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Let's be "fair"

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Well, President Obama has nominated Judge Merrick Garland this morning to sit on the Supreme Court. He was seated in the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals in 1997 and has been the Chief Judge since 2013. I do not know how he has voted, nor his political leanings and beliefs.

That being said, Obama has invoked the Liberal cry word of "fair."

The article states:

Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have outright refused to hold a hearing for Obama's nominee, no matter who he chose. The president called for the Senate to act in a "fair," bipartisan manner.

Obama has 310 days left in office, a little under a year. Yet, Chuck Schumer said this on 7/27/07, with 543 days (about 18 months) left in the Bush Presidency:

This again proves that the Liberal definition of words like "fair" and "bipartisan" means, "The Republicans should compromise and do it the Democrats way."

I am willing to listen to anyone who can provide evidence that the Republicans called on the Democrats to be "fair and do it our way" the Democrats did so. Because I don't think that has ever happened.

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Art vs. Science

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There has long been a debate over certain fields of study are an "art" or "science." Let me make this perfectly clear: If you can measure it, quantify it, reduce it to numbers and have a fairly predictable cause and effect, it's science. If you cannot do the aforementioned things, it's an art.

Liberals, when they trust and believe their feelings over quantified numbers, have to resort to this:


This is what has happened in the "Fight for $15" in Seattle. This open letter was written in January 2014 to the President and Congress in support of a $10.10 minimum wage, signed by over 600 Economists. The last paragraph reads:

In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.

However, when we see this enacted in real life, outside of the ivory towers of academia, we can clearly see the true cause-and-effect of such policies and laws.

In February 2016, Mark J. Perry wrote for the American Enterprise Institute an article titled, "New evidence suggests that Seattle’s ‘radical experiment’ might be a model for the rest of the nation not to follow."

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) own data, you can see that jobs started tanking the moment Seattle's minimum wage law went into effect in April 2015 through December 2015. No matter if you look at the raw numbers, or the "seasonally adjusted" numbers, it's dropping hard after five years of steady growth. That's just Seattle. When you page down to near the bottom of the article, you see another chart that shows both the employment numbers of Seattle only, versus just the metropolitan area surrounding Seattle. Seattle went down 11,000 jobs, while in the same period the metro area outside of Seattle increased by 57,000 jobs. This shows that there is still job growth in the area and many workers who lost jobs inside Seattle probably became employed in the suburbs.

Even the New York Post admits this might be a bad idea, How the $15 wage is already killing Seattle jobs. The money quote:

Bottom line: A $15 law in New York is guaranteed to destroy jobs here — and boost employment in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and even Vermont.

Seattle is learning that it can’t unilaterally ignore basic economics. Businesses adapt to government dictates. To survive mandated pay hikes, they lay off employees, or avoid new new hires to control costs.

Now, I can tell you where people are getting paid $15 an hour to work fast food. Where you ask? In the oil boom area up in North and South Dakota. The oil boom is drawing workers of all trades and in order to support them, there have to be lots of jobs like fast food workers. In order to attract workers to menial jobs into an area where the snow can cover telephone poles, you have to pay them more to make it worth their while to move long distances to live and and work in a harsh environment.

Seattle and the Dakotas are two examples of how market forces work.

If you want to earn more money, upgrade your skills so you are worth more. Knowledge + hustle + a positive work ethic = more pay. If I was hiring someone, I would be much more inclined to hire someone who may not have the skillset needed but is willing to learn and work hard than someone who meets the skillsets but puts forth minimum work.

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Stupid people in government

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When I was in Guam, someone proposed to build a golf course directly over the northern aquifer where Guam got most of its drinking water. When someone asked, "What about the fertilizers and herbicides you'll be using on the golf course? Won't that end up in the drinking water?" The response of government was, "We will lay down a sheet of plastic under the entire course, keeping all of that bad stuff out of the water."

I'll let you think for yourself about the potential problems and consequences of that on your own.

I bring this up because there is a proposal to start a rock quarry just outside of Nashville. The location was poorly selected, because it's very close (a couple hundred yards at most) to an earthen dam which holds Old Hickory Lake back from running down the Cumberland River.

In May 2010, a record amount of rain hit the Nashville area. The dam that holds Old Hickory Lake back was opened to "save" Nashville, because it was either open the dam to relieve the pressure, or let the dam fail and things would have been significantly worse. A good friend and former co-worker of mine lost her house in that flooding. Nashville was flooded to the tune (if you excuse the pun) of $2 Billion in damages.

