Saturday, February 05, 2005
Jordan Accuser Going Soft?
I find Abovitz's cry for even-handedness with regards to Jordan a little disingenuous in light of the journalistic lynching that is currently be visited upon Marine Corps General Mattis. For those just catching up to this story, General James Mattis recently spoke out about the fact that he finds pleasure in the justice our military delivers when it kills real bad guys.
Stones Cry Out and Dawn's Early Light take a look at the stark contrasts in the coverage of the statements by Jordan and Mattis.
The conclusion one must draw from comparing these stories is that political correctness only runs one way. Utterances which those on the left find objectional are to be condemned at every turn. Yet those that the right find objectional must be carefully examined for full context and speaker's intention until sufficient time has past for any criticism to be effective.
And that Mr. Abovitz is precisely the point. Why do right-wing bloggers swarm in this fashion? Because for years we have been treated to MSM ganging up on anyone deemed politically incorrect. From Reagan's evil empire to Bob Knight to Bush's axis of evil, right-wing utterances found to be politically incorrect are denounced without examination.
And yet, as right-wing bloggers swarm we provide ourselves with far more double-checking and opposition than is possible in the MSM. My tiny little no-traffic blog has drawn more than one response on this issue, and I have been challenged.
It really is a simple question Mr. Abovitz. Either Jordan said what you reported, or he did not. Odds are he did -- since you reported it, I assume you have to admit it. We of the swarm find the utterance objectional, and therefore find that it requires vigous response.
Mr. Abovitz, You ask the question:
What will happen if a soldier steps forward and speaks his heart, or a journalist on the ground risks his or her life and admits that there is fire to the smoke.
I'll tell you what will happen! The individual or individuals responsible for such reprehensible behavior within our military would be found, tried, and appropriately punished. Bottom line is this, even if there were some truth to Mr. Jordan's ugly assertion, there is no way, no way it is the policy of the United States military.
You see there really is no question of even-handedness here. No one in the swarm is saying that it is acceptable to shoot journalists. What we are saying is that it is unacceptable to make unsubstantiated attacks on the integrity of the US military, and then be allowed to ride off into the night.
Clinton Going to Thailand -- Are We Surprised?
The cynical amongst us might tend to think that former president Clinton is trying to line up some sort of corrupt, but nonetheless personally profitable tsunami-for-food program.
I am not such a cynic, I personally think this provides Mr. Clinton with all the motivation he needs.
Noose Tightens Around Jordan's Neck
Jordan has no place to go right now, except out. The video is due this next week. Unless he is very confident that the video will somehow exonerate him, he ought to look for a way out that would give him the possibility of a return some day.
Nixon's resignation in the face of impeachment was, in many ways, a brilliant move. By so doing Nixon managed to preserve his personal honor, and keep the nation from an ugly scene. Compared to the maneuvers of our immediate past president, Nixon looks like a saint. Sure Clinton can make bolder claims, but we all view them with a grain of salt, and they are all therefore tarnished. At least with Nixon, his word meant something right up until the end. That is quite an epitaph.
Eason Jordan might do well to try and write a similar one.
Minnesota Nice From Iraq
The story concerns Gary Kruger who is visiting home after a long stint in Iraq, driving for contractors. He is going to return to Iraq soon.
New Ulm (the other cities mentioned are in the general vicinity) is 20 miles or so west of Mankato (the big city from Little House on the Prarie fame).
My dad grew in a small town about 10 miles east of Mankato, and I know the area well. Minnesota nice is not simply a Chamber of Commerce slogan -- it's something real. In a point that could only have been made by a rural Minnesotan, Kruger reported that:
Iraqis grow tomatoes the size of softballs. Broccoli, cauliflower and wheat is also being grown.
You gotta love that, and you gotta love tomatos like that.
Bits and Pieces...
Astronomers Find 'Hot' Vortex on Saturn
I certainly hope not...
McCartney Pledges No Wardrobe Malfunction at Halftime Show
Oh, get over it, Sheesh...
Colorado Teens Fined for Giving Cookies to Neighbor
Unmarried families are more likely to fall apart
Court Rulings and Tolerance
Today I would like to examine some of what lies behind this ruling. "Tolerance," has come to be an extremely misunderstood and misused word in our society. I have posted on this twice before, here and here. Evangelical Underground and A Physicist's Perspective also have some good posts on the subject.
"Diversity" is equally misunderstood, perhaps even more so. Diversity has grown from being a characteristic to being a value. "Tolerance" had not yet quite reached the vaunted heights of "diversity," but it is well up the slope and the top is in sight.
I am always struck by how these words get thrown around as justification for simply following an urge. When we were kids, and you would argue with a friend, the argument would often end with, "Because I want to that's why!" When I hear tolerance and diversity thrown out in discussions like this, it strikes me that people think that just because they have found a multi-syllabic word instead of saying, "Because I want to that's why!" it is somehow a mature response. It makes me want to utter the same response my parents gave to me when that ugly whine left my lips, "Sorry, you do not always get to do what you want to do. -- Life is hard that way"
Where endeth the slippery slope? How long will it be before someone is exonerated for murder because "diversity" demands that we respect the murders belief that the victim had to die? How long will it be before I have to "tolerate" the fact that my neighbor like to come over and raid my frig for his supper every night?
