Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Brave Republicans" Who Voted for the Climate-Change Bill in the House

But the fact remains; the climate bill never would have made it out of the house, if it weren’t for eight brave Republicans: Reichert (WA) Bono Mack (CA), Castle (DE), Kirk (IL), Lance (NJ), LoBiondo (NJ), McHugh (NY), Reichert (WA), Smith (NJ).

-According to this person.

Here's a more interesting analysis of the voting. All but one of those Republicans were from districts that went for Obama during the Presidential election. Such bravery!

My guy Walt Minnick voted against it. Minnick represents a district that went for McCain.

He Shines in All That's Fair

Carol and I saw Pixar's "Up" last night. What a charming movie! And what a remarkable example of God's Common Grace, coming as it does from Hollywood to a theater near you.

Maybe Not So Much an "Infomercial"

President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people — like the president himself — wouldn’t face.

The probing questions came from two skeptical neurologists during ABC News’ special on health care reform, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America,” anchored from the White House by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by insurance.

Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.

The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.


-From this discussion of the President's appearance on ABC tv last week to discuss his health care proposals.

At least credit the President for honesty on this issue. The fact is this: there is a scarcity of health-care services. If that were not the case, then they would all be free. So is the question, then, how are we distribute those scarce resources? If that is the question, then we could answer, "To those who need them," but this begs the question. How do we know who needs them? With government health care, those scarce resources are allocated by the government. Government will make the decisions and not "the market," another name for "the people." Government is not good at allocating resources.

But even the question - how are we to distribute scarce health care resources? - is not exactly right. The question assumes that the quantity and quality of health care services is fixed. ("Quality" is another way of describing "quantity" when one deals with "services." A "service," in the technical sense of that word, should the mean the "quality" provision of resources, because if it isn't, it is no service at all, but something that displaces true service.) The fact is that the quantity of health care services is not fixed; it is dynamic. A health care system that does not increase the health care services pie is a bad health care system. One that shrinks it, is worse than bad.

The fact that Obama's children may get better health care services than everyone else within a five mile radius of the White House is not necessarily bad. In a way, rich people are "early adopters." They lead the way in assessing new ideas coming into the health care system. The rest of the market, if it is a free one, will go to work on standardizing what Obama's kids get and then reducing the cost so that the rest of our kids will have a better chance of getting that treatment. The problem with the health care reform that the left-wing Democrats appear to propose is that it will suck the freedom out of that market.

And it is worth mentioning that the general attack of the left-wing Dems on the free market threatens health care. As they lard our economy with regulation, taxes, and government debt, they take the oxygen out of the market place everywhere. By doing such great harm to our economy generally, the left-wing reduces any chance that health care services will grow to meet demand.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Definitely Ideal for Senior Citizens or those with Disabilities" BINGO!

I am abandoning my Palm Treo as my mobile phone. It does a good job of synching Time Matters, but it is awful as a phone. At least so it is for me, as one who is increasingly challenged by electronic devices (not to mention . . . life). The little keyboard is simply too small for my fingers, I have difficulty making calls when I want to, I inadvertantly make calls when I don't want to, and I am always challenged when a call comes in about how, exactly, one answers the phone. You also have to take the battery out of it to turn it completely off. I am going to keep it as an old fashioned PDA, but good-bye to the phone "capability."

So, what is my new mobile phone? The new iPhone? Blackberry?

The Pantech Breeze. As CNET reports:

The Pantech Breeze is definitely ideal for senior citizens and those with disabilities . . .

It has BIG KEYS. That's the main thing. And the keys "click." It turns off on its own. It has three buttons at the top for speed dialing. There is a button dedicated to "answering" a call. There is a button dedicated to "ending" a call (which I once knew as "hanging up" but I am carrying a card around that reminds me that "ending" means "hanging up." The only difficulty with the "ending" key is that its symbol is in the color red, so I can't see the symbol. But I will remember it as the "blank" button.) I think this will work for me.

