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Spam Using Breached Contact List / Address Book

In the past 3 weeks, I have started receiving spam emails using friends’ email as FROM. I notice 3 things about these emails:

  1. They have many contacts from my friends’ address / contact list in the TO list, which means the spammer has or had access at some point to my friends’ email accounts. 
  2. When my friends run up to date Anti-Virus scans on their computers, they find no malware or problems.
  3. The originating IP address is not the user’s account. For example I have this happen to friends whose email accounts are either Yahoo or AOL, but the originating IP address is perhaps in France or as in the case today, from:

Received: from unila.ac.id (unknown []) by zimbra.unila.ac.id

Even the emails don’t originate from Yahoo or AOL, I strongly suspect it was their online accounts that were hacked at some point. 

If anyone has heard how these spammers are getting these address books, I’d be interested in knowing what is happening. I do note that one of my friends never sends me email with multiple addresses in the TO list, so I don’t think it was just a case of harvesting. 


Obamacare’s phony numbers? – Updated

How many of the 7.1 “enrollees” lost their insurance first due to Obamacare? How many already had insurance and switched?  7.1 have logged in but how many have purchased?   This appears to be one giant shell game…

Update:   So much for lowering the cost of health care or keeping prices under control, like the Democrats promised with the “Affordable” Care Act.

A recent survey of 148 insurance brokers shows that ObamaCare is sending premiums rising at the fastest clip in decades.

For the last, about, five years they’ve been doing this survey, so this was the largest percentage increase in any quarter since they’ve been doing (it),” said Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute.

“But at 12 percent, 11 percent increase on average across all the states — that puts it at the upper end of any increase we’ve seen for decades.”

That is the national average in a survey done by Morgan Stanley. But in some states, it found rates are soaring.

“There are specific states with exorbitant increases,” Gottlieb said. “Delaware had 100 percent increase, Florida had a 37 percent increase, Pennsylvania 28 percent increase, California had a 53 percent increase in their premiums.”   …

The CBO also projects future premium increases over the next decade.

Insurance companies will soon have to set rates for 2015, and analysts fear reported higher costs now will mean increases next year, as well.

“They’re going to see an announcement that next year’s premium’s going to be 25 percent or maybe 50 percent higher than what they’re now paying,” says John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.


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Why I Never Watched “How I Met Your Mother”

Why I Never Watched “How I Met Your Mother” and Why I Don’t Care It’s Over

how i met your mother finaleOkay, so I watched the first five minutes of the first show and then turned it off forever. I thought the premise of the show was really, really creepy:
Sit your children down on the bed and then tell your children about all your sexual encounters before you met their mother…

That was so weird and so creepy I just turned it off. I don’t have much more to say about it except I’m glad it is off the air…


Tithing is By The Law, But Generosity is By Faith

What I am about to say will frighten a lot of pastors who teach tithing to their congregations. Tithing is an old word meaning “giving one tenth.”  The Law of Moses required that all Covenant people give ten percent of their income (their herds, grain, oil, etc.) to God (Lev. 27:32) in order to feed and house the priests and the Levites (teachers of the Law – Num. 18.21). Jesus spoke about tithing, saying in Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Considering that Jesus agreed with the tithe, many interpret the tithe as a Law carried over into the New Covenant, binding on all believers. But after the Gospels, tithing is only mentioned once in the rest of the New Testament in Hebrews (7:4), and that is in regard to the New Covenant in Christ  being anticipated in the Law of Moses.  In fact, Paul says plainly in Romans 10:4 “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

Jesus Overturns the Money Changers Tables in the Temple

Jesus Cleansing the Temple

Now the word for “end” in this passage is the word telos in Greek, which means the fulfillment of purpose or intent. So Paul is saying that Jesus fulfilled all the legal requirements of the Law of Moses for us, and what is then laid upon is us the command to Love: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’” - Galatians 5:14 

So, what is my point?  My point is that the Law of Moses which the legal requirement of the tithe was fulfilled for us in Jesus Christ, who met all the requirements of the Law so that we might be made righteous by His faith working in us. Therefore, if anyone is trying to please God through obedience to the Law, their giving of a tenth by guilt, or to avoid punishment, or to give a tenth in order to get a reward, then they are still under the Law and not living by faith, and, as Paul says in Galatians 2:16, “(We) know that a man is not made righteous by observing the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by the faith of Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no-one will be made righteous.” Rather than trusting in the legal requirement of the Tithe, we ought to be trusting Jesus Christ who has fulfilled that legal requirement for us!!

