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Showing posts from December, 2004

A little McBile with my morning coffee

My father had one alcoholic drink every year- a scotch on the rocks on New Years Eve. I may exceed his evening's limit by a couple tonight. I'm sure my roommate and his girlfriend will help.

But Virginia is one of those benighted states (like Iowa used to be) where hard liquor is only available from state stores. As it happens, the only such store whose location I know is in Alexandria- on the way home from church, believe it or not. So this morning when I got off from work, I headed north on 66.

After picking up my bottle of Johnny Walker, I decided to have lunch in Old Town. This meant waiting for the restaurant I had chosen to open. I passed the time in McDonalds, having a cup of coffee and reading a freebee newspaper they apparently distribute in these parts.

It made for interesting reading. A letter had come all the way from California, and in good time, too; it compared President Bush to the Pharoah of the Exodus for waiting too long to say that he was sorry the tsunami kil…

It only takes a spark to set a forest fire going...

Bunny Diehl's blog features some insightful commentary (as usual) on an upcoming Methobapticostal- style conference for the Missouri Synod's Methobapiticostal- style "Ablaze!" evangelism (?) program (which, as we are so often reminded, is not really a program, but a movement which just happens to have all the characteristicsof a program).

The banner above- an advertisement for the conference- features a group of worshippers with their arms raised in the Pentecostal "touchdown" posture (aka the orans position of the ancient church, today identified largely with heretical movements who deny the sola Scriptura). Bunnie asks the obvious question, not only about the banner, but about Ablaze! itself: "What's Lutheran here?"

Good grief! I haven't seen so many "trees" since my early days in my last parish, where I was preceded by a Charismatic! Hasn't it occurred to anybody in St. Louis that if we wanted to be Methobapticostals, we w…

Osama shows his true colors

Osama bin Laden has shown his true colors as far as Iraq is concerned, endorsing cowardly murderer Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi as his official stooge in that country, and calling for a boycott of the Iraqi elections.

A sovereign government, freely chosen by the Iraqi people, is the last thing bin Laden and his fellow Islamofascists want- and preventing such a thing from coming into being is the main current war aim of al-Zarqawi and his thugs.

Bottom line: Osama and his lacky al-Zarqawi are bullies who are terrified that they won't be able to push the people of Iraq around once they have chosen their own leaders, and who know that they will lose all credibility once more responsible spokesmen have come forward to speak for the decent majority in Iraq and elsewhere in the Islamic world.

St. Stephen, Deacon (read "Pastor") and Marty

I note this a day late, but Bunny Diehl has a good entry and a decent discussion on the commemoration of St. Stephen, Deacon (read: pastor- a holder of the one and only divinely-ordained office of Word and Sacrament who happened to function in the realm of social welfare rather than the leadership of a parish) and Martyr.

A review of the origin of the diaconate in Acts 6 will demonstrate that it arose as a human arrangement to relieve the Apostles of that aspect of the church's leadership, not as a seperate office instituted by divine mandate. It should be noted, by the way, that the terms presbuteroi (presbyters, elders, or pastors) and episkopoi (bishops, overseers) are used interchangably in the New Testament. Sometimes the same people are called by each title in different parts of the same chapter! Human arrangements and the peculiarities of the polity of certain Christian denominations should not confuse us on this point: there is only one order of clergy by divine right, eve…

The Incarnation

O Lord, You have created all!
How did you come to be so small,
To meekly lie in manger bed,
Where lowly cattle lately fed?

Were Earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold, and jewels rare,
Still, such a cradle would not do
To rock a Prince as great as You!
Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Prepare a bed- soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
--Martin Luther

Pardon me if I'm skeptical

Forgive me if I'm skeptical about the Washington Secretary of State's protest of the "fairness" of the recount which seems about to reverse the outcome of the election for governor. The comments are linked to in the next paragraph, in which he enumerates the standards operative in Washington State. The Democrats have too long a record of game playing where manual recounts are concerned for me to simply take at face value aet another manual recount which dramatically changes the result this. Besides, another question arises.

Why weren't those same standards good enough for Florida in 2000? If they had been the Gore camp would have conceded on Election Night!

It seems that the standards the Democrats think are fair depend on who they benefit.