Yes, that is a slippery slope argument. I posted a long time ago, in a far away and never read place about why I think slippery slope arguments are valid.
For several years now, it has been argued that allowing gay marriage will open the floodgates to polygamy, bestiality, and a whole host of other sexual deviances. The gay marriage crowd as always poo-pooed that argument because it is slippery-slope and because being gay was "not sexually deviant."
Yesterday's NY ruling is stunning, absolutely stunning, in that it doesn't just ride the slippery slope, it reverses it. Evangelical Outpost quotes from the ruling:
Defendant's historical argument is no less conclusory than amici's tautological argument that same-sex marriage is impossible, because, as a matter of definition, "marriage" means, and has always meant, the legal union of a man and a woman. Further, the premise of that argument is factually wrong; polygamy has been practiced in various places and at various times, for example, in the Territory of Utah. See Davis v. Beason, 133 US 333 (1890); Genesis 29: 21-30; Deuteronomy 21: 10-17. (p. 45)
In this ruling the judge uses the fact that polygamy was historically practiced as justification for homosexual marriage. See, we've been arguing wrong all along. Gay marriage won't lead to polygamy -- polygamy leads to gay marriage.
Wait! Isn't a great deal of the history of the American west written in a effort to rid ourselves of that practice. Why would that be, one wonders?
Look at the biblical citations in the part of the ruling quoted above. I provided links there -- the passages are too long to reproduce here. In both instances, polygamy is a result of women being treated as chattel. After all, if women are just property, it makes sense to acquire as many of them as possible -- they are a representation of wealth.
So here it is (and this is deliciously ironic because this ruling came form a female judge) because we used to think women were property, and therefore used to practice polygamy, we should allow gay marriage, but that won't lead to the practice of polygamy returning to our society, and that will not in turn lead to women returning to the state of property.
Of course, I get it now -- we should allow gay marriage because they want to, that's why.
Spreading the Blessing
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
I have known Rob Weingartner, Executive Director of the Outreach Foundation since junior high school. As youths, Rob and I spent a lot of time together studying scripture and doing some other things, not quite so sanctified, too.
Greg Roth, Chairman of the Board of Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF), is a long time friend (roughly 20 years) as well. I first met Greg when he was a seminary intern at the church I was attending. Greg is also the Senior Pastor of Centerville Presbyterian Church in Fremont California. Greg and his great-pastor-in-her-own-right wife Marsha officiated at my wedding to my lovely wife.
PFF also has a blogger in it's midst, Dave Hackett. I recommend this blog to anybody interested in missions. Dave turned me onto a great web site maintained by Peter Kemmerle, that contains letters and updates from missionaries around the world. It's a great way to find out what is happening in spreading the Gospel across the globe.
Missionaires around the world are on the cutting edge of doing God's spiritual and temporal work. Please stay in touch with what is going on in the mission field. Please support these organizations.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Another Chink From Marriage's Armor
I think the Church universal has to find an effective voice in this fight. Modern American Christianity has shied away from political activism, but I do not think we can afford to any longer. This is not a "live and let live" sort of situation.
Christian prohibitions against homosexuality are not merely matters of morality -- they are a necessary part of building a fully functioning and healthy society.
I think the saddest thing is that all of this arguing points out how completely narcissitic we as a nation have become. Marriage is not about me, it is not an expression of me, it is about the other. Marriage is not about me gaining a partner, it is about me being a partner. Marriage is about our partnership making our society better.
We have laws that prevent the church from participating in much of this litigation directly. Fortunately, there are organizations to which we can donate funds that can represent us in these cases. I urge you to write checks today to the Alliance Defense Fund and the Center for Constitutional Juriprudence. I also urge you to contact those in your church responsible for missions giving. This constitutes a mission on home turf -- we should be contributing congregationally as well as individually.
I urge you to contact your federal legislators. Find your Representative here and your Senators here. Contact them. Urge them to support the constitutional amendment suggested by President Bush in his State of the Union address.
I urge you to find other places to be involved and let me and other bloggers know so that we can spread the word.
Please, just do not sit there and think there is nothing you can do.
Update: 2/5/05 at 10AM
Evangelical Outpost, republishes some thing he wrote after the Mass. decision about the slippery slope. This is good reading.
This link will allow you to see the actual ruling. This episode points out how utterly important it is that this issue be tackled at a constitutional level. When judges are pulling stunts like this.
More Wonders From Iraq
Global Warming is BIG News
With the Kyoto Protocol becoming effective February 16 and a big "Global Warming Conference" in England late last week, it is not surprising to see a bevy of stories on global warming. Here are examples from FOXNews (AP Story), Netscape News (Rueters), Yahoo News (Rueters again, different story), and New Scientist.
What is amazing is that of those 4 stories, only New Scientist makes any mention that there is a HUGE controversy in the scientific community about whether warming is a natural phenomena or the result of industrialization. Media bias????? Nah....
