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Showing posts from April, 2007

And speaking of Ashton...

Here's the first in a series of videos of deep sky objects, taken through the sixteen-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain in in the East Dome, using light-enhancement technology.

Comparing them with the full-color photos which preceed the videos of each object will give you some idea of the difference between viewing them in an astronomy book on one hand, and a telescope on the other!


Thanks to the Aardvark...

... who has nominated me for a "Thinking Blogger" award! Right back atcha. And no, I haven't forgotten!

Unfortunately, I've been off line all week, and the computer I'm using right now doesn't have the capability to cut and past links. So I'll be responding more completely- and nominating my own five Thinking Bloggers... anon.

The worst-case scenario

My recent exchange with Eric Dondero has raised anew an interesting- though probably irrelevant- question: what to do if RINO Rudy somehow wins the nomination?

He won't, of course, I'd be surprised if his candidacy is viable after New Hampshire; the rank-and-file party activists are simply not going to accept a pro-choice presidential nominee. True, he promises to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who follow the "original intent" standard. But how, then, does one understand his high opinion of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, probably the Court's most radical current member? I'm not sure I put a lot of faith in Rudy Giuliani's concept of what constitutes "original intent!"

Dick Morris sees the race coming down to Giuliani and Fred Thompson, with Giuliani winning because "the war on terror trumps abortion." If Thompson were as vulnerable on the war on terror as Giuliani is on abortion and gay "marriage," he might have a point. But the f…

Sad news

Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

During my youthful existentialist period, his writing helped me make sense of the world. Even thought I no longer see the world as he did, I am saddened by the passing of this witty, talented writer of books which- whatever one may think of them philosophically- never failed to entertain.

Thompson passes McCain in Bloomberg poll!

At least one poll last week had Fred Thompson challenging John McCain for second place in the 2008 GOP political derby. But now, a Bloomberg poll has FDT passing McCain and taking over second place.

Since first place is occupied by RINO Rudy Giuliani, whose support among caucus and primary voters will evaporate the instant his positions on abortion and other social issues become widely known- the new poll effectively makes Thompson- as yet an undeclared candidate- the front runner!

Giuliani has 29% in the survey of probable GOP primary voters. Thompson has 15%, and McCain has 12%.

Mitt Romney is fourth with eight percent. There can be no real doubt that the "Big Three" are really Giuliani, McCain and Thompson- and that of the three, Thompson is the guy with the best shot once the candidates and their positions become better known. The nomination is virtually his for the asking.

And for what it's worth, an overnight survey of GOP activists shows Fred Thompson with a commandin…

A question for Eric Dondero

Hey, Eric ....

What part of

I think Roe vs. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges. I don’t think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country. It’s contrary to what it’s been the past 200 years.

...don't you understand?

Dondero, on the other hand, is just plain disingenous

Whatever might be true of the Evangelicals for Mitt story, this cleverly disingenous piece of nonsense by Eric Dondero has got to be a deliberate smear.

Dondero pretends that Thompson still holds the position on abortion he briefly held in the early 'Nineties- even going so far as to misrepresent the present positon of Rudy Giuliani- who favors Federal funding of abortions- as being Thompson's position (he didn't favor it even back in the time Dondero writes about!).

Dondero's agenda is interesting. A libertarian, he at least presents himself as applauding Thompson for holding the position he in fact has long since renounced. He seems to be a Giuliani man operating under the misapprehension that, even if somehow nominated, a candidate with Giuliani's position on social issues could even carry the party's base!

ADDENDUM: As the comments show, Dondero wasn't being disingenous. Just really, really misinformed.

An apology to Evangelicals for Mitt

A while back, I wrote a couple of posts accusing Evangelicals for Mitt of bearing false witness against Fred Thompson for claiming that he had not been pro-life his entire career. It appears that I was the one bearing false witness.

I've come across the actual text of a letter Sen. Thompson wrote early in his career in which he takes an essentially "libertarian" position: no Federal funding of abortion, but also no banning of it. This was over a decade ago, and his consistently pro-life record since then, it seems to me, negates any comparison with Gov. Romney's relatively recent conversion to the cause- a comparison which the Evangelicals for Mitt post was intended to suggest. Of course, I've been on record for a very long time in saying that I'm glad Gov. Romney has seen the light, and that I don't think his relatively recent change of position ought to be held against him.

