December 2014

Isaiah 9: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Considering the “kingdom”:

John 18:

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”


Mominbox used to say that an honest confession is good for the soul.  In that case, I plan to be good to my soul this morning.  Ladies and gentlemen, I must confess.  I like desserts.  There I said it.  In fact growing up it was the family joke that I believed in three food groups: pie, cakes, and cookies.  To a small degree, I still do.  Of course my horizons have expanded with age, and I have added a fourth food group: fudge.  Well, anyways, our parents decided to treat us to a trip to Israel.  I was single digits age at the time, so I know it was quite a deal for them to do this feat.  One of the memories was a dinner where the waiters would serve in courses.  The food would be placed, we would eat, it would be cleared off, then the next item would be brought.  I was a bit impatient for the dessert.  I asked mominbox several times when it would get here and will freely admit that I don’t have any idea what food was there, as it was just the requirement to eat so I could get to the dessert.  (*side bar – yes, mom used that one to get me to eat.  I can see all of you nodding out there.  Yours too. )  Well, dessert time arrived and the waiter set the table starting with the person to my left and went around the table and placed three plates in front of me.  Apply puzzled look at this point.  He then brought the dessert and started serving in the same pattern.  Yes, he applied three large portions on the three plates.  Apply dumbfounded look.  The amount provided probably matched the amount of the meal.  I looked at mominbox and asked, “what do I do.”  She said that she would help me.  Many years later, she told me that the waiters, who were behind me and out of my sight, were laughing at my predicament.

Well, last night was it.  The time for which we had practiced and planned for 7 sessions.  The bell choir performed.  We did our worst piece first and progressed to the best one.  The kids were nervous.  Their faces showed.  Our clown actually was serious.  The first piece was atrocious – musically speaking.  Everyone got lost and I picked a starting point on “line 3, first measure”  and restarted again.  The last chord was a group of randomly played bells in unison.  But at least they were together on the last note.  We reset the music, traded appropriate bells to ready for the next piece, and waited for the next group to do their number.  (There were several groups performing various numbers)  The next piece was almost recognizable.  The dotted quarter note timing was a bit closer to correct.  A couple rushed their notes and threw off the timing so that I was trying to quietly sing the notes to get them to follow.  This piece was written as a more single note melody with chords on beat 1.  It was a bit more recognizable, but again, being lost was a problem – I could tell.  I was even lost at a time as it was apparent a couple of different measures were being attempted.  We took our seats.  A couple more presentations were done then we were called up for the final number.  This one was their best, and recognizable.  They stuck with it most of the way, though there was an occasional rush.  I could see one or two freeze at their notes, so I tried to urge on the group.  Well, we made it.

One parent asked for a picture with us and a child.  Another director mentioned next year and we were even told one of the kids stated they wanted to do bells next year.   Wow!  I guess this shows performance isn’t everything.  Considering what our starting point was, though, they did all right.  This was a group of kids who had only seen “do, ra, me” in class.  They had never seen a note and we were teaching whole, half, quarter, eighth, and dotted quarter notes.  They had never seen a staff.  We instructed on the note names for the lines and spaces, though it was not much utilized as our time was limited.  We ended up assigning bells and highlighting the notes on the page, so that the kids would only have to pay attention to the timing and play when that highlight showed.  Lastly, we only had 7 practices to take a group of kids who had never touched a bell, or read a note to perform 3 pieces.  The director stated we did well with what we had – that we were starting with nothing.  I understand what she meant.  When I was in elementary school, we were reading music at the second grade.  I started piano in second, viola in third, and trumpet in fourth grade.  I this area of the country, they don’t get actual music until sixth.  Pity.  At least this group now knows 5 timings and has seen the staff and measure, so learning has occurred.  It was worth the effort.

DANA MILBANK: With Chuck Hagel’s departure, Obama is turning into George W. Bush. Most of Bush’s flaws, none of his virtues.

Plus: “Obama went on at great length about the ‘class and integrity’ of the ‘great friend’ he was pushing out the door, praising Hagel for everything from drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan to working to reduce sexual assaults. Only in passing did Obama mention the war that threatens to dominate the last two years of his presidency.”

Yeah, winning the war is job number one. Obama’s failure here will come to dominate his portrayal in history. The other stuff, not so much.

