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Two from Gene Veith

Gene Veith over at Cranach has made us a Reformation Day present of a multimedia show featuring not only Ein Feste Burg, but some of the art of the Reformation:




And- as an extra bonus- here's some Yalies doing The 95 Theses Rap (presented, as it were, under protest: along with Dr. Veith, I quarrel with that line about anti-Semitism. Luther's uncharacteristic ravings as a crazy old man were never racial even at their worst, William Shirer to the contrary ).



The words are here.

Hat-tips also to Scott Sullivan and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway.

Useful lives

With conscience cocked to listen for the thunder,
He saw the Devil busy in the wind,
Over the chiming steeples and then under
The doors of nuns and doctors who sinned.

What apparatus could stave off disaster
Or cut the brambles of man's error down?
Flesh was a silent dog that bites its master,
World a still pond in which its children drown.

The fuse of Judgement spluttered in his head:
"Lord, smoke these honeyed insects from their hives.
All Works, Great Men, Societies are bad.
The Just shall live by Faith..." he cried in dread.

And men and women of the world were glad,
Who'd never cared or trembled in their lives.


--"Luther"
W.H. Auden
When I was in seminary, I did a little digging for my advisor, Dr. Ralph Quere, and found the poem above in the library. I noted at the time that there is an alternate reading of those last two lines.

Dr. Quere, who preached at my ordination, recalled the incident, and mentioned that he had the impression that I liked the alternate ending be…

Is Obama a socialist? What do the European socialists think?

This article from Die Zeit, a German newspaper with Social Democratic leanings (I'm told that former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt is one of its editors) was sent to me in German by a friend. Please forgive the awkwardness of the translation below. My German is limited, to say the least, and I've had to make use of the best resources available (chiefly Babel Fish and my own very limited knowledge of German syntax). But I've run this chewing-gum-and-bailing-wire translation past my friend, and he says it's pretty accurate.

In any case, at a time when the American media are clucking disapprovingly at John McCain's suggestion that Barack Obama is ideologically a socialist, it seems relevant to ask what European socialists think.

Here's the article, as best I can render it (and again, I'm the first to admit that I don't render it very well):

Obama and Us

The Democrat represents the European model of the welfare state - and is fighting the election for it against th…

Obama's linen closet lies

One evening in 1999, nurse Jill Stanek of the Labor and Delivery Department of Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois had an experience that changed her career- and her life.

Christ Hospital routinely performed second and third-trimester abortions. Particularly favored are what are euphemistically called "induced labor abortions." Premature labor is induced, the baby is born- theoretically before survival is possible- and the baby is simply left to die. In essence, it's passive infanticide, and not really abortion at all.

Hospital guidelines required that the babies be held until they died, and given the "comfort care" of at least a warm blanket. The trouble was that the hospital staff was often too busy. The babies were often simply put in a corner somewhere, and left to die.

One night Jill encountered a colleague who was taking a Down's Syndrome baby she estimated at between 22 and 23 weeks gestation- 24 weeks is generally considered the threshhold for more t…

In case you missed it....

Remember that story I reported a while back that Pope Benedict was considering issuing a statement "rehabilitating" Martin Luther?

Somehow I missed this at the time (chances are that you did, too; the publicity wasn't exactly overwhelming) but the Vatican promptly denied it.

It is to be even further regretted, of course, that the press release from the Catholic News Service linked to above repeats the nonsense that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in any sense resolved the differences between Catholics and at least those Lutherans who actually still hold Luther's doctrine of justification. The document simply finessed the point that "justification," "grace," and "faith" all have different meanings in Lutheran and Catholic theology, rendering mere agreement on a common formula essentially meaningless.

The "Lutheran" participants were from the Lutheran World Federation, membership in which requires only a nomin…

The audacity of hope, to coin a phrase

Ok. Maybe I"m a hope junkie. But as the campaign enters its final week, both the Gallup and the Rasmussen daily tracking polls show John McCain closing to within three percent of Barack Obama.

