Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LOL!

I saw this coming like a slow freight train lumbering down the track. If you’re unfamiliar with the e-mail term LOL, it is the acronym for “laughing out loud.”

Here’s what I’m laughing out loud about: Global Warming. For the past several months we have been subjected to the dismantling and discrediting of the entire global warming theory. The revelations that have come out about the shoddy research which had been used to support the global warming debate have left a handful of advocates still straining to appear legitimate. Credibility has sunk to an all-time low. How bad is it? Bad enough that the scientists of India have pulled out of the British organization, the Climate Research Unit (CRU), which has been the mainstay in the global warming brouhaha. And now the Indian scientists have formed their own research group on global warming because they could no longer abide by the unreliable research of the CRU, based at the University of East Anglia in England. Add to this the caterwauling of the United Nations over global warming, and the screed we are continuously subjected to in vain attempts to convince the world that man has created a terrible environmental problem, and it’s little wonder that there are still those holdouts who believe man is causing the world to warm up. Sorry! I’m not buying it.

But what really had me LOL are the recent snow storms that have rocked the nation, particularly the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Record snow fall has been verified in Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York since record keeping began in 1893. Those of us in the Central Valley of California experienced near-record cold temperatures back in December lasting about two weeks. It has been amusing to see how the weather has simply not cooperated with the global warmers. As I had figured would happen, we now have people coming on news programs claiming to be authorities in global warming who are, get this, telling us that the reason we are having these cold temperatures and record snow falls is the result of – global warming! Is that not funny?

I don’t claim to be an expert in any of this stuff, but I am sick and tired of these experts trying to pull the wool over my eyes. I clearly remember in the mid-to-late 1970s a similar hysteria being perpetrated on us about global cooling. Some of you remember that. Yet thirty years later we’re to believe we’re heading toward a catastrophe with global warming. Should you dare disagree with these global warming experts you will be castigated and vilified for being na├»ve and ignorant. From my research, I have found many scientists who have serious questions about the whole global warming theory and who are attempting to engage in the debate, but are given a cool reception. Unfortunately the media and most academics have chosen to side with the global warmers. But because of the so-called research being categorically debunked at every turn, the warmers are crying foul.

Consider if you will, these remarks from an article in the National Post in their December 2008 issue (www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=332289):

     “OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades. But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay (Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada) two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmists are being a tad premature.
(Remember! This article was written fourteen months ago!)

     “And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma. According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modelers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong. ‘We missed what was right in front of our eyes,’ says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt. But when Profs Toggweiler and Russell re-jigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.”
I will again address this topic of global warming next week. But in the meantime, take some time to look into these things and decide for yourself.

I heard someone say the other day that the snow storms are going to continue to bury Washington DC until Al Gore cries “Uncle!” In the meantime, I’m laughing out loud!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

GW's Birthday

Of course in recent years we’ve sort of become accustomed to hearing about GW, George HW, George W, or just W, all referring to our 41st and 43rd presidents. However, the original GW was the first president of the United States and a hero in the truest sense of the word.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of the early activities concerning George Washington. In that article I surmised that had there not been a George Washington, it is more than likely that the United States never would have been. If our nation had managed to emerge from under the British monarchy, without so preeminent a figure as George Washington, there would not have been “American Exceptionalism.”

The accounts of Washington drawn from in the previous article came from a book entitled, The Life of Washington, by Anna Reed, 1842. I will share more from this later in the article. But another book I picked up in a bookstore in the DC area is entitled, George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation, Applewood Books, 1988. At the age of 14, George read an English translation of a French book of maxims. He was so impressed by this book that he developed 110 rules for proper behavior. Much has changed since those days, so reading some of the rules is comical, whereas other rules are simply discarded by our modern day society that has run amok when it comes to social graces and decent behavior.

The first of the 110 rules is perhaps the benchmark for all the rest: “Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.” Rule number 15 reads, “Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.” Number 22 says, “Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.” Number 24, “Do not laugh too much or too loud in public.” Here’s one that has nearly disappeared from our conversation and correspondence today, though the military remains a bastion to this courtesy – Number 39, “In writing or speaking, give every person his due title according to his degree & the custom of the place.”

I remember my parents saying that “You are known by the company you keep.” Well, this must have come from one of George Washington’s rules, Number 56, “Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” And what parent has not admonished their child to “Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.” That was rule Number 73. Now consider this as a means to avoid embarrassment and trouble – Number 82, “Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise.” Number 107 says, “If others talk at the table, be attentive; but talk not with meat in your mouth.”

The last three have to do with spiritual matters in life. Number 108 says, “When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously & with reverence. Honour & obey your natural parents although they be poor.” The simplicity, yet the profoundness of Number 109, is staggering: “Let your recreations be manful not sinful.” And this final gem, Number 110: “Labour to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience.”

