"if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house"

Judge uses Obama’s words against him


In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, arguing that there are other ways to tackle health care short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that ‘if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of the 78-page ruling Monday.

Judge Vinson, a federal judge in the northern district of Florida, struck down the entire health care law as unconstitutional on Monday, though he is allowing the Obama administration to continue to implement and enforce it while the government appeals his ruling.

The footnote was attached to the most critical part of Judge Vinson‘s ruling, in which he said the “principal dispute” in the case was not whether Congress has the power to tackle health care, but whether it has the power to compel the purchase of insurance.

PDF of rulings

Comment: on p. 76!

The "Law of Unintended Consequences" and food riots in the North Africa/Middle East

America and the Middle East Food Riots


Today there is a global food shortage and sky-rocketing prices. This has become the underlying factor in the riots in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, where up to 56% of a person's income is dedicated to the acquisition of food. These riots are now leading to the upheaval of governments and the very real possibility of the ascendancy of the radical elements into control.

While bad weather in various parts of the world is an element of the accelerating food prices there are two other factors directly related to the United States and its policies.

First, because of the enormous deficts run up by Obama administration and the Democrat controlled Congress, the Federal Reserve has had to effectively print trillions of dollars which have flooded the global market. Commodities are priced in dollars, consequently emerging markets throughout the world, and the food sector in particular, are suffering from rapidly rising inflation.

The CRB food index is up an incredible 36% over last year. Raw materials are up 23%. Since 2009 the dollar has declined by over 13% against the Japanese Yen and 25% against the Canadian dollar.


An example of this inflation is in the price of wheat. The January 2011 futures price is $335.00 per metric ton, last year at this time it was $157.00 per metric ton an increase of 113%. Not all of this increase is due to the inflationary impact of the dollar, but when global yields are down due to weather factors this foolish US monetary policy has made matters needlessly worse.

The second factor in the overall global food situation is the American decision to, in essence, burn food in its cars, a policy championed by the environmentalists since the 1990's. In 2010 the United States produced 13.1 Billion bushels of corn, of that amount 4.2 billion bushels went into ethanol (33% of total production). That represents in 2011, a year in which global stocks are down nearly 8%, over 14% of all corn grown in the world being used in the most inefficient manner possible-American gas tanks.

Thus the futures price of corn per bushel in January 2011 is $6.51 as compared to $3.84 in January 2010 an increase of nearly 70%. While the price spike is in part due to lower yields, had the corn destined for ethanol been put back into the overall corn stocks, the net effect would have been to offset this lower crop and the global market would have maintained the 2010 price level despite the inflationary impact of the dollar.

Comment: Interesing read. Hadn't thought about the connection!

Another SOTU view - Obama clueless on deficits

David Walker: Obama Has "No Coherent Strategy" for Tackling Deficit or Creating Jobs


Every good fight needs a good strategy. But, the fiscal fight this country has been battling for the last few years hasn’t got one says David Walker – the so-called “Paul Revere” of fiscal responsibility.

“We have no coherent strategy to be able to improve our competitive posture, to be able to generate job growth [or] to be able to deal with our structural deficit,” says Walker, Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative and also the former U.S. Comptroller General.

If Walker is right, the United States is in serious trouble. This year the U.S. deficit will hit $1.5 trillion and if left without remedy will grow to $18 trillion by the end of 2021.

President Obama touched on our dire deficit situation during his second State of the Union last week, but Walker felt he did not go far enough. He believes as the executive of the country President Obama should have laid out specifics on out how to move this country forward. “We heard a lot of talk about it in the State of the Union,” he says. “We hear a lot of talk about it from politicians on both sides of the political aisle. It is time for action. We need results, not rhetoric.”

Comment: the Comeback America Initiative

On the SOTU speech

George Will: Uncle Sam in the driver's seat


The word "entitlements" was absent from his nearly 7,000-word State of the Union address - a $183 million speech that meandered for 61 minutes as the nation's debt grew $3 million a minute. He exhorted listeners to "win the future" by remembering the past.

On May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, in the Utah Territory, a golden spike was driven to celebrate the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads. In the 1960s, the United States sent men to the moon. Obama said: Today's government should take more control of the nation's resources so it can do innovative things akin to building the transcontinental railroad and exploring space.

