Monday, September 28, 2009

thoughts on the stimulus plan

this is not a discussion of my wife's attempts to get me off the couch. it is about the plan to pump billions into the economy to stimulate it to grow again. think of it as economic fertilizer.

the plan is for the administration to pump $787 billion into the economy. so, you are thinking, why has not all that money resulted in a booming economy. well, first of all, although the administration, i.e., the president, said he would put this money into the economy quickly because we could not wait to do something, he has not done so. i know, you can't believe he would say one thing and do another.

however, do the math. the administration has spent only $151 billion of the $787 billion promised. That is about 19% of the amount promised.

the president promises to spend another $185 billion by the end of the year. that would bring the total to $336 billion. That is about 42%, still less than half.

if the recovery is so urgent, why is the president waiting to spend the money. many analysts, and your humble servant, predicted the end of the recession this fall. I said september, but it looks like it may take longer. since the recession has not ended, following the president's reasoning that investing tax dollars in the economy is the only way to save jobs and prevent a depression, is the president not negligent for failing to put the money in that congress has authorized? is he just not able to spend it?

the next, and biggest wave of spending is actually scheduled for next year. the governmetn will spend another $399 billion. why are we waiting for the biggest chunk of all to be spent next year? my guess is because the spending will be right before the mid term elections and will be used to buy votes for the democrats in the house.

finally, the president will postpone spending the final $134 billion until the end of 2011, happily just in time for the president's re-election campaing to begin. for a president that campaigned on hope and promise and ethics, he seems pretty calculating and self serving in this the biggest credit card in history.

meanwhile, 2.4 million people have lost their jobs since the stimulus promotion began. the national unemployment rate increased to 9.7%, almost one out of ten americans. this is a 26 year high, but expected to go higher. yet the president continue to hold on to the money he promised to spend and that the democrats maintain is necessary. the president's chief economic advisor, larry summers, says unemployment will " all forecasts, remain unacceptably high for years to come."
since the president took office, america has lost 3 million jobs, while the democrats maintained that we would gain 3-4 million jobs.

yet, it looks like democrats will hold the money and use it for their own political gain at the expense of working americans.

i still maintain that the best way to stimulate the economy is to cut taxes and send us all a check. we'll spend the money and that will stimulate the economy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Maybe the Government won't kill Grandma ala Soylent Green, but it will cut Grandma's benefits. Despite the President's claims to the contrary, the Congressional Budget Office says the current bill will cut payments to Medicare Advantage Plans by $100 billion over 10 years. That is significant money even for this free spending president.

A large percentage of medical care is required at present due to lifestyle issues, such as obesity, smoking and drug use. In a few years, a major factor will in the reduction of health care available to seniors will also be due to a lifestyle issue: voting for Barack Obama.

I couldn't say it any better than this, so I'll just quote it. John Stott is right, as usual.

Incentives are important in every sphere. Being rational
human beings, we need to know not only what we should be
doing, but why we should be doing it. And motivation for
mission is especially important, not least in our day in
which the comparative study of religions has led many to
deny finality and uniqueness to Jesus Christ and to reject
the very concept of evangelizing and converting people.
How then, in the face of growing opposition to it, can
Christians justify the continuance of world evangelization?

The commonest answer is to point to the Great Commission,
and indeed obedience to it provides a strong stimulus.
Compassion is higher than obedience, however, namely love
for people who do not know Jesus Christ, and who on that
account are alienated, disorientated, and indeed lost.

But the highest incentive of all is zeal or jealousy for the
glory of Jesus Christ. God has promoted him to the supreme
place of honour, in order that every knee and tongue should
acknowledge his lordship.

Whenever he is denied his rightful place in people's lives, therefore, we should feel inwardly wounded, and jealous for his name.

--From "The Message of Acts" (The Bible Speaks Today series: Leicester: IVP, 1990), p. 279.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Mary Travers has died. She was the main voice and centerpiece of Peter Paul and Mary. She mainstreamed the folk music revival of the ‘60s and the emotion that went with it.

Straight from Greenwich Village coffeehouses, she and the group brought folk music to teenagers all over the nation. Along with Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, they sang beautiful three-part harmony that sold records while nurturing the civil rights and anti-war movements of the ‘60s.

I vividly remember spending a camping vacation one summer in high school with my girl cousins. While the adults played “42”, we sat around the fire and sang “Lemon Tree”, “If I Had a Hammer”, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”, and others.

No offense to John Denver, but Mary Travers puts all the emotion in “Leaving on a Jet Plane” that makes you feel the pain of the singer and believe she really hates to leave you. I hate that she left us, too.

One of the problems of growing older is that the people you looked up to as a young person die off. I’m 57 and it happens every week.

