Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Rose Parade - Lutheran Hour Ministries Float Entry - Jesus Welcomes All

2014 Rose Parade - Dreams Come True

Float Entry

Parade Order:83
Float Sponsor Company or Organization:

Lutheran Layman's League
Company or Organization Website Address:

Float Builder Company:Phoenix Decorating
Float Theme :Jesus Welcomes All
How/Why Theme Was Chosen:
The motto of Lutheran Hour Ministries is Bringing Christ to the Nations and the Nations to the Church. We feel that our 2014 float entry captures the essence of our motto.
How Float Theme Relates to Parade Theme:

As Christians our dream/goal is to have all know Jesus Christ and that all are welcome.
Number of Years in Rose Parade:
Float Award Received Last Year: 
Float Designer's Name:Michelle Lofthouse
Float Concept Description:
"Jesus Welcomes All" exudes the very essence of the title. The front of the float with pine trees leads to a stone walkway covered in trees. The church at the rear of the float, is complete with a cross atop a bell tower that rises to 20-feet into the air. The church is complete with stained glass portals that surround it.

Seiko SRP357 K2 with New 4R36 Movement

Seiko SRP357 K2

Seiko 5 Sports Automatic SRP357K1 SRP357K SRP357
Stainless Steel Case
Stainless Steel Bracelet, Push Button Release with Safety Lock Feature
Automatic Movement With Hand Winding Capability
24 Jewels
Movement Caliber: 4R36
Scratch Resistant Hardlex Crystal
Black Dial
Luminous Hands and Markers
Sweeping Second Hand With Halt (Hacking) Feature
Uni-Directional Ratcheting Bezel
Transparent Screw Down Case back
Pull Type Crown
Day and Date Window At 3 O'clock Position
100M Water Resistance
Case Diameter: 43mm excluding crown, 45mm with crown
Case Thickness: 13mm
Lug Size: 22mm
Weight: 3.8oz (108g)


Seiko 4R36 -The Family In Brief

By Watcharama | October 9, 2013 - 1:29 pm

In the past, Seiko have resurrected long discontinued calibres – the notable such reintroduction being the 4S15 (originally the 5246) which itself was received with much aplomb given its high beat of 28,800 bph, it’s hacking ability and the hand winding. The 5246 was itself a very high grade calibre, more than capable of chronometer accuracy; indeed, it was utilised in various KS (King Seiko) models with official certification. Having owned various models so equipped, I had a love hate relationship with the 4S15- it was extremely hard going to handwind and the indirect central seconds often resulted in an annoying jitter of the seconds hand. Nice movement all the same!

The Seiko 4R36 et al movements appeared sometime during mid 2011 and much excitement ensued simply for the fact that Seiko was now equipping relatively run of the mill watches with a movement capable of being handwound and hacked. Here and there on various watch fora have appeared pretty in depth posts regarding the construction of the ‘new’ 4R movements and I certainly wouldn’t attempt to replicate those here. Suffice to say, the precursor to the 4R family was the 6R15 – and this movement was intially used to power the likes of the Japanese market SARB (Spirit) series, introduced late 2005 and the now highly regarded SBDC001 ‘Sumo’ dive watch, introduced early 2007. The 6R15 was notable for the same reasons as the later 4Rs – hacking and handwinding; in addition, the 6R15 featured a Spron 510 mainspring which gave the calibre a power reserve of over 50 hours once fully wound.

What is significant is that the 6R15 was a development of the venerable 7S26, Seiko’s workhorse movement which has been powering bread and butter 5s since 1996. Thus, it wasn’t a reintroduction (as per the 4S15), it was a re-engineering of an existing, well proven calibre in order (arguably) to bring Seiko’s mid range offerings into the territory of basic ETA 2824 equipped watches. As is the way with Seiko, the 7S26 has been developed during ts lifetime, starting with the A variant (1996-2006) and progressing through the B (late 2006-2011) to the current C version (late 2011 onwards).

Likewise, the 6R15 is now on its third variant (C) since first appearing in late 2005. For clarity, we should really start with the 7S25 as this calibre is date only (as is the 6R15). Confusing?!

A quick (not fully comprehensive) 7S26/6R15/4R** timeline might help:

Mid 1996 – 7S26A introduced

Late 2005 – 6R15A introduced, based on the 7S with Etachron regulator and Spron 510 mainspring

Late 2006 – 7S26B introduced with Etachron regulator

Late 2006 – 6R15B introduced – new parts:
the barrel and train wheel bridge
the movement barrel (complete)
the centre wheel & pinion
the ratchet wheel
the oscillating weight
the ratchet wheel screw

Mid 2008 -4R15 and 4R16 introduced, based on 6R15 but minus manual winding and hacking

Mid 2011 – 4R36A introduced along with other variants (35, 36, 37, 38 & 39)

Late 2011 – 6R15C introduced – changes:
addition of one jewel on main plate (thus, 23 to 24 jewels)
modified ratchet sliding spring
modified date indicator maintenance plate
new balance wheel
new barrel

Late 2011 – 7S26C introduced – changes to date mechanism, plates, balance cock, changes to pinion heights for better hand clearances

So where does the 4R series fit in to all this?

Well, sometime during mid-late 2008 the first 4Rs, in the guise of the 4R15 and 16 appeared (notably the 4R15 in the Seiko SRP043 ‘Spork’ dive watch). Models were prefixed SRP and the watch designs were a step above everyday Seiko 5s; indeed, the very first SRPs such as the SRP001 (with day date 4R16) were fitted with solid link bracelets (including endlinks) and sapphire crystals. Some sellers marketed the watches under the ‘Superior’ moniker which Seiko itself had officially used in the mid 1990s with 4s15/sapphire equipped watches. I am not sure if Seiko themselves are marketing these as ‘Superiors’.

At first sight, (apart from being slightly more visually attractive with decorated rotor) the 4R15 is a 7S. In essence, however, the 4R15 is a 6R15 with the hacking and handwinding facilities removed – the 50 hour power reserve remains courtesy of the Spron 510 mainspring. It could be argued that the 4R15 is therefore simply a 7S25 with an upgraded mainspring! The whole journey from 7S series through 6R to 4R is quite complicated but it would seem that if there were any purpose to all these swings and roundabouts, then such purpose has become apparent relatively recently and would at the time of writing relate to the establishing of a degree of parts commonality between the three series of calibres. This wasn’t always the case of course but does now seem to be so.

If we look back at the introduction of the 7S26B back in 2006, the base movement had been in production for a decade with no real changes. The major difference was a complete redesign of the regulator which was now of the Etachron type. In essence, this would allow for finer or ‘better’ adjustment of isochronism (in other words, it would accomplish more stable timekeeping despite a declining mainspring tension). Indeed, initial reports of the performance of the 7S26B certainly indicated that out of the box timekeeping was somewhat better than the previous series. This was all rather encouraging as the 7S series had become a firm, if not crude favourite over the years but was certainly not renowned for the best of accuracy without adjustment. From personal experience the accuracy of the 7S26 in B guise was very much improved; I owned an SNKH63 which ran at +2 sec per day right out of the box.

