December 25, 2012


I have had a rough patch-o-life as of late.  As much as I am an adult and take responsibility for my actions.  I am finding that sometimes, circumstance makes us victims.

So when do you play that victim card?  Is it really legitimate?  Does reality and perceived reality actually boil into truth at some point?  Who can own truth for any given event?

I am reminded of the Blind Men and the Elephant: How each was correct but none fully.

December 21, 2012

Again with the insane

Lets all have a serious talk about gun control...

Sure... why not... oh, by serious talk you mean inane rants for banning all weapons, while demonizing anyone who's opinion differs?  Okay, let the sound bites begin!

Keep this in mind as you read the ravings.  Banning the misnamed "assault weapons" will not make people safer.  The US is not a dangerous place because we have millions of guns.  Gun control has not stopped gun massacres from occurring in other countries. Oh and banning something like high capacity magazines will not keep them out of the criminals hands.

It seems the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun.

December 17, 2012

Second Amendment Hypothetical.

Assumption: You are a teacher in charge of a classroom.  Someone with criminal intentions comes onto campus with firearms.

Per protocol you lock the door, move the kids away from open windows, making the room appear empty.  You have the kids low and quiet.  Somehow the perpetrator is able to open the door and come into the room.  You and your charges are now under dire threat.

Assumption 2:  You have a firearm and training in the same situation.

I believe assumption 2 would offer better protection for the kids under your care.

December 15, 2012

Knee meet Jerk...

Something horrible happens.  Before we can collectively breathe someone politicizes the event.  Others go defensive on the thrust of the agenda, others council now is not the time. Rhetoric ensues. Hubris meets ad hominem.  Still, few good policies come from rapid responses to deeply felt injuries.

Seems to me the question is "Why did this happen?" It is a good question, it is also one without answer.  How can we stop unforeseen heinous crimes from happening?  Is another good question, which follows the fallacy of protecting everyone from everything.  What cost liberty?

Some Bullet points to illustrate fallacious statements following the heinous murders in CT:

  • Too many guns in the USA.
  • The way the news media reports these stories glorify the event\murderer.
  • We need to lock up mental patients.
  • Hollywood glorifies violence.
  • Not enough God in our schools.
  • America is too violent.
  • If only teachers were armed.
None of the above offer more then a straw man.

Just read this.

The news out of Connecticut yesterday was terrible.
And even that sentence seems trite, cliched, nothing even close to capturing what happened and how I feel and my God, how wretched it is to think of those poor little kids, about the same age as my Sienna, dying in fear and confusion and far from their parents. And their parents…honestly, my mind keeps blocking me there, as if it won’t let me travel down that path of what they must be thinking and feeling, wandering around their houses, picking up a discarded sock from their dead child, a shoe, a toy, a stuffed animal, a shirt…anything tangible to hold onto now that they can’t hold their children. And maybe for a second they manage to get ahold of themselves, take a deep breath, and then they turn around and see a present under the tree, picked out carefully and wrapped early, that precious little hands will never unwrap. God. God. Honestly, what can I say but that? God. Where were you, where are you, and why, why, why?

I don’t know the answer. I never will. There are lots of sections in the catechism that talk about the question of evil, books written on it, even blog posts about it, but all those are cold comfort next to kindergartners  shot dead in their classrooms. On the tragedy itself, I have nothing to say. My thoughts and fervent prayers go out to the victims and their families.

On the response to the tragedy by people who call themselves Catholic, I have a whole hell of a lot to say. I’m so angry about certain things that keep popping up on Facebook that I want to scream. But I’m trying to keep in mind that we’re all doing this, a whole country of people enraged by the killing of children and lashing out at who’s nearest because we can’t last out at the nameless, shapeless evil that motivates these hideous acts. People furious about gun control or the lack thereof, about those who don’t home school or those who say it would have saved these kids, about access to mental health services and oversight for afflicted individuals…it goes on and on. There’s no one left to punish for the crime, so we pummel each other in frustration. I get it.

Yet still, there are some responses to this tragedy that are truly wrong. Not just misguided, but wrong. I came across one on Facebook last night and have been stewing about it ever since. I deliberated for a while about writing this post before deciding that it needs to be said. There are good people on facebook who will share these links, like these links, and pass them on, not because they’re malicious but because they’re not thinking. At a time like this, you need to think about what is being said and all the implications it bears.

