Tom Pittman's WebLog

Later this year (next month)

2012 September 27 -- Stupid in Entertainment

"Those who can, do; those who can't, [communicate]."
Thinkers can and do; Feelers prefer to be told they succeeded without actually working that hard. They are the teachers and writers and actors and preachers in this country. Earlier this week the stupid oaf in the movie was brother to a guy running for governor, and his blundering eventually cost him the election. The next day the stupid oaf was a scientist in SG1. But screenwriters are Feelers; they are about undeserved affirmation. Every time they write a movie (or, I suppose, a book, but I don't read such books) about a dysfunctional nincompoop, he ends up saving the bacon for the rest of the good guys in the movie. Both movies, and not just these two, but every one. It's important to affirm these people who are less than qualified by lying to them.

Thinkers care about truth. Like Steve Jobs, they do not affirm incompetence. You don't get to be a brilliant scientist -- with a PhD, no less -- by being a bungling idiot. If you cannot convince your thesis committee in grad school that you are really smart, you won't get a PhD at all. Unlike the K-12 schools, where any Feeler can get a job by joining the union, and where teaching is less important than affirmation, to get a PhD you must actually do something novel and interesting that nobody else has done, and you must convince at least three other people who also got there the hard way that you succeeded. But screenwriters writing for a movie or a TV series don't need to feel constrained by the real world. It's fiction. If they knew what they were writing about, they'd be doing it instead of writing about it. Those who can, do.

Real scientists are necessarily Thinkers; they don't write screenplays, they actually do the science that the Feelers only pretend to write about.

2012 September 24 -- The Atheist Is a Liar

Every year or two -- most recently in 2010 -- I get another shot at engaging an atheist. This time it was second-hand. The atheist is an evangelist seeking converts to his faith, and was trolling likely YouTube discussion forums looking for opportunities, and my friend was doing the same from a Christian perspective. Each thought the other a likely prospect, but in fact missionaries are the toughest sell. When they lose in debate they do not switch sides, they retreat to their fortress and rebuild their arsenal for the next battle. This atheist obviously had prior experience at the retreating thing, because he hid his identity and used a pseudonym for engagement that could easily be abandonned in case he lost. Muslim terrorists also hide their identity. Hardly anybody fighting for the Enemy is proud of what they do. Most Christians are easy pickings because they don't bother to learn why the Christian faith is more robust than its competitors, but an educated Christian will trounce an atheist every time. The atheists don't need to be very smart to figure that out, and to prepare in advance for a hasty retreat. They do lose.

First of all, atheism is inherently illogical. We have that on irrefutable declaration from God, but there is also a syllogism which also proves it without invoking God: The only way you can know there is no God (which is the definition of atheism) is to search the whole universe -- including also all parallel universes, and any supra-universes in which our universe might be embedded -- all at once, and not find any god. You must do it all at once, lest a mischievous god might jump from place to place so as to not be where you happen to be looking at that moment. But if you successfully did that, you would be a god. The smarter atheists understand that and claim instead to be agnostic, that is, they admit to not knowing -- despite that they live as if they knew very well. This fellow was less honest than most of them: his opening salvo was to claim that "Atheism is agnostic," which is a lie and a denial of the dictionary definition and his own use of the word.

But you don't win debates by calling the other guy a liar, even if he is. You must prove it in his own words. It's not that hard to do with atheists, because they are already self-deceived and illogical. It's in the nature of their religion.

So we asked him what evidence he would consider as proof of the existence of God. He refused to offer any positive evidences -- like I said, he was experienced, and he knows that any particular kind of thing he would admit as evidence already exists in support of God. Instead he specified two things that (so he said) are not evidence:

Personal experience is not evidence, and
Philosophical arguments are not evidence.
Let's examine these two ideas. The first is obviously bogus, because everything we know is mediated by personal experience. It was easily demonstrated that this fellow did not even believe such nonsense himself. He mentioned having a teen-age son, so I congratulated him on believing in a person who does not exist. He back-pedalled. What he really wanted to say, and started to say, but checked himself, is:
Personal experience of the supernatural is not evidence, because there is no such thing as supernatural.
Of course if he had said the whole line, it would have been too obvious that he was begging the question. If the supernatural (God) does not exist, then you have defined all evidence of it out of existence. It's a well-known logical fallacy, commonly committed by atheists and and careless Christians alike. I did say atheists are illogical. So he stopped at the comma. We still have a problem, because he had to admit that personal experience is evidence, so the only distinction here is the qualification that it is evidence of the supernatural he is disallowing. If all other personal experiences can be admitted as evidence, then he must have some apriori reason for rejecting the supernatural because it is supernatural, which is the full intended line. In other words, he was still begging the question. And why would he be disallowing the supernatural apart from any (personal experience of) physical evidence? There is only one other source of knowledge, besides personal experience, and that is philosophical arguments. But he'd already disallowed philosophical arguments. He had painted himself into a corner.

He tried to extricate himself with a different qualification,

Personal experience of the supernatural is not evidence, because it is inconsistent.
I postulated to him a thought-experiment, five people who reported seeing (personal experience) a traffic light at a certain corner. Two of them said it was green, and three said it was red, but all agreed it was at the corner of first and Main. Because their reports are inconsistent, we should throw them all out? When evidence like this is brought to a court of law, the response is to bring in further understanding of traffic lights, that they can be either red or green (at different times), or both red and green at the same time (but in different directions). The inconsistency must be examined and determined if the nature of the phenomenon being reported can actually be truly reported in all the ways alleged, before discarding any of the evidence as invalid.

He snuck out his back door exit and was never heard from again.

His problem is that he tried to lie about his atheism, and was caught in the lie. There is no honest way to defend atheism. There isn't even an honest way to defend agnosticism: If you don't know about something as important as your eternal destiny, then you should by all means give due diligence to finding out. But the so-called agnostics are really atheists in sheep's clothing. They don't want to know, because deep in their hearts they really do know that the Christian message is true, and they "do not want this man to reign over [them]."

God, if He exists (and He does exist) has the right to tell us what to do and not do, and we have the obligation to obey. The atheists will not have a back door on Judgment Day, and they cannot lie to the All-Seeing, All-Knowing God Who is Judge over all His Creation. Repent!


