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Those New 95 Theses revisited- and two more added

Back in 2008, two Lutherans writing under the pseudonyms Athanasius and Chrysostom wrote a new 95 Theses addressing an emergency in the life of the Church fully as grave as that addressed by Martin Luther in his theses of October 31, 1517. While the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod now has leadership more  sympathetic to the concerns of "Athanasius" and "Chrysostom" than it did at the time, the struggle goes on in that church body. In many denominations, however, that struggle is barely even being waged. In some, the errors they describe are not even challenged.

Since the emergency persists, and remains acute, I thought it appropriate to observe Reformation Day by re-posting these New 95 Theses. I think it only reasonable and charitable to observe that I take the "new Papacy" decried in them not as the contemporary Roman Catholic church or the reign of Pope Benedict XVI  but rather the continued power and influence in all denominations of those who- in mos…

Why October 31 is really important

Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther
on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences

Posted on the door of the Castle Church
at Wittenberg, Saxony
October 31, 1517

_______________

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of th…

Those Trick-or-Treat Blues

When I was a kid back in Chicago, trick-or-treating was for Halloween. Here in Iowa, for some reason they do it on some other night somewhere around Halloween, called "Beggar's Night." It varies from town to town, but here in Des Moines, it's tonight.

Anyway, in memory of those chilly (but fun) nights long ago when even in a city the size of Chicago you could more or less trust total strangers not to put Drano in your cookies or razor blades in your apples or kidnap your child, here's a little thing by Rich Kos, aka Svengoolie:

The deaths of Vladimir Kamarov- and of the Soviet moon program

A while back, I did a post about Pravda's concession that Soviet cosmonauts died before the USSR succeeded in putting Yuri Gagarin into orbit and returning him safely to earth.

Now further information has emerged about Soviet space failures- and all I can say is "Wow."

At the time, the official story is that cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov died when the parachute on his Soyuz I capsule somehow became wrapped around the capsule instead of deploying and slowing his descent. But a new book claims out that Soyuz I  had several design flaws that Komarov and others knew about before the flight even began- flaws so serious that Komarov did not expect to return alive! Apparently he agreed to go through with the mission only because his backup pilot was his best friend, the first human being in space, Yuri Gagarin. Had Komarov refused the mission, he believed that Gagarin would have died in his place.

Komarov, it is said, died cursing those whose negligence had sent him into space in…

Register poll: Iowa Caucuses a two-man race- and a virtual tie

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are in a virtual tie for the lead in the Iowa Caucus battle, according to a new poll by the Des Moines Register. However, Cain leads Romney by 17 points among those who say that they are certain to participate in the caucuses, and holds a 3-to-1 lead over the former Massachusetts governor among those who identify themselves as conservatives.

Romney ties with Ron Paul for the lead, however, among Iowa Republicans who say that their minds are already made up. Ron Paul is about ten points behind Cain and Romney among all respondents, with the same 12% he seems to get in virtually every Iowa poll. None of the other candidates score in double digits. Since Paul seems unlikely to advance beyond his hard-core 12%, at this point Iowa looks like a two-man race between Cain and Romney, with Cain apparently holding the stronger hand of the two.

While the race remains fluid, some observations are possible on the state of the race at this point. First, Romney cannot ig…

Baseball's vacant world championship

It's been an exciting post-season for the Pestilential Ruddy Fowl, and my hat is off to them. Their dramatic victory in Game Six of the World Series was one of the greatest games in Series history. And their consistency and success in the arbitrary crap shoot that is the modern MLB postseason does them credit.

But I'm very much afraid that, knowing full well how little it matters, I cannot regard them as world champions, for the same reason I could not acknowledge that title for the 1997 and 2003 Florida Marlins, the 2002 Anaheim Angels, or the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

There is a reason why they play a 162 game season in baseball. There are no upsets in this game. It takes that long of a season to really prove anything in baseball. True, even in the good old days they played a single, best-of-seven World Series between the two pennant winners. But even that was pushing it to the max. At the level at which major league teams- even the bad ones- play, a short series doesn't reall…

First Lady: GOP expression of religious beliefs and opinions which differ from hers threaten freedoms of religion and speech

Fascinating. Depressing, and certainly not surprising. But fascinating, nonetheless.

Mrs. Obama questions the legitimacy of Republicans publicly espousing their religious beliefs and expressing opinions which differ from hers, and in so doing claims that it is they who are seeking to limit the rights of others to freedom of speech and religion.