America's religion in a nutshell

Mollie Ziegler's point about the vapid character of American's unofficial established religion folk religion is made quite nicely by this article on America's political future, which parenthetically contains the following remarkably accurate description of the very faith that was practiced- and confessed- at that Yankee Stadium service shortly after 9/11:

At the National Religious Broadcasters' convention on 10th February 2003, Bush was introduced as 'our friend and brother in Christ' who 'unapologetically proclaims his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.' But it was a political mistake for Bush to say during the 2000 Republican primaries that Jesus was the 'philosopher' who had most influenced him. Since then, when addressing the broader public, Bush has been careful to speak of the Almighty rather than Jesus and of God-given human rights rather than sin and salvation. Republican strategists understand that, since the 18th century, the American ci…

Mollie's writing a book

I had an interesting talk after church today with Mollie Ziegler, the journalist who has done such good stuff on the participation of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Atlantic District President David Benke in the syncretistic worship service organized by Mayor Giuliani and Oprah Winfrey and held in Yankee Stadium in the aftermath of 9/11.

Dr. Benke had once previously violated his church body's prohibition on participation in joint worship services with those whose basic beliefs contradict its own, and had promised never to do it again. But he nevertheless did precisely that at Yankee Stadium- with the permission of revisionist LCMS president Gerald Kieschnick, who gave that permission in spite of the fact that some participants in the service worshipped entirely different deities! President Kieschnick re-interpreted the Synod's rules to permit participation in multi-god worship services on exceptional occasions, even denying that an event advertised as a prayer service and cons…

Tough times for Rummy

Having failed to defeat his boss, Democrats are gunning for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And some Republicans have joined in the chorus.

When the Abu Ghraib scandal hit, I called for Sec. Rumsfeld's resignation- not because he was to blame, but because it was the obvious way to salvage the credibility of the chain of command. But the current flap- initiated by a National Guardsman's embarassing questions of Mr. Rumsfeld, which turned out to have been planted by a reporter- miss the point that Sec. Rumsfeld's focus has been on modernizing the Army into a modern, fast, mobile force- a goal that doesn't place a high priority on heavily armoring military vehicles, the focus of the current criticism.

It seems reasonable to say that the priority should be a great deal higher. But despite the criticism even of Republicans like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Trent Lott, that doesn't add up to the desirability of the resignation of one of the strongest Secretaries of Defens…

Happy birthday, Ophiuchi!

As an amateur astronomer, one of my pet peeves is folks who confuse astronomy- the science of the heavens- with astrology, the pseudo-scientific superstition that usually manifests itself in the horoscope.

Incidentally, the position of the Sun relative to the "houses of the Zodiac-" the constellations through which its path as viewed from earth, the ecliptic, passes- has changed since the now-familiar alleged correspondence between constellations and months of the year was adopted thousands of years ago.

There's another problem with horoscopes, from a scientific point of view: there are actually thirteen houses of the Zodiac! Measurements hundreds of years ago weren't accurate enough to notice that the ecliptic just clips the corner of the constellation Ophiucus!

As it happens, the Sun is in Ophiucus right now. One interesting side effect of this annual even is that the earth gets hit with a harmless blast of helium from beyond the Solar System. NASA's ACE spacecr…

Why doesn't this work?

Dave Barry invites us to laugh at the sterotypes each side in the "Red State/Blue State" divide have of each other, as a way of healing our national division.

It sounds like a winner. The trouble is that it doesn't work. This witty column by a witty man yields no catharsis of laughter and embarassed self-recognition among we who sterotype. I wonder whether it's because Americans- myself included- tend to accept those stereotypes of "the enemy" at some level so deep that we have trouble accepting that stereotypes is what they really are.

The Islamofascists use their only argument

The Bad Guys marked the beginning of the Iraqi campaign with a bomb.

Make no mistake: the real contest here is between the forces of Islamofascism and the Iraqi people's right to self-government. If the election takes place, and is seen to be fair, Osama
and Iraq's pro-Saddam Sunni Mafia have lost.

Prediction: they'll stop at nothing to prevent this election from being held.

The whining continues

Beaten fair and square in Ohio in 2004 (just as they were in Florida in 2004, Democrats and their allies in the media continue to whine about it and try to make it appear that they would have won if only the voting had been "fair."

Funny. They have no objections to thousands of legal votes from service personnel (presumably heavily pro-Bush) excluded from the Florida vote in 2000 at their insistance. Nor do we hear much about the only documented case of voter intimidation from Florida in 2000: a heavily Republican precinct in a Haitian community that was shut down by Democratic goons.

Hey guys....once again: You lost. Deal with it!

Wictory Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Today's Wictory Wednesday appeal is for the Oregon State Republican Party. Once again, it's time to help turn a blue state red!

The Wictory Wednesday Blogroll can be found here.

