Sunday, December 31, 2006

This is really amazing

Let's give it up for Senator Barbara Boxer who has more sense then the Bush administration (on this one specific issue, let's not go crazy here, people):

In a highly unusual move, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has rescinded an award to an Islamic activist in her home state because of the man’s connections to a major American Muslim organization that recently has been courted by leading political figures and even the FBI.

Boxer’s office confirmed to NEWSWEEK that she has withdrawn a “certificate of accomplishment” to Sacramento activist Basim Elkarra after learning that he serves as an official with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). After directing her staff to look into CAIR, Boxer “expressed concern” about some past statements and actions by the group, as well as assertions by some law enforcement officials that it “gives aid to international terrorist groups,” according to Natalie Ravitz, the senator’s press spokeswoman.

The capital of Thailand hit by six bombs

And an "intelligence source" claims that it's not related to the Islamic terrorists in the south. Yeah, I'm buying that.

At least 20 people have been injured in Bangkok night after six bombs exploded in the Thai capital, police said, as revellers were preparing to bring in the New Year.

The six explosions happened within 90 minutes of each other across Thailand's capital, and began at 5:20 pm (1020 GMT) on downtown Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road.

"There were six bombs in Bangkok this evening," Ajiravid Subarnbhesaj, national police spokesman, said at a press conference Sunday.

He said that no one had been killed in the New Year's Eve attacks, but Surachet Sathitniramai, the director for the government's medical information centre, said one person had died.


t was not immediately clear if the bombs had anything to do with a military coup on September 19 that ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, or with an ongoing violent separatist insurgency in the kingdom's south.

Thailand's military-installed premier Surayud Chulanont had warned earlier this week of possible large-scale attacks by Islamic militants during the New Year holidays.

However, that warning was for the nation's restive Muslim-majority south, where an ongoing insurgency has killed 1,700 people since January 2004, but has rarely affected people outside the three provinces bordering Malaysia.

An intelligence source told AFP that the attacks were likely politically motivated.

"The bombs are not involved with southern unrest or even the hanging of Saddam. It is a political issue -- it is undercurrents and they plan to bomb 22 positions in the next few days," the source said, but did not elaborate.

Updated: Two more bombs went off. I may have to rethink my assessment after reading this post at Counterterrorism Blog


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This is the problem with Congress

No wonder they violate the rules, they get away with not even a slap on the wrist. Democrats and Republicans take care of each other and don't hold each other accountable to the law:

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has "accepted responsibility" for possibly violating House rules by requiring his official staff to perform campaign-related work, according to a statement quietly released by the House ethics committee late Friday evening.

The top Republican and Democratic members on the ethics panel, Reps. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), said in a statement that Conyers acknowledged a "lack of clarity" in communicating what was expected of his official staff and that he accepted responsibility for his actions.

"[Conyers] agreed to take a number of additional, significant steps to ensure that his office complies with all rules and standards regarding campaign and
personal work by congressional staff," they stated. "We have concluded that this matter should be resolved through the issuance of this public statement."

The finding by the ethics panel could spark debate, and perhaps eclipse, the first week of the incoming-Democratic majority’s plans to change the House ethics rules, as well as raise questions about Conyers’ standing to chair the Judiciary Committee.


A spokesman for Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Conyers will remain chairman of the Judiciary Committe.


The Hill reported last March that two former Conyers’ aides alleged that he repeatedly violated House ethics rules by requiring aides to work on local and state
campaigns, and babysit and chauffeur his children. Deanna Maher, a former deputy chief of staff in the Detroit office, and Sydney Rooks, a former legal counsel in his district office, shared numerous letters, memos, e-mails, handwritten notes and expense reports with The Hill.

They also sent the same materials to the House ethics panel, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office. House rules allow the chairman and ranking member of the ethics panel to initiate informal inquiries into allegations of misconduct in the absence of a formal complaint.
Read the rest here.


Why should we follow their laws when they don't even follow them?

Down syndrome testing for all pregnant women

Letting a woman know in the first trimester if she has a downs baby, giving her the option to abort early:

There's a big change coming for pregnant women: Down syndrome testing no longer hinges on whether they're older or younger than 35. This week, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists begins recommending that every pregnant woman, regardless of age, be offered a choice of tests for this common birth defect.

The main reason: Tests far less invasive than the long-used amniocentesis are now widely available, some that can tell in the first trimester the risk of a fetus having Down syndrome or other chromosomal defects.

It's a change that promises to decrease unnecessary amnios — giving mothers-to-be peace of mind without the ordeal — while also detecting Down syndrome in moms who otherwise would have gone unchecked.


It's not just a question of whether to continue the pregnancy. Prenatal diagnosis also is important for those who wouldn't consider abortion, because babies with Down syndrome can need specialized care at delivery that affects hospital selection, he added.

Read the rest here.

They can say that it's not a question of continuing the pregnancy all they want but those who are at risk and don't want evasive procedures can be treated as if they have a child with downs already. There's no need for all of this unless you want to make absolutely sure before you terminate your pregnancy,

I was 35 when I was pregnant with Samantha and my doctor began insisting that we test to make sure she didn't have downs. I told him I didn't need testing since I wouldn't do anything if they baby had downs sydrome. But he made me get genetic screening and the technican kept insisting it was a good idea for us to do an amniocentesis since their testing wasn't as accurate. And when I found out that I was more likely to have a spontaneous abortion from the amnio than have a downs syndrome baby, I was upset. Especially since I had just had a miscarriage a couple of months before I became pregnant with Samantha. To me the risks did not outweigh the benefit.