Just think about the blasting that will have to happen to excavate the stone from that quarry. Each blast doesn't have to be much, it would be a cumulative effect. All it would take is a trickle of water at first, almost imperceptible. A drop a minute would lead quickly to a drop a second, then a steady stream and finally to complete failure of the dam. All of that could happen very quickly.

Old Hickory Lake is about 20,000 acres in size. Imagine if the dam fails and just the top 10 feet of water rushes down the Cumberland river. That's 8.7 million cubic feet or a bit over 65 billion gallons that would be in downtown Nashville about 10 minutes after the dam fails.

Catastrophic could not begin to describe the carnage and devastation. A failure of this dam could functionally wipe Nashville off the face of the earth.

Now, it may never happen. Are you willing to take that chance that it won't? Are you willing to bet the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people and $20+ Billion in damages on a hope and magical thinking that a failure of the dam won't happen? Would those making the decisions to move forward on this be willing to live on the banks of the Cumberland? I didn't think so.

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And they shall come for them in the night

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Ladies and gentlemen, in 2014, right after the Bundy standoff, I made this post, A Second American Revolution. I had to dig it out of my last site's XML file and post it here, because I haven't been able to restore the entirety of the archives yet.

Anyway, I said in my OP, "The BLM will be back, and they will win, unless the entirety of the government is stopped."

Today, I find this press release, dated Thursday March 3rd, from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Nevada. This press release states that they have charged fourteen people (nineteen total) in connection with the Bundy Ranch Standoff.

A superseding criminal indictment was returned by the grand jury on Wednesday, March 2, and now charges a total of 19 defendants. The 14 new defendants are Melvin D. Bundy, 41, of Round Mountain, Nev., David H. Bundy, 39, of Delta, Utah, Brian D. Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nev., Blaine Cooper, 36, of Humboldt, Ariz., Gerald A. DeLemus, 61, of Rochester, N.H., Eric J. Parker, 32, of Hailey, Idaho, O. Scott Drexler, 44, of Challis, Idaho, Richard R. Lovelien, 52, of Westville, Okla., Steven A. Stewart, 36, of Hailey, Idaho, Todd C. Engel, 48, of Boundary County, Idaho, Gregory P. Burleson, 52, of Phoenix, Ariz., Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy, 43, of Cottonwood, Ariz., and Micah L. McGuire, 31, and Jason D. Woods, 30, both of Chandler, Ariz. 

Twelve defendants were arrested earlier today.  Two defendants, Brian D. Cavalier and Blaine Cooper, were already in federal custody in the District of Oregon.

The charges being brought against these citizens?

The newly-added defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer, and at least one count of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction of the due administration of justice, interference with interstate commerce by extortion, and interstate travel in aid of extortion.  The indictment also alleges five counts of criminal forfeiture which upon conviction would require forfeiture of property derived from the proceeds of the crimes totaling at least $3 million, as well as the firearms and ammunition possessed and used on April 12, 2014.

This is what I find sadly laughable. The last paragraph of the press release states:

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

I am now convinced that the United States is a Police State. Why? Because of this incident. When the government makes laws that are so vaguely written that they may be used in almost any circumstance, then arbitrarily decides that it has control over something, the only possible ending is bad for the citizens. Because when citizens stand up against governmental infringement and are punished for it, it means we as citizens no longer control the government as our Founding Fathers intended. The government now controls us.

This family claimed and worked land for 140 years, until the BLM "decided" that they (the BLM) would take control of it. When the Bundy's and some armed friends said "No," the government went away, let things defuse and people forget. Now they are back, quietly charging anyone who stood against them with vague and broadly-interpreted laws. I mean, really, "conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States"? Can you get more vague than that?

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Ringtones updated

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For those of you who don't like the standard ringtones that come with your phone, I collect and make them. If you visit my Ringtones page, you will find the most esoteric, strange and geekiest ringtones. You can download a zip file full of M4R's for Apples, or a zip file with the same ringtones in MP3 format. The page includes a list of all of the ringtones. Enjoy!