2012 September 21 -- Ashamed of the Democrats

The SuperPAC also known as TIME magazine crowed about how much better the Democratic National Convention was than the Republican counterpart the previous week, but said not a peep about their platform. Why would that be? Unless they are ashamed of it. WORLD magazine (not as far to the right as TIME is to the left) came this week and explained why. I downloaded the full text of the Democratic Party Platform and I learned that it:

*  Waters down the global fight against terrorism, and gives it equal standing with bogus fears of global warming;

*  Supports public (taxpayer) funding for denying the civil rights of children before they are born by killing them; and

*  Endorses socially inappropriate ("gay") marriage and seeks the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The editors of TIME are rightly and properly ashamed of such a platform, and they certainly don't want the American people to know that's what the left-wing bigots want them to be voting for.

2012 September 18 -- Pray for the President

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. -- 1Tim.2:1,2 [oNIV]
Tuesday is the day I have marked on my prayer calendar for praying for the President. I start the week (Monday) praying for the King, who wears Nine Black Robes. The President is also in authority, and we should pray for him. Especially this President-Trainee, because he knows so little about running a large organization, let alone the most powerful nation in the world. I would feel better about him if he relied on people who knew what they were in charge of, but Obama, more than any other President in my lifetime, has surrounded himself with political hacks with no actual experience in anything but political pontification.

Except the military. Obama wisely left in place President Bush's pick, and only replaced him with a political hack last year. Beneath the Secretary are the professional military men, and Obama apparently listens to them. That is a worthy cause for "thanksgiving."

We can also be thankful that the Ship of State is so big, he can't make a total mess of it, although he seems to be trying.

Most of all, we should thank God that God is bigger than the amateurs running any particular nation, and pray that God would continue to make good things happen and restrain the evil which plagues our nation and gets nailed into the ruling Party's official policies. I might further wish they would soon be replaced by somebody better for the country, but none of the above seems to be running for office.

There will be plenty to pray for, no matter how the election turns out.

2012 September 15 -- CFLs Waste Energy

The phone was ringing at the other end of the house. It was dark and stormy outside -- that's why the phone was ringing over there and not here in my work area: the weather had leaked into the phone line and shorted it out, so I replugged the phone here into the other line, called the phone company to report the outage, and they were calling back to say they had fixed it, but I didn't know that yet -- so I jumped up, flipped on the hall light switch (did I say it was dark outside?) and ran to the other end of the house in the dark to pick up the phone. That's right, I got to the other end of the hall before the hall light produced enough light for me to see where I was going. You see, it's one of those low-efficiency compact flourescent bulbs (CFL) that you can't get anything else now because of government bungling.

CFLs use slightly less energy compared to incandescents when you leave them on for an hour or more, but they take so long to get up to as much light as the old incandescents produce immediately, that you have not saved any energy in the first ten minutes after you turn it on. Worse, if you want to see where you are going -- why else would you turn the light on? -- and the phone is ringing so you want to get there in a hurry, the only way to do that is to leave the light on all the time. That wastes electricity, but the government has taken away the more efficient options.

So the hall light is on right now. I'm not using the hall, I'm sitting here working, but when I need to go to the other end of the house, I don't want to wait two or ten minutes to keep from falling and breaking my neck. CFLs do that to people.

Most of the places I need to see what I'm doing for only a minute or two, I still have high-efficiency incandescent lights. I'd bought a bunch of them before they became illegal. I can't use them in the hall light, because the fixture is too small. Oh well. My work area and my dining area both have CFLs. When I stopped working for lunch today, I left the light on because I wanted to see when I got back. Sometime this afternoon I will turn the light on in my food preparation area -- and leave it on until bedtime, even though I am mostly still here at work. It just takes too long to get up enough light to see what I'm cutting and I don't want it to be my thumb. It probably wastes far more energy than incandescents (which I could turn on and off as needed) would. CFLs do that to people. Your tax dollars at work.

Sept.26 Update
The hall light finally died, and I didn't have any of that kind in stock, so I replaced it with an equivalent incandescent bulb and immediately began saving money, because I could leave it off except when I actually need to walk up or down the hall. I saved more than a hundred watt-hours (a penny or two) the first day. Besides, the bulb is cheaper. But that's one of the lights I leave on when I'm out of the house for an extended time (which is why it was CFL in the first place), so I went to the store today to buy some more of the low-efficiency CFLs so I could leave them on. I was surprised to see they still sell the better bulbs. Wikipedia says the "lightbulb socialism" law got canceled last year. Worse things could happen.

2012 September 11 -- Why Does Obama Hate Me?

It's that Day of the year again, the anniversary of starting my blog, and incidentally also of an infamous day in the history of this nation. I wouldn't have noticed, except that flags everywhere were flying at half-mast.

So now we have a President whose name is (unintentionally) a pun on the perpetrator of what makes this date famous. Osama bin Laden hated the USA in 2001. Barack Obama only hates some or most of its citizens today. Or at least Obama hates me. I wrote and asked why Obama hates me (read my letter here, and Obama's reply here). They will probably send a computer-generated form letter that does not answer the question. When it arrives, I will post it here.

2012 September 8 -- SuperPAC TIME, Part 2

Next week's issue of TIME arrived early. The cover story goes blatantly into SuperPAC political ad mode. I won't link to it, you can find it in any library. Here's my response, but they won't print it:
It's pretty obvious to most of us that TIME magazine is an unreported, unregulated Obama SuperPAC, but Grunwald as a Party shill is over the top. Don't you guys even bother checking the facts?

One third of the yellow stickies "subsidies" in his feature article are tax deductions related to the cost of earning money. Those have never been considered "taxable income" and to say so here by calling the deductions "subsidies" makes Grunwald (and TIME, for uncritically printing it) either a liar or a fool -- or both. If the government taxed as income everything spent as part of creating or preparing products and services sold for profit, it would double the cost of goods in this country and make it impossible for small businesses to survive. Grocery stores are not taxed for what they pay the farmers, that is "cost of goods sold." Construction firms are not taxed for the cost of the labor they pay to build the structures we live and work in, that too is cost of goods. If Grunwald thinks his tax deductions are "subsidies" then he is committing tax fraud, and the government should hit him up for unpaid back taxes.

Of course rich guys like Grunwald can afford high-priced tax attorneys who are able to convince the IRS that even the most devious of deductions are in fact legitimate business expenses, but that only makes them successful tax evasion, not "subsidies".

Some of the other items marked out are not subsidies either. Farm supports increase the cost of food on the grocery shelves. They may help the farmers buy expensive cars, but they don't help Grunwald when he buys their products.