The nation heard: You should trust the government whose recent innovations include the ethanol debacle that, four days before the State of the Union, the government expanded. And you should surrender more resources to the government whose recent innovations include the wild proliferation of subprime mortgages.


The day after Obama told the nation that the key to prosperity is creativity defined by this government and propelled by more government spending ("investment"), the Congressional Budget Office said that this year's budget gap is widening to $1.5 trillion, making the national debt 70 percent of gross domestic product, up from 40 percent in 2008.


[On the Volt and Nissan Leaf]

The government already offers $7,500 tax incentives for people who buy electric cars such as the $32,780 Nissan Leaf and, more to the point, General Motors' $41,000 Chevrolet Volt. As The Post's Peter Whoriskey reported, these prices are "well above" those of "comparably sized cars with gasoline engines that can cost about $20,000."

Obama's goal of getting 1 million such cars on America's roads by 2015 cannot be met unless innovative government rigs the market. Introduced in 2008, the $7,500 bribe was limited to the first 250,000 cars. Under Obama's stimulus, it was expanded to 200,000 per manufacturer.

Peggy Noonan: An Unserious Speech Misses the Mark


The speech was more than half over before the president got around to the spending crisis. He signaled no interest in making cuts, which suggested that he continues not to comprehend America's central anxiety about government spending: that it will crush our children, constrict the economy in which they operate, make America poorer, lower its standing in the world, and do in the American dream. Americans are alarmed about this not because they're cheap and selfish but because they care about the country they will leave behind when they are gone.

President Obama's answer is to "freeze" a small portion of government spending at current levels for five years. This is a reasonable part of a package, but it's not a package and it's not a cut. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who called it "sad," told a local radio station the savings offered "won't even pay the interest on the debt we're about to accumulate" in the next two years. The president was trying to "hoodwink" the American people, Mr. Coburn said: "The federal government is twice the size it was 10 years ago. It's 27% bigger than it was two years ago." Cuts, not a freeze, are needed—it's a matter of "urgency."


He too often in making a case puts the focus on himself. George H.W. Bush, always afraid of sounding egotistical, took the I's out of his speeches. We called his edits "I-ectomies." Mr. Obama always seems to put the I in. He does "I implants."

Humor, that leavening, subtle uniter, was insufficiently present. Humor is denigrated by serious people, but serious people often miss the obvious. The president made one humorous reference, to smoked salmon. It emerged as the biggest word in the NPR word cloud of responses. That's because it was the most memorable thing in the speech. The president made a semi-humorous reference to TSA pat-downs, but his government is in charge of and insists on the invasive new procedures, to which the president has never been and will never be subjected. So it's not funny coming from him. The audience sort of chuckled, but only because many are brutes who don't understand that it is an unacceptable violation to have your genital areas patted against your will by strangers.

I actually hate writing this. I wanted to write "A Serious Man Seizes the Center." But he was not serious and he didn't seize the center, he went straight for the mush. Maybe at the end of the day he thinks that's what centrism is.

Comments: Why I cannot watch or listen to Obama (I did read his SOTU!): He never really says anything. Just "mush".


How Egypt Killed the Internet

How Egypt Killed the Internet

In the case of Egypt, it was probably done with a few phone calls, says Jim Cowie, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Renesys Corp., a company that analyzes how the Internet is performing around the world.

Egypt severed mobile and Web communications late Thursday, the Journal reported.

Mr. Cowie said in an interview with Digits that he isn’t privy to how Egypt actually shut down the Web but outlined a scenario based on his “knowledge of how the Internet is structured.”

“People have talked about a ‘kill switch’” that would link to every router and be able to shut each one off from a central location, “but that is not realistic,” he said. “What is most likely is that somebody in the government gives a phone call to a small number of people and says, ‘Turn it off.’ And then one engineer at each service provider logs into the equipment and changes the configuration of how traffic should flow.”

Comment: Interesting chart associated with the article (Wall Street Journal)


Washing machine emergency

We had an interesting day. Kathee took off as we were having Service Master by to clean carpets and tiles. At 7:45 she had the washing machine going and a hose split (inside of the unit ... wasn't until the service person examined the unit that we knew what happened) and flooded the laundry room. Kathee moved fast and turned the water off and mopped and mopped to pick up the flood. We had water running into the basement as well.

