Monday, September 29, 2008

"Think & argue about it, but at the end of the day come to the conclusion that God is sovereign and man is responsible." - T. S. (paraphrased)

After reading, talking, thinking, and praying for a very long time and to a level of sophistication that very probably nears my max out, whatever that may be, I have come to a number of core convictions most highly relevant to matters related to the doctrines of divine omnipotence and the responsibility of humankind:

1. God can do anything
2. God is morally good
3. God knows everything
4. Man is responsible
5. Logic is true

You are welcome to speculate concerning the details.

You are not welcome to elevate your philosophical speculations even remotely close to the levels of certainty and importance that the gospel enjoys.

Browser Spots

On the radio people used to call in and do "shout-outs" to their friends who might be listening in. Now people do link spots or blog spots by linking out to a series of webpages, often on a given topic. Here is a short spotting of pages on the Browser Wars:

Chrome vs. FireFox (technical)
Chrome vs. Safari (technical)
FireFox vs. Safari (biased)
Why Safari Rocks Chrome (biased)
Benchmarks: FireFox is Faster Than Chrome
Benchmarks: Safari is Faster Than FireFox (suspect)
9 Things FireFox Should Steal From Safari (from 2007, but most still apply. Also, rated PG-13)
How to Get Safari's Best Features in FireFox (a bit old, but mostly still applicable. Also, rated PG-13)
Why IE Sucks (yes, an entire blog. Rated R, and very technical)

and yet,

Browser Statistics

...proof that humans are capable of irrationality.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

FireFox Extensions

My FireFox install wasn't keeping track of my history, so I deleted it using AppZapper, repaired permissions, downloaded a fresh copy of FireFox 3, and began reinstalling all my extensions.

I thought it might be nice to share with you what extensions I use in FireFox:

Alexa Sparky
Google Toolbar
Dictionary Tooltip
Resizeable Textarea
SEO For FireFox
Web Developer

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Alleged & Paradoxical Tragedies En Route Due to the Various Effects of Anthropogenic C02 Broadly Classified as Global Climate Change

AAAahahahahaha. Ahem.

So I know an intelligent young woman who, for her own reasons, used to be pro-choice.

That is, until she went to a pro-choice rally.

I wonder if beginning to cite real Global Climate Change theorists will actually dissuade more people from this particular flavor of lunacy than well reasoned-arguments.

I especially enjoy looking at contradictory studies like those that show that Climate Change will cause more hurricanes (the orthodox position?) and those that show it will cause "fewer" hurricanes, a "reduced" amount of hurricanes, or that there simply isn't a link between Global Climate Change and hurricanes at all.

You can blame anything on Man now; not just Global Warming, but any Global Climate Change at all.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sarah Palin did not slash funding for teen moms - she actually tripled it.

The Washington Post (and about a bajillion blogs) claims that Sarah Palin slashed funding for teen moms. They show a photocopy of the budget Palin marked on, crossing out the 5 million dollar figure and writing in 3.9.

Turns out that the previous year's state funding for this particular charity, that happens to include a program for teen mothers, was only 1.3 million dollars. Palin tripled their budget.

[By the way, state-funding only accounts for about 15% of the faith-based Covenant House Alaska's annual budget.]

I didn't even think to blog about this until I looked around in the results pages of several Google queries and found that everyone is railing against Palin for "slashing funds for teen mothers", calling her a hypocrite given her pro-life stance and her own daughter's young pregnancy. I only initially found this one dude that took the time to look at the context and it just doesn't seem right to me.

In fact, Deirdre Cronin, Executive Director of Covenant House Alaska, said she "is grateful for the support [Covenant House has] received from Governor Sarah Palin, the Alaska legislature and [Alaska's] Congressional delegation over the years".

Hopefully this post and these links will boost Warren Throckmorton's pages in Google's results pages. I used the "nofollow" tag in my hyperlink to Washington Post's story so that they don't get any of my link juice.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Imagination is More Important Than Knowledge" - An over-quoted quotation. Here's why its true though.

