Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hard rock preacher

Interesting article on Jim Baker's son:

He has his mother's eyes and his father's chin, this son of America's most infamous televangelists. Now Jay Bakker, 31, the pierced and tattooed progeny of Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, is making his own mark in the evangelical world with a streetwise ministry called Revolution that's being chronicled in a Sundance Channel series.
"One Punk Under God" follows the younger Bakker's personal and spiritual pilgrimage, which has more universality than one might expect given his one-of-a-kind childhood.
Read More.

An overwhelming sense of sadness

The Kos kids are mourning the passing of Saddam, amazing:


I have just read that Saddam Hussein is dead. Hung by the neck until dead – isn’t that the phrase they always use on television? And I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. Everybody has to start by saying that it isn’t bad that Saddam Hussein is dead – he was an evil man. But what is evil? It is a religious denunciation, a way to set a person apart from humanity. We need to do this I suppose. And if we say that Saddam Hussein is an evil man, don’t we then have to say that other men are good? Who is good I wonder? Where do we find these men of goodness? To say Saddam Hussein was evil is too easy, it lets us off the hook. Saddam Hussein was a cruel man, a selfish man, a desperate man, a sad man. Link.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam Hussein Executed

The fat lady sang.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Edwards Announces Candidacy

Heh:

With just 23 months before the next presidential election, former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, announced today that he would seek the Democrat nomination for president in 2008, 2012 and 2016, but refused to comment on his plans for 2020.

“Americans are looking for a candidate with experience running for president,” said an unnamed campaign spokesman. “In 2018, when John Edwards is 65, he’ll have spent 16 years seeking the office and have four campaigns under his belt. We think that will position him well for victory in 2020.” Read More.

Looking back on the follies of the year ahead

James Lileks, always a good read.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Flatulence Allegedly Sparks Jail Brawl

Heh:

Bruggeman, of Hershey, is serving a 90-day sentence for violating a protection order.
Brian Bruggeman caused a stink at the Lincoln County Jail earlier this month and will now have to answer for it in court. Another inmate, Jesse Dorris, alleges that Bruggeman's flatulence, passed in close proximity to Dorris, sparked a Dec. 14 fight between the two at the jail.
Now Bruggeman, 38, faces a Jan. 11 preliminary hearing on the state's complaint of assault by a confined person. It's a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Bruggeman is accused of injuring Dorris, his cellmate, when he pushed him into cell bars. Dorris, 26, was not charged.
The two began scuffling, County Attorney Jeff Meyer said Tuesday, because Dorris was fed up with Bruggeman's flatulence.
Jail fights are common, Meyer said, but the cause of this one was rather uncommon.
"It's usually about someone hogging the newspaper or someone not happy about what's on TV," he said.
Read More.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Civil Rights Groups Sue Over Rent Law

Call me stupid, but I thought it was illegal to rent to illegal's:

Two civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a new law in a Dallas suburb that outlaws renting apartments to illegal immigrants, alleging the ordinance violates federal law and forces landlords to act as immigration officers. Read More.

'You,' Person of the Year?

A concise look at Time magazines unsatisfying person of the year award:

It has now been more than a week since "You" - and everyone else - were named Time magazine's Person of the Year. You've had a chance to reflect and let it all sink in. Maybe you've been thinking how it was a nice way to close out 2006.

But something feels a bit hollow about the whole experience, right? And not just because the funhouse-esque mirror on Time's cover distorted your image. Or because you were just one of billions who won the award. (In case you missed it, Time selected "You" for the power people gained and used in democratizing the media by creating content for the Internet.)

Maybe it bothers you that you didn't do much to earn the award. Because, despite all the things for which Time says it is honoring "You," odds are you haven't done any of them. Read More.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Archive Helps Detail Scope of Nazi Camps

It's amazing that we are still finding out how extensive the Nazi concentration camps were. Interesting this is coming out only a week after the anti-Holocaust conference in Iran:

Within weeks of Hitler's 1933 rise to power, the iron gates slammed shut on inmates of the first Nazi concentration camps. It was the start of an unparalleled experiment in persecution and genocide that expanded over the next 12 years into a pyramid of ghettos, Gestapo prisons, slave labor camps and, ultimately, extermination factories.

Holocaust historians are only now piecing together the scattered research in many languages to understand the vast scope of the camps, prisons and punishment centers that scarred German-ruled Europe, like a pox on the landscape stretching from Greece to Norway and eastward into Russia.

Collecting and analyzing fragmented reports, researchers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum say they have pinpointed some 20,000 places of detention and persecution - three times more than they estimated just six years ago.