I learned to play the guitar to folk music. Peter Paul and Mary played large in that, as I learned “If I Had A Hammer” and the others and learned how to play and sing at the same time. That music resonated with me, because it raised the same questions I had about injustice and war and growing up. A little part of that young person stays in your soul as you age, surfacing when a high school marching band plays a ‘60s song, or public television has a nostalgia concert or a bunch of people your age at a party say “remember how we used to sing together” and you break into “Michael Row The Boat Ashore”.

When the people who remind you of that little person hidden away in your older person’s body die, a part of that little person dies, too. It makes you sad.

Mary once said “People say to us, ‘Oh, I grew up with your music,’ and we often say, sotto voce, ‘So did we.’ ”

And so, when you say farewell, a part of me does, to.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Great tornado and thunderstorm photos here.

I need to carry a camera. I do not think I could take pictures as good as Mr. Reed, but it would be fun to have them.

I love storms. It may come from growing up, to the extent I did, in West Texas. You could see 180 degrees of sky in most places. The sky would fill up with clouds, updrafts of hot air driving them in columns higher and higher. At sundown, they would bunch together in thunderstorms, what they now call supercells. Lightning would streak across the sky in colors, white, yellow, green and even red. Lighting would strike the ground in the fields, the lightning rods on houses and the power line poles.

Sometimes the sky would turn green and you knew hail would fall. The air smelled like ozone, sharp and acrid. The electricity in the air made the hair on your arm stand up. Then pow, a lightning strike would light up the night and reveal the massive storm clouds.

Then the pressure would drop, the wind would blow until it roared and you knew it was coming. A tornado would drop, all dark and swirling and dangerous. It was powerful and unstoppable. It went where it would and destroyed all in its path. It was raw and powerful and natural and there was nothing you could do but watch and pray and duck and cover.

I love it.

Friday, September 11, 2009


This time on cash for clunkers.

A vehicle that gets 15 mpg and travels 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a
year of gasoline.

A vehicle that gets 25 mpg and travels 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a

So, the average "Cash for Clunkers" transaction will reduce
gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

The program involved approximately 700,000 vehicles.

That's 224 million gallons of gasoline saved per year.

That's 5 million barrels of oil saved per year.

5 million barrels of oil is about 25 percent of one day's consumption in America.

5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars at $70 per barrel.

We spent $3 billion to save $350 million per year. It will take about 9 years for this investment to break even, excluding the interest we are paying to the Chinese.

It has been the mantra of liberals for years that the earth is overpopulated and we must reduce our birth rate to survive. However, even a cursory examination of the data shows that this is not true. In fact,the reverse is true. The West is in decline and could cease to exist as we know if before this century is over.

Think for a moment of how a culture or a country survives, how it continues to exist. Simply put, parents have children. Those children grow up, enter the work force, carry on the culture and have children who continue the same way. Thus, the culture continues to exist. A war or a plague that wipes out a number of the children will kill that culture.

The philosphy of limited reproduction is that plague. The birth rate in all European countries is less than 2.0. That means, each two adults has less than 2 children. Imagine if every married couple in this generation had one child. The math is simple. The next generation will be half the size. All of the European nations have a birth rate less than 2.0. All of them are declining in their native populations.

In addition, 90% of population growth in Europe is Islamic. In Southern France, there are more mosques than churches. The mathmatical projection shows that France will be an Isalmic nation in 39 years. Germany had calculated their numbers and published them. Their current projection is that Germany will be a predominately Muslim nation by 2050.

There are 52 million Muslims in Europe. That number is expected to double to 104 million in only 20 years. Meanwhile, the native populations of European countries will have shrunk significantly.

The birthrate in America is 1.6. Hispanic immigration raises it to 2.1, barely enough to survive. However, there is an intense effort underway to evangelize America for Islam to speed the process.

Islam truly does not need terrorists and they are wasting valuable assets doing so. They simply need those men to lay down their weapons, immigrate to western countries and have many children.

It is ironic that only the Muslim countries are taking the Lord's command to be fruitful and multiply. Obviously, if you cannot have children, that is not your fault. But the Protestant church has endorsed the cultural norm of small families.

They may well pay the price.
Interesting article on health care from the Atlantic.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Growing up Southern Baptist, I was taught that creeds, confessions and catechisms were bad. That is incorrect, it turns out. Frankly, I am a little mad that these were left out of my upbringing. I spent years wondering about the answers to questions, and later, years studying the Bible to find the answers to questions. Guess what?

I'm not the only one who had those questions.

People have always had those same questions. Great theologians and students of the Bible researched these questions years ago and put the answers in their confessions and creeds. Then, they wrote catechisms to teach their people these. Baptists, in fact, had them, including Spurgeon, who wrote his own.

When our Baptist leaders decry the ignorance of their people, feel free to point this out.

Here is an example of a catechism question and answer.