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Godspeed, John Glenn

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On February 20th, 1962, fifty-four years ago, Astronaut John Glenn, USMC became the first American to orbit the Earth. That was back during a time when you literally put your life into God's Hands, as when you strapped yourself onto the top of a rocket (made by the lowest bidder), you had just as much chance of experiencing a "flight anomaly" (i.e., blowing up) as it did delivering you safely into orbit.

I admire Colonel Glenn for his many years of service to his country and his many achievements. I don't always agree with his politics, however that does not prevent me from supporting his stances on topics I agree with.

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The crushing of free speech

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This is chilling. The Oregon Standoff was the culmination of multiple root causes all stemming from a systematic curtailment of liberty and personal rights of these people. A bullying federal government purposely destroyed farms and livestock in the area to perform a successful operation to intimidate others in the area and prevent support of these men and women from growing.

The seizure of a place or individuals to protest against the government is the last resort of reasonable men and women. The bad news is, it is defensive warfare and defensive warfare can only lead to defeat. Your supplies are limited, you are surrounded, your relief is not coming. It is only a matter of time until the patience of the other side wears thin and the final crushing blow is delivered.

Now is the time to become... unreasonable.

I bring this up because a journalist named Pete Santilli has been arrested and charged with conspiracy for his coverage of this standoff. He is currently being held without bond in a clear attempt to silence him. To be fair, I don't know this man, nor have I heard him or read any of his writings. The fact that he is being silenced due to his words is a chilling warning.

The First Amendment was written to protect the free exercise of all speech and specifically political speech. If the government can jail a person based only on his words is the most sincere evidence that we are transitioning from a Republic to a police state.

Mat dos Santos, the legal director of the ACLU of Oregon, said, "Situations like this - where words alone are used to label a speaker so dangerous or somehow threatening as to warrant the deprivations of his liberty - demand the highest caution. When there is any question, we should err on the side of the speaker." He also said, "If all of our statements can be cherry-picked and strung together over a number of years to label us a 'danger,' we risk silencing our civil discourse."

Those who seek to control the populace have taken to heart the lessons of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In that novel, the State controlled the people, in large part by its control of the language. If there are no words to express the concept of freedom or liberty, we might feel it in ourselves, however lacking those words, how can we communicate it to others? We have seen the restriction of speech progressively impede our free speech.

From the failed widespread use of "hyphenated Americans" (African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, etc.) which only served to divide and pigeon-hole us, to restriction of use of terms like "master/slave" regarding equipment. We now have an active movement to eliminate "hateful speech," which those who seek to limit it means, "things I don't want to hear or think about." Today we have movements calling for the elimination of the Confederate flag and any other symbols of that time as well as any other "unpleasant" aspects of our history.

We need to remember these events of our past so they do not happen again. If we do not learn, understand and remember these lessons, we are truly doomed to repeat them.

I do not call for an uprising against the government. I do wish to remind then that there are hundreds of thousands of veterans like myself, who swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Despite my discharge 20+ years ago, I have not been relieved of my duties under that oath. Veterans very well know they can trace their lineage to the men who stood at Lexington and Concord. We all swore to protect the concept of the United States, not the interests of whomever is in power. I want to remind those with evil intentions against this country that those descendants are well trained in the fine art of warfare, chaos and havoc.

Those with evil intentions should pray the switch we turned off when we left the service never gets returned to the "On" position. Maybe that is why our veterans are subjected to a demoralizing VA where the only "help" they receive is a further restriction on their rights.

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Economic freedom clearly explained

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While I have heard of the name of Milton Friedman, I am ashamed to admit I never really studied him. I am currently in the process of correcting that error.

I have found a sampling of two YouTube videos I want to share with you. In the first clip, he takes Donahue to task. Donahue asks about all of the people in poverty in the world. Milton says simply:

"The world runs on individuals pursuing their own self-interests...The only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you are talking about is where they had capitalism and largely free trade."

Some years ago, I had a conversation with a co-worker who openly stated government should confiscate the wealth of the rich. She could not answer my question, "How many poor people do you know who create jobs by employing people?"

This second video shows Dr. Friedman skewering a lady who was complaining about "too many millionaires." While she did realize what the millionaires were doing (investing their money instead of keeping it under their mattress), she did not realize that their investment in purchasing equipment and expanding production capacity made more wealth for everybody, especially the creation of jobs.

