Rusty Archives

Links for 7 June 2012

Is Fear a bad thing for a Christian?
Well, depending on the context, it certainly could be. Irrational fear, worrying about the future, fear of death, etc., could all be indicators that the Christian is not fully embracing the hope inherent in Christianity. From Stan Jantz,

When we succumb to fear (and I’m counting myself in that habit), we are basically telling God, “I don’t trust you.” We’re saying, “Faith isn’t good enough; I need facts.”

However, are there times when a healthy appreciation of fear is the most prudent and, dare I say it, the wisest thing to do? Fear can be that quality in our psyche that alerts us to things untoward – situations out of the ordinary – or people to be wary of. Listening to that part of our brain which tells us something is amiss is not paranoia but a survival instinct. And survival is not a wrong thing, in and of itself – indeed – the lives we have been given, by God, are by no means trivial enough for us not to be concerned with managing them well.

In The Gift of Fear, Gavin DeBecker does a very good job outlining the way we can utilize the signals our brain already sends us regarding everyday events, situations, encounters, etc., to better prepare us for untimely events in life.

Remember:  Be prepared, not scared.


Avoid these words online if you don’t want the government breathing down your neck
But remember… it’s for our safety.


Not really.


Are you on LinkedIn? Better change your password
Millions of passwords from LinkedIn leaked online.


Mobilizing on Capitol Hill for children taken by food allergies

Less than six months after the death of her daughter Amarria, who suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction at school, Laura Pendleton walked the halls of Congress today, joining the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN™) as it continues to work toward passage of the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act.

The urgency behind the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (S. 1884/H.R. 3627) is heartbreakingly illustrated by Pendleton’s loss. Her 7-year-old daughter Amarria died earlier this year after eating a peanut at the Chesterfield, Va. school where she was enrolled in first grade. She did not have an epinephrine auto-injector at school.


And people were scared about having Vice President Sarah Palin?
From the article,

Vice President Joe Biden told the graduating seniors of Cypress Bay High School in Florida today that they should imagine a world where hunger no longer exists because crops grow without the need of soil, water or fertilizer.

Links for 1 June 2012

News crew looking for violations at a California Gun Show… ended up breaking the law themselves
From John Lott,

…Things got a bit ironic, however, when CBS took a camera into a gun show. They didn’t find any guns with illegal detachable cartridges, but the news crew was breaking rules left and right. As it turns out, there are “No Camera” signs all throughout the gun show, and gun show representatives announced “No picture taking during the show” frequently throughout the day.


Obama’s Planned Assault on the Second Amendment
But don’t worry. After he’s reelected he’ll be able to come out from “under the radar” because he’ll have more “flexibility”.


What if he had not been carrying a gun?
From Salt Lake City,

A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith’s store.

Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith’s employee Dorothy Espinoza says, “He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people.”

Then, before the suspect could find another victim – a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. “A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith’s grabbed him.”


15 year-old girl with a gun,
wards off burglars. But, don’t go run outside while holding a handgun, like she did.


17 year-old girl with a gun, shoots at intruder reaching through doggie door


Husband and wife shot at gun safety class
You know the drill by now – there are no accidental shootings – they are negligent discharges. Again, we have an instance when it is reported that the gun… “went off”. From the article,

According to deputies with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, Michael and Michelle Deel were accidentally shot when the .45 caliber handgun Michael was holding went off. He was shot in the hand and his wife was shot in the leg.

Fabulous Food Foto (# 016)

The Ole Plate, from The Train Depot, in Fresno, CA.

At 4 1/2 stars on Yelp, I figured we just had to try out The Train Depot for breakfast on a recent trip to California’s San Joaquin Valley. Yelp did not lead us astray. As soon as you walk in the door of this unassuming little cafe you know you’re in for a treat. I had the Ole Plate, which pits 3 scrambled eggs with chili sauce, cheese, tomatoes, and bell peppers thrown in to boot. It normally comes with potatoes, hashbrowns or “home style”, and the waitress informed me that I could split the potatoes into beans and potatoes. It’s got a bit of a kick, but nothing you can’t handle. Along with a side of toast, their homemade salsa, and some joe, and you’re set.