I started posting my notes on Quine's "Methods of Logic" online. I will finish someday. Anyway I was skimming it and found a quotation and a comment on it worth sharing over here on this blog:
We must be able to think up schemata which imply or are implied by a given schema and promise well as links in a proposed chain of argument. Such products can be checked mechanically by truth-value analysis, but thinking them up is an unmechanical activity.

-p. 47
It brings to mind the worn-out quotation of Einstein, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". Here, even in the midst of pursuing the discipline of meticulous, exhaustive, systematic, and well-defined logical analyses, we see the glory of knack and of imagination and of art.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Public Prayer

Dear God,

[We] sincerely pray that you help us to understand the value of public and corporate prayer.


Misc. on Tolstoy

On July 22, 1910, when Tolstoy was in the middle of what was to be his final crisis, he went into the woods with three friends to copy and sign the testament that had been drawn up according to his instructions, hoping thereby to settle both the tormenting spiritual problems and the distasteful bickering with his wife and family that the disposition of his property and rights induced. As Tolstoy began to copy the document he misspelled “twenty”, started to correct it and to reach for a fresh sheet of paper, but then smiled and said, “All right, let it be thought that I was illiterate,” adding “I will put the numeral next to it so that there will be no possibility of doubt”.

- “Tolstoy” by Ralph Matlaw, p. 1
Tolsoy's wife Sophie wrote in her journal of copying War and Peace, that it "uplifted her spiritually, ie morally".

Sophie hand-wrote seven copies of "War and Peace".

She wrote to the man who published her biography:
“You write about the ‘home’ interests which must have been subordinated to Leo Nikolaevich’s writing of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. But what was that home? It consisted only of Leo Nikolaevich and myself… In so far as I could tear myself from domestic matters, I lived in my husband’s creative activity and loved it…You mention among professional writers Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, and I would add Lermontov and others; all of them were bachelors without families, and that is a very different matter. This was reflected in their work, just as Leo N.’s family life was completely reflected in his works… It is perfectly true that Leo N. was generally a man and not merely a writer. But it is not true, if you will pardon me, that he wrote easily. Indeed, he experienced the ‘tortures of creativity’ in a high degree; he wrote with difficulty and slowly, made endless corrections; he doubted his powers, denied his talent, and he often said: ‘Writing is just like childbirth; until the fruit is ripe, it does not come out, and, when it does, it comes with pain and labor’.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am profoundly bottlenecked.

I am sometimes too hasty in the forming and giving forth of beliefs, and sometimes far too retarded.

I am often verbose, and sometimes bottlenecked.

I am rarely devoid of thought.

Over the last four years I have been taught a lot about humility. But there are several lessons I have been taught, but have not learned. And right now I can tell that I have a long way to go even beyond this unassimilated wisdom.

True, robust, meta humility is very difficult (both painful and requiring of a certain expertise).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA): Why it DOES Matter That Obama is Pro-Choice

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), is a bill introduced to Congress by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer that has been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Barack Obama has indicated his support of this bill.

It says*, among other things, that...
...It is the policy of the United States that...
(b) A government may not--
(1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--
(A) to bear a child;
(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to [fetal] viability; or
(C) to terminate a pregnancy after [fetal] viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or
(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information
includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State.
And "viability" is defined as
that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.
So FOCA basically says that everywhere in America regardless of State or local law, any female can take the life of her unborn baby so long as she can find just one individual attending physician to judge that her baby wouldn't survive on its own if it were taken outside of the womb of its mother that instant, or to judge that her pregnancy endangers her health (not even her life, necessarily).

What does this have to do with Obama?

Well for one, he promised that it would be the first thing he signs as President.

And then there is the issue of appointing Supreme Court judges. Justice Stevens is getting old, and a couple of other judges are no doubt getting very close to throwing in the towel. While McCain has been explicit and thorough about his stance on legal matters, Obama has shied away from talking about anything legal, anything specific, and has only commented about the need to appoint judges who empathize with certain segments of society. In light of this and his radical pro-choice record, we can no doubt anticipate Obama's judicial appointments to be ruthlessly and undiscerningly pro-choice as well.