BTW, every time I was told that I really should have an amnio I would reply that there was nothing they could do to fix it and I wouldn't abort so what was the point, not once did they respond that it was because special care would be needed for the delivery.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Top 20 Religion Stories of 2006

According to a survey of the members of the Religion Newswriters Association.


Saddam death video

We have been getting a lot of hits from people looking for the Saddam Hussein death video. Well, someone filmed it with their cellphone and if you want to see it, you can go here.

D. James Kennedy has had a heart attack

Please remember him in your prayers:

The Rev. D. James Kennedy, the longtime pastor of Fort Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and a driving force in the national religious conservative movement, was in serious condition Friday after suffering a heart attack.

Church officials said Kennedy, 76, was rushed to a local hospital from his home in the Coral Ridge neighborhood Thursday night. Although they were extremely concerned about his health, the officials said Kennedy was becoming more alert and responsive Friday.
Read the rest here.

This is what is wrong with our society today

So, this is not bad enough to put someone to death or consider it evil. If this guy hadn't mentioned that he had kids, I would have thought he was a teenager.

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

He was a bully I think. He was a man who never knew happiness I think. He rationalized his actions I’m sure by saying that he did what had to be done. He called his own enemies evil, and tortured them completely. Saddam Hussein was all too human. He walked among us. In this moment of spiritual limbo between Christmas and the start of a new year I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness.

I feel sadness because we repaid cruelty with cruelty. We did it because we allowed an emotionally disturbed man to lead us, to direct our actions. We destroyed Saddam Hussein’s life. This was perhaps justified. Do we destroy every cruel man’s life? Is it our duty to destroy every cruel man’s life? Still, it was not less than he deserved. Take away his livelihood. What will we do to the war profiteers who had a hand in murdering our own children for a few dollars? Will we be as angry, as cruel?

We killed his children while he was still alive. We hunted them down like animals and slaughtered them without dignity. As a father I will say no human deserves this. Once we have reached this level of cruelty it has gone beyond repayment. It has become something visceral, something deep within our souls that we usually try to hide, even from ourselves. But we felt no shame. We celebrated this cruelty, cheered it and broadcast it to the world. Who gave us this lisence I wonder? Now that this Pandora’s box is open, will we be able to close it?

What is evil? Maybe this guy would think it evil if his kids were killed. I think that it should be safe to say that the murder of innocent men, women and children is evil.

And of his adult sons, here is a list of the atrocities committed by his son (warning: there is a picture of this corpse).

New Indiana Jones Movie in 2008

Isn't Harrison Ford getting a little old to be outrunning giant balls and walking through a room full of snakes?

George Lucas said Friday that filming of the long-awaited "Indiana Jones" movie will begin next year.

Harrison Ford, who appeared in the three earlier flicks, the last one coming in 1989, is set to star again.

Lucas said he and Steven Spielberg recently finalized the script for the film.


The fourth chapter of the "Indiana Jones" saga, which will hit theaters in May 2008, has been in development for over a decade with several screenwriters taking a crack at the script, but it only recently gained momentum.

Lucas kept mum about the plot, but said that the latest action flick will be a "character piece" that will include "very interesting mysteries."

Saddam's Death is a Big Deal

Despite what the MSM will report today, I think that Saddam's execution is a big deal.

The fact that he was brought to justice so swiftly by the Iraqi government is testiment to the fact that they are stepping up to rule their own country. I think this sends a strong message to the world. It shows that this new democracy is starting to make a difference in Iraq.

President Bush explains why Saddam's death is important:

Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial -- the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.

Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule. It is a testament to the Iraqi people's resolve to move forward after decades of oppression that, despite his terrible crimes against his own people, Saddam Hussein received a fair trial. This would not have been possible without the Iraqi people's determination to create a society governed by the rule of law.

Saddam Hussein's execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror.
James S. Robbins over at the NRO states that:
Likewise the prevalent non-opinion in the media that this event is not a turning point, that it does not change anything, is hard to take seriously.

Saddam’s fate was more than just a loose end that was tied up. It was one of those rare occasions on which we are given the opportunity to witness an act of unqualified righteousness. It was justice made manifest. And it was about time.
Yes, a tyrant who killed millions of his own people has been held accountable for his crimes against humanity. Good indeed has triumphed over evil.

Details of the execution of Saddam

Here are some details about the execution. I thought that it was interesting that an argument broke out amongst the witnesses. Not too much unity in this government but that can be expected in a diverse nation like this:

Saddam Hussein struggled briefly after American military guards handed him over to Iraqi executioners. But as his final moments approached, he grew calm. He clutched a Quran as he was led to the gallows, and in one final moment of defiance, refused to have a hood pulled over his head before facing the same fate he was accused of inflicting on countless thousands during a quarter-century of ruthless power.

A man whose testimony helped lead to Saddam's conviction and execution before sunrise said he was shown the body because "everybody wanted to make sure that he was really executed."


A witness, Iraqi Judge Munir Haddad, said that one of the executioners told Hussein that the former dictator had destroyed Iraq, which sparked an argument that was joined by several government officials in the room.

As a noose was tightened around Hussein's neck, one of the executioners yelled "long live Muqtada al-Sadr," Haddad said, referring to the powerful anti-American Shiite religious leader.

Hussein, a Sunni, mockingly uttered one last phrase before he died: "Muqtada al-Sadr," according to Haddad's account.