This is the meme that showed up in my news-feed  I shared it to point out how awful it was, and the Anchoress responded with, “This is why people hate Christians and misunderstand Christ.”
I could not agree more. This sentiment is being expressed in a million different ways all over the internet and airwaves today, and every person saying it, liking it, and sharing it needs to stop. Right now. It is one of the most reprehensible things I have ever seen Christians do.

Leaving aside the outrageous fact that someone made a Star Trek Facebook meme about the slaughter of kindergartners  it’s reprehensible because this is smugness in the face of the death of children. It’s saying, “this is exactly what you get when you take God out of schools.” I wouldn't be surprised if someone added, “ ha-ha, you deserve it, atheists”, because that is exactly what is meant by this meme.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but this is not how Christians should behave. Reveling in the death of children because it proves that you were right all along about a law to ban prayer in schools? No wonder people hate us. If this is our attitude, they should.

This isn't how God works. People make laws about religion all the time. You can pray here, you can’t pray here, you can only pray to this God or that one, you can only pray at this time or that…it goes on and on. No laws can stop God from being present with us. No laws can stop God from anything. God was there, in that school, with those beautiful little children. I don’t know why he didn't stop it. There’s a lot about free will and evil I will never understand. But God wasn't sitting outside the school like some spurned teenager, sullenly saying, “I could have stopped this if you hadn't kicked me out.” Are you kidding? That’s not God, who made us, and then loved us so much that he let his only son die for our salvation. That’s not Christ, who allowed himself to be beaten, humiliated, tortured and slaughtered by us, for us. That is not Christianity. That is not what we believe. So stop sharing it, and stop saying it.

For the innocents slaughtered in Connecticut yesterday, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Update II:  Jezebel courts the issue a similar way.

Although her premise is flawed.  The person to be mad at and blame is the shooter.

December 14, 2012

You may want to re-examine your health care.


There is a democratic revolt in process over the bill the same people voted for.

The 2.3 percent tax bite is misleading, because it is a tax on gross sales. An industry spokesman with Indiana-based Cook Medical estimated that the impact on a company’s actual earnings would be closer to 15 percent.

It is interesting to note that Senators like Al Franken (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and others -- all of whom voted in favor of the law -- are aiming to delay or outright repeal parts of ObamaCare.

Interesting to note about the Independent Payment Advisory Panel (IPAB), the board of unelected officials that will determine which medical treatments and procedures are too costly for some patients, is supposed to impose cost controls on federal medical spending.  Wouldn't this be the denied death panel?

December 12, 2012

Give me all your thoughts on Hell...


Here is a perfectly orthodox explanation of the Church’s doctrine of hell by Fr. Robert Barron.Compared with the whole “Hell want out with Vatican II” or “Sophisticated Christians now understand that hell was a medieval fear tactic” or sundry other attempt to say “Ain’t no such thang” what sticks out for me is simply that Fr. Barron affirms both the reality and eternity of hell. The only thing he doesn’t do–and with good reason in my view, is offer an opinion on how many–or if any–will go there.
And because of this, there is, I gather a Controversy.

I’ve never understood this.

There is, to be sure, a very dangerous presumption of Universalism among a lot of Catholics. The average Catholic tends to talk as though it’s automatic heaven for everybody except maybe Hitler or a pedophile priest somewhere. Partly that springs from a psychological habit of not presuming to judge others. Partly it springs from a conviction that, at the end of the day, most people are pretty good and the whole “need of salvation” thing is good for religious types and specially devoted folk, but as long as we keep our noses clean and pay our taxes, we’re pretty much a shoo-in. That mentality needs killin’ bad since the testimony of the Tradition is that the crucifixion not only is the payment for our sin, but a demonstration of what our species, apart from grace, really does. What is homo sapiens? Homo sapiens is the species that does *that* to God when he gets his hands on him. We really are quite vile apart from grace. And that means you, bub. You’re not a nice person. Neither am I. Without the fifty bazillion helps and supports of grace, you would be a disgusting thing indeed. And even with those helps and supports, God has his hands full keeping you out of trouble. You and I are, in the most cosmic sense of the word, jerks. So heaven is not a shoo-in and you need to get off your fat butt and cooperate with grace because you could still lose this battle of life, close your heart forever and wind up losing everything you ever desired most deeply.