The Jewish culture has a wonderful term for the quality she displays here. It’s chutzpah- classically defined as that quality exhibited by a man who murders both of his parents, and then throws himself on the court’s mercy on the ground that he is an orphan.

Is there anything as ridiculous and hypocritical as a liberal who accuses someone else of being a religious bigot for holding beliefs which differ from hers, or of trying to stiffle free speech for saying something that is politically incorrect?

HT: Drudge

In honor of Halloween, a Chicago tradition

First, it was Screaming Yellow Theatre. Then, it was Son of Svengoolie. And now, Svengoolie rides again- this time nationally, on MeTV. He even has his own website!

Generations of Chicagoans have been both amused and bemused by the combination of rubber chickens, bad horror movies, worse jokes and even worse song parodies rendered first by Jerry G. Bishop and now by Rich Kos as the coffin-dwelling host of a TV program that transcends generations as surely as it transcends considerations of good taste.

First, Jerry G. Bishop, the original Sven, back in my day:



Next, Kos- the current Sven- gives his take on Lon Chaney, Jr. and The Wolf Man:



And then, there was the week when they showed Bride of Frankenstein:



And, as a special bonus... a tribute to Sven's favorite suburb, where my parents lived when I was born and not far from where I grew up:

The man who makes too much sense to be president

Here is a good article on the best qualified candidate for president- in fact, the best qualified candidate to run for president since George H.W. Bush.

He would undoubtedly be the hardest Republican for Barack Obama to beat. He reeks of integrity and genuineness, and what he has to say makes so much sense in the midst of all the nonsense being sprouted by the current Republican field that he seems like a lilac bush in a field of stinkhorns.

And that's just the problem. Despite his qualifications, his genuineness, his integrity, his intelligence, and his common sense, he hasn't got a chance.

In fact, a strong case can be made that his common sense is the reason why he hasn't got a chance. That Jon Huntsman is destined to be an also-ran in 2012 is not merely an indictment of our political culture; it's the perfect example of what's wrong with it.

Maybe in 2016. Or, if we're blind enough to re-elect Obama, in 2020, when our vision is hopefully as good as Gov. H…

Another polls shows Cain leading the GOP pack

A  New York Times-CBS poll has confirmed once again what seems to be the general consensus: among  pundits:: that Herman "If You're Unemployed It's Your Own Fault" Cain leads the pack in the race for the GOP presidential nomination next year.

Recent polls are divided as to whether Cain or Romney is favored by more Republicans.

Despite this fact, predictions are becoming even more common that Mitt Romney- the only Republican who so far can match President Obama's general election numbers in the polls - is almost certain to be the nominee.

If Cain maintains his lead in Iowa, though, it could be interesting. Romney has yet to decide whether to contest Iowa. A case could be made that the impact of a Cain victory here could be muted if Romney hadn't made a serious effort. On the other hand, if Cain fades, the degree to which the vote is divided among candidates to Romney's right could actually result in an Iowa victory for the former Massachusetts governor- a…

Bears administer jolly good thrashing to Bucs

The Bears nearly managed to blow it at the end (it was 21-5 at the half), but they hung on for a 24-18 victory over Tampa Bay at Wembley Stadium in London yestersday. Matt ("All Day") Forte rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown in becoming the first NFL player since 2004 to break the 1,000 yard barrier in the first seven games of the season. They're now 4-3.

But it's too early for delusions of competence for the Ursines. They get a week off to rest, and then meet the Eagles in Philadelphia before a game they're very much looking forward to: a rematch with the suddenly beatable Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Those two games will tell us a great deal. The Bears will probably have to win both to have a shot at the wild card (they're not going to catch the P__kers, I'm afraid).

In the meantime... BEAR DOWN!

Jim, the Anabaptist Fireman

He's the one who won't put save your house unless you're old enough to accept him as your personal fireman and ask him into your home.

Odds make 'Hawks favorites to win the Conference, and third favorites to win the Cup

The magazines have made the Sharks and the Caps the favorites to win the Cup. Paddy Power- the Irish betting site- makes it the Caps and the Pens, with us third. We're 10/3 favorites to win the Western Conference, with the Sharks and Canucks at 4/1.

