Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reading Amazon Book Reviews

It has come to my attention (by way of talk radio) that certain factions are working in a concerted effort to poison the reviewer remarks for some books on Amazon. Specifically, there appears to be coordinated efforts by Atheists and Socialists to leave disparaging comments and mark other comments as "not helpful." And specifically these remarks are being made towards books by Christians and conservatives writing about America. I don't know how much of this is going on (and honestly, I see only sporatic evidence of it), but I thought I would share my method of avoiding such nonsense. My technique was originally designed to avoid concieted reviews by the friends and relatives of the author, and general nay-sayers who just don't like what they are reading.

This is primarily useful for books (or products) with lots and lots of reviews. On those with only a couple of reviews, I just read all of them. On products with enough reviews to make reading all of them impractical, I just read the 4-star reviews. Or just the three star reviews. Whichever seems to be a reasonable number to read. This avoids those who wrote a review but forgot to mark how many stars. Avoids the ones that are just glowing reviews with no substance. And avoids the vandals that are just there to run the product down.

The real purpose of reading reviews is to find out if the book or product is a good match for the customer, not really to find out if it is a good match for the world. Sometimes, if I am particularly taken by a reviewer, I might even click on their name and see what else they reviewed. This isn't useful for hunting donw the Atheists or other vandals, however, as they are likely to be cowards that will create mulitple personalities to tear down Christian writings.

There are also comments left on the reviews, but I don't find them useful for book reviews, as they just tend to be argumentative. For product reviews, however, they can sometimes clear up misconceptions about the product or company.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Persecution in America and Allies

For some time, I didn't know what to begin making of this. I don't think I will create a label, but I will begin a regular (monthly?) series of articles on the Persecution of Christians in North America, and in some of the (formerly) christian countries of Europe.

It should not surprise us that this is happening. Jesus said that if we follow him, we should expect persecution. In fact, we can draw a conclusion from some of the things He said, that if we are not experiencing persecution, we might only be fooling ourselves about our salvation. Most christians are not experiencing persecution, because they are practicing Christianity Lite, and will be surprised when meeting Jesus in the afterlife, at what He really expected of them. And that they are surprised should not be any surprise. How can they follow Jesus, if they have no idea what the Bible says about following Jesus? (Thus, my quest, to get Christians to study the Bible.)

I think the first story, and currently the most visible to come to mind is Brit Hume's comment about Tiger Woods needing Jesus Christ. This set off a firestorm among the secularist, socialist, and even some of "Christianity Lite" circles.

The first to speak out against Brit Hume were "journalists" of the drive by media. But this can be expected of them, as the world, and especially the Secular Humanist (Socialist) religion of the drive by media is offended and threatened by hearing The Truth and The Gospel. They are not offended by hearing about Buddhism (or Hinduism, or Atheism, or Islam) because it is NOT The Truth, and does not convict them.

Example Links:
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann twice claimed that FNC contributor and former anchor Brit Hume’s public recommendation that Tiger Woods convert to Christianity to help solve his personal problems amounted to trying to "threaten" Woods

Olbermann also plugged the segment before a commercial break: "Brit Hume has tried to force Tiger Woods into becoming a Christian again. - That in a moment."

Brit Hume: 'Jesus Christ' the 'Most Controversial Two Words You Can Ever Utter in the Public Square'

(CNSNews.com) – Brit Hume said he was “not surprised” by the media backlash over his remarks to Tiger Woods on “Fox News Sunday” this week. There is a “double-standard” when it comes to speaking publicly about Christianity versus other religions, he said.

Hume, a Fox News analyst, told CNSNews.com: “There is a double standard. If I had said, for example, that what Tiger Woods needed to do was become more deeply engaged in his Buddhist faith or to adopt the ideas of Hinduism, which I think would be of great spiritual value to him, I doubt anybody would have said anything.”

And an example of that double standard,
even from some Christian Lite sources:
Religion on Fox: News or evangelism?
(Washington Post quotes a "Baptist" columnist)
The picture on the television screen and the audio of reporter Brit Hume's words struck me as contradictory. Just below the image of the reporter's face, the insignia "Fox News" appeared in three different places.

Among our "allies," persecution has begun in earnest. While they are not yet being dragged out into the streets or thrown into jail in England, their jobs are at risk:
Olive Jones, a former teacher who gave at-home math lessons to children too weak or ill to attend school, was told after she offered to pray for the child that the family were nonbelievers. The student's mother complained to the Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service in Nailsea, North Somerset. Jones' proposition was regarded as "bullying," and she ultimately lost her job.