– image © 2012 A R Lopez

Links for Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Imagine if it was Dubya’s Doobies?
Best part of the story? The commenter who points out that while Romney went to High School, Obama went to school high.


GOP finally taking some action over Fast & Furious?
It’s about time. Perhaps they’re trying to play this into an election issue. I’ve got mixed thoughts about that – after all, Brian Terry, the Border Agent who was killed, should not be a political pawn. Yet if the Right is going to take down the current Left administration in November, they will have to fight for it.


Didn’t anyone teach these kids (and their parents) how to add?
From the NY Times,

ADA, Ohio — Kelsey Griffith graduates on Sunday from Ohio Northern University. To start paying off her $120,000 in student debt, she is already working two restaurant jobs and will soon give up her apartment here to live with her parents. Her mother, who co-signed on the loans, is taking out a life insurance policy on her daughter.

“If anything ever happened, God forbid, that is my debt also,” said Ms. Griffith’s mother, Marlene Griffith.

Ms. Griffith, 23, wouldn’t seem a perfect financial fit for a college that costs nearly $50,000 a year. Her father, a paramedic, and mother, a preschool teacher, have modest incomes, and she has four sisters. But when she visited Ohio Northern, she was won over by faculty and admissions staff members who urge students to pursue their dreams rather than obsess on the sticker price.

“As an 18-year-old, it sounded like a good fit to me, and the school really sold it,” said Ms. Griffith, a marketing major. “I knew a private school would cost a lot of money. But when I graduate, I’m going to owe like $900 a month. No one told me that.”


Abraham Lincoln – Fashionista
I didn’t realize that, with his mussed-up hair, Honest Abe was so far ahead in his stylin’.


Darn those annoying Home Schooled kids!


For the germaphobe – homemade hand sanitizer

Fabuluos Food Foto (# 015)

The breakfast burrito at Fantastic Cafe, in El Segundo, CA.

Near LAX, and near the ocean, Fantastic Cafe offers up a great breakfast burrito for a very reasonable price. I asked for the bacon version and was pleased to find out that the standard breakfast burrito composition here is to combin bacon, sausage, and ham! Yowser! Also, lots of potatoes and cheese (and, as you can see, it’s a healthy proportion). Pico de Gallo, and house green hot sauce, on the side.


– image © 2012 AR Lopez

Links for Friday, 13 April 2012

Women, interested in firearms… in California?
Yes! On March 24th the Women on Target event, held at an outdoor shooting range in southern California drew 100+ women for 100 slots. The event was designed to familiarize women with the sport of shooting – and was taught by women, with the men delegated to workhorse duties.

There is still hope for Kalifornia.


Do as I say, not as I…
Evidently, Bill Cosby has weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case. From ABC (emphasis added),

“We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” Cosby said in his first public remarks about the case, published today.

“Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself,” Cosby added. “The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations.

“When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody.”


Flash back to 2005, in this New York Magazine article titled, New York’s Gun Culture (emphasis added),

Who’s Packing Heat?

Taxi Driver star Robert De Niro is one of New York’s most famous gun owners, as is his friend Harvey Keitel. Others on the list include Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (a former Marine), Don Imus, Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Howard Stern, Tommy Mottola, and Donald Trump (just one pistol, says his spokeswoman, who didn’t know the make).

Let’s hope that Bill doesn’t ever carry his gun.


Of course, if we can’t trust Neighborhood Watch members to carry, then at least we can trust the police?
Only until their guns “accidentally fire”. From CBS Chicago (emphasis added),

An off-duty Chicago Police officer was wounded Thursday night when her gun accidentally fired.

Police say the female officer was in the 2100 block of East 71st Street when her gun went off around 7:20 p.m. Thursday.

Again: guns don’t “accidentally fire” nor do they “go off” all by themselves.


