April 22, 2011

Good Friday And The Hope That Is Real, The Change That Lasts

"The Sinking of the Streamship Ville du Havre"

Today, as a Nation, we face many difficulties. How we react to these challenges and the chance that economic desolation, perhaps even heartbreak and ruin, will visit us is a true indication of our character - they way we really are when we're all alone.

God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes He whispers so lightly that we would fain ignore it for the everyday distractions of life. Other times He thunders and we wonder how indeed can He love us when our lives are in such turmoil.

We live in a fallen world where God's laws are followed to the letter only by inanimate objects that are prisoner to the laws of physics and chemistry. Those creatures who are fortunate enough to possess will and self determination, such as Man, are another story. We blame God for the inhumanity and excesses of others; we shake our fists at the natural disasters that accompany a sinful world. Yet there are those who leave a peaceful, calm wake in their path as they travel through life. One such man is Horatio Spafford.

Horatio Gates Spafford was born in Troy, New York, on October 20, 1828. He became a successful, wealthy lawyer in Chicago. In 1861 at age 33 he married Anna Larsen. Ten years later in 1871 he lost almost everything he owned in the Great Chicago Fire. Two years later he decided to vacation in England with his family. Business concerns kept him in Chicago and he sent his family on ahead, planning to join them in England as soon as possible. On November 22, 1873, their vessel, the Ville du Havre, was struck by another ship and sank, killing 226 passengers. All four of Spafford's daughters drowned. Spafford took the next ship to England to join his wife.

Bertha Spafford (the fifth daughter of Horatio and Anna, born later; see below) would later recount that during her father's voyage, the captain of the ship had called him to the bridge. "A careful reckoning has been made", he said, "and I believe we are now passing the place where the Ville du Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep." That night in his cabin, Horatio Spafford wrote the great hymn declaring the comforting peace of the believer, "It Is Well With My Soul."

His lyrics may well have been inspired by a Biblical verse found in II Kings 4:26: Of an unnamed Shunammite woman whose adult only son had died, the verse reads, "Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well."
In the midst of his grief and sorrow but yet buoyed by his faith, Spafford wrote a hymn that has granted solace to millions of men and women who agonize over loss.

Spafford and his family moved to Jerusalem in 1881 and founded a Christian outreach in this ancient city for Jews and Muslims. His wife had three more children; his only son died in his infancy. Spafford suffered a mental breakdown and died in Jerusalem in 1888.

It's not that we should seek suffering, it comes our way as a moth is drawn to the flame. It's how we react to it. Our hope is in a Risen Christ, this hope changes our lives so that we live to please Him. No matter what the circumstance, our position is assured. This is the source of Spafford's peace. Not that he didn't grieve for his daughters; Christ wept for Lazarus. No, our grief abates and we live on knowing that we shall meet them again and never suffer another separation.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

More Distractions

Obongo is tossing up something shiny to distract the public from the skyrocketing price of gasoline. The truth of the matter is this; the federal and state governments make more, much more on every gallon of gas than the producers.

The federal tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon. Then tack on the state taxes ranging from 8 cents a gallon in Alaska to 47.7 cents in California (which includes state sales tax), then add the federal tax of 18.4 cpg for a total of 67.1 cents per gallon for you Californians. It's even worse for diesel, 76 cpg. The US average for state excise/sales taxes on gasoline is 29.7 cents per gallon.

As I live in NY, the state grabs 47.2 cents for every gallon I pump. With federal tax it comes to 65.6 cpg. Then my county tosses another 4% sales tax on the mix. Yesterday I spent $3.859 per gallon to fill my SUV. It took 12 gallons of gas so I gave $2.21 to the feds and $5.66 to NYS for the privilege of gassing up my Ford.

So how much did the evil Sunoco, Exxon, BP corporations make on that gallon of gas? Between 8 and 10 cents per gallon (excepting refinery fees if any). They made, tops, $1.20 from yesterday's purchase. The gas station makes between 7 and 10 cents a gallon also - but their costs have to come out of that.

Gas stations do not make money selling gasoline; they make it in convenience store sales or auto repair. As a grad student back in the early seventies I worked at several gas stations. Pumping gas just about paid the bills (gas was 33.9 cents/gallon back then) but the auto repairs/oil changes/etc. put steak on the table. For more information on what goes into the price of gasoline, go here.

Not only that, there hasn't been a new oil refinery built in the US since 1976. Thirty-five years! The last one built was in Garyville, Louisiana. In 1975 there were 137,912,779 vehicles on the road in America. By 2008 this number had grown to 255,917,664, an increase of 85%, yet no additional refineries have been built. In fact, there are only 149 oil refineries in the US today, down from over 300.

Self-serving statements from the National Petroleum Refineries Association say that American oil refinery capacity has increased. "With the amount of new capacity U.S. refiners have added at existing facilities since 1994, it's as though the industry has been building a new, world class refinery each year," said Charles Drevna, executive vice president of the association. He says refining capacity has increased by 177,000 barrels per day.

If that is true, shouldn't the price of gasoline and heating oil be lower? The U.S. Department of Energy tracks oil refinery output. While the amount of gasoline supplied by American refineries is about 285 million barrels per month, the amount of refinery capacity devoted to gasoline production has fallen by 10 percent from 1983. The amount of fuel oil produced by American oil refineries has fallen by five percent since the record high production of about 135 million barrels per month in 2001
So the dipstick in the White House wants to appoint a Task Force to see what going on with the price of gasoline? I'll save the taxpayer a few million right here: less refining capacity, higher demand and a weakened dollar is the cause. And two of the three are directly attributable to the US government. Oil refineries are anathema to liberals who resist fiercely any attempts to poison Mother Gaia with hydrocarbon combustion byproducts. And the weakened dollar? Lay that one right at the doorstep of dems and RINO's.