It should be noted that the Gallup poll still shows a 51%-44% Obama blowout using an expanded likely voter model, based only on current voter intentions and making no assumptions concerning voter turnout.

Dick Morris very reasonably expects the undecideds to vote for McCain; truly undecided voters this late in the campaign generally don't break for the leader.

But Gallup says that only four percent of voters are truly undecided at this stage, expressing no preference at all.

The bottom line: there's nothing wrong with hope- as long as it's born in mind that a McCain victory at this point is still a real long shot.

HT: Drudge

This is bad.

For some unearthly reason, the Cubs put talented young third baseman Casey McGahee on waivers.

The Brewers have claimed him.

As good as Aramis Ramirez is, the Cubs will rue this day.

The Christian Science Monitor reaches the end of the road as a print daily

My late uncle, Walter Munford Harrison, was the managing editor of the Daily Oklahoman (among several other papers) back in the day. He was also president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and edited Stars and Stripes during World War II. Among his other claims to fame was having given both Chester Gould and Bill Mauldin their starts in newspaper cartooning.

His lifelong ambition (never realized) was to edit what he considered the finest daily newspaper in America: the Christian Science Monitor. Uncle Walt and Aunt Anne (my father's sister) were themselves Christian Scientists, as Grandfather and Grandmother Waters had been before them (my grandfather converted to Christian Science after being "healed" of the effects of a stroke which had brought his career as a Presbyterian minister to an end). But Uncle Walt's partiality to the Monitor had nothing to do with religion; with the exception of a single daily article, the paper was scrupulously secular in con…

A cogent literary reference

A German-speaking pastor of my acquaintance just sent me the following:

As I see things unfolding in the run up to the election, I am reminded of a radio play by Max Frisch (a well-known Swiss author), Biedermann und die Brandstifter. The play is known as The Firebugs in English. In form, it resembles a Greek tragedy (there is a chorus-- the fire department-- which shows the moral implications of decisions which are made).

Biedermann is a run of the mill middle class man in a city plagued by arsonists. The arsonists' M.O. is to insinuate themselves into homes, set up shop in the attic and then set the place on fire.

One of the arsonists shows up at Biedermann's home. There are indications of who he is (he has a horse's foot). Biedermann takes him in anyway. The fellow sets up in the attic.

He then brings in his friend. They fill the attic with canisters of gasoline. Biedermann's feelings of guilt over against lower class people are used again and again to encourage him t…

A retraction

I've deleted the post about Barak Obama's 2001 interview in which he discussed the failure of the Supreme Court to mandate the redistribution of income.

If listened to carefully, Obama did not, as I charged, say that the Court should have done so- though it is certainly possible to understand his comment as I understood it initally, as expressing a note of regret that the Court was unable institutionally pull it off. In fairness, that is my interpretation, not his unambiguous position. He actually implied that the Constitution itself- at least "as traditionally interpreted-" would not encourage such an attempt in any case.

The interview certainly is further evidence of something nobody at this point disputes: that Obama favors the redistribution of income either instead of, or along side of, an approach that would grow the economy and make everybody's slice of the pie bigger.

But Obama did not call for the Supreme Court to do the heavy lifting.

ANOTHER RETRACTION: Being fair to Barack....

In the interest of the scrupulous fairness, I've deleted a post from Monday repeating a charge made by Drudge that Barack Obama had called in a 2001 Chicago radio interview for the Supreme Court to pursue the redistribution of wealth.

The post contained a YouTube recording of the interview. Listening to it carefully, I must concede that I was connecting dots Obama did not necessarily draw. What he said in that interview was essentially three things: 1) that the Court had not pursued the redistribution of wealth as a fundamental right in the same way that it had pursued issues like voting rights and access to public accomodations; 2) that the Constitution "at least as traditionally interpreted" would not have been friendly to such an initiative by the Court, which was in any event institutionally unprepared to pursue it; and 3) that legislative and political activity toward that end was desirable.

