Dustin Hartley Brand

Sep 24 2014

Evil?

If God is omni-benevolent and ubiquitous, then why is there evil in the world? Because God has a different system of morality than we do? Then what about Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

1 note

Sep 21 2014

God’s Days

This is just a minor issue that I want to get off my chest. I overheard somebody explaining how God could have created the universe in 6 days and then rested. How could God have made everything so quickly? Well, say the apologists, “God’s days aren’t the same length of time as ours.”

Okay, so a day to God is like a few billion Earth days, or something like that, right? Whatever. This suggests that God lives on another planet that takes a different amount of time to orbit the Sun than it takes the Earth. That’s just stupid and I wish I were only fighting straw men… . 

Sep 20 2014
What one fool can do, another can.
— Ancient Simian Proverb

Sep 19 2014

Pam-demonium

The RCF was home to some Pam-demonium today. I mean pandemonium/ Why? Because a resident, Pam, appeared to have been lost or to have left the premises. All the staff were running around, scrambling to find her before she went too far.

Pam is kind of an odd little creature, but aren’t we all? Someone, whose name I won’t give here, told me that I am condescending to people I think have inferior intelligence. I hadn’t noticed that I do that. That’s kind of rude of me, huh?

However, Pam is probably less intelligent than I am. The simple fact is that, well, I am smarter than most if not all of the other residents. That’s not a value judgment. It’s just human variation. 

I will try to say nothing of my intelligence to anyone again. It’s just not the the right thing to say. In other words, I will suppress my mind.

And where was Pam? On a van ride with staff.

Sep 13 2014

Bow Down to the Lord

I was showing Cheryl, a resident here, my picture of Kurt Angle and myself. I told her to look at Angle’s eyes. Didn’t he look less than sober? I told her that Angle said he had been addicted to Percocet.

Enter Jerry, a creepy old man who walks with the assistance of a cane because he has Parkinson’s disease. He laughed when he hear me saying that Angle had admitted to his drug abuse.

"Why are you laughing? Addiction is a serious issue," I told him. He agreed, but he also saw humor in it. He continued, "I was an addict but by the grace of God I no longer am, you know what I mean?"

I could sense that he was being literal when he credited the grace of God. “No,” I told him, “I don’t understand.” 

"Don’t you believe in the Lord?" I couldn’t help but chuckle as I told him that I don’t. Jerry said that someday I would have to bow down.

I did, however, lend him my ears. I asked him why he believes in God. He had no answer. If he couldn’t justify his belief in God, then how would he know that God exists? He had no justification for his belief, so I asked him if he was schizophrenic, perhaps?

Maybe he’s just senile.

1 note

Sep 11 2014
And to think that I was just about to touch it,

And to think that I was just about to touch it,

+
Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.
— Matthew 15

4 notes

Sep 07 2014
I saw the the image above on Facebook, and I expressed my disagreement in in a paragraph in comments section. Here is what I said:

“The wording in this status is kind of strange. It seems that the term “welfare” is referring to food stamps. Why would you drug test people for being on food stamps? And what source did you consult that shows a connection between food stamps to “buy drugs and extra illegal things? You seem confused on how the testing would be done. People “who work for their money” would, I presume, be drug tested by a private concern. People on welfare, or food stamps as you seem to be referencing would be tested, I once again presume, would be conducted by the government. For the government to conduct to test for drug tests, they must have warrants.”

I think it is appropriate to share here a letter I wrote about four years to a congressperson.
Senator Reynolds,
 

CNN’s HLN is reporting that Iowa is among a number of state considering mandating drug tests for recipients of welfare programs, unemployment and food stamps in particular.  The reason behind this seems to a concern that benefits are being used to support illicit drug habits.
 
It is reprehensible if beneficiaries of welfare programs abuse the system by using their benefits for illegal activities.  However, I disagree with the proposal for mandatory drug testing for those recipients. 
 
From studying the social sciences in college, I understand that drug abuse and low socioeconomic status are highly correlated.  However, depriving those of low socioeconomic status of their benefits is not the answer; we should instead look at ways of rectifying the underlying social mechanisms that lead to some people’s unfortunate circumstances. 
 
Purchasing drugs is illegal and should be prosecuted according to the laws, but to require those receiving government benefits to undergo drug testing is to, as one of the contributers on HLN put it, “punish the many for the crimes of the few.” 
 
