Tuesday, February 22, 2005

God is good...

...All the time.

My home church is very small... we have between 50 and 70 on Sunday mornings. We are close and I am continuously thankful for the fact that I truly feel they are my family.

Currently, my family is in mourning and I covet your prayers.

Monday afternoon we lost our youngest member, a 3 month old baby boy. He died suddenly, possibly from SIDS. It is a tremendous shock to all of us and I can't even tell you the number of people I have cried with over the phone in the last day and a half. The baby's parents need prayer of course - they need a continual lifeline of strength and comfort from the Lord. There are also two other children in the family, ages 5 and 8, who need peace and understanding from the Lord as well. I was told today that the 5 year old sister asked her parents if they could have another baby and give him the same name as her little brother. The 8 year old brother hugs his mother when she cries and drew a picture with a cross and flowers that he hung on the door of the baby's room.

I can't begin to imagine their pain, but in the midst of it all I am encouraged by the stories of tremendous faith that I have heard from those who have already sat with the family. I have always admired this couple for how they exemplify the peace, kindness and love of Christ and - by God's mercy and to His Glory - they continue to do so now.

God is in their midst, Jesus is their Lord and they know He holds their sweet baby boy in His everlasting arms.

Still, they need our prayers. Please as you read this, say a prayer for this dear family as they strive each moment to persevere in the hope of the Lord. For surely they will have moments where confusion, anger, sorrow and suffering will haunt them. Please pray for God to sustain them in His peace, the peace that passes all understanding.

Thank you so much, and may God Bless you.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness"

~Psalm 130:5-7

All the time - God is good.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Apparently, a bit of specification is in order

I heard from a Reliable Source once that so-called "President's Day" is actually officially called "Washington's Birthday" by official type things like government calendars and so forth. At the time, I said "Well, doesn't the 'President's' part try to honor Washington and Lincoln?" which was something I had always thought going through school. The Realiable Source said that was a misconception and even if it were true, calling it "President's Day" didn't delineate it enough - honoring of President Clinton on this day might then be required as well - and apparently that was not an option.

So, Washington's Birthday it is.

But StonesCryOut is having a bit of a President's Day Celebration with fun facts about various presidents (including several from good ol'Ohio) and a tribute to George Washington himself.

Is math always this funny?

Speaking of education (and newspapers with Times in their names), The Ranger tipped me off to some math funniness over at Powerline last week:

Today's Corrections section takes on the mysteries of geometry:
The Keeping Score column in SportsSunday on Jan. 23, about a mathematical formula for projecting the winner of the Super Bowl, misstated the application of the Pythagorean theorem, which the formula resembles. The theorem determines the length of the third side of a right triangle when the length of the two other sides is known; it is not used to determine the sum of the angles in a right triangle.

The Times is still searching for the elusive "formula" that governs the sum of the angles of a triangle.

I believe this is the "Angle A + Angle B + Angle C = 180 degrees" formula. Right Ranger? haha Physicists can make a formula out of anything...even when it's elusive. Still, the brainpower of the Times corrections writer is pretty elusive as well. It's even sadder when you consider that a paper with "Times" in its name can't do math.

A Powerline reader Paul Schlick keeps it up with the funny:
In an attempt to help the MSM improve, here is some correction boilerplate the Times could use that might help them remember the intricacies of geometry:
Since our reporters and editors are often 'obtuse' we have an 'acute' problem getting the facts 'right'. Thus we must again do a '180', this time with regard to ... (insert current correction here) While some see as hypocrisy our approach to certain issues from differing 'angles' depending on which 'side' at the moment supports our ideology, we prefer the term 'triangulation.'

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Yeah. Really.

John J. Miller:
"I'm sure some people consider my opinions silly," writes Susan Estrich. Really? Really?

Yup. The Ranger finds them silly all the time. And I find them silly twice as often.

UPDATE: Greg advises Hillary to find them silly as well:
The Anchoress has a killer post on the whole mess:

All joking aside, now, Susan Estrich needs help.
Jeez, ya think? Hillary, I hope you're taking notes. If you let Attila Susan within 10 country miles of your campaign in three years, you'll regret it. You heard it here first.

The common bond between Overpaid Government Workers and Computers

Having already established that funny things I post don't have to be at all recent, I present to you the following portions of a play in two acts, by Atomizer at Fraters Libertas:

Apparently, I'm a little bit older today than I think I am.

Yesterday I got an e-mail notifying me that my 2004 Federal tax return was rejected because the date of birth I provided did not match the information currently available on the very ominous sounding "IRS Masterfile". This Masterfile is purportedly based on information provided by the Social Security Administration as I was strongly advised to take the matter up with them.

Being very eager to see my somewhat substantial tax refund returned to me as soon as physically possible I immediately phoned the nearest Social Security office. That phone conversation went something like this:

Overpaid Government Worker #1: (in broken English) Social Security Administration.
Me: Yes, your records have my birth date incorrect and I'd like to get that cleared up.
OGW 1: Okay, what you need to do is apply for a new Social Security card.
Me: And...how do I go about doing that?
OGW 1: Well, you need to fill out an SS-5 form and either mail it to us or bring it in with two forms of identification with your new birth date on them.
Me: Ummm...it's not really a new birth date. It's the same one that I've had for quite some time now. I just need you guys to correct it in your files.
OGW 1: You still need to fill out the form.
Me: Okay. What forms of ID will you accept?
OGW 1: We'd prefer an original birth certificate.
Me: And if I don't have one?
OGW 1: Then just bring in two forms of identification with your new birth date on them.
Me: (Patiently ignoring repeated generality and semantic error) Such as....?
OGW1: Drivers license, employee ID card, health insurance card, life insurance policy...
Me: (Interrupting) Passport?
OGW 1: Yes, passport is good.
Me: Okay. So if I bring my drivers license and my passport in to the office you guys can correct this?
OGW 1: If they have your new birth date on them.
Me: It's NOT a new...never mind. Thanks for your help.

