Thank You Dr. Laura

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

  1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
  2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
  4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
  6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
  7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
  8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
  9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
  10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan,

J. Kent Ashcraft

h/t http://www.dogchurch.org/restroom/drlaura.html

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Gun Ownership vs. Gun Deaths by State

Gun Ownership vs. Gun Deaths by State

A little chart I cooked up from easily available data on the web. Clearly shows that household gun ownership is correlated with gun deaths. These can be homicides, suicides or accidental deaths. See the chart itself for data sources

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January 24, 2013 · 6:13 pm

Conservative Desperation Scale

You can tell how desperate the conservatives are getting as November 6th nears. Just look at their arguments.

1. Facts

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2. Opinion Leaders

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3. Deny the fact-checkers

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4. Patriotism and chest thumping

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5. Chicago-style politics

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6. Dog-whistle politics

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7. Socialism

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8. Communism

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9. Internment camps

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10. Hitler

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Just know that the higher they go on the desperation scale, the more likely they’re losing the argument.

 

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Albert Einstein On God And Religion

Wow, I couldn’t agree more…

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this.

For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.

As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.

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Job Creators vs. Job Creationists

[From my Dad]

Hi Everyone…Job creation is a very difficult problem.
I think we need a Job Creation Website where intelligent
people can make suggestions and listen to ideas about
how to create jobs. This topic has to get more serious
attention if we are going to make progress in solving the
problem.. Just throwing around words is not the answer.
I would like this website get the attention of recognized
economists in the US. I think we need useful contributions
from lots of people (including both democrats and
republicans). It should be a place where all ideas can
be raised and criticized. In some cases, it might be a
good idea to allow readers to vote on different
proposals. Can you help me with this idea?
Thanks.
——————————————————–
1. The Republicans keep using the term “job creators”
and say that we cannot raise taxes on them or they won’t
create jobs. My answer is to have rich people specify
(and prove) if they are/are not job creators so that
the IRS can tax them accordingly. Let’s make these
decisions on facts, not assumptions.
——————————————————–
2. Lowering taxes to create jobs also affects the US
debt problem. Is it true that lowering taxes will actually
stimulate the economy so that the debt problem will be
reduced? This seems to be a guess unless some economist
comes up with some scientific/mathematical evidence.
Can we produce a computer program to simulate the US
economy? The program must take into account the effect
of lower taxes on businesses (hiring, adding more staff,
building new plants) and the behavior of people (spending).
——————————————————–
3. The Republicans say that regulations are blocking job
creation. Let’s find out what specific regulations they
are talking about and get job creators to tell us if this
is true. The idea is complicated because regulations
do have other effects on the people in the US. For
example, EPA regulations about coal-into-energy can limit
the use of coal because there is a theory that carbon
dioxide causes global warming. Let’s see some analysis
of this regulation in more detail. How many jobs are
affected? Is this a solvable problem? Air pollution is
also a factor. How significant if the air pollution
problem? We need more facts.
——————————————————-
4. Romney has promised to create 12 million jobs in the
next 4 years. Is this calculation based on reducing the
unemployment rate from 8% to 4% to so that 1/2 of the
23 million unemployed will get jobs? Or is this number
based on a much deeper analysis that can support the
the result? Again, just throwing around words is not
going to help solve the problem. We need more facts.
——————————————————–
5. Adjusting the minimum wage is an important factor.
Does lowering the minimum wage lead to more jobs or
more poverty? We need more facts.
——————————————————–
6. President Ronald Reagan coined the term “trickle
down economics”. We need to understand if this really
works. Do the rich people in America create a “trickle
of money” that helps the economy? Just how much of our
economy is due to “trickle down economics?” Do real
economics accept this principle? We need more facts.
——————————————————–
7. The Obama stimulus package has been criticized by
many people. We have to find out if it worked or if it
was a failure so that we can decide if more stimulus
is a good thing or not. The details count. We need
more facts.
——————————————————–
9. Many people have suggested that we make big changes
to the tax code. Will this do any good? Can it be done
without hurting some people and helping others? Again,
the analysis is complicated. We need more facts.
——————————————————–
10. One of the big questions about the current job
situation in the US is this: Is it changeable? With
companies in countries like China and India producing
products by paying very low wages to their workers and
then selling those products in the US, jobs that were
once available in the US have been off-shored. Can we
get those jobs back? What actions can the government
do to fix this problem. Saying we are going to give
these countries tough language to make them change
their ways is unlikely to have any effect. They have
an obligation to their people to maintain the status
quo so that they don’t face a revolt in their country.
The only way this will change is if the costs of
shipping products around the world goes up or if the
cost of labor in China and India rises. If that is
going to happen, it does not seem like it will occur
soon. We need a better plan.
——————————————————–

