Monday, July 30, 2007

Should Offending Someone Be A Felony

A student at Pace University was recently charged with a felony for throwing a Koran in a toilet.

Personally, if I was stranded alone on a deserted island, it would be nice to have a Koran around to use as toilet paper... but otherwise I could do without it. The charges against this student are way overboard, IMO.

I do believe that this student could be charged for something. He did steal the book, so he could be charged with theft. He could be charged with vandalism. I would even support this case if they charged him with intimidation, because in a way I guess you could argue that he was intimidating the Moslem students on his campus through his act.

But a felony hate crime? Come on. Hate crimes in general I have something of a problem with. Let's say that someone came to my house and burned a cross out in the front of my house today. Charge them with intimidation, fine. Charge them with vandalism if they destry any of my property. But I wouldn't consider burning a cross on my property to be a felony.

So why is this a felony? Probably because some people are offended. But since when did that become a felony? Are we that thinned skinned? Are we a bunch of pansies that can't take a little criticism or disagreement?

I'm offended with some people. I'm offended with that movie coming out spoofing Jesus and the 10 commandments (just another excuse to blaspheme God). I'm offended that people can put a cross in a cup of urine and call it "art". I'm offended by a lot of things that people say about God. But that doesn't mean I think that they should be charged with either hate crimes or felonies.

It's already starting to become a crime in some western countries (like Canada) to preach about certain parts of the Bible. I'd hate to see that happen here... although I'm sure that the day is coming. If indeed this student ends up being found guilty of a felony for putting a book in the toilet, that will be a sad day indeed.

Why Do Candidates Support The Daily Kos?

I'm a bit puzzled at the intelligence of some of the Democratic presidential candidates. Why are so many Presidential Candidates going to the Daily Kos convention? Don't they have any idea of what human nature is like?

The Daily Kos prints hateful stuff about many people. They have even said hateful stuff about Hillary Clinton, so it's not just conservatives that they are bashing. By supporting this web site and giving it importance by going to their convention, they are shooting themselves in the foot, long term.

Take the story of the prodigal son for an example. Many people know the story. A man had two sons. One of the sons asks Dad to give him his inheritance early. When he got his inheritance, he had many friends. But as soon as the prodigal son spent all his money, where were they? Were they his friends any more? No, they dropped him like a hot potato, and he ended up nearly starving in the hog pen.

I've read a lot of the Dragonlance books... the books always have a saying about the nature of evil... "evil always turns in upon itself." I think that in general that seems to be true. Evil people tend to use each other. Once evil people have no use for you, they don't stick around. There is no compassion for the weak. For another example, look at what happens to so many washed up celebrities. So many of them, when their carreers are over and the money dries up, end up strung out on drugs and alone.

So back to the Daily Kos. They post so much vile stuff, I'm guessing that they are to some degree, evil. Right not, the Daily Kos is using the presidential candidates for their cause... to promote their web site.

But take it farther into the future. If a democrat wins the presidential race, do you think that the Daily Kos is still going to be supportive? They might try to use their influence to try to get the president to go with their policies, but I'm guessing that if they don't do as the Daily Kos wishes, the new Democratic president would see the same venom directed at them as they currently see directed at many of the Republicans. And those that didn't get elected as president... who knows. I suppose that it depends on if the Daily Kos could find a future use for them.

In my opinion, candidates should stay clear from this site, and us ordinary schmoes shouldn't give the vile stuff that this site publishes importance by visiting them.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

My FAVORITE YouTube Video

I love this one. You may have seen it before, but I thought I'd share it in case you haven't. About a little white haired man that lived in Sydney...

Here's A Bit Of Irony For You...

Life Decisions International, a pro-life group, comes out with a list of charities and businesses that support Planned Parenthood. If you click on the link you can see some of the highlights from the new list.

I found some of the businesses and charities that support Planned Parenthood to be particularly disturbing:

  • Walt Disney - say it isn't so! I guess that they give de facto approval of "gay day", so I shouldn't be too surprised, I guess.
  • Johnson and Johnson - you make baby products, yet you support a company that makes you lose business by providing abortions? Doesn't make much sense. My husband joked that people make corn oil out of corn, peanut oil out of peanuts... what do you think they make baby oil out of? Ha ha.
  • Council of Churches - Christians for killing babies. Nice.
  • National Education Association - well, not so surprising. But if you come to think about it, by supporting Planned Parenthood, they are also costing themselves business.

And, for the #1 most ironic charity to support Planned Parenthood...

  • Save The Children - the name says it all. If it wasn't so sad, it would almost be funny.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Adventures In History: 2 Kings 17 (part 4) - The End

This is the final part to my 2 Kings 17 story. Here are the other parts:

When we last left Israel and America, the people were worshiping idols and making God angry. There were some preachers out there warning them to repent, but most refused. They liked their idols too much.

As for Israel...

And they left all the commandments of Jehovah their God, and made molten images, two calves, for themselves. And they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire. And they used divination and incantations, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger.

~ 2 Kings 17:16-17

The Israelites made a couple golden calves and worshiped them. They served a foreign God, Baal. They made their sons and daughters pass through the fire. What does that mean anyway?

Baal was a false god that supposedly granted benefits, but he had a dark side to him. He required human sacrifices. In times of trouble or plague, human victims, usually the first born child, was burnt alive, known euphemistically as "passing through the fire." Another god that required burnt human sacrifices was Molech, who was often portrayed as a bull.

The Israelites started getting involved in witchcraft and sorcery, which God had declared to be an abomination (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). They started to worship the stars, called the "host of heaven". Asherah that they worshipped took the form of tree trunks. So they were worshiping cows, trees, and stars. They forgot their creator, and instead worshiped the creation. (If you are interested in more information on Baal, Asherah, host of heaven, etc., please see the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, an excellent resource for learning more.

These Israelites sound really out there, don't you think? Of course us enlightened Americans are nothing like that, right?

We last left the Americans in the late 1960s. Teenagers were rebelling against authority, taking drugs, and worshiping rock stars. Here I must note that Revelation 9:21 says that the people of the tribulation did not repent of their sorceries... which in the Greek is the word "pharmakeia", which can also be translated into drugs. 1 Samuel 15:23 states "for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." As far as God is concerned, these people might as well have been practicing witchcraft.

One of the rock star idols of the time, The Rolling Stones, performed a concert at Altamont speedway near San Francisco, where the Hell's Angels, who were hired as security guards, murdered one of the concert goers during their song "Sympathy For The Devil."

In 1973, the Supreme Court made the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Since then, around 48.5 million babies have been killed. A small percentage may have been performed to save the life of the mother. Many, however, were killed because they were inconvenient. Some were killed because the mother thought that she was wiser than God, and could not give the child a good life (and would not consider adoption). Some were killed because the child was believed to be born deformed, or sick, or with other defects, and the parents, in their infinite wisdom, decided that they knew better than God and that the child did not deserve to live. Some, I'm sure, were killed for other reasons... in almost every case, the people deciding to undergo the abortion decided that they knew better than God, who created the life. In other words, the children were sacrificed to the gods of convenience, or wisdom, or some other false god. We're not so different from the Israelites after all, are we?

The environmental movement started gaining momentum around this time. The first Earth Day was in April 1970. While being good stewards of the Earth is wise... and since God created the Earth we should be responsible with it... but many have gone overboard in it's protection. In 2006, Sea World had to stop running their fireworks displays because a small amount of contaminants would end up in Mission Bay, and they needed to get a discharge permit as a result. Another belief that seems to be catching on is that the Earth is overpopulated and people need to start having fewer children (never mind that God considers children to be a blessing... oh, and the 1 child policy works so well in China). Another idea catching on is that people are no more important than animals (doesn't the Bible say that we are worth many sparrows?). Nevertheless, you can destroy an unborn baby, but don't you dare destroy a bald eagle's egg (unless you want a hefty fine and a jail sentence).

Then you have groups like PETA, who believe that we shouldn't eat animals or wear leather. They claim their own form of morality but they are willing to tempt people to lust (with all their naked campaigns like the running of the nudes), and occasionally even commit blasphemy with anti-God campaigns like their ad with a picture of a pig and the slogan "He Died For Your Sins."

In a way, we are doing exactly what the Israelites did. They worshiped the creation rather than the creator, and so are many of us. We don't burn our children, but we are willing to rip off our preborn children's tiny limbs with a vacuum or burn them in saline solution.

The final chapter of the American story has not been written yet. However, the Israeli's story in 2 Kings 17 does have an ending:

So Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria until this day.

~ 2 Kings 17:23b

Israel, who had seen miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea and the fall of the walls of Jericho, were carried away captive into Assyria. What will happen to us?

