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Showing posts from September, 2005

An 'Internet Police?'

The EU (pronounced "Eheu!") wants an internet policed by governments and the private sector.

Americans, who tend to prefer the values of the First Amendment, are generally inclined to dissent- even while recognizing that safeguards of some kind will have to be evolved to deal with certain aspects of the Web.

Shut up, Bill

This has got to be the most asinine comment a conservative has made in my lifetime.

To say that I'm disappointed in Bill Bennett doesn't even begin to cover it. What was he thinking?

I'm afraid a guy I've admired for years has just destroyed himself as a public figure. It's a shame. He has a great deal to say, but he'll never be taken seriously again.

Once and for all...

Hopefully this will not turn into the "how-did-you-get-comments-to-work-with-this-template" blog.

Those who ask this question should first reflect that the template's author essentially answers it in the comments at the Blogger Template site.

The steps are:

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If any of these are omitted, comments will not work on any of the templates in this series.

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We have a new Chief

Judge John Roberts was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate today as Chief Justice of the United States, and was sworn into office by Senior Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens at the White House shortly thereafter.

One down, one to go. Somehow, I don't think the next one will be so easy.

2008 could be tough. Could be.

Fred Barnes offers some thoughts on why the Republicans ought to be worried about 2008.

I think he's right about almost everything, BTW. The thing is, though, that the dynamics of Presidential nominations and elections have changed in the last thirty years or so. The person who gets elected- George W. Bush, who was being highly touted at this point in 1997, and his dad, who was Reagan's obvious successor in 1988, were exceptions- tends to be a dark horse, somebody who comes out of nowhere. Carter did it in 1976. We tend to forget that Reagan was widely perceived, going into the 1980 race, as an extremist with no chance even at the nomination. After his disasterous speech before the 1988 Democratic National Convention, everybody thought Bill Clinton- a longshot at best- had destroyed himself.

My hunch is that the Republican nominee in 2008 will not be Giuliani, or McCain, or Rice, or Jeb Bush, or Allen, or Romney, or any of the other alleged front-runners.

Keep your eyes on Gov. M…

Here's the plan

Here are the details of our plan to return to the moon in 2018.

Hat-tip: Curmudgeon's Corner.

Predators- or just perverse?

Can't risk those flood evacuees deciding not to kill their babies after all, can we?

The folks in the story are obviously not making any money by offering free abortions to those made homeless by Hurricane Katrina. Doubtless in their own minds- and for the very reasons stated- they are doing something charitable.

But it takes a pretty perverse mindset to see pulling somebody limb from limb, or chemically skinning them alive, as charitable, however it might simplify the life of somebody else.

A distinction with a difference

In Christ, is God reconciled to us... or are we reconciled to God?

What was the nature of our alienation from God? Most of us have grown up thinking of God as being angry at us for our sin, and as that being the basis of our alienation from Him. But what if God was never our Enemy? What if the problem all along was that, in our fallenness and unbelief, we were His enemies?

What if even hell is- as Dr. Steve Hein once suggested to our Doctrine class at River Forest- finally nothing more or less than God letting people who want nothing to do with Him have their own way?

Thanks to Glen Piper for raising a distinction with some very major differences! I invite you to join me in thinking about that distinction- and what it means.

We interrupt this blog to bring you a bulletin from Hollywood!

By Babsadential decree, Barbara Streissand has declared a global warming emergency!

Of course, her facts are about as wrong as possible- which is about what one would expect of someone with absolutely no credentials in the field of meteorology, and a track record of looney Left positions about as extreme and unreasonable as even Hollywood could imagine.

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum...

We have a congregation! Turns out that Trinity in Knoxville is actually the closest Iowa East congregation- only thirty some miles away- but until last night we had completely overlooked it (Pr. Rothschild, the assistant to Iowa East District President Arp, had mentioned it to me in passing, but we somehow had the idea that it was much farther away). We attended this morning, and liked it so much that we decided before we even left the pew that we were home.

