Archives for the month of: July, 2018

My son asked me about Romans 9. Here is what I came up with. I’ll appreciate any comments anyone cares to make.

1I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—Here, Paul is saying he is his speaking for himself. He is emphasizing the passion of his heart and his conviction in his assertion. He sometimes says he is speaking from the Lord, but here he emphasizes the personal nature of his words. 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. He is crushed that Israel doesn’t accept Jesus as Messiah. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,a my kinsmen according to the flesh. Again, Paul is expressing his grief and passion. He loves his nation and would give anything for them if it were possible and if it would help. We add too much if we suppose Paul wanted to add to the divine redemption. He was simply asserting his readiness to sacrifice all for his people. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. Here Paul speaks as a true believer and legitimate nationalist for Israel. Not all theologians, not even all Jewish scholars, are willing to say all Paul says here. It is essentially true, but the passion and conviction could be argued to be overwrought.

6But it is not as though the word of God has failed. Here, he wants to take God’s promises to Israel as absolute, but he can’t because not all of Israel accepts. He justifies by looking at the heart. While certainly not literalist, nor inerrantist, Paul is correct. Being of God is a matter of heart, not birth; spirit, not flesh. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Hardness. These verses are simply a matter for one’s own heart. Paul rather blatantly decrees God sets fate. It is typical to invoke omniscience, transcendence, and God being eternal and timeless. God does see the end from the beginning, and there is no before, no after, only the eternal now. These points are biblical and orthodox. Of course, if one is fated, well, can one thwart fate? It isn’t like Jacob and Esau either one did rightly, earning honestly all that befell. Truly, too often, “deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” It is the nature of nature. All things are unwinding, and much of it simply will not go according to plan, nor fairness, nor just deserts. Why the extreme of Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated? As the bible tells it, things worked well for Esau, too. Overall, the two brothers were good brothers through most of their lives. It seems as accurate an interpretation as one might hope to say God held agape, god-like charity and devotion, toward Jacob, but how does God hating Esau work? The word is ἐμίσησα, a form of miseo, which literally means to hate or detest. It would generally be used comparatively, subjectively, rather than as an absolute, but here there is no comparison except love versus hate. Pretty solid. It is clear and affords us little room for interpretation and nuance. We have Jesus saying, Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate (3404 /miséō) his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple”. Jesus obviously isn’t telling us to hate everything, including ourselves; He is comparing. He must hold an unrivaled position in our hearts, or we won’t be His. It is solid interpretation to apply this principle to Jacob and Esau, but one cannot simply dismiss the words. They are strong. Paul goes on to address that strength.

14What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Paul here simply invokes the deity. It is no different than saying whatever God decrees is the highest possible good and most honorable, but no normal person will accept blatant injustice as good simply on the assertion of the divine. We all know malice is evil, and God being malicious would be no less evil. Thus, we must understand that God cannot be malicious, and I deem that to be Paul’s point. Paul is saying God does what is right, even if we cannot tell it is right and just. In the end, we will see that it is. 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion,bbut on God, who has mercy. Here, Paul essentially says that anything God does for us is mercy because we deserve harsh judgment. The mere fact of our existence must be admitted as God’s mercy. True enough. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Ouch! God raising up this man to power just to show His own power doesn’t seem right. We should not argue it is. Keep in mind that Pharaoh was still his own. His heart was his own, and someone would have been the leader with all the power. The point may very well be that this particular individual with his particular personality, his particular strengths and quirks of will, set it all in motion, a plan of God that Pharaoh just happened to suit, rather than him being tailored for it. Also, the assertion is hard to construe any other way than Paul asserting God as capricious. We’ll have to reach into much of the rest of the scriptures and much of Paul’s other writing to establish for ourselves that capriciousness isn’t what Paul meant. It is a notion we must reject. Simply, He that comes to God must believe that He is, and must believe He is a rewarder of all who seek Him. Mercy and Justice cry out. Both demand to be satisfied. Only a perfect, divine judge can do so, and He will. But, how do we deal with this statement of Pharaoh? It essentially says God set Pharaoh up just to knock him down. Honestly, we really don’t have to worry this one. We know within ourselves exactly what it means within ourselves. We know our own hearts. We know the pride. We know we must be humbled. We know we cannot effectively humble ourselves, even though that is our fundamental task. We must rely on divine enablement. Merely being lazy about our self-humility fails. Deliberately asserting ourselves as the center of our own universe cannot be looked upon differently from the statement of Pharaoh. Not actively working at humility results in actively hardening ourselves, and divine interest in us and our potential will work to cut us down. We can never be free if we hold ourselves as the center. Micah 6:8.

