your Church.

    Found through Clark Howard:
    Student loan scandal at 300 schools.
    This should be viewed as a conspirosy to swindle students
    out of some of their education funds.

    The FBI and TSA are still screwing over honest citizens
    Shouldn't the law enforcement devision of the
    US government be working to help its citizens?

    Some good news from Clark Howard is about working at home.
    Same link as the FBI above. Now we have a mediator in our favor.

    Other miscelaneous Wolves in Sheeps Clothing
    . . promotes internet gambling - not education
    . . crisis pregnancy centers - some have been hijacked by rightwing extremists
    . . and Experian - these are not free, will cost over $100
    I will be glad to expound on any of the above - just leave a comment.


    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    gas prices

    I heard on the news this morning that gas prices are at an all time high. $3.30 nationwide average. I still don't think they will make it to my earlier prediction of $3.60. And I predicted that for Texas, which is still just under $3 a gallon.

    They also said it was aggravated by a high number of refineries out of service for spring maintenance, and quoted Shell as saying they had had "a couple" fires at refineries. Must have been small ones. I only heard about one, and I think it was BP.

    I hear today is a "gas out," when we are supposed to abstain from buying gas for a day. That won't hurt them. Buy a 4 cylinder. If everybody did that, the oil companies would feel it.

    In other humorous news, I heard a Citgo advertisement saying they:
    "fuel our way of life"
    I wonder how many people realize, they also fund the enemy.


    UPDATE: the $3.30 above should have been $3.10
    The market peaked early last year, but later this year, demonstrating a self correcting feature inherant in markets. I suspect strongly the (average national) price will remain above $3 a gallon for several more weeks. It will go down this fall, as it always does in the fall (sometimes late fall).

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    The Markets stumble

    We seem to have a stumbling in the markets. While I am not an expert on world markets, the news I hear seems to indicate either one of two causes. One is Greenspan said something about a possible resession, and the other is the collapse of the SubPrime Lending sector.

    The SubPrime Lending Sector seems to be the culprit. Odd how a downturn in a practice that can best be described as slimball can cause a nationwide economic stumble.

    Good Forbes Article

    Some Good Background from Forbes


    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    Judges finally get one right

    About time one of these cities got their hand slapped for ignoring the Constitution.

    Gun ban Struck down

    When was the last time you remembergood newsout of Washington?

    AntiAmerican subversives, such as the Brady Center and HCI, are enraged, of course. As are other carreer criminals.

    Now we must hope others on the bench will act wisely to help return this country to its rightful place as a beacon of liberty.


    Wednesday, February 28, 2007

    End of Month Roundup

    I have been spending quite a bit of time over at (see link on the right side of this page). In the mean time, I try to get stuff written here when I can.

    A year ago, I was asking if Sony BMG got a sweetheart deal and this year, I have to say yes. And it looks like the lawyers who should have been looking out for our intrests were only looking out for their paycheck. While this isn't completely over, it is over for the bulk of their victims. Sony hacked (root kit style) a lot of peoples computers and basically got fined $8 for each count. Between the EFF, which rides a fence between our rights and corporate greed, and the press, which is asleep at the switch on this one, Sony is getting off pretty lightly.

    Background links:
    Sweetheart deal
    EPIC Lawsuit
    The EPIC page discussing all of this
    (EPIC is the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and EFF is the Electronic Frontier Foundation)

    In other news - expect gas prices to spike upwards in the next couple of weeks. Looks like they will jump about 40 cents initially - then more later. Still waiting for that next refinery fire.

    The border fence is still stalled.
    Despite multiple studies and multiple demonstrations that wherever fences are strengthed and observers (such as the Minutemen) are posted, illegal activities decrease - the loony liberals still insist on pretending the fence will not work. This is also probably the biggest reason you can't call me a libertarian. True libertarians believe in open borders - and I do not. Also, Bank of America, or banco-amigo, has now joined with the crimminals who help perpetuate illegal imagration.

    I find this humorous:
    The Mexican Chamber of Deputies condemned the intrusion in strong words and was then followed by the Mexican senate in a clear bid to stiffen the spines of Mexican negotiators.

    At issue is the stepping over the border last week by U.S. workers as they were busily building the border fence. The work zone is approximately 30 feet into Mexican territory between Douglas, Ariz., and the Mexican border city of Agua Prieta.

    Border Important to Mexico?

    I guess a couple people stepping just a few feet over the line into their country is a bigger deal than millions of them sneaking miles into ours.


    Monday, February 26, 2007

    I heard

    On the news they are saying they found the bones of Jesus.

    Well, in many latin american countries, there are many
    grave markers with that name on them.

    "So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them. Matt 24:26 (NASB)

    Just another hoax by the decievers.

    UPDATE: Took another look at this.
    Found story here: WorldNetDaily
    Wrong deception. Should have quoted Matt 28:12-15.

    12: And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,

    13: and said, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.'

    14: "And if this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble."

    15: And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.


    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    terror in Boston

    The police and government in Boston seem to be the greatest threat since Barney Fife.

    I would have loved to have had the time when this happened to have written the following blog entry. No matter how much time I had, I would never have been able to do it so well, however. Thus it is good that Bruce Schneier, whom I call THE Guru of security has written it.


    I also believe the following is some of the best security advice written since 911.


    Somehow, he always sums everything up nicely about ten paragraphs in.

    In the first article it is:
    "For heavens sake, don't let her [Massachusetts Attorney General] inside a Radio Shack"

    In the second, it is:
    "we're doing exactly what the terrorists want."

    'nuff said.

    Monday, February 19, 2007

    gas prices going up

    As I said in my previous post ("tis the season") this morning, gas prices have begun to rise. How high will they go? I can't say exactly - but it is looking like $3.00 a gallon will be fairly common in many places in late April. After June begins, if there are no disasters, they should drop back 20 t0 30 cents from their high.

    I said this morning, I am looking at adjusting my formula for forcasting next spring's gas prices. Right now, the following looks promising:

    Take the price of a barrel of oil as it stands
    throughout most of July, devide by 30.

    If the price runs about $60 a barrel for most
    of the month - that would be $2.00.

    Then add the tax. This is what is written
    on the pump. Around here it says something
    like (and I haven't looked lately) 50 cents.

    Add those two numbers to get the price to expect
    next April. In the example that would be $2.50

    Using that formula, the April prices for last April
    and this April would have been $2.73 and $2.90

    This seems like it might be a little low, so I may have to adjust it. I would like some commentary, as to what more to do to make these numbers more useful. Right now they are aimed at allowing, for instance, police departments and schools to forcast their fule budgets.


    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Denzel Washington visits Army Hospital

    Since I just got the e-mail in my in-box from a friend, I thought it would be a good time to point out that not all of the Hollywood crowd are the typical "limousine Liberal" type.

    The e-mail comes with some exaggerations, but the core issues are true, especially the question:

    "why does Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Sean Penn and other Hollywood types make front page news with their anti-everything America crap and this doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any newspaper except the base newspaper in San Antonio "

    (Actually the story appears to have been carried by WOAI-TV.)

    The Urban Legends page referring to the visit

    Also worth noting is a quote from the "snopes" page: [Fisher House President David Coker] said the fact that Washington, 49, did not write a check 'on the spot' does not diminish his contribution to the Fisher House and his support 'for the men and women who serve our country.'

    I agree.