The Good Newsweek

The Wall Street Journal has reacted much the way I did a few days ago to Time and Newsweek's semi-annual indulgence in nutball historical criticism of the Gospels.

Raspberries to both magazines on their amateurish Christmas and Easter immersion in superficial speculation by self-important liberal "scholars" which turns out, on close analysis, to be based more on lurid imaginations, sizable egos and ideologically rigid unbelief than on scholarship of any kind.

Will there be an NHL season after all?

Looks like the Players' Union is pretty serious about salvaging the NHL season.

Even though I'm a fan of the Blackhawks, who are arguably not a real NHL hockey team, I'm a lifelong addict- and the prospect of spending the period between the end of the Bears' season and the beginning of Spring Training for the Cubs with only basketball to sustain me does not bear thinking about.

B5 movie in production!

Hat-tip to PoliBlog for this welcome news: a new Babylon 5 movie is in production, entitled Memories of Shadows, and featuring Galen of Babylon 5: Crusade. It is not clear whether Peter Woodward will reprise the role, but I, for one, cannot imagine anyone else playing it.

Crusade, for the uninitiated, was a superb sequel series to the original Babylon 5, in which a starship scowered the galaxy in search of a cure for a biologically-engineered virus used by allies of the mysterious Shadows in an attack upon Earth. The ship, EAS Excalibur, had five years in which to find a cure before the plague destroyed all life on our planet.

Network politics and conflicts between TNT and B5 creator Michael Straczynski resulted in the cancellation of this truly excellent sci-fi series after only 13 episodes. It will be great to see Galen, one of its better characters, again- as well as to learn more about the fate of the Excalibur's mission. I've always felt a bit cheated in not getting the cha…

Giuliani in 2008?

Hugh Hewitt is all set to anoint Rudy Giuliani as the next Republican candidate for President.

I'm not. There is no way a candidate with Giuliani's positions on abortion and other social issues can get the nomination. If he changes those positions, he'll look like an opportunist- and that is precisely what he would be.

A more likely nominee is Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has held similar positions in the past, but has been moving steadily rightward as time has gone on.

Also, don't discount Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich,like Giuliani and Romney a charismatic Republican candidate from a solid "blue state-" but one with much better conservative credentials than either.

Virginia Sen. George Allen and Secretary of State- Designate Condi Rice are also intriguing possibilities. Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel probably has doomed his prospects with his opposition to the President's policies in Iraq.

Sorry, but I just don't see Bill Frist.John McCain already has …

Intelligence bill agreed on

Despite Terry McAuliffe's decision earlier today to partisanize the matter earlier today, the stalemate on the intelligence bill is over.

It's called "leadership," Terry.

President Bush has successfully overcome Republican objections and gotten Congress to agree to his plan to enact the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission on intelligence.

This just hasn't been a good few months for old Terry. And if he's replaced as head of the DNC by Howard Dean, the next few years could be very long ones for the Democratic Party.

Genital mutilation increases in Europe

Meanwhile, the barbaric ritual of female genital mutilation, often misleadingly called "female circumcision" (the proceedure involves the amputation of the clitoris-usually without anasthetic- as a way of controling female sexuality), is increasing in Europe, despite being legally banned.

The practice has a long history in African Islam, and is recommended by some immigrant leaders of that community in Europe.

Pastor Esget won't like this!

My pastor, who is a Minnesotan, won't particularly be overjoyed by this news, but my Bears just beat his Men in Braids, 24-14.

115 quarterback rating for Chad Hutchinson. Three touchdown passes for the kid. It's been a while since a Bears QB had a day like this!

Newsweek is at it again

Every Christmas and Easter, count on Time and Newsweek to trot out long, pretentious articles on the pseudo-scholarship surrounding the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection, respectively.

The liberal opinion misrepresented by these magazines as "scientific" is in fact, quite simply, the story as viewed through the partisan lense of unbelief, just as the traditional account represents the matter as seen through the eyes of faith. Each is equally subjective; these matters purport to be miracles- exceptional, supernatural interventions from outside the normal realm of natural events- and thus are simply not subject to objective proof, one way or the other.

You believe, or you don't.

Screwball outfits like the Jesus Seminar actually presume to vote- on the basis, it turns out, of no particular evidence other than the unbelief of the scholars themselves- on whether individual sayints of Jesus are genuine or not. The average member of the public would be both astounded and edifie…

UN wants to postpone Iraq elections

Typically for his feckless organization, the clueless UN advisor working with the interim Iraqi government on January's elections, Lakhdar Brahimi,wants to let the terrorists win by postponing the elections due to the level of violence in the country.

