Friday, October 14, 2011

Hither and thither 10/14/11

My, the week's gone? It was interesting... but I forget why. One of the biggest things for me personally this week was of course the highest-traffic blog review of my first book thus far. Meanwhile, I know a lot of people are making their way through the Proverbs book, but it's definitely a slower read. So I'm waiting to see more full reviews in addition to Freddie's.

Oh, on that topic: I just learned that Kress extended the 50% sale on the Proverbs book through October. So perhaps you want to take advantage of the 2-for-1 (as Rachael Starke put it) for Christmas?

One more note: Mike Abendroth, host of No Compromise Radio, interviewed me about The World-Tilting Gospel. Have a listen, if you like; share with a friend who'd like to know more in talk-form.

Now to this week's fun, frivolity, thoughts 'n' growls.
  • First, an animation that would have made a good illustration to start the sermon I preached at the Preachapalooza:
  • OK, we'll start with what I predict will be the one focus of conversation out of all 147 items. In 3... 2... 1...
  • Dear Wife found this Know Your States test. Homeschoolers and everyone will love it. Only reason I got as good as 74% is... being married to Valerie, and homeschooling. (For years, I thought of Chicago as "East Coast." Sorry. Publik skooling and laziness.)
  • When Math-Heads Tip! Tonight on Fox!
  • You're welcome.
  • A further reflection on the PCUSA's ongoing Adventures in Apostasy, which we noted last week:

  • Not really. I don't know any better than you. But that might be the best we can hope.
  • As to Cain, surely you've heard about his "9-9-9" plan by now. I like two things about it: (1) Paul Ryan loves it , and (2) the Washington Post hates it.
  • Plus, Gov. Haley Barbour says persidential candidate Cain would sweep the South.
  • On the subject of Frank Turk — well, we're on that subject now — remember he's got swag that offers graphic comment on the Elephant Room kerfuffle. Plus he's got his own site called The New Calvinist Gadfly where he and some friends — some other friends — doctrinally rock out.
  • Just sad. For us aware of its history, the name Fuller Theological Seminary is a name of tragic shame. Once a star of evangelical academic respectability, its jettisoning of Biblical inerrancy for the chimera of respectability signaled an inevitable doctrinal slide which continues apace today. Harold Lindsell warned, was mocked and derided, was absolutely right.
  • Now we have Richard J. Mouw, who is current President of Fuller Theological Seminary, telling each and everyone that Christian Science is a cult, Jehovah's Witnesses is a cult — but Mormonism is not a cult. Read the tortured pretzel logic he forces to serve his perfidy. (Thx Joel griffith)
  • And this school is training "evangelical" pastors (and pastorettes). Oy.
  • Now turning from Fooler Seminary's Voices of Bedlam to Kevin DeYoung, that brother provides a good summary of Mormonism's aberrant doctrines, titled Mormonism 101.
  • For my Josiah and, who knows? Maybe some Grasshopper boys.
  • I leave you with this metaphor for theologically rootless big-names.
...and these:



Thomas Louw said...

I did send you that pic of the monkey feeding the cat.

As conclusive evidence that animals lower on the evolutionary chain love cats.

Jeremiah Halstead said...

Yay, 92% and 26 correct

Brad Williams said...

I have major concerns with Cain's 9-9-9 plan, Dan. Maybe you or one of your more smarter readers can banish my worries. Here they are:

1) Corporate tax is 9% minus investments. That pretty much means they will pay zero tax.

2) Income tax is 9% minus charitable giving. For 'tithers' that means zero income tax.

3) That means most revenue must by raised by Federal sales tax of 9%. Sales tax is a terribly disproportionate tax on those of lower incomes. That is, $9 more per $100 spent is a larger percentage chunk of their income. And this, it appears, is where most of the revenue generated by this plan would have to come from.

Even if I could stomach that, which I cannot, there is the problem that I do not see how this would generate enough tax revenue to fund the military, much less the entire government.

What am I missing here?

Jeremiah Halstead said...

Gahh! 46, I mean 46!!!!

DJP said...

So: Jeremiah Halstead

Geography: A+
The Maths: D


Typing: D


Tom Chantry said...

OK, as an educator (former) I had a problem with the states test initially, although upon taking it twice I realized something critical.