Energy subsidies don't reduce the cost of energy, they perpetuate unsound business practices by managers who thereby do not have to do things in a fiscally sound way, making energy more expensive for everybody.

State-subsidized insurance is a great way to transfer to the rest of the people the consequences of fools building inadequate structures in climate-hazardous locations. If the government refused to subsidize hazardous locations like NewOrleans and (I suppose, from Grunwald's brag) Miami, then the rest of the country wouldn't have to rush to the aid of so many people when natural disasters like Katrina do the inevitable.

That's just the yellow stickies called out in the big pictures. The article text brags about many more bogus subsidies. They are the reason we have trillion-dollar deficits and people like me out of work. Grunwald (and TIME) should be ashamed.

The Soviet Union is now the former Soviet Union because Stalinist government programs impoverish the people. They didn't work in Russia, they didn't work in Cuba, they definitely didn't work in North Korea, and they won't magically start working here. We need to get the government out of the subsidy business.

Tom Pittman

As expected TIME didn't print any negatives, only praise for Grunwald's lies.

Bookmark this item
Additional thoughts on subsidies vs deductions

2012 September 4 -- Unpaid, Unregulated, Left-Wing Political Ads

Predictably (and predicted) TIME's single-issue Obama coverage was an effusive paean of praise. The Romney issue last week showed him mostly in grim poses, but Obama -- including three double-page photos to Romney's one -- was upbeat and optimistic. The page count was about the same -- more for Romney if you count four very hostile columnists, or the fact that they had fewer big pictures (and thus more text space to attack the hated Obama-spelled-with-an-R). I guess they needed to do that, because there isn't really much to praise Obama for. But they tried anyway:
Two weeks into his Presidency, Barack Obama was already losing control of his narrative.
Thus begins what turned out to be a book excerpt essentially blaming the Republicans for Obama's blunders. They did a piece from the same book to trash Romney the previous week: Grunwald is obviously a left-wing bigot all the way through his novel, so he does not understand that Obama's "narrative" is a lie. When Obama got into office he started to learn some of what it means to run a big government -- at which he still has less experience today than Romney had in 2008. Grunwald has no such experience at all, and it shows. He says
The top economic forecasters agree that [the much mocked stimulus] helped prevent a depression and end a recession...
What he doesn't say is that his (unnamed) "top economic forecasters" apparently include the left-wing socialists Obama has advising him, but not people who understand how the economy works. When this country elects left-wing socialists into the White House during a recession, things go down. A few times we didn't have that opportunity, and the recession quickly disappeared -- so of course nobody remembers those times.
"We didn't create this problem," [Obama political aide] Axelrod warned, "but we'll be held accountable for it."
That's half true. Bush indeed created the problem. It got worse when the people responsible for creating wealth in this country (knowing that Obama does not know how to fix the problem) saw who the people had elected even before he was sworn into office, as Grunwald admits without understanding. The problem stayed worse while Obama blundered around doing futile things. It stayed worse for twelve extra years with FDR at the helm, 70 years earlier. Unfortunately, the people who know how to fix economic problems do not know how to get themselves elected: it takes different skills. Grunwald has the data, he just doesn't know what it means: message or slogan can counteract double-digit unemployment.
He's still stuck on the (leftist) politician's solution: speak the problem away. Politicians consider a good "narrative" more important that good actions. God speaks and it is so; the rest of us are not God, and we must work at understanding, then work within the constraints of the real world to solve problems. People who build businesses by leveraging other people's (voluntary) labor succeed when they have that kind of understanding. Politicians only need lies, coercion, and the luck of good advisors to get and stay elected. I guess two out of three ain't bad (Obama has the fewest experienced advisors of any President in my lifetime), but not good enough for President. Anyway, Grunwald is right: you don't fix unemployment by messages or slogans or narratives; you fix it by looking at what causes it (deficits), then changing the policies that lead to those causes. Obama seems to think that reducing his trillion-dollar deficit by a billion here and there will solve it. That's like you loaning me $1000, and I pay you back with a couple dimes and call it good. Ryan has a better plan, but still nowhere near good enough.

The lead article in this issue quoted Obama in the biggest fraud since ObamaCare:

One conversation I think we're going to have with the entire country after this election is, Do we want a situation in which undisclosed donors writing $10 million checks have such disproportionate influence over the course of the country?
That's a good question, provided you include in this conversation the undisclosed donors writing undisclosed checks to the leftist-controlled media promoting the other side, which they have been doing now for fifty years without a peep from the left-wing politicians who benefit from it. Anyway, if Obama gets re-elected (this is, after all, a campaign promise) despite the presumed far greater funding the Republicans are pouring into the campaign, then that fact alone proves the lie in Obama's whine. Nobody speaks for me, and not many people read this my blog, but what I hear of the SuperPAC ads (I don't have a working TV, so I don't see them) suggests they do a better job of representing my opinions to the public than the leftist media do. I think turnabout is fair play.

2012 August 31 -- Cometary Disaster

A friend mentioned reading Lucifer's Hammer and thinking it was a good book, so I checked it out from the local library. They didn't have it in their collection, but I've gotten a number of books on inter-library loan. One of the authors, Jerry Pournelle, I met at a technical conference; I thought him rather boorish, which opinion was more or less confirmed as I read many of his regular columns in Byte magazine. But this is the first time I read one of his sci-fi novels.

The novel imagines the catastrophe resulting from the earth being struck by a passing comet. As in William Forstchen's One Second After, the book paints a picture of total devastation. I guess catastrophe sells better than blip+recovery. I'm only halfway through, but the human factors painted by Pournelle and Niven (and repeated by Forstchen 32 years later) are scary enough that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep.

In Forstchen's story, the predation was generalized and at a distance, so the reader did not have a chance to personalize the social destruction, despite that it accounted for most of the deaths. Now, only two days after tidal waves wiped out most of the coastal cities in the northern hemisphere, the sociopathic behavior is up-front and personal. Niven & Pournelle are obviously much better writers than Forstchen. But it got me thinking...

There are many ways to divide the universe into two categories, one of them being Good People vs Sociopaths (robbers, murderers, rapists, etc). I can't point to it, but research done by ScientificAmerican several decades ago suggests that people divide approximately equally into three groups: Good, Bad, and "Good if Somebody is Looking." I don't know whether Niven & Pournelle were aware of this (and it mostly doesn't matter), but obviously their central characters are in the Good People category. The people they meet along the way are mostly in the Sociopath category, although that might be a temporary expedient forced on them by the catastrophe. Everybody grabs their guns as they head for the hills. The function of a gun is to inflict bodily harm and/or death on another person, or at least to promise it.