I still maintain that it is reasonable to hear his comments about the failu…

Bloodworth-Thomason: MSNBC "out of control;" Democrats seize Internet while Republican blogosphere self-destructs

Writer-producer and self-proclaimed liberal Democrat Linda Bloodworth-Thomason says that MSNBC, with its outrageously biased coverage of the current election campaign, is "completely out of control-" and even said that she'd rather have lunch with Sean Hannity than with foaming-at-the-mouth Leftist MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann.

Meanwhile pollster Frank Lutz- going out on a limb and predicting an Obama victory (please note the sarcasm)- said that while Republicans dominate talk radio, Democrats are starting to dominate the Internet- "and I'd rather have the Internet."

So would I. The emergence of the nutroots has been one of the major differences between this campaign and the last. Four years ago, Matt Margolis and Blogs for Bush established a single, well-organized network of political bloggers that dominated this medium and effectively made the case for the president's re-election in the one forum that liberal media bias could not drown out.

But t…

'I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm a journalist'

Here is a remarkable piece by columnist Michael Malone on the media bias in the current presidential campaign- a bias so apparent and so overwhelming that not only professional journalists but even Democratic politicians are getting a little embarrassed by it.

A sample:


If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about M…

Imagine...

...that the mannequin in this story were of Hillary Clinton... or Joe Biden.... or Barack Obama...

Can you even imagine the outraged fury the Left and of the media would unleash?

And why is it that something that's in bad taste when done to a liberal is done to a conservative instead, it becomes funny? Who appointed Al Franken arbiter of our cultural mores?

Here we go again!

Leftist Democratic Congressman Barney Frank wants to reduce military spending by twenty-five percent.

The Clinton administration trashed our military and intelligence capabilities, and paved the way for 9/11. While the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have obviously greatly contributed, another major reason for the Bush Administration's budget deficits has been this administration's efforts to undo the damage.

But if- as appears likely- Barack Obama is elected president a week from Tuesday with an increased Democratic majority, history will likely repeat itself- except it will be worse. Clinton, after all, was a moving force in the sometimes-Centrist Democratic Leadership Conference; Obama will be the first president the McGovern wing of the party has ever elected.

HT: Drudge

O freedom!

John 8:31-36
The Festival of the Reformation (Observed)
October 26, 2008


31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Dear friends in Christ: Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

"If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

So Jesus promises us. But what, finally, is freedom? The absence of constraint? A political condition characteristic of Western …

Barack Obama: McGovernite in sheep's clothing

Rich Lowry herein makes the point I've been making all along: Barack Obama's carefully cultivated image as a moderate is all smoke and mirrors, folks.

Scratch Obama, and you'll find a McGovernite extremist of the very type the American electorate has been rejecting for thirty-six years.

It's just that old Barack is very, very good at hiding it.

And of course, he has help from a syncophantic media.

RETRACTION: McCain worker made up story about attack and mutilation by Obama supporter

She lied.

To Pittsburgh's police and to Obama supporters generally, I apologize.

I do not retract my concern over the fanaticism of the lunatic Left as well as the lunatic Right, or the additional dangers posed by the emotionalistic cult of personality surrounding Sen. Obama.

But here we have a perfect example- admittedly a better publicized one than most- of what happens when conservatives emulate the Bush-haters of the past eight years and lie about Sen. Obama- who is not a Muslim, did not studdy in a madrassa, does not hate America, is not either a terrorist or a willing supporter of terrorists, and who is simply unqualified to be president and wrong about the issues.

Will the wingnuts learn? Nope. Their spiritual cousins on the Left didn't learn after eight years of lying about George W. Bush, after all. And moonbat on one hand and wingnut on the other finally have a great deal more in common than otherwise.

Florida GOP official's house shot up

Seminole County, Florida Republican Headquarters manager Rog Coverely's home has been has been shot up. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and damage seems to be minimal.