The Unjust Judge

Bill O'Reilly's program has been reporting for the last couple of days about a judge, Katherine Savage, who let a pedophile off on a technicality... because after three years they supposedly couldn't find an interpreter. Never mind that the guy that supposedly needed an interpreter went to both high school and junior college in the United States. You can find more information on what happened here.

People hear of this case and they think that it is horrible that this judge let the guy free without even trying him. The judge is unjust! people cry. There is even an attempt to impeach this lady. And perhaps that is necessary... if she is not doing her job as a judge, she shouldn't stay that way.

We all have an appointment with a Judge someday, in a Heavenly courtroom. How do you think that you should fare in this courtroom? Let's see. Here are the laws, to see if you've broken any of them:

1. You shall have no other Gods before me. Maybe you haven't bowed down to a wooden statue, but has God always been first in your life? Did you ever decide to sleep in on Sunday morning because you didn't feel like going to church? Do you watch television every day, but neglect reading the Bible? Do you have any favorite movie stars or musicians that you esteem more highly than God? If so, maybe you have broken this commandment after all.

2. You shall not make any carved image, to bow down or serve them. Do you ever make up your own God? Do you come up with your own ideas about God, whether they agree with the Bible or not? Do you believe that there are "new revelations" about Jesus that came out after the Bible is written? Do you ever say "well, God is like this..." without any Biblical proof? Maybe you are guilty of this one.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Ever use God's word as a swear word?

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Many people think that this was part of the ceremonial law that was done away when Jesus died on the cross, and does not apply any more. If so, maybe God will let you off on this one. But you better keep the others!

5. Honor your father and mother. Have you always listened to your parents, even as a little kid? Did they ever have to tell you to clean your room more than once? Have you always said nice things about them and to them?

6. You shall not murder. Here's an easy one, right? Wait a minute. Jesus says that if you are angry at someone and hate them, you are guilty of murdering them. Oops. I know I'm guilty of this one.

7. You shall not commit adultery. This one seems a little more difficult, but a lot of us haven't cheated on our spouses, so we're okay, right? Not quite. Have you ever looked at someone with lust? If so... you guessed it, you are guilty of this commandment in your heart. That's what Jesus says.

8. You shall not steal. Ever downloaded a song off the internet? Ever take a pen home from the grocery store? Did anybody ever give you too much change and you kept it? Ever take a cookie from mommy's cookie jar without asking or when you were told not to? Guilty!

9. You shall not lie. Do you tell your kids that Santa Claus is real? How do you answer the question "does this dress make me look fat?" Ever tell a lie to get out of trouble as a kid? Ever tell your parents that your sibling did something that you did? This one is easy to be guilty of. My baby is guilty of this one. He can sit in his crib and wail, and nothing is wrong with him.

10. You shall not covet. Ever want something that wasn't yours? Ever want the raise that your coworker got, or the new car someone else came home with? Ever look through magazines and want what the celebrities have, or you just have to have that new Wii all your friends have?

So if you're guilty of any of these crimes, should a just judge let you off? Give you a warning, tell you... it's okay if you broke the law? People don't think it's great that Katherine Savage let the child rapist off.

But doesn't God forgive? Well, you have half of the story right. Jesus did come down to earth to pay our fine for all those crimes that we've committed. That's why he died on the cross. The penalty that we would have to pay for all these crimes that we've committed is eternity in an awful place called hell. I know that I don't want to go there.

But Jesus didn't just die on the cross and say "go live your life the way you want to now, I've got you covered." In fact, one day he was talking to a man. The man asked Jesus if he was going to go to Heaven. Jesus asked him if he kept the 10 commandments. "Oh yes... I've kept the commandments from my youth." Well, if you look at the commandments you know he probably didn't obey all the commandments all the time. So Jesus told him to go sell all his stuff and give to the poor... something that he didn't want to do. In a way, that kinda proves that he was breaking commandment #1 right there, because his money was more important than God. So we shouldn't be like that guy... we have to recognize that we have sinned first.

You also need to repent. Jesus forgave the adulterous woman, but he told her to "go and sin no more." Did she sin again? I'm sure that she did. But she was sorry for what she had done, she probably was grateful that Jesus forgave her and didn't want to continue sinning. That is what repentance is all about... feeling bad for your sins and not wanting to sin any more. It would probably be a good thing to say that we're sorry.

Then you have to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, because he already paid for your sins in full when he died on the cross. Trust in Him for what he has done.

Unlike Katherine Savage, God is a just judge. He won't let you off on a technicality (and he speaks every language, so you can't use that excuse). Someone has to pay the fine. Jesus will if you let him.

To Catch An Idiot

Me and my husband usually catch the "To Catch A Predator" episodes on Dateline NBC. They might as well be subtitled "To Catch An Idiot." Because most of them are.

For anybody that hasn't seen it, pedophiles contact people posing to be minors on the internet and have graphic chats with them about sexual things that they want to do with them. Eventually they set up a date, and when they show up at the house, the police nab them and they get carted off to jail.

Many of them come up with the excuse "I wasn't going to do anything!" They expect the police to believe that, when they talked to this person (often for a period of days or even a month ahead of time) graphically about sex with them, that they weren't going to do anything? Sure. There were two people on tonight's show that might get off because they seemed to have changed their mind ahead of time... one old guy said that he talked to his lawyer ahead of time and found out that he couldn't do anything sexual (duh) and another guy indicated that he didn't bring condoms because he wanted to get to know her better first. They might get off, but most of them clearly didn't show any second thoughts until they got caught.

One pedophile remarked "I wanted to make a friend!" Well, that is a noble and good thing, but it doesn't hold any water. If this person truly wanted to make a friend, they would not have been talking to the teenager graphically about sex before meeting them. If this person really wanted to make a friend, there are other ways to go about it. Schools can always use people that are willing to volunteer their time. There are groups out there where adults to volunteer to be mentors to teenagers. For the religious person, you could volunteer for the church youth group. At any rate, for someone really looking for a teenage friend, there are opportunities... but it's preferred that if you are a pedophile you don't apply.

Another stupid criminal out there is Lindsey Lohan. Either that, or she thinks that the judge in the courtroom is stupid. Does she really expect us to believe that the cocaine found in her pocket was not hers? I won't believe it unless I'm stupid. If it truly wasn't hers, then she is the stupid one. You would have to lack intelligence to hold on to someone else's cocaine when you were just 10 days out of rehab.

One argument against evolution is that people do not seem to be getting smarter. They seem to be getting dumber by the year. I saw an 8th grade exit exam from the 1890s or so... it was tough! Many college students today would find it challenging. I thiink a common misperception is that people of ancient times were stupid... I believe that to be completely untrue. Socrates, Plato, and the like could really write well, and most of them knew several languages. There's a show on the History Channel called Ancient Discoveries that talks about some amazing inventions that they had centuries ago. It's amazing. And although I don't know Sanscrit, I heard that it was a very complicated language. Even the way Shakespeare wrote was more complicated than what we are used to today. Today we have "Lite" salad dressing and people purposely butchering grammar so they can fit in.

I saw a article today where 23% of parents had trouble reading bedtime stories to their children. Perhaps the article was skewed, I don't know. Some children's stories could be challenging... I found The Hobbit to be a challenge, not necessarily to read but more along the lines of comprehending and remembering. I could even understand having difficulty reading The Chronicles of Narnia, although I didn't find it difficult. More likely, they were probably talking about stories like The Three Bears or Little Red Riding Hood.

Unfortunately, I don't see the schools getting better any time soon. Therefore, the criminals are probably not going to get much smarter either. Maybe that is the one good side... it's easier to catch an idiot than it is to catch a genius.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Feel Bad For Lindsey Lohan

As most people know, Lindsey Lohan, who just turned 21, was recently arrested for drunk driving... AGAIN. Plus, the genius had cocaine in her pocket (what was she thinking after getting out of rehab 10 days ago?).

Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own actions. However, her family didn't do much to help her stay out of the condition that she is in. Her dad has been in and out of prison for securities prison, mom was her manager, and her parent's divorce wasn't all too amiable.

She most likely will follow the Paris Hilton route and spend some time in jail. That may be the best for her. I'm not sure. However, there are so many stars that get into drugs and partying that never make it into old age... Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, River Phoenix...

What good is it, if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? I don't know what Lindsey Lohan's faith is like, but she doesn't show too much fruit. She has been frittering away her fame and wealth in the temporary pleasures of Hollywood and partying. Some day, none of that will matter. All that will matter is what you do to glorify God. So I feel bad for her. Because she is on a self-destructive path, without seeming to take care of what matters most: her soul.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Adventures In History: 2 Kings 17 (part 3) - Angering God

When we last left our historical friends, Israel was beginning to make idols out of wood and stone, and America was beginning to make idols out of money and rock stars.


