Culture Archives

Links for Monday, 31 December 2012

Exporting the “old and sick” to another place

But don’t worry – I’m sure it’s for “the common good.”

From The Guardian,

Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany.

…with increasing numbers of Germans unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes, and an ageing and shrinking population, the number expected to be sent abroad in the next few years is only likely to rise. Experts describe it as a “time bomb”.

Germany has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, and the movement here has implications for other western countries, including Britain, particularly amid fears that austerity measures and rising care costs are potentially undermining standards of residential care.

Something to think about as we travers the road towards nationalized healthcare.

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The Last Radicals
From the National Review,

There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional.

The author contends that opponents to homeschoolers have three core reasons.

The first is that progressives by their nature do not trust people as individuals and feel that, whether we are applying for a credit card or popping into 7-Eleven for a soft drink, Americans require state-appointed overseers.

The second reason for this hostility is that while there is a growing number of secular, progressive, organic-quinoa-consuming homeschool families, there remains a significant conservative and Christian component.

A third reason is that the majority of homeschool teachers are mothers. A traditional two-parent family with one full-time breadwinner and one stay-at-home parent is practically built into the model.

Long live independence!

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Safe, legal and… rare?
From Touchstone Magazine,

The Federal Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) released a report on the eve of Thanksgiving showing that there was an historic drop of five percent in the abortion rate, the most in a decade. The data is from 2009, the latest year available, and shows that there were only 789,000 abortions. [emphasis in original]

The author states that data from California was not included, so the number of abortions most likely was over 1,000,000.

As for the demographics, this unsettling note,

Approximately 85 percent of women who aborted their babies were unmarried. The majority of abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy. White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8.5 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age; the rate for African-American women was about four times that; and the abortion rate for Hispanic women was about 19 per 1,000.

The liberal mantra of being there for the disadvantaged seems to get turned on its head.

And to put some perspective on the killing of 1,000,000 unborn children every year, it’s like having 137 Sandy Hook mass killings EVERY DAY.

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A belated Christmas Light Painting link for you all
Here’s a great example!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

© Michael Ross

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Doctrine vs. Methodology?
From The Gospel Coalition,

Pastors constantly face temptation to devote more time and energy to methods rather than to doctrine. If that includes you, then give heed to Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Following the imperative to keep watch on himself, Paul further instructs Timothy to keep watch on his doctrine. My observation, however, is that most ministers aren’t doing this. They don’t talk about doctrine. They don’t read it. If they’re paying close attention to anything, it is their methods and psychology. What’s the result? Less biblical fidelity. Less interest in truth. Less seriousness. Less depth.

Neglecting doctrine results in less capacity to offer a compelling alternative to the thinking of our generation. I often hear the excuse that pastors aren’t studying theology because they’re too busy trying to reach more people. Ironically, this pursuit of identification often comes with a corresponding loss of communication. We put forth all this effort to make people feel comfortable and at home so they don’t feel the difference between life in Christ and life without Christ. Problem is, it is supposed to be different when you come to Christ. That is the point.

[emphasis added]

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From Radicals to Oddballs
Oh, those homeschoolers,

There are two facets to educating a child well. The first is to recognize that education is not merely the accumulation of facts, but that it has an unavoidably moral aspect. A suitable education must do more, therefore, than simply teach facts, even moral facts. Education must seek to cultivate the moral imagination of the child, for reducing moral education to a list of rules is bound to fail.

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    Links for Sunday, 30 December 2012

    No, despite America’s obsession with guns, the U.S. isn’t the most violent country
    It’s the U.K. From the article,

    Britain’s violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed.

    Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa – widely considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

    In terms of violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the U.K. comes in at 2,034 per 100K (with the U.S. listed at 466 per 100K).

    For those who may be unaware, the U.K. has effectively banned the general public from owning firearms.

    ###

    Besides that, gun control doesn’t reduce crime – just ask the U.K. or Australia
    From the Wall Street Journal,

    We aren’t alone in facing this problem. Great Britain and Australia, for example, suffered mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s. Both countries had very stringent gun laws when they occurred. Nevertheless, both decided that even stricter control of guns was the answer. Their experiences can be instructive.

    The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted. Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have some British police carrying guns for the first time. Moreover, another massacre occurred in June 2010. Derrick Bird, a taxi driver in Cumbria, shot his brother and a colleague then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself.

    Read it all.

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    Enacting “Gun-Free [sic] School Zones” increases the frequency of active killer events
    So says David Codrea, and he links to an interesting graphic provided by GeorgiaCarry.org.