Al-Rubaie said that while the execution was carried out with due respect to Hussein -- and following "all international and Islamic standards" -- some witnesses and the executioner could not resist celebrating by dancing around the body after the hanging.


"It was an Iraqi operation from A to Z," he said. "The Americans were not present during the hour of the execution. They weren't even in the building."

He added that "there were no Shiite or Sunni clerics present, only the witnesses and those who carried out the actual execution were present."
Read the rest here and see videos of the noose being put on (I would recommend that the executioners not wear those clothes again) and Iraqis celebrating the news of his death.

Another Public Service Announement from the Reformed Chicks

Here is what to do in case you spill liquid on your laptop. There are other interesting tips there as well.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam is dead

According to Al Hurra and Arab news he has been executed:

U.S.-backed Iraqi television station Al Hurra said Saddam Hussein had been executed by hanging shortly before 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Saturday.

The former Iraqi president ousted in April 2003 by a U.S.- led invasion was convicted in November of crimes against humanity over the killings of 148 Shi'ite villagers from Dujail after a failed assassination bid in 1982.
There has been no conformation yet.

Justice has been served and he has paid the debt for the murders of many of his citizens. Now all doubt can be put to rest that he can somehow find his way back into power. And the families of the victims and the rest of the Iraqis can celebrate:
A group of Iraqi-Americans gathered late Friday at a mosque in anticipation of Saddam Hussein's execution, praying for the death of the former Iraqi dictator as drivers outside honked horns in celebration.

Dave Alwatan wore an Iraqi flag around his shoulders and flashed a peace sign to everyone he passed at the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in this suburb of Detroit, a city that has one of the nation's largest concentrations of people with roots in the Middle East.

"Peace," he said, grinning and laughing. "Now there will be peace for my family."

Alwatan, 32, said Saddam's forces tortured and killed relatives that were left behind when Alwatan left
Iraq in 1991. He was among about 40 men who gathered at the Islamic center.

The center's director, Imam Husham Al-Husainy, said members prayed for Saddam's death. Outside, traffic slowed as people drove in circles around the mosque, honking horns.

Even a Clinton-appointed judge wouldn't do something that stupid

No, we don't have jurisdiction:

A U.S. judge refused to stop Saddam Hussein's execution Friday, rejecting a last-minute court challenge by the former Iraqi president.


Saddam's lawyers filed the court challenge Friday afternoon, giving the judge just hours to act before the execution was expected to be carried out.

Saddam's attorneys argued that because the former Iraqi president also faced a civil lawsuit in Washington, he had rights as a civil defendant that would be violated if he is executed. He has not received notice of those rights and the consequences that the lawsuit would have on his estate, his attorneys said.

Kollar-Kotelly said U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction to interfere in another country's judicial process. The ruling can be appealed, but it was issued within an hour of the time Iraqi officials said they expected the execution to be carried out.

Isn't this a great idea?

I mark my books up all the time in preparation for tests and I'm always losing my highlighter, so this seem perfect for me:

I'm going to definitely get one and I'll let you know what it's like.


Saddam to be hanged tonight and will remain in US custody until it happens

The clock is ticking, Saddam to be hanged tonight:

An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. Also to be hanged at that time were Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, the adviser said.


"Saddam will be handed over shortly before the execution," the official said. The physical transfer of Saddam from U.S. to Iraqi authorities was believed to be one of the last steps before he was to be hanged. Saddam has been in U.S. custody since he was captured in December 2003.

Al-Nueimi said U.S. authorities were maintaining physical custody of Saddam to prevent him from being humiliated before his execution. He said the Americans also want to prevent the mutilation of his corpse, as has happened to other deposed Iraqi leaders.

"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," al-Nueimi said. If Saddam is humiliated publicly or his corpse ill-treated "that could cause an uprising and the Americans would be blamed," he said.

Some of his victims are going to be able to attend the hanging:

Those cleared to attend the execution included a Muslim cleric, lawmakers, senior officials and relatives of victims of Saddam's brutal rule, the official said. He did not disclose the location of the gallows.


The British postal service is getting ready for the new Harry Potter book

For the July release of the book! This was one of the top eight news stories on Yahoo. I wonder how many more of these stories we will be getting before July. I predict that it will be one of the top news stories of the year.

While the number represents only a fraction of the 80 million items the Royal Mail delivers daily, the security — and secrecy — surrounding the work mean the books have to spend as little time as possible on warehouse floors, complicating their distribution. The 652-page "Half-Blood Prince" weighed in at just under 2.2 pounds, forcing postal workers into vans to avoid overloading their carrier bags.

The movement of the trucks is being coordinated in advance to avoid congestion and local post offices are also considering bringing in extra staff to deal with the overflow of books, Eadie said.


Amazon's British Web site already lists "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" as its No. 1 book, based on advance orders. The title of the final Potter adventure was announced last week.
Read more here.

I bet you're going to sleep more soundly tonight knowing that the Harry Potter book will be delivered promptly in Britain, I know that I will.

Israel will not release prisoners

I'm glad to see sanity has returned to Israel, why release prisoners when the Palestinians have one of your men.

Israel has rebuffed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' request to free Palestinian prisoners ahead of a major Muslim holiday, insisting that Palestinian militants first agree to release a captured Israeli soldier.