The pastor's name is Picard. While it is by his speaking that bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, simple water becomes the means of new birth, and sinners are pardoned and declared by Christ's own authority to be saints, I shall endeavor to avoid mentally paraphrasing the effectual words he speaks as " Make it so." No more Star Trek jokes about Pastor Picard; I'm sure he's heard them all- and with a name like "Waters," I know how tedious it can be to hear people repeat for the z…

The case against Intelligent Design

Here is an explanation of the argument against Intelligent Design, in case you wondered.

I've always been puzzled as to why the concept that evolution isn't random should be seen as such a threat by open-minded scientists who presumably want to go wherever the evidence leads. The Darwin quote on the first page answers that question. They don't want to go wherever the evidence leads; they are dedicated to blind chance as the mechanism of evolution with every bit as much a priori fervor as the most fervent Creationist is to Genesis 1 as literal history.

Note the rebuttal to Dembski's theory of specified complexity. It is a classic example of what logicians call "begging the question."

And this woman used to run our foreign policy?

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave a speech here in Des Moines tonight. She said that as an American she hopes that the war in Iraq "turns out right," but that it doesn't look like it will turn out to be a good thing for the people of Iraq.

I wonder how Albright and her fellow partisan Democrats can have any credibility at all on this issue with anyone between whose synapses notable electrical activity can be detected. Does she really believe- and expect anyone else to buy the notion- that the people of Iraq would be better off if Saddam Hussein were still calling the shots?

Whosoever wishes to read a good blog...

I've known for years, after participating with her in various email groups, that Deaconess Emily Calder of Quicunque vult... was a sharp cookie, but the more I read her blog, the more impressed with her I become.

You may notice that despite its lowly position in alphabetical order, this blog is at the top of Ste. Em's otherwise alphabetical blogroll. The reason has nothing to do with the relative merits of this blog. Rather, she tells me, it is because I am a Cubs fan.

Told you she was a sharp cookie. Cardinalidae delendae sunt!

Same situation, different mindset

I seem to have missed this entry over at The Grateful Christian when Pr. Fremer first posted it, but it's a worthwhile reality-check not only as regards the attitude of secular culture toward the Faith, but also in terms of the evangelism-by-accomodation which forms the most basic rationale for the Church Growth Movement and much of Missouri's official approach to evangelism these days.

The situation of the American Church in relation to our culture is remarkably similar to that of the early Church back in Roman days. But the currently fashionable approach to evangelism is just about exactly the opposite of what the First Century Church took. Whereas they evangelized the known world in a generation by not only being willing to be different and to set themselves in oppositon to the prevailing culture even to the point of accepting persecution rather than compromising, we try to become as comfortable and as non-threatening to the world and to those whom our preaching is intended …

A nutty notion meets a sensible suggeston

Rob Musial at Bullmoose Republicans reports that Michael Moore is going to make a movie about George W. Bush's willful destruction of New Orleans!

Rob sensibly suggests that what might be spend on production costs for this patently malicious and nutty endeavor be contributed instead to hurricane relief.

2008 and Iowa

This strikes me as a pretty good reading of Republican sentiment here in Iowa right now as far as 2008 is concerned.

But when the caucuses are finally held, Allen, Romney, Huckabee and Sanford will all do better than they do now- at Giuliani's expense, but also at Rice's. Rudy won't get anywhere near fifteen percent, once Iowa Republicans realize where he stands on the issues.

Whether Condi holds her support will depend, first, on whether or not she heeds the considerable sentiment to the effect that she should run. That, and how serious the hit is her candidacy will take once Iowa Republicans realize that she's pro-choice- however "reluctantly."

I predict, in any case, that neither Condi- with whom I could perhaps live, however uneasily- nor Giuliani- for whom I would not vote in November- will win the Iowa caucus.

