Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The power of the HHS secretary

Normally, a Cabinet secretary is there to implement laws as part of the President's administration.

However, when a law hands over power to the administration to determine much of the policy and regulation, then the implementation of that law can look very different depending on which administration is in office.

Such is the case with the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services. The amount of power held in this position vastly increased in 2010. The text of the Affordable Care Act mentions the position of Secretary 3,267 times.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Fed reiterates plan for make-up inflation

Fed Chairman Powell testified at a hearing today. It was the equivalent of a 6-month check-up on American currency.

Background: The Federal Reserve has twin monetary policy objectives from Congress: full employment, and two percent annual inflation.

While these objectives remain intact, the Fed completed a review of its “monetary policy strategy, tools, and communication practices” last year as “the U.S. economy has changed in ways that matter for monetary policy.” The goal: “maximum employment and price stability.”

After reviewing its strategy and tools, the Federal Open Market Committee made “some key changes.”

Monday, February 22, 2021


Much is being made of crossing the number 500,000 in COVID-19 deaths yesterday.

Three thoughts:

One, this includes not just people dying of the coronavirus, but of people with the coronavirus and other comorbidities. US numbers are not consistent.

Two, China's numbers coming from a Communist government are not reliable, but the want-to-be Communists report them as if they are and as if this is reason to beat up on their own country.

Three, the language describing the number as being “mind-boggling” and “almost too large to grasp” represent difficulty in understanding and personalizing the tragedy.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Remembering Carman

Sometimes when a seed dies, we get to see just how many seeds that seed actually planted.

Carman Dominic Licciardello passed away this week.

I was one among many those who grew up listening to Carman. Firing up his YouTube channel brings back a lot of memories. I texted my youth pastor, too.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Enabling Virginia government 'entry without delay' into your home

One of the earliest parts of the Affordable Care Act to get repealed and never replaced was the 1099 provision. Section 9006 onerously and vastly broadened the reporting requirements of payments over $600. It was repealed before it ever went into effect. Even the Obama White House celebrated this fix to a problem it helped create. They had no choice; the public outcry was obvious and overwhelming.

The Virginia General Assembly is giving serious consideration to passing a law that is at least as overreaching.

There is much change that full Democratic control in Richmond has brought. Much of it is objectionable, but not necessarily immediately encroaching on one's own personal liberty. (For instance, firearms limits on domestic abusers hopefully do not apply to most people, problematic though they may be given the case law.) Even such very limited consolation is entirely absent from one law that would resemble the overreach of the federal 1099 provision and go much further.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Day colors

Solar gradients is a cool background.

I got using and configuring a Mac tonight and almost forgot about writing for today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Equity vs. public health

How quickly the politics of equity overtake public health.

This shows how history can be forgotten with lightning speed.

Two things to note:

1. There is no approved vaccine. We only have vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use.

2. Because this vaccine is so new and not yet approved, distribution originally took place only in hospitals because they wanted to make sure there were resources available in case someone had an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021


Paul wrote to the Galatians, “If anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:3).
Just so, my Lord Jesus wants me to take that blessed position as a worker, and morning by morning and day by day and hour by hour and step by step, in every work I have to do, simply to abide before Him in the simple utter helplessness of one who knows nothing, and is nothing, and can do nothing. Oh, beloved workers, study that word nothing.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Deconstructing the threat

Some Christians are less concerned about the philosophical dangers of critical race Theory (CRT) than are some secular liberals.

Dr. Anthony Bradley portrays CRT as being a rational “intellectual movement” to find and dismantle white supremacy “wherever it is found.” He argues we should “learn what one can from it while rejecting what is wrong.” Specifically, he rejects a claim that racism explains “all racial struggles and racial disparities that non-white faces in America” as “overly simplistic, unsophisticated, and monistic.” He views CRT as simply using anti-racism to save us from white supremacy. He proposes we “use the resources of the Christian and Presbyterian traditions for analysis and proposals for solutions, and pray.”