The decision was at odds with recent overtures by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to bolster the moderate Abbas in the eyes of the Palestinian people, who voted the militantly anti-Israel Hamas group into power nearly one year ago.
Israel has made concessions already, why should they be the ones making all the moves when they are getting nothing in return:
In their landmark meeting on Saturday, Olmert agreed to ease restrictions on Palestinian travel in the West Bank and to release $100 million in frozen funds to the Palestinian Authority — moves that touched off opposition among hard-liners in Israel.
And I don't have a lot of sympathy for the families of the prisoners since this is the type of people they are waiting for:
Palestinians had hoped Israel would allow the return of 13 gunmen exiled to Europe following a standoff with Israeli troops at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity in 2002.
And this is just weird:
Fawzi el-Muhanna, whose son Mohammed was exiled to Greece, told The Associated Press he had prepared to hang festive lights and slaughter a sheep to celebrate both the holiday and his son's return. "We were optimistic," al-Muhanna said.

Losing weight is the number one New Year resolution for women

Losing weight topped my list. I wonder how many had brush up on Greek and Hebrew :-)

More women make New Year's resolutions, but men are more likely to say they keep them, according to a poll of American adults released on Thursday.

Losing weight topped the list of resolutions made by women, while the leading vow among men was to be a better person


Forty-six percent of women surveyed said they would make such promises, while 41 percent of men planned to do so, the poll showed.

Of those who made resolutions last year, 71 percent of men and 57 percent of women said they kept at least part of it, the poll said.

Read the rest here.

I have a very short list here with a link to the top ten resolutions which might be helpful if you are having trouble coming up with a list (brushing up on Greek and Hebrew did make the list). And here's a link to Jonathan Edward's list.

Updated to add: Douglas Groothuis' list of 15 "refusals" (via).

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What the heck happened to free speech?

Political speech is the most important speech and should be protected (if you can burn a flag, you should be able to put a bummer stick on your own car). Thanks McCain!

In a decision announced Tuesday, the FEC sent an “admonishment letter” to Kirk Shelmerdine Racing. Kirk Shelmerdine, a former pit boss for the late Dale Earnhardt, has been an unsuccessful, underfunded and undersponsored driver. He has never finished higher than 26th.

So back in 2004, in a move perhaps designed to draw some attention to his car, he placed a “Bush-Cheney ’04” decal on his rear quarter panel, which was otherwise unencumbered by advertising. Democratic activist Sydnor Thompson complained to the FEC, and the agency found that Shelmerdine “may have made an unreported independent expenditure or a prohibited corporate expenditure.”

Former commissioner Bradley Smith dissented in one of the case’s early votes and blogged about the result this week. He has written that in reference to the FEC’s $250 expenditure limit, “evidence is strong that the market value of Shelmerdine’s rear quarter panel was approximately $0, give or take $249.”


Would I apologize if I slandered someone?

This is the question I was asked in the comment section of this story. And my response is that I'm a Christian and of course I will apologize if I slandered anyone but according to this report I have not.

Interesting use of technology

Reminds you of how the kids cheat on tests in college:

An Indian chess player has been banned for 10 years for cheating after he was caught using his mobile phone's wireless device to win games, chess officials said on Wednesday.


Mr. Sharma was finally caught at a recent tournament when officials discovered that he had stitched a Bluetooth device in a cloth cap which he always pulled over his ears.

He communicated to his accomplices outside the hall, who then used a computer to relay moves to him, Indian chess federation secretary D.V. Sundar said on Wednesday.


Saddam's death will be filmed

Updated: We're getting a lot of hits on this post from people looking for the Saddam Hussein death video, if you really want to see his death, someone filmed it with a cellphone. Go here for the link.

But it may not be shown. I think that it's a very good idea to film the death of Saddam because people will not believe that he is really dead without proof:

Saddam Hussein's final moments will be videotaped by the Iraqi government, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston. National Security adviser Mouffak al Rubaie says the date of the deposed dictator's execution will not be made public, to avoid possible unrest from Saddam's supporters, but everything from the signing of the final orders by the judge, to the hanging itself will be recorded.

Iraqis, members of the coalition and international representatives will witness the execution. It's not clear whether the videotape will be broadcast on Iraqi television.

An Iraqi government official says efforts are under way to carry out the death sentence by the end of this month, indicating that they want to do the execution before the Muslim celebration of Eid, which coincides with the New Year.
Updated: Saddam to die by Sunday.
Saddam will be hanged before the start of the Eid religious holiday, which begins this Sunday.
I wonder if they'll have time to weed through all the applications to be the executioner.

Somali government troops enter Mogadishu

That was quick:

Somali government troops rolled into Mogadishu unopposed Thursday, the prime minister said, hours after an Islamic movement that tried to establish a government based on the Quran abandoned the capital.

The Islamic militia promised a last stand in southern Somalia.

"We are in Mogadishu," Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi said after meeting with local clan leaders to discuss the handover of the city. "We are coordinating our forces to take control of Mogadishu."

Gedi was welcomed to the town of Afgoye on the outskirts of Mogadishu by dozens of traditional leaders from the capital and hundreds of government and Ethiopian troops who have been fighting for more than a week against the Islamic militia. The Islamic fighters had at one point taken over the capital and most of southern Somalia.

The Islamic movement's retreat early Thursday, which its leaders called tactical, was followed by looting by clan militiamen, some of whom had been allied to the Islamists. It was a chilling reminder of the chaos that had once ruled Mogadishu.
I'm not a military strategist but isn't it the object to take land, not to give it up? How is this tactical?

Then there's this:
President Abdullahi Yusuf said Thursday his troops were not a threat to the people of Mogadishu.

