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Showing posts from March, 2008

Conservative blogosphere rallying to McCain

It seems appropriate to begin a blog that will be largely political- and one which supports the candidacy of Sen. McCain- by noting that not many weeks ago I came across an article suggesting a dearth of support for the senator in the blogosphere. There was no groundswell of support for John McCain, it was alleged, that came close to matching that for Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton or even Mike Huckabee.

It does my heart good, therefore, to note that the conservative blogosphere is at length coming through for John McCain after all- and that it's being noticed in the MSM.

Personally, I never doubted it.

Charges dropped against Haditha marine

Charges against LCpl Stephen Tatum have been dropped in the inquiry into the Haditha incident.

The incident, in which Marines were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents using civilians as human shields, took place on November 19, 2005. It resulted in a number of civilian casualties. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) and others tried to portray the incident as a My Lai-style massacre of innocent civilians by berserk Americans, and charges were brought gainst Tatum and three other Marines. TIME sensationalized the charges with a prejudicial and one-sided article on the incident, and a major scandal seemed to be brewing.

But in the meantime, the case has steadily fallen apart, and the evidence has begun to suggest an exercise in self-defense in which innocent people happened to be tragically caught in the line of fire. Needless to say, we haven't heard much in the media about Haditha since the case began to unravel, and the news about LCpl Tatum seems to be a further development in the process.

Democrats caught in a time-warp where Iraq is concerned

While Barack Obama's patent lack of qualifications for the White House and Hillary Clinton's less than stellar resume prevent me from endorsing the main argument of this article, it does contain four remarkable paragraphs which point out facts the American people need to meditate upon:
The Democrats and most of the national media seem not to have noticed that the defeatist truisms about Iraq have passed their sell-by date. Senator Clinton and Senator Obama seem to assume that the great majority of their countrymen recognize the Iraq expedition to have been a disaster and that that is the end of it.

The latest intelligence findings in Iraq, generally ignored by the national and world media, detailing Saddam Hussein’s long and extensive promotion of terrorism, leave the Republicans with plenty of room to reargue the casus belli. Iraq’s 75% reduction in violence, 30% increase in oil production, taming of al-Sadr and other factional leaders, and possibly the world’s highest annual e…

Obama, Clinton misrepresent McCain's '100 year' remark

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been loudly misrepresenting Sen. McCain's remark that we might well be in Iraq for one hundred years- in the same sense that we've been "in" Japan for sixty, and "in" South Korea for fifty. Iraq is a strategic location in a volatile part of the world, and there's a big difference between having troops stationed there indefinitely and fighting a war there indefinitely.

That Sen. McCain was talking about the former, and not the later, is patent from the context of his remarks. There is no excuse for the Democrats suggesting otherwise. It simply isn't honest.

Charles Krauthammer opines on the subject here.

The "Issues, Etc." debacle

Since I'm no longer affiliated with the Missouri Synod, I haven't been in a hurry to comment on the odd decision of KFUO radio in St. Louis- the "house" station of the LCMS- to cancel its nationally popular radio show, the Rev. Todd Wilken's "Issues, Etc.," allegedly because it wasn't widely listened to in the St. Louis market.

In fact, of course, the show has been a forum for the kind of historical, sacramental, confessional Lutheranism out of favor with the church-growthy, "purpose driven," methobapitcostal-leaning current leadership of the Missouri Synod. The political motivation of the move is transparent.

Lutheran journalist Mollie Ziegler Hemingway examines the controversy here.

The current LCMS president, the Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, has famously remarked that "this is not your grandfather's Missouri Synod." Well, while the congregation I'm currently serving is independent, and my actual grandfathers were respectively …

Democrats prepare to self-destruct

A new Gallup poll shows that 28% of Hillary Clinton's backers would vote for John McCain if BarackObama gets the Democratic nomination, whereas 19% of Obama's supporters would vote for McCain if Hillary gets the nomination.