Odds to win the Stanley Cup:

Capitals 6/1
Penguins 13/2
Blackhawks 8/1
Sharks 17/2
Canucks 17/2
Flyers 10/1
Bruins 10/1
Kings 12/1
Dead Things 14/1
Lightning 16/1
Sabres 18/1
Rangers 25/1
Ducks 25/1
Habs 33/1
Preds 33/1
Oilers 35/1
Flames 40/1
Canes 40/1
Blues 40/1
Devils 40/1
Leafs 50/1
Wild 66/1
Jackets 66/1
Isles 66/1
Stars 80/1
Dogs 100/1
Jets 100/1
Panthers 100/1
Sens 150/1Apparently Daytwah's 6-0-0 start hasn't impressed the Irishmen.

Obama orders total U.S. withdrawal from Iraq; Iran rejoices

President Obama has decided to play into Iran's hands and risk the dearly-bought victories of American arms in Iraq by totally withdrawing from the place by the end of the year. The reason, sources say, is an inability to reach agreement with the Iraqi govenment to grant the kind of legal immunity to American forces routinely given them in every other country in which the United States has a continuing military presence.

It should be said in the president's defense that even under George W. Bush, the positon of the United States has always been that American troops would leave if the Iraqis didn't want us there. The failure of the Iraqi government to agree to an an arrangement which is a given in countries in which the United States has an ongoing military presence can well be seen as a vivid indication that the Iraqis apparently don't want us there very much.

Obama's decision, according to Time's Fareed Zakaria, is a major victory for Iran. Zakaria is anythin…

Are the "Occupiers" ill-informed perpetual adolescents?

So says Roger Kimball.

And I agree with him. All you have to do is read their signs to see that these people are badly in need of medication.. Next to this crowd, the Tea Party looks positively sane. And yes- the "occupiers" are indeed anti-business and anti-captialism. Their denials make it appear that they are also anti-honesty.

No, they're not "the 99%." They're a tiny percentage of the lunatic fringe. And by the way, 2009 IRS figures show that the top 1% of the population in income- the ones whom the demonstrators claim are not carrying their fair share of the load-  reported 17% of the nation's total taxable income while paying 37% of the nation's total income taxes!

Earth to Occupiers!

Meanwhile, according to Gallup President Obama's approval rating is now 41%. Apparently the real majority is better informed.

HT: Real Clear Politics, Drudge

I'm afraid The Onion has a point!

The Onion, a satirical internet newspaper, is running a story headed "Bears Somehow Proud of Beating Vikings."

If Bears fans were in need of perspective- which we seldom are, since our team is so good at putting themselves in perspective after briefly raising our hopes- this story might well provide it.

Yes, indeed.

Gotta love that Corey Crawford.

Antti who?

We're back, folks. Here come the 'Hawks!

Cain, Romney, and (shudder) Paul lead in Iowa

According to Rasmussen, Herman ("If you're unemployed, it's your own fault") Cain now leads the pack in Iowa.

But the real story may be that Mitt Romney is running a reasonably close second in a state whose Republicans and Democrats each tend to congregate around the zany ends of the spectrum.

The poll gives Cain 28%, to Romney's 21%, Ron Paul's 10%, Newt Gingrich's 9%, Michele Bachmann's 8%, Rick Perry's 7%, Rick Santorum's 4%, Jon Huntsman 2%.  "Somebody else" gets 4%, and "not sure" gets 8%.

Huntsman is not contesting Iowa.The results for Bachmann- who won the Ames Straw Poll in August- and for Perry- who recently led the pack in Iowa- are ominous. Bachmann is a native Iowan, and her campaign almost certainly could not survive a finish below the top three in her native state. Perry, whose campaign is reeling nationally, would also find such a poor finish in Iowa a difficult blow from which to recover.

Only a third of r…

Somebody needs to help this child

A lesbian couple in California is subjecting the son of one of them to an exceptionally viscious and unnatural form of child abuse: they're feeding him hormone-suppressant drugs to delay puberty because he (and they) want him to be a girl.

Growing up in a home without a male role model is known to have serious effects on the development of both male and female children, and there's no way to know how much of this boy's desire to be a girl flows from his environment. What is clear, however, is that this treatment at age 11 runs a significant risk of causing him to develop cancer.

"Transgender" persons believe themselves to be psychologically of one gender although they are physically of another. Whatever questions may be raised legally- and especially ethically- by the rejection of the gender to which one is genetically assigned, the government needs to protect children from a threat to their health and even their lives through the confusion of rebellion against n…

Bears 39, Vikings 10

Well, something had to go right this weekend.

