Saturday, February 21, 2009

Right and Wrong

Where does this sense come from? Some of us would like to believe that the “good people” take the scriptures as their guide, couple it with the examples shown by principal religious figures of history, add the teaching from the pulpit, and obtain the tenets which direct their daily lives. Others turn to common sense, science, philosophy, and reason for their guide. In an effort to quantify the attitudes of the “faithful”, the “Pew Landscape Survey” questioned members of a variety of faiths for the source of their behavior. They asked: “When it comes to questions of right and wrong, which of the following do you look to for guidance?”

Since reproducing the table which supports this article exceeds our technological skills, we are giving you the link. Personally, I see these results as an absolute failure on the part of Christians to share the Gospel. Apparently this secret is so well kept; we have managed to hide it from the membership. Why in the world do we bother to attend church if we do not recognize its significance in the direction of our daily affairs with all men? Yes, the annual spaghetti supper is a wonderful experience and it’s a great place to network but that should not be our only motivation. The Bible teaches far more than obedience to God. There are profound lessons there to honorably conduct our lives beside other men. Obviously, many of us look to other sources for our guide.

I recall an occasion when I challenged what I considered blasphemy from the pulpit and I confronted three elders from the church on the matter. The reaction to my contemplating a move to a different, more orthodox congregation was met with the observation that I should consider the loss of the social aspects of my membership. I do not deny that I held resentment that I should lose the frequent contact with the other faithful members over an issue which the leadership could easily resolve through study and prayer. I was sorely disappointed that they felt the fraternal relationship with the members was the reason I was there. I came for the fruit and was offered the rind.

I fear that without the necessary focus on our spiritual lives as a guiding force we shall end up the losers in the long run. A run which I believe will take us far beyond the grave.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hard Science?

Over the last five years, the temperature here in our little Ozark paradise has varied from -10º to 102º. It is normally a very livable, moderate climate with occasional rises in humidity and a near constant breeze. We have, in our married life, experienced some extremes in the temperature range by virtue of living in both Wisconsin (-30º) and Nevada (115º) and reasonably anticipated both as not usual but not rare. Since we had foreknowledge of these events, we arranged our life style around them.

A prime example is our current water supply. We have a private well, and the head, pressure tank, and plumbing are housed in a concrete block structure with a competent shingled roof and extremely well sealed. Within the building is a single 100w incandescent light bulb which burns constantly from October to the end of April. If, and that has not always been the case, the electricity is functional, we have every confidence that the system will operate even at -10º. In that confined space, that single bulb furnishes enough heat to overcome a disparity of 42º (!) and allow the water to flow. At 7¢ per kilowatt hour, the cost of that insurance is 16.8¢ per day and worth every penny. As a result of the loss of our power (2007-for 11 days!) we are now equipped to use temporary propane devices to heat the well house and protect the plumbing during an emergency.

The point of this illustration is to emphasize how normal people realize how critical minor sources of heat can be in maintaining acceptable levels of temperature in common situations. We have no special skills, other than common sense, and are certainly not unique in our neighborhood. Every neighbor we have (except the Amish) has used this technique as a matter of standard procedure since electricity has become common currency. No string of lettered academic honors behind their names certifies their understanding of this basic knowledge. One bout of writing a $150 check to replace plumbing ruptured during a hard freeze is a sufficient lesson for our simple neighbors and also your host.

Amid threats of disappearing sea ice, a navigable sea at the North Pole, and rising sea levels which would turn Wall Street into a beach front, we find a look at information gathering facilities which give insight into verification of these predictions. The various weather services maintain stations throughout the nation and, for that matter, the world, to accumulate data to feed the computers which calculate these projections. They were designed, operated by, positioned, and read by the persons mentioned above with the alphabetic honorifics. I invite you to share some photos which appear on this web site to see their genius in action. Some are located near (less than 10’) from A/C exhausts, steel structures, outdoor grills, parking lots, concrete pads, light bulbs within the housing, and in one picture, an incinerator. Now, what could possibly go wrong there?

The question is simply this: if a bunch of Missouri hick farmers clearly understand the relationship of heat sources to resultant recorded temperatures why is it not clearly known in the scientific community? It is possible that through their constant association with their herds of contented critters awaiting the milking parlor that they have a capacity for the recognition of bovine excrement that is lacking amidst the ivy covered walls of our universities.

