Friday, January 30, 2015

More evidence of Americans' biblical ignorance- or apathy

According to a new Rasmussen poll, 60% of Americans favor women in the pulpit.  The New Testament, of course, explicitly forbids this in 1 Timothy 2:12, among other places.

Only 16% know their Bibles well enough to oppose women's ordination (or even care what the Bible says about it).  25% are undecided.

Meanwhile- incredibly- 43% support openly gay and lesbian individuals in the pulpit, despite the fact that every stratum of both Testaments consistently declare homosexual behavior to be sinful (both homosexuality as a condition and "sexual orientation" are recent concepts unknown in biblical times; it is the act of men having sexual relations with men and women doing so with women which is condemned).  I Corinthians 6:9-10 explicitly mentions homosexual activity as behavior such that "those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."

It seems that a plurality of the American people come under the condemnation of Romans 1:26-32.

At one level, the poll is cause for sorrow at the sad state of American biblical literacy- or, alternatively, our lack of respect for biblical authority. At another, though, it's simply a reminder that only a relatively small percentage of the American people are actually committed Christians in the first place.

And that being the case, perhaps we shouldn't care what they think. They don't have a dog in this hunt, besides not being able to tell a dog from a rutabaga in the first place.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Not to be cocky, or anything....

Tom Ricketts has called his shot: the Cubs win the division in 2015- and maybe the World Series.

Dude, you don't know how much I hope you're right. But there is such a thing as hubris.

Especially for the owner of a team that's been bad as long as the Cubs have.

We'll get there. Soon. But don't jinx it for us, Tom!

This is- excuse the expression- rich

Howard ("I Have a Scream') Dean- remember him?- his brother Jim, and seven moonbat aldermen have declared war on "The Godfather," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

It seems that the mayor who doesn't think that people who oppose gay "marriage" should be allowed to open restaurants in his city isn't sufficiently crazy Left for some folks.

"Mayor 1%," as one book of... um, interesting perspective... calls Emanuel, somehow doesn't come across as a stooge of corporate interests, whatever else might be said of the man. But hey. Since when are politics on the lunatic fringe supposed to make sense?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

At least he didn't say that it was Bush's fault. Exactly.

Believe it or not, I just rode down in my apartment building elevator with a guy who blames "Republican corporations" for the criticism of the Patriots for "deflategate," and even for the spying scandal of several years ago.

I'm afraid I wasn't very gracious with the gentleman. In fact, to be honest, I was inexcusably rude. But I am getting so, so sick of the hysterical, paranoid class warfare being waged by the Democrats, the party that only has a left wing.

Especially when I have to deal with it before my first cup of coffee.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Good-bye, Ernie. If I were a Buddhist, I'd say 'Let's play two.'

But I'm not- so I'll use an analogy closer to my own faith tradition.

In both movie versions of "Angels in the Outfield," a baseball-loving angel tells a manager who is in the process of deciding which of two pitchers should start a pennant-deciding game that one of the options will be "called up" by heaven's team come Spring. Well, Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, one of the franchise's best prospects, has been "called up," reporting to the Parent Club on Friday, after suffering a heart attack.

"They called him 'Mr. Cub'," said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. "But he was really 'Mr. Baseball.'"

I can't possibly find the words to explain what this man meant to me. He was a man of incredible courage and grace. One of the pioneer African-American players in Major League Baseball, he was universally beloved by white and black fans alike. A genuinely good-hearted man who never had a mean word to say about anybody, he let his baseball skills do his talking. A perennial All-Star and a flawless defender at shortstop, he combined these skills with another seldom seen by players at his position: devastating power.  He revolutionized the concept of the power hitter by substituting a light bat and powerful wrists for the heavy bat, muscular arms and powerful physique of the sterotype. I remember an ad Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse once did (I forget the sponsor) in which he used Ernie's unique skill-set as an analogy, pointing out that to double the weight of a bat was to double the power with which the ball was hit- but that to double the speed at which the bat was swung was to quadruple the power.

When I was growing up as a Cubs fan on the South Side, Ernie was all that kept me sane during the summer months. The Cubs were terrible, and I lived in the middle of a nest of (shudder) Sox fans. 1959- the year the Pale Hose won the pennant and the Cubs finished fifth out of eight teams- was especially rough. But Ernie Banks won his second consecutive National League Most Valuable Player award that year anyway, and it always helped to be able to see their Minnie Minoso or "Jungle Jim" Rivera and raise them an Ernie Banks. The Cubs seldom were as good a team as the Sox were, but our star was always better than theirs- and I never let my playmates forget it.

When his aging body was no longer able to play shortstop with the skill he'd previously brought to the position, the Cubs switched him to first base- where he continued to be selected as an All-Star. He played that position for the 1969 Cubs, "the best team that never won a pennant," which seemed destined to make the team's first World Series appearance since 1945 but fell apart late in the season, just as the New York Mets were making their phenomenal run. The team included four future Hall-of Famers: Ernie, outfielder Billy Williams, staff ace Ferguson Jenkins, and third baseman Ron Santo.