He owes no money to the mob. He is not a drug dealer. His political activitie are strictly limited to North America. So what happened? Coverley thinks he knows.

"All I can tell you is this," he says. "I have a very good relationship with my neighbors. I mow my lawn. The only thing that has changed is I have two McCain signs in my front yard."

Coverley's office, he reports, has received calls about 300 some-odd McCain-Palin signs that have been either stolen or vandalized recently in Seminole County.

The author of this blog- who does not, it should be said, live in Florida- has thus far gotten away with only one McCain bumper sticker ripped off his car.

There's a pattern beginning to develop here. I have no doubt that the messianic fervor with which many support Barack Obama is creating an atmos…

Obama's "Born Alive" lies- and the campaign to defend them

A reader of this post named Michael has added a comment, a large segment of which seems to be appearing pretty much word-for-word wherever on the web Barack Obama's lies about the circumstances surrounding his opposition to the 2003 Illinois Born Alive Act- requiring medical assistance for babies who survive attempted abortions- are being pointed out.

Obama and his supporters claim that the bill was unnecessary, since a law supposedly was "already in place" protecting survivors of abortions. In fact, the law in question had been rendered unenforcable by a consent decree signed by Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris a full decade before the bill in question was even introduced! The 1975 law thereafter protected only infants the abortionist himself believed to be "viable." No matter what the objective medical facts, if the abortionist decided that an infant wasn't "viable" the law offered it no protection whatsoever.

Hence, it became impossible to…

Pittsburgh McCain worker has "B" carved into her face by mugger of undetermined motive

A worker for John McCain in Pittsburgh has been attacked and mutilated by someone enraged by her audacity in having a McCain sticker on her own car.

Myself, I only had a McCain sticker torn off of mine.

Now, if McCain is responsible for lunatic fringe Republicans saying that Obama is a Muslim, being racists, and failing to brush regularly, does this mean that Barack needs to take the fall for assault and battery?

Just thought I'd check.

In any event, it certainly is further evidence of the scary fanaticism that seems to inspire certain disciples of The One. And what's good for the goose, etc.

ADDENDUM: In fairness, it should be reported that the McCain worker in question is being given a polygraph test because of "inconsistencies" in her story- though it should be noted that police expand upon their comment that her story has "changed" by indicating that she merely added details.

It will be interesting to see whether the results are released, and when. That could…

McCain worker NOT attacked and mutilated

A McCain worker has been attacked and savagely mutilated in Pittsburgh by someone enraged by her audacity in displaying a McCain bumper sticker.

She had a "B" cut into her face.

Hmmm. By the logic the Democrats are using in holding John McCain and Sarah Palin responsible every time the Republican lunatic fringe repeats some nutty story about Obama being a Muslim, I guess Barack needs to be picked up for assault and battery, eh?

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: She made it up. It never happened.

And as is the case when conservative extremists accuse Obama of being a terrorist or a Muslim or otherwise act like the average Bush-hater of the past eight years, legitimate charges concerning of Obama's policies and record are discredited in the public mind, and an Obama presidency becomes just a little more inevitable.

HT: Drudge

On the Cult of the Chosen One

Here are some interesting thoughts on that creepy, messianic cult of personality that surrounds Barack Obama, and what it's all about, anyway.

I'm back

It's been a while since I posted to this blog. There are various personal reasons for that, which I'm not going to get into now.

Suffice it to say that a great deal has happened since then. The Wall Street Collapse, for one thing. What looked on paper to be a close election has turned (sadly, but not surprisingly) into what looks more and more like an Obama blowout.

Then, too, there were the debates- in which style seems to have essentially triumphed over substance, but which I doubt really affected the presidential race either way.

FactCheck.org and other monitors of candidate truth have failed miserably. I'll be blogging shortly about one incredible matter in which superficial research by FactCheck not only confirmed an Obama argument as factual in one entry which it outed as a falsehood in another, but completely ignored (or failed to notice) a material fact which tossed its vindication of Obama into a cocked hat.

