Friday, May 13, 2016

Letter to

Letter to,

I have been an Amazon customer since the beginning of the Internet I think. Today I have seen some news that disturbs me greatly.

If CEO of and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos decides to pursue this idea of hurting Donald Trump's campaign for president (and/or drop his products) I will divest myself of my monetary relationship with Amazon. I will drop my Prime membership, buy from other online stores instead, delete Amazon Video from my Roku, sell my Kindle and get a Nook, delist my books from KDP and Createspace and any other dealings I have as well.

Keep your politics out of business or lose customers!

Monday, May 9, 2016

15 Reasons Why I Am #NeverHillary

Never Hillary

Hillary and Russian Foreign Minister
The following are some of the reasons that I would never vote for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States (in no particular order).

She supports raising taxes on the wealthy.

She supports amnesty for all illegal aliens.

Condones the breaking of federal law in her support for illegal aliens.

Supports extending Obamacare to illegal aliens.

She wants to build on the Obamacare fiasco.

She supports abortion.

Hillary supports paid family leave which raises taxes to pay for employees extended time off.

She wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12.00 per hour and supports communities raising it higher than that. This is something that should be left to market forces and not imposed on businesses since it has the effect of creating layoffs for thousands of people and making products more expensive.

She supports the climate change hoax and taxing oil companies to pay for green energy schemes.

She supports increased gun control. 

Hillary supports free college, which is financially unrealistic and ruinous in a country with debts and deficits like the U.S. In my opinion, college should not be free but something that has value to the student, something that needs to be worked for and cherished. Look at the free public education system and how that has failed. Do we want college to go that way too?

Hillary Clinton kept a computer server on her own property which received and sent classified e-mails and which put United States classified information at risk. This server was very likely hacked. General David Petreus was convicted for a much weaker offense. Her aides deleted 32,000 emails from the server dated during the same time period, that she regarded as personal and private before turning over the server to the government. This alone is obstruction of justice.

Hillary participated in a lie/cover-up of the Benghazi terror attack which killed four Americans including an ambassador who repeatedly asked for her help. She knew it was a terror attack (it was on the anniversary of 9/11) but lied and said to the American people that it was retaliation for a You-Tube video. As Secretary of State there was at least incompetence involved and perhaps malfeasance. 

Clinton pursued a disastrous strategy to topple Kaddafi in Libya by supporting rebels with weapons and American and NATO military power which has destabilized the country and the region. Statements like the following alone should disqualify her:
"We are currently doing everything we can to bomb, strafe and use missiles to carry the rebels into power in Libya. We want them to win. We just don’t know who they are.” Hillary Rodham Clinton

She voted for a military solution to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and later changed her mind.

And for those of you saying that they will vote for her because she is a woman and that we are ready for a woman for president, please remember that qualifications and integrity are what should suit a person for president, not the gender of the candidate. Besides, we have had other women run for higher office who had more integrity than Mrs. Clinton (Michelle Bachmann, Carly Fiorina, even Sarah Palin).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Demonization Machine

Conservative talk radio and Republican PACs have sabotaged the last two U.S. presidential elections and as a result gave us a President Barack Obama in both of them - the most liberal, divisive and constitutionally destructive president in U.S. history. A number of these radio shows continually bashed McCain and Romney during those two primaries and damaged their reputations so much that they could not recover for the general election, and many talk show hosts are again in the process of sabotaging the 2016 election. The PACs (political action committees) are just as bad and if they had held their fire and their tens of millions of dollars during the primaries of the 2008 and 2012 elections we may never have had Obamacare, and Libya, and ISIS, just to name a few. As for radio, I am speaking particularly of Glenn Beck and Mark Levin who are doing the kneecapping and who have very large audiences, but it is certainly not limited to just them.

What the intraparty destruction of other candidates does is make some Republicans and Independents so hate or fear the other candidate that once their guy or gal loses and it comes down to the general election, they just can't see themselves voting for the Republican candidate because they have been painted as so flawed and so evil that they don't vote or vote for a third-party candidate in protest. What we then end up with is a liberal Democrat president in the last two presidential elections. That alone should have been enough to motivate Republicans and conservative independents to vote for the Republican nominee, but as I say, the Republican nominee was seen as damaged goods by such a wide majority of Republican voters (due to the Demonization Machine) that they didn't feel like they wanted to have to vote for the lesser of two evils yet again and so didn't. The result of this is Obamacare, a lower standard of living, a lawless president with a weak foreign policy, etc, etc.

Of course the candidates in this 2016 election year are no better. It is ugly the tactics they use to destroy the other guy. Citizenship has been brought up, accusations of lies and financial mismanagement, character assassination, mocking.

What happens after all of this is that the supporters of each candidate get on Twitter and Facebook and double down on the trash talk. Twitter is the place where ridiculous claims about the candidates go to fester and metastasize into viral slander and unsupported lies.

So whether it is Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio who ends up as the Republican nominee for President, the dirty fight leading up to the nomination is already souring voters in regards to the other candidates. Beck says he won't vote for Trump if he is nominated. What if a couple million of his listeners follow suit? Levin is clearly pro-Cruz and quite anti-Rubio and anti-everyone else. If the nominee is someone other than Ted Cruz will his support for that nominee be like it was when the fight had settled on a Romney nomination after months of kneecapping? Tepid at best? Will his listeners again not bother to vote because they have been schooled in all that is wrong with the nominee?

An Obama presidency would never have occurred if Republicans and independents had held their noses and voted for the "lesser of two evils" because the U.S. certainly has had the GREATER of two evils for the last seven years. The lesson to be learned is first, that there is no perfect candidate. The second lesson is that talk radio hosts (and PACs) have a huge impact on their listeners and ought to consider their culpability when it comes to that influence. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh seem to have had the right tone in 2016. Though one knows who they might favor to be the nominee they don't bring the weight of their influence like a hammer onto the candidates, saving the brunt of their attacks for the Democrat challengers.

Unfortunately, the same thing seems to be happening this time around, but we may just be lucky that the present Democrat candidates will cause the same sort of voter apathy in 2016 which will help the Republican candidate win in November. But if a Republican wins in November it won't be because the Demonization Machine isn't well-oiled, because indeed it is operating as well as ever.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Devil's Poison: How Fluoride Is Killing You - A Book Review

Fluoride is not a vitamin, and not a mineral necessary for human health. It is a caustic, highly oxidative and reactive poison that has no business being anywhere near our water supplies, foods, or in our toothpastes. Fluoride kills and inhibits all forms of life and fluorine is the most reactive element on the planet.

The book The Devil's Poison lays out the facts concerning this much misused element with facts supported by scientific study after scientific study. If you just consider the simple facts that after eating grass high in fluoride, cows are not able to control their muscles to the point of not being able to stand or the fact that "sodium fluoride is used in military grade nerve gasses like Sarin (the same sodium fluoride you brush your teeth with)" and is used in rat poison, cockroach poison and as wood preservative, then you might pause before feeding you or your children fluoride. 

