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Showing posts from December, 2006

Packers 26, Bears 7

We are going nowhere in the playoffs.

Forget the Super Bowl. And even if we were to win it, losing tonight's game would take the edge off the achievement. A world championship in a year when you don't beat the Packers twice is like kissing your sister.

ADDENDUM: OK, the last two NFC champions did look just as bad in their final regular season games- and the other teams still in the hunt in the NFC don't exactly strike terror into the hearts of Bear fans.

But the Bears themselves do. There is no excuse for looking that bad even in a meaningless game. And the game wasn't meaningless. It was against the Packers, for crying out loud!

Yes, two key defensive players will be back for the first playoff game, and hopefully Rex will learn not to lock in on covered receivers. But I have to say that I am not optimistic at this point. The two injured players who are the real difference between the league's best defense and the middle-of-the-pack group Lovie has out there now when t…

When is a war costly? Standards seem to be changing

The AP has finally recognized it: we haven't lost that many troops in Iraq compared to other wars.

One casualty is a tragedy. But 3,000 deaths in Iraq are very few casualties as American wars have historically gone. We lost 57,000, for example, in Vietnam, We lost about 400,000 in World War II, and well over a hundred thousand in World War II. At the present rate, we would match the Vietnam total some time early in the next century.

No, it's not that the American people are more sensitive than they were during previous wars. It's just that the political opposition and the media have undermined American support for this war from the outset, and convinced the American people psychologically that the war has been more costly than it actually has been. Then, too, the Administration never did a very good job of making the stakes clear. And as is noted in the last paragraph of the story, we're no longer a society that's particularly into self-sacrifice any more.

Maybe …

"God is dead-" Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead-" God

It seems that the studied secularism of the West's most morally blighted society- Holland- is under challenge from a rebirth in popular interest in Christianity.

Admittedly, the renaissance seems to bear an unhealthy resemblance to our American Church Growth Movement. But perhaps in time, when the mere idea of being a Christian is no longer so novel, Holland's new Christians will pass beyond the need for milk and emotional cookies and begin to enjoy the strong meat of liturgy and sacrament.

HT: RealClearPolitics

Preferring the darkness

Experiments with "gay" sheep may lead to a prophylactic in utero treatment which could breed homosexuality out of the human race.

Lesbian tennis star Martina Navratolova- among others- doesn't like the idea. On no particularly logical basis, gay activists are even comparing this research with medical experiments performed during the Third Reich!

But self-serving appeals to emotion ring hollow. Leaving aside the public health aspects, one need not hate gay people to recognize the misery their condition brings with it. The rates of depression and suicide among gays are not merely a function of living in a benighted society; they come of a profoundly maladaptive lifestyle.

Or would gay activists suggest that most homosexuals, if given the choice, would chose to be gay?

It wasn't that long ago that I was hearing the absurdity of such a proposition cited as evidence precisely that homosexuality is biological. That point having been established (at least as far as orientatio…

Joe says 'Surge away!'

Breaking News: Saddam Hussein has been hanged

Fox News is reporting a story from Al Arabiya that Saddam Hussein's execution has been carried out.

ADDENDUM: Iraqi television has confirmed the report.

HT: Drudge

A belated tribute to President Ford

I've mentioned before how much I regret at having voted for Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan in 1980. But I regret voting for him over Jerry Ford four years earlier, too. If Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of my lifetime, Jerry Ford was the most admirable.

Jerry Ford was more than an honest, decent man who happened to be at the right place at the right time to put the pieces back together after Richard Nixon's tawdry political demise. He was a politician of the old school- in the best sense.

I remember a rally at Valley High School in West Des Moines a few days before the 2000 election at which a Democratic member of the Texas legislature praised George W. Bush's ability as governor to get Republicans and Democrats to work together. Alas, having counted thousands of blank ballots for Al Gore (and disenfranchised thousands of American servicemen who had cast perfectly legal absentee ballots for Bush) in the cause of "counting every vote," the Democratic sore…

In weakness is God's strength

Luke 2- ESV
The Birth of Jesus Christ1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. The Shepherds and the Angels8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said t…

Bears 26, Detroit Lions 21

I am underwhelmed.

This is not looking like a Super Bowl team to me at the moment.