And soon they will know much more. Read More.

Most Britons believe religion does more harm than good: poll

I agree, religion does more harm than good. True Christianity is not religion:

An overwhelming number of Britons believe religion does more harm than good while non-believers outnumber believers by nearly two to one, an ICM poll suggested.
Eighty-two percent of the 1,006 adults questioned for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in the run up to Christmas said they saw religion as a cause of division and tension between people compared to 16 percent who disagreed.

At a time when Britain's multi-cultural, multi-faith model, their outward symbols and culture are under the microscope after last year's home-grown Islamist extremist suicide bombings, 63 percent said they were not religious. Some 33 percent said they were religious. Older people and women were the most likely to believe in a god: 37 percent of women said they were religious compared to 29 percent of men.


But there was still good news for Christian leaders who complain that the true meaning of Christmas is being increasingly eroded by the forces of consumerism and consumption.
Fifty-four percent of Christians questioned said they planned to attend a religious service over the festive period.
Read More.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas on the Frontlines

Christmas is always hard on the troops. Let's remember them in prayer this Christmas season:

He’s covered the 1914 Christmas Truce and Washington’s Christmas Farewell, among other books. This year historian Stanley Weintraub travels back to 11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944. He recently talked to NRO Editor Kathryn Lopez about his latest and Christmas at war.Kathryn Jean Lopez: What was Christmas like for General Patton in 1944?Stanley Weintraub: Ordered to turn his tanks and troops of the Third Army around and race north to rescue the besieged crossroads town of Bastogne in southern Belgium, Patton faced the twin enemies of the Wehrmacht and the weather. Slow and sleet slowed down his movements and kept covering aircraft from the skies. A traditionally religious Episcopalian, Patton believed that an occasional personal appeal to the Almighty was useful. Just before Christmas, he went to a Roman Catholic chapel near his headquarters in Luxembourg, fell to his knees before the altar, and as if the Deity were a general senior to him, prayed, “Sir, This is Patton talking. . . . Who’s side are you on anyway?” He asked for four days of clearing weather, “to kill Germans.” His chaplain protested the abuse of prayer, but, Patton later wrote to his wife, Beatrice, “My prayer seems to be working still as we have had three days of good weather and our air [force] has been very active.” Bastogne was reached the day after Christmas. Patton prayed again, reporting that the “awful weather which I cursed so much” actually hindered the Germans more than the Americans. “That, Sir, was a brilliant military move, and I bow humbly to a supreme military genius.” Others thought that Patton was often off-the-wall, but as a fighting general he had no peer. Read More.

Israel Study Group and James Baker

HT: Ken


Dogma Without God

Interesting, and points out quite well that religion doesn't cut it:

The best thing about going to church this Christmas is that for at least an hour you won't have to think about religion.
By religion I of course don't mean the spiritual respite one may feel in a house of worship. I mean "religion"--the controversy, the battleground, the fighting word, the bomb-maker's inspiration and the lawsuit. Religion in the modern age.
Let's start with those nice Episcopalians. Last week seven Episcopal parishes in northern Virginia, one of which claims George Washington as a former parishioner, voted to separate from the U.S. Episcopal Church. It was Monday's lead story in the Washington Post. The seven parishes say they've lost patience with the mother church on matters such as homosexuality and the ordination of women. They plan to affiliate with a more traditional Episcopal diocese, in Nigeria.
In September, Pope Benedict elevated the politics of Islam and jihad, or holy war. Religion will be at issue in 2008's presidential politics. Mitt Romney's candidacy, one reads, must overcome the belief among Southern evangelicals that Mormonism isn't a religion. Sen. Sam Brownback, a hero to evangelicals, would build his campaign around the moral status of the culture. Meanwhile, the evangelicals find themselves beset by radical atheism.
Read More.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Iran "Votes"

This explains alot about the Iranian elections that I did not know:

The first step toward understanding the Iranian “elections” is that they weren’t. Elections, that is, at least in our common understanding of the term, namely the people vote and the counters count those votes and so we find out what the people want. That’s not what happens in Iran, where both the candidates and the results are determined well in advance of the casting of ballots. Yes, people get mobilized and go to the polls and mark their ballots and put them in the ballot box. But then Groucho comes into play: “I’ve got ballots. And if you don’t like them, I’ve got other ballots.” So, as usual, candidates (featuring, as usual, the unfortunate Mehdi Karubi, the eternal loser who nonetheless remains at the top of the mullah’s power mountain) complain that ballot boxes disappeared, and new ones magically appeared, and numbers change, and counters are replaced. It’s all part of the ritual. Which is not to say they weren’t significant. They certainly were. And, as most every news outlet has noticed, they brought bad news to the country’s madcap president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Iranian electoral ritual doesn’t tell us what the people want; it tells us what the tyrants have decided. This time, the decision had to do with the very intense power struggle going on inside the regime, catalyzed by the recent evidence of the worsening health of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In considerable pain from his cancer, for which he consumes a considerable quantity of opium syrup, Khamenei recently was forced to spend 2-3 days in a Tehran hospital after complaining of a loss of feeling in his feet and breaking out in a cold sweat. His doctors told him several months ago that he was unlikely to survive much past the end of March, and he seems to be more or less on schedule.

Western media, always looking for the next big celebrity, have been fascinated with Ahmadinejad, an outspoken and charismatic leader with a kind of wacky charm, especially when he launches into his Vision Thing: seeing funny blue lights surrounding him at the General Assembly when he spoke there, having prophetic visions of the elimination of the United States from the face of the earth (“Today, it is the United States, Britain, and the Zionist regime which are doomed to disappear as they have moved far away from the teachings of God”), and proclaiming his expert opinion on the errors of thousands of scholars who have documented a Holocaust-that-never-was-but-soon-Allah-willing-will-be...

The war policy is not in dispute among the rulers of Iran, whether they call themselves reformers or hard-liners. Nor is the decision to use the iron fist of the regime against any and all advocates of freedom for the Iranian people. What is decidedly at the center of the current fighting within the regime--a fight that has already produced spectacular assassinations, masqueraded as airplane crashes, of a significant number of military commanders, including the commander of the ground forces of the powerful Revolutionary Guards--is the Really Big Question, indeed the only question that really matters: Who will succeed Khamenei? Read More.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Iran President Facing Revival of Students’ Ire

This could get very interesting, remember it was the students that started the whole thing back in the 70's

As protests broke out last week at a prestigious university here, cutting short a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Babak Zamanian could only watch from afar. He was on crutches, having been clubbed by supporters of the president and had his foot run over by a motorcycle during a less publicized student demonstration a few days earlier.

Babak Zamanian, a student at Amir Kabir, in Tehran, is on crutches because of a beating earlier by supporters of President Ahmadinejad.
But the significance of the confrontation was easy to grasp, even from a distance, said Mr. Zamanian, a leader of a student political group.

The student movement, which planned the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy from the same university, Amir Kabir, is reawakening from its recent slumber and may even be spearheading a widespread resistance against Mr. Ahmadinejad. This time the catalysts were academic and personal freedom.

“It is not that simple to break up a president’s speech,” said Alireza Siassirad, a former student political organizer, explaining that an event of that magnitude takes meticulous planning. “I think what happened at Amir Kabir is a very important and a dangerous sign. Students are definitely becoming active again.”
Read More.

If they make a difference to the political structure in Iran, that could make things alot easier for the US.

Good

Poking fun at the Iranian president

Danish art group pokes fun at Iranian president. HT: LGF

A Danish art group that pokes fun at world leaders targeted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday by placing an advertisement in a Tehran newspaper with an insulting hidden message.

Beneath a picture of the president, a series of apparently sympathetic statements were arranged such as “Support his fight against Bush” and “Iran has the right to produce nuclear energy”. The advert was attributed to “Danes for World Peace”.

However, the first letters of each phrase, when read from top to bottom, spell out “S-W-I-N-E”.
The English-language Tehran Times, the conservative daily that printed the half-page advert, had apparently not detected the hidden message. But its impact is likely to be limited as the paper has a circulation of only a few thousand.

“We thought we would poke fun at Ahmadinejad because we don’t think he’s very liberal or sensitive,” said Jan Egesborg, a member of the art group Surrend. “We think he represents an extreme ideology,” he told Reuters. ...

Egesborg, 44, who teaches at the Danish School of Fine Art, said: “We did it to cause a reaction. There is a young population there (in Iran) which wants more liberalisation. Hopefully they will be inspired,” he said. “It’s nothing against the country or the people, it’s (against) the person in power.”