In spite of two consecutive Republican presidential terms, a deteriorating economy, George W. Bush's unpopularity and the bad odor that lingers over the Republican brand in the nostrils of the electorate, John McCain is in an excellent position to win this November. His appeal- unique among this year's Republican candidates- to Democrats and independents is part of it. But then, there's also the circular firing squad the Democrats seem to be assembling.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Twisting the cross

It might be interesting this Good Friday to examine "another Gospel," one of the many counterfeits floating around the shallow precincts of our theologically bankrupt "mainline" churches these days. It's the heresy that spawned the ravings of Barack Obama's former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and offers- believe it or not- a rational explanation for how he got from Calvary to... well, where he got.

I'm talking about Liberation Theology, the strange distortion of the Christian Gospel and the very significance of Christ which arose in Latin America a few decades ago, gave birth to Feminist Theology (and a great many other abominations), and was all the rage at Wartburg Seminary back in the 'Eighties when I went there. It's still the bread and butter (ergot-infested though it be) of those who inhabit the bizarre never-never land of what passes for theology in the ELCA.

If you read the article linked to above, you will quickly grasp its essence…

Ecce Homo: A Good Friday sermon

Ecce Homo!
John 19:5
Good Friday
March 21,2008

Anybody who's seen the movie Fat Man and Little Boy will remember the incident.

Dr. Michael Merriman and the other scientists of the Manhattan Project were excited. A critical experiment was about to be performed which, if successful, would prove that the atomic bomb was a practical idea.

A plutonium sphere was being surrounded by neutron-reflecting tungsten-carbide blocks, which reduce the mass necessary for the plutonium to go critical. That's just a fancy way of saying that they were putting that chuck of plutonium on a hair trigger, to facilitate a small-scale experiment it ordinarily would have taken a much larger and more dangerous chuck of the stuff to perform.

As the last brick was being lowered into place, everybody leaned forward in expectation. One of the scientists had been drinking a cup of tea. He set it down next to him- not realizing that he was putting it on the very edge of a chair.

The cup fell- and shattered. Th…

McCain continues to lead both Obama and Clinton in the polls

Not only has John McCain's recent- and admittedly slight- lead in the polls over both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton held up, but it's increased slightly.

Those who maintain that an Obama presidency is inevitable will find that position increasingly difficult to maintain, given that the Republican party is going to nominate the only Republican candidate whose positive personal "brand" among independents and moderates overcomes the negative "brand" of the party itself.

In other words, what's happening is pretty much what the polls have been telling us all year, though few of us wanted to hear it: John McCain is probably the only one of the men who ran for the 2008 Republican nomination who ever had a chance to win in November. He's the only one the independents and moderate Democrats George W. Bush carried twice- and whom any Republican has to carry in order to win- would have ever considered voting for.

And as of now, they're picking him over bot…

St. Paddy Redux

I'm working a full-time job as well as serving a parish these days, and I didn't have time to do a St. Patrick's Day post. But I can't let the day pass without comment.

So just like the networks during the writers' strike, I've decided to go with a re-run. Here's my St. Paddy's Day post from two years ago:

My father used to say that there were two kinds of people in this world: those who were Irish, and those who wished they were.

Today is the day when everybody pretends to be Irish. Well, not everybody; here and there, one spies a miscreant with nary a scrap o' the Green about his or her person. But St. Patrick's Day is the ethnic holiday most widely celebrated by the culture generally, even outside of the ethnic group for whom it is a special observance- and even those who forebear to wear the Green this day out of an honest though sad awareness that they, themselves, are not fortunate enough to have Irish blood still feel a touch of the magic.

Why is the Wright tirade only coming out now?

Some good points raised in this round table discussion on FOX News concerning Barack Obama's moonbat minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

One of the most telling, I think, is that Rev. Wright's bizarre anti-American tirade has been out there for quite a while- yet only now are the media discovering it. In fact, Barack Obama remains basically an unknown quantity, unvetted by the adoring media.

Who knows what skeletons may yet abide in the Obama closet to pop out like so many jack-in-the-boxes at the most awkward possible moments in the upcoming campaign? Buyer's remorse may well be the lot of the swooning Democrats so eager now to anoint Barack Obama as their nominee.

More on whether Barack Obama could be a racial messiah without being an African American

Now here is a spectacularly sily response by Ruben Navarrette to Geraldine Ferraro's remarks about how Barack Obama wouldn't be in the position he's in if he weren't black.