You Have Got to Love the Irony
This FOXNews story points out that the much vaunted hydrogen fueled cars may produce just as much pollution as gasoline powered cars -- it will just be in the making of the fuel, not in the operation of the vehicle. OK, so that way we could move the pollution out of the major urban centers to somewhere no one cares (as if such a place exists) but have you every tried to contain that stuff. Hydrogen is after all, the smallest atom.
I got all kinds of excited when I saw this NY Times headline:
E.P.A. Accused of a Predetermined Finding on Mercury
I've dealt with those guys enough to know they are not at all adverse to assuming there is a problem and making your life difficult until you can prove otherwise, beyond the shadow of an unreasonable doubt.
Then I read the story. (requires registration) Of course, how silly of me -- they did not predetermine it was bad, they predetermined it might not be so bad. It never pays to hope for a good news.
I am uncertain how to classify this story from Pravda. When I attended technical meetings in the Soviet Union in 1991, I sometimes found it hard to see the point of the presentations made -- same thing is true with this story. They do make reference to how these solar magnetic storms affect people. I for one have felt no effect -- but maybe it explains all this.
Another Great Election Story
UPDATE: a few minutes later.
While you're reading stories, read this one where civilian citizens rise up to kill "insurgeents" It's a great story, but after the outrage, I am saddened that I was unable to help.
Go get 'em citizens!
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Abovitz pretty well takes the wind out of Jordan's "out of context" sails.
Jordan has few options at this point. He can attack Abovitz as biased or a liar, or both. He can own his statments and apologize -- not likely. He can claim that it was not a public or journalistic forum and he is therefore entitled to mouth off, even without substaniation.
Look for some variation of the third option. Look for him to be eased out in the next year or two. I got a comment the other day that claimed Rather was not fired because of Rathergate -- garbage -- it was just disguised. Something like that is going to happen here too.
UPDATE: 4:35PM Same Date
Hewitt claims a video of the offending remarks is forthcoming.
I think it is a crying shame that this whole thing seems to be hanging on definitive "proof." There is proof Jordan has said similar things in the past. Jordan admits to saying something like this ("out of context"). Regardless of precisely what he said, aspersions have been cast the way of the military. Positive proof may mean the difference between Jordan losing his job or not, but I don't think it should stand in the way of him being denounced. Even if all he did was say "target" when he meant to say "mistakenly identified as a target," he shows less control over his utterance than should be expected from someone in his position.
MSM should at least be acknowledging this guy as a fool, even if there is insufficeint proof to call for his head.
Now THIS is a Bummer
This is dangerous territory, one of strong opinions, and much debate. I'll limit my self to a few pertinent comments.
Jonathon Archer as a Top Ten Character -- Please! Scott Bakula is a well loved figure in science fiction, but he ain't a Star Fleet captain. He IS the reason STE sucked.
7 of 9 as a Top Ten Character -- Not Even! She was eye candy -- pure and simple. Has it dawned on anyone the irony she represents? Voyager started with all these high-minded PC ideals, a female captain, and pulled itself out of the ratings dumper with T&A.
Khan as a great villian? He is remarkable only in that Montleban is one of the very few men in Hollywood capable of out hamming Shatner.
And as to the list of annoying characters -- the most annoying character not only in Trek, but perhaps all of television is ignored. Neelix, yes Neelix -- the kvetching, jewish mother in really bad make-up of a cook on Voyager. I have a writer friend that routinely pitched story ideas to the Voyager team. Whenever he and I would discuss story ideas, I had but one piece of advice -- KILL NEELIX.
Perspective on Outrage
God's under the Bed
My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. Are you there, God?" he said. Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed."
I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas, and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.
I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, returning to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.
The only variation in the entire scheme are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.
And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. "That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights. I don't think Kevin knows anything exists outside his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. He recognizes no differences in people, treating each person as an equal and a friend.
His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God-to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.
In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap----I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances-----they all become disabilities when I do not submit them to Christ. Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of the Lord. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed. Kevin won't be surprised at all!
1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter? = Eskimo Pi
2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup? = Won ton
3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash? = 1 microscope
4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement? = 1 bananosecond
5. Weight an evangelist carries with God? = 1 billigram
6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour? =Knotfurlong
7. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone? = 1 Rod Serling
8. Half of a large intestine? = 1 semicolon
9. 1,000,000 aches? = 1 megahurtz
10. Basic unit of laryngitis? = 1 hoarsepower
11. Shortest distance between two jokes? = A straight line
12. 453.6 graham crackers? = 1 pound cake
13. 1 million-million microphones? = 1 megaphone
14. 2 million bicycles? = 2 megacycles
15. 365.25 days? = 1 unicycle
16. 2000 mockingbirds? = 2 kilomockingbirds
17. 10 cards? = 1 decacards
18. 1 kilogram of falling figs? = 1 Fig Newton
19. 1000 milliliters of wet socks? = 1 literhosen
20. 1 millionth of a fish? = 1 microfiche
21. 1 trillion pins? = 1 terrapin
22. 10 rations? = 1 decoration
23. 100 rations? = 1 C-ration
24. 2 monograms? = 1 diagram
25. 8 nickels? = 2 paradigms
26. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital? = 1 IV League
27. 100 Senators? = Not 1 decision
(HT: My non-blogging friend Marty Unger
From the Edge of Taste
Village says it with dinosaur poo
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Common Sense Found In Europe
More Vodka Please
Vodka saves man's life as he falls out of a window
I thought it would make a great an humorous follow-up piece to the one immediately below about the Ukraine. But read the story -- I can't find the connection between the vodka and the guy surviving the fall -- Can you?