Ernie may or may not have been the best player ever to play for the Cubs; I personally am prejudiced in favor of a distant cousin of mine by marriage, Hall of Fame catcher Gabby Hartnett. In my teens, another future Hall of Famer-Ron Santo- displaced Ernie as my favorite player, largely because somebody as slow and clumsy as I was could more easily identify with a third baseman than with a shortstop. But when you list the greatest Cubs, Ernie's is the first name that comes to mind- and the one name which nobody would omit, or even consider ranking lower than second at worst. The Cubs have had other great players, even in my lifetime. But Ernie Banks was my first hero, and as such will always shine in my personal firmament with a luster none of the others could ever equal.

Rest in peace, Mr. Cub. And welcome to even friendlier confines than Wrigley Field.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Walker wows 'em here in the Hawkeye State

Keep your eye on this Scott Walker guy. He's making quite an impression here in Iowa.

In a year in which both the rank-and-file and the general public say that they want a fresh face, Walker could certainly be it. And the way he's handled the public employees' unions during his time in Madison should certainly please the "red meat" crowd.

The question is whether he can attract the votes of independents. Which, when you come down to it, is the real question where all of the "movement" conservatives candidates have to answer if they're going to deserve to be taken seriously as potential 2016 nominees.

HT: Drudge Report

Friday, January 23, 2015

Romney, Bush, Carson and Walker lead the GOP pack: Rasmussen

At this stage, it's Romney, Bush, Carson and Walker.

Given their advantage in name recognition, it's no surprise that Mitt and Jeb lead the pack; that's about all that could possibly drive a campaign for a presidential nomination this early in the game. But Scott Walker's presence among the leaders bodes well for whatever presidential ambitions the often-elected Wisconsin governor may harbor, and Dr. Ben Carson's represents an even more impressive early success by direct-mail and other media efforts on behalf of somebody who is otherwise pretty much unknown.

The Democrat slander machine will be spewing mud at an unprecedented rate if the hated Walker is nominated. After all, he's the guy who took on the predatory public employees' unions in Wisconsin- and not only made it stick, but won a recall election and then was elected to a second term thereafter, both by impressive margins.

And an African-American like Dr. Carson, who refuses to behave like a sheep, would be the target of an even greater spate of hate from the advocates of what we in Chicago used to call "plantation politics" back in the day. Jeb, of course, will be hated on for being Dubyah's brother, and we already know that Romney has a target on his back for the unpardonable crime of being successful and failing to kow-tow to the class warriors.

Whoever the GOP nominee is next year, he (or she) is gonna get hated on. I only wish Joni Ernst had a term or two in back of her. When I think of what a Joni-Hillary race would be like, I just have to grin.

BTW...Did you catch Joni doing the GOP response to the State of the Union? She even impressed Bob Schieffer and Scott Pelly.

And just let poor, poverty-stricken Hillary try to hang the plutocrat tag on the girl who wore bread bags over her shoes on the way to school in the winter to keep out the snow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Purple Barack is back

In the leadup to the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama campaigned as the Purple Person- a uniter who believed in compromise, civility and dialog.

Once elected, he has governed as one of the most ideologically rigid presidents in our history, and surely one of the most divisive and uncompromising.

Apparently Purple Barack was brought back to deliver the State of the Union speech last night. Once again, the man is all reasonable and irenic again.

Fool me once....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It took me nearly as long to post this as it did for Alonzo Cushing to get his Medal of Honor

This was originally going to be a jeremiad against the 151- year delay in Alonzo Cushing being awarded the Medal of Honor. Alas, I've procrastinated about writing this post for so long that the story is now news nearly as old as Cushing's valor at Gettysburg. But even so, it needs to be acknowledged.

Many people don't realize how close Pickett's Charge came to succeeding. The outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg hung very much in the balance in the late afternoon of July 3, 1863, when troops under the command of Gen. Lewis Armistead broke through the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. The spot is memorialized on the battlefield and in history as the "Confederate High Water Mark."

Fierce hand-to-hand fighting broke out, and all but one of the Union artillery batteries in that part of the field were captured by Armistead's men and turned against the Union defenders. Cushing commanded the only Federal battery in the area that had not been overrun.

The story of his heroism is well-known. A blast from one of the captured cannons disemboweled him. Propped up by one of his men, Sgt. Fredrick Fuger, he literally held his intestines in his abdomen with his left arm while brandishing a revolver in his right- and threatened to shoot any of his panicked men who ran away. Somehow, in agony which must have been beyond description, he kept his battery in action. When his men pleaded with him to retire and seek medical attention, Cushing replied,“No, I stay right here and fight it out or die in the attempt.”

All that was needed- mercifully- was a few minutes. Cushing's suffering ended when a Confederate bullet entered his mouth as he was shouting a command to his men, killing him instantly. At almost that very moment, reinforcements managed to drive Armistead's men back and plug the gap in the Union line. Armistead himself lay mortally wounded, a prisoner of the Union forces. The Virginian asked to see his best friend, Union General Winfield Scott Hancock, but was further dismayed by the news that Hancock himself had been seriously wounded not far away.