Hat-tip:Presidential Primaries 2008.

Good grief!

How could I have ever admired and supported this man?

Well, actually, I know how. He was, after all, the last pro-life Democratic presidential nominee, and a man who combined my conservatism about such matters with genuine compassion for the poor and an honest and humble approach to foreign policy such as had been so disasteriously lacking in the administrations which governed our nation during the Vietnam era.

But that is in the past. His humility in foreign policy has turned to a fondness for "blame America first" appeasement, and his honesty to petty and malicious partisan nonsense such as the statement quoted in the story to which I linked above. I say this with profound sorrow, but Jimmy Carter has disgraced himself and rendered himself unworthy of anything but the contempt of his countrymen. I am embarrassed to have ever had him as my candidate, and as my President. And that's something I never imagined I'd ever say in a million years.

...And thank God!

Meanwhile, on the liturgical calendar...

Aardvark Alley- a fine blog by any standard (except perhaps that of baseball team preference)- is becoming my preferred site for reminding myself of the significance of each new day on the liturgical calendar.

Today, it seems, is the commemoration of the prophet Jonah- who, contrary to popular belief, was not swallowed by a whale.

Jonah was swallowed by "a great fish," whereas whales are mammals.

Perhaps it was a leftover Carcharodon (or Carcharocles) megalodon, such as the one inside of whose jaws the men are posing in the photograph above.

The nation's governors, as ranked by the governed

Here are the nation's 50 state governors, ranked by popularity rating.

Virginia's Mark Warner, a possible rival of Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination, is sitting pretty. On the other hand, Illinois' Rod Blagojevich surprises me by his low ranking. So does Tennesee's Ernie Fletcher- whom I once thought would be a strong dark-horse candidate for the White House in 2008, but whose administration has been wracked by scandal. These have as company at the bottom of the pile two men who continue to be mentioned for the presidency on occasion: New York's George Pataki and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Not surprisingly, Louisiana's Kathleen Blanco, who comes in at number 42, isn't winning any popularity contests with the home folks these days, either.

Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, whom I currently sense is the Republican most likely to surprise people in 2008, ranks twenty-first. Another Republican dark horse, South Carolina's Ma…

Bush to blame for global warming... on Mars?

Report: Sharon to quit

DEBKA File reports that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is about to resign, since internal polling indicates that he would lose the Likud party leadership primary which is likely to be moved up to December of 2005 from April of 2006.

Either Benyamin Netanyahu or Uzi Landau will succeed Sharon as Likud party leader and as prime minister.

Pope to ban even celibate gays from priesthood

Pastor McCain reports that Pope Benedict plans to ban even celibate homosexuals from Catholic seminaries in the face of the child molestation scandal.

Most child molesters are heterosexual, so that rationale doesn't make a great deal of sense. However, reports of homosexual influence in Catholic seminaries are widespread, and the man who was known as "the Pope's Rotweiller" before he became pope himself apparently means to put an end to it.

NASA plans return to the moon

About time, too.

But as Buzz Aldrin put it so well, "...We don't want to stay too long. ... The ultimate goal is Mars."

It's not just a matter of our destiny among the stars, or even of the scientific knowledge to be gained. Considered simply in terms of economic return, no dollars were ever better spent than the ones which sent the Apollo missions to the moon. The money the space program infused into our economy exceeded what we spent on it many times over. New products and even new industries grew from the effort to reach the moon in the 'Sixties, and there are even greater economic incentives to go back today. As I've pointed out in this blog before, the moon is rich in hydrogen/helim 3- an energy source of incredible efficiency, one square foot of which could meet the energy needs of the entire United States for a year!

The argument that we can't afford to resume our ascent to the stars is about as classic a case of false economy as can be imagined. Of…

Wilken's interview with false teacher Haggard rebroadcast

Be Strong in the Grace connects us with a two-part rebroadcast, complete with additional commentary and phone calls, of Pastor Todd Wilken's interview with false teacher and National Association of "Evangelicals" President Ted Haggard.