That’s the warning of hell. The problem is, there is another sort of person: the one who is pretty sure he knows that there are lots of people in hell and (just between you and me) who quite a number of them are. The problem is simply this: we know no such thing. We don’t know the end of the story. So we are allowed neither presumption nor despair. We are only allowed hope. Fr. Barron seems to me to strike just that balance. He does not preach universalism. His whole point is that hell is a real possibility and he clearly warns of it. What he does not do is indulge the speculation about who or how many go there. That’s God’s job.

The Artificial marketplace.


Alternative energy is well worth pursuing.  I could even argue that our government should invest in the research and development of better energy sources.  Driving the price of electricity down or being able to live off the grid with all the accouterments would be awesome.

Recently a friend of mine took advantage of a government program and purchased some panels and an electric car.  With the life expectancy and low cost of said vehicles he should come out ahead in the long run.  Meantime his electrical bill is a nice bragging point.  You could also throw in the protecting the environment.

Still you hear the wails and lamenting of Nuclear, Fracking, coal and fossil fuels.  Personally, I feel we should be investing into all the above sources to drive the costs down.  At a certain cost point a tax should be placed on usage that exclusively goes towards solar, wind, geothermal, fusion, tidal etc.

In Germany, feed-in tariffs of eight times the market rate resulted in the installation of over one million roof-top solar systems by 2010. But the 20-year guarantee also produced a subsidy obligation of over $140 billion. German electricity rates climbed to the second highest in the world and continue to climb to pay for green energy. To stop the bleeding, Germany cut feed-in subsidies three times in 2011 and announced a complete phase-out by 2017. Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other nations cut subsidies for wind, solar, and biofuels during the last three years.

It all might be a pipe dream, still worth pursuing IMHO.

December 11, 2012

More Foreshadowing of Obamacare?

Labour MP tells of inhumane treatment and says she fears normalisation of cruelty now rife among NHS nurses.

If a Labor MP can't get better treatment for her husband, the average Briton is completely out of luck.

Interestingly enough, this has not made any US papers that I could find.

Ann Clwyd has said her biggest regret is that she didn't "stand in the hospital corridor and scream" in protest at the "almost callous lack of care" with which nurses treated her husband as he lay dying in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Clwyd, the Labour MP for Cynon Valley since 1984 and Tony Blair's former human rights envoy to Iraq, told the Guardian she fears a "normalisation of cruelty" is now rife among NHS nurses. She said she had chosen to speak out because this had become "commonplace".

Describing how her 6'2'' husband lay crushed "like a battery hen" against the bars of his hospital bed with an oxygen mask so small it cut into his face and pumped cold air into his infected eye, Clwyd said nurses treated the dying man with "coldness, resentment, indifference and even contempt".

Owen Roberts died on Tuesday, 23rd October from hospital-acquired pneumonia. The former television director and producer had multiple sclerosis for 30 years and had been in a wheelchair for the previous two years. He had been in the flagship hospital for ten days.

"I have had nightmares about what happened," said Clwyd, speaking to the Guardian after initially making the claims on BBC Radio 4's World at One.

Clwyd said that on the Friday before Roberts died, she asked if he could have a bigger oxygen mask. "I was just ignored," she said. "I had to put my own Lypsyl on his lips because they became so chapped …by the cold air the mask pumped out and there were no nurses around. It was us, not the nurses, who put a pillow between him and the bars of the bed because the bed was too small and he was jammed so tightly against the bars.

"It was us again who covered him with a towel because he was cold and we couldn't get more than two thin blankets to cover him with. And it was us who put socks on his feet because they hung over the end of the too-short bed .

"I can't believe anybody calling themselves a nurse could fail to give someone who is very ill that kind of attention but it was completely missing," Clwyd added. Nobody should have to die in conditions like I saw my husband die in. I have tried in the past to get Bills through parliament on the welfare of battery hens. My husband died like a battery hen."

Clwyd, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group, was on the Royal Commission on the NHS and served on the Welsh hospital board. But she said that regardless of her experience and knowledge, she found it impossible to make her voice heard.

"It's uncomfortable speaking out and I don't like it but if I couldn't get anyone to listen to me, how do other people manage it?" she asked. "I want people to know that they can't leave things to the professionals in the NHS. You have to keep asking questions.

