Wednesday, January 31, 2007

EXACTLY THE WRONG WAY TO TALK ABOUT RELIGION AND POLITICS

That the Washington Post has anything on faith is a bit of a stretch until you read what some of the writers discuss. Amazing, and not surprising. Ivory tower types (and I was one) tend to be totally out of touch with the real world, after reading this it just re-confirms that sentiment:

WashingtonPost.com has a section entitled On Faith, to promote intelligent conversation about religion in America. This post, by Prof. Wendy Doniger at the University of Chicago's Divinity School, caught my attention. Here's how it begins:

I don’t care a fig about our next president’s personal religious views. The candidate can worship the Great Pumpkin, for all I care, as long as he or she doesn’t assume that the rest of us do too, and that the Great Pumpkin told him to do things such as, to take a case at random, invade Iraq.If Prof. Doniger was trying as hard as possible to reinforce the stereotype that liberal academics belittle and trivialize the faith of others, she most certainly succeeded. Whether to Great Pumpkins or Spaghetti Monsters, this kind of reference is condescending. And so is the suggestion that serious politicians "do things" because there is a Pumpkin or Spaghetti Monster whispering in their ear. Read More.

The American Iraq

Excellent:

So this government in Baghdad, fighting for its life, has not mastered even the grim science of the gallows, and has no knowledge of the "drop charts" used for hangings around the world. The Tikritis had been much better at this sort of thing. They had all the time in the world to perfect the skills and techniques of terror; they had done it against the background of relative indifference by outside powers. And they had the indulgence of the neighboring Arabs who gave their warrant to all that played out in Iraq under the Tikriti despotism.

Pity those men now hunkered down in Baghdad as they walk a fine, thin line between the yearning for justice and retribution in their land, and the scrutiny of the outside world. In the annals of Arab history, the Shia have been strangers to power, rebels and dissidents and men on the run hunted down by official power. Now the ground has shifted in Baghdad, and an Arab world steeped in tyranny reproaches a Shia-led government sitting atop a volcano. America's "regional diplomacy"--the name for our earnest but futile entreaties to the Arab rulers--will not reconcile the Arab regimes to the rise of the Shia outcasts.
Read the whole thing.

NBC story on Iraq Troops

What the troops think about the anti-war crowd:

Take Me Back to the Sixties

Really interesting retrospective.

Click here: Take Me Back To The Sixties

HT: Janet and Glenn

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Giant Duck of Peace


Charles over at LGF insists this is a peace duck, others have said it is obviously a peace dove. Mrs. Bloviating says it has the wings of a dove and the head of a duck so it must be a peace dock!

London Prison Changes Direction of Toilets in Respect to Islamic Law

Accomodation is a lovely thing:

Toilets in one London prison are getting a face-lift — or rather, a change in direction — to accommodate Muslim inmates who can't use them while facing Mecca, a British newspaper reported. Read More.

BTW this will continue to get worse as far as Muslim sensibilities are concerned. Why is this just coming up now? Muslims have been in England for generations. What did they used to do? Ah the joys of political correctness.

I wonder if this ties in with the new ant-war motto?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Holocaust memorials defiled by neo-Nazis

This is not good, though not unexpected. Neo-nazis have been on the rise in the east since reunification on Germany. With high unemplyment the lure of nazism has been increased. It's always nice to blame someone else for your problems:

The German authorities were preparing for criticism from the Jewish community after it was revealed that a Holocaust memorial in Berlin was being used as a public lavatory by tourists and by neo-Nazi sympathisers.

The disclosure, in a Berlin newspaper, will trigger a new debate about how the Holocaust should be remembered in Germany. Read More.

Battle Leaves 200 Members of Apocalyptic Sect Dead in Iraq

This shows that Islam is not monolithic. Just as it is difficult to say that all Chistians believe x, so it is with Islam. When you factor in extra Koranic teachings, tribal beliefs, ecstatic experiences (sufism) there can be wildly divergent beliefs. We need to keep this in mind when talking about Islam:

An apocalyptic sect, led by a man claiming to be an Islamic messiah, has been wiped out in Iraq just as it was planning to disrupt the holiest day in the Shia Muslim calendar, Iraqi officials claimed Monday.