Okay, so where does that leave us? Are we to refrain from giving because we no longer have to? No! We should give more! Here’s the deal, God does not require us to give, He asks us to give so that we may enter into His character and nature. God is a God of love and generosity. He gives the rain to the just and the unjust alike. Even to those who are ungrateful, He grants the sun, the rain, and food. What’s more, He gives his Love to those who do not ask for it or seek Him.  If we are to become like God, then how are we to behave: through fear, withholding our giving; or in faith and joy, giving freely as God leads us to give? See how Paul teaches about giving,

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.’ {Ps 112:9} Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” -2 Corinthians 9:6-13

There are a couple of points here. There is no mention of a tithe in what Paul says, but he talks about giving with a generous and glad heart. His point is that he wants us to enter in, not by the Law, but by the Spirit and, as we participate in the Spirit of God, we become like God. We become generous.  The second point is that there is a natural law of reciprocity in God’s house. The world’s system works differently. It works by scarcity, greed, selfishness, and covetousness. That is the system Jesus warned about called mammon:  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” - Matthew 6:24

But God’s system works by faith and by generosity. In fact it works totally contrary to the world’s way. You increase in wealth by being generous, not by hoarding.  One of my favorite passages in Scripture is from Proverbs. It says in Proverbs 11:24 “One man gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”   It is a window into how God’s economy works. It works by giving.   So, the law of reciprocity is a natural law, not a religious one.  If you are stingy and are afraid to be generous, in God’s house you will not prosper; or if you do, you will prosper for a season, only to have it taken from you.   But if you are generous, and a giver, you will increase in wealth and prosperity. Plus, you will become a partaker of God’s character and become more like Him. And God will be able to trust you with wealth because He knows you will do the right thing with it, and give when He tells you to.

Finally, my point is that your willingness to give is a window onto your faith in God. If you trust God, you will give. If you don’t, you will hoard or give reluctantly. Stories abound where people have finally become committed to giving a tithe, or tenth of their income, and then they finally start to prosper and get blessed.  I believe the reason they do start to prosper is not because they are obeying the Law, but because they are finally expressing faith in God and trusting Him with their money and with their lives.  The Law exists as a standard or signpost.  I say that if you are not giving at least ten percent, you are living in fear and not faith. You don’t trust God with your money. You don’t believe He will be faithful and provide for you. Your actions reveal your level of faith, or your lack thereof.  However, if you are trusting God with your provision, you will give and give generously. You won’t fear to give, or give “grudgingly,”  but you will give with joy and expectation of God’s blessing and favor.  The Tithe is by The Law, but Generosity is By Faith.

Are you living in fear of the Law, or in generosity by faith?

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Major Duck Dynasty Flap


So, the First Amendment regarding Freedom of Religion no longer applies, nor Freedom of Speech? Tolerance of everything and anybody as long as they don’t believe the Bible? But if they do, you have to deny them their 1st Amendment?

Originally posted on Seth's Oasis:

Duck Dynasty Season 3The story and future of Duck Dynasty and Phil Robertson are still evolving…though at this point A&E has stated that, “The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely” due to his recent remarks during a GQ interview about those living an active homosexual lifestyle based upon 1 Corinthians 6.

Granted, tact (and being “wise as serpents”) was lacking in some of Phil’s remarks, but the statements by the network make it clear that tact was not the reason for Phil’s dismissal.  Rather, it was the non-politically correct Bible-based belief about sexuality contained in Phil’s message that got him blasted out of the show by A&E.

As a writer for TIME pointed out, we will still have to wait and see how everything will ultimately play out (even though A&E has already, ironically, demonstrated religious intolerance in the name of being tolerant).  Personally, I am waiting to see what…

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The Boneyard – Thoughts on the Passing of Time and Old Friendships

By Jefferis Kent Peterson for his fellow high school classmates of Landon ’72 on the occasion of their 40th! Reunion, October 20th, 2012
Elephant at sunset on safari

Elephant at sunset on safari (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Elephants are said to have memories, well, like an elephant’s… In nature, elephants live to 70 years of age. Their family structures are sort of like tribes. Unless interrupted by humans, they live together in family groups all of their lives. When an elephant dies, its family members engage in intense mourning and burial rituals, conducting weeklong vigils over the body, carefully covering it with earth and brush, revisiting the bones for years afterward, caressing the bones with their trunks, often taking turns rubbing their trunks along the teeth of a skull’s lower jaw, the way living elephants do in greeting.

There is something of the intimations of eternity in the actions of the oldest and wisest animals on the plant. They know love, loss, and a memory of the generations that have gone before. They share an appreciation of their young. Legend has it that elephants near death separate from their companions and trek alone to ancestral graveyards, dying only when they reach this special place, called a boneyard.

My grandparents only died in the past 15 years.  My parents are just starting to approach their 80′s and are showing signs of age.  I have found that losing those you love makes it somewhat easier to look forward to the time of your own end, with the hope of seeing those you love once again. Most of you don’t have grandchildren yet… Leigh and I have two now. We, like elephants, are starting to appreciate the transition of the ages.  Children are a blessing, but grandchildren are a wonder. To be called Grandpa makes you start to see yourself as part of the generations gone before you. A link to the past with a link to the present and a link to the future.