I think the implication is the guy was so drunk he bounced -- but I don't want to be the one to experiment on that hypothesis!
This Is How To Win A Fight
Essentially the story is that a bunch of thugs were being sent to urban centers to disrupt the elections, but when they arrived they were intercepted by truckloads of --- vodka. Now, I have been to the Ukraine -- there could not have been a more effective diversion. You can guess the rest of the story.
I love this story. As the analyst the story is about, Jack Wheeler, opines,
Just take a moment and reflect on how stone-cold brilliant this was.
Wasn't it? Don't you wish you'd thought of it?
Is this Really Necessary?
I refuse to post a quote from the article and consider yourself warned if you following the link. These are not happy kids. The story does not make it clear whether the movies are documentaries or fiction pieces, but then I am not sure it entirely matters. Either way, I don't really want to see this stuff, and I cannot think of a single socially uplifting reason to make a movie about it.
My heart really hurts from kids that would do things like those mentioned. If they are real people this would just be painful to watch. If they are characters, I would have no doubt that there are real kids that did behave that way, and again, I would hurt for them.
Regardless, I doubt this is widespread behavior, and I do not think these kids are helped by having their illnesses played out in larger than life Eastman Color.
I am tempted to start attributing motive to the film makers, but it would be pure surmise on my part.
I thank God that the kids I know are not this sick, but if they were, I sure wouldn't make a movie about it.
Outrage! Outrage! Outrage!
The greatest shame the protestant church has experienced in its existence is its relative silence in the face of the spreading nazi plague. There was only one Dietrich Bonhoeffer when there should have been hundreds, even thousands.
I know, I know -- almost all of us in the evangelical movement support the war, we support Iraqi democracy, but that does not take the place of the necessary utter condemnation of atrocities like this one.
Please, join me. Please!
UPDATE: Finally, (4:45PM this date) some Christian posting on this issue.
Here's A Little About Everything
Here's Brutally Honest
Here's Jeff Blogworthy
Let's keep 'em coming!
Great Iraqi Election Stories
Elections went well. We started on Task Force Barrier at about 3:00 pm on January 27th. We provided security for some other engineers who placed big concrete barriers around the polling sites in Mosul. This kept vehicles with explosives from running into the polling sites. We didnâ€™t end until about 11:30 the next morning. What a long night, but we were the only group to finish in one night. So, in return for our good job, we went back out the next day to help another team. Again, we started in the afternoon but we ended about 5:00 am on the 29th. We finally got a break from going out into the city, but had to increase guard duty around our FOB.
The elections were reported to have gone very well, with some great stories of the courage and faith of different people. When one polling site opened, a large crowd amassed in front of it, but no one would go in as they feared they may get killed. Finally, an elderly woman stepped up and went in and the crowds followed her. Ironically, here women have been looked upon as followers and a second-grade citizen next to men, but here was a woman (whom had grown up in that state) that stood up and led the way for others to follow. In another site, people were in line, when an insurgent sniper shot and killed one civilian who was waiting in line. The line of people, just took a knee, while the Iraqi police went after the sniper. Once the incident was over, they just stood up and continued waiting in line. I wonder if a sniper killed someone in the US, if the crowd would remain to vote or run and hide.
Jared -- the American and the Iraqi people owe you and your comrades a debt that can never be repaid. Please accept our humble thanks. Pleae convey to the Iraqi people the admiration of Americans everywhere at their bravery and fortitude.
Those Amazing Parables
Of course, you know the story. It's been preached on a lot lately. A king throws a party and the invited guests don't show, in fact the invited guests get nasty when the king's servants come to urge their attendance. So, the king sends out his servants to ask whoever is available to come enjoy the banquet he has prepared.
Usually when I hear this parable preached, the story ends there. One of two points is then made:
1) We are all the flotsam off the street; see how wonderful it is to be at God's banquet, or
2) There is room at God's banquet for everyone, the sick and the lame, the poor and the ugly....
Funny thing is, I never hear anyone who preaches on the story wonder if we, the Christian establishment, are not the invited guests that get left behind. Sometimes I wonder if that is not an analogy worth exploring.
The other thing is I never really hear the rest of the story. Consider verses 11-14:
11 But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
In the end some of the street flotsam that did show up got thrown out. Isn't that a fine how-do-you-do! Sorta puts a whole new spin on the issue of who really does make it to the party and who doesn't -- Huh.
I am not going to pretend to figure out how God's judgement works, all I am trying to say here is that I think it is a lot more complex than we tend to believe it is. I am saying here that we cannot afford to sit on our hands and assume our salvation is assurred.
This much I do know -- praying the sinner's prayer starts a journey, but it is not the journey's end. The sinner's prayer is the necessary first step, but it does not mean I will make the destination.
If you are reading this, chances are good you have made that first step, maybe even a bunch of them. Keep walking.