So, today I head down to the Social Security office with my completed SS-5, drivers license and passport in hand. The conversation there went something like this:

Overpaid Government Worker #2: What can I do for you?
Me: My birth date is wrong in your records and I'd like to get it corrected.
OGW 2: Your Social Security number?
Me: ###-##-####
OGW 2: Birth date?
Me: July 31, 1967.
OGW 2: I have June 30, 1967.
Me: Yeah...I know. That's why I'm here.
OGW 2: You have to get that corrected.
Me: (Audible sigh)
OGW 2: Identification?
Me: (With confidence) I have my passport and my drivers license.
OGW 2: Ohhh...I don't think we can accept a passport.
Me: (Audible groan)
OGW 2: Let me check. Selma! Can we accept passports for changing a birth date?
Overpaid Government Worker #3: (Shaking her head) Birth certificate.
OGW 2: You need a birth certificate.
Me: But I was told on the phone that a passport would work.
OGW 2: (Suddenly blessed with the gift of omnipotence) If it were just a typo we could correct it, but our system says your birth date is June 30 so we need a birth certificate to change it.
(Prolonged silence)
Me: But, you see, it IS just a typo! My birthday is July 31 and it has been for 37 years! My passport verifies this and I needed a birth certificate to get that, you know.
OGW 2: We need a certified birth certificate.
Me: But I have a passport! It was issued by the U.S. Government!! It's a valid form of identification all over the world!!! I used one to cross into East Germany when I was 20 years old!!!! Those border guards were heavily armed and looking for a reason to send [me] back across the border fer cryin' out loud!!!!! You're just an overpaid pencil pushing bureaucrat whose job, nay, entire existence is a colossal waste of everyone's time!!!!!! I HAVE A PASSPORT...!!!!!!! (Portions of the previous statements may not have been verbally expressed)
OGW 2: Next!

I think the uses of "nay," "semantic" and "omnipotence" really add to the reality of the dialogue.

My guess is that you'll laugh even harder if you imagine The Atomizer having this conversation with a computer - I know Beverly will at least...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Back to Summers

It's true that the entire transcript of the Larry Summers speech has been released, and apparently he wasn't just talking about women. He talked about the underrepresentation of Catholics, jews, and white men in various areas. It still all seems like a lot of smoke to me. Tonight, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer agreed during the All-Star segment of Special Report w/Brit Hume. Fred was aghast that the university setting is apparently no longer the place for open discussion of theories and ideas. But Charles had the best comment:
THe Liberals lost the election and they're taking it out on Mr. Summers.

Heh :)

Also, at The Corner, Stanley Kurtz agrees as well.
All of these arguments can be challenged, and Summers’s admits that. But if it is illegitimate even to put this sort of argument forward, then free speech at Harvard is a thing of the past.

Way way in the past I think.

Miss Attila's Weather Tip

Here in Northeast Ohio we've had quite a weather week.
Monday - cold and rainy
Tuesday - sunshine, jacketless weather
Wednesday - SNOW
Thursday - sunshine and snow
Friday - cold and snow and sunshine and colder (yet I still saw people out in capri pants and t-shirts!!!)

Anyway, this all makes this post appropriate and humorous:
When deciding where to live, look around for one of the following three objects:

1) palm trees;
2) cacti;
3) Joshua trees.

If you don't see any of these items in the landscape, do not move into the area.

UPDATE: This entry is in my "Extreme Weather" topic category, because to me extreme weather means anything below 55 degrees, or above 105. Or if it rains, of course: that's extreme.

Kyoto and I have never really gotten along

Now Jonah Goldberg points out that there's a website adding fuel to our fires of dissent:

That's what the Kyoto protocol has cost the world in order to achieve the potential of saving us 0.000009899 °C in temperature increases as of this posting. The cost is going up fast. That's according to the Kyoto Count-Up over at JunkScience.com.

The Article Issue

I remember back in college, there was a lot of discussion about whether dropping the article did in fact sounds "cooler." Students would say things like "Did you bring notebook?" or "I have pen."

Yeah. You're right, it doesn't really sound cooler...but that's what they thought. I remember that Germans were also praised then for the fact that their language allegedly drops all such articles. I doubt the German language would be praise at this point, what with how we don't like them as much.

But anyway, The Corner is having some interesting posts about just such a question (concerning the articles, not our spat with Germany).

Flashback: Marketing Democrats

Way back in December 2003, Iowahawk wrote a great essay about which he recently said this:
Boy howdy, I likes me them essay contests. Trouble is, I think they're rigged. Like a couple of years ago, when the DNC had an essay contest on the theme of "Why I Am a Democrat." Even after emailing them my entry twenty or thirty times, and after several hundred follow-up phone calls, I still don't know which prize I won.

