Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is Another New Deal the Answer?

"Early in what became the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes was asked if anything similar had ever happened. 'Yes,' he replied, 'it was called the Dark Ages, and it lasted 400 years.' It did take 25 years, until November 1954, for the Dow to return to the peak it reached in September 1929. So caution is sensible concerning calls for a new New Deal." And so begins a thought provoking Nov. 28 article, "Same Old New Deal?, " by George Will in the Jewish World Review.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Psalm 65

For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.

1 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
2 O you who hear prayer,

to you all men will come.
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,

you forgave our transgressions.
4 Blessed are those you choose

and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,

O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
6 who formed the mountains by your power,

having armed yourself with strength,
7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
8 Those living far away fear your wonders;

where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.
9 You care for the land and water it;

you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows

and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,

and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the desert overflow;

the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks

and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing. (NIV)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Real Bicycles

Most of us who pedal don't do it to win. We ride to enjoy the scenery, run errands, commute, save gas, exercise, think and more. But, I believe, most of us appreciate good, solid bikes and accessories. And, some of us, even if we can't afford them, really like traditional, retro-type, all-purpose bicycles made from lugged steel that have a hint of a by-gone era. Two companies that fit that mold, in my opinion, are RIVENDELL BICYCLE WORKS and VELO ORANGE. Rivendell has some great reading with a unique style. Their paper catalogues are worth keeping for literature's sake. Velo Orange has a pretty neat blog, too. Take a look if you like to ride but aren't interested in speed, at least a lot of it.

Interesting Choice of Words

Matthew Balan of Newsbusters writes the following about an episode of PBS' Charlie Rose:

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas and Jon Meacham shared a bizarre Obama love-fest session with Charlie Rose on the PBS host’s program on Wednesday. Meacham stated that he was "very struck watching the stagecraft" of Obama and pointed out how Obama gave his victory speech by himself: "...[H]ave you ever seen a victory speech where there was no one else on stage? No adoring wife, no cute kid -- he is the message." Thomas went one step further in this vein: "There is a slightly creepy cult of personality about all of this." Rose confronted him on his use of this phrase, and he explained that it made him "a little uneasy that he's so singular. He's clearly managing his own spectacle. He knows how to do it. He's a -- I think, a deeply manipulative guy..." Later, all three marveled about how it was "amazing" that Obama "watches us watching him."

I was watching this interview when it first aired. The "creepy cult of personality" comment was quite attention-grabbing and not just for Charlie Rose. Meacham didn't disagree with Thomas' comment either.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Truth & the Presidency

"I had rather starve and rot and keep the privilege of speaking the truth than of holding all the offices that capital has to give, from the presidency downward." --Henry Adams (1838-1918) Source: The Christian Almanac by Grant & Wilbur

Friday, November 7, 2008

The President-Elect's Portrait

Every Friday I try to read Peggy Noonan's online column, "Declarations," in the Wall Street Journal. Today's article, "The Children Are Watching," Noonan wrote:

Some wonder if Barack Obama is a hard leftist or more a pragmatic politician who simply rose in leftist precincts (that would be you, Hyde Park, Chicago). A less charged way to put the question would be: Is he a strict modern liberal, or possibly a man of some considerable moderate instincts? The obvious answer is: We're about to find out. But I think the more interesting answer is: He's about to find out. In the presidency, daily decisions become patterns become pictures become, in time, full-length portraits. In the Oval Office you meet yourself every day. It is going to be very interesting to see Mr. Obama meet himself in this way.

The "full-length portrait" that develops will be interesting to see. I pray it's a good picture that develops as a result of the prayers of the saints and the great sense of humility and holy fear that should come over anyone who wears the title and function, President of the United States of America.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-Election To-Do List

Author, pastor, and lecturer George Grant posted the following wise Christian counsel on his Eleventary Blog:

Post-Election Commitments
1. Pray more. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
2. Listen first. James 1:19
3. Work harder. Colossians 3:23
4. Serve others. Galatians 6:9
5. Defend life. Proverbs 24:11-12
6. Grumble less. James 5:9
7. Do justice. Amos 5:24
8. Love mercy. Micah 6:8
9. Walk humbly. Proverbs 15:33
10. Rejoice always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
11. Trust Jesus. Revelation 19:6

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mini Trangia 28 Alcohol Stove

Awhile back I bought a Mini Trangia alcohol stove for backpacking & bikepacking. Hope to get to use it during the next several months. It works great for making Folger's Singles and comes in handy when the power goes out at home!

The guy in the YouTube video isn't me. The credit goes to Billecbqrp:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Current Favorite Online Tools

In random order:

  • Twitter
  • Twitscoop (embedded in iGoogle)
  • Twitter Gadget (embedded in iGoogle)
  • iGoogle
  • Blogger
  • Wikipedia
  • Gmail

Importance of Values Voters

Michael Medved wrote a thought-provoking article, "Will the Return of Values Voters Bring Another Election Day Surprise?" In it, Medved recalls how four years ago the Election Day polls surprisingly showed how important moral and family values were to voters, something the media had largely ignored. There we were, two years into a two-front war, and voters cited moral values as the most important issue. Could it happen again?

Insightfully, Medved makes the important link between financial and family issues:

Controversies regarding the future of the family aren’t a distraction from financial challenges; for most Americans, there’s an inescapable connection between economic and values issues. Nothing brings long-termsecurity and prosperity more reliably than a stable, traditional family lifeand nothing predisposes people for a life of poverty more thanout-of-wedlock birth and marital chaos. The educational success of ourchildren, which directly determines their future financial future, dependsmore on the values they learn at home than the quality of their schools.Learning to work hard, to save money and to live within your means remains adependable path to economic advancement and the failure to learn those lessons (especially by political and business leaders) helped to create the current crisis.

Lord willing, come late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning we'll know if the majority of voters made the connection between what's really good for both their families and their billfolds.