It would obviously be silly to say that either being an African-American or a woman in itself is a "golden ticket" to the White House. But again, that's not what Ms. Ferraro said. In fact, she was quite forthright in making the same point Navarrette makes: that Ferraro herself would never have gotten to be the 1984 Democratic vice-presidential nominee were she had not been a woman!

Sen. Obama owes his success thus far in the campaign partially to an eloquence and a charisma which doubtless would eventually have taken any politician far. In time, I have no doubt that a man of Sen. Obama's intellect and talent would have assembled a record which would have made him a very formidable candidate for the White House on his own merits. But what he is right now is a senator in the third year…

Barack Obama's pastor...

... is a barking moonbat.

I can well understand an African-American feeling a certain ambivalence about a country which enslaved his people and has treated them shabbiliy ever since. But the same country has also given them a degree of freedom and- yes- even a standard of living unknown in much of the world.

And the business about the U.S. deliberately spreading AIDS in Africa is as crazy as a Ron Paul supporter's paranoid delusions about the fictitious "North American Union," a "truther's" unreasoning conviction that George W. Bush was responsible for 9-11, or a Revisionist's intellectually dishonest denial that the Holocaust actually happened- and as a deliberate policy of the Hitler government, too.

ADDENDUM: Here, in fairness, is Obama's response to Rev. Wright's bizarre remarks:

Pray for Rick Sutcliffe

The star pitcher of the first Chicago Cubs team to play in the post-season since 1945 will undergo surgery and chemotherapy as treatment for colon cancer.

Rick Sutcliffe- the National League Cy Young Award winner that year- went 19-1. There are those who believe that if he had started Game Four of the NLCS that year, the Cubs would have gone to the World Series.

Gerry Ferraro is almost right- but not quite

1984 Democratic vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro is blaming the Obama campaign for the furor over her comment that if Barack Obama wasn't an African-American, he wouldn't be where he is today.

Her remark is almost on target. True enough, Obama is still in the third year of his first term in the U.S. Senate- a great deal more of which has been spent running around the country being a "rock star" than taking care of business in Washington. Obama's resume for the White House effectively consists of his tenure in the Illinois State Legislature!

But it's not primarily Obama's race that has made this absolutely unqualified candidate such a hot commodity. It's his eloquence and charisma- with the addition, of course, of the media's adulation. The degree to which his race facilitates the fashionability of that adulation among the liberal media is, of course, another question.

Obama's remark that if he were picking a route to the White House …

David Mamet comes to his senses. To a point.

Ex-Chicagoan playwright David Mamet has announced that he is no longer a "brain dread liberal."

Huzzah. Glad to see him coming to his senses.

Of course, he's wrong about one thing: George W. Bush did not steal Florida in 2000, and neither did he steal the election. Rather Al Gore's Democrats labored mightily to do both, with the assistance of the media; until subjective methods began to be used by Democratic election officials (and eventually authorized by partisan Democratic judges, including the majority of the Florida Supreme Court) to ascertain voter "intent," no irregularities of any kind were detected in Florida. Many allegations of minority voter suppression were advanced, but the only actual evidence was that of a strongly Republican Haitian precinct which had to close because it was physically disrupted by Democrat goons. And manual recounts of punch-card elections has always been a notorious opportunity for vote fraud; one Democratic specialist in t…

The latest from the watersblogged! veep poll

Mitt Romney currently leads our vice-presidential poll with ten votes, followed by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with eight. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has six. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has five. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson has four; California Rep. Duncan Hunter and Secretary of State Condi Rice have three each; and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, and "Other" have two each. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence each have one.

The totals:

Who should John McCain pick as his running mate?

46 answers have been submitted.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour

4% (2 votes)
Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn

0% (0 votes)
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Coburn

0% (0 votes)
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist

2% (1 vote)
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint

0% (0 votes)
North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole

0% (0 votes)
Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani

4% (2 votes)
Former Arkansas…

"Good" serial killers, "good" demons, and other oxymorons

Have you caught Dexter on CBS?

The hero- appropriately enough, named "Dexter-" is a serial killer. Yes, that's what I said. Not to fear, though. He's a good serial killer.

It seems that his adoptive father realized, tendencies... and encouraged him to channel his urges into killing people who needed it (in theory, other serial killers, mob hit-men, drug dealers, rapists and other such individuals who could not, for some reason, be successfully prosecuted. I say "in theory" because sometimes it isn't clear that anybody- Dexter included- ever made an effort in that direction).

