Friday Palestinian Open Comments

The UN General Assembly voted to grant observer status to the Palestinian authority. The splitters from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, The Peoples’ Front of Palestine, The Palestinian Peoples’ Front, The Palestine Liberation Organization, et al. had no comment.

I figure this is as good a time as any to throw up a few cartoons:


(h/t bonecrusher)

This one from 20 years ago shows not much has changed.

Thursday Open Comments

Here I am, working late, and I drop by the admin side and — HORRORS! There isn’t anything ready for the Hamsters!

So, before I head off to bed, my groggy brain will try to find something to pique your interest.

Here’s a work ethic for you!

Question: How many union workers would it take to do this work? And how long would it take?

Archie Bunker pontificates on politics:

Those were the days…

I really miss this show – the comedic talent never ceased to amaze me:

And everyone’s favorite – the Hoedown!

Enjoy.

Wednesday Yassir/Nossir Open Comments

{geek}

This whole Arafat thing has got me intrigued for some reason I can’t quite fathom.

Some recent investigations have apparently/allegedly turned up “large amounts” of Polonium-210 (210Po), a very prolific emitter of alpha radiation. This makes it roughly 250,000 times as toxic as hydrogen cyanide (which is not radioactive, but is toxic chemically).

According to our good friends at Wikipedia, LD50 (dose required to kill 50% of a test population) for 210Po is approximately 1 µg (1/1,000,000 grams). If I’ve done my arithmetic correctly, that amount would be a cube about 0.2mm on a side – much smaller than a grain of salt or sugar. Keep in mind, it does not have to be in one piece; in fact it is much more effective if dissolved into food or drink.

Now for the fun…
1 µg of 210Po contains approximately 2,867,852,931,950,800 atoms. That sounds like a lot, but your body contains something of the order of 1,083,960,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms of various mass which is what physicists like to call “a whole lot” or “oodles”. I think that’s something like 0.000 000 002 645 718ppm.

Still with me?
The half-life of 210Po is 138 days. That means that half of a given amount decays into something else (in this case Lead-206 – 206Pb) every 138 days.

Let’s assume:
Dosage applied to Mr. Arafat was 3x LD50 or 3µg of 210Po so we take into account he might be an especially hardy victim, giving an initial concentration in Mr. Arafat of about 0.000 000 007 937ppm
It’s been 7.5 years since our subject became an ex-terrorist, or approximately 19.78 half-lives of 210Po

This yields (I think):
The current amount of 210Po in the decedent’s remains would be about 1/2,000,000 of the initial amount. This would be a concentration of about 0.000 000 000 000 879 775ppm or (in theory) around 9.5 billion atoms out of 1,083,960,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms of corpse.

If we alter our assumptions somewhat such that we take biological activity into account, we can say that at least half of the original dose was excreted. This would imply that we can cut the remaining amounts by half as well. Some estimates range as high as 90%.

The question I have is how does one find that miniscule of an amount in a decomposing body? As an alpha-emitter, its radiation cannot even penetrate a sheet of paper, so detecting it via the radiation would seem to be difficult especially with such miniscule concentrations.

{/geek}

Tuesday “Natural Law” Open Comments

I apologize in advance if this comes off as too preachy, but I think the message from AmericanThinker.com is valid: Learning the Hard Way:

Whoever wins elections does nothing to change the natural consequences of disobeying what is often referred to as Natural Law. There is no getting around it; human beings were meant to behave themselves in a certain way. When we violate the standards set by Natural Law, or when our own laws are in conflict with Natural Law, hard consequences await. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes, and as in the parable of the lost son, to return to what is right.

Natural law is, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest minds of all time:

The Natural Law, as applied to the case of human beings, requires greater precision because of the fact that we have reason and free will. It is the our nature humans to act freely (i.e. to be provident for ourselves and others) by being inclined toward our proper acts and end. That is, we human beings must exercise our natural reason to discover what is best for us in order to acheive (sic) the end to which their nature inclines. Furhtermore,(sic) we must exercise our freedom, by choosing what reason determines to naturally suited to us, i.e. what is best for our nature. The natural inclination of humans to acheive (sic) their proper end through reason and free will is the natural law. Formally defined, the Natural Law is humans’ participation in the Eternal Law, through reason and will. Humans actively participate in the eternal law of God (the governance of the world) by using reason in conformity with the Natural Law to discern what is good and evil.

He also said:

The natural law is promulgated by God: “God has instilled it into human minds so as to be known by them naturally.”