Our old Maytag is 12 years old. We had Home Service Plus come out but the service man recommended we buy a new machine because of the age of the existing one. I ordered a new Maytag from Warners' Stellian. To be delivered on Monday. I'm calling this an early birthday gift!


That porous Southern border - the "Other Than Mexicans"

Comment: Lest one forget the dangers of an unprotected border!

Homicide Bombers in Arizona Desert?


There is a silver bullet linking the Islamic terror threat with the porous border of Arizona that deserves our immediate attention.
With fresh evidence of Hezbollah activity just south of the border, and numerous reports of Muslims from various countries posing as Mexicans and crossing into the United States from Mexico, our porous southern border is a national security nightmare waiting to happen.

[...]It is well documented in the Department of Homeland Security‘s 2008 Yearbook of Immigration Studies, from the Office of Immigration Statistics: Federal law enforcement agencies detained 791,568 deportable aliens in fiscal year 2008, and 5,506 of them were from 14 “special-interest countries” - i.e., nations full of jihadists such as Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.
Here is what we do know:

Whenever Arizona law enforcement officials contact Homeland Security about a suspected OTM (Other Than Mexican) they have detained, federal authorities swoop down, cart off the illegal entrant, and tell local officials nothing more about the case. OTMs have utilized sophisticated human smuggling networks to enter the United States from as many as 157 countries around the world - including Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Morocco and Egypt.

All this is happening against the backdrop of President Obama‘s refusal to admit that the global jihad even exists. John Brennan, his counterterrorism adviser, even denies that jihad is a motive for jihadists.

Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert


A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.

Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, "The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments." Each biographical page contains "the terrorist's name, date of death, and how they died."

Do we need a 'Sputnik Moment'?

Obama's Not the First to Use 'Sputnik Moment'


Then-Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, testifying before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in May, 2005, warned that, “Our generation has not had a Sputnik moment…yet. But our Sputnik is on its way.” He was speaking about education.

So were then-Govs. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota when they spoke to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in April, 2007. “One thing we haven't been successful at is creating a sense of urgency about this,” Napolitano said. “We haven't had a Sputnik moment.” Agreed Pawlenty: “The Sputnik moment will come, but it may come too late for us to fix things.”

Much more on Sputnik here

Comment: I suggest that we need a national Gail Vaz-Oxlade moment (She's Canadian but that's OK ... we can watch her show "Til Debt do us Part" on CNBC). The Gail Vaz-Oxlade moment I'm talking about is when she confronts couples about their debt.

Perhaps we should have a "Ross Perot" moment (if you remember the '92 election)

He now has an entire website dedicated to taxation and the federal budget deficit. Here's a sample:

For a moment (a Gail Vaz-Oxlade moment), pretend that the title of the above chart is "Receipts and Outlays for the Peet Household for 2009") (obviously the numbers on the "Y" axis would not be "billions"! But the green represents income and the red outlays. Gail would say to the Peet's ... "your finances are a disaster ... you ought to be ashamed of yourself". Kathee would sob ashamedly and I would wipe a tear from my own eyes for the remorse of our fiscal mistakes! Gail would confiscate our credit cards (she might even cut them up right in front of us!). She would put us on a budget and after a struggle to accept the realities of our fiscal situiation we would vow to improve and make necessary adjustments!

Our 'Sputnik Moment' needs to be that our nation will be financially bankrupt (perhaps mirroring our moral bankruptsy!) in less than a generation!


Business Week on the Wells Fargo - Wachovia deal

Wells Fargo Sweetened Wachovia Bid for Tax Gain, Bair Told FCIC


Wells Fargo & Co. aimed to take advantage of a change in tax law that occurred two days earlier when revising a 2008 offer for Wachovia Corp. and trumping a bid by Citigroup Inc., the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission said.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair told the panel that Richard Kovacevich, Well Fargo’s chairman, informed her that IRS Notice 2008-83 -- which gave tax breaks to acquirers of struggling banks -- “had been a factor leading to Wells’s revised bid,” according to the report. A previous offer by Wells Fargo had been rejected as regulators rushed to stave off bankruptcy at Wachovia.

