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Friday, August 28, 2009

Mac OSX Snow Leopard

I bought Snow Leopard for my computer today. I don't consider myself an early adopter, but I had the day off from work, and the

Uncia uncia.Image via Wikipedia

upgrade is only 30 bucks. It had several hiccups on installation. A few times it gave me a message saying it couldn't read the disc and that I needed to clean it. I did this a few times. Then when it got to the restart stage of the install, Skype and Adobe updater launched and seemed to interrupt the rest of the installation. So I had to begin the installation all over again. But now I'm online on the new OS. I'm using Safari to write this blog. One of my many griefs with Safari and Blogger is the inability to paste anything into the "Compose" window. Pasting only worked in the "Edit HTML" window. It works now. But I really like Zemanta in Firefox which fetches links and pictures for me. I'll be staying on Firefox for awhile. In fact, I will finish this post in Firefox, but, Snow Leopard is here, and I'm using it.


Is it "snappier?" I don't know. But I can say "it just works."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rescued from the pound

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at th...Image via Wikipedia

My dog is a rescue dog. We've had her for several years now. She will still run away if given the opportunity. She will still bark at me when I come home like I'm an invader. She will still steal food off the counter. She will still jump on the furniture. But she also identifies with us as her pack. She is still thrilled when we come home. She usually remembers her rules. In exchange, she's well fed, treated for disease, petted, walked, spoken too, cared for and loved.

I have a master too. He rescued me.

Some people get worked up about God forcing His love on us. They call it "divine rape" and object to the insult to their free will. But I view God as our rescuer. It's not divine rape. It's divine rescue. We all are in the dog pound, doomed for execution unless we are adopted. The floors of our cages are covered with excrement and urine and flies. It's very noisy in there. When he picks us, he brings us to his kingdom. And we learn the rules of the house. And we learn to love and respect our master. Where is free will? The cages were never locked, but we still needed him to open them.

Jesus says about himself in Luke 4:18-19 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the U.S. Constitution and Healthcare

Article 1, Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

John's question. Where is healthcare? Courtesy of the Foundry. Even more constitutional problems here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Does Jesus support universal healthcare?

I don't know. He hasn't told me. When he walked among us, he was the embodiment of universal health care. Crowds came to him sick and corwds went away from him healed. He hates sin and its effects on us, including illness and death. He also is concerned with soul care. He heals broken souls as well as broken bodies. He's even more concerned with souls because they are forever, but our bodies are limited. He says, Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28. The church has always been concerned for the sick and dying. Many American hospitals were started by religious conviction, and some are still supported denominationally. Healthcare is given away around the world by the church as well as in the U.S. For every WorldVision, there are a hundred tiny, single-location, church-sponsored outfits. I think, he does support universal health care, but not the way our country is talking about it.

I'm pretty sure he doesn't consider euthanasia or abortion "healthcare." If he made us, in his image, why would he support murder? If euthanasia was right, whither Mother Teresa, who held the dying in her arms, not injected them with poison. Who is better company at your death bed, Teresa of Kervorkian?

What would universal health care look like that Jesus would support? I'm sure it would look different in every community. In fact it does. One interesting Christian response to insurance is called Samaritan Ministries. There are others as well, like Medi-Share. Some missionaries are medically trained and perform their services for a pittance to the glory of Jesus. I think that's the universal health care Jesus wants, the kind that glorifies him, which no state care could ever do.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

book report: Leningrad, State of Seige by Michael Jones (2008)

There's no better cure for a fat, lazy summer than a book that will chill your very soul. Reading about the siege of Leningrad in WW2, from summer 1941 to January 1944, will make you shiver through their winter without fuel, and feel guilty for eating another hamburger while hundreds

Cover of Cover of Leningrad: State of Siege

of thousands died of starvation because of the Nazi siege and communist corruption. Michael Jones writes a 300 page history with abundant first person accounts, diaries, intercepted letters, oral histories, and personal sketches in Leningrad: State of Siege. I didn't review it here, but, previously, I had read an excellent account of the battle for Stalingrad. That battle was the turning point of the Nazi tide into Russia. Leningrad was not much of a battle though. Hitler was so impressed with the speed which his armies reached Leningrad, that he decided to bypass it, and starve it to death, so that the armies could go on to Moscow, a poor decision on his part as well. Leningrad, formerly and currently known as St. Petersburg, was under siege for 900 days. Perhaps one million people died in the city due to the siege. The Nazis never stopped shelling and div bombing the city. In response, the city's military factories never stopped producing tanks and ammunition. However, citizens who weren't working in those factories, including the children and aged, did not receive enough rations to live on, less than 5 ounces a day, if they got it at all from the distribution centers at which they queued up for an entire day.