Not heeding the fact that guns don’t accidentally go off can be deadly
From South Carolina,

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has identified the man killed following an accidental shooting that occurred Monday at a North Charleston gun range.

According to witnesses at the gun range, Patteron was shooting on a lane when he stopped to inspect the weapon. He turned the handgun toward himself when it discharged, striking him.


“That is what you get. If you out doing something you ain’t supposed to be doing, that is what happens”
Another homeowner protects herself by using her firearm.


More young people are killed in Chicago than any other American city
Yet, Chicago had a ban on handgun ownership from 1982 until 2010 (and still tries to make it difficult to own a firearm).

So much for the notion that banning guns reduces crime.

Fabulous Food Foto (# 014)

The Oklahoma Skillet, from Flappy Jack’s Pancake House, in Orange, CA.

The foundation of this monster breakfast is a thick layer of fried potatoes, followed by a heapin’ helpin’ of bacon, cheese, and scrambled eggs. The best way to attack this bad boy is from the top down – that way, after you’ve filled up, and you still have lots of potatoes left, you simply take them home.


– image © 2012 A R Lopez


  1. City of Chicago bans handgun ownership in 1982:  Bad
  2. 76 year-old Otis McDonald sues City of Chicago for 2nd Amendment right to own a handgun, in 2010:  Good
  3. Supreme Court rules in favor of McDonald, in 2010:  Great
  4. City of Chicago, in 2012, writes a check for $399,950 to the Second Amendment Foundation for legal fees incurred in the McDonald v. Chicago case:  PRICELESS

Link to an image of the check from Chicago (Mayor Rahm Emmanuel)

Links for Monday, 9 April 2012

What happened to Youth Ministry?
From The Gospel Coalition (emphasis added),

By the 80s the emergence of MTV and a media-driven generation meant church youth ministry became more entertainment-driven than ever. Youth pastors felt the need to feature live bands, video production, and elaborate sound and lighting in order to reach this audience…The message had been simplified and shortened to fit the entertainment-saturated youth culture. By the start of the 21st century, we discovered many youth were no longer interested in the show that we put on or the oversimplified message. Christianity was no different from the world around them. Some youth ministries intensified their effort combining massive hype with strong messages that inspired youth but did not translate to everyday life. We realized we were faced with a generation whose faith was unsustainable.

The result? Per the author, Dave Wright,

First, we moved from parachurch to church-based ministry (though the parachurch continues). In doing so, we segregated youth from the rest of the congregation. Students in many churches no longer engaged with “adult” church and had no place to go once they graduated from high school. They did not benefit from intergenerational relationships but instead were relegated to the youth room.

Second, we incorporated an attractional model that morphed into entertainment-driven ministry. In doing that we bought into the fallacy of “edu-tainment” as a legitimate means of communicating the gospel. Obscuring the gospel has communicated that we have to dress up Jesus to make him cool.

Third, we lost sight of the Great Commission, deciding instead to make converts of many and disciples of few. We concluded that strong biblical teaching and helping students embrace a robust theology was boring (or only relevant to the exceptionally keen) and proverbially shot ourselves in the foot.

Fourth, we created a consumer mentality amongst a generation that did not expect to be challenged at church in ways similar to what they face at school or on sports teams…

For my take, see Christians Need to Stop Making Converts.


Additional nuggets of wisdom for so-called worship leaders
In You are not a Rock Star, Clint Archer offers up some sage advice. Amongst the tips,

The task of the worship leader is to get out the way of worship, and to lift our attention to God. He cannot do this if he is showing off his ability to do a lead break. Worship leaders need to be humble. They should dress modestly. Sometimes musos have a particular look they are going for in their midweek gig. But when they ascend the platform at church, their personal brand is expendable.


October Baby ruffles some feathers, yet hits home
Movie critic Roger Moore seems to think that movies are strictly about entertainment. From his review,

It’s ironic that the studio founded by the son of Hollywood founding father Samuel Goldwyn should be the one releasing “October Baby.” Apparently, the acquisitions department never took to heart Goldwyn the elder’s most famous Goldwynism, about what movies are supposed to do:

“Pictures were made to entertain. If you want to send a message, call Western Union.”