Nevertheless, I continue to hope.

After all, it's Christmas.

No, Virginia, Islam per se is not the problem

I heartily endorse this balanced and reasoned view of Islam.

I realize that many don't share it- which is a pity.

HT: RealClearPolitics

Russian democracy in greater doubt than ever

Not only do his critics and enemies tend to die with disturbing regularity under incriminating circumstances, but Vladmir Putin will reportedly continue to share in Russia's leadership after leaving the presidency.

Apparently he will seek to attain some leadership role other than the presidency by constitutional means. Still, when the guy in charge won't go away when his term is over, it's not a healthy sign.

HT: Drudge

Looking ahead to 2008

Lately I've been obsessing about 2008. The electoral disaster of last month is part of it; winning is a great deal more pleasant than losing, and I'd prefer to do the former next time out, rather than the latter. But the truly odd direction in which things seem to be developing also attract my attention at this early stage even more than is usually the case for a political junkie like me.

On the Democratic side, I continue to be convinced that Hillary Clinton will lose if nominated (Dick Morris to the contrary). No candidate who starts out with Hillary's negative numbers can be elected. In fact, I wonder whether she will even be nominated. Barak Obama, in my opinion, isn't ready to wage a credible campaign for the White House; Evan Bayh and Mark Warner have opted out. Bill Richardson is somebody to watch, and Al Gore may yet rave his way to the nomination should he choose to make the effort.

But my money right now is on John Edwards. He is articulate, well-known, an…

Prager is wrong- and Ellison is right

He's usually right on the money. But this time, Dennis Prager is out to lunch.

U.S. Representative-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn) is a Muslim. He has ties to some very radical and scary people, and I firmly believe that the people of his district were foolish to elect him. But if he wants to be sworn into office on the "holy book" of his faith, that is his right.

The First Amendment forbids an establishment of religion- and besides, what could be more meaningless than to be sworn into office using the scriptures of a religion one does not believe in?

I'm frankly shocked that anyone could be so blatantly, flagrantly, just plain wrong-headed (as well as un-American) as to object to a man taking an oath to support- among other provisions of our Constitution- freedom of religion on the holy book of his own faith! Has Wahabi Islam won Prager and the others who object to Ellison taking the oath on the Koran over to its view of religious pluralism? Have a bunch of conservative C…

A defeat for Ahmadinejad

Iran just had its real election.

The nutballs lost.

HT: RealClearPolitics

Well said, Pastor Snyder

Good post by Pr. Walter Snyder over at Ask the Pastor on the desirability of "Putting the 'X' back in Xmas."

That's not "X" as in "X-Files." That's chi, like in Xριστοs- aka "Christos," aka "Christ."

Ahmadinejad says that Iran is a nuclear power

Sharia sillness divides a family

Fatima- a Saudi woman- was divorced from her husband by decree of a judge at the request of her half-brothers. Neither she nor her husband wanted the divorce. But since her half-brothers are men, their testimony counted more than hers anyway.

Now her husband- who didn't want the divorce any more than she did- can't even call her on the telephone in the prison where she is being kept because she has no male guardian- due to the divorce neither of them wanted

Mansour, her husband (under Sharia, her ex-husband) can visit her for fifteen minutes every week in jail.

She could be set free if she agreed to return to her parents' home. But she refuses to go anywhere except to the home of the man she considers her husband- and who considers her his wife.

She is undertaking legal action to seek redress. The next step in the process could take as much as a year.

More common sense from Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens- as usual- cuts through the nonsense and gives us the real story on Iraq and our options there.

In the process, he exposes some of the nonsense the Left is peddling about exactly what's going on post-Saddam, and why. At no extra charge, he includes a history lesson about why Bush the Elder didn't take Saddam out in 1991- and the lowdown on exactly who the "realists" in the ISG and elsewhere really are.

HT: RealClearPolitics

Bears 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31

Yes, the Bears have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Yes, Rex Grossman passed for 339 yards and two TD's.

Yes, Nathan Vasher, Tommy Harris, and Tank Johnson were unavailable.

But you don't let one of the NFL's worst offensive teams come back from a three touchdown deficit at halftime to tie you, especially if you're a team whose strength is supposedly defense.

