Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Current Thoughts 
Inspiration
Periodically, one agency of the Federal Government decides to regulate what I do on this blog, especially when it comes to things they disagree with. Several years ago, I responded to a questionnaire and pointed out that this is my project, the opinions here are mine, I'm entitled to them no matter how stupid they are, and you don't have the right to make me jump through hoops to discuss them.

Apparently, learning from experience is difficult.
2nd-Sep-2014 10:55 am - Yet Another Smile
Inspiration
As I bring up the amazing success rate of climate science.

Actually, I don't know a single prediction they've made that panned out.

Typical example: this.

As you can see, the original sounds appropriately "scence-y" -- it just doesn't happen to be true. Which reminds me of a favorite from years ago:



Which, on the showing of the Guardian article, should be considered advanced science.
4th-Aug-2014 06:57 am - Gifts for Obama's Birthday
Inspiration
An article with gift suggestions for Obama's birthday has a really good suggestion in the middle of the five:

#3 – A spine

There exists a political opposition: Republicans. They were elected by a majority of people in their districts or states and are expected to pursue a legislative agenda in line with their supporters. Generally, their agenda is contrary to that of the president.


This opposition and adversarial relationship is not personal, nor does it have anything to do with skin color, racial background or anything else personal. Reasoned, well-intentioned and good people legitimately disagree on political solutions and policies.


This has always been the case with a two-party system and it always will be. It’s time for the President to stop complaining about it and get over it.



There are a lot of other people who need that gift in Washington right now.
2nd-Aug-2014 06:21 pm - The Need for a Remembrancer
Inspiration

The City of London is an unusual corporation inside what is usually described as London. So unusual that it has its own interesting member of Parliament, a "remembrancer" whose job it is to remind Parliament of the privileges of the City, and take exception to laws which might alter or harm it.



It looks like the EU, however, has decided to take over regulation of the City of London's financial firms: and there is no remembrancer to stop politicians who don't know what they are talking about from imposing whatever regulations they see fit. While there was celebration of the regulations by Congress that moved business to the City by City financial firms, it looks like they might have their own problems in the future. And may move to less constrained places, like Singapore.



Which would be a pity.

Inspiration

In this case, it was the State Department and IRS which conspired to suppress foundations which helped promote closer relations with an ally: Israel.



While I know there are people who would rather have other allies in the region, that should be an open conversation, not one behind closed doors.

16th-Mar-2014 02:24 pm - Spectacularly wrong.
Inspiration

Inspiration
‎ Evaluating OECD economic forecasting.

Schadenfreude comes in many ways: here, an admission by a lot of very smart people that they don't know what they are doing when they produce forecasts for the OECD. Perhaps the funniest comment comes from here:

In an autobiographical essay published 20 years ago, the left-leaning economist Kenneth Arrow recalled entering the Army as a statistician and weather specialist during World War II. “Some of my colleagues had the responsibility of preparing long-range weather forecasts, i.e., for the following month,” Arrow wrote. “The statisticians among us subjected these forecasts to verification and found they differed in no way from chance.”

Alarmed, Arrow and his colleagues tried to bring this important discovery to the attention of the commanding officer. At last the word came down from a high-ranking aide.

“The Commanding General is well aware that the forecasts are no good,” the aide said haughtily. “However, he needs them for planning purposes.”


Shortest description of political science and economics available. They don't know what they are doing, but want to pretend. The works jam periodically, and they declare war.
Inspiration
In a surprise move, a Canadian court decides that accusers have to produce evidence for their case. This disqualifies Michael Mann, noted "climate scientist" from winning a case against those who accuse him of fraud for his "hockey stick" graph. As it turns out, the case was in front of someone who did more than ask Mr. Mann to show his diplomas and citations. This will have follow on problems for his other suit in Washington DC against media which have taken the same tack.

Michael Mann Faces Bankruptcy as his Courtroom Climate Capers Collapse



Couldn't happen better.

Really.
Inspiration
Student apologizes for emailing pic of Obama kicking a door | The Daily Caller

You know, condemning people occasionally happens just because you like condemning people, and you know that everyone else is too afraid of you condemning them to stand up to you.

But the mirror knows.
14th-Feb-2014 10:07 am - An Embarrassment of Riches
Inspiration
Popular Technology.net: 1350+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarm

What's interesting about the list is that while it, and individual papers, have been subject to some criticism, the list includes both the criticism and the rebuttal arguments, classified by sub-subject.

Though I'm sure that most of my friends in Georgia already have had weeks worth of rebuttals to global warming.
Inspiration
In response to that question from a friend, let me set out a few things:

1. The translators don't understand Hebrew. This is a fairly important thing for someone to understand, if you're going to do a translation. An example: Isaiah 9:3 NIV:

You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.


Look at the second line. The Hebrew word for "not" is in that line in all manuscripts, and can be translated, e.g.

Isaiah 9:3 KJV

3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

OK, the "not" here makes it important to figure out why it is there, and maybe the NIV translation is just a "kiddy" translation for those who can't take time to figure things out. OK for kids, but adults are supposed to take the time to understand things.

My second problem is that the translators don't bother to pick good manuscripts to translate from, picking instead ones with obvious errors:

1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God,[b] 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”[c]—
Footnotes:

Mark 1:1 Or Jesus Christ. Messiah (Hebrew) and Christ (Greek) both mean Anointed One.
Mark 1:1 Some manuscripts do not have the Son of God.
Mark 1:2 Mal. 3:1


The reason for the footnoting is that Isaiah 40:3 says:

3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

While Malachi 3:1 says:

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Only a few non-Christian compilations make the error of including Malachi in Isaiah. The other 85% of the manuscripts say "prophets", as reflected, once again, in the KJV:

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.