I wrote about this subject last spring,
and mentioned about Canada the year before.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Border Fence - the cause is right

With this being an election year, the status of the border fence (and other border security issues) should be one of the more visible issues presented to our candidates. Especially those going to Washington. And let's not forget, every single Representative (along with a third of the Senate and quite a few Governors) is up for re-election (or replacement).

Those who wish to destroy us have managed to promote a myth so far and wide that even a lot of otherwise reasonable and rational people have come to believe it. That a fence does not work, because it can be breached or bypassed. Look at any auto salvage or auto repair business and what do you see? A fence. Look at any military installation and what do you see? A fence. There is also a similar myth that a fence only keeps us in. Where does this come from? Law abiding people don't sneak across a border or jump the fence. They come and go through the gate. This, of course comes from our enemies, and is aimed at those who have not given this much thought.

And there is some proof that the fence, only about 20% (or less) complete, is already providing some protection. And, of course, it is the same evidence that our enemies would point to, trying to persuade us to stop defending ourselves. As an example:
Incomplete Border Tunnel Found In San Diego (Dec 2009)
DEA said Mexican authorities discovered an incomplete tunnel from Tijuana, Mexico running across the border. It was over 1800 feet and as much as 90 feet deep. This took a great deal of effort (two years) and expense (millions of dollars) to build, and would not be necessary were it not for an effective border fencing system they had to bypass.

From time to time, there are stories of checkpoint personnel or other Border Patrol personnel taking bribes to help smuggle people or contraband across the border. Again, if the fence were not providing any protection, these bribes would not be necessary, and again, this provides proof that the fence is beginning to work.

But, it is not like people have completely forgotten the subject. A recent (Nov 2009) Washington Post Poll showed 61 Percent of Republicans and Republican Leaning Independents Say GOP Puts ‘Too Little’ Emphasis on Illegal Immigration, (The poll asked respondents their opinion about the degree of emphasis the Republican Party puts on eight issues: gun rights, same-sex marriage, abortion, federal spending, taxes, the environment, illegal immigration, and the economy and jobs.)

Meanwhile, the news page for the Border Patrol is choked with trivial stuff, causing articles to scroll off of the page quickly. However, a periodic update link was helpful.

I discovered this article (5 Jan 2010), showing that attention given the border provides a good return on investment, among the many listed. Excerpt:
The statistics of the Yuma Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol do not tell the entire story but the go a long way to explain the significant improvements in security over the last five years.

Back in 2005, there were 138,000 arrests along the Yuma Sector's 126 miles of border they are responsible for, Beeson noted. But in 2009, those arrests were down to just 7,356. That is a 94 percent decrease in illegal activity.

The Yuma Station was the busiest of all 146 Border Patrol stations in 2005, Beeson reminded his hushed audience. "Vehicle drive throughs" (failure to stop) at the border was 2,700 five years ago while last year it dropped to 109.

"We've made a significant impact on illegal activity all along our sector. We say, we have 'operational control' over all 126 miles. So that's the ability to protect, classify, respond, and resolve all cross border threats."

But Beeson gives credit where it is due and praises the efforts of the National Guard who were temporarily stationed at the border in 2006. The Guard helped significantly with the Border Patrol's tactical infrastructure which included vehicle and pedestrian fencing, lighting, and all weather patrol roads, Beeson said.

"From the time the Guard showed up illegal traffic dropped precipitously. The Guard gave us a big leg up with our infrastructure."

Coupled with that beefed up infrastructure was a substantial increase in personnel, jumping from 358 agents in 2005 to 977 agents last year, Beeson noted. They also have a very strong air branch now, including helicopters and fixed wing aircraft deployed on a regular basis to support their ground surveillance.

They also received mobile surveillance systems, trucks with radar and cameras that can scan the whole area and greatly helped the Yuma Sector gain control of the border, he added.

The border is a very remote, harsh desert climate, Beeson said. Along with arrests they performed 19 rescues. In addition, they had 6,951 apprehensions of Mexican Nationals crossing illegally and 405 apprehensions of other nationals in 2009.

Just a note, on that last line: "other nationals."
Smugglers? or Terrorists?
The article doesn't say.
But without the fence, absolutely no one would know.
We must remain steadfast.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Future Of Blogging

In the past, the science of blogging has been mostly benefited the liberals. There are a number of reasons for this, but some very important ones include less work ethic means they have more time for blogging and other social interaction, and they have fewer morals and less restraint on techniques for attracting attention.