"The government is committed to solving every problem that may face Somalia through dialogue and peaceful ways," the statement said.
This attitude may explain this:
Two years ago, the United Nations helped set up the interim government. It had been unable to assert much authority, in part because it has been weakened by clan rivalries.
And there is also this:
Islamic fighters have gone door-to-door in Kismayo, recruiting children as young as 12 to make a last stand on behalf of the Islamic courts, according to a confidential U.N. situation report citing the families of boys taken to the frontline town of Jilib, 65 miles north of Kismayo.

Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon lead to the war in Iraq

According to Cindy Sheehan:

First of all, I would like to extend my condolences to Mr. Ford's family. Even though he was an ex-President, he was also a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He was a human being who had private relationships in a very public life and I am sure his loved ones will miss him deeply.

However, Mr. Ford was 93 years old. He lived a full and long life. He spent a very lengthy retirement from public life: golfing and doing whatever else former presidents do. Usually, burying a 93 year old loved one is sorrowful but, I believe his pardon of Richard Nixon is one of the factors that have led to the untimely deaths of over 3000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the Middle East. Just this month alone, 91 of our young people have met early, avoidable, unnecessary and tragic deaths in Bloody George's horrific war. In a month when most people picked out Christmas trees and had joy-filled celebrations in the season of lights, 91 of our nation's families went shopping for burial plots or urns and their holidays will never be the same again... since Nixon got away with his blatant crimes and every President since Nixon has skated away from office after having committed overt and covert crimes, we have on our hands, here, a situation that I am forced now to call: "Bloody George."

It's amazing how all roads lead to George W. Bush in the minds of some on the left. I'm not sure that when I heard about the death of Ford that my mind would ever have gone where Sheehan's mind took her. This is obsession and as I've said before, I worry about what this woman would do to the President if she ever got close to him. I think she might be able to talk herself into thinking that his murder would be justified (in the same why that anti-abortionists believe that it's OK to kill an abortionist).

John Kerry learns not to dis our troops

If you haven't seen the photo, go check out Kerry's reception by our troops in Iraq.

It says something about the Quran...

When they put you on trial for "vilifying" Muslims for reading from it:

Two Australian pastors who were convicted of "vilifying" Muslims when they quoted from the Quran during a seminar on jihad have had their appeals upheld by the Victorian Supreme Court.
The Australian law was imposed in order to prevent the denigration of people based on their race or religion, and similar laws also have been approved in Canada, where critics of the law say they include sexual orientation and forbid pastors from condemning homosexuality as a sin.
Nalliah and Pastor Daniel Scot were charged following a complaint filed by The Islamic Council of Victoria, and were the first people found guilty of religious vilification under the Victorian Religious and Racial Tolerance Act of 2002. They were accused of vilifying Muslims at a seminar on jihad on March 9, 2002.
In a commentary in the Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt noted the travesty of the case, and that besides the death threats to the pastors and their families, they still must pay an estimated $150,000 for the court proceedings against them.

"Some victory. Some justice. These exhausted pastors have been harassed, threatened, denounced as bigots and flayed in the papers and on the ABC, and are now deep in debt. And why? Because they quoted the Quran to their congregation. Because in that congregation were Muslim activists, sent by a discrimination commissar hired from a Muslim lobby group," Bolt wrote.

He wrote that much of the evidence against the pastors was that they, in fact, quoted the Quran accurately. "Yes, the Quran did tell men they could beat their wives. Yes, it did have verses calling on Muslims to fight infidels until they submitted."

"The pastors were found guilty of vilifying Muslims even though the judge identified only one thing Scot had said that was factually wrong: he'd given the wrong birthrate for Muslims here. And, the judge, added, he'd failed to quote a verse that showed Allah was merciful," Bolt wrote.

Some bloggers are certainly blessed

Man! I wish we were much bigger because I would say all kinds of nice things about Vista for a free laptop:

It seems that Microsoft and AMD have partnered to hand out some nice Christmas presents to select bloggers. Microsoft has reportedly sent out new AMD-equipped Acer laptops in an effort to get prominent bloggers using Microsoft’s new Vista operating system.

The promotional effort comes just before the official release of the new Windows Vista operating system, but Microsoft isn’t a computer manufacturer so why are they giving away laptops?

Typically when a company wants journalists to review their new software on a fast machine they loan it out for review purposes and then the machine gets returned. If Microsoft were to give away copies of Vista that would make sense and probably raise no eyebrows at all, but giving away a whole laptop understandably strikes some as little more than bribery.


But getting paid a few pesos from PayPerPost or to put something on Digg is one thing, getting a $2000+ Acer laptop is a whole other ball of wax. As Warne says, now that the word is out, expect the negative publicity to be every bit as shrill as the positive which means Microsoft’s PR move may well end up backfiring.
I don't look at it as bribery, I look at it as promotion and I think it's smart. If it's a good system, then this is a good way to promote it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


So, I figured out how I can put songs on my palm and I feel really stupid! There are two ways to do it: either quick install or put them on a SD card.

BTW, here is a free Bible program for your palm and here is where you download the ESV and you can download the Greek and the Hebrew Bible here.

Tags: ,


Bush signs law to stop protests at military funerals:

President Bush has signed into a law an amendment to U.S. law protecting military funerals from protests like those staged by a controversial Kansas church that characterizes soldiers' deaths as divine punishment for homosexuality.

The new amendment prohibits protestors from demonstrating within 150 feet of a funeral and within an hour of the memorial service. It provides a year in jail and/or an undetermined fine for violators.

The rule applies to funerals at non-federal cemeteries, joining legislation passed in May 2006 that bans demonstrations at national cemeteries such as Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.

