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Showing posts from June, 2009

Devotional Thoughts: ... beyond our reach ...

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Elihu makes his closing remarks ...

At this my heart pounds
and leaps from its place.
Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar;
he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
he holds nothing back.
God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
So that all men he has made may know his work,
he stops every man from his labor.
The animals take cover;
they remain in their dens.
The tempest comes out from its chamber,
the cold from the driving winds.
The breath of God produces ice,
and the broad waters become frozen.
He loads the clouds with moisture;
he scatters his lightning through them.
A…

Sports: USA 2 Spain 0

Unbelievable!!

Team USA Men's Soccer had been pretty much left for dead after the pasting they took at the hands of Brazil in game 2 of their group in the Confederation Cup. But a stunning big win over Egypt and a total collapse by Italy allowed the USA to back into the semi-finals where they were expected to be a speed bump for #1 ranked Spain who hadn't lost since 2006.

I wandered over to the student union to see if it was on the big screen TV to catch the last 20 minutes of the game and there were about 200 watching!

Some think the US team doesn't have the talent of the rest of the world while others think they have the talent but not the mental toughness.

Perhaps, the program has turned a corner?

U - S - A, U - S - A, U - S - A !!!

Economics: Health Care Reform

I've always been told that you can't have it all.

In health care, there is a blend of access, cost and quality.

If you want full access for everyone and good quality, it will cost a fortune.

If you want affordable care then you have to give up some quality or access (denial of some services) or both.

Seems to me the main complaint about our current system here in the USA is that if you have pre-existing conditions, coverage is either denied or very expensive or if your company doesn't offer coverage, it is too expensive to buy on your own.

I suppose the government could change the regulations to prevent denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. I'm sure the insurance companies would resist that but if they had no choice but to cover all applicants, they would jack up the premiums for everyone to help cover the cost of those new more "expensive" customers.

The so called "Obamacare" or "public option" would essentially do the same thing: r…

World: What will happen in Iran?

A week and a half ago, it was 20 years since the June 4 "incident" when the Chinese government sent in the tanks to end protests in Beijing.

Today, the situation in Iran feels vaguely similar as a long oppressed people are protesting a totalitarian government.

There is no way to know what will happen or for sure what is actually happening because the government controls so much of what goes on in Iran.

UPDATE: Foreign media banned from covering protests.

But unlike China in 1989, there is the internet.

Andrew Sullivan links to some YouTube videos of what is happening over there.





Hugh Hewitt devoted his entire 3 hour radio show to bringing on guests who have either some knowledge of Iran or world affairs in general.

As an American of Chinese ancestry, I had hopes for the protests in China in 1989 and do hope that some day in the future those brave souls will be publicly honored as heroes in the streets of Beijing.

My mind tells me that totalitarian governments don't give up pow…

Sports: 15 - 10 - 4, LA Lakers Win the NBA Championship

15th title for the Lakers.

10th championship for Coach Jackson.

4th NBA Finals Series victory for Kobe Bryant.

99-86 Lakers over Magic.

Congratulations to the NBA Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers!

News: You be the editor

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Was scrolling through the news web pages just now (around 5:45 pm on a Saturday afternoon)...







If you were the news editor, what news item would you be featuring as the "big story" of the moment?

I realize, web based news headlines probably change pretty frequently. But I thought it was interesting that at this particular moment, all 5 web pages had different "top stories." Defining "top story," in this context is the one with the largest photo. I suppose that right there is one problem with "headline" news editing: do we have compelling images to put up?

I think the Iranian election story is pretty big. How do some of the news web pages cover it?

ABC featured the protests after the Iranian elections.

CBS had a economics hard time story though the Iranian election was featured in a smaller photo to the upper right.

Fox had a story on the selling of military aircraft with a text item in the upper right about the Iranian elections.

MSNBC had an item …

Business: Palazzo Pizza and Pasta, Glendale, CA

I help out with the youth group at my church and so I've bought some pizza on a couple of occasions.

I could have gone with a national chain but I thought I'd try one of the local stores.

Palazzo Pizza and Pasta
233 1/2 North Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203
818-500-8485

I give it thumbs up! Good pizza, friendly service and reasonable prices.

As of Saturday 13 June 2009, what do the "voters" on the internets say?

5 out of 6 at Urbanspoon.com gave it a thumbs up.

3 mixed reviews over at Yelp.

1 positive review at Citysearch.

8 positive "Rah" comments at BooRah.com.

World: Spin of the globes trouble spots

I'd hate to be working for the US State Department or any foreign ministry of a major country.

There are so many trouble spots in the world that could blow up!

North Korea has the bomb and is lobbing missiles while starving its own people. What can anybody do?

Making an analogy, if someone was holed up in their house randomly shooting a gun into the street while starving their kids, the police would surround the house and try to talk that someone into dropping the gun and letting the kids out. And if that didn't work, at some point they would probably raid the house.

But you can't "raid the house" when that country has nukes and an army of 700,000.

I suppose a strike on nuclear facilities is a possibility. But the fact that that hasn't been done suggests to me that in this case, it is probably too hard for it to be successful.

In 1981, the Israelis hit the Iraq nuclear plant at Osirak.

In 2007, Israeli hit a Syrian nuclear plant.

My impression is that if one i…

Science: WHO declares pandemic

It's official.

Excerpts:

GENEVA - The World Health Organization has told its member nations it is declaring a swine flu pandemic - the first global flu epidemic in 41 years.

The move came Thursday as infections climbed in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere.

In a statement sent to member countries, WHO says it decided to raise the pandemic alert level from phase 5 to 6, meaning that a global outbreak of swine flu has begun. The decision was made after the U.N. health agency held an emergency meeting on swine flu with its experts.
.........
In Edinburgh, Sturgeon told lawmakers that a WHO announcement means countries should immediately activate their pandemic plans.

"A move to level 6 is not a verdict on the severity of the virus," she said. "It simply means that the extent of global spread now fulfills the definition of a pandemic."

It would be the first flu pandemic in 41 years, since the Hong Kong flu of 1968.

As long as there isn't …

Sports: Who is running the NHL?

Hmm... game 6 of the Stanley Cup is on the same night as game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Wonder what genius in the NHL came up with that plan?

I watched game 1 on TV the other weekend. I had forgotten how much fun and how FAST hockey is to watch!

World: Sometimes war in the answer?

Pakistani villagers fighting the Taliban.

Excerpt:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Hundreds of Pakistani villagers who have formed an anti-Taliban militia battled for the fourth day Tuesday to remove the Islamic militants from a region of northwest Pakistan.

The Pakistani military is supporting the militia, or "lashkar," in Upper Dir district on the request of local officials and tribal elders, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told CNN.

Outraged over a suicide attack on a local mosque during Friday prayers, about 400 residents formed the militia early Saturday and began battling Taliban militants. The attack on the anti-Taliban mosque killed at least 40 people and wounded 80 others.

When it is possible, peaceful means should be used to resolve problems. But sometimes, people have to stand up and say, enough, we aren't going to take this anymore.

Hats off to these brave Pakistani villagers!

Economics: What will the health care reform plan look like?

There are the occasional stories about what the program might look like.

There is the "pay or play" of mandating businesses to offer health plans or pay into a government fund.

What might that government fund do?

Perhaps provide tax credits for people to buy their own insurance.

Perhaps fund a government insurance program like Medicare except it would be for those pre-retirement age.

Would taxing businesses be enough?

Another idea going around is taxing the health benefits of individuals that are currently offered pre-tax through employment. I'm told that the reason for the linkage of insurance benefits as part of employment compensation was a "historical accident" when companies wanted to bypass wage controls.

It could be a combination of all of this.

If you are a free-marketeer seeing this tidal wave coming which plan would you support?

In the end, the government sponsored bankruptcy of Chrysler and the majority control of shares in the GM bankruptcy might be small p…

Sports: Sunday Sports Round-Up

Big sports day in Los Angeles.

Lakers take on Miami in game two of the NBA finals at Staples Center in downtown LA. Coverage on ABC-TV. Some fans think the Lakers have this thing in the bag. Not so fast. It was just one game. In any case, observers like Adande are saying that the Laker's Odom might be a key piece to winning it all. Excerpt:

In his past three games, which have gone down as the Lakers' three best performances of the playoffs, Odom had 19 points and 14 rebounds in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, 20 and eight in Game 6, then 11 and 14 in Game 1 of the Finals. Money-making time, right?
.......
"If [money] was the case, I would just shoot; I would try to get 20 points," Odom said. "Right now, it's not really what's important. What's important is for us to win the championship. Everybody's happy after that."

Sometimes it takes another player to appreciate just what it's like to compete under these circumstances. Lakers g…

World: 65 years ago ...

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image source: http://webserver.mcl.org/subj/bibdday.html

Eisenhower's remarks to the troops on D-day:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to w…

Sports: Dodgers by the numbers

Dodgers fans are pretty happy considering the early injuries and the big 50 game suspension that has sidelined the Mannywood Show.

The 37-19 record is the best in the MLB.

But a look behind the numbers show that the Dodgers have been beating up on the Western Division teams: 25-9!

Outside of that the Dodgers are a mere 12-10!

The Phillies who beat them in the NLCS are 32-20 overall with a 17-11 record against their Eastern Division siblings. Outside that group, they are 15-9!

The Angels who took the recent Freeway series are 27-25 overall but looking only at out of division they are 18-13.

Of course, long suffering Dodger fans always know there is always trouble just around the corner and find reasons to be concerned. That vague sense does have some numerical basis!

World: 20 years ago ...

Security tight in Tiananmen on 20th anniversary.

The story behind the iconic photo of the lone man.

Richard Roth remembers reporting from the scene by cell phone.



It was his reports played on the radio on KNX-1070 where I first heard of the military crackdown.

BBC news report (text) from 20 years ago by Kate Adie and video clip of her on the scene.

Kate Adie went to China this past May and shares having to evade security police to conduct interviews.

Un-narrated footage from CBS cameraman Brian Robbins.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Economics: GM no longer General Motors now Government Motors

Though Chrysler isn't owned by the US Government like General Motors, the deal that was structured was dictated by the government.

I wonder what the bankruptcy deal for Chrysler would have looked like if the Feds had kept their hands off?

Likewise, what would a restructured GM look like if the Feds had kept their hands off?

Instead, we have the Federal Government in the auto business.

It is now Government Motors.

Here is an article itemizing what is wrong with this picture.

Excerpts:
If Obama has no interest in running GM or the car industry, why did he support onerous and expensive social engineering via fuel standards at the time when the auto industry and consumers were suffering most?

If Obama has no interest in running GM, why did his administration bankroll and nationalize the company while perpetuating the myth that it could save it, after nearly every expert on the planet understood its fate was bankruptcy?

If the administration has no interest in making "difficult decisions,&…