ECB & IMF to Cyprus: "You're Screwed"

Cyprus told: take bank levy or leave euro


The European Central Bank has threatened to cut off funds propping up Cypriot banks on Monday, precipitating the island's exit from the euro if agreement was not reached on Sunday night at the emergency meeting between eurozone finance ministers, the president of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, and the bailout troika of the IMF, European Commission and the ECB.

The Europeans, with the Germans and the IMF taking a particularly hard line, demanded the winding up of Cyprus Popular Bank, the country's second biggest, and the restructuring of Bank of Cyprus, the biggest financial institution.

The parties considered new proposals that had emerged over the weekend with European officials speaking of a levy of up to 25% on Bank of Cyprus depositors with accounts holding more than €100,000, plus a further levy of up to 5% on similar deposits in other banks.

"The numbers have not changed. If anything they've got worse," said Wolfgang Schäuble , Germany's finance minister. He said that last week's agreement to raise €5.8bn had to be achieved. This time, however, savers with less than €100,000 would be spared, meaning the burden would fall much more heavily on the wealthy than the 9.9% levy proposed for their accounts last week.
Comment: Image sources: IMF, ECB, Government of Cyprus. Think it could not happen here? Our President and Democratic controlled Senate are unconcerned. More.

My first Craigslist "sale"

  • It was actually a give-a-way but it beats having to trash it
  • Our 2 cats are too old to enjoy
  • A woman from Wayzata picked it up
  • It was on Craigslist for 2 hours
  • I had 4 contacts
  • I also posted on Facebook and had 1 contact
  • The first person who agreed to pick it up got it
  • I also have a listing for a couch that I am trying to sell. 


Cyprus sacrifices the Laiki Bank

Cyprus Adopts Bank Overhaul Plan - Parliament Passes Emergency Measures to Close Lender, but International Creditors Raise Doubts

Meanwhile, the Parliament in Nicosia passed two key bills that would allow it to close down its second largest bank, Popular Bank of Cyprus, and aggressively curtail the free flow of money on the island. The bank restructuring law would see depositors in Popular Bank, also known as Laiki Bank, to lose as much as 40% of their savings above €100,000, Cypriot and European officials said. As details of the latest plan emerged late Friday, there were signs that the country may be forced to also resolve Bank of Cyprus, its biggest lender. The government in Nicosia was fighting to avert this by proposing an even deeper levy on the lender's uninsured depositors than one demanded earlier by euro-zone partners, according officials involved in the bailout talks.
Comment: Can you imagine one's bank being closed for an entire week?! The Eurozone crisis continues.

SS Badger gets reprieve

Agreement reached to keep the ferry SS Badger running on Lake Michigan

Under the degree, the company said it will have to install an ash retention system by the beginning of its 2015 sailing season. The EPA said that, in the meantime, the company will be required to explain the technology that will be used and hit deadlines for installing the system. Limits will also be placed on the amounts of coal ash that can be discharged into the lake this year and next or the company will face fines.
Comment: See previous post (comment section has email from EPA that I received today)

On "Vision Casting" as a Pastoral Role

Distorting Another Good Verse: Proverbs 29:18

In the early years of my Christian experience, I heard some messages on Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (KJV; NASB also uses “vision”). The gist of these sermons was that effective Christian leaders have visions, the ability to set goals for the future, that result in church growth or some other facet of ministry. If the goals are not followed, “people perish” in the sense that a ministry will become stagnant and irrelevant. In other contexts, people perish in the sense that they lose their sense of vitality.
Comment: John MacArthur on:

Pepsi & Mondelez?

PepsiCo says it doesn't need big acquisition following suggestion of possible Mondelez merger

PepsiCo Inc. says it isn't interested in any big acquisitions after a report suggested a mega-snack food deal could bring its Doritos under the same roof as Oreos. The Purchase, N.Y., company, which owns Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats and Gatorade, issued a short statement Friday after the Telegraph of London said activist investor Nelson Peltz could push it to merge with Mondelez International Inc., which makes Cadbury and other Nabisco brands, in addition to the famous cream-filled cookies. The report cited unnamed sources saying Peltz, who is known for making big investments then forcing change, has been building stakes in the two companies in recent weeks.
Comment: I still can't pronounce Mondelez!