Clwyd said she "will always regret that I did not ask more questions" but that whenever she tried, she was ignored or brushed off.

"I was in on the day before he died from 2.30pm to 10.30pm, and I saw one, single ward round," she said. "When I did manage to stop a nurse in the corridor – they were usually too busy to stop – I asked why he wasn't in intensive care." She added, a nurse "told me 'there are lots of people worse than him' and walked off. A few hours later, I asked another nurse if a doctor had been to see him. She said a doctor had been – but not to see Owen because they knew what to do.

"From what I saw, that consisted of doing nothing," she added.

Clwyd described how Roberts' suffered bitterly from the cold air of a fan kept on for a patient in a neighbouring bed. His ward was full while a second ward across the hall was empty, she said, but nurses refused to move him on the day he died because, they said, the empty ward "was being kept until tomorrow".

"At eight o'clock that morning, just before he died, all the lights in the four-bed ward went on and somebody shouted 'Anybody for breakfast?'. It was obviously totally inappropriate when they knew somebody was dying in that ward," she said. "I really do feel he died of cold and he died from people who didn't care."

Clwyd said she met with a consultant two days after her husband's funeral. "We spent one and a quarter hours talking but he eventually said it was a nursing matter."

The MP is now collecting evidence from friends who visited Roberts in hospital to send to the hospital authorities, "My husband had been very courageous over the years and should have been able to die with dignity. But he wasn't," she said.

In a statement to the programme, the hospital's executive director of nursing, Ruth Walker, said they had offered to meet Ms Clwyd so that a formal investigation into what happened could be launched.

"We recognise how distressing it is when family members have cause to raise significant concerns about the quality of care their loved one received whilst also coping with bereavement. We take such matters extremely seriously," she said.

"We will not tolerate poor care which is why it is so important that each incident is fully investigated so that we can drive up standards and provide patients and their families with the quality of care they need and deserve."

December 08, 2012

The political side of Unemployment.

In September we were told the economy added 148,000 jobs.  In October the unemployment rate was going below 8%. It just seemed wrong at the time.  Well actually it waw wrong...

The numbers were off in September by approx 49,000 jobs, October by 33,000. This came out just before the election...  I'm sure it was just an error, nothing more...

When the Labor Department says, that Hurricane Sandy had no significant effect on unemployment, Which I recall those in the media said there would be a huge uptick...

Also we are being told that 146,000 new jobs created in November.  More then 33% by retail for the holidays (read: Temporary jobs).  So, why is it not seasonally adjusted, instead of just a raw number?

Fact is the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% because, 540,000 Americans have dropped out of the labor market. Taking that into account for every one person hired 1.7 people gave up looking for work or went past the 99 weeks. Yet With this news Obama is saying how much of a comback we are having...

Lets add the fact that Government hiring swelled in October and in November, adding 544,000 people to their payrolls. 73% of the new civilian jobs created in the US over the last five months are in government. Which means more money taken out of the private sector and transferred to the public sector.


The Obama Curve, US Economy adds 146K jobs, Jobless rate edges down, Welfare spending $168 per day, Fed exit plan, 73% of jobs created last five months.,

December 04, 2012

Whence Ideal?

I have never understood those who are so adamant against the preternatural world.  There are so many interesting, amazing and fantastic occurrences in our daily lives across the universe.  Even those are only a microcosm of possibilities.

As of late the philosophical layer of being has been at the forefront of my mind.  Given that living means choices and the consequences of the same.  Take "a situation" for example.

There is an ideal situation, a concept of something in its perfection. I personally  believe that moments of perfection exist, if rare. This ideal can be stripped down to a negative.  My quandary is where this occurs.  when does the axis drop below zero?

An example of an ideal situation I have used previously: In successfully raising a child the best situation is under the care of the two genetic parents in a loving committed relationship.  I have seen this ideal situation in action among  many of my friends and family.

So how do we strip this down to a negative? I would propose when Loving is removed. Love being the easiest argument to make for the preternatural world.  Aside from the senses releasing various chemicals in the brain, there are forces here beyond our understanding.

So a child can be successfully raised by non-genetic parents, single parents or even an institution.  I would argue that the institution would be have the least likelihood of success.