19You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? Again, Paul shows forth as an honest true believer. He asserts the divine, the transcendent, and rejects our ability to comprehend; our ability is too trivial to consider. Again, true enough, but normal people will not accept that fiat argument. If we are arguing the divine and transcendent, we cannot claim it as basis for itself. We must acknowledge our limitations, and we must hold forth that our finite cannot comprehend the infinite, our nature cannot grasp the supernature; yet, we still know that we do in some sense. We get it, but, as Paul say elsewhere, we see as through a fogged-glass, darkly. We honor the divine within each of us when we honor one another in true love, in simple honor of our individuality. We recognize each other as innately children of God. We cannot accept that we are merely a pot made for refuse when we inephably grasp our potential and its ultimate transcendence. We know we are more than a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel, even though we know just as well it is an apt analogy. It is a hard thing, and years of study and contemplation are likely to only scratch the surface in understanding it. Again, Micah 6:8. It boils down to a matter of trust. It is a matter of trusting the Judge. I assert true free will. I hold that no meaning can exist without it. I acknowledge it all as dependent upon God, upon the divine transcendence, but it is real, and it is mine, or it all comes to nothing in the end. That is, without transcendence, without true meaning derived from actual freedom of choice with legitimate consequences resulting directly from the free choices, in 100 years, I will be as I was 100 years ago. Further, all will be, a trillion-trillion years hence as it was a trillion-trillion years before space-time came to be, and we cannot even know that it is, nor was. Free will is the reality and essence of reason or there is no reason at all. 25As indeed he says in Hosea,

Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israelc be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29And as Isaiah predicted,

If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

Paul is clearly pointing out God’s justice and mercy and the key and essential factor of the choices and deeds of the individuals. God is responding by rejecting those who reject Him and by loving those who love Him. Paul didn’t just make his own argument here; he used scripture.

Israel’s Unbelief

30What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousnessd did not succeed in reaching that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33as it is written,

Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”


I’m not seeing need for explaining anything here. Paul is very straightforward with “by faith.” Faith is a matter of the heart that works itself out in actions and deeds. One must hold with James and show faith by deed, but works and rules lead only to bondage. Rules held wisely can be useful, and routine is freeing, but hypocrites typically hang by their own hallows, judged by their own rules.

I agree with the notion that for the most part, we simply take up our cross and follow Him. We aim for the good. We learn of Christ and emulate. We learn of truth, and we commit to it. We hold to what is right even if it means losing all because we know the arc of history bends slowly but it bends toward the truth, it bends toward freedom, it bends inexorably toward the higher realm. The more of us who do our actual best (or at least try), the closer we all get to the ultimate good, no matter what the ultimate is.

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“Perryman Comments on Wind Catcher Project Cancellation”

State Rep. David Perryman issued an official statement from the State House regarding the cancelation of the Wind Catcher project. Typical of politicians nowadays, he disparaged and cast blame. I’m not sure why the most important industry in Oklahoma was the target, but maybe it is good for votes in his district (but I doubt it). How does casting blame and disparagement make the world a better place?

Oklahoma dodged a bullet, and we should be appreciative to Texas for taking the brunt of the blame.

Big money investors, including Warren Buffett’s folks, were backing Wind Catcher. Their spiel was that the $4.5 billion would be rewarded over the next 25 years with net savings to the whole project (of which Oklahoma only had about a fifth) would amount to $7 billion. Of course, Oklahoma bears all the property value costs, none of which would ever be recovered. If it was so good, why did they need ratepayers to foot the bill so early?

I think politicians mourning the loss are disingenuous at best.

Oklahoma didn’t need Wind Catcher, and we don’t need make-work government projects, which is more or less what it would amount to.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-26/largest-u-s-wind-project-dealt-potentially-fatal-blow-in-texas

“Texas dealt a potential death blow to what would be the largest-ever U.S. wind farm: American Electric Power Co.’s $4.5 billion Wind Catcher project.”

Not really. If Warren Buffett and his big-money pals really think this is a boon, they can continue. They only have to accept all the risk, or at least a lot more of it. The hypocritical investors want to pay as they go with ratepayer money, years before any power is produced. If they are willing to pony up the funds themselves, the building approvals will mostly be clear sailing. (The powerline is still a problem. Significant oversight on the part of the investors, and obvious hubris.)