Wells Fargo’s offer of $15.1 billion in stock derailed Wachovia’s agreement to sell its banking operations to Citigroup, which was reached a day before the IRS notice, according to the report. That led to two years of litigation among the banks. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo posted more than $20 billion in profit since the deal, while Citigroup required a $45 billion U.S. bailout.

Comment: Nothing new but an interesting recap. We are now 2 years into the merger. I now am on a team all in North Carolina and report to a former Wachovia manager.

Notoriety by the stroke of a Pelikan pen

Comment: Interesting in many ways: fraud, Civil War, National Archives, etc.

Stroke of Pen Altered Date, and a Tale of Lincoln, Too


Just hours before Abraham Lincoln “put on his hat and headed for Ford’s Theater,” on April 14, 1865, the president is said to have spared a mentally incompetent Army private the death penalty for desertion.

Comment: While Lincoln did pardon the Army private ... it was not on the day of his death. The record was altered to sell a book!

National Archives Discovers Date Change on Lincoln Record

Excerpt (click through the above link for photos!):

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives. The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion.

Lowry admitted to changing the date of Murphy’s pardon, written in Lincoln’s hand, from April 14, 1864, to April 14, 1865, the day John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. Having changed the year from 1864 to 1865, Lowry was then able to claim that this pardon was of significant historical relevance because it could be considered one of, if not the final official act by President Lincoln before his assassination.

Lowry's book: Don't Shoot That Boy! Abraham Lincoln and Military Justice

HT: Don Johnson: an unfortunate example of depravity

I wasn't sure what a Pelikan pen is. If interested click here.


Next for Favre?

Comment: Nice "photo-shop"


Ford - quite a rebound

Ford to show biggest annual profit in a decade


On Friday, Ford is expected to report an annual profit of about $8 billion, before a previously announced onetime charge of $960 million. That charge stems from the elimination of about $1.9 billion in debt in November and is viewed as a positive move by investors and analysts.

Ford has already earned $6.4 billion through September. For the final three months of the year, analysts surveyed by Thomson One Analytics, on average, expect Ford to earn 48 cents per share, or $1.7 billion before onetime charges.

Rebecca Lindland, director of strategic review for IHS Global Insight, said Ford's profits are remarkable, especially for a company that lost $30 billion from 2006 to 2008.

"It shows what a company that is well-managed and has been able to really reinvent itself can do," Lindland said.

Comment: We've got some shares that we bought for under $ 7. Now trading at nearly $ 18. It would be great to see Ford "pop" and be able to take some gains. I expect to hold on Ford for all of 2011

How Welfare destroyed Black families

The State Against Blacks


Mr. Williams, an economist at George Mason University, is contrasting being black and poor in the 1940s and '50s with today's experience. It's a theme that permeates his short, bracing volume of reminiscence, and it's where we began our conversation on a recent morning at his home in suburban Philadelphia.

"We lived in the Richard Allen housing projects" in Philadelphia, says Mr. Williams. "My father deserted us when I was three and my sister was two. But we were the only kids who didn't have a mother and father in the house. These were poor black people and a few whites living in a housing project, and it was unusual not to have a mother and father in the house. Today, in the same projects, it would be rare to have a mother and father in the house."

Even in the antebellum era, when slaves often weren't permitted to wed, most black children lived with a biological mother and father. During Reconstruction and up until the 1940s, 75% to 85% of black children lived in two-parent families. Today, more than 70% of black children are born to single women. "The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, what Jim Crow couldn't do, what the harshest racism couldn't do," Mr. Williams says. "And that is to destroy the black family."


Mr. Williams distinguished himself in the mid-1970s through his research on the effects of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931—which got the government involved in setting wage levels—and on the impact of minimum-wage law on youth and minority unemployment. He concluded that minimum wages caused high rates of teenage unemployment, particularly among minority teenagers. His research also showed that Davis-Bacon, which requires high prevailing (read: union) wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects, was the product of lawmakers with explicitly racist motivations.

One of Congress's goals at the time was to stop black laborers from displacing whites by working for less money. Missouri Rep. John Cochran said that he had "received numerous complaints in recent months about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics." And Alabama Rep. Clayton Allgood fretted about contractors with "cheap colored labor . . . of the sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country."