Merry Christmas

Only from Scrappleface.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Stop quoting Koran, start reading it, says scholar

This isn't going to happen anytime soon, Islam's understanding of the Koran as opposed to our understanding of the Bible are very different:

Rachid Benzine wishes Muslims would stop quoting the Koran and start reading it.
The young French academic said many Christians and Jews read their scriptures with a critical eye, adapting reading to the modern world but Muslims read theirs literally and quote it to justify rules that may no longer apply to lives today.
Doesn't this play into the hands of fundamentalists who want to impose a narrow view of Islam?
"We cite Koranic verses left and right to justify everything and nothing," said Benzine, who teaches Koranic hermeneutics -- the discipline of interpreting texts -- at the Institute of Political Studies in Aix-en-Provence.
In debates about Islam, he says, the Koran has become "a text of slogans, a supermarket" for adversaries to choose quotes to impose what they think is the only valid reading.
"No interpretation can pretend to be the only right one," insists Benzine, whose 2004 book "The New Thinkers of Islam" highlights the work of Muslim reformers. He plans to publish a book on interpreting the Koran in 2008.
Read More.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jungle secrets: 52 new species found in Borneo's 'Lost World'

Amazing new animal species are still being found:

More than 50 new species of animals and plants that have never been seen before have been discovered in a 'Lost World' on the island of Borneo in just 18 months, say scientists.
Among them are two tree frogs, a whole range of plants and trees and 30 brand new types of fish including a tiny one less than a centimetre long and a catfish with an adhesive belly that allows it to stick to rocks.
Read More.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

LET THE MUSLIMS FIGHT IT OUT

Picking up on the theme of what to do in the Middle East, I just read an article by Diane West in the Washington Times. This is provocative, to say the least:

Funny thing about the recent op-ed by Nawaf Obaid in The Washington Post outlining likely Saudi actions if the United States withdraws from Iraq: namely, that Saudis would both support Sunnis in Iraq (versus Shi’ites supported by Iran) and manipulate the oil market to “strangle” the Iranian economy…

So what should we do?

The first option is military, but it carries a seemingly insurmountable cultural override. The fact is, the United States has an arsenal that could obliterate any jihad threat in the region once and for all, whether that threat is bands of IED-exploding “insurgents” in Ramadi, the deadly so-called Mahdi Army in Sadr City, or genocidal maniacs in Tehran. In other words, it’s a disgrace for military brass to talk about the 21st-century struggle with Islam as necessarily being a 50- to 100-year war. Ridiculous. It could be over in two weeks if we cared enough to blast our way off the list of endangered civilizations.


As a culture, however, the West is paralyzed by the specter of civilian casualties, massive or not, that accompanies modern (not high-tech) warfare, and fights accordingly. It may well have been massive civilian casualties in Germany (40,000 dead in Hamburg after one cataclysmic night of “fire-bombing” in 1943, for example) and Japan that helped end World War II in an Allied victory. But this is a price I doubt any Western power would pay for victory today.


There’s another Middle Eastern strategy to deter expansionist Islam: Get out of the way. Get out of the way of Sunnis and Shi’ites killing each other. As a sectarian conflict more than 1,000 years old, this is not only one fight we didn’t start, but it’s one we can’t end. And why should we? If Iran, the jihad-supporting leader of the Shi’ite world, is being “strangled” by Saudi Arabia, the jihad-supporting leader of the Sunni world, isn’t that good for the Sunni-and-Shiite-terrorized West?

With the two main sects of Islam preoccupied with an internecine battle of epic proportions, the non-Muslim world gets some breathing room. And we sure could use it — to plan for the next round. Read More.

Do u txt ur kdz?

Interesting way of bridging the generational gap:

"Texting" -- sending brief messages by cellphone -- has grown dramatically beyond the teenage and 20-something "thumb generation" over the past year, in part because parents are beginning to use the cellphone screen as another channel to communicate with children who otherwise might not have much to say. Read More.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Episcopal Rift Drawing Near Point of Revolt

You could see this coming. Interesting that it is third world Anglican bishops that are coming to the rescue of the American conservatives:

For about 30 years, the Episcopal Church has been one big unhappy family. Under one roof there were female bishops and male bishops who would not ordain women. There were parishes that celebrated gay weddings and parishes that denounced them; theologians sure that Jesus was the only route to salvation, and theologians who disagreed.
Now, after years of threats, the family is breaking up.


As many as eight conservative Episcopal churches in Virginia are expected to announce today that their parishioners have voted to cut their ties with the Episcopal Church. Two are large, historic congregations that minister to the Washington elite and occupy real estate worth a combined $27 million, which could result in a legal battle over who keeps the property.
In a twist, these wealthy American congregations are essentially putting themselves up for adoption by Anglican archbishops in poorer dioceses in Africa, Asia and Latin America, who share conservative theological views about homosexuality and the interpretation of Scripture with the breakaway Americans.


