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Showing posts from February, 2007

Laughable, but not funny

Two news stories in particular struck me as more than ordinarily absurd this week. Absurd- but hardly funny.

One dealt with a claim which, if true, would shake the universe. The other dealt merely with the sporting career of a decent human being who is the victim of a shocking, and repeated, injustice.

First, James Cameron- the producer of Titanic- has made the silly announcement that he has found the tomb of Jesus- with Jesus in it. Also his wife, Mary Magdalene, and their son, Judah.

This one is even lamer than the attempt a while back to prove that a fictional character- John of Gamala- was real, and that Jesus Christ (whose life is better attested in the historical record than, say, that of Socrates) was fictional. The names Yeshua (Jesus) and Miryam (Mary) were the First Century Hebrew equivalent of, say, Bob and Denise. Joseph- the name given on Yeshua's ossuary (coffin) as that of Yeshua's father- was similarly common. If I were somehow to become world famous (probably …

Tales from the Darkside

Well, the political news here in Iowa is dominated by two stories.

The first is the decision of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack- the only Democratic presidential candidate to come right out and advocate cutting off funding for the war in Iraq (and thus cutting the ground out from under our troops)- has dropped out of the race because of money problems and an insurmountable lack of name recognition. Good. He deserved to lose for his irresponsible position on Iraq alone.

The second is that a bill is headed to Gov. Culver's desk authorizing cloning for the purpose of creating human embryos for the express purpose of cannibalizing these living members of our species for spare parts to be used in the probably fruitless pursuit of viable theraputic treatments. Their use almost always result in malignant tumors- unlike less controversial sources of plurapotent stem cells which are already being used to treat various illinesses with success- and the cynical exploitation of the suffering of people who…

Oskie wow-wow, Chief!

Last night, Chief Illiniwek, the University of Illinois mascot who did a dignified wardance at halftime of Fighting Illini football and basketball games from time immemorial, danced his last.

The student who was the last to portray the Chief struggled to maintain the dignified stoicism associated with his role, but a tear or two is very much in order. The brain-dead political correctness which led to this decision is utterly indefensible.

Oskie wow-wow, Chief. You'll be remembered.

Crichton strikes a blow for common sense

Michael Crichton- he of "ER" and Jurassic Park fame, among other creative achievements- was on Charlie Rose last night. I rarely watch that show, not because I dislike Rose (he's a good interviewer and an intelligent man), but because he seems to start out by taking every liberal presupposition as a given. Listening to two liberals engaged in a discussion with whose underlying premises I disagree is generally not an edifying experience for me.

Last night, Dr. Crichton gave Charlie a run for his money. It seems that Dr. Crichton- while favoring steps to decrease CO2 emissions and otherwise minimize human contributions to global warming- has done his homework, and realizes what a small percentage of greenhouse gasses humanity is in fact responsible for. He has also considered what so many do not: the impossibility of accurately predicting climate change, given the fact that climate and weather are chaotic entities whose future course cannot be reliably predicted. In any eve…

Shame on you, Sen. Clinton

I see where Hillary is trying to weasel her way out of having supported the invasion of Iraq by claiming that she- and the American people- were somehow "misled" by President Bush.

Bologna. The information on the basis of which Mr. Bush and Sen. Clinton alike reached the very same conclusion was the information provided by every major intelligence service in the world.

For the Democrats to assert, on the basis of no particular evidence whatsoever, that President Bush intentionally misled the nation into going to war in Iraq is just more of the same childish, uncivil slander that has pretty much constituted the whole of Democratic political discourse for the last seven years. At some point, the Party of Hate is going to have to grow up and realize that name calling and character assassination is no substitute for policy. And Hillary is going to have to grow up and start taking responsibility for her own votes in the Senate, instead of pointing down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Wh…

Sunday Mess

During my vicarage, a member of the congregation published a poem in the parish newsletter bemoaning and beseeching divine protection from "hymns nobody knows." I responded the next month in the same forum with a poem of my own, entitled "Equal Time" and signed, "An Anonymous Vicar:"


The organ plays, the pages turn,
The people out there groan;
Though lips may move the voices raised
Are Pastor's and my own.

"We did not know that hymn," they'll say;
"It surely was distressin.'
You should have picked my favorite one,
Not one that fits the Lesson!"

"A few, good hymns is all we need.
That's what I really think;
To have five hundred sixty-nine
Is just a waste of ink!"

But I suspect there was a time
When that familiar few,
Were hard to sing as mine, today-
'Cause they were also new!

And something also puzzles me,
And needs to be explained:
Are we here for the Means of Grace,
Or to be entertained?


While the reception it received wasn&…

That bogus "Romney vs. Romney" business

An anonymous commenter on the post below (why is it, I wonder, that such commenters are always anonymous? Doesn't say much about their having the courage of their convictions, does it?) left a link to this hit piece from the far Left Boston Globe consisting of a "debate" between the "old" Mitt Romney and the "new" Mitt Romney.

It's worth noticing that in one case (Romney's comments about Reagan), the alleged "contradiction" in fact is no contradiction at all. There is nothing inconsistent about having been neutral toward Ronald Reagan during his presidency and admiring him today. I myself opposed Reagan when he was in the White House. I was horrified when he was elected. Today, I consider him the greatest president of my lifetime. Nor does an admiration for Romney's own father despite his regrettable diction preclude a philosophical affinity for the more ideologically inclined Great Communicator.