Lutherans taken in by this shallow, unbiblical movement's claim to a high view of a Bible whose most basic teachings it denies and distorts really need to hear this guy blow those claims out of the water with his own mouth.

An election everybody lost

You can call Gerhardt Schroeder Der Spinmeister, I guess.

When a governing party comes in second in the popular vote and manages no better than a tie in parliamentary seats, most politicians in the Western world would consider that a defeat. But Schroeder considers it a vindication. Not since Bill Clinton in the 1992 Democratic primaries has a Western political leader crowed so loudly about being repudiated at the polls.

The consensus in Germany, oddly, is that the real loser, from a personal point of view, is Christian Democratic Union leader Angela Merkel- who seemed not long ago to be headed to a landslide victory, and blew it.

Either way, German is the real loser- and seems destined to be governed by an unstable coalition of the CDU and Schroeder's Social Democratic Party, until the whole bizarre and unnatural situation collapses of its own absurdity and a new election is held, probably within a couple of years.

It's as if the Republicans and the Democrats had decided in 2000…

I was wrong!

The Cubs and the Cards had one more game left in their series.

The Cubs won.

The National League Central champions still can't win a series from the Cubs!

Merkel, Schroeder must wheel and deal for power

Ireland Online is declaring Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party the narrow winner in Germany's election, given a popular vote lead of less than one percent.

However, as the Chinese point out, the CDU and Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder's Social Democratic Party (SDP) each won exactly 122 seats in the Bundestag.

ZDF TV is reported to have stated that Merkel's 'dreams are shattered," and the SDP's chairman has called the result a "personal defeat" for Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor who heads Germany's conservative, pro-American party. Schroeder, meanwhile, has openly stated that he will lead Germany in the next few years, while calling Merkel's claim of victory "arrogant."

In point of fact, however, whichever of the two can organize a majority in the Bundestag through negotiations with smaller parties will in fact be Germany's new Chancellor. While the returns are in, the consequences of the election in terms of …

Yes, it was right!

Bears 38
Lions 6

Bear down, Chicago Bears.
Let ev'ry play clear the way to victory;
Bear down, Chicago Bears, put up a fight with a might so fearlessly!
We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation
With your T-formation.
Bear down, Chicago Bears,
And let them know why you're wearing the crown!
You're the pride and joy
Of Illinois;
Chicago Bears, bear down!

It looks like a tie

It's a clear indication of just how far the global information revolution has gone when China provides the best current information on a German election.

In any event, the Chinese tell us that. in essence, that the German election is a tie.

Schroeder and Merkel are both claiming victory, but the only thing that is certain at this point is that whoever is Germany's next Chancellor will the head a coalition government.

Go CDU. Go Merkel!

Prayer and common sense

Here's an excellent post from Living Among the Mysteries on the role of prayer in decision-making. As the author points out, God does not speak to us in prayer; He speaks to us in His Word. He lets us make our own decisions.

Praying may help us clarify our thoughts, and I have no doubt that God assists us in doing so when we pray for His guidance. But beyond the Word, I believe that the information from Him which we should seek in making decisions comes simply from the way in which He has ordered reality. Sometimes He opens and closes doors; sometimes He uses events in more subtle ways to clarify His will for us. But ultimately, the choice is ours- and He really doesn't care what make of car we buy!

Prayerfully making the best decisions we can, and trusting Romans 8:28 in case we make a mistake, is one thing. Seeking to avoid responsibility for our own decisions by placing it on God is quite another.

Hat-tip: Be Strong in the Grace

Murdoch: Blair says 'gloating' BBC hurricane coverage 'full of hate for America.'

According to publisher Rupert Murdoch- owner of BBC rival Sky News- British Prime Minister Tony Blair has described himself as "shocked" by the BBC's coverage of Hurricane Katrina, which he described as "full of hate for America."