The Devil's Poison illustrates that the effects on the human body at low but daily doses are the probable cause of many human disorders and diseases, just as if we ingested arsenic, cyanide or DDT at daily levels that didn't kill us would likely have long-term chronic and deletorious effects on our health. The author even goes so far as to say in the Introduction that "exposure to fluorine and fluoride compounds has caused more disease and deaths than any other substance known to mankind." He then goes on in the following pages of the book to support that statement.

Read this book and other books and then consider drinking water without fluoride in it and brushing your teeth with toothpaste without fluoride. Just these simple steps alone may go a long way to mediating a number of health problems, most of which are explained in this well-researched book. Thanks to the author, Dr. Dean Murphy, DDS for digging into fluoride's sordid past and shining a light on something in our diets that should not be in our diets. And don't worry about your teeth, the author of the book, a dentist, and numerous studies cited suggest that fluoride is not beneficial for teeth at all and in fact harms the dental substrate, weakening teeth.

The book is available in ebook and print formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Another good source of information on fluoride's risks to health is the Fluoride Action Network.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Leave the Oil in the Ground?

It is the dream of many liberals, and environmental activists, including President Obama, to leave petroleum in the ground. It is a pipe dream, however, and any effort to implement such an agenda before we are ready with other comparable energy sources will choke the United States' economy and standard of living and that of the rest of the world. Solar and wind energy do not have the advantages that oil has such as portability and energy density and may never be the equal of oil in that regard. Fusion energy seems to always be out of reach, but if that source of clean energy ever became viable it would go a long way towards keeping some oil in the ground.

Oil is not used just for burning in our automobiles, trucks, ships, trains, planes, homes and businesses. It is also used in various types of plastics which are in almost every product we use (computers, water bottles, smart phones, toothbrushes, refrigerators, cars, hospital beds, airplanes, toys, shoes and millions more products). Oil is also used in constructing pharmaceutical drugs which save lives and relieve suffering. It is also used in asphalt for roads.

We couldn't leave the oil in the ground at this point in civilization's development unless we wanted to give back 200 years of civilizational development. We will always have some need for petroleum, at least until we can create the molecules we want directly from atoms.

Why is there oil in the ground?

Oil has got to be the most unexpected and greatest treasure to civilization that has ever been found in the ground on planet Earth. Humans had got along without oil for most of their history but it has been the fuel of industry and progress for the last 150 years. Without petroleum we'd still be using horses to get around, firewood or coal for heat and candles for light. It is unexpected because when you look at a planet you don't imagine that there could be oceans worth of fuel buried beneath its surface and over the millennia that we have lived on this Earth no scientists imagined such a thing. Oil has been known of in small quantities and by few people over thousands of years but its potential for use and the extent of its existence was unguessed at. And oil is the greatest treasure because of its unexpected extent, its truly mindboggling quantity (perhaps 50 trillion gallons used so far). The very fact that billions of people for the last 150 years have used oil directly or indirectly and it has not run out, in fact may not even be halfway gone, is a miracle or a coincidence of magnificent proportions. The fact that a burgeoning civilization found a plentiful fuel source just when it needed it (when the internal combustion engine was invented) and that it would last as long as it has is indeed a miracle.

Why is there oil in the ground and why is there so much of it there? 

Oil is produced deep underground where extreme pressure on dead carboniferous microbiological life forms results in a sludge which happens to be flammable. There is a smaller school of thought which says that petroleum is produced by purely geologic and chemical actions without biologic input (abiogenic petroleum origin theory). Whichever method produces the oil, clearly there is a great source of material. The production of oil continues as we use it because those same sources for the creation of oil whether biologic or not still exist in large amounts. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the pace of production is probably much slower than the usage of it, so at some point we may run out. If you subscribe to the mainstream theory that petroleum is derived from biological sources then clearly there is a lot of source material for making oil. Bacteria is supposed by scientists to make up most of the life on Earth by weight by far. Add to this zooplankton, plankton, algae and other life from the sea and you have a huge possible source of carbon for petroleum production. Over time this and other dead carbon-based life forms migrate down through the soil and become compressed under evermore pressure and heat in sedimentary rock. Molecular changes occur. That's the theory.

So we are left with the fact that we have oil under our feet - a lot of it. Do we use it or do we not? I look at it this way. Nature produces apples to be eaten so we and many other animals eat them. You could say that they are a gift of God or the bounty of Mother Nature. The same can be said of oil. Nature creates oil to be used or God creates oil as a gift to meet our energy needs. Everything has a purpose, an apple is a sweet and healthy food as well as a method of transporting seeds away from an apple tree. On our Earth, water's purpose is to support life. Oil's purpose is not to hide in caves 1000 feet below the surface but to bubble up to the surface and be used as the gift that it is for energy production and manufacturing of certain products. 

Yes, burning oil produces pollution and carbon dioxide, but cars, trucks and planes are using it more efficiently than ever, and the exhausts from newer vehicles are much cleaner now than they have ever been. Carbon infusion into the atmosphere is down over the last few years. This gives us more time to find fuels or energy sources like fusion and improved batteries that can replace the dirtier fossil fuels. We'll get there. Let's be patient and wait for the scientists and engineers to do their thing before we throw away a potent source of energy that was clearly placed inside the Earth by Mother Nature (or as I believe, God) for us to use in our progression as a civilization. If we don't wait, if we truncate our reliance on  petroleum without something of equal potency to replace it we will sabotage our economies, progress and increase human suffering.

Technology is advancing in spectacular ways in the first 15 years of the new millennium. If we're patient and persistent in our technological progress, I am certain that the energy developments that we need to replace fossil fuels will come. But throwing away a resource before it is actually obsoleted is like flattening your tire on the last pit stop of the race and expecting to win.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Global Warming

Photo Caption:

The Earth next to the Sun in a comparison of sizes to scale. If there is global warming, I doubt that the Sun would have anything to do with it since the mighty Earth could shrug off any energy fluctuations from the puny Sun.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good-bye Windows 8

Look at that Start button on the left compared to the new Windows 8.1 Start button. Beautiful versus flat and uninspired. The Windows Start button signifies and encapsulates the tale of two operating systems from one company. One great and one not so great.

In that vein, I am happy to announce that I made the decision to dump the carnival version of Windows, Windows 8, and go back to Windows 7 on my personal home computer. I love it. It's like coming back from Bizarro World to reality. The main impetus for me making the trip back in time to a more lovely and functional operating system was the disappearing scroll bar. If'n you don't know what I am talking about, it is the fact that the scroll bar disappears after three seconds of inactivity in many windows and programs within Windows 8 and 8.1. It may be a bugaboo or a mental problem but I really am aggravated by the disappearing scroll bar, especially in Windows mail (where it causes you to open emails you would not have opened because you click on an email expecting there to be a scroll bar where your mouse cursor is. Uggg!) and also occurs in Microsoft Office products like Word. I use Microsoft Word all the time and I want a scroll bar that doesn't disappear after three seconds. I tried finding ways to keep the scroll bar from disappearing in the settings of Windows 8 and Word and found nothing. I Googled the issue and found there is no way to resolve it. And the scroll bar that is foisted on the user in Windows 8, Word 2013 and all the current Web browsers is a flat, 2D, crappy looking scroll bar that looks better gone frankly, except for the fact that I want and need to see a scroll bar. Well, enough of that issue. You get the idea. It was enough to get me to say good-bye to Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 10 looks like it is not going to take care of that issue either. So sayonara hachi.

Other reasons I don't like Windows 8: 
  • It is all 2D, whereas Windows 7 Aero has 3D buttons and scroll bars and see thru frames. It is functional and lovely. Many portions of Windows 8 actually look the same as DOS program screens (i.e., from the 80s). In many ways it is multiple steps backwards in presentation of the user interface.
  • The bothersome charm bar that appears when you don't want it to and doesn't come when you call it is unawesome to say the least.
  • The new Windows Start button in Windows 8.1 is also unawesome leading you only to the Windows 8.1 "start screen" which should actually be called the Apps screen. Finding an app (or software program) usually takes much longer than when looking for a program in the program menu of the Windows 7 start menu unless it is one of the apps on the first page of the App screen.

Speaking of browsers, the user interfaces of internet browsers have mirrored the look and functionality of Windows 8 lately and since they all have flat, 2D scroll bars now I have gone back to an earlier version of Firefox. (Even Google's logo is 2D now where it used to be 3D. What's up with that?) As far as browser security is concerned, I am not worried because I have an antivirus suite that I pay good money for. You can find previous versions of various kinds of software at You can't go back too far though with any software, especially browsers, or you lose too much functionality with today's websites. I tried using the last versions of Netscape, but it is basically useless on the internet now. Firefox 9 though is working out okay so far and still has the regular 3D, nondisappearing scroll bars.

Sure, I know that you can start your computer from the Desktop and work many of your tasks from there but Windows 8.1 is always lurking, waiting to spring up in all its colorful ugliness and make you interact with it. If you want to read a piece of literature you don't want to have a comic book pop up in front of you while you're reading. But that's what Windows 8 is like. Windows 8 was not designed for computer users, it was designed for people who have surface knowledge of computers. Not everyone wants to have in-depth knowledge of computers or needs to. Maybe this operating system is good for them, maybe not. It's actually more like an iPad interface than an operating system.

What Microsoft should have done if they wanted to have this Disneyfied operating system is also come out with a separate standard professional version for computer users and businesses (like when they had Windows 98 and Windows NT/2000 sold at the same time, or XP and XP Professional). 

To go back to Windows 7 on my Windows 8 HP laptop was turning into a huge hassle and headache. They really don't want you going back, and make it quite difficult to do so, so I bought a new laptop with Windows 7 already on it and sold my Windows 8 laptop. Headache avoided.

Maybe there is some critical mass number that can be reached whereby if enough users do the same thing Microsoft will get the hint and get rid of the Metro interface idea altogether and not just make some halfway fixes for Windows 10 as they are doing now. If not I am going to be happily using Windows 7 well beyond the date when it is no longer supported.

Now if I could just get my employer to get my work computer back to Windows 7.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is using blinds and shades to keep the heat of the sun outside your home effective or a myth?

Window blinds
I have been a consistent adjuster of blinds, curtains and shades in my homes for many years. I let in the sun's heat in the winter and in the summer I close the blinds in an effort to keep the heat out. Who doesn't want to save energy if energy equals money?

Adjusting the blinds is a constant admonition from energy companies, blinds manufacturers, air conditioner manufacturers, bloggers, news outlets, and parents.

The following is something we can agree on right off the bat. It is indisputable that if you leave the blinds open in the winter time, the sunlight can come in and will warm up the house. Not every wavelength of sunlight that comes into the house has the effect of warming it up though. It is the light at the red end of the light spectrum that warms us and our homes, specifically the infrared (beyond red) light waves. This basically leads to a greenhouse effect in your home where infrared light gets into your house becomes convective heat and that heat stays inside the house (greenhouse) because the glass, walls and ceiling keep it there. This is a great thing on a cold winter day.

Electromagnetic Spectrum -

In the summer the same sunlight enters your house for many more (potential) hours per day through your windows and will warm up the house using that same greenhouse effect. Since we know that our house becomes warmer in the winter because we let the sunlight in, it makes a certain amount of sense to suggest that if we close the blinds we will keep the sunlight-generated heat out of the house in the summer. Right?

But if we think about it a little we'll discover that it isn't true.

Experience tells me that no matter what I do with the blinds, my home becomes hot in the afternoon. Why?

Let's start with a pretty solid fact. If the blinds were outside your windows (like shutters on houses used to be) and were reflective, they would keep most of the heat from the sun's light from entering your home. Some heat is always going to be transferred from the outside walls from the sun to the interior of your home depending on the materials the wall is made of and the amount (if any) of insulation in the walls.

If instead of "outdoor blinds" or shutters you used aluminum foil on the glass as a way to intercept sunlight's heat you would be pretty successful at keeping the heat from the sun's light out of your home but that would be a visual hazard and an annoyance to your neighbors. A reflective film placed on the glass should be good enough and there are companies that sell that product for windows. Think the window darkening that's used on your car's windows.

Stopping the sun outside your home keeps the heat from the sun's light outside your home. This is a fairly safe statement, generally.

Unfortunately, the situation that most of us are stuck with is using blinds that are hung inside our home 0.5 to 4 inches away from the glass. The problem is that once the sunlight goes through the glass, the wavelengths that cause heat in your house cannot easily get back out. Visible light is reflected back out, so your white blinds may do a fine job of reflecting light back outside, but it is not the right kind of light. As shown in the graphic below the short-wavelength infrared light stays in your house and becomes convective heat between your blinds and the window. The blinds are warmed up and radiate the heat in all directions.

Greenhouse effect -

Remember also that glass is an insulator and if it is double-paned or triple-paned glass it is an even better insulator than a greenhouse! Heat has a difficult time getting through it. Once the infrared light strikes a surface in the home (ie., the blinds) it becomes convective heat. That heat will rise behind the blinds to the ceiling and circulate with the air in the room. Very little of the heat that enters through the window can escape back through the window and since it is probably hotter outside (which is why you are worried about keeping the heat out) heat is not likely to travel that direction anyway, even if it could get through the double-paned window. Heat travels to cool areas not to hot areas so it is not natural to make the assumption (which we do) that the heat will be reflected back outside to a hotter environment when thermal entropy suggests that heat always seeks cooler areas. The conductive heat from outside near your window is heating up your window because it is seeking a cooler place (ie., your air conditioned or cooler home). Heat is already fighting to get in your house, how likely is it to get out?

So as we can see, there are a number of things which argue against closing blinds to keep the heat from the sun's light out of our homes.

  • Infrared energy will not easily go back out the way it came in
  • Visible light is reflected back out but that kind of light does not heat up the house anyway
  • Glass windows do a very good job at insulating
  • A dark house is a gloomy house

Yes the sun is making your home warmer in the winter and in the summer but there is nothing you can do short of stopping the sun's light outside your windows.

So don't live in a dark cave for nothing, let the sun shine.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Solar sheathing for power transmission and cable / telephone lines

I am not an engineer or an electrician, but I have been thinking lately and have come up with an idea that I would like to put out there for consideration, and if it might be workable, someone in the solar industry, or power utilities industry, or in government may proceed to do something with it.

