Friday, September 30, 2005

Prevention Magazine Weighs in on CHOCOLATE - DARK CHOCOLATE

If you're passionate about something, shouldn't you just let it all hang out. I really believe that everyone should be eating one or two servings of dark chocolate every day. At least once per week another article or study comes out saying the same thing.

Now Prevention Magazine joins the chorus with a Fantastic article on the subject. It covers all the basics that you have seen elsewhere on this blog, here, here, and over here. But it goes one step further with some amazing looking recipes. You don't have to buy a copy, just jog over to their website and see the article here

In case you aren't convinced yet, this is how the article starts out:

If it hasn't occurred to you to toss chocolate shavings into a salad, shake cocoa powder over a bowl of popcorn, or serve chicken with a savory chocolate mole sauce, now might be a good time to ask yourself the question why.

These ideas are just the beginning. Check it outhere.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Truth About Deficits

Imagine quoting the LA Times again. Who'da thunk it? However, for the record, the LA Times said on Sunday September 25, 2005:

Besides, deficits are relative. The 2004 budget deficit was $412 billion, a record in dollar terms. But it amounted to 3.6% of the U.S. economy overall as measured by gross domestic product. By contrast, the 1983 deficit was 6% of GDP; the 1992 deficit was 4.7% of GDP.

It's not surprising bond investors would have been more nervous about red ink in the 1980s and early '90s; it was consuming more of the economic pie.

Here are the stats for deficits as a percent of GDP. Please note that current numbers are around the average, and they are projected to drop. While a fiscal conservative, like me, would like to see them drop, and turn to surpluses, they are not that bad given war and a recent recession.

1962 -1.2
1963 -0.8
1964 -0.9
1965 -0.2
1966 -0.5
1967 -1.1
1968 -3.0
1969 0.4

1970 -0.3
1971 -2.1
1972 -2.0
1973 -1.2
1974 -0.4
1975 -3.3
1976 -4.1
1977 -2.7
1978 -2.7
1979 -1.6

1980 -2.7
1981 -2.5
1982 -3.7
1983 -5.6
1984 -4.7
1985 -5.1
1986 -5.0
1987 -3.2
1988 -3.1
1989 -2.9

1990 -3.9
1991 -4.4
1992 -4.5
1993 -3.8
1994 -2.9
1995 -2.2
1996 -1.4
1997 -0.3
1998 0.8
1999 1.4

2000 2.5
2001 1.3
2002 -1.5
2003 -3.4
2004 -3.5

Monday, September 26, 2005

How Do You Feel About Math

Having just posted two articles having to do with polling, here is a really interesting, funny, short subject on the issue of math. Specifically it deals with the average American's problems with knowing much about, or being able to reason adequately with regard to math issues.

The problem even has a name, innumeracey, or math illiteracy. How can we be wise voters, make good decisions about how to educate our children, etc., if we can't do the math? I highly recommend you click and read this short subject.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Very, Very Good Blogs

I know I've mentioned him before, but since he still gets 50 times more hits a day than I do, he must be worth another mention. Do yourself a favor and become a regular at Http://

He offers a very "out of the box" way of looking at things.

While your at it, another political blog worth checking is In this case, it is more for his wry sense of humor.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Racial Mix of Military Fatalities - LA Times

Normally, I'm not going to copy an entire article. However, I think the LA Times takes these articles down after a few days, so if they sue me they sue me.

Whites Account for Most of Military's Fatalities
# African Americans are 17% of the troops and were 9% of the dead, a study says. Hispanics, who are 9% of force, were 10% of those killed.

By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer

The majority of soldiers and Marines killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were young, white, enlisted personnel from active-duty units, according to a study released Friday by the federal Government Accountability Office.

The demographic study involved 1,841 service personnel who were killed and 12,658 who were wounded, as of May 28.

Whites, who constitute 67% of the active-duty and reserve forces, accounted for 71% of the fatalities. African Americans are 17% of the overall force and were 9% of the fatalities. Hispanics are 9% of the force and were 10% of the fatalities.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are 3% of the force and were 3% of the fatalities. American Indian/Alaskan Natives are 1% in each category. The race of the remaining fatalities was listed as "multiple or unknown."