Murdoch sees European news media generally as suffering from an anti-American bias, which he believes that his organization needs to help counteract.

Interestingly, Bill Clinton- of all people!- agrees that the BBC coverage of the disaster, while factually accurate, was "stacked up" in such a way as to put the Bush administration in the worst possible light.

Hat tip: Drudge.

Has The AALC returned to the Lutheran Reformation?

A got the following e-mail last night, and thought I'd pass it along:


I was recently wandering in Lutheran cyberspace, and I was enjoying reading some of the things that you had posted there. There was one comment that you made on 11 April 2005 that I should address -- you labeled the AALC a "nominally Lutheran Neo-Pentecostal group."

You should know that I attended and graduated from the AALC's seminary. There was much to like there and there were some problems. I was able to study Lutheran theology. Finally, I did not pursue a call in the AALC because of my doctrinal concerns -- I was convinced that the pentecostals had irreversibly won control.
At that time, I probably would have agreed that the label was fitting. I'm not so sure anymore.

Before you post any more comments like that, you might want to check out the AALC website, and check the doctrinal statements posted there. The website also has recent newsletters (The Evangel) in pdf files. Also, one of their…

I believe in Merkels

Angela Merkel- who, as Bunnie Diehl points out, is a fellow Lutheran pastor's daughter- and her Christian Democratic Partycling to a narrow lead over frequent U.S. critic Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder's Social Democratic Party in tomorrow's German election.

Schroeder, along with France's Jacques Chirac, was one of our least helpful "allies" when it came to the current Gulf War- although he has quietly been training officers for the new Iraqi army at German military facilities.

Merkel, if victorious, would be Germany's first female Chancellor- and would pursue a policy of closer and warmer relations with the United States.

Ferrer for NY Mayor

New York's RINO mayor, Michael Bloomberg, needs to be read out of the Republican Party proto for this statement.

In much the same spirit as Mayor Bloomberg's statement, this Republican blog hereby endorses Democrat mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer in his campaign to unseat Bloomberg.

Better a Democrat who is honest about who and what he is.

This is news?

I have to admit that this is appropriate subject matter for the newpaper which published it.

What I don't see is why it published that particular item. Was there some thought that the President of the United States doesn't have the same bodily needs as other mortals, or what? If not, why was it necessary to digitally enhance this picture in order to make a bodily function not ordinarily seen as remarkable by those out of diapers, nor entertaining by those who have at some point been promoted from the Second Grade, a front page item?

Latest Bush appointment has experience

Dr. Bill Goodell, a member of my Cubs email group,waxes Scrappleface-like:
Cubs Skipper Baker to Head FEMA

WASHINGTON -- In the wake of embarrassing revelations that ousted Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Mike Brown had padded his resume to give the appearance of past direct crisis management responsibility, the White House announced today that Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker would be tapped for the position. "I've seen this man's record," President Bush remarked at a Wednesday briefing, "and there's no doubt that this man has real experience in disaster management."

You need to hear this!

I must confess that not only am I not "up" on the movement our culture falsely calls "Evangelicalism," but I'm not particularly interested in being so. My distain for the legalistic, semi-Pelagian movement which bears that very ironic title in America is profound. Its influence in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was, when all is said and done, the primary reason why I made the serious mistake of ever fooling with The American Lutheran Church, and ultimately the "Evangelical" "Lutheran" Church in America to begin with.

Lest I be thought too much of a bigot, I do very much appreciate my varied and profitable associations with certain Calvinistic Reformed ministries, organizations, and individuals with whom I share my strict monergism and dedication to the centrality of grace.

In any event,Be Strong in the Grace- one of my favorite blogs- has a very interesting link to an Issues, Etc.interview with someone of whom (like Rick Abanes, with who…

Extremist Protestant group labled "an enemy of peace" by the Brits

All during the sporadic "troubles" in Northern Ireland, we heard about the IRA, the Provos, and the other groups on the Catholic side of the fence who were stirring up trouble.

