Daily Archives: 5 Aug 2011

It’s Official: US Credit isn’t Creditable

The Washington Post has just noted

The United States credit rating was downgraded for the first time Friday night, after a bipartisan debt deal signed into law this week failed to assuage concerns about the nation’s growing spending, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Standard & Poor’s said it was reducing the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA for the first time since it began assigning grades to countries in 1941. The credit rating agency warned several times this year that unless the government took steps to tame its debt, it could face a downgrade.

At least they waited till the stock markets closed.  That way the massive crash won’t happen till Monday.  Thank you, again, Congress, and you too, voters who sent Congress to Washington.

Wikipedia is In Trouble (Finally)

Wikipedia is in danger of wasting away as contributors jump ship and aren’t replaced by new ones, founder Jimmy Wales says. “We are not replenishing our ranks,” he tells the AP. “It is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important.” Wales—who describes the average contributor as “a 26-year-old geeky male” who eventually moves on to other things—says the online encyclopedia is working to simplify its “convoluted” editing procedures to keep contributors on board.

I like the Newser explanation better since it’s both more sensible and doubtless more accurate.

No One Wants to Edit Wikipedia These Days

Maybe because even 26 year old nerds realize what a waste of time it is to enter information only to have it bastardized and distorted 3 minutes later by some ignorant dilettante.

When wikipedia does die off (like myspace and Google Wave) I won’t be among the lamenters.  I’ll be among those who say ‘goo0d riddance to bad rubbish’.  All hale the death of Wikiality.

[Tom Verenna mentioned this earlier somewhere but I don’t recall if it was FB or G+].

Comment Policy Reminder

It’s time, I see, to repost my comment policy:

1- I don’t approve anonymous comments.  If you sign your post ‘dillweed’ or ‘crackpot’ or ‘slappy’ it won’t be approved, period.  If you can’t own your words, go elsewhere.

2- If you’re an angry atheist and sign your comment it may or may not be approved.  It really just depends on how civil you are and my mood at the moment.

And 3- if you believe what you have to say is all that important, and I don’t approve your ‘witty’ comment, post it on your own blog where you and your cat can read it.  That way you can have the satisfaction of it appearing online.  But please, don’t get angry with me if I don’t share your delusion and ignore your comment as not at all witty or amusing or informative or whatever.

Let’s Admit it, The US Credit Rating Should be Lowered

We have a House of Representatives whose majority has signed a devil’s pact refusing to raise taxes. Given that reality and the fact that the economy is in the tank and we can’t pay our national debt without artificially raising our own line of credit (why can’t we individuals do that?), it only stands to reason that our credit take a hit.

If normal citizens told their creditors ‘look buddy, I know I owe you money and I know I have to pay it but I need to borrow more money to do it and I’m not going to get a second job so I can pay that off too’ would their credit remain AAA? Oh hardly.

A government official tells ABC News that the federal government is expecting and preparing for bond rating agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the rating of US debt from its current AAA value. Officials reasons given will be the political confusion surrounding the process of raising the debt ceiling, and lack of confidence that the political system will be able to agree to more deficit reduction. A source says Republicans saying that they refuse to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal will be part of the reason cited.  The official was unsure if the bond rating would be AA+ or AA.

We’re reaping what we’ve sown by voting for the persons and policy makers for whom we have voted. That’s all. We deserve it.  So stop crying in your coffee.  It’s your own fault.

Ah Dittersdorf… Wondrous

The perfect way to start the weekend.

Republicans Need to Stop Lying About the Taxes the Rich Pay

Some harsh figures are tucked into newly released income tax data from 2009: As the economy shed jobs, so too did the country shed taxpayers. Two million fewer individuals and couples filed with the IRS, while some 1,470 people earning $1 million or more didn’t pay a dime, the Huffington Post reports.

You read that right.  1470 MILLIONAIRES didn’t pay a dime in taxes.  I paid a LOT more than that, and I’m betting you did too.  And none of us are Millionaires.