For whites, the percentage of deaths was the lowest since the Defense Department began keeping such statistics. In Korea, 80% of fatalities were white, in Vietnam, 86%, and in the Persian Gulf War, 76%.

The statistical report was requested by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.). The majority of the report deals with a racial breakdown of U.S. forces by job category and rank for each of the services.

Skelton and Rangel wanted the report to further discussion of the nation's all-volunteer approach to military service.

Rangel has suggested the nation may need to return to a draft so that the burden of military service in wartime is equally shared.

The report appears to support the contention that service in the military reserves is most attractive to young men living in low- or medium-income families in rural communities.

Of the 482 reservists who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan as of May 28), most were from low- or medium-income communities.

About 80% were from rural and urban communities, whereas 18% were from the suburbs. The report warns that issues of ethnicity and socioeconomic status can be difficult to determine without strict definitions and a process to ensure that definitions are uniformly applied.

The report recommends that the Defense Department increase its efforts to gather information about the socioeconomic background of recruits so that it can provide annual reports on the active and reserve components. The department has agreed to the recommendation, the report says.

The Truth About Abortion - How Do Americans Really Feel?

We all understand, I think, that there is great potential for abuse in polling. The pollsters can ask questions in certain ways to put pressure on the person being polled to answer in the way they think the pollster wants them to answer. The list can be poorly created so as to give bias to certain parts of the country, city vs suburbs, men vs women, old vs young, etc. And the raw statistical information can be interpreted to get the answer desired by the pollster. An easy way to do this is to only report the results of questions that agree with the pollsters point of view.

One way for the citizen to get closer to the truth is to see the same basic question asked by many pollsters over many years. This may result in contradictions, confirmation, or even trends over time.

The following truths about Abortion seem to be born out by virtually every poll. I am prepared to make changes in this post based on comments or e-mails pointing me to other polls.

1. Most Americans do not believe that abortion should be easily available after the first trimester.
2. The vast majority of Americans believe that there should be parental notification before a teen is allowed to have an abortion.
3. The vast majority of Americans favor restrictions on abortions
4. Only a very small percentage of Americans believe that a woman should be able to have an abortion for any reason at any time during the pregnancy.
5. Most Americans would allow abortions during the first trimester for rape, incest, and health risk to the mother.

When you hear political candidates or television commentators saying the opposite of these truths, it would only be common sense to doubt that they tell the truth the rest of the time.

These truths about American's feelings on this issue doesn't necessarily mean that we should change laws. We are a democratic Republic which recognizes that the majority can be wrong, and that statesmanship by the leaders requires ignoring the majority sometimes. Therefore, this particular truth is posted merely to answer the specific question posed in the title.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Truth About Abortion Opinions

The name of this blog is The Truth About Everything. I knew from day one that his would sound a bit ostentatious. Who is this guy who thinks he knows the truth about anything, much less everything?

I suppose its time to tell the origin of the name, because I'm going to create a new section on this site specifically to deal with the "truth."

All information has bias. Scientists will say that they create theories or come up with laws that state truth. However, even 2+2=4 depends on a subjective system of numbering and symbols that only work because we all agree with that system and its definitions. This is not the same as the philosophical argument that nothing really exists, its all in our minds. It is only a recognition that the only way we can discuss truth is through shared notions, and this starts with symbols and definitions.

We can all agree with most of math. We can all agree with 26 letters in the English alphabet, and that when you arrange those letters to spell "house cat," those letters become a noun describing a domesticated mammal of a certain description. If you tell me that those letters describe a large wild animal with horns and tusks, we can't really have a conversation about house cats, can we?

Thus it is with most discussions about God, politics, science, even disagreements among friends about who did what to whom. You say what I did was rude. I say what I did was appropriately confrontational. We disagree about the word rude," so it is hard to get to the actual action until we agree on the word.

So my goal is going to be to carefully construct some truths about a few subjects. I am a right wing Christian who happens to be lilly white, heterosexual, and married with kids. I'm a business owner, home owner, and city dweller. All of these things will tend to color my opinions. I am going to try to get right in the center of some controversial topics and get as close to truth as possible. In so doing, I may be stating things as truth that don't line up with my personal opinion of "right" or "wrong." Thus I might step on some toes. Lets start with the most controversial subject in America today. Abortion on demand.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Why Would Anyone Want to be a Christian?