Well I laughed and was intrigued and so I thought I would check this essay out.
The title: "Why I am a Democrat" (which he of course isn't...and yet he seems to understand them so well).

Here are some excerpts: (be aware that some of what I didn't excerpt isn't very polite...and the comments are definitely not family friendly, but you can easily avoid reading them because there are so many trackback links between the article and the comments, anyway, on with the excerpts because this is now the longest parenthetical EVER!...or at least on a Friday :)

I sometimes hear the question, "Why are you a Democrat?" and frankly, I have to laugh. Laugh and laugh, because perhaps this person may tire of my laughing, and he will eventually wander off. Sometimes I ponder seriously when I hear this question, because I'll look around and around and there's nobody there asking the question. Why am I a Democrat?

I am a Democrat because I believe everyone deserves a chance. And if necessary, a second chance. And if, by the eighth or ninth chance, this guy needs another chance, I mean, come on. This guy is due.

I am a Democrat because I believe in helping those in need. All of us, you and I, have an obligation to those less fortunate. You go first, okay? I'm a little short this week.

I am a Democrat because I believe in the equality of all people, regardless of their race. That is why I think we should give free medical degrees to minorities because, well, duh. Like any of those types are going to make it through medical school.
I am a Democrat because I hold sacred freedom of the press, as well as freedom of the TV and freedom of the movie. Where I draw the line is freedom of the talk radio, and don't even get me started about that [darn] Internet business.

I am a Democrat because I recognize that education is important. Very, very, extremely very important. We must increase spending on education and enact important education reforms, such as eliminating standardized tests. Because we can never hope to measure this beautiful, elusive, important thing we call education...

Yes...the democrats are indeed a mass of confusion and contradictions. Their policies don't make sense and their positions are consistently inconsistent (assuming that's possible...cause if it is, they somehow managed it.)

Speaking of barricades...

...like the Times did in its piece...check out this artist rendering of
Pajamas at the Gate.

(via Pseudo-Polymath)

WSJ vs. WT on Blogs & EJ

This week I mentioned the weird Wall Street Journal editorial about the Jordan Kerfuffle. Well, now the Washington Times is saying it's a bit weird as well. I don't know how I feel about the Times agreeing with me (mostly because it has Times in its name and that's not usually a good sign...at least not in New York and LA):
We also can't understand the WSJ's dismissal of the bloggers as "amateurs." At least CNN, or perhaps Mr. Jordan, felt the bloggers' reporting to be important enough to warrant the resignation of their top news executive. After all, this isn't the first time the bloggers have been proved right.

The Wall Street Journal stands on the wrong side of the barricades in this battle, despite the fact that the mainstream media got beat badly by the morons — again.

Except for the moron part -- we don't so much agree about the moron part.

(via Powerline)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Peculiar Palestinians

No, I don't think Peculiar is a strong enough word, especially when I read this in the Jerusalem Post(Via Best of the Web):
In the first decision of its kind since he succeeded Yasser Arafat, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ratified death sentences against three Palestinians found guilty of "collaboration" with Israel.

It is not clear when the three men, whose identities were not revealed, will be executed by firing squad.

However, senior PA officials told The Jerusalem Post that the three were Gaza Strip residents who had been convicted of "high treason" for tipping off Israeli security.

Sakher Bsaisso, a senior Fatah official who also serves as PA governor of the northern Gaza Strip, confirmed on Wednesday that Abbas had authorized death sentences against three alleged "collaborators."

Bsaisso said the three had been convicted of assisting Israel in the assassination of a number of Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip over the past four years, but refused to elaborate.
At least 51 Palestinians are on death row, including several suspected "collaborators." Under pressure to crack down on an upsurge in crime and anarchy in PA-controlled areas, Abbas earlier this month instructed the mufti to quickly review the cases of the convicts so that the executions may be carried out as soon as possible.

When Arafat died, my concern was that the Palestinians would elect a new terrorist and we [The United States] would be forced to deal with him as if he was not a terrorist, until the point when we were forced to admit that he was indeed a terrorist - like we eventually did with Arafat.

I think Taranto agrees when he says:
Abbas, as the leader of the Palestinian protostate, is supposed to be responsible for stopping his people from attacking Israel. Instead he plans to kill fellow Palestinians who take steps to stop attacks on Israel. Is he bucking for a Nobel Peace Prize?

And that is indeed the sad irony. Abbas allows the execution of those who help Israel fight back, but does nothing for those who fought on Israel...and yet is just as likely to win the Peace Prize. Arafat won it after all - terrorist tendencies and all.

Channeling Motherhood

Lileks has a tremendous rant about a recent Newsweek article that seems to make a lot of bad points - including one about how canceling the Bush-tax cuts will make it easier to be a Supermom. Or something.

I have a lot more to say about this, being a college-educated woman who hopes to one day be a stay-at-home-mom instead of a prize winning physicist. But for now I will just quote this one Lileks paragraph that seems to capture why it is many moms make the stay at home choice at all:
The article makes a point despite itself: the perfect is the enemy of the fun. Maybe I’m the wrong person to comment on this, since I am a guy in a rather unique position. But I’ve given up great acres of work time to be here with [my daughter]Gnat, and the amount of free time I used to have – time I spent recharging the daily batteries – has dwindled to zip. But it’s all a trade-off. So it’ll be a couple more years until I can wander downtown again; so it’ll be a while until she’s in school and my day is my own. So what. Nothing beats the time we spend together, the look on her face when she shows me a magic trick, the hug and kiss I get when I leave her at school. Today she beat me at UNO again and I explained how Barbie glitter cards are made and we looked at a website about the solar system and ooohed and ahhed at Saturn. And that matters more than anything because she is mine and I’m her Dad, and qualifying those definitions just seems petty.