There are between 150,000 and 200,000 miles of power transmission lines which distribute electricity in the United States. There are as many or more miles of television cable wires distributing cable TV signals in the U.S. For the wires that are strung between towers and poles, sunlight or daylight strikes most every inch of these lines for an average of 12 hours every day. If these lines were sheathed in rollable (flexible) solar panels the U.S. would suddenly have a huge source of clean electricity on already existing space that would be basically invisible -- unlike the clumsy eyesores shown below which are currently being installed all over New Jersey.

Telephone pole solar power panel
If an output of 1 watt per foot of solar panel on the wires is estimated, which is a conservative estimate, this is roughly 1,056,000,000 watts of new electricity production (1.05 Gigawatts) or about the energy produced by one nuclear power plant or large coal-fired power plant. This number could be doubled if both the high-voltage transmission wires and cable television wires could be used.

I am not sure how a solar panel would react on a high-voltage transmission line, and if the solar panel wouldn't work on a high-voltage wire due to the leak of voltage out of the wire and into the panel, then the cable television cables would do well enough at providing the power. But power companies could also consider insulating the transmission wires to prevent the voltage leakage and thereby allow the solar panels to function. Or, perhaps the rollable solar panels can be made with the insulator already on it so that it could function in the high-voltage environment.

Benefits of the plan:
  • Invisible
  • Extensive
  • Clean, no pollution
  • Distributed
  • Create jobs
  • More electricity
  • Doesn't take more land space out of use as for solar panel farms

In a world where we are always looking for new ways to generate cheaper, cleaner, more abundant energy, I think this is one way that we can do so.

PowerFilm Rollable Solar Panel

Friday, January 16, 2015

Gas Cheap Now, But Not for Long

Filling up at the pump is less painful than in the recent past.
I saw gasoline for $1.69 per gallon for Regular (cash) yesterday on Route 1 in New Jersey. It has been a long time since we have seen gasoline that low and the relief to the consumer's wallet is a welcome one indeed. It is tantamount to a tax cut on the citizens or even a pay raise. The bottom line is that it gives people more money to spend on other important things and can even increase household savings rates and encourage on-the-road travel vacationing. The low price of oil and the resultant low price on gasoline and diesel fuel are boons to the economy in many ways.

So why are prices as low as they are? It's because of the extra oil on the market from U.S. oil production which has seen a boom in recent years, due in part to hydraulic fracturing and increased oil drilling on private lands.

But my point with this post is not to talk about why there is so much oil, or the benefits of fracking. There are many articles and blog posts addressing these issues. The point of this particular post is to throw a wet blanket on this low-price enthusiasm.

The price won't be low for long. And the past would be the indicator of future performance.

In 2009, the price of gasoline dropped below $2.00 a gallon for a brief time and then continuously rose back up to $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon for Regular in New Jersey. The chart below shows the price per barrel which the price per gallon of gasoline follows in its movements.


The message? Get it while it's hot, because very soon it's going to shoot back up to $3.50 per gallon and probably higher.

What are the causes of oil price movement? Supply, demand, political unrest and government regulation. Right now supply is greater than demand, so the price is lower. But there are so many political hotspots in the world today that any one of these tipping points that tips could cause oil futures to shoot back up to $120 per barrel.

As examples, Russia's designs on Ukraine and its trouble-making around the world have the potential for causing oil prices to rise, and this is a country that wants oil prices to rise back up because so much of their economy and budgetary income is based on the sale of oil and natural gas. So for Russia, instability on the world stage which causes higher fuel prices is exactly what they want and need.

Daesh or ISIS, is militant Islam rampaging through the Middle East and threatening terror everywhere else. They are currently in control of half of Syria and much of Iraq. It won't take much for that particular march of evil to cause an oil price spike. If they were to succeed in taking over Syria or Iraq, or cause mayhem in Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Israel, these are just some scenarios that would be catalysts for crisis leading to an oil price rise.

Al Qaeda, the original Islamic terrorist group is still a very real threat and actively trying to bring terror killings to the next horrific level. There is no restraint as to the kind of murder and destruction that they would like to perform and if they had a weapon of mass destruction they would have no hesitation in using it, as we have seen on 9/11 and in other events. Hamas and Hezbollah are the more localized but just as dangerous militant Islamists of the Middle East. Any of these groups could and would bring economic chaos that could result in sky-high oil prices.

Iran is a country that wants to see Israel and America (the great Satan) destroyed. It is progressing in its efforts to become a nuclear power with Russia's and North Korea's help. It could very soon succeed in its efforts to make a nuclear weapon. If that happens Israel may bomb Iran's nuclear facilities causing a regional war. This would spike oil prices.

The Taliban is still killing people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and seems intent on continuing to cause death and destabilization, also through the spread of terror.

The Communist-led, police-state of China always takes the side of the bad actors on the world stage as shown by its support of Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Russia. And it is intent on destabilizing Taiwan, threatening the U.S. and Japan, and throwing its weight around the region and the world. And China never seems to lend its growing military might to world security threats that other civilized countries fight against. Their belligerent actions could be the cause of any number of scenarios that could cause an oil price spike.

Even if it isn't a national political action that causes the problem, it could be a crucial break in the supply chain, perhaps a few oil refineries going down, a natural disaster or a massive oil spill like the one in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago. The anti-hydraulic fracturing movement could also put a political chokehold on oil derived from this process especially if countries regulate against the process as many individual states in the U.S. have done.

So, sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud, but enjoy the lower cost of gas for your car and fill up your fuel oil tank now because inevitably the low price we see now will soon disappear to be replaced again by the signs we are so used to.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Blood-Dimmed Tide: The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It - A Book Review

by Gerald Astor

This book was created by weaving together the individual stories of the men who participated in The Battle of the Bulge near the end of World War ll. The German military offensive was a last ditch attempt by Adolph Hitler to recapture territory that had been lost to the Allied armies and the term “bulge” refers to the resultant break in the Allied front lines. Early on, the German operation had some success due to the operation’s surprise factor, and the strength of German force thrown behind it, not to mention the subterfuge.
Astor helps us to get to know the men of all ranks and from both sides of the conflict and then brings the stories from these men to us as they relate to the battle in chronological order for the six or eight weeks of the military engagement.

The first few hours and days especially come across as very tense and exciting moments. If you want to learn how grueling and terrible the battle was you will certainly learn that from this book. War can often be viewed with rose-colored glasses when looked at from many decades removed from the action. That is not the case here. It is gritty, cold, wet, and pain and hunger filled. You could almost sense that some of these men would have wished for a quick battlefield death compared to the ordeals that they ended up having to go through.
The book is the story of heroes and villains on both sides of the conflict and a portrait of the ugliness of war and of humanity. It is a story and a book that should be read in every history class because it makes the war more tangible.

We learn that the Battle of the Bulge ended up being the nail in NAZI Germany’s coffin, but it was a very costly battle to both the Allies and Germany in terms of lives lost and wounded.

Before reading A Blood-Dimmed Tide, I had known next to nothing about this battle of WWII, and thanks to this book I now know more about the battle, the war, and a little more about the good and bad of humanity.