Timeless Investing Advice

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works (Matthew 16:25-27)
Comment: If  you follow my blog you know that I do some investing and provide my views on investing. But the most important and prudent advice is to know and follow the Lord Jesus Christ!

Too many Lawyers?

Courtroom Drama: Too Many Lawyers, Too Few Jobs

... the legal job market has slowed dramatically. The U.S. will have a 7.3 percent loss in legal employment for 2013, according to Bright.com, a research group. The greatest loss of jobs will be in insurance defense attorneys, and in areas of employment and commercial real estate.

Going forward, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects nearly 74,000 jobs new lawyer jobs created in the U.S. over the next seven years. The growth is expected in areas including health law, intellectual property law, privacy law, and international law.

But American law schools will graduate about 44,000 students each year during that time, and in doing the math, that means six new lawyers — not including older graduates — will be fighting it out for just one new job.

Pay will also be an issue. The median salary for a new associate at a private law firm is currently about $85,000 a year, according to the BLS. Not bad, but it's down a third what it was just two years ago.

Working for the government, such as a public defender, could pay anywhere from just $40,000 to $85,000 a year, according to the Labor Department, even after years of service.

And most law school grads come out with a student debt usually between $125,000 and $250,000, depending on where they went to school, according to Department of Education statistics. That's on top of their underclass debt which could average the same amount.
Why There Are Too Many Lawyers

Essen­tially, where get­ting a law job right out of law school was nearly a given, now as many as 35% of grad­u­ates don’t have a law-​​related job nine months after grad­u­a­tion.

That’s a pretty high unem­ploy­ment rate, which sug­gests there are indeed too many lawyers in Amer­ica right now. The rea­son is that the reces­sion (and other reg­u­la­tory changes, I would add) has led to fewer merg­ers and acqui­si­tions and other busi­ness activ­i­ties that require exten­sive legal counsel.

Because get­ting a law job is harder, many prospec­tive appli­cants are decid­ing that it doesn’t make sense to take on $150,000-$200,000 in stu­dent loan debt when the job mar­ket is extremely tight. So law school appli­ca­tions are way down, lead­ing schools—including top schools such as Northwestern—to cut back on the num­ber of admissions.
A Message to Aspiring Lawyers: Caveat Emptor - Number of new jobs annually: 21,800. Number of graduates: 44,000.

Nationally there are twice as many graduates as there are jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the economy will provide 21,880 new jobs for lawyers annually between 2010 and 2020; law schools since 2010, however, have produced more than 44,000 graduates each year. Yet schools continue to enroll more students than the market demands and to raise tuition faster than inflation. The result is exploding debt loads for current students and graduates whose employment prospects are appalling.

To be sure, the employment prospects for Americans across a broad swath of society have been grim in recent years. But the legal profession has clearly lost any reputation it might have once had as a safe, prosperous haven in troubled times.

I graduated in 2011 and am one of the "lucky" ones. Within six months of graduation I secured a job in my area of interest, international human rights. My class entered the worst American job market in 18 years—only 56.7% of law graduates found full-time jobs lasting at least a year and requiring passage of a bar exam.

For many new hires, even finding a job with a law firm might not be quite the cause for celebration it once was. According to the American Bar Association, the average amount borrowed by students attending private law schools has gone up 78% in the past decade, to $124,950 in 2011 from $70,147 in 2002. However, these loan figures don't reflect the true burden. With the average interest rate on federal loans for graduate students at 8%, which starts to accrue while the student is still in school, the typical law graduate often holds debt in excess of $150,000 by the time repayment begins.

Making matters worse: Salaries have plummeted, with the mean private-practice compensation today, $78,653, falling 16% from where it was in 2009 ($93,454), and 8% from 2002 ($85,518). The dramatic increase in law-school tuition—which has increased 434.8% at private schools since 1985—coupled with the decrease in jobs and salaries prompted James G. Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, to describe the current entry-level job market as "the weakest . . . that NALP has measured in nearly 40 years of doing this work."
Comment: Contrarian views:

Too many lawyers? Says who?

