Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ephesus Project Now Bible Study

Well ThanksGiving is upon us. In this holiday time, we might just well reflect on what the first observers of ThanksGiving were all about. They fled to here from Europe, where they had been more or less persecuted by one Church or another for many years. To this end, I encourage everyone to show a little tolerance for people whose idea of Christianity is different from yours. We will need his solidarity in times to come.

Since I added the label "Bible Study" to my blog, I will no longer use the keyword "Ephesus" in my title lines. I also need to re-think how to present the whole concept of Bible Study for Bible Illiterates (which is what I was, only a few years ago). I am thinking along the line of "the part of tens" that I find in the back of all of the "For Dummies" guides.

Not that the Ephesus Project was wrong. I still think everything I put in there is good study advice. I just think there should be a little better way of presenting it.

Of course, blogging itself has its limitations. What I need for this project is a static page that can link to a dozen other pages that I can update from time to time. About the best I know how to do with Blogger is create a link list. I will be looking for some place on my front page to put that link list.

If there is any doubt about the importance of Bible Study, some of the entries on Crunchy Conservative last week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

future economics watch

As anybody who reads my writings (and rants) knows, I can see the future through mathematics, but that sight is obviously not perfect. I knew there was a downturn coming from quite some time ago (there were some hints as long as three years ago), but the suddenness and severity of it caught me off guard. I though we might get down to $3.50 a gallon for gas. I thought housing prices might drop 20%. I thought it might affect others as well as us.

I never expected $2 a gallon gas or housing prices dropping 40%. But here we are, looking at a global economic melt down. Global. Meltdown. Big stuff.

Now What?

Well, looking at the bond market can give a guess how long this is going to go on. From it I see that we are near (but everyone says "not at") the bottom. It also looks like this will go on for a couple of years. That is when "recovery" will begin. Most of the forecasters are saying it will take 10 years or so for people to get back to where they were two years ago. I concur.

(note: In re-reading this post, I notice I didn't link to anything. That is because most of my "hard data" is just listening to CNBC and looking at the bond rates as the go by on the ticker.)

In the short run, if you are in the position to buy into markets, now is the time to begin doing that. It doesn't matter whether you are interested in mutual funds, bond funds or gold coins. But I would advise doing it slowly, and planning to stay wherever you put your money for at least 10 years. And diversify. Always diversify.


Another afterthought: Of course, when I saw some of this coming, I didn't realise that some in Congress and HUD actually had demanded the banks (and especially Fannie and Freddie) continue and expand the lending practices that created this fiasco. Capitolism is no better than any other "ism" without some moral underpinning to keep it in check.

Friday, November 07, 2008

improved blog reading

Blogger has a couple of widgets I have recently been working with. First is "labels" which I added, so that entries can be looked into by subject matter. I wish I had started using this before. I won't be needing the "Ephesus" tag in my subject line any more. Just select the "Bible Study" label. Wow, simplicity. The labels are not perfect, as I have to make judgements about which blog entries should have which labels. I don't want too many labels, and some things don't fit neatly into the ones I picked - but still it is a great feature.

The other feature is "Blog Following" which allows me to see when some of my favorite "low traffic" blogs have been updated. Well, at least most of the time. I currently have four blogs loaded, and would have a couple more loaded, but can't seem to get it too work with certain blogs.

Like I said, it is good for low traffic blogs - basically any blog not updated more often than mine. But the word "updated" does bring up two flaws. First is that if the author updates a previous entry, this feature will not notice, and second, I have found no way to get it to track comments. Comments are an important feature in many blogs that I read.

Also, that is a hint to anyone
who reads my stuff
and I suspect most other
blog owners want comments too.

I still need to work more on the stuff along the right hand column, especially the permalinks. I also plan to add a "blogroll." The blogroll will provide a feature similar to blog following, for anyone who reads my blog.

