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It was reported that our current Congressional clown is advocating for pay raises for herself and fellow congress-critters. The assertion is it would reduce the tendency to corruption and bribes. Of course, the obvious reason is she wants more money for herself.

Regardless of her motive, the assertion that increasing the salaries of public officials will counter corruption is like saying Lori Loughlin wouldn’t have committed fraud and bribed officials if she’d been a little more rich and famous. (I mean, her 19-yo daughter’s net worth is only estimated at $400k; it’s not like she’s a millionaire or anything. /sarc)

Power corrupts. Money can sometimes provide power, especially for those who are already powerful.

It struck me that the author of the article I happened upon uncritically claimed “studies show” higher salaries reduce corruption. The notion is absurd on its face. We all have firsthand experience of money worsening bad people. Corruption is innate. Empowering further cannot have results that are good.

Here is the result of a moment of research: http://cega.berkeley.edu/assets/miscellaneous_files/118_-_Opoku-Agyemang_Ghana_Police_Corruption_paper_revised_v3.pdf

It concludes increase the salaries of the police increased their level of graft. Power corrupts.

Given my revulsion by the idea, I trust you will forgive that my research was limited. I googled “raising politicians salary reduces corruption” and found only negatives. Higher salaries do not reduce corruption.

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Fox News recently ran a story on a young boy who seems to have set up a tabletop fuser. Impressive kid. https://www.foxnews.com/science/teen-builds-working-nuclear-fusion-reactor-in-memphis-home

Here is a better article: https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2019/01/28/beifuss-file-memphis-youth-jackson-oswalt-builds-home-nuclear-fusion-reactor/1977266002/

And there is this: http://discovermagazine.com/2010/extreme-universe/18-do-it-yourself-basement-fusion

If deuterium is injected into a 20k- to 50k-volt vacuum, it will ionize and some of it might fuse. If it is fusing, half will result in tritium and a proton, and half will result in helium-3 and a 2.45 MeV neutron. The D-T might fuse to helium with a 14.1 MeV neutron, and the D-He3 can fuse to helium and a proton (but it needs a much higher temperature to matter). Temperatures are near a billion degrees, so too high to imagine. Given a good vacuum, there is nothing to heat except the injected deuterium, and since there is so little of it the extremely high electrical energy input results in extremely high temperature for the very few atoms.

High enough vacuum and high enough electrical energy should make it possible, but I’m skeptical.

Bubble neutron detectors are reported as reliable for a few months after manufacture.

https://inis.iaea.org/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/34/083/34083281.pdf and Youtube videos available. The neutron bubble tubes should bubble only for neutrons (and stray cosmic rays), not x-rays or other likely background radiation.

So, again, it should be doable, and fresh bubble neutron detectors should be reliable, but I remain skeptical.

The bottom line for me, putting a few thousand dollars and oodles of hours into generating a few bubbles in a dosimeter which will remain unconvincing to someone who worked in nuclear fission and fusion science, well, it just isn’t impressive as hobbies go. I do suppose there are very many options that would be more time consuming, more expensive, and less rewarding, so to each his own.

What would convince me would be regular checks of the vacuum equipment with a regular Geiger counter. Once it is reading significantly, then I’d believe you were fusing atoms and generating neutrons that activated your steel. But then, all you have to show for it is a high electric bill and the hassles of disposing of low-level radioactive waste.

Putting together a high-vacuum system is nontrivial.

Detecting protons outside the vacuum chamber is impossible because the chamber walls absorb them. X-rays are plentiful because the ionized deuterium smacking the chamber walls causes x-rays. Nothing nuclear required. So, the only evidence of fusion is neutrons. Given there are reliable ways to detect neutrons, proving fusion isn’t terribly hard, but neutrons with megaelectronvolts energy are true nanocanons. Most of the neutrons produced will be absorbed by the vacuum chamber walls, but many will get through, especially through a viewport. MeV neutrons do extensive damage (on a nanoscale) to anything they hit, including you. Working with the fusion device will give the user significant radiation dose. So, knowledge of useful safety precautions is advised.

Back to the kid who prompted my thinking, his setup is impressive. I’ve worked with such vacuum systems, and the challenges are daunting. A turbopump is a difficult and finicky machine. (It is an electric jet engine working opposite as one does on an aircraft; it sucks instead of pushes.) I know what would be involved with the electrical system, but I’ve never worked with that level of voltage. The young man’s accomplishments are significant. I suspect he has a solid radiation-safety knowledge, too. (And his parents probably did their homework, too.) All in all, good stuff.

Will amateur accomplishments in fusion, in combining deuterium into tritium and helium isotopes, lead to breakthroughs in energy production? I can’t imagine how. It might lead to some technically skilled and ambitious people who do other good things. I’ll stay hopeful.

Source: Proverbs 15:32 He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.

By steering clear of instruction, you dis yourself; by taking rebuke and correction to heart, you understand even your own mind.

I live in Oklahoma House District 94.

Our district is fully within Oklahoma County, and Del City is one-third, with Oklahoma City encompassing the remainder. Most of us consider ourselves Mid-Del, I suppose, though folks south of I-240 might think of themselves more as a part of Moore.

Anyway, there are about 37,000 of us in the district in general. That, of course, includes children and others not eligible to vote, but 19,238 of us were registered as of 01 November 2018 (for the general midterm election). Thus, 52% of residents (whom the Congresscritter is to represent), can vote.

I’m guessing, since my half-hearted effort to look it up revealed nothing; if there are 10,000 residents under 18, then our registered percentage is roughly 72%. Seems decent, but I’m not looking up anything to make a comparison.

8,634 D; 6,707 R; 108 L; 3,789 I (registered voters in our district)
44.88%; 34.86%; 0.56%; 19.70% (percentage of registered voters)

It is sad that so many want to identify with the overtly self-serving major parties. It is sad that so few are willing to identify with the party that stands for the liberty of the people and restrictions on the government. It is not surprising many Okies identify as independent. Most of us are, but politics is politics. Tribalism is instinctive, but we rational and educated adults should be able to do better.

ABSENTEE MAIL EARLY VOTING ELECTION DAY TOTAL
JASON SANSONE (REP) 279 118 3458 3855 39.61%
ANDY FUGATE (DEM) 488 317 5072 5877 60.39%
Total 767 435 8530 9732

The table above is cut-paste from the State Election Board’s official results. Roughly 43% of the district registered voters he represents voted for Andy. Less than a third (31%) of all residents he represents voted for him. I suspect most of the Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents, and some minority of Democrats feel unrepresented (at least at the gut level). That is our system. I do hope it helps Andy keep perspective and a sense of humility.

I’ve friended Andy on Facebook. I have higher hopes for him than our prior representative. We shall see. Still, I honestly suspect that even if Andy treats nearly all his representees with respect and reasonable attention, he is still going to be voicing positions that most of us do not agree with, at least on most subjects. (The situation is similar or reversed in most districts.) Again, that is our system.

How does this situation qualify as a representative democracy?

Our system is broken. It isn’t working. Leaving our system as-is proves we are lobotomized sheep, willing to be fleeced by the political bosses.

By the way, I’d register Libertarian, but I just can’t accept the party system in general. I cannot condone the party system by registering in one of the parties. Thus, I have my registration as an independent.

That causes restrictions for votes. The party system restricts voters in primaries and other “party” elections. Not being an active member in good standing of one of the parties results in one being shut out from most of the political process. Again, a broken part of our system. It is broken and unjustifiable. It needs to be fixed.

The parties get to set their own voting rules for the “party” elections, and they change often. Generally, they won’t let voters registered with a different party to vote on their ballot, but sometimes they allow those registered as independents.

Ideally, our representatives study the legislative issues that arise in the legislature, and, hopefully, they consider our suggestions, weigh alternatives and arguments for and against, and they raise these issues in the legislature for us. Ideally, they spend most of their time improving existing laws, repealing bad laws, and improving the liberty of the citizenry while reining in and restricting the long arm of the law to infringe on the liberty of the citizenry.

Party politics and rules encumber the process and restrict our representatives, especially when in the minority party, but the idea is they take our input, add in all they can learn, and make the best decision they are capable of. If Andy does that, I’ll be satisfied. I’ll feel I’m represented.

Party politics stand in the way, especially for aspiring pols. Scott Inman is a good example. I supported his opponent each of the seven elections he ran for. (Eight if you count his abortive run for OK Governor.) Despite opposing him, I found him to be a great guy, and I liked him. There was even an off-year when I got so annoyed at the OKGOP that I told Scott I was going to support him. Apparently, I had bad timing. That is when Scott stopped listening to me. He became a grandstander, continuously beating the drum for the Democratic Party, continuously denigrating, deriding, and accusing all who weren’t in line with his stances (which seemed fully aligned with DNC policy). Scott went so far as to unfriend me, and block me, on Facebook, deleting many of my comments on his page. (I am (and was) a legal and voting resident of his district. I had known him (as a politician) since 2003, actively (generally cordially) engaging him often.)