And also, this earlier comment which may explain why Supermoms don't think it's enough to just say motherhood is the "toughest job in the world":
I never have to worry whether I’ve sold out my gender because I’m not standing in a meeting room explaining a pie chart. Raising Gnat is the most important thing I do. But she’s a child, not a project. I don’t get a bonus if she exceeds quarterly projections.

I really recommend the whole Lileks piece. It's quite on-target. The Newsweek article on the other hand - is completely crazy.

Laughing all the way to the White House

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha:

Sen. John F. Kerry's brash offer to meet privately with former foe President Bush to discuss foreign policy before Bush's meetings abroad next week with key European leaders has apparently fallen on deaf ears at the White House.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Yes...very funny :)

(via What Attitude Problem?)

Bike Path Deja Vu

Yesterday I was cleaning up and I found an article I had printed out about a year ago by Mark Steyn about the "Bike Path Left."

So, you can imagine why I thought I was going a little crazy when I saw the title of this Jonah Goldberg article: Rise of the Bike-Path Left.
I was forced to think: "Was that really Steyn? Is Jonah posting old stuff? Is he stealing from Steyn? What level of outrage should I feel about this?"

Thankfully, all such fears were laid to rest when I read Jonah's first paragraph:
When Howard Dean was still on top of the world looking down on the Democratic presidential nomination, the indispensable columnist Mark Steyn, writing in the Wall Street Journal, dubbed the good doctor the figurehead of the "bike path left."

Whew, what a relief.

Anyone, Goldberg summarizes Steyn's take on the Episcopal Church Bike Path issue compared to Dean's statements on Saddam and concludes:
In short, about the war on terror Dean was dismissively blasé. About bike paths he was a pit bull.

Too true. We could easily call them the "Anti-SUV" left. They want to lash out at those that would dare to get less than 502 miles to the gallon on their family car, but when we talk about going after terrorists it's like "War on terror? What war on terror??" It's been said, but it's always good to say again: much of the Supporting-Kerry-and-still-Losing-because-of-it-Left doesn't truly believe we are at war.

But of course, they support the troops. The ones that aren't actually fighting a way or anything.

As always, Goldberg's article is well worth reading (I mean, c'mon, anyone who can convince national review to put a groundhog on the cover of the magazine because he wants to right a feature about a Bill Murray movie has to posses some kind literary magic!) but here are two incredibly descriptive paragraph:
The essential characteristic of the Bike Path Left is its passion for lifestyle issues. Dean was famously the governor of Vermont, where lifestyle has become a religion for its urbane yet fashionably rustic citizenry. The flinty old Vermont of yore has given way to the Vermont of Architectural Digest and wealthy transplants from New York and Boston. Dean represented this transformation perfectly. In the Vermont statehouse Calvin Coolidge's sober, thrifty, visage gazes from his portrait as a native son to Dean's official governor's portrait. While all the other governors dress like bankers, Dean chose to pose as if for the cover of an L.L. Bean catalog, studiously relaxed on the shore of a pond in an open-collared flannel shirt, khakis, and racy hiking boots. Previous governors probably liked the great outdoors, too, but they didn't think their job was about validating lifestyles.

Simply because the BPL cherishes lifestyle politics doesn't mean it is always laid-back. Dean is, famously, a man of considerable rage. Just this week he remarked that he "hates Republicans." (Presumably all of those bumper stickers in Burlington proclaiming that "Hate is not a family value" will have to be scraped off.) And as the original bike path fight demonstrates, his passion about the importance of lifestyle trumps his faith in more traditional arrangements. Dean signed the first same-sex partnership law and is now a vocal advocate for gay marriage. This isn't a petty issue like a bike path. It's a very important one to voters on both sides.

And, the article's conclusion - also insightful:
In a fascinating report from the DNC's recent meeting, Tony Carnes of Christianity Today recounts how Dean sees his party's failings as nothing but a "language" problem. "We learned in the last election that language makes an enormous difference," he explained dispassionately.

Later, at another gathering, Gloria Nieto, vice chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus, broke into sobs, wondering aloud whether the Democrats would remain a welcoming home for lesbians. Dean immediately "leaped off the stage into the audience to hug her," writes Carnes. "With a sob of his own catching his voice, he brought the audience to standing ovation" when he declared, "That's why I am a Democrat."

Well, that and bike paths.

Bike paths indeed. Something for the soldiers to do perhaps, since they're not busy with a war or anything...

The Potential problem with Questioning the Government

Matt Stokes is right when he says that "Drugs are Bad." It's also true that all drugs are bad - but that Crystal Meth is one of the baddest.
I'm not sure what we can do about it, though Hewitt suggests an attempt be made. Here's a starter: Honesty. Honesty from the government. Make sure D.A.R.E. officers tell kids that meth is far more dangerous than pot or beer. Pot and beer might make you a bum, but meth will turn your brain into sludge. The anti-drug warriors should be just as honest. I don't want to hear the folks at Reason suggest that crystal meth usage is acceptable. It's not. It's dangerous, and if it makes its way into the cities the same as cocaine or heroine...well, we're all in a lot of trouble.