My objection is that the test is non-specific to the material being tested. What I mean is that getting a correct answer requires more than knowing the locations of the states on the map - there is an element of sheer luck involved. The order in which the states come up is randomized - meaning that you could get Kansas first. Now even if you know where Kansas is, the likelihood of your placing it directly in its proper location with no other states around it is pretty low. If you start with a coastal state, it's much easier - you simply look for the coastline that matches. In other words, the test allows cheating ("I don't have any idea where Maryland is and couldn't find it on an unlabeled map, but this shape fits here.") while penalizing bad luck ("Yeah, I could find Nebraska on a map in two seconds, but do I put it here or move it half a centimeter to the left?").

HOWEVER, the second time I took the test I realized something: the results include both the average distance of your mistakes (in miles) and your time - which mitigates both problems. For instance, the second time I took the test I scored 48 out of 50, or 96%. However, my average error was 13 miles. If I were grading that, I would give the student a 100%; he obviously knows where the states are. An average error of 100 miles would tell another story. Further, if a maximum time were put on the test (this would take some investigating to find out what is fair at various levels), and if there were penalties for overtime, students who are just trying to fit together a meaningless jigsaw puzzle according to shape would be penalized.

And yes, I spent way too much time contemplating this test this morning.

JackW said...

Plan A: 9-9-9
Plan B: 15-15-15
Plan C: 28-28-28
Plan Z: ?-?-?

DJP said...

Yeah, Tom; that's a lot of words just to say "I'm smarter than the whole lot o' youse mooks."

Anonymous said...

$9 more per $100 spent is a larger percentage chunk of their income.

I'm not sure I follow you. Each $100 spent by someone earning less income is certainly a higher percentage of their income than each $100 spent by someone earning more income.

However, someone earning more income is spending more $100's than the person earning less income unless the higher earner is doing something which the average American does little of, namely save money. Thus, they are paying more increments of $9.

It could be the best thing to happen to poor people in years. There would be an incentive for them to make wise choices when grocery shopping. (And yes, I'm assuming most of them do not currently do that. I've seen them shop.)

The poor should be paying taxes and a fixed percentage is the fairest way to do that. Everyone is treated the same. If someone makes/spends more, they are taxed more. At the same rate!

As for funding the entire government, hopefully the government will be significantly shrinking and only engaging in those things authorized by the Constitution.

My problem with Cain, and all of the other candidates, is that they support keeping the United States as a country. I would prefer it be abolished but I suppose that's another topic.

DJP said...

For you keeping score at home: if that were a Tweet, the hash-tag would be #HandOnTheDoorknobRemarks

Anonymous said...

A quick thought...

The 16th (?) Amendment would have to be repealed and the new tax rates would have to be part of a new amendment.

The amendment should stipulate that any politician trying to raise those rates outside of the amendment process would be guilty of a capital offense and summarily executed.

Chris H said...

90%. Some of those stupid states in the middle of nowhere got me because the margin of error was so small. But still, I feel good, given my "foreign devil" status.

Who wants to try a Canadian provices one?

Neil said...


I got 96% with a 5 mile average error. Smarter than Chantry. I'll just end the day right now.

Tom Chantry said...

Outdone by a Canadian?

I'm going to go watch the reruns of the 1980 Olympic hockey semi-finals while putting "Proud to be an American" on continuous play now...

DJP said...

Oh, Tom, you know Canadians need to make the most of it when they find something to crow about. Have mercy, for pity's sake.

JG said...

I got 73% but being from the heartland I have no idea how those teeny-tiny states on the east coast align. I wonder sometimes why they don't just consolidate them and make some nice big "normal"-sized states.

I kid, I kid.

Sort of.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

First try: 94%, average error, 12 miles. So I'd get an "A" from Mr. Chantry? Probably helps that we recently drove through eleven of the states ;D It's all those pesky little states back east that give me trouble.

Oh, the boys are going to LOVE the Lego Explorer and the new guns, especially with deer season opening tomorrow, to much excitement.

The grammar of the "Slow Children At Play" signs has always bothered me, but the juxtaposition with the hunting sign... too funny!

Happy Friday,

Julie and the boys

Brad Williams said...


This federal sales tax will not only cover 'luxury' items, but basic necessities. Lower-income folks have to eat the same amount as upper-income folks. Therefore, the sales tax unjustly taxes them a higher percentage in these areas. Unless Cain makes allowances for necessities, I would never advocate for his tax system. Period. I may not anyway, but that is certainly a deal breaker.

Tom Chantry said...

I wonder sometimes why they don't just consolidate them and make some nice big "normal"-sized states.

