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Kyrie, eleison!

I just watched Nightline. I didn't realize how bad the situation was in New Orleans. No American city in my lifetime has experienced this degree of devastation.

We may, quite literally, have just lost a major American city.

Ted Koppel's words at the conclusion of the program were as true as they were frightening: what Hurricane Katrina has just done to New Orleans, terrorists will some day do, on purpose, to another American city.

Please join me in prayer for this great city and its people.

Please join me in prayer for all of us.

Amazing!

The Aardvark, his blog's margin announces, shares my Myers Briggs personality type!

Both of us are ENTP's. We almost never become pastors, and constitute between two and five percent of the population, and between three and seven percent of the male population.

What are the chances that two ENTP's who both decided to go into the ministry would be among we few, we happy few, we band of siblings who constitute the Lutheran Blogosphere?

Signs and portents

Many moons ago, when I first visited Dubuque, Iowa (home of Wartburg Seminary), I noticed an odd series of words on an overpass:Dubuque: A Place to Live.
I understood this- correctly, as it turned out- to be Dubuque's city slogan, and that struck me as odd. So I asked about it. I mean, after all, if you're going to have a city slogan, it ought to say something positive about your city- or at least a little more than that it's... well, a place to live.

It seems that the state slogan of Iowa at the time was "A Place to Grow." "A Place to Live" was meant to be sort of a play on that phrase which even the people of Dubuque realized didn't quite work. So the local paper, the Telegraph-Herald, sponsored a contest to find a new slogan. The problem was that all of the entries were even worse: "Dubuque: A Place to Leave." "Dubuque: The Mississippi River Goes Right By, and If You're Smart, So Will You." "Dubuque. Caution: Mind Narro…

Earth to Patrick Ruffini!

Patrick Ruffini is arguing that Rudy Giuliani actually has a shot at the 2008 nomination.

He's dreaming if he thinks this Party will even consider a candidate with Rudy's positions on social issues- or that enough of social conservatives will vote for him, even if the alternative is Hillary, for him to be competitive in November.

I happen to agree with him, however, that as of now Sen. George Allen (R-Va) is the most likely nominee for the Republicans. Interestingly (and here I'm once again not quite sure where he's coming from), he sees Sen.Russ Feingold (D-Wis) as the ultimate Democrat nominee.

There's something about the name 'Pat,' it seems

My grandmother was born and raised in Downpatrick, the city in County Down where St. Patrick lies buried. I've always been fond of the name Patrick, and seen it as having an odd sort of family significance, even though I have no relatives or ancestors I know of who have borne it. But lately I've begun to sour on the name.

I am not an admirer of Pat Buchanan, whom I regard as an irresponsible extremist. I tend to place his public pronouncements as on a level with Pat Robertson's as to their reasonableness, with this difference: there are more people who take Pat Buchanan seriously- and that scares me.

I do not disagree with him that illegal immigration is bad. But so is this sort of silly rhetoric.

Sharing a party with paleoconservatives is something of an embarrassment at times.

The Fascists of the Left are at it already!

No sooner had The Grand Old Portal made its appearance on the web than it was hacked by someone who obviously knew what they were doing.

It's never ceased to amaze me how those on the Left who claim to set such store by the First Amendment so often respond reflexively to those who disagree with them by seeking to deny them their right of free speech.

Once again, lest anyone be misled by my having remarked that I was very slightly involved in this project, Nathan Fietzer is the guy who deserves all the credit for the portal. My role was limited to making few suggestions!

Huh?

Somebody who writes headlines for a living entitled this "Walesa: Pope Inspired Me to Defy Poland."

Considering that Walensa is himself a Pole, and in fact a former president of Poland who led his nation's fight for independence from the former Soviet Union, this was a rather odd thing for the pope to do.

D'ya think maybe the headline writer meant "Russia?"

Uncanny indeed!

No doubt about it: the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq are uncanny.

Art Fougner of Flushing, N.Y. pointed them out, and Matteo of Cartago Delenda Est and Mark Noonan of GOPBloggers join me in wondering how we could have ever missed them!

