Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More OCBP News Coverage

I just got back from a great week of working on the Ocean City Beach Patrol. I spent the week working with the Inlet crew which is always a fun experience both because that section of the beach offers some challenging surf conditions and many of the people who come to that section of the beach have limited swimming experience. Over the course of the week I made seven rescues and had to work pretty hard warning many other people about dangerous conditions.

While I was in Ocean City, the CBS Early Show ran a segment about the dangers of digging holes in the sand that featured the the OCBP. Every parent should watch this video because it highlights the dangers and potential deadly consequences of a seemingly safe activity. In addition to Captain Butch Arbin, the video features Lt. Wes Smith warning a kid that his hole was too deep.

The danger of digging holes in the sand recently gained a higher profile when Dr. Bradley Maron and his father published a study on the topic in the New England Journal of Medicine. Here is a Washington Post account of the story.

In other recent Ocean City News, here is a podcast featuring Jesse Houston, Ocean City's Planning Director.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Look at Your Neighbor!

This past Sunday's Liturgy, we heard the story of the Good Samaritan - the man who stopped on the road to help a victim of robbers when everyone else just passed by. Lori and I went to St. Clements so Fr. Peter gave the homily. I really admire the way that Fr. Peter just strips away all of the extraneous information and comes straight to the point in his homilies. This one was no different.

Fr. Peter began by relating a complement that he had received from a person in the neighborhood about why he is such a good gardener. The person said that Fr. Peter was a good gardener because he looked at his plants. He looked at them to know if they needed water or had too much. He looked at them to know if the soil was too hard or too soft. He looked at them to know if they had too much sun or not enough. Only by looking at his plants could he find out what they needed and fix it.

Now the point of the Good Samaritan, according to Fr. Peter, is that probably only the Good Samaritan bothered to look at the robber's victim. The other travelers on the road probably did not stop because they simply did not take the time to look at the victim. Since they did not take the time to look at him, they could not feel sympathy or compassion for him and thus it did not even occur to them to stop and help. Only the Good Samaritan bothered to look.

Living in the city, I think that this message really hits home for me. How often do I just blow by panhandlers on the sidewalk because I just do not take the time to look at them? How callus do we become when we do not take the time to look at our neighbor?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cambridge at Dusk

Here is a neat picture that I took on Friday night from our roof deck. I was actually a little late snapping this picture and it should should have been exposed a little more, but I think that the lighting on the roadway came out nice.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Feed My Sheep"

This is a nice story about a couple who created an innovative way to help others. Eight months ago they opened a restaurant with good food and no prices. Each of their customers pays what they think the meal was worth or if the cannot pay they do some work after they finish their meal.
"If Jesus ran a restaurant, would he use this model?" asked Brad Birky. "We'd like to think so. Not that we're comparing ourselves to Jesus or his work. We're just inspired by him and his work."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dan Savage: Smokin'

I always get a kick out of reading Dan Savage's weekly Savage Love columns and his relatively new blog entries are usually pretty good as well. Today Dan goes off on the Seattle Times for running a cliche report on Federal Agents raiding a number of marijuana grower. Really Dan at his best.

Truth in Carbon Taxes

The other day the New York Times reported that that Representative John Dingell planned to introduce a bill to raise gasoline taxes to combat global warming. Apparently Representative Dingell, who is from automobile producing Michigan, wants to illustrate that the public and specifically Democrats in Congress will not support an increase in gas taxes.

But Mr. Dingell, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on C-Span, suggested that his goal was to show that Americans are not willing to face the real cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. His message appeared to be that Democratic leaders were setting unrealistic legislative goals.

“I sincerely doubt that the American people will be willing to pay what this is really going to cost them,” said Mr. Dingell, whose committee will be drafting a broad bill on climate change this fall.

Today the Wall Street Journal weighed in with an editorial praising Representative Dingell for his his honesty relative to others who would prefer to combat global warming through increased regulatory standards on fuel efficiency, but coming out as opposed to increased fuel taxes nevertheless.
Speaking for ourselves, we don't favor a carbon tax. In theory, such a tax might make sense if it were offset by lower taxes on income tax rates and capital investment--which would be a net plus for economic growth. However, there's not a chance in melting Greenland that the current Congress would offset any new carbon taxes; it would merely pocket the extra revenue to permanently increase the government's share of GDP.

Although I certainly do not trust anyone in Congress to immediately refund any additional gasoline tax revenue, I do support increased gas taxes, although I support them primarily on national security grounds. The Islamic Fundamentalists and the Iranian regime receive the majority of their funding from oil sales so reducing their revenues should be a key component to our strategy. While we cannot immediately cease all foreign oil purchases we can slow the rate of our oil consumption by imposing additional taxes and then use a portion of that money to oppose our enemies.

Of course we would also see some environmental benefits. Benefits that would be much more tangible than those obtained through increased fuel efficiency. Nonetheless, the reason to increase gas taxes is national security not the environment.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

OCBP in the News

Here is an interesting article in the Washington Post featuring Butch Arbin who is the captain of the Ocean City, MD Beach Patrol. The article is apparently one of a series of articles about the interesting things that teachers do during the summer months. Before joining the beach patrol, I would never have guessed that so many teachers work as lifeguards during the summer months but it actually is a great combination.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Businesses Thank Government

Here is an interesting advertisement that I noticed the other day when spending a little extra time at Philadelphia International Airport. I love how these businesses are trying to capitalize on the restrictions that the TSA places on what travelers can and cannot bring with them on the plane. What do you think the chances are that these restrictions will ever be relaxed even if the terrorist threat abates? Not likely, especially now that the TSA has created a built in constituency to keep the restrictions in place.

Energy Honesty

Charles Krauthammer comments on how the Senate hopes to hide the true costs associated with increased energy efficiency in the recently passed energy bill. Money quote:
I have no objection to paying more to reduce our dependency on foreign energy. But it is hard to conceive of a more politically dishonest and economically inefficient way to do it than with mandates that make private industry do Congress's dirty work, hide the true cost of energy efficiency and perpetuate the fantasy of the tax-free lunch.

To me the really sad thing about the current debate on energy policy is the complete lack of discussion of the costs associated with increasing fuel efficiency the use of renewable fuels. Unfortunately, these costs will impact the poor the most because they represent a higher portion of a poor person's income than a rich person's income. In my view it is best to deal with these costs openly rather than to try to hide them in the hopes of appearing to offer a free lunch.

I Passed 8th Grade Science

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