TW Peck's Weblog

random thoughts & perceptions on just about whatever strikes me fancy

Archive for the ‘Thoughts on Current Events’ Category

Mistakes I made in ’08

Posted by twpeck on January 10, 2009

The end of the year is a time of retrospect and looking forward and blah, blah, blah.

Let’s face it.  No one really wants to think about their mistakes, errors, failures, and “on-purposes”.  We like to believe, and maybe some of think, that we are good people.

Ask most people and they will say something like – “I’m a good person even though I…” 

I think that comes from our inherent desire to be balanced.  Experts always talk about how good it is to be balanced – in our investments, in our work-home time, in our rest-activity.  It is a logical step to put that in our moral life and to start to look at this as a scale.

OK – I watched a little porn but then I shoveled the neighbors driveway.  I lied to my wife about why I was late (it wasn’t a train or traffic or an accident, I was just thoughtless) but I played with the kids.  I stole some pads from work but I put a dollar in the Salvation Army pot at Walmart.

We have a local case here in Saginaw where a woman who was convicted of drug-dealing and escaped from prison, was captured a number of years later out on the coast where she was now a middle-class wife/mother and doing no harm.  She might have even been doing some good like being active in the PTA .  The watercooler discussion is “should she go back to prision”?  

My daughter has moved out of her Hannah Montana phase, but there was a song she played that had this recurring line “Everyone makes mistakes”.  That is true, but it does not exonerate or excuse.  My mom used to say “if everyone were jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?”

I never told her this but at times I have jumped off that cliff, and on the way down I yelled “but everyone else…”

So, I am trying not to yell “but everyone else” because doing what we are supposed to do does not make up for doing what we failed to do. Recognizing that we did wrong and what flaw in our character allowed for that, and then resolving to address that character flaw, will help.

So here’s my list of what “mistakes” I made in ’08

  1. I did not trust God enough
  2. I did not repent enough
  3. I did not love others more than myself enough.

You really didn’t think I would be tranparent enough to give the specifics?

Hmmm – guess I’ll have transparency to next year’s list.


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Olympicmania strikes me

Posted by twpeck on August 21, 2008

I just realized that I have caught Olympicmania.

I thought I was immune but as I was sitting here I realized that I have been staying up later and later each night watching the “games”, following the results, checking the results the next morning, and wondering what will be on tonight.

The clue that I caught it should have been when Sunday afternoon when I went to the cell phone store and didn’t want the clerk to hurry up because there was a badminton game between China and Japan on the TV in the waiting area.  I may have even told the clerk to “take your time” or “just a minute”.  Jill made me leave before the results, saying something about my head and a racket if we didn’t get out of there.

One thing nice about Olympicmania is that a lot of cares get set aside for the moment (as well as a lot of household chores).  Entertainment can be a great pacifier.


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Future Weather

Posted by twpeck on August 13, 2008

Yesterday, the forecaster on the local weather station said it was going to be 80 degrees all week.  Yes, the same high every day.  He also said it would be dry (meaning no rain) for the rest of the week.

Today the high is predicted as mid-seventies and the chance of thunderstorms the rest of the week.

Predicting the weather is risky and tricky business.  From what I have been reading, even the flapping of a butterfly wing can cause a change.

So how can we predict what the weather and temperature will be like in a decade, a 100 years?

We cannot.

During the Gulf War when all the oil rigs were on fire and pouring huge amounts of black smoke I remember “computer models” indicating this would create a “green house” effect that would bring a catastrophe such as the melting of the ice caps OR a new ice age (depended on the model).

Well, neither happened.

Let’s keep that in mind the next time we hear some politician calling for massive spending or regulation for some industry to stop global warming or global cooling.  The law of unintended consequences usually prevails in those matters.

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Posted by twpeck on August 9, 2008

For some reason I have not yet caught Olympicmania. I watched a little of the parade of athletes and started to doze off. This was not their fault, but my own. It is exciting for them and if I was there and walking in that I would be geeked beyond words.

But I am not.

It was interesting to see the various sizes and dress. When I watched, some of the Caribbean countries were walking by (some I didn’t even know were countries).

One was walking by and there were about 10 members of the team and the “president for life” of that nation promises to any athlete winning the gold a mansion. The commentator mentioned that there was little hope for that. What a pessimist.

Me, I haven’t caught Olympicmania yet mainly because I am still holding out hope for the Detroit Tigers to be the baseball champions this year, though it is not looking good. Guess this proves that I still have some traces of optimism in me.

I am sure as the games actually begin I will start to have a little more interest and will be glued to my set come the “big” (meaning ones where the US has a chance to win gold or a record set) events occur.

It is interesting how we can get drawn into something without a real conscious effort on our part. Next thing you know something that we cared little about becomes our biggest concern – guess that is why we are told by God to watch our hearts.

I hope that the athletes competing do well. We know there will be some great drama, spectacular wins and failures, upsets, easily victories, heartbreaking defeats.

Wow – this sounds a lot like life.

Hmm – maybe I am getting a touch of Olympicmania after all.

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Three Concerns About the Rapid Expansion of Federal Criminal Law

Posted by twpeck on July 13, 2008

I never really thought much about the points made in this video on what most people would consider to be something they would never come close to doing – violating a federal law.

We think of federal laws as going after drug traffickers or international mobsters, but the reality is that as culturally scream for more government, we get more laws. The more laws, the more likely we will break one. The more innocently we break one, the more likely we will face charges, etc.

We need to get back to the purpose of government – to govern, not to meet our every need and assure us a happy life (’cause it cannot do that anyway).

Watch this video and tremble a bit:


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Too Touchy

Posted by twpeck on July 12, 2008

I just watched a video on Fox News website about “political blunders” and it made we wonder if we weren’t getting just a little too “touchy” every time someone opens their mouth and inserts their foot. Maybe it is time we harden up a little and instead of getting “offended” by someone’s bluntness, we considered what was true, and not true, about a statement rather than the tone or the words or who said it.

My mom used to remind us kids: “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. Nowadays it is “names do hurt” – but only if you let them.

Bible verse to ponder:

Ecc 5:1-2 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

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No Bama

Posted by twpeck on July 12, 2008

I am going to tell you right up front there is no way I am going to vote for Barak Obama for president.

I vote on both character and issues.

Good character is important because that breeds trust and, after all, the president is someone who needs to be trusted to work for my best interest.  Please note I said “interest”, not for what is best for me or what I want or who is going to do the most for me.  It seems lately that we, as a culture, would find very foreign the words” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (John Kennedy).

That spirit is going away and the new sense is: What can the government do for you.  I never liked Reagan’s slogan “Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago” – that seemed like pandering (though I know that was not his reason for using that pharase).

I am very tired of politicians pandering.  They tell you what they think you want to hear (or at least what their pollsters say you want to hear) and it is not a sincere desire to do so.

I see Mr. Obama doing that.  Listen closely past the rhetoric.

In a recent speech he talked about how “big” oil was reaping huge profits while we suffered at the pump and that he was going to get even by taxing these windfall profits.  Then in the next breath he talked about how we all need to come together and stop the bitter rhetoric, etc.

Well, how can you say one sector is evil and we need to get them and then turn around and say we should all work together.

Another thing – he promised to use public financing (which is fine with me as long as it is paid for voluntarily) and then, when he realizes that is going to limit his spending (he has big bucks), he turns around and says he won’t take it.

I know I am slowly blending a move towards the issues side, but that is my point.  I just don’t sense that Mr. Obama can be trusted or that he is sincere with what he says.

This is not a flip-flop,  which is a convenient change of mind rather than a contemplative one.  A contemplative one is where the guy says, “well, I have been thinking about that and I came to the conclusion my position was wrong”  That is honest.

I am seeing a lot that is not so honest with Mr. Obama.

Guess I ran out of steam to discuss my disagreements with his issues.  Maybe some other time.

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Is it fair ?

Posted by twpeck on July 4, 2008

My youngest “son” (he is a step-son but I don’t think about him that way) just graduated from high school.

It was a rough journey for him. Not physically, but emotionally, and it is something that he still struggles with.

It is the concept of “fairness” and “unfairness”. His “fairness” struggle is over the fact that he comes from a divorced family. He has never stated so, but I have heard this in his voice: “Why did God let me come from a divorced family?” He has stated this verbally – “why did God allow my grandpa to die?”

We all struggle with this concept.

Now, the farther away one moves from someone, the less important “fairness” becomes.

If a friend receives a raw deal, then that is an outraged unfair. If it is neighbor, then that is an angry unfair. A news report on someone far off – it is a “too bad” or “that is sad” unfair.

So, fairness has a sense of locality. The closer something is to you, the more likely you are to have a concern about fairness or unfairness.

But the reality is that fairness is most important when it comes to our self, and, too often, we measure that not by an objective yardstick, but by how the results effect us.

Take taxes, for instance. There is this concept that it is “fair” for the rich to “pay their fair share” of taxes.

What is that and who is determining that? Well, we have tax “brackets” in what is called a “progressive” tax. This means that the higher one’s adjusted income, the more one pays.

So, is it really fair for “the rich” to pay more than a third of their adjusted income while those in the lowest pay none?

Personally, I am in the lower range of the tax bracket (I paid around 15% of my adjusted income), but I don’t see how it is any where close to “fair” that because someone works hard to advance at a job they should have to pay a larger percentage of their income than I do.

To be truly “fair”, though, means I am willing to sacrifice on my part. That might mean paying more taxes, giving up a right, or doing something that I don’t like (like cleaning the toilet – I use it, so why shouldn’t I clean it?).

Fairness, then begins with my self. Am I being fair to others? Is my fairness self-centered or centered on balancing the scale?

Bible thought for this entry:

Phillipians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

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July 4th

Posted by twpeck on July 3, 2008

In two days will be the 232nd “Birthday” of the United States of America. It has, so far, been a fascinating experiment in Representative Democracy and the balancing of power in governing people.

It is worthwhile, at this time, to remember the Preamble of the Constitution, which is sort of the vision statement or the purpose statement of our government. Let’s take a look at it:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Here are some thoughts on this amazing statement:

  • This government system was established to bring order and protection to the people.
  • Government is not about about power or authority (as is often the case), but instead to serve the people
  • There is an implied sense here that it is about all people, not just the rich or just the poor or just the majority or just the minority.
  • Bringing about Justice and Liberty (they are capitalized on purpose) are primary functions of this government.
  • Government exists because the people want it.

It would do us well to pull out that dusty old document called the Constitution and read it. We would do even better if we could look at a law or a regulation or a program offered by government and ask ourselves if what is being proposed measures to the Preamble. Does it meet the purpose and function of government? One wonders how many would not.

Bible thought for this entry:

Michah 6: 8 – No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

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