All we have to do is think back to those dark days in the early Seventies...
We occupy Hanoi. We've captured Ho Chi Minh. The North Vietnamese have just held a free and democratic election. The North Vietnamese are working on a new constitution. Yes, Iraq is just like Vietnam.
Uncanny, isn't it?

Second stem cell alternative a dud- but not the first!

"A War to Be Proud Of"

Christopher Hitchens is the author of this eloquent statement of the compelling moral case for the war in Iraq the Left is too obtuse to comprehend.

I've linked to the second page of the article because the first is basically an overlong introduction to his argument. Those who are interested in reading the article in its entirely can easily access the first page from the one linked to.

This three-year long war has lasted for a shorter time than nearly any war in America's history. Yet without the slightest self-consciousness about the inherent absurdity of using this word, its critics call it "quagmire" (and have, nearly since the moment it began. Wishful thinking?). If the media were believed, we are in the midst of a catastrophic defeat- despite the overthrow of Saddam and the ongoing miracle of the development what is only the Middle East's second democracy on soil where that particular flower was never expected to bloom. Comparisons are being drawn to Vietnam d…

The London Zoo puts the real issue on display

The London Zoo has put a group of humans on display in order to demonstrate that homo sapiens "is just another primate."

While on one hand it's refreshing to see the basic message of the social Left presented with such stark simplicity and almost breathtaking honesty, the whole issue when it comes to abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell harvesting, physician-assisted suicide, and even issues of human sexuality is precisely that we're not just "any other primate."

Still, I think the London Zoo should be commended for clarifying such a central social, moral, political, and theological question so dramatically.

Dream on, Chris Matthews! Dream on!

While watching the TV over lunch at Hy-Vee this afternoon I saw Chris Matthews and his remarkably clueless panel gush over Rudy Giuliani's strong lead (the leading alternatives are John McCain and Condi Rice) in the latest Gallup Poll for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination.

The general consensus was that Republicans might well be willing to put up with a pro-choice, socially liberal nominee in order to beat Hillary Clinton- she of the 43% "unfavorable" popularity rating.

And these people get paid to do political commentary?

The Gallup Poll does, of course, vindicate the statistically valid straw poll Patrick Ruffini is conducting on an ongoing basis at his blog. But my response to the Gallup organization remains the same as my response to Patrick's simliar result: support for Giuliani will prove to be much like Iowa snow. It can be overwhelming early in the year, burying everything in sight. But by the time folks go into the fields to begin attending to busine…

A bigger straw poll gets a chance to be wrong!

Condi Rice continues to hold a strong lead in our humble 2008 Republican Presidential straw poll, with John McCain running second.

Patrick Ruffini's much bigger one runs afresh every month- but right now I wouldn't bet the farm on its accuracy in predicting the outcome, either.

Patrick has Rudy Giuliani pretty much cleaning the floor with everybody right now, and George Allen coming in second. He also has Rudy winning Iowa, which is just plain nuts; no pro-choice candidate will break double digits come caucus time. Iowa's is one of the most pro-life Republican parties in the nation.

At this point, it's all about name recognition and personal admiration. That Rudy and Condi would do well now is only to be expected; I doubt that either will be much of a factor once the campaign for the 2008 nomination begins in earnest. For one thing, I don't think Condi will run (the same holds true for Colin Powell, who has been quietly coming up on the outside in our straw poll here…

Yum.

A new taste treat is sweeping the Ukraine: chocolate covered pork fat.

And you can hear the arteries gurgle from clear across the Atlantic.

The Micropolitan Museum

Sometimes- funny comedian George Carlin used to do a strange routine about- as he euphemistically called it- "getting small."

While I do not recommend the activity to which Mr. Carlin referred, if one should happen to find oneself small, one might visit the Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms.

No, it isn't in Iowa, though we do have many small towns here.

Hat-tip: the blog of the Annals of Improbable Research.

Good on ya, Kiwis!

Since I blogged on the so-called "missing verse" of Australia's National Anthem (which- contrary to pious myth- was never actually a part of the anthem at all, but which does appeal to Christ to guide and protect that nation), I thought I'd give equal time to the Kiwis- whose anthem, God Defend New Zealand, makes no bones about being a prayer- and a very fine one, too (if one is able to overlook the fact that it's addressed to a rather more generic deity).