“The Episcopalian ship is in trouble,” said the Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, one of the two large Virginia congregations, where George Washington served on the vestry. “So we’re climbing over the rails down to various little lifeboats. There’s a lifeboat from Bolivia, one from Rwanda, another from Nigeria. Their desire is to help us build a new ship in North America, and design it and get it sailing.” Read More.

Why they deny the Holocaust

This helps to explain the holocaust seminar in Iran:

On top of nearly constant anti-Semitic propaganda, much of the Muslim world hasn't even heard of it. Read More.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fulfillment

From a sermon I recently preached:

"Happiness is the result of the fulfillment and the reward that comes from Christ. Jesus, God's indescribable gift of happiness, has a way of changing priorities and the way we look at things. There's a huge difference between viewing Christianity as a religion of rituals and viewing it as a relationship with Christ. For one is based upon guilt and restriction, while the other is built upon love and freedom. Christianity isn't a license to do wrong, it's the liberty to do what is right and believe it or not, the Christmas story reminds us that when Christ came to earth and took the form of humanity, he showed us that he can relate to our problems. It makes us feel good that we have someone who can understand the things we go through."

Iran

Dean Barnett blogging at Hugh Hewitt’s blog has really stirred up a hornets nest. He is advocating a pre-emptive strike against Iran. He lays out the argument that getting rid of the nuclear weapons misses the point. It’s not that Iran having nukes is the issue its who controls those nukes that is the problem.

For Barnett, since the Iranian government is unstable at best, regime change is what is needed. The whole problem I have with Dean’s post is that he has a point. How do you deal with an Iranian president that wants to instigate an apocalyptic conflagration in order to usher in his messiah (the Mahdi)?

I am still trying to come to grips with how the Iranian government needs to be dealt with. It is foolish to view them from a western perspective, they don’t think the way the west does. How then do I view them as a Christian? Obviously they need Christ, but how do I view them from a political viewpoint? I wish I knew. Hopefully greater minds than mine can solve this one (just leave James Baker out of it).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

'Logic bomb' backfires on hacker

This is what not to do to your employer: Heh.

A former United States UBS PaineWebber employee was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday for planting a computer "logic bomb" on company networks and betting its stock would go down.

The investment scheme backfired when UBS stock remained stable after the computer attack and Roger Duronio lost more than $23 000 (about R160 000).

A judge sentenced Duronio, 64, to 97 months in prison and ordered him to make $3,1-million in restitution to his former employer, the United States attorney's office said in a statement.
Duronio was convicted on July 19 of one count of securities fraud and one count of computer fraud in the 2002 case.

Duronio quit his job as a systems administrator in February 2002 after repeatedly expressing dissatisfaction about his salary and bonuses, the statement said.
He then planted malicious computer code known as a "logic bomb" in about 1 000 of PaineWebber's approximately 1 500 networked computers in branch offices. On March 4, 2002, the "bomb" detonated and began deleting files.


Duronio attempted to profit from the attack, the statement said. He bought more than $23 000 input option contracts for UBS AG stock, betting the stock's price would go down after his "logic bomb" went off.

But, according to testimony at his trial, the stock remained stable after the computer attack and Duronio lost all of his investment. Link.

This is called being a noob, he did something that was traceable back to himself.

A Family at Cross-Purposes

Hopefully this is not true, or grossly overblown. This comes from the WaPo so I am always leery of their spin:

It is a struggle worthy of the Old Testament, pitting brother against brother, son against mother, and leaving the famous father, the Rev. Billy Graham, trapped in the middle, pondering what to do.
Retired and almost blind at 88, the evangelist is sitting in his modest log house on an isolated mountaintop in western North Carolina and listening to a family friend describe where Franklin Graham, heir to his father's worldwide ministry, wants to bury his parents.
Read More.

HT: Ken

Castro 'near death'

The has been alot of buzz about whether Castro has died or not. It does seem that his end is near:

Cuban President Fidel Castro is very ill and close to death, US intelligence chief John Negroponte said in an interview published on Friday."Everything we see indicates it will not be much longer... months, not years," Negroponte told The Washington Post.The Cuban leader, 80, has not appeared in public since he underwent emergency intestinal surgery and temporarily handed over the presidency to his younger brother, Raul Castro, on July 31. Read More.