Today just 17% of construction workers are unionized, but Democratic politicians, in deference to the AFL-CIO, have kept Davis-Bacon in place to protect them. Because most black construction workers aren't union members, however, the law has the effect of freezing them out of jobs. It also serves to significantly increase the costs of government projects, since there are fewer contractors to bid on them than there would be without Davis-Bacon.

Analysis of this issue launched Mr. Williams's career as a public intellectual, and in 1982 he published his first book, "The State Against Blacks," arguing that laws regulating economic activity are far larger impediments to black progress than racial bigotry and discrimination. Nearly 30 years later, he stands by that premise.

"Racial discrimination is not the problem of black people that it used to be" in his youth, says Mr. Williams. "Today I doubt you could find any significant problem that blacks face that is caused by racial discrimination. The 70% illegitimacy rate is a devastating problem, but it doesn't have a damn thing to do with racism. The fact that in some areas black people are huddled in their homes at night, sometimes serving meals on the floor so they don't get hit by a stray bullet—that's not because the Klan is riding through the neighborhood."

Comment: A very good read.

Where a doctor’s visit costs less than a stamp!

How Moving to a Third-World Country Improved Our Financial Situation


People spend a lot more money when their neighbors spend a lot more money. If the neighbor’s kid has an iPod, laptop, backpack, new running shoes, and a shiny bike, then we want our children to have enough stuff to “fit in”. Maybe you don’t feel a temptation to keep up with the Joneses, but you probably don’t want to be so far behind that everyone notices.

Living in a third world country has dramatically diminished my desire to own Stuff. It’s diminished because our neighbors don’t have Stuff. There isn’t a pressure to keep up with the Joneses, but instead the pressure is towards lifestyle de-flation. To live with less. To live more simply. To be more generous.

It’s not unusual to see kids with worn-down sandals, wearing only one sandal, or no footwear at all. The first thing we feel tempted to do when we get a new pair of shoes is get them dirty so they don’t look so new.

In our hometown, Alotau, you couldn’t even find much worth buying if you tried. T-shirts at the stores are about as thick as a piece of Kleenex, and second-hand clothing stores tend to buy bulk used clothing at the cheapest price possible. This often means all the clothes are between XL and XXXL. Which, by the way, is very unfortunate because most of the local residents are very short and thin.


While our family still pays an exorbitant amount for international health insurance, you can’t beat the prices when you need to make a trip to the local hospital. A visit to the hospital costs about seventy cents. Interestingly, it cost me $2 to buy a stamp to mail my claim to our insurance company. Isn’t that crazy? A doctor’s visit costs less than a stamp! There are no local private doctors, but if you want to get to see a doctor immediately, you can pay around $7 USD and get to see a doctor right away instead of waiting in line for a couple of hours.

Several years ago, some co-workers had a baby here in town. The total hospital bill came to $7 USD. If you’ve had a baby in the U.S., you know you’re talking a four-digit bill — not a single-digit bill.

Comment: About the author. Tobin .. thought this would interest you.

75% of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it

60% of AOL's Profits Come From Misinformed Customers


The company still gets eighty percent of its profits from subscribers, many of whom are older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail. "The dirty little secret," a former AOL executive says, "is that seventy-five percent of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it."

Comment: Two of my relatives still have AOL. It's a bad business model to not put the customer first. Personally I have never found AOL worthy of my business. Best way "out": Get a Gmail account. Export your contacts from AOL to Gmail (there may be an intermediate step to comma delimited). Close your AOL account.


What did I accomplish last year?

It's that time of the year again - annual performance reviews. Once again I have to document my accomplishments. Since I have been doing the annual accomplishments list for a number of years, one would think that I would be better organized. I've often thought that I should set aside half an hour every week to document my weekly accomplishments and then I could easily cull through that material to list my annual accomplishments. Well I haven't done that yet. If I make it a couple of more years I will be retired (I prefer the term "redirected") and won't have to worry about this annual exercise of vanity. My wife never asks me about my accomplishments. She just loves me for the way I am (amazing grace!).

I did manage to list 10 items. Here's the truth - it's all vain.

“ Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Jay Adams blogged on this verse today:


There is a key word and a key phrase that explain what Ecclesiastes is all about.