While I like the tune of the Australian anthem a little better than that of its still excellent New Zealand counterpart, there is no question in my mind but that the Kiwi anthem's words are far better poetry- as, perhaps, befits a prayer:
God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Th…

Top of the world (Mars), Ma!

Spirit (remember Spirit?) has gone mountain climbing!

Democrat, Republican, or Southern Republican?

A just got this by e-mail from a friend. Perhaps you've seen it; perhaps not. But it's good for a chuckle... and not entirely devoid of truth!
Question: How do you tell the difference between
Democrats, Republicans and Southern Republicans?

The answer can be found by posing the following
question:

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife
and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic terrorist
with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes
with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises
the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a
Glock cal .40, and you are an expert shot.

You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your
family.

What do you do?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!

Does the man look poor? Or oppressed?

Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire
him to attack?

Could we run away?

What does my wife think?

What about the kids?

Could I possibly swing th…

What the Canadians actually said

It seems- unfortunately- that this report of the passage of a resolution by the Lutheran Church-Canada admonishing the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for its endorsement of Atlantic District President David Benke's participation in the syncretistic Yankee Stadium "Baal Game" worship service in the aftermath of 9/11 was in error.

The overture quoted- actually a proposal for a resolution, and never voted upon as such - was part of the basis for resolution of admonition which was, in fact, defeated. The much milder resolution which was actually passed as the convention's response to that overture is as follows:

Resolution 05.1.08
To Respond to Concerns Regarding Unionism and Syncretism
Ref. Overtures 1.08, 1.09, 1.14, 1.16, Report of the Synodical President in the 2002 Synodical Workbook

Whereas Lutheran Church-Canada in its current constitution states:

Article VI Conditions of Membership

Conditions for acquiring and holding membership in Lutheran Church-Canada are:

2…

"Down under," but above board

One of my pet peeves is the prevalence of Christian urban legends on the internet, generally purporting to grant Christianity the right to some favored status in our pluralistic democracy or the setting a wholly mythical foundation for the United States as a "Christian country-" whatever that might be.

Besides representing bad theology (all of God's human creatures, Christian or not, are citizens of God's "Kingdom of the Left Hand," where laws and legislation and human government have their sway; it's in the "Kingdom of the Right," where even Christians live only according to our new natures and where laws, force, and compulsion are unneeded, that the term "Christian" even has meaning), these arguments are dishonest, or at least misinformed - and tend to bring Christ and His Church into disrepute.

In this country, they generally represent attempts to make Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, John Quincy Adams and other agnostic or Unitarian or…

Robertson apologizes- as well he might

Pat Robertson has apologized for his remark urging the United States government to "take out" Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

First, he blamed it all on the AP, saying that to "take someone out" could mean kidnapping or other alternatives to assassination.

But the thing is, Pat... "assassination" is what the term is generally a euphemism for, and if you're going to be a public figure, you have to watch how you phrase things.

Calling all Republican bloggers, writers, and webmasters!

People with blogs and other websites of a Republican nature who want them to be listed in a Republican search engine at the world's first Republican portal (a project in which yours truly has in a very small way been involved of late) can submit them here!

The portal debuts August 29!

Just asking

Liberal churches- which the media insist on sometimes mis-labeling "moderate" (following their similar, ideologically-distorted use of that term in the political arena), are- as portrayed by their own statistics- shrinking, while conservative churches are generally growing.

It's worth noting, however that there is one notable exception to the rule. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is one church body generally regarded as "conservative" which is also shrinking.

Might the common element, perhaps, be seen in the penchant the LCMS has shown in recent years for subordinating substance to the goal of attracting outsiders- and, the process, ceasing to be anything those very outsiders might see as having anything in particular to offer them?

Long John Bin Laden

We have in place in international law a ready-made way of classifying and dealing with terrorists which clearly differentiates them from anybody's "freedom fighters."

They're pirates.