One of the first lessons I learned in 1992 when I got my first computer is as valuable today as it was 17 years ago: “garbage in—garbage out!” No amount of technological advancement has invalidated that axiom. If you insist on using corrupt data, you shall enjoy an equivalent result. Computer modeling of anticipated events probably has a place in the world of science but, and it’s a big “but", that modeling needs to be directed by input of hard, verifiable, non-corrupt information and not a political agenda. All too often, it is the latter. It boils down to an issue of honesty. I find it hard to believe that the perpetrators of these hoaxes have no awareness of these falsities. I’m sorry, but that is just too much to swallow.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Whose Ox is Being Gored?

The outrage on the left over this cartoon was entirely predictable. As a matter of projection, the socialist element identified the dead chimp with the POTUS. Everyone from Sharpton on up (you need always start at the bottom) claimed an insult as a result. Lost in the issue is the fact (!) that the former chief executive was constantly portrayed in as an unflattering and defaming manner as a chimp.

My most recent search of Google of the entry “Bush chimp” resulted in 119,000 hits. “Kill Bush” brought forth an astonishing 5,200,000 examples of cartoons, t-shirts, posters, commentaries, Photo Shops, placards, montages, buttons, ball caps, and coffee cups for the sufferers from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome). In the interest of fairness I would also point out that Google produced an amazing 2,130,000 hits on “Obama chimp.” It looks like Obama won that contest hands down—twenty to one. My only remaining thought is: “Okay class, clean up your desk and we can all go out for recess!”

Just when I think we have finally found the lowest common denominator of political discourse it is revealed that there is yet one more rung down the ladder. At least the liberal lunatic fringe was astute enough to make the connection. By so doing, they acknowledge the complicity of the president in the “porkulus” package and thereby absolve the congress of total responsibility. Keep in mind that nothing becomes law until the president signs it.

One of the most interesting aspects is the role of Senator (at least temporarily) Burris in the whole affair. At first Hapless Harry wanted to shun this Blagojevich appointee but apparently was advised by saner aides to realize the reality of how one counts to sixty. All of a sudden he was welcomed with open arms. “Come join this band of happy warriors so that we may collectively bankrupt the country,” was their invitation. Once the rape of the treasury was complete, the gentleman from Illinois learned the true meaning of persona non grata. Golly, it is true! Some animals do indeed eat their young. Eager to help his colleagues, he provided additional information to the federal prosecutor which pretty much nailed his own political suicide.

One last observation before departure; Harry Reid, (D-NV) the “sage of Searchlight” is fooling no one with his denial of complicity in the, now funded, Maglev project from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. As a former resident and an interested observer of that issue since leaving, I can assure you that it has been on the front burner for at least the last ten years and probably before. I do believe that Harry sees that project as his “legacy.” If we had $1 for every word written, spoken, or implied over that period, the high speed rail corridor could have been funded at least twice. Conspicuously absent is his opposition to the Yucca Mountain project to store nuclear waste northwest of Las Vegas at the test site. Of course, that would enhance the advancement of nuclear projects nationwide and further nearly everybody’s new found goal of energy independence. As I mentioned above, “It’s time for recess, class!”

As the merry-go-round continues to spin in Washington we can easily see why so many rely upon zoo analogies to support their positions. It’s just a natural. As usual, I urge you to continue to pray that God will direct these people. At this juncture, He is our only hope—as always.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Myths of Wealth

I used to have a son-in-law whose constant refrain was that Republicans had all the wealth of the country tucked away in their mattresses. Since this myth has been propagated by liberals since the beginning of the republic, his attitude was not surprising. As a rock ribbed (but not rocky abs) conservative who keeps the wolf from the door with a couple of social security checks, a part time job and a meager savings, I found his arguments laughable. What did I expect from a union man (SEIU) and a resident of a state which is bluer than lapis lazuli? He was, like most of the wife’s relatives, a boiler plate socialist. (Ed: a highly accurate appraisal.)