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    The Mayor of Newark gets it
    Mayor Cory Booker,

    I’m not afraid of law-abiding citizens who buy a gun… Listen to me, the people dying in Chicago, the people dying in Newark are not being done with law-abiding gun owners.

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    The World according to murder
    An interesting infographic (have not vetted the accuracy of it).

    murder
    Provided by Survival Goods

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    Be careful what you ask for
    CNN asked its “iReporters” the question, “Was your gun banned?”, and also asked them to “upload a photo of your gun and share your thoughts on gun control.

    An intrepid young iReporter decided to have a little fun with the assignment, and uploaded a photo of a nerf gun* (shown below), stating,

    My ak 47, 5th generation model. This one uses the 9.88x33mm round. I believe the only nation that uses it is Canada. They need this kind of firepower actually. I got mine in yellow because nothing says, “I’m big, bad and scary like yellow”…banana yellow.

    This gun is actually at the top of the ban list. I don’t like that. We have rights to bear arms. Don’t take that away from me, don’t take that away from us. Guns are a part of our heritage, or history, our roots, our blood.

    What happens if tyranny arises? What if North Korea invades? What if a meth head randomly walks into my house? The only thing between life and death, survival, and non-survival, freedom and slavery is this baby.


    * “Not vetted by CNN”

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      Do You Really Own Your Property?

      We were told, point blank, that we don’t, by a local government employee.

      Here’s the story. In the tiny town we live in, apparently there have been an increasing number of code violations regarding, among other things, people parking cars on their lawns, off the driveway. My wife, returning from our town’ s annual Christmas parade, was pulling up to our house with plans to park on the street in front of our house for the moment. She saw a Code Enforcement car coming down our dead-end street, and parked a little bit further off to the side, thinking that maybe this officer might be concerned that she was blocking too much of the street. In doing this, about 1/3 of the tire width was actually on the grass; a few inches.

      When the Code Enforcement office turned around and came back down our street, he rolled his window down and said to my wife that, FYI, he was patrolling for, among other thing, cars on lawns and that, technically, he could cite her for her current parking situation, but wouldn’t this time. In the ensuing conversation, he told her a number of very odd things.

      Now, I understand if a community doesn’t want to live in an area where people regularly park on their lawns. I can see erosion issues, and I can understand that this could lead to people who turn their property into auto mechanic yards. He mentioned that cars can leak fluid and it would get into the water supply. (Of course, those leaks from a car on the road would wind up in the storm drain where it would go directly into the lake behind our house, unfiltered by the ground. But he didn’t seem to realize that.) The community decides that it will make certain rules about how you keep your property, and you might get fined for breaking these rules, but it’s still your property. Not according to this guy. In his mind, since the government can create restrictions on what you can do, then it’s not your property. You only have the license to use it. He didn’t go into who actually owns it or who you’re licensing it from, but he was quite clear that  our ownership of the property was an illusion.

      And, since I can’t, for instance, use my house as a factory, then I don’t really own that, either.

      Really?

      Now, my guess is this is just one, incredibly misinformed, random government worker we ran into. But still, is this indicative of a bigger issue regarding what government thinks? Perhaps folks at higher levels still do, in fact, understand the concept of private property, and that having regulations on the use of something doesn’t mean the regulatory body owns it. But really, this is unbelievable.

      I can be put in jail for child abuse. Wonder what this guy thinks about my kids.

      Doug Payton blogs at Considerettes and podcasts at "Consider This".

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        Death Panels in the UK

        From the Daily Mail in London:

        Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

        Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

        But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

        One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.

        Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

        The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers.

        The fact is, when a bureaucracy pays for health care, its main focus over time becomes the money, not the lives. This, frankly, must happen when we hand over our freedoms to the government. Human nature fairly dictates that, again over time, our better natures lose to the almighty dollar/pound/euro. When we, individually, determine how and where our money’s spent, we can make better choices than society in the aggregate.

        Individuals have a conscience. Government entities don’t.

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          Links for Friday, 30 November 2012

          Some post election thoughts, albeit a bit late.

          They ran out of undies on Staten Island (despite the promises from a “Presidential” looking Obama)
          From Fox,

          Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro says the people of his community are in desperate need of fresh underwear.

          “It’s like a third-world nation,” Molinaro said in a phone interview on Tuesday’s Good Day New York.