Iraqi soldiers, backed by U.S. tanks and helicopters, concluded one of the strangest battles in four years of fighting in the country at dawn Monday morning near the city of Najaf. Read More.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Anti-War Motto


This is the new motto for the anti-war crowd. I won't even comment. HT: LGF

Senator Smith

Over at the Oregon Conservative Gary has sent an e-mail to our dear Senator concerning the resolutions on the war in Iraq. Also be sure to sign the pledge.

Dear Senator Smith I have always supported you and voted for you, but sadly it appears that is about to come to an end.If you continue to support the WARNER RESOLUTION (or any other similar resolution) I will not only vote FOR any challenger of yours in your next primary election, I will also donate as much money as I can afford up to the legal limit. I will also vote for your opposition in the general election if you manage to secure the party nomination.In addition, I will no longer support the NRSC if it chooses to give you money. Approximately 12,000 people in 24 hours have signed a pledge saying as much at http://truthlaidbear.com/thenrscpledge/ .

Republicans did not lose the '06 elections because of their support of the war, they lost because the republican base got tired of voting for people who have abandoned their party's principles. Judicial nominees, government spending, Social Security reform, illegal immigration..... You failed to lead, and you lost your majority. You are not going to get it back by moving further and further away from the base's core beliefs. Link.

Agreed.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Jewish scholar encourages Christians to live out their faith

Very true, the stereotype for what it means to be a Christian is completely skewed. Also instead of always being in attack mode we need to be in "compassion" mode:

Religious liberty advocate Michael Horowitz says U.S. Christians can address their image problems by defining themselves instead of letting the media define them. With a few changes, he suggests, Christians could go from being widely viewed as "dangerous" and divisive to being recognized as the positive change agents so many of them are.

Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Horowitz is urging Christians in America to define themselves, instead of allowing the secular media to define them. He says it is troubling that members of the Christian faith have allowed themselves to be seen as "dangerous" in so many eyes...

"This is a country where red America and blue America share values far more than people understand," Horowitz contends. However, if Christians are to build bridges between them and, at the same time, redefine themselves on their own terms, he says, they will have to work on changing the tone of their message. Read More.

HT: Jerry

The vaulting ambition of America's Lady Macbeth

Ouch:

Fifteen years ago there was once a principled, if somewhat rebarbative and unelectable politician called Hillary Rodham Clinton. A woman who aggressively preached abortion on demand and the right of children to sue their own parents, a committed believer in the power of government who tried to create a healthcare system of such bureaucratic complexity it would have made the Soviets blush; a militant feminist who scorned mothers who take time out from work to rear their children as “women who stay home and bake cookies”.

Today we have a different Hillary Rodham Clinton, all soft focus and expensively coiffed, exuding moderation and tolerance. Read the whole thing.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Daniels In the Lions' Den

I haven't figured out why the radical left in Britain and Islamic fundamentalists have become allies. The dissonance is astounding. One group embraces post modernism, feminism, gay rights, cultural relativity etc. etc. The other, doesn't. It's pretty much that simple:

Last Saturday many thousands of Londoners — plus a small but determined corps of Americans — came to Westminster to debate the clash of civilizations. Ken Livingstone, the notoriously pro-Islamist mayor of London, had invited Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, to be the neoconservative fall guy.

Not only Mr. Livingstone, but also almost everybody else expected the professor to be eaten alive by the politician. Mr. Pipes was warned by his British friends that he was walking into a trap. Read the rest.

Military Ray Gun Makes People Feel Like They're on Fire

Interesting:

The military calls its new weapon an "active denial system," but that's an understatement. It's a ray gun that shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they are about to catch fire. Read More.

