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Archive for July, 2007

USC top team of last 10 years, according to ESPN

Posted by Chance on July 27, 2007

ESPN.com ranked every 119 Division 1-A college football program over the last 10 years. Not surprisingly, the USC Trojans ranked at the top. It’s a pretty good list overall, though I’m surprised to see Florida State and Miami in the top 10. However, I have to remember that this is over the last 10 years, not the last 2.

I was glad to see Texas at number 3, and my beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys were tied at 56 with the Air Force Academy. I hope both my old home team and my new home team improve.

The only thing that bothered me about the rankings is they kept mentioning that USC was “a few seconds away from a third [national championship].” Yes, going to a championship game, even if you don’t win, should count for something. But when it comes to the national championship game, or any game for that matter, it is either a win or a loss. In my view, closeness doesn’t count.

I’m excited for the next football season. I think my two favorite teams, Texas and Oklahoma State, will improve. I was sad to see Texas implode last year near the end of the season, but they have gotten the OU monkey off their back (not to say it is a guaranteed win, but that the psychological blocks of a 5-year slump should be over), so I see their potential as limitless. Oklahoma State will depend heavily on their quarterback, if he can play consistently.

I am not an OU fan, but I thought they got the shaft, having to forfeit their wins from the 2005 season. They dismissed the crooked players as soon as they found out, so at the most, they should have gotten a warning.

I suppose it is early to talk about college football, but what else am I going to talk about when it comes to sports (other than Michael Vick, Barry Bonds, and the crooked NBA ref)?

Posted in Sports | 1 Comment »

Health care and health coverage

Posted by Chance on July 25, 2007

Without getting too much into details, I wanted to touch on the subject of health care and health coverage, primarily the fact that the two are different. Many conservatives/libertarians, Cannon, for one, argue that the goal is not to provide increasing coverage to people, but health care in increasing coverage and quantity. Coverage alone does not guarantee access to health care, only a waiting line in many cases.

Conservatives/libertarians argue that getting the government out of health care will make health care cheaper and of higher quality, resulting in fewer people uncovered. Still, the question remains, what about those people, however small or large the group may be, that are not covered? Some libertarians will argue that charity or the doctors themselves will eat up the cost of caring for them, whereas conservatives and more practical libertarians agree that those who truly cannot afford health care would indeed be cared for under government programs. Liberals will argue that it is cheaper to insure those people in the first place, as opposed to paying catastrophic expenses, and it is a valid point. However, many claim that government getting involved in coverage is inherently more intrusive and expansive as opposed to taking care of costs for the poor when they arise.

Anyway, my main point is that coverage and care are two different things. Access to coverage does not equal access to care. The goal should be to increase availability and quality of care, which I believe can be done through less government involvement. And I think we can do so without leaving the poorest in the gutter.

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »

Health care and health coverage

Posted by Chance on July 25, 2007

Without getting too much into details, I wanted to touch on the subject of health care and health coverage, primarily the fact that the two are different. Many conservatives/libertarians, Cannon, for one, argue that the goal is not to provide increasing coverage to people, but health care in increasing coverage and quantity. Coverage alone does not guarantee access to health care, only a waiting line in many cases.

Conservatives/libertarians argue that getting the government out of health care will make health care cheaper and of higher quality, resulting in fewer people uncovered. Still, the question remains, what about those people, however small or large the group may be, that are not covered? Some libertarians will argue that charity or the doctors themselves will eat up the cost of caring for them, whereas conservatives and more practical libertarians agree that those who truly cannot afford health care would indeed be cared for under government programs. Liberals will argue that it is cheaper to insure those people in the first place, as opposed to paying catastrophic expenses, and it is a valid point. However, many claim that government getting involved in coverage is inherently more intrusive and expansive as opposed to taking care of costs for the poor when they arise.

Anyway, my main point is that coverage and care are two different things. Access to coverage does not equal access to care. The goal should be to increase availability and quality of care, which I believe can be done through less government involvement. And I think we can do so without leaving the poorest in the gutter.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Make your own all-star band

Posted by Chance on July 20, 2007

Lee is back to blogging, and he has a post where you can create your own all-star band, inspired by the previous all-star band the Traveling Wilburys. See his post for more details and rules. My dream band is (not sure about spelling on all):

Bono (U2)
Pete Townshend (The Who)
John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls)
Chris Martin (Coldplay)

I do realize that not every position is covered, as I am not sure any of these guys can play the drums. If I had to have a drummer, it would probably be the guy from Rush.

Be sure to visit Lee and participate.

Posted in Music, Tagging | 3 Comments »

The cheap and easy way to argue

Posted by Chance on July 18, 2007

Over in another blog, the issue of homosexuality is being argued, as in, whether or not the Bible actually condemns it. Dan, being the good man that he is, uses a reasoned argument in the negative, although I disagree with him. However, I worry about poor Dan. He probably puts a bit of time and energy into his arguments. Doesn’t he know it would be so much easier if he chalked the conservative Biblical view to homophobia, like another commenter on the blog?

