Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is monogamy Biblical?

It isn't.  in Old Testament times, it was perfectly normal for a man to have both concubines and several wives.  But that was no invitation to licence.  There were strict rules about how multiple wives were to be treated.  All wives had extensive rights. As it says in Exodus 21:10:  "If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights."

It is only in the NT that we see a move towards monogamy and there is is not any sort of commandment.  It is advice.  As Paul says in 1 Cor. 7 "But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband."

This made made clearer in 1 Timothy 3:  "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach".  So it was only the officers of the church to whom the advice applied and the reason for the advice was that it made the officer look good, not that it was right or wrong.

It may be argued that in Matthew 19 Jesus commanded monogamy.  There are two objections to that.  The first is that Jesus was very clearly on that occasion aiming only to confound the Pharisees and the second is that Jesus was actually forbidding divorce, not forbidding second marriages:  "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." -- JR


Obama "transparency"

The Obama administration has a standard response to all scandals: it stonewalls. Getting information from the administration is like pulling teeth, only slower. Document requests and subpoenas go unanswered, or inadequately answered, for years.

So far Obama’s stonewall strategy has worked quite well. After a year or two, a scandal is treated as old news, even though the administration has never produced the information that would allow Congressional committees, reporters or the public to evaluate it. If the administration stalls long enough, it wins.

In perfecting the art of the stall, Obama has done something that has been tried by no previous president: he has put the White House into the loop when federal agencies respond to subpoenas and Freedom of Information Act requests. A group called Cause of Action has uncovered an April 15, 2009 memo by White House Counsel Greg Craig that lays out the administration’s unprecedented stonewall strategy. Craig’s memo went to every executive department and federal agency. You can read it here. The memo says, in part:

This is a reminder that executive agencies should consult with the White House Counsel’s Office on all document requests that may involve documents with White House equities. …

This need to consult with the White House arises with respect to all types of document requests, including Congressional committee requests, GAO requests, judicial subpoenas, and FOIA requests. And it applies to all documents and records, whether in oral, paper, or electronic form, that relate to communications to and from the White House, including preparations for such communications.

The phrase “White House equities” is undefined. It is not a legal term; it cannot be found in the Freedom of Information Act. Apparently a document has “White House equities” if it potentially could embarrass the Obama administration.

Mark Tapscott reported on Cause of Action’s discovery last week in the Washington Examiner:

The FOIA requires federal agencies to respond within 20 days of receiving a request, but the White House equities exception can make it impossible for an agency to meet that deadline.

In one case cited by Cause of Action, the response to a request from a Los Angeles Times reporter to the Department of the Interior for “communications between the White House and high-ranking Interior officials on various politically sensitive topics” was delayed at least two years by the equities review.

“Cause of Action is still waiting for documents from 16 federal agencies, with the Department of Treasury having the longest pending request of 202 business days.

“The Department of Energy is a close second at 169 business days. The requests to the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services have been pending for 138 business days,” the report said.

There are two problems with the unprecedented White House review that the Obama administration has instituted. The first is that it takes forever. White House lawyers can simply sit on a subpoena until a year or two have gone by, and the potentially embarrassing issue has been forgotten. But the second problem is still more diabolical. The White House is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that if White House lawyers decide to cover up an Obama scandal by shredding documents that make the administration look bad, no one–no reporter, no Congressional committee, no private citizen–can serve a request that requires the White House to disclose what documents it destroyed. So adding a layer of White House lawyer review to the production of any sensitive documents–those with “White House equities”–means that inconvenient information may sink without a trace. We have no way of knowing how often this has happened over the last five years.

Which is, of course, exactly the way the least transparent administration in history wants it.



Is Obama Stupid?

By Alan Caruba

No one gets elected President by being stupid, unless of course the election is stolen in cities controlled by the Democratic Party, but one must also factor in the intelligence of nearly half of the voters who pull the Democratic Party lever no matter who the candidate may be.

America is seriously divided between liberals and conservatives, but there are indications that even those who self-identify as liberals are having second thoughts as the result of the havoc Obamacare has inflicted on their lives and the economy. Voters who self-identify as “independents” are the deciding factor in most elections. They reflect disenchantment with both parties.

I have been thinking about whether Obama is stupid because he has been in Europe with the leaders of the nations who are grappling with the seizure of Crimea by Russia. I keep wondering, given his record at this point, whether they too think he’s stupid. He has taken the most powerful and respected nation in the world and reduced it to ridicule and disdain. When he leaves the room do they shake their head and roll their eyes?

The question of whether Obama is stupid would seem to be disputed by the fact that he is a Harvard Law School graduate and one has to have some degree of intelligence to navigate that. His undergraduate college is Columbia University, one of the most liberal in the nation. In neither case do we know how Obama did academically because he took care to have his records kept from public review.

Indeed, most public records regarding his life, including his birth certificate have been kept hidden. The one he provided has been deemed a forgery. There are claims as well that his Social Security number is questionable.

So, one could argue that he was not stupid enough to let people know the truth. What we do know is that he is a complete stranger to the truth, uttering lies on a daily basis. That is a serious character flaw in anyone, but in a President it is a threat to the nation.