Ask the average Christian and they will probably tell you that they are a Christian because they were born that way or because they had some kind of experience. A few might be a bit more thoughtful and start considering things like the social advantage to going along with a friend or sweetheart. Or others might point to having some problems they thought they might solve by going to church.

A corollary question might be: why would anyone continue in the Christian faith: I propose that many or most come to faith in Jesus at least partly for practical reasons, and that everyone who is a Christian is constantly considering the practical reasons for remaining so.

To read more, start here

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Why $200 Billion for New Orleans?

And that's just the Federal Giverments part. That doesn't count insurance money ($40-$60B), and state, local, private money that is going into the area that was hard hit by Katrina. I'm trying my best to hear any pundit explain any of the details of these wild numbers. So far I found this:

White House officials have told Congress that the $51.8 billion approved late last week will only get the disaster relief effort through the first week of October, and senior congressional appropriations aides have told the White House they need to see the next request next week. Republicans say the next bill could top $50 billion.

But the scale of the disaster has not even come into focus, largely because many agencies have not been allowed into the disaster zone to assess the damage, according to congressional appropriations aides.

Nearly 1,000 drinking water and sewer systems -- 391 in Mississippi, 606 in Louisiana and one in Alabama -- remain shut down. Repairing and rebuilding such systems could cost between $3 billion and $10 billion, much of it on the tab of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Even before Katrina struck, the federal highway emergency relief fund faced a $120 million backlog of road repairs. Between crumbled bridges and washed-out highways, the fund's deficit will be in the billions, said appropriations aides.

The Air Force will be seeking up to $4 billion to repair damaged Gulf State facilities, a House Appropriations Committee aide said. Another $2 billion to $4 billion will be needed to finance the mobilization of the National Guard, the evacuation of military personnel and military family support programs. Damage to national parks, forests and wildlife refuges are estimated to be as high as $300 million.

On Wednesday, the spending continued as the Senate approved a measure to provide emergency housing vouchers to more than 350,000 families made homeless by the hurricane. Any displaced family regardless of income would be eligible for the program, expected to cost $3.5 billion over six months.

Here is a bold prediction. For once the US government is way, way, way overstating what is needed, cashwise, to rebuild this area.

For starters, water and sewage system repairs $3-$10B. That's quite an estimate. Only $7 Billion in question. They don't have to rebuy the land, just fix what is broken. This isn't an estimate. Somebody just picked two numbers.

The roads and bridges will cost a lot. But note the article doesn't even make a prediction. Billions, maybe. Many billions, not.

$4B to fix Air Force installation. Hopefully they flew the jets to safe ground. Again, they don't have to buy the ground. What could you buy for $4B?

350,000 homeless families. There was only 1.5 million people in all of greater New Orleans. Are they all going to be homeless for 6 month. Use that figure. Lets give each family $1000 per month whether they need it or not. That would be $350,000,000
per month for six months or about $2B. $1000 tax free goes a long way in the South. Some of those families are singles or just 2 people. But why would we give $1000 a month to folks who are already on public assistance, Social Security, government pensions, etc. That has to be a big percentage of the people who will be displaced for any lengthy period of time. So lets say $1B including admin.

Maybe some of you can help me figure this out. But as stated earlier with smaller numbers, take the $250 billion and subtract $150B (a ridiculous amount) for infrastructure, government involvement and installations, and business losses, leaving $100B for the folks. If even 1 million were really hit hard (and I think the number is far less) you have $100,000 per person or $400,000 for a family of 4. Why don't we just give out checks for $100,000 to each person so affected and let them spend it any way they want.

Am I wrong here?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Avon Cancer Walk

My incredible wife, Pam (right), and her wild and crazy sister, Denise during the recent LA Beaches Marathon Walk. The over 1000 women and a few men who walked that day raised in excess of $3,000,000 towards finding a cure for breast cancer, and helping women who can't aford a breast exam to get one.

Thanks Pam and Denise. We're very proud of you.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Compassion and Empathy

One thing that seems to be totally missing from the comments of the pundits and political types regarding Katrina is any kind of compassion or empathy for those who were in leadership positions. Would any one of them have done any better at all?

Here might be a check list for the Mayor:

1. Have at least a few hundred back up drivers available in any emergency in case most of the bus drivers leave town or don't answer their phone when we call to get folks evacuated.

2. Have another few hundred cops trained and ready to go in case 30% of the force is AWOL on the first day of the emergency.

3. Plan in advance how to handle 100's of thugs from neighboring states who come into the town to take advantage of no police on the streets.

Another check list for FEMA director Brown and Homeland Security director Chertoff.

1. Bring all your people up to speed on every possible kind of natural or man caused catastrophic event possible.

2. Example: The largest earthquake ever in the USA was in SE Missouri, so be sure to be prepared for another one there.

3. Another Example: The Japanese made a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor once, so have measures fully in effect for that, too.

4. It is possible that we could have a volcanic eruption in California that could create a Tsunami that would wipe out the North Coast of Hawaii. There is also a possible Tsunami coming 1200 feet high that would hit New York City if a certain chunk of underwater cliffs decides to fall. Don't forget the chance of levy problems in Sacramento, CA.

5. Talk to Congress about allocating about half of the federal budget for the next decade or so to build up our defenses against all known and possible events.

6. Prepare standing PR plan for any such event, because no matter how fast you work or how well prepared you are, you will likely lose your job and the presidents poll numbers will drop like a rock.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Main Stream Media Failure - Part II

Victor Davis Hanson says it so much better than I can:

Remember all of this about Hurricane Katrina?

The destruction was the result of global warming. And it was made worse by too many troops off in Iraq. Endemic racism and neglected environmental legislation were as toxic as flood. Military assets were unused due to incompetence or heartlessness. The neglect of the victims was an indictment of a crass and uncaring society.

But none of that ad hoc "analysis" proved conclusive.

You can read his entire article here
and you should. I mean it. You need to read the whole thing. Our media is out of control, and we either need to turn it off or find our news in new places, like the web.

Hanson goes on to say:

But the media's coverage turned out to be almost as disturbing as the natural calamity and initial bureaucratic ineptness — in both the falsehood it spread and the truth it ignored. Political commentators proved more disturbing, seeking to turn death to partisan advantage.

The public was given few facts about what really happened among those trapped, especially the human mayhem that took place. Most would appreciate evidence before sweeping cultural analysis of half-reported stories that were not followed up because they were either untrue or politically incorrect.

Truly I think people died because of the MSM. Truly, I think people's lives were upset or made worse by the reporting. And not just in this instance. What was gained by the daily overreporting of the Natalee Holloway story. I'm sure it didn'g do anything for the tourist trade In Aruba. And there is nothing to suggest that this was a systemic problem for Aruba. It was sensationalism, pure and simple.

What should we do?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Family Dinners - Cure Many Cultural Ailments

"Figures don't lie, but liars figure," said Mark Twain, an I have learned over the years to be very wary of statistics. During college I had the opportunity to do a couple of research papers where it was totally up to me to come to conclusions about the data I had compiled. The temptation was huge to use what I wanted and discard what didn't fit the model. I wish that was the only reason to be wary.

Sometimes, it is only the way that the model is devised, or the questions that are left out that create the problem. Having said all that, a new report is just one of many that seems to suggest that eating dinner as a family results in so many benefits that we may want to make it illegal to eat any other way.

Ten Benefits of Family Dinners

The survey notes 10 positive trends for teens who eat dinner often with their families:

—Less likely to smoke cigarettes

—Less likely to drink alcohol

—Less likely to try marijuana

—Less likely to have friends who use illicit drugs

—Less likely to have friends who abuse prescription drugs

—More likely to get mostly A’s and B’s at school

—More likely to say they would confide in one or both parents about a serious problem

—More likely to report that their parents are very proud of them

—More likely to report lower levels of stress and tension at home

—More likely to talk to their families during dinner and have the TV off during the meal

Another study found

Younger kids who usually ate dinner with their families were less likely to be overweight than children who had fewer family dinners, Taveras found. But the advantage disappeared in the teen years, when teens often skipped family dinners.

A skeptic might suggest that all of the above are merely evidence of a functioning family, as is eating meals together. So that the eating meals together component would not necessarily be specifically causative of the the first ten. You could make a better argument for the weight being directly related, since the parents would be exercising better control over quantity and quality of food intake.

At the end of the day, however, it doesn't much matter if eating together as a family is specifically causative or is merely one evidence of what would likely be a well functioning family unit, the results speak for themselves. Parents who care how their kids turn out need to engage with their kids, create an environment where there is mutual respect and trust, and provide guidance and discipline.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Almost Half of Residents to Return to New Orleans

I thought my opinions were pretty optimistic, but it would appear not to be so.

"The city of New Orleans ... will start to breathe again. It will have life, it will have commerce," Nagin said.

Nagin outlined a plan for 182,000 residents to return to their neighborhoods over the next 10 days. Businesses can return this weekend in the central business district, Algiers, the French Quarter and in uptown.

So this city of 500,000 will see 40% of its residents going back to their homes in three weeks, not five. And certainly not 90 days as stated repeatedly by the press.

When do we get that congressional panel set up to investigate the press? They did a criminally negligent job of coverage.

Source of Natural Law

Reason sometimes comes from an unlikely source. In this case Skeptic Magazine. But my old friend Mike Shermer has sent along an email referencing a book review. The book being reviewed is Alan Dershowitz's newist RIGHTS FROM WRONGS: A Secular Theory of the Origin of Rights. The review is written by Kenneth W. Krause, and is availabe here

Now, I almost never agree with anything Alan Dershowitz says, and this book would be no exception. I sometimes agree with Shermer, who is mainly only completely wrong about the existence of God, and the supremacy of science. However, the reviewer is pretty even handed. Here are the summary paragraphs, but I encourage you to read the whole thing:

Humans, then, must “invent” their rights, Dershowitz surmises, from a list of “agreed-upon wrongs.” Rights must be synthesized from our collective experiences with past disasters we would never want to see repeated. We should build our canon of rights not from a “top-down” utopian perspective, but rather from a “bottom-up” dystopian view of bygone tragedies. In short, the author concludes, we should “build rights on a foundation of trial, error, and our uniquely human ability to learn from our mistakes.”
From the womb of historical injustice, then, a rational and informed public would deliver liberties, the implementation of which should warranty against the reoccurrence of such disasters. From slavery and Jim Crow, from Know-Nothing nativism and World War II internment, Americans would deliver equal protection and due process. From the Alien and Sedition Acts and McCarthyism, we would deliver freedom of _expression; and from the Salem witch hunts and the Philadelphia riots of 1844, we would deliver freedom of conscience.
Or would we?
Perhaps Dershowitz’s theory is more utopian than he cares to admit. On what basis does the author conclude that Americans could ever agree as to which experiences constitute such wrongs? And in asking Americans to so agree, is the author advocating that rights be invented according to majority rule? Are average Americans sufficient to that task? These questions, although unavoidable, are never effectively addressed in the text.

Without God and the Bible, we are free to pick and choose the truths we adhere to. No amount of Dershowitz's poor reasoning will ever change that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Update

The folks are starting to return to business and their homes. Some hotels are already open. Power is coming back on. When will we have a congressional investigation into the misreporting of the news by the MSM that has resulted in more unhappiness, angst, anxiety, hand wringing, etc., than was necessary. How do we get this press under control so that they act responsibly?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Artificial Womb - Why it Might Change Everything

Check out this article for an update on the potential for unborn babies to be removed from the mother's womb at a very young age and kept alive in an artifical womb. Of course it sounds like Orwell or Matrix, but more importantly, it might change everything in the abortion debate.

If a mother wants to get out of carrying a baby to term, she could adopt it out at say the 9th week to a couple. She would not have to carry the baby. It would merely be transferred to the artificial womb.

The article is a very balanced look at other aspects of current fertility science, and how science may shape the prolife debate more than law. It is written by a pro choice woman, but has very useful info and ideas.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Main Stream Media Gets a Big Fat "F"

How much worse can this coverage get. Total death count for New Orleans stands at less than 200.

Now we have an article that you'll never find at ABC, CBS, NBC, or CNN. Check this out

Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."

If you want to see the rest of that article go here
I think you will be amazed. It is a horrible shame that the hard working folks who are busting their humps to get things done in such a huge effort are getting blasted every day by MSM.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Why Can't Folks Go Back to Their Homes in NO

Last night my Mom said listening to the Katrina coverage was making her mad. Now, you'd have to know my Mom. She is very laid back. But right now, I'm feeling her pain. We just keep hearing about how toxic the water is, and that's why people have to leave. But, in many parts of the city, there was never any standing water, and at this time, there are places where the water has receded. If the toilets flush and the flushed matter goes into appropriate sewage channels, these residents could come back home and starting normal life, or in some cases, start cleaning up.

As it is, the REAL news is reporting that all the water might be out by Sept 30 (I'm still saying it will be virtually all gone before that.) The real news is saying downtown will be hopping by Thanksgiving, I'm saying before Holloween. Here's my really bold statement, by next weekend, the city will start letting people go back to their homes. Because, if they don't, there will be riots, or at least major protests.

Have the feds made mistakes. I'm sure, but so do I. Almost every day, and in many ways. I'm sure you do, too. But the city workers of N.O. are seemingly very incompetent, and not well led. Hopefully the voters will kick out the whole lot and start over when they get the chance.

The Church Responds to the Need

If there was no Federal Government, no State Government, no City Government, I propose to you that the Church could have done it all. The outpouring of money, time, energy, love, concern, and compassion coming from churches and church folks is just amazing. This blogger believes that if the government would get about the business of cleaning up the river, the lake, the ocean, the levee, the roads, and the other things that the government is uniquely equipped to handle, the church folks would handle the rest.

REAL Facts on Katrina

Read the transcripts of various interviews here if you'd like to see where the real mess ups occurred. Personally, I have heard a few reports now about Brown that would suggest he just wasn't pro-active or tough enough for this job. So, he's been sent packing. Reading the reports of the resume' problems also causes pause as to whether Brown should be totally canned. However the stretching of the truth there doesn't seem to be certain or totally over the top. I'm sure Rove and others are checking Brown out in detail right now.

How Much is $125,000,000,000

Estimates are now coming in with regard to the cost of rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Insurance Companies are saying their loss may be $60,000,000,000, that is billions with a "B." The US Government just put aside $60,000,000,000 more of your and my money for the effort. Charities have raised almost $1B. In kind donations must be way over that by now. Then there is local money and the money that folks will spend out of pocket.

Let's assume that 1,000,000,000, people are really effected by this. That means they have lost their home, or have had extensive damage. Then there are the companies that are effected. However, if we just take the people, that is every man, woman, and child, the cost we are discussing would be $125,000 each. For a family of 4, that is half a million dollars.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Death Cheats Katrina

Stay tuned to see if the predictions posted here are closer than the Mayor of N.O. Here is the latest

We're a long way from 1000, much less 10,000.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It is ALL Bush's Fault - Oh! and FEMA

By the numbers

1. The Feds have been blocking money to improve the levee - In fact, environmentalists, New York Times, other liberals have been fighting the money needed.
2. Bush cut the budget for work on the Levee. In fact, congress made those decisions, and the cuts had nothing to do with this hurricane.
3. Bush did nothing, was not active early enough. In fact, he was personally calling the Governor and offered an declaration of emergency two days in advance. Also offered to send in the guard. She said "no."
4. Fema didn't act fast enough. In fact, city government did not follow own evacuation plan which could have brought almost all of the ill, aged, and poor out of N.O. who were willing to leave.
5. Fema should have sent in the guard earlier. Governor had to ask for it. Fema was begging to send in the troops.
6. Fema was responsible for the horror at the Superdome and convention center. In fact, even the red cross was kept out of these two facilities because the governor did not want to make these two locations a draw for more refugees, so didn't allow the red cross in with food, water and drugs.

Lot of folks didn't leave who should have. Is that Bush's fault.

It is also my current understanding that potentially far more than 50% of the homes and businesses in N.O. will be habitable. Power is already coming on. The water is being rapidly pumped out with some estimates that virtually all will be out in a couple of weeks, maybe even sooner.

I have searched the web, but there is no update on total loss of life. Currently stands at 59.

PROOF by Bill Bright and Jack Cavanaugh

Bill Bright is my hero, or one of my heroes. It is too late in my life to emulate him in his, but with whatever years God will allow me to serve, I would love to be fractionally as effective as he was.

Toward the end of his amazing life, he co-authored a few books with outstanding writers in the Christian world. He joined up with Ted Dekker for Blessed Child as an example. While in Maui, I found another such work, PROOF. To make this find even more fun for me, it is historical fiction.

I love historical fiction. I am huge fan of Leon Uris who gave us Exodus, Armageddon, Trinity, Topaz, and other fantastic works. Proof has a some of that same classic feel. We are transported back into the middle of the 19th century and the life of a New York City newsboy who pulled himself up by the bootstraps. He is just graduating from law school, and is offered an amazing opportunity. But the devil is in the details.

Amazing insights into the terrible conditions of the slums of New York during that era are contrasted with glimpses into the lives of the rich and famous. There is a totally unique romantic subplot, and of course, a Christian underpinning.

If there is a flaw, it might be in the legal battle that takes place. It doesn't ring true to my slightly trained legal ear. Maybe I'm wrong, and I wouldn't know how to research it, but some of the legal processes, procedures, and other details surly couldn't happen today, and probably couldn't then either. Additionally, the hero who has just graduated at the top of his class is just a bit too incompetent.

With that minor caveat, I wholeheartedly recommend PROOF. Now I need to add any book by Jack Cavanaugh to my Christmas want list.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

What is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? Is Freakonomics really on to something (still #2 on Times Best Seller list after 18 weeks) or is it just one more way of making a headline out of spurious analysis?

In this reader's humble opinion, a little bit of both. I heartily recommend the book, because it dramatically illustrates one of my biggest concerns about the direction of much of science and politics today. We hear a stat or the press hears a stat, and we just run with it. As just reported by another science skeptic, John Ioannidis in New Scientist, most scientific papers are probably wrong.

Levitt and Dubner take an outside of the box look at a list of things we just assume to be true and stand them on their head with fresh statistical analysis. In reading the details of their methods and conclusions with a skeptical eye, I felt that they made some pretty serious errors, too.

I would be interested to see what they would do with subjects like evolutionary theory, global warming, and supply side economics.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

I find it amusing that until last month I had never read this book. Several years ago my boys and I read it aloud to one another through about 60% and then stopped for some reason. I’ve read close to everything this author has written, but not the second book (or the rest for that matter) of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

In case you have been living in a wardrobe somewhere, this children’s classic is hitting the big screen in the December Sweepstakes season. It is produced by Disney, but it will have to stay true to the story line, because the family is very, very critical about how they allow Lewis’s works to be used. The film's executive producer is Douglas Gresham—who just happens to be C.S. Lewis' devoted stepson, and a passionate Christian.

The initial financing came from Philip Anschutz, the 67th most wealthy person on the planet and a devoted Christ follower.

Back to the book. Since the movie is coming out, it seemed like a good time to read the whole thing, and maybe the rest of the Narnia Series as well. Advanced warning. It is a children’s book, but the story is lots of fun, full of wild and crazy make believe characters, and has many plot twists. Of course, it is about Jesus and us. That’s all I’m going to say for now.

You should read it before seeing it. If you have kids or grandkids that haven’t read it yet, do do read it with them. Robert and I are going to read the rest of the story. I’ll let you know.

If you’d like to know everything there is to know about this upcoming film, visit the Narnia Blog.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Crazy Optimist

I'm going out on a big limb here. On this 7th day since Katrina hit, I think there has been a huge overstatement of the disaster. It is bad, and the way a few of the citizens responded was a disgrace. However, here are my estimates compared to the ones you're hearing about.

City closed for 9 months. I say more than 50% will be back at home 30 days from now
30 days to drain all the water. That is the low estimate. I say it will be no more than 30 days and probably a lot less.
Potaable water and power in 3 months. I say at least 50% in 30 days. 100% in less than 3 months.
Dead 10,000 or more. I say less than 1000. Maybe way less.
Cost $100,000,000,000. I say $35 BILLION.

