Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cheap Grace

In every church there are people who practice “cheap grace”.

What is cheap grace? It is a “salvation experience” where someone might have recited a prayer at some point in their life, and that is all.

You may still go to church; you may go more than once a week.

You might even serve on the occasional committee; but there is no fruit and there is no life change.

Cheap grace…cheapening the salvation of Christ that you claim to have received.

How can you tell if you have cheap grace?

Look at your life.

• Has it been changed?

• Is it different from what it was before you “prayed the prayer”?

• Is it different than those outside the church?

• Are you being changed from the inside out by the power of God’s Spirit who is in you?


Ephesians 6:21-6:24
21Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
23Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Tychicus sounds like a man who could be trusted and counted on and was serious about serving God. How many of you had even noticed that there was a Tychicus in the Bible?

My point today is that there are many, many people like Tychicus serving in local churches. I want to give an example of just one regular faithful person who lived much more recently - Edward Kimball:

By all accounts, Edward Kimball was really an ordinary man. He worked at a regular job and attended a local church. He even faithfully taught a run-of-the-mill Bible study Sunday school class.

One day a young man named Dwight visited his class. It was clear that Dwight knew little about the Bible. One Saturday, as Ed was preparing his Sunday school lesson, the Lord put a burden on his heart to visit the shoe store where Dwight worked and to share the gospel with that young man.

That day, a Boston shoe clerk to surrendered his life to Jesus. The clerk, Dwight L. Moody, eventually became an evangelist. In England in 1879, DL Moody awakened an evangelistic zeal in the heart of Fredrick B. Meyer, pastor of a small church.

F. B. Meyer, preaching to an American college campus, brought to Christ a student named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman, engaged in YMCA work, employed a former baseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work.

When, Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina, a group of local men were so enthusiastic that afterwards they planned another evangelistic campaign, bringing Mordecai Hamm to town to preach.

During Hamm's revival, a young man named Billy Graham heard the gospel and yielded his life to Christ. This shows that we can never know how our own small service to God will affect the kingdom of God in the future!

How very important are the Tychicus's and the Edward Kimballs in the church… But, they often do not appear to be important or significant men or women in the kingdom of God.

We often hear about the Dwight L. Moody's, the Billy Sunday's, the Billy Grahams… but the Tychicus's, the Edward Kimballs?

Well, the Tychicus's and Edward Kimballs faithfully plug away behind the scenes and out of the spotlight. There are millions of faithful servants in the church who receive little attention.

However, if you were to ask most of them living and serving in local churches today, they would say that they like it that way.

Attention is often turned to the great evangelists like Billy Graham. A great deal of time is also spent focused on mega-church pastors such as Rick Warren.

We need to remember that the servants behind the scenes are the fuel of the church. Churches are filled and fueled by the many who are faithful and can be counted upon week after week, month after month, year after year.

Falling fertility


The Economist
Today’s fall in fertility is both very large and very fast. Poor countries are racing through the same demographic transition as rich ones, starting at an earlier stage of development and moving more quickly. The transition from a rate of five to that of two, which took 130 years to happen in Britain—from 1800 to 1930—took just 20 years—from 1965 to 1985—in South Korea. Mothers in developing countries today can expect to have three children. Their mothers had six. In some countries the speed of decline in the fertility rate has been astonishing. In Iran, it dropped from seven in 1984 to 1.9 in 2006—and to just 1.5 in Tehran. That is about as fast as social change can happen.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Statin Drugs Cut H1N1 Deaths


Overall, 2.1 percent of patients taking statins died, compared to 3.2 percent of patients not taking statins. That means patients taking statins were just under 50 percent less likely to die.

We're Governed by Callous Children

The elite have no concept of the what "regular" people worry about:

Peggy Noonan:
When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax—health care, cap and trade, etc.—I think: Why aren't they worried about the impact of what they're doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse?

I think I know part of the answer. It is that they've never seen things go dark. They came of age during the great abundance, circa 1980-2008 (or 1950-2008, take your pick), and they don't have the habit of worry. They talk about their "concerns"—they're big on that word. But they're not really concerned. They think America is the goose that lays the golden egg. Why not? She laid it in their laps. She laid it in grandpa's lap.

They don't feel anxious, because they never had anything to be anxious about. They grew up in an America surrounded by phrases—"strongest nation in the world," "indispensable nation," "unipolar power," "highest standard of living"—and are not bright enough, or serious enough, to imagine that they can damage that, hurt it, even fatally.

We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parents banned supervising children playgrounds...

Welcome to the 1984 version of England:

Mail Online
Parents are being banned from playing with their children in council recreation areas because they have not been vetted by police.

Mothers and fathers are being forced to watch their children from outside perimeter fences because of fears they could be paedophiles.

Watford Council was branded a 'disgrace' yesterday after excluding parents from two fenced-off adventure playgrounds unless they first undergo criminal record checks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cancers Can Vanish Without Treatment, but How?