Obama & The Black Vote

Iv'e been watching this with interest. Many of the black leaders ie., Jackson, Sharpton et.al. have been very luke warm to Obama. Jonah Goldberg has an interesting anaylsis:

...I think the narrative about America being too racist for black politicians to succeed is little more than a chestnut at this point. White Americans desperately want black Americans to succeed. This goes for much of the Republican Party as well. Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice and now Michael Steele have enormous fan bases out there (though Powell's reputation took a beating from his troubles in the Administration). What makes a hash of all this is precisely the attitude on display from some of the people quoted in that Washington Post piece. The black left — and, let's be honest, a big chunk of the black base — thinks that it gets to define who is black by applying an ideological litmus test. Black conservatives "don't count" as blacks according the Sharptons and Jacksons. The result is that white conservatives or Republicans who actually support black conservatives or Republicans are still "racist" because they don't support "real" blacks. In effect, conservatives are racist if they don't support liberal and leftwing black people. Link.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Take The Pledge

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution. Link.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

'Scientist' Group's Funding Comes with Liberal 'Strings Attached'

I'm sure this must be a shock and a surprise. Scientists can also have political agendas?

At a time when the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is censuring free market organizations for accepting donations from ExxonMobil, critics have turned the spotlight back onto the UCS, its left-wing positions, and its own funding practices. Read More.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Clinton Opens Her Campaign With Health Insurance Plan

Dejavu?

Documentary on beastiality premieres at Sundance Film Festival

This is freaky, the last "taboo" is now broken. Of course once a taboo is broken down it becomes normalized. This is not good:

"Zoo" is a documentary about what director Robinson Devor accurately characterizes as "the last taboo, on the boundary of something comprehensible." But remarkably, an elegant, eerily lyrical film has resulted. Read More.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Does what "elite professors" think matter?

Excellent point. The higher the education level the more specialized it is. Catch a prof out of there element and they usually don't have a clue.

From Stephen Bainbridge:

If all we know about a view was that professors held it more, and elite professors even more so, we would be inclined to favor that view.

I'm 48 years old. I spent 11 years in college and graduate school, with the latter 7 years spent at elite institutions. I've spent 18 years teaching at law schools ranked in the top 25, which I think safely qualify as elite institutions. Having thus spent 60% of my life hanging out with elite professors, I feel confident in saying that: If all I know about a view was that professors held it more, and elite professors even more so, I would be inclined to be skeptical of that view.
To be sure, when it comes to their area of expertise, elite professors deserve a degree of deference. When it comes to matters outside their area of expertise, such as whether God exists (the question Galt and Hanson are discussing), elite faculty deserve no more deference than any other smart people. Indeed, they may deserve less deference than a representative cross section of the general public. University faculties tend to be highly self-selected and appointments tend to be dominated by network effects that produce a remarkable homogeneity of belief (or, in this case, disbelief). Outside their areas of expertise (and sometimes even inside it), their beliefs tend to be colored by their ideology and by the need to conform to the expectations of their colleagues.


In his article, Academic Freedom, 77 University of Colorado Law Review 883, law professor Larry Alexander offers an observation that I think lends support to my claim:
My experience has taught me that aside from the fact that those inclined towards liberalism are disproportionately disinclined to go into business and the professions and thus more inclined to become academics, there are reasons in addition to groupthink that explain why academic liberals become more dogmatically liberal and anti-conservative once inside the academy.Foremost among them being the orthodox academic's negative view of the free market.


Now the free market, buttressed by public education, has raised more people out of poverty than all government poverty and redistributive programs together have done. Nonetheless, the free market--and the bourgeois values that undergird it--is typically disdained, if not reviled by academics, at least academics outside of economics departments.
For one thing, the free market is disorderly, while the academic mind is attracted to rational planning and control and, thus, to statism. The academic looks at the free market and sees gigantic waste--the vast number of businesses that prove unprofitable and fold, and the incalculable misspent hours and dollars people invest in training and educating themselves for occupations that disappear or never materialize.


Precisely. So if all we know about a view of some economic or political issue was that professors held it more, and elite professors even more so, we should be disinclined to favor that view. Ditto religious questions, for much the same set of reasons. Read the whole thing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Putting the Brakes on Light Speed

For the future of computers this is huge:

Scientists said yesterday that they had achieved a long-sought goal of slowing waves of light to a relatively leisurely pace and using those harnessed pulses to store an image. Read More.