“American Electric’s proposal tapped a financial model that utilities have long used to build nuclear, coal- and natural gas-fired plants: by tacking costs — plus a profit — onto customers’ bills. The company asked regulators in four states for permission to use the strategy for a sprawling project…”

This isn’t quite true. Oklahoma utilities don’t earn a profit. It is a cost-basis monopoly. I’m not familiar with Texas, but it must be about the same. Sure, overall, our utilities make money, but it is tightly controlled and transparent. OG&E was going to build a second coal plant next to an existing one. It was in the plans a long time, and there was a significant amount of work to be done before OG&E would be passing costs to ratepayers. When the state-approved planned time came, cold-hearted Scott Meacham overstepped his office and launched a smear campaign against coal. Millions were instantly flushed down the drain, and Oklahoma is paying for it all in higher costs and more pain on the least among us. Our bats and birds are being slaughtered for it too. It is the fear that we will never be able to build more reliable coal plants that is causing us to engage in these risky and unreliable wind schemes.

These investors aren’t playing fair. They won’t take the risk. I mean, can’t Warren Buffett write a check for the full $4.5 billion today? It isn’t like they don’t have the money if they have the confidence they are advertising.

There is another tell. Why is Wind Catcher advertising with all these feel-good PR spots on radio and TV?

“American Electric’s Southwestern Electric Power has proposed owning 70 percent of the 2-gigawatt project. Arkansas and Louisiana already approved the plans. Oklahoma has yet to issue a final decision. The project includes a transmission line to take the power to Tulsa and into Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.”

Oklahoma is balking, and Texas refused. Note the share of risk. Texas has a full 70% and Oklahoma has most of the rest. Is it any wonder Arkansas and Louisiana approved? They share almost no risk regardless.

Note the blatant falsehood of 2GW. We can ignore the conflation of power with energy because the point remains. The hand-wavers point to 800 towers with 2.5-megawatt capacity turbines on them. 800 x 2.5 = 2,000, right? Sure, but how much does one typically get from a given wind turbine? Here is the fact: The transmission line is only being built for 600 megawatts!

https://newsok.com/article/5587106/oklahomas-corporation-commission-asks-public-service-co.-of-oklahoma-to-seek-settlement-on-its-wind-catcher-plan

If the 800 towers ever actually exist, and if 100% are running at peak capacity, then over two-thirds of the power will be dissipated and wasted because it cannot be carried on the transmission line. Of course, 100% capacity is practically impossible. An average efficiency of 30% is probably a little optimistic. It is probably optimistic to suppose all 800 towers will ever stand at the same time, for that matter.

If Wind Catcher is a good deal, the investors should stop trying to pass costs on to the public until power is feeding into the grid. If Wind Catcher is good, prove it. Prove me wrong. The saddest fact hasn’t even come up yet: Taxes.

The whole investment doesn’t work without Federal money and Federal and State capital gains tax credits. Most of Warren Buffett’s profit is associated with manipulating taxes and receiving tax money straight out of our pockets. Buffett has done this many times. He invests, he rakes in the taxes, and he bails before the maintenance costs start showing everyone there is no free lunch, not even free breezes.

At best, in 20 to 25 years, all 800 of the bird/bat-choppers will be decrepit and hazardous. Who is going to clean up the mess? Will the investors do it? Will they come back with all their profits and make right for the landowners and land users?

Over and over for over 3,000 years we have abandoned windmills. We will this time, too, and someone has to clean up the mess.

This is one history lesson I wish we could learn. A windmill is a very limited tool, and industrial scale electricity production is not a use for which it is suited.

Oklahoma, did Texas just push us off the tracks in front of the oncoming train? I think so. Are we going to rush right back in front of the locomotive?

Scientists expect to be able to test everything. Perhaps, but it seems unlikely. There are things that might be real that might be untestable, unverifiable. Multiverse is untestable, yet many believe. It is equivalent to deifying infinity to the infinity power. Hawking recognized and devised maths to limit the possible number of universes to a finite set. Yet, the notion is still totally untestable. To me, the notion of the transcendent is required. Denying anything other than the quantum foam and the matter/energy of space-time, quite frankly, denies the possibility of knowing anything. It denies rationality and reason itself. I simply don’t find that reasonable. It is irrational. I suspect science will find reproducible ways to test for transcendence. I’m not sure the results will actually tell us anything useful. I suspect proving the existence of “a transcendent” will not make us wiser. It won’t answer the big questions. It won’t answer the ultimate “Why?”.


Most of us have little or no creativity. Regie has talent and creativity to make up the difference.

“The Declaration of Independence separates…if you want something, put it in writing …and sign it in blood.”