The hairspring issue…

However, what was intended to improve the calibre turned out to be a little problematic in some cases; the design of the new regulator meant that the hairspring could be prone to jumping out of the regulator pin and becoming ‘hung up’ if the watch was subjected to any degree of shock. The watch would then run crazily fast or stop altogether. This problem was reported by many users with the quick and dirty fix (rightly or wrongly) being to slap the watch on the palm of one’s hand. I have heard it mentioned that the issue itself may have simply been down to poor adjustment of the rotatable regulator pin at time of manufacture.

Seiko 4R36 Balance Assembly

Whatever the cause, the issue has nonetheless been of annoyance to many people though I have never experienced it myself. Some users surmised that the 6R15 (which shares the same regulator) wasn’t prone to the same problem as the hairspring itself was stiffer – I am unsure if this the case. Turning to the 4R series, what I have read is that certainly in the case of the 4R36, the regulator pin itself has been lengthened to prevent the hairspring from jumping out, a PhilippineWatchClub forum post read as follows:

“I just came from the Seiko House at G5 this afternoon to have one of my pieces A-Graphed and regulated (took all of 52 seconds). While there, I had a short chat with the watch smith, a friend of mine for the past few years. He says the 4R36 movement is very similar to the 7S lines.

But the new movement has a longer regulator arm/neck to prevent the nearby hairspring from accidentally looping or slipping over that arm when the case gets “bumped” or “knocked”. The 7S “shortcoming”, he said, was that when the case suffers a strong bump, the hair spring jumps out of its placement and when it does this, the spring filament can, at times, go over the shorter 7S arm thus causing the watch to stop.”

4R36 Regulator Pin

So for 4R36 et al owners this would seem to be good news. It should be noted also that within a very short time of the 4R36 being introduced, the 7S26 was uprated to the C series…with a new balance assembly (to negate the problems?) amongst other changes.

So…hopefully the hairspring issue is now a thing of the past, providing your watch has a 4R series movement or a 7S ‘C’.

The image at right shows the hairspring passing through the slot in the regulator pin; turning the pin anticlockwise achieves fine adjustment.

Current basic Seiko 5 models are therefore equipped with the 7S26C, some Seiko 5 Sports with 7S36C, more recent Seiko 5 Sports with the 4R36A and Japan domestic Spirit models with the 6R15C.

So to the current 4R series, including the now relatively common 4R36…

The 4R line up (all beat at 21,600bph):
4R15 – 22 jewels, date only, non hacking, non handwinding, Spron 510 mainspring
4R16 – 22 jewels, day date, non hacking, non handwinding, Spron 510 mainspring
4R35 – 24 jewels, date only (4R35 is now on B series, A series has 23 jewels), handwinding, hacking
4R36 – 24 jewels, day date, handwinding, hacking
4R37 – 24 jewels, date only, 24hr sub dial, handwinding, hacking
4R38 – 24 jewels, no date, open heart, handwinding, hacking
4R39 – 24 jewels, no date, open heart, 24hr sub dial, handwinding, hacking

Seiko 4R36 Operation

Seiko 4R38 and 4R39 Operation

Seiko 4R35 and 4R37 Operation

There are no less than seven variants in the series which given their differing configurations, are suited to a variety of watch designs from basic dress to the ubiquitous Seiko Sports. Certainly the introduction of the 4R series has gone hand in hand with the introduction of many new models; in the case of the 4R36, many Sports models with 100m water resistance. Seiko has not chosen not to re-equip existing watches with the new calibre thus far, with the exception of the ‘Monster’ dive watches which have been given minor aesthetic changes, new model numbers and a commensurate price hike.

The exciting (?) thing is that finally there is a relatively mainstream Seiko watch that can be hacked and handwound – whether or not the 4R series find their way into mainstream Seiko 5 models remains to be seen. The image below gives the basic technical specification of the current 4R35 and 4R36 from Seiko. Accuracy figures thus far reported online would indicate that Seiko are being somewhat pessimistic! Note that the movements beat at 6 beats per second, not 5.

4R36 Specification

The new movement seems complete in way that it never was when the 7S26 was the mainstay – I could live without hacking and handwinding without problem – but it is nice to know that it is there if required. Citizen’s 82** series movements have always handwound but not hacked, have indirect centre seconds and of course the rotor wobble associated with winding in one direction only; wonderful workhorse movements but for me, never quite Seiko quality (despite better accuracy). The new Citizen / Miyota 9015 as used in the Smiths PRs-25 and now the PRS-68 is a whole lot better than the 82** but hard to find as yet in lower priced, relatively mainstream watches.

Seiko afficionados might baulk at some of the designs which have been released to encase the 4R36 and Seiko have gone the way of many manufacturers by releasing some very large (and ugly in my opinion) watches; thankfully (for me) not all are such, and a few of the post 2011 SRP releases have certainly caught my eye.

There are now quite a few SRP models to choose from and I have had a quick look at the model featured on the Seiko specification sheet pictured above in the form of the SRP135.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues

The cultural critic on why ignoring the biological differences between men and women risks undermining Western civilization. by Bari Weiss

"What you're seeing is how a civilization commits suicide," says Camille Paglia. This self-described "notorious Amazon feminist" isn't telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can't Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead. And that's just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.

When Ms. Paglia, now 66, burst onto the national stage in 1990 with the publishing of "Sexual Personae," she immediately established herself as a feminist who was the scourge of the movement's establishment, a heretic to its orthodoxy. Pick up the 700-page tome, subtitled "Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, " and it's easy to see why. "If civilization had been left in female hands," she wrote, "we would still be living in grass huts."

The fact that the acclaimed book—the first of six; her latest, "Glittering Images," is a survey of Western art—was rejected by seven publishers and five agents before being printed by Yale University Press only added to Ms. Paglia's sense of herself as a provocateur in a class with Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. But unlike those radio jocks, Ms. Paglia has scholarly chops: Her dissertation adviser at Yale was Harold Bloom, and she is as likely to discuss Freud, Oscar Wilde or early Native American art as to talk about Miley Cyrus.

Ms. Paglia relishes her outsider persona, having previously described herself as an egomaniac and "abrasive, strident and obnoxious." Talking to her is like a mental CrossFit workout. One moment she's praising pop star Rihanna ("a true artist"), then blasting ObamaCare ("a monstrosity," though she voted for the president), global warming ("a religious dogma"), and the idea that all gay people are born gay ("the biggest canard," yet she herself is a lesbian).

But no subject gets her going more than when I ask if she really sees a connection between society's attempts to paper over the biological distinction between men and women and the collapse of Western civilization.

She starts by pointing to the diminished status of military service. "The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster," she says. "These people don't think in military ways, so there's this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we're just nice and benevolent to everyone they'll be nice too. They literally don't have any sense of evil or criminality."