Moreover, the career for which we educate students, done through the medium of the law, is a career in leadership and creative problem solving.
There Are Not Too Many Lawyers

Lawyers are by genus problem-solvers. By species, they may be traffic ticket-resolvers, child custody-facilitators, triangular merger-structurers, or business dispute-mediators. Indeed, it's likely that you, or someone very close to you, could recently have benefited from skilled assistance in one of these matters. There are not too many problem-solvers.

Law schools provide their graduates with incredibly valuable skill and knowledge sets. In the first four months of most programs, law students master the components of an enforceable contract, learn the elements of and remedies for negligent behavior, become versed in the myriad ownership interests in real and personal property, sort through the distinction between accomplices and accessories to criminal acts, and are trained to research and provide written guidance on any possible variation on these themes. There are not too many individuals with a deep working knowledge of our legal system.
Comment: My own view is that there are too many. Mundane legal work can be accomplished via websites like LegalZoom. And problem-solving and leadership can be acquired by other disciplines and opportunities.


Abbott and Costello explain the unemployment rate in America

[Labor Dept: 873,000 people come "off" the unemployment line but only a little over 114,000 jobs were "created"? Luckily I found a transcript of a conversation between two eminent economists discussing this very question!]

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.8%. ...

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 7.8%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss his point

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how the current administration gets it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. Our government doesn't want you to read about 14.7% unemployment.

COSTELLO: That would be tough on those running for reelection.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have administration supporters stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like the Economy Czar

COSTELLO: I don't even know what I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like our President.
Comment: HT Grif.net

Better: Pray now ... and don't worry about it!

Congress hears options for asteroid defense: Pay now or pray later

Lawmakers repeatedly asked how much advance warning would be required to deflect a threatening asteroid, and were repeatedly told that it would take years. Shelton said that if time was limited, "probably nuclear energy is what we're talking about." But even a nuclear-armed mission to blast an asteroid, Bruce Willis-style, would require lots of lead time. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., asked Bolden about the strategy for dealing with an Earth-threatening asteroid that was discovered with three weeks' warning. "If it's coming in three weeks ... pray," Bolden said. "The reason I can't do anything in the next three weeks is because for decades we have put it off."
Comment: NASA is always looking for ways to justify its existence.

4280 Cottonwood Ln N, Plymouth, MN

4280 Cottonwood Ln N, Plymouth, MN 55441

Comment: Obviously I watch neighborhood home sales because of the probable sale of my own home in the not too distant future. This house is much larger (by 20%) than ours. I know the owner - nice guy. I will miss them.

First Baptist Church: Tear Down this Statue!

The Five Most Revolting Details from the Evidence in the Jack Schaap Case

Everything he did, everything we did was “for the sake of the ministry.” The lies we had to keep were “for the sake of the ministry.”

He taught you to adore him above all else. He insisted that you trust him, no matter what rumors you heard. He frightened you to the point that you dare not be disloyal to him. He required obedience without question. You were sincerely trying to follow God, but in your effort to do so, a man diverted your attention and convinced you to follow him. I do not blame you. You weren’t trying to steal my dad away from me. You thought you were listening to instruction from God’s Word, from God’s man. And God’s man was instructing you to obey him as a representative of...a substituion for Deity, taking you on a journey away from God into idolatry.
Comment: There's hope for First Baptist Church of Hammond. Consider:
In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him (1 Kings 15:1-3)

So Abijah (AKA Abijam) rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. Then Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet for ten years. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. (2 Chronicles 14:1-3)
Comment: It starts with genuine repentance and "flee[ing] from idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10:14). Job # 1: Tear down the statue of the adulterer! Jack # 1 is dead (that's his statue above). Jack # 2 was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison today!


