Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Palin, McCain, and the Difference between Support and Agreement

Yesterday Governor Palin penned a post on her Facebook page expressing her support of Senator McCain in the face of censure by his own party in Arizona.  In many ways, it echoed the op-ed she wrote for the Arizona Central when she endorsed Senator McCain's re-election nearly four years ago. Governor Palin's support of Senator McCain shows far more of her character than of his merit. As Governor Palin wrote last night:
We live in a time of diminishing virtues because of societal influence towards total self-centeredness. This is unfortunate and makes raising families, conducting business, and governing that much more challenging. I know how important the virtue of loyalty is because in politics it’s pretty much nonexistent. I stand on that most important virtue and answer those asking today: “Yes, I am proud to have been asked to run with him in 2008, and he is my friend.”
If loyalty is essentially nonexistent in politics as Governor Palin notes, how would anyone know what it looks like? One needs to look no further than Governor Palin's own character and action over the years. Governor Palin has stood by Senator McCain's side since 2008, in spite of his often tepid support for her and his nonexistent defense of her when she was more or less accused of murdering his Arizona constituents in Tucson three years ago. Governor Palin's loyalty has been noted by many. For example, Governor Nikki Haley noted in her book about Governor Palin's continued support in the midst of allegations during Haley's gubernatorial campaign that she had an affair:
When allegations from Folks first surfaced, Haley remembers having Palin in her corner after just one phone call – a contrast to the way another supporter, Romney, had handled the news. “Sarah goes with her gut, and I love her for that,” she writes. “Mitt’s team [said] they were going to have a ‘Nikki Haley meeting’ the next morning to decide what to do next.”
Governor Palin again stood with Haley in May of 2012 when a South Carolina union leader beat a pinata with a picture of Governor Haley's face on it. This came even after Haley's silence when Governor Palin and the Tea Party was blamed for the Tucson shooting. Suffice it to say, Governor Palin's loyalty is because of who she is (her character), not because of who the others are. Support differs from complete agreement, however. Governor Palin has expressed disagreement with McCain either implicitly or explicitly multiple times. As she noted in her Facebook post,  Governor Palin parts ways with Senator McCain on ANWR and immigration. She has parted ways with him implicitly too. Her "Let Allah sort it out" approach to Syria is 180 degrees different than Senator McCain's neocon approach to Syria. In her vintage speech to a Tea Party rally in Iowa in September 2011, Governor Palin mocked Senator McCain, although not in name, for his reference to Tea Partiers as hobbits. To be sure, Governor Palin has her share of disagreements with Senator McCain, just as some supporters may disagree with her for supporting Senator McCain in this manner. That is the beauty of independence of thought--difference of opinion does negate support. As Governor Palin's brother Chuck Heath Jr. noted on his Facebook page today:

It can't be said much better than that. We don't have to always agree, but we all can learn a lesson in loyalty from the one political figure who personifies it.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Meet the "Kronies"--Brilliance in Highlighting "Crapitalism"

I don't know exactly how to characterize this, but there is a new campaign to highlight crony capitalism (or the portmanteau that I like to use--crapitalism) . This campaign--The Kronies-- uses youtube clips and specially designed 80s style action figures. Here's the introductory video:


 It hearkens me back to my childhood, but there's no particular protagonist action figure like Heman or She-rah. Instead there are guys like "Big G":

 Whatever this campaign is, they are taking aim at both political parties, which is a good thing. I'm sure the likes of Governor Palin, Peter Schewizer and Michelle Malkin, who have focused their careers around fighting cronyism, approve.

 H/T Hot Air

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014: Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace

As I noted two weeks ago, my Bible study plan this year is a weekly focus on one word found in Scripture. This is an endeavor I've entered prayerfully, and as I write these summaries every two weeks, I want to share what the Spirit has shown me as humbly as I can. I don't presume to be a Biblical scholar or a hermeneutical expert, and my summaries will not be exhaustive, simply brief summaries. I simply want to share what the Scripture has shown me.

The words that I have studied during these first two weeks of January are confidence and peace. The secular world portrays these attitudes or ideas differently than the Scriptures, so I have feared that I have not understood them as correctly as I should. This is why I chose these two words to kickoff this 2014 journey.


In the New International Version of the Bible, the word "confidence", or some variation of it, is used 18 times in the Old Testament and 19 times in the New Testament. There are multiple Hebrew words that are translated as "confidence", most intriguing to me were "batach" and "mibtach". Naturally, they both have similar meanings, batach focusing more on the aspect of trust while mibtach focusing more on seeing God, someone, or something as a refuge. The Old Testament use of the word "confidence" spans from Israel's or other nation's confidence in political or military leaders to a husband's confidence in the "woman of noble character" in Proverbs to David's confidence in God in the Psalms. However, the use of confidence in the Old Testament that spoke to my heart most were found in Isaiah. Perhaps it is due to my Midwestern roots, but Biblical agricultural analogies have always resonated with me. Isaiah 32:16-17 reads:
The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. 
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
What a message. A fertile field of God's righteousness will produce peaceful fruit leading to both quietness and confidence. I've always thought of confidence as loud, but it seems it is not. Isaiah is using the word "betach". There is a trust that comes from righteousness and peace.