UPDATE: I notice there are more than a fair share of entries related to politics, but I think that is somewhat of a side effect that politics touches so many areas of our lives. Also, I need to work more on things other than politics.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

after the election

As the dust settles on this election, I have been thinking on what I should write next. Certainly, things will not be as bad as we fear. Or will they? Only God knows.

There are some things I do like about President (elect) Obama's platform, though I was reluctant to speak of them during the race. There are some things about corporations that turn my stomach, and there is a (remote) chance that he will work to fix those. He believes in compulsory volunteering, and that is something I have come to embrace. (although the devil is in the details, and the programs could cause as much harm as good, if not done right)

I don't think he is a Christian. No, I don't think he is trying to decieve us, but rather that he does not have an understanding of what it means to be a Christian (which in my writings, would make him a christian).

There were many breakdowns in the polling equipment, but overall, it does not appear on the surface to be catastrophic. Of course, that is on the surface. In many places, paper ballots are no longer used (and in some, they have not been used for years), making it impossible to know how people really voted. Fortunately, my own districts allow the use of paper. Unfortunately, my own district also allows the use of unverifiable electronic voting.

The possibility exists that Al-Qaeda (or other wahhabists) may use the next few months to launch attacks, believing (an probably correctly) that we will be quite chaotic and indecisive in our response. I wrote about this a few days ago.

I will likely be looking for a different party affiliation in the next few years, unless much changes in the republican party. If the libertarians and constitutionalists could get their act together - and if they would understand that corporations are just another form of government - I might join up with them. Born-Again Democrats hold some promise, but I havent looked into their organization much yet. As always, the devil is in the details. I guess I might become a true independant.

Much remains to be thought out.
Much remains to be seen.

In the end, God is in charge.
In the mean time,
I feel I must try to make sense of it all.

Monday, November 03, 2008

In the crunch

As the economic meltdown continues, some things would be humorous, were their not so much human suffering attached.

UBS and Lehman Brothers
Don't know how long that link will be good, so here is a short snippet:
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG, Switzerland's largest bank, faces dozens of claims in the U.S. from clients who bought ``100 percent principal protected notes'' issued by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. that are now almost worthless.

Trouble is, the market collapsed from the weight of too many people and organizations in too much debt, and much of it created by those now selling us a bill of goods that it was a republican venture.

Meanwhile, things have gotten so bad that gold coins are getting scarce, even as the price of gold drops. The article shows that so many people are now investing in gold for the first time that the supply of gold coins has been temporarily depleted. This has caused such an upheaval that many conspiracy theories are beginning to spring up.

After Notes:
Banks used "off balance sheet" to hide their insecurities. I wonder if anyone has realised, the reason banks are not loaning yet might be that they still have so much "off balance sheet" debt that they risk becoming insolvent when the rules change next summer? (If they don't get another reprieve from Barny Franks)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

time to be ready

Time to start.

The election will be over soon, and no matter who wins, it will be time to get disaster plans in place for you and your family. There are many reasons for this, but suffice it to say that terrorists didn't want us galvanized before the election, but now that it is over, they may take the opportunity to strike during the upheaval that always accompanies the transition to a new government (whether that is a McCain government, or an Obama government).

Have guns ready in case the worst happens. This is not to shoot the terrorists with, though that would be good too, but to keep the peace in your personal space - and allow the authorities to deal with the bigger fish.

Have food, water and other supplies on hand, in case they disrupt infrastructure or transportation. Check your evacuation plans if you live near something terrorists might hit. (you should already have these from 2002.) Have a couple possible destinations in mind for your family to meet up. Have transportation and routes thought out. Have gas in the car or truck. Have a couple changes of cloths packed.

If nothing at all happens. Celebrate that things are better than we though. But be prepared in case they are worse. If nothing at all happens, thank the good Lord and keep those things handy in case a disaster hits in the future.

15 NOV UPDATE: Well, here is the media and national intelligence agencies saying I am right about the possible threat from terrorists.