So, Dr. Kramer said, the image was “an arrow that moved in one direction.” But now, he added, it is becoming increasingly clear that cancers require more than mutations to progress. They need the cooperation of surrounding cells and even, he said, “the whole organism, the person,” whose immune system or hormone levels, for example, can squelch or fuel a tumor.

Cancer, Dr. Kramer said, is a dynamic process.

It was a view that was hard for some cancer doctors and researchers to accept. But some of the skeptics have changed their minds and decided that, contrary as it seems to everything they had thought, cancers can disappear on their own.

“At the end of the day, I’m not sure how certain I am about this, but I do believe it,” said Dr. Robert M. Kaplan, the chairman of the department of health services at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, adding, “The weight of the evidence suggests that there is reason to believe.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

'Obama Is Average'

Excellent interview:

Interview with Charles Krauthammer:
SPIEGEL: Why do Europeans react so positively to him?

Krauthammer: Because Europe, for very understandable reasons, has been chaffing for 60 years under the protection, but also the subtle or not so subtle domination of America. Europeans like to see the big guy cut down to size, it's a natural reaction. You know, Europe ran the world for 400 or 500 years until the civilizational suicide of the two World Wars. And then America emerged as the world hegemon, with no competition and unchallenged. The irony is America is the only hegemonic power that never sought hegemony, unlike, for example, Napoleonic France. Americans are not intrinsically imperial, but we ended up dominant by default: Europe disappeared after the Second World War, the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991, so here we are. Of course Europeans like to see the hegemon diminished, and Obama is the perfect man to do that.

SPIEGEL: Maybe Europeans want to just see a different America, one they can admire again.

Krauthammer: Admire? Look at Obama's speech at the UN General Assembly: "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation." Take the first half of that sentence: No nation can dominate another. There is no eight year old who would say that -- it's so absurd. And the second half? That is adolescent utopianism. Obama talks in platitudes, but offers a vision to the world of America diminished or constrained, and willing to share leadership in a way that no other presidency and no other great power would. Could you imagine if the Russians were hegemonic, or the Chinese, or the Germans -- that they would speak like this?

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Would You Hire Barack Obama?

This article is from over a year ago.  Very prescient.

Would You Hire Barack Obama?
For over a decade I worked as a headhunter specialized in placing lawyers. I've often wondered what I would have made of Barack Obama's résumé if it had come across my desk.

I'd start off being impressed--very impressed. In the legal industry, almost regardless of a candidate's seniority, the first thing anyone looks at is the candidate's education. Even 17 years after graduating from Harvard Law School, Obama's work there remains his greatest strength. Obama graduated magna cum laude, near the top of the class. This is a real achievement. Being editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review is an even greater one.

It's when Obama leaves law school in 1991 that his résumé starts raising questions. He didn't begin a full-time job until 1993. Between 1991 and 1993, Obama divided his time between lecturing at the University of Chicago Law School, writing a book, and returning to his pre-law school activity, community organizing.

In 1993, Obama went to work for the small Chicago law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Galland. He could have gotten a job with any major law firm in America. His belated selection of a boutique law firm that offered lower pay but a better lifestyle than the top firms is striking. A lot of people in the legal industry, rightly or wrongly, would infer a certain softness from Obama's chosen path.

Between 1993 and 1996, Obama was a full-time associate at Davis, Miner. On the side, he continued lecturing at the University of Chicago Law School,
and his autobiographical Dreams From My Father came out in 1995. (Initial sales of the book were poor, though they would take off years later, once Obama became a national figure.) By 1996, Obama was also running for the Illinois legislature. After winning that race, he became a part-timer at Davis, Miner and a member of the Illinois senate, also a part-time job, while continuing to lecture at Chicago.

What is striking about Obama's résumé circa 2004, as he began his U.S. Senate campaign, then, is that 13 years out of law school, he had yet to commit himself to one line of work. More important, potential employers would wonder about a gulf between the ability Obama showed at Harvard and his actual accomplishments. Obama never made it beyond lecturer at Chicago, where he wrote no scholarly articles. He wrote one book, then stopped writing for over a decade. And he was less than a force in the Illinois legislature. After roughly three years practicing law, he had turned away from that career.

Faith No More

Hitch is at it again:

What I've learned from debating religious people around the world. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine
Ever since I invited any champion of faith to debate with me in the spring of 2007, I have been very impressed by the willingness of the other side to take me, and my allies, up on the offer. A renowned scholar like Richard Dawkins, who is quite used to filling halls wherever he goes with his explanations of biology, is now finding himself on platforms with dedicated people who really, truly do not believe that evolution is anything more than "a theory." I have been all over the South, in front of capacity and overflow crowds, exchanging views with Protestants most of the time, but also with Catholics and, in New York and the West Coast and Canada, with—mostly Reform—Jews in large and well-attended synagogues. (So far no invitations from Orthodox Jews, Mormons, or Muslims.)