I understand that tax payers do not want the revenues earned on their taxes to support illegal drug habits.  I do not have statistics in hand, but I suspect that very few people receiving benefits have such illegal drug habits.  For those who do, to take away their benefits seems likely to exacerbate their situation. And, it may be said, everybody is a tax payer in the United States, even if those taxes come only through sales taxes and property taxes and various others.
 
One of the ways to help relieve the ills of drug abuse and low income is to restructure the tax and social systems in ways that allow for a more equal distribution of wealth, as it has been documented that wealth disparities are ever increasing.  Nobody in his or her right mind is advocating true socialism; their should be differences in the distribution of wealth to some extent to foster incentive for industriousness, but the gaps should be narrowed.
 
Whoever engages in illegal activity should be punished, but not at the expense of the innocent people who, by factors largely out of their control, find themselves in troubled times. 
 
These issues are of particular concern to me because much of the food I was fed as a child was paid for with food stamps because my single mother, despite working full-time, at times did not have sufficient income to feed her hungry boys; and because I am on SSI because of psychiatrist conditions.
 
I hope that you will consider my thoughts if discussion of mandatory drugs tests for people on welfare becomes serious.  Thank you for your service as a senator.
 
Sincerely,

Dustin Hartley

I saw the the image above on Facebook, and I expressed my disagreement in in a paragraph in comments section. Here is what I said:

The wording in this status is kind of strange. It seems that the term “welfare” is referring to food stamps. Why would you drug test people for being on food stamps? And what source did you consult that shows a connection between food stamps to “buy drugs and extra illegal things? You seem confused on how the testing would be done. People “who work for their money” would, I presume, be drug tested by a private concern. People on welfare, or food stamps as you seem to be referencing would be tested, I once again presume, would be conducted by the government. For the government to conduct to test for drug tests, they must have warrants.”

I think it is appropriate to share here a letter I wrote about four years to a congressperson.

Senator Reynolds,
 
CNN’s HLN is reporting that Iowa is among a number of state considering mandating drug tests for recipients of welfare programs, unemployment and food stamps in particular.  The reason behind this seems to a concern that benefits are being used to support illicit drug habits.
 
It is reprehensible if beneficiaries of welfare programs abuse the system by using their benefits for illegal activities.  However, I disagree with the proposal for mandatory drug testing for those recipients. 
 
From studying the social sciences in college, I understand that drug abuse and low socioeconomic status are highly correlated.  However, depriving those of low socioeconomic status of their benefits is not the answer; we should instead look at ways of rectifying the underlying social mechanisms that lead to some people’s unfortunate circumstances. 
 
Purchasing drugs is illegal and should be prosecuted according to the laws, but to require those receiving government benefits to undergo drug testing is to, as one of the contributers on HLN put it, “punish the many for the crimes of the few.” 
 
I understand that tax payers do not want the revenues earned on their taxes to support illegal drug habits.  I do not have statistics in hand, but I suspect that very few people receiving benefits have such illegal drug habits.  For those who do, to take away their benefits seems likely to exacerbate their situation. And, it may be said, everybody is a tax payer in the United States, even if those taxes come only through sales taxes and property taxes and various others.
 
One of the ways to help relieve the ills of drug abuse and low income is to restructure the tax and social systems in ways that allow for a more equal distribution of wealth, as it has been documented that wealth disparities are ever increasing.  Nobody in his or her right mind is advocating true socialism; their should be differences in the distribution of wealth to some extent to foster incentive for industriousness, but the gaps should be narrowed.
 
Whoever engages in illegal activity should be punished, but not at the expense of the innocent people who, by factors largely out of their control, find themselves in troubled times. 
 
These issues are of particular concern to me because much of the food I was fed as a child was paid for with food stamps because my single mother, despite working full-time, at times did not have sufficient income to feed her hungry boys; and because I am on SSI because of psychiatrist conditions.
 
I hope that you will consider my thoughts if discussion of mandatory drugs tests for people on welfare becomes serious.  Thank you for your service as a senator.
 
Sincerely,

Dustin Hartley

14 notes

Sep 06 2014
Lenox, down the road from Corning has a large rock, too. This one is dedicated to a long-time pharmacist.

Lenox, down the road from Corning has a large rock, too. This one is dedicated to a long-time pharmacist.

Sep 04 2014
Corning, Iowa: Birthplace of Johnny Carson and home of a big, painted rock.

Corning, Iowa: Birthplace of Johnny Carson and home of a big, painted rock.

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