Similarly, in the immigration debate, a few of those who think illegal immigrants should have amnesty or have access to free government services simply cry “racist” to their opponents. They could argue about the costs/benefits associated with deportation, but the former method is so much easier and takes less brainpower.

Of course, the effectiveness of emotional arguments and name calling should be seriously questioned, but sometimes people don’t want to change minds, they just want to get an emotional charge out of their self-righteous ramblings.

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments »

What is the dividing line?

Posted by Chance on July 11, 2007

There has been much discussion on Neil Simpson’s blog concerning what various denominations, particularly the liberal ones, believe. I would easily consider myself a conservative Christian, in the sense that I tend to have the mainstream Christian beliefs. More and more denominations tend to become liberal, in the sense that they have a more liberal as opposed to literal interpretation of the Bible, and they have a more liberal view on cultural issues such as homosexuality/transgenderism.

It was discussed on the blog what the dividing points are. Although I don’t think anyone came out and explicitly said it, I think many would agree with me that the central issue of Christianity is, of course, Christ. The nature of our belief in Christ is what separates Christianity from other religions/spiritual viewpoints. John states in his first epistle that

” 20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

There are a wide ranges of beliefs within the body of Christianity, but when people deny that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but just a good person, or another prophet, those beliefs fall outside the realm of Christianity. This is not an endorsement in any way of all of [theologically] liberal Christians’ beliefs. And keep in mind, I am far from a theological scholar. It does appear to me, though, that the Bible continually focuses on belief in Christ as the central point, as stated in John 3:16.

16″For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Some may argue that a belief in the entire Bible is necessary to be a Christian. I don’t quite agree, because Jesus says that we should believe in Him, not the Bible. However, it would seem dangerous to question the authority and authenticity of the Bible, because it could make us question the gospels, and the entire story of Jesus. However, when talking to non-believers, I would tend to focus on the story and evidence of Christ’s life and resurrection and then let the rest of the Bible fall from there.

I don’t want to say anything incorrect here. If I’m missing something major, let me know. Any inputs are welcome.

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

Bible Translations

Posted by Chance on July 11, 2007

One of my friends gave me a NET Bible, which is a fairly new translation of the Bible. I still prefer the NIV, but I really enjoy using the Bible study tools on Bible.org, which is an accompaniment to the NET Bible. The notes inside the physical Bible are minimal, but the online resource has more extensive notes. I’ve noticed that I prefer notes that focus on what the actual words mean with respect to the original Greek or Hebrew. I have a Life Application Bible that has quite a bit of notes, but lately, I’ve preferred notes/commentary of a more academic nature.

I also like notes on the Greek/Hebrew as they give transparency to the translation process. I don’t think many Bible versions have sinister intent during the translation process, but it is nice to know as much about the original copies of scripture as possible.

In general, I think reading a couple different translations during study time is good, as I have noticed that I sometimes pick up on things that I did not before.

Apparently, there is a group of people who believe that the King James Version is the only acceptable translation, and is, in fact, divinely inspired. Some people call this the King James Only Movement. I’ve checked out various websites purporting this idea. Some criticisms use circular reasoning, in that they compare other versions against the KJV, and point out that they omit test included in the KJV. I respect their views, but I haven’t found any convincing reasoning why one should put faith in the KJV as opposed to other translations. The more serious scholars can also look at earlier biblical text to evaluate a translation.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Yet another political quiz

Posted by Chance on July 5, 2007

Speakout.com has a nice quiz on political issues. I prefer this quiz over many others for a couple different reasons.

The same quiz can be used for multiple things, such as your match with various Presidential candidates or your political philosophy. The first part of the quiz has you select what you are looking for. You can simply hit the ‘Back’ button, select a new gauge, and simply resubmit your questions without re-answering everything.

You can click on questions to get more details. Some of the questions may not be clear, so you can click and find out what they are really asking.

Here is my score

Your Score

You scored the following on the PoliticsMatch questions:

Personal Score 52%
Economic Score 82%

Where You Fit In

Where your Personal score meets your Economic score on the grid below is your political philosophy. Based on the above score, you are a Libertarian Conservative.

I didn’t match up closely with any of the presidential candidates. My top two were Sam Brownback at 53% and Ron Paul at 50%. Clinton was at the bottom at 13%

Posted in Politics, Quizzes | 4 Comments »

A random rant on taxes, welfare, the rich, etc…

Posted by Chance on July 3, 2007

Through my time blogging and just engaging in political thought in my spare time, I am beginning to wonder if arguing about what is “fair” concerning taxes is useless. After all, much of it has to do with subjective opinion. It seems fair to me that someone be able to pass on their inheritance to their children, whereas others believe that it is only fair that they only pass on half their inheritance to their children, and the rest go to the government (or more euphemistically, the people).