HT: Instapundit

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Methodology Critique in Defense of Those Wascally Wepublicans

Definetely a case of wishful thinking:

You may have heard the news by now. People who hold conservative political opinions are suffering from a syndrome in need of a cure. How do we know this? Because a professor of psychology has demonstrated it to be so. The news has been getting a lot of press lately.
Since his graduate school days, John T. Jost, who currently holds position as an Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University, has been studying the reasons for which people adopt conservative political ideology. His most publicized achievement is a 2003 article titled Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition (from here on out, I’ll refer to it as “the study.”) It was touted in the February 2007 issue of Psychology Today, as “the most comprehensive review of personality and political orientation to date.”
Don’t confuse comprehensiveness with integrity. The study maligns half of the U.S. population and much of the population of the world. Research resulting in mass vilification always causes the Iron Shrink to raise an eyebrow, so I examined the methodology that the authors used to arrive at their conclusion. Regular readers will know that I have little tolerance for intellectual sloppiness.
Read More.

Transformation

The struggle comes in big churches, and little churches:

Unfortunately, another large SBC church is in the secular press because of transitional problems. This time it's the 4000 member . It was just six months ago that Pastor David Cox officially took over the reigns from well-liked long-term pastor Bobby Welch (the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention). While he served as senior associate under Welch for over two years, the response to his leadership in the first six months has led to a congregational meeting, which, of course, was reported on by the media... Read More.

HT: Jerry

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Miniature Earth

If there were only 100 people on earth with the same demographics we have today, it would look something like this.

I have returned!

Just got back from a conference for ministers of the Assemblies of God in Oregon. Had a really good time. Will try and get back to blogging!

BibleMap.org

This is quite cool.

BibleMap.org is developed by the duo at He Lives Ministries (HeLives.com). The motivation for developing the site was simple. Create a free Bible atlas which harnesses Google maps. We hope this site will be a blessing to you and possibly help make the living book of the Bible more alive in your life.

Take a look.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Declaring War on the Young

Interesting and does make sense, it would also explain the falling crime rate in the US.

A German social scientist (Gunnar Heinsohn) has taken an old truism of American policing, and applied it on a global scale, to explain why there is terrorism and war in so many places. Heinsohn's theory is that when there are too many young men in a country, there will be more violence. This was noted by American crime researchers decades ago. Thus the explanation for the skyrocketing American crime rates from the 1960s to the 90s. This was the era ruled by the post World War II "baby boom." Read More.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Iranian Christian's Arrested

So much for the tolerance of Islam. BTW they could very well be executed as apostates:

CHRISTIANS ARRESTED IN CITIES. Iranian state security agents arrested 14 Christians in three cities on December 10, apparently to prevent them from celebrating Christmas and New Year, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reported on December 17, citing the group Human Rights Activists in Iran. The group issued a December 16 statement to report the arrests in Tehran, Karaj -- west of Tehran -- and Rasht on the northern Caspian coast, though two of the arrested have been released, the broadcaster stated. Group member Sadeq Naqashkar told Radio Farda that those arrested are allegedly Christian converts. Islam forbids conversion from Islam, as it is considered heresy or a conscious rejection of truth; it is potentially a capital offense. Naqashkar said the Intelligence Ministry apparently carried out the arrests and relatives of some of the arrested gathered outside the judiciary offices in Rasht to protest the arrests, though they faced "an insulting and aggressive response from the Intelligence Ministry," Radio Farda reported. (Vahid Sepehri) Link.

As a mosque rises, a dispute flares in Berlin

It's been slow in coming but parts of Europe are waking up to the incompatibility of Islam with their own culture:

A squabble over construction of the first mosque in formerly communist East Berlin is becoming the latest flash point between Muslims intent on asserting a strong identity in Europe and Europeans increasingly fearful that their secular societies are threatened by Islamic fundamentalism. Read More.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Missions and Masturbation

Thought provoking, only John Piper can get away with this topic!

Masturbation is the experience of sexual orgasm produced by self-stimulation. Virtually every man and almost as many women have tried it. It is a regular practice of most single men.
One of the major forces preventing young people from obeying the call of God into vocational Christian service is defeat in the area of lust. A teenager hears a challenging call to throw himself into the cause of world evangelization. He feels the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He tastes the thrill of following the King of kings into battle. But he does not obey because he is masturbating regularly. He feels guilty. He can hardly imagine witnessing to a pretty girl about the eternal plight of her soul, because he has so habitually looked at girls naked in his imagination. So he feels unworthy and unable to obey the call of God. Masturbation becomes the enemy of missions.
Read More.

