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St. Robert Barnes, Martyr

Today is the feast day of Robert Barnes, Lutheran martyr during the reign of Henry VIII of England. Barnes was burned in 1540 for teaching that faith alone justifies.

Precious to the Lord is the death of His saints.

All praise for England's martyr
Of brighter faith than fame,
Whose witness to the Gospel
Glowed brightest in the flame!
Lord, grant that our confession-
Like Robert's- may inspire
In other hearts the kindling
Of Your most holy fire.

'Kings' ends its all-too-brief reign

I just watched the season (and series) finale of Kings on Hulu. David has fled to Gath (Phillistia) to escape Silas's (Saul's) wrath, and apparently we won't get to see him come home to succeed him.

Kings, as you might have guessed from the above, was a somewhat creative retelling of the early part of the saga of King David, transplanted to a modern nation strongly resembling a United States of America which somehow is ruled by an absolute monarchy. Its theology was often atrocious and the fidelity to the biblical story on which it was loosely based... well, loose. But with the exception of House, 24, NCIS, and maybe a few other shows, it was the best thing on TV. Unfortunately, it never generated a big enough audience to survive, much less to achieve the popularity it deserved.

Too bad. There are those of us who, for all its flaws, will miss it.

It was true then. It's still true now.

There is one way to cause the economy to truly grow that will not only create jobs but revitalize whole industries, while injecting into the economy exponentially more money than it costs: go first back to the moon, and then to Mars.

All of this happened once, with the Apollo program. Never was money more productively spent by the American government. Whole industries blossomed as a result of the national committment to go to the moon before 1970. And multiple technologies developed by the moon program spawend dozens and dozens of other industries not directly related to the space program. Most people in and out of government simply don't realize what an enormous fiscal success the Mercury and Gemini and Apollo programs were for our government and our nation. Nothing could be more wrong-headed than to cite the pressing needs of social programs or even a bloated budget in opposition to an investment which has already proven its capacity to generate exponentially more revenue than i…

Obama invites Gates, cop over for a beer

It's not often that President Obama does something I can applaud. He should be encouraged to do it more often.

So nice going, Mr. President, in backing off your inflammatory characterization of the arrest of Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Gates as "stupid," speaking to the arresting officer over the phone, and inviting him and Gates to the White House to shake hands and have a beer together.

That's the way a president acts.

HT: Drudge

Obama: "Victory" isn't necessarily our aim

Mr. President, if, as you say, victory in Afghanistan isn't our objective there, what is?

And btw, Hirohito was not on the U.S.S. Missouri to sign the surrender document ending World War II!

Perhaps the Democrats winning the White House last November has an up side after all. The fuzziness of their thinking about matters of war and peace, national security, defense, and international affairs is manifesting itself in a feckless foreign policy which is the natural outcome of a world view which simply bears no relationship to reality.

Hopefully neither the world nor our national interests will be in hopeless disrepair when Romney or Pawlenty or Jindal or Crist or Huckabee or whoever takes over in January of 2013 and restores sanity to America's attitude toward foreign affairs and defense.

Victory not our objective? Mr. President, what are you talking about?

As most of you know, I like classical music

Classical this song isn't. But in its own sick, perverted way, it is nonetheless a classic.

Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the 100 greatest music videos of all time, this song will always be associated in my mind with my dormitory days at Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois, and our residence assistant, Dave McClean. It was Dave-now Pastor McClean- who introduced several of us to this and other Doctor Demento classics, but was allowed to graduate from CC-RF and subsequently to matriculate at the Seminary anyway.

It was not done, contrary to what many believe, by Alvin and the Chipmunks. In fact, it was recorded by a Hefty bag-wearing duo called Barnes and Barnes. half of which was Bill Mumy- famous as Will Robinson of Lost in Space and, in adulthood and after going bald and have his ears shrunken and surgically lowered, as Lanier of Babylon 5.

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, tonight's musical treat:

Learning the lesson of Apollo

Today is the fortieth anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the moon.

There is an historical lesson in the Apollo program that we could learn from today. In terms of money pumped into the economy, jobs generated, and every other conceivable benefit, the billions we spent in getting to the moon was the wisest investment we ever made.

Want to stimulate the economy and fight the recession, Mr. Obama? Then do two things: first, commit us to a crash program to return to the moon, ahead of the Chinese. And then, commit us to land a man on Mars ASAP.

There is nothing we could possibly do as a nation that would both stimulate the economy and restore our sagging national prestige.