This is a volume, as well as quality game, and if we are to make headway in this culture war, we must learn the lessons they have given us to improve our visibility to others.

I think I have learned some lessons over the past couple of years. First, I have a pretty limited amount of time to contribute, and second is that traffic is driven to a blog through two means. One is the number of posts, and the second is the number of other blogs that link to it.

The liberals have for the past several years used that second criteria to their advantage. Posting many comments on other peoples blogs, each with a link to their own blog. This is a sort of spam attack that allows even conservative blogs to unwittingly lend credibility to liberal blogs.

One thing I intend to do over the next year is to attract attention to one political blog that I mostly agree with (not my own, I am far too obscure). I will do that by registering with, and regularly posting comments to, several well balanced blogs that have fairly high traffic, located around the country and around the cyberscape. Each comment will have a link to the target blog. Note that I won't be spamming. If I have nothing worth saying, I won't just post garbage. That is one of the moral limitations we conservatives must keep.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Drop in Unemployment that is NOT

There was quite a bit in the news last about a drop in unemployment. This was a convenient fiction. It got some people some good publicity and others a bump up in their stock portfolio. The economy continues to shed jobs, although at a slowing rate. Worse news is that we continue to shed manufacturing jobs (although at a slowing rate). We can make unlimited gains in all other sectors, and if we don't gain manufacturing jobs, we will never prosper. Understanding that the population continues to grow, even if the economy were shedding zero jobs, the number of unemployed would continue to rise.

Unemployment remains steady?

Why? It merely means this recession has gone on long enough that a lot of people are dropping off of the back side of the safety net. They are no longer counted. I said, a couple of months ago, that there is about 7 percent unemployment unaccounted for in the official numbers. That "uncounted" unemployment is slowly rising towards 8%, and from what I have read, it may pass 8% this month. This problem may be further masked by a temporary hiring of over a million temporary government workers for the census, the first half of 2010.

When the economy really does improve, many of the formerly fully employed will find themselves scratching for crumbs while working one or two part time or temporary jobs. Real improvement at all levels of our society is not yet even in sight. Bloomberg had a good article in early November that exposes our long term outlook. Look for the phrases "risk of deflation"
and the phrase "Treasuries are still worth buying"

The "W" I thought I saw a few months ago in the economic outlook, now looks it may be just pause in the downward spiral of our national economic health. Economists are still looking for the second dip in what they would call a "double dip recession" (As an historical note, the Great Depression was a triple dip) It is impossible to say at this point, but remember, when looking at these charts, our population is increasing by about 1% per year, so a level line indicates a downward trend.

We are still looking forwards to a sharp increase in inflation. It may still be a year or two away, but it will be almost impossible to avoid. Hopefully improvements in the employment situation will happen at the same time. Those improvements are not likely to come first.

Those who are still thinking of investing in Gold? I don't think so. The window of opportunity came and went a year ago. I currently don't see it happening again for quite some time. Gold today should be around $930 an ounce. The rest is run up from excess demand (that means bubble). Currently I am beginning to look into the idea of Rare Earth Minerals. This would be futile on an individual basis, but could be possible for a corporation (think "bank," but holding minerals instead of cash).

Gas and Oil Rising

Gasoline this winter is dropped, about 20 cents or so off of its peak last summer, But don't get used to it. It will rise again, peaking around 50 cents higher than last summer. The reason for these fluctuations (and keep in mind there is several months lag between oil prices and "gas at the pump" prices) is a dip and then recovery in oil prices. Complicating this, and maybe exacerbating the run up in prices,. is the falling value of the dollar, and the coming inflationary period. Gas could easily increase by another dollar between May 1st of this year and May 1st of next year.

Oil, bouncing back from a catastrophic fall in 2008, will likely resume its climb to $100 a barrel and beyond. The good news is that means it will be worth enough to pump some of it right here at home. Unfortunately, we don't have an infinite supply of it. China is importing and using a steadily increasing amount, and unlike US, they have a pretty good grip on how to handle the supply and demand on a national level. If we are smart, we will invest heavily in coal fired power plants, nuclear, and natural gas. If we are mislead by the Global Warming Crowd (which we now know to be a hoax) , we may foolishly think solar, wind, other alternative fuels and conservation will fix everything. Those things will be useful, but they will not do the job by themselves for at least a hundred years.