Iraq War personalities ... then and now

Iraq War personalities ... then and now
My personal favorite: Roger Peet (son)
  • Joined the Marines and went to boot camp one week after High School graduation (June 2001)
  • Was in combat training at Camp Pendleton on 9/11/2001
  • Served in Iraq in 2004
  • Discharged from the USMC in 2008
  • Joined the Minnesota National Guard (Staff Sergeant)
  • Graduated with an Associate Degree from Normandale Community College in 2010
  • Graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the U of M in 2012
  • Hired by Seagate in 2012
  • To be a Father in July 2013

Adam Lanza plotted Sandy Hook "glory killing" for years

Morbid find suggests murder-obsessed gunman Adam Lanza plotted Newtown, Conn.'s Sandy Hook massacre for years


What investigators found was a chilling spreadsheet 7 feet long and 4 feet wide that required a special printer, a document that contained Lanza’s obsessive, extensive research — in nine-point font — about mass murders of the past, and even attempted murders.

But it wasn’t just a spreadsheet. It was a score sheet.

“We were told (Lanza) had around 500 people on this sheet,” a law enforcement veteran told me Saturday night. “Names and the number of people killed and the weapons that were used, even the precise make and model of the weapons. It had to have taken years. It sounded like a doctoral thesis, that was the quality of the research.”
Comment: Explains why we have to have plans to kill the killer and why more gun control will only waste public and private resources.

Retirement Crisis: Poor Boomers on the Horizon

Retirement Crisis: Poor Boomers on the Horizon

Americans do almost no thinking about what kind of retirement they want. They mistakenly assume that Social Security is a retirement program, when in fact it is a supplemental retirement program.

The three "stools" of retirement-Social Security, a pension, and private savings-have all seen some shrinkage in the past few years.

For Social Security, all baby boomers know the truth: We are going to be working longer, into our 70s, paying more and getting less. Pensions are going away: International Business Machines (IBM) stopped providing pensions to new employees a couple years ago, and many are facing reductions in their benefits.

And private savings? Let me quote from the EBRI survey: 57 report having less than $25,000 in household savings and investments (excluding their home and pension benefits). This is for all workers, so older workers would have more money, but other surveys show the results are equally paltry.

This is just the tip of the iceberg: American households are so strapped that only half could come up with $2,000 in cash if an unexpected need arose in the next month.
Comment: We are 2½ years away. A 401K might be better portrayed as "Private Savings". Our parents only had to rely on Pension (Kathee's Father from GE / mine from AT&T), social security, and private savings. The next generation will not likely have Pensions. One key, in my view, is to be debt free at the time of retirement. If one buys a house in his late 20's and then pays it off in 30 years, he will be Mortgage free by 60.

More:   Workers Saving Too Little to Retire
... pensions have become a much smaller component of Americans' retirement-savings mix over the years. The portion of private-sector U.S. workers covered only by so-called defined-benefit plans fell to 3% in 2011 from 28% in 1979, according to U.S. Department of Labor data compiled by EBRI.

Intel Is the Biggest Bargain Out There?

Intel Is the Biggest Bargain Out There: Fort Pitt’s Forrest
"At this point in time, I couldn't be happier owning this stock because I really think 2013 is going to be the year in which they begin to show some traction," Forrest says in the attached video. "I think people have really underestimated what this company can produce." Forrest believes Intel can overcome its power efficiency problem sooner than its rivals at ARM (ARMH) can overcome its computing power disadvantage. "My bet is that the engineers at Intel will win this" she says. To gauge how that fight is going, Forrest recommends that investors keep an eye out for any signs of Intel pushing into the lower end smartphone business. Of course, there are plenty of skeptics out there who aren't impressed with the company's 4.3% dividend yield that is high, and rising. In fact, just 35% of the 51 analysts who follow Intel rate it a "buy" right now, which means the stock is the least loved it has been in at least 20 years, FactSet data shows.
Comment: We have in IRAs. It's gone down! Good dividend stock and I don't see selling it (since the capital gains / loss rules do not apply to IRAs). But I'm not buying more.


SPAM central: SpectraNet in Nigeria

World’s Most Crime-Ridden ISP Found in Nigeria


The world’s most crime-riddled Internet service provider is SpectraNet in Nigeria, new research has found. It says that 63% of site addresses hosted on SpectraNet’s servers were found to be sending spam—the highest proportion among 42,201 ISPs studied by Giovane Cesar Moreira Moura, researcher at the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology in the Netherlands.