First, Ohio State completed only one pass- but knocked Illinois from the ranks of the unbeaten and the Top Twenty anyway. The favorite pastry of the football teams I favor- the turnover- made the difference. Then, the Iowa Hawkeyes beat my Northwestern Wildcats for the first time in four years and the second time in seven. The 'Cats came back from a 17-9 deficit, but it was too little and too late.

And if that wasn't depressing enough, yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League pennant despite not being good enough to win their own diviision. Should the Redbirds defeat the Texas Rangers in the "World Series," as far as I'm concerned the world championship will be vacant- not because they're the Cardinals, but because, as a wild card team, they have no moral claim to the title.

But at least the Bears thumped the Minnesota Vikings last night, 39-10. The justly-maligned offensive line looked as good l…

She's come undone

Nancy Pelosi froths at the mouth. Note that what she's inveighing against is simply a prohibition against taxpayers having to pay for abortions through Obamacare:

A thought for Saturday evening

Go, U Northwestern!
Kick the Hawkeyes' butts!
Then we'll roll 'em over
And we'll kick them in the guts!
Go, U Northwestern,
Wildcats, brave and true!
Stomp on that team from Iowa till
Their black and gold is black and blue!!

Shame, Mr. President. Shame.

Egypt's Christian minority is suffering in the throes of an increasing persecution. On Sunday, the Egyptian military massacred more than two dozen peaceful Coptic Christians who were protesting the burning of a church.

President Obama has called for restraint- on the part of the persecuted Christians! His statement on the massacre pointedly equates the peaceful dissent of the victims from an act of religious persecution and their murder by Muslim military thugs.

This is Barack Obama in a nutshell. Everybody seems to see it, regardless of their political philosophy. Conservatives complain about his wimpish willingness to sacrifice principle to the cause of getting along with everybody- including bullies and monsters- in the arena of foreign policy. Liberals (oh, excuse me.... progressives; liberals are ashamed to be called "liberals" these days) complain about his wimpish desire to sacrifice principle to the cause of getting along with everybody- including (shudder) Repu…

Yeah. Pretty much.

Steve Rosenbloom of the Trib kind of has the Bears' number- which, in case you haven't been paying attention, is currently 2-3.

I predict that they will finish at least .500. But they had a lot of people convinced that they were better than that. They're not.

Odds favor Romney and Cain

Here are the odds on the various candidates winning the Republican presidential nomination next year, according to Irish betting site Paddy Power.

Mitt Romney leads the pack at 8/15, followed by Herman Cain at 7/2 and Rick Perry at 4/1. Frighteningly, the odds against Ron Paul, according to Paddy Power, are only 16/1.

Michele Bachmann, the "flavor of the month" when our local right-wing whack jobs here in Iowa made her the winner of the Ames straw poll back in August, continues to fade. Paddy Power now has the odds against the Lutheran apostate's nomination at 40/1.

Yes, Mr. Obama is, indeed, a sorry president

Our weak, obsequious president- who routinely demeans both his office and his nation by bowing to foreign monarchs, including the Emperor of Japan- reportedly has sought to apologize for the ending of World War II and the saving of countless American and Japanese lives by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Japanese said no. Not clear whether it's because they hold a grudge,or because they have the good sense to realize that Pearl Harbor, Japanese war crimes, and the entire war in the Pacific resulting from Japanese aggression would render such an apology proportionally absurd.

But never underestimate Barack Obama's eagerness to apologize for America.

HT: Drudge

This should probably be made clear

Hat tip to Dan Lester on Facebook:

Aussie golf course has REAL water hazards

Doubtless the Carbrook Gold golf course near Brisbane is Greg Norman's favorite place to play.

Well, maybe not. They call Norman "the Great White Shark." But contrary to popular (Peter Benchly-aided) belief, it's not great whites but bull sharks (left), such as the ones which inhabit Carbrook's water hazards, that are the fiercest and nastiest kind. Bull sharks are believed to kill more humans than any other species, and to be responsible for many of the fatalities blamed on other kinds.

These scariest of sharks do not shy away from fresh water, and have been found in the Mississippi River as far north as Illinois and Indiana.

A gallery of the world's ten most dangerous shark species (in ascending order) can be found here.