And they burned incense in all the high places, like the nations whom Jehovah had removed from before them; and did evil things to provoke Jehovah to anger. For they served the idols, of which Jehovah had said to them, You shall not do this thing. And Jehovah testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, by all the seers, saying, Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes, according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets. But they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like the neck of their fathers who did not believe in Jehovah their God.

~ 2 Kings 17:11-14

Israel continued to worship their idols, and God got ANGRY. But he didn't strike them all dead with lightning, or open up the Earth to swallow them up... he waited. He tried to win their hearts and minds back. He sent prophets and preachers who stood out in the marketplaces yelling "Repent! For the end is near!" Okay, they didn't really say that the end was near, but the Israelites were warned and told to repent.

The preachers told the Israelites that they were sinners and they needed to change their wicked ways. They needed to worship the true God, the God who made them and gave them air to breathe and food to eat. But they didn't want to listen. Some of them probably laughed. After all, what do we think when we are walking down the street and we see some guy with a big sandwich board yelling "Repent! For the end is near!"

In America, teenagers by the millions were worshiping the Beatles. God wasn't the most important person in their lives, and Jesus Loves Me wasn't their favorite song. Since God was not #1 any more, the government took prayer out of schools, and there wasn't enough national outcry to get it back. The Production Code, otherwise known as the Hays code, which kept movies clean and free from immorality and blasphemy, was repealed, and there was not enough outcry to make the government reconsider.

Meanwhile, the second generation of teenagers started coming of age. While the teenagers of the 1950s made out at lover's lane and snuck alcohol out of their parents liquor cabinet, their younger siblings of the 60s waged a far greater rebellion. Many followed their idols, the Beatles, and tried drugs and transcendental meditation. They explored other gods.

In San Francisco, the cross streets of Haight and Ashbury turned into a haven for hippies, where drugs and free love reigned. 1967 became known as the "Summer of Love" but unfortunately, it wasn't really all that wonderful. Over 100,000 young people flocked to the city after school got out. Overcrowding, hunger, homelessness, and crime filled the neighborhood. Many young girls who came were taken advantage of.

Americans forgot the admonition in Romans to "let every soul be subject to the higher authorities" during many of their protests of the Vietnam war. They showed their disdain for returning soldiers by spitting on them and cursing them.

America was still a nation of churches, and many people still went to church, the preachers were still preaching, but there were many in rebellion.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of Adventures In History: 2 Kings 17... where we find out what PETA, Planned Parenthood, and a god named Molech have to do with one another. Also, the conclusion to what happens to the Israelites.

Adventures In History: 2 Kings 17 (part 2) - Idols

Last we left the Israelites and the Americans, they were committing secret sins. Nobody knew about their sins except God. Read on to find out what happens next:

And they built high places in all their cities for themselves, from the Watch Tower to the fortified city. And they set up images and Asherahs for themselves in every high hill, and under every green tree.

~ 2 Kings 17:9-10

So who's Asherah and what does that have to do with America? If Asherah is a God, how could this be relevant to us today? After all, we don't bow down to idols in this country!

Let's listen in on an imaginary conversation that might have taken place in ancient Israel:

Eliosh: Hey Maneser! Long time no see!
Maneser: Yeah, I was living in Moab for a while. Went there to escape the famine and all.
Eliosh: I understand. It's been a rough few years.
Maneser: I met this really hot babe over there though. Her name's Delilah. We hit it off right away, and I am so in love with her.
Eliosh: That's great!
Maneser: I have a secret to confess though... she's not Israeli. She's a Moabitess. Don't tell anybody.
Eliosh: That's cool. As long as she makes you happy. Personally, I think that rule about having to marry another Hebrew is SO 10th Century BC! We can't help who we fall in love with, right?
Maneser: She doesn't believe that Jehovah is God or anything, but she's from another culture, you know? Who am I to judge? She's just following a different path. She has a couple of idols that she worships, but she's really sincere about them, you know? And she's a good person.

Well, Maneser and Delilah ended up having children. They grew up watching Delilah worshiping her idols, and when they grew up, it didn't really seem like a big deal to them. After all, mom worshiped them, it couldn't be bad or anything, could it?

Back to America. World War II started and all the men went off to war. Moms did the noble thing and helped the war effort back home. Some of them had young children and had to leave them with relatives or this new thing called a day care center. They started to like this new freedom out in the workplace... they certainly liked the extra money... and when the war was over, some of them wanted to keep their new jobs.

Their kids saw their moms working for the extra money, and perhaps they learned that having money was pretty important. Mom going off to work was nice when they got to be older, because they had a little extra freedom that way. And they found their own identities, becoming the first group of young people to have their own culture between childhood and adulthood. They became teenagers.

Along comes Elvis. One look at him on the stage, and girls swoon. Just listening to him brought up new, exciting feelings. And to see him on stage! They couldn't show him from the waist down because he was way too provocative.

Are you sure that we don't have idols in America?

I think that we do. Perhaps to some people, money was an idol. It was able to get people a lot of nice stuff after the war ended, along with rationing. Elvis seemed to be an idol to many. By the time the Beatles came around in the 1960s, John Lennon remarked that they were "more popular than Jesus." Isn't that the whole definition of idolatry?

The secret sins of our fictional Maneser, who married a non-Hebrew who didn't love God, led to an acceptance of idolatry within that family, and no doubt some of Maneser's children followed their mother's idols. In a similar vein, the flapper attitude from the 1920s led to a generation of moms who preferred working outside of the home, and didn't really have too much of a problem when their children started idolizing Elvis and the Beatles. After all, when they were young, they went to the speakeasies and danced a little seductively... when Elvis did something similar, no big deal! At least, it wasn't a big enough deal to prohibit the kids from buying his albums or watching him on television.

Stay tuned for part 3 of Adventures in History to find out what happens next.

Monday, July 23, 2007

On The Front Page of Revela... Errr... Yesterday's Newspaper

I'm not much of a newspaper reader, but I do pick up the Sunday paper for the coupons. Normally I'll glance at the front page and maybe read a couple articles if they sound interesting. Yesterday, in the lower half of the front page, I saw a headline that could have read straight from the book of Revelations:

Microchips implanted in workers

Two employees from, a surveillance equipment company, had the chips implanted last year. Yikes. The chief executive compared it to fingerprinting or retina scans.

Uh... no.

I have personally been following this whole chip thing since 1995 or so. Back then I learned about how they were starting to put microchips in pets... a revolutionary concept at the time... and I remember writing a paper for my college composition class about how it could eventually lead to its use in humans.

I ended up getting a C. Not sure why, perhaps the TA grading my paper thought that it was a stretch to think that microchipping pets could lead to microchipping humans. Or maybe it was a C quality paper. Not really important... but I guess I was right.

12 years later, of course, microchipping pets is common, and in some places is required. It was required in the military housing complex that I lived in when I was in Italy, but I partook in my own little silent disobedience by keeping my cat microchip-free. Even the Amish are being forced to get into the whole RFID/microchipping bandwagon. I just have an ethical problem with a technology that so obviously could fulfill the prophecy in Revelation 13 (regarding the Antichrist):

And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark on their right hand, or in their foreheads, even that not any might buy or sell except those having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name.

~ Revelation 13:16-17

Similarly, I had some friends that invested in Applied Digital (the guys who make the most popular chipping product) but I couldn't in good conscience invest in such a technology, even though anybody who knows anything about end times prophecy can recognize that it would be a pretty good investment. But there's more to life than finances. The Antichrist will end up killing a lot of Christians. Anybody who takes the mark of the beast will be damned to hell for all eternity with no hope of salvation. Ouch.

I don't think that any microchip product on the market is the mark of the beast. Some of my friends made comments when I told them that I refused to microchip my cats... "what, do you think you'd be sending them to hell or something?" No. For one, I don't think that animals go to hell... for another thing, if animals did go to hell, I don't think God would send them there for my actions, and for another thing, it's not the mark of the beast... yet. However, they don't hand out these things for free, and I don't want either my money or my tacit approval going towards this product by accepting this.

It's like Harry Potter and witchcraft, or pornographic drawings... you just don't mess with it. Neither of them might be real, but both are inherently wrong. I suppose that there are some people that don't feel that getting a microchip now is wrong, but it's not for me. It's too close to playing around the edges of damnation. My philosophy towards my soul is: I don't want to take any chances. The stakes are just too high.

