Category Archives: Uncategorized

Taking on Youth Unemployment

One area the US is failing in is training our youth for manufacturing jobs – jobs which are becoming more scarce as manufacturing has moved overseas.  Cheap labor is one reason.  Lack of flexibility -partially tied to union intransigence is another.  The perceived lower status of blue collar workers is another.  Let’s face it, to most coastal liberals, working with your hands and sweating is acceptable only if you are an artist or doing Pilates/yoga.  A degree in sociology or gender studies somehow is more valuable than becoming a tradesman.

While not an big NPR fan, this article on Germany’s apprentice program is something to consider.  Our schools have cut back of our traditional programs to focus only on those who are college bound.  That isn’t to say that a strong basic education isn’t important.  The article points out that thousands of apprentice slots go unfilled because students (many immigrants) aren’t learning the basics needed for manufacturing that is becoming increasingly more technical.

So.  How to end the cycle of dying cities where young men see no future?  Not sure.  Funneling billions to politically connected energy startups  isn’t the way.  Why not prepare some – those who honestly want to work – for jobs in a factory.  Train them from the ground up.  That means sweeping floors. Cleaning machines.  Watching the operation.  Start slow.  Pay them a small salary – not union scale – minimum wage.  Don’t even let them join a union.

It works for the military.

 

“Safe, Rare & Legal”

Here’s a snippet from the grand jury report from the Gosnell case: ” … His 17-year-old mother was almost 30 weeks pregnant – seven and a half months – when labor was induced.  An employee estimated his birth weight as approaching six pounds.  He was breathing and moving when Dr. Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal.  The doctor joked that this baby was so big he  could ‘walk me to the bus stop.’ ”

Gosnell’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, says that the prosecution is racially motivated. “This is a targeted, elitist and racist prosecution of a doctor who’s done nothing but give (back) to the poor and the people of West Philadelphia…It’s a prosecutorial lynching of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.”

Read more about the case at The Susan B. Anthony blog.  Read the grand jury report here.  Be warned, you will be saddened and angry.

My daughter only weighed 5.5 lbs at 32 weeks and spent 10 days in the NICU.

Pot – Kettle Meet John Kerry

From the Weekly Standard:  “John Kerry, the richest U.S. senator, railed against the “corrupting” power of money in politics in his farewell address today on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Hmm.  One might offer the following comment from Hamlet:

   “The {senator} doth protest* too much, methinks.”

*(Yes.  I know that “protest” had a different meaning to Shakespeare – “solemnly declare” or “vow” – it fits today’s usage.  Lighten up Francis. – from the movie Stripes.)

Octoberfest!

Apparently there are only six breweries able to officially participate in Munich’s official celebration.  From the Local: (a Swedish-owned online German news site in English – huh?)

Augustiner-Bräu-Oktoberfestbier: 6 percent alcohol. Available in – Augustiner-Festhalle and Fischer-Vroni. The only Oktoberfest beer that still comes from wooden kegs. Everyone loves this one – except the people that prefer the others, of course.

Löwenbräu-Oktoberfestbier: 6.1 percent alcohol. Available in – Löwenbräu Festzelt, Schützenfestzelt. This one is bottom-fermented, light, sweet, and with a spicy aroma.

Hofbräu-Oktoberfestbier: 6.3 percent alcohol. Available in – Hofbräuzelt. According to the Hofbräu people, this one has a “slightly bitter taste” best enjoyed in combination with a big pile of grilled meat and dumplings.

Paulaner-Oktoberfestbier: 6 percent alcohol. Available in – Winzerer Fähndl, Käfers Wiesnschänke, Armbrustschützenzelt, Nymphenburg Wein- und Sektzelt. One reviewer said this brew was “malty, with good quilting, and a spicy finish.”

Spaten-Oktoberfestbier: 5.9 percent alcohol. Available in – Hippodrom, Schottenhamel, Spatenbräu Festhalle and Ochsenbraterei. This one is meant to be “malty, light, sweet, full-bodied, and with a light hops-bitterness.”

Hacker-Pschorr-Oktoberfest-Märzen: 5.8 percent alcohol. Available in – Festhalle «Bräurosl», Hackerbräu-Festhalle, Pschorrbräu. Described as “golden, bottom-fermented, with a malt-aroma and a very mild bitterness.”

Fixin’ to Mess Up

A lot of wisdom by a funny man.  Might be worth adding a few of my own – but I think his Rule of Thumb #4 hits the nail on the head.  If we redirect it back towards God rather than us, we would ask, “Does it glorify God?”

“You’re Fixin’ To Mess Up” by Jerry Clower

“Just recently I had the privilege of doing a show at Samford University in Birmingham. Some of the young people there said, ‘Mr. Clower, what’s right and wrong?’ Tell us, we’re young people, tell us, what’s right and wrong.

Well you ask a pretty good question.

So I worked me up a rule of thumb I’d like to recommend to my own children, and to young people.