So here's our hero and his girlfriend/wife arriving at the hideout in the hills that he owns, only to discover it has been taken over by squatters with shotguns. These are "nice" Bad Guys, so they don't shoot them outright, but only tell him to get back in the car and keep driving, that his (now their) place and food are not sufficient for both parties. The chapter ends with the two driving off back down the hill.

There's a moral issue here, and the Bad Guys in the story understand it, but the collapse of society gives them permission to do these Bad Things. We even see them debating among themselves whether there will be repercussions from the local police (and deciding not, which was supported earlier in the story with other cops in another location). Like I said, I have not yet read what happens next, and from the chapter titles, the story ends after a few weeks, instead of a year later in Forstchen's reprise.

In the long term, Good People cannot co-exist with Sociopaths. That's what we have police for. Regardless of how Right and Wrong get defined in any particular context, the Good People do the Right thing, and the Bad People (by definition) don't. As a Christian, I believe in moral absolutes, that the principles of Life, Liberty, and Property must be preserved in a just society, which is why we remove thieves and kidnappers and murderers from our society. Whether people are Good because of the threat of punishment or because of an internal moral compass, the effect is the same: the rest of us don't need to be continually watching our backside. The novel does not (yet) say so, but the squatters in this story have defined themselves as sociopaths by taking over property that was not theirs and driving off the rightful owners. Whatever civilization eventually recovers will need to remove them from its midst. Their actions effectively defeat their long-term purpose to survive.

There are several scenarios, some of them already explored in old westerns. In a group of only Bad Guys, the strongest gets to call the shots, and the others either accept the hierarchy or leave -- or else take him down, which establishes a new hierarchy. It's an inherently unstable society, and very dangerous for everybody in it. When there are some Good Guys among the Bad, they are quickly killed off or otherwise removed (unless they turn bad, which contradicts the premise).

If the majority is reversed, more Good Guys than Bad, then the Good Guys can remove the evil from among them using lawful means, leaving only Good Guys being nice to each other -- perhaps including a few Bad Guys not yet caught, or who know how to work the system within the rules. People are clever, they can do that. The USA is such a society, and we benefit from the way things work; it makes us the richest people in the world. Large parts of Africa (and some downtown American cities) are Bad-Guy controlled; they are the poorest. The greed exhibited by Bad-Guy behavior destroys wealth.

In both novels, society switches over from Good-Guy control to Bad-Guy control in one day. The authors apparently do not have a very high opinion of the intrinsic morality of the American people. They may have something there.

2012 August 30 -- Voting Your Values

"I don't think politics should define a human being. There's more to people than just how they vote."

Sometime leftist director Oliver Stone put that line in the mouth of a Democrat, perhaps to represent his own opinion. But like a lot of the stuff in his flicks, it's nonsense. Or rather, backwards. Politics does not define a person, it reflects who that person is. So yes, you really can tell a lot about a person from who they vote for.

I had my doubts about a movie purporting to tell the story of President Bush. The media is mostly run by left-wing bigots, and their politics badly discolor what they show on-screen and in print. This is no exception. Oliver portrays the President as an idiot. The only people who think that of a sitting President know nothing about politics and less about human nature -- least of all the people who voted him into office.

You don't get to be President of the most powerful country in the world by being stupid. Bush didn't get there that way, and (for the record) neither did his successor. You get to the top of the heap (in any organization) by knowing your business well, and by articulating it better than your competitors, and finally by convincing the decision-makers that you will best serve their interests. Stupid people (like W in the eponymous movie) are too obviously stupid, and therefore will not serve the interests of their supporters. The business of getting elected President is getting elected, and Obama has that down cold. It helps that he has rather more melanin in his skin than his competition, which many people seem to think affects a person's judgment (in various directions, mostly depending on the skin color of the person doing the analysis).

People vote for their own reasons. Sometimes that is colored by the left-wing bigots who control the media, and less often by the paid political ads that the left-wing bigots whine so much about this year, but mostly it's determined by the politics of people the voters know and trust. When the media or the ads trumpet a different tune, the people just tune them out.

Wikipedia quotes Stone as wishing he could vote for Ron Paul against Obama. That does tell us some things about him that would otherwise take wading through a dozen hours of his movies, but probably not as much as knowing who he voted for in 2008.

I don't know what Stone said of the anti-Bush hostility in this flick -- maybe nobody asked him: after all, the critics themselves are also pretty much all left-wing bigots -- but a plausible excuse for an attack piece like this is that it's entertainment and not history. Somebody should have told whoever did the cover art, where they called it "a portrait of a man who became President." That might be like calling Beetle Bailey a portrait of General Colin Powell. I suppose it might be entertaining for the partisans in the blue counties, but it seems to me that an excuse is a lie masquerading as logic.

Also, the actor who played Bush doesn't know Spanish and wasn't properly coached. It's one thing to have a gringo accent for his Spanish lines, quite another to say the Spanish word for "country" in French just because it happens to be spelled the same. Real Spanish speakers wouldn't make that mistake.

Unlike Obama, who only promised it, Bush tried to be President of all the American people. He crafted an education bill that the Democrats could be (and apparently were) proud of. He did more for AIDS -- typically a left-wing cause -- than anybody else before or after. And he ran up the deficit worse than any Democrat before him. Only Obama has him beat on that one. The American people voted for him because he gave them the kinds of things they wanted their President to do.

Now if only they would offer the same respect to Obama -- and throw the bum out for failing.

2012 August 28 -- Deconstructing Left-Wing Bigotry

I don't know their present policy, but for a while Wikipedia had to put the brakes on articles about political topics, because the belligerents kept deleting whole articles and replacing them with their own one-sided views. Many items today start out with a warning (I assume installed by the Wiki engine) that it lacks outside references. I guess that's meant to be a hint not to trust the content. TIME magazine has no such warning, but their columnists and their editors alike approach their topics from a far-left perspective. This makes issues like the current one, with a cover on Romney, and presumably some future issue on Obama, less than trustworthy. Their politicking for Obama and against the Republicans has been palpable all year.

I refused to read much of the garbage in this issue, but what I did read is clearly crafted to make Romney look bad. Obama doesn't need any help to look bad, so what isn't attacking Romney or Ryan tries to divert attention from Obama's failures.