          If you reference my March 2011 post on being prepared for a disaster level emergency, you’ll note that I recommend you set aside extra underwear and socks in the “Shelter” section.

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          Is it the end of conservatism in America?
          From a commenter at The Belmont Club,

          I still have hope, but it is in the states and local communities. The governors and state legislatures must step up and stop acting like subsidiaries of Washington. Those that do will thrive; those that don’t will slouch toward their demise.

          So let me be perfectly clear: we must restore self-governance. That was true before this election, and it remains true.

          I want to encourage everyone to keep trying to preserve the republic. We have been blessed to be a part of this great American experiment, and we owe it to those who have paid in blood and treasure to not give up. It is a duty we should not fear, but relish. And if you don’t think you can do that where you live, come on down to Texas. We may be the last, best hope of the last, best hope on earth.

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          No! Your argument ignores reality.
          For clarification, try a simple term substitution – as shown by the strikeout and italics below. From the “Dear Republicans” post, (FYI, the post degrades into juvenile level vulgarity),

          Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, mention abortion the intentional killing of innocent unborn children again. It will never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, be illegal in this country.

          Whether or not the truth claim of the second assertion is valid does not mandate the abdication from morality as indicated by the first assertion.

          Further reference, The SLED Test.

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          Even Obama, Presidential-looking though he may be, cannot cut through red tape.
          SUCKERS.

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          The Gods of the Copybook Headings, by Kipling

          In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
          By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
          But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
          And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

          As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
          There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
          That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
          And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

          And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
          When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
          As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
          The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

          ###

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            Be wary of those who rag on that the Republican Party is primarily made up of old, rich, racist white men. Be wary because when faced with the prospect of a young Hispanic Republican, as in Marco Rubio, the media seems to think that a question of priority for said Republican is to ask him how old he thinks the Earth is. Let’s disregard how other issues were skipped over in lieu of that high priority age of the Earth question. Issues such as: immigration, the economy, healthcare, gun running into Mexico, a U.S. Ambassador being killed in a coordinated attack at a U.S. Embassy and, maybe, the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, you know – low priority issues like that. Oh, and let’s also disregard the fact that Rubio probably-most-likely-maybe thinks that the laws of aerodynamics work consistently enough so that he believes that when he boards a jetliner it will actually fly through the air (as designed); or that he thinks that the laws of chemistry work consistently enough so that when he takes medication it will interact with his body the way it is supposed to; or that he thinks most of that – you know – “science stuff” really works.

            Yes, since they can’t accuse him of being an old, rich, racist white man, they simply disregard all of the real issues and paint him out to be some sort of buffoon by asking him how old the Earth is because, when all is said and done, they’re not interested in tolerating a Hispanic Republican.

            Be wary.

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              This particular line, from a Grateful Dead song, has always struck me as poignant,

              Sign the Mona Lisa with a spray can,
              Call it Art

              - Foolish Heart

              As the singer insinuates, the quick and dirty tagger’s label can hardly sanctify a classic work of art.

              What is it about the Western Evangelical Church that drives us to acquiesce with the culture we live in and, at the same time, justify said acquiescence as a noble cause?

              Take, for example, the manner with which many churches are approaching the upcoming celebration of Halloween. This year Halloween falls on a Wednesday and, as most of you may be aware, many churches hold their “mid-week” services on Wednesday nights.

              It seems to me that in times past the church would hardly have blinked an eye at this current conundrum.

              “What? Halloween is on Wednesday? Oh well, try to get some ‘trick-or-treating’ in before you show up for Bible Study.”

              Yet nowadays the church bends over backwards to accommodate a culture which worships Halloween (in terms of merchandising expenditures) less only than that of Christmas. Do a search on the various churches in your vicinity and my bet is that you’ll find them having, in lieu of their regular Wednesday night ministries, some event geared to provide the community with candy and fun and games and entertainment. Whether or not said event is described as a Harvest or Hallelujah Party one thing is clear, there’s very little chance of having a mid-week Bible Study at the event.

              What I find most disconcerting with this whole fiasco is that, with cans of spray paint in hand, apologists for these events boldly stencil on the words COMMUNITY OUTREACH, and then walk away thinking that an event which has replaced the study of God’s Word is somehow promoting the Gospel. In our misguided attempt at reaching a community of non-believers we’ve succumbed to the market mentality notion of keeping the customer satisfied. While we’ve been given a divine opportunity to be truly counter-cultural and shine like a light on a hill in a world of darkness, we’ve taken to dimming said light as we go out of our way to join in the celebration with our culture.