Eason Jordan Dances
Here it is:
Many blogs have taken Mr. Jordan's remarks out of context. Eason Jordan does not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists. Mr. Jordan simply pointed out the facts: While the majority of journalists killed in Iraq have been slain at the hands of insurgents, the Pentagon has also noted that the U.S. military on occasion has killed people who turned out to be journalists. The Pentagon has apologized for those actions.
Mr. Jordan was responding to an assertion by Cong. Frank that all 63 journalist victims had been the result of "collateral damage.
As Rush says, "Words mean things." As I pointed out in a post last week, the way someone makes their point matters as much as the point. One's choice of words and tone often reveals far more than one's words, their true thoughts and intentions.
As chief drum-banger on the one, Hugh Hewitt, points out in his post this morning, Jordan has a pattern of this garbage.
At this point, regardless of the precise specifics of the situation (Note to CNN: a TRANSCRIPT might just quiet the noise.) A pattern is clear -- Mr Jordan thinks two things:
1) "Journalists" are somehow more special than the rest of us; and
2) The military is loathsome.
It dawns on me that the accusation made towards bloggers that they are just a bunch of "pajama clad guys talking to each other" is the kind of whine that comes from the 100-year old crumbling country club that has grown so exclusive no one can get in, when the rest of town builds a new club.
My advice to Mr. Jordan -- join our club. We often say stupid things, point it out to each other, correct it and move on.
Oh yeah -- Mr. Jordan, I'd learn to love the military, they protect your right to say those stupid things.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Hug Trumps State of the Union
The tribute to our fighting men and women was great, and extremely moving. Click on "Any Soldier" at the left here, find a soldier you like and send a care package.
The hug...moving, marvelous, wonderful...the result of strength. Praise the Lord.
This is rapidly turning into a straightforward MSM vs. Blogs war. CNN's contention that Jordan was quoted out of context, is both an assault on the integrity of the blogs, and one of the most delicious bits on irony imaginable. How many people has MSM skewered with an out-of-context quote?
C'mon Bloggers. Let's find the goods, let's nail this down. This is more than a mistake and deserves to be treated as such.
It was my priviledge to visit the famous Pushkin Square Mickey D's in 1991 when the Soviet Union still existed. I did not dine there -- I can get plenty of McDonald's at home. Besides -- the lines!
I love the fact that capitalism has taken firm hold in the former Soviet Union. I am happy for my friends there that now enjoy a much better life than they did during my Soviet visit. I just wish we had something better to sell there. It's not even a good burger. Now a Fatburger there -- that would be something. (If you are not in a part of the country with Fatburger, check the franchising info at the website and open one -- That's a hamburger)
I wish this was a bummer...
When I do a Technorati search on "Iraqi Down Syndrome," I get a lot of hits, but most of them are related to Rush Limbaugh's mention of the story this morning. Most importantly, I do not see a lot of posts from anyone of the Evangelical Blogroll.
Please, tell me I am wrong. Send me links all day and night.
If we, as Christians, cannot condemn actions like this I think we have completely lost our ethical bearings. I know Hewitt called for a bunch of comments on Jordan's idiocy, and rightfully so, but good Lord...In the end Jordan just spoke.
This is murder most vile, heinous, and ugly. This is somehow more than murder, this is some sort of sick combination of murder and child abuse. Last night I cried...today it just makes me sick.
What God does with these terrorists in heaven, only He can know, but we really need to rid the world of people like this.
Update: Read this from Duckwriter and cry. Duckwriter! Get yourself on some of the Christian Blogrolls.
That worries me.
Phil 2:33 (NAS)
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself
Is blogging an inherently conceited exercise? Is my blogging so conceited? How do I make sure it is not?
Dear God, make my blog Your ministry.
Reader comment most welcomed.
First of all, because it is true and it has to be said, Jordan's comments are outrageous, offensive, unsubstaniated, ridiculous, slanderous, and highly objectionable. I think Donald Rumsfeld should issue a very public invitation to Mr. Jordan to a podium in the Pentagon from which he can offer his apology to the entire United States military.
Now as to where the MSM is on this -- I think we are to the point where the MSM's lack of coverage on these statements, while outrageous, is no longer surprising, and therefore not that attention grabbing.
Post-Rathergate, both bias and the clubby environs of the MSM are well known to any mildly discriminating consumer of news. Under such circumstances I wonder if this is worthy of outrage, as opposed just marginalization. Once you know a person to be a fool you no longer worry about their foolish statements, you just set them over in the fool's corner and ignore them. Eason Jordan was not so long ago proven a fool.
When measured in "amount of ink" devoted to quoting each side, this appears to be a balanced article, but in choice of quotes and tone, the article makes it look like all pro-lifers are unthinking religious zealots, and all pro-choicers are reasoned, scientific thinkers.
What I want to know is -- how big a check are you going to write to help buy the sonogram machines for the centers?
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Here's the lead:
Amar was 19, but he had the mind of a four-year-old. This handicap didn't stop the insurgency's hard men as they strapped explosives to his chest and guided him to a voting centre in suburban Al-Askan.
God's judgment is widely argued in Christian circles, and I find myself vacillating between mercy and condemnation all the time. That said, I can find no mercy in this situation. This is a vile and cruel act. This is purly evil. There simply is no imaginable ideological justification for such a thing.