The prohibition will primarily affect the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), a small congregation from Topeka, Kan., that pickets at military funerals because it says homosexuals are taking over the U.S. armed forces and the nation.

The church, led by Rev. Fred Phelps, says it believes God allows soldiers to die as punishment against America for allowing homosexuality to exist. It protests at military funerals across the country with signs featuring slogans like "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

The move to secular humanism may soon be complete....

A faculty panel recommends that Harvard drop their religion requirement and add a requirement on "what it means to be a human being."

"Courses dealing with religion ...can readily be accommodated in other areas," the nine-member panel wrote to members of the faculty of arts and sciences.

To satisfy the newly suggested requirement, students could take courses in such areas as evolutionary biology, cognitive sciences, social sciences, religious thought, art, literature or philosophy.

The Commander in Chief is Bush not Congress

To Biden and the other Democrats who sound like they have just become president. I think that you need to review the Constitution because you seem to think that Congress has control of troop levels and can tell the President, who is the Commander in Chief, what to do in Iraq:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said yesterday that he would oppose any plan by President Bush to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.


"I totally oppose the surging of additional troops into Baghdad, and I think it is contrary to the overwhelming body of informed opinion, both people inside the administration and outside the administration," Biden told reporters yesterday. He said he plans to hold hearings for his panel next month in a bid to influence the president's decision.
You can oppose it all you want to the media and have a hearing where you stack the deck with people who don't know anything about what's going on in Iraq but there isn't too much you can do except defund the troop and I don't think you have the guts to do so.

And to demonstrate your lack of power, how are you going to force Bush to give you an advise and consent role (which appears to be what you really want) when you can't even get information about what he's reading:
Biden said that one problem with the present discussion of a buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq is that no one can specify exactly what the president may be studying. He and others have asked for specifics on the troops' mission, the number involved and how long they would be in Iraq.
I think that this kind of demonstrates your lack of power, doesn't it? And why would Bush tell you people his strategy in Iraq when you would just leak it to the NY Times.

This whole article is just a stupid attempt to influence the public, it's pure Democratic propaganda and that point can be underscored by this:
Biden said that he hopes to generate "some bipartisan consensus in the Senate" but that he does not expect to do more than try to influence Republican senators who could then affect Bush's decisions. He said that, at his last meeting with Bush, after the November elections, he told the president, "all we can do is try to . . . cooperate with you, and when we disagree with you, try to influence your decision by making the case to the public at large that we should change course."
Influence the public? Who would sit through a hearing where you pontificate for hours and occasionally let some general speak. It would be a media event for a couple weeks and then Bush will do just what he wants to do because he has the power and you don't.

President Gerald Ford Dies at 93

It's great that he was able to make it to the longest living president before he died.

It's amazing how many elderly die around this time of year. Every year it seems like there are a number of deaths right around Christmas and just before the New Year. I'm expecting a another by the end of this week.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New Year Resolutions

I blog about my New Year resolutions here.

It's that time of the year again

It's time for the end of the year reviews. Don't worry, I'm not going to attempt to do one. I have trouble remembering what happened last week, let alone what happened in January. But John Hawkins has a list of the top 20 stories of 2006 and Michelle Malkin has a "What happened to..." look at some of the news makers this year (via).

Ehiopia is kicking the stuffing out of Somalia

I think the reports I read this morning underplayed how well Ethiopia is doing:

Somalia’s Islamists are in full retreat after Ethiopian airstrikes and a ground offensive that have killed up to 1,000 of the religious movement’s fighters, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Tuesday.

“A joint Somali government and Ethiopian force has broken the back of the international terrorist forces... These forces are in full retreat,” Meles told reporters in Addis Ababa, adding that up to 1,000 Islamist fighters had been killed.

“A few are Somali but the majority are foreigners,” he said of the dead.


Somalia’s Islamists are in full retreat after Ethiopian airstrikes and a ground offensive that have killed up to 1,000 of the religious movement’s fighters, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Tuesday.

“A joint Somali government and Ethiopian force has broken the back of the international terrorist forces... These forces are in full retreat,” Meles told reporters in Addis Ababa, adding that up to 1,000 Islamist fighters had been killed.

“A few are Somali but the majority are foreigners,” he said of the dead.

This is a Christmas message?

UK Channel 4 seems to think so, you be the judge.


BTW, her view of the holiday is not universally accepted:

Is it religiously acceptable for Muslims to wish their Christian colleagues or acquaintances a Merry Christmas? In Kuwait, it depends on who you ask.

Days before the holiday that is not officially celebrated in this small oil-rich state, fundamentalists like Mohammed al-Kandari began urging fellow Muslims not to extend the greeting to Christians they know.

Al-Kandari, who heads the Society of Sharia, or Islamic law, told Al-Watan daily the celebration contradicted with Islam because Christians believe Jesus was the son of God.

BTW, an interesting side note in the above article:
There are few hundred Kuwaiti Christians among the country's 1 million citizens. However, many of the 2 million foreign workers who live here are Christian
I think it's amazing that their foreign workers out number the citizens. If they got together, they might be able to overthrow the government.

Ethiopia and Somalia at war

While we were celebrating the birth of the Prince of peace, Ethiopia went to war against the Islamic fascists in Somalia in defense of the secular government in Somalia:

Ethiopian warplanes attacked the airport in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on Monday in another major escalation of fighting between the Ethiopian-backed Somali government and the Islamic Courts movement that in recent months has taken over much of the country.