To him, racial injustice is “woefully inadequate to explain the nature of reality and to offer non-coercive solutions” as compared to having the Word of God, various summary confessions and ample centuries of history. The Word of God, when proclaimed, is effective because “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). What happens when it is not proclaimed? What if CRT is not just “a limited analytical tool”? What if CRT is a part of a larger framework not interested in a solution?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

The nature of conscience protection laws

As a legal matter, I agree with conscience clauses and would vote for them at any given opportunity. No one should be forced to violate their conscience or their deeply helped theological beliefs.

As a cultural matter, conscience clauses in law are indicative of a shifting cultural landscape, and those who advocate for those legal rights may have inaccurate expectations.

Friday, February 12, 2021

The path to greatness

Almost twice in a row, Jesus says that whoever wants to be first or to be great “must be the servant of all” (Mark 9:35; 10:44).

Notice, he doesn't say it's wrong to be first or to be great. In fact, he even tells them how to do exactly that. The method is just the opposite of what anyone would expect in order to attain those things.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Productive days

I've had a productive couple days. Today included a lot of writing, too, but not for anything here.

Sometimes you have to keep certain habits or commitments to a minimum in order to make progress in other areas, especially areas that have been delayed or neglected for a while.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The problem with claims about ‘starvation wages’

Yesterday President Biden's budget director nominee expressed support for federal funding of abortion.

Today was her second confirmation hearing before another committee, and Chairman Sanders used the opportunity to make yet another mention of “starvation wages” some people are earning.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

U.S. Senate Record highlights, 2/8/2021

Senator Grassley spoke about The 1776 Report.
As I have often said, our Nation is unique in human history in that it was founded not on the basis of common ethnic identity or loyalty to, let's say, a Monarch but on certain enduring principles. …

Our patriot forefathers concluded that these principles were worth fighting for and took up arms in an improbable quest to defeat the largest and best trained military at that particular time.

This included many Black patriots who fought for American independence--a unifying fact that I believe deserves a monument on the National Mall, something that I have been working toward for years. …

Monday, February 8, 2021

A win from the private sector on COVID-19

CNN 10 today reported on Dr. Allen Sills, chief medical officer for the NFL, and how the league managed to keep their positivity rate all season to as low as 0.08% with no in-play spread anywhere in the world.
We had an outbreak in Tennessee and we went in and really dug into that and tried to understand how did a transmission occur despite our protocols. 
That`s when we began to realize it wasn`t just six feet and 15 minutes.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Streamlining content-gathering

This week's Congress Update took more than half the day today—much longer than normal, though not unprecedented. It was a busy, long, complicated and late week in Congress. (The Congressional Record for Friday still hasn't published as of this writing.)

Friday, February 5, 2021

More smoke

One of the landmark legal milestones of the 1990s was the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Cigarette companies were massively held responsible for public costs incurred due to the detrimental health effects of tobacco. Tobacco companies are paying $206 billion to states over 25 years ending in 2025. There are still four years left to go on those settlement payments.

Before these reparations are fully paid, policymakers are now moving in the opposite direction. Today, the Virginia Senate voted 23-15 to pass SB 1406 to legalize “simple possession” of marijuana.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Unusually free

Today, I learned that Officer Brian David Sicknick was younger than me when he passed away last month. The Wikipedia page for him indicates he was, apparently, an “outspoken supporter of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.”

It's not his politics that surprise me. I'm sure there are many Capitol Police officers on both sides. It's the outspoken part I find unusual. I would have thought that the Capitol Police were either non-partisan, or expected to keep their politics to themselves. That he did not, I think is a good thing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The nature of unsolicited advice

Chris Saxman wrote a column about an interesting topic, “unsolicited advice,” and he cited a column that cited a summary of studies on the motivation of those who give unsolicited advice.

“Researchers discovered: ‘…giving advice to others can increase the feeling that you have power. In particular, the researchers suggest that when you advise someone else, it gives you the sense that someone may follow your advice. That belief that you are influencing someone else’s behavior then leads you to feel more powerful.’”

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Considering the death penalty in Virginia

The Virginia Senate is considering a bill, SB 1165, to repeal the death penalty.