We seldom heard about their opposite numbers on the Protestant side.The fact is that there are Protestant extremist groups who have always been every bit as unreasonable and violent as the most radical Nationalists were at their worst. Chief among these is the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), whose recent violence has led the British government to declare its cease-fire with them at an end.

Whitehall has officially designated the UVF an "enemy of peace" in view the attacks in which it has recently engaged against police and British troops.

Another extremist Protestant group, the Ulster Defense Association (UDA), will continue to be covered by a 1994 cease-fire, whose terms it has at least recently observed.

From LCMS News

Although membership declined by more than 25,000 people from 2003 to 2004, total contributions rose by $51 million among the 6,151 congregations in The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

According to congregational reports of statistics for 2004, LCMS members contributed a record $1,307,764,010 to their congregations during 2004. Giving also increased by $53 million during 2003, following declines of $13.8 million in 2002 and $12.1 million in 2001.

Membership continues to decline. During 2004, congregations reported 2,463,747 baptized members or 25,189 fewer than 2003. Confirmed membership was 1,880,213, a decrease of 14,609.

"Since 1972, our peak membership year, the Synod has lost some 317,000 baptized members," said Dr. John O'Hara, LCMS research analyst. "We have reported sporadic increases in baptized or confirmed members over the past 30 years, most recently in 1997 -- a gain of some 1,900 -- but they have been overwhelmed by the intervening declines." (Approx…

Brethren, this ought not to be

I note with bemusement that the Cubs- who are still below .500, though gaining on it rapidly- are only five and a half games off the pace for the National League Wild Card berth in the playoffs.

Do not misinterpret that observation. I think it's a joke that a team with the record the Cubs have are within five and a half games of the playoffs in September. In fact, I think it brings home something which I very strongly believe: that it's difficult to take baseball seriously as a sport as long as the abomination called the Wild Card exists. In effect, it negates the entire season- the single most valid measurement of a team's worthiness- and opens the gates to the World Series to any second-rate team that happens to get hot at the right time.

Despite my disagreement with the Aardvark, the Cardinals should get a direct pass to the World Series, as should the White Sox.

I may never forgive myself for that last sentence.

But the fact remains- without prejudice to the future- that a…

A nugget of gold from half a continent away

As Denise and I continue to search for a congregation to join, I more and more miss the sermons of my pastor back in Virginia, the Rev. Christopher Esget.

Well, I don't really miss them, because I get them by email every week through theYahoo! Group maintained for that purpose.

Nevertheless, here's a nugget from this morning's sermon that's pure gold:
Being a pastor has taught me to detest the scent of flowers; their ubiquitous presence in the funeral parlors has transformed them for my nose into the odor of death. I loathe the attempts of our culture to domesticate death, as though we must simply learn to accept it and even embrace it.

Death is our enemy. Death is God’s enemy. This is why Christ came. This is why God Himself took on human flesh and was born of the blessed virgin Mary. The Lord Jesus came to attack and destroy that enemy. In many of the miracles of Jesus, we have seen faith to be an important element. But today there is no mention of it. Jesus does not ask…


They've got to be hurting in Iowa City right now.

This is the day when the State of Iowa's annual civil war takes place on the gridiron. Nobody outside this state cares much, but here, there is no middle ground. You're either a Cyclone fan or a Hawkeye fan. And this afternoon at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa State played Iowa. The entire state held its breath.

In the Waters household, it's the Iowa State Cyclones. For one thing, rooting for the 'Clones doesn't create a conflict with my fondless for the Northwestern Wildcats or the Illinois Fighting Ilini, who share Iowa's membership in the Big Ten. For another, Ames is only thirty miles from Des Moines, while Iowa City is in an entirely different part of the state. Like most native Des Moinkers, Denise has a tendency to favor the Cardinal and Gold.

