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It's the British embassy, Mr. President

Our most diplomatically inept president has struck again, referring to the embasssy of the UK in Iran- the one sacked the other day by crazed Islamofascists- as "the English embassy."

This is becoming a regular enough event- ignored, for the most part, by the MSM- that with this post I'm inaugurating a new label: "Can You Imagine If Bush Had Said This?"

RIGHT: The bust of Winston Churchill which the Brits gave us for display in the Oval Office- which Mr. Obama gave back.

HT: Drudge

Newt popular among Republicans, but is he electable?

"I don't claim to be the perfect candidate,' says Newt Gingrich. "I just claim to be more conservative than Mitt Romney, and more electable than anybody else."

I'll buy the part about being more conservative than Romney. Not sure how to parse that second part, though. More electable than anybody other than Romney? Maybe. But the facts just don't fit the alternative reading of the sentence.

Gingrich just isn't all that electable- and is certainly less so than Romney is. While even Romney trails the president in most polls,  Gingrich consistently trails Mr. Obama in all of them- and by larger numbers.

Gingrich has that in common with the rest of the Republican field, by the way.  Electability is not the argument Gingrich- or any of the other candidates-should be trying to make when comparing himself with Romney.

Mr. Newt is the candidate viewed most favorably by the Republican rank-and-file. But the electorate as a whole? Not so much.

If the Republican…

Does President Obama even want to win next year?

Joseph Curl of the Washington Timeswonders whether President Obama really wants to be re-elected.

The question is asked at the same time that Thomas Edsall of the New York Times is observing that the Obama campaign has effectively written off the white working class.

The Republicans can still save Obama, of course- by nominating a candidate so far to the Right that he (or she), rather than the president, will be the issue. And there are a great many Republicans both here in Iowa and elsewhere who seem bound and determined to do precisely that.

HT: Drudge

Colin Powell continues to wax perverse

Colin Powell continues to hemorrhage credibility.

The Secretary of State under the most outrageously lied-about and abused president in recent history blames the divisive atmosphere on Capitol Hill and in the nation on the media and the Tea Party- but apparently in no measure on the Democratic strategy of class warfare or the antics of the "Occupy" movement.

Which party is Powell a member of again?

Powell- as is often the case- isn't wrong. Just selective- and oddly so, for a professed Republican.

This could be a long month for the Ursines

It may well be that more than Jay Cutler's thumb broke last week. If Caleb Hanie can't rise above his performance in yesterday's 35-20 defeat at the hands of the eminently-beatable Oakland Raiders, the Bears' chances of playing in the post-season may be broken beyond repair.

CBS chose for some reason to show the Denver-San Diego game in this pagan part of the country. I was disappointed. Reading about the game, though, it seems that I might have been lucky.

Fortunately we're still in the AFC West for the next three weeks. But Hanie has to turn it around- and fast. I do not relish the thought of Josh McCown running the Ursine offense.

Because we are?

David Lahti of The Guardianasks why religion keeps telling us that we're bad.

Two answers come to mind.

The first is that since God is the standard, only a person with a really inflated ego would dispute that conclusion.

The second is that, unlike many on the secular Left, those of the Judeo-Christian tradition are both paying attention, and reasonably self-aware. It would appear that, while those like Mr. Lahti are asking what does and does not make evolutionary sense, the great Western religions are actually basing their conclusions on the evidence of history and human experience rather than dogma.

Imagine that.

Oh. And one more thing: one of the consequences of getting caught up, as our secular society has, in brain-dead post-modernism and amoral utilitarianism is that you kind of lose any standard by which one might form reasonable judgments about stuff like "good" and "evil." It's kind of like abolishing color, and then trying to describe a sunset.

Obama gives a Thanksgiving speech without mentioning What's His Name

It's been 27 years  since the Burger Court  ruled in Lynch v. Donnelly that a Nativity scene at Christmastide is "a neutral harbinger of the holiday season, useful for commercial purposes but devoid of any inherent meaning." For quite a while now, it's been legally OK for stores and even municipalities to give a nod to Jesus on the day when His birthday is celebrated, even if on the ground that such acknowledgement is inherently meaningless.

One would think that the generic god of American civil religion, the great To Whom it May Concern, might fare better on that least sectarian of religious holidays, Thanksgiving. But alas, President Obama decided to give a speech commemorating a holiday whose whole point is the giving of thanks to the Deity (whatever deity one may acknowledge, that is) without even bothering to mention- much less thank- any.

Chuck Colson wrote years ago about a confrontation between irate parents and a public school principal over children being t…

Will Arab Christianity survive?