I haven't yet run into an argument that has made me want to change my mind. After all, a believing religious person, however brilliant or however good in debate, is compelled to stick fairly closely to a "script" that is known in advance, and known to me, too. However, I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe. I haven't been asked to Bob Jones University yet, but I have been invited to Jerry Falwell's old Liberty University campus in Virginia, even though we haven't yet agreed on the terms.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fox News Ratings Soar After Snub From Obama

Nothing like a little controversy to push up your ratings:

Fox News Soars After Snub From Obama
Gee, do you think Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch love being The White House's least-favorite news channel? Duh, of course they do.

Here's a chart comparing network ratings from the period 9/28/2009-10/11/09, which is when Anita Dunn slammed the network, and the two weeks after that ("post feud"). The numbers on the bottom right of this chart show the sequential gain for all demos (+9%( and the 25-54 year old demo (+14%).

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Cold War Never Ended

Long but worth the read:

Reason Magazine
We don’t know the exact hierarchy of motives, but it is certain that Chris Gueffroy was willing to leave his family and friends to avoid conscription into the army. Considering the associated risks, it’s likely that the 20-year-old was also strongly motivated to escape the stultifying sameness, the needless poverty, the cultural black hole that was his homeland. In his passport photo, he wore a small hoop earring, an act of nonconformity in a country that prized conformity above all else. But Gueffroy’s passport was yet another worthless possession, for he had the great misfortune of being born into a walled nation, a country that brutally enforced a ban on travel to “nonfraternal” states.

On February 6, 1989, Gueffroy and a friend attempted to escape from East Berlin by scaling die Mauer—the wall that separated communist east from capitalist west. They didn’t make it far. After tripping an alarm, Gueffroy was shot 10 times by border guards and died instantly. His accomplice was shot in the foot but survived, only to be put on trial and sentenced to three years in prison for “attempted illegal border-crossing in the first degree.”

Twenty years ago this month, and nine months after the murder of Gueffroy, the Berlin Wall, that monument to the barbarism of the Soviet experiment, was finally breached. The countries held captive by Moscow began their long road to economic and cultural recovery, and to reunification with liberal Europe. But in the West, where Cold War divisions defined politics and society for 40 years, the moment was not greeted as a welcome opportunity for intellectual reconciliation, for fact-checking decades of exaggerations and misperceptions. Instead, then as now, despite the overwhelming volume of new data and the exhilaration of hundreds of millions finding freedom, the battle to control the Cold War narrative raged on unabated. Reagan haters and Reagan hagiographers, Sovietophiles and anti-communists, isolationists and Atlanticists, digested this massive moment in history, then carried on as if nothing much had changed. A new flurry of books timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of communism’s collapse reinforces the point that the Cold War will never truly be settled by the side that won.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

O’s (Latest) Insult

Good point:

Jay Nordlinger - The Corner on National Review Online
Do you recall President Bush insulting Democrats, as Obama has insulted us, explicitly? Sometimes our post-partisan president can be a rather nasty piece of work.

When Late Night Attacks: Left Worries Obama Becoming Punchline

The Whitehouse is becoming touchy indeed...

Big Hollywood »
A few weeks ago, a funny thing happened — call it a late night political paradigm shift. Conan O’Brien put some extra bite to his bark by featuring a tape of Sesame Street characters who earlier in the day had visited with the First Lady to talk about healthy eating. Conan overdubbed the clip and, suddenly, instead of talking about food, the muppets questioned Obama’s ‘United States birth certificate’ and his ’socialist health care agenda.’ In the past, satire like this might have been automatically assumed to be an attack on the right, but the skit ended up taking some Obama fans aback. Perhaps it struck a nerve.

Then, Saturday Night Live rolled out a skit blatantly saying Obama had accomplished nothing, and followed it up by laughing at his Nobel Prize — relatively mild in execution, but they managed to cause a stir in the press. These comedic bits, once routine against President Bush, distressed many Democrat opinion leaders. Suddenly, more than a few talking heads were calling for the White House to start making their accomplishments clear — (so it looks like they have some). Others were killing the messenger — calling SNL’s Fred Armisen, who plays Obama, “no Tina Fey.”


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why lefties fear strong women like Liz Cheney


Noemie Emery:
In March, when Obama was still very popular, she and her father opposed him on "torture," Guantanamo Bay, and other security issues, and sent "The One" packing. By summer, she was on so many news shows that liberal bloggers attacked the programmers who gave her exposure. This is the sign she was being effective. If she were hurting her cause (or her father) they'd want her on air all the time.

Wolff (and Maureen Dowd) try to damn her by saying she's part of some dark Cheney enterprise, but the reason they loathe her isn't dear dad. She's what they fear most, a rock star with outreach, a feminine woman who isn't a feminist, a conviction politician who crosses culture lines easily, and isn't easily set up or mocked.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Politically correct white flight

Homogeneous groups are not surprising or wrong, what I object to is the hypocrisy of so many progressives on race.