If the only thing a person can do is what someone else (namely government) tells them to do, that's all they will do. If you tell someone they can do anything they want, most will still do what they are told, some will do nothing and very few will do just that, pursue an idea they have, be it to create something new or to improve something already there and make something that changes the world.

To be able to invoke our own self-interest, to be in control of our own future and reap the benefits of our labor, this is what inspires people to do great things. When government stifles or destroys the incentive for greatness, there is no innovation or improvement of the lot of the common man. "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work" is a common line from the workers of the now-dead Soviet Union.

Which brings me to the "Socialist Heaven" of Venezuela. Probably not too many people remember, but a couple of years ago the Venezuelan government (which owns or controls most industries in the country) had to purchase two billion rolls of toilet paper. Toilet paper. Their own country could not produce something so simple and inexpensive as toilet paper. Today, they can't provide enough food for their own people. As I said in an earlier post, the Soviet Union (another controlled economy) had to purchase American wheat to feed its own people, as their own farmland (they had more farm land than the United States had land, period) could not feed its own people.

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The True Colors of Bernie Sanders

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I usually abhor weighing in on presidential politics as it is a very divisive issue. However, with Bernie Sanders losing to The Hillary by 0.3% (after multiple fraud accusations and six coin flips) in Iowa and then winning Hew Hampshire by 22 points, I feel the need to clarify just what a Socialist is.

Bernie Sanders is listed as an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats. He openly admits he is an avowed Socialist.

A Socialist is defined as "a member of a political party or group that advocates socialism." Which leads to the question, "what is Socialism?"

The Dictionary defines Socialism as, "a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole."

This means that the government would own and control everything. Before you think that's a good idea (rather than those evil corporations), consider this:

If you are under 25 years old, you have not lived when the USSR existed. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [my italics] was formed out of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and dissolved under its own weight on December 26th, 1991. The USSR was exactly as the above definition. The State controlled everything.

For example, the farms that produced food for the USSR were "collectivized" meaning they were controlled by the government. This plan worked so well, the United States was selling great quantities of wheat and other food to the USSR. In the 1970's, the farmers were allowed "small plots" where they could grow food for themselves and sell the extra. Those small private forms outproduced the massive collective farms.

The Purges under Stalin was where at least 20,000,000 (that's 20 Million) Russians died by the hand of their own government. They died from starvation because the State didn't want to feed them, or they were worked to death in "re-education camps." When that wasn't fast enough, the USSR resulted to just shooting them.

As a fine example of how wonderful it was to live under Soviet control, all you had to ask was, "which way were the people running?" In August 1961, the Soviet Union erected the "Berlin Wall," which physically separated West Berlin (under the Control of the US, England and France) from East Berlin (under control by the USSR). That wall was torn down in November 1989. In that time, over two hundred people were killed trying to escape East Berlin into West Berlin. Uncounted hundreds more died crossing the general border from Soviet Bloc countries into "western" countries. Those Cubans trying to flee the "workers paradise" of Cuba (a Socialist State supported by the Soviet Union) would overload rafts and risk their lives crossing 90 miles of open ocean to get away from that kind of government.

Really, how many Americans (or Europeans) made the trip to become citizens of the Soviet State? Pretty close to zero.

Every country founded on Socialist principles has not survived. The producers of each country could not (or would not) produce enough for those who were content on the free ride.

Bernie and The Hillary love to hold Sweden up as an example of "how Socialism works."

Let's take a close look at Sweden and the United States, side-by-side:

Item Sweden United States Comments
Country Size 175,896 sq. mi. 3,805,927 sq. mi. Sweden is 5% of the size of the US, between Texas and California (#'s 2 and 3) in size.
Population 9.8 Million 322.3 Million

Sweden has 3% of the US population, between Michigan and Georgia (#'s 8 and 9).
The City of New York has almost as many people by itself.

Minimum Income Tax 48.3% Zero Sweden's Income tax is for all income over about $2,700/year.
50% of US households pay no Federal income tax.
Sales Tax 25% Under 10% Sales Taxes are local in the US.
New car cost $65,480 $21,342 VW Golf Sedan, $23,386 Cost + 180% tax.
Gallon of Gasoline $6.10 $2.43 Need I say more?

While there are some things you can go from a certain size and scale up to a larger size, I don't think you can take something and literally multiply it by a factor of twenty and expect it to work in the same exact manner.

Please remember facts like this when you think about "Feeling the Bern."