Not heroes, my gluteus maximus

Michael Collins, the Command Module pilot on the Apollo 11 mission (the guy who stayed in Columbia and orbited the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin cavorted around on the surface) says that the Apollo astronauts worked hard, but weren't heroes.

Horse hockey, as M*A*S*H's Col. Potter would say.

Anybody who sits on top of a rocket the size of a skyscraper and lets people shoot him to the moon for the sake of scientific advancement and national prestige is a hero in my book. As Chuck Yeager says in the movie version of The Right Stuff, "It takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission on national TV." And "suicide mission" was no exaggeration, given the things which not only could have gone wrong, but did.

The computer Neil Armstrong used to land the LM was far less powerful than the one you're sitting at right now. A blunder in the pre-launch preparation of the computer undercut its performance still further; Armstrong had to land the L…

Walter Cronkite: a man who tried to be objective

Walter Cronkite, who died today at 92, may not always have succeeded in keeping his own liberal politics out of his reporting. But he tried, and he succeeded more than most.

Whether or not one agrees with his politics, one has to admire that in a day in which what passes for journalism is barely-concealed partisan advocacy. Cronkite deserves to be remembered for that alone.

But people of my generation couldn't forget Walter Cronkite if we tried. He was truly a piece of history- a national icon so firmly associated in our minds with the truly historic hours of the last half of the 20th Century that we who lived through them will never be able to remember our own lives without remembering him.

Rest in peace, Walter. You were a man of integrity, who honesty strove to transcend his biases and to tell it the way it was, not as you thought it ought to be spun. And as we were already discovering when you left electronic journalism's center stage, in a national journalist that's not…

And most of the time, that was the way it was. Or pretty darned close.

I will not say that Walter Cronkite, who died today at 92, never let his liberal politics influence his reporting. But he was good enough at keeping his politics and his journalism separate that I didn't know for sure until after he retired whether he was a Republican or a Democrat. Whether you're in the habit of excoriating the bias of Fox News on the Right, or that of pretty much the rest of the mainstream media on the Left, there aren't many national news figures you can say that about today.

For me, and for my generation, the avuncular Mr. Cronkite personified journalistic integrity. When Walter Cronkite told you something, you believed it. "The most trusted man in America," they called him- and they may have been right.

We all have our memories of probably the greatest TV news anchor in history. There were those three, terrible days in November 1963, when a nation in which such things just didn't happen anymore first watched in horror and grief as a young…

OK, it's just a cat. But that's not the point.

Cheyenne Cherry gives every indication of being a seventeen year-old girl wholly lacking a moral compass. If she has a conscience, or a coherent concept of right and wrong, she hides it well.

Last May 6, she and a friend broke into her former roommate's apartment, destroyed her furniture, stole some DVDs and- as a "joke-" put the roommate's kitten in the oven and roasted it alive. She protests that it was her friend who actually put the cat in the oven and turned it on. She merely "didn't let it out."

This is not Cherry's first run-in with the law. Last year she and her boyfriend used a BB-gun to steal a dog. She also has an arrest on her record for armed robbery. She is currently in jail for violating probation.

Wednesday a New York judge accepted a plea agreement by which four of the six counts in the indictment against this sick young woman were dropped. She will serve a year in jail.

Has Cherry learned her lesson? Judge for yourself: as she left the…

Quoth Joe Biden

Speaking to the AARP...

And folks look, AARP knows and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable,” Biden said at the event on Thursday in Alexandria, Va. “It’s totally unacceptable. And it’s completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially.”

We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation.

Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt? The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.

As Racefor2008- to whom a hat tip- observes, tongue planted firmly in cheek, "Thank goodness that gaffe machine Sarah Palin wasn't elected."

Take THAT, Detroit!

From today's Chicago Tribune sports page, on Marian Hossa's reaction to being a Blackhawk:
"It's great to be in a hockey town," said Hossa, who had 40 goals and 31 assists for the Wings last season.
First Hossa- who jumped to the Red Wings last year because he thought it improved his shot at playing for a Stanley Cup champion- leaves after one year and comes to Chicago.

And then he talks about how nice it is to play "in a hockey town."

Does "Hockeytown," as it styles itself, not qualify, Marian?

ADDENDUM: An influential Red Wings blog, Snapshots, has linked to this entry, its author apparently unaware that I'm a Blackhawks fan and that what he seems to have read as a criticism of Hossa's remarks was intended as a good-natured (though perhaps a little too subtle) jibe at both Detroit's pretension in bestowing the name "Hockeytown" upon itself and any assumption its fans may make about being the next Western Conference team to h…

Tell me that this is tongue in cheek...