Belated though this entry may be, here's a thoughtful piece from the New York Times on the persecuted Christians of  the Arab world.

Can Arab Christians and Muslims, Anthony Shadad asks find common ground in a shared culture and history? Sadly, Muslim intolerance for their fellow "people of the Book" seems to foreshadow a negative answer. Christian blood continues to flow- and Christians continue to flee elsewhere, to cultures other than their own in which they will be allowed to worship as their consciences dictate.

Will there be any Christians left in the Middle East in thirty years? I think so. If nowhere else, there will be Arab Christians in Israel no matter how fiercely they are persecuted in Arab nations.
Which is one more reason why I sympathize with Israel rather than with its enemies in the Middle East. Israel is very, very far from perfect.. But even at its least tolerant, it remains a beacon of diversity in a region filled with the darkness of bigotry and blood…

Oh, makes a lot of sense! NOT!

It seems that the latest venue to be "occupied" this Black Friday will be retailers struggling to make a profit and thus help lift the nation- and all of us- out of the economic mess we're in.

"Occupiers" blame retailers for allegedly being in collusion with those nasty banks.

Regular post-Thanksgiving turkeys, these guys.

HT: Drudge

Michael Medved on Romney and conservative self-delusion

Michael Medved, who is one of my favorite conservative commentators (being not only one of the brightest, but also one of the most realistic) herein tears to pieces the meme we're beginning to hear on the Right that somehow the only Republican candidate the polls show to be competitive with President Obama is  unelectable because conservatives won't vote for him.

Yes, conservatives will vote for Mitt Romney- just as they did for John McCain. But unlike McCain, Romney, if nominated, will be contesting a winnable election. And while conservatives will vote for Romney- just as they did for McCain- moderates and independents will not vote for Gingrich, Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Santorum- or certainly for Ron Paul.

Nominate Romney, and the Republicans probably win. Nominate one of the others, and the Republicans almost certainly lose. The evidence- as opposed to wishful thinking on the Right- allows no other conclusion.

The Russian national bird?

A great deal has been made of the incident recorded below, in which Russian anchor Tatyana Limanova appears to "flip the bird" at her own mention of President Obama's name.

Wait a minute! I thought foreigners loved The One!

I  rather enjoyed Jonah Goldberg's take on the incident at National Review Online: "Hey, I like criticism of Barack Obama as much as the next guy. But I like American criticism. We're the only ones who should be able to flip our president the bird."

I have to agree. Like Mr. Goldberg, I am not a fan of POTUS. But I draw the line at foreigners being rude to OUR president. As somebody has observed, it's kind of like the line from Animal House, in which Delta chapter president Robert Hoover indignantly asserts that only Delta members have the right to mistreat Delta pledges.

As it happens, it is being claimed that the gesture was not aimed at Mr. Obama, but at the childish antics of male technicians who were trying to get Ms. Limano…

When the Donkey makes a jackass of himself

Apparently a new ad from the Mitt Romney campaign shows a congregation of Black people in church. Horrors!

A Democratic stratagist who worked for the Gore and Kerry campaigns has accused the Romney campaign of "invoking race" in the ad, and re-opening President Obama's twenty-year relationship with the anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-white Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The problem is that Rev. Wright is neither portrayed nor mentioned in the ad. The offending segment is simply a portrayal of an anonymous congregation of African-Americans, along with other images of Americans from other backgrounds, while a text discusses Mr. Obama's economic record.

 “As someone who does this for a living, there is absolutely no way that’s not intentional,” said Democratic strategist Ted Devine. “There is no other rational explanation for that scene other than to suggest a racial reference, and most likely invoke Jeremiah Wright.”

Actually, it seems quite reasonable to include African-Amer…

What can I say?

(ABOVE) This picture was taken at an ordination at Ebeneezer Lutheran Church (ELCA) in San Francisco, aka "herchurch."

Hopefully the wand-wielder is a good witch.

(BELOW) The "goddess rosary," promoted by this ELCA congregation in good standing.



HT: Bad Vestments

Pelosi blasts Catholic bishops for their "conscience thing"

Nancy Pelosi has a bone to pick with U.S. Catholic bishops.

They have, she points out, "this conscience thing."

The House Minority Leader and former Speaker adds that she "loves and reveres" her Catholic faith.

She just doesn't feel bound by it when it comes to matters like birth control and abortion.

HT: Drudge

The "Super Committee" gives up. We should give up on the members of the Super Committee.

