Friday, July 31

Neighborhood Beer Summit

We now have proof that all misunderstandings, differences, disagreements, wrongdoings, and other serious injustices can be mitigated, assuaged, diluted, reconciled and/or resolved by facing your opponent over a beer. Or not.

Thursday, July 23

To Clone or Not to Clone . . .

AP News Release: By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Thu Jul 23, 4:47 pm ET

"Two teams of Chinese scientists have made a major advance in mice in the development of a new kind of stem cell that doesn't involve destroying embryos.

"Those cells are derived from ordinary skin cells, and when they were created two years ago from human skin and genetically reprogrammed, it was hailed as a breakthrough. But questions remained whether they could act as chameleon-like as embryonic stem cells and morph into any cell type in the body.

"One way to show that versatility is if the new reprogrammed stem cells could be used to produce an entire new life.

"And now researchers have shown they can in mice.

"For the first time, they were able to produce live mice from stem cells that were coaxed from skin tissue of adult mice and then reprogrammed. And while there were abnormalities and unusual deaths with some of the first generation of mice, one team produced enough normal mice this way to create hundreds of second and third generation mice." Full story here


"Don't mind Joey there. He's got a little twitch and can't pronounce his 'W's, but remember, he's a third-gen-test kid."

Monday, July 20

Point and Shoot the Moon

Today's anniversary of one of the greatest events in history (humanly speaking) will soon fade from memory --- again. Former space nerds are going goo-ga over all things moon-landing-ish this week. Ken Rockwell, camera reviewer and space exploration/technology nerd, has given real life to the events, writing details of the chronology of the landing that you most likely don't know. Makes for pretty exciting reading --- for us nerds, anyway.

The pictures are amazing when enlarged, thanks to the Hasselblad camera Neil Armstrong used.

Wish I had been there to take them - Neil was a test pilot, not a snapshooter.

Thursday, July 9

The Rest of Occum's Story

Abbreviating history is the common practice of our day. The following introduction to Dartmouth College's antiquity mentions Samson Occom, the Mohegan Indian who was largely responsible for donating a substantial sum necessary to ensure the school's survival. It doesn't mention the story of how the money came into his hands.

-- from Dartmouth College's website:

"The Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, a Congregational minister from Connecticut, founded Dartmouth College in 1769. He had earlier established Moor's Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut, principally for the education of Native Americans. In seeking to expand his school into a college, Wheelock relocated his educational enterprise to Hanover, in the Royal Province of New Hampshire. The move from Connecticut followed a lengthy and sometimes frustrating effort to find resources and secure a charter. Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian and one of Wheelock's first students, was instrumental in raising substantial funds for the College. The Royal Governor of New Hampshire, John Wentworth, provided the land upon which Dartmouth would be built and on December 13, 1769, conveyed the charter from King George III establishing the College. That charter created a college "for the education and instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land ... and also of English Youth and any others." Named for William Legge, the Second Earl of Dartmouth — an important supporter of Eleazar Wheelock's efforts — Dartmouth is the nation's ninth oldest college and the last institution of higher learning established under Colonial rule."

The following is from the book The Prince of Pulpit Orators, A Portraiture of Rev. George Whitefield, M.A., by J.B. Wakeley, 1871.

"Whitefield once visited the Indian school at Lebanon, which was under the care of Doctor Whelock. He was delighted with the school, which he looked upon as a 'promising nursery for future missionaries.' Here he had an interview with an Indian preacher by the name of Sampson Occum [sic], whom he much admired, whom he invited to go to England for the purpose of raising funds for the Indian seminary. Sampson Occum was a remarkable man for a son of the forest. He was a descendant of Uncas, the celebrated chief of the Mohegans. At the age of seventeen Occum was converted under the labors of Whitefield and Gilbert Tennant. He was for four years a scholar in Dr. Wheelock's school for the benefit of the Indians, and afterward a teacher there for eleven years. In 1759 he was ordained; and in 1766, in company with Rev. Mr. Whitecar, he went to England to raise funds for the school.