If you’re fixin’ to make a decision about what’s right and what’s wrong in your life, do you ask other people’s opinion about it? That’s a pretty good indication your fixin’ to mess up. I was getting ready for a date one night when I was a little ole boy. And I walked into the side room and I said, ‘Mama, is my shirt dirty?’ She said, ‘Son, if you’re in doubt, it’s dirty. Pull it off and getcha another.’ So if you’re fixin’ to do something, and you want to know if it’s right or not, number one: do you ask other people’s opinion about it?

Number two: do you argue with yourself? Man, I have spent a million miles on the highway arguing with Jerry about I oughta do a certain thing and I knew in my heart, I was lying. So if you’re arguin’ with yourself, pretty good indication you should not do it.

Number three: do you feel uneasy when you do it? Had ya just as soon for somebody not see you doin’ what it is you’d done decided is alright for you to do?

And Number four: Can you give thanks and say ‘Lord, I thank ya for providing this for me.’? Alright, you’d done made up your mind: you’re gonna do it. The Bible says, give thanks for all things. So when you do it, can ya say ‘Lord, thank ya for providing this for me. And I some kinda thank ya, for fixin’ it where I can commit to what it is I’m doin.’?

What is right or wrong? Do you ask other people? Do you argue with yourself? Do you feel uneasy when you do it? Can ya give thanks and say ‘Lord, I thank ya for providing this for me.’?  If you can’t, you better watch out…You’re fixin’ to mess up.”

NFL Replacement Refs and the Media Meme

I’ve always wanted to use the word “meme” as it appears to have become rather popular. All the cool bloggers use it.

Every single NFL broadcast announcer had to repeatedly follow the meme that the replacement officials were incompetent and were somehow ruining the game. Every missed call, incorrect call, minor altercation, review or slow play was attributed to incompetent officials. I even heard that someone is going to get hurt.

Seriously? Who decided that this was the storyline of the week? Are they in the pay of the NFL unions?

I thought the calls were decent. If absolute perfection is required, then lets just put a camera on each player & have an official call penalties that way. At least the announcers won’t have anything to complain about.

Energy Ignorance

Decided not to comment on a FB photo re-posted by an a high school acquaintance. This image was from a FB account named something like “I woke up and was so happy Obama was president.”  Well, I did comment having mistakenly hit enter leaving the ill-chosen (but factually correct) phrase “partisan blinders” in the comment. Hopefully, quickly deleting works.
Slighly misleading blurb

German has spent more than $130 billion in subsidies for solar production that is 0.3% of its energy needs. They have also subsidized large-scale windmill farms. In the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami, Germany has shut down numerous nuclear plants. So when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow they have to buy nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic.

Slate Magazine does a nice job here on the state of German solar power and subsidies.

Solar energy is not a bad thing.  I’d love to put solar panels on my roof, but it can’t replace our energy needs on a large scale unless we spend trillions of dollars in subsidies and accept a permanent ten-fold increase in energy costs (direct and indirect).  As we’ve seen, government subsidies of alternative energy production has only resulted in payouts to political supporters, bankrupt companies, and purchasing of cheaper solar panels from China.

So, let’s make a deal, no subsidies for any company –  EXCEPT nuclear power plant construction. If the government has to do something, then spend on technology research so it will be ready for prime time when we need it.

Why yes. I am a bit of a geek.

December 14th. My daughter asked if I was going to the midnight showing.

“What midnight showing?” you ask. Silly rabbit. I mean muggle.  No, I mean HOBBIT.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

Welcome Facebook Friends

Thanks for dropping in. I hope to share a few original thoughts as well as comments on articles I found interesting.  My intent is not to be a partisan shill and dwell on politics – although in an election year it will be tough.  I intend to be fair but not particularly balanced as I do not believe in moral equivalence arguments.

Expect posts on religion from a Reformed (albet still-learning) perspective.  Frankly, this is where I really want to focus since our response to God in all areas of our life is central.  Everything flows from how we apprehend this.

Life is also full of, well – life –  and that means all sorts of things & interactions within and amongst others.  Technology, pizza, good beer, sports, and pizza.  (“Pizza is there twice.”  I know – I like pizza).  So, I’ll touch on those things as well.

Family stuff will NOT be shared here as to create a buffer in the event non-family & friends visit.

So – let’s go.

Coram Deo

While going down  rabbit holes I found this article by R.C. Sproul on coram Deo.  Our pastor preached on it once soon after he arrived.

Here’s a short snippet:

(A friend) asked, “What’s the big idea of the Christian life?” He was interested in the overarching, ultimate goal of the Christian life.

To answer his question, I fell back on the theologian’s prerogative and gave him a Latin term. I said, “The big idea of the Christian life is coram Deo. Coram Deo captures the essence of the Christian life.”

This phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of, God. To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.

A good remember for a selfish person like myself.  Read the rest of it here.