I have not listened to most of the debate, but I listened near the end today, and in hearing the Senator from eastern Fairfax, the two most compelling points I heard him make were (1) death penalty expansion is last on law enforcement's legislative priorities, and (2) there has not been a death penalty conviction since 2012.

Neither of those points, however, address the fact that having the death penalty on the books is a strong deterrent in the commission of crime. Some criminals adjust how they commit crimes based on the types of punishment they may face. The death penalty is the most significant factor as it is the ultimate punishment man can impose under law.

Monday, February 1, 2021

The consequences of feeding the beast

Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya said of social media, “If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you. If you push back on it, we have a chance to control it and rein it in. And it is a point in time where people need to hard-break from some of these tools and the things that you rely on.”

This sounds a lot like the image-maker described in Psalm 115. After describing several imitation senses and body parts, the psalmist wrote: “Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them” (115:8).

There is a better approach.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Global internet: only one location at a time

I did a little reading about Starlink today, and I found one fact about using it rather strange. While one might think this would mean access to the internet from anywhere in the world (within certain latitudes), that's apparently not the case.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Extending employer rules to everyone in Virginia

The Virginia House passed HB 1864 today.

According to this legislation, for “a person employing one or more domestic workers” such as “babysitters, cooks, waiters, butlers, valets, maids, housekeepers, nannies, nurses, janitors, laundresses, caretakers, handymen, gardeners, home health aides, personal care aides,” “It is an unlawful employment practice” to “Fail or refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to such individual's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age, status as a veteran, or national origin.”

Thursday, January 28, 2021

A defeat for women

It's abortion day at the White House.

The bad news is the United States is expanding its funding of those who openly shed innocent blood all around the world, including at home.

This policy change has become an early action of every incoming administration since President Reagan initiated the Mexico City Policy in 1984. This rebuilds the high places.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021


I've not been following the sage of the Virginia Senate and its censure resolution recently, but I did watch the end today. First, I watched it almost end yesterday.

The Virginia Senate nearly acted on the resolution yesterday until a tearful defiance was declared to be in the context of a relative having had open-heart surgery yesterday. One senator had compassion to defer for a day, only to have that followed up later that evening with a series of attacks from said senator on social media. So much for needing time to focus on family. Perhaps those were posts by staff, but even so, that confirms a lack of discretion and control.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Truth is not by vote

The new administration emanating from the White House is projecting this aura of truth-telling, and further, as if this is distinct from the last administration. A breath of fresh air to many, supposedly.

There's a big problem with this idea. The clarity with which the lies are being told has increased. It's no longer a fight between the White House and the press over what constitutes the facts that should be put forward. There is uniform agreement between those two that children in the womb are not people, and therefore there's nothing wrong with killing them.

I disagree. It is wrong. It's always been wrong. And just because they are willing accomplices in sending forth these lies to the nation and the world with one voice does not make it true.

Monday, January 25, 2021

The latest official information on U.S. federal funding of abortion organizations

If you're looking for a baseline on where America is with abortion at the end of the Trump Administration and the beginning of the Biden Administration, the GAO recently published a report detailing, among other things, how $1.8 billion went to abortion organizations over three years.

The data is from FY 2016 through 2018. As government data goes, that's current.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Two functions of Section 230

Section 230 does two things:

1️⃣ It allows companies to host third party content without being held responsible.

2️⃣ It allows companies to remove third party content without being held responsible.

1️⃣ is what has made social media possible.

2️⃣ is what conservatives don't like.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Two noteworthy lines from Senator Schumer's first speech as Senate Majority Leader

Upon the Democrats taking over the majority of the Senate on Wednesday, Senator Schumer gave his “maiden speech” as the body's new majority leader. I especially note two comments he made.

The first is from his welcome to the three new Senators that gave them the majority. He recognized Senator Warnock of Georgia, “born while Georgia was represented in this Chamber by two staunch segregationists, is now the first African-American Senator Georgia has ever elected.”