Still, I owe Evangelicals for Mitt and the blogger at NROwho initially made the …

Carnival time!

At Easter? Ah, well.

Lutheran Carnival XLVII is up at Aardvark Alley!

He is risen indeed!

I didn't manage to get online yesterday, but I want to wish everyone a blessed Season of the Resurrection.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

A watersblogged! welcome to Esgetology

A hearty welcome to the Lutheran blogosphere for Esgetology, the blog of the Rev. Christopher Esget, my former pastor down at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

If this guy is half as good a blogger as he is a preacher (and as a pastor generally), he'll ascend to the top of the TTLB foodchain in record time.

Welcome, Pastor Esget, to the company of confessional Lutheran bloggers!

The LCMS- past, present, and possibly future- in a nutshell

This essay by Dr. Wallace Schultz- the former Lutheran Hour speaker and synodical vice-president who was the highest-ranking LCMS official not directly involved in the Benke controversy, did his job as such by suspending Dr. Benke, and got fired for it-is very, very long. My protracted, frustrating experience as an ELCA pastor trying to warn the sheep under my care of the less-than-beneficent intentions of the wolves they were so deeply in love with (including some of the very wolves Dr. Schultz identifies) makes it all too clear to me that even if the essay were short and concise, the people who most need to read it wouldn't bother. And I don't necessarily agree with everything Dr. Schultz says.

But for the most part, the essay is an absolutely right-on summary not only of the current mess the LCMS is in, but of how we got there. In fact, it traces the entire history of the LCMS, together with the great crises- past (and often unresolved) as well as present- which have defined…

Good Friday: the most important day of the Church Year

In the Western Church, the Christian holiday that gets all the play is Christmas. That's the one day of the year everything is closed, and everybody takes the day off. Even non-Christians often celebrate what has become a secular, universal side of a specifically Christian holiday. Doubtless the Roman Catholic emphasis on the Incarnation as the center of the Faith plays a role here. Then, too, there's the rich secular tradition of Christmas in the West. It's a season famous for filling believer and non-believer alike with "the Christmas spirit." Even unbelieving homes are often visited by Santa Claus. And if one is a believer, the Christmas Eve candlelight service and the singing of Silent Night is a high point of one's spiritual year. The plentitude of sacred Christmas carols- known, at least to some extent, by nearly everyone, so completely do they permeate the culture- makes Christmas perhaps the one day of the year when it's hardest to ignore the Chri…

Dobson's people respond

After Dr. James Dobson's bizarre comments on the question of whether or not Fred Thompson is a Christian, I sent the following email to his organization, "Focus on the Family:"

Dr. Dobson is reported as having made the public statement that former Sen. Fred Thompson "is not a Christian," based upon Sen. Thompson's failure to speak about his faith often enough to satisfy him.

If these reports are true, Dr. Dobson needs to publicly repent of the false witness he has borne against Sen. Thompson, as well as of the presumption by which he dares pontificate upon the content of another's heart. An idiosyncratic use of the term "Christian" as a synonym for "evangelical Christian" is no excuse; rather, that inappropriate and arrogant usage itself is a bearing of false witness against all believers in Christ who fail to identify with that movement, or manifest whatever behaviors or vocabulary Dr. Dobson may presume to insist upon.

Dr. Dobson, if …

Great news for the Cubs- in the long term

The baseball season began yesterday on a note of hope for the Cubs.

No, not their 5-1 Opening Day loss to the Reds- though after winning on Opening Day the past few seasons and then crashing, maybe even that was a good sign. Nor the beginning of the Lou Pinella era, despite Lou being the guy I've wanted the Cubs to hire as their manager for years.

The Tribune has been sold to a new owner- and the Cubs will be sold at the end of the season.

This figured to be a transitional year, anyway. Desperate to save his job, General Manager Jim Hendry spent like crazy during the off-season. Obviously I'm not going to gripe about Alfonso Soriano joining the team- though a fly ball pitcher like Ted Lilly and what was surely the oddest free agent signing even in the warped, bizarre history of the franchise, Jason Marquis (is that laughter I hear coming from St. Louis?) hardly were the best possible additions to the pitching staff. Mark DeRosa had a great season last year, but his career hardly …