Crunchy Con
Aaron M. Renn at the indispensable New Geography site has a fascinating analysis of a curious aspect shared by progressive urban havens like Austin, Portland and suchlike: they have relatively few black people in them. Excerpt:

This raises troubling questions about these cities. Why is it that progressivism in smaller metros is so often associated with low numbers of African Americans? Can you have a progressive city properly so-called with only a disproportionate handful of African Americans in it? In addition, why has no one called these cities on it?

As the college educated flock to these progressive El Dorados, many factors are cited as reasons: transit systems, density, bike lanes, walkable communities, robust art and cultural scenes. But another way to look at it is simply as White Flight writ large. Why move to the suburbs of your stodgy Midwest city to escape African Americans and get criticized for it when you can move to Portland and actually be praised as progressive, urban and hip? Many of the policies of Portland are not that dissimilar from those of upscale suburbs in their effects. Urban growth boundaries and other mechanisms raise land prices and render housing less affordable exactly the same as large lot zoning and building codes that mandate brick and other expensive materials do. They both contribute to reducing housing affordability for historically disadvantaged communities. Just like the most exclusive suburbs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Condition of our Heart

When other people attack us, malign us, abuse us, gossip about us, slander us, or hurt us, the natural human response is to protect ourselves.

We each will rise up and lash back, recoil and put up a wall to shield ourselves from continued attack, or we will run in order to escape.

Whether we rise up, recoil or run, we each have a tendency to hold on to the hurt and play back in our minds the scenes of attack and hear over and over again the hurtful words that were spoken.

By holding onto those images and words, if we do not allow God to bring us healing and help, we can become bitter.

Through unforgiveness and resentment, it is possible to become so hard that our hearts are unresponsive to God’s Word and our lives never change...

Christianity is more then just sitting on the pew Sunday mornings, it’s being rooted and mentored. It’s being stretched, weeded, fertilized.

If you are only fed or expect to be fed only on Sunday mornings, you will starve spiritually. No one can only feed from a 30 minute sermon once a week and expect to grow.

We might feel emotionally uplifted for awhile because God’s Word is good every time it is heard, but no one can live without being deeply rooted...

The person with a good heart, hears the word, applies it to their life and then receives a harvest of spiritual fruit. The heart that is like good soil is fertile ground for God to use.

God wants to see His Word, His Son, produce fruit in our lives. God wants to produce change.

He is the only true Hope and Change, He desires to make our life fruitful, but it all depends on the condition of our hearts.

Every time God’s Word comes to each one of us, either in church, through reading, in prayer or by some other means, as scripture reaches us, the condition of our hearts will dictate how we respond.

Since God wants us to have a heart that is good soil for him to use, how can we cultivate a ready, rich heart of soil? In other words, how can we have a good heart for God to plant His Word in?

The Obama presidency: Where I dissent

We really don't want a President that can be rolled:
Virtually every player in the Middle East has said no to the president. Banks and Wall Street say no to the president. The Europe that said yes to the Nobel Prize says no to giving more support for Afghanistan. The president even snubbed the Dalai Lama in anticipation the Chinese would say no. The list is long of those who say no and short of those who say yes.

It is time to worry when “Saturday Night Live” makes fun of the president for achieving so little. It is time for alarm when so many power players believe this president can be rolled. Even a Senate where Democrats have 60 votes shows an almost daily disrespect for the president.

The reason so many power centers, at home and internationally, say no to the president is that they do not know his bottom line. They believe he may shift with the winds. They know he accepts a tiny loaf while claiming a big victory. They believe he can be rolled.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Debacle in Moscow

Make sure and read the whole thing:

Charles Krauthammer - No Nobel Results From Obama Foreign Policy -
About the only thing more comical than Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize was the reaction of those who deemed the award "premature," as if the brilliance of Obama's foreign policy is so self-evident and its success so assured that if only the Norway Five had waited a few years, his Nobel worthiness would have been universally acknowledged.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Foolish before God

II Samuel 6:20 says, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls like any indecent person might do."

David took off his royal robes. That's a picture of worship. Worship is disrobing. It's getting exposed and exposing ourselves to God.

It's also the recognition that it's not about what we can do for God. It's not about our "royal robes."

It's about what God has done for us. The greatest freedom in the world is having nothing to prove. Instead of trying to prove who he was-the king of Israel. David was embracing who God is-the King of Kings.

Remember what Jesus said? "You must become like little children if you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven." I think this is one dimension of that. We need to become less self-conscious and more like little children.

I think that's part of what John the Baptist meant when he said, "He must become Greater. I must become less." We need to care more about what God thinks and care less about what people think.

