Sep 11, 2010

Gaither Homecoming group sing “Dwelling in Beulah Land”

New Book by Gordon Kainer

Text from the back cover:

Grace: What's it all about?

Get ready for good news! Grace is the very heart of the gospel, an all pervasive melody ringing through the Bible. It is liberating, life-giving and amazingly comforting. It is our certainty of eternal life and acceptance with God. In the Christian life, grace is all-encompassing, but can only be grasped "one inch at a time." Apart from grace all our religious beliefs are bad news, thus this books advice, Grace: never leave home without it!

Grace: Why so Amazing?

More good news! The grace that Jesus offers is absolute and all inclusive; something we never deserve or earn. It provides us with the most refreshing spiritual rest we will ever know. Grace is the underlying solution to life's everyday problems and menacing crisis that threatens our planet. When rightly understood, grace points exclusively and continuously to Jesus.

Grace: Why so Controversial?

Why then is the good news of God's gift of grace so difficult for some to accept? Why is it controversial even among Christians? Could it be that grace is totally unbelievable, unexpected and underserved? Is this why legalism, the enemy of grace, is so common and hard to recognize in ourselves? Grappling with these questions, the author reveals that, from Eden to our day, cradled at the very heart of the great controversy is grace.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gordon Kainer is a lifetime educator and author having served as an academy religion teacher for 40 years and published 7 books. He resides with his wife Jeanie in Santa Rosa, CA.

Click here for more information.

Remembering 9-11

This is the 9th anniversary of the attacks that killed 2,974 of our fellow Americans.

A time to remember the heroes as well as the victims and their families.

Sep 10, 2010

Painted up for A Midsummer Night's Dream

Stage presence : Cast member Kim Ji-Youn, in the Korean theatre company Yohangza performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, prepares for the opening of their season in Melbourne, Australia.

AFP photo by William West

Arcosanti: the green sustainable future that doesn't work - revisited

From a report in the Washington Examiner:

In the high desert of central Arizona, more than five thousand miles from the global-warming summit in Copenhagen, sits an aging and unfinished vision of the enviro-friendly, sustainable life that some climate change activists foresee for us all.

It's called Arcosanti, created in 1970 by the Italian architect Paolo Soleri, and it is the prototype of a green community of the future.

The only problem is, it doesn't work. And it never did.

The photos below were taken at Arcosanti, the failed experimental green town in the desert of Arizona, built to express Paolo Soleri's concept of arcology (the fusion of architecture and ecology).

(click on aerial photo above to enlarge)

After nearly 40 years there are only a few buildings. They are “gray, leaky and crumbling.”




The writer continues:

On the chilly December day when I visited recently, there were maybe 50 people there, and there are never, even in good weather, more than 100 or 150 inhabitants, mostly students who come to learn about Soleri's radical environmental and architectural ideas.

In one of the common areas, there were piles of empty cardboard boxes, an empty Mountain Dew carton, a couple of children's bikes with training wheels, and pools of water from the previous day's rain.

When I took a look at the "Sky Suite," a spare and minimally furnished apartment with a lovely view of the canyon, the man staying there had put a towel under the door in an attempt to keep the water out.

It didn't work; on the floor was a soaked towel and a pool of water. Everyone was cold, despite Arcosanti's vaunted solar heating system.

The Paolo Soleri plan was to prohibit cars, yet dozens of cars are scattered about the property.

The title of this report sums up this failure rather nicely. It’s “the green future that doesn't work.”


Did Arcosanti sink this low?

The photo of this decrepit bus was taken at Arcosanti. It appears to be in use. Not as a vehicle for transportation but as a dwelling!


Big Ben up close and personal

The men are rappelling down the face of Big Ben to examine the glass face. A great view of London from there.

Report: Obama sets all time record for adding to national debt

From a report at the link below:

In the first 19 months of the Obama administration, the federal debt held by the public increased by $2.5260 trillion, which is more than the cumulative total of the national debt held by the public that was amassed by all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan.

More here.

Sep 9, 2010

Colorado Rockies baseball: pennant drive or flash in the pan?

This afternoon the Colorado Rockies completed a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds by stealing the final game - literally.

The winning run was scored on a steal of home plate by infielder Chris Nelson in the eighth inning to give the Rockies a 6-5 come-from-behind win.

Was this thriller, the Rockies seventh straight win, the start of a serious pennant drive or is it just a flash in the pan?