Underground Fires Surface

This kind of puts global warming in perspective:

Uncontrolled fires burning in underground and surface coal deposits in numerous countries, including China, India, and Indonesia, are emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere. These pollutants may pose other grave environmental hazards. In China alone, about 120 million tons of coal are consumed in uncontrolled fires each year, says Andries Rosema, director of the Environmental Analysis and Remote Sensing Company in Delft, The Netherlands. Rosema extrapolated this estimate from temperature measurements--collected by satellites and low-flying airplanes--which indicate that about 300,000 metric tons of coal spread over thousands of kilometers burn each year in just one province in northern China, Ningxia. Says Rosema, "These coal fires that are burning around the world are really an environmental catastrophe . . . and hardly anybody has taken an interest in studying it."

One of the most troubling results of these fires, he says, is the carbon dioxide (CO2) they generate, including about 360 million metric tons of CO2 from coal fires in China alone. "The CO2 production of all of these fires in China is more than the total CO2 production in The Netherlands," Rosema says. This amounts to 2-3% of the annual worldwide production of CO2 from fossil fuels, or as much as emitted from all of the cars and light trucks in the United States. "Coal fires release a variety of potentially harmful gases [and] combustion by-products, including sulfur and particulates," says Glenn Stracher, associate professor of geology at East Georgia College in Swainsboro, Georgia. "The catastrophe that we're faced with is the fact that these fires are emitting noxious gases." In fire-plagued regions such as in Centralia, Pennsylvania, he says, the ground is littered with sulfur and other pollutants that have killed off virtually all visible plant and animal life. Read More.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How Academe Shortchanges Conservative Thinking

Concerning the lack of intellectual diversity on college campuses:

The gains in public life are real. But it's a mistake to take the media status of conservatives too far. For in another respect, little has changed. When we assess intellectuals, we enter a rarified habitat of books and ideas, and the prime setting for appreciating those is the college campus. There, conservative intellectuals remain stymied. Their relationship to the universities in which they found their calling and to the curriculum and scholarship they studied — that remains tenuous.

Such a situation has consequences, for liberals and conservatives. As three recent books — one by a leading liberal professor, one by a well-known conservative columnist, and the other by a visible conservative polemicist — demonstrate, while the denial of academic legitimacy to the conservative tradition begins in the classroom, it reverberates far beyond the campus. Read More.

Officers say U.S. soldiers ‘abused’ by al Qaeda inmates

The UN definetely needs to get involved with this:

Al Qaeda might be on the run in Afghanistan, but Osama bin Laden's agents are in the driver's seat at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Officers tell of daily attacks by al Qaeda inmates against U.S. military personnel, who are ordered not to respond. The officers have also been ordered to fulfill the religious, cultural and even entertainment needs of the inmates, including providing Arabic translations of Harry Potter.

"I have never once since I've been down here ever heard of a detainee being abused, but I've seen the soldiers and sailors get abused," Staff Sgt. Thomas Garcia said. "[Detainees] throw some of the most unmentionable cocktails. They urinate on [the guards]. They spit. They call them names: Read More.

Monday, December 11, 2006

GOP Straw Poll

Neturei Karta

A little bit of background on the strange Jewish sect that is in Iran for the anti Holocaust conference. Link.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Vikings: State Champs!

Siuslaw High School Vikings football team won state. Way to go!

They won in overtime, in a hard fought game.

Final score: 21 to 14

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Go Vikings!

Off to see our local High School football team in the state championships. Go Viks!

China admits social unrest threatens party's iron grip

With a population the size of China's, this little problem could get interesting fast:

Riots in China are threatening the Communist Party’s ability to rule, according to a policy document that seeks answers to the country’s social unrest.
It is the first time that a partywide paper has asked how best to deal with rising public discontent and underscores the seriousness of the problem.

Demonstrations have been on the rise for several years as those who have lost out because of market reforms have taken to the streets to voice their discontent. Last year official figures showed that the number of protests, or “mass incidents”, averaged one every six minutes. In 2004, officials reported 74,000 mass incidents in China, up from 10,000 in 1994, with the number of participants rising to 3.8 million from 730,000.

A decision by the party to find ways to actively prevent such mass incidents — made at its annual plenary session in October — marked the first time a document sent out to party members had referred to how to deal with the problem, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

In a rare commentary on the sensitive topic, the state-run Xinhua news agency said: “The huge number and broad scope of mass incidents has become the most outstanding problem that seriously impacts social stability.”
Read More.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Expelling God from the academy

This will only continue. The concept of truth along with one way to God is being completely relativised:

In the Gospel of Matthew (19:24), Jesus speaks to his disciples about wealth: "[I]t is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

The Christian life, at its foundation, is characterized by humility, which is to say that wealth, which fosters elitism, is often at odds with Christianity. The Bible does not say that prosperity is sinful, but those who place wealth above God are engaging in idolatry -- as defined in the Second of the Ten Commandments.