I cry for the boy -- I grieve for his family. I wish I could find his family and offer them some comfort.
I wish I could find the people responsible....
We protestants are all over the map when it comes to Roman Catholicism. For the record, I lost a very steady girlfriend in college who cited as one of the primary reasons she was breaking up with me was the very vehement argument I had with her mother - when her mom declared that Roman Catholics were not "real" Christians. That should let you know where I stand.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor of the National Review Online, appeared moments ago on Hugh Hewitt's radio program and declared that this pope, along with Ronald Reagan and Margret Thatcher are responsible for the death of communism. That is quite a legacy.
My prayers are with him, I hope yours are too.
Speaking of a Prophetic Swarm....
If you look at the trackback posts, it may not be a swarm, but there is certainly a small flock brewing. I hereby join them. I have a lot of research to do before I can make the kind of detailed post this deserves, but in the meantime, I urge you to join the flock and help turn it into a swarm.
A Prophetic Swarm?
But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. 8 "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth."
I love this passage, it is when God is commissioning Jeremiah as His prophet. I love the prophets -- they were God's crumudgeons. Their job was to defy the conventional wisdom, and proclaim God's Word -- generally to those that did not really want to hear it. Usually they were defiant towards the governmental and the religious authorities of the day -- often those authorities were vested in the same people and institutions.
In his book Blog, Hugh Hewitt describes how "blog swarms" were used to defy the conventional wisdom of the mainstream press and the political landscape of the country is likely forever changed. In a real sense, the poliblogs played a prophetic role in the election race. They sounded a voice of reason in an otherwise partisan and often unreasonable cacophony.
In the world of Godbloggers, I wonder if we are not to be the church's prophetic voice? Scandals plague the church. From the sex scandals of the Catholics to the financial/sex scandals of the Bakers to the average scandals we never hear about - pastors embezzling or sleeping with parishioners.
Then there are the issues facing the church that do not qualify as scandal, but are certainly contentious--ordination of homosexuals, or compromising theology for the sake of the offering.
Maybe the best role for Godbloggers is to be the voice in the wilderness. Most of us are rebels by definition -- that's why we are out here in cyber space declaring ourselves.
Could we generate a "prophetic swarm?" I think so. I do not know the issue around which that swarm might form, but I am sure one will show up. In my own church, the PCUSA, the question of homosexual ordination is going to make its way to the front burner in the next 18 months, coming to a head at the 2006 General Assembly.
While only PCUSA members can vote on the issue, the entire church at large can voice an opinion. I have wondered if when the Episcopalians ordained their gay bishop a Godblog swarm had emerged, things might have been different.
One website/blog I know, Presbyblog, will stay on top of the issue in the PCUSA. That site contains a number of good links on the PCUSA and the homosexual ordination issue as well.
The actions by the Episcopalians are tearing that denomination apart, and doing so harms the greater Kingdom. I would hate to see that happen to another older mainline denomination. We all have a stake in it. We should all pay attention. We should all act. We should all use our prophetic voice.
Monday, January 31, 2005
Intelligent Design...Time to Wade In
Well, with all the furor, and with the opportunity presented by Through a Glass Darkly's calling of a Blog Carnival on the topic, I figure it is time to wade into the discussion. For the record, I have some qualifications in the matter. I have a Masters Degree in Chemistry, which should give me some basic science chops. I came close to a Masters of Divinity as well, but God had another career in mind for me, which should give me some Christianity chops. By the way, it WAS NOT bad grades in seminary that let me know God wanted me elsewhere -- those grades compare well with my chemistry grades, and they were pretty darn good.
Here are a few of the links that I have particularly enjoyed on the whole ID thing. There's this one from Evangelical Outpost; this one as well. Then there is this one from A Physicist's Perspective, this one from Ex Nihilo, and finally this one from In the Agora. Great reading, great intellectual exercise. But I wonder, what is all this discussion is really about. What are we trying to do? Where are we trying to go on this issue?
I think this is a big deal because evolution appears to contradict the cosmological argument for the existence of God. The cosmological argument is one of the five basic philosophical arguments for the existence of a deity, probably the most accessible of the arguments, and subsequently one of the most appealing. This is essentially the argument that Paul makes in Romans 1.
Unfortunately, I think all of this is "much ado about nothing," or at least a huge discussion over a minor matter. I think those of us on the Christian side of things are making this into a far bigger deal than we need to, and I think those on the evolution side of things are overstepping their boundaries. Pharyngula has a very cute little parable in which he appears to share my sentiment on the matter. (HT: Evangelical Outpost)
I want to make this point by approaching it from two different directions. The first direction is that philosophical arguments for the existence of a deity are just not that important to the advancement of the Gospel, or in the final analysis to personal faith. The second direction, is by analyzing what scientific theories do, and do not do, to reveal that evolutionary theory is not de facto an argument against God.
Considering first the importance of philosophical arguments, or apologetics, to advancing the Gospel and to personal faith. Apologetics are often a large obstacle in the road to a relationship with Jesus. Many are the testimonies that discuss the need to have some sort of "proof" of a god before the individual could consider the God of Christianity. However, for the vast majority of people who include such concerns in their testimonies, confess that once they have established their relationship with God, that relationship was much larger than could possibly be contained in some intellectual exercise.