The Repubs and their sycophants need to stop lying about the ‘outrageously high tax rate’ they’re subjected to.  They pay less than normal folk.  But of course they can afford to hire the greasy tax lawyers to make sure of it.

Meanwhile, the average income dropped 6.1% between 2008 and 2009, to $54,283, IRS data shows. “What you’re seeing is the devastation of the massive loss of jobs and the effects of the real recession on real Americans,” says a law professor. Unemployment claims jumped by 2 million between 2008 and 2009, a 19% increase, while the amount of jobless claims paid in 2009 was almost twice what it had been the year before. Meanwhile, the number of 1040EZ forms filed—simplified forms for those with a taxable income of less than $100,000—dropped 23%, a reflection of joblessness among former lower-income taxpayers, says the professor. “What you’re seeing is people at the bottom rung of the economic ladder being taken off the economic ladder entirely,” the professor adds. Click through for more details on the IRS data.

The Right lies to the American people every time it complains or whines about the poor rich folk and their terrible tax burden.  They aren’t suffering or overburdened and most of them aren’t burdened at all.  Unless their burden is to lie- in which case, they carry Mt. Everest on their backs.

BibleWorks 9: Hebrew and the LXX, and Final Observations

Frequently it’s necessary to examine the Hebrew text of the Old Testament side by side with the LXX.  BibleWorks 9 makes it simple as pie.  One need simply open up the program, go to the OT text one is exegeting, and select ‘Parallel Hebrew -LXX’ from the list of resources:

Then one has handily displayed the Hebrew and Greek side by side along with their respective analyses and lexica.

Want another verse, just go to it in the main window and there it is:

Once you’ve decided where you want to be, you can enlarge the window and everything is considerably easier to see.

I’ve examined the program quite a bit but there is still a lot more to explore.  But I won’t drag these review-lets out interminably.  Hence, a few closing observations.

First- BibleWorks 9 is the ideal tool for biblical exegesis.  It contains everything one needs in terms of primary materials.  Biblical texts in the original languages, numerous versions, lexica, dictionaries, maps, grammars, and all the rest are at the fingertip.  Even more, though, now several very ancient manuscripts along with transcriptions of those are also included.

Second- given all that it contains, I’ll call it ‘the scholar’s go to tool’ for exegesis.  It has everything many of us have had on our shelves in hardback book format for a while and is much easier to access.

Third- if asked which biblical studies software I would recommend, I would, and will, say BW9.

Fourth- that doesn’t mean I think it’s perfect.  I wish it contained other editions of the Bible (like the Revised English Bible) and I wish that it had the Dead Sea Scrolls biblical texts (along with photos of those texts as it has for key NT manuscripts) and Clines’ Dictionary of Classical Hebrew.

Fifth- In conclusion, this software has so much and lacks so little that I cannot conceive of any person doing serious work in biblical exegesis not benefiting from it immensely.

[All segments of this multi-part review can be found here].

Holland, You Disappoint Me

You should rid your ranks of rank ‘clergy’ like this cancer

An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.  It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord’s Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse’s sermon seems bleak – “Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get”.  “Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”  Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.

Atheist clergy are to churches what cancer is to the body.  Cut that cancer out or it will kill the whole.  The only reason such persons would remain clerics is because they’re too afraid to make a living elsewhere.  And the only reason a ‘church’ would tolerate such a ‘cleric’ is because too many of its members are also cancerous elements in the body of Christ.

Get Sodom out of the Church, Holland, or Christians, get out of the Sodom of Holland’s Church.

Maybe the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox (Fundamentalists) Are on to Something This Time…

They’ve decided, in their infinite ‘wisdom’, to ban the iPod.  Makes sense to me.  After all, you can’t control what goes on the things and there’s no way to turn them off or sync them to your own music library…

Since the three iPod’s I’ve owned all crashed and burned shortly after their warranties expired I’m fairly certain that they are, in fact, of Satan (in the person of Steve Jobs).  So, hang in there Jewish Fundamentalists, I’m with ya on this one.  Down with pods, down with pods, down with pods…

The Jerusalem Post’s Stupidity

In an unusual move for a newspaper, the Jerusalem Post has published a full-length editorial apologising for a previous editorial which attracted widespread criticism for its comments on last month’s Oslo massacre.