A reminder

Here is an example of that to which so many ELCA conservatives pledge to remain united no matter what- and a portion of that wonderful unity the ELCA is always talking about.

I think my late father's favorite aphorism applies here: "None are so blind as those who will not see."

Pat Robertson is at it again!

The Rev. Pat Robertson is a... well, shall we say, theologically marginal individual whose bizarre pronouncements have brought discredit upon Christ and His Church for years.

Well, he's done it again.

Robertson seems as free as the leadership of liberal groups like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to freely stick his nose into areas in which he has neither expertise nor anything in particular to offer. In calling for the assassination of the leader of a foreign country- however odious- he has clearly stepped over a line no minister ought ever to cross. And as little use as I have for extremists like the Rev. Barry Lynn and David Brock, in this case they are absolutely right.

Oh, come ON!

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

First Jean-Luc Picard, and now this?!I

Quoth my wife: "You're right. I never would have guessed it!"

I mean, at least I share Picard's hairline...

A badge of honor

I just happened upon the Planned Parenthood rating for Jim Nussle, candidate for the Republican nomination for Iowa governor (and the guy I'm for).

Way to go, Jim!

My answer to a weighty question

Meanwhile, Dan at Random Thoughts of a Confessional Lutheranis running a poll which deals with the theologically irrelevant though very popular question, "What Would Jesus Do?"

Well, not totally irrelevant, of course. It has the potential to be the most relevant of all questions, if the answer given is "He would die a horrible death for the sins of the world, and most especially mine." Generally, however, it is asked in the furtherance of a legalistic, utterly unbiblical imitatio Christi, which interprets Him as an Example we are called upon to follow.

We aren't, of course. We are not Jesus, and God does not ask us to pretend that we are. We do, it is true, end up becoming "little Christs," as Luther put it, to our neighbors. But this comes not of a Law-motivated attempt to "play Jesus," but rather of a wonder and gratitude- filled contemplation of the Gospel- the answer to the question, "What Has Jesus Done?"

Even the Third Use of th…

Lutheran Carnival II has been promulgated!

And the Bloggers of the Augsburg Confession have come through again.

You may notice when you get there that I decided to submit this after all. Alternate title: War(tburg) and Peace.

Oh, deer!

Several years ago, I heard that my cousin Bruna back in Chicago had been unfortunate enough, while driving, to be a participant of in a mutually unintended rendezvous with a deer. I made it a point to tease her on my next trip home about being "Bruna the Deerslayer."

I am too good a Lutheran to suggest that it was by divine retribution that soon after my return to Iowa my own automobile had the front of its passenger side caved in by the attack of a stealth deer, which emerged from a roadside ditch and tried to cross the road at exactly the wrong place and the wrong moment for both of us.

Thanks to the wonders of modern science, however, a way has been found to avoid such mishaps. The blog of the "Annals of Improbable Research" reports that a way has been found, by splicing certain genes from a certain jellyfish into the genome of deer, to produce a deer which glows in the dark.

The extra gene affects the deer- who appears perfectly normal in the daylight- in no oth…

"This Old Cub": See it tonight!

"This Old Cub," the wonderful documentary about the heroic career ofRon Santo, will be shown on Superstation WGN-TV at 10:30 Central and 11:30 Eastern tonight.

Santo- ranked by Bill James as a better third baseman than Brooks Robinson- has better numbers than most of the third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame. But Santo himself is not enshrined in Cooperstown. His exclusion is widely acknowledged by baseball experts as one of the greatest injustices in the history of the Hall (my own hunch as to the reason: he was a teammate of Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, and Billy Williams- and four Hall of Famers on what has been called "the best baseball team in history never to win a pennant" apparently seems a bit much to some writers and former players, whom I think forget that membership in the Hall is an individual honor).

By any measurement one of the top ten third basemen ever to play the game- and easily one of the top five defensively- Santo's …

A random thought, at 4:11 of a Saturday morning

Independent films are a lot of fun. IFC is one of my favorite channels.

When they're showing a movie.

But... these things...that come on between the movies... I mean, what can I say?



Who needs political commentary on the Independent Films Channel?

Eureka!