Even after our credit rating was downgraded because partisan squabbling wouldn't allow a routine hike in the statutory debt limit, the "Super Committee" appointed by both houses of Congress to work out a deal  to reduce the deficit couldn't get serious about transcending ideology and acting in the nation's interest.

Now they've given up.

As things now stand, $1.2 trillion will automatically be chopped off the budget beginning in 2013. Half would come from domestic spending; half would come from the military budget. The human suffering this will cause is incalculable. Those in the know say that the impact on our national security will be devastating.

President Obama has promised to veto any attempt by Republicans to repeal the legislation mandating the automatic cuts.

Memorize these names. They are the members of the Super Committee- and if the American people have an ounce of sense they all will be returned to private life the next time they stand for re-elect…

St. Clive Staples Lewis, Apologist

All over the world today, people are commemorating the forty-eighth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But JFK's death overshadowed that of another and, I believe, far more consequential man who died on the very same day: Clive Staples Lewis.

C.S. Lewis was born in my own ancestral home, Belfast, on November 29, 1898. Known all his life to his friends as "Jack-" a name he gave himself in memory of a beloved neighborhood dog- Lewis became an atheist at the age of fifteen, He entered University College, Oxford, in 1916, taking a hiatus from his studies to serve in World War I. When his best friend, Paddy Moore, was killed in battle, Lewis kept a promise to look after Moore's family.

In 1925, Lewis joined the faculty at Oxford, and in 1931 he was converted to Christianity through the influence of his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien and the writings of G.K. Chesterton.

While at Oxford, Lewis was a key member of a literary group called "The Ink…

Carter, Clinton pollsters say Obama should step aside in favor of Hillary

Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen- pollsters, respectively, for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton when they were president and more recently outspoken critics of the Left-tending direction of the Democratic party- have called on President Obama to abandon his bid for re-election and turn the race over to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Polls have consistently shown Clinton easily defeating any of the potential Republican candidates. Obama, on the other hand, is generally considered to be facing a very tough and perhaps unwinnable race.

The former pollsters urged Mr. Obama to follow the example of Harry S Truman and Lyndon Johnson, and abandon the White House in favor of a nominee with a better chance of being elected.

Caddell and Schoen point out that in order to be re-elected, President Obama would certainly have to run an extremely negative campaign which, even if successful, would make it extremely difficult for him to govern in his second term.

HT: Drudge

Good and Bad News Bears

The good news: the Ursine Warriors beat the San Diego Chargers 31-20 yesterday, their fifth straight victory.

The bad news: quarterback Jay Cutler broke his thumb, and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

Caleb Hanie will take over for Cutler. Fortunately, the Bears' offense will likely continue to feature the running of Matt Forte and Marion Barber, with the passing game playing a supporting role. Still, now we get to find out whether Hanie has what it takes to be a starter in the NFL. And there's always the chance that Cutler will be back for the post-season.

Also fortunately, the Bears' next four games will be against members of the NFL's weakest division, the AFC West. They may not need Cutler to win.

The problem, of course, is that beating Green Bay on Christmas Day is an absolute must. Maybe Cutler will be back by then. If not, the Bears will have to do it with their second-string quarterback.

In which case, they're really going to have to BEAR DOWN.

Who'da thunk it? Or drunk it?

According to the European Union, drinking water does not rehydrate one.

Somehow, this is counter-intuitive.

Well, actually, it's downright silly. Just goes to show that government in Europe is every bit as irrational as government on this side of the pond.

HT: Drudge

Little green fishies?

Jupiter's moon Europa- one of four easily visible from Earth through a decent set of binoculars- has long been believed to have a global ocean beneath its icy surface, providing the solar system's most likely site of extraterrestrial life.

Now, scientists have found evidence of a great, salty lake trapped in the ice above the ocean, providing an even more likely habitat for Jovian fish and other aquatic life. In fact, there may be several of the shallow lakes below the Europan ice.

Maybe we'll get it back together, re-institute a real man-in-space program, and go fishing some day.

HT: Drudge

'Super Committee' failure may cause another downgrade of America's credit rating

There seems to be a substantial danger that the apparently imminent failure of the Super Committee establised by the deal to raise the national debt limit will set off another downgrade of our national credit rating. Doubtless all the wackier Republican presidential candidates will once again laugh that possibility off, but it's no laughing matter.

How's this for a proposal: should such a downgrade result from a failure of the committee to reach the cuts contemplated by the deal, every member from both parties should be defeated for re-election. Enough is enough.