Roar: The New Conservative Woman Speaks Out - A Book Review

by Scottie Nell Hughes

Scottie Nell Hughes is a smart, ambitious, successful, and caring conservative woman. She is a loving wife and mother as well as a daughter with a large amount of respect for her parents and her larger family who we are introduced to in the book to some extent. This book’s target audience is supposed to be conservative women, but the wisdom here is applicable to people in general, not just women, and not just conservatives. She talks about parenting issues, so parents will benefit. She talks about career and employment and what she says would benefit job hunters or people working their way up the career ladder. But books aren’t always about the benefits you can take away from them. There are some engaging and inspiring stories here.

Of course, the main point of the book is that she wants conservative women to find their “roar” – to speak out for their ideals and to become more active in bringing about their desires for a better community.

Ms. Hughes highlights the problems with the Obama administration including the incredible debt, the burgeoning welfare class, and the sub-par employment picture in the United States.

One area that she talks about with heartfelt conviction is a woman’s right to self-defense. She delves into the ever-present and ever-expanding efforts to control guns from a uniquely female point of view.
"For the woman walking to her car down a dark alleyway or the mother of two who keeps a .38 snub in her dresser drawer, a firearm can serve (and has served) as a last line of defense between her and a criminal who does not care about law and order. If we’re going to talk about a War on Women, we should address the real war on women: the disarming of women. Guns are tools. Firearms do not only help the nefarious; they help the law abiding. They serve as an equalizer."

Ms. Hughes also discusses women’s roles in society such as in front line combat (which she is against), the workplace, at home, and regarding “reproductive rights,” birth control, and abortion. She doesn’t mince words and takes a firm stand on all of the issues she presents, all to be expected in a book titled “Roar.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stop the Ebola Free Trade Agreement

I sent out the tweet below to my followers on October 22 and it kind of went unnoticed, where I thought it would stir up some retweets or negative responses.
"There isn't much difference between not stopping terrorism & not stopping flights from Ebola countries. It's basically a way to ramp up fear"
It was the best I could do in 140 characters to express the thought, but in light of the latest imported Ebola case by a doctor in New York City, it needs expanding on.

Ebola is fatal in 25 to 60 percent of cases according to the charts at the link below from Dr. Ian Mackay. There are not too many diseases which spread person to person in which the outcome is as grim as this. And that's not to mention the incredible suffering the disease causes. The growth of this disease in the population where it takes hold is not linear but is exponential in the way that the flu blossoms in the fall and winter in cool climate countries. So while there are more deaths from HIV/AIDS, malaria, cancer and even the flu, Ebola has the potential to be an efficient, worldwide spreader of death. That's the cause of the enhanced fear people have of this disease. It is not blown out of proportion, because if it gets out of control here as it did in West Africa it would be many times worse.

As an aside, imagine if ISIS or al Qaeda decided to weaponize the Ebola virus. All they'd have to do is get someone or somemany infected and fly them on airlines to any country in the world. Even if it weren't as effective a weapon as a bomb initially, as a weapon of fear it is right up there with beheading and suicide bombing.

Maybe the way the disease has progressed in Sierra Leone and Liberia, where it has killed thousands of people since April of 2014, would not be the model for its progression if it gains a foothold in a country like the United States, but who is to say it won't be worse? It's in New York City now and the doctor who brought it back went bowling and rode the subway. Our only hope is that it is as hard to get the disease as the CDC and others tell us. But the evidence isn't reassuring.

Except for the blood of one doctor who received an experimental cure, there is no cure right now, and he can only give so much blood.

If health care workers who are generally careful and suited up against the disease can get the disease then it is only stating the obvious to say that it is easily transmitted.

Why does the Obama administration not do what common sense dictates vis-à-vis the Ebola crisis? That is, why are he and his administration resisting the banning of flights from West Africa when 27 some other nations have already done so and when it is apparent that our only reason for having these cases thus far is because we have imported them from West Africa. Every person that comes here, potentially harboring the virus, goes around interacting with hundreds of people, some of whom won't even know it. The stupidity of the administration's course of action here is staggering. The safety of the American people is the job of the president of the U.S., and Obama is apparently not fulfilling that function, rather he is endangering the citizens of this country, not to mention the world - that is until the world starts banning flights from the United States.

There should be a cordon around Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and every country in the world should ban free flights in and out of West Africa, with only tightly controlled charter flights in and out. At the same time every effort should be made to help the people suffering there and to end the disease there where it "started". I don't know if President Obama wants the disease to terrorize America, but it sure seems like he wants America to participate in a coming epidemic - or at least not be separate from the problem. Nothing else makes sense. Any rational leader would have implemented the ban by now (and many have). And if Barack Obama is rational (as the Left likes to say he is), then he does not have the U.S.'s interest at heart with this policy and indeed the world's because his policy will cause the disease's spread around the world and not just here.

Additionally, I hope that the FBI, CIA and others are on watch for what radical Islamist affiliated nut-jobs may be planning regarding this virus, because they may turn away from axes, knives, guns and bombs and achieve their objectives through infection as well.

See the website for some detailed charts on the Ebola numbers as they stand now.

Monday, July 28, 2014

America: Imagine the World Without Her - Film Review

America: Imagine the World Without Her

This documentary film by Dinesh D'Souza and Gerald Molen features, firstly, excellent cinematography. You'll see historical scenes and battles, grand American landscapes, monuments, and impressive (and stark) cityscapes. The musical soundtrack of the documentary is wonderful and adds to the majestic feel of the film. So America looks beautiful and it sounds beautiful - a good start.

But the content here is important as well since it's a documentary and it is the meat that the people are coming for. The producers spend the first part of the film presenting some of the left's most radical and die hard critics' distorted arguments which have been working their way into the mainstream consciousness due to distortions of truth taught by liberal historians and college professors since the 1960s. After the left's "Indictments" against the U.S. are presented, the producers go on to respond to all of these indictments on many levels and from different angles. What you end up with is a regrasping of American history and a cogent and well-argued case for the fact that the United States, overall, has been a force for Good in the world and not for Evil. It is a positive message, not delivered through rose-colored glasses, but with realism and fact.

The film also highlights the fact that great and successful Americans can be of any race or creed and that as a land populated by immigrants, legal immigrants have just as much chance at success as people who have been here for generations.

Unfortunately, the indoctrination of students practiced by the liberal left into America hating, capitalist hating, sometimes race bating, government expansionist, wealth redistributionists is begun in kindergarten and carried through to the last year of college and then beyond by a compliant mainstream media. Films like America are like buckets of sand thrown against a tide of lies, but the efforts are certainly appreciated by patriots and freedom lovers everywhere. Hopefully the tide can be turned in some small way by films like this and by people like Dinesh D'Souza.

I also want to give a big shoutout to AMC Theaters in Brick New Jersey for the choppy playback of this film as if it were playing on an underpowered 300 dollar HDTV with insufficient screen refresh. Hopefully you don't present all your movies this way.

Go see this film and get the DVD when it comes out. There is much to learn here and you may not be able to absorb it all in one viewing. D'Souza has a book which this film is based on which you can see here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Are You Crying About? - New Book

What Are You Crying About? Defeating Grief for Christians (and Other Believers)
Grief sabotages happy, productive lives. Some grievers waste months or years of their lives in crippling grief which sidetracks them from school, career, positive and healthy parenting, or other fruitful endeavors. People mired in extreme grief may become sick, angry, vengeful and may even take their own lives. It doesn't have to be this way.