Crime tended to be concentrated in small areas. A single Indian ISP was found to be uniquely responsible for 7% of the spamming website addresses in the world. Twenty of 42,201 ISPs monitored for Mr. Moreira Moura’s thesis created almost half of the world’s spam.
Website and image source


Is Secular Work Valued by God?

Is Secular Work Valued by God?

Comment: The article above is good and I probably could not improve upon it!

Image source:

Secular jobs I've had (actually I am more comfortable calling them jobs! The Lord is Lord of all including what some would call "the secular"!

  • Lawn mower (throughout my youth)
  • Snow shoveler (ditto)
  • Painter (ditto)
  • Greenhouse worker
  • Chemical plant worker (Monsanto)
  • Shoe salesman
  • Airline representative (American airlines)
  • Computer salesman
  • Computer programmer
  • Systems consultant
My take on the "theology" of work!
  • God has ordained work (Genesis 2:15)
  • Work suffers from the curse (Genesis 3:17-ff). I see this daily in the IT business! (Try computer programming if you don't believe me!)
  • A Christian should provide for himself and his family: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • "Star gazing" slackers who can work and won't are a disgrace! "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
  • We are commanded to work: "Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
  • We are to work honestly, provide for self, and have sufficient remaining to provide for the church and others with genuine needs: "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need" Ephesians 4:28
  • Christians are to prudently prepare for the future. This is called saving! "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8)
I've been working since my early adolescence. My earliest tools were the lawmower and the snow shovel. I loved snow shoveling and I could work all day digging out driveways. I celebrate work and thank the Lord for the jobs (call them secular if you wish!) He has given me!

To the vocational minister

The laborer is worthy of his wages (1 Timothy 5:18)
  • I appreciate your work! The ministry God has given to you!
  • You ought to be paid
  • I want you to be paid
How I am paid: (It's pretty boring stuff!)

How I pay you (except I send a check directly to the church office via Wells Fargo bill pay!)

Some simple requests:
  • Fulfill your role
  • Respect me
  • Don't Lord over me
  • Teach me and use me in the ministry: "He Himself gave ... some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry" (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Why aren't you in the ministry?

I sometimes get asked this. I provide this Biblical answer.

First some background. I was once in the vocational ministry as a Pastor. My career looks like this:

  • I graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1971
  • I worked on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for 1 year after graduation
  • I was a ministry intern in a Baptist church in Cincinnati in the Summer of 1972
  • I enrolled at Tennessee Temple in the Fall of 1972 and left after about a dozen weeks (I didn't flunk out ... I just did not fit in! An expensive mistake)
  • I was hired by IBM in January or February of 1973 and worked for IBM in Tampa Florida for 3 years.
  • I then worked for Digital Equipment Corporation until I went to seminary school in Grand Rapids in 1978
  • After I completed seminary I was an assistant pastor for 3 years in New Jersey
  • I then pastored a Bible Church for three years
  • And then I pastored a church in Denver for 9 years
There's some overlap with my career starting with Norwest / Wells Fargo because I was bi-vocational for 2 years. It paid the bills and was the Lord's way of providing.

Altogether I was in the vocational ministry for either 16 or 17 years depending on whether the time with Campus Crusade in counted.

So ... am I in the ministry or not? And if not why not?

Well to be clear I am not in the vocational ministry! Wells Fargo pays me and it is God's way of providing for us. And the provision is abundant. I have health insurance, dental insurance, disability insurance, a retirement plan and a 401K plan. I am blessed financially,

I did not leave the vocational ministry because of finances. In 1987 I had a very serious accident that rendered me paralyzed. The Lord is sovereign and His ways are right and good and I praise him for this aspect of my destiny. I am handicapped today but move around fairly well. There is no confusion about my handicap. I've often observed children asking their parent - "what's wrong with that man?"

I reentered the secular workforce to provide my living. My first salary was not that spectacular but over the years I have advanced and I am well-paid.