I've found the problem- the perversity of Norton Internet Security 2005- and I've gotten my email back!

The present (and hopefully future) email address for this blog is watersblogged at mchsi dot com

Sometimes, it's hard not to laugh. Or cry. Or vomit.

John J. Miller of National Reviewexamines what happens when Post-modernism encounters an Iowa icon: Grant Wood's American Gothic.

(Want to see Miller's article in action? All you have to do is go here to see what I encountered when I went looking for a picture of Wood's painting to include in this post!)

My heart's just not in it

I just spent several hours working on what was going to be my entry in this week's Lutheran Carnival. The fruits of my labors- which ended up approximating book length, and would be unusable for that reason alone- can be found by anyone interested here.

It was supposed to be a response to an ELCA blogger who asked some questions about the nature of confessional subscription in last week's Carnival. Unfortuately, I just visited his site- and found some musings on how it ought to be possible for Reconciled in Christ people (those who belong to an organization promoting the acceptance of unrepentant gays and lesbians at the Table and in all aspects of the Church's life) and WordAlone people (mostly Pietists, I grant, but folks who at least seek to uphold the authority of Scripture) to co-exist in the same congregation.

In the face of an understanding of the nature of church fellowship and of the relationship between Law and Gospel that utterly alien to the Confessions on any le…

Scientists need to check their math... again!

USAToday recently claimed- on the authority of scientists who are partisans in the global warming debate- that a new study has removed any doubt about the theory that human activity has resulted in catastrophic, greenhouse-effect global warming.

The drift of satellites in their orbits is blamed for the fact that the temperatures they measured for regions in the tropics do not come close to the models predicted by global warming enthusiasts. Increasingly, it is claimed, the satellites were reporting nighttime temperatures as daytime temperatures.

Scientists who buy into global warming are ecstatic. The trouble is that the numbers still don't add up.

The fact is that all hydrocarbon- emitting human activities combined- including the worst the internal combustion engine has been able to do, and all the industrial pollution ever poured into the atmosphere- remains a drop in the bucket compared to the atmospheric hydrocarbons which originate from completely natural sources. And it remains…

Cindy Sheehan has blown it

(WARNING: The story linked to here contains foul language).

Cindy Sheehan has blown it.

Of all the mothers of all the servicemen killed in the Iraq War, one- Cindy Sheehan- has chosen to disgrace her son's memory by becoming a crusader against the very cause for which he gave his life.

A Gold Star Mother rates automatic sympathy. But Mrs. Sheehan- perhaps predictably- has squandered any sympathy she had coming. Her position- that having met, and personally reconciled with, a President she once blamed and now blames again for her son's death, she is entitled to a second chance to personally berate him- is simply absurd, and her rhetoric has escalated until all that remains is sheer, transparent, foaming-at-the mouth, irrational, and (in this case) foul-mouthed hatred.

Hate drove the last Democratic Presidential campaign, and it proved to be a loser. Fortunately for the nation, the Far Left has not yet learned the lesson of the 2004 election: that over-the-top, irrational rhetoric, …

Way to go, Canadian Lutherans, eh?

Recently passed at the 2005 convention of a fellow International Lutheran Council member and a sister-church to my own Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church-Canada, in convention assembled:


OVERTURE 1.08

To Offer Fraternal Admonishment to The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

WHEREAS it is the nature of church fellowship that those who are part of that fellowship are co-responsible for all public doctrine and practice of the member church bodies; and

WHEREAS altar and pulpit Fellowship is currently enjoyed by Lutheran Church-Canada and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; and

WHEREAS this fellowship is based on a complete agreement in doctrine, including matters dealing with unionism and syncretism; and

WHEREAS according to the constitutions of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Lutheran Church-Canada, conditions for acquiring and holding membership in the Synod, include the renunciation of unionism and syncretism of every description (Article IV:2); and

WHEREAS The Lutheran …

The "gospel" of nihilism

The Rev. Dr. Phillip Turner, former Dean of Yale Divinity School, offers this critique of the shallow, vacuous "theology" (if it can be called that) of the Episcopal church- which can offer significant insights in to the equally shallow and vacuous "theology" of the ***A.