South Dakota rejects E-85 flex fuel

The state of South Dakota has stopped using E-85 flex fuel in favor of lower ethanol blends.

South Dakota's flexible fuel vehicles have switched to a lower ethanol blend after preliminary tests indicated that E-85 wasn't saving any money.

State pumps in Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Pierre that were carrying the 85 percent gas-ethanol blend are now dispensing E-30. Tests on the 30 percent blend will run through the end of the year.

Although E-85 was 23 cents per gallon cheaper than the standard 10 percent ethanol blend, tests showed that the 23 percent decrease in gas mileage negated the cost savings.

No mention of the decrease in power and efficiency.


Piers Morgan to take over for Larry King on CNN

Piers Morgan, the well-known, though often caustic, judge on the popular America's Got Talent will replace Larry King on CNN on January 4.

Piers Morgan is shown above with Larry King.

Long rumored as the news network's front-runner, Morgan, 45, will likely bring a more confrontational interview style than the venerable King, whose 25-year-old Larry King Live has suffered a sharp drop in viewership and will end Dec. 16.


Trashy music in Cambridge - literally

(click on picture to enlarge)

A tourist takes pictures of a street musician performing from inside a trash receptacle in Cambridge, England.

Obama names a carp czar - really

Yes, Obama really did name a carp czar. And, yes, it's spelled correctly. The "a" comes before the "r" in the word carp.

The new carp czar is John Goss (pictured), former leader of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Asian carp is a serious problem in the Great Lakes, but a carp czar?

How many other fish species can say they have their own czar?

More here.

SC Congressman bans cameras and audio during debate

From a report at the link below:

John Spratt (pictured) will debate his Republican challenger Mick Mulvaney but the only people who will get to see any of it have already bought tickets to the sold out dinner at a South Carolina Lions Club.

Reporters will be allowed, but Spratt's campaign asked for no audio or video recording of the debate between the candidates.

Though not mentioned in the report, Rep. Spratt has Parkinson's disease.

The Spratt campaign may be banning cameras to avoid filming Spratt's involuntary movements caused by Parkinson's. But why ban audio recording?

Spratt has held his office since 1983 and is now in a tough re-election fight. His Republican challenger Mick Mulvaney criticizes the video and audio ban during the debate.

The purpose of political debates is to allow voters to watch and hear the candidate's express their view of the issues.


Sep 8, 2010

Zombies 101: a class to die for

The University of Baltimore has a new class on the undead. Call it Zombies 101.

The course is English 333 and is being taught by Arnold Blumberg, the author of a book on zombie movies, "Zombiemania," and the curator of Geppi's Entertainment Museum, which focuses on American pop culture.

Students taking the class will watch 16 classic zombie films and read zombie comics. As an alternative to a final research paper they'll be allowed to write scripts or draw storyboards for their ideal zombie flicks.

I took Zombies 101 once. It's just that the school called it Chemistry.

Looking back on it, learning about the science of matter may not have been much different than learning about the undead.

Sorry - got carried away for a minute.

Click here for the Zombies 101: a class to die for article.

Airline ticket add-ons are unpopular

White House defends quote on Oval Office rug

The Associated Press, in their haste to jump to the defense of the erroneous Martin Luther King, Jr. quote on the Oval Office rug, reported that the original author of the quote was "19th-century abolitionist, Thomas Parker."

We are not sure who Thomas Parker is.

Perhaps AP thinks two wrongs make a right. In any event, the original quote was by Theodore Parker as we reported at the second link below.

From the next paragraph in the AP report

"It was not us that thought he said it, it was many people that believed - rightly so — that he said it," press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

If you said "I have a dream" does that mean from now on everyone should attribute that quote to you?

Back to the AP article:

Parker's adherents note the Transcendentalist and Unitarian minister wrote this in his 1853 treatise "Of Justice and the Conscience": "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one ... And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."

Jamie Stiehm, writing in The Washington Post on Saturday, said crediting King but not Parker "goes beyond the beige."

One commenter said, "this gives a whole new meaning to "lying like a rug."

Link here and here.

Underwater fashion show

A model wearing a traditional Korean hanbok performs in a water tank at the "Underwater Hanbok Fashion Show" in Seoul, South Korea.

New study cuts icecap loss in half

A report at the link below is titled:New study slashes estimate of icecap loss.

Estimates of the rate of ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica, one of the most worrying questions in the global warming debate, should be halved, according to Dutch and US scientists.

According to the new study, published in the September issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, the ice estimates fail to correct for a phenomenon known as glacial isostatic adjustment.