Just as Washington had experienced divine protection during his several battles in the French/Indian Wars, he enjoyed the same protection during the Revolutionary War. The sheer size, strength and superior training of the British forces greatly disheartened the rag-tag American army. During one of the battles at Princeton, New Jersey, the American forces were being pressed hard by the British – so much so that the American general, Mercer, was killed while attempting to rally his weary forces. “Washington feeling assured that a defeat then would be ruinous to the interest of his country, rode forward with speed, placed himself between the enemy and his own troops, and by his commands and example restored them to order. He was between the fires of the two armies, but the protecting shield of his Creator was again on every side, to preserve him from the weapons of destruction.” After the battle, a mortally wounded British officer had written an account of the battle at Princeton in which he said in part, “I would wish to say a few words respecting the actions of that truly great man, General Washington, but it is not in my power to convey any just ideas of him. I shall never forget what I felt when I saw him brave all the dangers of the field, his important life hanging as it were by a single hair, with a thousand deaths flying around him. I thought not of myself. He is surely in Heaven’s peculiar care.”

George Washington was a genuine leader and hero of his men. At the time of the Revolution, the dreaded disease, small pox, was ravaging the ranks of the American army. “The blessing of vaccination was not then known; and inoculation had seldom been practised in this country. General Washington formed the bold, but judicious resolution, of having every officer and soldier who had not had the disease, inoculated. This was done very successfully, and the troops being undisturbed during the progress of the complaint, recovered under the care of Him who healeth all our diseases.”

Such was the man, George Washington, a man of faith, courage, and godliness. His birthday is February 22nd, so it is fitting that we remember him for the great man that he was. Little wonder that he was so beloved a leader of the fledgling nation known as the United States of America.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

(Some of the words used in the quotes – behaviour, honour, labour, practised – are the British spelling of our English words)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's a Trillion!

Billion! Trillion! Schmillion! What’s all the fuss?

There are a lot of dollar figures being thrown around by our elected officials. A trillion for the Stimulus, a trillion and a half for the National Debt, a trillion for a second Stimulus Package, and so on it goes. I, like many of you, grow weary of hearing these numbers being proposed when I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around a million dollars, let alone amounts where additional zeros are added.

Remember when you were in grade school learning about the value of numbers. The teacher patiently explained that numbers held value. Zero, however, had no value. It was a place holder. Its value was a multiplier when attached to the end of other numbers. Hmmmmm. This bears looking into.

Let’s consider the size of a trillion. One thousand is a one followed by three zeros. One million is a one followed by six zeros. Are you with me so far? One billion is a one followed by nine zeros. So a trillion is a one followed by twelve zeros! Twelve! It’s okay, I understand. You’ve just experienced brain-freeze!

I’m no whiz at math, but I can still do the basics just like you: addition, subtraction, division, multiplication. So I decided to play with these numbers. Here is what I used for a model to determine the amount of one trillion – in this case dollars spent daily from the time of Jesus’ birth until today, give or take a few days. I’m going back 2014 years to the time when Jesus was more likely to have been born. Using a corrected dating process, it is believed that Jesus was born 3 or 4 B.C. Don’t get too excited about a couple of years because when we’re talking about a trillion, a couple of years of spending is chump change!

At 365 days in a year times 2014 years, you have 735,110 days since Jesus was born. Divide that number into one trillion (a one with twelve zeros!) and a person would have to spend $1,360,340.00 each day to reach one trillion dollars. Does that register? That’s One Million Three Hundred Sixty Thousand Three Hundred and Forty dollars! Every day!

Now just for fun, I thought I’d see if there was anything on the web that addresses the insanity of such numbers. Lo and behold! What did I find? Defeat the Debt.com! There is a running tally of our National Debt which is currently in excess of $12,362,000,000,000.00. That’s Twelve Trillion plus!

The Defeat the Debt web site (defeatthedebt.com) shares these intriguing, if not troubling numerical calculations. For example: If you spent $10 million a day, it would take you 273 years to spend One Trillion! Okay, try this one: One million seconds will pass in the next 12 days. One billion seconds will take 32 years. One trillion seconds will pass in 31,688 years. Your head should be swimming at this point. Sit down, lean forward, and put your head between your knees and breathe! You’ll be fine.

We have a "spend-happy" Congress that apparently has no idea of the train wreck we are heading for economically unless cooler heads prevail. In ten months, “We the people” will be given the opportunity to once again vote in or out of office these lawmakers who are literally breaking the bank! Do they not understand the basics of economics? I think not! We simply cannot continue to spend more and more money with the mistaken idea that is being foisted upon us by today’s bureaucrats that we will somehow spend our way out of a recession! They throw these numbers at us with such carelessness that we’ve become numb to the enormity of our dilemma. I mean, what’s a trillion dollars anymore?