It didn’t take me long to realize Scott was first a politician. It truly disappointed me as he more and more routinely threw his constituents under the bus in order to advance his standing in Democratic Party politics. He had his sights set on the highest ranks of Democratic politics and office. His whole strategy of campaigning his last four years in office (and make no mistake, it was a 24/7 campaign from just after the 2014 elections) were aimed at the Oklahoma Governorship, followed by a jump to national politics in the course of time.

Perhaps my opinion is colored by his treatment of me and so much of what I try to stand for. Regardless, I see him as a quintessential example of what is wrong with US politics and what our representative democracy has degenerated to. Scott seemed to represent the district honestly his first four years. He grew more vocal and more confrontational as he became more prominent in the Democratic Party, both in Oklahoma and nationally. He proved to be corrupted by his power. He ruined his life and family because of it. He failed to represent his professed Catholic faith. He did not represent the people of District 94 in any reasonable and honest way his last four years in office, especially for those who are not staunchly aligned with the DNC.

Following up, on 06 November, shortly after the polls closed, I walked over to our precinct to review the vote-tally that is always posted in the window by the door. Two fellows were eagerly helping the pole official complete the task. (I mean that complementarily; they were being appropriately helpful.) They quickly took a couple of notes and snapped a couple of photos, and they were hurrying on (obviously collecting information for a campaign or party). And, I recognized the voice of Scott Inman. As he hurried off, I queried. His associate heard me and responded in the affirmative. That caught Scott’s attention, and he waved and shouted, “Good to see you,” as he hurried to their vehicle. I asked how life was going, and he replied, “Quite well, thank you, but we must hurry to the next precinct.” Fair enough, but no, his life isn’t going well at all by any standard I hold. Oh well. Not my business. Not my call. Regardless, it shocked me that I would see him in our district. After his fall from grace, Scott reportedly moved to Tulsa as a banking executive. (Tulsa World) I still cannot fathom why he was collecting poll results in his old district so far from Tulsa. I assume his disgrace has been forgotten by the Democratic Party. I won’t be surprised if I start seeing his name in the news again.

I’ve waxed too verbose. I’ve vented, but I mean it. I’ll never succeed in politics if I unwisely decide to try, because I’m too open, too transparent. I have no intention of changing that. I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut (face to face), but when asked, I’m going to be as clear, and honest, and open as I can be.

Here is looking forward to representation by someone more focused on representing us than on headlines and securing votes for higher office. Andy Fugate, we are counting on you.

 

State Totals 781,091 D; 1,003,182 R; 8,675 L; 327,895 I; Total 2,120,843
Oklahoma’s 2017 estimated populate was 3,930,864. (Approximately 54% of residents are registered to vote.)

 

I appreciate all who have signed a blank check and served our USA.

It is significant that World War I is now a full century in the past, but the War to End All Wars did nothing to accomplish such an ideal.

We can help today if we, as a nation, refocus our international goals and make the top priority of the Federal Government to provide for the common defense, with strong emphasis on defense.

Our defense budget is overly stingy given the objectives our foreign policy sets. It would be lavish and gluttonous if the national focus was on keeping our own homeland safe and adequately defended.

War is hell.

We, the USA, are doing too much to add to the hell on earth.

May we honor our veterans and current servicemembers by refocusing and bringing most of them home. May we stop contributing so much to the unrest and bloodshed of the world.

 

The New York Times restricts readership, but if you visit them infrequently, you should be able to read this entire article:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/09/opinion/expanded-house-representatives-size.html

The article is even and well-reasoned. It is the kind of useful journalism the Times used to be known for. Perhaps they can still do it when they block The Donald from their minds.

We simply must increase the House of Representatives. It is a major factor in our current political unbalance and unrest. People know they are not represented, yet they are taxed more and more. It is hard to shake the adversity of it. It is, after all, what separated us from British rule.

I’m generally opposed to anything that increases government, and I may regret it, but this seems too essential. The pros outweigh the cons substantially. We must increase the number of seats in Congress substantially. I honestly don’t think the proposed increase here is enough. Perhaps going back to the Constitution and per-30,000 is too many, but I believe changing the rules to do most of the Representative’s work from their respective home districts, and coordinating everything on openly viewable social-media-like electronic-media, it can work well, and openly, and with solid representation for the people of these United States.

It is doable. It is workable. It may take a few election cycles to iron out the kinks, but with so much more accountability, I bet it gets done. I bet it will work well and solve many of the political problems within a decade of implementation.

The first step is to increase the number of Representatives. It is an essential step in trying to balance the many diverse concerns and interests of We-the-People. Let’s all push to increase the size of the US House of Representatives. Write your Congresscritter and Senators. Start talking about it when political and governmental subjects come up.