More here.

Open letter to defenders of illegal aliens

Found on the Internet:

It is more than just tiring to listen to 'bleeding hearts' reminding us that white Anglos were the first illegal aliens.

It is true that white Anglos came to the North American continent and literally took over but what can we do about it 300 years later?

But wait, there is something that can be done. These 'bleeding hearts' could try to make it right by leaving this country and move back to the country of their ancestors.

Those who remain could then deal with illegals streaming across the border without do-gooders getting in the way.

Many of those entering illegally come here for the free medical care and welfare.

Others are criminals. Some were deported earlier but it's easy to come back across the border to continue their drug dealing, etc.

Sep 7, 2010

Ancient city of Leukaspis, Egypt to open this month

Egypt plans to open the ancient port city of Leukaspis later this month.

Shown are the restored Roman pillar tombs of Leukaspis a well known Greco-Roman port overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at the costal resorts of Marina, Egypt.

A five star hotel is in the background of the photo above.

2,000 years ago, this was a thriving Greco-Roman port city, boasting villas of merchants grown rich on the wheat and olive trade.

Today, it's a sprawl of luxury vacation homes where Egypt's wealthy bask on the white beaches of the Mediterranean coast.


What happened to Recovery Summer?

A report at the first link below is titled, 'Recovery Summer' ends with economic pothole.

Whatever happened to recovery summer?
This was supposed to be the season the economy heated up, thanks to a wave of public works projects, funded by the government's stimulus program.
And before long, stimulus dollars will be fading like autumn leaves.

But wait…according to a report at the second link below, Obama is calling for another $50,000,000,000.00 stimulus to for public works projects.

That's right -- the failed Recovery Summer spurs a request for $50 Billion additional stimulus.

If it didn't work last summer, why would it work this fall?

Link here and here.

Kindergarten expectations keep rising

This is an inconvenient year for Al Gore

First it was massage therapists accusing the former Vice President of inappropriate behavior - see second link below.

Now it's an inconvenient irony as reported at the first link below.

A school in Los Angeles named after Al Gore (pictured) was built on toxic soil and poses a potential health risk to students.

The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that the $75.5-million Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Sciences (the late environmental author Rachel Carson got top billing over Gore), set to open to students next week, was built on top of more than a dozen storage tanks containing industrial toxins.

A nearby gas station may have also polluted the soil with fuel leaks, the Times reports.

As construction crews worked through the weekend to replace the polluted soil, the irony of Gore’s name sitting atop a deemed toxic site has proved irresistible to the right.

Link here and here.

Jerry Lewis Telethon raised $58,919,838

The 45th annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon ran this weekend from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas.

The event reached some 40 million viewers through 170 television stations and raised $58,919,838 for "Jerry's Kids."

The 84-year-old Lewis (shown above with one of his MDA kids) said, "I'm heartened by the unique ability of Americans to help others in need, when they themselves are likely struggling financially."


Colorado balloon boy family moves to Bradenton Florida

The Richard Heene family, known for the "balloon boy" hoax last October, have moved from Fort Collins, Colorado to Bradenton, Florida.

Balloon Boy dad Richard Heene’s probation was transferred from Larimer County to Florida at his request.

The photo above shows Richard Heene with his son, Falcon at the time of the hoax.

The Heenes became infamous after claiming October 15 that a homemade, UFO-shaped balloon had floated away with their young son, Falcon, then 6, aboard. The boy was, instead, found safe in the family garage several hours later.

Richard Heene pleaded guilty to falsely influencing authorities and his wife, Mayumi, pleaded guilty to filing a false report. Richard Heene served 90 days in jail and was placed on home detention. Mayumi Heene spent 10 weekends working at nonprofits.

The Lower photo shows Mayumi and Richard Heene at the time of their sentencing.


Congressman Rangel runs up $111,000 legal bill in last two months

A federal campaign finance report shows embattled New York Rep. Charles Rangel (pictured) has spent more than $111,000 on legal bills since July.

A House ethics panel has charged the Harlem Democrat with 13 violations, including using a rent controlled Manhattan apartment as a campaign office and failing to pay taxes on a rental property in the Dominican Republic.

Rangel has maintained he has done nothing wrong and has said he will continue to fight the charges.

The New York Daily News reported that the congressman's latest campaign filing Friday shows he's spent more than $1.8 million on legal fees ($111,000 since July) related to the case. He's paying much of the money out of his campaign account.