HT: Ken

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Heads Stuck In The Tundra

As the price of gas stays up the momentum for this will hopefully diminish. That this doesn't make economic sense is an understatement:

Energy Policy: The new Democratic majority wants to make the ban on oil and gas drilling in the ANWR permanent. Shutting down domestic supply is not a plan for energy independence.
No longer content with merely blocking Republican attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, Democrats have decided to make that ban permanent, forever protecting species that are in no demonstrable danger and that have flourished in nearby Prudhoe Bay.
While Cuba and China drill off the Florida Keys, Democrats worry about caribou. So do we, but not at the expense of American national and economic security.
Read More.

Schools 'will have to promote gay rights'

And now from England...

New gay rights laws will force schools to teach homosexual equality, one of the country's most respected judges warned yesterday.

Teachers who tell pupils homosexual sex is wrong will be guilty of breaking the law, former Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern said.
Read More.

Hezbollah’s Christian Allies

Totten's further adventures in Lebanon, fascinating.

While Hezbollah staged a mass protest and sit-in downtown Beirut with the hopes of ousting the elected anti-Syrian “March 14” government, I watched from the patio of a cafĂ© across the street. Sitting at the next table were two men in orange, one with an orange hat and one with a scarf, which identified them as members of Michel Aoun’s (predominantly Christian) Free Patriotic Movement, the only non-Shia political party of any significance in Lebanon that dared form an alliance with Hezbollah. Read More.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The holy blitz rolls on

This is amazing nonsense, written by someone who hasn't a clue what true Christianity is all about. His perspective comes from a liberal theological angle. While he says that he cherishes his christian roots he rejects much of it.

I would be the first to agree that many televangelists are obnoxious, to equate them with fascism is disingenious at best.

The Christian right is a "deeply anti-democratic movement" that gains force by exploiting Americans' fears, argues Chris Hedges. Salon talks with the former New York Times reporter about his fearless new book, "American Fascists." Read More.

The War Against Global Jihadism

This is a good synopsis of radical Islam. As you read just one quibble. Wehner makes the statement that radical jihadist's are a small minority. This may be true, but we really don't know. Hamas was voted to power in Palestine, what would happen in other middle eastern countries? Don't know, and that's the problem, we don't know.

President Bush has said that the war against global jihadism is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. We are still in the early years of the struggle. The civilized world will either rise to the challenge and prevail against this latest form of barbarism, or grief and death will visit us and other innocents on a massive scale.
Given the stakes involved in this war and how little is known, even now, about what is at the core of this conflict, it is worth reviewing in some detail the nature of our enemy - including disaggregating who they are (Shia and Sunni extremists), what they believe and why they believe it, and the implications of that for America and the West.
Read the rest.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Report: Israel Planning Nuke Raid on Iran Uranium Enrichment Sites

Well this is a little scary, but is understandable. The thought of Iran having nukes is intolerable for the Israeli's.

Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources. Read More.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Texas Man Stages Pig Races to Protest Islamic Neighbor's Plans to Build Mosque

Moral of the story, don't irritate a Texan!

When an Islamic group moved in next door and told Craig Baker the pigs on his family's 200-year-old Texas farm had to go, he and his swine decided to fight back.
In protest of being asked to move, Davis began staging elaborate pig races on Friday afternoons -- one of the Islamic world's most holy days.
Read More.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Religious Broadcaster Pat Robertson Predicts Horrific Terrorist Attack on U.S. in 2007

Yeesh, I wish he would keep his mouth shut. Robertson is becoming an extreme embarrassment:

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson predicted Tuesday a horrific terrorist act on the United States that will result in "mass killing" late in 2007. Read More.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!











Less War, More Peace in 2006

Good roundup on the state of war in the world:

You'd never know it from the headlines, but, overall, things quieted down in the past year. Fighting has died down considerably, or disappeared completely, in places like Nepal, Chechnya. Congo, Indonesia and Burundi. This continues a trend that began when the Cold War ended, and the Soviet Union no longer subsidized terrorist and rebel groups everywhere. Read More.