One may rightly infer that a wealth of knowledge leading to academic elitism, like economic elitism, is also hostile to Christianity. Idolizing knowledge or wealth isolates one from the Truth and Light. Read More.

Dick Cheney’s Gay Daughter is Pregnant

Interesting point:

There are few hotter issues than gay adoption, but I’ve found one: a high profile lesbian woman deciding to conceive a child with no apparent intention of involving the biological father in the child’s life.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported the openly gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney is pregnant. The same published report says Mary, 37, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, 45, are “ecstatic” about the baby, due in late spring.
Before commenting on the report, it is important to mention what we don’t know.
We don’t know how she got pregnant, and quite honestly, it’s none of our business.
What we do know is that two lesbian women can’t make babies, and as good as both women may be as caretakers, neither of them can be Dad. We also know there is a dad out there and this child will be deprived of his presence.
Read More.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Reflections on the prospect - reality? - of a third great awakening

This article makes some very good points, this may be the start of a third great awakening:

This is huge. The nation may be in the midst of a third Great Awakening.

The Washington Post gave its Dec. 4 Page One lead-story position to a deepening split in the Episcopal Church. Two Fairfax parishes with 3,000 members between them — Truro Church and The Falls Church — will vote next week whether to remain in the Episcopal Church U.S.A. Other Virginia churches have held similar votes — or soon will.
Read More.

Pearl Harbor 1941

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pearl Harbor Survivors Gather

There almost all gone, members of the greatest generation:

This will be their last visit to this watery grave to share stories, exchange smiles, find peace and salute their fallen friends. Read More.

Bibles Are Booming

Interesting:

Always a dependable seller, the Bible is in the midst of a boom. Christian bookstores had a 25% increase in sales of Scriptures from 2003 to 2005, according to statistics gathered by the Phoenix-based Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, a trade group. General-interest bookstores, while declining to give figures, have also seen increasingly strong sales. "Bibles are a growth area for us and we're giving them more space in our stores," said Jane Love, religion buyer for Barnes & Noble. "It's partly because of the way they've evolved over the last three or four years." Read More.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Flight Club

Good video on the flying imams.



Monday, December 04, 2006

Money, time, blood

I'm not surprised:

Arthur C. Brooks spent 12 years as a professional French horn player with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles. Then he entered academia and is now Professor of Public Administration at Syracuse University. In his well-researched book, Who Really Cares: the Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism (Basic, 2006), Brooks uses statistics to demolish years of propaganda.
WORLD: Overall, do liberals or conservatives give more to charity and volunteer more of their time?
BROOKS: Conservatives give privately more to charity than liberals do. For example, households headed by a conservative donate, on average, 30 percent more dollars than households headed by a liberal. And this isn't because conservatives earn more: On the contrary, liberal families earn an average of 6 percent more per year than conservative families, and conservative families give more than liberal families within every income class, from poor to middle class to rich. These differences go beyond money as well. Take blood donations, for example. In 2002, conservative Americans were more likely to donate blood each year, and did so more often, than liberals.
Read the rest.

When the Gender Line Isn't Clear?

I am afraid this is not surpising. Once you slip down the slope of ethical relativity there is no right or wrong behaviour. Scary:

The New York Times ran a major article on transgender children on December 2, adding considerable visibility to an issue that had, until recently, hardly been mentioned in public. [See my article of October 18, 2006, "Gender Confusion in the Kindergarten?"]
In "
Supporting Boys or Girls When the Line Isn't Clear," reporter Patricia Leigh Brown explained:
Until recently, many children who did not conform to gender norms in their clothing or behavior and identified intensely with the opposite sex were steered to psychoanalysis or behavior modification.
But as advocates gain ground for what they call gender-identity rights, evidenced most recently by New York City's decision to let people alter the sex listed on their birth certificates, a major change is taking place among schools and families. Children as young as 5 who display predispositions to dress like the opposite sex are being supported by a growing number of young parents, educators and mental health professionals.
This reporter ventures rather deeply into the issue, noting that in addition to allowing children to pose, dress, and be recognized as the opposite of their birth sex, some parents have gone so far as to use "blocking" drugs to delay puberty. As Brown explains, this raises "a host of ethical questions."
The reporter also acknowledges a divide within the community of activists and specialists dealing with the question. In her words, "The prospect of cross-dressing kindergartners has sparked a deep philosophical divide among professionals over how best to counsel families. Is it healthier for families to follow the child's lead, or to spare children potential humiliation and isolation by steering them toward accepting their biological gender until they are older?"
Read More.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Emperor Maxentius insignia found in Rome

Amazing they are still finding new things in Rome.