But back to the article and the chipping being done today. Even if there was no moral dilemma surrounding this chip, is this really something that someone would want? There are so many drawbacks:

  • Once you get implanted with a microchip, it's pretty much in there. There's no going back. You could technically have it removed, but not easily. The microchip can shift around under the skin, and scar tissue develops around it.
  • The long-term effects of the microchip is not known. The shelf-life of this microchip is only considered to be 10-15 years. So if you live to be 100 or so, you could end up with an arm full of these things.
  • Microchip implants can be "spoofed". Someone can get next to you with a card reader in their pocket, read your number, and technically steal your identity. People cite security as an advantage to getting this microchip, but don't believe them. Sure, you can't lose your identification, but people can still steal your identity. Do you really want your identity stolen when it's embedded in your hand? No thanks.
  • You lose your anonymity if you get the microchip. Anyone with one of these card readers can find out the number in your hand... card readers start at only $300. Sure, they might have to have some way to get into the database, but do you really think that this database is and will remain hackerproof? Hardly. I've read enough history to know that life (and even governments) can turn upside down literally overnight. I'm glad that we live in a country that is relatively benign, but can I say with 100% certainty that I will feel that way 10, 20 years down the road? Do you think the Jews could have told you in 1920 that a Holocaust was on its way? If there were some that did, they probably found some way to hightail it out of Europe before Hitler took over.
  • You have to pay an ongoing fee of $20 a year for the privilege of staying in the database once you get this microchip... no thanks.

I don't mean to be a Luddite, but this is one technology that I can't get behind.

I received my Honorable Discharge papers from the Navy Reserve a couple of weeks ago. Now, I have nothing against the government or the military, but in some ways, it was good to get. Especially when I read about this microchip and how I always seem to be rumors about how great it would be to implant this chip into soldiers so they could be identified on the battlefield. I've also heard how they might want to use this technology on the mentally ill, alzheimer's patients, children in case they get kidnapped, prisoners, illegal aliens...

It may sound far fetched to some. But then again, it sounded far fetched in 1995 when I wrote a paper for Comp class on microchipping pets.

Adventures In History: 2 Kings 17 (part 1)

Today our pastor gave a sermon on 2 Kings 17 that I thought was quite relevant to what is going on today. I'm not sure if I had noticed the parallels between this particular chapter and our country's history, but he really brought it to life to me.

I think that there's a lot to say on this subject, so I'll be breaking it up into a few pieces. Don't know how many, but that's why this is part 1.

The Israelites were taken away into captivity. They were openly rebelling against God, so God punished them. So how do the Israelites, who saw such mighty wonders as the Red Sea parting, manna falling from Heaven for 40 years, and miraculous battles won, end up in a place where they are so wicked that God has to punish them? And what does that have to do with us?

And the sons of Israel secretly did things that were not right against Jehovah their God. And they built high places in all their cities for themselves, from the Watch Tower to the fortified city.

~ 2 Kings 17:9

The Israelites started with secret sins. Don't we all have those? Maybe some of the guys liked to look at pornographic paintings or visit the local strip show. Maybe it wasn't even that blatant... maybe some of them were lusting after the neighbor down the street. Maybe some of the wives were asking "does this robe make me look fat?" and the husbands told little white lies, thinking that it didn't really matter anyway. Maybe some of the wives started gossiping about how the dashing Levite a couple of houses over sometimes argued with his wife. Perhaps people let anger and bitterness fester.

Whatever happened, the Israelites began to commit sins. They didn't sin openly, just in secret. They didn't think that anybody would ever find out.

Sure, they had seen many miracles (or at least had heard of the miracles from parents and grandparents. But they were humans just like us. Haven't we seen miracles too? Hasn't God blessed our country? We were able to fight off the British and become our own nation. We defeated Hitler in World War II. We are blessed with abundance that many people only dream about. From our country's very beginnings, God protected the Pilgrims by sending the Indians to help them learn how to feed themselves, and he protected Jamestown as well. They sinned despite seeing the hand of God in their country, we have had many of the same advantages and we sin as well.

The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

~ Proverbs 15:3

Sometimes it is easier to pretend that this is not the case. If I'm alone at my computer in the middle of the night, who is going to know what goes on? If I'm alone with my thoughts, who is going to know what I'm thinking? If God doesn't strike us down dead with lightning, maybe what we're doing is okay. Or that may be our rationale.

Our sins do come to light eventually. I'm sure the guys at Enron didn't think that they would ever get in trouble for their deeds. What about the millions of teenagers who engage in premarital sex and... when the girl comes up pregnant, their sins aren't so secret any more.

Our country has always had individuals who have had secret sins. Even the Puritans... they must have put the stocks to use at times, otherwise why would they have had them? In the 1800s you had the Wild West... most of those sins weren't so secret. But I suppose that in those days when the preachers condemned whisky and other forms of hard liquor, little ol' grannys and curious schoolboys alike probably took a swig at times.

If you move forward in time, we can see more secret sins. Some people decided that they didn't want to believe that God created the earth, and they decided to side with the Darwinists and with evolution. Eugenics was a big thing back in the early 1900s. In the 1920s we had the flapper movement, where some people engaged in secret sins like dancing provocatively and using cocaine.

ABC had a "7 Deadly Sins" special last Friday where they talked about vanity. People probably have been vain since long before Narcissus fell in love with himself during Greek times, but certain vain activities that us Americans take part in used to be secret. Like plastic surgery. It used to be something that people didn't like to talk about because they didn't want people to know that they were secretly vain.

However, secret sins usually don't stay secret. Often they come to light while we still live... but even if you take secret sins to the grave with you, God has seen them, and eventually they all will be known. Anybody who knows much about America can realize that dancing provocatively in bars and taking swigs of whiskey are not the controversial secret sins that they once were.

And be sure your sin will find you out.

~ Numbers 32:23

Next time on Adventures In History: the continuing story of what happened to the Israelites and their secret sins... and how that relates to America and our country's secret sins.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter Bible Study?

The Church of England recently came out with a study guide to use along with the Harry Potter books, tying it in with Christian themes.


What in the world does the Bible have to do with Harry Potter? Actually, I do know a Bible verse or two related to Harry Potter:

Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

~ Galatians 5:19-21

It seems pretty clear to me that Harry Potter is not something to be messed with. Certainly not the subject of a Bible study, unless it is a Bible study as to why you shouldn't be messing with it.

A lot of people have the opinion that you shouldn't be against the Harry Potter series if you haven't read it? I don't see how that makes a lot of sense. There's witchcraft in Harry Potter, right? That's all I need to know. Whether Harry Potter uses actual spells or not is irrelevant.

I'm not going to let my daughter (when she gets old enough) read the story precisely because of the subject material (witchcraft). I don't have to read it to know that it is not appropriate reading material. Similarly, I don't have to read Penthouse to know that that is not appropriate reading material. We all know what is between the covers, and it's not a knitting magazine, that's for sure. Even if, say, they make a computer model and put it in there... I don't want anyone in my family looking at a fake naked lady any more than I want them looking at real ones.

Harry Potter is hard to escape. Our library has a special display and a waiting list for the book. Advertisements are everywhere. Even some children's cartoons have references to Harry Potter like book series (I know "Arthur" has a Harry Screevner, I think Clifford has their own wizard series as well). The day will come when I will have to explain why I don't think it's an appropriate book for her. I don't need any Harry Potter Bible Studies making it more difficult.

Baptist Seminary Offers Homemaking Degree... Controversial?

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is going to start offering a degree in homemaking this fall, aimed at pastor's wives. I think that it's a great idea, personally. However, I guess not everyone thinks that it is such a hot idea. One Baptist blogger nearly "shot Diet Coke out of his nose" after hearing about it, and found the degree "quite silly."

I suppose that it all boils down to what we find important. Personally, I find my children to be very important. They are important enough to me that I gave up a job paying more than $60k to stay at home with them. They are important enough to me that rather than sending my daughter off to public school this fall to be a Kindergartener, she will be home at me learning reading, math, history, science, music, and Bible.

How much do we value our kids anyway? If the average day care worker makes $7.50 an hour (when I worked at day care I got paid less, but I know some get paid more), then the price per hour per child is pitiful. In Arizona the child/teacher ratio is 5:1 for infants, 6:1 for toddlers, 8:1 for 2 year olds, 13:1 for 3 year olds, 15:1 for 4 year olds, and 20:1 for 5 year olds. So what does your $7.50 an hour child care worker actually get paid? If you have an infant, your child care worker is getting paid around $1.50 an hour to take care of your child (they get paid $1.50 an hour for the other 4 children in her care as well). But wait... if you have a 5 year old in a class of 20 children... your child care worker is getting paid a pitiful $.38 an hour to watch your child specifically. That's not what you're paying, but that's what ends up getting filtered to your child care worker. No wonder we think that mothers should go out and get a real job! We shell out a whopping $.38 an hour for a child care worker to watch our 5 year olds!