It is no accident that the two groups are in full communion. During the debate on that arrangement, someone on the "Lutheran" side described it as being akin to "making love to a corpse."

The problem is that the analogy fails when both partners are corpses.

An aside: perhaps we have coined a term here, a way of conveniently describing such outfits. On one hand, there are "church bodies." On the other, there are "church corpses."

Speaking of coining terms, it was while I was still a TALC seminarian- beset on every side with that euphemistic noun "inclusivity-" that I invented the verb, "to incluse." In the unlikely event that it is ever adopte…

Well, so much for that idea!

No sooner had I decided to fall back on the old reliable, my ISP, as a source of blog email than I find that I can't connect to the servers. The webmail option works, so it's my computer rather than Mediacom's servers.

As I investigate, my temporary blog email address will have to change again, this time to rewaters at ftml dot net. This is ordinarily my 'spam trap' address, but it's virus protected and can't get spammed any worse than it's supposed to! ;)

I'll post when a more permanent solution is found.

It's official: we're a barred spiral!

Astronomers have confirmed what they have suspected for a while: that rather than being a conventional spiral galaxy,

as it's generally been described and depicted, our Milky Way galaxy is a barred spiral

with a bar of dust and stars running through the middle.

E-mail address change

VFEmailis a good service, based on an idea Yahoo later implimented: free, virus-protected webmail. And like GMail (which, of course, is not virus-protected, at least as webmail- though since it doesn't allow executable files, the Google folks argue that it doesn't have to be), VFEmail has free POP3 access.

But one of the things that happen to good, small services is that they grow. When they don't have the resources of Yahoo or Google, there are growing pains. As they grow, the servers have a hard time keeping up. When the servers have a hard time keeping up, you don't get your mail.

It's gotten to the point where, from a practical point of view, a change is in order. At least for now, this blog's e-mail address is watersblogged at mchsi dot com.

"Super-hero for choice" kills pro-lifers

I have a hunch that name of the hero- if that's the word- of this charming little piece is actually spelled "Dionysus, " or "Dionysos," after the Greek god of partying, drunkenness and license.

Way to send a message about responsible sexuality, Planned Parenthood!

But any way you spell it, it's moonbattery in the first degree!

Serves him right

As little as I agree with Cindy Sheehan's views on the war, and as much as I sympathize with President Bush's beleaguered neighbors, this dude belongs in jail.

I've had too much experience with proto-Nazis on both sides of the political spectrum who don't believe that anyone who disagrees with them has the right to speak to have much time for folks who resort to vandalism rather than arguments as a way to reply to their opponents.

What God can teach us by the way He worked through Mary

The Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, author of Law, Life and the Living God: The Third Use of the Law in Modern American Lutheranism and pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, is also the author of Memorial Moment, a daily e-mail devotional I highly recommend.

Today's offering:
15 August 2005

St. Mary, the Mother of Our Lord

The means of grace are not a Lutheran afterthought. Sometimes we think that when God acts in the world using sacramental means this is an embarrassing quirk rather than His normal way of acting. However, God always condescends to use means to deal with us humans. The world was created by the means of His speaking the life-giving, "Let there be...". Adam and Eve were made living souls when the triune God breathed into them the breath of life (Gen 2:7). God is using external means like speaking or breathing to give all of his gifts to creation.

We open a can of corn for dinner using the means of a can opener. It seems so mundane and yet you would have …

About time- but still, I'm glad

Sixty years ago, Lena Baker died in Georgia's electric chair for the murder of a white man whom Lena, his maid, said held her in slavery and in fear of her life long after the end of the Civil War.

Monday the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles announced that even though it could not exonerate her of the killing of E.B. Knight, who had forced her against her will in a grist mill and threatened to shoot her if she tried to leave, her execution was unjust, and granted her a posthumous pardon.

On one hand, it comes a bit late. On the other hand, as Roosevelt Curry, her grandnephew, said Monday, "I believe she's somewhere around God's throne and can look down and smile."

Theologically, I don't know about that second part. But what can be done at this point to right an injustice has been done, and maybe God has let Lena in on the news.