Archaeologists have unearthed what they say are the only existing imperial insignia belonging to Emperor Maxentius _ precious objects that were buried to preserve them and keep them from enemies when he was defeated by his rival Constantine.
Excavation under Rome's Palatine Hill near the Colosseum turned up items including three lances and four javelins that experts said are striking for their completeness _ digs usually turn up only fragments _ and the fact that they are the only known artifacts of their kind.
Clementina Panella, the archaeologist who made the discovery, said the insignia were likely hidden by Maxentius' people in an attempt to preserve the emperor's memory after he was defeated by Constantine I in the 321 A.D. battle of the Milvian Bridge _ a turning point for the history of the Roman empire which saw Constantine become the unchallenged ruler of the West.
Read More.

Organic chicken 'less nutritious' than battery-farmed birds

Heh:

With its premium price tag, shoppers expect organic chicken to be both tastier and healthier than cheaper battery-farmed birds.
But organic poultry is actually less nutritious, contains more fat and tastes worse than its mass-produced equivalent, research has shown.
Tests on supermarket chicken breasts showed that organic versions contained lower levels of health-boosting omega 3 fatty acids than other varieties, including non-organic free-range poultry.
The compounds, present in high levels in oily fish, are thought to be responsible for a host of health benefits, from combating heart disease to boosting intelligence.
Organic chicken, which typically costs nearly three times as much as battery-farmed poultry, also contained lower levels of anti-oxidants – compounds which mop up harmful molecules called free radicals that have been linked to cancer, heart disease and strokes.
If that wasn't enough, the chicken – from birds which are raised as naturally as possible and are given antibiotics only when they are actually ill – contained up to twice as much cholesterol.
Read more.

Say no to AP’s shoddy work

It's been pretty obvious the AP is very biased, now they are just getting caught at it:

When a company defrauds its customers, or delivers shoddy goods, the customers sooner or later are going to take their business elsewhere. But if that company has a virtual monopoly, and offers something its customers must have, they may have no choice but to keep taking it.
That’s when the customers, en masse, need to raise a stink. That’s when someone else with the resources needs to seriously consider whether the time is ripe to compete.
The Associated Press is embroiled in a scandal. Conservative bloggers, the new media watchdogs, lifted a rock at the AP.
Read More.

Pyramids were built with concrete rather than rocks, scientists claim

This would explain many of the architectural difficulties that were overcome by the Egyptian's.

The Ancient Egyptians built their great Pyramids by pouring concrete into blocks high on the site rather than hauling up giant stones, according to a new Franco-American study.

The research, by materials scientists from national institutions, adds fuel to a theory that the pharaohs’ craftsmen had enough skill and materials at hand to cast the two-tonne limestone blocks that dress the Cheops and other Pyramids.


Despite mounting support from scientists, Egyptologists have rejected the concrete claim, first made in the late 1970s by Joseph Davidovits, a French chemist.

The stones, say the historians and archeologists, were all carved from nearby quarries, heaved up huge ramps and set in place by armies of workers. Some dissenters say that levers or pulleys were used, even though the wheel had not been invented at that time.
Until recently it was hard for geologists to distinguish between natural limestone and the kind that would have been made by reconstituting liquefied lime.


But according to Professor Gilles Hug, of the French National Aerospace Research Agency (Onera), and Professor Michel Barsoum, of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the covering of the great Pyramids at Giza consists of two types of stone: one from the quarries and one man-made. Read More.

Friday, December 01, 2006

MSM bias: "Everybody knows ..."

Excellent on the phsychology of 'herd think.'

Michelle Malkin, Flopping Aces and many others have spent days chronicling how the Associated Press has been bamboozled into reporting an apparently fictitious (or, at least, greatly exaggerated) atrocity in Iraq. Yet AP continues to defend both its dubious story and its equally dubious sources.Why? Why are we watching AP repeat the same basic mistake that CBS committed with Dan Rather's fake-but-accurate National Guard debacle?Two words: "Everybody knows." Anyone who has studied anthropology, sociology or mass psychology understands how false beliefs can become conventional wisdom within groups if (a) high-status individuals within the group advocate the belief, and (b) there is no one inside the group to dispute the false belief. Read the whole thing.