Originally a Showtime series, Dexter is quite controversial. It should be- even though segments in which Dexter dismembers living victims are handled more tastefully in the CBS version than on Showtime.

Somehow, this reminds me of Hellboy, the "good" demon rescued from Nazi warlocks by Allied forces and enlisted in the cause of goodness, on one hand- and both Dark H…

An arrogant German stops being both

Arrogant, anti-American Europeans have become something of a comic stereotype in this country; a recent episode of The Simpsons even lampooned them. I recall meeting a few of them during my seminary days. I've encountered more on-line.

This is the story of a man who used to be one of them- but isn't anymore.

Pope Benedict to issue statement "rehabilitating" Martin Luther?

Pope Benedict XVI- apparently anxious to undo ecumenical damage done when he (quite properly, given Roman Catholic teaching) called the ecclesial status of Protestant churches into question last July- is about to issue a statement rehabilitating Martin Luther, arguing that Luther intended to be a reformer, not a schismatic.

Apparently Luther's excommunication will stand- for now, at least. Stay tuned.

Did Soviet cosmonauts die before Gagarin?

Pravda is claiming that Yuri Gagarin was not, after all, the first human being in space. The Russian news agency now says that he was merely the first human being to come back alive.

And there are those, it seems, who even question that.

"Pravda" means "Truth-" a quality not historically associated with the agency's assertions. That being the case, its claims should always be taken with a cartload of salt. But it's hard to see an ulterior motive in the story claiming that three Soviet cosmonauts named Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov died in failed sub-orbital flights in 1957, 1958, and 1959, respectively. It should be noted that Sputnik I- the first artificial satellite- was only placed into orbit in 1957; apparently, if the Pravda story is true, the Soviets started trying to put human beings into space almost immediately thereafter!

Rumors of failed Soviet attempts to send human beings into space prior to Gagarin have persisted for decades, fueled by the cl…

A commemoration we forgot: +St. Patrick Hamilton+

The other day one of the local TV stations did a story about a lady in a Grinnell nursing home who was having her 25th birthday- even though she was born one hundred years ago.

It was "Leap Day," aka Sadie Hawkins' Day, aka February 29. It only comes once every four years. And since it will be four years before I get another opportunity, I thought I'd add a commemoration we shouldn't let get by. If I had ever hosted the Lutheran Carnival, it would have been the one I would have used as a theme. As it is, the Carnival has been suspended- for the most part because Lutheran bloggers like myself were derelict in sending in entries.

I hope it comes back soon, and we get a chance for amendment. But I digress. February 29 was the birthday into eternal life of a relatively unknown reformer who- since I am a Lutheran of Scotch-Irish descent- is of special significance to me.

Sometime in the year 1504- we don't know the exact date- a grandson was born to King James II…

That's it!

John McCain is over the top!

As today's primaries gave Sen. McCain more than the 1,191 delegates he needed to be certain of nomination on the first ballot in St. Paul this September, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee reportedly was preparing a statement for delivery later tonight officially withdrawing from the race.

People unclear on the whole concept

Those of you with long enough memories may recall the incident above, in which Al Gore tried to intimidate George W. Bush during one of the 2000 debates by walking up behind him and glowering as Bush was talking.

Bush effectively won the debate- and the presidency- by springing a trap: that dismissive little "Oh. Hi there!" nod made Gore look like a pompous bully, and Bush like the very kind of cool, unflappable type one would want to be the one with his finger on the button. The moment made Bush seem as good-natured as Gore seemed humorless, and as self-possessed as Gore was perpetually on the verge of apoplexy.

Even Gore had the grace to laugh at himself.

I raise the issue because the YouTube video above was linked to by liberal columnist Jeff Greenfield in a Slate article making the very point that it's what Barak Obama (the relaxed analog of 2000's George W. Bush) is essentially doing to earnest, overwrought Hillary Clinton in this year's Democratic race. But wh…

Current vice-presidential poll results

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin currently leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by a single vote my vice-presidential poll. Apparently Patrick Ruffini's listing of report yesterday as a Mitt Romney article, combined with referrals by search engines responding to inquiries about Gov. Palin, produced a flurry of visits from Romney and Palin supporters.