No music this week.

Will immigration be the death knell of the GOP?

And no, I don't mean that question the way those clueless immigration hard-liners will undoubtedly read it.

Immigration hawkishness among Republicans cost us Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex) on Tuesday.

Reactionary short-sightedness appears to be close to succeeding in driving Hispanics-the fastest-growing American electoral bloc, one of the most socially conservative, and one which was becoming increasingly Republican before the right-wing lemmings chose to take their stand on the losing issue of immigration- into permanent residence in the Democratic party.

HT: RealClearPolitics

'We're Going to Win'

Forget the ISG.

President Bush finally has a plan in Iraq- and one that's considerably more than a thinly- disguised recipe for surrender.

It recognizes the nature of the struggle there, and brings to its denouement the drama which will lead to history's final verdict on the current presidency. Within a year, the war so many people insist is lost will either be turned around, or lost in fact- with the consequences not only for Mr. Bush's place in history and Republican prospects in 2008 at stake, but also the fate of the entire region.

This is the only approach that holds out any hope for an outcome in Iraq that will be other than a disaster for the region and for American interests. More on the plan here.

What is considered rigidity and stubbornness today may well go down in history as Churchillian determination and courage. Or not.

We should know by next Christmas.

Incidentally, the plan recognizes one reality about the situation in Iraq you'd never know from listening to …

Here is what happens...

...when the killing of living members of the human species for spare parts becomes socially accepted.

And once again, it's worth remembering that fetal stem cells have yet to lead to a cure for a single disease; that it is by no means certain that they ever will- and that if they do, it will probably not be for decades, during which time more promising and less ethically dubious alternatives which are already yielding cures will have had a chance to develop even more than they already have.

The clock is ticking for the LCMS as a confessional church body

The following has been submitted as a comment on this post:

The July 31st Christian News reports on page 14 that "Reps at AALC-LCMS talks recommend altar, pulpit fellowship." The text of the article indicates that the proposed arrangement has received the preliminary imprimatur of the significant intelligensia of the Missouri Synod, including President Gerald B. Kieschnick; First Vice President Rev. William Diekelman; Secretary Rev. Raymond Hartwig; Dr. Samuel Nafzger, the executive director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR); and Dr. Charles Arand, professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Make no mistake about it. If this altar-pulpit arrangement receives the formal approval of the national convention of the Missouri Synod in 2007, it will mark the official end of any credible commitment in the era of the Kieschnick Administration to the brand of confessional Lutheranism known in the Missouri Synod since its inception. The vanguard dedication of the …

Say a prayer for Sen. Johnson

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) has been hospitalized.

Doctors have now ruled out a stroke, which had been suspected earlier.

The new Senate will have a one-vote Democratic majority. All decent people, regardless of party, should put in a prayer for Sen. Johnson. This would not be any way to get our majority back.

HT: Drudge

It's stories like this that make me want to turn isolationist

Yes, we do have a moral obligation to our friends in Iraq!

This is morally craven nonsense.

We hung the Kurds out to try in '91. A generation ago large numbers of South Vietnamese died or suffered terribly because they had been loyal to us, and we repaid that loyalty by abandoning them to the tender mercies of Uncle Ho.

If the dhimmis get their way, and Iraq goes down, we have an absolute moral duty to those who placed their lives on the line by siding with us. If that means repatriation, so be it. Of course the terrorists are not included.

But our friends are, and it's shameful to suggest otherwise.

No more Boat People.

Bears 42, St. Louis Rams 27

A first round bye in the playoffs!

Two TD runbacks and a new NFL record for the most in a season for Hester. 200 yards, two TD's, and no interceptions for Rex.

Onward to Miami!

A Muslim to succeed Bolton?

The leading contender to succeed John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, is a Muslim.

A native of Afghanistan, he is said to be very much in Bolton's mold in terms of both toughness and diplomatic skill.

Dr. Khalilzad is currently the United States Ambassador to Iraq.

HT: Drudge

Rest in peace, Jeane

Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former Democrat who was Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations, has died at 80.

The John Bolton of her day, the feisty Kirkpatrick took no nonsense from America's enemies and never left anyone in doubt where she stood.