Want to know more about FOCA? Check out what the Family Research Council has to say:
The passage of FOCA would not only force the issue of taxpayer funded abortions on both the federal and state governments, but would also overturn the wishes of all 50 state legislatures and millions of people in the states. Many of these laws are hugely popular. For example, Florida's 1994 amendment requiring parental notification was approved in a referendum with 65 percent of the vote. In an October 2007 Harris poll, 38 percent of the respondents wanted no change in current abortion laws, while 42 percent wanted to see laws that made it tougher for a woman to get an abortion. Only 16 percent of respondents wanted the government to make it easier for a woman to get an abortion.[17]

The abortion industry already handsomely rewards its supporters in Congress with millions of dollars in campaign donations. In return, enactment of the Freedom of Choice Act by a pro-abortion Congress (which we currently have) and a pro-abortion President would lead to the biggest payoff in history for those who profit from abortions. All of this would come at taxpayer expense, with the federal and state governments losing the power to decide which legislative path they wish to pursue-one of promoting abortion or promoting life. Ironically, the Freedom of Choice Act would remove any concept of "choice" from the equation, by eliminating the right of states and U.S. citizens to have a say in the debate.

(McClusky, Date Unpublished)
*[ S. 1173--110th Congress (2007): Freedom of Choice Act, (database of federal legislation) <> (accessed Sep 6, 2008)]

Friday, September 5, 2008

UCLA Social Scientists Find Significant Liberal Bias in Nearly All Major Media Outlets

A UCLA study that "is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly" found that "there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of [the major media outlets] lean to the left" (Sullivan, 2005).

Before you react, read to the end of the article cited.

UPDATE: I found the study itself. If you or your school isn't subscribed to the MIT Press Quarterly Journal of Economics, you have to pay $10 to download it. But the abstract is free:
We measure media bias by estimating ideological scores for several major media outlets. To compute this, we count the times that a particular media outlet cites various think tanks and policy groups, and then compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same groups. Our results show a strong liberal bias: all of the news outlets we examine, except Fox News' Special Report and the Washington Times, received scores to the left of the average member of Congress. Consistent with claims made by conservative critics, CBS Evening News and the New York Times received scores far to the left of center. The most centrist media outlets were PBS News Hour, CNN's Newsnight, and ABC's Good Morning America; among print outlets, USA Today was closest to the center. All of our findings refer strictly to news content; that is, we exclude editorials, letters, and the like.

-(MIT Press Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 2005)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why Obama is a Lesser Moral Monster (But a Monster Nonetheless)

I argued earlier that if a fetus is a person THEN it is wrong to terminate it.

I personally believe that personhood begins at conception, so I believe that abortion is inherently morally wrong (except in certain circumstances when the pregnancy critically endangers the life of the mother).

Now, you can disagree with me and support abortion without being a moral monster, if you believe that a fetus is not a person. You are wrong and there are terrible consequences to your false belief, but you are not a moral monster.

If you believe a fetus is a person AND you are pro-choice then you ARE a moral monster, because you are knowingly supportive of premeditated murder.

But what if you don't know for sure? I say that you are only slightly less of a monster than if you did know better, but a monster nonetheless. Like I said before, NEVER kill unless you can ID your target.

Would you stab a knife through a blanket if you weren't sure whether that the lump underneath was a human person or not?

When asked "Do you personally believe that life begins at conception?"

Obama answered:
This is something that I have not come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don't presume to know the answer to that question. What I know is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates.

-Source: 2008 Democratic Compassion Forum at Messiah College Apr 13, 2008
How can he possibly justify support for abortion without being sure about when life begins?

Obama vis-à-vis Palin: Parenting

Here's how Obama says he would handle a hypothetical teen pregnancy:
I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old... I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.
Here's how Palin actually handled her daughter's pregnancy:
Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned... We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.

Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy, as has always been the tradition of children of candidates...
Aside from the glaring irony of Obama's insulting comments about his own daughters (think of telling YOUR CHILDREN you wouldn't want them PUNISHED by CHILDREN OF THEIR OWN), there is the slightly more subtle presence of just plain bad parenting latent in such a position. What happened to "morals" like taking responsibility for one's decisions, Mr. Obama?

Being pro-life is important, not just because of any legislation a leader might be involved in or judges he, or she, might appoint. Being pro-life is important because it reflects a proper understanding of reality, of values, of responsibility, and of parenting.