No such plans, but there has long been a theory that the West Shore of Maryland, along with the tiny chip of Virginia that lies north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge should be cut off their respective states and added to Delaware, which could then be renamed "Delmarva." Not saying its going to happen or anything.

Neil said...

That's a long way to go back, Tom. Can you find the tape? Do you still have a VCR that can play the tape?

Maybe the 2010 finals would be easier to locate.

Kim said...

92% with an 8 mile error. Graduate of public schooling which taught me nothing about geography. There's only so much you can blame on something that did or didn't happen 30 years ago.

JG said...

Delmarva. That makes my day. :)

DJP said...

Doesn't she have a talk show in the mornings?

Anonymous said...

Sure, as a percentage of total income, the amount a lower income individual spends on "necessities" such as food will be higher than for someone with a higher income.

The thing is, people with higher incomes buy a lot more than "necessities" so the average tax rate for both groups will be approximately the same.

Ending the payroll tax will disproportionaely benefit the lower income earners.

The bottom line for me is that ALL Americans should be treated the same by the federal government.

Kirby said...

48 out of 50, 96%, 5 miles avg error, 601 seconds.
educated in the L.A. Unified Screwel District, but left CA as soon as I could. live in MI. Don't homeschool any of the kiddos.

Brad Williams said...


If you want all Americans treated the same, how can you be for a tax system that charges the poor more for milk than it does the wealthy? You said that this system does precisely that, and the only way for that tax gap to be made up is for the wealthy to buy luxury items. That is not an equitable system, brother.

I do not mind a flat tax on income or on corporations. I think those are good idea. I just think a tax system that depends largely on sales tax is a terrible system. Raise the percent on the income tax and corporate tax if you have to, but let's not have a federal sales tax.

Kirby said...

Canada has Provinces?


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Delmarva... no, Dan, I don't think it's a morning talk show. Maybe an online-psychic? ;D

Tom Chantry said...


I didn't make it up.

Magister Stevenson said...

I followed you on the Delmarva comment. But then they probably have never been in a Wawa either. Some East Coast things should just stay here.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind an income tax if the rate was the same for everyone with no deductions.

As for sales taxes, nearly everyone in the U.S. pays more, as a percentage of income, for milk than does Bill Gates. Do we use his salary for comparisons? What is low income? The low income earners in America are not that bad off. Most of them have cable, microwaves, cars, etc...

Regardless, this country is not our home.

Paula Bolyard said...

Stan said, "My problem with Cain, and all of the other candidates, is that they support keeping the United States as a country. I would prefer it be abolished but I suppose that's another topic."

Wait, what?

100 Mile Pants said...

Av Error 61 miles
1354 secs

British! :)

DJP said...

OK, so, you people can see the other 40-50 items and pix, right?

(I knew it. Dear Wife win.)

Sir Brass said...

Romney/Cain? Really? I support Cain, but I will NEVER vote for Romney, even if Cain is his running mate (I hope he refuses if its offered). Romney is just Obama-lite and would be the worst thing we could do to this country aside from re-electing Obama.

We might as well give up the ghost if that RINO gets the nomination.

DJP said...

Yeah, dude, but Lite's better than the full-bore arsenic.

I hope it doesn't come to that, but Not-Obama already has my vote pretty much sewn up.

Tom Chantry said...

Stuck waiting for my kids' school to let out, and tried the test on my android. I don't recommend it. Althouh I did discover it's possible to get the following message: "Oops! You must place Indiana on the map."

David Regier said...

96%, 5 miles. Would have been higher if I hadn't had to estimate Wyoming so early in the game.

I'm abote positive that the lady on the pine-needle tea video was Canadian. Is that what they drink up there? Must make 'em smart.

Jeremiah Halstead said...

save the bacon!

threegirldad said...

My birthday's coming up. And now I don't have to hem and haw when someone asks what kind of cake I want.


Paula Bolyard said...

88% 32 miles. When did they move Missouri so far from the coast? Fail.

tobekiwi said...

92%, avg. error 19 miles. Having rivers on the map might have helped out on a couple.
Delmarva sounds more like a 55+ community in Florida.
Thanks for the H&T- and thank DW too- we're having fun :o)

Wendy said...

84%, avg 67 miles off, in 371 seconds. In my defense, I don't remember ever learning geography; I wers hoemskuled.
Didn't our founders know anything about grids or master planning? Maybe alphabetizing...A-L east of the Mississippi and so on.