I wonder what Moore thinks about Schindler’s List, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dances with Wolves, or All Quiet on the Western Front, just to name a few. Nah… no message in any of those.

Yet, despite pro-abortion bias, it’s interesting what the New York Times is reporting about the movie. From Film Inspired by ‘Abortion Survivor’ [yes – note the scare quotes around the term] is a Quiet Hit,

As mass entertainment goes, the abortion debate does not typically count as good Saturday-night date movie fare; the subject rarely makes it to the mainstream multiplex. But at a time when the issue is once again causing agitation in political circles, a small film, “October Baby,” about a woman who learns she is, as the movie puts it, a “survivor of a failed abortion,” is making a dent at theaters across the country.

Imagine that.


Can a Christian Vote for Barack Obama?
Simple answer – Yes.

This post, at Conversant Life, seemed to be an attempt to objectively look at the issues at hand, yet fell prey to caricaturizing Republican ideology with,

Why is the party that supports the NRA, increased military spending, decreased economic regulation, and harsher immigration policy still the party most publicly associated with Christians?

Sigh. I suppose I could ask,

Why is the party that supports Planned Parenthood, decreased spending on protecting its citizens, increasing costs to consumers through governmental regulations, and the continued ignoring of existing immigration law considered a viable alternative for Christians?


Speak with conviction!
Featured before, but worth a re-run (this time on Vimeo, with graphics instead of video) HT: Joe Carter.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.


So, are polar bears here to stay, or not?

Only in California (v. 9)

Ahhh, Disneyland. Fun, happiness… pepper spray?
Actually, it was at Disneyland’s sister park, California Adventure. From the OC Register (with video link),

A man was arrested for assault after repeatedly attacking security guards, who pepper sprayed him, at Disney California Adventure.

The incident happened about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when a man attacked security guards near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride. Guards repeatedly tried to restrain the man and pepper spayed him, but the man kept going after the guards, as seen on the YouTube video.

Several takeaways from the video:

1. Note how effective or, in this case, ineffective the pepper spray was on immediately stopping the man’s behavior. This guy was, ostensibly, an older drunk man. But what if one is faced with an attack from a large, muscular, angry man? If this example is any indication, you hitting him with pepper spray may eventually make him go away, but will most likely immediately make him angrier.

2. Also, note how effective or, in this case, ineffective the security response was. After being repeatedly pepper-sprayed, the man then attacks one of the security guards, taking him to the ground. It’s then that bystanders come in to restrain the man. Essentially, the first responders to this incident were park guests.

3. Lastly, note the nuttiness displayed by the woman shouting “Stop! There are kids here!” Yeah? So what? Did she really expect a rational response from this guy? If you’re faced with erratic behavior close by your children, I’d suggest immediately increasing the distance between yourselves and said behavior.

4. Finally, after seeing the swift takedown and restraining of this man </sarcasm>, and you’re thinking about making sure you are prepared for defending yourself and your family, when visiting a Disney park, think again. Per their FAQ page, weapons of any kind are not allowed in the park.

Feel safer?


Remember those action movie scenes where the cop commandeers a citizen’s car?
Well if a cop (or wanna-be cop) ever comes running up to you, while you’re in your vehicle, just keep driving. From the OC Register,

How many movies have you seen where the crime-fighting hero commandeers a bystander’s car, embarks on a wild chase that leads to a shootout and the capture of the crook – along with a spectacular wreck that destroys a car or 50?

But how often do you see the part where the guy who owns the commandeered vehicle is an octogenarian trying to park peacefully at a Jack in the Box who now has to deal with the hassle of paying for a rental car, paying to store the wreckage of his old car, sorting out insurance issues, and arguing with authorities over whether he really ever gave consent to have his car appropriated for heroic purposes in the first place?

Like I said, just keep on driving.


