Thursday, April 30

Trip to the Flambeau

Governor Elections 2010

It may seem some ways off, but it is never too early to start holding Doyle accountable for going back on his pledge not to raise taxes, illegal golf trips, and the horrible economic climate he has created for the state.

At least two people will run: Scott Walker and Mark Nuemann.

I respect both of these guys. Couldn't one of them run for Senate instead? Of course with Doyle's numbers in the tank it is no surprise that he is attracting strong candidates to run against him.

Scott Walker is the Milwaukee Co. executive and has done an amazing job on keeping down costs and effectively running a tough county. He ran and lost in the primary against Mark Green.

Mark Nuemann is a former Congressman from Paul Ryan's 1st District. He ran against Feingold in 1998 and only lost by 2%.

Find Government Waste, Win Contest

The MacIver Institute is offering $500 to "honor citizens who work to make every level of government in Wisconsin accountable to the taxpayers."

Awards are handed out each month. Amazing idea. Now get your blogging skills and find some pork.

Wednesday, April 29

FACT CHECK of Obama 100

"Deficit was all Bush": Wrong!

"Saved or created 150,000 jobs": Wrong!

"Bipartisan Health care": Wrong!

Well worth reading the whole thing. Most of Obama's talking points even the AP find over the top.


Global Warming Documentary

Looks like it will be a great one to see when it comes out.

Tuesday, April 28

Wash Post: You Should Marry Young

Interesting:

Marriage may not make you rich -- that's not its purpose -- but a biblical proverb reveals this nifty side effect: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work."

So while many young Americans mark their days in the usual ways -- by hitting the clubs, incessantly checking Facebook, Twittering their latest love interest and obsessing about their poor job prospects or how to get into graduate school -- my applause goes out to those among them who've figured out that the proverb was right. One of those is Jennifer, a 23-year-old former student of mine. She's getting married this fall. It wasn't religion that made her do it. It wasn't fear of being alone. It was simply affection. She met Jake while still in college and decided that there was no point in barhopping through her 20s. Her friends balked. She stood firm. Now they're bridesmaids.

Wednesday, April 22

WW Exclusive! If I Were Rich by Aid Plans

Sometimes there is no better catharsis to the depression that comes from all the debt the government is loading up then a little parody. Special thanks to ALL those who contributed to this project.

Monday, April 20

2nd Congressional District

So far looks like two will be making a bid:

Chad Lee and Peter Theron.

Saturday, April 18

America should look after Americans


Image via Wikipedia
The thought that there is a problem with the United States paying more attention when it's citizens are in trouble is absurd. That is our responsibility. We can't police every country as much as we might want to see evil taken out. But the Indians, Egyptians etc. all have their own countries that should be looking out for them.

The downside, though, is the bellicose way in which the Americans have pledged to sort the piracy problem out.

No-one seemed that bothered when it was just Filipinos, Indians and Egyptians being held.


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Music Singer Sings Ex-Gay Song; Intolerant Protest

Now talk about courage!

Italy's "Festival di San Remo," the most important musical happening in my country which is seen on T.V. by millions of Italians, became the unlikely platform this year for a powerful ex-gay testimony. The singer, Giuseppe Povia, winner of the festival in 2006, presented a song entitled, "Luca Era Gay" (Luca was once gay)

Homosexuality and the GOP

Megan McCain and a new organization called GOProud have floated the concept that the GOP must accept homosexuality to stay relevant. My question is, relevant to who?

Again, this is a savvy move by the homosexual agenda to get Republicans to think that supportinig marriage is the cause of their troubles, but is is also false. Once both parties accept a position, it is as good as passed.

Obama didn't win by pulling over homosexuals to vote for him. Indeed he walked a tightrope on the opinion saying he opposed homosexual marriage while silently supporting everything (like DOMA and allowing homosexuality in the military) that destroys marriage. For all the smoke they blow, homosexual activist are actually a small (but motivated) group solidly supporting Obama.

Obama DID win by appealing to rural populist voters. Take a look at the counties he swapped from GOP in 2004 to Obama in 2008 and you will understand this trend. It was not the liberal (and homosexual) populated areas like Madison, but the rural areas like Columbia County that saw some of the biggest change.