Hello, Dali

That's what Bobby Rosengarten played when old Salvadore came out for his interview on Dick Cavett back in the 'Seventies.

Anyway, a fellow Facebook user named Steve Goodwin just pointed me to this surreal piece- the great artist's appearance on the game show which dominated my Sunday nights back when I was growing up, What's My Line?

Enjoy.

Unclear on the concept

Newsweek's utter confusion concerning the basics of the Christian faith has become legendary since Lisa Miller's screed on gay "marriage" and the magazine's editorial condemnation of biblical authority (of any kind!) as "the worst form of fundamentalism" a few months ago- both in the same sad and sorry issue.

But now, the former newsmagazine has published a remarkable piece by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend presuming to declare that Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the Pope does!

It has long been clear that Newsweek does not understand the elements of the Christian faith. It is now clear that Ms. Townsend- a notional Catholic herself- does not even understand what a Catholic is. But then, many American Catholics seem not to.

The Christian faith is not defined by majority vote, but by a content handed down through the centuries and embodied in the Scriptures. For Catholics, the papacy and the Magisterium are the infallible teachers whose…

Now it can be revealed....

I know it's been a while since the Sopranos ended, but I just learned what actually happened after the picture cut to black. I had to share that knowledge.

Here's the ending that HBO didn't want you to see:



For those who are really wanted closure:



Seriously, here's the ending I had expected all along- the one the series had seemed to me to have been building toward for quite a while, and which I still think it would have been the best:

Sarah Palin and the Chicago Way

Here's a marvelous article from NR on why Sarah Palin so outrages the Left, on the relentless campaign of the cultural elites to destroy her- and how she ought to respond.

Remember Sean Connery's explanation to Kevin Costner in The Untouchables of "the Chicago way," and how to use it to get Al Capone? It's what the moonbats have been doing to Sarah. It's what they did to Dubyah. About time to do it back.

And here is a Roger Simon piece on the arrogance of the Leftist pundit class as it applies to its visceral hatred of the soon-to-be-former Alaska governor.

Here is an entry from Patrick Glenn of PoliGazette of the malice of the cultural elites toward Gov. Palin, while here is an illustration of the malicious bile they're all describing.

HT: Real Clear Politics

The MSM just isn't listening

When Barack Obama was elected president last November, the liberal media hailed a national lurch to the Left. Supposedly we were now a Center Left, rather than a Center Right, nation (as if there were anything truly centrist about Obama). Sometimes it even went further. "We Are All Socialists Now," Newsweek even crowed in the weeks between the election and the inauguration. TIME featured a cover portraying the new president as an African-American FDR.

And yet, according to Gallup, four in ten Americans (39%) say that their views have actually gotten more conservative in recent years. Only 18% say that they have gotten more liberal- and 42% of the electorate say that they haven't changed much.

Ideologically, this is still the country that elected George W. Bush- twice (and before anybody even says it, there is no reasonable doubt that, had the networks not suppressed Bush's national vote by untold millions on election night in 2000 by continuing to insist that Al Gore…

Finally, a national news magazine faces the truth about marriage

Here is a spot on article in TIME (what a contrast to Newsweek!) about a crisis that causes an unbelievable amount of human suffering and disrupts society to a degree that most of us just aren't willing to face: the collapse of heterosexual marriage in our society.

Nearly forty percent of American kids are born out of wedlock. Nearly twenty percent of adult Americans (more than a quarter of adult New Yorkers) have genital herpes.

By every measurement, the divorce of parents is a devastating psychological trauma for children even in the best of circumstances, and by every measurable criterion children who grow up without fathers lag behind kids who grow up in intact homes both in development and in ultimate economic status. Yet both marriage and childbearing are increasingly seen not as responsibility to others, but as means of self-fulfillment to be casually walked away from if they become inconvenient. More and more, we seem able to distinguish between loving our children and actin…

LCMS to close one- or both- of its seminaries?

Apparently there is a movement in the upper reaches of the LCMS anti-magisterium to sell one or both of the seminaries and go with a "divinity school model" at the Synod's undergraduate institutions.

