Monday, November 24, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I am still feeding the soldier fly larvae well so they can metamorphosize and fly away, and they are getting big, but still here. For those who don't know what those are, they are a type of fly that has larvae that look like maggots but aren't really because they have hard shelled heads. They exist mostly in piles of organic material, not so much in carcasses, they aren't much into meat. They tend to make compost piles warmer than worms like, until they turn into flies (that look like wasps) and fly away. I get them in my worm bin from time to time when for some reason the worms aren't performing well. This time it was because the bin got nasty while I was in Oregon and I had a little die-off.
Anyway, I started the bin with paper on the bottom to keep the material from falling through, and I have put a total of nearly an entire wheelbarrow of composted horse manure in it. The paper has disintigrated and the material is compressed enough not to fall through for the most part, not at least detrimentally. The bin is so full right now that the lid is sitting on top of some watermelons I put in there and weighed down with a brick so it doesn't blow off. If there are any remaining soldiers, they'll find the watermelons fast enough and make quick work of them, however, it seems the soldiers are declining in population as I expect they are getting to the stage where they will start changing. Soon there will be flies in there all the time. These aren't like your normal house flies remember, they look like wasps and aren't dirty little suckers.
I have also been adding material from a backyard compost bin that the worms had populated. There have been quite a few worms in the material and so with the bin's heater, I hope they will soon be taking over and populating the bin. This bin is supposed to have many lbs. of worms in it to start, but I don't have that kind of dough, so I hope this method will work. they need a population large enough so they can reach peak productiveness. If there are too few worms, they will not find each other as fast and will not reproduce as much and it will take a long time, if ever, for that population level to be reached.
I am still needing to fnd a good source of sawdust for the sawdust toilet. I'd like to train the boy on the sawdust toilet, some kids are afraid of being perched above a pool of water.
Monday, November 17, 2008
As you may have heard, American car companies are not doing well. GM is asking for a bailout because they say they may not have enough cash to last the year. Obama wants to help, Bush does not.
This is a transcendent problem and one years in the making and multi-causal. Let's start with some of the causes. First, American cars are widely considered to be crap. While this is likely not so true now as it has been in the past, it's something to be taken into consideration as a function of name recognition and reputation. Number two, and I think very important is that our tax and tariff policy makes it favorable for an American company to ship it's manufacturing overseas. Consider this: Japan has made special considerations for its car manufacturers. Japan has high import tariffs which essentially protect its car makers. If it costs you 20% to ship a car into Japan, then you probably won't be shipping many cars into Japan will you? Also, Japan requires that the materials incorporated in such cars be produced in-country, protecting again, not only the car companies, but also other related industries.
The US? We only have a 3% import tariff. That means it has been literally encouraged for many years now that for profitability, you should ship your manufacturing to another country where labor is cheap and then ship your products back, nearly free of charge. Meanwhile, this leaves us high and dry, and strangely enough, the Ford Fusion is made in Mexico while the best selling Toyota Camry is made in Kentucky. Where does Toyota not have a plant? That's right, Mexico.
Another problem. GM has been squandering its time and money getting people to love huge inefficient SUV's and trucks while expending a modicum of effort to develop the kinds of cars any dense prophet (profit?) can see will be needed as the gas goes away. Now when they have one car that may actually change things, they are on the edge of bankruptcy and if things don't go right, that car may not even see the road. Ford on the other hand while not doing well is still doing better than GM and that is due in part to Ford licensing Toyota's hybrid system to put in the Escapes. At the final NASCAR race this season, Ford actually debuted the first hybrid pace car, a Fusion, ever to pace a NASCAR event. In a related note team owner Rick Hendrick begged the politicians to do the right thing for GM in an interview before the race.
What shall we do? This is not about a simple bailout. We've already seen the gross failure of the bailouts already put forth. What needs to be done is a restructuring of the way we think about business in America. We need to think like every other country in the world and that's US (pun intended) first. That's not to say us first in the current "we own the world" way, but in the way that we need not to bleed money because our business leaders are greedy. They get rich while the workers get kissed on the neck and then violated. The first thing that can be done is to raise tariffs to levels that are realistic. If Japan charges us a 20% tariff then we need to do the same. They protect their automotive industry, we must do the same. China too. This won't get rid of Japanese cars, they are already built here, but it will level the playing field. This is should not be a system where we are the consumers and the rest of the world are producers. Eventually the consumers will run out of cash.
Secondly and emphatically, the bleeding must stop. We cannot expect cheap "Made in China" products if we want long term health of our economy. If our workers don't have money because the jobs aren't here anymore, then they won't buy stuff, and we'll live in a perpetual depression while the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Believe me, there will be more of one group than the other, and you aren't going to be in the group you want to be in.
This bailout possibility reminds me of the Chrysler bailout in 1979-80. It was a successful one. This one could be successful too if a few guidelines are followed. First, if the government is going to be loaning the taxpayers money, they should expect some stuff in return. The expectations should be a decent interest rate, and most importantly, cars people will want to buy and keep for a long time (read cars that get good mileage, and last long, specifically EV's and series hybrids.) But again, the most important factor is the US protecting its industry by raising tariffs. If everything is on an equal playing field and they still fail, then let them fail. We don't need them. I don't think however that a good solution is to hobble them and then let them fail, which is what has been happening for, oh let's say 28 years now.
Reaganomics needs to die.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Also this week, I had my catalytic converter re-installed on my truck. I have been thinking about this for a while, and as a matter of conscience it bugged me somewhat. You see, I care very little about CO2 emissions because I don't think they are really all that substantial. On the other hand, emissions such as CO, NOx, SOx, and hydrocarbons are a much more dangerous simply because they are directly poisonous or cause measurable and visible damage to the environment. A cat does nothing for CO2 but helps with the others, though it may decrease performance and fuel economy slightly. It also makes the truck a bit quieter which the jury is still out on. The doofs at Midas welded it on, they must have had the new guy do it because it wasn't that good of a job. I know because I am a decently accomplished welder. There's still a hole in it which I'll have to take back and have redone. The good news is that the tail pipe definitely has a different smell than it did before, and now that the engine no longer burns oil, the cat should live a long life.
Car nooz. GM is death rattling. This is a problem for me. What if we never see the Chevy Volt hit the road? This is a problem. There is nothing like it on the market, especially in America. If any important people read this, Obama especially, we need higher import tariffs, our local producers, especially car manufacturers are suffering. Japanese car companies are what they are today due in large part to the tariffs and production laws that benefit Japanese car manufacturers. We must raise tariffs so that American cars can compete with foreign cars. It's not that they can't compete now, so much as Japanese cars have broad advantage. Plus American cars generally suck, so that will have to be remedied too. The only American car I'd think about buying is the Volt, and it doesn't exist yet. Hopefully if GM does fail, it will get sold to some other company and will still see the road, it is a very important stepping stone toward the full electric highway capable car. Hopefully things will get bad enough with trade to be able to get someone who will fix it.
Al Sharpton needs to pay him some taxes. HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAaaaaaa.....breathe. AAAAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! *tear cough COUGH! HAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAaaaaaa...pass out.
Black comics are gonna love this.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
21% of Protestant Evangelicals voted for Kerry, 26% voted for Obama.
Maybe I do have some faith in our people after all.
In the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, November 5, Wolf Blitzer listed “The Losers” in Tuesday’s historic election on CNN. Evangelicals were at the top of his list, joined by trickle-downers and social conservatives.
I wouldn’t have known I was a loser if Wolf hadn’t informed me. I am an evangelical—a black one.
Standing in the voting booth, I was overcome as I scanned pictures of my ancestors and wept before casting my vote.
Grandpop Lawrence stood at attention in his World War II uniform. When Grandpop came home from the war, he couldn’t get a job that matched his skills. So he worked as a door man at an upscale hotel in Philadelphia. Though doors were closed to him, he opened doors day and night for Philadelphia’s white elite.
Six years old, Uncle Richie posed for the camera in his Sunday best about 20 years before his lifeless body would flop to the ground. Richie’s future was swallowed whole by the newly drug-infested ghettos of the 1970s.
Grand-Aunt Martha stood with her back against a wall. She stared past the camera, no smile. She was the one who could pass for white. She died in an alcoholic stupor of hopelessness as the power of color politics pushed her from a third story window in the city of brotherly love.
Martin Luther King Jr. said the arch of history bends toward justice. Their memories were with me and this was their poetic justice.
Then, because of my faith, which aligns with Jesus –- who aligns himself with the ones whose backs are against the wall -– I put my hand to the ballot and said, “This is for you.”
I watched the election results with a diverse array of partners and leaders of New York Faith & Justice that night. When CNN announced “Barack Obama is President-elect of the United States of America!” I was not the only one overcome. There were tears and screams and jumping on furniture, then hugs and more tears, and hands lifted in the air.
Flags waved across America – in Chicago’s Grant Park, in Harlem, in San Francisco, in front of the White House in Washington D.C., and it felt like America was emancipated a second time—this time from the strangle-hold of racism itself.
Then we flipped channels to see how the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) was reporting the win. Two somber men sat in a quiet newsroom with one small silent graphic in the background. They talked about how “they” (liberals) won because of ”their” ground game. There was no connection to the justice of the moment. No acknowledgement that Obama, too, stood for biblical values.
Evangelicals did not lose on November 4. Evangelicals gained a teachable moment. The majority of the country celebrated, but 74 percent of white evangelicals mourned. Why?
According to Divided by Faith, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith’s landmark study of race and religion in the U.S., these evangelicals likely emphasize individual responsibility, see most things through the lens of relationships and, most important, they see little significance in history and cannot or will not recognize the impact of systems on the plight of whole people groups—systems such as the education, health care, real-estate, or penal systems.
So, when McCain proclaimed in his Convention Speech that individuals can thrive if only government would get out of the way, 74 percent of white evangelicals believed him. It didn’t occur to them that in a democracy, the people are the government.
And when the forwards flew about Obama, the champion of infanticide, 74 percent of white evangelicals believed it, without question, because the forward came from a friend (a relational connection). They valued it because it touched on the most valuable relationship—the family. Righteous indignation replaced reason. It didn’t matter that Obama refused to vote for the law in Illinois because there was already a law on the books protecting viable third-term babies.
And when Obama told “Joe the Plumber” he wanted to “spread the wealth,” 74 percent of white evangelicals believed this meant government wanted to fly in the face of personal responsibility and give their hard earned money to people who didn’t work for it. There was no connection to the reality that it’s not necessary to ask “Joe” for more taxes when ending a war will release billions of dollars with the swipe of a pen.
Black evangelicals, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama, share the values for personal responsibility and relationships, but they live under the weight of broken systems. So, they seek to fix broken systems, changing them into systems that bless.
Emerson and Smith say the deepest divide in U.S. worldview is not between whites and blacks; it is between white and black evangelicals. The isolated evangelical church structure perpetuates the problem of race in America, but white evangelicals immersed in networks-of-color tend to acquire a worldview that includes systems and history.
Here is my hope: the number of white evangelicals immersed in networks of color—who have a value for history and an appreciation for the impact of systems—is growing. Steve Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet, estimates Obama won 2 million more evangelicals than Kerry. Only 21 percent of white protestant evangelicals voted for Kerry in 2004, but 26 percent voted for Obama this year. That signals a five point increase in evangelicals who value personal and systemic redemption.
Now, imagine the election year 2020. At this rate, by then, 41 percent of evangelicals will have enough contact with people of color to embrace the political needs for both personal and structural redemption.
Evangelicals did not lose on Tuesday night. We gained a teachable moment. And with God’s grace we shall all be overcome … one day.
Lisa Sharon Harper is the executive director of New York Faith & Justice and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican … or Democrat.
Dear President-elect Obama,
First, congratulations on your election as our 44th president. I hope you know that there are tens of millions of Americans who did not vote for you who are still very, very pleased that an African American has been elected President of the United States.
That fact that this could happen in a country with as tragic a racial past as America’s says something noble and fine about the American experiment. We as a nation have chosen together to live up to the promises of our founding document, the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
We covenant to pray for you, your family, and your administration. We will pray that God will grant you godly wisdom in all your decision-making.
Mr. President-elect, Southern Baptists remain unalterably committed to the protection of unborn human life. The vast majority of Southern Baptists believe that a pre-born baby is a distinct human life, according to both science and the Bible.
You have said you want to unite us as a nation. An excellent place to work for such unity would be for you to put your full support behind the Democrats for Life initiative known as the Pregnant Women Support Act (its goal is to reduce abortion by 95 percent over a 10-year period).
This bill would:
• Establish a toll-free number to direct women to places that will provide support during and following their pregnancy.
• Provide child care to low-income and student parents.
• Provide parenting education in maternity group homes.
• Make the Adoption Tax Credits permanent.
• Ensure that pregnant women are not denied health care by insurance companies and that coverage is continued for newborns.
• Codify the regulation that extends coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to low-income pregnant women and unborn children.
• Increase funding for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program.
• Provide grants to institutions of higher education to fund pregnant and parenting student services.
• Provide new mothers with free home visits by registered nurses.
All of these measures would help fulfill the pledge made in the 2008 Democratic Party platform, which “strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.”Dr. Richard Land is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and author of The Divided States of America?: What Liberals AND Conservatives are missing in the God-and-country shouting match!
Facebook was the site Tuesday night for people to flame on. Understand that virtually every friend I have on Facebook is a Christian and most attend my church.
The following are Facebook status updates from people on my friend list. Each and every one of these people claims to be a Christian as far as I know, and most attend my church. Spelling is uncorrected from the original.
hopes that the majority of America has some sort of inteligence and voted for McCain.
is braceing herself for America's downfall.
OH MY FREAKIN FACE. I pray that Obama gets NOTHING done as president. Wow, I kinda want to hurl now.
thinks that the outcome of the election is Dumb!!!!!
is very excited about the christian faith right now. apparently i'm going to hell because i like obama... interesting and unfortunate.
is grieving for America...she (America!!) desired "change" rather than mercy and godliness. We have opened a dangerous door.
is hopeful that our new president will help bring about some much-needed change.
will just have to trust GOD through all this.
is hoping that people will stop being stupid about the election. yes, obama won. glory to God we live in a nation that can pick its leaders. glory to God.
is SCREW OBAMA!.
is why does everyone think i like obama???.......i freaking don't! obama can eat my tots.
is curious and optimistic about where our new president's rhetoric actually meets the road...
can see the headlines now "Obama bans Amish People".
I want you to go back in your mind to all the stump speeches and especially the concession and acceptance speeches Tuesday night. Tell me, at which party's events was there consistent booing and jeering? At which events were there things shouted like "kill him" and the like? Which party currently lays claim to the Evangelical Christian vote?
If I weren't such a follower of Jesus, I'd stop calling myself a Christian. It is one thing to disagree with someone, even vehemently so, but boos, insults, and jeers are inappropriate for anyone, much less a Christian. There is no excuse for this. How are we supposed to live for the world to see Jesus if we respect our opposition less than Jesus would? How are we supposed to stand out as examples of righteousness if the only difference between us and them is that we are more spiteful, that our political rallies are dens of anger and vitriol? This election cycle has served to do nothing if not push me further from the right.
One of my extended family members spews bigoted nonsense about Obama's muslim connection (you know what I mean.)
A University of Arkansas poll showed that 20% of Arkansans believed Obama is a Muslim, and a Texas poll showed that number at 23%.
I never supported Obama, I thought he was the best guy for the job, if not the only guy I didn't want to not have the job. I did vote for him, though. I defended him against lies as I would have done if for instance someone accused McCain of having an interracial love child like they did in 2000. But I didn't see many lies spread about McCain. My goal is truth, I don't sign on to the movement of anyone but Jesus. In four years, I'll vote for the best guy for the job, not Obama, unless he ends up being the best guy for the job at that time. Just like this time, I'll vote for the guy who I think best represents my views.
But again, it's the stuff done and said by people claiming to be Christians that bugs me, I mean really bugs me. If you have a conscious at all, you have got to step back and look at what went on this election cycle. Take a step back and look at the issues Jesus cared about. I hear all the time that the moral issues are abortion and gay marriage. Jesus never mentioned them. I could care less who marries who. Why would I vote for a candidate or law wishing to ban gay marriage when I believe that marriage is between you and God, not the law. Why would I seek to interject the government into something that belongs to God? And with abortion, 75% of women that have abortions do it because they don't think they can afford a child. So why don't we solve that problem instead of trying to make the result illegal? Jim Wallis always says, why do we keep swatting the mosquitoes instead of draining the swamp? How long are we going to keep pulling bodies from the river before we go upstream and find out who's throwing them in?
What did Jesus care about? He mentioned the poor an awful lot. And what sorts of things help the poor: a progressive tax rate, health insurance, tax breaks for people who work (I mean physically) for their money, higher minimum wage, environmental controls, and faith based initiatives. That's why I voted for Barack Obama, because he says he represents the people Jesus cared about, and he has a record to prove it.
You can disagree with me if you want, but please, don't call me or anyone else names or spew insults, it's not what Jesus would do.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
My wife is out of town so I went to see W. (it's pronounced dubya) this evening. I'll tell you now that this isn't a comedy unless you are a Left Wingnut, (I mean like the kind you only see on YouTube) and you'd be surprised how even handed it can be at times.
The main thrust of the story is the runup to the Iraq invasion, and that story is interspersed with scenes stretching all the way back to W's days in Yale. It casts Colin Powell in a good light, even before he came out in support of Obama. There have been some criticisms of the relationship shown in the Bush family, but those aren't the parts I'm interested in anyway.
The parts I am interested in are the parts depicting the Iraq stuff and W's relationship with God. I am a Jesus Freak, and as such I cannot judge whether or not God really called W. to be president as he says He did. I can at certain points doubt whether we worship the same God or not by what that deity tells us.
It's my conclusion that Dubya isn't a bad guy, as many of us now see him. He's just one of those people you know who doesn't belong in the job they have. In his case, his job is so involved that he needs all these advisors and because he really doesn't know what he's doing, his advisors run amuck. He's a smart guy, person to person say, but not like running a country. He'd probably be a great Xerox copier salesman. Some of you know what I'm talking about.
I don't think that history will look favorably on W. The stuff many were excited about him doing and being didn't turn out to be the things we were excited about. His faith based initiatives were a fantastic idea, but he's not done much with them. Hopefully Barry can follow through on his plans for them. And the war as everyone now knows was waged under false pretenses. There were no WMD's, and no Al-Qaeda, but there sure are now.
Good movie if you are interested in such things, I give it a 7/10. Hopefully it comes out on DVD before W. is president no more.