2/16/16 UPDATE: I knew I forgot something! There is a 180 percent tax when you purchase a new car. I have updated the table above appropriately.

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Tolerance should go both ways

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I happened across this image on my FaceBook feed and I thought it needed a response. Beware the twist at the end.

to my christian friends

So, let's go down this point-by-point:

If lawmakers wanted to use your tax dollars to support private Muslim schools to teach children Islamic beliefs?

Outside of the school voucher program which allows parents to send their children to private schools of their choice, I am not aware of public dollars being used to support private schools. I am aware of public schools requiring students in public schools to study, dress and pray in Muslim ways, while anything remotely Christian is banned and persecuted.

If police cars and courthouses had the words "Allah be praised" on them?

You are right, many police vehicles and court houses examples display "In God We Trust" in the United States. If for whatever reason I, as a Christian, was living in a Muslim country, I would not object to the five calls to prayer over loud speakers every day and the variations of "Allah be praised" I would be exposed to every day. I would not object because I understand that is the religion and culture of the majority of people in that country.

The majority of Americans are Christian, so expect to see many Christian references in the United States. I would like to point out that a Muslim openly practicing their faith in public in the United States is a lot more able to do so than a Christian trying to openly practice Christianity in Saudi Arabia.

If your son or granddaughter was forced to recite Islamic prayers to be on a public school sports team?

Like I said above, there are children who are forced to practice Islamic customs and prayers in our public schools today. If you have a high school athlete who is Islamic, I am pretty sure the rest of the team would try to accommodate this athlete by making the prayer non-denominational, not mandatory, or maybe even alternate between Christian and Islamic prayers. At least they would have the option.

If presidential candidates said that the U.S. Constitution might be ignored in favor of Islamic teachings?

The U.S. Constitution was written with the concept of the Rule of Law, that all who live in this country live under this law. The man who wrote the Constitution, James Madison, very specifically did not have any religious references in the Constitution. In fact, Article 6 Clause 3 states that "...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." The First amendment also says that the Congress shall not establish a National Church, "nor prohibit the free exercise thereof." This means if you want to worship, you are able to do so as your faith dictates. If you have no faith, you are perfectly able to do so as well.

The thing is, atheists are living with this every single day, not with Islam, but with Christianity.

Ah, there's the hook. It baits you with the Islamic "fear word" but then for the punch line it tries to make you feel guilty we are "subjecting" atheists to our "religious persecution."

I have a good friend who is an atheist who should be the example for the rest of the atheists. He does not speak bad of any religion and he isn't "militant" about his beliefs. He tells you he is an atheist, but only if you ask. He supports others in their beliefs, without reservation. If someone offers to pray for him, he says, "Thank you" and is sincere in his words. He told me, "If it makes them feel better to pray for me, who am I to object?"

The nice thing about the United States is your freedom. If a group of atheists want to form their own community, no one is going to stop them. If they want to leave this country they are also perfectly free to do so. Too bad there are many places where they would not be received as well as they are here.

The United States is a Republic. It is governed by the will of the majority within the rule of law which protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority. I don't see another country like this anywhere else right now.

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One of my earlier writings

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As I said in my previous post, I was moving some papers around in my personal safe when I found this essay I wrote back in 1990. It was for a contest of some sort, I don't remember. Once I found it, I scanned it to PDF so I can never lose it, then ran that file through an OCR reader so I wouldn't have to type the whole ten pages again.

I want to take note that the OCR software handled ship names like Musashi, Derfflinger, Kirishima and Glamorgan without a glitch, but totally hosed New Jersey.

You can find the article in the Other Stuff category at the top of the page, or click here to go to it directly.


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An enjoyable find

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I had to open my personal safe tonight to store some papers and I happened to make an amazing discovery: A paper I wrote in 1990 for the US Navy regarding the refitting of the Iowa-Class Battleships. It was printed on a daisy-wheel printer, that's how old this is. I have it scanned and as soon as I convert it to text I will upload it here.

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A blatant assault

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These Democrats either have some extremely large cojones or (this is what I'm leaning towards) they are extraordinarily stupid. They could be grandstanding or something else.

No matter what, 123 Democrat Congressmen, about 65% of the total Democrats in the House, are sponsors or co-sponsors of this bill, H.R. 4269.

Normally, these guys are a little obfuscatory in the name of the bill, either short or long. This time, they lay it right out.