Our mastery of English is pathetic, let alone our knowledge of other languages. I'm determined that my son will know more than 1, even if I have to teach it with a California-born valley-girl accent.

I'm sorry, was there anything else in this H&T? I didn't notice :)

Magister Stevenson said...

94%, 335 seconds, 16 miles off (curse you, Kansas!)

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

I hope it doesn't come to that, but Not-Obama already has my vote pretty much sewn up.

ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

threegirldad said...

Magister Stevenson,

You're welcome.


Rachael Starke said...

i lived in a country with only 6 states and 2 territories, and I already know I'll never be as smart as Tom Chantry, so I'm not even trying it. :)

My problem with the NotBama approach to voting is the NotBush approach is partly what got us Obama in the first place.

But it's not a big enough problem for me not to vote that way. Given that it's likely the only way I can. I haven't voted for a single candidate ever, at least one who's won.

Stefan Ewing said...

96%, 4-mile error, and public schooled in Canada, baby! (In a high school where we called our ex-hippy teachers by their first names, no less!) Whoo-hoo! (Dances a victory lap around the room.)

CR said...

DJP: Yeah, dude, but Lite's better than the full-bore arsenic.

I hope it doesn't come to that, but Not-Obama already has my vote pretty much sewn up.

CR likes your status.

CleanFlea said...

Pretzel logic indeed! If I am following Richard J. Mouw's train thought correctly:
1. Evangelicals and Mormons disagree on "important theological questions."
2. We also have points of similarity.
3. The Mormons have established a school.
4. Some leaders in the LDS have PhD's from Ivy league schools.
5. Their doctrine does not "fall within the scope of historic Christian teaching."
6. But don't worry, they will discuss these areas, with "mutual(!?!?!?) openness to correction."
All this adds up to not classifying Mormons on as truly Christian, but being sure they are genuine followers of Christ. Whatever that means.

Apparently I was mistaken about what is the standard of orthodoxy. Here I was thinking it was sound doctrine, when apparently it is going to Ivy league schools and founding your own school. It's a good thing none of those other Ivy League PhDs out there have taken advantage of their status to redefine orthodoxy.

CR said...


Well, for liberals and the people that were voting their pockets, yeah, they thought anyone would be better than another Republican. That's always a wrong move to make when that a person is a liberal.

With another four years of Obama, unless he converts, we get another 4 years of liberal judges appointed to the courts (and that will leave a far worse impact than just another 4 years in office) and probably another 4 years of terrible legislation.

Let's pick the worse possible scenario of the dream candidate of "Not-Barack-Obama.", Romney. I hope it's not him, but it's looking more like him. Like Dan has said before, something to the effect of, a 1% chance of having maybe more conservative jurists on the federal courts and not having damaging legislation is better than a 0% chance which is what we get when we get Obama.

It's frustrating, but I'm only one vote and Obama has already appointed two Supreme Court Justices, and we are one justice away from Obamacare being ruled constitutional, one vote away the 2nd amendment being done away with, and some other times.

The No Obama situation is not a good situation, but 1% chance of something better is better than 0% of something is better. I think that's how some of us are looking at this.

Paula Bolyard said...

ABO = Anyone But Obama

I know people who, as a matter of conscience, wouldn't vote for McCain because of Doug Phillips' arguments against Sarah Palin being on the ticket. While I think some of his arguments were valid, the effect was that by not voting, their non-vote was a vote for Obama, an avowed pro-death Leftist.

Which vote did more harm to the country? Do these "conscientious objectors" have any responsibility for the president we got and the policies he is shackling our country with or do they get a pass because they stayed home? While their consciences may be clear, there are still consequences for their actions (or inaction) and unfortunately, we all have to live with them.

I dislike Romney as much as anyone. Probably more. The Mormon aspect really, really concerns me. Someone called into Todd Friel's show this week asked what would happen if Romney were named prophet of the Mormon church while president. That's just a chilling thought.

Nevertheless, those are all hypotheticals. With Obama, we know what we're getting and we know it's awful, ruinous and horrific for the country and it's deadly for the unborn. I would vote for Romney in a heartbeat over Obama.

ABO is in effect.

CR said...

Good comment Paula.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

While their consciences may be clear

How could they be? Seriously, how could anyone, especially a Christian who, either voted for Obama, (jaw-dropping!) or didn’t cancel one of the votes for him by voting for McCain, have a clear conscience?