Right. You hand the terrorists this victory, and then expect that the level of violence is going to abate at some point? Typical UN-think.

The holding of elections and the establishment of a popularly-chosen Iraqi government is- Brahimi to the contrary- the critical issue. As long as no such government is in place, the terrorists will be able to claim that they're really fighting a puppet regime of the United States, an occupying power. Their goal is to prevent the elections at all costs; their argument is damaged beyond repair the moment national elections are seen to have been fairly held. They will not thereafter be able to credibly reject the legitimacy of a government the Iraqi people have chosen for themselves.

Which is why …

Portrait of a very disturbed man

Ted Rall is the clown prince of over-the-top, vicious and mean-spirited Leftist opinion. Next to him, Michael Moore looks fair and decent.

Both The New York Times and The Washington Post- arguably America's two most influential liberal papers- recently dropped Rall's cartoon. The extremist bile and the general bad taste got to be too much even for these bastions of the Left.

Rall represents everything that's wrong with American politics right now. Here's a look at Rall's antics by Michelle Malkin.

That's NU!

The Patriette is running some Navy pep videos in honor of the Army game.

As an ex-Chicagoan, one pet peeve, though, about the one for the Northwestern game (other than the outcome): Northwestern University is abbreviated NU, not NWU (or NW, as ESPN for some reason insists on calling the Wildcats).

As the son of a one-time Petty Officer, though, I am gratified by today's outcome: Navy 42, Army13.

This is getting ridiculous

One of the greatest boons medicine has provided humanity in recent years has been the development of a class of safe, relatively side-effect free anti-depressants called selective seratonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI's). The class includes Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, and Paxil (also Luvox, no longer manufactured as a brand-name drug in the U.S., but available as a generic).

The drugs are usually prescribed for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or social anxiety order, although they have a number of "off-label" uses as well.

There has been a great deal of essentially undeserved bad publicity given SSRI's for quite a while now. During a brief window in SSRI therapy, depression's tendency to paralyze people's capacity for action is relieved, but painful feelings remain- creating an increased danger that during this period people who already have suicidal thoughts might actually act on them. But study after study has vindicated the drugs from charge…

Oh, dear.

I just took a test to find out which historical world leader my personality most resembles.

For a Republican- to say nothing of a Lutheran- this is something of an embarassment, but here is the result:



What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

An Islamic Europe?

David Pryce-Jones comments on an eventuality often addressed in this blog the day when the center of opposition to Western values will be the Caliphate of Paris.

While the Europeans are playing games in the global struggle of civilizations, they themselves are the ones who face the most immediate danger. And since the disintegration of traditional Christian values has gone further in Europe than it has here, they also have much less of a defense.

I know at least one!

Pro-life Democratsclaim that with a different position on abortion, their party would have won the election.

I have my doubts, but I'll say this: abortion was the issue that drove me, personally, out of the Democratic Party. I have lots of company.

One more thing: If you're in favor of something remaining as a "choice" for people, you're in favor of it continuing to exist- at least as an option- however you feel about it philosophically. "I'm personally opposed to slavery (or rape, or arson, or gassing Jews, or what have you), but I wouldn't want to impose my values on anyone else" is just not a morally respectable approach to something a great many Democrats (those who are Catholics, among others) claim to believe is objectively a wrong committed by the strong against the weak- and it's about time the "pro-choice" crowd accepted responsibility for the consequences of their own position. Otherwise, they will continue to produce cand…

It's NEVER OK to hate

A famous Jewish writer was asked by a dying Nazi concentration camp guard to forgive him, as a symbolic Jew. The writer refused. The penitent died without that absolution.

He asked religious leaders all over the world whether he should have complied with the man's request. All the Jewish scholars and rabbis said "no." All the Christian ministers and priests said "yes."

This article is on the Muslim genocide against Christians in Sudan. In it, a Jewish author argues that it's OK to hate the practitioners of this crime; that only the good and the innocent cannot be hated.

As a Christian, I can't agree- and neither, I trust, would the Christian victims of the ongoing holocaust in Sudan, who die unaided by U.N. intervention or substantive aid ( like most of the victims of mass murder since that useless and impotent organization was founded).

It's OK to have evil in the abstract. It's OK to hate evil deeds. But it's never OK to hate people. Not t…

Wictory Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Now that Blogger is done having its conniption fit...

Today's focus is Louisiana GOP Congressional candidate Charles Boustany.

The Wictory Wednesday blogroll can be found here.