He has now taken “French leave” but the sources of this myth are still with us and, I must say, highly active in perpetuating the lie. From what I consider a highly reliable source Forbes I have a list of the twenty wealthiest counties in the United States. That is, those counties where the average income exceeds $80,000 a year. A normal person might expect to find the traditional locations of high income achievers singled out on this list. Would not the county where Bill Gates and other technology types live surely be there? How about some county with Texas oil tycoons or Wyoming coal barons? About the only non-surprise is a hand full of counties close to New York City.

So where is the single largest concentration of wealth in this fair land of ours? The Washington, DC area hosts ten--yes half of the twenty listed--of the richest counties in the nation. The six counties in Virginia and the four counties of Maryland which are immediately adjacent to the District or else abut the ones that are, made the top twenty. (To my faithful reader in Reston, VA: yours is one of them.) Two of them, Fairfax and Loudoun in Virginia, are in the numbers 1 & 2 spots respectively. Third place belongs to Howard County, Maryland, also essentially a suburb of the District.

When asked why he robbed banks, the notorious felon of the mid-twentieth century, Willie Sutton replied: “Because, that’s where the money is.” Do you suppose that could have been part of the reason all those wealthy people choose to live so close to the seat of government? I am certain it was not a deterrent. Who in their right mind would take their ill-gotten gains from commerce or industry and retire in any of these places? While there are many lovely homes in these counties, there is little else to draw people there except the prospect of accumulating additional wealth.

So, how about the politics of these counties? All ten of the DC suburbs went solidly for Obama with Alexandria City, Va. (due to a peculiar construct of law, Alexandria has a status equivalent to a county) topping the DC list at a 72% plurality. In the aggregate, Obama prevailed in 12 of the 20 with an average of 63.4% of the vote, with Marin County, CA coming in at 78%. McCain found favor in 8 of the richest counties by a slimmer margin of 59.5%. Note that only two of the elite twenty were located in the South: Forsyth County, Georgia and Williamson County, Tennessee and they gave McCain his largest margins. Surprisingly, only three of the counties were located west of the Mississippi.

Given the lop-sided preference for BHO, may we conclude that my son-in-law was as messed up as a $1 watch? Perhaps he just fell victim to a continuous stream of false assertions as he “drank the Kool-Aid.” He was definitely not alone.

Here follows, for your personal interest, the list and the political outcomes according to state, county, average income, vote outcome (McCain=M; Obama=O), and percentage:

Fairfax—VA $100,318—O—60.1%

Laudoun—VA 99,371—O—52.5%















Santa Clara—CA—80,838—O—69.6%

Prince William—VA—80,783—O—57.6%

Alexandria City—VA—80,449—O—72.0%


In the interest of equal reporting it is only fair to cite Buffalo and Shannon Counties in South Dakota for their ranking as well. They are, respectively, the two poorest counties in the US according to Wikipedia, with per capita income pegged at $5213 and $6284. Buffalo County supported Obama with 73% of the vote and Shannon gave him 89.9% to rank as the highest percentage total of any county in the entire country. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. Shannon County has an American Indian population of 94.2% and the most familiar town designation is Pine Ridge--also the name of the reservation.

Shannon County is also the site of the infamous massacre of 300 Lakhota Sioux at the hands of the 7th US Cavalry in late December 1890. More recently it was the location of a well reported protest by the American Indian Movement in February 1973. The standoff at Wounded Knee was resolved after 71 days.

I have probably been watching “Mythbusters” on the Discovery channel too long. However, there is something about the truth that is satisfying if you can just ferret it out. In today’s political climate it is not only difficult but dangerously close to impossible.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wisdom for the Ages

Here are a few items I have amassed over the recent past which may provide some amusement and perhaps even some wisdom. I’m really counting on the grins. I promise to keep the editorial comment to a minimum.

"What do a Divorce in West Virginia, a Tornado in Kansas and a Hurricane in Florida have in common? Somebody's fixin' to lose them a house trailer."-unknown

How does this happen? 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Since I live in a house full of dogs and cats, this one has a very special meaning. "I had a linguistics professor who said that it's man's ability to use language that makes him the dominant species on the planet. That may be. But I think there's one other thing that separates us from animals. We aren't afraid of vacuum cleaners."-Jeff Stilson

"The other day my daughter told me to "Grow up!", but she's the one with a safety pin in her navel."-Redfox

"Life is what happens when you make plans..."-Nathan Swanson

"A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. "-Robert Anson Hienlein

As a long time recovering alcoholic, I find this oh so true. "You're now sober enough to realize "Drink Canada Dry" is a slogan and not a personal challenge."