UPDATE: The New York Times Changes Its Story Deleting The Most Remarkable Thing About Chuck Hagel’s Firing.
Taken as a whole, the original New York Times story paints a pretty damning picture of the White House’s national security policy setting. Mr. Hagel, so long as he was a loyal foot soldier for the President, was okay even if he was on the outside of the White House cool kidz team.
But the moment Hagel spoke up on ISIS, contradicting the White House, it was game over.
In other words, Chuck Hagel was not fired for incompetence. He was fired for telling the truth on ISIS — calling it an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” thereby forcing Barack Obama to deal with a threat he very much would like to ignore.
It’s only made more interesting by the New York Times’s decision to complete delete that bit explaining the motivation for his firing.

Someone from the White House called them, presumably.

HOW DO YOU SPELL SCAPEGOAT? H-A-G-E-L. “So Chuck Hagel has been fired as defense secretary. We were critical of his appointment, and opposed his confirmation by the Senate. But let’s be clear: Hagel has done what he was asked and what was expected of him at the Pentagon. To the degree he has deviated from the Obama White House line, he’s been more right than wrong (e.g., on the threat the Islamic State poses). So why has he been fired? Because the Obama White House needs a scapegoat. President George W, Bush fired Don Rumsfeld in connection with a change in strategy (the surge) and to bring in someone of independent stature. That’s not the case today. President Obama continues to want a Pentagon with weak leadership and little independence. There’s therefore no reason to expect the next two years of Obama foreign and defense policy to be any better than the past two.”

SO WHY ALL THE FERGUSON HOOPLA? Last time the Dems and Sharpton made a big deal of a shooting, it was the Trayvon Martin case, hyped to keep up black turnout for 2012. But now there’s not an election. So why Ferguson, and why now? Polling indicates that most people aren’t all that sympathetic, and protests that tie up Interstates, etc. aren’t going to attract swing voters.
But it’s not about swing voters. It’s about the base. And it’s not about the Democratic Party’s base, but about certain leaders’ base within the Democratic Party. This may be best understood as an intra-party struggle. Obama is the champion of the urban-black wing of the party, and because of him that wing has been on top. But his star is fading, black voters are beginning to realize that they haven’t benefited economically, and the next Dem nominee — whether it’s Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, or Elizabeth Warren — will be from the white gentry-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The riots, the marches, the traffic-blocking are a way of telling them that the Sharpton wing is still a force to be reckoned with, and to improve its bargaining power between now and 2016. At least, that’s the only way this — not at all spontaneous — street theater makes sense.

CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE: Pentagon Renaming “Illegal Combatants” as “Unprivileged Belligerents.” No, seriously. The Obama Administration seems determined to live up to every right-wing caricature. Hey, maybe those aren’t caricatures after all, then.

In fact, captured terrorists went out of style a long time ago, so that’s not the actual change. Until recently — like, say, two weeks ago — the Department of Defense used the term unlawful combatant as the label for terrorists captured by American military and intelligence forces as a way to distinguish them from uniformed soldiers of a recognized state authority in a straight-up fight. Their new manual dispenses with that term, the Federation of American Scientists noticed today (via Steven Aftergood and Olivier Knox):

DC Police Department Budgets Its Asset Forfeiture Proceeds Years In Advance
Asset forfeiture may be the greatest scam perpetuated on the American people by their government — and it’s all legal. For the most part, assets seized translate directly to monetary or physical gains for the agencies doing the seizing, an act often wholly separated from any American ideals of due process.

The New York Times recently obtained recording of asset forfeiture conferences which showed prosecutors advising cops on how to best exploit these programs to obtain additional funds and goods for their respective law enforcement agencies. In short, it appears that many agencies use asset forfeiture to fill departmental shopping lists, rather than as the criminal syndicate-crippling action it was intended to be.

D.C. police have made plans for millions of dollars in anticipated proceeds from future civil seizures of cash and property, even though federal guidelines say “agencies may not commit” to such spending in advance, documents show.
The city’s proposed budget and financial plan for fiscal 2015 includes about $2.7 million for the District police department’s “special purpose fund” through 2018. The fund covers payments for informants and rewards.

Unthanksgiving: Leftists Have Lost the Ability to Give Thanks
There is an old Chinese legend of a golden scroll on which the secret of human happiness was written; and sages and warlords, merchant-princes and emperors sought the scroll with fervor. When found, they saw the secret of the scroll consisted of one ideogram printed over and over, an ideogram they could not read. However, there was a beggar girl who could read the mysterious word.
If you know that word, then you know the secret of human happiness.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for three reasons: first, it drives the Leftists crazy because it is a clearly and openly Christian holiday in the midst of a society they are fervidly attempting to dechristianize; second, it drives Leftists crazy because it is a holiday based on a historical fact, namely, Indian and Pilgrim cooperation, which flips the middle finger at the Leftist preferred narrative about non-civilized White men committing malign genocide on the non-savage Red men; and finally and most of all, it drives the Leftists crazy because the concept of being thankful, of feeling gratitude, of thanks for benefits never to be repaid, is utterly alien to their way of thinking and their way of life.

One benefit that accrues to the Christian, even if all of history, logic, and revelation should turn out to be false, and God a myth no more real than Global Warming, nonetheless, is that we Christian men feel gratitude toward our Creator for the infinite gift of creation. A noble pagan can indeed receive a gift in his stockings at Christmas, and be grateful to the giver, but a Christian can feel grateful for the legs he puts into his stockings each morning, and the world on which he walks.

The Left does not give thanks, not to anyone, human or divine, past or present, not for any reason.

Why not?

Teaching Little Girls to Hate Boys, One Barbie at a Time
[From the comments]
I think Mattel really crossed the line a few years ago, when they introduced “Divorced Barbie.” She comes complete with Ken’s house, Ken’s car, Ken’s boat, half of Ken’s income……

Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

None of the 2016 hopefuls is polling higher than Darth Vader. You’ll recall that Vader chopped off his son’s arm and blew up an entire planet, but evidently in the eyes of the American public these are minor sins compared to Benghazi, Bridgegate and Gov. Rick Perry’s hipster glasses. These numbers suggest that if “Star Wars” were real and Darth Vader decided to enter the 2016 presidential race, he’d be the immediate front-runner.
Meanwhile President Obama is polling just two favorability points below Emperor Palpatine, Lord of the Sith. Make of that what you will.
[From the comments]
In Lord Vader’s defense, we at least know that there is a tiny remnant of goodness left in him. That stands in stark contrast to many of the other candidates.

The key to Obama’s struggle with white working class voters is not ‘white,’ but ‘working.’
Working class white people don’t like President Obama much. According to the latest Gallup poll, only 27% approve of him. That’s 21 percentage points down since he took office in 2009.
A standard talking-point is that these voters don’t like Obama because they’re racist. But that assumes that the key word in “white working class” is “white.” In fact, the key word is “working.” After all, Obama isn’t any blacker than he was in 2009.

Also no coverage at the New York Times of the arrest of Obama bundler Terry Bean for child rape. It’s like they have an agenda to distort the news for partisan reasons or something.®ion=TopBar&WT.nav=searchWidget&module=SearchSubmit&pgtype=Homepage#/%22terry%20bean%22

Shhhhh – Top Obama bundler accused of child rape: Column
Influential gay rights advocate and top Obama donor, Terry Bean, and alleged former boyfriend arrested.
Conservatives complain that President Obama gets a free pass from the media, which acts as a de-facto public-relations shop for the Democrat in the White House. Never has that charge seemed truer than now as an ugly rape scandal unfolds on the West Coast.

On Wednesday, Portland, Ore. police arrested Terrence Patrick Bean, who has been charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year. This man is not just any old guy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old – he’s a big-money Democratic donor and liberal political activist with connections inside the Obama White House. Bean raised more than a half-million dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

If one of President George W. Bush’s bundlers would have been charged with child rape, make no mistake about it, the media feeding frenzy would have been uncontrollable – which would be legitimate given the severity of the allegation. The silence surrounding Terrence Bean exposes the national media’s partisan double standard in obscene detail.

Donny Ray Williams Jr., 37, who served as a staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee, pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats.
Prosecutors say that on July 22, 2010, Williams invited a female congressional colleague to his Capitol Hill apartment and promised to introduce her to Senate employees. At the house, prosecutors said, Williams spiked a drink with Ambien. The woman, according to court documents, fell into a “deep sleep,” at which point Williams raped her.
A month later, prosecutors said, Williams invited another woman to his home and gave her alcoholic beverages. They said he had sexual contact with her when she was too intoxicated to give her consent.
Williams had been indicted on 10 counts, but prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said they would seek a suspended prison term and five years of supervised probation. Williams also would have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Will the Washington Post send someone to look into his college records?

Hang on to your hats, America.
And throw away that big, fat styrofoam finger while you’re about it.
There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.
It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.
The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

Via Reason, we see that an environmental group carelessly left a document up on the ‘net highlighting their plans to manufacture “science” to ban a pesticide they didn’t like.  Of course, they didn’t have any scientific reason to dislike it, hence the ‘manufacture “science”‘ bit:

The Risk-Monger recently came across a strategy document carelessly left on-line by activist scientists that lies at the heart of the founding of the IUCN Taskforce on Systemic Pesticides. The Addendum to this document (see page 3) spells out a rather distasteful anti-neonicotinoid campaign strategy lacking in scientific integrity. The process has been tried and tested before by activists, but their behaviour has never been so clearly articulated in writing. I thought this document should be shared so we know the type of people are standing behind the “science” defending the bees.