I think a homemaking degree is a good thing. I wouldn't know how to sew if my grandma hadn't taught me. Even though I don't often make my own clothes, it's a good skill to learn. I have to use sewing skills to fix my daughter's doll carrier, for just a recent example. Cooking, nutrition, and just in general, bringing up your kids to learn to love God... they are all important skills.

So I'll keep that $.38 an hour and I'll stay home and watch my own. They are more valuable to me than that.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Sex Education for Kindergarteners?

The other day, Senator Barak Obama told a group of Planned Parenthood members that he supported sex education for Kindergarteners.

Now, I don't believe in lying to children. Before ds was born, I bought my daughter a Happy Family Midge doll (you know, the Barbie doll with the baby in the belly). She is not stupid, she saw my stomach get bigger. She went to all my ultrasounds. She got to use the little doppler machine to hear her brother's heartbeat.

Furthermore, I think that children should be taught that there are places that nobody should be touching them. My daughter knows that nobody should be touching her where a bathing suit covers. It's the responsible thing to do whenever you hear a news story about some pervert touching little girls in the aisles of Toys R Us, or dd is in the bathtub asking daddy to "tickle my butt"... the response to that one is "no honey, only you are allowed to touch yourself there".

But the problem with teaching all this stuff to Kindergarteners is what to teach them exactly. Parents are not going to agree on that. Some parents want correct terminology used. Some parents are going to want their child to be taught that sometimes two mommies love each other, or two daddies. Other parents will want their children to know that you are supposed to be married when you have a baby, and of course the single parents don't want their children being taught that.

So while there are things that Kindergarteners should be taught, the proper place for them to learn it is at home. I think the schools should just teach "good touch bad touch" and leave the rest alone. I knew a 4 year old who was touching the other 4 year olds in her class in inappropriate ways... they need to know that. The other stuff is just too controversial.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Teenagers Set Kittens On Fire - How We Treat The Helpless

What is it with some people nowadays? Two teenagers allegedly set a kitten on fire last month.

All I can think is... how horribly disgusting and depraved. How sad. What would drive someone to do this?

Just because you can do something and probably get away with it (so you think) doesn't mean that you should. It's likely that there are many more people that treat animals horribly and never get caught.

Perhaps these teenagers feel that hurting something gives them a sense of power. The kitten, however, is utterly helpless and can not do anything in its defense. What is the power in that? Perhaps they are just cruel, nasty people. I don't know. Wicked is a good word for them.

How a society (or individual members in the society) treats its most helpless reflects either poorly or well on a society (we seem to be doing fairly poorly). Everybody is shocked when someone lights a kitten on fire, but what about other helpless members of our society?

What about the popularity of Bumfights? Homeless people tend to be among our more vulnerable people in society. Why would anybody want to watch this trash? Is it funny that there are people so desperate for a drink (or a hamburger, or $50, or whatever) that they are willing to harm themselves? I find it sad. Not to mention people that think it's funny to beat up random homeless people, just because they can. Would you think that it was funny if it was your son or daughter, mother or father, sister or brother in one of these shows? What about the people that think they can get away with murdering the homeless?

How do we treat our elderly? How many people put their parents into nursing homes and never visit them? It's always a joke on The Simpsons that Homer's dad is old and nobody seems to ever care about him. Aren't we supposed to honor our mother and father? Although we may not have to obey them any more as adults, I think that we have a responsibility to care for our parents as they get older. While they may need nursing care that we can not provide, that doesn't absolve us of our responsibility to visit or at least call, if they are long distance.

And what about the most helpless people of all? The unborn? Sadly, that is the most dangerous time for a baby, when it should be the safest.

Then He also shall say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they will also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You? Then He shall answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.

~ Matthew 25:41-45

Cardboard Bun Story A Hoax

Because I wrote about this story earlier this week, I feel that it is the responsible thing to print a retraction to the Chinese cardboard bun story. It has been shown to be a hoax.

I still don't trust a lot of the food coming out of that country, but at least there is nothing as egregious as people serving rolls made from 60% cardboard.

If you wish to read more about the hoax, an article is available here.

How To REALLY Anger A Moslem

I've been listening to The Way of the Master Radio a lot lately. They've been talking about blasphemy a lot, and most people, even the ones that say that they are Christians, would go see a movie that had blasphemy in it. I personally am not sure how I stand on that subject. Of course, I do not like blasphemy, but it's a little hard not to find a movie without it. I don't find too many movies that I like nowadays anyway.

One of the arguments that they use is, would you go see a movie if they used your mom's name as a cuss word? Well, I probably would. I would find it a little silly, however.

While working at a day care center once, I had a coworker that would always take the Lord's name in vain. It was really bothersome. She would say it around the two year olds all the time. As a parent, I would have been irate if my 2 year old had ended up picking that up from their day care teacher. Fortunately, she didn't stay at the center very long.

But all this thinking about blasphemy got me to thinking... what would the reaction be if I started blaspheming Allah? I am not one of those people that think that Allah and Jehovah are the same God. They don't even have the same character traits. How would people react if I started saying "Allah damn it!" all the time? I suppose that I would really anger a few people. I might even earn myself a death threat if I said it around the wrong person.

While I don't think that Christians should go around threatening people who use the Lord's name in vain, it's something to think about. It should bother us when people around us blaspheme the Lord. Maybe we should speak up when we hear it. Or think twice about seeing a movie with blasphemy in it.

If you are interested in speaking up to Hollywood about their use of blasphemy in films, you can visit Hollywood And and let your voice be heard. You can also check out the blasphemy content in movies.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Microsoft Copyright Protection Circumvented Again - Ya Think?

This morning I woke up and read that Microsoft had discovered that someone had figured out how to crack the latest copy protection scheme. Ya think? It was going to happen sooner or later, most likely sooner.

The article I linked to above talks about how they might be doing away with DRM protection overall. Something that I would be happy to see. Not that I want to find music online and steal it... I buy several songs off iTunes regularly... however, using DRM music can be quite a pain.

Usually when I buy a song off iTunes or another music service, I rerecord a copy in MP3 format anyway using Blaze Media Pro. Not because I want to steal music or anything (after all, I just purchased the music), but because music with DRM protection is not very portable. What happens if your hard drive crashes? I purchased several songs off Music Match Jukebox that get an error message whenever I try to play them now. I'm not sure why that happened, but it is pretty upsetting. I paid good money for that music and now I can't even listen to it.

I made my dh an MP3 CD to listen to in his car using iTunes... anything that I purchased off iTunes couldn't be written to an MP3 CD using the iTunes program. ??? I don't want to write a CD that can only hold 20 songs when I can create a CD with 300 songs instead. So I'm going to have to Blaze Media Pro my dh's iTunes songs so he can listen to the songs that he paid for.

People are always going to try to find ways to get free music. They have been for decades, from recording songs onto an 8 track player off the radio, to cracking the latest DRM software. Adding all the copyright protection only seems to hurt the people paying for the music to begin with. Many (perhaps most) people want to be able to obtain their music legally, as long as you let them pay for it, and give it to them in a method that is portable and easy to use. I'm glad that the move is going towards DRM free music. The people that are currently buying music probably will continue to do so.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Who Says The Terrorists Haven't Already Won? 8 Year Old "Terrorist" On The No-Fly List

Since the 1970s, on average, more people have died in bathtub drownings than by terrorists. Perhaps it's due to the vigilance of the TSA. In their latest move of genius, they caught 8 year old terror suspect Brian Moore, finding him at the airport before he could cause any damage. Thank God for the no-fly list!

He looks a little similar to my brother, who everybody that knew him as a kid would describe him as a "holy terror":

Who knew that the "holy terror" had a more sinister meaning!

They did eventually discover that this boy wasn't really a terrorist, but that he had the same name as a terrorist on the no fly list. Oh really? Nice that they finally figured that one out. Unfortunately, it took them so long to figure out that this 8 year old wasn't a terrorist that he missed his flight, and had to wait another whole day until he could get on a plane to get back to his mommy.

When 8 year old boys are being detained from flying planes because their name matches the name of a terrorist, we've got problems. Or if your name is Robert Johnson... there are several Robert Johnsons in this country, at least one of which fights honorably for our military, and ALL of them are harassed whenever they try to get on planes. And poor Brian Moore will be harassed for his entire life, or for as long as they insist on using their flawed no-fly list.