"A truck carrying copies of Roget's Thesaurus overturned on the highway.. The local newspaper reported that the onlookers were "stunned, overwhelmed, astonished, bewildered, and dumbfounded."

"I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience." -Thoreau, Walden

This one is dear to my heart because I plead guilty of doing so. It may go along with advancing age, who knows?

We now shift gears to probe some of the deeper thinkers:

"You cannot build character and courage by taking away a person's initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."-Abraham Lincoln, 1861.

We need Mr. Lincoln here—today!—to refute our current leadership which is taking the exact opposite tack in directing the ship of state.

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; [if] it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."- Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand, 1944.

I left this out of the recent “Jefferson” list but I shall not repeat the error. "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.."-Thomas Jefferson

I am not certain of who or when this was uttered by anyone from AP. It can’t have been recently. "The intrigue also has become an attractive nuisance for conspiracy buffs who offer explanations embellished by rumor, fantasy, misinformation and outright paranoia."-Associated Press

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men... We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." -Edward R. Murrow

This will be the last one for today and it is certainly timely. Mr. Murrow nailed it. For those not old enough to remember his nightly news I shall describe him as what he was—a newsman. He was not an editorialist, a journalist, a writer, a pundit, a scribe, or a reporter—he was a newsman. Don’t bother to look for him today because they threw the mold away.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Morning Rant 78

It was a foregone conclusion that the congress would pass that pork larded bill which they herald as a “stimulus” package. When you have the votes; you get your way. But, there is no “there” there. That is to say it is largely vote buying with little thought to stimulate the moribund economy. Lest we forget, this whole thing started with the purchase of the electoral loyalties of folks who did not qualify for sound mortgages. Pay no attention to the blame tossed around by sundry commenters with a variety of axes to grind. Like a doting grandma, their little angel can do no wrong.

A serious wrong has been done and it’s the responsibility of a Democrat controlled Congress. The integrity of the American people combined with an insatiable work ethic on the part of the contributing classes of every stripe will see to it. We always have and we always will. It is characteristic of the American people that they manage to overcome every act of stupidity which comes from their elected representatives. The recovery will not be rapid but it will be.

I recently heard a news item about the most lopsided score in a women’s basketball game on record. I forget the exact number but it was in the neighborhood of 107-0. Complaints were made that the winning team should have backed off and not run up the score. Fans, coaches, and the players for the losing team disagreed. They knew that they had played as well as they could and sought no quarter from the winners. It was agreed that had the victors not kept their “A” game in place, the disgrace would have been worse. There was no talk of abandoning the program because everyone involved knew there was no avenue available for them but up. They saw the value in the process and not in the outcome. This is what real winners are made of.

Like the team with the goose egg score, members of the Republican Party will have to continue to present themselves ready to fight each battle as it comes along. Any other course will leave them totally unprepared when the electorate finally figures out this debacle and returns them to power. Let us pray they deserve the honor when it returns.

Before we leave the topic, I have to bring your attention to this short video which expresses an appraisal of the “package” which about any one can understand. Don’t miss it because it is the source of a much needed laugh.


Tell me please; am I the only one who is interested in the coincidence of the birthdays of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln? For good or ill, these are two commanding figures of the nineteenth century who continue to have a powerful influence yet today, exactly two hundred years after their birth. Upon serious consideration of the fact I’ll admit I am stunned by it. Both men have had a profound affect on the world we live in. Both took stands which have provoked huge, but different, conflicts which continue into our life times. Apparently they were not linked within the frameworks of their lives, which may well be attributable to one being British with his international travel restricted to rarely visited places.

Wikipedia provides a quote which I found interesting: “Darwin did not share the racism common at that time. He was strongly against slavery, against 'ranking the so-called races of man as distinct species', and against ill-treatment of native people. [145][VI]”

Lincoln’s views on slavery are sufficiently well established as to confirm his agreement with Darwin on those issues. In addition, they both evidenced a suspicion of rigid doctrinaire religions. Neither held church membership with Darwin claiming agnosticism.

I should not be surprised that these two giants share a birth date. I have long conducted a parlor trick in groups of twenty five or more. There are huge odds in favor of a group, that size or larger, having two persons or more sharing a birth date (month and day.) The proposition is mathematical and not genetic. Try it out some time and see for yourself. When posed and then nearly always proven, one is often accused of having some fore-knowledge of the facts. What makes this situation rare is the coincidence of the birth year as well. This is just something more to think about. Fortunately, we are not further confounded by a similar circumstance of death time.

The Salt Marsh harvest mouse speaks on the stimulus.

A commenter, “zzyxx” on a post to IMAO defends the recent pork package passed by the congress:

“The stimulus bill includes $30 million for preserving the habitat of the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse (SMHM) in wetlands around San Francisco bay. Well let me say this about that--you whining, sniveling, environment raping, anti mouse b……s--as an endangered SMHM I want to say we appreciate Speaker Pelosi’s efforts on our part and from now on she’ll have the full support of the SMHM Community!! For far too long our needs have been overlooked, our complaints have gone unheard and unrecognized, and our habitat has been taken from us in order to provide land for humans! Sure, they used that land to build homes and businesses that contribute to the tax base, but so what! What about us? We’ve been treated worse then the Native Americans, hell, we don’t even have a reservation we can call our own or a single casino! All we have is this lousy, stinkin’ salt marsh….you ever tried to spend your life living in a salt marsh?? Also it’s about time us members of the rodent family got some recognition. We’re sick and tired of Pup Fish and California Condors getting all the favorable press, TV coverage, and protection dollars. Listen, it’s only a crummy $30 million dollars and when you figure this bill spends well over seven hundred billion dollars what’s a paltry $30 million? Besides (and here’s the best part) your grandchildren will be the ones paying for it all….so quiet your b……g and get with the program…….Signed: Sniffles The Salt Marsh Mouse…….PS: We’re glad, however, that she didn’t provide any funds for the Salt Marsh Harvest Snake.”

The Quote of the Week

The following came from Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit and is the “quote of the week:”

“Michelle Obama said: “You’re getting $600. What can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything. But maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn’t pay down every bill every month.”

Oh wait. She was talking about President Bush’s $600 stimulus last year and not her husband’s $600 stimulus this year.”


In the mad dash to demonstrate bipartisanship, we find the urgent desire for each to seek a directional change toward the center. You know the drill: a little bit from you and a little bit from me and, viola!—we’re both happy. This is not leadership; this is committee garbage. In a recent commentary on NRO, Johan Goldberg gave what I consider a keen analysis:

“For certain Beltway centrists, the highest principle is to prove that you are attached to no principle. Rather, your duty is to split the difference between the “ideologues.” If one side says we need a 1,000-foot bridge to span a canyon, and the other side says we don’t need a bridge at all, the centrists will fight for a bridge that goes 500 feet and no farther, and then pat themselves on the back.”

And finally

We had an interesting Sunday morning. My trip to Miami, OK for church was interrupted by a flat tire on our “new” (different?) car. Since I had never done that one before, it turned into an adventure and I never made it to church. I believe that the engineers at Ford are required to totally redesign the emergency wheel replacement gear with the change of every model year. We have three Explorers ranging in age from 4 to 16 years and they are all different. After I returned home and announced I was going to church with Jan we experienced a series of barriers in our ever tightening time frame. Lost keys, misplaced gifts, a Brussels-Griffin running loose, and finally the “check engine” light on the other available car worked successfully to defeat our intentions. The new fallen snow didn’t help either.

Then, taking a page from the “Big Book” of AA I decided to review my capacity for acceptance. It sometimes takes a lot to get our attention; but, there comes a point where one has to realize that some things are destined not to happen. Sometimes, in spite of barriers, we make things occur. Being thrown off stride by either circumstance is often not the best result. Since worship is not necessarily confined to dedicated buildings, we decided to use that valuable alternative of innovation. Trust me it works. I hope your day turned out as well as ours did in the longer view.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon