Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts

11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?”
says the Lord.
“I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fattened cattle.
I get no pleasure from the blood
of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to worship me,
who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.

~Isaiah 1:11-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

I’m a firm believer that I am saved by Grace through Faith, not by any good deeds I might do. God makes it pretty clear here, though, that he expects good works from me. I can lift my hands in praise during worship all I want but unless I’m out doing good the rest of the time God will be turning his back on me.

Breast Physics

A fairly interesting article from the aspect of considering things you normally wouldn’t consider. But for gamers breasts become a technical issue.

If you’ve played games that have breast physics, you’ve probably seen how uncommon it is for games to show breasts that move like what they actually are: bags of fat affected by gravity. Instead, it’s more likely for a game to depict breasts as helium balloons that have minds of their own.

via How Video Game Breasts Are Made (And Why They Can Go Wrong).

And now a word about HB58 #gapol

This from the February 9th issue of the AJC.

Do you wonder why there aren’t more independent candidates, when so many people say they’re sick of the Republicans and Democrats? One reason is Georgia has some of the nation’s strictest ballot-access rules for third-party candidates. HB 58 by Rep. John Pezold, R-Fortson, would lower the threshold for these candidates to get on the ballot. Instead of needing petition signatures from 5 percent of all registered voters eligible to vote in the race, a candidate would need signatures equal to 2 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for the office. Example: In my state House district last year, an independent candidate needed 1,776 signatures to get on the ballot. Under this law, he would have needed less than 500. This could bring competition for seats at the General Assembly, 80 percent of which had only one candidate on last November’s ballot, as well as congressional seats.

How many times have you went to vote and practically everyone on the ballot is running unopposed? Have you ever wondered why that is when all of us fuss about the rascals in office? Surely you would think someone would run against them as much as we fuss about them. So why doesn’t anyone? It’s next to impossible to get on the ballot. That’s why. This bill would go a long ways to fix this.

So what I want you to do if you are registered to vote in the state of Georgia is first find you state representative and senator and then call them, write them or e-mail them and tell them that there is no reason for them not to support this bill. It has to pass. The only way this will get fixed is if you do something about it. This is what you need to do about it and then you need to get ten friends to do the same thing.

Making things easy…. a lever of catastrophe?

Here’s a great Salon article on why you rarely see drivers punished for killing pedestrians. It addresses a number of issues that tie us to our cars by making cycling and walking a deadly activity. One paragraph grabbed my attention by how much it applies to so many of the dangers in our lives:

New drivers sometimes perceive this mismatch between ease and consequence. Adam Gopnik, writing earlier this month in the New Yorker on learning to drive in middle age, saw the immense, unacknowledged hazard as he turned through a crosswalk. “Driving, I realized, isn’t really difficult; it’s just extremely dangerous,” he wrote. “Making hard things easy is the path to convenience; it is also the lever of catastrophe.”

via Why it’s so hard to punish drivers who kill pedestrians –

We have made dangerous things much too easy to do, thereby reducing our sense of danger involved in that activity, whether physical danger or fiscal danger.

Gun Control Groups Lobby Sens. Toomey and McCain Against CCW Reciprocity – Breitbart

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is pushing a bill in the U.S. Senate to force states to recognize weapons carry permits from other states. This is called reciprocity and many states have an agreement between them and certain other states for this.

This is one time I’m going to side with gun control groups on this.

Besides lobbying pliable senators like Toomey and McCain, gun control groups are also castigating national reciprocity in the harshest terms. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross calls it “evil and dangerous,” and Brian Malte, the group’s policy director, suggests its passage will wreak havoc on states with stronger gun controls.

via Gun Control Groups Lobby Sens. Toomey and McCain Against CCW Reciprocity – Breitbart. 

I’m all for this type of agreement as long as it is made between states. In fact, I’d like to see each state honor carry permits in  the same way they currently honor driver’s licenses. However the state level is where this type of agreement needs to remain, not at the federal level.

I know many of my gun advocate friends are going to disagree with me on this but what you need to understand is the power of precedent. If you support the federal government’s plan to mandate reciprocity between states of weapons carry permits you are giving credence to the federal government’s claim of authority in regards to weapons carry permits.

If we set this precedent of the federal government having authority to mandate reciprocity on weapon’s carry permits then there is precedent for the federal government to govern the terms and conditions of the permit and how it is issued. Some states are “must issue” states, meaning that in the absence of any disqualification of gun ownership the permit must be issued. Other states are “shall issue” states, meaning that issue of the permit is based on the judgement of the issuing authority, usually the county sheriff. Involve the feds and the feds will decide whether permits must be issued or shall be issued.

There’s also a matter of the cost of the permit and the amount of training required for the permit. And since now the federal government is deciding how the permits are issued it can be argued that the federal government now has the authority to standardized where the permits are valid. Can you carry in a restaurant with your permit, even one that sells some alcohol? Is the permit invalid within a quarter mile of a school?

These are all decisions that should be made by the state, not the fed. Allowing the fed to decide on reciprocity is just opening the door for the feds to regulate all conditions of weapons carry.


Should Machetes Be Banned In New York State?

New York State Sen. Tony Avella wants to ban machete possession in New York. If Avella’s plan becomes law the mere possession of a machete could lead up to a year in jail.

Avella feels the measure is necessary after a Long Island man hacked to death a teenager during a dispute and another man had been sliced up in a Bronx restaurant.

Terrence Grier, 17, was slashed in the neck by David Sadler, 45, with a machete during an argument. Sadler told reporters that he had bought the blade off of Craig’s List.

“I didn’t even know it was possible to buy a machete online,” Terrance’s mother, Greta Price, told the Daily News. “I had no idea that it wasn’t considered a deadly weapon. It should be.”

Price said she visits her son’s grave two to three times each week, adding, “He’d still be alive today if it wasn’t for a machete.”

via Senator wants to ban machete possession in NY – NY Daily News.

I’m not sure what to say about this. A machete is a tool used to clear tall grass and vines. Can one be used as a weapon? Of course it can, just as a box cutter can be used as a very deadly weapon. In fact, my bet is that more people are killed each year with kitchen knives than any other type of blade. So what do we do? Ban all sharp blades? What happens when you have someone being bludgeoned to death? Ban blunt instruments?

The problem with knife violence isn’t the knife, it’s violence. Find ways to promote non-violent methods of confrontation over any form of violence and there becomes little to no need to eliminate the tools often used in violence.

Guess Who’s Playing At Riverbend? No, not those Canadians.

Well, I guess I know where I’ll be June 15th.

Gregg Allman Is Set To Play At Riverbend 2015

Gregg Allman will play the Coke stage for Riverbend 2015.The Friends of the Festival says other former Allman Brothers Band members will have a their own little family reunion.Allman is one of rock’s most acclaimed and beloved stars, the former Allman Brothers Band member possesses a distinctively soulful voice and singular songwriting ability that resonates through a musical career that spans nearly half a century.

Allman, along with the Allman Brothers Band, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1995. At the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in 2012, the group was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gregg Allman hits the Coke Stage Friday, June 12th at 9:30 PM.

via WTVC NewsChannel 9 :: News – Top Stories – Gregg Allman is Set to Play at Riverbend 2015.

Yes, I will brave the crowds to see all three shows.

Mars Ain’t The Kind of Place To Raise Your Kids.

Mars One has whittled down their pool of potential Mars Explorers to 100. I know this sounds like a reality show and I think it probably is but the prize is a ticket to Mars. There is just one problem that I see.

Mars One wants to send new four-person crews to the Red Planet every two years or so after the first touchdown, which would take place in 2025. At the moment, there are no plans to bring any of these Mars colonists home to Earth.

via 100 people still in the running for a one-way trip to Mars – CBS News.

The idea of visiting Mars is appealing to me. The idea of blasting away to the Red Planet with no plan for returning home is as appealing to me as a ticket to the Sun. What happens if when they get there they find some huge flaw in their plan for survival?

Shooting guns: It’s rather fun, actually

The Economist has an article by D.K. on its Democracy in America blog that is worth reading. D.K. is a gun control advocate who has figured out that shooting guns is fun and you don’t have to be a violent person to enjoy guns and enjoy shooting them. He’s still all for gun control but isn’t for banning them or even for limiting the types of guns or their ammunition magazine capacity from the sound of his article but he is for keeping them out of the hands of criminals and crazy people.

But keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill is not incompatible with widespread gun ownership. And bringing about the changes that will make America safer means convincing people who routinely use guns safely that they are not the enemy. Perhaps what gun control needs is a few advocates who are a little more visibly familiar with the sheer fun of holding a pistol and pulling the trigger.

via Shooting guns: It’s rather fun, actually | The Economist.

That is a reasonable statement. The problem is that most gun control advocates I’ve listened to or read want to go further than that. Many want to ban certain types of guns used by many recreational shooters or limit the number of rounds that civilian owned guns can hold or just outright ban the civilian possession of any gun.

Dianne Feinstein made that  very clear.

Discussing why the 1994 act only prohibited the manufacture or import of assault weapons, instead of the possession and sale of them, Feinstein said on CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes, February 5, 1995, “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren’t here.”

From Wikipedia’s article “Political positions of Dianne Feinstein”

And she’s not alone. The Daily Kos even came up with a detailed plan on how guns could be banned from civilian hands.

The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them. Canada has a national firearms registry. We need to copy their model. We need a law demanding all firearms be registered to a national database. We need to know who has them and where they are. We need to make this as easy as possible for gun owners. The federal government provides the money and technical expertise, and the State police carry it out. Like a funded mandate. Most firearms already have a serial number on them, so it would really be a matter of taking the information already on the ATF form 4473 and putting it in a national database. I think about 6 months should be enough time.

From “How to Ban Guns: A step by step, long term process”, – Daily Kos, FriI Dec 21, 2012 AT 03:20 AM PST

And that’s why most gun advocates are against anything that could create that national registry. So D.K., if you want to gun control advocates to begin understanding why gun advocates seem so obstinate with any argument for gun control, maybe you need to consider how wide the opinion gap actually is between gun advocates and gun control advocates.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.

Waffle House, FEMA’s Canary in the Coalmine.

Heh, FEMA is using Waffle House to gauge the severity of a disaster for an area.

In 2011, the current head of FEMA, administrator Craig Fugate, was said to have coined what’s called the Waffle House Index. There are three measures in the index: green, yellow and red.

Green means the restaurant is open as usual, yellow means it’s on a limited menu, and red means the restaurant’s closed.

via When disaster hits, FEMA watches Waffle Houses for guidance |

I can appreciate this but a Waffle House would not be my preferred place to be stranded during a storm.

SWAT’s Happening!

The Department of Education, Bureau of Land Management, The Department of Agriculture, all have enforcement divisions that use SWAT like teams in their enforcement raids.  This is a pretty good article on the subject.

I can understand the Tennessee Valley Authority having staff trained and equipped as a SWAT team, they do have to maintain the security of nuclear plants and other power generating and transmission equipment, but the Department of Education? Come on! Most of these agencies should be using the FBI or U.S. Marshalls for their raids.