              POSTSCRIPT: $370,000,000. That’s how much money we Americans, who happen to be in the midst of the Great Recession, spend on Halloween costumes for our… pets.

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                Friday Link Wrap-up

                No, the Bush tax cuts didn’t cause the recession. Yes, Obama’s "recovery" has been the worst in history. These and other economic realities can be summed up in this graph. (Click for a larger version.)

                 

                A sex scandal involving adults and children under their charge. No, not the Catholic church of the 60s; the public schools of today.

                While he did get the number wrong, Romney was right in that those who pay the least in income taxes are the least likely to vote for him.

                The number of scientific papers that had to be retracted last year was a 10x increase over the rate during the previous decade. And a study of those retractions finds that 3/4ths of those retractions were due to misconduct rather than honest mistakes.

                Good news in the stem cell debate. "Two stem-cell researchers have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their groundbreaking work in cellular reprogramming, a technique that unleashed a wave of advances in biology, from cloning to the possible treatment of diseases using a patient’s own cells." That is, there is less of a reason to use embryonic stem cells, when adult ones will do just as well.

                Hedging their bets? "A survey by the Pew Research Center discovered that 2.4 percent of Americans say they are atheists and 3.3 percent say they are agnostic. Among the atheists and agnostics, however, 6 percent said they pray daily."

                Need more money for your school district, by proving how many students attend? Make them wear microchips. Privacy takes a back seat to cash.

                And finally, some apt scripture for the VP debate last night. (Click for a larger version.)

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                  The Culture War and Voting Patterns

                  Religious folks who have traditionally voted Democrat are (finally) beginning to reconsider.

                  For the first time since the black community’s political realignment with the Democrat Party in the 1960′s, a nationally prominent black Pastor has called on the black church community to leave the Democrat Party in a movement dubbed "EXODUS NOW!" Bishop E.W. Jackson’s call to "come out from among them" is apparently being heeded by many black Pastors and Christians across America and creating a stir in many churches. There is concern at the highest levels of the Democrat Party.

                  And here.

                  Bishop Thomas John Paprocki from Springfield, Illinois, is getting attention after making some strongly-worded comments about those Americans who opt to vote for President Barack Obama in November. In a column and video that was posted by Catholic Times, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield, Paprocki targeted portions of the Democratic platform that “explicitly endorse intrinsic evils.” He also warned that supporting certain politicians could place peoples’ “eternal salvation…in jeopardy.”

                  While he noted that it’s not his job to to tell people who do vote for, the faith leader said that he has a duty to speak out about moral issues. Despite his stated problems with the Democratic Party platform — the initial removal of God, its stance abortion and its support of gay marriage – Paprocki spoke relatively favorably of the Republican platform.

                  If you hold to a particular religious belief, or even if you hold to none at all, whatever beliefs you have ought to inform your vote. No, this is not a case of some "religious test" that would be Constitutionally prohibited. The Constitution applies to government. The government cannot prohibit someone from running for office based on their religion. The people, however, are free to apply whatever standard each one wishes.

                  And now we may be seeing the beginnings of something of a backlash to policy and platform decisions by Democrats. When people start to take their religion seriously, it could change the political landscape dramatically. It ought to.

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                    Friday Link Wrap-up

                    Hobby Lobby could be the next Chick-Fil-A. "Hobby Lobby Sues over HHS Mandate"

                    Reverend William Owens from the Coalition Of African American Pastors in an interview with John Hawkins: "Again that’s the reason I took such a stand against President Obama. In every election, in every campaign where the marriage amendment has been on the ballot, blacks in large numbers have been against it and Americans have been against it. But he’s not interested in what the people want. He’s interested in what a few people who can give him big money want."

                    I don’t usually link to Sojourner’s "God’s Politics" blog for good examples of political opinion, but their non-political item — a discussion on the recent "Gospel of Jesus’ Wife" discovery — is quite good. "Five Important Questions About That ‘Jesus Wife’ Discovery"

                    "Antarctic sea ice set another record this past week, with the most amount of ice ever recorded on day 256 of the calendar year (September 12 of this leap year)." I blame global warming.

                    UN Secretary General George Orwell Ban Ki Moon: "Freedoms of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose," Ban told a news conference. "When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way."

                    Bullying works. "The Christian-rooted fast food restaurant [Chick-filA] agreed to stop funding groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose same-sex marriage in a meeting with the Chicago politician who had been blocking the company’s move there."