What we do know is that Obama is so devoted to a Marxist ideology that it warps his view of the world and that he has devoted his two terms in office to the “transformation” of America; another way of saying that he embraces issues, foreign and domestic, that do not reflect the history or values of the nation.

America has now twice elected a Communist to its highest office and the result has been a failure, deliberate or the result of his ideology, to lift the nation out of a recession by lowering taxes, reducing spending, and other means well known to previous presidents.

The result has had a cataclysmic effect on the lives of millions of Americans. What growth has occurred has not been due to anything the White House or Congress has done, but in spite of both.

The overthrow of tyrannical governments in the Middle East and most recently in Ukraine reflects a desire for democracy and justice in these nations. Obama sided with the Muslim Brotherhood during the Egyptian uprising.  One has to wonder what the king of Saudi Arabia has to say about that. His nation and others in the Middle East have banned the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. There is no nice way of describing his action or inaction regarding the Middle East and elsewhere.

The opening of negotiations with Iran and reductions of sanctions against it simply gave it more time to pursue its intent to create its own nuclear weapons. This isn’t just stupid, it’s insane. The time wasted on securing peace from the Palestinians after decades of their open hatred of Israel is also stupid.

Obama’s failure to work closely with Congress reflects his indifference to the Constitution and, having lectured on it, it cannot be said that he is ignorant of its limits on the executive office and its division of power between the three branches of government He doesn’t seem to care much what the Constitution says. That’s stupid. The result has been a very meager legislative record and that is a good thing given his ideological inclinations.

We all know of men and women in high office or CEOs of major corporations that offer ample evidence of stupidity, but the latter can be removed by their board of directors. Americans have no options for the removal of Obama. Impeachment will not likely occur even if the GOP gains control of both houses of Congress. Obamacare and the economy have been his greatest gift for their renewal of political power.

Obama’s “war on coal” and other efforts of his administration to keep America from tapping huge reserves of energy that would greatly improve our economy with jobs and exports is both stupidity and ideology. You have to be stupid to keep talking about “climate change” aka “global warming” when the only change of the past 17 years has been a planet that is cooling,

The danger the nation faces is real and present. The reduction of our military strength has not gone unnoticed by totalitarian and rogue regimes. Obama’s deliberate withdrawal of the nation from its position of global leadership is a threat of major proportions.

History hangs on questions of leadership and Obama has shown none, nor evidence of caring about the results of his failures. That’s a pretty good definition of stupid.



Why are infrastructure projects so slow these days?

One of the odder aspects of modern life is that it takes forever to build infrastructure. For example, the 2.7 mile paved walking path around the beautiful Lake Hollywood reservoir (which is under the famous Hollywood Sign), was washed out in places during the 2005 rains. The loop finally reopened in 2013, over eight years later. In contrast, the sizable Mulholland Dam that created the reservoir in the 1920s was built in either 1.5 years (according to the bronze plaque on the dam) or 2.5 years (according to Wikipedia). In either case, it took at least five years less time to build the dam from scratch in the 1920s than to fix the road around the reservoir in the 2000s and 2010s.

On the other hand, as I was reading up on this dam, I saw that William Mulholland, Los Angeles's titanic chief water engineer, followed up his Hollywood dam with his nearly identical St. Francis dam out in the northern exurbs, which also built in only a couple of years.

Unfortunately, the St. Francis dam collapsed in 1928, killing approximately 600 people. So, in the 1930s, Los Angeles went back and pushed a huge amount of dirt in front of the Hollywood version of the dam to keep from losing Hollywood. I hadn't realized how tall the dam is under all the dirt until seeing this photo of the safety project from a 1934 Popular Science:



Democrats turn on Nate Silver

 Democrats are turning against Nate Silver, the political data guru they touted in 2012. Two years ago he was described as soothsayer after repeatedly saying that President Obama would win a second term, accurately predicting the winner of each state in the 2012 contest.

Conservatives ripped Silver back then for his “flawed model,” with some claiming Silver was a biased liberal. Democrats loved him then, but now they’re attacking him.

The difference, of course, is that the Democrats’ political fortunes have taken a turn for the worse and Silver isn’t optimistic about their chances in November.

“We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber,” Silver wrote, predicting Republicans could net as many as 11 seats. Silver, who pegs the chances of a GOP takeover at 60 percent, unveiled his crystal ball Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Democrats quickly fired back.

Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), told The Hill, “I think he’s got his numbers wrong, which is unusual for Nate. In this case, I look forward to talking to him after the election.”

Bennet added, “He ought to go back and check what he said about [Sen.] Claire McCaskill [(D-Mo.)] and some of the other races in the last cycle.”

In August of 2012, Silver said the race was “tilting” toward then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), McCaskill’s opponent. McCaskill ended up winning, though this Silver analysis was written before Akin made a damaging comment about “legitimate rape,” which changed the race.

Pressed on Silver’s 2014 predictions, Sen. Mark Begich (Alaska), one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, said, “It’s very early.”

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), whom Silver gives only a 30 percent chance of winning reelection, said, “I don’t agree with that at all.”



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