As usual, those with weaker morals did better than those with strong morals. Bread was stolen from children. Bread was bartered for many vices. When bread could not be found, human flesh was turned to, either by murder or by cutting from the dead. Those in charge of distribution, the leaders who were responsible for the citizens, never knew hunger. Meanwhile, those with morals banded together, survivors who cared for each other. Of interest to me is one account of someone who called out to God and was answered. A woman was betrayed by her neighbor and was left without food for her children.
It was not possible to survive without food and Okhapkina became almost crazy with distress, as her fears for her children overwhelmed her. She had no idea what to do. Then suddenly, she got out of bed, and flung herself on to her knees. 'I had no icons,' Okhapkina related, 'and I didn't know any prayers.My children had never been christened, and I didn't believe in God. I would sometimes cry out: "Save us - God don't let us die," during an air raid. But that was it. Yet now i desperately wanted to appeal for help.'

Words began to tumble out. Fearful of waking her children, Okhapkina whispered: 'God, you can see how I'm suffering - how hungry my little children and I are. I can't go on any more. God, if we are to die, could we all die together?' She was utterly desparate. 'I can't live any more - the suffering is too much.' And then, amid all the distress, something came to her. She began to recite a simple formula: 'Have mercy, God, on my innocent children.'

Early the next morning, she was woken by a loud banging at the front door. A voice called out, asking if Lidiya Okhapkina lived there. It was a Red Army soldier, carrying a parcel from her husband, who was serving at the front. He was fighting jundreds of miles away - and Okhapkina had not heard news from him for months. But now he had sent his familya kilogram of semolina, a kilogram of rice and two packets of biscuits. pp. 206-7
How many other prayers did God answer during that siege? How many did he not answer? That's the problem of evil. But God did answer her prayer. God does answer prayer. God does hear the cries of the orphans and widows. I'm digressing.

The author has deep affection for this city. He does not write as a clinical observer, but as a friend with a broken heart, yet proud. He is glad Leningrad outlasted the Nazis. He rejoices with Leningraders today. This is a tragic book. the suffering portrayed is immense and depressing. It needs to be faced though. We need to be reminded, I need to be reminded, how shallow our morality is. Character is only known when temptation is resisted. When all hell breaks loose, and the fetters of civilization are thrown off, hell is usually freed internally as well.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

How do I use Facebook?

It's nice to touch base with people you haven't seen or heard for 20 years. It's nice to see their kids. It's nice to hear what's going on in people's thoughts and lives. But I didn't want to update my "status." Things like "eating breakfast" or "IMing friends" or "enjoying peace and quiet" weren't cutting it for me. It's fine that others are telling their friends that, but it wasn't for me. This is also why I'm not on Twitter yet. But I am on a journey. And I decided to take snapshots of my journey and post them on Facebook. So on my Facebook page I share something that grabbed me from my morning reading in the Bible.

As a family, we are reading, this year, through the New Testament together, one chapter at a time. We aren't reading it straight through. We meander. We'll read one gospel, then one short epistle, one middle epistle, and one long epistle. Eventually, we'll finish the year off with all John, his gospel, his epistles, and then the Apocalypse. Jesus is complicated, and I like posting some of those complicated verses. As Lewis tries to show, he's like a lion. You can't catch him. He has to catch us.

That's not the only thing I do. But that is all I do with my daily status. My blog is linked to my Facebook page, so all my posts show up over there as well. I belong to many groups, so often I will repost something from them or from my friends, especially videos. I have a weakness. So if you "friend" me, only expect to see the Bible in my status. All my readers are welcome to friend me, but let me know you are a reader, or I'll click "ignore."

Sunday, August 09, 2009

My concerns about Obamacare

My big one is about tax funded abortions, but that's an easy one to guess from me. My other concern though is about appeals. In my state, when one disagrees with their insurance company or HMO regarding payment for services, one has the option of appealing through a state grievance board, which can and will overrule the coverage provider. When the state becomes the provider, the chances of it ruling against itself are about as rare as this blog getting featured at HuffPo.

My other quip, made on Facebook, is that nationalized healthcare won't solve medical inequalities, just codify them.