People are all too often trapped by the fear of looking foolish. The happiest and healthiest people aren't afraid of looking foolish.

Let me put it in theological perspective.

Genesis 3:7 describes what happened the second after Adam and Eve sinned for the first time: "At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness."

The moment they sinned they became self-conscious. In other words, self-consciousness isn't just a curse. It is part of The Curse.

Before the fall, there were no inhibitions in Eden. For what it's worth, there won't be any inhibitions in heaven either!

Think of spiritual maturity as a continuum. On one side is being "conscious of God" and on the other side is "self-consciousness."

To become like Christ is to become more conscious of Him and less conscious of our self.
Ephesians 5:18 says: "Don't be drunk with wine. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill you and control you."

What happens when you get drunk? You lose all inhibition. Paul is saying that wine is the wrong way to lose inhibition. The right way is being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us overcome our ungodly inhibitions.

I like the way Ron Rolheiser says it: "Isn't it the task of the Holy Spirit to introduce some madness and intoxication into the world? Why this propensity for balance and safety? Don't we all long for one moment of raw risk, one moment of divine madness?"

David is intoxicated with God. His dance is divine madness! He takes off his royal robes and loses all inhibition. He humiliates himself before God.

All of us are way too preoccupied with ourselves. That is what keeps us from worshipping God the way we could and should.

I love Eugene Peterson's (author of The Message) definition of worship: "Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves."

The greatest moments are those moments when we lose self-consciousness. We forget about ourselves. It's almost an "out of body" experience.

That's what heaven will be like. We'll be so enraptured by God that we won't be thinking about ourselves.

We'll be too busy enjoying God. ……… Forever.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2009 officially declared year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears

Read the whole thing:

Losing Their Religion:
Climate Depot Editorial - Serving as the Media's Ombudsman

It has finally happened. We have reached the “tipping point.”

2009 can now be officially declared the year the media lost their faith in man-made global warming fears.

Significant organs of the mainstream media are now officially abandoning one-sided man-made global warming fear promotion and alleged claims that the "debate is over."

The stunning media reversal has accelerated in recent weeks as top UN scientists have raised the specter of continued global cooling. See: UN Fears (More) Global Cooling Commeth! IPCC Scientist Warns UN: We may be about to enter 'one or even 2 decades during which temps cool' – Sept. 5, 2009

It appears at long last that media's faith is waning. Appeals to authority about the alleged global warming “consensus” are now being met with a healthy dose of skepticism by increasing large portions of the mainstream media. Statements like UN IPCC lead author Kevin Trenberth that the UN IPCC "has spoken" no longer have the comforting effect on many key members of the journalistic flock. [Disclaimer: This declaration does not mean the battle to improve the media's coverage of global warming is over. But it does mean that there have been significant developments in 2009 with the media's coverage of climate change. Promoters of man-made climate fears will now need a major reformation to win back the faith of key members of the media.]

A steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, a continued lack of global warming, real world data and scientists continuing to dissent, have finally moved major establishment media outlets to report that the debate not only is "not over" but that skeptics may have been correct all along. [Note: Journalists are now sensing what Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, warned about in 2008. “Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined," Peden said.]

Close followers of climate science development foresaw this collapse of the science is "settled" reporting way back in 2006. Here is a breakdown of how the science of man-made global warming and the alleged "consensus" has fared since 2006.

1) 2006: Year of Vindication for Skeptics: Renowned Scientist Defects From Belief in Global Warming – Caps Year of Vindication for Skeptics - October 17, 2006

2) 2007 - GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISM REACHES A TIPPING POINT - October 26, 2007 (Editor's Note: 2007 is also known as the year 'Anthropogenic global warming bites the dust' as 'New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears' - August 20, 2007

3) 2008: 'Consensus' On Man-Made Global Warming Collapses in 2008 – July 18, 2008

4) 2009: 'Consensus' Continues its Freefall – March 12, 2009

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Liz Cheney launches new group to challenge Obama on foreign policy

This is a pretty big deal:

Hot Air »
Good news for everyone. Hawks get a well funded, well connected nonprofit to put out the message — and there’s plenty of reason to think the public will be receptive — and doves get a new Cheney/Kristol collaboration they can screech at. If PNAC had a PAC…

Keep America Safe will focus on issues like troop levels, missile defense, detainees, and interrogation, according to Liz Cheney, who is heading the group along with Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and Debra Burlingame, the hawkish sister of an American Airlines pilot killed in the September 11 attacks…

“The Left has dozens of organizations and tens of millions of dollars dedicated to undercutting the war on terror,” said Kristol, a seasoned partisan warrior. “The good guys need some help too.”

The group’s mechanics are largely a product of former campaign aides to Senator John McCain: Michael Goldfarb, now a Weekly Standard blogger, is an adviser to the group; its executive director is McCain war room chief Aaron Harison, and the video was produced by Justin Germany, the McCain aide who produced a campaign video titled, “The One,” which mocked Obama as a messianic figure.