I guess "Husky" brand liners for your vehicle's floor or bed are all the rage now.

Personally I find this little phenomenon pretty entertaining.

My good friend Andy Isaacson just started selling Husky Liners, because he found out how popular they are.

"What are Husky Liners?" you ask.

You know those floor mats that come stock with your car? You know how they always wear out and get all ratty? You know how you always wear a hole through the driver's side one under the heel of your gas-pedal foot?

I guess people (especially in the Northwest, where it snows and where people actually walk around on surfaces other than concrete, like dirt or -gasp- mud!) are starting to really love replacing those with Husky brand floor liners. Weird, I know. But think about how dirty and soppy your car floor gets in the winter, on the way back from the beach, or after a camping trip. What if you had really nice, hardy, floor liners with thick tread that felt good on your feet (ergonomic?) and collected all the snow and mud you could ever dish out?

And of course you know how obsessed a lot of guys up here get about their trucks, so I don't even have to explain to you how valuable industrial strength bed liners are to guys like that ;).

So anyway I guess Husky is like supposed to be the brand of floor and bed liners to get. They're all the rage right now.

If you want to check 'em out, or if you're curious about possibly getting them for your car, go check out Andy's Husky Liners site and click on his links and buy stuff. It's an affiliate site, so don't be surprised if the links take you elsewhere before allowing you to go through the purchase process, but rest assured the process is secure.

Ahhh... life's little quirks.

NEVER fire unless you can ID your target

Gun Safety Rule Related to Your Target #1 is to "[positively] identify your target and the threat it poses before firing at it." Our VP learned this lesson the hard way I guess, as have various cops and soldiers who have gotten in big trouble for firing on unarmed, innocent civilians.

Hang on to this tidbit, it will come in handy later.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Late Night Reflections

I am hanging curtain rods in my living room right now. Its dark outside. And its light inside, so when I looked at the window pane itself I caught a glimpse of my reflection. This happened to me earlier today when I was riding my bike up fourth street and I saw myself in the windows of the shops while coming home from Bella Rose where I had lunch with Chris.

I startled myself just now because I look like a young man. Not like when your mom or grandma calls you a young man. Just, I look like a man. I look like a man who is young. I am a young, married, employed, land-owning, triathlete of a man.

And I do things like mow the lawn, and... hang curtain rods.

It might sound weird to you, but it feels weird to me. I don't feel 24 at all. I feel, like, I dunno.


Just younger. And its not that I mind being 24. I guess I'm just afraid that I ought to be more mature -more wise- than I estimate I probably am. I wonder if I am on the right track in life?

I think I am, in terms of, well, I went to the right school (still need to finish though), married the right woman, I am living where God told me to, I am going to the church God told me to... but what about the details though? Am I a praying man? Do I love my wife like I ought to? Am I serving other people - living my life for the sake of others? Does my life illustrate Hope? Is my faith strong, and its content accurate?

Do I work hard enough?

God, please grant me substantial and rapid growth in wisdom and courage and passion.


Google has the right to do whatever they want with anything you ever create or transmit on the web

...if you do so using their new web browser - here's why.

Plus, Chrome is slower than FireFox 3 and Safari 3 (except when it comes to JavaScript), has no way to manage bookmarks yet, falls short in other areas (although admittedly has some serious strengths too), and isn't available for Mac yet!

As I read one commenter write, umm... don't be evil?

Faust 2.0


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Homosexual Hospital Visitation Rights

Obama says in his speech that even if we disagree about matters concerning homosexual marriage, we should agree that even homosexuals should have the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital. I have heard this argument before and what follows is the fundamental reason why it offends me.

Homosexuals DO have hospital visitation rights, just like heterosexuals. What Obama wants to do is actually give homosexuals MORE privilege than heterosexuals. Let me show you what I mean.

Let's say my friend Billy goes to the hospital. And I love Billy. I REALLY love Billy. My love for Billy is vibrant, mountainous, and unique. And Billy loves me back. Exclusively. We are best friends, and our love exceeds any we could ever imagine having for any women (we're Elizabethan like that). Billy and I are roommates. Have been for 4 years. We are bound together by our love. It just happens to be heterosexual in nature.

Now, when visiting hours are over for those who are not Billy's immediate family, I get kicked out of the room, like everybody else who isn't in that category.

But if Obama had his way, and my love for Billy was no more potent, but happened to be homosexual in nature, I would have gotten to stay.

How is that fair? How is that equal?

It's discriminatory against heterosexuals, is what it is.

And I am offended when presidential candidates discriminate against me for my sexual preference.

Obama fans, you're just driving our point home!

Just watched Obama's speech, and I loved it.

My favorite part:

Obama: ...he said, and I quote, that "this nation has become [pause] a nation of whiners!"
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and... Web 4.0?

My friend informed me of the rule of thumb when labeling sites as "web 2.0":
Web 1.0: Owner creates a site
Web 2.0: Owner creates a site, but users can also create content
Web 3.0: Owner creates a site, and users can create content, but users can also create functionality
So web 2.0 would be like Blogger or YouTube. Web 3.0 would be like Facebook, with its user-created apps.

I was sharing this with a friend in Calypsos Coffee today when a third friend chimed in with some insight. I here reproduce his comments in full:
Brave New Web

Being able to create your own content on the internet is a decided feature of the so called Web 2.0. Excellent examples of this would be Myspace or Facebook. Social networking and the creation of content is the fingerprint of Web 2.0.

Also included in the inter-web upgrade is the availability of massive amounts of data via search engines. Currently Google, the dominating engine, is searching around a trillion pages, or 1,000,000,000 pages. Information, even secret information, is open to anyone willing to learn a little Boolean string logic.

Web 3.0 has two parts. Functionality and data. When users have the ability to interact with customizable modules that would be called Web 3.0 functionality. Facebook Apps are a great example because users can customize the modules effect on the page.

The data side is being able to easily access pertinent information that is exactly relevant to your needs. This is crudely available with Boolean searching in Google already. The next step is for information to be mined to exactly your needs. Right now if you type anything into Google there is a high probability of getting 40 bajillion hits. With variable algorithms that extract data based on the user you can get exactly what you look for.

Web 4.0 is an extension of the data developing where information is assimilated off of existing user created information to fill gaps in content. I suspect this will be triggered when a user searches for an answer to a question. The engine will scan available information, rank the trustworthiness (much like PageRank), and create an answer based on all the information.

Someday choosing a President will be as simple as asking Google.



(TJ Kastning, Sept. 2, 2008)

McCain Ambushes Obama w/ Sharp-Shooting Search Engine Marketing

I said earlier that good Search Engine Optimization gets you nominated for President. But will good Search Engine Marketing get you elected for president?
Sen. John McCain is in some ways outsmarting Sen. Obama when it comes to Internet marketing. One example: As of Wednesday, a Google search for "Joe Biden" or even just "Biden" resulted in a prominently displayed ad labeled "Joe Biden on Obama" that links to Sen. McCain's site. There, a video begins playing that shows Sen. Biden criticizing Sen. Obama during the Democratic primaries...

In recent days, [McCain's team] has bought search ads tied to key terms such as "U.S. economy" and "housing crisis," which take visitors to Web sites outlining Sen. McCain's plan on those issues...

Barack Obama is running a Web-savvy presidential campaign, but John McCain's campaign has managed to outpace the Democratic contender in a few key areas.

Meanwhile, the Obama camp largely has yet to advertise around these terms, missing a key opportunity, according to experts, to communicate his message to undecided voters.

"The big downfall is that Obama's not reaching the undecided voters," says...

(Wall Street Journal, Aug. 28, 2008)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Google Chrome: A BA Browser straight from the horse's mouth.

So Google releases their brand new, bleeding-edge futuristic uber-speedy, handy browser for download TOMORROW. I heard a long time ago that they hired some folks from Mozilla, but I thought that had to do with learning how websites work so that they could better index them. I guess you just never know what Google's gonna do next.

A Humble Reply to My Beautiful Wife's Post "Commence tarring and feathering: now!"

Dear Love of My Life,

Your recent blog post argues that although the government is not the best organization to care for the poor, sick, and otherwise needy, the rest of us responsible citizens are obviously doing a crappy job, and therefore it will be best for society as a whole for the government to do so.

I deeply respect your wisdom generally and your compassion for the needy. I also respect your ability and will to field conversation as a means to intimacy and the refining of your view. I have seen you change your mind before, and I have also had my mind changed on account of your input.

Therefore permit me to blog in response to your blog.

Obviously both the United States government and her citizens are currently caring for the poor in some capacity. So I assume that you mean that neither is doing a satisfactory job, and that your current push is for increased governmental aid (domestic? foreign?).

I am not quite convinced that the reason you gave in this particular post is a great one to push for increased governmental care for the needy.

Here's why:

Suppose there are 2 entities who are generally capable of caring for the poor, sick, and otherwise needy.

Now suppose that neither entity is currently doing so in a satisfactory manner.

Now suppose that entity A is the one responsible for doing so, and is capable of doing so more efficiently. And that entity B is only capable of doing so in a manner that violates the right to property and should be dis-preferred for other reasons as well.

If you had a chance to urge one of these entities to begin to do so, which should it be?

I argue that it should be entity A, if it is entity A's responsibility, entity A is capable of doing so more efficiently, and entity B can't do so without violating the right to property and causing other damage as well (such as the fact that governmental aid almost always comes with all kinds of political strings attached. Also cf. Neocolonialism and Dependency Theory, although these theories are not categorically opposed to governmental aid).

The fact that entity A isn't currently doing so is no reason to suddenly urge entity B to do so.

So under these circumstances, why waste time trying to enhance governmental care for the poor, sick, and otherwise needy when you could spend your efforts trying to enhance private care for them? You may get more bang for your buck.

Things change however, if you DO think that the government is the best organization to care for the needy, or if you disagree that it is the responsibility of individuals and private organizations to do so and that they could do so more efficiently.

But if this is the case, then the argument should center on such matters; the mere failure of individuals and private organizations to sufficiently care for the needy is no reason in and of itself to support governmental care for them.

That is, unless you have lost hope in individuals and private organizations altogether. Perhaps you feel that it is futile to attempt to urge more individual and privately organized charity, and so in your desperation to see someone take care of those who need help you are turning to the government.

If this is the case, I urge you to reconsider for two reasons.

First, the government is constituted by individuals. If you cannot trust individuals, you can trust the government even less.

Second, the landscape of charitable movements may be more hopeful than you think, both in regards to its current state, and in regards to its potential.

Take heart:
The United States is by far the largest source of private aid giving... giving in the United States, both domestic and international, is estimated at $295 billion in 2006...

Private sector financial flows have transformed the development landscape. Already, private flows like foreign direct investment, private portfolio capital, private bank credits, bond issuances, and remittances are much larger than official flows to developing countries...

Estimates for the United States suggest a fourfold increase in international giving in the 1990s, and, after a dip in 2002 following the stock market crash, US international giving has grown healthily again. In the 2000s, US foundation giving to international causes outpaced all other sectors. More remarkable is that this growth is being seen at all levels: at the top, giving from huge philanthropies like the Gates Foundation is growing but small foundations’ giving is growing even faster (a 35 percent growth in giving between 2002 and 2004). In the United States, some 65 percent of all individual giving is estimated to come from households with annual incomes of less than $100,000. Over the next decade, this trend will likely continue—a considerable share will be buttressed by Warren Buffett’s promise of adding $31 billion in to the mix. Record stock market valuations are fuelling healthy growth in private giving.

(Homi Kharas, 2007)
Personally I am not categorically opposed to governmental aid. I believe that since it is the responsibility of humans to take care of the needy, and the government is constituted by humans, it is fair game as a vehicle for caring for the needy. I am not certain about the truth to various theories concerning human rights (especially the right to property), but I do generally hold that the government is rarely (albeit sometimes) "efficient", much less the MOST efficient or appropriate vehicle for a given task. Governmental aid is notorious for failing to actually reach those who need it, and like I said, it usually comes with plenty of political strings attached.

But I do see a potential time and place (and method) for governmental and/or intergovernmental aid, and I think that the organizational nature of the government is fundamentally distinct from that of private organizations. And so their ideal roles in aid and development will no doubt also be distinct.

I am interested in what you have to say and I look forward to future dialogue, online or off.

Your husband Louis