They knew before the 08’ election that Obama had spent twenty years listening to Rev. Wright, was buddies with Bill Ayers, had taught “Rules For Radicals” and was more pro-abortion than Barbara Boxer and they found McCain too objectionable to vote for?!? And now some of these same people are going to chance four more years of more liberal judges, more debt, more job loss, more (fill-in-the-blank liberal/socialist/universalist nonsense) by NOT voting for Romney, should he become the nominee?!? Are you kidding me?

If anyone of Dan’s cats somehow gets the republican nomination... I’m voting for them (and I don’t like cats)!

DJP said...

Our family has actually had a number of discussions as to which cat would be the better/worse Obama replacement, but the consensus is that any one of them would be a better president.

And there's no controversy as to their place of birth.

Susan said...

1. Paula FOW with her 2:42 comment on 10/14!! Now I feel tons better for putting Iowa more westerly than it should be. And who knew that RI was so much further north?? (That's 84%, 45 miles off, in 555 secs. I think I can do better on a states' capitals test.)

2. As for voting for the next President, I'm still hoping that Cain would be picked as the candidate. I mean, if it's going to be Romney or the status quo, I'll plug my nose and vote for Romney, but having watched "The Godmakers" films just recently, I have some serious reservations. (Used to think like Rachael, but over time y'all convinced me not to let my desiring for perfection overtake the choosing of good [or the lesser evil].)

3. And that "No Hope, No Cash, No Jobs" conclusion/plea is hilarious! Hahahaha!!! (But in this day and age, cured is less desirable than uncured. Pun fully intended.) ;)

Susan said...

Now it's 90%, 25 miles, and 392 sec. Blasted TN and HI! (Got TN as my second state, and accidentally let go of my left mouse button as I was dragging the HI islands to their proper place. Arghhhh....)

Aaron said...


I don't see Cain's plan as being viable. I would never support a national sales tax without removing the income tax. Otherwise, in fifty years we'll have 40-40-40.

As to sales tax, I'd prefer a flat tax as far as fairness is concerned. Although, I have to say, there is a certain fairness in a poor person paying the same tax on a gallon of milk as a rich person. Eventually, the rich person will pay 9% on his entire income as will the poor person. A sales tax would also result in less government intrustion into an individual's life because taxes would be collected from businesses (this would also mean less data collection). A sales tax would also ensure that those who make illegal income would also pay taxes.

@Stan: I do think that you'll one day get your wish. Unfortunately, it wont be very pretty.

Jeff Jones said...

I'm Canadian, and got 90%. Booyah!

Jeff Jones said...

By the way: we in Canada have had a national sales tax for some time (called a Goods and Services Tax), as well as provincial sales taxes (PSTs) on top of that.

Incidentally, the national GST was brought in as a "deficit-fighting measure" back in the 90's when Canada faced a similar fiscal crisis to what the US is facing now. Strangely, it stuck around long after the deficit was gone and we were running fiscal surpluses... Just like income tax in Canada was brought in during the First World War as a "temporary wartime measure," I guess...

In light of some of the concerns posted earlier, an observation from Canadian experience. The way that various levels of government deal with the impact of those taxes on low-income families is twofold:

a) Grocery items and similar necessities are not subject to the sales tax;

b) Low income families receive a GST tax credit which is determined on their income.

The drawback, of course, from the perspective of Cain's plan is that introducing a tax credit for low income families begins the process of complicating the tax code.

In my experience working with a large community services agency, the GST credit constituted a significant portion of the income of many of the families we helped.

CR said...

Concur, Sir Aaron, Cain's 9-9-9 is dead on arrival, first because, the plan would never get passed Congress. 50% of Americans pay no federal income tax, there's no way you get enough Congressman to get that 50% to start paying taxes.

And like you said, a VAT is just another tax. Maybe if they repealed the 16th amendment, I consider it, but not until then.

Robert said...


I'll leave it to somebody else to correct me if I'm wrong, but I assumed that part of the framework of a flat tax system would be to eliminate most deductions.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Finally got a chance to do that test. All those mornings playing on the school playground map with my kids is doing me some good: 92% with 11 mile avg. error, but humbled that my husband still beat me by two percentage points!

I don't have the stamina to discuss politics at the moment, but whichever Nobama candidate I vote for, I'm wishing it was for a shorter than four year term, so hopefully the esteemed governor from NJ can get his running shoes on.

Brad Williams said...


You can read about the plan here:

This is the short section for individual taxes:

9% Individual Flat Tax.

Gross income less charitable deductions.
Empowerment Zones will offer additional deductions for those living and/or working in the zone.