I had trouble finding out who the real Brian Moore terrorist is, or why he is on the no-fly list. A quick Wikipedia/google search brought up a deceased novelist who was born in Ireland and wrote some novels about terrorism, a rugby player, and a former Reform Party candidate for president that had criticized the Patriot Act.

Who knows? Maybe they should make the no-fly list a little more intelligent. Like putting pictures of the terror suspects in... or if you can't find a picture, perhaps add pictures of who is NOT on the no-fly list. Like 8 year olds named Brian Moore who perhaps might be holy terrors at home (we don't know if he is or not), but they are certainly not terrorists.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Modern Day Idolatry

You shall have no other Gods before me.

~ Exodus 20:3

Many people in America have heard this verse, along with the following verses that tell people not to make any graven images and bow to them. Don't these commandments bring to mind images of people carving statues and bowing to them? We don't do that in America, right? Well, maybe those pagans do...

Oh really? Do Americans practice idolatry today?

I think so.

One example of modern day idolatry in America: celebrities. Who really cares that Paris Hilton went to jail and got cell phone privileges there? I know that I made a couple of posts on it myself, but in the grand scheme of things, is it important? Yes, she is an individual with a soul just like everyone else, and for that she is important, but no more important than that starving child in Zimbabwe that might never even own a television, much less be on it. What exactly has she done to deserve recognition anyway?

But it doesn't stop at Paris Hilton. What about that girl on American Idol earlier this year crying during Sanjaya's miserable rendition of "You Really Got Me"? True, it was horrid enough to make me want to cry, but she wasn't crying because he was butchering the song. She was crying because she adored him so much.

And on and on it goes. We allow all these celebrities to have special perks like getting to go to the front of the line (like the Hilton parents were when they visited daughter Paris in jail), special tables, and even giving them not guilty verdicts when most likely, they are. They get away with scandalous behavior that many of us ordinary people would have problems getting away with (Britney anyone?). It's downright shameful what we pay these people, as well as the power all their adoring fans give them.

Our worship of these gods and goddesses leads to unsafe situations for them. Princess Diana? It leads to the erosion of their privacy. Nobody can tell them no, even when it would be for their own good.

Which leads me to another idol that many Americans have: the government. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the US government. I do happen to be a big fan of Australia as well, but I think that the US government is one of the best in the world today. As Christians, we are supposed to follow the laws of the land, as long as the laws do not conflict with God's laws. We are to render unto Caesar (Matthew 22:21) our tax money. Romans 3:1-3 state that we are to be subject to authority.


Daniel didn't obey the government when the king decreed that nobody was allowed to pray. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to an idol and were thrown into the fiery furnace. If you're looking for New Testament sources, the Apostles were told by governments many times to stop preaching about Jesus, but they did not, even though doing so got them thrown into prison and most of them were martyred. Paul caused a riot at Ephesus. Throughout history, many Christians have been martyred because they would not compromise their faith in favor of what the government told them to do.

What does this have to do with American idolatry of their governments? Recall last week, when the Hindu gave his prayer on the floor of the US Senate? I can see, of course, how non Christians might find the Christians up in the gallery interrupting the prayer to be quite disrespectful. I can see how it might be upsetting to see, if you didn't believe that Jesus was the son of God and that he came to save us all. However, the Christian reaction was mixed. Some were in favor of what the Christians did, others were opposed... saying that it was disrespectful, we are a country with many religions, everybody should get a chance to be represented in the Senate, etc. Doesn't this view demonstrate people placing government above God? Why should we defend someone practicing idolatry on the Senate floor? I know the Senate is not a church, but it is a very important place in our government.

Elijah didn't stand for it in his day. You may recall the story of Ahab and Jezebel. They were Baal worshipers. Elijah told them it wasn't going to rain and the rains stopped for three years. Then he challenged the Baal worshipers to a spiritual dual ~ you pray to your god for fire to rain down, and I'll do the same with my God, and we'll see who sends the fire. Elijah's God delivered, Baal did not (then all of the priests of Baal were killed). One could have argued that Baal was the accepted god of the government... how dare Elijah talk to the king the way he did! Imagine how he ruined the economy by stopping the rains for three years (there was a big famine during the drought, BTW)! He probably wouldn't have been very popular among many Christians today either. But thankfully, he did speak up.

Thank you to my husband who brought up the Hindu prayer/idolatry connection to my attention.

China Sends The Christians Away

More than 100 foreign Christian missionaries have been recently expelled from China. Many of these missionaries were from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, and Israel.

I'm really not trying to turn this into "The China Blog" but there are just too many stories coming out of there right now. Most Christians and Bible teachers that I know believe that China is going to have its place in the world stage during the tribulation - the prophetic era of time described in the book of Revelation. So with all this activity going on in China... it does make things interesting.

The Bible speaks of a 200 million man army coming out of the East. Most likely it would involve China. So some stories are just more interesting when it comes out of China, because it has significance in more than one way.

At any rate, the Chinese have kicked out some of their missionaries. It hasn't been too safe being a Christian in China at any time in recent years... at least in my lifetime. I have met some missionaries in China, I wonder if they are still there. Hmmm, I'll have to see if I can find out.

A book that I recommend to everyone about Christians in China is The Heavenly Man by brother Yun. Brother Yun does not live in China any more, he works with the Chinese and their Back To Jerusalem movement, which strives to reach the world with the Gospel message in places that most western nations are afraid to go... like most Arabian countries where Islam is standard and converting a Moslem to Christianity can get you the death sentence. I believe what he wrote in his book, and if you don't think that New Testament style miracles can happen today, you have to read this book. It's amazing. One of the conclusions that I came to while reading this book is that we in the western world don't often see New Testament style miracles because we don't need them. God already provides most of us with food, a roof over our heads, and relative safety. For those in China that don't have much of that, he provides through more miracles. Go read it.

The Chinese Christians need all the prayer that they can get. The Church there is still growing, despite (or perhaps because of) all the persecution.

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Is John Stossel Right About Price Gouging? Zimbabwe and Food

Right now, Zimbabwe is facing a crisis. The people are starving. The president, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to ban the import of groceries for resale, despite starvation in the country.

I guess he's afraid of price gouging. There seems to be an inflationary crisis going on there. He recently forced electrical shops to reduce the price of televisions to 2 million from 50 million Zimbabwe dollars... there are no more TV sets to be found now.

John Stossel's position, stated in Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, is that price gouging is not bad. Huh?

Well, maybe he's got a point.

I didn't know anything about Zimbabwe's problems until yesterday. I guess Paris Hilton getting to wear new underwear and having phone privileges in jail is more important than a starving African nation (who knew?). Doing a quick Wikipedia search, I learned that last month's unofficial inflation rate was 11,000%, and may reach 1.5 million percent by the end of the year. Yowsers! And I thought that seeing the cost of bread rise from $1 to $1.50 was bad.

Getting back to the food crisis and price gouging. The president is banning the imports of groceries into the country. People are starving. Does this make any sense? Just about as much sense as when farm owners used to spray crops during the great depression so their food was inedible because they couldn't afford to pay people to pick the crops (um... couldn't they have just given the crop pickers a few pounds of the food they picked and called it even?).

The fact that President Mugabe forced a lower price on television sets makes me believe that he's probably concerned about price gouging. But when your country is in the middle of runaway inflation and your citizens are starving, that seems to be a small thing in comparison. So let the groceries in the country and sort out the price gouging thing later... wouldn't that make sense?

Back to why John Stossel thinks that price gouging can be a good thing, and how it relates to Zimbabwe and the price of food and television sets.

In his book, he points to Hurricane Katrina. People were jacking up the prices of batteries and generators. On the surface that seems really bad. However, if you keep the prices low, a few people are going to come into the grocery store in a panic and buy out all the batteries. They might only need one pack of batteries, but they're going to buy 5 because a) they can, and b) they're scared because the hurricane's coming. But because a few people buy out all the batteries, many other people are left without batteries. Perhaps the solution to this is to limit the number of batteries per customer? But raising the price can have a similar affect.

What about generators? People aren't going to buy 10 generators in a panic. Most people will buy one. However, if generators sell for more, it encourages outside people to bring generators into the area. One example I remember reading about, a man found out that people needed generators after Hurricane Katrina, and he rented a truck and drove some down to the hurricane-affected area. It cost him a lot of money to rent the truck, pay for all the gas to get down there, plus he took on added risk by driving the post-hurricane streets, etc. So he sold the generators for well above the normal cost because of this. He got in trouble for this. It seems a little unjust, because the people that purchased the generators were probably very happy to have them. The man wouldn't have been able to get the generators to the customers without increasing the cost above normal.