Titled Apology to Norway, Friday’s editorial in Israel‘s leading English-language daily said the original leader column “squarely condemned the attack” in which 77 people were killed by an extreme rightwing gunman acting alone. “However, it also, inappropriately, raised issues that were not directly pertinent, such as the dangers of multiculturalism, European immigration policies and even the Oslo peace process.”

The first editorial, published on 25 July, three days after the attacks, said: “While there is absolutely no justification for the sort of heinous act perpetrated this weekend in Norway, discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimatised or mistakenly portrayed as an opinion held by only the most extremist elements of the right.”

Steve Linde, the Post’s editor-in-chief, swiftly posted an addendum to the online version, clarifying the editorial: “This editorial is not aimed at deflecting attention from the horrific massacre perpetuated in Norway, nor the need to take greater precautions against extremists from all sides.”

However it failed to stem an avalanche – the Post’s own word – of letters and comments criticising the editorial and some comment pieces. “Your editorial … shockingly and shamelessly attempts to offer justification for [an] extremist violent act of terror,” said one.

The Oslo peace process…  why the Post cared about that is anyone’s guess, since Israel hasn’t abided by it in any respect.  Anyway, the JP’s apology is not really all that meaningful since it only comes in the wake of criticism.  They aren’t sorry.  They’re just sorry that they got heat over their ignorant column.

Quote of the Day

“God answers our prayers not because we are good, but because He is good.”  — AW Tozer

The Best Compliment Ever

From an elderly lady, who emails

Jim,
I wanted to tell you that I’ve been attending church all my life and no one has ever helped me understand the Bible the way you have. You’re so clear that even I can know what the Bible is saying.  And I just thought you ought to know it.

Yours sincerely,

Y.

I don’t care who you are, that’s the best compliment you can ever be paid.  [And some things just have to be shared].

Total Depravity: The Mom Who Murdered her Son Because he was ‘Too Fat’

And then she killed herself.  And she was a psychiatrist.  She must have been to psychiatry what ’emergent’ belief is to Christian theology.  What barbarous insanity.

A prominent Maryland psychiatrist specializing in women’s health shot her 13-year-old son dead before killing herself, police say. The son, Ben Barnhard, had recently completed a year at the boarding school for overweight kids featured in the Style Network show Too Fat for 15, which tracked his loss of more than 100 pounds, NBC reports.  Associates describe Margaret Jensvold as a hard-working psychiatrist and loving mother who doted on her son. “She put a great deal of effort into her son’s educational and psychological well-being,” a lawyer who represented Jensvold when she divorced Barnhard’s father tells theWashington Examiner. “I never had any indication that Margaret had any sort of violent tendencies or even shortness of temper.”

Oh the evil that lurks in depraved hearts.  Hell cannot open its mouth widely enough.

Rick Warren Wants People to be Biblically Literate

If only he were.

Atheists, it Seems Jon Stewart isn’t a Fan

The HuffPo alerts us to the slamming the silly angry atheists take from Jon Stewart over the World Trade Center cross.

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:393956

Those angry atheists really are feckless whiny jerks.

Total Depravity: Meth Milk Momma and the Dead Baby

Mother claims it wasn’t her meth laced breast milk which killed her baby.  It was something else…   So what killed the little one?  Zombies?

Charges against a California mother have been upgraded from manslaughter to second-degree murder this week after evidence at preliminary hearings suggested that she knowingly endangered her infant’s life by breast-feeding while using methamphetamine.  Six-week-old Anthony Acosta III died last year after an allegedly lethal amount of the drug was passed to him when his mother, Maggie Jean Wortman, 26, continued to breast-feed despite her meth habit.  Wortman is pleading not guilty to charges of murder, arguing that it was not the meth in the infant’s bloodstream that resulted in his death, Wortman’s attorney, M.C. Bruce, told ABC News.

It should be a charge of first degree murder.

Wortman claims that she had no knowledge of the fact that using meth while breast-feeding could be dangerous to her baby.