Sadly, Colin Powell- a man I've admired for a long tim…

This has to be said- and loudly

Even Colin Powell, it seems, has decided to play the favorite game of left winger and journalist alike these days: the throwing out of carefully unspecific innuendoes implicating John McCain, Sarah Palin and their supporters generally in the idiotic smears against Barack Obama that the lunatic fringe of the Republican party has engaged in.

I don't see any corresponding attempt to blame Barack Obama or Joe Biden for the lie that Sarah Palin's daughter is Trig's real mom, or that Gov. Palin and/or her husband are members of the Alaska Independence Party, or that Gov. Palin refers to dinosaurs as "Satan's lizards," or that war hero John McCain was viewed as a traitor by his fellow inmates at the Hanoi Hilton... well, you get the idea.

But none of this is surprising. The Left has run on hate ever since it tried and failed to stuff the ballot box for Al Gore in that crooked manual recount in Florida in 2000. Hate- and the projection of its own capacity for hate onto…

An objective (really!) look at Barack Obama

Here is a painfully balanced and objective analysis of Barack Obama as a public figure.

He is not- as an email I received the other day literally insisted- the Antichrist. Nor is he the Christ, as so many others seem to believe.

He is somebody the media had an obligation to help us get to know in the past few months- and they've failed miserably.

Yes, he's a complicated man. But that means that there's all that much less excuse for the fact that the guy is probably about to be elected president of the United States- and he's all but unvetted.

Murtha says his constituents aren't racists after all. Just "rednecks."

John Murtha was once a war hero who, more recently, has busied himself slandering American Marines.

He was one of the chief publicizers of the Haditha incident, in which a firefight between American forces and Iraqi insurgents resulted in the deaths of numerous Iraqi civilians caught in the middle. In this miscarriage of justice he ws aided and abetted by one of the most irresponsible pieces of sensationalistic journalism in modern times- a TIME hatchet job which presented the incident as precisely what Murtha claimed: a massacre by berserk Americans. In fairness, the initial NCIS investigation came to the same conclusion.

Since then, all but one of the Marines involved has been formally exhonerated, and it has become clear that this was, indeed, a case of their simply having defended themselves in an ambush. Murtha, however, stands by his slander.Now he's also slandering his constituents.

After only recently apologizing for calling the Western Pennsylvania voters he represents racis…

The "support Obama or you're a racist" meme in action

It seems that Dr. Frank Armstrong of Clearwater, Florida has a McCain-Palin sticker on his bumper.

As of this morning, he also has a burned American flag on the hood of his car, which has cigarette burns all over it and the initials "KKK" scratched into the paint, along with numerous obscenities.

"This is definitely a hate crime," Dr. Armstrong remarked.

Y'think?

Dead goldfish sent voter registration materials in suburban Chicago

For the dead to vote is not particularly unusual in Chicago, hometown to both Barack Obama and yours truly. So it is by no means a surprise the late Princess Nudelman received has been sent voter registration materials by a group which has previously- but not presently- cooperated with the notorious ACORN in voter registration efforts.

Nevertheless, election officials in Lake County-the highly Republican juristiction where the late Ms. Nudelman once resided- took special notice of this particuar incident.

Princess Nudelman, you see, was a goldfish.

Turns out that there was nothing fishy about the incident, however. The late Ms. Nudelman's landlord, Obama supporter Beth Nudelman, used Princess's name when she arranged for a second telephone line to accomodate her home computer- and the "Women's Voices- Women's Vote" campaign to register single women apparently got her name from the phone company.

Since the fish was indeed unmarried, all of this is quite understand…

Rolling Stone slanders an American hero

Anyone looking for the real mud being slung in this campaign need not dwell too long on the question of whether John McCain is exaggerating the degree to which Barack Obama's past associations with Bill Ayers ought to concern us.