Sadness when someone leaves our lives is normal. Overpowering grief need not be.

Grief can be controlled, even defeated and conquered. You just need the right tools, and you don’t need to go anywhere but within you to find relief. Defeating grief takes a change of perspective, a change that everyone can make.

What Are You Crying About? gives you the tools to help you take control of your grief and help you to get on with and enjoy your life.

What's Inside the Book...
  • Death and Dying - The Common View
  • Grieving - The Common View
  • Anger with God
  • Religious and Philosophical Views on Death
  • Suicide
  • Got Faith?
  • Ten Faith Enhancers
  • What Is a Human?   
  • The Afterlife, the Spirit World, Heaven and Hell   
  • Where the Hell Is Heaven?   
  • Our Family Among Us - Spirits Present   
  • What to Say to the Bereaved (and Dying)
 You can get more information and purchase the book at this link.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Crazy Generous Amnesty - A Presidential Press Conference

If the United States of America had a strong president interested in upholding the laws and constitution of the nation, the following is the amnesty that he or she might put forward and its success would be assured. Here is the text that has just leaked from that president's upcoming press conference on the matter.

"I'd like to thank you all for joining me here today. As you know, there's been a great deal of political turmoil in this country recently over many issues: Syria, the budget, the Affordable Care Act, the IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, NSA spying on citizens, Global Warming, the country's debt, poor economic growth, fewer people in the job market despite a larger population, and finally the illegal immigrant amnesty debate. We as a country and my administration in particular can't solve all of these problems today, but I promise you that each and every day my administration is doing all it can to address every challenge facing this exceptional country in an effort to solve these and other problems.

"Today I stand before you with, not only a proposal to solve a political/societal issue that's been plaguing this country for decades, I stand before you with a resolution to solve said problem. With this issue being worked on and then placed behind us, we'll then as a nation and as a government be able to devote more time to other important issues that need attention.

"The issue that my administration has made a decision on is that of amnesty for illegal immigrants. This has been a hot-button issue for too long, especially so over the last six years. It is time to put this one to bed. Our solution is going to be received with mixed reviews as every solution to a political or societal problem in this country is. It is a fact that we are deeply divided over how to do many things in this country of 310 million people. That said, I was elected to lead, to serve this nation, and most importantly to uphold the constitution of the United States of America. And that is what we are doing with this solution to the illegal immigration problem. We will do no more than uphold the laws of the land and the constitution. No more will government look askance at any law nor give short shrift to the foundational document that undergirds each and every law in the land.

"This administration has crossed every T and dotted every I with respect to the policy which is being announced today. Congressional leaders have been consulted and partnered with, the supreme court has been queried for guidance, constitutional lawyers have been empaneled, state governors have been partnered with, other nations' leaders have been informed and their complaints ignored.

"I and my administration fully expect the cooperation of each and every person in this matter. It is not an edict from on high that requires your cooperation but rather the laws of the land which are already in effect. Compensatory and illegal edicts by former administrations will be struck from the books and the law followed in all cases concerning the handling of people who are in this country illegally. Whether you have been here for five minutes, five years, or fifty, if you are here illegally you are subject to arrest, detention, and deportation.

"Nations make laws for good reasons, and all nations do so. Anarchy doesn't work, it's just not a good system for people who have to live together and get along. To paraphrase James Madison, If we were a nation of angels, we'd hardly have a need for government. Ninety-five percent of all nations on earth have immigration laws and most enforce those laws with a zeal that is unmatched in our enforcement of immigration law. But we have more reason than most nations to be zealous about enforcing our immigration laws. The U.S. is the focus of much of the terroristic threat in the world today. Porous borders and undocumented residents are suicide time-bombs waiting to happen.

"With that said this administration does this day announce and set to writing, Executive Order 2013h Immigration Compliance Amnesty which states "All persons residing within the borders of the United States or illegally entering therein will, after a grace period ending six months from this day, be arrested, detained, and/or deported in accordance with immigration law as pursuant to statute duly passed by the Congress of the United States of America and upheld by the United States Supreme Court. This grace period, or Amnesty will not extend beyond six months and another such grace period will not at any time be afforded.

"Such a grace period, or amnesty will give all undocumented people a sufficient period of time to make plans for their orderly return to their legal countries' of citizenship, where people may take advantage of applying for visa in the United States as if they had never come to this country and arrived or stayed illegally. Certain government assistance may also be sought and for details and more information on the law you can check out Amnesty2013 dot gov.

"This is a very generous amnesty and was arrived at in a bipartisan way through discussions with all the parties I mentioned earlier.

"The U.S. celebrates its immigrant past and wants to progress to a bright future in partnership with legal immigrant residents from all over the world. America is stronger for its immigrant diversity and an orderly, transparent, and fair immigration system which upholds the laws of the land will further strengthen and enrich America just as it will offer fair opportunity to anyone who wants to participate in the economy and social life of this great land.

"Thank you for your attention on this matter today and may God bless the United States of America with the unity and strength that she so needs going forward."

Monday, September 30, 2013

Read Chapter 1 of The Devil's Assassin

Halloween is almost here and The Devil's Assassin, a creepy horror/thriller is always available for your Kindle e-reader for these chilly autumn nights ·

Kindle books can be read on PC, iPad, iPhone, and smart phones too with Kindle software and Apps.

Read Chapter 1 of The Devil's Assassin now.

In a dark, fog laden forest in Ontario, Canada sits a dimly lit cabin. Hundreds of crickets and as many tree frogs create a cacophony of noise in what should be an otherwise bucolic location. A couple of owls, one nearer and one more distant add their more baritone notes to a post-meridian symphony. A bat flies in irregular patterns around the perimeter of the cleared area where the house sits, dashing silently in and out of view. Fireflies wink on and off.

The sound from a television in the cabin wafts weakly out into the noisy night and after a time disappears. A light in the house goes out followed by another. The house is plunged into darkness and silence as the nighttime symphony continues. A slim crescent moon rises over the cabin while the fog ebbs and flows around the cabin.

Something has been lurking in the woods outside the cabin for a couple of hours, watching the moon's rise and the billowing fogs ebb and flow and now this lurker moves toward the darkened house. The fog billows as the lurker moves through it. It moves slowly and steadily toward a window which is slightly opened.

Finally, it reaches the window and begins to try to push it up. It doesn't move easily, but the lurker takes his time, working slowly and confidently. A couple of times the window squeaks and the lurker stops pushing to be sure it hasn't woken the house's sleeper. After about ten minutes of work on the window it is open enough for the lurker to climb through.

Once inside, and without hesitating, the lurker moves toward the bedroom. It is as if this prowler has prowled this cabin's interior before this night.

In her bedroom, a forty-seven year-old woman lies sleeping in bed, covered with a quilt. She is alone in the dark room and in a deep, restful sleep. A click disturbs the silence in the room, but the woman continues her slumber. The door knob, which is what made the click, begins to turn slowly, almost as slowly as the minute-hand of a clock. The prowler has a great deal of patience and caution, knowing too well the price of carelessness. In this bedroom, in this cabin, in these woods, the lurker has all the time in the world.