The most influential apologist of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis, whose testimony is very much based on finding an appealing apologetic, admitted in his recount of the greatest personal crisis of his life, the death of his wife, A Grief Observed, that those apologetics were pointless in the face of his despair. Lewis concedes in that book that his faith, his personal surety - developed through personal experience, that there was a loving God in his life, was all that kept him faithful in a time when life was simply senseless.
Such testimony tells me that while apologetics may be an obstacle to creating belief in the non-believer, if we cannot overcome that obstacle with the cosmological argument, there exists a path around it. That path may be more difficult, it may be harder to find, but if in the end faith matters more than intellectual ascent, then there is a way to build the faith regardless of the intellectual objections.
I shall now turn my attention to the matter of what science does and does not do. I have seen lots of stuff about theories being "falsifiable" or not. I am afraid, I don't get it. I'll explain science as I understand it.
The first step in any scientific endeavor is to define the "system" to be studied. By system, we mean the something like "the motion of celestial bodies" or "balls falling from towers." A system is the object of study and all the variables that can influence it.
Once the system is defined, one then tries to devise a model, or theory, that described the behavior of the system. In the case of the hard sciences, physics or chemistry, that model will likely be mathematical. In the more descriptive sciences it may or may not be mathematical. For example, geologist may develop a mathematical model for the behavior of a fault or they may simply come up with a descriptive model.
Once the model is developed, science tests the model. This is done by using the model to form a hypothesis, that is some statement about how the system will behave under conditions not previously observed, and then performing an experiment to see if the hypothesis was in fact correct. If the hypothesis was correct, the model remains intact. If the hypothesis was not correct, the model must be modified, or discarded in favor of a new model.
Note; however, that all of this begins with defining a system. Of necessity, no system definition can include a caprious and outside variable or influence, or one can never formulate a model.
God is, by definition, supernatural -- that is to say, outside the system. Thus no scientific system or model can ever include God. That statement; does not mean that God does not exist, it simply means that because God is outside the largest system we can define, the physical universe, he cannot be a part of the scientific process. In fact, this affirms that God is supernatural and not subject to our understanding -- a fact that I personally take great comfort in.
This all being said, when someone, scientist or otherwise, asserts that evolution says there is no God, they are overstating what science can or cannot say. Evolution does not allow for God, but then neither does any other scientific model, or theory. Any theory that proports to , has left the realm of science and joined the realm of metaphysics. Any theory that claims to disprove God has similarly entered metaphysics.
To my way of thinking, asking to teach any theory that allows for control outside the system, leaves science, but so what. Science teachers should not be allowed to say that science shows there is no God either. Why try to insert Intelligent Design or Creation Science, or any other thing of the sort?
We should fight the political battle here, but let's change the battleground. Rather than try and get God's role in creation somehow inserted into the curriculum, why don't we work to limit the curriculum, so that it is God neutral -- which is what evolution really is. Science has nothing to say about God -- he is outside the realm of science, definitionally.
If we can have that taught, then we leave the discussions about God where they belong, in the philosophy class, or in church. I for one have complete faith in our ability to spread the Gospel, as long as the schools are not fighting us. I think this gives us a way to stop the opposition without stopping the science. That should satisfy both sides of this debate.
UPDATE: the next morning
To make my final point a little simpler, allow me to restate it this way. When anyone claims that the theory of evolution says there is no God, they are making a claim that is as much based on their personal religious and philosphical convictions as is a Christian's statement of faith. They are not making a statement of science -- call it a "statement of afaith."
If religion has no place in the classroom, then neither does "noreligion." Both are statements of belief, not science.
With this argument, we level the playing field. I am certain the church can prevail on a level playing field.
Worth the Worry...
Then comes this article about a woman being legally persuaded to become a prostitute. (HT: WSJ - BOTW -- who thinks it might be a urban legend. I can't figure out how to confirm or deny the story without more international phone calling than I am willing to do.)
Regardless of whether government, here or in Germany or anywhere else for that matter, is forcing repugnant morality on the governed, it is clear that we are worried about it - generally a sign it might happen, if not now, sometime in the foreseeable future.
I think the time is upon us where political involvement for the morally definite (Christians -- for example) is not an option.
A democratic society is a delicate balance of authorities, governmental, corporate, religious, and personal. When that balance becomes upset, we need to work to restore it or we run the risk of having the society collapse.
Clearly there is a fear that government is gaining too much power over the moral and religious realms. Fortunately, in a democracy, we can enter the government and back it off. Difficult and, to some, odious as that may be, it is a far cry better than letting the government drive us into these kinds of situations.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Gal 2:20 (NAS)
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
While I'm bashing the MSM...
Attacks Kill 35; Turnout Heavy Among Shiites and Kurds. Is this a question of "If it bleeds it leads," or is this just another example of media bias? Admittedly they change their tune in the actual story head, but....Even the LA Times had more sense.
Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, along with a US Marine assigned to protect them, were hiking through the Iraqi desert one day when they were captured by terrorists. They were tied up, led to a village, and brought before the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader in Iraq.
