Saturday, January 10, 2015


First and foremost our current weather....

Global warming indeed.

Next up an article on pork consumption in China from The Economist, Empire of the pig. The voracious appetite, pun intended, of Chinese consumers is enormous and growing daily. Given the sheer magnitude of the Chinese population this has a major impact on the rest of the world economy. Take for example this quote

The Communist Party prizes self-sufficiency in food. Most of the pigs China eats are indeed home-grown. But each kilogram of pork requires 6kg of feed, usually processed soy or corn. Given the scarcity of water and land in China, it cannot feed its pigs as well as its people. The upshot is that Chinese swine, which previously ate household scraps, increasingly rely on imported feed.

Ms Schneider reckons that more than half of the world’s feed crops will soon be eaten by Chinese pigs. Already in 2010 China’s soy imports accounted for more than 50% of the total global soy market. From a low base, grain imports are rising fast as well: the US Grains Council, a trade body, predicts that by 2022 China will need to import 19m-32m tonnes of corn. That equates to between a fifth and a third of the world’s entire trade in corn today.

What that means for the rest of the world is that a significant percentage of agricultural production is pretty much spoken for long before it is even planted. You can't exaggerate the significance of this for food and security issues.

This is a tragic story for a bunch of reasons, The Case of the Drunk-Driving Bishop. An Episcopal "Bishop Suffragan" named Heather Elizabeth Cook, struck and killed a cyclist, Thomas Palermo. She is apparently, according to the Baltimore Sun, being charged with drunk driving (triple the legal limit) and manslaughter for killing this guy while drunk and sending text messages, not to mention leaving the scene

This is both tragic for the horrible loss of life and for the simple fact that Ms. Cook should never have been called as a "bishop" in the first place, first and foremost because she is a woman and ineligible to be an elder and second because she apparently has been busted for DUI before in 2010 while so drunk that she "...couldn’t even complete the sobriety tests, had apparently thrown up on her shirt while driving and was driving on only three wheels as one tire had been worn to its rims.". The Sun also reported that in 2010 she was in possession of marijuana in her car and the reason the sobriety test was incomplete was that the cops were afraid she might hurt herself if she continued (with a .27 blood alcohol level). Another fun fact: "Cook's previous case was not revealed to Episcopal clerics and lay delegates who in May elected her to the post of bishop suffragan, making her the first woman to reach the position in the diocese.". So here we have a woman with a criminal record while in the leadership of the church elected to the office of bishop while information about her criminal past was withheld from the church. This is why you cannot have elders that you don't personally know.

Let's recall Paul's direction regarding elders:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1Timothy 3:1-7)

Once again we have a reminder of why Biblical fidelity is important. We have the teachings and commands and examples of the Scriptures preserved for us thousands of years later for a reason. A woman with a drinking problem that apparently doesn't have a family is not Biblically qualified to be an elder in the church for at least three reasons. Yet here she is styling herself a "bishop" and called to this position that she is unqualified for in order to make some sort of political point. Listen up and listen well. The church of Christ, His very Body that He laid down His life for, is not an organization to score points for political correctness or to fulfill some sort of quota or a mechanism for social engineering.

In the "things I despise" category, I got another email from some random business touting this:

Um yeah. Here is a Bible that purports to be simultaneously representing two diametrically opposed positions, a Kingdom mentality and secular patriotism! I present the 1599 Geneva Bible- Patriot's Edition! Here are a couple of choice gems from the advertisement:

Between 1560 and 1599, The Geneva Bible was providentially unleashed upon a dark, discouraged, downtrodden English speaking world. Just when it looked as if the Machiavellian, Divine Right kings, such as the Tudors of England, were about to drive Christendom back to the days of Caesar worship, a Bible appeared that set the stage for a Christian Reformation of life and culture the likes of which the world had never seen. By the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, just 28 years after the first printing of the Geneva Bible, it was already being said of the English that they were becoming a people of the Book. The results of a people reading and obeying the Word of God were the explosion of faith, character, the first missionary movement in history, literature, economic blessing, and political and religious freedom. 

...and this,,,,

This edition also includes the following historical documents, which are based upon Biblical principles:
  • The Magna Carta
  • The Mayflower Compact
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The Constitution of the United States
  • Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
  • Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior
I love it when you combine the Bible with secular political documents in an attempt to conflate the Constitution of the United States with the written revelation of the Word of God. On second thought maybe I don't. Also a quick point of clarification, Christendom has pretty much always been based in Caesar worship. This is proof positive that the Western culture-centric soft theonomy of David Barton and company is alive and well. In case you were unsure, I am suggesting that this is a bunch of hooey. Just to clarify.

The Federalist ran a piece titled #YesWomenAndChildren Are Safer Within Intact Marriages. The article gives some pretty powerful evidence that yes indeed the claims in the hashtag/title are correct. Given that women and children both are safer in an intact marriage, you might assume that those that claim to be concerned with the safety of women and children would advocate for marriage. Right? Well no, you would be wrong. Lots of people who claim to be concerned about that very thing don't like the implication and I recalled an article I read a few weeks ago in the Washington Post, The unbelievable rise of single motherhood in America over the last 50 years. The entire article sounds like an advertisement for "traditional marriage values", unless you read to the end:

The question remains, though, of how we should respond to all of these findings — and this is where much of the controversy lies today. If children of single mothers fare worse in many ways, then married parents might make their lives better, right?