A $71,000 average pension for public safety workers? Sign me up!
And remember… we need to close libraries and parks.


What if you had a School Board meeting re: a teacher’s alleged hard core p@rn career?
And NO parents showed up?


Home Depot SUPERSTORE? 2nd largest in the country.

Fabulous Food Foto (# 013)

The Breakfast Burrito, from Troy’s Drive-In, in Orange, CA.

Another round with a breakfast burrito from Troy’s. Classic, just classic. This puppy has the right mix of potatoes, egg, cheese, and meat (this case was bacon). The tortilla, in this instance, was a bit chewy – but I’m used to homemade tortillas, so there. The special green sauce is killer and, unless you like it a bit hot, order it on the side.


– image © 2012 A R Lopez

Links for Monday, 2 April 2012

Gasoline Taxes by State
Nothing surprising here… sheesh.


Best Buy to close 50 brick and mortar stores
From the article,

”In order to help make technology work for every one of our customers and transform our business as the consumer electronics industry continues to evolve, we are taking major actions to improve our operating performance,” said Best Buy CEO Brian J. Dunn. ”As part of our multi-channel strategy, we intend to strengthen our portfolio of store formats and footprints — closing some big box stores, modifying others to our enhanced Connected Store format, and adding Best Buy Mobile stand-alone locations — all to provide a better shopping environment for our customers across multiple channels while increasing points of presence, and to improve performance and profitability.”

Huh? My Google Translator doesn’t have a Corporate Speak -> English option.

How many of you go to a Best Buy type store to actually buy something? Apart from the occasional cable or power strip, I typically do not make big purchases at these stores. Besides getting lackluster to pitiful service from the sales staff, the prices are too high.

However, one thing they are good for is to actually view and handle potential purchases. Alas, that may be going by the wayside as well.


Geek News:  the F-1 engines from the Apollo 11 mission have been found
Can you imagine predicting in July of 1969, when the Apollo 11 mission occurred, that those engines would be found by a private entrepreneur of an internet retail establishment?

No, neither can I.


More Primate Fossils Found, More Digs at Religious Conservatives
From More pre-human fossils, more skepticism,

The same day as 3.4 million-year-old human-like fossils have been unveiled, a new study has been released saying that conservatives and church-goers are growing increasingly skeptical of science.

“It is not necessarily the case that education or knowledge makes you more objective,” said Peter Ditto, who specializes in social psychology at UC Irvine.. “Liberals are biased in their direction and conservatives are biased in their direction. People find holes and problems in arguments where they look for them – and they look harder when the science offends or just upends their established beliefs.”



Links for Wednesday, 28 March 2012

California wants your 5 year-olds

AB 2203 would lower the compulsory attendance age for entry into school from 6 to 5 years of age. This requirement would apply to all children, whether their parents plan to send them to public school or private school (including private homeschools).


So… will Spike Lee now do the right thing?
From FoxNews,

A school-cafeteria lunch lady and her husband have received hate mail, unwanted visits from reporters and fearful inquiries from neighbors — all because their Sanford-area address is being disseminated on Twitter as belonging to Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, her son said late Tuesday.


More info on the possibility that a 1st century manuscript of the Gospel of Mark has been found


5 Reasons not to agree to a police search
Like Linus told Lucy, “Those are good reasons!”

1. It’s your constitutional right.

2. Refusing a search protects you if you end up in court.

3. Saying “no” can prevent a search altogether.

4. Searches can waste your time and damage your property.

5. You never know what they’ll find.


Google has acted… Have you?


Hey, I know! How about we do an object lesson on what it means to be a persecuted Christian?

A 14-year old Dauphin County girl said she thought she was going to die Wednesday night when two men with apparent guns raided a church meeting. She later found out that it was a learning exercise carried out by the church youth group.

The mother of the young girl did not want to reveal their names. The teenager does not belong to the Glad Tidings Assembly of God church in Lower Swatara Township, but she decided to go to a youth meeting Wednesday night with a friend who told her the meetings were fun.