Then, of course, theres the romance of rooting for the underdog. The University of Iowa is a national institution, as are all the Big Ten schools. Iowa State, on…

The incompetent god

Pastor Stiegemeyer's The Burr in the Burgh reports that author Tony Campolo has bought into Rabbi Harold Kushner's cop-out of suggesting that God simply isn't up to the task of preventing tragedy and injustice.

As the good pastor points out, the god of Campolo is not the God Who said to the wind and the waves, "Be still!" It is not the Creator Campolo describes, but a human creation.

Process theology isn't merely gibberish which deprives the Faith- and all theistic faiths- of their content. It's a cop-out. And given the devastation it visits upon the religion(s) which it seeks so inauthentically to vindicate... what's the point?

The bottom line on Katrina

When all is said and none, nobody- not President Bush, not Mayor Nagin, not Governor Blanco, and certainly not ex-FEMA head Brown- come off very well in the Hurricane Katrina fiasco.

It seems to me, though, that this is a pretty fair apportioning of the blame.

Meanwhile, here is a good assessment of how the political consequences seem to be playing out, while here is an understandable- though wrong-headed- argument that the contrast between the way he handled 9/11 and the way everybody dropped the ball on Katrina makes Rudy Giuliani invincible in 2008 should he decide to run for president (as huge and nationally traumatic a disaster as Katrina has been, it will not dominate the 2008 campaign, nor will it counterbalance Giuliani's fundamental unacceptability on social issues to Republican primary voters and caucus-goers).

Meanwhile, here, here, and here are visions of what we need to do to rebuild the first great American city in our history to be utterly obliterated (the Great Chica…

Nice try, Mr. A

The St. Louis Cardinals have a great deal to answer for- and not the least is having turned an orthodox Lutheran anteater to a blatant theology of glory.

Leaving aside the patent theological error of equating divine favor with success, the Aardvark's anti- Cub argument falls short even in the realm of earthly logic. Even if the two were equivalent, rarely does "the team with the best artillery" win the World Series. Since the invention of that abomination, the Wild Card, we have frequently seen World Series won by teams whose artillery wasn't even good enough to win the most valid test of such things, their own regular season divisional championship. Rarely, indeed, do the teams with the best regular season records meet in the Fall Classic, and the power of one's artillery rarely determines success or failure. What counts is getting hot at the right moment-as his Cardinals discovered to their dismay last Fall.

Were I seeking sympathy, as the Aardvark suggests, I …

Can you say "supply and demand?"

Tom Rants gives an interesting answer to those who see the Invisible Hand in the currently astronomical price of gasoline: there are nearly thirty million more barrels of oil on the market than there were a year ago. Yet the price of oil is a third higher.

Sounds to me like Steve Forbes is right: we're dealing with a bubble here, and when it pops, gas prices will come down hard.

God is a Cubs fan

When it comes to baseball, passions run high in the Lutheran blogosphere. Paul McCain,Bunnie and the Aardvark- otherwise, as far as I have been able to determine, fine human beings to whom I am privileged to link- have a common moral failing: allegiance to a certain baseball team named after a species of ruddy fowl, and indigenous (the baseball team, that is) to the Holy City of the Missouri Synod, St. Louis.

My first parish was in the suburbs of that very same city- Webster Groves, to be exact. On one memorable occasion when the Cardinals swept my Cubs in a particular series, the president of the congregation contemplated walking up the aisle at the beginning of the service and handing me a broom. At the last moment, he chickened out.

St. Louis was the city where I once observed in a sermon that the Christian life was like a 5-3 putout for the Cubs: it always went from Law to Grace.

One of my less sports-minded seminary profs suggested that I should, in the interest of solidarity wit…

When some clergy pull a Robertson, nobody is surprised

Time for a little perspective: When Pat Robertson called for a hit on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, many voices- including that of this blog- were raised in derision.