Thursday, January 21, 2021

12 for 45

It may, perhaps, be one of the oddest of all places to find a concise list of one's crowning accomplishments, but during House debate eight days ago, one paragraph lists top executive accomplishments of the last four years:
Politics and the fact that they want to cancel the President—the President who • cut taxes, the President who • reduced regulations, the President who, prior to COVID, • had the greatest economy, • lowest unemployment in 50 years, the President who • got us out of the Iran deal, • put the Embassy in Jerusalem, • brought hostages home from North Korea, • put three great Justices on the Supreme Court, • gave us a new NAFTA agreement, • the Abraham Accords, • the COVID vaccine, and who • built the wall.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Praying for the wisdom of Solomon

At the inauguration today, the invocation asked God to give President Biden the “wisdom of Solomon.” Actually, it was the wisdom of God.

Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Turning the page

As the nation turns the page on administrations tomorrow, there is a news headline from last week that sits right on the line which demonstrates the stark difference in how the two administrations see the world.

We rightly mourn and recognize this behavior as wrong.

We also note how close they were to half the nation having no problem with this kind of behavior.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Three major life choices

46 years ago today, Linda Gail Hansen married Thomas Edward Christensen at the North Side Gospel Center, 3859 N Central Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60634 at 4:00 P.M. Central Time.

This is the message they included in their program:
We are both very glad you are able to share with us this very important and special occasion in our lives. In every person's life come three major choices: ETERNAL DESTINY, LIFE-WORK, and LIFE-PARTNER.

Each of these decisions answers a major question:

• With whom shall I share eternity?
• With whom shall I share my message and purpose for living?
• With whom shall I share my heart?

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Cultural Resiliency

How are we doing, America?

Apparently some think that a good way to answer that question is by asking, “What scares you most about the coming year?”

Things people fear:

Frank Luntz summarized:
  • “They're afraid.”
  • “They're petrified.”
  • “They're nervous that the country won't be the same America that they remember.”
  • “They're nervous that the social and the cultural aspects of the country are changing.”

When liberals hear such resistance to social and cultural change, they conclude conservatives are racists who “don't like black and brown people.” This is not correct.

America is changing in multiple ways, and there is a lot of nuance to how those changes work out. Changes in the racial composition of this country are not the same as changes in its ideological composition.

Friday, January 15, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Web site: 'you have no reasonable expectation of privacy'

The CDC's Vaccine Administration Management System requires this consent to begin registering for the vaccine:
Security Alert - This warning banner provides privacy and security notices consistent with applicable federal laws, directives, and other federal guidance for accessing this Government system, which includes all devices/storage media attached to this system. This system is provided for Government-authorized use only. Unauthorized or improper use of this system is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action and/or civil and criminal penalties. At any time, and for any lawful Government purpose, the government may monitor, record, and audit your system usage and/or intercept, search and seize any communication or data transiting or stored on this system. Therefore, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Any communication or data transiting or stored on this system may be disclosed or used for any lawful Government purpose.

(emphasis added)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Tech lanes

There's a limit to how much complexity a system can handle, especially when going outside one's longtime area of expertise.

Microsoft has long been a software company. It may be software that deals directly with hardware, but it's still primarily been about software.

The Surface line of products is an example of Microsoft venturing beyond software into hardware.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Who takes care of you?

While speaking on the House floor today, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was wearing a mask with writing on one side that said, “I take care of you,” and on the other side, “You take care of me.”

If this sounds like God's instructions to “love one another,” that's not a mistake. This is an intentional re-appropriation of instructions given to the individual and instead taken by the government.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

More theater in the name of security

In the wake of the Capitol being overrun last week, “the most visible safety measure yet put in place” by House Acting Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy P. Blodgett is to put metal detectors in place at the entrances to the House floor.

For all other entrance screenings, such as at office buildings, Members of Congress have been not been required to pass through those screenings. (Interestingly, the late Sen. Tom Coburn would go through them.)

How would this have changed the incident last week?

Monday, January 11, 2021

3 Vaccine History Periods

I can identify 3 periods of vaccine use that are all very different from one another.