The key word is translated “vanity” in the KJV. Recent study of the language indicates that the term is richer than that. It points to something vain (”empty”), it is true, but also carries with it the idea that what makes it useless is that what is done will not last. If we would coin a term to translate it, we would have to say that “All is impermanence.” Throughout the book evidence of every kind is adduced to prove this fact. For instance, a man slaves throughout his life, but what it gains him, only those who follow can enjoy. He dies before he can benefit from it.

The key term is “under the sun.” This phrase refers to the world as it is presently constituted–a world of sin and its consequences. And, in particular it refers to the life of those who live only for this world. It is a world under the sun rather than a world under His Son.

Pessimism? Is that the theme of the book? Yes and no. Is there a pessimistic attitude on the part of the writer? Yes, for those who live their lives merely “under the sun,” where all is impermanent. No, for those who see the hand of God even in the midst of the useless lives of those who don’t recognize His goodness. Throughout the book, God is said to give good things (with an emphasis on the blessings of food and marriage) to those who love him, in order to sustain such persons in the midst of a world where all goes to pot (see my blog on that subject).

And the factor that changes all is God’s warning that this world is not the end—He will bring our thoughts and deeds into judgment. He advises youth to make the most of the body they possess while they can because in this world, under the sun (the curse of sin), it will soon fall apart.

So, Ecclesiastes (in its essence) is a tract for the times, calling men to repentance and faith.

Outside of Christ, all the work that I do is completely vain. As the old saying goes:

Only one life - T'will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ….. will last!

Sobering Fiscal Realities

Running the government on 8 cents


Today, the United States spends roughly 76 cents of every federal tax dollar on just four things: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the $14 trillion debt. That leaves 24 cents of revenue to pay for everything else the federal government does.

That's not a lot. But it's a mint compared to what could be left over by 2020, according to a simulation made by the Government Accountability Office.

Barring serious efforts to curb the growth in the country's debt, by 2020 Washington could be spending 92 cents of every tax dollar on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest alone. That would leave just 8 cents to pay for everything else.

How much of "everything else" can 8 cents buy? Not a lot, especially relative to what Americans are accustomed to their government providing.

Comment: At the tipping point?


Fun with Spam: from SylvieButteris

Hi dear! I am for a decent man.

As for me, I am a young Russian girl
Do you like Russian women?

They are not just beautiful and smart, but very tolerant too.
Russian women value family and try to be with their husbands as much as possible.

It's time to get to know each other!
See you on marriage agency. Cheerio!

Comment: I love Russian women! (I told my wife about this ... she said "go for it!")

Poo Transplants

Scientists fight bugs with poo


It's a distasteful cure for a problem that's increasingly widespread: the Clostridium difficile bug, typically caught by patients in hospitals and nursing homes, can be hard to treat with antibiotics. But Borody is one of a group of scientists who believe the answer is a faecal transplant.

Some jokily call it a "transpoosion." Others have more sciencey names like "bacteriotherapy" or "stool infusion therapy." But the process involves, frankly, replacing a person's poo with someone else's, and in the process, giving them back the "good" bugs they desperately need.

Borody's grateful patient, Coralie Muddell, suffered months of chronic diarrhoea so bad she would often embarrass herself in public, and had even stopped eating to try to halt the flow.

The technique that cured her has had a success rate of around 90 percent in the experimental cases where it has been used so far. Now scientists are taking it to the next level, with randomized controlled trials to establish if it can really be a viable option when antibiotics have failed.

With rates of hospital-acquired C.difficile infection rising in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world, that could save lives as well as reducing expensive days of extra care. "There's rising recognition of how effective this is," Borody, a Sydney-based gastroenterologist, told Reuters.

There's little doubt this treatment has an image problem. Feces, including important bowel flora, is transferred from a volunteer donor -- screened to limit possible other infections -- into the colon of the infected patient. The treatment can be administered by a colonoscope or an enema, or by the mouth or the nose.

"I used to be frowned upon and called 'the doctor who makes people eat sh*t'," says Borody, whose scientific papers have included such titles as "Flora Power" and "Toying with Human Motions." But he is also deadly serious. One of his published studies reported that in patients with recurrent C.difficile infection, 60 out of 67 -- 90 percent -- of those who received faecal transplants were cured.