The results, she says, can be seen in everything from the dysfunction in Washington (where politicians "lack practical skills of analysis and construction") to what women wear. "So many women don't realize how vulnerable they are by what they're doing on the street," she says, referring to women who wear sexy clothes.

When she has made this point in the past, Ms. Paglia—who dresses in androgynous jackets and slacks—has been told that she believes "women are at fault for their own victimization." Nonsense, she says. "I believe that every person, male and female, needs to be in a protective mode at all times of alertness to potential danger. The world is full of potential attacks, potential disasters." She calls it "street-smart feminism."

Ms. Paglia argues that the softening of modern American society begins as early as kindergarten. "Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It's oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys," she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. "They're making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters."

She is not the first to make this argument, as Ms. Paglia readily notes. Fellow feminist Christina Hoff Sommers has written about the "war against boys" for more than a decade. The notion was once met with derision, but now data back it up: Almost one in five high-school-age boys has been diagnosed with ADHD, boys get worse grades than girls and are less likely to go to college.

Ms. Paglia observes this phenomenon up close with her 11-year-old son, Lucien, whom she is raising with her ex-partner, Alison Maddex, an artist and public-school teacher who lives 2 miles away. She sees the tacit elevation of "female values"—such as sensitivity, socialization and cooperation—as the main aim of teachers, rather than fostering creative energy and teaching hard geographical and historical facts.

By her lights, things only get worse in higher education. "This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it's all about neutralization of maleness." The result: Upper-middle-class men who are "intimidated" and "can't say anything. . . . They understand the agenda." In other words: They avoid goring certain sacred cows by "never telling the truth to women" about sex, and by keeping "raunchy" thoughts and sexual fantasies to themselves and their laptops.

Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America's brawny industrial base, leaves many men with "no models of manhood," she says. "Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There's nothing left. There's no room for anything manly right now." The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm "inspires me as a writer," she says, adding: "If we had to go to war," the callers "are the men that would save the nation."

And men aren't the only ones suffering from the decline of men. Women, particularly elite upper-middle-class women, have become "clones" condemned to "Pilates for the next 30 years," Ms. Paglia says. "Our culture doesn't allow women to know how to be womanly," adding that online pornography is increasingly the only place where men and women in our sexless culture tap into "primal energy" in a way they can't in real life.

A key part of the remedy, she believes, is a "revalorization" of traditional male trades—the ones that allow women's studies professors to drive to work (roads), take the elevator to their office (construction), read in the library (electricity), and go to gender-neutral restrooms (plumbing).


Seiko SNE107 P2

After years (1985 to 2013) of wearing Casio G-Shocks, I switched to a Seiko SRP 107 P2 for everyday use.

Seiko Solar Scuba Diver Sports SNE107P2 SNE107 SNE107P Mens Watch

Stainless steel case
Rubber bracelet (20mm lugs and 2.5mm pins / OEM replacement strap: Seiko DA3H1JR)
Hardlex crystal
Solar powered
Movement Caliber: Quartz v158 Solar Diver
Day and date
Black dial
Luminous hands and markers
Unidirectional Rotating Bezel
Water resistant: 200m / 20bar
Case width diameter: 42mm / 45mm including screw-in crown
Case thickness: 12mm
Movement/Case Number Stamped on back: V158-0ae0

I would have liked to have bought an American-made watch, but Bulova has long been sold off and RGM (rgmwatches.com) is a bit pricey.

Putin on Russian Laws and Saria


Saturday, December 28, 2013

U.S.M.C. Weakens Fitness Requirement for Females

The change was to take place in two phases, including giving females the choice through 2013 of sticking with the old standard, which required them to hold on to a bar with their elbows flexed for 70 seconds

Just three out of 15 female recruits managed to graduate from the Marine Corps' infantry training program in November

55 per cent of women – including active Marines – can't do three pull-ups, while just 1 per cent of men fail the exam

The new standard was ordered by the service's commandant in late 2012

Now the Marines say they're scrapping the requirement for now, allowing women to pass their physical fitness tests without the new challenge

Existing standards allow female Marines and recruits to pass muster by hanging for 70 seconds from a pull-up bar with bent elbows

May women in the Corps insist they're meeting the new minimum requirement

Female Marines will be eligible for full war-zone combat duty in 2016

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530172/Women-U-S-Marines-SPARED-new-physical-fitness-requirement-wont-three-pull-ups-pass-muster.html#ixzz2onaXn0lN
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Transport and Fold a Suit Jacket

Transporting a Jacket – Steps You Can Always Take

However you fold and store your jackets (more on that in a minute), there are a couple of ways to always minimize the damage to it:
  • First off, avoid folding the jacket at all. If you’re flying, wear at least one of your jackets onto the plane so that you don’t have to pack it at all, apart from maybe a couple hours in the overhead.
  • Whenever possible, use a full-length garment bag and keep the jacket on a hanger. These work on airplanes or in cars, but they’re limited in carrying capacity.
  • If you do have to fold, minimize the number of folds needed, and try to keep them along the seams. The less you have to fold across a flat plane of fabric, the better.
  • Where possible, stow the jacket with the lining facing outward, not the surface. If the lining gets scuffed, stained, or torn in transport, it won’t show when you’re wearing it, whereas damage on the outside can ruin the jacket, or at least require immediate repair.
It doesn’t do anything about the bulk (we’ll show you some creative folds in a minute that will help with that), but treating the jacket gently in the first place, no matter what you’re doing, can help it get to its destination crease-free and ready to wear.

How To Fold A Suit Jacket – 3 Ways To Pack Sports Jackets & Suits

A good wool jacket combines two major problems when it’s not on your shoulders: it’s bulky, and it’s vulnerable to permanent creasing if a fold gets pressed into the fabric. You can steam or iron those out later, in most cases, but it’s still extra work, and hard on the jacket’s longevity.

It’s a problem that cries out for a solution. Fortunately, we have three for you.


Jacket Fold Style #1 - Tucked-Shoulder Fold

This one does involve a large fold down the center of the jacket, meaning it’s not quite as crease-proof as a good roll.
That said, you often have to fold a jacket to get it into a suitcase — especially when space is very limited — and a flat fold is sometimes the only way to go. This one’s better than most, and reduces the number of folds that aren’t on seams to one.
Basically, you gently work one shoulder inside-out, then tuck the other shoulder into it, seam against seam. The sleeves lie straight down the jacket, one on top of the other, and the breast panels (with their linings turned outward) sandwich the whole thing. Then you fold it in half from the bottom and pack it away.
This one’s good for when you need a flatter fold than a roll and the jacket is going to be stowed for a while. If you’re good about not stacking too much weight on it, the crease down the middle shouldn’t set, and you’ve got the jacket lining protecting the outside of the jacket from any wear or tear.
Its big disadvantage, other than the single fold that can potentially crease, is that it can take a couple tries to get it right, and that you generally need a clean flat surface to do it on. It can be done standing and holding the jacket, but it’s tricky.


Jacket Fold Style #2 - The Shirt-Style Fold

For the guy on the go, sometimes the easiest way to deal with the jacket is just to quickly fold it over like a dress shirt.
The sleeves tuck behind the back, with the shoulders overlapping slightly at the middle, and the whole thing gets folded in half from the bottom, tucking the bottom hem up underneath the collar. The lapels and collar sit right on top, and you get a pretty neat square shape.
The resulting bundle is about the same size as the one you get in Option #2, but a little thicker in the middle and not quite as even.
The big problem here is that you’re folding the jacket in several places, both vertically and horizontally. That’s a good way to get at least some creases, especially where the folds cross each other.
So why bother mentioning it? It’s a lot quicker to throw together than the other two folds, and it’s easy to do without a flat surface. You just tuck the collar of the jacket under your chin and make three quick folds, and bam, you’re done.
If you know you’re just going to be throwing the jacket on top of a case for a short period, this’ll work just fine. For longer travel, or if it’s going to have weight pressing down on it, you’re better off with one of the other methods.


Jacket Fold Style #3 – The Jacket Roll

My personal favorite!
To get the least number of folds possible, there’s an easy solution: don’t fold the jacket at all.
You still need to do some creative tucking and layering, but it is possible to roll the whole jacket up (rather like a sleeping blanket or sleeping pad) into a soft tube of fabric.
The big advantage here is that, properly done, a rolled jacket is never folded across the fabric. Most of the action happens around the shoulders and sleeves, which are made to flex, and the broad front and back panels of the jacket get bent gently into a curve rather than pressed flat into a corner.
You can also usually tuck a shirt or a couple pairs of underwear into the roll, if you’ve got a deep enough suitcase. Just don’t try to cram too much in there — the roll won’t hold as well, and you’ll be more likely to wrinkle your jacket in the process.
The main disadvantage of a roll is that it takes up more space (especially vertical space) than a flat fold, and that it can sometimes take a few tries to get it right with no wrinkles.
And remember, you need to take those extra tries — if you force the jacket into storage with interior wrinkles, they’re likely to crease.

Read more at: http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/how-to-fold-suit-jacket-3-ways/

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve 2013

Merry Christmas Eve to you, your family, and your friends.

Please enjoy this special treat from the Concordia College Choir.  If you are ever cruising through the valley of the Red River of the North, stop by the College.  The campus is beautiful and the choir is amazing.

Liberal Cognitive Dissonance


Christmas in the Bakken Formation, North Dakota


It’s Christmas in Boomtown.

Williston, N.D., is ground zero in America's energy renaissance, with six-figure salaries the norm and stunning prosperity that extends from the oil and gas derricks to the construction, sales and service industries. But for much of the burgeoning population that has converged on Williston and other towns on the Bakken Formation, Christmas will be spent where the jobs, not the loved ones, are.

Not so for Sherri Knapp and Elijah Moyo, who are reunited this year as Moyo settles in to his lucrative new life as a crane operator. Knapp has traveled north from Florida to join her husband as they make their new home in prosperous Williston.

“It’s wonderful. Things are a lot better,” Knapp told FoxNews.com. “Last year he came home two weeks before the holiday, but this year we will be together on Christmas.”

The story of Moyo, originally from Zimbabwe, is not unlike many of the thousands of men drawn to the modern-day gold rush in the once sleepy state. The couple was living in their new home in Florida when Moyo sought the builder to pose a question about the dishwasher. He found his man - in North Dakota.

"He said he was in North Dakota building homes," Kapp said. "When Elijah asked him why he was up there he asked her husband if he had heard about the oil production.

Moyo quit the two jobs he held to make ends meet and went north and try to find opportunity. He started out as dishwasher at one of the worker camps. But soon after, he had earned his crane operator’s license, and 14 months later he found a big-paying job with Basin Concrete. He said he earns four times what he made working two jobs in Florida.

With an unemployment rate of just one percent, Williston is booming. Homes and new businesses are being built daily as more workers arrive seeking steady work. Like Moyo, they typically send for their families one they settle in. Williston is braced to expand from just 12,000 residents to an estimated 90,000 within 15 years.

“We’re growing as fast as you can grow,” Lee Lusht, president of the Williston Chamber of Commerce, told FoxNews.com. “We’ve built 2,500 units of housing this year."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/24/christmas-in-bakken-formation-north-dakota-city-sees-growth-from-fracking/

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Man’s Guide to Black Tie: How To Wear A Tuxedo

If you’ve got a clear, straightforward guide (like this one), figuring the whole thing out is a project of less than an hour.

Black Tie Basics

First, a few things you need to know about black tie attire:
1. Black Tie Is Not the Same as Formal Dress
It’s commonly assumed that black tie is the highest standard of dress for men.
In fact, black tie evolved from what was, at the time, fairly relaxed evening attire. The tailless tuxedo jacket gets its name from Tuxedo Park, an early 20th century enclave of trendsetting, fashion-forward New York swells.
The highest formal dress for the evening follows the “white tie” dress code, a similar but distinct set of clothing. In dress code terms, black tie is evening semi-formal attire. Which leads us to another important point…
2. Black Tie Is Not Daytime Wear
You know those herds of tux-wearing groomsmen you see at popular tourist attractions and photo op sites on nice days? They’re doing it wrong.
The trend is unlikely to stop, but for people who are serious about getting their formal and semi-formal dress right, tuxedos are evening wear only.
The usual rule of thumb is that you dress for the end time of an event. So a long ceremony that starts in the afternoon and ends after dark is tuxedo-appropriate, but one that starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon when the sun is up is not.
That said, the invitation is always your guide. If a well-meaning friend has requested “black tie” for his morning wedding, you show up in your tux and you don’t say a word about it. Being a good guest counts for more than being right.
3. Black Tie is Not a Costume
You’re not pretending to be a character when you wear black tie. It’s not a waiter costume, or a groom costume, or anything else.
It’s your clothing (even if it’s rented), and it’s the clothing you wear when you want to make it clear to someone that you care about their event. It’s a gesture of respect in clothing form. Treat it as such, not as a novelty.

Proper Black Tie: How to Wear It Right 

So now you know what black tie is (and isn’t). But how do you do it “right”?
There’s a pretty strict framework for black tie attire. It has a little flexibility on some of the small details, but by and large it’s a uniform look.
Here we’ll describe, piece by piece, the “gold standard” black tie look. Where you’ve got options, we list them. Where you don’t, we don’t. Trust us on this one and don’t believe what the guy at the rental place tells you.