Here McLanahan and Jencks are clear: None of these findings mean that children would necessarily be better off if their biological parents married.

That's because children of unmarried moms are more likely to have a father in prison, or who's unemployed, or who sells drugs or abuses his partner. "Furthermore," McLanahan and Jencks write, "even when a child’s absent father is a model citizen, the mother often has problems that marriage cannot solve." She has less education than married moms, or she's more likely to have mental health challenges.

Ah, so even though by essentially every measure kids are better off in intact families, women shouldn't be encouraged to marry the fathers of their children because, get this, they tend to be unemployed, drug users, criminals or some combination thereof. One can only imagine the tsunami of outrage if someone on the right suggested that. Of course the proposed solution is right out of the big government playbook:

That implies that we should give less-educated women more reasons — like educational and career opportunity — to postpone motherhood. And we need to improve the economic prospects of those suitable partners they're searching for. These are both incredibly complicated tasks. And they point to the conclusion that the rise of single motherhood charted above is an economic story as much — if not more so — than a cultural one.

Don't stop sleeping around, just use contraception and get married later (when of course you have a dramatically lower fertility and the non-criminal/unemployed/druggie guys are already married to someone else). The key here is this line: "And we need to improve the economic prospects of those suitable partners they're searching for". How do we do that? If you answered with "more government programs" well ding, ding, ding, winner, winner, chicken dinner! See also Michael Barone, Can Family Fragmentation be Fixed?  I requested the book he cites from the library, it looks to be an interesting and disturbing read.

Speaking of more government programs....our President who seems ever more desperate in his desire to seem relevant in his last two years has taken to threatening to veto any bill the Congress passes (his prerogative I suppose) and tossing out crazy ideas. Last week we go the latest, a chicken in every pot and free community college for all!

"Put simply, what I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for anybody who's willing to work for it," he said aboard Air Force One amid a three-state tour to preview his State of the Union Address. "It's something we can accomplish, and it's something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anyone in the world."

Ok a few points of clarification. First of all, it isn't free. The article suggests that the cost would be about $70 billion. In case you were unaware, we don't have $70,000,000,000. We already spend more than we bring in right now. It is only "free" in the Washington sense of the word where "free" means "free to me 'cause some other sap is paying for it". Second, anyone who thinks that it will "only" cost $70 billion is dumb. Remember, "free" public school soaks up an enormous amount of money, an amount that is endlessly increasing and provides rapidly diminishing returns. Giving community colleges, which right now have an incentive to keep costs under control, a free check is a certain recipe for them to increase tuition. Why not keep raising your prices when Uncle Sam is committing to paying for it? Third, "free for anyone who works for it" is an ironic statement because essentially no one is going to work for it. It is free to everyone, remember! You just need decent grades (i.e. a 2.5 GPA). As far as that, Charles Cooke makes this salient point at National Review:

Moreover, the staggering amounts of money involved would naturally tempt the receiving colleges toward chronic grade inflation and the routinely false reporting of standards. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better way of ensuring that everybody has a 2.5 GPA than to tell those who directly benefit from the cash that their institution’s health is now contingent upon everybody having a 2.5 GPA.

One can only assume that a professor who consistently gives under-performing students poor grades might get some pressure to stop messing with the gravy train. Fourth, as the USA Today article points out approvingly, this is the bookend to Obama's failed attempt at cradle to grave "education". Universal Pre-K, a scheme allegedly funded by another scheme, has never happened thankfully. How long would it take to expand this new "right" to community college to include four year college? I am a huge advocate of community college, heck I have three kids taking classes at one right now. I am not a huge advocate of creating an expensive new "right" that will end up heaping tons of new debt on the very students who are getting a "free education". It is not really all that free when you are just deferring the costs. 

Tim Bayly, someone I rarely read, points out the awful exegesis of those who advocate for "mutual submission" in marriage. I wrote about this some time ago in a post with the clever title of Mutual Submission? 

Back in November (I am kinda late with my links post) Dave Black was Thinking About the Local Church, something I do a fair amount of myself. Dave has a number of points that I would and have echo and I liked his summary:

For starters, maybe we should reexamine our priorities when it comes to church finances. Any church building we construct must be purely functional in nature and should express a biblical understanding of the true nature of the church. Theologically, the church does not require a building. A church building has no more right to be called a “sanctuary” than a garage does. The body of Christ, the communion of believers, is the true tabernacle of God. Think and act this way today and you may well end up where the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century did — maligned or even persecuted. The need today is not to mimic the Anabaptists. The need is to renew our commitment to the New Testament Scriptures. Think of the followers of Zwingli in sixteenth-century Zurich. It was their allegiance to the New Testament (in Greek, by the way) that got them in so much trouble with their erstwhile teacher.

We all need to rethink constantly our assumptions about the church. We all to often run on autopilot and the result is us going way off course but we think we are OK because everything seems comfortable and smooth. 

There has been a lot of chatter following some highly publicized killings of black men by police of the idea that black lives matter but as Life News points out: They Say Black Lives Matter But Abortion is the Number One Killer of Black People. The church cannot be taken seriously if we yammer about police killings of young black men but remain silent about the millions of young black children killed in abortion clinics.

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