Finally, the door begins to open. Again, to avoid door creaks and squeaks, the lurker allows the door to open very slowly. He can smell his victim long before the door is open wide enough to see her. When the door is open enough to admit him into the room, the lurker moves softly over the wood floor until he stands near the side of the bed. As he regards the sleeping woman, noting the position of the quilt draping her body, a white needle suddenly jumps into view, stiletto-like, in front of the lurker. He considers the woman for a moment more and then drives the needle into the sleeping woman's chest. She shudders. The lurker draws the needle out as quickly as it was driven in and turns to leave the room.

Before moving out of the room the killer pauses to lick the needle, cleaning it of the blood which now stained it. He then walks out of the room, closes the door behind him and finds his way to the victim's kitchen. There he opens the refrigerator door and places all the fruits and vegetables he can find into a plastic shopping bag he finds on the kitchen table. The killer then stands up, leaves the kitchen and heads toward and through the window that he had entered the cabin through, closing it quickly behind him. He takes a bite out of an apple he had taken from the woman's refrigerator as he disappears into the forest.
It is a bright, sunny morning as a young woman leaves the front door of a farmhouse. The farmhouse is adjacent to a field of wheat. A couple of crows caw noisily to each other while a song bird sings. The young woman waves her hand at the door as she leaves. "Tsai jien," Miss Sung says brightly, which means goodbye in Chinese. She continues walking toward her car, gets in and then drives it away as she does every morning on her way to work in a nearby factory.

After a few hours have passed at the same Chinese farmhouse, the birds are quiet and few other sounds break the peaceful day beyond the passing of an occasional diesel truck on the nearby road. Inside the house, a radio softly plays Chinese music as an old woman sits sleeping in an easy chair with knitting in her lap.

The doorknob begins to turn slowly. It is minutes before the door opens enough to let someone in the house. A small form steps through the door and advances directly toward the easy chair in the living room. The intruder stands in front of the woman's chair watching her breathe and snore softly. He tilts his head to regard her face, matching the angle of her head. In the midst of this almost soft moment, a long white needle suddenly appears in the intruder's hand and is immediately thrust into the sleeping woman's chest. She shudders and dies instantly.

The killer pulls his bloody needle out of his victim, leaving no visible wound on the old woman. As he turns, he licks the needle clean of the blood of his victim. He then finds the kitchen where he fishes around in the refrigerator, taking as many fruits and vegetables as he can find in a bag he finds there. After he has his unusual booty, he leaves by the front door.
A campfire burns under a dark, star-studded sky on the plains of Argentina. There is popular Argentine music playing and two grizzled gauchos sit near the fire on camp stools listening to a boom box. Cattle can also be heard, horses are tied up nearby, and tents are pitched. Coleman lamps throw a little light on the campsite in addition to the fire's light.

Another gaucho is in a nearby copse of trees relieving himself. He hears a stick crack in the darkness to his left. He looks in that direction and sees something coming toward him. "Quien es?" he asks.

His answer comes in the form of his brief surprise and fear as, in the moment before he dies, he sees his attacker driving a white needle into his chest before he can utter a sound. With his pants still undone, the gaucho crumples to the ground. The killer licks his needle clean and escapes unnoticed through the grass and into the Argentine night.

At the campfire, the other two gauchos are smoking and listening to the music. Hearing or sensing something, one of the men stands up and calls out, "Roberto!?"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Steve Lonegan for U.S. Senate?

New Jersey will hold a special election to fill Senator Frank Lautenberg's United States Senate seat on October 16.

If change is going to take place in Washington D.C. and the U.S. Congress, someone should be elected to that Senate seat who is more than a rubber stamp for failed Obama administration policies. The strength of the minority party in the Senate will be buoyed by the election of Steve Lonegan making the Senate that much less likely to be an automatic cancellation of everything which the House of Representatives puts forward, and the body will also be less of a rubber stamp for Obama administration policies (though the Senate will still retain its Democrat majority for the time being).

Electing Cory Booker will continue the Congressional status quo of dysfunction, inaction and voter discontent with the U.S. Congress.

A Senator Lonegan will fight for reduced government spending, attacking wasteful government spending, finding solutions for the debt and deficits, and be a loud voice for lower taxes on overburdened citizens. He has shown himself as an effective leader in New Jersey and on national issues.

Please vote for Steve Lonegan for U.S. Senate on October 16 in New Jersey.

You can also Vote by Mail

Monday, September 23, 2013

Same-sex Marriage

I would like to offer my feelings concerning same-sex marriage, such as they are, and hopefully some readers will see something of value in the words that follow. Many people are going to be against what I say here and many for different reasons. But the thoughts are offered as an addition to a discussion which is already going on and comes at the problem from a slightly different angle than I have seen elsewhere. I ask only that you think outside the proverbial box.

The discussion of same-sex marriage is based on the foundation that religion has a problem with first homosexuality, and second that the marriage of two people of the same sex is against God's will, and third that the institution of marriage (which is purportedly sanctioned by God) will suffer degradation. If viewed from an areligious (or atheistic) point of view, the opposition to same-sex marriage would come from the supposed degradation of the institution of marriage (which is based on tradition that is in turn based on religion), and on the deleterious effects it would have on the family unit and on the proper raising of children.

This present discussion will take place in the presence of religious argument because most of the opposition to the practice comes from that quarter.

First of all, it is not my place to say that the relationship that involves same gender love between two adult people is right or wrong, just as I have no place to say that the relationship between an 80-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman is right or wrong. Nor, I would further contend, is it the business of anyone else. In the end, that relationship is between those two people and God is the only and ultimate judge over a person and their actions on Earth. I do know that God celebrates and encourages love between people and so this love between two people of the same gender is very probably blessed by God as any love is. Since physical love is a reinforcement of our spiritual love for our mate, I would think that this love would be in harmony with God and His laws as well (ie., not a sin). By physical love, I mean sex within a relationship of love between two adult parties where the love between the two is buoyed by the physical contact. Not sex for sex. Not friends with benefits.

So if God looks at love between homosexual partners with favor, then how does he look at marriage between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?

First we need to ask, How does God view marriage in general?

God is interested in the love between two individuals. Jesus has said over and over that God is Love. If these two people have committed to be with each other, then it is the hurt that one causes the other that is the sin. Adultery then is the break of the trust and bond of love within a couple's relationship and the pain caused the other party. That is where the sin of adultery is. God doesn't see the institution of marriage, He sees the relationship between two people and how they treat each other.

The institution of marriage is an institution created by man (secular society and church) to sanction the relationship between two people. That sanction of marriage offers benefits to the couple from society (tax benefits, insurance benefits, child-care rights, etc.). Benefits are also gained from the religious organizations that sanction marriage (acceptance of the couple that they are not living in sin). The church benefits because people are further bonded to the creeds, dictates and traditions of the church, and society benefits because people and families are easier to keep track of, regulate and dispense benefits to. The benefits that people receive from God by being in a marriage are the same as those that two people committed to each other in love receive but who are not "married by men".