Mr. Rangel is running for re-election and faces several challengers in a Democrat primary September 14.


Sep 6, 2010

Monument to the American worker

Is everything made in China?

A Chinese farmer has his ducks in a row

A farmer eats his lunch while following his flock of ducks along a country road in Guangyuan County, China.

Empty Words

Despite 'Combat Over' speech US troops battle in Baghdad

Just days after the Oval Office "The Combat is Over" speech (pictured) American troops found themselves in battle in Baghdad.

From a report at the link below:

Days after the U.S. officially ended combat operations and touted Iraq's ability to defend itself, American troops found themselves battling heavily armed militants assaulting an Iraqi military headquarters in the center of Baghdad on Sunday. The fighting killed 12 people and wounded dozens.

It was the first exchange of fire involving U.S. troops in Baghdad since the Aug. 31 deadline for formally ending the combat mission, and it showed that American troops remaining in the country are still being drawn into the fighting.


Border Collie herds ducks dressed in formal attire

Hillary, a Border Collie, is shown herding several ducks dressed in formal attire during a demonstration inside the new Purina Event Center in Gray Summit, Missouri.

Glitch mailed extra Social Security checks to thousands

A TV station serving Mobile, Alabama and the Florida panhandle reports that thousands of people in the area received extra Social Security checks.

Social Security officials say more than 19,000 people in Alabama and Tennessee got an extra check, accidentally printed by the U.S. Treasury Department.

With an average monthly payment of $1,100 per person, that's more than $20 million extra circulating.

Anyone who cashes the extra check will get a call from Social Security saying the money will be deducted from future checks.

It wasn't Christmas in September after all.


Presidential approval rating

The graph above shows the presidential approval in December, 2009 based on the Rasmussen daily tracking poll.

The graph below shows the latest results from the Rasmussen daily tracking poll.

The change has been a steady and relentless downward slide for the last eighteen months.


Sep 5, 2010

New Oval Office rug has incorrect quote

A new presidential rug was placed in the Oval Office while the Obama's were vacationing at Martha's Vineyard.

The rug, shown below, has quotations from former presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

It also has a quotation attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. Problem is the quote is not a King quote.

The quote in question is: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Martin Luther King, Jr. used the quote in the 1960's, but the words were not his.

Whoever made the rug got it wrong because the actual author of the quote was Theodore Parker, a white abolitionist and civil rights pioneer, who foresaw the end of slavery before he died in 1860 at the age of 49.


Plane crashes into mobile home - pilot and house occupant survive

There is a conflicting report at the link below about a small 2-seat Aeronca Champ that crashed into a mobile home in Aurora, Oregon.

The report said the 70-year-old pilot walked away from the wreckage. However, the report also said the pilot was in serious condition.

Later an FAA official described his injuries as non-life threatening.

The woman who lives in the house, Sally Jones, was uninjured. She was walking outside her front door when the plane hit.


China's Great Wall (of traffic) stretches 75 miles long!

From a BBC News report:

More than 10,000 vehicles are stuck in a 120km (75-mile) traffic jam on China's Beijing to Tibet motorway.

A 100km traffic jam that had lasted nine days on the same motorway was cleared just over a week ago.

How long will this traffic jam last? So far this highway has been plugged up for five days.

The gridlocked section of the road, in the north-eastern region of Inner Mongolia, has been turned into a parking lot.

Most of the vehicles stuck in the jam, which began on Tuesday, are coal trucks heading to Beijing.

The stranded motorists complained of nowhere to attend to bathing and toilet needs.

Locals brought food to the stranded drivers. In the previous nine-day traffic jam drivers complained of price gouging by local food providers.


Hillary for president TV ad - really?

Hard to believe -- the midterm elections are still two months away and the first 2012 presidential campaign TV commercial is running!

And the ad advocates for a person who says she has no intention of running for the White House.

That person turns out to be Hillary Clinton (pictured).

"She has more experience working in and with the White House than most living presidents. She is one of the most admired women in our nation's history.

Let's make sure the president we should have elected in 2008 will be on the ballot in 2012. Hillary Clinton for President. Start now.

Where there's a Hill there's a way," says an ad that began running on television in New Orleans Wednesday.

The TV ad was paid for by William DeJean a Chicago dentist.

DeJean said he put the ad up because "I'm a dentist and I don't think this country is headed in the right direction."

Actually, his reasoning makes about as much sense as most anything else in politics.

Bill will probably volunteer to be the Intern Czar if she is elected.

More here.