HT: Drudge

Danger Mouse creator Mark Hall dies

One of the highlights of my day during seminary was a half hour in mid-afternoon watching a British cartoon series called Danger Mouseon Nickolodeon.  The spy/superhero was a parody of James Bond and Patrick McGoohan's Danger Man. Together with his hamster sidekick, Penfold (who was actually the pet of creator Mark Hall's daughter)- DM battled the evil Baron Greenback in cleverly silly episodes featuring humor sophisticated enough to give adults a good laugh. I often wished that more television series for grownups packed as much quality into thirty minutes as Danger Mouse seemed to every day.

Hall, the creator of DM and Penfold, has died at his family home in Manchester at age 75. Rest in peace- and thanks for the laughs, Mr. H.

Occupy Des Moines is an in tents group of people

I drove past the park where the Occupy Des Moines folks are camping yesterday.

Looks like they're having a good time, but I can't say that they appeared to be making much of a political point. But then, I guess the point of the Occupy movement is at least partially that it really isn't sure what its point is, isn't it?

Other than not liking banks and "the one percent," that is.

The movement is as American as apple pie, though. I see Stewart Square as simply our local, contemporary Hooverville.

Or Obamaville, if you prefer.

Newt leads in both Iowa AND New Hampshire!

Newt Gingrich has not only moved into a substantial lead in Iowa, but he's edged ahead of Mitt Romney in New Hampshire as well.

Whoa!

While I don't expect Gingrich's lead to last, I do think he's clearly the front-runner right now. It seems like only yesterday that his whole Iowa staff quit on him, and everybody left him for dead. He's likely around for the long haul.

HT: Drudge

By the way...

...the Blackhawks passed that test against rival Vancouver Wednesday night.

Final score: Hawks 5, Canucks 1.

The Good Guys remain Number One in the Western Conference. After recovering from that salary cap attrition last year, they once again seem to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

Two Cups for Chitown in three years might even make up for the P__kers winning the Super Bowl and the C___nals winning the World Series.

POTUS thinks Hawaii is in Asia

Today's entry in the never-ending "can you imagine the media frenzy if Dubyah had said this" sweepstakes: Mr. Obama has moved one of his 57 states from the middle of the Pacific Ocean to a whole other continent.



HT: Drudge

Uh-oh.

According to a new Bloomberg poll, not only Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain but also Rep. Ron Paul (R- Utopia Planitia) are now in a dead heat here in Iowa.

To have Paul anywhere near the top of the list scares me to death. Not that he will ever be nominated, mind you. But if somehow he were, I'd have to hold my nose and vote for Obama. Even that. Given Paul's gonzo world view, I would consider the prospect of his election to be as serious a threat to our national security as we've seen in my lifetime.

HT: Drudge

V-e-e-r-r-y interestink......

The British Commonwealth recently approved a change in the rules for the royal succession. From now on, primogenitor will no longer be restricted to males; the sovereign's eldest child, regardless of gender, will succeed to the throne.

A participant in the Facebook Alternate History group has pointed out that had this rule been in effect when Queen Victoria died, she would have been succeeded by her daugher, the Princess Royal, Victoria Adelaide Mary- who died seven months later.

She, in turn, would have been succeeded by... wait for it.....

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

Or should we say, King William V of England.

Would have made for an interesting First World War, nicht wahr?

New GOP front runner is.... Newt Gingrich?

Whoa.

The unsupported accusations against Herman Cain- whom I don't want to see nominated, but also don't want to see slandered- have taken their toll. Cain has tumbled from his front runner status- to be replaced in one poll by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was left for dead by the media only weeks ago when his entire staff resigned in a policy dispute.

It's no fluke. Another poll, this one sponsored by CNN, has Mr. Newt and Mitt Romney in a virtual tie for the national lead among Republicans.

Not only that, but a third poll has Cain, Gingrich and Romney virtually tied here in Iowa.

Gingrich has a personal life that is nothing to be proud of. A serial adulterer and divorcer of at least one totally surprised wife, he certainly is no example for the youth of America (or us old farts, either) to be looking up to. It's reasonable to ask how we can trust what Gingrich "solemnly swears." But at least he's an idea man, a guy with the brain to engage …

Joe Paterno deserves better- both from Penn State, and from the Big Ten

I just heard that the Big Ten is dropping Joe Paterno's name from its championship trophy. Only the immortal Amos Alonzo Stagg's name will be left.

I'm frankly scandalized. Look. Maybe Joe Pa should have called the cops when he heard about Sandusky's shower room antics. But he did what he was supposed to do according to both law and college policy. He told the athletic director. The AD is the guy who should have taken the fall.