I close today’s column with this astute observation from no less a liberal newspaper than the Washington Post, in an article entitled, Ducking the Deficit Issue. “The problem of the burgeoning government debt is mainly political, but the adverse consequences may be economic. The trouble is that we don't know what those consequences may be, when they may occur or even whether they will occur. Without some impending calamity, politicians of both parties recoil from doing anything unpopular that might bring the budget into balance over, say, the next six or seven years. The idea of anticipating and preempting future problems is not on their agenda.” Robert J. Samuels, August 31, 2009.

No worries, right? After all, what’s a trillion?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Inspiration Has A Face

Super Bowl Sunday! It’s always a great time to watch the champions of the two conferences (AFC vs. NFC) clash on the gridiron for the overall NFL championship. The two contestants are: The Indianapolis Colts (American Football Conference) and the New Orleans Saints (National Football Conference). Even if your team was eliminated from this big game (like mine was!), it’s an exciting day of football.

One of the traditional aspects of watching this annual game is the new commercials that are presented to the TV audience at staggering costs. But advertisers are willing to pay the cost because of the enormous audience – literally millions of people are watching. I have to admit that some of the commercials are really funny. Devotees of Super Bowl Sunday can’t wait to be among the first to see the new TV ads.

But this year! Well, now . . . that’s a horse of a different color.

If you haven’t caught this in the news yet, here’s what’s happening. Tim Tebow, the much heralded college quarterback for the former national champion University of Florida “Gators,” Heisman Trophy winner, and a very transparent Christian (he began applying the black shadow strips on his cheeks with Scripture verse addresses in white) is in the midst of a real brouhaha. I’ll get to that in a minute. His leadership skills are almost legendary, at times willing his team to victories practically carrying the team on his shoulders. His parents were missionaries serving in the Philippines while Tim was growing up. So during Spring Break while other kids were heading for the beaches of Florida, or some exotic Caribbean Island, or the Mexican Riviera for two weeks of fun and debauchery, Tim was on a plane heading for the Philippines to work in an orphanage, ministering to children who knew nothing of his football hero status, nor did they care. They just knew that he cared about them!

But wait! There’s more . . . Tim and his mother, Pam, were asked to film a commercial for the Super Bowl by the ministry of Focus on the Family. They wanted the Tebow’s to share their story, “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.” You see, in 1987, Pam Tebow became quite sick with amoebic dysentery (An acute disease caused by ingesting substances contaminated with the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica and characterized by severe diarrhea, nausea, and inflammation of the intestines) while serving in the Philippines. Because of her extreme illness, she was urged to terminate her pregnancy by aborting little Tim. She refused, choosing to give him life. In a statement on their web site, the Tebow’s wrote, “We agreed to appear in the commercial because the issue of life is one we feel very strongly about.”

Okay. So what’s the big deal? Well, apparently there are those who are agitated by this commercial being aired. Various pro-choice organizations are clamoring for CBS not to air this commercial during the Super Bowl. Why would they be opposed to a story of a woman carrying a baby full term even though gravely ill, only to have this son of hers become arguably the greatest college football player ever?

It should be noted that the only people who have seen the commercial are the folks at CBS. Yet those who are so vehemently opposed to this ad are reacting as though they have seen it. Unquestionably, Focus on the Family celebrates life, and the commercial makes that point. News columnist, Carissa Mulder of Big Journalism.com, writes in her piece, January 27, “What’s really got folks fired up? Why be so upset that a mom and her son are telling their story on national TV? It’s because the ad works. When Tim Tebow appears on that ad on Super (Bowl) Sunday, he doesn’t just represent himself. He represents almost fifty million other people – the fifty million Tim Tebows whose mothers didn’t choose life. And he represents everyone born in the United States since 1973.”

Mulder concludes her article with a poignant critique. “The (Washington) Post’s (Jonathan) Capehart entitled his piece, ‘Tim Tebow rushes into the abortion debate.’ I have news for Mr. Capehart. Tim Tebow didn’t rush into the abortion debate: the abortion debate rushed into him; in fact, he was born into it. Every person born in the United States since Roe (vs. Wade) was decided in 1973 is part of this debate, because every one of us could have been aborted by our mothers. That’s why the MSM (Main Stream Media) hates this ad. It puts a face to fifty million missing children. And when Americans start to see a human face instead of a punishment, the abortion regime will be in serious trouble.”

Will CBS hold their ground and show the commercial despite the clamorous uprising from the pro-abortionists? I don’t know. If the ad is shown, there will no doubt be many people moved by the message of the Tebow story.

Tim will assuredly go on to play football in the NFL this fall. Whether he succeeds at the professional level or not is unknown. One thing I can assure you – this young man will continue to be a strong witness to his Christian faith.

Every life is precious. Every life has value. Just look in his face.


Psalm for the Day