Shouting louder and instigating violence is certainly not helping. This suggested change is positive and doable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My comments:
793 seems an easy yes. Your current doctor will keep the same office. This will allow normal competition and eliminate the state-imposed restrictions that keep costs high and horn out the little guys.
794 seems good, but it will increase costs for law enforcement.
798 seems silly and irrelevant either way.
800 sets up a retirement fund for the state. That is, we start putting in a little now, and that amount increases a little each year as we go. After five years, some of the gains from investment are used to fund regular state budget. After 3 or 4 decades, there will be enough money in there, and enough gains, to start paying for most everything the state does, and hopefully, that will reduce taxes. The notion of making it constitutional is intended to make it hard for short-sighted lawmakers to screw it up. Of course, no guarantees. The question is, do we want to set up a retirement-type fund for our state government (to fund the government, not retirement)? I say we should try.
801, well, it won’t help much, but probably a little. It gives more local control and less government control. That is a general positive.
• State Question 793 – a citizen-initiated referendum to allow optometrists and opticians to operate in retail establishments;
• State Question 794 – expanding the constitutional rights of crime victims, known as ‘Marcy’s Law’;
• State Question 798 – providing for the election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor on a joint ticket starting in 2026;
• State Question 800 – creating a new budget reserve fund, the Oklahoma Vision Fund, to receive a portion of gross production tax revenues;
• State Question 801 – allowing local building fund revenues to be used for school operations.
 
Learn more about each state question with our fact sheets, which include a brief summary of the state question, background information, what supporters and opponents are saying, the full ballot language, and links to other resources. Find links to all five fact sheets on our #OKvotes page: http://www.okpolicy.org/OKvotes
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-798-governor-and-lieutenant-governor-joint-ticket/
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-800-new-reserve-fund-for-oil-and-gas-revenue/
I don’t understand calling this a “reserve” fund. It will be a state-owned asset for the state budget. It isn’t reserved. It will be five years before it pays back anything to the state budget, and it will probably be at least 30 years before it puts substantial money into the state budget, but the idea is that it will be a self-sustaining asset for the state budget. It is like a retirement account, an investment account. Save a little today so tomorrow eventually becomes more well funded. The notion is to reduce taxes eventually, especially considering we may stop using oil and gas in a few decades. Without them, the state will have MUCH less tax base. This “Vision Fund” will hedge against such possibilities, and will probably be able to lower the state tax burden in coming decades.
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-801-allow-building-fund-revenue-for-school-operations/
If you want to help the schools, make a state question that constitutionally bans truancy laws and any other attempts to coerce people into schools. Let freedom prove education can be done better.

~:o

Skating Under The Ice

Here is a story of three simple searches. The search I did is for the following terms:

left wing political violence united states

First, the results on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine …

left wing political violence bing.png

All but one have “left wing” or “left” in the headline.

Next, the same search on DuckDuckGo, the privacy-oriented search engine …

left wing political violence duckduck.png

Again, all but one have “left wing” or “left” in the headline.

Finally, the same search on Google.

left wing political violence google.png

From looking at that, I’d swear that I’d searched for “right wing political violence united states”.

But wait, as they say on TV, there’s more. There’s a reason it looks like I searched for “right wing”. Here’s their dirty trick.

Google puts the terms that you search for, like say “terrorism”, in bold text on the search page that they return.

Now, look at the image above. Every place it says “right” or “right wing” it…

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Ms. McDonald does excellent work. Her articles are always worth reading, this one particularly so.

The main reason our kids are doing poorly in education is we let the state force them into it, and we tell the mothers not to worry about it. Free the people, and watch them excel.

Stripping the state of its power to define, control, and monitor something as beautifully broad as education would have a large and lasting impact on re-empowering families, encouraging educational entrepreneurs, and creating more choice and opportunity for all learners.

Source: 4 Things That Would Happen if We Eliminated Compulsory Schooling Laws | Kerry McDonald

This statement expresses my own thoughts better than I could hope to. I’m adding this book to my wish list.

Science and Belief

big-bang-pixabay 3089931_1920 Pixabay

When I left the full-time practice of science and turned my collar round to become a clergyman, my life changed in all sorts of ways. One important thing did not change, however, for, in both my careers, I have been concerned with the search for truth.

Religion is not just a technique for keeping our spirits up, a pious anaesthetic to dull some of the pain of real life. The central religious question is the question of truth. Of course, religion can sustain us in life, or at the approach of death, but it can only do so if it is about the way things really are. Some of the people I know who seem to me to be the most clear-eyed and unflinching in their engagement with reality are monks and nuns, people following the religious life of prayerful awareness.

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Remember the fallen.

Remember what we stand for.

Stand for freedom and individual liberty for all, for every one.

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.

“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.

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