YES! BoSox curse-breaker Epstein will be the Cubs' new GM!

The Associated Press is reporting that Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein, who built teams that won Boston two world championships in the last decade after it had gone since 1917 without one, will be named the Cubs' new GM within 48 hours.

His actual title will reportedly be President of Baseball Operations. The report says that he will sign a five-year contract worth more than $15 million.

He will be the first Cubs executive ever to have played with Pearl Jam.

Epstein, the architect of the demise of the Curse of the Bambino (allegedly wrought when Boston traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees), will now have a crack at the only longer drought in major league history. The Cubs have gone since 1908 without winning a world championship; the problem is allegedly  the Curse of the Billy Goat, supposedly initiated bythe refusal of Cubs' management to allow tavern owner Billy Sianis to bring his horned, bearded and smelly mascot into Wrigley Field for the 1945 World Series.

The Cubs los…

Lions 24, Bears 13

Well, the Bears did set an NFL record last night.

For most false start penalties.

The Bears' season is now, of course, toast. And after such a promising start, too. They're not going to finish either first or second on the NFC North, and hence will not make the playoffs. Maybe the Bears will wake up and get rid of Jerry Angelo after the season. Maybe. I won't count on it, though.

I can't say I begrudge Detroit the victory, though- for the same reason I'm rooting for the Tigers to somehow still win the World Series. I feel about Detroit kind of the way I felt about New Orleans during the Saints' Super Bowl year. It's a city that's taken some awfully hard knocks, and it deserves some good news.

Being a loyal Blackhawks fan, however, i want to make it clear that my sympathy does not extend to the Red Wings.

And there's another reason why I have a soft spot in my heart for the Lions. The Bears lost in the NFL championship game in 1956.  The next year, wh…

Herman Cain disqualifies himself

Several weeks ago, I overheard an elderly woman on the bus complaining to a friend that corporations didn't care about people like her.

I was tempted to ask her to imagine that one of those corporations produced a product which she bought regularly because of its high quality and low price. I then would have asked her to further imagine that a competitor came out with a better product at a lower price still.

Would she continue to patronize the first company? I'm certain that she would have replied in the negative; after all, she appeared to have lived long enough to accrue at least a bit of common sense.

I then would have replied, "WHAT!? You don't care about that first company? How utterly heartless of you!"

My point would have been that it's no more a corporation's business to care about her than it is her business to care about that corporation. Rather, it's the role of both to act in their own economic self-interest. That's the way our system…

Cain leads Romney by 20 points in one poll, and trails him by five in another

i
A Zogby poll released yesterday has Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain not only leading the pack, but a full twenty points ahead of his nearest rival, Mitt Romney.

The poll puts Cain in a statistical dead heat with President Obama in a hypothetical matchup.

Meanwhile, a CBS poll released Wednesday puts Cain and Romney in a tie for first place among Republicans, with 17% each. A Quinnipiac University poll puts Cain in second place, trailing Romney by five percent.

Whatever the reason, the Cain boom is real. I would not be either surprised nor disappointed by a Romney/Cain ticket next year. The former Godfathers' pizza executive may not have the experience necessary to be president- yet. But he's clearly struck a responsive chord in the nation's Republican voters.

HT: Drudge

BREAKING: Palin will NOT run in 2012

Radio talk show host Mark Levin says that Sarah Palin has told him that she will not be a candidate for president in 2012.

One less unelectable distraction from the task of beating Barack Obama. Palin has pretty well discredited herself as a potential president by her comments during the last three years, and apparently has the sense to realize it. Would that Bachmann, Paul and Perry had so much sense.

ABOVE: Tolerant, reasonable, peaceful Democrats greet Palin, then the Republican candidate for vice-president,  at a rally in Eugene, Oregon during the last campaign. Had Palin run, we could have expected more of the same.

Polls show Obama in big trouble

Two polls- one from Rasmussen, and the other from Gallup- are bad news for Mr.Obama.

First, the generic Republican now beats President Obama by six points.The problem for Republicans, of course, is that they have to run a specific person against him.

And four in ten Americans now "strongly" disapprove of POTUS's performance in office.

Unless the Republicans do something really, really stupid- like nominating Bachmann or Perry or Paul or Palin or some other sure loser- a new president may well be taking office a year from January.

Oh, how the media and Hollywood will howl....

HT: Drudge