                    And finally, competing mottos (from Chuck Asay, click for a larger version):

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                      11 years on

                      11 years after 9/11 we see that the problem still exists (witness the recent events in Cairo and Libya).

                      What we need to realize here is that on December 7, 1952 (11 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor), not only was World War II over, but Japan was our ally, and we were in the midst of the Korean War (which would not be over for another 7 months). The dynamics of the acts of aggression in those conflicts are categorically separate than what we now face. This is different – very different. As for the events of the past few days, to blame an insignificant movie as the cause demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the core issue. Furthermore, to blame an insignificant movie for the murder of 4 Americans in Libya would be like blaming Wall Street for the toppling of the Twin Towers. Oh, I forgot, some people already do.

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                        Don’t take it personal… it’s just business

                        Did you hear about that business in San Antonio that lost just about all it’s market share after it’s CEO left? Seems that under his lead he developed quite the brand following and, after he left, his successor couldn’t keep the company on par with the local competition.

                        Oh, did I mention that the “business” was a former megachurch? From MySA,

                        It once was a megachurch. Now the sale of its far North Side property has wiped away longstanding debt and sparked new optimism for reversing its sizable membership decline.

                        The congregation counted an estimated 3,000 members a decade ago but today reports that about 200 attend on Sundays. The church has a lease agreement with the new owner to worship there through 2013.

                        “We love the building, and it’s a great location,” said David Keith, lead elder. “We just didn’t have the overall congregation to support much of that building and its mortgage.”

                        Former senior pastor Peter Spencer, who founded the congregation in 1988, could not be reached for comment. Keith said membership losses coincided with his resignation in 2003.

                        Spencer “had quite a following,” Keith said. “Basically, once he left, it just wasn’t quite the same.”

                        John Cannon, former executive pastor, succeeded Spencer in 2003 and resigned last December, eventually taking a job as a commercial real estate agent.

                        The church is located along a stretch of Loop 1604 informally called “church row” for the many congregations fronting it, drawing members from fast-growing suburbs. Nearly 200,000 people live within a five-mile radius of Harvest Fellowship, according to its property listing, but the competition played a role in membership losses, church leaders said.

                        One of these days, and I think it will be in the near future, churches in America won’t have to worry about competition from other churches.

                        Also see: Christians Need to Stop Making Converts

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                          The Normalization of Pedophilia

                          In  my most recent episode of the "Consider This!" podcast, I discussed how polygamy is beginning to get mainstreamed, with major newspapers asking the question; why is 2 some magic number for marriage? Why not "three, four, or 17"?

                          The website Gawker is now giving press (and rather disturbing press, frankly; the beginning of the article is not for the squeamish) to guys like Dr. Hubert Van Gijseghem (pronounced HI-sheh-hem), who is retired from the University of Montreal, and who testified before the Canadian Parliament’s "Committee on Justice and Human Rights." In part, he said:

                          [I]t is a fact that real pedophiles account for only 20 percent of sexual abusers. If we know that pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offence from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality, and if we agree on the fact that true pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation, everyone knows that there is no such thing as real therapy. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation.

                          And if they’re "born this way" (to steal from a Lady Gaga song title), who are we to judge? I’m not saying that some of the things done to pedophiles is justified (the harassment they receive), because we are to love the thief, the murderer and the pedophile as Christ would love them. I completely denounce harassment, but words mean things, and this is a big step in the cultural normalization process.

                          At the moment, there is still some sanity on the subject. One group in Germany attempting to counsel pedophiles uses the phrase, "You are not guilty because of your sexual desire, but you are responsible for your sexual behavior. There is help." This is true of all of us. We all have our weak points of temptation, but it’s how we act (and, as Jesus pointed out, how we fantasize) that is the problem.

                          However, consider how homosexuality was viewed just a generation ago and how it’s been so normalized that some states allow same-sex marriage. The biggest argument that the homosexual crowd put forth was that this was something in their genes, and therefore was nothing more than being left-handed or blue-eyed. If we consider pedophilia just another sexual orientation, then, while the act may still be frowned upon for the moment, the foundation has already been laid to normalize pedophilia.

                          Now, I know slippery slope arguments can be…well, slippery. They involve a bit of prediction. If A happens, B will happen next. It’s easy to dismiss these sorts of arguments are mere guesses. However, when initial predictions become true, and when you have so much history to look at and see that it has been indeed happening, it’s time to take the arguments more seriously. I am very supportive of efforts to counsel pedophiles before they act on their thoughts. However, the change in terminology can and does change the culture and the views. Whether or not Dr. Van Gijseghem means it to, this change can easily be taken up by others to slip us further down the slope to … well, who knows where.