That's it!

Cindy Sheehan's husband files for divorce

This is hardly a cause for smugness. What it is is a sad commentary on the life of a troubled woman being used by people who care more about their agenda than they do about her.

May Patrick and Cindy reconcile, and comfort one another in their grief. And may Cindy in particular find comfort in the nobility of the sacrifice of her courageous son so that others might be free.

A Muslim looks at Islam's 'Dark Side'

There are some serious problems with this article's reasoning in places. Believing itself to be the sum total of the Christian Church doubtless once helped motivate the Roman Catholic church to countenance the Inquisition and other enormities, but they've pretty much gotten over burning Lutherans at the stake by now- and despite their historic veneration of the martyrs, Roman Catholics have never known for their penchant for martyrdom by suicide bombing. Moreover, however unbiblical and naive the theology of the Wesleyan Holiness tradition may be, a belief that they stopped sinning years ago has not caused its adherents to develop any particular reputation as terrorists.

Nevertheless, this examination of the roots of extremism and violence within Islam by a Muslim anxious to separate them from the substance of his faith is worth reading. Certainly it represents an effort at honest self-criticism all of us might benefit by emulating.

"Goofy's" planet credentials may have just gotten stronger

It just got a little harder to deny 2003 UB313 the status of an honest-to-goodness planet, no matter what one may think of Pluto.

Turns out that Dr. Brown and his associates have been aiming their instruments in the wrong place- and "Goofy-" already thought to be larger than Pluto- is probably larger still.

There have been indications from the International Astronomical Union (which is currently working on the first-ever scientific definition of the word "planet" in order to resolve the controversy about Pluto and now 2003 UB313 once and for all) that- due to the large number of good-sized, undiscovered Kuiper Belt Objects astronomers suspect are out there- instead of going with something like my suggestion (defining a "planet" as any Solar System object orbiting no primary other than the Sun, and having sufficient mass to be forced by its own gravity into a roughly spherical shape), they may simply decide that if it's bigger than Pluto, it's in.

N…

This is it, fellow Cub fans!

The Cubs' dwindling hopes of becoming the National League loser with the best record (i.e., winning the Wild Card) depend on sweeping the series with the 'Stros that begins tonight.

We lose one game, and it's time to look forward to a 2006 season, hopefully with a new manager and a significant revamping of the roster.

Interesting comment on the MLB site on tonight's game: "If the Cubs played only the Cardinals, they would win the Central Division."

Couldn't have said it better myself

iHillary is a great source of cartoons (and liberal-annoying postcards). Give it a glance.

I especially like that Hillary Clinton egg seperator...

Yes, my Bears need three quarterbacks

The problem is that now that Rex Grossman is hurt again, they don't have even one- Jeff Blake or not.

Blake has failed in several other places. Chad Hutchinson failed in Chicago last year, and in Dallas before that.

Kyle Orton is the only one of the group for whom one's hopes for the future aren't blighted by his past.

Jerry Angelo needs to get a clue.

The normal state of affairs re-asserts itself

Three out of four from the Cards.

Perhaps now we'll figure out how to beat somebody else...

Lutheran Carnival, 8/4/05

The first edition of the Lutheran Carnival is up!

Be there, as it was said of old, or be square!

I suspect the re-make will have the same ending as the original

It seems that this summer every movie that comes out this year is a re-make of an old television show. Well, here in Iowa, we're taking that a step further: we're re-cycling our campaigns.

I left the Democratic Party in 1990 when, shortly after I moved to Iowa, the only Democratic candidate for governor with a chance to win- then (and now) Attorney General Tom Miller- lost the primary to a far weaker and less popular candidate simply because Miller was pro-life. I realized then that there is simply no room in the Democratic Party for people who believe that Roe v. Wade is itself an outrage against the Constitution, and not in any sense the protection a genuine constitutional right.

We in Iowa are about to end eight long years with a Democrat, Tom Vilsack, in Terrace Hill (the governor's mansion). In U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle, I believe that we Republicans have a strong candidate to take Terrace Hill back next year.

Interestingly, one of Nussle's potential opponents, former st…