I remember seeing the alumni coming back to Landon when we were there, and thinking, “Who are these old farts?”  Those ancient alumni were probably all of  25, 30 or 35 years of age at most. Wow, how your perspective changes!

There is something in the memory of youth that makes us want to return here… memories that are still living in our mind’s eye and not dead. Times of play and joy, easier times, lesser responsibilities, when we all believed in the illusion of our own immortality.  Friendships, like a tribe, have lasted a lifetime. When we meet up, it is as if all the years between have disappeared and we are back to our youth. There is something here we have shared, we shared with no one else. But there is also something in our memories, which speak to our hope for eternity. It is a memory almost forgotten… buried under leaves and grass… that life goes on even after the parting of familiar friends.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-13 “I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its season. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot comprehend what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his labor–this is the gift of God.”
This is our 40th, and it is hard to believe that many years have passed. The 45th and the 50th lie ahead.  The circle may yet be unbroken, God willing, but there will come a time when our visits to the Boneyard will cause us to raise our glasses not just to the prior generations, but to the memories of our own.  May the Lord keep us all safe until we gather again.


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Why I Hated Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Eugene Allen - The Real Butler

The Real Butler

I have to admit: the story was compelling. I was drawn in. It was well acted. It resurrected all my feelings about racial injustice I experienced as a late 1960′s teen. It reminded me of all my liberal angst.  After all, it was based upon a “true story.”   But then I found out just how much of it was fiction, a political stage to vent misplaced rage, and how cynical a manipulation is Hollywood in its use of “history” to reinforce its arrogant condescension.  The true in the “true story” is that there was a man who worked as a butler in the White House, but that is about as far as it went.  The rest of this is spoiler, so be forewarned.

For the documentation see the Real Story here.

We’re not trying to set out a word-for-word retelling of historical events. We’re trying to tell the story of the Civil Rights movement through a prototypical American family and how they experienced those turbulent times. …we were much more concerned about a universal truth than we were about people criticizing if Eugene Allen did X, Y, or Z. -Danny Strong, Screenwriter (Word & Film, August 13, 2013)

Universal Truth? Then don’t lie.

Cecil Gaines is very loosely “based” on Eugene Allen. Eugene Allen’s mother was not raped by a white plantation owner. His father was not shot.  He had only one son, who served but did not die in Viet Nam.  His son was not a Freedom Rider,  did not know or serve with Martin Luther King, Jr., did not go to jail,  was not a member of the Black Panthers, and did not become a Congressman.

His wife was not an alcoholic adulteress.  All these compelling elements of the story, were glurge. This isn’t close to being based on a true story, it is a vehicle for the writer and director’s own political agenda.  What made me the most angry and the most upset was the cheap political shot a Ronald Reagan.  The writer makes it seem as if they used Eugene (Cecil) as a token Negro at a State dinner, when it was just the opposite. It was not a turning point in his career, as if Eugene suddenly saw his hypocrisy in his role of servitude.

Eugene with President Reagan and Nancy Reagan. In their living room, the Allens displayed several pictures of such moments with the Reagans.

Eugene with President Reagan and Nancy Reagan. In their living room, the Allens displayed several pictures of such moments with the Reagans.

Eugene spoke of the dinner with excitement, “I’m telling you!” he said. “I believe I’m the only butler to get invited to a state dinner.” He was correct.

Is the movie accurate in depicting President Ronald Reagan as being racist?

No. The Butler movie depicts President Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman) stating that he will refuse to impose sanctions against South Africa for its racist policies. The true story behind The Butler movie reveals that the situation was much more complex than Lee Daniel’s film makes it appear. At the time, America was entangled in the Cold War with the Soviet Union and their communist allies. South Africa was the only country on the African continent that held a strong anti-communist position. Reagan’s hesitation to issue sanctions arose in part because he did not want to disrupt America’s anti-communist alliance with the country, not because he thought apartheid in South Africa was okay. The sanctions would have also impacted the least affluent in the country first, who were mainly the blacks there.

I think the most genuine part of the movie was the election of Barak Obama and what it meant to the black community. Not that I agree with the political reality, which turned out entirely opposite of the hope and promise, but I can understand why that hope for overcoming generations of injustice was signaled by his election.  It meant, and still does, an end to racial inequality; even if the latent prejudice of racism remains in the hearts of some men.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “the law cannot make a man love me,” and that remains true today. But the evidence that a majority of Americans can see past color to vote for a policy means that race is no longer the deciding factor in American politics; unless of course one cynically uses the false charge of racism to disqualify opposing political ideas.


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