I was fortunate in the vocational ministry in that I was hired (called to a church) immediately after seminary (actually before I finished my final classes!). Altogether I candidated (the Baptist process for hiring a pastor) three times and was hired three times.

So am I in the ministry or not? I'm often surprised that Baptist Pastors are less clear on this than they should be.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

  • The ones who have experienced the new birth are new creatures in Christ (KJV phraseology)
  • Christ was our substitute: "to be sin for us"
  • We have Christ's righteousness
  • And to us He has given the ministry of reconciliation
  • We are ambassadors for Christ

Luke 10:2, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest"
  • The Lord is sovereign over His harvest.
  • He places men and women in various opportunities as He sees fit
  • As the Lord himself emptied himself I do not see a need to promote myself in ministry. He will place me as He sees fit.
  • John the Baptist declared "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30). This is my own credo. I desire to exalt Chirst
Luke 9:46, Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest.
  • There are many (most) who are greater than I in ministry
  • I never pastored a large church
  • I've never published
  • I'm rarely asked to speak and have never spoken at big name conferences.
But I am in the ministry. I'm satisfied with the position that the Lord has granted me.
Romans 8:28-30, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Romans 9:14-16, What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Romans 12:1,2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
  • The Lord has a marvelous plan for my life that began long before my birth (Ephesians 1:4)
  • God, to Him be the praise, chose to show compassion and mercy to me. This is totally undeserved!
  • My right response is to surrender self to Him. I daily pray Romans 12:1-2.
  • And day by day His plan for my life is unfolding. And that plan is perfect!
  • I am not a man of high aspirations. I like the anonymous life. I do look daily for opportunities to  testify of my Savior. Recently (late last year) God used what could be perceived as negative circumstances to place me in the presence of a gastroenterologist. Had I not had C-Diff I would have never met this man. I was able last Christmas to present a Bible to him
Mr Professor, you are not my Lord! I don't mind your asking me but my reply is more Biblical than your question. I am in the ministry. It's not the ministry that God has given you! It's the ministry the Lord has given me! And I am satisfied in the ministry.

California's “self-inflicted" gasoline crisis

California's Green Gas Shortages - Prices are spiking thanks to state mandates that will only get worse

Californians are grumbling about a gas price spike, which state officials blame on disruptions in the supply chain. Actually, they're paying through the nozzle for their greener-than-thou government. Gas prices in California have soared by 55 cents in a week to an historic high of $4.65 per gallon, about 84 cents higher than the national average. The immediate cause was a power outage at an Exxon refinery in Torrance. A Chevron refinery in Richmond that caught fire in August has also been operating at reduced capacity. The resulting fuel shortage has forced wholesalers to ration deliveries, and retailers that buy on the spot market to close. This gas crisis is self-inflicted, like so many problems in the state. Because California's fuel regulations are the most stringent in the country, the state is isolated from other energy markets. Few refineries in the world can produce the unique reformulated gasoline blend that the state requires, and almost all are located in California.
The Golden State’s “self-inflicted crisis”

It’s important to keep in mind that California’s energy policies have effectively turned the state into a “fuel island” – disconnected from the rest of the U.S. market. California’s state-specific fuel standards and isolated logistics mean that gasoline and diesel can’t be easily brought in from other states when there is a supply shortfall. And a host of only-in-California regulations have raised costs, making it more difficult for refiners to invest in new technologies, and have even forced several refiners to shutter their facilities.
California Facing $5 Gasoline Stirs Brown to Relax Rules

California is dependent on its own refineries for gasoline because the state is mostly cut off from oil-products pipelines spanning the rest of the country. Refiners outside California are generally not equipped to supply the cleaner-burning gasoline required in the state.

Comment: Interesting. And politicians want to blame the industry!