The bold and italic is mine.

The short name is, "Assault Weapons Ban of 2015."

The long name is, "To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes."

I'm sorry, I don't see how these idiots can expect to pass this bill when they are a minority in both houses. This is why I think they are grandstanding, because if Senator Orrin Hatch (Senate Majority Leader) pulls a Harry Reid, the Senate bill will never be brought to the floor for a vote. And unless a large number of Republicans of both houses join in voting for this bill, it will never see the President's desk.

The core of this bill is the banning of private ownership (except for active and retired Law Enforcement, government agencies and other security personnel) of any "Assault Weapons." If you own one now, you can keep it. For the moment. However, you cannot transfer it to anyone. At your death, it has to go to the government or other authorized dealer.

This bill does not mean Assault Rifles, which can selectively fire a single shot, burst (3-5 rounds) or fully automatic. The term Assault Weapon has come to mean semi-automatic weapons.

The criteria of this bill is as follows:

(36) The term ‘semiautomatic assault weapon’ means any of the following, regardless of country of manufacture or caliber of ammunition accepted:
“(A) A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any 1 of the following:
“(i) A pistol grip.
“(ii) A forward grip.
“(iii) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock.
“(iv) A grenade launcher or rocket launcher.
“(v) A barrel shroud.
“(vi) A threaded barrel.

Also, this bill out-and-out bans possession of any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds that was made after the bill becomes law by any private citizen other than law enforcement.

Under the Clinton 1994 AW Ban a weapon needed to have two of their criteria to be outlawed. This time around if the weapon has any of the criteria, it is considered illegal.

And there is no sunset provision, so this one is forever until overturned.

Something fishy is going on here, because the chance of this bill becoming law is so small it can only be seen by an electron microscope. If it does become law, it won't pass Constitutional muster when SCOTUS hears it. There is a fix in here somewhere, or this is a smokescreen to distract us from something else.

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Merry Christmas!

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The man known as Jesus of Nazareth has always been shrouded in mystery. Many people see him as many things. Some people have studied what records we have of him intently, others go off second and third hand information.

Our main records of his life and actions, the Holy Bible, have been through at least four revisions. From oral records before being written down in Aramaic, translated to Greek, then to Latin, then to English and other languages. Each translation left something behind and added new things through translation of what the words mean plus the agenda of the translator.

December 25th is most likely not the day that Jesus was born. The shepherds would not have been out in the fields with their flock in the wintertime, as they were when Angels came to them to proclaim the birth of Jesus. It is also documented that the Catholic Church (who has parallels with the Borg) picked this day to bring Pagans and Romans (who respectively celebrated the winter solstice and Saturnalia about the same time) into the Church.

I personally don't care what day we select to celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus (except April 15th).

What is important is we do set aside a day to contemplate the life of a man whose life caused such a change in the entire world that we changed the calendar that we use to measure time from before and after his birth.

This man, God made Flesh, was many things. Healer, teacher, advocate, and even rabble rouser. Do not forget that in Matthew 21:12 he drove the money changers out of the Temple. So disrupting business where it shouldn't be and chasing people with a bullwhip is certainly one of the possible options of "What Would Jesus Do?"

I try to carry two of His examples forward every day.

The first being Mark 12:30-31, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

Did I Stutter

The second one surprisingly is Luke 22:36, "He said to them, "But now is you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." If you read this in context, Jesus means 'arm yourself for self-defense.'

I ask that you enjoy yourself today, and if you are a Christian to do your best to carry out His teachings every day of the year. To my friends and brothers of different (or no) faiths, I ask that you also do your best to live up to the moral teachings you hold dear. Use them as a lamp to lead others, not a bludgeon to make others believe as you do.


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A space first!

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I haven't written about rocketry in years, since I lost my last rocket. It took most of a year to save up the several hundred dollars for the rocket, motor (the fuel alone was $80), electronics,  parachutes and everything else. I launched it and it never came back. Here is a picture of me with it:


Well, SpaceX has performed a first tonight. They launched a rocket into LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and instead of letting the first stage splash into the sea, they landed it upright and under power back near the launch site.

12/24/15 UPDATE:

I found the short version of the flight on YouTube. Here it is:

Here is a recording of the entire mission, from build-up until after the last satellite was deployed. Jump to the 32 minute mark to see the landing itself.

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