In Mogadishu, businesses shut down and thousands of enraged Somalis loyal to the Islamic movement rallied in the streets, once again proclaiming holy war against Ethiopia, a bitter enemy that is widely perceived to be supported by the U.S. government. Witnesses said young Somali men who have grown up in a country awash with AK-47 assault rifles continued to pour into recruiting centers to sign up to fight.

And 150 miles away on the front lines near Baidoa, seat of the fragile interim government, sources said that fighters from Eritrea and Pakistan, among others, had joined the Islamic movement's battle against Ethiopia in a conflict that analysts fear could engulf the Horn of Africa.


Meanwhile, Ethiopian officials said on state-run television Monday that they would continue the assault against the Islamic movement and vowed to push toward Mogadishu, clearing the Islamic fighters out of every town they control over the next five days. By Monday night, Ethiopian forces, which are vastly superior to the Islamic movement in conventional military terms, had secured the strategically important town of Beledweyne, which is near the Ethiopian border and along a main road to Mogadishu. The Associated Press reported that Ethiopian and government forces had also captured three villages in a push toward Jowhar, about 60 miles north of Mogadishu.
And all those who want to negotiate with the terrorists so that we can surrender in Iraq should take note:
Negotiations between Somalia's weak but internationally recognized interim government and the Islamic movement have fallen apart in recent months as the Islamic group has become stronger and advanced its control. The current conflict began even as the two sides had signed an agreement to de-escalate fighting and resume talks.
They will negotiate as they build up strength and when they are ready, they will attack. Their desire isn't for a peaceful co-existence, it's domination.

Though "analysts" (unnamed and therefore we can't verify their credentials or determine how credible their expertise) believe that this is an attempt to push the Islamic fascists into negotiation but they fear that this tactic won't work:
But some analysts have expressed fear that Ethiopia's military calculation is seriously flawed, and that even if its superior military initially routs the Islamic movement, the ideologically driven militias will become only more motivated to pursue a guerrilla-style war or terrorist attacks across the region
So, let me get this straight, you can't fight the militias because that will anger them and make them even more determined to fight but didn't they initiate this fight in the first place? What was Ethiopia suppose to do, sit on the sidelines while the secular government gets replaced by an Islamic government and then wait as half their own population plots to do the same (even though Ethiopia is considered a Christian nation, half its population is Muslim)? The Prime Minister seems to be thinking something similar:
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has maintained, however, that this is a war of self-defense and that dialogue has only bought the Islamic movement time to expand its control. He has repeatedly accused the Islamic movement of supporting secessionist Somali groups inside Ethiopia, and, along with the United States, has accused the movement of harboring terrorists, an allegation it has denied.
And it appears that there wouldn't have been too much Ethiopia could have done to avoid a guerrilla war since this is what the Islamic fighters were planning:
Islamic fighters were in a tactical retreat Tuesday, a senior Islamic leader said, as government and Ethiopian troops advanced on three fronts in a decisive turn around in the battle for control of Somalia.

Somalia's internationally backed government called on the Council of Islamic Courts to surrender and promised them amnesty if they lay down their weapons and stop opposing the government, spokesman Abdirahman Dinari said from Baidoa, the seat of the government.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, leader of the Council of Islamic Courts' executive body, said the group had asked its troops to withdraw from some areas.

"The war is entering a new phase," he said. "We will fight Ethiopia for a long, long time and we expect the war to go everyplace."

Ahmed declined to explain is comments in greater detail, but some Islamic leaders have threatened a guerrilla war to include suicide bombings in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.
Though the Prime Minster of Ethiopia appears to think that this conflict will drive them to negotiate:
But Meles has said he does not intend to keep his forces in Somalia for long, perhaps only a few weeks. He has told visiting dignitaries in Addis Ababa that his goal is to severely damage the courts' military capabilities, take away their sense of invincibility and allow both sides to return to peace talks on even footing.


The Islamic group, which wants to rule the country by the Quran, has been a source of grave concern by largely Christian Ethiopia. Since June, the group has seized control of the capital and much of southern Somalia.
Too bad that victory never seems to be an option because total victory is the only way conflict will end. Even if they did negotiate, the Islamists would only be waiting for the opportunity to build up strength to fight another day.

And then there's this:
Analysts said the current crisis stems from another failure of U.S. policy in an increasingly vulnerable region. "All this could have been averted," Prendergast said. "If the U.S. joined a serious diplomatic effort aimed at finding a compromise between Ethiopia and the Courts, negotiations could have had a much better chance. Once the serious punching has started, it's going to be increasingly difficult to stop this brawl."
Somehow if we had gotten involved, the militia would decide to accept a secular government and not be ruled by Sharia law. Yeah, that sounds like it would have worked.

What is up with Palm?

I have tried three different programs to get music on my new Palm TX and it doesn't work!! Does anyone know how to get it to work?


Monday, December 25, 2006

Exhausted! Christmas is tiring!

I just put dessert in the oven and everyone is either watching the football game or playing Scrabble, so I thought I would take a moment to blog about the day.

I got up at 6:00 AM and finished my Christmas post. I was up till 2:00 writing it and wrapping presents and it needed a little more work before I published it. After I posted it and wrote something for here, Samantha came into the room ready to open presents. So we got Sarah and Doug up which took a very long time.

I got a Palm (woo hoo!), Samantha got a Nano Ipod, Sarah got a video camera and Doug got a down pillow (it's not as pathetic as it sounds). Samantha loved her Ipod and gave me hugs and kisses throughout the day. My Palm has WIFI so I was able to access the Internet, it was really neat to look at my blog on it. Very cool. My old Palm wasn't able to do that. I can also play videos on it. I love it. My husband is the best!