The Tuxedo Jacket

This is the centerpiece — the item from which the whole outfit takes its name.
At its base, a tuxedo jacket is a tailless dinner jacket made of black or midnight blue worsted wool, with lapels “faced” (covered) in black silk. Most are single-breasted, with a single button, but double-breasted jacket models are also acceptable.
A few elements of the jacket have multiple accepted styles:
  • The Lapels — The most formal style of lapel is peaked, but a shawl collar is equally acceptable. In a shawl collar, the lapels are joined to the collar to make an unbroken loop around the shoulders and the back of the neck. Notch lapels are worn today, but purists still consider them too business-styled for semi-formal attire. In all cases, the left lapel should have a working buttonhole so that a boutonnière may be worn.
  • The Facing – Satin silk provides a smooth, high-luster surface that emphasizes the lapels. Grosgrain, with its ribbed texture, is subtler and less reflective. Both are equally acceptable. Since your neckwear will match your lapels, be aware that a satin facing means a shinier bow tie as well.
  • The Vents — For the slimmest silhouette and strictest formality, an unvented jacket is preferred. However, double vents (twin slits up the back) are also acceptable, and may be more comfortable and allow easier pocket access. Single vents are a casual style that should be avoided — be cautious when renting, as single-vented jackets are cheap and easy to fit, and have become a staple of rental catalogs.
  • The Buttons — All the buttons should match, but they may be either plain black or covered in the same facing as the lapels. The sleeve should have four touching buttons, just like a suit jacket.
Apart from those, everything should be uniform. The lower pockets should be jetted (slits, with no flaps), and you’ll need a welt breast pocket for your pocket square.
The ideal fit is a close one, with no pinching that would hinder movement or wrinkle the fabric, and the jacket should be long enough to cover your rear end down to the widest point of its curve. Basically, if it fits like a good suit jacket, you’re in good shape. There’s no substantial difference.

The Trousers

Black tie trousers are straightforward: they should be a perfect match to the tuxedo jacket.
That means the base material is the same as the jacket. The outer seams are concealed beneath a strip of ribbon (called the “braid”) made from the same material as the jacket lapel facing.
The trousers need to be high-waisted, so that the waist covering (either a waistcoat or cummerbund) can cover the waist fully. They will be worn with suspenders (“braces” in the UK), and should not have belt loops.
Beyond that, black tie trousers are simply minimal: they do not have cuffs, and the pockets are usually accessed by vertical slits at the back edge of the braid. Pleats are optional, but plain fronts will give the most elegant look.

The Waist Covering

Black tie calls for one of two equally acceptable waist coverings: a formal waistcoat (vest) or a cummerbund (sash).
The formal waistcoat is the traditional option, and differs somewhat from the vest of a three-piece suit. It is cut low and wide, so as to show the front of the formal shirt underneath it, and has a small set of shawl lapels. Some are also backless, and fasten with a buckled or buttoning strap in the back. The vest is made from the same material as the jacket, and either the lapels or the entire vest can be faced in the same material as the jacket lapels. Both double-breasted and single-breasted vests are acceptable.
A cummerbund is a pleated sash that wraps horizontally around the waist. Traditionally, it is made from the same silk as the jacket lapel facings. The pleats face upward, like small pockets (which was actually their function, as early formal and semi-formal dress did not include trouser pockets). Some modern cummerbunds also have small hidden pockets on the inside.
Whichever waist covering you choose, it should conceal the waistband of your trousers all the way around. High-quality models will include small fabric tabs or loops that attach to matched buttons inside the trouser waist, to hold the covering in place.
Since the waist coverings are usually the first place that rental outlets start adding in color, it’s worth emphasizing: the gold standard for black tie is a black waist covering!
That said, you can sometimes get away with a cummerbund of another dark color, such as burgundy red or forest green, so long as your goal is a relaxed semi-formal look. It wouldn’t be appropriate for a high-formality diplomatic event or awards ceremony, but it would be fine at a wedding, for example.
Use discretion — and when in doubt, go with plain black. It has the advantage of always being right.

The Evening Shirt

The shirt that accompanies a tuxedo should always be plain white.
It functions similarly to a regular dress shirt, but has a few unique features that set it apart:
  • The Bosom – Evening shirts have a decorated rectangular panel that runs all the way up the front of the shirt. This is called the “bosom” or the “bib” of the shirt. The most common styles are pleated (where vertical pleats run up the shirt on both sides of the button placket) and piqué (where the front of the shirt is made from a stiffened piqué fabric, generally woven with a dimpled pattern called marcella). Both are equally appropriate, though piqué is considered slightly more formal. Pleated shirts are sometimes called soft-front, in contrast to piqué’s stiff-front. A starched soft-front is called semi-stiff.
  • The Studs – Instead of buttons, some evening shirts have buttonholes on both edges, which are closed with decorative studs. The studs are widely spaced, usually with no more than three or four to a shirt. Traditionally, studs are used for stiff-front shirts, while soft-front shirts use mother-of-pearl buttons.
  • The Cuffs – The French cuff is the standard for semi-formal evening shirts. These fasten with cufflinks. While many tuxedos are sold with matching studs and cufflinks, it is not required. The metals should come from the same color family, however, and the two should complement each other reasonably seamlessly — you don’t want gold studs and silver cufflinks, or anything similarly mismatched.
  • The Collar – You have your choice of two collar styles here: a wing collar or turndown collar. Wing collars are high, starched collars separate from the shirt, with small points that thrust outward beneath the chin. Some purists argue that the style is only meant for formal (white tie) attire, but it is worn with black tie often enough that you can get away with it. Alternatively, a simple point-style turndown collar is always acceptable. Button-down collars should never be seen in black tie.
It should go without saying, but your shirt should always be tucked into your trousers (some have small loops that button to the inside of the trousers to keep them in place). The bottom of the shirt should be covered by the cummerbund or waistcoat, as should the bottom of the bib if it is separate from the shirt.

The Bow Tie

The tie from which black tie takes its name should, of course, be black, and the material should match the jacket lapel facings. Do not use a pre-tied model!
If you aren’t familiar with how to tie it, you need to watch Brett’s video on how to tie a bow-tie.
There are several styles of tie that are acceptable, mostly distinguished by thickness and by whether the ends of the finished bow are pointed or rounded:
  • Butterfly - Narrow at the center and wide at the ends, these are a timeless classic. It’s a good style for men with large, round faces.
  • Semi-Butterfly - Also called a “thistle” because the smaller sides often show doubled corners, giving it a slightly pointy appearance. This is a more modern and slimmed-down version of the butterfly. It’s a neutral style, and works well with most faces.
  • Straight-End – Also called the “batwing” and “club” style. A good option for small men and men with thinner necks and faces.
  • Pointed – The ideal choice for men with sharp, angular features, and a natural complement to the points of peak lapels and wing collars as well.
There are no hard and fast rules as to which is preferable. It is largely a matter of taste, and of choosing a style that best matches the shape of your face. Large-faced, strong-featured men want thick ties, while men with narrower features look better in skinny ties.