In the New Testament, there are multiple Greek words that are translated as "confidence" in English. The word "parresia" was the most intriguing to me, meaning cheerful courage. Interestingly, it is also often used in reference to people speaking plainly, without ambiguity, but with boldness. Perhaps a little bit like Sara Bareilles's song "Brave", which was stuck in my head the whole week I was studying this word:

However, the use of word confidence in the New Testament is more often about being confident before God (I John 3:21) --coming before His throne--and in the face of persecution (Hebrews 10:32-35) than it is about trying to verbally right a wrong. So often the world attaches to the idea of confidence to self, when, in Scripture, the only use of the phrase "self-confidence" is in Nehemiah when the an enemy of Israel lost "self-confidence" when defeated by an Israel that put its trust in God. The Scriptures point to confidence as something we can have in coming before God and in being bold in this world because of Him.


For the word "peace", I used the English Standard Version. With the prevalence of the word (273 times in the Old Testament and 94 times in the New Testament) throughout the Bible it was easier to follow using the Lexiconc resource on BlueletterBible.org. During this week, I decided to focus on the peace in relation to God or a sense of personal peace, rather than to look at the verses that discuss peace surrounding the relationships between nations.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word "shalowm" is generally translated as peace, meaning tranquility, prosperity, quietness. A large portion of the verses that use the word peace are in reference to "peace offerings" sacrificed to God, but there are other uses as well--especially in the Psalms. What intrigued me most is the verbs associated with peace:
Psalm 4:8- sleep/dwell in peace
Psalm 34:14-seek/pursue peace
Psalm 37:11- delight in peace
As I studied the Psalm 37 verse, it was especially interesting to look at what Hebrew word was translated into "delight"-the word is "anag" which means to be delicate or to be pampered. What a concept! To pamper yourself in peace because of God. I know it's certainly not something I do very well. It has given me a new view of peace. God's peace is a glass of red wine, a bubble bath, or a manicure for your spirit!

In the New Testament, the Greek word "eirene" (tranquility, harmony, security) is usually what is translated as peace. There are many interesting tidbits about the use of peace in the New Testament that I discovered during this week's journey:
  • Jesus told His disciples "peace be with you" three times in John 20 following His resurrection
  • There is an interesting thread in Romans connecting the Trinity and peace. Romans 5:1 which notes that we can have peace with God through Christ, and Romans 8:6 which notes that the mind of the Spirit is life and peace
  • There are over a dozen references to peace in the greetings and closings of Paul's letters to various churches
This is my Scripture word journey so far. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Obamacare: Meet the New Contractor, Same as the Old Contractor

The Obama administration will not renew the contract of CGI Group Inc, the Michelle Obama tied company that oversaw the failed website. Per Chicago Business:
CGI Group Inc., the company that built the federal Obamacare website, will be replaced next month when its contract with the U.S. government expires, a person familiar with the decision said. The Obama administration intends to sign a contract with Accenture Plc to complete unfinished work on HealthCare.gov and run the site, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision isn't public. Montreal-based CGI fell as much as 3.8 percent in New York trading.
Things can only get better, right? Well, perhaps not. The Chicago Business article continues:
The Oct. 1 debut of the insurance exchange serving 36 of the 50 U.S. states was plagued by delays, error messages and hang-ups that prevented people from completing applications. Accenture, the second-largest technology-consulting company, led construction of California's better-performing state system.
Through November the California exchanged netted more Obamacare enrollees than the federal exchange, but such numbers are more of a testament to the failure of the federal exchange than the success of the California exchange. The Accenture built California exchange is not without its problems. The Washington Examiner reported last month that seven in ten California doctors wanted to boycott the exchange. The California exchange website--Covered California-- is listing doctors who are not part of the exchange. Also, Covered California was found to be giving out health care consumer information without consent. Per the Daily Caller:
Widespread fears that Affordable Care Act exchanges would fail to guard customer information are already coming true in California, where the state exchange is giving selected insurance agents customer contact information, resulting in unwanted calls and emails to Californians who have checked out the exchange but declined to buy insurance. The Los Angeles Times’ Chad Terhune reports that Covered California, which Obamacare proponents have held up as a rare example of a functioning state health care exchange, provides names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of customers who did not ask to be contacted.
Furthermore, just last week Covered California extend their premium payment deadline per Tony Lee at Breitbart News:
"Covered California" announced the news as news outlets across California started reporting on residents who were unsure if they actually successfully enrolled in Obamacare or still had trouble finishing their applications because of website malfunctions. Many residents reported being "stuck" in the middle of the application process and not being able to get answers about whether their information had been successfully transmitted to insurance companies.
While the Obama administration may tout this contractor change as a means to improve their failing exchange, it is really just more of the same failure.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Governor Palin's Message: Self-Reliance, Not Selfies