She was an eloquent voice for freedom in a body which values it far less than it claims. May she rest in peace.

Here is a tribute to Ambassador Kirkpatrick by Norman Podhoretz.

Here is another by Jed Babbin.

HT: RealClearPolitics

Gorillas pushed to brink of extinction by... Ebola?

An outbreak of the Ebola virus in the northwestern Congo has killed 5,000 Western gorillas... and brought the species to the brink of extinction.

The Western gorilla is one of the two major species in the Congo. Its population was already experiencing greatly diminished numbers.

HT: Drudge

NASA makes major Mars announcement

It's a good sign for America

The incoming Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, wants more troops in Iraq in order to "dismantle the militias."

With the Iraq Commission's report apparently focusing on a redefinition of our role from primarily combat to training, it seems that the "change in direction" we're about to have in Iraq- with at least some degree of bi-partisan support- will be an honest effort to put the Iraqi government in a position to win the war against the militias, rather than cutting and running.

There will be many on the Left who will be disappointed. It remains to be seen how the electorate will react. But on the whole, it seems to me that this thing is headed in the right direction.

One worrisome feature of the Commission's recommendation: a reduction in troop levels at a time when we can ill afford it. The Iraqi police and military need to be purged of those militia members- many of whom take their orders from Ira…

One God- but not the same one God

Christians faithful to the biblical revelation and the "faith once delivered" are often accused of intolerance by those more faithful to the spirit of the age for making the rather patent point that Christians and Muslims do not worship the same deity. As inescapable as Jesus Himself makes that point, it is anything but politically correct to point out that Allah- far from being merely "the Muslim name for God-" is in fact a entirely separate, false god.

That conclusion, of course, is inescapable if one takes as one's starting point the paradigmatic Christian notion that Jesus personally (not the entirely fictional Muslim "Isa") is God's quintessential self-revelation, or Jesus's own repeated statement, as recorded in the Gospels, that only through Him is the true God accessible.

But it isn't necessary to approach the matter theologically to reach that conclusion. As Bat Yeor points out, a mere comparison of the Christian and Muslim concept…

Lunar calendar

NASA plans to follow up our return to the moon in 2020 with a permanent base at one of the lunar poles to be established in 2024.

About time!

One of the major disappointments of my life is that I will not be alive to see our landing on Mars. There's no excuse for that fact- economic, scientific, or political. The Apollo program more than paid for itself; it's too bad that short-sighted Luddites held us back for so long from a pursuit that would have aided, rather than competed with, our efforts to improve our quality of life here on Earth.

HT: Drudge

Division champs- again! Bears 23, Minnesota Vikings 13

The Bears clinched their second consecutive NFC North championship today. But this year, it's not going to be enough.

Rex has really got to get his act together before the playoffs. After losing our one and only playoff game to a team we'd beaten during the regular season last year, this season is going to be a failure if we don't at least get to the NFC title game. In fact, anything less than a trip to the Super Bowl will be hard to sell as a successful season, division championship or not.

But for now, the mission is securing the top seen in the NFC. Worrying about a Super Bowl berth can wait.

I'm a Grossman backer. His talent is enormous. But he has to stop throwing those ill-advised passes. Rex has all the talent in the world, but he's in a position right now in which potential doesn't make up for a lack of performance. The pressure to bring in Brian Griese at some point is only going to grow until we start seeing the Rex Grossman we saw during the first five…

It is a dark and stormy night

The results of the 2006 Bulwer-Lytton contest for bad writing are in.

I didn't enter this year, and I have to admit that the winners are much better than the paragraph I submitted to a previous contest about a quark, and Stormy Knight- quantum physicist by day, and exotic dancer by night.

The massacre of Iraq's Christians

This article is in German, so it's not an ideal link. But it's an important story that needs to be told.

It seems that the terrorists in Iraq have made a special target of Christians. The title of the story is summarizes the dilemma Iraqi Christians- mostly Catholics of the Chaldean rite- face: "He who remains, dies."

This is pointed out by Der Spiegel- a Leftist German publication. Germany is among the most secularized societies on Earth- and not exactly a hotbed of support for American foreign policy these days. Der Spiegel is even less friendly territory.

Why have we not read more about this in the American media?