Armistead died the next day; Hancock would recover, and eventually lose the closest presidential election in terms of popular vote we have ever had- before or since,-to another heroic Civil War general, James A. Garfield. Garfield's margin was fewer than 10,000 votes, nationwide.

But I digress. I'd always assumed that Cushing had received the Medal of Honor for his heroism. Certainly if anyone ever deserved it, it was he. Medals of Honor were awarded at Gettysburg for far less. Gen. Dan Sickles, for example- a militarily incompetent political general who almost single-handedly lost the battle by disobeying a direct order from Gen, Meade- managed to lose a leg in the process, and employed his political "spin" to the situation so adroitly that he somehow received the Medal instead of the court-martial he so richly deserved.

Sgt. Fredrick Fuger, the man who propped the mortally wounded Cushing up during the last terrible moments of the latter's life, received his Medal of Honor in due course. But incredibly, for nearly a century and a half, Cushing's own heroism was somehow overlooked by Congress, even though book after book and article after article year after year and decade after decade recounted the tale.

Finally, in 2012, Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia (Armistead's home state; a nice touch, that) and Sen. Russ Feingold of Cushing's home state of Wisconsin managed to get a resolution awarding Cushing his Medal of Honor attached to an appropriations bill. On September 14 of last year, President Obama finally awarded Cushing his posthumous Medal of Honor.

As with the case with this blog post, it certainly took long enough.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Just thought I'd quote myself

Just said this as a response to one of the posts in the Confessional Lutherans group on Facebook. And I feel so strongly about it that I'm going to re-post it as a status:

The social Darwinism of a great many LCMS Lutherans must make Jesus as sick as the pro-abortionism and marriage revisionism of a great many ELCA types. Nor have I ever been able to reconcile the attitude of many political conservatives toward government (not excessive government, mind you, or government which oversteps its divinely-instituted role, but government as such) with Romans 13. And I have to admit that I find it awfully difficult to see how one can be simultaneously a Christian and a libertarian.

That said, it's only the Kingdom of the Right hand which is "not of this world." God is also the God of the Kingdom of the Left. But a truly biblical political program would receive little support from either the Right or the Left these days: to much of an emphasis on compassion to suit the Right, and too much of an emphasis on personal morality to suit the Left.

BTW, the late Robert Bork was doubtful as to one could simultaneously be a conservative and a libertarian, calling the latter "that strange hybrid" of conservative and lib- er, excuse me- progressive. And I'm inclined to agree.

Friday, January 16, 2015

First 'Back to the Future II,' and now Anthony Rizzo

It seems that the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo is confident about the upcoming season. And with good reason. What with Jon Lester, Kris Bryant, and several other impact players joining the rapidly improving Bruins, the future seems bright.

In fact, even the immediate future wseems bright.

Happy, happy! Joy, joy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Can anyone doubt that the Cubs will win the 2015 World Series, as "Back to the Future II" predicts? The stars seem to be lining up, in both senses of the word "stars-" though admittedly, if we win the Series, it probably won't be against Miami, as the movie predicted. And in the film, the pre-season odds against the Cubs were 100-1 to win it all. Right now their odds of doing just that are 12-1.

Yes, 12-1. That's what I said. Only the Dodgers, Angels, and Nationals are given better odds by Vegas at this point.

So can anybody doubt that the Cubs will win the 2015 World Series?

Well, yes.

Me. After all, I've suffered through the heartbreaks of 1969 and 1977 and 1989 and 2003 and 2004 and 2007 and 2008, and I'll believe it when I see it. Besides, my gut tells me it's too soon.

I wouldn't be at all surprised in 2016, though- and even less so in 2017.

Or 3017...

HT: Yardbarker

Don't take this seriously

This is satire.

Really. It isn't meant to be an actual news report.

No. Not at all. You see, it's poking fun at the way the media...

Sigh. Never mind.

"Foxes have holes," said the Lord. And one of those holes is the Chicago Bears coaching job.

It's official: John Fox is the new coach of Da Bears.

Pray for him.

May he be clever enough to rebuild the defense and finally turn Jay Cutler into a quarterback who knows what color jerseys the guys catching his passes should ideally be wearing.

HT: Yardbarker

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The lastest rumblings from the Monsters of the Midway

First, it appears virtually certain that John Fox will be the next coach of the Chicago Bears.

Secondly, Dennis Allen will probably be the Bears' defensive coordinator, if the above report is true. But coaches all over the NFL desperately want the job.

Third, reports that Brandon Marshall is gone are apparently untrue. Which, despite his continuing maladaptive behavior (probably springing from his Borderline Personality Disorder- a psychiatric illness which, unlike nearly all who have it, Marshall has courageously owned) is a good thing. As good as the Bears' receiving corps has become otherwise, Marshall would not easily be replaced.

Still no definitive word on Jay Cutler, but my guess is that he stays at least one more season. But my guess is also that 2015 will be his last chance, at least in Chicago.

I wonder whether the Bears will draft a quarterback this time around, and maybe even trade up to do it.

HT: Yardbarker