First, there was the kind where they discovered how to ward off debilitating diseases like polio. I'm old enough to remember an elderly man I knew as a child who was wheelchair-bound because he caught polio before he could be vaccinated against its paralyzing effects.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Permanent suspension of an audience

Dismissing the President of the United States from Twitter was not just about the man. Twitter didn't just care about Donald Trump or what he posted. Twitter specifically wanted to sever the connection he had with his followers that it provided.

This is evident in its explanation of how Twitter gave “close review” to his Tweets and “the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter.” The President could have written almost anything and be found in violation of that standard.

Twitter has a history of extending their reach of influence beyond their own platform.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The source of moral authority

There is only one source of moral authority: God Himself.

Just as the Scriptures say that God is alone wise, and for Whom it is impossible to lie, so He is the sole source of determining that which is right and good.

He has revealed His will and His law in His Word.

The only authority man has ever had is that which has come from God. He removes kings and raises up kings.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

China's fake numbers are cracking

For months, China has reported exceedingly low numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths. For being the world's most populous nation, this is simply not credible. However, due to China's heavy media and political investments in the United States, questions about these numbers have been largely absent.

That changed today.

China is going back under lockdown.

After reporting 100 new cases, they put 11 million people under lockdown. If that ratio sounds a bit off, there's a reason for that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021


I was watching Congress today when the Senate was suddenly interrupted. Later, the House was interrupted, too. As of this writing, both are officially still in recess. The long day they had planned is still pending and potentially in its early stages.

I had a cable guy coming today. What I had believed was an installation option turned out not to be the case, and he left before I felt reconciled to my more limited options.

Hard interruptions are no fun. They're disorienting.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

How the Senate works until the Georgia runoff elections results are clear

Short version: Republicans maintain the majority unless Democrats win both Georgia Senate seats. They currently have 51 Senators. That number could increase by one, stay the same, or decrease by one.

“The quirk that affects the initial Senate majority, though, is that Loeffler [is] a senator to start the new Congress, while Perdue“ is not.

Long version: AP explainer

Monday, January 4, 2021

What Georgians needs to know about what's already happening in Congress this year

If you had nothing to go on other than what's already happening in the U.S. House of Representatives this year, you'd think Democrats had just taken over the majority and had a huge electoral majority to enact sweeping change, starting with its own institution. You'd never guess they've already had the majority, nor that they lost seats only weeks ago in the last election.

The Rules package they've put forward and been voting on this week include a consolidation of power and an acceleration of implementing a far-left agenda. This is before they've really begun introduce and pass radical legislation.

If the Senate goes to the Democrats, that puts Democrats in full control of the top two branches of the federal government. The last time that happened was in 2008 and by early 2010 we had the Affordable Care Act and all of its infringement on religious and personal liberty.

Would Democrats consolidate power in the Senate, too? In the Supreme Court?

We don't want another 2010 nor what could be worse. A Republican-controlled Senate would keep a check on the Biden Administration and the House from having free reign to enact their agenda to “change America.”

Saturday, January 2, 2021

The fundamental problem with single payer

One doesn't have to look any further than the name to learn what the problem with a single payer health care system is.

Only one payer is allowed.

A “right” to health care in practice ends up meaning the government pays for health care, and doesn't allow anyone else to pay for health care. Only two countries in the world have a single payer system, North Korea and Canada. The Canadian system is not comprehensive, and is increasingly less exclusively publicly funded. The only true example of single payer in the world is Communist North Korea.

Nonetheless, many are convinced a single payer would work out just fine, but let's say, for the sake of argument, that in a system serving millions of people, there may be times when some people are not satisfied with the services they receive through this system.

If those people find a different health care provider they want to pay to provide them or their family members care—a good thing to do—they are not allowed to do that. That would make them another payer and the government would no longer be the single payer.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Sharing the hope, not the assumption

Normally I love a new year. The pressure of the holiday season is passed, the deck is cleared for a fresh start.

In some ways both of those things remain true, and in other ways, not. The pandemic adds to both. There's lots of uncertainty. There's a lot of opportunity to trust the Lord.


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