A tag that Obama would rather not have:

The Obama administration really needs to get over itself.

First, the president and his aides go to war with Fox News because the network maintains a generally anti-Obama slant.

Then, an anonymous administration aide attacks bloggers for failing to maintain a sufficiently pro-Obama slant.

These are not disconnected developments.

An administration that won the White House with an almost always on-message campaign and generally friendly coverage from old and new media is now frustrated by its inability to control the debate and get the coverage it wants.

But before the president and his inner circle go all Spiro Agnew on us, they might want to consider three fundamental facts regarding relations between the executive branch and the fourth estate:

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Forgotten Soldiers of the Integration Fight

I had never heard of this:

Forgotten Soldiers of the Integration Fight - The New York Times
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Oxford, Miss., will be coming to terms with one of the major events of its past. Forty years ago on that day, in the early morning, a force of nearly 30,000 American combat troops raced toward Oxford in a colossal armada of helicopters, transport planes, Jeeps and Army trucks.

Their mission was to save Oxford, the University of Mississippi and a small force of federal marshals from being destroyed by over 2,000 white civilians who were rioting after James Meredith, a black Air Force veteran, arrived to integrate the school.

The troops were National Guardsmen from little towns all over Mississippi, regular Army men from across the United States and paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

They had to capture the city quickly; the F.B.I. had intelligence that thousands of Klansmen and segregationists from California to Georgia may have set off for Oxford, many of them armed.

The first troops to reach Oxford found over 100 wounded federal marshals at the center of campus, 27 of them hit by civilian gunfire. Packs of hundreds of rioters swarmed the city, some holding war dances around burning vehicles.

Snipers opened fire on the Army convoys and bricks struck the heads of American soldiers. Black G.I.'s in one convoy were ambushed by white civilians who tried to decapitate them in their open Jeeps with metal pipes.

Maj. William Callicott of the Mississippi National Guard had served in World War II; he said he "never was as terrified as I was going onto the campus that night."

"It was the fact that I knew there had to be some local people from my hometown probably over there in that mob," Major Callicott said. "That's what really worried me. If we killed anybody it could be my next-door neighbor."

The Army troops restored order to the school and the city, block by block. A girl watched a team of infantrymen under attack on the Oxford town square and, according to a reporter at the scene, wondered aloud, "When are they going to shoot back?" Except for a few warning shots, they never did.

A world without nukes?

Maybe not such a good idea:

Why the Nobel Peace Prize Should Go to Nuclear Weapons - Yahoo! News
President Barack Obama's Nobel peace surprise was given "primarily for his work on and commitment to nuclear disarmament," according to Agot Valle, a Norwegian politician who served on the award committee. Valle told the Wall Street Journal that the stewards of the prize wanted to "support" Obama's goal, as expressed recently at the United Nations, "of a world without nuclear weapons."...

As long as a nukeless world remains wishful thinking and pastoral rhetoric, we'll be all right. But if the Nobel committee truly cares about peace, they will think a little harder about actually trying to make it a reality. Open a history book and you'll see what the modern world looks like without nuclear weapons. It is horrible beyond description.

During the 31 years leading up to the first atomic bomb, the world without nuclear weapons engaged in two global wars resulting in the deaths of an estimated 78 million to 95 million people, uniformed and civilian. The world wars were the hideous expression of what happens when the human tendency toward conflict hooks up with the violent possibilities of the industrial age. The version of this story we are most familiar with today is the Nazi death machinery, and so we are often tempted to think that if Hitler had not happened, we would never have encountered assembly line murder.

The truth is that industrial killing was practiced by many nations in the old world without nuclear weapons. Soldiers were gassed and machine-gunned by the hundreds of thousands in the trenches of World War I, when Hitler was just another corporal in the Kaiser's army. By World War II, countries on both sides of the war used airplanes and artillery to rain death on battlefields as well as cities, until the number killed around the world was so huge the best estimates of the total number lost diverge by some 16 million souls. The dead numbered 62 million, or 78 million - somewhere in there.

So, when last we saw a world without nuclear weapons, human beings were killing each other with such feverish efficiency that they couldn't keep track of the victims to the nearest 15 million. Over three decades of industrialized war, the planet had averaged around three million dead per year. Why did that stop happening?

The Invention of Lying

Very interesting review of the movie The Invention of Lying:

Big Hollywood » Gervais Undercuts His Atheist Argument in ‘Lying’
So what we have here are two worlds. One, without God and controlled by thoughts of evolution, is a spectacularly dreary, unhappy place without love or meaning. On the other hand, even a fictional God brings the world meaning, joy, liberty, and wonder.

Tea partiers turn on GOP leadership

This is going to get interesting:

Tea partiers turn on GOP leadership - Alex Isenstadt -
While the energy of the anti-tax and anti-Big Government tea party movement may yet haunt Democrats in 2010, the first order of business appears to be remaking the Republican Party.