I wish I had the luxury of being a pure libertarian, then I could say that any income redistribution is immoral. By doing so, I could easily draw a line in the sand. However, I do believe in using taxes to help those who cannot help themselves. Maybe I’m too much of a softy, but I don’t want to see people dying in the gutter. At the same time, I do not see the government as an agent of social change, and I do not think the majority of charity should be done through the arm of government. Like most conservatives, I believe welfare for able-bodied people should be temporary, but I think there can be exceptions for those severely handicapped.

But by having the aforementioned position, it is hard for me to draw a line in the sand in determining just how much we should be taxed. I suppose that is what democracy is for, to figure such things out. However, in our current system, it is not how much we decide “we” should be taxed, but how much other people should be taxed. Now, some of the rich vote to tax more of the rich, what liberals call the “responsible rich”. And yes, the rich can afford to pay more. But, for me personally, I have issues voting to tax certain groups outside myself. I don’t know if I have any firm philosophical footing to support a flat tax right now, but I do like the idea of everyone chipping in when there is a problem, not one group asking another group to chip in. That bothers me.

Concerning the rich “paying their fair share”, let’s put aside the philosophy for a second. I believe from an economics standpoint, it can do more harm than good. As JFK said, “An economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget-just as it will never produce enough jobs or profits.” (Hat tip to Glen) Even if people disagree on what the optimal rate is, we all know that, of course, it is not 100%.

Back to the philosophical side (which I said is probably useless in debate anyway), I personally don’t believe people should have many guarantees. I do admit that in theory, I like the idea of universal healthcare. But I simply believe that it won’t work, and I believe a host of other countries have demonstrated that it leads to care rationing.

I think we should separate the economic issues of the market and welfare. The market should be regulated to some extent concerning pollution and safety. But it seems like the left’s biggest criticism of the market is its ability to provide for the poor. However, if I have to pick my battles, I would rather see a freer market with higher tax rates than a regulated market with lower tax rates. A freer market should produce more wealth anyway. If I was a progressive, I would allow for a free market, but simply tax people more. A loaf of bread costs what a loaf of bread costs. I would rather see the government tax the seller of the bread more than regulate what the loaf of bread costs. Not that I want to see extremely high taxes, but I think the economic right needs to fight the battle for the market, and let democracy sort out the tax rates. Maybe I’m saying something dangerous to economic liberty, but I think we should separate the two issues.

Finally, I prefer a measure of freedom when it comes to economics, as opposed to complete security. The left is correct in that we should not sacrifice civil liberties in our fight against terrorism. They see the importance of freedom with respect to security. The importance may not be that apparent to the right with regards to our physical security, but I think they do realize the importance when it comes to economics.

In summary, many people criticize the right for not caring about the poor. And I’ll be honest, there are probably many who don’t. But, as someone on the right, I still want to leave enough help so that people aren’t starving. At the same time, I believe that charity is a more powerful force than government assistance, and we should still leave room for that. Also, I believe that taxing any group excessively can be counter-productive. I believe that economic liberty is intertwined with personal liberty.

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments »

Current top 10 albums

Posted by Chance on July 3, 2007

My top 10 albums changes from time to time, based on what I’m listening to. Here is my list for right now.

1. U2 – How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Overall, a complete album experience.


2. U2 – Achtung Baby
This maybe the actual best album of U2’s career, but I’m fancying #1 right now.

3. U2 – The Joshua Tree
Almost a perfect album. What makes this album so great is that it contains the songs everyone knowns (“With or Without You”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For), but the other songs not played on the radio are just as good. U2 is the king of 2nd-tier songs.

4. Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
I’m probably the only person who listens to this group who is a registered Republican. The wide variety of songs here would make one thing this is a various artists compilation album.


5. Beck – Sea Change
This album is simply amazing. Nothing like Becks other stuff. Good for those who like bluesy music with a twang.

6. Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine
Fiona’s least accessible album, but probably her best. It’s disappointing that radio chose to play “Oh Sailor” when it’s probably the 10th best song on the album.

7. The Innocence Mission – Glow
I’m not sure why, but I tend to think of the early 90s version of the band as a female U2. This band has become more gentle and folksy, which some people like, but I prefer the more rockin’ albums like this one.

8. Various Artists – The Empire Records Soundtrack
It seems like cheating to put a compilation album here, but this has a great collection of the non-aggressive 90s alternative bands, such as Better than Ezra, Cranberries, Gin Blossoms, etc…

9. The Elms – Chess Hotel
I reviewed this album in an earlier post.
This is a CCM band that sounds more like something on the classic rock station.

10. Bleach – Again, for the First Time
Bleach is a great Christian punk band that’s no longer around. For some reason, bands like these are overshadowed in CCM.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »