Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Good on ya, Grand Jury

The Grand Jury was right in the Ferguson, Mo. case.

But it will be interesting to see whether the Obama Justice Department decides to do a little racial pandering by filing Federal Civil Rights charges anyway.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sorry, libs. Obama's immigration action IS, in fact, both unprecedented and unconstitutional

The New Republic and other "progressives" are playing fast and loose with the truth by insisting that ten presidents before Barack Obama- including Ronald Reagan- changed the immigration law by executive action.

Try again. Previous presidents made changes they were specifically empowered to make by act of Congress. But Mr. Obama's usurping of Congressional powers in the matter will be wholly without precedent, and a direct violation of the Constitution.

In other words, those who cite those alleged precedents for Mr. Obama's unilateral action on immigration are lying in their teeth. What they other presidents did wasn't unilateral.

Congress had authorized them to do as they did. It has not so authorized Barack Obama.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chicago's feisty ex-mayor Byrne is dead

Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne, 81, died on Friday. She was buried this morning.

She was the woman who did what, when I was growing up, seemed impossible: defeated an incumbent Machine mayor, Michael Bilandic. and won the Democratic mayoral primary and the office on the Fifth Floor of City Hall as an independent.

She had more than the ordinary amount of help from God. A snow storm of historic proportions paralyzed the city just before the primary, and Bilandic- who had been elected by the City Council to fill out Mayor Richard J. Daley's term when Da Mare collapsed in his doctor's waiting room and died of a massive heart attack- did something his legendary predecessor would have been too astute to even consider: ordered the CTA's elevated trains to bypass the stops in the predominantly African-American wards surrounding the Loop and go directly to the white neighborhoods beyond. The city's black residents were understandably outraged, and Byrne- a disgruntled former department head under the legendary Daley- was suddenly "Da Mare" herself.

Byrne was defeated for re-election by a member of the suddenly aroused Chicago African-American community, Harold Washington.

May she rest in peace.

Friday, November 14, 2014

GOP's electoral future might be brighter than the MSM claims

Here's a refreshing piece of analysis by Michael Barone which sees a considerably brighter electoral future for conservatism and the GOP than we're used to hearing about from the liberal mainstream media.

A closer look at those famously changing demographics America is flashing these days shows that, with a little flexibility on the part of Republicans, those Democrats who are counting on immigration and social libertarianism to make theirs the party of the future might be in for a nasty surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Turns out Chicago isn't as dangerous as we think. Kansas City, on the other hand...

The Citizen Council for Public Security, Justice and Peace, a Mexican crime think-tank, has issued a new list of the 50 most violent cities in the world.

41 if them are in Latin America, and four-Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore and New Orleans, in that order - are in the United States.

Notice that Chicago is not among them. Neither are New York or Washington. D.C. For that matter, none of those three make Law Street's list of the ten most dangerous cities in the United States with populations over 200,000, either.

That study cites, in order:

1. Detroit
2. Oakland
3. Memphis
4. St. Louis
5. Cleveland
6. Baltimore
7. Milwaukee
8. Birmingham
9. Newark, and
10. Kansas City(!)

Huzzah for the home team, I guess. Interestingly, New Orleans- the 48th most violent city in the world, according to the Mexican study- didn't make the list.

Chicago is nowhere near the top in its murder rate, either. According to FBI statistics, Flint, Detroit, New Orleans, Birmingham, Richmond, and Washington are the top six in that department.

Given the District of Columbia's strict gun laws, that might be a revelation.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Facts are stubborn things. So is Holy Scripture.

The Reformation slogan sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) is routinely misunderstood by Roman Catholics, who think it means that there is no source of legitimate authority in the Church besides Scripture. Actually, it means that there is no source of legitimate authority of comparable stature with Scripture, and unnormed by it. The teachings of Jesus and the Apostles trump those of anybody and everybody else.

So-called "Evangelicals," whose doctrine of justification often more closely resembles that of Rome than that of the Reformation in any case, are often equally confused about the concept. For them, though, sola Scriptura too frequently means that I get to interpret Scripture all by myself, and that my interpretation is by definition as good as anybody else's.

As is so often the case, a better acquaintance with Scripture itself might help. 2 Peter 1:20-21 clearly states,

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (ESV).

The Modernist and Post-Modernist nonsense about truth being either unknowable or non-existent (thus making literally everything a matter of personal preference or opinion) has savaged the Christian mind as much as the secular, it seems. Truth is truth- and, as Albert Einstein once observed, "I have noticed that the universe is remarkably indifferent to my likes and dislikes."

Or, as John Adams put it, "Facts are stubborn things." Scripture means what God means, not what we want Him to mean. We are not in the position of contemporary Federal courts, rendering judgments on the basis of what we would like the law to say rather than on what it actually says. Like the universe He created, God is remarkably indifferent to what we want to be the truth. And so, we are obligated to study the Scriptures in such a way as to discover what He means to say, and not what we mean to hear. Neither is it all that difficult; God, as Paul observed, is not the Author of confusion. Where confusion arises as to the meaning of a text, it's apt to be confusion caused by our own desire to interpret it according to our own preferences rather than to any inherent lack of clarity in the text itself.

I'm currently engaged in a debate over at Facebook with a group of Arminians on one hand and Calvinists on the other about something which shouldn't really be controversial. Arminians argue- quite rightly- that God is not willing that any should perish, and has predestined nobody to hell. Calvinists, on the other hand, reply quite correctly that salvation is by grace alone- which means that it is God's election, and not our choice, decision, good works, or other merits, which form the basis of our salvation.

There seems, at first glance, to be a logical problem here. It vanishes when one takes into account Isaiah 55:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts (ESV).

God is not obligated to make logical sense to us. He is, after all, a great deal smarter than we are, and not subject to the limitations of human intellect. Perhaps He may condescend some day to explain this paradox to us; Luther believed that He undoubtedly would. In fact, if everything in Scripture did fit with obvious logical precision, that would be strong evidence that it was the work of mere humans who are no smarter than you or me. As it is, there was apparently Someone Whose thought processes are not identical with ours and whose capacity for thought much greater at work here.

But human pride wants to have all the answers. And so it is that Arminians and Calvinists alike- each unwilling to accept God's Word on its own terms- try to shoehorn it into an obviously consistent logical pattern accessible to their own puny human minds, and thus end up denying either that "by the works of the Law is no one justified," in the case of the Arminians, or that "God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son" in the case of the Calvinists.

Yes, facts are stubborn things. But human pride is stubborn, too.

Canadian Lutheran Matthew Block ponders the matter in First Things, and American Lutheran writer and professor Gene Veith comments.

Interestingly, Block gets sloppy and defines the sola Scriptura as Roman Catholics tend to misunderstand it. Maybe lack of precision on our part is as great as source of confusion when it comes to interpreting Scripture and expressing its doctrines as our own pride and presumption in trying to mold those doctrines to suit our own personal likes and dislikes.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Where the 'logic"' of same-sex "marriage" leads

It's inevitable, folks.

It's only a matter of time until marriage itself is declared unconstitutional.

Within the lifetime of our children, fornication will be the only state-sanctioned means for children to come into the world. That's the inevitable result of marriage being viewed by the courts, not as a means for children to be conceived and born in an institution protected by the law, but as merely an affectional relationship between two adults.

Our society has lost its mind.

Joni's last campaign stop

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

With Squeal Team Six in victorious combat



Quinnipiac said the race was a dead heat. The Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll gave Joni Ernst a seven point lead.

She won by eight.

I don't think anybody who supported Ernst really expected to lose. Joni had led from early on in the polls, and momentum remained on our side. What little nervousness we had came from the volatility of the polls as regards her margin.

For a change I spent the day telephoning voters and reminding them to vote rather than poll watching. Gov. Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, who were re-elected by an even bigger margin, stopped by to thank us. So did Adam Gregg, the sacrificial lamb the GOP had fielded against Iowa institution and Lutheran Attorney General Tom Miller.

Someone commented that Gregg resembled Clark Kent. He does. Unfortunately, he was unable to leap tall poll deficits in a single bound.

At length congressional candidate David Young stopped by. Young has been savaged throughout the campaign by attack ads claiming that he's a one-man conspiracy to abolish Medicare and Social Security. Scaring old people is a decades old Democratic tactic, of course. But the onslaught against Young was especially fierce.

I shook his hand after watching him interact with several elderly volunteers. "Well," I told him, "I can see that you don't eat old people after all."

"No," he said with a shocked look on his face. "I don'!"

Either he's sorely lacking a sense of humor, or has a better one than I do. Or maybe it's just that he's gotten so used to denying ridiculous charges that it's hard to break the habit.

Most of the people in the office were congressional staffers from various other states. We had a very nice fellow there from Dallas, and a staffer from Ohio Sen. Portman's office. More of the people I spent Election Day with lived in D.C. than in Iowa.

We headed over to the West Des Moines Marriott a little after eight. It was certainly a more enjoyable party than the one two years ago. As race after race went our way, everybody was in a pretty mellow mood. The local NBC affiliate called the Senate race for Joni and the Third District Congressional race for Dave Young before ten o'clock. Fox made it official half an hour or so later, putting the Republicans over the top and giving them the majority in the Senate.

First Joni's family and then Joni herself came out just as Wisconsin Gov. Walker was giving his victory statement. Fox cut to Joni. She was impressive even though she wasn't at her best; she'd been up for 24 hours straight in a last-ditch push. But she was the strong, forceful, funny, and eloquent woman we'd all gotten to admire in the past few months. We are all proud of her.

I watched Bruce Braley's concession speech in the lobby of the hotel. He was introduced by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, an affable old radical whose description of Braley's campaign as "honorable" stuck in my craw a bit, given the character assassination, deceit, distortion, and outright lies that had formed most of it. But in fairness, to a person as extreme as Tom Harkin it all probably seemed reasonable.

And so it is that Iowa- a blue state in recent years- now has a Republican governor and two Republican U.S. senators. The lady who was a company commander in Desert Storm has led us to victory, ending her speech with a declaration from the seminal ad which appears above: a promise to "make 'em squeal."

Other than a few local races and Ed Gillespie's apparent loss in Virginia, it was a good night. Here's hoping we have another in two years.