Monthly Archives: January 2018

Finding God through Atheism?

This may be stretching my idea of inclusivism to its limits but it seems to me that these atheists are finding God through their religious application of their atheism.

“There was so much about it that I loved, but its a shame because at the heart of it, it’s something I don’t believe in,” Jones said. “If you think about church, there’s very little that’s bad. It’s singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?”

via Atheist mega-churches take root across US, world.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17 NIV

Just because I don’t agree with your solution doesn’t mean I don’t care.

(Note: I started this post back in July of last year. I got distracted and never finished it. Usually I let these posts die but I still have something I want to say here.)

Kayla Chadwick can’t talk to me because she sees me as uncaring and she’s through talking to people who don’t care about other people in society. She’s come to that conclusion because of my stance on the Federal Minimum Wage, she wants to raise it, I want to eliminate it, public education, she wants to fund it at a higher level, I’d like to see vouchers and more charter schools, and healthcare, she would like to see a federal single payer plan and I’d like to see healthcare taken over completely by the states.

Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society.

Source: I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People | HuffPost

I do care. I just think that there are better ways to solve these problems than she is considering and I think she considers her solutions to be the only ones a caring person would provide. And because this article has been making its rounds among my friends I want to address the solutions I’d like to see implemented. For now I’d like to address the minimum wage. Continue reading

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After 40 years with a green card

Here’s a story going around about a fellow that was legally brought to this country forty years ago by his parents from Poland when he was three. He had all of his papers, grew up, went to college and became a successful doctor and family man and then was picked up by ICE for possible deportation back to Poland.

What? His wife and children are Americans. He’s here legally working with a green card, he’s in the medical field and is vouched for by his colleagues and friends…., he’s got to be a crook. Right?

Well, according to most news sources, no.

The only blemish on Dr. Niec’s reputation is a record of two juvenile misdemeanor convictions that took place when he was only 17-years-old, one for receiving and concealing stolen property, the other for the destruction of property worth less than $100. Dr. Niec pleaded guilty to these charges more than 25 years ago under a plea deal, the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, that leaves young offenders with a clean criminal record if they keep out of trouble.

Source: Trump’s ICE just deported a doctor living in the U.S. for 40 years

It sounds like just some teenage hijinks that he got caught at and probably went a long way into making him the upstanding citizen that he is today. I can’t see deporting a legal resident over that alone. Might there be more to the story?

You betcha’! While most news outlets aren’t reporting this I heard the following on CBS this morning. Newsmax is the only online source I could find that also contained this bit of information.

Court records also show that Niec pleaded guilty to a 2008 operating impaired by liquor offense for which he completed probation, and the conviction was set aside. He was also charged with domestic violence in 2013 and a jury found him not guilty after a trial.

Source: ICE Detains Michigan Doctor After 40 Years In U.S.

Still all minor stuff but to remain a legal resident you need to keep your nose clean. And there is also the fact that he has been a legal resident for 40 years without becoming a citizen. Why is that? Could there be more? There probably is.

The problem I have with this story is the headline from the first article I quoted, “Trump’s ICE just deported a doctor living in the U.S. for 40 years”. Would we be seeing this headline if DACA wasn’t in the forefront of the news this week?

I hate to think that maybe the news might be using this story to manipulate public opinion.

What’s the Motivation?

Here’s what’s bothering me. A closed door meeting to me means what is said inside those closed doors stays there and the only things that leaves the meeting are the participants and the agreements reached. When conversations in the meeting are brought out that upset people I have to question the motivation of the person bringing those conversations out of the meeting.

I’m bothered but not surprised by recent private conversations brought out of a recent closed door Oval Office meeting. I’m bothered by what was reportedly said but as this continues to linger in the news I’m bothered by the motivation that brought it to light.

What was Dick Durban’s motivation? What good has come from his revelation? Is America any greater from his breaking a confidence or have we been lessened?

I’m no Trump supporter and I agree with most negative critiques of him so don’t take what I’m saying as a defense of him, it isn’t. I think he is completely ignorant of most issues surrounding immigration. No, this is just me questioning if Dick Durban is motivated by the good of the country or the good of Dick Durban.

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Emergency Wilderness Survival

Lately I’ve been on a kick of researching various off grid shelters, most of which are meant to make life comfortable for people living in remote areas for extended periods of time. However, this research has also brought me to looking at emergency shelters for use in survival situations. These have intrigued me.

The problem with these emergency shelters is that if I have the time, materials and tools to build one I’m really not in an emergency survival situation. I look at emergency survival situations as being caught off guard by weather, sustaining injury or getting lost. Any of those requires me to craft a shelter in under an hour, not for comfort but for survival.

This got me thinking. If I’m going to be heading out into the woods, placing myself in a situation where I might be required to spend the night should things take an unexpected turn what is the minimum list of things I need to have with me? I am far from being an expert so look at this as a conversation starter. Where could I be off? What have I forgotten.

This is a minimum. later on I’ll add a few items I should probably include if the risk of an extended stay in the woods is a lot higher.

First you need a pack. This could be a fanny pack or a small backpack or even a bag tied to the end of a stick but this list is going to be a little more than what you can stuff in your cargo pants. With that being said, it should be sized for the load you will be carrying.

If it’s too large your stuff will be jostling around inside. Not only is this bad for your stuff it can also cause you to lose your balance or more easily catch the bag on a limb. If it’s too small you run the risk of it failing on you.

I’m not opposed to cheap packs as long as they fit you right and are sturdy enough to last through the expedition that you are planning. I can’t see spending big bucks if you are a casual hiker but the heavier you are going to rely on the equipment the more durable and robust it needs to be.

What goes into the pack? The first thing I would put in it would be a first aid kit. “Wait, what,” you ask? Yes, a first aid kit before anything else. If you are stuck out in the wilderness and need to spend the night there is  very high likelihood that the reason is that you are injured.

You don’t have to go crazy with this but you do need to be able to take care of cuts, scrapes and blisters. At a minimum you need some adhesive bandages, hand sanitizer and an anti-septic ointment. This guy has a good list on a minimalist first-aid kit.

I wouldn’t worry about splints or tourniquets or the other bulky stuff. All of that can be fashioned from your surroundings and some of the other stuff on this list.

The next thing I would add would be a metal canteen, one you can lay in the fire. Make sure it is rated for being heated. There are some out there with coatings that aren’t too happy with being heated. Also make sure the cap can stand the heat or can be removed.

If you find yourself stuck overnight out in the woods one quart of water isn’t going to be enough. So along with this canteen a spare liter of bottled water could save your bacon.

Remember, it isn’t just heat that can cause you to dehydrate, wind will do a number on you also. Play it safe, you will need water even if your excursion goes exactly as planned.

Always carry a pocket knife. Those multitools are nice as are the Swiss Army knives but I personally prefer a good folding knife with a locking blade or a sheath knife with a full tang. It’s no fun to have a blade unexpectedly close on you.

The knife is versatile and it goes hand in hand with the rest of the stuff on this list. It’s just the thing for quickly whittling out a pile of tender to start your fire. Add to that the fact that something always needs to be cut.

Just remember one thing, sharpen that knife before going out into the woods. A dull knife is just dangerous. I’ve cut myself way more often on a dull knife that has required me to use more force to cut with than the sharp knife that cuts with ease.

You might need to start a fire. There are all sorts of fire starting systems being marketed but a Bic lighter will start a fire as well as any of them and they are cheap. They also take up very little space.

If you find yourself in the Arctic you might want to invest in one of those magnesium fire sticks to get wet, frozen kindling to light but with decent tender a Bic lighter will start a fire just as well.

I do want to caution you, though. Fire can get away from you really quick. I don’t advise starting a fire unless you need it for warmth or to dry out wet clothes.  Make sure to clear combustibles away from your fire and don’t make it larger than you need to get the job done. Building a fire ring from rocks is always advisable. They not only can contain your fire to a safe area they can also act as a wind break to lower the risk of embers being carried away.

Paracord is something you should never leave home without. It is a great lashing material and the mil spec stuff is strong. No, don’t use it for climbing but it is great for securing about anything.

It works with your first aid kit as a tourniquet. It can be used to build a stretcher if you need to carry someone out and with the next item on my list it can help you fashion a shelter.

You don’t need a huge spool of this stuff, 25 yards or so is a lot for emergency usage. I’ve seen some fairly fashionable bracelets with that much.

With a few large plastic trash bags packed away you will find yourself with a very quick shelter even if you don’t require sleeping in the woods. How many times have you found yourself caught outside and a sudden rainstorm pop up? Pull out a trash bag, throw it over your head and cut out a face hole in the side and you have an instant rain coat.

Gather together some evergreen boughs or pile up some grass or other plant matter that won’t blow away and two of these bags, one for your top, the other for your bottom, and you have a great bevvy bag for sleeping on top of and underneath that debris.

Folded up they take up very little room. Heck, five or six of these bags along with sticks lashed together with your paracord and more debris and you probably could throw together a decent debris shelter.

Invest in a compass and learn how to use it. This one thing could possibly keep you from having to use the things above.

I can generally tell you about which way I’m heading most of the time. I can do it because I know how the sun travels across the sky. In cloudy weather that changes. In a forest with hilly terrain that changes. And at night that also changes.

If you know generally where you are and if you know generally where roads, towns or people are in relation to where you are you can use a compass to get you back to people.

You can get a decent compass for a relatively cheap price. I like the ones like pictured here. Check for military surplus.

Anyone should be able to go a few days without food but if you find yourself in a survival situation you will have a much better outlook on your situation if your stomach isn’t growling. I’d throw in a couple of power bars. Pick something with a lot of calories and you want fat. Also pick something that is tolerable but not what you would pick for a snack. These are emergency supplies only. Remember?

That’s my minimal list, the things I believe are essential to give you the best chance at survival and I believe they will all fit in a fanny pack. Of course we haven’t talked about clothing and you should probably have dressed in layers for you day hike.

You need room in your pack for the clothes you need but won’t be wearing the whole time. That means going from fanny pack to backpack and a little extra room. So can we fit a few more things in that larger pack. Here’s what I’d add, especially if my planned time on the trails was more than six hours.

A small tarp. Add the paracord and some sticks  and you now have an excellent shelter. Don’t substitute this for the trash bags, use it to enhance the trash bags.

Seriously, this can be configured as a tent or a lean-to. It can also provide you with a floor in wet weather. These come in sizes as small as 4’X8′ and are really very compact when folded.

I would chose the 8’X10′ size mainly because I’m a big guy and that size would allow me to make a tent with a floor that was pretty well all enclosed.

Two more items I’d add if there were room, the first is a folding camp saw. This isn’t a necessity but it sure would assist in cutting sticks to length or taking down very small trees for poles. You could improvise with sharp rocks so it isn’t a necessity but it is nice.

The same goes for my second item, a hatchet. You don’t need it to survive but it would make splitting up little logs into firewood much easier than using your knife and an improvised mallet. it would be much better on your knife.

For now that’s my list. Like I said, I’m no expert and I could be missing a lot. What would you add? What would you change? What would you take out? I look forward to the conversation.

 

North Korea Shot Its Self in the Foot With a Failed Missile. 

With North Korea’s apparent success with ICBMs this past year it’s easy to forget their failures. Less than a year ago one of their missiles blew up shortly after launch. We now know that the failed missile landed in a populated area of North Korea.

On April 28, 2017, North Korea launched a single Hwasong-12/KN17 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province (the Korean People’s Army’s Air and Anti-Air Force Unit 447 in Ryongak-dong, Sunchon City, to be more precise). That missile failed shortly after launch and crashed in the Chongsin-dong, in North Korean city of Tokchon, causing considerable damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings.

Source: When a North Korean Missile Accidentally Hit a North Korean City | The Diplomat

Was the failure the result of a failed part, a failed  or human error? I doubt that we will ever know. My take away from this is that perhaps N. Korea isn’t as prepared to launch a nuclear tipped weapon as they pretend to be and even the U.S. could have a failure on launch of a nuclear missile.

No, Colin, Georgia Took Away Oklahoma’s Confidence

Colin Cowherd may be a great football analyst but this?

Oklahoma gave that football game away last night. Congrats to Georgia and their coaches for playing their butt off and playing with confidence. And playing like a huge underdog even though they weren’t. Enjoy it for a week. You’re going to be beaten badly by Alabama who does not lose to quarterbacks who don’t run. Not overly athletic who don’t really throw the ball deep down the field much. It’s going to be ugly.

Source: Colin reacts to the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs defeating the No. 2 Sooners: ‘Oklahoma gave it away last night!’ | FOX Sports

His claim that Oklahoma gave away the game because they lost their confidence doesn’t take into consideration why they lost their confidence. They lost their confidence because Georgia answered every attempt Oklahoma made to win that game with a comeback of their own. Georgia took away Oklahoma’s confidence and that is what marks a winning team, they get into the other teams head and makes them doubt themselves.

You bring up game statistics but the only ones that ever matter are the scores. Most likely Alabama will beat Georgia next week but that isn’t a given. Just like it wasn’t a given that Oklahoma, with their greatest of all quarterbacks, would win last night.

I Approve

Glancing through the news this morning I stumble across a prediction that Amazon will purchase Target this year.

“Target is the ideal offline partner for Amazon for two reasons, shared demographic and manageable but comprehensive store count,” Munster wrote, noting both companies focus on mothers and families. “Getting the timing on this is difficult, but seeing the value of the combination is easy.”

Source: Amazon Will Buy Target This Year, Gene Munster Predicts – Bloomberg

I wholeheartedly approve of this deal. I like Target but lately they seem to be lacking in their merchandise. I can see their teaming with Amazon being a cure for that.