One regular TIME columnist presumes to shift the blame for the economy off its obvious perpetrator (see my "Unemployment vs Deficits" blog post last month) onto some nebulous global economy. She declines to tell her readers that the USA economy is a huge chunk of the global economy. When we go down, the whole world goes down. She declines to tell us that the problems in Europe stem mostly from irresponsible government policies in countries that have been doing Obama-like things for many years.

The more Obama continues doing these same irresponsible things, the worse off we -- and the whole world -- will be. Rhodesia used to be the richest country in Africa. Now, after a few decades of Obama-like government (and a name change), Zimbabwe is at or near (depending on which charts you look at) the poorest of the world. The people there have not changed; it was the government which destroyed the nation. Africa is full of impoverished nations run by idiots. Obama seems determined to make us like them.

Anyway, this columnist goes on to tell us how a

Financial Times/Economist Global Business Barometer survey found that twice as many business executives worldwide think it would be better for the global economy if Obama remained President.
Figures may not lie, but liars figure, and if you don't know how they shaded the questions, the survey doesn't really tell you anything at all. Even taking the report at face value, she does not connect the dots. Of course it would be better for them -- for a while. When the USA goes down, the financial condition of businesses outside the USA seems to rise by comparison. For a while. Rhodesia's demise did not help the other African nations, but at least they were no longer on the bottom. Big whoop-de-doo.

The only way to improve the global economy is to do things that improve the economy. ObamaCare does does not improve anything, and nobody is willing to defend otherwise. Shutting down energy development does not improve anything. Teacher-union cronyism that prevents minorities from getting a decent education does not improve anything. Killing off the next generation of workers before they are born does not improve anything. Lying to the American people (including unkept promises) such as talking about taxing the rich while actually raising taxes on the poor does not improve anything. Spending government money on greedy shysters willing to promise any silly idea the bureaucrats happen to like that day does not improve anything (except maybe the shysters' bank accounts). These are actual policies and/or actions of the present party in power.

We don't know what the opposition will do -- Romney is not yet willing to apologize for and repudiate his contribution to ObamaCare, although he has flip-flopped on just about everything else -- but it can't be any worse than what we have. At least Romney has experience running a business; Obama never has done so and does not even know how. Romney has more experience running a major government today than incumbent Obama will have had on election day. Obama knows how to win elections (smile friendly when you lie to the voters); we don't know whether Romney can (or wants to) pull that off. We really don't know much about Romney at all -- in part because the media are all out to burn him.

Maybe we'll be lucky and get gridlock again. The American people seem to like that option (I do). Politicians, go home!

2012 August 24 -- Emulating Steve Jobs

The cover story in this month's WIRED magazine reports the buzz ingnited by Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of the late Apple CEO. Like most of what gets printed in WIRED pages, it is inaccurate and misleading. It figures: the editor is no Steve Jobs, whose vision and uncompromising attention to detail produced an astounding number of game-changing electronic products. People see that, and then snap up the biography, hoping to emulate and copy his success. The article also points out the large number of people who discover the ends Jobs went to in achieving that success, and decide not to go there.

I did not expect (and did not see) a pagan magazine telling us that Steve Jobs enjoyed one advantage denied to everybody born after Roe v. Wade (1973), because they now kill off such people before they are born. It's true. Steve Jobs was one of those unwanted pregnancies that everybody kills off now instead of allowing to blossom in their difficult circumstances. The most productive plants grow in manure; I suspect it's true of people too.

Full disclosure: I do not have an inside track on Steve Jobs. He knew who I was, but I do not recall actually exchanging words with him. At the HomeBrew Computer Club, I sat in front of the auditorium where moderator Lee Felsenstein always called attention to me and my 4-bit computer (and the only disk operating system in the club at that time: I maintained the club mailing list); Steve Wozniak ("Woz") and Steve Jobs sat at the back and showed off their new Apple computer hardware. Many years later at a technical conference, Woz greeted me by name; Jobs didn't go to tech conferences. So what I know of him I read in books and magazines like everybody else.

Anyway, this article starts off interviewing several business entrepeneurs who feel inspired by Jobs to be abrasive in their management style. Then it interviews others who looked at it and decided not to do that. "It's worth pointing out that these male rejectors have wound up where most female entrepeneurs have been all along," he writes. But he does not dare to connect the dots. Men and women are different. Every cell in their body is different. Their brains are wired up different. Some guys are MBTI Feelers, but most are Thinkers. Thinkers value Truth over "relationships." Most women are the other way around. Their values are different. Feelers need to be affirmed when they fail; Thinkers need to be told to suck it up and do it right. Steve Jobs drove Thinkers to excel, but Feelers hate that kind of management. Science and technology and the financial power structure of the world is driven by excellence.

But author Ben Austen has Clue Deficit Disorder. My father told me, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." Thinkers can and do; Feelers prefer to be told they succeeded without actually working that hard. They are the teachers and writers and actors and preachers in this country. They are the reason that among industrial nations the USA scores dead last in math and science, but first in self-esteem. Austen is apparently another Feeler, offended by truth. Near the end of the article, where he's summing up his take on the two sides ("followers" vs "rejectors") he emphasized the Feeler perspective:

Psychological studies show that abusive bosses reduce productivity, stifle creativity, and cause high rates of absenteeism, company theft, and turnover -- 25 percent of bullied employees and 20 percent of those who witness the bullying will eventually leave because of it, according to one study.
Only 25 percent? Half of American workers are Thinkers. Steve Jobs built a company of Thinkers, and that's why he succeeded so spectacularly. But we teach everybody to act like Feelers in our Feeler-dominated edu-factories. There is a place for warm fuzzies, but industry -- at least if you want to become a billion-dollar company -- is not it.

Another thing you won't find in a pagan magazine like WIRED is the Christian perspective -- not only not the pseudo-Christian Relationshipist (Feeler) point of view, but also not the Biblical teaching, which is different from Relationshipism. God is a God of Truth: He cannot lie, not to you, not to anybody. That's why His Creation was "very good" at the end of the Sixth Day. But that does not include unnecessary abuse. Austen could not find that point of balance for his article, but it's there in the Bible. We are to "tell the truth in love." Neither undeserved affirmation nor undeserved abuse. We can do it, but it takes effort and self-sacrifice -- and probably also a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit.

2012 August 13 -- MicroBudget

As a consequence of the Bush-Obama deficit (and its impact on unemployment) I'm sort of into micro-budgeting, but that's not why I happened to be seeing this flick. Well, actually it is, but in an indirect way. They didn't even say that's what this was until the end, but I had already figured it out. On a scale where "B-movies" get ranked below feature studio films, this might be a C or D, down there at the bottom with Essential Ernest (but for different reasons). The profanity and hostility to Christianity was almost a show-stopper, but that diminished after it got going; also, after my ear got tuned to their heavy British accents, it seemed to have a reasonable story, if rather immoral.

Like Cryptonomicon, the story line is somewhat revealing into the way computer hackers might think. I know enough about the technology to know they did not fudge that part. But unlike Neil Stephenson's novel, where the book's hero(es) are trying to beat the spies, this flick is from the perspective of the malcreants themselves. They know what they are doing is both immoral and unlawful, but they do it anyway. At least there's some Hitchcockian justice in the end.

If the writer-producer had shown a little more respect for theological and societal points of view other than his own, I might be inclined to recommend it. But he didn't and I won't. I suspect that's one of the things a big studio does for filmmakers, to urge them to clean up the more offensive components of their art. It was not a necessary part of this flick, except maybe to establish the evil quality of the perp (but for that purpose it was excessive).

2012 August 11 -- Finding the Archer

The church I go to has a (somewhat relaxed) King James Only policy. That's one of the reasons I never applied for membership. It makes for occasional odd moments for church members reading their Bibles. This week I got an email from one of them who noticed a substantial discrepancy in Prov.26:10 between her KJV and the more modern translations:
The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors. KJV

Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by. NIV

The differences in the back half of the verse are understandable. "Hire" is a form of reward, and "passer-by" could be related to trespassing (the Hebrew verb 'abar is used mostly for crossing over things like the Jordan river or passing through a territory, but also a dozen times it refers to violating a law or covenant).

The front half is harder to comprehend. It consists of three Hebrew words, "rab mecholel kol" the last of which generally means "all". That's the easy part. My analytical lexicon identifies the second word as an intensive participle of the root verb chul but is rather vague about that root, suggesting mostly "shake" which might be where the KJV translators got "formed" (as in "shake together"). Perhaps the modern translators see their mythical archer as shaking his bow in random directions.

Ah, the archer. The primary sense of rab is "many" or "multiply" and by extension sometimes "chief" or "expert". There are two verses in the Bible (Job 16:13, Jer.50:29) where this word is used in connection with qesheth which means only "bow" everywhere else (67 times). Both of these two verses are poetry, and the idea "expert [of] bow" is reasonably translated as "archer" in those two cases. From this tenuous connection, the modern translators convert the word "chief" or "many" into "archer" but their translation seems to have ignored the kol "all". Maybe they assume this archer is wounding everybody with his shaking.

We have a problem trying to understand poetry -- especially poetry in some other language long dead -- and Proverbs is poetry. Words change meaning, or take on extended senses. For example, in street English, the word "bad" means "very good," probably from being substituted for an obscene word which in context meant "excessively". So it's conceivable that rav could have taken on the meaning "archer" but absent better attestation, I'm inclined to doubt it.

Literally, the verse says:

Many/chief shaker of all, and pay [a] fool and pay over-steppers.
The Hebrew conjunction is rather broader than the English word "and" but I still think the KJV better fits the Hebrew as we know it.

It is said of Robert Browning concerning one of his poems, "When that passage was written, only God and Robert Browning understood it. Now, only God understands it." Poetry is like that. Some of Scripture may be like that.

Bookmark this item
Additional thoughts, after the weekend

2012 August 9 -- No Moral Dilemma

Anti-Christian philosophers and their lapdogs like to pose moral dilemmas to prove that there is no such thing as moral absolutes. They are wrong, of course. The movie "The Box" explores such a conundrum. The advantage of a movie or video is that the director can force your thoughts along at his pace, so you don't have time to consider all the implications. That's how our culture propagates its propaganda lies, via YouTube videos. This was a Hollywood movie, which is the same thing, except the customer pays to be indoctrinated. I got it from the library, so it didn't cost me anything except the gas to drive there and back, plus a few pennies in taxes.

The dilemma: press the red button on the eponymous box and you get a million dollars in cash "tax free," but somebody you don't know dies. The movie follows one couple. She has a medical problem, and he didn't get the promotion he was hoping for, and their son's tuition credit at a private school is about to end. They aren't broke, but like most Americans, they have not used the resources they have wisely. The movie doesn't say that nor give you reason to believe it, because their financial problems are supposed to help you empathize with them in the dilemma. With the clarity of hindsight, it's easier to see the contradictions in this story.

First, how can it be tax-free? They are not supposed to tell anybody, but once they start spending that kind of cash, people -- including the IRS -- will start asking questions. They will owe taxes on it. I guess they could file a ScheduleC and declare it as income and pay their taxes, without saying where it came from. The only way it can be tax-free is if the giver paid gift tax on it, which the IRS must be able to check. Well, half a million is still a sizable chunk of cash.

Then there is the person who allegedly dies. The problem is, every half-second somebody you don't know dies somewhere in the world, whether you push the button or not. Who's to say that pushing the button did it? The man in the black car said it. Maybe he was lying.

Seriously, moral dilemmas are evil, and from God's perspective, the people who pose them are evil. Pushing the red button didn't kill anybody -- we watched the guy in the movie take the bottom off the box, and there was nothing there. Some other person (in the movie it was the previous couple to push the button), that other person made his own moral choice and pulled the trigger on a gun that killed somebody shortly after the button was pushed. The movie builds on the feelings of guilt in the person who pushed the button.

I refuse to feel guilty for what I am not responsible for. The guy in the black car is perpetrating a moral dilemma, therefore he is evil. Evil people are liars, so he is probably lying about the connection of the button to somebody's death. End of guilt.

That doesn't mean I would push the button.

The love of money is the root of all evil, so I should not let the offer of a million dollars make my decision, even if the guy is "probably" lying about the consequences. But there's a good chance I wouldn't even get that far.

The box is delivered in an unmarked package left on their porch at five in the morning. The man rang the doorbell and drove off as they opened the door. I don't have a doorbell. I don't even use the front door, and packages left there are likely to get rained on a couple times before I even see them. If you want to send me a package, you must mail it to my PO Box, and it will have a return address (or the post office won't accept it). If I see an unmarked box on my doorstep, I'm likely to ask the police to send their bomb squad. Or I might just transfer it unopened to the garbage can. If you are too ashamed to let me know who you are, then I don't want your gift.