They have a much more virulent and disgusting example in Rolling Stone's disgusting hatchet job on American hero John McCain's military record.

I doubt we'll hear much about this on the evening news, though.

John Kerry's infantile sense of humor

John Kerry- who only four years ago nearly half the electorate voted for to be president of the United States- apparently thinks it's witty to suggest that John McCain would answer the famous "boxers or briefs" question inappropriately asked of and answered by Bill Clinton by saying "Depends."

John Kerry might consider diapers, but not for reasons of advanced age.

HT: Drudge

The dying baby and the linen closet: the truth about Barack Obama's pro-abortion extremism

Robert George of the Witherspoon Institute says it well:

Sen. Barack Obama's views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.
The above paragraph predictably will provoke outrage and a great deal of whining from Obama's supporters. But the facts are clear. Despite his efforts to present himself as a conciliatory healer, Barack Obama's record and positions on life issues are so extreme that they should raise alarms in the mind of anybody who is truly in favor of dialog and healing on this divisive issue. He is w…

Admittedly, McCain can't hold a candle to this

My first reaction on seeing this picture can be summed up in one word: "Photoshop."

The trouble is that it comes from source which- whether you agree with it or not politically- is reputable and reliable. And there's been too much of this sort of thing going on to simply shrug it off.

This- along with the young people singing to Obama, the Obama Youth meeting, and all the other evidence of the massive cult of personality surrounding the man who will probably be the next president of the United States- gives us all reason for concern- regardless of our party, or even of for whom we plan to vote. In fact, I think it ought to give Barak Obama cause for concern, all the more as his election grows more likely.

This sort of stuff just isn't healthy in a democracy.

The picture, btw, was taken yesterday at a street fair in San Francisco, on the corner of Hayes and Octavia.

RFK Jr.: Registering dead people and cartoon characters is OK- if they don't vote!

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.- the guy who invented that lie about Republicans supposedly stealing Ohio in 2004- is now pushing the line that ACORN- poor, innocent, ACORN- is having its good name sullied by nasty people who work for it. Nasty, nasty, nasty!

And Kennedy actually said this:

Well, the voter eligibility issue really is a -- it's a sideshow, Larry. And all of this stuff that we've heard recently about ACORN falsely registering people, it's really not an issue our country. Over the past, since 2002, there's been 270 million people who have voted and there's only been 24 proven cases, across the country, of actual voter fraud.

The stuff that ACORN was involved in really was people who were working for ACORN defrauding ACORN.

You hear these stories about somebody filing 18 different registrations for the same person. Well, there's actually nothing illegal about that. You can file as many registrations as you want. It's only the last one that counts. And that,…

By the way...

On one point, Powell is right: while Barack Obama's ties to Bill Ayers are a bit more than merely those between two guys in the same neighborhood, John McCain needs to drop the Ayers meme- and not only because it's costing him votes.

I still maintain that their association is a legitimate, though minor, concern. But in the heat of battle both McCain and, frankly, I myself have made more of a big deal out of it than it deserves.

Barack Obama isn't going to bomb any buildings, and he doesn't approve of people doing so, either.

A hero lets me down

I'm deeply disappointed in Colin Powell's decision to endorse Barack Obama.

The "inclusivity" he attributes to the Obama campaign, is, of course, wholly illusory- as we will see all too well in the next four years, as his hard Left administration goes out of its way to squelch and stigmatize dissent in any way possible.

That Obama is more "ready" to be president that Sarah Palin is a judgment call concerning which I disagree with Sec. Powell.

That Obama has "style" I do not deny. It's the substance that scares me- and frankly, I'm amazed that Sec. Powell would vote for a man willing to pull the rug out from under our troops in Iraq. Surprised- and very, very disappointed.

Colin Powell should have been our first African-American president. He could have united the country in a way that Obama, given his ideology and history, simply cannot. A case can even be made that Powell owed it to his country to undertake that burden. That, however, is a ma…