That’s because she’s a totally depraved idiot who obviously thinks using meth itself is ok.  Why would anyone expect her to know it would kill her baby?  But her ignorance and stupidity don’t make her any less of a murderer.

Obama is Licking up the Crumbs From Bibi’s Table

Unsurprisingly

Dan Shapiro, the new American ambassador to Israel, submitted his credentials to President Shimon Peres on Wednesday. That same day, he submitted a declaration of support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: In an interview with Channel 2 television, he downplayed the lack of trust between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama and the latter’s rage and sense of insult over Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress in May, treating their serial disputes as routine disagreements between friends. Shapiro noted that he was present at all the many meetings between Obama and Netanyahu. So who are we to cast doubt on a videotaped affidavit by an eyewitness?

The newly-arrived diplomat’s decision to jump immediately into the media water and the friendly, almost fawning, content of his interview show that Shapiro was not sent here to promote peace between the Israeli leader and his Palestinian counterpart. Rather, his goal is to promote peace between the American president and American Jewish leaders. His main job will be to dismantle every Israeli land mine on his boss’ road to a second term.

I’m ashamed of the US Government. And embarrassed by it.  Such lapdoggery as Obama is displaying is beneath the dignity of the American Presidency and the American people.

[I appreciate Joel Watts for tweeting me about this].

While ABC’s GMA Airs the Newest Wretched Singer, The Rest of the World Watches the Horror in Syria

The BBC has video footage of the destruction the government of Syria is bringing down on the heads of its own people.

Syrian state TV has broadcast new images from inside the besieged city of Hama, showing rubble-strewn streets and wrecked buildings.  The news report said Syrian troops had put down an armed rebellion.  But Hama residents and rights groups say the army has been bombarding the city, killing more than 100 civilians.  Earlier, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused security forces of killing some 2,000 people since anti-government protests began in March.  Activists have called for more protests after prayers on Friday, with one web user posting a message saying: “God is with us, are you?”

Yes.  We are.  Assad must go just as surely as Mubarak had to go.  He is a murderer.

BibleWorks 9: Maps

Too much cannot be said of the map modules BW9 contains.  First, there are a number that users can choose from:

The images and remarks below are all based on the BibleWorks map module.  First, then, this powerful map-set contains tons of information.  Images can be selected from a wide variety of perspectives (note the box in the upper right) :

Scrolling down the list of choices, users can select locations mentioned in all of the biblical books.  I selected for this example the places mentioned in Matthew:

If you enlarge the image you can see the sites at a distance.  Zooming in (note the top bar towards the left) the sites become even more visible:

Adding John in to the mix along with Mark and Luke, it becomes quite evident that John is far more ‘geographically concerned’ than the Synoptics, referencing numerous places which the Synoptics do not.

Another brilliant aspect of the utility is the ability to identify sites by archaeological era.  Note the selection box again on the right and the sites selected from that period.

One can also zoom in to any site one wishes and a pop up box indicates latitude, longitude, variant spellings for the site name, and Hebrew and Arabic names.  So I chose to zoom in on Gath (in honor of Aren) :

And all that merely from the BibleWorks map module.  The others are also loaded with data.  The person researching the Bible needs such tools.  That they are conveniently located in this package makes it even more useful and valuable.

Are the maps perfect?  No.  The resolution deteriorates the further one zooms in.  But that’s to be expected.  This isn’t Google Earth and it doesn’t have street view.  Perhaps in the future it will, when PC’s have millions of gigabytes of storage space.

Aren’t All Politicians Drunk When They Sign Legislation?

I’m sure this Mayor didn’t do anything at all that all other politicians haven’t and don’t presently do.

Mayor Martin Resendiz says he was drunk when he signed nine contracts with a California company that is now suing the city for $1 million.  The Albuquerque Journal reports Thursday that Resendiz acknowledged during a deposition that he had been drinking for several hours with executives of the architectural design firm Synthesis and didn’t know what he was signing.

No, nothing unusual here.  Not really sure why it’s even news.  Oh, and in other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!