I did that once. A $100 bill arrived in a greeting card with no signature and no return address, but I recognized his handwriting, so I deposited it in his bank account. I don't know if he figured it out, and I don't much care. If you call me with your phone number blocked, I will grant your wish for me to not know who is calling -- by not answering. I can do that, and I do.

Or maybe in the thick of it, I wouldn't take the time to think out what is going on. In the movie, everybody who was given the opportunity pushed the button. Obviously the writer, like Diogenes, did not think much of American integrity. It seems he also was a misogynist, because it was always the wife who pushed it. Most modern fiction puts women into more virtuous roles. It's all fiction.

2012 August 8 -- The Ultra Holy City

It's the sort of article I would expect to find in TIME magazine, complaining about the "ultra-Orthodox" Jews taking over Jerusalem. You will not find any such article about fundamentalist Mormons taking over Salt Lake City, because there are no Mormons on the editorial staff of TIME. You might find an article about Sunni Muslims taking over Bagdad, but you'll never see anything about atheists taking over Washington DC, because the atheists on the TIME editorial staff would approve of such a takeover.

The article explains what is happening, but presents it in a very negative light. There may be a disproportionate number of Jews on the TIME editorial staff, but they are cultural, not religious Jews. Like all atheists everywhere, they resent the ideas that religious people have rights and that we don't kill our children. If I were a Darwinist, I could point out that atheists are evolutionarily "unfit" compared to religious people. But if I were a Darwinist, I would be an atheist, so that fact would be as distasteful to me as it surely must be to them.

God always has the last laugh.

2012 August 7 -- Contentment

Three insignificant events all in the same day seem somehow connected by what none of them mentioned.

A week ago I mentioned reading Randy Alcorn's "predictable, sugar-coated, preachy" (his words, quoting a critic) fiction. As promised, I finished the story, and was surprised to find an email address in the epilog. I think he was hoping for "unsolicited" letters of praise of the kind that already littered the first two pages. Silly me! I thought he might be interested in dialog -- you know, two people interacting as equals. There are no equals. How does that line go? "Some [people] are more equal than others."

I have this friend, and we sometimes email our activities back and forth ("iron sharpens iron," also known as dialog) so I sent him a copy of what I sent to Alcorn, and he reminded me that I'm a lousy salesman (which is true, but that's another story), and if I want to convince people to publish my novel, I need to be more positive. I call it "Relationshipism" which values affirmation (flattery) over truth. My friend has recently realized that he's actually in sales and wants to become more so, so this is a hot topic between us.

Out of this discussion came my realization that the ("Christian" especially, but probably all) publishers are Relationshipists. They would rather publish a "predictable, sugar-coated, preachy, and poorly written" novel from an author they know than a good book from somebody they don't know. I have a published textbook in computer science. I wrote it but I share the byline with a former student who earned his percentage of the royalties by knowing (and being known by) the publisher.

Randy Alcorn somehow got his book on Heaven published. As a pastor in the neighborhood of the publisher, perhaps he got to know (and more importantly, be known by) an editor. It wasn't a great book, but it wasn't bad. Like many authors, who only write one book but sell it many times under different titles, he sliced and diced the less Biblical portions of Heaven and wove his fiction around the pieces. Maybe a little I'm looking for name recognition that can get my foot in the door to being published. I'm also looking for help in getting the quality up to where somebody is willing to read it. Criticism can do that, but it's not Relationshipistic and nobody wants to offer such a service. So I remain a nobody. How does that line go? "I've been rich, and I've been poor. Rich is better." The same applies to fame. Been there, done that. Rich and famous is better, but this is where God has put me, and I need to accept that.

Anyway, out of this discussion, my friend sent me a reference to some new book Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous. You don't need to read the book, the title+author says it all. Here's this famous Christian author writing about something he has not known for many years -- I know that, because it wouldn't even be published and promoted if he were not already famous -- which contradicts the very fame that got him in the door. I don't need to embrace obscurity, it was thrust upon me. What I (and this nameless author alike) need to do is accept ("embrace") what God has given us. Sometimes that's fame and wealth. More often it's obscurity and less money. I can't say poverty, at least not in the USA and not in my case, because we/I'm still more wealthy than 90% of the people in the world, including probably a lot of people in this country. I don't make as much money as they do, but I try to handle what I have wisely -- which is why I hate ObamaCare so much, but that's another story.

The third thing was the movie I got out of the library. Checking movies out of the library costs only the gas to drive over there and back. When the weather permits, I can bicycle. This flick, "The Bucket List" was about making a list of the things you want to do "before you kick the bucket." It's a nice story with Morgan Freeman (who's an awesome actor) playing the lower-middle-class Nice Guy with six months to live and dissatisfied with his accomplishments. He shares his hospital room with a greedy SOB rich guy who happens to own the hospital chain, but it would look bad if he had a private room ("two beds in every room, no exceptions"). And because this is fiction, Mr.Nice Guy gets to do all the things on his Bucket List at the rich guy's expense. Pure fiction. The world is not like that, but the writer urges us to wish for it anyway. Yes, he really did, and said so in the little "Making Of" add-on. I thought about it, but I don't have a Bucket List. I had my 15 minutes of fame (twice) and my 6-digit income (once), and it was nice. My goal back then was "to die broke" so nobody would fight over the leftovers. It's actually quite hard to do without risking becoming a burden, but maybe God is giving me my wish.

I don't have a Bucket List because I want to practice contentment. I don't have to hide behind "Anonymous" when I write, because I don't lust after what I cannot have -- be it fame or Obscurity. I want to practice contentment. I give due diligence to doing what I think are good things to do, but if I fail, I fail.


2012 August 6 -- WhiteHouse 4 Sale

The cover of the latest issue of TIME offers the WhiteHouse for sale, "Asking: $2.5 Billion". Predictably they mostly whine about the Republican SuperPACs, and how that is supposed to deny Americans a fair election. I guess they assume that American citizens are "poor, uneducated, and easy to lead" (that's a line from the left-wing bigot media, one of TIME's sister publications).

Hey guys, people vote for whoever they want to vote for. If you don't want them to be persuaded by lies on the tube, educate them! But no, the left-wing bigots don't want to do that. They like the money they get from the teachers' unions. And the unions like the money they get from anti-competitive laws, where the highest-paid teachers (DC) do the worst job of teaching, and nobody is allowed to compete against them.