Well, I guess it depends on how you define “fun”.

Heaven meets Earth like a sloppy, wet kiss?

The phrase Heaven meets Earth like a sloppy, wet kiss is found in a song titled “How He Loves” (see full set of lyrics here) which is currently used as a worship song in corporate worship settings. The particular line in question has, understandably, caused quite the controversy in Christian circles with advocates for both its inclusion and exclusion. An alternate version is sometimes used with the offensive portion of the lyric replaced by the words unforeseen kiss. For the purposes of this analysis, HME will refer to Heaven meets Earth, and SWK to sloppy, wet kiss.

As I see it, there are at least three issues with, or related to, this specific lyric:

I – Whether by design or by accident, the intended meaning of the lyric is vague and internally inconsistent. This, despite attempts by John Mark McMillan, the author, to define and explain the meaning of the words he used.

II – Much of the current corporate worship singing methodology, found in the contemporary evangelical church in America, is inconsistent with foundational corporate worship practice. The modern practice, in the West, of interjecting the personal into the corporate, reflects secular influences.

III – Those who hear, read, or sing the song, whom I will refer to as recipients of the  song, readily misinterpret the author’s intended meaning in both the HME and SWK lyrics.

Read the rest of this entry

Links for Friday, 23 March 2012

“The Mass murder in Afghanistan was predictable.”
So says Michael Yon. And he’s one who should know. From his post,

The mass murder in Afghanistan was predictable. Twice in the past three weeks, I published that it was coming. Why was I able to write this with sad confidence? I’ve spent more time with combat troops in these wars than any other writer: about four years in total in country, and three with combat troops.

About 200 coalition members have been killed or wounded from insider attacks. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is tantamount to being Taliban and has not bothered to apologize. Instead, Karzai whips up anti-U.S. fervor at every opportunity. Twice, Karzai has threatened to leave politics and join the Taliban.

Even our most disciplined troops — not the few problem troops — have lost all idealism. They have not lost heart for the fight. Mostly, they just don’t care. They fight because they are ordered to fight, but they have eyes wide open. The halfhearted surge and sudden drawdown leave little room for success.

Afghans will seek revenge and they will have it. This will lead to yet greater possibilities of another mass murder from our side. We are considering holding the trial in Afghanistan. Pashtuns don’t care about our justice system. They don’t even care about the Afghan government; they want blood for blood. We are being drawn into a feud.


CNN covers Fast & Furious
ICE Agents Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata. By all rights you should have heard their stories at least a small percentage as much as that of Trayvon Martin’s.


When Cultures Diverge?
Joe Carter links to a story about the massive rate of suicide in Japan, tied to the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. From the post,

According to Bloomberg, suicides rose in April, May, June and August—the months following the natural disasters that devastated towns in northeastern Japan and triggered a nuclear crisis. For a 14th straight year, suicides in Japan have exceeded 30,000.

After the disaster the West marveled at how orderly the Japanese responded – especially the fact that there was little to no looting and unrest. It was hinted that such was evidence that their culture was superior to that found in most of the West.

Yet, despite the orderliness that their culture rests on, we still see the fruits of what can only be termed a “here and now” philosophy. Whether in East or West, the human condition is woefully insufficient to provide the Hope that all humanity needs.


Citizen registers his dog to demonstrate lax voter registration procedures
So authorities launch an investigation of… the citizen.

A Republican voter in New Mexico is under criminal investigation for signing up his dog as a Democrat in a bid to highlight what he considers deficiencies in the state’s registration process.

No mention is made as to whether or not an investigation on voter registration procedures is forthcoming.


The Elephant in the church


Know your rights as a victim of ID Theft
From Consumer Reports,

The FCRA and FACT protect your rights if you are a victim if ID theft by enabling you to put fraud alerts on your credit report with the consumer reporting agencies, get a free credit report from the three national consumer reporting agencies when placing a fraud alert, block fraudulent information from appearing in your credit report, and receive a notice of these and other rights from the consumer reporting agencies.

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