Why do I say all this. Because looking back over the years, they always overblow how bad things are.

The governor of LA will take a fall for this, however. Many failings by that office. I feel bad that anyone who has obviously done all they know how they do with a right heart needs to take a fall, but thats the way things work.

Energy Prices

A couple of weeks ago, and before Katrina, I suggested that current gasoline prices weren't historically high. Last Saturday I heard a radio program that said we currently spend 3.1% of our personal income on energy, compared to 4.5% in 1980. Inflation adjusted, the price of gas in 1980 was $3.07. Of course, the average car didn't travel nearly as far on a gallon as it does today.

We are increasing the energy efficiency of just about everything, and as Mike Williams reports, as the price of oil and natural gas goes up, so does the availability of energy of all kinds. The articles Mike relies on speak to increases in the affordability of other carbon based energy sources, but even wind, thermal, and solar become efficient with oil at $70 a barrel.

In other words, we will always have all the energy supply we could ever want, even with current technology. It is all about cost, and even that can only be responsibly evaluated as a percent of our total household or National or Worldwide income. Clearly, if the entire world were able to hit USA type numbers of only 3.1% of household income for gasoline, natural gas, and home heating oil, it would dramatically raise the affluence of the rest of the world. And the USA is doing that with oil at $60+.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Global Warming and Katrina

The folks who believe in global warming want to blame the severity of recent hurricanes in the Gulf on warmer water caused by global warming. If you're interested in a very balanced article on this issue, go here.

Why OG?

Have you ever or have you ever wanted to read one of the “success” or “motivation” books? The great ones still sell in big numbers: Think and Grow Rich, Power of Positive Thinking, How to Win Friends and Influence People, See You at the Top, and then there are those little books by Og Mandino.

If you’ve read all the rest, and you still haven’t become “successful,” or if you don’t like the self help approach of most success books, or if you haven’t ever read one, but you’d like to start somewhere now, try The Choice by Og Mandino.

You see, Mandino tells stories that sneak up on you with their life changing morality plays. He never says, tomorrow look in the mirror and say “I am a valuable person.” He doesn’t tell you to make lists, or just keep trying. None of that.

In this particular little 2 hour read (162 pages in mass market paperback), we hear the story of a guy who has to make a choice. No one is ever faced with a more grave decision. There is mystery, a little bit of a love story, romantic getaways, and adventure.

I double dog dare you to read this book and fail to contemplate the direction your life is heading. You may stay the course, or you make a choice. Easily available at Amazon and others.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Practical Advantages of Belief in God - Part 14

Most humans, at one time or another in their life, will become quite focused on three question. Where did I come from (personally and more generally), why am I here, and where am I going. We have discussed the “where I am going” aspect in part 1 and the “why I am here” question in part 13. What about the “where did I come from?”

The issue of where we came from is called origins. Like the other two big questions, it does effect how we conduct ourselves now. If we are just another animal, and the result of relentless biological evolution where purposeless nature has driven one species to an advantage over others, then we should expect to act inways that will advance our own gene pool. This might be at the expense of other gene pools, or it might be in cooperation depending on one’s practical view of things. However, we would certainly always be looking over our shoulder at those in other gene pools who may have come to the conclusion that, like a reality TV show, they need to come out on top of our group.

While it would be nice if we could all get along, if our understanding is that it is about natural selection, there will always be those who will ruthlessly persue an advantage in that game. If we care about our kids and grandkids, should that be our approach to life?

14. Knowing we were created by the God of eternity.
If God made us, and then he breathed a special spirit into us, then we are dramatically differentiated from the other animals. It isn’t about a frontal lobe, an opposing thumb, or self-awareness. It is about having a spiritual dimension, because we were made in the image of God. He created us for a purpose. He wanted to love us, and to be an object of worship by us. Not because he needed to love or be worshipped. However, he wanted to have a relationship with us. Maybe we’ll find out why when we meet him.

Believing we were specially and specifically created by God is one of the most complex things we are called on to believe. There are various beliefs among Christians concerning how that creation took place, when it took place, and the methods involved. Some days I think the “days” of Genesis were days, sometimes I think they were era’s. In the final analysis, if God is God, he could have done it in 6 days, easy.