For more thoughts, I recommend reading this blog by Frank Beckwith, who teaches philosophy and law.
It seems to me that one should be deeply concerned about this, especially if one has elderly parents. If, let's say, H.R. 3200 or something close to it were to become law and the public option pushes private insurance into near non-existence (as would surely happen with all the incentives in place), then there will no neighboring state to which to run. You won't be able to take your business elsewhere, since there will be no elsewhere. And to whom will you issue your grievance, a special "health court," one likely informed by a youth-worshipping culture and a utilitarian bioethics philosophy that sees the elderly (not to mention, handicapped infants) as burdens that are syphoning away valuable resources that could be put to better use in support of society's "real persons" and more productive contributors?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Vacation review: Monadnock region of SW New Hampshire

Climbing Monadnock Mountain, the most-hike mountain in the world is not the only thing to do in the region, but I did like it. See the earlier report. We enjoyed two other opportunities as well, the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge and the Jaffrey cupcake festival.

Last year, when we camped up there, we had talked about going to the Cathedral, but never got around to it. We missed it when it looked like the picture on their home page. In that picture, the trees are growing up among the benches facing the altar and Monadnock Mountain. But in

AUBURN, NH - DECEMBER 14:  A car makes its way...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

December 2008, New Hampshire experienced the worst ice storm in this generation, and they lost many of their trees. So we got to enjoy the new cathedral, and there is nothing to complain about. There is still a gorgeous view of the mountain. And worship can still happen. This place is dedicated to the military, so by necessity, it is interfaith. There are a couple outdoor chapels. This main one has a more low church feel, but there is also a more Catholic outdoor area as well. A Mother's chapel is also set up for those who have lost their offspring to war. This is not a pacifist Cathedral either. Underneath the indoor chapel is a museum dedicated to our service members. There are souvenirs, models, signed letters, medals, photos, poetry, religious symbols and icons, overall, an eclectic collection.



I think this is a fantastic place for quiet reflection and even worship. It was a wonderful place to visit midweek.



Later on that evening we attended the Jaffrey Civic Center annual Cupcake Festival. It's free and open to the public. The cupcakes and beverages, including wine, are free. The competition for best in show is intense. I thought of sending these pictures to one my daily pleasurable visits on the web, Cake Wrecks, but she'll only accept wrecks that are for sale. She really despises CupCake Cakes (CCCs) but I think even she would admit some of these are beauties.

A flock of CC Chickens...



How about an ear of CC Corn? Notice the pat of butter and the cob holders on the ends.


How about some CC Cow meat with fries?


A CC van Gogh!

Can I interest you in a plate of CC pasta with CC "meat" balls and red sauce?

I did not eat any of these competitive entries, but I ate too many of all the other ones. Look at this selection at just one end of the 20 foot table. They should have handed out insulin as well. We enjoyed the live music by a four member bluegrass band. They were really good. Afterwards, we watched a free presentation of Singin in the Rain. Apparently, a local collects older movies on reels, instead of DVD's. It required three reels. We headed back to our camp site after the first reel.



Sadly, this vacation review series is over. I just needed an excuse to post some of the pictures from our trip. I'll have another book review soon. I'm reading about the siege of Leningrad in WW2, by Michael Jones. Summer heat and BBQ's take on different significance when you read about starvation in -25C winter days without heat or electricity and eating wallpaper paste.





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Sunday, August 02, 2009

47th annual Kelley Race report

Unlike last time, two years ago, I wore shoes and the 11.5 miles were only 3 minutes faster, 1' 48", 42nd in my age group. I don't think shoes made the big difference. I wear Nike Free 3.0 shoes, which are barely there. There not made for "support" but for flexibility and freedom. I would not have worn shoes if I had decided to start running back in June instead of July. I went out a few times in early July barefoot, but I was going too far too soon. The best way to condition the feet is with patience, 1 mile every other day for a week then adding a mile every week. Instead, I ended up getting too many blisters and too many days off to recover. Eventually, I gave up and put the shoes on with 2 weeks to prepare. I squeezed in a few 4 milers and two 8 mile runs. I asked my wife and another running friend, Kristen, who couldn't run due to sesamoid issues to meet us at the awful 8 mile hill. They said many of the runners appreciated their location. The day was hot but the humidity was not bad. I was very happy with the water stations that offered gatorade. Every time I drank some I soon felt a little boost. At the end of the race, I was able to pass some and some passed me. I mostly ran alone, but that's fine with me. I'm a little sore, the day after, but overall, I'm good. Now I can resume barefoot conditioning.

Puma H-Street vs. Nike FreeImage by sporksmith via Flickr

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