This would be, of course, a great way for the Synod save money- and at the same time get rid of that pesky hotbed of Lutheranism in Fort Wayne. For that matter, by abolishing seminary faculties, it becomes an easy matter to downplay all this theology nonsense and facilitate the real mission of the Church: as Body of Christ, Inc. (c)

As a commenter on the blog to which this post links observed, the irony is that one of the original purposes of the Missouri Synod was to serve as a means of funding those very seminaries.

When I was a student at River For... er, Concordia University- Chicago, we did a satirical piece in the April Fool's edition of The Spectator proposing that the college- which was in the process of closing down its psychological counseling service for financia…

Biden sticks his foot in it again

Joe Biden says that if there's a return to sectarian violence in Iraq now that we've pulled out of the cities, we may just pull out altogether.

Gee, Joe. Why don't you motivate the bad guys to be violent?

The incompetence of this administration's foreign policy is amazing. George W. Bush and his crowd at their worst were better than these guys. When they're not insulting our allies, they're motivating our enemies to attack us.

I have a feeling Republicans aren't the only ones who can't wait until 2012. President Obama must be, too- if only to have a chance to dump Joe Biden!

Happy birthday to the greatest nation on Earth

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home …

The glorious beauty of those clunky German hymns

Our family joined the Lutheran church when I was ten years old. To be honest about it, at first I wasn't crazy about the hymnody. I was a typical American in my musical tastes, preferring the old Protestant standards and not remotely appreciating that my new denomination had the most glorious musical tradition in Christendom.

We live today in a world which even nominal Lutherans embrace and even prefer "contemporary" church music- most of it musically inferior to the Lutheran chorale, originating in Methobapticostal circles and theologically vapid if not outright heretical- largely on the basis of its alleged entertainment value and its supposed evangelistic potential. Of course, if we truly believe that God the Holy Spirit operates through the Word, we would not be nearly as obsessed with its packaging as a means of helping it along as many today are.

And the attitude that sees church music as entertainment is in itself a disaster. Is it really "evangelism" to t…

Iranians may try British embassy staff

They haven't seized the British embassy, but the whack-jobs in Tehran are considering doing to certain arrested British embassy staff what they never dared do to our diplomats during the Carter-era hostage crisis: put them on trial.

When- and I suspect the moment is approaching faster than the Iranians realize- the Israelis either take out their nuclear facilities or (less likely) do the regime change thing, the Allahcrats are ensuring that the Jewish state will have the united and enthusiastic support of the Western world. Only the Moslem nations of the Middle East and the Russians will do anything but applaud.

The Wings continue to hemorrhage...

This time it's Samuelsson.

Detroit fans say they're not worried. But denial, as a certain newly-anointed United States senator once said on national TV while wearing a sweater and posing as a Twelve-Step counselor, is not just a river in Egypt.

Palin quits

Sarah Palin has resigned as Alaska's governor. My guess is that it's her first move in a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Given her lack of experience- especially in the national arena- and the hatched job the media did on her in 2008, her nomination would spell a certain Obama landslide in 2012. Her smart move would be to serve at least one term in the Senate before running for the White House.

BTW, I'd give the same advice to Mike Huckabee.

Bobby Jindal remains the guy I'm looking most at, though Tim Pawlenty is looking better and better to me as time goes on.

Most Americans now oppose Sotomayor's confirmation

Megyn Kelly of Fox News reports on a new poll which shows that more Americans now oppose Judge Sonya Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court than support it.

Sotomayor- a judge whose track record has shown her to be as readily reversible as a cheap Wal-Mart belt- is supported by only 37 percent of those asked by the Rasmussen people, as opposed to 39 percent who want her defeated.

Two weeks ago, 42 percent wanted her confirmed, as opposed to 34 percent who opposed her.

Hawks steal Hossa and Kopecky from Detroit!

The Blackhawks just plundered the Dead Things, signing Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky away from Day-twah. Hossa is signed for twelve years!

On the down side, Martin Havlat is gone, having been given the news that the Hawks weren't interested in giving him more than a one-year contract and consequently going to the most lamely-named team in professional sports, the Minnesota Wild. Will somebody please teach those people in Minnesota the difference between a noun and an adjective?

Goalie Nicolai Khabibulin, meanwhile, was also let go, and signed with Edmonton. This puts the Hawks in the perilous position of having a French first-string goaltender. Not French-Canadian, mind you. French. As in France.Defending the goal.

To be fair, Cristobel Huet showed signs of brilliance in the last couple of games of the Conference Finals, when he subbed for the injured Habby. Of course, he also stunk up the joint in the crucial Game Four at the UC. Still, with more regular work, perhaps he'll fi…