The Heidleberg Catechism, question 57: What comfort does the resurrection of the body offer you?

Answer. Not only shall my soul after this life immediately be taken up to Christ, my Head,[1] but also this my flesh, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul and made like Christ's glorious body.[2]

[1] Luke 16:22; 23:43; Phil. 1:21-23. [2] Job 19:25, 26; I Cor. 15:20, 42-46, 54; Phil. 3:21; I John 3:2.

You can see that the old accusation, "creeds take the place of the Bible" is false. Each answer references the scripture so you can look it up and study it.

I only stumbled on these a few years ago, starting with the Westminister. The first question was the question I pondered for years. If I had known the confession and been trained in the catechism, I would have know the answer and practiced it for years.

Joshua Harris likens Gollum's slavery to the One Ring to our slavery to sin.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

In 2009, there are more writings in print by 19th-century Calvinist pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon than by any other English-speaking author living or dead.
I received this email today: I called my stockbroker this morning and asked him what I should be buying. He said "Canned Goods and Ammunition".

There seems to be an air of pessimism out there.
"The Comeback Kid" is a great article on John Calvin and the resurgence of Calvinism by Timothy George in Christianity Today.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


This seems to be the basis of his thinking. Cash For Clunkers meant trading in an old car and being compensated for it. The theory is that new cars will get better gas mileage and better serve our lord and master the environment. (If you follow the progress of the manufacture of new car parts, you might beg to differ.) The old cars will be sent to old car purgatory until they are eventually annialated.

This also seems to be the basis of health care for the elderly. You should trade them in for a new model. I wonder if the government will pay us for this. You bring in your old relative. The government pays you $4,500.00. They take your old person and do away with them. (No animals will be harmed in the destruction of the elderly.)

I think they would get some takers for this.

I just wish we could do it with our old politicians, especially in Congress. I might even waive the $4,500.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


but, seriously, how would YOU like to have an approval rating? "Today, Larry's approval rating fell to 45%. 45% of the people who know Larry do not approve of him or his performance."

It could be a little disheartening, couldn't it? Especially if the numbers kept going down? "Today Larry's approval numbers fell to a new low. Story at 10."

There could be an upside to this, though. Most of us gage the approval of others by ascertaining subtle signs. These can be really difficult.

For example, crossed arms may mean disapproval or rejection. They may also mean someone's arms are tired.

The baby smiling may mean he\she really likes you. It may mean he\she has gas.

You say, why are you frowning. They say, I'm not. You say "I guess your face just does that naturally." Then they frown for real.

You say "when is your baby due?" You wake up in the hospital.

Some signs are not so hard to ascertain.

Such as, you say "hello dear" and your spouse looks the other way. Low approval rating.

The dog doesn't even come to the door to greet you when you come home. Approval rating zero.

Your boss is interviewing applicants and you didn't know there was a job opening. Approval rating sub zero.

I don't worry a lot about approval ratings. I have adjusted to the public's response to my personality.

For example, at church I often get a strained look when someone asks how we can do something better and I tell them what the Bible says about it. I have come to learn that means "here he goes again". The good part is, I don't get asked to serve on task forces or committees any more. And no one says, I really want to know what you think about this.

My wife also has "the look". That occurs when I am talking, say at dinner with guests, and she feels I have gotten off the reservation. Such as when I used the term "brain fart" to the music minister at dinner.

This happens a lot when I am talking with or about her mother. Evey wife has "the look". I think there is training for it. Or maybe they learn it from their mothers. It is designed to make the intestines of husbands freeze solid.

My daughters even have been working on it. Now I can get "the look" from them if they don't like what I say.

The dog just goes back to his bed. He doesn't have "the look", but he is a male of sorts.

But, like the President, I just have to keep on going. I'm thinking of a bus tour.

I can think of several people who'd buy me a ticket.
"When love, or the Spirit of God strikes a man, he is transformed, he no longer insists upon his separate individuality. Our Lord never spoke in terms of individuality, of a man's "elbows" or his isolated position, but in terms of personality - "that they may be one, even as We are one."

If you give up your right to yourself to God, the real true nature of your personality answers to God straight away. Jesus Christ emancipates the personality, and the individuality is transfigured; the transfiguring element is love, personal devotion to Jesus. Love is the outpouring of one personality in fellowship with another personality."

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. (Dec 12th reading)

Thanks to Jeff Whitfield for passing this along.
The President's approval rating is down to 45%. In other words, a majority of Americans now do not approve of the president.

I guess the bus tour thing isn't working.
Spanish Proverb

“Books are hindrances to persisting stupidity.”

"Find the things that stir your affections for Christ and saturate your life in them. Find the things that rob you of that affection and walk away from them. That’s the Christian life as easy as I can explain it for you." - Matt Chandler