"Whitefield welcomed them there, and threw his whole soul into the enterprise. Whitefield was delighted with Occum's spirit and with his preaching, and introduced him into his pulpits and to his friends who were wealthy. He was very successful in raising funds, and as no American Indian had ever before preached in England, curiosity led thousands to hear him. He preached to crowded audiences several hundred times. Dr. Dwight, among other notable persons, heard him, and pronounced him eloquent. At Kidderminster the people were so moved and melted under his appeals that, not satisfied with contributing once, they passed the plate around and took up a second collection.

"Occum and his colleague brought back from England more than forty-five thousand dollars for the school. [An equivalent of over $1 million in today's dollars using the Consumer Price Index, but over $22 million based on an unskilled worker's wage - for the year 1774, but this was in 1767] It was through Whitefield's influence that Lord Dartmouth became its friend and patron, and so influenced the King [of England] that he contributed his thousands. The Indian school was merged in Dartmouth College, of which institution Mr. Wheelock was the first president. We here find Whitefield's name connected with Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, as well as with that of Nassan Hall, Princeton. Americans hardly know how deeply they are indebted to Whitefield, and what gratitude they owe him.

"Occum was a wit, but he used his powers for the furtherance of the truth. It is said that once, while holding a controversy with a Universalist [who believes there is no hell and all will be redeemed and go to heaven], he concluded by saying, 'Well, well, remember, if you are correct, I am safe; if you are not correct, I am safe. I have two strings to my bow, you have but one.'

"He died in July, 1792, at New Stockbridge, N.Y., and over three hundred weeping Indians followed this distinguished preacher to the grave. His name is interwoven with the history of his country, and the history of Dartmouth College. How few, alas! of his race have a history like his!"

Saturday, July 4

1500 more tax/rotten government protests are now history - all held today throughout the nation.

Our local turnout was pretty low - people would rather be with family, and I don't blame them. But those who showed up expressed their ire and irate concern for the state of the states with enthusiasm, nonetheless.

The groundswell has started. The fear of being branded "terrorists" isn't deterring the moms and pops of America from speaking out. In fact, that's the only way the press is going to cover this story. Speaking of which, the local newspaper, even after repeated efforts to post this get together, wasn't at the event. They reported on the April 15 placarding, but cared less about this one. Mine is most likely the only report you'll read. Guess everyone had the day off except one lone motorcycle officer who parked across the street for about 10 minutes to see if there would be any trouble.
No trouble - just a lot of cars honking in favor of smaller government.

True Liberty

We just finished watching the John Adams 7-part movie series on 3 DVDs. It's an excellent portrayal of everything 'revolutionary' in America's break with England and endeavor to govern through the chaos of the early years. Pretty factual from what I've read, except they don't emphasize the fact that Adams (and many others) believed the truth that, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Great acting, location shooting, character depth, family/personal perspectives, and history.

In spite of the Brave New Worlders who want to throw God out of the American equation and deny the historical fact that these United States were first and fundamentally born and nurtured in the family of Christian beliefs, the truth remains: True liberty demands true religion.

"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand." John Adams, letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776

"Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not of republicanism and of all free governments [alone], but of social felicity under all government and in all the combinations of human society." John Adams, letter to Benjamin Rush, August 28, 1811

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion, avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the stongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams, Address to the Military, October 11, 1798

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens . . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

"The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments." Benjamin Rush, On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic, 1806

Friday, July 3

Dirty Dealing

Family matters. So does doing your job well. A state governor shouldn't be spending 80% of her time dealing with over a dozen empty ethics violations and non-stop family hate speech.

The political left has proven itself so very afraid and hateful of Governor Palin, it will stop at nothing to discredit her, even if it means making the taxpayers of Alaska fork over millions unnecessarily.

It's time for the pundits to start their punditing.