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PA Block the Vote: Stealth Edition

The other day someone asked me to download and print out the PA voter registration form. I just did it a few months ago and I figured it would be no big deal. Well, they changed things. I went to the Votespa.com website and the first new thing I saw was a big “Voter ID” warning…

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After a few inappropriate utterances, I continued to the voter registration form. I found it under “Register To Vote” >;;>;; “How To Register” at the “Download the Voter Registration Application”. It’s a PDF, okay, so I download it and try to print it out. Guess what? It’s formatted as what looks like legal paper (A4?). I don’t have a legal-paper sized paper at home. So I try to print it on regular paper and it’s so small, you can’t read the writing. Great. They found another way to raise the PITA (pain in the ass) factor to prevent a few more people from registering to vote.

If this even helps one person, then I haven’t wasted my time. I broke up the .PDF into 4 .PNG files that can be printed separately to get the whole application:

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If someone else has a better solution, please let me know

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Why Charity Alone Isn’t Enough

I’ve been thinking about the current GOP’s stance on programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Welfare and Food Stamps. It seems like they want to reduce these programs and give tax cuts to everyone, but mostly those on top, A.K.A. the Ryan Budget in a nutshell. At the same time, many of these same Republicans say that they are very religious and follow the charitable teachings of their religion regarding the poor and the sick. How can we reconcile these two very different positions?

My first clue came from the Republican debate when the crowd cheered loudly for the quesiton about letting a hypothetical person with cancer die because he didn’t have health insurance. Ron Paul, not wanting to sound heartless, responded that private charity should take care of these people who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances, generally due to some combination of poor planning and bad luck. Ron Paul harkens back to some long forgotten past when charitable organizations provided all that the poor or sick could need until they got back on their feet. I question whether that past actually existed, but to some, it’s a goal to bring it back.

Mitt Romney, while apparently not paying much in taxes, does give generously to his Mormon Church, reportedly as much 10% of his income. To him, he’d rather have the Church get his money and distribute it as they see fit rather than have the government do it. This is the key to understanding the conservative idea of shrinking government. At least some of them still believe in helping the sick and the poor, but they would rather have private organizations, primarily religious ones doing the helping, instead of the government.

What they have wrong is that Americans not all that generous (and not all that religious, either). According to a report by the Center on Philanthropy Americans gave $0.3 trillion in 2011. This is about 2% of GDP, which currently stands at about $15 trillion/year. At the same time, total tax revenue in the United States is about $5 trillion or about 1/3 of GDP. To put these numbers into perspective, the US spent about $0.6 billion on Welfare, $1.5 trillion on health care and $1.3 trillion on Social Security and other pension programs. Compare the $0.3 trillion in total charitable giving to the multi-trillion dollar expenditures for what could be considerd social spending and you see the magnitude of the problem.

If we were to return to the rose-colored glasses view of the past we’d have to ramp up our charitable giving significantly. Looking at those numbers, if we wanted to at least provide health care and welfare assistance we’d need to come up with about $2.1 trillion dollars. That would equal about 14% of all income produced in the US. Even Mitt Romney’s 10% charitable giving wouldn’t be enough. Even if we cut taxes, does anyone actually beleive that people will funnel that money into charity. I would argue the opposite would happen. Many people donate to charity in part for that tax deduction. By lowering tax rates, that decreases the value of a charitable donation, tax-wise.

That’s really the take home message. We don’t have enough charitable donations to fund all the charitable things that the government does. If left to their own devices, most Americans will not ramp up their charitable giving from 2% to 13%. In the absense of suffient charitable money we need the government to do what we, inividually, are unwilling to do. We need the government to be the biggest charitable organization of them all and that is where liberals and progressives stand.

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