This phone has other interesting features. Chief among them is that when I am next with my children, I will be able to take the phone out when they are with their friends, and be able to embarrass them. I hope to first do this at a Starbucks or a Whole Foods Store.

The CNET review of the phone linked to above has the phone in white. Mine is in gray. That just seemed right to me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Friend's New Ferrari


The other night after a business meeting, a friend who was a participant took me out the street to show me his new Ferrari. I don't know how much those things cost, but it looked very expensive. My friend is "doing well" in his business, and I am happy about that.

But as I looked at the car, I thought about alternate uses for the money that went into the car. Immediately a prayer lept to my consciousness. "Lord, I thank you that I am not like my friend."

Ooops. (See Luke 18:9-14)

As I read Steve's last email, I thought about how much it takes to feed that boy about whom he writes. Probably about what it costs me to park my car for an hour downtown here. I live in the same never-never land as my friend with the Ferrari.

Out of which land the Lord is continuing to call me. Sometimes I listen.

Steve's Most Recent Email

Steve Peifer's most recent email is the following, entitled "Fear." All of his emails are good, but this one really struck me.

Recently Korean missionaries were targeted in a country north of here, and several were killed. All of them were known by our students whose parents work in that country. None of our students' parents were killed, but the game you can play with yourself that it is all ok and you aren't in danger being here, came unglued. The next day you could tell every kid that was from that country; the fear was all over them. Their parents were in danger, and that was the reality of the choices they had made to share the gospel.

I was at one of the schools I work with in the valley, and I was trying to film the students about using computers, and it wasn't coming together. After three tries with three students where I could get nothing but a yes or no out of them, I asked the computer teacher why they were acting like that. She told me that there was no food in most of their homes, and school was ending soon, and that the lunch at school was the only food they got in a day.

Then she asked me, very gently, if I had ever been hungry.

I told her no, I had never been hungry.

She told me that if you had ever been hungry, and you knew you would be again, it was the worst feeling you could imagine. The fear would grab a hold of you and not let go.

The reason the children were not helping was because they were wrapped up in the fear of being hungry.

I thought about this all weekend. On Sunday, my daughter had asked if we could go into town and watch the Hannah Montana movie. (Ben threw up in his mouth when I asked him if he wanted to go) As we sat in that awful movie, with her sitting eagerly at the edge of her seat, I thought about the unusual path that it took for us to have a daughter.

Having a daughter has helped me face all the awful things I've seen in Kenya. Love is the only thing that can help you face fear. And love is the only thing that makes you want to fight for those who don't have a voice or a chance.

I'm so grateful that love is greater than fear.

Your pal

s


More about Steve here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I think I was right with my Iran solution.

Four years ago I proposed that our bombers fly over Iran, dropping thousands of iPods. My idea was that the Western culture soon thereafter would so infect the country that the mullahs would be overthrown. Something like that may be actually happening. See this opinion piece in the WSJ.

The problem with my idea was that it assumed that our government would undertake this program. Of course it didn't, wouldn't, couldn't, whatever. But the market undertook the program with similar although more extensive and advanced communications technology.

Now let's wait for the rest of the dictatorships to morph into something tolerable. Maybe we won't have to wait long unless, as China is doing with Google and Yahoo, the tyrannical governments figure out how to seize the viral information systems.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bernie Kosar's Journey

With Carol's mom, we attended the 1984 Orange Bowl Game when Bernie Kosar led the 'Canes, coached by the great Howard Schnellenberger, to an upset victory over the Cornhuskers and the national title. Kosar declared bankruptcy recently, and the Herald spotlighted his troubles in this article on Sunday. Here is a morality tale of a good man pulled down by a special sort of hubris. I think he will get back up from all of this an even better man. The article hints that he may have spiritual resources.

"Advancing a Dependency Agenda"

A good discussion of the health care matter by George Will.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Father Metaphor

The Bible makes liberal use of metaphors to show God's truth. Jesus as a Shepherd comes to mind. Hosea's unfaithful wife as a metaphor for wayward Israel. And there's the Church as the Bride of Christ. What strikes me today is the "Father Metaphor." Jesus, when asked by his disciples about how they should pray, begins "Our Father . . . " So, we have God as Father: that could be quite a metaphor to confront for those of us men who have children.

For the Father Metaphor, I think, works both ways. The standard use of it is that the Lord God, in his great love for us, is like the perfect human father. That metaphorical use works for us who have had good fathers, as we try to understand God's character. (But what of those of us whose earthly fathers were not good fathers?)

On the other hand, maybe the Father Metaphor works the other way and would apply regardless of how our earthly fathers measured up. That is, God, in his relationship to us is the true father. In the reverse metaphor, God as father is the reality, but the relationship of us men to our offspring is something else. The ideal of our relationship to our children should be like the way God fathers us. God's love for us, then, is the standard to which we are to be held in respect to how we treat our children. Maybe that's the hidden point of the "Our Father . . . " metaphor.

So when I think of myself as a "father" on this Fathers Day, it is a challenging and disturbing thing, at least in part. How like the Father am I? In this respect "Fathers Day" presents us dads with a challenge as well as a celebration, or so it seems to me.

Sizing up Western New York


We were talking to Sam and Lisa Reyes at our church a week or so ago. They and their four children have been part of our congregation for the least five years, while Sam was doing an ENT residency at the University of Miami Medical School. Sam went to the University of Buffalo Medical School and met Lisa during that period - she was a med student too, and her family is from Buffalo. Now they are moving back to Buffalo, where Sam will join an ENT group there. We hate to see them go, but we were talking to them about the sights in their part of NY, as Mary will not be far away from Buffalo when she goes to the University of Rochester medical school.

Sam and Lisa said that they were avid campers in NY and their favorite place to go was Letchworth State Park. The park looks very attractive, and it's not far from Rochester.

They also said that on almost every camping trip to Letchworth, they were sure to make a visit to the Valley Inn in Warsaw, NY, where there's a great chef. The Valley Inn is a bed-and-breakfast, and looks like it would be a great jumping off place to Letchworth State Park if one were not intending to camp.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

OH, Gross!




So, my children, my adorable children (see the pictures) have been dealing with pin worms. Did you know that this is one of the most common worm infections in the U.S.? Did you know that the human is the only natural host, so the worms don't usually spread to animals? Did you know that the eggs, which are microscopic, (thus explaining how you could pick them up without knowing it) can live on things for like 2 whole weeks!!!!! UGH!!!!!!

Did you also know that you have to wash the bedding every 3 to 7 days for at least 3 weeks (and every time you wash the bedding or the clothes, you must wash on hot (good-bye rich colors) and that you must wash everything 2 or 3 times on hot with soap before drying them). Sheesh!!! I already do laundry all week long. Now, laundry is ALL I do all week. Even with these precautions, it is common to get reinfected and to have to go through everything AGAIN.

yuck, Yuck, YUCK!!!!!

In case you were wondering, I am not enjoying this particular common childhood illness.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cleverness

Entropy is the tendency of everything going to hell

Entropy isn't what it used to be.

Entropy: Not just a fad, it's the future!

Geologists rock your world.

Geology: Subduction leads to Orogeny.

Gravity isn't MY fault--I voted for velcro!

Gravity... not just a good idea: It's the law.

I like angles, but only to a degree.

If the Earth is the size of a pea in New York, then the Sun is a beachball 50m away, Pluto is 4km away, and the next nearest star is in Tokyo. Now shrink Pluto's orbit into a coffee cup, then our Milky Way Galaxy fills North America.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

In The Beginning there was nothing, which exploded.

It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.

Little Johnny was a scientist. Little Johnny is no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.

May the torque be about you.

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does my sister's dog.

On the sixth day, God created the platypus. And God said: let's see the evolutionists try and figure this one out.

Particle physicists are always trying to hold a meeting, but whenever they decide on a place, the time changes.

Photons have mass!? I didn't even know they were Catholic...

Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of.

More here

Jackie Bueno Sousa Has a Good Answer for Judge Sotomayor

And this wise (at least now and then, I hope) old white man appreciates that answer.