The point is that people of integri…

Romney for President

Well, I've waited, weighed and pondered for months- and I think I'm ready to make my choice for 2008. It is, after all, less than a year before the Iowa Caucuses! ;)

I like John McCain. Ok, that puts me in a minority where social conservatives are concerned. But I think he's gotten a bad shake from them. I continue to believe- contrary to the conservative "party line-" that the "Gang of Fourteen" deal was a stroke of genius. It got John Roberts and Sam Alito confirmed to the Supreme Court, and had it not been for Iraq and the black eye immigration hard liners gave the Republicans among Hispanics, it would have undoubtedly gotten President Bush's next appointee confirmed, too- probably giving social conservatives a majority on the court, and our best chance ever for the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Cruzan v. Director, and the other undemocratic and socially destructive instances of amendment of the Constitution by judicial fiat of which the Supreme Court …

When you say, "Bud," you've said a lot more than you know

Court Avenue here in Des Moines is our restaurant and bar district. Denise and I frequently go there to eat or hoist a few or both on special occasions. HessenHaus, a German restaurant/bierstube (where I first discovered schwartzbier, btw) and The Spaghetti Works, run by a Midwestern chain of restaurants whose specialty is rather obvious from the name, are two of our favorite haunts there.

A few months ago Denise and some friends from work had lunch at a place just off Court Avenue called The Royal Mile. An Irish/English/Scottish restaurant and pub, it boasts the largest selection of beers in three states. She told me about it (knowing how much I would appreciate such a place), and I've wanted to check it out ever since.

I finally did on Saturday. Great place. Various Guinness products, Fuller's Porter, Newcastle, Old Speckled Hen, Young's Double Chocolate stout (they throw Cadbury chocolate bars into the vat while it's brewing!), John Courage, and perhaps twenty or th…

Is Jack Bauer bad for us?

Here is an interesting- and thoughtful, though well-spun- liberal critique of one of my favorite television shoes, "24," from The New Yorker.

Many of the points it makes about the torture in which Jack Bauer seems to engage every week are valid: in real life, torture doesn't work (it only elicits information corresponding to what the victim perceives that the torturer wants to hear, whether true or not)- and other interrogation techniques (which unfortunately take too much time to fit into the show's fast-paced, race-against-the-clock premise) are far more effective. And the tactics he uses (and legitimizes) are quite rightly the subject of soul-searching and debate among thoughtful "24" fans of all political stripes.

Still, do you remember seeing many articles like this about the blatant liberal Democratic slant of "The West Wing?"

The current plotline (as, in fairness, the article points out) involves a nefarious hard line advisor to President Palm…

A couple of points from the National Review

Browsing through this month's National Review here at the library, I came across a couple of interesting points I hadn't thought of before in exactly that way.

The first one is of the "duh!" category: Valarie Plamewasn't an undercover operative, but in fact a mere analyst. David Corn- a close personal friend of Plame and her husband, Joseph Wilson- blew a "cover" that didn't exist in the process of falsely accusing Robert Novak of blowing that same non-existent cover (Novak only described Plame- accurately- as an "operative;" the totally false "undercover" part was apparently Corn's own invention).

Not to worry, though; neither Corn nor Novak broke any laws. It isn't against the law to identify someone as simply a CIA employee- information about Plame which was (as Novak pointed out over and over again) available to anyone with access to a copy of Who's Who.

So tell me again: what was that whole Plamegate affair about, a…

We'll be back!

Well, the sports writers were right after all.

Despite a larger than average Bears' offensive line and a smaller than average Indianapolis defensive line, the former was dominated Sunday by the latter. The Bears were unable to run well enough to matter against a team vulnerable to the run. Meanwhile, Rhodes and Addai surprised me by having a good night against the Bears' defensive line. The result: the Colts dominated time of possession, kept the Bears offense off the field-and won the Super Bowl.

The Bears' game plan worked to a "T-" only for the wrong team.

The Colts were my pre-season picks to win at all, and I can't say I am surprised- or disappointed- that, if the Bears had to lose, it was to Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning. They and the rest of the Indianapolis franchise are richly deserving of their moment of triumph. The Bears got their heads handed to them Sunday even in areas of the game where they figured to be superior, and Lovie Smith's post-ga…

It's almost here!

Well, tomorrow is the Big Game.

The Bears still aren't getting any respect. Fine. Let the Colts grow cocky; they may well be in for a surprise.

I hear that weather in Miami is supposed to be rainy and windy tomorrow night. While that's not quite as good as single digits and snow, it still should help.

Prediction: Bears 37, Colts 24.

Going downtown

Not being able to blog every day has greatly affected my life. BTW, due to my discovery that the main Des Moines library offers two hour time limits, I'll be able to blog more frequently (the one hour daily limit at my local branch isn't even enough time to check my email!). I live a great deal closer to downtown Des Moines than I do to the library in West Des Moines, so the blog should return to something at least marginally like its old self. But it may be a while before I'm online again back home, and probably with a new ISP.

Interestingly, while hits are way down on this blog during its relative inactivity , links have actually gone up. Go figure.