Regie's Blog

It’s not the amber waves of grain or purple mountains’ majesty.

It’s certainly not the rocket’s red glare or bombs bursting in …well …you know. It’s not even the free market or diversity or apple pie or fireworks or the Grand Canyon or the heartland or even the military (as much as I love them). And I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that it isn’t even the beloved and genius Constitution.

No, the one thing that is the foundational tone-setter for what would become The United States of America (at least, in my opinion) is the Declaration of Independence.

Before anybody won a battle; before anybody ran for president; before anybody pledged allegiance (or took a knee), somebody decided to write something down that had never been written down. It was something you dare not utter and was only spoken of in hushed tones, under…

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https://kfor.com/2018/07/03/oklahoma-landowners-speaking-out-about-proposed-wind-farm-construction-project/

Wind Catcher is almost certainly going to be built; so we will see. The video in the above-linked report contains a lot of untruth in the last half-minute. Scott Norwood outright lies. He stumbles through his statements.

The rated capacity of 800 towers with 2.5-megawatt turbines is easy to calculate. The power production project is not like current, standard power plants. It will be limited to wind availability and to other inefficiencies. It will be irregular and uncontrollable regarding power production. The tell is the disputed power line, which will obviously steal value from all landowners near it; it is only being rated for 600 megawatts, a third of the pretentious rated capacity. They were calling this a $4B project. That number went to $4.5B soon after. The latest total cost estimate I’ve seen is now $5.4B. Also, keep in mind that the majority of the power from these bird choppers will be delivered to neighboring states, not the poor folks having to live in the midst of an industrial power generation facility.

What a mess!

Over and over for over 3,000 years we have abandoned windmills. We will this time, too, and someone will have to clean up the mess.

I applaud our State Attorney General for opposing the current request to start charging Oklahomans for the construction costs long before any power production.

Some years back, State Treasurer, Scott Meacham, similarly opposed a proposal to start charging for a conventional power generation facility. It was killed. That power plant will never be built. It was being built, in accord with agreements and published plans, next to an existing power plant. It already had millions of costs. Construction was far enough that OG&E asserted the project could not continue without cost recovery. Thus, when the State Treasurer started grandstanding (Who? Why?), the project was killed. It cost us Oklahomans millions and subjected us all to the suffering imposed by industrial fans. Scott Meacham owes us!

The State Attorney General is standing on legal grounds. Meacham simply threw a temper tantrum on emotional grounds.

https://newsok.com/article/5600278/oklahoma-corporation-commission-wraps-up-testimony-on-proposed-wind-catcher-settlements-but-no-decision-was-made

Many questions and responses centered on whether the project would benefit the utility’s typical residential customer, especially during the last 15 years of the project’s expected 25 year life.

For what it’s worth:

Commission Chairwoman Dana Murphy again discussed concerns she has about complaints the agency has received from various Oklahoman landowners that could be impacted by a proposed 360-mile line to get power from Wind Catcher into the utility’s Tulsa-area grid. Many have said the utility and the land company it has been using to acquire needed line rights of way have used deceitful and bullying tactics.

Note:

But in Oklahoma, a commission administrative law judge who considered PSO’s proposal recommends the commission deny the utility’s request.

The judge recommends denial because the utility did not seek competitive construction bids for the project and because that work had started before PSO filed its request.

While PSO estimates its 545,000 customers would see a rate increase of about $78 million in 2021 if the cost recovery were granted, it also maintains lower energy costs and connected federal wind production tax credits would offset that increase.

I’ve found no explanation of how Federal dollars (taken from us) will offset rate increases. If rate powers will collectively pay an extra $78M in 2021, how do they get back their money? PSO and the investors get the Federal tax credits. When does the homeowner (electricity user) get the money back?

Over the years, money people, like Warren Buffet, have invested heavily in wind and solar startups. They always pull their money out of the projects soon after starting, soon after they’ve collected all or most of what the Federal Government gives them from taxpayers. It is hypocritical, but it is a good way to fleece America. I really don’t see how taxpayers and ratepayers in Oklahoma are going to benefit from any of this.

Here in Oklahoma, a quarter-century from now, our children will have to figure out how to clean up the mess left by Wind Catcher. The fat cats will be gone, made all the fatter by those too greedy for a little extra revenue into municipal and county coffers. The short-term gain is small. The overall costs are large and enduring.

Production of energy is never free. There are always costs. Industrial fans happen to be the most certain long-term high-cost way to produce electricity. We will live to regret it. Our bird and bat populations already regret it.

Winds blow. Windmills suck!

 

 

 

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