What happens when your country goes bankrupt

Depositors Pay Price in Cyprus Bailout Deal


Depositors in Cypriot banks will be hit with a one-off tax on their savings, as part of a €10 billion ($12.96 billion) bailout for the Mediterranean island from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund. The deal, announced early Saturday, marks the first time in the euro zone's five-year-old financial crisis that depositors in bloc's banks will lose money. Accounts with more than €100,000 will be taxed at 9.9%, those with less at 6.75%, raising an expected €5.8 billion for the near-bankrupt nation.
So what's a depositor going to do?: Depositors in Cyprus Rush to ATMs

Nervous depositors in Cyprus rushed to ATMs Saturday to drain their accounts following a bailout agreement with international creditors that includes a levy on all the country's bank accounts. Lines formed at many ATMs as people scrambled to pull their money out after word that the €10 billion ($12.96 billion) rescue package Cyprus agreed with its euro-area partners and the International Monetary Fund included a one-off levy on deposits.


Arab Winter

Kissinger Sees Little Hope for Mideast Peace, Arab Spring


“I’m not optimistic” about reviving peace talks, in large part because of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties in the region that aren’t inclined to support a “just outcome” with Israel, Kissinger said in an interview

... Kissinger said he doesn’t have a rosy view of the so-called Arab Spring that has been widely portrayed as popular uprisings with democratic aspirations. Most revolutions, he said, consist of “many groups hostile to the existing government, but not necessarily for the same reason.”

He cited the Syrian civil war as one conflict that has been widely misunderstood. “It’s not a fight of democracy against a dictator,” he said. “It’s a fight of various ethnic groups for preeminence.”
Comment: Image source. This is not what democracy looks like. We are naive to think so!

Pontificate vs opinionate

Email from Professor:

My friend . . . you pontificate on everything on SI

Comment: There's a difference. One does not have to have a PhD to have an informed opinion!


We still have this goofy cat, Emily, and her sister Daisy

R.I.P. Blue

Comment: Sad day. We had our cat Blue euthanized today. We've had Blue since April 2001. We think he was 5 or 6 when we received him. His owner joined the Army then. He was probably 18 years of age. At one time he was 18 lbs. When he was weighed today at the Vets he was 7 lbs 2 oz. He will be missed. The above pictures were taken this past week.


Answering a Professor's question

Scuse my saying so . . . but don't you work in the secular field and have for years? What part have you played in the missions movement?
Actual email to me this week. Response:
  • The great commission weighs heavily on me and I daily pray for the lost and look for opportunities to witness
  • The secular verses sacred vocation. I really don't think about it that much. It takes worker bees like me who labor in some pretty mundane areas but support one's local church faithfully

United 662


Watching Kathee's flight

It's fake?!

That Jeff Gordon Terrifying A Car Salesman Pepsi Ad Is Totally 100 Percent Fake
Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max test drive video shot in Concord goes viral

Greenspan: Rational exuberance!

Greenspan: No 'Irrational Exuberance' in Stocks Now


Greenspan said in a " Squawk Box " interview that stocks by historical standards are "significantly undervalued" even considering the recent moves higher. He added that the payroll tax increase didn't dent spending because of rising asset prices.
Comment: See earlier post - Dow record: irrational or rational exuberance? My own view ... always good to be a rational investor

Understanding the plot of "Looper"


A killer from the future returens to kill a kid (Terminator) ...

Who will bring about the destruction of humanity (Twelve Monkeys) (which also stars Bruce Willis - who also returns from the future) ...

The child (Cid) has telekinetic powers (Firestarter).

The film (Blade Runner) (we need to do some substitution here so follow closely)

.... depicts a dystopian in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants – visually indistinguishable from adult humans – are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as by other "mega–manufacturers" around the world. Their use on Earth is banned and replicants are exclusively used for dangerous, menial or leisure work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and "retired" by police special operatives known as "Blade Runners".
And now to Loopers: the film ...

.... depicts a dystopian 2044 in which killers from 2074 (who are forbidden to live in 2044). Such killers who defy the ban and return are hunted down and "retired" by special operatives known as "Loopers".

Future and present intersect when a character from the future returns to the present and interacts with self (Back to the Future) (in a diner)

There's a lot of machine gun action from killers in black (the Matrix)

Characters appear and disappear (from / into) cornfields (which I always find creepy): Children of the Corn, Signs, and Field of Dreams.

Comment: There you have it!

One more ... there is a motorcycle crash near the end ... a la Easy Rider!