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                            Yes, I hate taxes

                            Have you seen this little ditty floating around the internet (e.g., on Facebook)?

                            Cute.

                            Here are my thoughts:

                            • Schools:  Along with Public School Employee Unions, low performing teachers, overpriced and bloated administrations, emphasis on testing rather than students? Average expenditure / student in US = $11,665. And you want MORE?
                            • Roads:  Along with Public Employee Unions, excessive benefits, civil service mentality, bureaucratic red tape? Try contracting roads to private firms to see efficiency in execution.
                            • Firefighters:  Along with early retirement pensions for some at upwards of 90% of final salary?
                            • Police Officers:  Along with early retirement pensions for some at upwards of 90% of final salary?
                            • Hospitals:  You mean like the ones run by the Catholic church?
                            • Paramedics:  A wonderful perk of living in the 21st century West.
                            • HAZMAT Teams:  Oh yeah, that must be a big line item in the budget.
                            • Soldiers:  Definitely.
                            • Sailors:  Definitely.
                            • Airmen:  Definitely.
                            • Marines:  Definitely.
                            • Coast Guard:  Definitely.
                            • Clean Air:  Not at the expense of bloated over-regulation.
                            • Clean Water:  Not at the expense of bloated over-regulation.
                            • Safe Food:  Not at the expense of bloated over-regulation.
                            • Pure Drugs: Not at the expense of bloated over-regulation.
                            • Child Protection:  As long as child protection agencies do not abuse their authority and power.
                            • Safe Products:  Not at the expense of bloated over-regulation.
                            • Air Traffic Control:  Yes, definitely. And fire them all (a la Reagan) if they try to go on strike.
                            • Space ExplorationRobotic exploration is the future.
                            • Bridges:  Managed by government, contracted to private firms. Kind of like the transcontinental railroad.
                            • Tunnels:  Managed by government, contracted to private firms.
                            • Flood Defenses: Hopefully not as was managed in New Orleans (by the gov’t)…
                            • Universities:  Like Stanford, Claremont, or Yale? Oops, those are private firms. Same comment regarding overpriced and bloated administrations.
                            • Museums:  Culturally enriching… yet a low priority for taxing the citizenry – ask the 1%’ers to help out.
                            • Science:  Science? Science couldn’t exist without more taxes?
                            • Diplomatic relations with other countries:  Definitely.
                            • Public Parks:  The ones that are used frequently or the ones that sit empty for most of the week?
                            • Criminal Justice: Definitely.
                            • Medical Research: This can’t happen without taxes? Oh yeah, when you socialize medicine, you take away incentives for private research – got it.
                            • National Forests:  Definitely.
                            • Care for the Elderly & Disabled: This is the government’s responsibility?
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                              Follow Up: Smashing the Charity Stereotypes

                              Way back in 2006, I blogged about how cheap Hollywood liberals thought we were as a country, and then noted a study by Arthur Brooks that showed that, the more conservative and/or religious you were, you gave more than the liberals complaining about how stingy we were. (Link goes to the archived version of "Stones Cry Out", before we converted to WordPress.)

                              Six years later, the trend has continued.

                              Red states give more money to charity than blue states, according to a new study on Monday.

                              The eight states with residents who gave the highest share of their income to charity supported Sen. John McCain in 2008, while the seven states with the least generous residents went for President Barack Obama, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found in its new survey of tax data from the IRS for 2008.

                              The eight states whose residents gave the highest share of their income — Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas and Georgia — all backed McCain in 2008. Utah leads charitable giving, with 10.6 percent of income given.

                              And the least generous states — Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire — were Obama supporters in the last presidential race. New Hampshire residents gave the least share of their income, the Chronicle stated, with 2.5 percent.

                              “The reasons for the discrepancies among states, cities, neighborhoods are rooted in part in each area’s political philosophy about the role of government versus charity,” the study’s authors noted.

                              But it’s not just about politics — “religion has a big influence on giving patterns.”

                              This particular study only included taxpayers with incomes of $50,000 or more, so it didn’t factor in the poor, as the Brooks study did. Still, the results pretty much line up with his findings; the more conservative and/or religious you are — that is, the more you believe that charity is a personal issue — the more you put that belief into action. I would add that the more you think it’s the government’s issue, well then, the more you put that belief into action.

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