Monday, November 09, 2009

For The Love of Cars - Nov 9

We all love cars and our mobility. From time to time we do the strangest things to our vehicles that defy reason and safety. From there I fixed comes some real knee-slappers. I hope you get as much a laugh out of these pics as I did.

Johnny Cash

Is Red Green this guy's mechanic or does he have a duct tape fetish?

Here's a taxicab that has no business being on the road:

An accident waiting to happen:

I'd avoid bridges and overpasses if I were you:

No worries about the summer heat here:

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Rosetta Stone of Bible Prophecy - Nov 6

Leviticus 23 is without question the most important chapter in the Bible. Not Isaiah 53. Not Daniel 9. Not even the book of Revelation. These prophecy faves are meaningless unless you delve into Leviticus 23 first. This chapter contains in detail the seven feasts of the Lord and is a must read. The seven feasts of the LORD are:

  1. The Sabbath
  2. The Passover and Unleavened Bread
  3. Firstfruits
  4. Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
  5. Feast of Trumpets
  6. Day of Atonement
  7. Feast of Tabernacles
I have pasted the entire chapter below (in NIV format) for your consideration.

Johnny Cash

The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.

The Sabbath

" 'There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.

The Passover and Unleavened Bread

" 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present an offering made to the LORD by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.' "


The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil—an offering made to the LORD by fire, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

Feast of Weeks

" 'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the LORD, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before the LORD as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the LORD for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

" 'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.' "

Feast of Trumpets

The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.' "

Day of Atonement

The LORD said to Moses, "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."

Feast of Tabernacles

The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.

(" 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD's Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD.)

" 'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' "

So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed feasts of the LORD.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

America's Callous Children - Nov 5

Found this great WSJ article from Peggy Noonan. I have posted on the problems that America (and by logical extension, Western civilization). As America goes, so goes the rest of the free world. Those of us living here in the Union of Soviet Canadian Republic should take no comfort in the problems that are afflicting the U.S.. Indeed they are worrisome. Let us continue to pray for our nation - assuming it isn't too late!

Johnny Cash
(Please note the emphasis in bold is mine and not the author's)

The new economic statistics put growth at a healthy 3.5% for the third quarter. We should be dancing in the streets. No one is, because no one has any faith in these numbers. Waves of money are sloshing through the system, creating a false rising tide that lifts all boats for the moment. The tide will recede. The boats aren't rising, they're bobbing, and will settle. No one believes the bad time is over. No one thinks we're entering a new age of abundance. No one thinks it will ever be the same as before 2008. Economists, statisticians, forecasters and market specialists will argue about what the new numbers mean, but no one believes them, either. Among the things swept away in 2008 was public confidence in the experts. The experts missed the crash. They'll miss the meaning of this moment, too.

The biggest threat to America right now is not government spending, huge deficits, foreign ownership of our debt, world terrorism, two wars, potential epidemics or nuts with nukes. The biggest long-term threat is that people are becoming and have become disheartened, that this condition is reaching critical mass, and that it afflicts most broadly and deeply those members of the American leadership class who are not in Washington, most especially those in business.

It is a story in two parts. The first: "They do not think they can make it better."

I talked this week with a guy from Big Pharma, which we used to call "the drug companies" until we decided that didn't sound menacing enough. He is middle-aged, works in a significant position, and our conversation turned to the last great recession, in the late mid- to late 1970s and early '80s. We talked about how, in terms of numbers, that recession was in some ways worse than the one we're experiencing now. Interest rates were over 20%, and inflation and unemployment hit double digits. America was in what might be called a functional depression, yet there was still a prevalent feeling of hope. Here's why. Everyone thought they could figure a way through. We knew we could find a path through the mess. In 1982 there were people saying, "If only we get rid of this guy Reagan, we can make it better!" Others said, "If we follow Reagan, he'll squeeze out inflation and lower taxes and we'll be America again, we'll be acting like Americans again." Everyone had a path through.

Now they don't. The most sophisticated Americans, experienced in how the country works on the ground, can't figure a way out. Have you heard, "If only we follow Obama and the Democrats, it will all get better"? Or, "If only we follow the Republicans, they'll make it all work again"? I bet you haven't, or not much.

This is historic. This is something new in modern political history, and I'm not sure we're fully noticing it. Americans are starting to think the problems we are facing cannot be solved.

Part of the reason is that the problems—debt, spending, war—seem too big. But a larger part is that our government, from the White House through Congress and so many state and local governments, seems to be demonstrating every day that they cannot make things better. They are not offering a new path, they are only offering old paths—spend more, regulate more, tax more in an attempt to make us more healthy locally and nationally. And in the long term everyone—well, not those in government, but most everyone else—seems to know that won't work. It's not a way out. It's not a path through.

And so the disheartenedness of the leadership class, of those in business, of those who have something. This week the New York Post carried a report that 1.5 million people had left high-tax New York state between 2000 and 2008, more than a million of them from even higher-tax New York City. They took their tax dollars with them—in 2006 alone more than $4 billion.

You know what New York, both state and city, will do to make up for the lost money. They'll raise taxes.