Why ignore the majority of manuscripts so that you can introduce an error, and then point it out in a footnote? It's not ethical. It's not right.

Finally, there's the lazy approach to translation: paraphrasing some other translation, and getting it wrong. Example:

Zechariah 11:17
King James Version (KJV)
17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.


Okay, a prophecy of some sort. Not easy to understand. But the NIV makes a total hash of it:

Zechariah 11:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd,
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm and his right eye!
May his arm be completely withered,
his right eye totally blinded!”


"worthless" is not a synonym for "idol" -- it leads me to believe someone read the translated passage aloud, and it "idol" became "idle", and the paraphrase went on from there. So lazy translation hits in the old testament again. Given the number of translations that pick this up, it appears to be a common way to translate without having to learn Hebrew (and there's a pun in there between "eleel" and "heylale'", for fans of Isaiah 14:12). Gail Riplinger is famous for warning that lexicons tend to pick up the biases of translators over time, and therefore become worse over time. Possibly that's another explanation.

There are people who have studied this in more depth: Look What's Missing, some of whom appear to have a bias for other translations: The NIV Reconsidered : A Fresh Look at a Popular Translation is from one of the translators of the NKJV. I find his appendix on the greek text of the new testament interesting, and quite enlightening. It led me to do further research with Ancient Word of God: KJV Only or Not?, which had some interesting perspectives. The bible in English is hard simply because a new translation comes out about every six months: it is interesting to me that they all compare themselves to the KJV. Something like Spanish bibles do with Biblia Letra Grande RV 1909 (Spanish Edition)
, or Italian bibles do with the Italian Pocket Bible - La Sacra Bibbia La Nuova Diodati / Pocket Size Protestant Bible in Italian Language / The Bridge - Great for Students and people on the go / C03SE or French bibles do with the Olivetan. For my purposes, probably better to stick to the KJV, with its extensive system of commentaries and helps.
Inspiration


You know, he's supposed to be on the side of Nevadans if he's going to represent us.
Inspiration
Lucia A. Silecchia: Peter Stuyvesant vs. the Quakers - WSJ.com

Freedom of religion is not only about being allowed to express who you are behind closed doors. It's about being allowed to express it in public, and behave in accordance with it.
Inspiration
Joni Eareckson Tada: The Disability Double Standard - WSJ.com

Another intrusion by medical ethics into life and death. And once again, the consensus is flowing toward death. What is the matter with these people? Since when do you take the word of a depressed person that "life is not worth living"?
Inspiration
War Against Men: Campus Rape Tribunals Are Out of Control | Just Four Guys

While I understand the frustration that suggests beating up the faculty advisors who participate in these farces, perhaps it would be better to stick to the remedy of suing the university.
Inspiration
Surprise! Walmart health plan is cheaper, offers more coverage than Obamacare | WashingtonExaminer.com

It is never surprising when private industry does work that the government pretends to do better, with more equity for those who participate.
Inspiration
See the latest exemplar:

We may properly hope that scientific advances help ensure, with ever greater reliability, that young people manage to become old people. We are not, however, obliged to help the old become indefinitely older. Indeed, our duty may be just the reverse: to let death have its day.

Let's face it: under cover of "ethics", our author is concerned about "money" and "death." I suppose those might be proper concerns, especially for a banker and an assassin. But I don't see pretentious essays on "the ethics of assassination" crowding the paper.
Inspiration
Bring Dani Back Home! Legal Defense Fund by Joseph Di Lella - GoFundMe is an illustration of the extent to which family courts are biased against families.
26th-Aug-2013 09:43 am - Rough Weekend.
Inspiration
My mother went home on Saturday, so there goes semi-adult conversation in person for a while. My pastor decided to rewrite the Bible, because it wasn't punchy enough for him, and professed faith in a poorly-assembled Greek text instead, with lots of flaws and room for interpretation. My spouse is on the edge of contact when I'm right in front of her holding her hand, but dementia is more powerful. And my mother called to say that her minister is denying that there's a hell. I told her he's not paying attention.
Inspiration
This is the Federal Employee Edition of "Why Obamacare Stinks." They have a plan and they can't keep their plan. That is only one of the reasons not to like it. They know about the new plan, and don't like it. Just like the rest of us. I admit that that particular promise, recited by Obama out of sheer ignorance and buffoonery until we became tired of hearing it, is the easiest to demonstrate failure in. But it's not as if he made any particular effort to keep on top of the legislation, or read it himself. After all, he has a campaign to run, and governing just gets in the way.
Inspiration
Patient Wakes Up Right Before Doctors Remove Organs - ABC News

A recurring theme. I know, there are doctors who know what they are doing. Just fewer of them than alleged.

And medical ethicists object that end of life issues are complex determinations, and why should we take a patient's word that she's still alive over a doctor's word?

And philosophers who note that it's no longer a matter of principle, just a question of timing...

Sigh.
Inspiration
We now have enough data to disprove the human causation part of global warming. Not that anyone is paying attention. They'd rather take the opportunity to set up new government controls and taxes, because someone's brother in law needs a government job.

Sigh.
Inspiration
Dear Prudence: Can single dads host sleepovers? - Slate Magazine

The real answer: No, a single dad cannot host sleepovers. The reason: parents don't like it, and they communicate their uneasiness to their kids. Should one kid complain about the evening to such a parent, they KNOW that it's about sex. And they won't rest until you're behind bars. No "liberal" child-raising attitude will help: the other parents, upon hearing the accusation, will immediately interview, informatively, their daughters, looking for trouble. People are good at finding what they look for.

So, single dad. No sleepover. Have it at someone else's house if you can, like a sister's or an aunt's or your mother in law's (after all, she's looking for reasons to label you an inadequate parent anyway).
This page was loaded Oct 31st 2014, 4:13 pm GMT.