This is going to get worse before it gets better. Republicans have been no friend to the consumer either. Bush 43 waited until the final months of his two terms in office before moving to end a twenty-seven year ban on new off shore drilling imposed by his father.

April 21, 2011

It's Always The Tick Season in Washington

The federal government refuses to secure our borders, but it will go out of its way to secure advantages for labor unions.
Boeing Co. (BA) should be forced to open a Washington state assembly line after violating workers’ rights by building a 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina, away from its Seattle-area union labor force, the U.S. government said.

The National Labor Relations Board said in a complaint today that the planemaker was “motivated by a desire to retaliate for past strikes and chill future strike activity” when it decided in 2009 to construct the new factory. The company said it will “vigorously contest” the complaint.
Apparently a business is no longer allowed to pursue profitable strategies but must instead prostrate itself before those that would destroy it. It's like working out and eating right to stay healthy so you can be a host for ticks.
“This is a very critical, precedent-setting situation,” said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “This would have been unusual at any moment, but it’s especially unusual with the backdrop where collective bargaining is literally being unwound for public- sector workers in Wisconsin and Ohio.”

Boeing’s choice of South Carolina marked its first departure from the Puget Sound hub where it has built all its commercial jets. Relations with the Machinists union have been strained by four strikes since 1989, including the most recent, two-month walkout at the end of 2008.
Ticks borrow into their host and resist all attempts to dislodge them. I remember we used to burn ticks out of our dogs with a lit cigarette.

The Death of Magna Carta in the UK

Yes, folks - she did die in vain.

This interview with Lord Monckton is one of the best I've heard for a long time. Monckton explains clearly how the EU works, details the shocking treatment of Jason McGoldrick under the European Arrest Warrant and also talks about AGW.

I thought it might be interesting to you because comparisons are also drawn between the US federal system and the working of the EU; you can see how things are coming together for the nwo in this age of ' corporatist globalisation'. Set aside forty minutes or so to watch it - it's well worth it. Oh, and pass it round to all your friends.

European Arrest Warrant

April 20, 2011

The Royals Finally Loosen Up

There's nothing like a royal wedding in a beautiful cathedral to make a young girl's heart go pitty-pat. We all wish the very best for the betrothed pair; many years of happiness, a lot of chubby kids, yada yada.

We managed to get our hands on a video of the rehearsal for the wedding. This is very confidential and the Queen Mum is mighty miffed that it has made its way onto the interwebtubes. It's not very often that the royals bust a move and Her Highness wanted to keep them secret.

April 19, 2011

More On Border Agent Terry's Death

A while back I posted about US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was murdered by illegals in a December, 2010, gunfight near Nogales. Two of the firearms recovered at the scene were found to have been part of an ATF "sting" where American gun dealers were encouraged to sell guns to people they knew were questionable.

Possibly thousands of guns were sent to Mexico in a massive operation known as "Gunrunner." When Border Agent Brian Terry was killed, he was armed, unbelievably enough, with bean bags. Now OpiniPundit has a link to a CBS story that cites email messages from a high ranking ATF official urging other ATF offices to participate in arming Mexican drug lords and illegals.
I don’t know what all the issues are but we are all adults, we are all professionals, and we have a (sic) exciting opportunity to use the biggest tool in our law enforcement tool box. If you don’t think this is fun you’re in the wrong line of work – period! This is the pinnacle of domestic U.S. law enforcement techniques. After this the tool bag is empty.

Maybe the Maricopa County Jail is hiring detention officers and you can get paid $30,000 (instead of $100,000) to serve lunch to inmates all day…We need to get over this bump in the road once and for all and get on with the mission at hand. This can be the most fun you have with ATF, the only one limiting the amount of fun we have is you!—e-mail from David J. Voth, group supervisor, Phoenix Group VII.
The CBS story is here. Apparently as far back as April, 2010, a gun shop owner who was participating in the Operation Gunrunner project voiced his concerns to the ATF that these guns may be used against Border Patrol AGents, many of whom were his friends.
Two months later, on June 17, 2010, the same gun shop owner again wrote ATF's Supervisor Voth again after he saw a Fox News report about firearms and the border. The gun shop owner called the report "disturbing" and stated "When you [Voth], [the Assistant U.S. Attorney], and I met on May 13th [2010], I shared my concerns with you guys that I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys... I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents' safety because I have some very close friends that are U.S. Border Patrol Agents in southern AZ."

This was six months before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down near the Arizona border. Two assault rifles that ATF had allegedly let "walk" were found at the scene.

April 18, 2011

It's What Liberal Judges Do

Liberal judges, the bane of western civilzation.
From the Boston Globe:

It looked like Carl Lemon would be going back to jail for the 20th time. Saddled with a 25-year record of shoplifting, drug dealing, and assorted other crimes, not to mention eight aliases, Lemon had made it easy for prosecutors. He even signed a confession saying that he had stolen a woman’s purse while she ate in a Back Bay restaurant. A second victim, whose bag he also snatched, had driven overnight from Canada to testify against him.

But, as the two victims watched in disbelief, the judge set Lemon free, saying that the career criminal, then 43, needed a detox program, not jail time. When the detective who arrested Lemon rolled his eyes and muttered that the decision was a disgrace, Judge Raymond G. Dougan Jr. had court officers lock him up for the morning instead. “I thought someone was going to jail that day; I just didn’t think it would be me,’’ recalled Detective Andrew Gambon.

This useless judge was appointed to the bench by none other than Michael Dukakis.