I talked with an executive this week with what we still call "the insurance companies" and will no doubt soon be calling Big Insura. (Take it away, Democratic National Committee.) He was thoughtful, reflective about the big picture. He talked about all the new proposed regulations on the industry. Rep. Barney Frank had just said on some cable show that the Democrats of the White House and Congress "are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area." The executive said of Washington: "They don't understand that people can just stop, get out. I have friends and colleagues who've said to me 'I'm done.' " He spoke of his own increasing tax burden and said, "They don't understand that if they start to tax me so that I'm paying 60%, 55%, I'll stop."

He felt government doesn't understand that business in America is run by people, by human beings. Mr. Frank must believe America is populated by high-achieving robots who will obey whatever command he and his friends issue. But of course they're human, and they can become disheartened. They can pack it in, go elsewhere, quit what used to be called the rat race and might as well be called that again since the government seems to think they're all rats. (That would be you, Chamber of Commerce.)

And here is the second part of the story. While Americans feel increasingly disheartened, their leaders evince a mindless . . . one almost calls it optimism, but it is not that.

It is a curious thing that those who feel most mistily affectionate toward America, and most protective toward it, are the most aware of its vulnerabilities, the most aware that it can be harmed. They don't see it as all-powerful, impregnable, unharmable. The loving have a sense of its limits.

When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax—health care, cap and trade, etc.—I think: Why aren't they worried about the impact of what they're doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse?

I think I know part of the answer. It is that they've never seen things go dark. They came of age during the great abundance, circa 1980-2008 (or 1950-2008, take your pick), and they don't have the habit of worry. They talk about their "concerns"—they're big on that word. But they're not really concerned. They think America is the goose that lays the golden egg. Why not? She laid it in their laps. She laid it in grandpa's lap.

They don't feel anxious, because they never had anything to be anxious about. They grew up in an America surrounded by phrases—"strongest nation in the world," "indispensable nation," "unipolar power," "highest standard of living"—and are not bright enough, or serious enough, to imagine that they can damage that, hurt it, even fatally.

We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Thoughts on Morality - Nov 3

Thinking is an art form, just like Rodin's well known piece of sculpture. In like fashion, a flash of inspiration hits me and seeing as I have time, I decided to attend forthwith my train of thought and write it down for posterity's sake.

The Trouble with Humanism and Morality

I have a quarrel with those who reject Christ yet still claim a high moral ground. I have no problem conceding the obvious: That it is possible to be in a state of unbelief and yet still be a moral person. There are many Atheists/Muslims/Pagans/Hindus/Sikhs etc. in Canadian society that would be regarded as 'moral' persons by average secular standards. So yes, both a Christian and a non-Christian can be moral. The question then becomes: Who will be more faithful over the long haul in their morality and ethical conduct?

The Limits of Earthly Sanctions

We intrinsically know that certain things are wrong. Our parents instructed us so when we were little. We regard others who likewise hold to the same common beliefs in a positive light. For those of us in the legal field, we familiarize ourselves with the laws that govern Canadian society. We are warned not to break the law or to engage in unacceptable behavior. Once those moral boundaries are breached, certain penalties or sanctions will be levied against us. Seems fair enough to the rational and reasonable person. But what of the classic case where temptation comes along (which invariably catches us in a position of weakness) and we have every reason to believe that any sanction(s) has been momentarily lifted. What do we do then?

Is a Cost/Benefit Analysis Sufficient?

Can a moral society which believes in the rule of law prescribe acceptable behaviors to its citizens and regard that on its face to be wholly sufficient? Would it be enough to ask those committing unlawful acts to give pause because of public moral sentiments? In a business setting, decisions are made based on the cost involved and the benefit that will be the reward. Profit is the key motivation for that businessperson in their decision-making process. Taking care of the bottom line is indeed critical. However, can the same approach be used for the individual in all cases? That is do we refrain from 'bad things' merely due to cost considerations and carry out 'good things' because of the benefits it confers?

The Superficiality of such an Assumption

Here lies the problem of such thinking. On the face of it, we engage in approved behavior because we fear being ostracized. We do good in order to gain the advantage over others (a sort of 'pay it forward' tribalism) in order to 'cash in' the favor at a later date. The 'good' that we do for the most part is based on self interest and is rather narrow in its scope and effect. This is precisely where the humanist model falls apart. There has to be something substantive in our morality that guides us in our everyday lives.

God and Man

Here we enter the crux of the argument. Morality that is divorced from God is a cynical and cruel one. A God-fearing Christian will not cause harm simply because statutory and common law forbids it. He will faithfully seek out goodness because he knows who he is ultimately accountable to. The impetus towards godliness and the desire to uphold the law is significantly higher for those who believe in a just and holy God. That is why such criminal acts as murder are seen in a particularly harsh light. The taking of life is not the problem per se. After all, we routinely slaughter livestock and think nothing of it. No, the murder of a person is special, because of the unique relationship that God has with Man. Plants and animals were created 'according to their kinds' but in the unique case of Man it is God who makes him in His image and gives him special custodial privileges over His creation. If there is no God (and therefore no superior relationship with Man to speak of) than Man becomes nothing more than a clever ape.

Man Apart From God is a Sorry Lot

So what do the ungodly do with these 'clever apes' who do not wish to conform? The totalitarian impulse to 'wipe them off the face of the earth' has never really left us. A godless man might be moral, but he will not stay moral for long if sanctions are removed. A Christian nation such as Germany learned the hard way when it chose the promises of a false messiah over God's unfailing love. Even in hard times, God is still with us. A sobering thought for those who wish to embrace morality apart from divine guidance.

Johnny Cash