Whether it’s the loose confederation of Washington-oriented groups that have played an organizational role or the state-level activists who are channeling grass-roots anger into action back home, tea party forces are confronting the Republican establishment by backing insurgent conservatives and generating their own candidates — even if it means taking on GOP incumbents.

“We will be a headache for anyone who believes the Constitution of the United States … isn’t to be protected,” said Dick Armey, chairman of the anti-tax and limited government advocacy group FreedomWorks, which helped plan and promote the tea parties, town hall protests and the September ‘Taxpayer March’ in Washington. “If you can’t take it seriously, we will look for places of other employment for you.”

“We’re not a partisan organization, and I think many Republicans are disappointed we are not,” added Armey, a former GOP congressman.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

New poll: Support for tougher gun laws at lowest point in decades


 Washington Examiner
A new Gallup poll shows that the number of Americans who favor tougher gun control laws has dropped to its lowest point in nearly 20 years.

Gallup asked the question, "In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now? Forty-four percent said more strict, 12 percent said less strict, and 43 percent said the laws should be kept as they are now -- making for a 55-44 majority opposed to tougher laws.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Best Obama-Nobel Jokes


Best Obama-Nobel Jokes - George's Bottom Line
Barack Obama’s Teleprompter: Big Guy says Bill Clinton called and was gracious in defeat; offered to fly Kanye West over 4 the Nobel awards ceremony.

Erick Erickson: Obama is becoming Jimmy Carter faster than Jimmy Carter became Jimmy Carter.

Ana Marie Cox: Apparently Nobel prizes now being awarded to anyone who is not George Bush.

Headline over AP analysis by White House correspondent Jennifer Loven: He Won, But For What?

Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review: I want to buy the world a coke.

Ezra Klein: Obama also awarded Nobel prize in chemistry. "He's just got great chemistry," says Nobel Committee.

Adam Bromberg, CRC: Nobel Prize Committee must be staffed by out of work comedy writers.

Kristina Hernandez, CRC: It was the Beer Summit that put Obama over the edge.

- George Stephanopoulos

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population

The Pew forum has found that there are 2.45 million Muslims in the US.  Not the 7+million certain politicians have stated.

Pew Forum: Map: Distribution of Muslim Population by Country and Territory

Polanski, NAMBLA and Checking Our Moral Compass

Read that sentence, read it again and think about how shocking it really is...

Big Hollywood
Most NAMBLA members with whom I interacted believe the boy-lover philosophy will be mainstreamed within their lifetimes. I would have never thought that even remotely possible until recently.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Conservative Bible Project

This is a follow up to my previous post.  After perusing some of this site it becomes apparent that they really have no idea what is involved in a translation.  One of the major goals in translating is to try and minimize bias while facilitating meaning.  I realize that bias is a part of every translation but to start with the premise of re-translating into good conservative language is offensive:

Conservative Bible Project - Conservapedia
As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:[2]

1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]
4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots";[5] using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."

Do conservatives need their own Bible translation?

Good grief:

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Do conservatives need their own Bible translation?
It depends on how one considers the Bible. If a person just views it as a series of parables with immense wisdom on life and truth but written by men for their own purposes, then a “conservative version” is as objectionable as making 10 Things I Hate About You from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew — which is to say that the offensiveness depends on the final version. (For the record, I liked 10 Things, which I thought was both a clever and goofy take on the Bard, so that’s not a dig.)

However, if one believes the Bible to be the Word of God written for His purposes, which I do, then the idea of recalibrating the language to suit partisan political purposes in this age is pretty offensive — just as offensive as they see the “liberal bias” in existing translations. If they question the authenticity of the current translations, then the only legitimate process would be to work from the original sources and retranslate. And not just retranslate with political biases in mind, but to retranslate using proper linguistic processes and correct terminology.

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Southside Chicago, The Home of Corruption

I'm not sure about this, but I have heard rumors about Michelle and patient dumping.  If it's true...

Southside Chicago, The Home of Corruption
Patient Dumping is the practice of dumping those that cannot afford medical services or those that would burden the system onto other medical care providers. At the University of Chicago Medical Center, patient dumping appears to be a routine practice.

In 2002, Michelle Obama became the Executive Director for Community Affairs at UCMC. Interestingly, Susan Sher, who hired Michelle for the UCMC gig, currently serves as Michelle Obama's chief of staff at the White House. Shortly after Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Michelle received a promotion to become the Vice President for Community and External Affairs. Also serving on the board during this time was Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the Obama administration.