This all goes to show that the GOP has more to lose than gain simply politically not to mention morally from accepting homosexuality. The moral conservative base that effectively turned out for Bush languished in enthusiasm for McCain.

The biggest anger and backlash for the GOP is on the fiscal side. Tea parties anyone? Rejecting Steele to speak? These traditional supporters of the Republicans are rightly skeptical and witholding support until they see a true return to limited government, and fiscal sanity. Indeed any Big Tent concept with homosexual voters for the GOP would be best served by simply getting the fiscal part right.

My Kid's Won't be Candadians.

Sad.

The new law offers citizenship to many individuals now in limbo. It also stops the previous practice of granting citizenship in perpetuity to children of Canadians born abroad, limiting eligibility to children of parents born in Canada.


On the other hand, you might "wake up Canadian!" If you are, I say "cool eh?!"

Friday, April 17

Doyle Approval At all-time low


Image via Wikipedia
Not good for Doyle:

Gov. Jim Doyle's approval rating hit an all-time low in a survey that has tracked it since he took office in 2003.

The St. Norbert College Survey Center Poll sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio released Friday shows that only 45 percent of respondents are very or somewhat satisfied with Doyle.

That is the lowest numbers for the Democratic governor since 54 percent said they were satisfied in fall 2007.

A year ago, 59 percent said they were satisfied with Doyle.


This is probably worse than the poll says. NPR presidential polls always skewed liberal against results. I suspect real number are hovering around high 30s or 40%.

Why? The people of Wisconsin know that more taxes and fees is not the way to get us out of economic troubles. That is part of the reason Land O Lakes is moving out of Madison Wisconsin too.

Wednesday, April 15

Wisconsin Contrete Park

Guy builds over 200 sculptures without any formal sculpturing education. Cool. 

Tuesday, April 14

Taxes Reflection

"Tax Return Accepted by the IRS" So says the email that just popped into my in-box. My first response was "Rats, if I didn't have tax problems how will I get a position in Obama's cabinet." On the other hand, why wouldn't they take my money, even if I made a few mistakes?

Tax day brings me back to the purpose of taxes. Are they necessary. Yes. Are taxes too high or too low? That is really the wrong question. The question should more be if they are being used for a legitimate end. Are my taxes going to prop up the luxury of those in power? If so, those taxes are wrong. Are my taxes going to snipe out pirates off Somalia? Security is a legitimate government interest, so that's ok.

What about bailing out AIG? Pass. USSR taught us about government business. What about welfare queens? Gov't wasn't' ever designed to play religious duty of helping out the less fortunate by taxing the successful.

Taxes have been abused when they have been targeted specifically with targeted benefit. Taxes are best when they are commonly leveled for the common good.

Good Government: Congress should vote for pay increase

Feingold and Vitter speak out:
Last month, the Senate finally approved legislation that ends automatic pay increases for members of Congress. This feat could not have been accomplished without the influx of letters and phone calls that came into Congress as public outrage over the pay raises grew into a national discussion on issues that have long angered many people across the country.  The final bill that passed was virtually identical to the legislation that we have been advocating for some time.

Sunday, April 12

Response To Evolution and Schools

Alexius responds. Below is a bit of it. My response coming soon. Alexuis, I have to say you write very well. If you don't blog or have written a book you really should.

No, I don’t claim to know how everything began; that is part of the wonder of it, for me, that all of this should have come from something simple. It is impossible, as I believe your Job quote implies, to know exactly what happened when the universe was created; we can observe it only indirectly through lingering radiation and through mathematics. Is the universe infinite in time, especially considering that time as we know it did not exist before the Big Bang? Did the universe unfurl from a single point or multiple points? Has it happened before? Is it a result of parallel universes bumping into each other? Does it happen the same way every time?

....

I am not saying that a parent should be limited in what they teach
their children, but I don’t want to have to pay to teach it to every
child who passes through a public school, especially as including
creationism in science class is so often a way to undermine science
rather than to contribute to our understanding of it. If a parent wants
to pass on their faith, they should do it through one of the other
avenues available; through their church, through their friends who have
get-togethers expressly for that purpose, or even just instructing
their children themselves; besides, it is much more personal that way,
as spirituality should be. If they want their children to be open to
multiple religious options or learn about the cultural significance of
various beliefs, then they should do so through a religions class or
philosophy course. Science is exclusively the domain of the explainable
and physical, and things that can’t be proven are set aside not
necessarily because scientists think it’s dumb but because there’s
really nothing that they can do with it. (And as far as the North
retaking the South: well, personally I think that as far as morality
goes, slavery, while it kept the South afloat financially, was worth
stopping; however, legally the North wasn’t really justified.)