As a Catholic, I am taught that Natural Law is God’s law written on our hearts. For those who have not been exposed to the Gospel, they can still follow Natural Law and still be seeking God. The Natural Law draws us closer to our creator, whether we realize it or not. Intentionally disregarding Natural Law, whether or not we proclaim a faith in God, still separates us from God. Our works proclaim our faith, and if we call “God! God!” and go out and commit sin, we obviously are not following His dictates.

So, what are the results of rejecting God and His Natural Law? Personally, I have witnessed the results of this rejection in the lives of family and friends. Those who engaged in behavior that separated themselves from God by doing things that worked against His Law. I have seen children not born, marriages destroyed, relationships shredded, and long-term emotional damage. There has been guilt, shame, regret, depression, and anger. And these have rippled out from their center to affect others.

Back to the article:

After winning on November 6, gloating liberals boldly declared, “The right has lost the culture war.” Who could blame them for such a conclusion? In spite of a weak economy and terrible employment numbers, Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history and the only sitting U.S. president to declare support for same-sex marriage, easily won reelection.

Harry Enten of the UK Guardian concluded that, “…Three of the key points of contention were abortion, gay rights, and recreational drug use. The results from last Tuesday’s election indicates that the right is losing the war on these three issues.”

In addition to Obama’s reelection, the results that form such thinking are as follows: For the first time ever, voters in … approved same-sex marriage. Voters … passed ballot measures that allow for the recreational use of marijuana. Wisconsin elected America’s first openly gay U.S. senator. What’s more, the GOP lost two … senate races … partly due to their candidates’ inability properly and intelligently to articulate the pro-life position when it comes to abortion in the rare case of pregnancy due to rape.

Liberals have also declared themselves the winners in the “class war.” … Jonathan Chait noted that, “Like every president, Obama won for myriad reasons, important and petty. But his reelection was hardly small and hardly devoid of ideas. Indeed, it was entirely about a single idea. The campaign, from beginning to end, was an extended argument about economic class.”

…I’m convinced that millions of Americans voted for Obama, et al, for no other reason than for their support of legalized killing of children in the womb, and for their support of perverted (same-sex) marriage. Too many Americans want the social and legal approval of sex without consequences.

I don’t know that I buy the re-election based on the desire for sexual behavior without consequences, though it may have been a part of the result. I do agree that there is a growing class of takers that seem to be ever more eager to receive than to produce. The increasingly brazen behavior of the selfish during these last two election cycles has scared me more than anything during any other election cycle that I can think of. Remember the lady who said she wouldn’t have to worry about putting gas in her car or paying her mortgage? Or the Obamaphone woman? I think the election was won more on the engaging in bad behavior and the desire to take from others, more so than the desire to put a stamp of approval on sexual freedom and misbehavior.

What liberals forget, or choose to ignore, is that even if such social and legal protections are achieved, this does not remove the tough natural consequences of immoral behavior…

… the sad consequences of an abortion are myriad. According to National Right to Life, women having an abortion face more than a doubled risk of future sterility along with an increased risk of future miscarriages. Thirteen out of 17 studies in the U.S. reported an increase in breast cancer among women choosing abortion. Abortion has also been associated with cervical and ovarian cancer.

Besides the physical trauma, many post-abortive women are doomed to a lifetime of guilt and pain, with common experiences such as depression, anxiety, self-hatred, loneliness, and hopelessness…

…a culture can’t redefine the foundational institution of human society without suffering for it. (And remember, libs, any definition of marriage is discriminatory.) …the destruction of the traditional (biblical) family unit is already well underway.

The number of U.S. households headed by unmarried adults now outnumbers those led by married adults. Also, more than half of all American children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock….
/snip

Then there is the inevitable consequence of a nation living well beyond its means. Make no mistake about it, for far too many Americans, the primary function of the U.S. government is to provide income, food, housing, and health care. As Robert Samuelson recently reported, “In 2011, ‘payments for individuals’ including health care, constituted 65 percent of federal spending, up from 21 percent in 1955. That’s the welfare state.”

… it is very unlikely that much will be done to deal with the trillions in debt that the “welfare state” has wrought.

Natural Law sets in place rules which are for our benefit. Sexual restraint, care for our bodies, care for each other, protecting the foundation of society, and doing those things that honor God and protect the dignity of each individual are some of the basic tenets of Natural Law. I have personally seen the results of breaking Natural Law, even if the one who violated is unaware of why he is experiencing depression, anger, or has a disorganized life, whether he is a college friend, family member, or other acquaintance.

It is not God’s punishment for turning away from Him; it is the natural result of damaging behavior brought on by ungodly behavior.

As a nation, and individually, we violate His will for us at our peril. There is no behavior that does not have consequences. There is no misbehavior that does not have negative consequences, whether or not the instigator of the behavior is aware of the consequences.

Monday Open Comments

I am late opening the door this morning. I woke up, ran a brush through my hair, and discovered my African roots in the 3″ Afro that surrounded my face. Seriously, I looked like a Tribble. It has taken this long to roll and restrain the coronal mass surrounding my head.

So, here we are. There are lots of topics to discuss – here are just a few that I heard on the radio as I was engaged in mortal combat with my own head this morning:
1) Real economic numbers
2) Fiscal cliff
3) Impact of Obamacare – especially on already weakened companies in the weaker states
4) Detroit, and the Democrat rule thereof, and the consequences thereof – will it spread?

So, now I turn to my work. The Couch is ready for you, the tea is made, you know where the bathroom is located, and the newspapers are removed. Come on in!

Tuesday “Be Careful What You Pray For” Open Comments

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants the IRS to go after churches and their real or perceived endorsement of candidates, or their participation in political speech. (h/t TheBlaze.com)

Atheist activists are less-than-content over some churches’ and religious institutions’ handling of the 2012 presidential campaign season — particularly when it came to perceived candidate endorsements. In fact, secularists are so frustrated that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a non-theist activist nonprofit, is suing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an effort to force the government’s hand to ensure that churches uphold tax law.

Last Tuesday, the FFRF filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, according to a press release published by the organization. In the complaint, the group claims that the IRS has not been enforcing regulations surrounding how churches and religious entities handle candidate endorsements during election seasons. As a result, the atheist group believes that the IRS has violated both the Establishment Clause and the FFRF’s own “equal protection rights.”

It seems that they are targeting Billy Graham and his “Vote Biblical Values” push. Even though he did not specify a particular candidate, they understood that “Biblical Values” would not apply to the Democrat party candidates. I guess that says something right there. And I wonder why my Catholic brethren continue to vote for a party that is not seen as holding Biblical values. But I digress.

I was unaware that the IRS had suspended church audits:

In October, TheBlaze reported that the IRS has temporarily suspended church audits. On his blog “Religion Clause, Howard Friedman, professor of law emeritus at the University of Toledo, explained this change, which is apparently based upon a 2009 court case — and an influx of complaints against churches that have become too politically active:

A bit of history on the Johnson amendment:

To understand what’s underlying the recent lawsuit, it’s important to discuss a number of other recent developments. As TheBlaze has reported in the past, the “Johnson Amendment” is an IRS code that was created in 1954. For the past 60 years, the controversial regulation has governed how charities and churches — 501(c)(3) organizations — can handle political partisanship.

The code explicitly prohibits non-profit organizations from engaging in campaign activity (this includes churches), essentially preventing preachers from endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Rather than declining in prevalence over time, this regulation has actually been strengthened. The last change was made to it back in 1987, when the amendment’s language was tightened to clarify that the restrictions should also cover statements and stances that rail against candidates (previously it was interpreted to only stand for statements that supported specific candidates).

So, since 1954, and strengthened in 1987, the Johnson Amendment restricted non-profits from engaging in political speech, especially when endorsing or encouraging a particular candidate. I first saw this and thought about the double standard conservatives – not just Christians – have had to endure over the years.

Looking for clarification, I found this article:

The ACLU threatens legal action against churches, the press repeats allegations of violations, and politicians feign horror at politically-involved churches. What is truth and what is hype?

No church can be prohibited from exercising free speech rights or the free exercise of religion. In fact, the tax-exempt status of a church has been revoked by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only once for engaging in overtly political activity (and that revocation was merely temporary). Churches and non-profits are free to be involved in political issues as long as no candidate or party is endorsed.

Clearly, IRC § 501(c)(3) organizations may not do such things as make statements that endorse or oppose a candidate, publish or distribute campaign literature, or make any type of contribution, monetary or otherwise, to a political campaign. On the other hand, IRC § 501(c)(3) organizations are allowed to conduct activities that are not related to elections, such as issue advocacy, lobbying for or against legislation, and supporting or opposing the appointment of individuals to non-elective offices.

And then I found this (emphasis mine):

Inviting Guest Speakers — Churches may invite a candidate to speak as long as no official endorsement is made, no fundraising occurs, and the other candidate(s) are also invited to speak. Candidates may also be invited to speak in their non-candidate capacity as long as no reference is made to the election or their candidacy. Particular facts and circumstances may influence how IRS would view a “non-candidate” capacity, situation, such as the proximity to the election date, and whether campaign issues are discussed. (p. 10*).