Maybe Joe Pa should ideally have done more. But he did his job. He did what he was supposed to do.

To fire him is bad enough. To remove his name from the trophy is inexcusable.

Penn State should be ashamed- ashamed that the Sandusky affair wasn't handled more expeditiously, yes. But also ashamed that it scapegoated one of the greatest coaches in NCAA history for its failure.

And the Big Ten should be ashamed, too.

Commissioner James Delaney explained the decision to remove Joe Pa's name from the trophy by saying that it was supposed to …

The Blackhawks are the best in the West

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are 11-4-3, leading the Western Conference of the NHL.

Big game coming up Wednesday night against the Vancouver Canucks, who are rapidly replacing the Red Wings as the Hawks' most bitter rival. One team has eliminated the other from the playoffs in hard-fought series in each of the past three years. Without discounting Detroit, San Jose, or even Nashville, the Canucks look to be the biggest obstacle between the Hawks and a return tot he Stanley Cup Finals next Spring.

The Good Guys looked awful against the Canucks a few weeks ago. They have some momentum right now, sporting a three-game winning streak. Wednesday night should tell us a great deal.

ONE GOAL!

Bears 37, Lions 13

Week 5 is avenged.

The Bears dominated the Lions yesterday. Both teams are now 6-3. They are tied for second place behind the undefeated P__kers in the NFC North. Both seem likely to make the playoffs.

For the Bears, of course, it doesn't matter unless they beat the P__kers on Christmas Day. Even if they win the Super Bowl, a season in which they lose twice to Green Bay would be a failure.

Everybody says that it's all a matter of the Ursine Warriors having recommitted to the historic Bears style of football: strong defense, and a strong running game. Yesterday it was really the defense, with its four picks off Matthew Stafford, more than Matt Forte that got the job done.

But hey. I'm just fine with their beating the P__kers ugly.

Just as long as the beat the P__kers.

BEAR DOWN!

A day late, but not forgotten

Canadian Army doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem below- which ever since has been identified in the English-speaking world with Veterans or Remembrance Day- after witnessing the death of a friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. It speaks for the dead of all wars, who have given their lives for our safety and freedom.

It especially bears remembrance at a time when we are tempted to forget its final injunction.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Was Dr. Crippen innocent?

Dr. Hawley Crippen has gone down in history as one of the most notorious murderers in English history. An American homeopathic physician  from Coldwater, Michigan, Crippen was accused of murdering his estranged wife, Cora, and burying a small part of her remains in a "coal cellar" adjacent to the kitchen of their apartment. Crippen was carrying on an affair with a much younger woman. He claimed that Cora had eloped with a lover and returned to the United States, where she had died and been cremated. He later admitted to fabricating the story of her death out of humiliation.

When Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Walter Dew interviewed Crippen at his home to inquire about Cora's disappearance, he was initially satisfied. But when he returned with further questions, he discovered that Crippen- and his lover, Ethel la Nieve, who had moved in with him- had suddenly vacated the apartment. Their suspicions aroused, the police searched the apartment more completely, discoveri…

Bears 30, Eagles 24

For the first time in the last 31 games, Jay Cutler was not sacked. Matt Forte rushed for 133 yards. And the "good" Bears seem to be back.

I anticipate a win at home next week in a revenge game against the injury-riddled Lions, who embarassed them last month- before the new six-or-seven man pass defense was installed. The post-season beckons after all. But the game that counts- without a victory in which the season will be a lost cause no matter what else happens- is the one at Lambeau on Christmas Day.

All I want for Christmas is a victory over the P_ckers!

BEAR DOWN!!!

Kenny the Sacramentarian Kindergartner

He has something in common with Bill Clinton: he thinks the word "is" is ambiguous.

The official video of Grace LUTHERAN Academy!

I graduated from Grace Lutheran School, a parochial school at the time supported by Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church at 28th and Karlov in Chicago.

The parish has fallen on hard times, and I understand that it's now the Northern Illinois District which runs it as a mission to the community. I must confess, though, that I'm a little disappointed that it now calls itself Grace CHRISTIAN Academy- not because I'm ashamed of the name "Christian," but because there seems to be a trend among LCMS schools and even institutions to behave as if they were ashamed of the name "Lutheran." And before anybody even says it, if somebody wants to claim that "it's more important to be Christian than Lutheran," I can only reply that anyone who can make that distinction may be a Christian, but he or she by definition cannot be a Lutheran. The same might be said, btw, of Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, and members of any other denomination. If …