So back to starving Zimbabwe. If you were in Zimbabwe, wouldn't you be happy to find food? Obviously some people are able to afford it at the prices being offered, otherwise the groceries wouldn't have been imported and sold at that rate. It's hard to imagine here in America, where we currently have such a surplus of food that most people are well fed, but if you are starving, you are happy to have food, at whatever price. By banning food imports, not only is Mugabe keeping the high-priced food out of the country, but the food that is left is going to skyrocket in price... that is, if he doesn't try to put price controls on the food. If he does put price controls on the food, a) there will quickly be no food left on the shelves to sell, and b) a food black market would most likely open up where food sells for an outrageous price.

I don't know what will happen in Zimbabwe, but it doesn't sound pretty there. Runaway inflation and no food is not a scenario that I would like to go through.

Perhaps they should learn how to make chopped cardboard dumplings? Sorry, I suppose that might be a bit in poor taste... but I had to say it anyway.

read more | digg story

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Chinese Chopped Cardboard: Yum?


Not trying to harp on China or anything, but eeew. Fox News has a report about a man who served steamed buns in a neighborhood in China. The main ingredient: chopped cardboard softened in an industrial chemical. It was then mixed with fatty meat and then cooked.

Even worse, where does he get this cardboard? Off the ground. Double eeew.

The police shut down this operation, but it really makes you wonder about the safety of food imports from China. As if bad toothpaste, poisoned pet food, and moldy diapers weren't already causing a concern.

And... I think I might cancel any trips to China. Or at least be careful when eating anything there.

China Returns US Meat

In a previous post, I mentioned that China has been importing shoddy and/or dangerous products into our country. Some pets have died from poisons in Chinese pet food, poison has been found in Chinese toothpaste, even diapers imported from China have been found with mold in them. Clearly, the quality of Chinese imports seems to have gone downhill.

Now, there's a second part to the story. China is now refusing some of the US's meat imports. While you might say... uh... who cares?... this could lead to more serious consequences.

I've been saying for years that China is clearly not our friend. I made several trips to Panama in 1999. If you recall, at the end of that year, the US gave back the canal to Chin... er... Panama. Even though the canal is technically Panama's... China has control of a lot of the property down there.

Nobody can know for sure whether this import fight will lead to anything more, hopefully it will not. However, China is big, they want to be a player on the world's stage, and they have a lot of people. The Bible also says that the Kings of the East will be supplying a large supply of people for the big Middle East fight in the tribulation. The China story is definitely one to watch.

read more | digg story

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Hindu Prayer Video

I mentioned that they had this on video earlier, here it is:

If you go to the actual YouTube site, there's a lot of religious bickering and some foul language (you are warned).

You Go! Hindu Senate Prayer Disrupted

The Hindu prayer in the Senate has been news lately. It has been something that I haven't been thrilled about, but what are you going to do? I should have written my senators to complain... maybe I should have.

Well, today I heard the rest of the story. During this guy's "prayer", some Christians up in the gallery started praying. One asked God to forgive our country of their sins by having a heathen pray or something along those lines (I'm paraphrasing). A news story talks about it here. They removed him, and someone else started praying. I guess there's a video floating around of this, I just haven't had the chance to see it. I heard the audio of it on hour 2 of The Way of The Master Radio's podcast.

Well, you go guys! I don't know who they are, what happened to them, whether they were carted off to jail or not... but good job! I hadn't even thought about doing something like that... not that it would have been feasible for me to fly to Washington DC, but I hadn't even thought about it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Supreme Court Addresses Homeschooling!

I saw this and just had to address it before I headed off to bed. I found this on the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) web site:

In Morse v. Frederick, however, Justice Clarence Thomas said, “If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move.”

Well, good for you, Clarence Thomas! I'm glad that homeschooling is beginning to be recognized as a viable alternative. Sure, not every home school does a great job, but you find failing public and private schools as well (along with some good ones).

Speaking of home schools vs. public schools, the Islamic students over at Carver Elementary School in San Diego need to take the hint. I guess a substitute teacher was teaching in a class one day and they had a scheduled prayer time for Moslems. The classes were segregated by religion (!) and sex. This is a PUBLIC SCHOOL! Since when do we have Islamic classes at public schools? Islamic students that want to pray on school time: please see Clarence Thomas quote above. If you want to pray on school time, go to private school or get homeschooled.

Maybe I'll comment on that some more later. It seems like lately our country is full of all these wimps and one day the majority of this country will be taken over by AZTLAN and the Moslems... because right now we want to seem to kowtow to both of those groups. We'll just let them have the country and they can duke it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

George Tiller, The Baby Killer, Charged Then Vandalized

I originally was going to write a post on this guy, but I guess I couldn't find the words for it. I couldn't find words nice to use for him, and what I did say wasn't really constructive either.

George Tiller, the baby killer, notable for his late-term abortions in Kansas, was charged with 19 misdemeanors late last month. He was charged with signing off on abortions with a doctor that he had an improper financial relationship with. Not exactly the stuff people are hoping to get him with... such as not reporting abortions done on minors (which is against Kansas state law) or providing abortions where the life or permanent health of the mother is not at stake, but I suppose that it's a start.

Meanwhile, Tiller's abortion clinic was vandalized a few days ago. Vandals cut a hole in the roof, inserted a garden hose, and flooded the clinic.

I'm as pro-life as anybody could be, and I'd like to see George Tiller's baby-killing machine stopped, but vandalization is not the way to go. I'm guessing that Christians were the people that probably did the vandalizing. By vandalizing his property, they just make all Christians look bad. Do these pro-life vandalizers ever sit down and truly think about what repercussions their actions may cause? Someone may see that and mutter "those darned Christians, I hate them all!" Someone that might otherwise later in life decide that they want to learn about Jesus might decide they don't want to have anything to do with us, and could end up doomed to a life in hell... all because someone decided to flood an abortion clinic.

I think that killing babies is wrong... but at least the babies that Tiller kills will go to Heaven.

I do hope that George Tiller is stopped, but it needs to be done through the courts, and through prayer. Not through vandalism

Home Ownership = The Right To Be Billed And Taxed To Death?

Something has gone dreadfully wrong in this country, supposedly "the land of the free". So what are the freedoms that we are supposed to have, anyway? And where have they gone?

Take, for example, the airlines. Once upon a time, when I was an Airman Apprentice in the US Navy, I took a trip to visit my aunt and uncle. I had a layover at the Cincinnati airport, and it was delayed for several hours. I had a briefcase with some papers in it, and I left it at the terminal because I didn't want to carry it around. Couldn't do that today!

There was a period for several years where you couldn't do cross-stitch or other forms of needlework while on board a plane. Like you could take over a plane, post 9/11, with a 1 inch needle. If you let someone with a 1 inch sewing needle hijack a plane because you're afraid, you've got some big cowardice problems.

Now the big problem is liquids. If you're a breastfeeding mom who pumps milk and you go on a business trip, you can't take your milk back with you. I have a friend who was facing this dilemma. Thank you, TSA, for making this world a better place by starving nursing babies! At least they don't make you drink your own breast milk any more. That was the policy right after the liquid scare began. Blech!

But the problem of our lost freedoms extends farther than just inconveniences and hungry children during air travel. The problem extends much farther... to the very place where we lay our heads at night.

150 years or so ago, and even more recently than that, people could go out and stake a claim and build a homestead. Farm the land, build a house out of logs, and people'd stay off your backs. Since most people built their own homes, they didn't need to take out huge mortgages to pay for it. Sure, there were some scuffles with the Indians, but there's a tradeoff that must be made between true freedom and a false sense of security.

I don't really know when it happened, but the government thought it would be a good idea if they started taxing people's homes. Have to pay for the schools, roads, and police departments, right? Back then, at least the public schools were worth sending your kids to, and average folks weren't flocking to private schools and homeschools if they could afford it. But nice as it sounds, it was just a start... of taxes and mandatory bills that nickel and dime your average homeowner to a slow death.

Like when we moved onto our property. No, you can't use the septic tank that's already ON the property, you have to tap into the public sewer. And you also have to pay to have a pipe laid across the street so it will go to your property. The costs associated with all this sewer mess forced us to downgrade from a very large house to one that was 600 square feet smaller. Thanks sewer company. Of course, if you fail to pay your sewer bill they will condemn your house and force you off your property.

Don't forget the water bill, which is an entirely separate bill. Oh, and if you happen to live in Orem, Utah, you better make sure that you have enough money to water your lawn and keep the grass green. Or else the police will come and have you arrested like what happened to this lady. Oh, and evidently you're expected to identify yourself to any random police officer that shows up on your doorstep too. Never mind that there are people out there that go around posing as police officers that can hurt you. Sheesh, I don't even identify myself to people that call me on the telephone! Identity theft reasons, you know? Can't be too careful.