Comment: What I am still taking antibiotics for. My dear Brother - always the funny one! - Suggested a "poo transplant"

Wells Fargo matches earnings estimates

Wells Fargo Fourth-Quarter Rises 21%


The bank reported on Wednesday that it earned $3.4 billion, or 61 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, up 21 percent, from $2.8 billion, or 8 cents a share, in the quarter a year earlier, matching analysts’ forecasts. For the year the San Francisco-based bank reported profit of $12.36 billion in 2010, compared with $12.28 billion in 2009.

The bank’s revenue fell, however, stemming in part from new federal regulations that restrict the size of overdraft fees banks can charge on checking accounts.

In the fourth quarter, revenue fell slightly to $21.5 billion from $22.7 billion. Wells reported a $97 million decline in service charges during this three-month span. Full-year revenue fell to $85 billion, from $88.7 billion in 2009.

Comment: Now trading at $ 32. Too bad I sold a bunch of it at $ 24 5 months ago.

Federal Tax Code: KJV x 5

Tax System: Too Complex To Be Constitutional?


Douglas Shulman says he uses a hired tax preparer because the U.S. tax code is so complex. That's a bad sign. He's the I.R.S. commissioner.

The tax system has clearly gotten too complicated. The code itself holds about 3.8 million words, nearly five times as many as the King James Bible. There's also a much larger body of regulations, which carry the weight of law, written by the Internal Revenue Service, along with court precedents going back at least a century. Add to that the IRS's published opinions on its regulations.

Even if someone could read all of it, the rules would be obsolete by the time he finished. There have been more than 4,400 changes to the tax code over the past decade, or more than one a day.

Comment: Where's Steve Forbes (a fairer flatter tax!) when we need him!


The FastMac U-Socket



U-Socket is a duplex AC receptacle with built-in USB ports that can power any device that is capable of being charged via a 5V power adapter, but without the need for the power adapter! When a U-Socket replaces a traditional 3-prong AC wall socket, you can eliminate the clutter of AC Adapters that stick out & take up space in your home or office. Everything stays neat & organized. In addition, U-Socket's energy efficient design only outputs power through the USB port if something is connected to it. This can save you up to $25 per year in reduced energy costs.

Comment: I ordered 3! 4-6 week wait. I'm thinking: 1 in the den, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 in the LR

How Wilson manufactures NFL game footballs

How Wilson manufactures NFL game footballs

Comment: Sent to me by my brother-in-law. Interesting


Violence: Why Conservatives are blamed first

The charlatans' response to the Tucson tragedy


A characteristic of many contemporary minds is susceptibility to the superstition that all behavior can be traced to some diagnosable frame of mind that is a product of promptings from the social environment. From which flows a political doctrine: Given clever social engineering, society and people can be perfected. This supposedly is the path to progress. It actually is the crux of progressivism. And it is why there is a reflex to blame conservatives first.

Comment: Worthwhile read from George Will.

Update on my health: Another day off work. Symptoms continue. Might be subsiding. I had a full meal tonight of: bowl of applesauce, 2 pieces of toast, a bowl of rice, a banana, and a glass of Gatorade. If there is improvement overnight and tomorrow, I would like to have pasta for dinner.


"In sickness and in health ..."

Not sure if my readers have viewed my wedding text from my son's marriage ceremony on 1/1. I used a blog post from Dan Phillips for a basis to one of the three points: I give thee my troth. Since I haven't been a Pastor for 16 years, it's been that long since I've officiated at a marriage ceremony.

I used Christmas week at work (it was a very quiet week) to write the ceremony and compose the message. I had a lot of time to think about the vows taken.

We always start the year (or typically anyway) with carrying ahead 5 PTO (paid time off) days. And we typically use those days for a couple of long weekend get-a-ways.

I never expect to start the year sick. We took off Monday January 3rd to recover from the wedding weekend. So Tuesday the 4th was my first day of work this year. Well Tuesday I got sick at work - very sick - and Kathee brought me home at noon. I took Wednesday off. Thursday I felt sick but drove in early and picked up my laptop and brought it home to work remotely. Kathee told me (as only wives can do) to be sure to call the Dr. (she actually did this on Wednesday). I did not call the Dr Wednesday ... promised her Thursday. Did not call the Dr on Thursday and oh was Kathee angry at my stubbornness. I finally called the Dr on Friday and saw him at 11:00 a.m.