Saturday, April 11

Presuppositions about origins and public education

Alexius has produced some great comments about evolution and creation in the comments of this post (read it all). Below is the comment in full and then my response.

Which scientists? Actual, academic biologists, or people who are just there to give an appearance of disagreement? Evolution is so not debated that it's the foundation of modern biology; in fact, that is why it is called a theory. You might be familiar with other theories--like the theory of relativity, the kinetic molecular theory, germ theory, and atomic theory. And boy, isn't it brazen of schools to require people to learn about atoms, considering that they're just a theory? Newtonian theory was an early thing that was, just like Darwin's original theory of evolution, flawed but later modified when it did not fit the evidence. This is what science does, unlike creationism; if it doesn't work, it is fixed.

However, in both of those instances the overall gist of the theory was correct; the problem with humans is that we do not live very long and our experience of the world is limited. Given that we move incredibly slowly, we did not notice the effects of relativity until recently and even then mostly indirectly; likewise, as we cannot see DNA with our bare eyes, Darwin could not know the precise ins and outs of evolution. The basics of both are still used today, though; in math class we still learn the Newtonian model for the sake of simplicity, and in biology we still learn "survival of the fittest" even though it's more complicated than that.

Creationism does not rely on evidence, and if it did, all of its practitioners would give up on it. The only arguments for creationism are a.) "it's in the bible so it must be true" and b.) "you can't explain that [yet] so therefore I must be right." Creationism is based on faith; science is based on open-minded observation and skepticism. Multiple disciplines, not just evolution, defy the young earth myth; that relativity that you mentioned being one of them, as how else would we be able to see other galaxies if the light hadn't had time to reach here yet? Unless one were to make the argument that god put all of this evidence here to make it look like the universe began billions of years ago even though it didn't, which is really just odd and rather obtuse.

Science should be taught in all of its permutations, yes; although keep in mind that the decision on what is most likely true in the objective, scientific world should be left to people who have been studying it for years, not to bored sophomores who really don't have the background to be able to make an educated decision (so none of that "teach the controversy."). And as I explained, creationism does not hold up in the scientific realm--when was the last time you saw an academic paper on creationism survive a serious publication?--and therefore should be kept to the realm of faith.

And what, I hope you are not suggesting that science classes should leave all of the origins theory to the religion classes, even the scientific ones? That would be unwise, as we owe it to the next generation to be educated in science and the processes of the universe.

Certainly science should have an aspect in religion classes; shouldn't it be present everywhere? Science is the frame by which we understand the world and if we can weave other things into it, we should. Religious myths in a public system should always be taught as hypothetical so it is important to establish a position from which to view them.

Exactly. Whose kids are they, and why should the state have to bother teaching them about religion? If the parents want to teach something to their kids, what's stopping them? The state does not care what is taught within the confines of the home or the religious community, only do not use my tax money to teach religion to people who want no part of it, and do use it to educate people about things that are relevant to everybody, not just those select few who follow these faiths.


I believe an understanding of the difference of our presuppositions is critical. To ignore them we are not even looking at the same topic. So let's go back to when there was once nothing. At least as far as material existence and the laws that govern them. In the beginnings past that original state of nothing we have fundamental and even irreconcilable differences. I believe that in the beginning there was God. Everything else fits within this rubric. He created science, matter, life, and the laws that govern our material existence. As you said however you believe that "Science is the frame by which we understand the world..." Correct me if I am wrong but I understand this to mean that when you understand the origins of beginnings--the move from nothing to everything--you believe in the appearance of matter and the scientific framework by which our existence is continued. The nonexistence of God and the appearance of matter would be your presupposition.

In short, I believe, in the beginning God. You believe in the beginning matter/scientific laws.