But as Scrappleface, in its own inimitable fashion, reminds us, that there are circles in which such things are so completely taken in stride that they are scarcely worth commenting on

Drawing a Blanco

Those disposed to make an anti-Bush crusade out of the failure of government to respond to Hurricane Katrina in an efficient and timely fashion need to read this post on Mark Kilmer's blog.

Synopsis: Food, water, hygiene equipment, the works had been organized by the Red Cross and were all set to go before the levee broke- but the Louisiana State government refused to allow them to be delivered.

Get real, people!

--Courtesy iHillary

I, for one, am getting a little tired of FEMA (which was never intended as a first-response agency) and the Bush Administration being blamed for the incompetence and lack of foresight of the New Orleans city and Louisiana state governments.

I know that Bush is to blame for everything from (alleged) global warming to the bird flu, but this is getting just a tad ridiculous.

Cubs 2, Cardinals 1

The baseball season is long since over (though the Cardinals and the White Sox, among others, will continue to play meaningless games into October), but the Cubs continue their strange dominance over the St. Louis Cardinals, taking yet another series from the National League's best team, this time two out of three.

California assembly OK's gay "marriage"

The California Legislature has become the first in the country to pass legislation legalizing gay "marriage," despite the passage by California voters of an initiative five years ago to forbid the state to recognize such "marriages" performed elsewhere.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Previous legalizations of gay "marriage" in Hawaii and Massachusetts had been imposed by judicial fiat. In Canada, a Supreme Court ruling prompted the Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin to pass a bill legalizing same-sex "marriage" nationally, although Conservative Opposition Leader Stephen Harper has promised to "re-visit" the issue should his party gain power.

Musical chairs for Justice-Designate Roberts

President Bush has withdrawn the nomination of Judge John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and nominated Roberts to replace the late William Rehnquist as Chief Justice instead.

Justice O'Connor will continue to serve until a new replacement is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

In a way, it's a shame. Brilliant as Judge Roberts is, a court led by Justice Antonin Scalia might have been the most thoughful and scholarly in history.

Focus now shifts to the President's new nominee for the O'Connor vacancy. This is a chance to affect the Court for decades- a chance like the ones Presidents Nixon and Reagan muffed during their administrations. Hopefully Mr. Bush will be more careful.

A blastoff from the past

Denise, her sister Glenda and I spent last evening with one of my earliest childhood friends- the 1954 German-produced TV series Flash Gordon, starring Steve Holland.

Glenda and I are about the same age, and both of us remembered the show from our pre-kindergarten days. For me, though, it was more than just a vague memory. I was obsessed with outer space and astronomy and space travel from the time I was first able to conceive of such things. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet was my favorite show for a while, but I must confess that my memories of it are pretty vague.

But Flash Gordon was another matter. He, Dale Arden, and Dr. Zarkov are one of my most enduring childhood memories, a staple of my Saturday afternoons that I looked forward to all week. Later, when the old Buster Crabbe serials (which- hokey though they were- were objectively so much better than the TV series they don't bear comparison) began to appear on Sunday afternoons, they were nothing more than first a poor supplement, a…

The death of a Chief Justice is marked by the Loyal Opposition

After thirty-three years on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice William Rehnquist is dead of thyroid cancer. He was 80.

He will probably best be remembered as having presided over the Supreme Court decision which prevented the Democrats from stealing Florida and the Presidency for Al Gore in 2000, perhaps not so much through the blatantly crooked manual recount they tried to justify by fraudulently suppressing George W. Bush's initial statewide margin as by simply stalling until the verdict of Florida's voters either way became academic.

Contrary to what is generally implied, the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore did not arbitrarily call a halt to the recount. It simply insisted that the recount had to be completed before the date mandated by the Constitution for the meeting of the Electoral College to actually elect the new President.

As it happened, due to the dilatory tactics of the Democrats themselves, that date was the very next day!

Was all the rhetoric about mak…