How did this story unfold?
– Under the auspices of the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a group of activists map out a four-year campaign strategy to attack the pesticide industry and seek the banning of neonicotinoids.
– The idea is to collect like-minded researchers, get funding to set up a task-force to attack neonics using the IUCN as a base with WWF (or some other NGO) doing the lobbying.
– Once funding is in place for the campaign organisation, start the research, write a main high-impact report and get a few other articles published (find some big names to use).
– On that basis, organise a broader campaign (with the support of several high-impact PR specialists) to promote their anti-neonic publication.
– Brace for reactions and blowback from other scientists and industry

Sentence first, then the trial.  Seems it worked for them:
They were also more successful than they would have ever have imagined, getting neonics banned in the EU 16 months ahead of their strategic plan.

I have been busy.  I have been tired.  OK, I know that’s normal input for this.  I guess that’s what happens when I work on typing after other things are good.  As for these last two weeks: I have been working on a trailer in which to haul the Samson stuff as well as a new portable sound equipment bag in which we have wireless microphones, wireless in-ear monitor, and a mixer to send the sound appropriately before sending it to the main mixer board.  This will hopefully help hearing the parts without the volume and bulk of regular monitors.  As for the trailer, here is this morning’s pic:

trailerYou will notice the ribs on the roof.  Each piece was individually cut and welded there.  I think that’s about 70 welds on the roof pieces alone.  I also doubled the back bar so that the ramp which is in the works will have better support from the structure.  Down in the bottom of the pic, notice the bar from that jack across to the other side of the triangle.  Having the jack there was handy, but the bar was light enough, that it was bending.  I put the support there on the bottom of the triangle beams to stop it from bending under the stress of lift.  It is also tall enough for both of us to walk inside without endangering our heads with the top structures.  That is one of the joys of self built.  Another is the training that learning to weld will bring.  I am no longer nervous about the bright light bringing molten steel to bear on a crack.  I’m not good by any means, but I can get a weld there now.  That’s worth something.

There are a couple of ponderings I have had while doing this project: 1) I have been noted by a couple for the various “skills” I have exhibited over the years.  I donn’t think much of them, as they aren’t professional level, and I’m just trying to get a job done.  Personally, I would say that’s what one should do – decide what needs to be done and get the skill to do it, or make the money to hire it done.  Since nurses aren’t high on the pay scale, I have to rely on the former more than the latter.  That’s doesn’t seem strange to me, it’s just survival.  2) There was a chart from the election touted by Rush Limbaugh and seen on the web showing the election by county and noting how little of the country is in the blue.  Rush made the comment that the reason this chart doesn’t really matter is that half of the population lives in those exact counties in the blue.  This left me to wonder: what makes living close together more of a socialist mentality, than an independent mentality.  I realize that there are two parties: Republican and Democrat, but to be honest, the Democrats are socialist with window dressing, and the Constitutional freedom loving individuals have only one major party from which to choose, and it’s a poor roll of the dice at that.  We have one good senator here in Texas, and one for which I had to hold my nose.  So, back to the population, it occurred to me that the city folks don’t deal with animals much.  Sure they have cats and dogs and pets and stuff, but how many really have neighbors with a hook in their garage or out the back door?  It’s the country folks who know where meat comes from, and what it takes to put it on the plate.  The interaction one has with a grocery is limited to the appearance in the package, the amount desired on the sticker, and if both are acceptable, the exchange is made and the piece of meat goes home with the consumer.  There is no hunt, no tracking, no field dressing, no cleaning, no butchering and packaging for the freezer, less independence and self reliance than is needed when hunting supper in the wild.  How about something from the store?  When you live 2 miles from the store, it’s not too big a deal to drop by and grab something forgotten.  When you live 50 miles from the store, the time and gas make this an adventure requiring thought and planning to reduce the chance that another trip will be required.  As I read in a book one time – socialism can only survive in a time of plenty.  Decisions made in time of want hold a higher risk level requiring more care and consideration as to the best decision.  The cost of a wrong decision is too great.  When supplies are available, shortage is not a consideration, bad decisions lose their gravity, and errors are more easily absorbed.  I can forget milk in the city and be back in 15 minutes with a gallon.  I can’t do that from the middle of pastureville.

I’m sure there are other contrasts with city vs country and blue vs red, but those were the couple that came to mind while working on the recent projects.