I come back to my question
in the previous post: are not both of these points of view religious or determined on faith? We go from nothing to everything. Can that be explained by the confines of "open-minded observation and skepticism"? Indeed, when you stated: "Creationism is based on faith; science is based on open-minded observation and skepticism" I saw it as comparing apples to oranges. Your first statement is about my belief in origins and nothing about my approach to understanding how I study the world; the second is about how you study the world and nothing about what you believe about origins. It is really two different topics mismatched in comparison.


Am I saying that classes that talk about origins should be consider religious? Yes. As I was talking about above I see existence and the corrolated presuppositions in the order of "God ---> everything else" you see it as "Matter/science -->everything else". Neither can be proved by objective observation and both must be taken by faith. Yes, evidence that we observe can be marshaled on either side (i.e. God created mature stars, with light already shining even as he created mature man and animals) but the fundamental elements of origins is a matter of belief.

I know I have been bold in characterizing what you think about the origins, so if I am in error please let me know. You don't know how much I value your highly thoughtful comments.

As this relates to public education, I could agree with you Alexius, with the idea that government should not be in the business of teaching faith. Drawing the line of when belief begins separated from universally excepted facts is messy. That is why in actual application I think the better option is to give parents as much as possible the responsibility to teach their kids what they want rather than political, educational, or scientific elite. We know both can error, but when it comes to kids they are wards of the parents not of the state. If a parent is teaching that it was right for the South to leave the Union and the scientist and his peers believe that the North really was in the right to preserve the union, I would back the parents with my tax dollars even though I think there is no sound basis for their opinion. This same tolerence for parental Creation influence in their children's education is all I am asking for. I am not so much debating the validity of creation.

A few quick specific answers:

"Evolution is so not debated that it's the foundation of modern biology; in fact, that is why it is called a theory."

No, macro evolution is still debated in biology such as Michael Behe's irreducible complexity.

"the problem with humans is that we do not live very long and our experience of the world is limited."

Amen. The more I learn the more I am humbled by this reality. It also provides (as you implied) a good caveat to those who might be dogmatic about human ability to interpert what we experience, and (for me) a greater ability to accept paradoxes in light of the presuppositions I believe in. Indeed, the last chapters of Job are a constant source of inspiration to me in this area:

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determiend its measurements--surely you know! Or stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sones of god shouted for joy?

And I echo with Job (42:2-3) I know that you can do everything...therefore have I uttered what I do not understand."

Friday, April 10

Baldwin: Cash for Contact

Got this in an email today:
Join us for a reception in honor of
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin
2nd District, Wisconsin
Member, Energy & Commerce Committee
Member, Judiciary Committee


PACs $1,000
Individuals $500

And you wonder how the incumbents get re-elected...esp. when you are a pork spender like Tammy Baldwin.

Death Penalty for Pirates


Image via Wikipedia
Two guys with a gun can capture thousand ton ships worth millions with dozens on board. Huh? One of our first national heroes and pirate hunter Steven Decatur is rolling in his grave to be sure. Piracy as we all know from the romanticized versions of Captain Hook and Black Beard has sometimes glossed over the seriousness of the crime. Pirates are lawless, not responsible to any government, and endangering lives and property. As such they must be regarded as an enemy with the death penalty for those caught in the act of threatening lives in exchange for money.

The liberal tag line about this being a failed nation with little stability, etc. is precisely the point. If a country cannot control it's own citizens than it is our responsibility to protect and punish those who attack our citizens. The quicker we deal with these pirates, the sooner stability will come to places like Somalia.

The current policy of playing helpless and paying ransom is a news bulletin to the world that ocean ships are quick easy cash. Ransoms negotiated outside of government control must be outlawed, and any captured pirate severely punished.

Our nations first budget and international policy was dominated by freedom of the seas and trade. Now is not a time to leave that heritage behind.

Thursday, April 9

Kudos to Kids

This from an article about clothes:

"Every piece of research we have done has shown that the generation gap is closing," Gould says. "Girls and boys truly look to their parents for second opinions, and they want to make sure they are doing what their parents feel is appropriate for them."


Does this mean that family is cool? "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." Seems pretty biblical too.

Tuesday, April 7

Best Missile Defense Blog

Closing Velocity that is. An expert on missile defense.