Then there's the whole HOA thing. If you live there, you have to pay rent to the HOA for the rest of your life... even if your home is paid off, you're still paying rent. You pay rent to the government in the form of taxes, you pay rent to the HOA in the form of dues or whatever they call them, and then the HOA people tell you what color to paint your house, what you can put in the driveway, whether you can put up Christmas lights, etc.

HOAs are getting harder and harder to avoid as well. They seem to have the new housing market cornered around here. If you want to build a new house, you either have to 1) go HOA, 2) buy a dilapidated old home, tear it down and build a new house, 3) build out in the middle of nowhere and deal with an incredibly long commute, or 4) build a nice stick built house in a manufactured home community. Which on the surface wouldn't make sense, because your house transplanted somewhere else would be worth more than twice any of the other homes on the block... but there really aren't too many choices left other than that.

I suppose that I do have some freedoms. I can write whatever I want in this blog (as long as it is not hateful and nobody turns me in for a hate crime). I can stand on the street corner and hold a sign and peaceably protest (as long as I'm not causing a disturbance and large numbers of people don't want me to leave), I can own a gun (as long as I submit to background checks and register), I can own a pet (as long as I'm willing to have it registered and get it microchipped and pay the microchip company... yup... another "rental" fee every year).

I know that there are many countries that are worse, really. In Germany they would arrest me and take away my kids for homeschooling. Here, they only arrest you and take away your kids if someone calls CPS on you because they think you spank your kids (oh, but if you molest your kid that's okay... a friend of mine in Tennessee has been fighting to get her grandchild away from his sexually abusive father, and 2 years later they're still working on it, even though they have proof that it happened many times).

Well, at least we have the delusion of being free.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bush Removes Shoes For Allah... While Moslems Attack Those That Don't Convert

Oh, isn't this nice... I was reading the news the other day, and Bush decided that "Allah" was a god worthy of taking his shoes off for, as is discussed in this article.


A man is tortured and sexually assaulted for not converting to Islam (story here).

Christian families are forced to flee from a Pakastani village after Protestants are attacked by an armed mob while preparing for a prayer meeting (story here).

More Christians in Pakistan face death threats from the Taliban for not converting to Islam (story here).

Excuse me if I gag a little here. Allah can kiss my a$#. I certainly will not take my shoes off for him. And I'm ashamed that our president is.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Really Sad

I was snooping around the Gerber web site, trying to find out where their products are made, and I came across some really depressing statistics:

  • Soda is being served to infants as young as 7 months.
  • Nearly 25% of children ages 19-24 months don't eat a single fruit or vegetable in a day
  • French fries are the most commonly consumed vegetable for toddlers aged 15-24 months
  • By 19-24 months, most children consume sweets, salty foods, or deserts at least once a day

Who feeds their kids like this? It was a study of nearly 3000 children, so I guess a lot of people do. I remember my cousin feeding her daughter soda in a bottle, but I always thought that was the exception rather than something normal. When my daughter was a baby, probably around 9 months old, she played with another little girl who was a few weeks younger than her that ate Cheetos, but again, I thought that was not normal.

I kept most sweets away from my baby daughter until she was a year old. She got cake for her birthday. My soon-to-be 8 month old son's desserts consist of Gerber's "Hawaiian Delight" or bananas, pears and apples. I thought most babies ate that way.

I know that toddlers can be picky, but no fruit or vegetables on an average day? Wow. My 8 month old gets fruit AND vegetables nearly every day. My 5 year old gets both almost every day as well... nearly every weekday I serve vegetables, she's always eating fruit and we can't keep it in the house long, and she's always asking for fruit juice.

Us grown-ups might have a hard time consuming good food, but at least we can say that our brains are done growing. When children are babies, their brains are growing at the fastest rate that they will in their entire lives. I just find it sad that so many people are not giving them a good start by feeding them fruits and vegetables, and keeping the sweets (especially soda) away.

I mean, how hard can it be to keep soda out of a 7 month old's diet? It's not like they're actually clamoring for the stuff at that age.

Boycott China?

I was surprised to read the other day that some diapers made in China have been recalled due to excessive fungus in the diapers. Great... in case you're wondering, I checked. Pampers diapers are made in the US, Luvs diapers are made in Mexico, Huggies diapers are made in Mexico, and Especially For Baby diapers (sold at Toys R US) are made in the USA. I'm not sure what diapers are made in China, but I wouldn't want to put them on my baby... yuck.

Fungal diapers are just the latest substandard product made in China to be recalled. Baby formula, baby clothes, pet food, and toothpaste are just some of the dangerous Chinese products that have been sold to us.

Maybe we should just stop buying from China. That would cut down on our trade deficit. It would cut down on the amount of business that Walmart does... but then again, if we stopped buying products made in China, they'd have to get their products from other places.

I have nothing against the Chinese people. I have a lot of respect for the Chinese Christians and pray for the Chinese Christians' Back To Jerusalem movement. I like Americanized Chinese food. But I also know that they employ prison labor, have gross civil rights violations, and imprison many of their Christians (the ones that aren't part of the official, watered-down, government-sanctioned christian church). And lately, they've been pumping out shoddy products for us to use.

While I suppose I'm not going to go nuts and boycott Chinese products right now, I do think that I will be paying more attention to where things are made, and perhaps try to avoid some things made in China. Like food. Clothing... I can deal with for the right price. I have a sewing machine and I know how to use it. I think I might avoid Chinese diapers and toothpaste too. I couldn't find where Gerber baby food is made, it looks like Beech-nut products are made in New York... I'll try to look at where my baby's food is made more as well.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thank You Janet

Normally, I'm not a very big fan of Janet Napolitano. I have to say, however, that this week I'm pretty happy with her. So I take back a couple things that I've said ;-).

Janet Napolitano signed a very tough law that will deal very harshly with businesses that hire illegal aliens. Those who knowingly or intentionally hire illegal aliens will have their business license suspended for the first offense, and will be put on probation for a period of time. If they knowingly or intentionally hire illegal immigrants during their probationary period, they will have their business license revoked for good.

To that I say, bravo!

We have a system that will check social security numbers with a federal database, but many companies, up until now, do not use it. In a prior job, my husband worked with the payrolls of several companies, many of which hired illegal immigrants. He would often run into cases where people had invalid social security numbers or with people who had stolen SSNs from other people.

A law like this is going to have very broad implications:

- It will probably be a good idea to check SSNs for everyone in the family, including children, on a yearly basis. You can get free credit reports at Annual Credit It's about time for me and my husband to check our credit reports, and I plan on getting one for my 5 year old and 7 1/2 month old as well. You never know these days. I suppose that with this new law coming online, it will be even more important.

- It will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to this state, and perhaps get some of them to leave. This will of course, create another ripple effect in our state, affecting schools, health care, labor, and law enforcement.

- It will also affect the economy in different ways. A few years ago, I was looking for an evening job so I could stay at home with my daughter and work while my husband was at home to care for her. I went to apply at several places, but Taco Bell, Wal Mart, Burger King, McDonald's, the movie theater, etc. was just not interested in hiring me. Could that have been related to illegal immigration? Perhaps. But if you dry up the supply of illegal immigrants, you also deplete, to some degree, people that are going to work in these places. Which may mean raising wages, which in turn may raise prices to some degree. However, we will end up saving money in the areas of education, health care, and law enforcement. I think that it may take some time to balance all of this out, but I think that it eventually will balance out. And if the wages of construction workers goes up... at least that may become a viable career again. I think that construction wages have been artificially depressed because of the supply of cheap illegal labor.

- Some businesses may leave the state. If they do, then they probably were involved in hiring illegal immigrants in the first place, and I'd have to question how much overall good they were doing to our state in the first place.

I know that many illegal immigrants are over here just trying to make money. However, for every person who came over here illegally, there is someone in Nigeria, India, or even Mexico waiting to be let into this country legally. Some businesses argue that without illegal immigration, we would not have enough workers in this country. Perhaps that is true. But if we don't have enough legal immigrants coming into this country, wouldn't the best solution to be to increase the quotas for legal immigrants coming into this country, rather than turn our heads and look away when people sneakily (or sometimes boldly) disobey the laws of our country by coming over here uninvited?

Hopefully this law will go into effect. I do realize that there are some problems that need to be fixed, such as not allowing vital services like hospitals to be closed down and whole chains being closed down due to one franchise's transgression, but at least we have something to work with. I think I'll send the governor a thank-you note.

The law goes into effect January 1st.