In this new position, one of Michelle's top priorities was to solve a problem of too many poor patients or those on Medicare and Medicaid clogging the emergency room at UCMC. To deal with this problem, Michelle helped create the Southside Health Collaborative. This project served to provide a way to shuttle away patients to other medical clinics to receive care. This was blatant patient dumping.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Half a President

This article is on to something:

American Thinker
In the United Kingdom and many other countries with a parliamentary system there is a distinction between the head of state and the head of the government. In some countries such as Denmark, Spain and the United Kingdom the monarch either a King or Queen is considered the head of state and with that office goes all the trappings of royalty. The mundane responsibility of running the government falls to the elected Parliament and their chosen Prime Minister.

Of the world's major democracies only the United States merges both functions into the office of President.

It appears that Barack Obama views himself as the head of state only. As such he cannot be bothered with the day to day responsibility of governance. He is, in his narcissistic world, above all that; thus he delegates the writing of the Stimulus, health care and other major bills to Nancy Pelosi, puts off any decisions on Iran and Afghanistan, appoints czars with power to spend and set policy and prefers to spend his time on television speaking to the huddled masses.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Mae West Presidency


Sense of Events: The Mae West presidency
What seems to be motivating Mr. Obama's performance as chief executive is not the perks of the office (although I don't think they play a small part). I think what we are witnessing is a combination of two factors:

* A Mae West personality coupled with,
* The return of the Peter Principle

We have here a Mae West presidency, which I illustrate with two quotes of the platinum blondeshell:

1. It's better to be looked over than overlooked.

2. There's no such thing as bad publicity.

When even the Washington Post's Michael Gerson observes of Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly, "I can recall no other major American speech in which the narcissism of a leader has been quite so pronounced," then the volume of similar observations, which began well before the election, cannot be discounted.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hero of the Working Class Used Non-Union Help on Latest Propaganda Film

More irony:

Michael Moore, champion of the working class, used non-union stagehands to film "Capitalism: A Love Story." The porcine provocateur is promoting his anti-Wall Street jeremiad by giving free tickets to unions, but the American Federation of Teachers has turned them down because Moore didn't hire any members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. "Michael Moore and one of our sister unions, IATSE, are in discussions about concerns the union has," the AFT told ABC News. "The AFT has decided against accepting tickets until those issues are resolved." Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, seems to blame the IATSE for treating documentarians as "second-class filmmakers."

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past

Extreme irony:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past - Telegraph
A photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots.

A close-up of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.

The short note scrawled on the card suggests his family changed its name to Ahmadinejad when they converted to embrace Islam after his birth.

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Roundup of Olympic Debacle Stories

Commentary » Blog Archive » Flotsam and Jetsam
Sen. John Kerry’s attempt to block Sen. Jim DeMint from going to Honduras to get a bird’s-eye view of the results of Obama pro-Zelaya policy (and to bully DeMint into lifting his hold on two State Department nominees) shows just how defensive the Democrats have become. Kerry’s scheme didn’t work (DeMint is going anyway) and DeMint made his point: the Obama policy is in utter disarray.

On the Olympics humiliation, Ben Smith figured it out: “There’s a reason the president is rarely dispatched to a summit whose outcome is uncertain.” There was no one in the White House who did in this case, however.

The David Axelrod whines about “politics” at the IOC. Hmm. Is he saying the president lacks political skills or that the whole thing was rigged (and therefore the president risked his prestige for nothing)? Sometimes, in a first-class political train wreck, it’s better to keep quiet.

Newt Gingrich piles on.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

“In the final analysis, I believe that the university is lost.”


Roger’s Rules » “In the final analysis, I believe that the university is lost.”
Asked for his overall impression of Yale, Rabbi Hausman was blunt:

Honestly, I would not send my child to any school where there is such uniformity and conformity of thought and attitude. I was disappointed at the inability of those in attendance amongst the Yale community to place responsibility for the violence that has transpired on those who manifest such responsibility. Westergaard drew, but it was the Imams from Denmark who took those cartoons one year after publication and whipped up violent frenzies, destruction of Danish Embassies in the Muslim world, threats to the physical safety of Danish personnel, violence against indigenous Christian populations. Every questioner seemed to want to misplace blame.

Further, it is clear that the university suffers from the malaise of relativist truth and the multicultural ethic. There are no universal truths any longer. When I was in college, it seemed that the point of education at the university level was to use the subject matter under study to encourage independent, critical thinking. Today, all truths are equal. I abjure this notion.

In the final analysis, I believe that the university is lost.

That sums it up neatly, doesn’t it?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Roman Polanski Has a Lot of Friends


Roman Polanski Has a Lot of Friends
The widespread support for Polanski shows the liberal cultural elite at its preening, fatuous worst. They may make great movies, write great books, and design beautiful things, they may have lots of noble humanitarian ideas and care, in the abstract, about all the right principles: equality under the law, for example. But in this case, they're just the white culture-class counterpart of hip-hop fans who stood by R. Kelly and Chris Brown and of sports fans who automatically support their favorite athletes when they're accused of beating their wives and raping hotel workers.

No wonder Middle America hates them.

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