I remember the brouhaha that erupted when George Bush gave his Christian testimony at his church. He witnessed only to his faith, and did not mention politics, but there were cries to have his church’s tax exempt status removed. And then I find stories like this:
Black church leaders try to inspire congregants to vote for Obama
Black Pastor: Obama Better Get To Black Churches Soon To Prevent Voter Apathy
And here’s a shocker: the First lady implores black churchgoers to get political

First lady Michelle Obama made an impassioned pitch for black churchgoers to embrace political action on Thursday in a speech to the country’s oldest black religious denomination.

“To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better,” Obama said at a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Because ultimately, these are not just political issues,” she said. “They are moral issues.”

Can we quote you on that? Especially when the IRS comes knocking on our church door?

Monday $20 Survival Open Comments

I’ve stumbled across various survival blogs, but when I saw the heading about surviving the Apocalypse for $20 and wwhat’s in your house, I had to look more closely.

This is supposed to be survival for 3 days, geared for the San Francisco area. When the stuff hits the fan, everyone is supposed to have a bug-out bag, with enough stuff to last 3 days – ideally, until help arrives. There’s no way this is $20, but most of the stuff you are already supposed to have:

MOST IMPORTANT THING:
A $3 backpack from Goodwill. Because once you have one of these, everything else just falls into it. Seriously, it’s like some kind of energetic law of nature—when the vessel arrives, so does the water. Start. Today.

Okay, so get a cheap backpack first. Makes sense – but then look at the list, and tell me how this is all supposed to fit?

SHELTER, TOOLS, SUPPLIES
Backpack (school size)
Space Blanket
Tarp
20’ String or Rope
Ski Hat
Flashlight—preferably wind up, or an LED one
Matches
Lighter
Metal pan to boil water/cook in
Plastic plate
Coffee mug
Spoon/fork
Pocket knife
Battery-operated or wind up radio
can opener
zip ties
duct tape
deck of cards

I don’t know about you, but already my $3 school-size backpack is gettin’ pretty full.

But maybe that’s just me. Let’s continue:

FOOD:
We’re aiming for 2,000 calories per person, per day…

Can opener
Cans of tuna
Canned fruit
Cans of soup
Dehydrated meals
Macaroni and Cheese
Energy Bars
Energy Gels
Packets of Instant Coffee (6)
Emergen-c
Chewing gum
Packets of salt and pepper
Cans of Sterno—REI has them, as to all hardware stores
Three feet aluminum foil

Okay, I don’t know about your backpack, but I think mine is officially full. But we are not done yet…

Water:
This one is surprisingly easy. Put a single two liter bottle of water in your backpack—that’s it.

A 2 liter bottle of water. Okay, officially full. Aaaannnddd we’re walkin’….

COMMUNICATION:
FRS radio, with batteries. …
Whistle

FIRST AID/SANITATION
Here are general basics to get you started. Split up loose items into ziplock baggies. Include any medicines you use, and a few spare pair of contact lenses.

Band Aids-all sizes.
Adhesive Tape, a couple feet
Gauze Pads
Triangular Bandage, Non-Sterile
Antacid, Calcium Carbonate
Ibuprofen (200 mg), Pkg./2
Acetaminophen (500 mg), Pkg./2
Antihistamine (Diphenhydramine 25 mg)
Aspirin (325 mg), Pkg./2
Cold Medicine Pkg./2
After Bite® Sting and Itch Relief Wipe
Anti-diarrhea medication
Laxative
Dust mask–optional, bandana would work, too.
Iodine
Germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Hydrocortizone Ointment
CPR Barrier, Shield
Surgical Gloves
Magnifier
Tweezer
Safety Pins, #2
Thermometer
1 tube of superglue—fixes things, including small cuts

Sanitation:
Toilet paper roll
toothbrush/toothpaste
Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
Trowel
Household chlorine bleach
Soap, Shampoo
Bandana

CLOTHING AND BEDDING:
Grab your sleeping bag and pad from your camping gear—when you go camping, get it FROM your disaster kit, not the other way around.

Next, go find that lame tshirt … a thin jacket, and a pair of undies, and some socks, and put it in there. Shazam: you now have a clean change of clothes. …

Don’t get me wrong, there are some good ideas here. But I think it will take more than $20 and one backpack. Unless you get the backpack from your friend, Paul Bunyan.

I notice he didn’t include guns or ammo. In Texas, that would be unthinkable.