Articles of interest:

U.S. Homeowners Lost $5.9 Trillion Since 2006 Peak (Bloomberg Dec 9)
Banks Take Losses on Short Sales as Foreclosures Soar (Bloomberg Dec 4)
Household Net Worth in U.S. Increases by $2.67 Trillion (Bloomberg Dec 10)
[for a substantial portion of that look above at foreclosures]

Gold Isn’t the Best Protection Against Inflation (Dec. 8 Bloomberg)
Quote: "Economic chaos? The dollar crumbling? Central banks printing money like crazy? Probably the only real surprise about the surge in gold prices over the last few months is that it took so long to arrive. "

With unemployment passing 10 percent and millions of jobs gone for good, the recession is taking a brutal human toll. Quote: "they receive temporary state and federal unemployment benefits—which for most workers total about 60 percent of their former pay. But unless Congress extends them, unemployment benefits run out after 26 weeks" Nov 19

Reuters Blogger James Penthokoukis
Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12 percent, maybe even 13 percent. Optimists, Rosenberg explains, underestimate the incredible damage done to the labor market during this downturn. And even before this downturn, the economy was not generating jobs in huge numbers. If he is right, all political bets are off. I think the Democrats could lose the House and effective control of the Senate. I think you would also be talking about the rise of third party and perhaps a challenger to Obama in 2012.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Aproaching Primary Elections

This is an "off year" election season. What does that mean to an intelligent citizen? Our vote counts double. And counts triple in the Primary Election coming up in a couple months. Here in Texas, the primaries are the 2nd of March. In years past, I advocated telling everyone you knew that the primary season is a good time to vote and try to get everyone to the ballot boxes for every election.


Now I have seen that too many of our citizenry are seduced with the modern drugs of socialism and liberalism, political correctness and post modernism. And, of course, celebrity worship. And too many of them have no idea what government's true purpose is, or what the Constitution says about our government and our nation. Too many of them, "educated" by the liberal government schools, do not know the true foundations of our nation, and do not know the true underpinnings of our society.

Today I advocate discernment. Find out which of your friends and acquaintances have been seduced with the drugs above, and which have not. And tell those, which have not been seduced, how important it is to get out and vote.

Of course, this being an election year, many of the projects that were pretending to be "shovel ready" for last year's stimulus will actually be worked on this year. This will provide some temporary work for some of the people seeking jobs. And make it look, temporarily, like the current liberal administration is actually helping the country get back on its feet. In reality, it was the liberal policies of the current and past political machine that got us into the mess our economy is in, and the programs that were put into place last year will ultimately make things worse. This will make our job harder.

Listening to conservative talk radio, one might get an idea that the next elections are all wrapped up. I estimate that, at least 8 times an hour, I hear how the public is so peeved that the Democrats cannot hope to win the next election, and that any Republican with any sense will embrace conservative values. Get real. About half of the public has no idea what is good for the country and will only vote for which ever candidate is a pretty boy.

We cannot be complacent. Nor can we simply concede defeat. Nor can we just sit idly by and wait for the return of Jesus (if He returns today, we lose nothing by espousing Christian values of liberty and economy, if He tarries long, we lose much by allowing tyranny and despotism to destroy possibly the last remaining place on Earth we can be assured of our freedom to practice Christianity in Peace.

We must be harmless as sheep, but we must never forget that the Bible tells us to be as wise as serpents.

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. - Edward R. Murrow

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Are You Really a Christian?

So, What makes you think your a Christian?

As I have talked to many christians recently, I have found that a great number of them have no real idea what it is to be a christian. Many are living in direct conflict with what the Bible teaches about being a Christian.

How can that be, and what are the differences that I am seeing?

Differences come in two forms. Things we do that are opposed to God, and things we don't do that God commands us to do. In years past, the first was the problem. Many so called christians would do things in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches. But I am convinced that now, and in the immediate future, the larger problem will be so called christians, and also many real Christians, not doing what the Bible teaches we must.

The major problem with Christians not doing what the Bible teaches is that they don't know what the Bible teaches. In fact, many are so uneducated about the Bible that any so called Pastor can teach them what ever they want and the Christian will not know the difference.

This problem did not come about over night (in fact, it was the reason the Lutheran Church and the King Jams Bible came into existance), and it won't be solved overnight. But we Christians must attack this problem on a daily basis, through our own Bible study and through encouraging any professing Christian to study the Word.