The Shoes

You have two style options for black tie shoes: formal pumps (also called opera pumps or court shoes), or black balmoral oxford dress shoes.
Formal pumps are made of patent leather or highly-polished calfskin, with a black grosgain ribbon on the top. If the ribbon has a bow tied in it, with a band lengthwise across the center, it is called a pinched bow pump, while a pump with only a flat ribbon crossing the top is called a flat bow pump. These formal shoes are the ideal complement to a tuxedo, but as they are expensive and single-purpose, many men shy away from purchasing them.
If you don’t want to shell out for formal pumps, a pair of highly-polished oxfords are also acceptable. A few men’s shoe styles have become accepted as accompaniments for tuxedos, listed here in descending order of formality:
  • Wholecut Balmoral – This is an uncommon style, wherein the uppers are a single piece of unbroken leather. A single slit is cut down from the opening and punched with eyelets for the laces. It looks quite sleek, and suits a tuxedo well.
  • Plain-Toe Balmoral – This is your basic high-formality business dress shoe. “Balmoral” implies that the lacing system is closed — that is, the piece of leather containing the eyelets is sewn directly into the upper of the shoe, not laid on top. That makes the top smooth and even, which is preferred for black tie attire.
  • Cap-Toe Balmoral - The same as a basic balmoral, but with the toe stitched onto the uppers, creating a horizontal line across the top about an inch back from the toe. It is a common business style, but bordering on too informal for black tie. Pair it with the more relaxed shawl collar, rather than peaked lapels.
  • Plain-Toe Blucher – Also called derbies, bluchers have an open lacing system, meaning that the pieces of leather containing the eyelets are separate from the uppers, and layered on top of them. Black tie has begun to tolerate the intrusion of these lower-formality shoes in the last few decades, but they are decidedly less impressive than your other options.
Thin black socks should be worn with whatever style of shoe you choose. Avoid thick cotton socks, even if they are black.

Other Considerations

With the jacket, trousers, waist covering, shirt, and shoes done right, your black tie outfit is basically assembled.
All that remains are a few finishing touches:
  • The Suspenders – These button to the trouser waist (you should never be wearing clip-on suspenders with black tie). Black or white are equally acceptable. The suspenders should be hidden beneath the waist covering and jacket the whole evening, and should never be visible.
  • The Pocket Square – Plain white is your only option here, preferably silk. Any fold is acceptable, and many gentlemen choose a deliberately mussed style like a puff or fluted fold to add a touch of contrast to the otherwise sharp-edged look of black tie.
  • The Boutonnière – A flower in the lapel is entirely optional, but always correct so long as it is a single blossom, preferable in white or red.
  • Watches – Classic evening wear does not include a watch of any kind (the implication that you would check the time is considered rude to the hosts). These days, however, a wristwatch is tolerated, so long as it is slim, with a black band and metal detailing that matches your studs and cufflinks. A pocket watch makes an excellent alternative that can stay hidden until you discreetly check it.
If you need outerwear, a dress overcoat in black, navy blue, or charcoal gray wool is acceptable. A black or navy blue fedora or homburg is acceptable, but top hats are not — those are a formal accent reserved for white tie attire. Scarves, if worn, should be white (learn how to tie a scarf 11 different ways).

By Antonio on December 17, 2013
Read more at: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/12/17/black-tie-how-to-wear-tuxedo/

A Christmas Wish for Christian Communities


Spitzer is Still an Honorless, Classless Liar

De Blasio praises aide caught shacking up with Eliot Spitzer

Bill de Blasio is standing by his flack – for now at least.

The mayor-elect on Monday praised his spokeswoman Lis Smith despite revelations in The Post that she is shacking up with her married former boss — disgraced-ex Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Read more at: http://nypost.com/2013/12/23/de-blasio-praises-aide-after-eliot-spitzer-relationship-revealed/

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Thrivent Christmas Comparison

Report: 'Duck Dynasty' Family Believe A&E 'Hung [Them] Out to Dry'

According to the Daily Mail (UK), the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty believes that A&E “hung [them] out to dry,” given the fact that an A&E handler was there during the GQ interview in which Phil Robertson made his much-ballyhooed comments about homosexuality. A source told the Mail, “You have to ask yourself why this interview happened and why it ever became public. Someone from A&E was there and was aware of the kind of answers Phil was giving. But despite that, they didn’t ever try to stop it or control it. Instead, they let it hit the headlines and then released a statement condemning it.”

The source continued, “It is our belief that they knew what was going to happen and then used the situation to exercise control over Phil. It is our understand that when the TV executives came up with the concept for the show they wanted it to be a case of people laughing at a bunch of backward rednecks. But when it didn’t turn out like that and people actually started identifying with the way the family behaved and were laughing with them, not at them, they became uncomfortable. It did not sit will with the New York TV types.”

The source also said that the family feels A&E was uncomfortable with the family’s “insistence that there would be a strong religious presence in the show. They knew Phil was the driving force behind this and we think they have used this situation to bring him in line so they could steer the show back down the path they originally intended for it.”

Read more at: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2013/12/21/Duck-Dynasty-set-up-AE

We Can have Gay Rights or Freedom of Speech

What do a reality show star, a cakemaker and a photographer have in common? They're all victims of a political system in which the mandate to not merely recognize gay marriage, but to celebrate it, has completely displaced freedom of speech.

The issues at stake in all three cases did not involve the Orwellian absurdity of "Marriage Equality". The cases of a Christian cakemaker and a Christian photographer whom state courts have ruled must participate in gay weddings or face fines and jail time were blatant violations of both Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion in the name of outlawing any dissent from gay marriage.

That is why Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty was suspended. Robertson, unlike Bashir, didn't take to the air to make violent threats against an individual. He expressed in plain language that he believes homosexuality is wrong. And that is something that you aren't allowed to do anymore.

The left sneers that A&E isn't subject to Freedom of Speech because it's a private company. And they're right. But then they insist that a cakemaker and a photographer aren't protected by Freedom of Speech or Religion because they're private businesses.

In their constitutional universe, companies have the right to punish speech in the name of gay rights, but not to engage in protected speech in dissent from gay rights. And that's exactly the problem. It's not just gays who have been made into a protected class, but homosexuality itself. To dissent from it is bigotry that you can be fired for, fined for and even jailed for.

Gay rights were not settled by legalizing gay marriage. We are facing an ugly choice between freedom of speech and gay rights.

In these three cases, gay rights activists have made it clear that we can have one or the other. But we can't have a country where we have both gay weddings and people who disagree with them.

And that's unfortunate because even the most generous interpretation of the benefits of two men marrying each other would struggle to prove that it is more beneficial to a society than the ability to speak your own mind and to practice your own religion without being compelled to violate it.

If we have to choose between gay rights and the First Amendment, the moral arc of the universe that liberals like to invoke so often will not swing toward the bullies who insist on dealing with their self-esteem problems by forcing everyone to consent and approve of their lifestyle.

Gay marriage was sold to Americans by cunningly crafted "gay families" on popular sitcoms. Now Americans are discovering that real gay activists aren't friendly people who just want to make jokes between commercial breaks, but are neurotic and insecure bullies who attack others from behind the safety of the politicians that they bribed with the massive disposable incomes that comes from not having families or long-term relationships.

Most Americans still believe that homosexuality, adultery and a range of other deviant sexual behaviors are sins. They also, like Phil Robertson, believe that disapproving of a behavior does not mean rejecting the person. That's where they part company with gay activists who are unable to tolerate Phil Robertson as a person if they are also unable to tolerate his opinion of their sexual habits.

The American tolerance for things like homosexuality comes from a mindset that is a lot closer to Phil Robertson than it is to Barack Obama. It's that very Phil Robertson attitude which allows Americans to disapprove of homosexuality, while accepting that homosexuals should have spaces for expressing their need for political identity ceremonies. That tolerance led to civil unions and then gay marriage. And that tolerance has been woefully abused. -

See more at: http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/#sthash.bKbRIBXd.dpuf

Charles Krauthammer: Obamacare is a full-scale federal takeover

Charles Krauthammer: Make no mistake — Obamacare is a full-scale federal takeover

by Charles Krauthammer

The lie of the year, according to Politifact, is “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” But the story of the year is a nation waking up to just how radical Obamacare is — which is why it required such outright deception to get it passed in the first place.

Obamacare was sold as simply a refinement of the current system, retaining competition among independent insurers but making things more efficient, fair and generous. Free contraceptives for Sandra Fluke. Free mammograms and checkups for you and me. Free (or subsidized) insurance for some 30 million uninsured. And, mirabile dictu, not costing the government a dime.

In fact, Obamacare is a full-scale federal takeover. The keep-your-plan-if-you-like-your-plan ruse was a way of saying to the millions of Americans who had insurance and liked what they had: Don’t worry. You’ll be left unmolested. For you, everything goes on as before.

That was a fraud from the very beginning. The law was designed to throw people off their private plans and into government-run exchanges where they would be made to overpay — forced to purchase government-mandated services they don’t need — as a way to subsidize others. (That’s how you get to the ostensible free lunch.)

It wasn’t until the first cancellation notices went out in late 2013 that the deception began to be understood. And felt. Six million Americans with private insurance have just lost it. And that’s just the beginning. By the Department of Health and Human Services’ own estimates, about 75 million Americans with employer-provided insurance will see their plans canceled. And millions of middle-class workers who will migrate to the exchanges and don’t qualify for government subsidies will see their premiums, deductibles and co-pays go up.

It gets worse. The dislocation extends to losing one’s doctor and drug coverage, as insurance companies narrow availability to compensate for the huge costs imposed on them by the extended coverage and “free” services the new law mandates.

But it’s not just individuals seeing their medical care turned upside down. The insurance providers, the backbone of the system, are being utterly transformed. They are rapidly becoming mere extensions of the federal government.

On what authority does a Cabinet secretary tell private companies to pay for services not in their plans and cover people not on their rolls?

Look what happened just last week. Health and Human Services unilaterally and without warning changed coverage deadlines and guidelines. It asked insurers to start covering people on Jan. 1 even if they signed up as late as the day before and even if they hadn’t paid their premiums. And is “strongly encouraging” them to pay during the transition for doctor visits and medicines not covered in their current plans (if covered in the patient’s previous — canceled — plan).

On what authority does a Cabinet secretary tell private companies to pay for services not in their plans and cover people not on their rolls? Does anyone even ask? The bill itself is simply taken as a kind of blanket authorization for HHS to run, regulate and control the whole insurance system.

Three years ago I predicted that Obamacare would turn insurers into the lapdog equivalent of utility companies. I undershot. They are being treated as wholly owned subsidiaries. Take the phrase “strongly encouraging.” Sweet persuasion? In reality, these are offers insurers can’t refuse. Disappoint your federal master and he has the power to kick you off the federal exchanges, where the health insurance business of the future is supposed to be conducted.

Moreover, if adverse selection drives insurers into a financial death spiral — too few healthy young people to offset more costly, sicker, older folks — their only recourse will be a government bailout. Do they really want to get on the wrong side of the White House, their only lifeline when facing insolvency?

I don’t care a whit for the insurance companies. They deserve what they get. They collaborated with the White House in concocting this scheme and are now being swallowed by it. But I do care about the citizenry and its access to a functioning, flourishing, choice-driven medical system.

Obamacare posed as a free-market alternative to a British-style single-payer system. Then, during congressional debate, the White House ostentatiously rejected the so-called “public option.” But that’s irrelevant. The whole damn thing is the public option. The federal government now runs the insurance market, dictating deadlines, procedures, rates, risk assessments and coverage requirements. It’s gotten so cocky it’s now telling insurers to cover the claims that, by law, they are not required to.

Welcome 2014, our first taste of nationalized health care.

U2's Bono Speaks at Georgetown University's Global Social Enterprise Event

The Duck Dynasty Witchhunt

I'm not a TV fan, but there's a TV show out there I haven't seen on A&E called 'Duck's Dynasty', that, from what I've heard, is a about a family in Louisiana who openly espouses Christianity and what we could call traditional American values on the air.

The show is a huge, off the charts success in the ratings.

Apparently there's a huge controversy now going on because of an interview the family patriarch, 67-year-old Phil Robertson did with GQ magazine.

Let me underline that...the remarks made were not made on the air, but in a magazine interview several weeks ago.

A lot of the interview, of course, concerned the family's Christian beliefs and Phil's own wild past before he became a Christian. As you can imagine, he sees Duck Dynasty as something of a push back against a lot of what constitutes popular culture today.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

When asked what he considered sinful, he replied:

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Later in the interview, he made a point of saying that he's not trying to be judgmental, but that these are merely his views as he sees them, saying, " “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

That sentiment on his part didn't change things one iota. His equating homosexuality with sin, just as the Bible he believes in says it is was all it took.

Because of those remarks, he's been indefinitely suspended from the A7E television show.

My friend Terresa Monroe-Hamilton over at The Noisy Room had an excellent take on this:

For telling the truth and stating what he personally believed, A&E put him on indefinite hiatus. They fired him. I would be very surprised if the family did not tell A&E to stuff it. They managed to take THE most popular rated show ever and scuttle it. Phil had told A&E earlier that if they insisted he remove God or guns from his show, they were through [...]

Drudge headlined this whole shameful turn of events on his site this morning with: “Roasted ‘Duck’ – Leader Fired After Gay Rant. The title is misleading as I don’t consider Phil’s statement as a rant, but a confirmation of his beliefs and faith. He has a right according to the First Amendment to state his views. And while A&E has a right to run their channel as they see fit, they obviously care more about the rights of Gays than they do of Christians and they fear the backlash from the LGBT community and their supporters. They don’t give a crap about Constitutional rights and evidently they are willing to throw away millions in revenue to placate a certain segment of society. That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? A&E chose sides with GLAAD, took a stand and walked off a cliff. It’s okay for militant Gays to attack Christians and hunt them down, but when a Christian stands up and says what he believes… well, that’s hate don’t ya know.

She's entirely correct.GLAAD is a far Left group that despises Christians, and was conspicuously noticeable by its absence after Alec Baldwin's anti-gay slurs, which were a whole lot worse than anything Phil Robertson had to say.

Greg over at Rhymes With Right makes the point that firing Phil Robertson is also a blatant violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

"It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer - to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;"

Read more at: http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-duck-dynasty-witchhunt.html

Navy sailors have radiation sickness after Japan rescue

Navy sailor Lindsay Cooper knew something was wrong when billows of metallic-tasting snow began drifting over USS Ronald Reagan.

“I was standing on the flight deck, and we felt this warm gust of air, and, suddenly, it was snowing,” Cooper recalled of the day in March 2011 when she and scores of crewmates watched a sudden storm blow toward them from the tsunami-torn coast of Fukushima, Japan.

The tall 24-year-old with a winning smile didn’t know it then, but the snow was caused by the freezing Pacific air mixing with a plume of radioactive steam from the city’s shattered nuclear reactor.

Now, nearly three years after their deployment on a humanitarian mission to Japan’s ravaged coast, Cooper and scores of her fellow crew members on the aircraft carrier and a half-dozen other support ships are battling cancers, thyroid disease, uterine bleeding and other ailments.

“We joked about it: ‘Hey, it’s radioactive snow!’ ” Cooper recalled. “I took pictures and video.”

But now “my thyroid is so out of whack that I can lose 60 to 70 pounds in one month and then gain it back the next,” said Cooper, fighting tears. “My menstrual cycle lasts for six months at a time, and I cannot get pregnant. It’s ruined me.”

The fallout of those four days spent off the Fukushima coast has been tragic to many of the 5,000 sailors who were there.

At least 70 have been stricken with some form of radiation sickness, and of those, “at least half . . . are suffering from some form of cancer,” their lawyer, Paul Garner, told The Post Saturday.

Read more: http://nypost.com/2013/12/22/70-navy-sailors-left-sickened-by-radiation-after-japan-rescue/

Churches using GPS to keep track of Baby Jesus

 This Nativity scene at the Valencia Westfield Town Center will no longer be missing its centerpiece after a stolen baby Jesus figurine was returned. (CBS)


It's a problem some churches didn't know how to handle until now. One security company is using its power to partner with a symbol that needs a little help this holiday season.

Each year, Baby Jesus figurines are stolen from nativity scenes across the country. Now, church owners are fighting back.

A GPS device is put inside the doll to prevent theft.

"And the beauty of this is it really works and it's simple to use,” said Alan Czyzewski, Parishioner at St. Ambrose Church in New Jersey.

Brickhouse Securities gives out free GPS devices to qualified religious institutions. Then they track the movements.

"We then monitor it from our cloud-based mapping system, and set up alerts so that they'll get a text message or an e-mail if Baby Jesus is in motion,” said Todd Morris, CEO of Brickhouse Securities.

Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/24277120/churches-using-gps-to-keep-track-of-baby-jesus#ixzz2oEK14jW9

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thrivent Would Facilitate Donations from Lutherans to Planned Parenthood

Earlier today, I was alerted to the presence of an entry in the Thrivent Choice database. The entry was for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. It can be found here.
Planned Parenthood is the leading abortion provider in the United States, having performed around 327,000 abortions in 2012.

Thrivent Choice is described in this way on Thrivent’s website: “The Thrivent Choice® program lets members recommend where some of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ charitable outreach funds go by directing Choice Dollars®.”

Thrivent is “a faith-based, not-for-profit membership organization nearly 2.5 million members strong.” Why is Thrivent providing a way for Planned Parenthood – an abortion business that commits atrocities every day that are completely contrary to the will of God – to receive charitable contributions from them?

Read more: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/12/18/thrivent-would-facilitate-donations-from-lutherans-to-planned-parenthood/

Monday, December 16, 2013

Balding? What You Should Do...

Jason Statham's Bald Head Makes Him Sexy

from: http://agoodman.com.au/faqs/im-balding-what-should-i-do/

As men we don’t show off much. Besides our hands and a bit of our arms (and sometimes our calves, in winter), the only part of ‘us’ that we ever really show to the world is our head. Everything else is covered by clothes almost all of the time, and should compliment the body while drawing attention up towards the face.

If you have a deep receding hairline, keep your hair short; don’t assume that adding extra length to the back and sides of your hair will compensate for a lack of hair elsewhere!

Don’t, do not, do never, ever, ever try to cover up bald spots with a combover. When it comes to the point where you’re trying to hide your baldness like that, it’s time to shave it. Don’t need to go down to the skin, but shave it as short as you’re comfortable with.

This way you look more like a man who in comfortable with his hair and has chosen a style that works with it – rather than a man who is clawing on to every last remaining follicle. The former looks quite natural and, honestly, people rarely even notice. The latter sticks out like a sore thumb.

Jesus Wants You to Judge

I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the Ten Commandments. My favorites is the one that says “Thou shalt not judge.”

Oh, that one isn’t in there, you say?

Sorry, it’s easy to forget nowadays, especially in this country where many Christians carry on as though the entire Bible could be summed up by the phrase, “it’s all good, bro.”

In actual fact, there are a lot of urgent truths and important moral lessons in the Bible. Interestingly, almost all of them have fallen out of favor in modern American society. Here are just a few verses that aren’t particularly trendy or popular nowadays:

(WARNING: Politically incorrect truths ahead)

“Whoever harms one of these little ones that believes in me, it would be better for him if a millstone where tied around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the ocean.”

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

“But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, unless the marriage is unlawful, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.”

Strange as it may seem, enlightened, progressive Christians rarely attempt to wrestle Ephesians 5 or 2 Thessalonians 3 into a conversation. Yet, while the bulk of the Bible has ended up on our civilization’s cutting room floor, the warnings about “judging” are quoted and repeated incessantly, by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Apparently, the rest of the Book is outdated, outmoded, antiquated and fabricated, but the verses about judging — that stuff is gold, man.

read more at: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/12/12/jesus-wants-you-to-judge/

Tom Laughlin, "Billy Jack", dead at 82


Actor-writer-director Tom Laughlin, whose production and marketing of "Billy Jack" set a standard for breaking the rules on and off screen, has died.

Laughlin's daughter told The Associated Press that he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin, who acted in the Billy Jack movies, said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia.

"Billy Jack" was released in 1971 after a long struggle by Laughlin to gain control of the low-budget, self-financed movie, a model for guerrilla filmmaking.

He wrote, directed and produced "Billy Jack" and starred as the ex-Green Beret who defends a progressive school against the racists of a conservative Western community. The film became a counterculture favorite and the theme song, "One Tin Soldier," was a hit single for the rock group Coven.

Laughlin was in his mid-30s when he created Billy Jack with his wife and collaborator, Delores Taylor. Billy Jack was half-white, half Native American, a Vietnam veteran and practitioner of martial arts who had come to hate war. Billy Jack was first seen in the 1968 biker movie "Born Losers," but became widely known after "Billy Jack," the second of four films Laughlin made about him (only three made it to theaters).

"Billy Jack" was completed in 1969, but its release was delayed for two years as Laughlin struggled to find studio backing. He eventually successfully sued Warner Bros. to retain rights and — with no support from Hollywood or from theater chains — Laughlin made a radical decision: Distribute the movie himself and rent theaters to show it in. He also was among the first to advertise on television and to immediately.