There is no "living together in sin" if the partners are committed to each other in love. This is what God wants and it is better still if this person is your soulmate. In God's eyes it doesn't matter if you are married but only if you are loving.

If you are to follow this reasoning to its natural conclusion, then you must realize that marriage is a human construct and as such its definition is whatever we as humans want it to be.

If most humans want marriage to be defined as a loving committed relationship between two consenting people of adult age, then that is what marriage is. If most humans want to reserve the meaning of the word marriage to mean only the committed relationship between a man and a woman then perhaps another term could be looked for for homosexual commitments.

I am going to take what I surmise to be the point of view of God on this and say that what men say and their institutions require doesn't matter as regards this subject. As humans in charge of the human institution of marriage, that institution, that word, can mean and include whatever we want it to and broadening it to include people of the same gender is not much broadening at all and ought to be done in every country and every place, since God himself has nothing to say about it and man everything.

Let me also deflect the myriad quotations from the Bible that will be advanced in support of the traditional view of marriage. Everyone knows about the inconsistencies in the Bible. There are many, including those concerning homosexuality versus God's love and grace and in general Jesus' portrayal of His Father. Inconsistencies in a book that is supposed to be the word of an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect Being. These inconsistencies arise from (not only) the fact that humans, through the centuries and even to today, are responsible for copying, typesetting, typing, cutting and pasting, printing, and proofreading the Holy Book. For instance, Bibles are printed each and every day, in many countries, right now. Do you think the books leave those presses every day with no errors? Is it the word of God when words are dropped within those pages or pages left out of the bindings? Typesetters and typographers are not perfect. Printers and their machines are not perfect. Proofreaders are not perfect. Human beings are in charge of the printing of Bibles in this time period and people are as flawed now as ever. They are God's highest creation, but flawed still (due to the exertions of their own free wills). Errors are introduced by omission and commission.

So it is now, so it has been for thousands of years. There is much that is correct and in accord with God's law and love in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But there have been so many people and committees and councils involved that much of what is included in these books should be subject to careful and deliberate inspection, thought, and prayer as to its Truth. Blind obedience to a book shepherded through history by flawed men (men with agendas) and held as God's word because an ecclesiastical council said it was so is not the thinking that God gave us brains for. In fact, it is not thinking but agreement by consensus of the masses in the authority of the Church (or various churches).

Don't get me wrong, I love the Bible. It has many wonderful lessons and generally shows how to be a good person with respect for our Creator and in it can be found the path to Heaven if you look carefully. But if you want to know what God thinks about an issue, the Bible should not be your only source. Your heart, your mind, and your soul are not just supplemental resources when it comes to Truth, they are indeed the most important instruments.

Let every man and woman think for himself and herself. And in my humble opinion, let every man and woman marry the man or woman of their choice.

(When responding, please respond to the discussion of marriage. The discussion of the existence of God is not material to this present discussion because the argument against same-sex marriage generally presumes such existence. Someday we will have a blog posting concerning that topic. Thanks.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How Technology Is Making Books More Engrossing for Readers

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Yuri Arcurs -
Books are becoming more interactive.
(StatePoint) Are you reading less than you used to? You’re not alone. Between our smartphones, endless cable channels and all those other forms of modern entertainment, it’s no wonder book-reading is on the decline amongst American adults.

In fact, the percent of adults who didn’t read even one book in the previous year increased from 12 percent in 1978, to 22 percent in 2011, according to Gallup surveys.

But new technologies and trends in the world of literature are making reading more entertaining and more interactive than ever before. And many experts predict this age-old pastime will grow in popularity as people catch on to the evolution of books.

“Reading is often thought to be a passive activity,” says M.D. Kaczkowski, author of the new thriller, “The Seers, New World Order,” a book that is breaking new literary ground by including an interactive digital component. “But in the Internet Age, people are looking to truly engage and interact with creative content.”

In the pages of “The Seers” -- a fast-paced crime drama with supernatural elements -- Kaczkowski enhances his readers’ experience with Quick Response (QR) codes that are compatible with smartphones, illustrations and video links. Sprinkled throughout the book, these elements provide a fictional platform that goes beyond the pages of the book.

By accessing these elements, readers are taken to The Seers website at, where they are presented with videos, audio recordings, letters and other texts that expand on the narrative. They can even choose original songs to listen to while reading different chapters and to participate in an augmented reality game that draws on their own personal environment.

Other authors are even giving audiences control over content, using feedback garnered from modern “choose your own adventure” books and Internet forums for fans to help dictate future plotlines.

“If you’re craving a deeper engagement with your reading, you were born in the right era,” quips Kaczkowski. “For my new thriller, for example, it made perfect sense to integrate new technologies directly into the pages of the book, since the novel combines science with spirituality.”

And reading books electronically makes for a more interactive experience, too, as one can highlight text, search for key passages and look up words.

If the last time you picked up a book was for a school assignment, it’s definitely time to check out how new trends in literature can put some excitement into reading.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Yuri Arcurs -

Monday, July 8, 2013

Progress Report on the Obama Presidency

Here is a brief progress report on the economic aspects of the Obama administration. Some of the numbers in the following graphic had to be updated as they didn't seem quite right, but they are still bad.

Number 4. in the graphic is wrong due to perhaps being outdated. The federal debt of the United States is now 100% of GDP. This means that the debt of all the citizens of the U.S. due to government spending is equal to the production (in terms of dollars) of the economy over one year. And as you can see in the chart below, that debt is growing by more than a trillion dollars per year. Who thinks that's sustainable? It is crippling, actually. What can we do? Elect people to Congress and the Presidency who want to tackle the debt.

An updated figure from the labor department says that Number 5. in the graphic is now 63% of the population is employed, which is up, but 8 million of these workers are working part time when they want more hours according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These people are often referred to as under-employed.

Additionally, according to Gallop, the home ownership rate is 62% as of April 2012, so I don't know where the number in Number 8. in the graphic above comes from, but 62% is still a lower home ownership rate than all of the Bush years.

In a country where we spend 1.5 trillion dollars more per year than we take in in revenue, how can the following chart be justified? Surely millions of these people on food stamps don't actually need food assistance. How many are illegal aliens? How many are employed citizens gaming the system? This administration has marketed the food stamp program like no other administration before it, in fact markets all of its assistance "products" like Coca-Cola markets Coke. No wonder the numbers are up.

Why didn't President Barack Obama get voted out of office during the last election if his economic numbers are so bad? Because the phrase coined by James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid" doesn't hold sway with a large portion the voting public anymore. Mr. Obama was re-elected by people who think a generous, big government that gives more than it gets and over-regulates big business is a good idea.

The numbers show that the housing market is still weak, unemployment is still high, gas prices are still high, electricity prices are up, health insurance costs are up, and the cost of food is up. It has taken many years for the slight improvements to the economy that we have at this point, which is worse than any other recovery from a recession.

Unfortunately, the economic policies of this administration (of which these examples represent just the tip of the Titanic crushing iceberg), if continued, will sink this ship. In the short term, the only relief on the horizon are the 2014 congressional elections, where fiscally responsible senators and representatives must be placed into office.