I have this basically philosophy that most things resolve themselves. Colds get better. Flues go away. Pains diminish. Etc.

Well what I had (or have), did not subside. I got worse and worse to the point I could not eat at all. My only meal on Friday was dinner and I lost that overnight. Saturday and Sunday I ate nothing and really did not feel like eating either. I only drank Gatorade

Today at 5:30 the Dr called to give me the lab results. I have something called Clostridium difficile. It's serious and yet it's not. I could destroy one's colon and for those with weakened immune systems could even kill! - but there's an antibiotic. Kathee's at Walgreens picking it up right now. In 7 days I should be ok. But for my readers, I do appreciate your prayers.

Marriage is not all "for the better". It is not always (and for some never!) "for richer". And for probably most marriages there are times of sickness.

I met Kate's Grandmother and Grandfather at the wedding. They've been married 64 years ... almost 65. The Grandmother said that they will soon be married 65 "if he makes it" (he is apparently not well.

Our house has been a house of sickness for 8 days. My dear wife, has faithfully cared for me and it's been a lot of care and cleanup.

I thank the Lord for my dear wife. I thank the Lord for marriage which is for the benefit of mankind!

Meanwhile, I just started the first of my Metronidazole pills. Today I ate today for the first time since Friday. I had three bowls of white rice. Now I am having a banana and a bowl of applesauce. They call this the BRAT diet. Tomorrow I hope to add the toast!


Eschewing "life in Leisureville"

For the Sake of the Kingdom: Redefining Retirement


The contemporary ideal of retirement was a life of travel, leisure, golf, and time with grandchildren. In states like Florida, California, and Arizona, entire communities of retirees emerged. “Leisurevilles” advertised a concept of the good life that was free from employment and largely, if not exclusively, devoted to withdrawal from the world of all work.


The Bible dignifies both labor and age, but the modern American ideal of retirement is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. Instead, lives of useful service to the Kingdom of Christ are the expectation, all the way to the grave.


The economic crisis of recent years has forced many Americans to rethink and redefine retirement as a matter of necessity. For Christians, this represents an important opportunity. The ideal for Christians should be redeployment, even after employment. There is so much Kingdom work to be done, and older believers are desperately needed in this great task. There are missionaries to be assisted, ministries to be energized, young couples to be counseled, boys without fathers to be mentored, and wisdom and experience to be shared. The possibilities for Christian redeployment are endless.

There is room in the Christian life for leisure, but not for a life devoted to leisure. As long as we have the strength and ability to serve, we are workers needed in Christ’s Kingdom. Given the needs and priorities all around us, who would settle for life in Leisureville?


Good article by Albert Mohler. Previous posts on the Christian worldview of retirement: Boomers, Retirement, and the Lord and Retirement Math


A new boat?


We live just a couple of blocks from a very nice lake. Here's the Google Map of Medicine Lake. We've rented boats a couple of times - nice pontoons from a local marina. I'm thinking that perhaps it is time to get my own! Take the plunge and buy one for myself. Something that is trailerable behind my S-10. Something not too ostentatious! What do you think? A new boat?


Wedding Photos

Roger and Kate

Chris and Melissa (nephew and his wife)

Roger and I prayed together just before the ceremony


My wife (Kathee) and my oldest son Nathan

My sister Nancy and her d-i-l Melissa

Kathee and me

Roger and Kathee

My brother Roger and his wife Kathy

My sister, Nancy with my Mother

Kate with her Mom and Dad (Jan and Jim)

Roger and Nathan

Rachel (my daughter), Carole (sister in law), Kathee and my niece Katrina

More photos (Facebook)

  • We had the wedding rehearsal and dinner at The Towers in downtown Minneapolis (Thursday night). Buca di Beppo provided the food.
  • The wedding was yesterday at the Bayview
  • Today all relatives on the way home and the house is quiet
  • My sister in law, Kathy, took these photos


Wedding Ceremony: Roger and Kate Peet

Wedding Kate Roger

Comment: Wedding Ceremony - January 1st, 2011