Well... several visits, anyway.

The current results:

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour
2% (1 vote)
Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn
0% (0 votes)
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Coburn
0% (0 votes)
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist
2% (1 vote)
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint
0% (0 votes)
North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole
0% (0 votes)
Former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani
2% (1 vote)
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
5% (2 votes)
California Rep. Duncan Hunter
10% (4 votes)
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman
0% (0 votes)
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
21% (8 votes)
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
7% (3 votes)
Indiana Rep. Mike Pence
2% (1 vo…

Democrat defectors to McCain would outnumber Republican defectors to Obama by two-to-one!

We hear a lot about those Republicans who- incomprehensibly- plan to reject John McCain over a relatively few points of disagreement with him and vote instead for Barak Obama, probably the most radical Leftist Democrat his party will have ever nominated.

But what you may not have heard is that, according to at least one poll, twice as many supporters of Hillary Clinton plan to defect to John McCain if Obama is the nominee.

In fact, according to the Pew survey, fully twenty-five per cent of Democrats who support Hillary Clinton would vote for McCain in November!

HT: Blogs for John McCain

BREAKING NEWS: Huckabee out tonight or tomorrow

Multiple sources are reporting that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will withdraw from the presidential race either tonight or tomorrow.

Arizona Sen. John McCain will clinch the nomination today, receiving enough additional delegates to be mathematically assured of nomination on the first ballot at St. Paul in September.

HT: Blogs for John McCain

Earth to the anti-McCain Right!

There are a great many conservatives who have become so completely deranged that they would rather John McCain- with whom they disagree on a comparatively small number of issues- be defeated by Barak Obama, with whom they disagree about practically everything.

Nobody, to paraphrase P.T. Barnum, will ever go broke underestimating the capacity of those at a certain point on the conservative spectrum for self-destructive irrationality.

But for those reluctant to support McCain who do possess a modicum of rationality, this should help.

An update on my vice-presidential poll

With 29 votes cast, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin- no doubt aided by the endorsement of Rush Limbaugh- is tied with Mitt Romney for the lead in my poll sampling support for various potential John McCain running mates. Each has four votes.

California Rep. Duncan Hunter and Secretary of State Condi Rice come next, with three votes each. Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, and "Other" each have two.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, and former former Secretary of State Colin Powell have one each.

Will the Cubs' new owner be... a Lutheran minister?

And an African-American Lutheran minister at that?

Of course, it's not clear from the article whether he's actually Lutheran, or ELCA. But still...

ADDENDUM: It seems that Pr. Williams is LCMS- which substantially increases (but sadly, these days, does not guarantee) that he is more than a nominal Lutheran.

ADDENDUM II: Regrettably, however, he seems to be a libertarian- which does not speak well of his theology in my book.

Will Buckley's death mark the end of the conservative movement as a force in American politics?

Herein Robert Tracinski of Real Clear Politics makes the case that the notion, advanced by the late Bill Buckley- of a 'fusion' of economic, social, and "security" conservatives is doomed- and was shown to be ultimately futile by the inability of the three wings of the movement to agree on a presidential candidate in 2008.

Tracinski overstates his case. The three branches of American conservatism are hardly mutually exclusive; I myself might be considered either a social or a "security" conservative, and many on the Right also embody two or more of these viewpoints. Further, the difficulty the three conservative groups Tracinski describes had this year in coalescing behind a single, mutually acceptable Republican nominee was to a certain extent a function more of the available choices rather of an inherent impracticality in principle of finding a candidate who can theoretically appeal to all three groups.

Still, Trancinski's viewpoint is one that ought …

Swedes, Indians and religion in America

Here is a remarkably sensible view of America's religious culture from the Wall Street Journal.

"America," I once heard Fr. Richard Neuhaus explain, "is not the most religious society in the world. That would be India. The least religious society in the world is that of Sweden.

"America is, in essence, a nation of Indians whose cultural elites are Swedish- and the Indians are getting restless."

I would not personally agree with the implication of the WSJ article that the state of American spirituality is a healthy one. But there can be no doubt that the American soul is in a great deal better shape than, say, Europe's.

Too many Swedes over there, and not enough Indians.