In a press conference this morning to promote her upcoming show on the Sportsman Channel, Governor Palin took the opportunity to share her refreshing message of true female empowerment. As EOnline reports:
When E! News asked what Palin would like Amazing America to teach the young girls who tune in, Palin was quick to respond saying, "That they need to be, and can be, and have to power to be self-reliant. They can be independent and they too have equal opportunity to get out there and enjoy all that has been given to us here in America."
While Governor Palin's intention is, for the most part, to eschew politics, the show's cultural message will be 180 degree different than the liberal message of female empowerment through governmental reliance.  Instead the show will be a modern day, American culturally-based equivalent to Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Governor Palin will highlight the true promise zones of America--her people and their achievements. As USA Today reports:
Palin, wearing black except for flag-patterned high-heeled shoes, says it’s "not going to be some kind of fake scripted reality show" but will "showcase people, places and things in order to restore, fundamentally, what makes America great," including her own family. Red-state Americans live an organic lifestyle that’s not limited to urban "granola" fans. "Their dinner just happens to be wrapped in fur rather than cellophane. So be it that we go out and shoot our dinner first."
As for Governor Palin's additional message to young women, she also noted:
"I think this world would be better off having more young women holding a fish in a picture than holding their camera in front of a bathroom mirror, talking a selfie." The 2008 Vice Presidential candidate announced to a room full of reporters at the Television Critics Association Friday morning.


I tend to agree. Choose snapper over Snapchat and crappie over cropping.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

In Illinois, More Concealed Carry Applications on First Day than Obamacare Enrollees in First Two Months

Fox Chicago reports that more than 11,000 people have signed up for concealed carry permits in the first day of the online application process:
 Illinois officials say they've received more than 11,000 applications for concealed carry permits. 
The online application system to apply for permits was officially launched in Illinois on Sunday. On Monday, Illinois State Police said they had received 4,525 applications for concealed carry permits were received within 24 hours. The other 6,500 applications came from firearms instructors who the state let apply early for permits to help test the functionality of the online application system.
By comparison, in the first two months of Obamacare exchange online availability, only 7,000 Illinoisans had enrolled in the exchange.

After becoming the last state in the country to allow concealed carry, citizens of Illinois are ready to exercise their second amendment rights.

 Crossposted here, here, and here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A 52 Word Journey for Bible Study in 2014

Over the years I've tried a variety of approaches to Bible study. I've studied the Hebrew names of God, gone through programs where you read the whole Bible in a year, and studied books intermixed with Scripture from authors like John Piper and Beth Moore. This year I've decided to do something different. Sadly, when I've gone through a "Bible in a year"program, I've made it simply a reading that I can check off my "To Do" list rather than an in depth study where I can learn and apply to my life. Using books have been spiritually challenging, but I also wonder if  I've become somewhat lazy--letting someone else guide my personal study, rather than putting in the spiritual elbow grease needed to gain a better understanding of the Scripture so that I can strive to walk more closely in Christ's footsteps.

This year I have decided to do a word study of 52 words (one a week) to gain a better understanding of the God-breathed Scripture. I've always been fascinated by language, and often the meaning of words used by Biblical authors get lost in translation of the Scripture from Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek into English. As an example, in John 21 after Christ's resurrection, Christ asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter replied that yes, he did love Christ. Jesus asked Peter three times, and Peter said yes three times. Christ had the ability to know Peter's sincerity, but lost in the English translation is the fact that Jesus and Peter were using two different Greek words for love. Jesus was using agape, meaning unconditional love, while Peter was using philos, meaning a friendly or brotherly love. Jesus was indicating a deeper, stronger kind of love, but this isn't as clear in the English translation.

Several months ago during a Wednesday night Bible study, one of the ministers at the congregation I'm a part of suggested a website that was extremely helpful for Bible study on multiple levels--the Blue Letter Bible (there is also a very nice app available for iphones). One of the nice features available on both the site and app is a the "LexiConc" a hybrid lexicon concordance that notes the word used in the original Scriptural language, its meaning, and Scriptures where that same word is used. I hope to use this excellent resource throughout 2014 to help me gain a better understanding of Scripture and apply it to my life. Here are the 52 words that I intend to study, in no particular order. They are simply words (or phrases) that I want to understand more completely:
confidence, peace, perseverance, works, humility, compassion, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, pride, self-control, self-discipline, joy, gluttony, sexual immorality, submit, persecution, hospitality, perfect, eager, sincere, fear, justice,purity, worry, wisdom, servant, repent, confess,authority, temptation, disciples, fellowship, character, hope, zeal, gentleness, rights, freedom, generosity, encourage, unity, ambition, contentment, greed, patience, thankful, devotion, jealousy, complain, mercy, and ministry. 
I intend, Lord willing, to write up a summary blog post every two weeks throughout 2014 about the words I've studied over the previous weeks. I certainly do not presume to have the deepest knowledge of Scripture, nor the most discerning mind, but I embark on this journey as prayerfully and humbly as I can. I want to ensure that I am open to the full truth of God's Word and that anything I share--be it face-to-face or in cyberspace-- is in line with the Scripture.

God bless!