The article also neglects to tell us about all the unreported "free speech" campaigning done by the left-wing media barons (including TIME, but not excluding the TV news editors), which regularly slant the news to favor their preferred political party agenda. This same issue of TIME reports "Mitt Romney's gaffes" and "mobilizing huge numbers of people, which is one of the things the Obama campaign ... does well." Plusses for Obama, and negatives for Romney.

What else is new? I told you their game plan in March, and they are sticking to it. But they don't want the government to limit their own freedom to campaign for their political agenda, they only want their opponents limited. Two years ago King SCOTUS chose otherwise. The left-wing bigots don't often lose in court, but they sure can whine when they do.

2012 August 4 -- Lies & Liars

The TV I inherited from my late mother died, and along with it, the VCR player, so now I am restricted to checking out 2 (DVD) movies at a time from the library. Rather that increase the number of times each week I leave the house, I went back to downloading movies from One of the larger flicks I started to watch today while awaiting a long compile started off slowly by claiming all religions are run by liars. That's rather a broad brush to be painting people, and I know some of the people in one religion, and I know they are not liars, but its detractors usually have less evidence than Christianity does. Besides, my BS Detector successfully uses the willingness to accuse people of lies as one of the tell-tale signals of a liar ("it takes one to know one").

When the flick started saying that every ancient religion had a god born of a virgin on December 25 and numerous other "facts" identical to the Christian tradition, it seemed too fantastical to be true. In 3000BC the Egyptians probably didn't even have a month corresponding to December. So I Googled "Horus birth date" and after skipping over some obvious anti-Christian rants apparently getting their facts from modern sources (like this movie), I found one that at least mentioned the ancient source documents: "Is there any validity to the Zeitgeist movie?" Admittedly, it's a Christian website, but at least the ideas presented as true were offered as drawn from ancient Egyptian documents, and it did not play loose with the Christian facts I know to be true, like that nothing in the Bible even mentions a date for Jesus' birth.

I didn't bother to finish the movie.

If you want to convince me that my religion is a pack of lies, you need to start by convincing me that you are not yourself lying. Presenting as if they were true facts, things which I have or can independently disprove is not a good start. I did my homework; unless you do yours, you are fighting a lost cause.

2012 August 2 -- Balancing Darwin vs Creation

ChristianityToday tries very hard not to take sides on issues they do not consider crucial to Evangelical Christian faith, and mostly they succeed. Their political coverage is remarkably well-balanced, neither pro-Republican nor pro-Democrat, despite that they are often and explicitly pro-life -- that is, against abortions; they refrain from taking sides on capital punishment. The cover story on the current issue is one of those efforts, this time with respect to "what happened in the beginning," and mostly it succeeds.

Mostly. This article insists on muddying the term "Creationist" by redefining it to encompass the Darwinist perspective of one of their protagonists. That's slightly less than honest, in my opinion. If they want to use the term to refer to the opinion that God created the individual species out of nothing in separate creative acts over a period of millions of years, I won't complain, but fish slowly evolving into humans is not "creation" whether God did it directly or indirectly using time + chance + natural causes.

The author also shows some imbalance in his choice of representatives. For the Darwinists he picked Darrel Falk, who currently heads up BioLogos, the Christian-Darwinist initiative started by world-famous geneticist Francis Collins, but for the Creationists he chose an unknown working in a tiny college without even funds for a decent lab. Maybe the better-known Creationists refused to participate. I don't know, but I can't exactly fault them for disliking what they might have correctly inferred about the result.

I think we might be able to achieve civil discourse if we could bring to a single table partisans from both sides who are willing to examine and sign their name to all objective evidence brought by either side. They can then put their respective different interpretations on that evidence, but the testable facts can be agreed on. Until then, it appears that the Darwinists refuse to say anything about the contrary evidence the Creationists cite, and vice-versa. The CT article is not such a table, it only tells their respective stories, mediated by a guy who is not a scientist and probably doesn't care which is ultimately right. There is no science in this CT article, only the personal histories of two people, plus some of the polemics being thrown about.

The problem is that unlike policy questions such as whether to kill children or criminals, or whether to prefer the political package of one party or the other, the question of where we came from is a matter of fact, not opinion. We collectively may not know for sure whether we evolved from slime over millions of years or were created as two living breathing humans with no parents, but exactly one of those happened regardless of our opinions about it. The people who argue for each side are necessarily convinced that the other side is factually and scientifically in error. Scientists and theologians alike care about truth, and there is only one truth.

Once the facts get laid on the table, and if it starts to clearly show that one side or the other is wrong, then the polemicists from the other side are likely to try to sabotage the process and conceal the truth. That may be happening already today, but we have no way of knowing until at least one side addresses all of the data. Neither side is doing that. It's like they are both afraid of the truth. Or maybe, like the CT article, one side lacks the funds to consider all the data, while the other side has the funds but (for whatever reason) refuses to do so.

From my perspective, that looks really bad for the Darwinists.

Bookmark this item

2012 August 1 -- Acts of God Against the President

I guess it was a few years ago now that I read an interesting commentary tying three major storms that devastated the respective home states of three successive sitting presidents at exactly the time each President was betraying the interests of Israel in international negotiations. In each case the storm was unprecedented and centered on that one home state. The first of those was the "perfect storm" that hit the first President Bush's home in New England and inspired the movie by that name. Then came tornados in Arkansas and heavy rains in Texas.

When Obama started doing similar things a year or two ago, I wondered what natural disaster would hit Illinois.

It isn't at "the exact same time" but it's curious how the present drought has hit the whole country. The media uses weaselly words like "severe", "extreme" and "exceptional" which mostly mean "bad" without any obvious quantitative significance, and show maps of the USA with orange and red and brown or black splotches covering the drought areas. The most revealing is a sequence of four maps over a period of several years in the current TIME magazine. Three states in the extreme northeast are white (unaffected) throughout the whole time presented. Four states -- Illinois and its neighbors to the east -- are white every year except 2012. The WORLD magazine map, differently colored by the same weaselly color-words, shows only Colorado more completely covered in red (or darker, meaning worse) than Illinois, but Colorado shows drought in every previous (TIME) map. "Drought" happens. They complain about it almost every year I've been here in the State of Misery, where we see more rain in a "drought" year than California sees in an abnormally wet year. But Illinois does seem to have gotten it worse than the other states when compared to previous years.

Earlier this year
Last year
Complete Blog Index
Itty Bitty Computers home page