Monday, February 27, 2006

Good reasons not to shop Wal-Mart

Worth a read -- Laurence Vance's article at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  Link:

An excellent list of reasons not to shop Walmartgatory … and a ringing conclusion:

Wal-Mart has never caused any firm to go out of business. Wal-Mart can't close down any store but one of its own. It is the customers who no longer do business with a company or shop at a particular store who put that company out of business or closed that store.

Wal-Mart has never caused any person to become unemployed. Wal-Mart can't cause anyone to be unemployed except its own employees. If Wal-Mart treats its employees so badly, why do so many thousands of Americans work there? Are they too stupid to know that they are being exploited by greedy capitalists? Do they not know that they are earning subsistence wages? Are they not smart enough to know that their health is in jeopardy because they lack health insurance? Why is it that the people so concerned about how Wal-Mart treats its employees don't work for the company?

No one is forced to work or to shop at Wal-Mart. The employees of Wal-Mart vote in favor of the company with their feet when they show up for work. The customers of Wal-Mart vote in favor of the company with their wallet when they do their shopping.

Whatever your reason, if you don't like Wal-Mart, then don't shop there and don't work there. And if it makes you feel better, don't live in any town that has a Wal-Mart store. Just don't expect us to do likewise.

(HT:  Jon Ham at the Locker Room)

Advancing on Retreat

I had the opportunity to spend part of the weekend with a group of men from Trinity Baptist Church in Wake Forest, the parent church for our own little mission in Smithfield.  The topic of the retreat was the Biblical qualifications of elders and drew much from Alexander Strauch's book Biblical Eldership.  The key strategic points drawn from the fairly straightforward exposition of 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and other passages, were first, that the New Testament pattern of local church government uniformly speaks of a plurality of elders at each local congregation.  Secondly, we were challenged to take hold of these qualities as a goal for each of us as Christian men, not as a separate list of potential clergy.

Many thanks to Scott Brown and family for opening their home and farm to us this weekend -- time well spent in the Word and in fellowship.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A mention

Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute called me up one afternoon last summer and asked for some comments for an article he was writing.  It appears here:  in Home School Court Report at HSLDA.

I'm flattered. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Words of Wisdom

The Adam Smith Institute has a section for humour (it's British, okay?) which included this actual nugget of wisdom on January 31:

  • The Lord's Prayer has 66 words
  • The 10 Commandments have 179 words
  • The Gettysburg Address was just 286 words
  • The US Declaration of Independence was 1,300 words
  • The EU constitution, mercifully voted down by the French and Dutch electorates, was 67,000 words, plus another 60,000 words of appendixes.

There is much that can be said about this.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Presidents' Day

I'll make my obligatory complaint that this whole holiday exercise makes Washington "First in war, first in peace, and first to have his birthday juggled to make a three-day weekend for federal employees." Bah.

Okay, with that out of the way …

WPTF's Kevin Miller and Ray Steele had a debate this morning on which was the greater president, Washington or Lincoln? Miller, the New Englander, supported Lincoln for saving the union, "whatever it takes". Steele correctly pointed out that he violated several laws in the process, such as suspending the right of habeas corpus, and I'll insert Steve Wilkins' observation that Lincoln's administration centralized power in the federal government more than any before him -- first income tax, for example?

Steele's contention was that Washington held together the army, through numerous defeats and discouragements, long enough to complete a ten-year Revolution which established independence first, then the groundbreaking first administration which established the form of government we enjoy today. (Appropriate nods to Hamilton, as I am reading Ron Chernow's biography of him at the moment)

While there was much approval of Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower, someone scored Kennedy as "the most overrated president", a distinction I think he may have shared with Jefferson. With full credit for his literary skills and vision in certain areas, the more I read about the conduct of the Sage of Monticello, the less respect I have for him. Of course, to be fair, most of my reading has been from the Federalists' perspective -- Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, Ellis' His Excellency, George Washington, and McCollough's John Adams. Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin: An American Life did not do much to dispel the negative impression given by the other three, I'm afraid.

So put me down for Washington, today.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

How Insurrections Start

At the safety meeting this week, one of the managers announced that the light breakfast setup -- doughnuts, biscuits, and fruit -- was going to change to something more health-conscious.  Yogurt and granola, maybe.

In the break room this morning, there was discussion that we may have seen our last sausage biscuit.  An engineer predicted that the people would rise up, in two ways -- either by bringing their own biscuits in protest (especially in very noisy paper bags), or by not attending the safety meetings at all, as they are routinely taped and made available later.

"I'll just be back in my cubicle, in a horribly unergonomic position, watching the video off the website while I eat my biscuit,"  he said.  "Jeff will be speaking to an empty room … " 

"… just like C-SPAN," another finished.  "The senator, the recorder, and the camera."

Another disagreed on the biscuit, but said the doughnuts were probably history.  He said we'd likely see bagels, which prompted observations that for those on a low carb diet rather than low fat, the bagel is no improvement over a doughnut, and we'd do better to eat blocks of cream cheese, skip the bagel, and suck down a latte with 23 grams of fat as a chaser.

Such is the life of principle in the office world.  Some things just can't be trifled with.

Charter school article in Carolina Journal Online

One of my articles from the print edition of Carolina Journal appeared on the web February 10:

Charter Schools Seeking Lottery Funds
NC SELF seeks to amend lottery law to allow funding for charter schools
RALEIGH — The North Carolina lottery is expected to provide $425 million a year in new funding for public schools and universities. More than 30,000 public school students, however, might have been left out of the equation. A new organization of charter-school supporters says their schools should be included in the law, and they hope to amend it in time for the first payout ...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Terence, This is Stupid Stuff

Saturday night I stopped at Wal-Mart for a few pounds of cheese.  Sharp cheddar is a staple around our place; you might as well run out of milk and coffee as let the cheese supply dwindle.

This is a couple of days late -- Sunday is busy for us -- but for the record, I observed two things in that short trip:

1)  An unusual number of guys were in the store for a weekend evening.  I don't normally notice but it was obvious, and the cashier confirmed it for me.  I was over in the grocery section, too.

2)  Three things, at least, had taken heavy hits -- the Kaiser roll rack at the deli; the Coca-Colas on the end cap (note that the Diet Dr. Pepper on the same display was largely untouched); and the ranch flavor salad dressing.  Being on a mission, I did not detour down the beverage aisle nor the salty snack division, so no observations there. 

Sure, it's obvious, but the ebb and flow of inventory at Wal Mart is an interesting, almost quantifiable indication of what's going on in the community.  Sort of a glimpse into the local pantry, anyway.