Zarqawi said, "I am familiar with your western custom of granting the condemned a last wish; so, before we kill and dismember you, do you have any last requests?"
Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowlful of hot spicy chili." Zarqawi nodded to an underling who left and returned with the chili. Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."
Peter Jennings said, "I am Canadian, so I'd like to hear the song 'O Canada' one last time." Zarqawi nodded to a terrorist who had studied the Western world and knew the music. He returned with some rag-tag musicians and played the anthem. Jennings sighed and declared he could now die peacefully.
Zarqawi turned and said, "And now, Mr. U. S. Marine, what is your final wish?"
"Kick my behind," said the Marine.
"What?" asked Zarqawi. "Will you mock us in your last hour?"
"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick my behind," insisted the Marine. So the leader shoved him into the open, and kicked him.
The Marine went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled out a 9mm pistol hidden in his cammies, and shot Zarqawi dead. In the resulting confusion, he leapt to his knapsack, pulled out his M4 carbine, and sprayed the remaining terrorists with gunfire. In a flash, they were either dead or fleeing for their lives.
As the Marine was untying Rather and Jennings, they asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask them to kick you?"
"What," replied the Marine, "and have you jerks call me the aggressor?"
Sunday, January 30, 2005
More on the Iraqi Elections
I wish I had time to explore it more thoroughly, but alas, efforts on the GodBlogCon Prayer Blog do not allow me time to do so. However, I am struck with the historical dance that democracy and Christianity have made together.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."
"...and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
One has wonder if more than the first non-Jewish Middle Eastern democracy is in the long-term future for Iraq?
I praise the Lord for the Iraqi people and how brave they are to show up in such number under such conditions. But more, I prasie God for the our soldiers and the work they have done to make this opportunity available to those brave, brave Iraqi people.
Some words from a friend on the scene. In an email I got just last night, in which he granted me permission to reproduce his emails here in the blog, he introduced himself...
"...my full name is LT Jared Leinart with 1st Platoon, Company A, 113th EN BN. The unit is from LaPorte Indiana, however I was born and raised in Northern Indianapolis and currently reside in Arcadia, IN, a small farm community about 20 miles north of Indianapolis. I am married to the most beautiful Christian woman (in my opinion of course) who has blessed me with two wonderful children (Vincent is 8 going on 15 and Hannah is 3 going on Miss Independent). I had just started working on my MDiv prior to being deployed and plan on returning to my studies when I return to the states. When I'm not in Iraq, I work full-time for the Indiana Army National Guard in Operations and Training. My platoon is currently stationed in Mosul, Iraq and have been conducting missions into downtown Mosul to provide barriers around polling sites for the elections. Last night, we removed any deserted vehicles around polling sites that could house Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's)."
In an email from last weekend, he described some of what he was doing in preparation for the election...
"I am here now trying to finish getting our vehicles fitted with the "up-armor". I will probably be flying back to Marez in the next couple days. The four guys from my platoon that are here with me will convoy out sometime next week when the vehicles are done.
In Marez [ed. downtown Mosul], my platoon will travel out with EOD (Explosives Ordanance Disposal) who are supossed to destroy enemy explosives, but since there are so many to destroy and so few EOD, we go out and destroy them. Out here, EOD has become "Engineer On Duty." The unit we are replacing was supossed to be here until after the elections (30 Jan) but they are already heading out the door. We do have a great deal of muscle with us to include a battalion of infantry and calvary. We also have field artillery and other units too.
Yesterday a squad from another engineer platoon got to go out on a mission conduction cordon and search of a small village north of Tel Afar (NW of Mosul). They had infantry air assault (drop from helicopters on ropes) into the town, Stryker vehicles with infantry and cav come rolling in, and apache attack helicopters flying overhead. The enginners went in and set up an EPW (Enemy Prisoner of War) holding area inside of a walled school. Friday is their version of our Sunday so no school was in session. The troops go in and search door to door for weapons and enemy. The had intelligence on one farmhouse as being an enemy hiding area so it was bombed."
Finally, in an email from the middle of this past week he write...
"We are really gearing up for the elections here in the Mosul area. We will be putting in barriers around multiple polling locations (both real and deceptive ones) in the next few days. The locals have been ordered to not drive their vehicles until after the elections, so this will reduce the threat of car bombs (Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Devices or VBIED in military speak). Then, we will provide security for our engineers with wreckers and remove any vehicles near the polling sites. So far we have only had to go through the city a few times and have only had a few "pop shots" fired in our general direction. You can hear the rifle go off and see it hit a building way above you or off in the distance. Please do not be alarmed as these shots have been WAY OFF. The intelligence we get is that many Iraqis will actually close their eyes when they go to fire their weapons and pray t o Allah. Lucky for us, Allah doesn't seem to be interested in the trajectory of their rounds. We responded to an IED call the other day but we were pretty sure it wasn't going to blow because it was near a playground and kids were still playing in it. It's when there are usually a lot of people and suddenly they are all gone is when you run into problems."
Somehow, when you read it firsthand like this it drives home the situation our men and women, and the FREE, civilized citizens of Iraq are in. I pray and I pray -- I urge you to as well.