The problem - I think the government tried that with cocaine and heroin. I mean, I agree that the government should be honest. It was honest in saying that marijuana was bad - people smoked it anyway.
It was honest in saying that cocaine, crack etc were worse. People are shooting up, sniffing and smoking in cities and suburbs all across America.

So what will happen if they are honest and say that Crystal Meth is the absolute worst? Will those that want to do meth really listen to a government that has been trying to keep them off drugs for years? It's not like they trust the government about anything else anyway. I don't mean to stereotype - but I'm speaking from experience. Not an experience with drugs, but with people who have done them. In fact, everyone I know who smokes pot is pretty liberal. One particular guy from South Carolina who I would have paneled with my extensive political insight if I didn't promise to be kind, quiet and polite, was still making fun of the government for it's anti-marijuana "refer madness" PSAs. He doesn't believe that pot is a problem and smokes it pretty regularly. He was a heavy Kerry supporter and a big believer in all kinds of right-wing conspiracies. He is also a nurse at a big hospital. Go figure. He must think he knows better than all those doctors that work for the government and indeed say that "drugs are bad."
I don't think that he would believe that government if it tried to discourage him from using Crystal Meth or anything else for that matter.

So, I don't think government honesty will help him or people his age - basically anyone who is high school age or older. Matt's right that government honesty about it in DARE programs for kids is a good idea. But I sadly think that many will continue to grow up and just think that Crystal Meth is just one more thing that the government is lying about.


It's a tough market out there...

The Kerry Spot had almost too much good stuff today for me to keep up.

This was perhaps my favorite:

The New Guy, Eric Pfeiffer, spotlights a Newsweek quote over on NRO's new feature Beltway Buzz:

Newsweek White House correspondent Holly Bailey passes along this highlight question from today’s White House press briefing: “The President has spoken repeatedly about an ‘axis of evil.’ With Syria's suspected increased involvement in terrorist activities, are we now looking at a ‘quadrangle of evil’?”
(sigh) No, silly, Iraq has retired from the Axis of Evil. But a slot opened up, and they're hiring.

I wonder if there will be campaigns for this. Or will Saudi Arabia and Syria just duke it out with all those hidden weapons??

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Journal Watch

Sean at Everything I Know is Wrong expresses some understandable disappointment at the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. It's been a long standing joke that the Editorial Board and the WSJ News writers are not always on the same page - the latter being considerably more liberal than its Editorial Counterpart. As such, I can usually depend on the Opinion page to present decent commentaries on the news of the day.

On the "Jordan Kerfuffle" however, our Editorial friends have gone astray. As Sean points out:
The Wall Street Journal knows, perhaps better than any other Big Media outlet, that MSM does not mean "mainstream,' but rather, "biased media for money." That they claim this status for themselves in this piece is perhaps the only defense possible for their "grown-up decision" that the resignation of the top executive at CNN over indefensible comments, is not news.

Not news.

I only hope this is an aberration; an isolated blip in an otherwise distinguished journalistic tradition at the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps it's only an over-developed skepticism on my part, when it comes to the motivation of news sources, that has my hackles up. I will continue to read the Journal, as I always have, but I will pay attention to it in a way that I thought I did not have to. It takes a long time to build up to trust -- perhaps even longer to re-build it -- something that all news sources would do well to remember.

I agree with Sean, of course, that it is unfortunate that we have to be wary of reading the Opinion Journal now - I only have so much wariness to go around, you know?

Even stranger is the fact that the article seems to be missing the exact point I made earlier today when it says:
More troubling to us is that Mr. Jordan seems to have "resigned," if in fact he wasn't forced out, for what hardly looks like a hanging offense. It is true that Mr. Jordan has a knack for indefensible remarks, including a 2003 New York Times op-ed in which he admitted that CNN had remained silent about Saddam's atrocities in order to maintain its access in Baghdad. That really was a firing offense. But CNN stood by Mr. Jordan back then--in part, one suspects, because his confession implicated the whole news organization. Now CNN is throwing Mr. Jordan overboard for this much slighter transgression, despite faithful service through his entire adult career.

The Journal gets credit for mentioning the New York Times Op-ed, but loses points for not mentioning the Guardian article. Additionally, to be confused that Jordan would get "thrown overboard" now when a larger mistake was ignored earlier is where the Journal really misses the point. Perhaps it should consider that CNN made a mistake for not reprimanding Jordan after the op-ed. Perhaps Jordan was indeed warned after that incident and CNN has now wisely decided that this guy just can't keep his mouth shut. Either way, if CNN put any pressure at all on Jordan, they did the right thing. They may indeed have done it a bit later than they should have, but we should be glad that they came to their senses at all - since it's more than we can say for some other MSM outlets.

Yes - CBS, that means you.

"The First Slander"

That is the term Hugh Hewitt used yesterday to refer to Eason Jordan's comments in the November 19th Guardian:
"'Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces,' Mr. Jordan told an audience of news executives at the News Xchange conference in Portugal."

Hugh says that any mention of the recent Jordan comments at Davos should also mention this "first slander."

The bottom line is this - Eason Jordan should not have quit (or been fired) over this more recent comment from which he quickly backed down. He should have been fired over those first comments - the ones that appeared in print and are indisputable. However, if this current Kerfuffle is what pushed him out the door, that's fine with me.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The 10 point Gospel

The Gospel is the Good News and the Gospel is also "good news" for all of us. I am a Sunday School teacher. I teach pre-K/Kindergarten, which amounts to about ages 3-6. Right now my class is all girls and absolutely adorable. They all come from great Christian families with parents who I know are sharing the Gospel with them at every opportunity - that is a great blessing in their lives.

But what if that wasn't the case? I know that kids from Christian families still need to hear the Gospel every week and still need to learn about Jesus and how to live a life that follows Him, but it's a lot easier when you know that their parents are praying with them each day, mostly multiple times a day. But... What if my Sunday School class was full of unchurched children? What if I only had one Sunday to share the Gospel with them, how would I do it?

I admit to being behind on my blog reading lately, but in catching up I found a wonderful Adrian Warnock post to answer just this question:
My lovely wife taught sunday school for 4-7s today (which includes our children Charis and Joel. She explained the gospel, summarising it into 10 points. If the kids can understand this, why is it that certain people want to make it more complicated and won't accept this as it is?

1. Everyone has Sinned
2. God hates sin
3. Sin must be punished
4. Jesus took the punishment instead of us on the cross
5. Admit you have been naughty
6. Believe that Jesus took your punishment
7. Say sorry to God
8. Ask God to be in charge of your life
9. Be baptised (note the order here)
10. Receive the Holy Spirit

His wife has done a great job with this. Afterall, kids deserve to know about salvation as much, if not more, then the rest of us, but we can't just throw a Bible at them and expect them to read it and figure it out. This is simple and just in their kind of language. I would even say that rather then simple, it's elegant - but that's semantics.

Of course, as adults we want to debate and clarify and justify and create exceptions - it's so much easier to be a kid, isn't it?

In the days since he posted his wife's Simple Gospel, Adrian has posted his own "Grown-up" version, as well as some grown up debate by his readers: comments, clarifications and justifications...but his own expanded points are well worth reading (he is the John Wesley of the Blogosphere after all). We are, like it or not, Grown-ups and the simple Gospel may too simple for us because we need it to be clear and real and incredibly meaningful. I think that the Gospel can be underestimated in terms of what it requires. God's good news requires something of us and we must never forget that. God has offered us a gift of salvation, but we have to not only accept it, we have to live each day accepting it, going through each of those points, confessing our sins and accepting God's mercy, forgiveness and grace.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Easongate Multiple Choice Quiz

Compared to Dan Rather, Is Eason Jordan

a) smarter?
b) possessing more class?
c) just unfortunate enough to work at a network that threatens to fire people more quickly?

Eason Jordan has quit CNN.

I'm really unwilling to say in general that Jordan has more class. Perhaps he just has more sense...but I really just think he would have been fired. CNN is a cable network that is known for News. CBS has CSI to put its bread on the table almost every night of the week and therefore could afford to wait months for an investigation - AND keep Dan Rather in the end!

Still, if Jordan really thinks that quitting will settle the Easongate firestorm...then he must not know about that website. (btw, the goals of the site have indeed been accomplished, but they still want the tape).

However, Instapundit posts comments doubting that the tape will show up:

Sisyphean Musings -- who was promised the Davos video, only to see the Davos folks renege -- writes: "I can't understand why Eason Jordan would resign over 'conflicting accounts' of his remarks at the WEF, without first asking that the video of those remarks be released to clear up those conflicts."
Meanwhile, Jim Geraghty observes:
I still don't understand why Jordan would resign rather than call for the tape's release -there was always a chance that the public reaction would be, "oh, it's not bad as I thought it would be."

Unless, I guess, it was so bad, that cries of outrage would be inevitable... And the release of the tape would have turned this into a natural television story.

Additionally, Geraghty has a lot of good updates on that post. He quotes great analysis from Decision 08, including this important comment:
I find Easongate unique in one revolutionary respect: this time, the MSM never even got off the sidelines.

to which Geraghty adds:
And we learned that a lot of people in major media institutions thought this was a tempest in a teacup, unworthy of even a paragraph of coverage.

It's true. If you were at all away from blogs during the time when this was all breaking, you're only chance of seeing it would have been Special Report's Grapevine segment, which is the same segment that tonight talked about gay penguins, so that tells ya something.

In the end, InDCjournal's quote gets the most laughs:
I'm actually shocked. I'm starting to believe in Hugh Hewitt's theories about blogs having the omnipotence to warp space and time, cure baldness and raise the dead.

I recommend reading all of the Kerry Spot post on this one.

Keeping the options open...

Regarding this earlier post- does it have to be a democrat or is Independent Jumping Jim Jeffords a possible choice?

UPDATE: After reading yesterday's Byron York piece, I have no qualms about selecting Jeffords:

[Howard] Dean had barely begun to speak when he introduced a guest for the evening, his fellow Vermonter, Sen. Jim Jeffords. When Jeffords walked onstage, the crowd began yelling, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" apparently in gratitude for Jeffords's 2001 defection from the Republican party that gave Democrats control of the Senate for 18 months.

"I made a switch a while back," Jeffords said, to more cheers. He switched, he said, in part because he was hoping that a Democrat like Howard Dean would win the White House in 2004. "Well, that didn't happen," Jeffords added. "But you know what? It's going to happen next time!"

Was there ever a time when Jeffords thought his "Independent" affiliation was at all convincing?

Division of Assets

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has some amusing Outtakes today, including this one concerning well-known denominations:

Holy War -- Southern Baptists launch pre-emptive strikes against Assemblies of God:
Citing a "gathering threat to our membership," the Southern Baptist Convention Sunday launched pre-emptive strikes on rival Assembly of God mega-churches in the South, leaving charred ruins where church signs and marquees once stood. Hours later, the SBC issued a statement justifying the unilateral action.

"Hostilities will escalate unless we get inspectors in there to see which of our members were stolen away by this flaky Pentecostal nonsense," says one SBC official.


Already in some cities, A/G insurgent forces have begun counter-attacking SBC churches, scrawling "healing’z 4 today," "pharisee loverz" and other slogans Baptists find outrageous.

I find those slogans outrageous too - outrageously funny. Using Zs instead of Ss? Using "4" for "For"? Are the "A/G forces" putting up signs or sending instant messages???

Also, the fact that the article uses the phrases "pre-emptive strike" and "gathering threat" is amazing - even more amazing: that "gathering threat" is supposed to be a direct quote and not a piece of editorial prose.

here's Joe's response:
After years of tension between the two groups, it was probably inevitable that hostilities would break out. I grew up in a family that straddled the dividing line (my father was Southern Baptist; mom was Assembly of God) so I can empathize with both sides. I think the only solution is for the minority AoG be allowed to have their own state. I suggest Mississippi since no one appears to be using it anyway.

"Two states, living peacefully, side by side..."

And...yes...the only time I ever hear anyone mention Mississippi is when the Pastor of my church says that the state is home to the "best seminary in the world, bar none."


Oh, and I also liked this last bit of Outtake material:

38 Ways to Win an Argument
Lessons in Sophistry with Arthur Schopenhauer

(Part 31 of 38)

31. If you know that you have no reply to the arguments that your opponent advances, you by a fine stroke of irony declare yourself to be an incompetent judge. Example: "What you say passes my poor powers of comprehension; it may well be all very true, but I can't understand it, and I refrain from any expression of opinion on it." In this way you insinuate to the audience, with whom you are in good repute, that what your opponent says is nonsense. This technique may be used only when you are quite sure that the audience thinks much better of you than your opponent.

Upcoming Deliberations

This week The Ranger threw down the gauntlet - leaving it to me to decide who should replace Dayton in the 4 year plan to oust Democrats. Presumably, this replacement should be another Senator - though perhaps the Governors' races should also be considered.

It's also possible that there should be some focus on re-electing Republican Governors - not just unseating the Democratic incumbents.

However, I think the main reason that Senators make more appealing prospects is that their votes affect policy for the whole country, not just a single state.
So, while Governors' roles as surrogates in Presidential campaigns cannot be overstated, we may still want to replace Senator with Senator.

In the end though, who am I to make this decision? There's a lot that goes into it. And really, I could just wait for the next Daschle v. Thune/Dayton v. Kennedy type website to spring up and the decision will have been made.

But where is the fun in that? Pontifications and deliberations make life interesting!

So in upcoming days I'll be delving a bit into the pros and cons of targeting specific Democratic incumbents for take down.

Suggestions always welcome :)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Iraq: Win, Lose, Stay, Go?

James Taranto has an interesting quote from Michigan:

Metro Times, a Detroit weekly, quotes a new book from World's Laziest Columnist Gwynne Dyer:
"The United States needs to lose the war in Iraq as soon as possible. Even more urgently, the whole world needs the United States to lose the war in Iraq. What is at stake now is the way we run the world for the next generation or more, and really bad things will happen if we get it wrong."
This is a common sentiment on the anti-American left, but Dyer deserves some credit for stating it so forthrightly.

Okay...here's my question: If someone were to question whether or not Ms. Dyer supported the troops, do you think she would reacted with hysterical defensiveness and the patented "OF COURSE I support the troops, I just don't support the administration...blah...blah...blah"?

Because really, it seems to me that wanting America to lose in Iraq means wanting the troops to lose in Iraq. Isn't it? Cause otherwise I'd be able to say something like "I support the Chicago White Sox when they play the Cleveland Indians - but they really need to lose."
How does that make any sense at all??

Wanting the United States to lose is wanting the American Troops to lose which means - wanting American Troops to die, which is deeply reprehensible. But I guess it's the only way Dyer can get the liberal masses to buy her books.

Jonah Goldberg at The Corner.:
It's no surprise I side with Rich on this, but I would add that staying in Iraq ten years isn't a big deal. Staying in a dangerous Iraq for ten years is. We've had troops in some spots around the world for at least fifty years. Almost no one cares that we're in Germany or Japan because Americans aren't being killed there. If American troops are kept there as a geopolitical stabilizing presence, a la South Korea, but aren't being killed every day this won't bee a particularly controversial issue for us. How it's viewed in Arab countries is certainly a legitimate concern. Also, it's not clear that even if we stayed in Iraq for ten years -- or fifty -- that we'd be doing it with over 100,000 troops. Regardless, if Derb or any one else is keen on pulling troops out of places where they've outlived their utility I can think of lots of places which make more sense than Iraq.

With all the talk about the "exit strategy" for Iraq, these facts about Germany, Japan and South Korea are important to remember.
I would also add Kosovo. What's the exit strategy for Kosovo? Still got troops there - and unlike Germany, it is dangerous.

I think we should stop worrying about when we will leave Iraq and start hoping that things are stable enough for us to remain their safely.

Still Praying?

Ambra takes time out to deliver an important reminder:

It occurred to me today that no aspect of my being can comprehend the type of spiritual warfare (yeah I said it) that the President of the United States faces in his position of authority. Heading up the most powerful nation in the world (and professedly a "Christian" nation at that) is no small feat, and if we're wise and take heed to the words of 1 Timothy 2, we'd spend less time berating our leaders and more time praying for them. It'd only be to our own benefit if we did. And yes this would apply if Clinton were still in office as well. The real war in this world can't be seen with human eyes.

Back before the election I heard a lot of talk about praying through the election and also praying for the President in the midst of all that was being said about him and his family. But Ambra is right to remind us that we need to continue to pray for him and his advisors.

Getting Acquainted

Over the weekend, Dan at Cerulean Sanctum compiled a list of the 25 most influential evangelicals. This wasn't a list of the year or decade or anything like that, rather he seems to be listing men past and present who should continue to have an influence on the growth of Christianity today. It's a great list and it's annotated with a helpful description of why each is there. He's also divided them into helpful categories:
The Pastors
The Revivalists
The Intelligentsia
The Examples
The Challengers

Check it out, especially if you are looking for some authors to read :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dayton's out: Time to re-tool 4 year plan.

(The 4 year ousting plan being Daschle-Dayton-Harkin)

I first read it on Best of the Web: Mark Dayton will not seek re-election in 2006. My initial thought was "Hey great! Except that this robs of us of the chance to mobilize a huge GOP battle and watch him go down in flames!"

But I guess gone is indeed gone.

Fraters Libertas has some interesting points

And this blog is just way funny today.
Included, when Fraters says this:
In related news, price plummets in Dayton v. Kenney blog common stock.
DvK says this:
Are you kidding? This has "collector's item" written all over it. Like owning a "Dewey Defeats Truman" edition of the Chicago Tribune. Get your orders for the t-shirts in quickly, because when they're gone, they're gone.

Also of Note, Dayton V. Kennedy has this quote from KSTP-TV
"Dayton said he could not both engage in campaign fundraising efforts and be an effective senator."

Is that an indication of how far and wide he would have had to search in order to find anyone willing to contribute to a Senator too scared to actually stay in the senate?

UPDATE: Rick attributes Dayton's resignation to a "successful blog swarm" by DvK. Ha :)

UPDATE 2: Generalissimo Duane ponders Dayton's new concern about effectiveness:
Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota, the man who will leave town at the slightest hint of a threat, announced that he would not run for re-election, saying he couldn't run an effective campaign while simultaneously being an effective Senator. I don't know why he is worried about the latter now. How effective has he been in the last four years? He is on the short list to challenge Barbara Boxer as the dumbest member of the Senate. Effective? Jay Larson would be more effective. I've seen Jay in action, and on a good day, he'd do absolutely nothing and still do more for the state.

Maryland: State Sponsor of Terror?

True, maybe that is too harsh of a question, but after reading the remarks by Baltimore's Mayor, I'm not so sure:
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley yesterday compared President Bush's proposed budget cuts to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying that Bush, like the al Qaeda hijackers who crashed planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has launched an assault on America's cities.

"These cuts, ladies and gentlemen, are sad. Irresponsible. They are also dishonest," O'Malley (D) told a packed news conference at the National Press Club, where mayors and area officials had gathered to decry Bush's plan to slash spending on community development programs by $2 billion.

Cutting community development programs is analogous to a terrorist attack??

Well sure, the attacks on Sept 11 sure put a hamper on community development, at least in New York, but I still don't think the two are even remotely similar. Mayor O'Malley is entering Michael Moore territory by being the latest liberal to liken President Bush to a terrorist.

"Back on September 11, terrorists attacked our metropolitan cores, two of America's great cities. They did that because they knew that was where they could do the most damage and weaken us the most," O'Malley said. "Years later, we are given a budget proposal by our commander in chief, the president of the United States. And with a budget ax, he is attacking America's cities. He is attacking our metropolitan core."

Those present appeared to be a bit stunned by the comparison.

Yeah, no kidding.
Does the Mayor really think that by making these "cuts" the President is trying to attack us at our "core"? Or is he running for office or something?

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) said O'Malley's remarks "went way too far."

"The president of the United States is fighting terrorism. It hurts our cause when people say things like that," said Duncan, who, like O'Malley, is expected to seek the Democratic nomination in the 2006 race against Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

So not only is O'Malley imitating Michael Moore, he seems to be trying to identify with the Howard Dean wing of the Democratic Party.
He certainly seems to be heading towards some kind of wild scream of his own:
"Martin O'Malley is truly beginning to spin out of control. His rhetoric is beginning to border on the bizarre," Maryland GOP Chairman John Kane said in a written statement. "His own counterparts, including Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, do not support Martin O'Malley's divisive, inflammatory and reckless attempt to grab national headlines."

Additionally, O'Malley seems versed in the fine political art of backtracking:
In an interview, O'Malley said he "in no way intended to equate these budget cuts, however bad, to a terrorist attack."

Is he kidding? Does he not realize that the purpose of said interview was to follow up on his comments, and therefore, any write-up of the interview would include his quote?

Bizarre indeed.

(Thanks to The Ranger who tipped me off to this article, seems the Maryland GOP sent it out to their email-list.)