I made french toast, bacon and eggs for breakfast. It's a tradition. Another tradition is to make cheese fondue, part of the tradition is to call my sister for the recipe because I usually lose it. Last year I had it on my Palm and my laptop, so I didn't have to call her, though I did because it was part of the tradition :-) This year my Palm died and my laptop is in the shop so I did not have access to the recipe so I had Sarah call her for the recipe and discovered I was missing an ingredient. Thank the Lord for convenience stores!!! But it threw off my timing all day. I put the pork on the grill late, forgot about the rice and forgot to make the dessert. All I wanted to do all day was play with my Palm. I think we're having Chinese takeout for Christmas dinner next year. I just asked everyone and they like the idea. Better than dried out pork!

The Twelve Days of Theology

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
It's pretty good, go check it out here. I thought it was perfect with this graphic I found on the Internet. Hey Paul, you can use it if you want :-)

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you are enjoying your Christmas day and that your thoughts are turned outward to family and friends but also upward to the One whose birth we celebrate today:

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
I blog about the Christmas story here.

What Christmas is all about

Linus knows:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Life Under Sharia Law

Is it any wonder that we call them Islamic fascists? This is what life is like living under the eye of the religious police:

Religious police in Indonesia have raided a dozen beauty salons and arrested 13 beauticians for failing to wear Islamic attire and two male customers for having their hair cut by women.


Religious police in Indonesia have raided a dozen beauty salons and arrested 13 beauticians for failing to wear Islamic attire and two male customers for having their hair cut by women.

Bahagia Hadi, the chief of the Sharia - Islamic law - police force, said that raids on beauty salons would be intensified in the Indonesian province of Aceh as they were often found to be used for prostitution.

However, Aceh implemented a version of Sharia law in 2001 under a special autonomy package offered by the government to defuse years of sectarian conflict in Indonesia’s most northwesterly province.
When the government tries to appease these fascists the people suffer.

A Santa Story and other interesting stuff out there

Go check out the cute Santa story at annavenger. A child learns that Santa exists (no, really, go check it out).

Trump sues because he believes that his flag should match his patriotism (good for you, Trump)

Hmmm, eternal punishment so that I can get a free DVD? Decisions, decisions. (And they say Christians are irrational.) Here's a counter offer.

The Iraq Study Group ripple effect in Iraq (via). Our words have consequences.

Reformed Christmas Controversy

We've been getting hits from googlers who are looking for "reformed Christmas controversy," so I thought I would take the issue on and be of some help.

In some Reformed circles Christmas is not celebrated because God never commanded the church to celebrate the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ and nowhere in Scriptures is Jesus' birth celebrate. The Puritans didn't celebrate it for this reason and would fine people for doing so. Others object to the fact that it started out as a Roman Catholic mass and they also object to the fact that the date was selected to Christianize a pagan holiday.

Yeah, they may have a point but I don't really think it matters. Even though God didn't institute a special holy day to celebrate the birth of His Son, that doesn't mean we can't celebrate His birth on a particular day.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic The Bible doesn't prohibit us from doing so, it is adiaphora (things indifferent -- you can do them or not, it doesn't matter). So it really doesn't matter if we celebrate Jesus' birth today, tomorrow, next week or in April or September (either month is thought to be a possibility for the actual birth) because we really don't know when he was born. So, since we don't know and we can celebrate it on any day we want, why not celebrate it on the day that everyone else is celebrating? The day that is federally mandated as the day we celebrate Jesus' birth. Why not invite our family and friends over for a shared meal and a present so that we can share the love of our Savior with them, whether they are a Christian or not. Why not give our kids a little something to show our love and appreciation for them? Why not allow our kids the pleasure of sneaking into the living room Christmas morning and shaking all their presents before their parents wake up?

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThis time of year people's thoughts turn to God and the gift of His Son to the world and I can't help but think that's a good thing. I'm happy that I go to a Presbyterian church where we celebrate the birth of Jesus with a Christmas Eve service so that we can be there for those whose thoughts do turn toward God this Christmas season, as they attend church with their family or friends or remember how comforting the Christmas service was when they were growing up and decide to attend a local church. I'm glad that we'll be ready for them with carols, Bible readings and the gospel.

I love Christmas and wouldn't give it up. Yeah, I think about Jesus everyday and don't necessarily need a special day to do so but I love the fact that we do have a special day in which people from around the world turn their thoughts from themselves to others and celebrate the birth of my Savior whether knowingly or in ignorance. I really can't see anything wrong with that.

Now, if you can and you want to try to convert me, don't bother. I've read the arguments and they aren't convincing. Adiaphora, baby, adiaphora.

Man Sets Himself on Fire to Protest School Board Action

The Kern High School Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the winter and spring break back to Christmas and Easter break and a man set himself on fire in protest:

The immolation attempt came one day after the Kern High School Board of Trustees voted to return to the use of Christmas and Easter break, instead of winter and spring break, for the holiday vacations.

"We're just trying to uphold American cultural and religious history," Chad Vegas, a minister and member of the board of trustees who proposed the name changes Dec. 6., told Associated Press earlier this week.

"It's not even the biggest item on the agenda, but the liberals are obsessing about it," he said before the 5-1 vote to revert the names to their pre-1980s titles.


The injured man suffered first-degree burns to his shoulders and arms, said Bakersfield fire Capt. Garth Milam. He also had third degree burns to his face.


According to Bakersfield's KGET-TV news, the man carried a sign that read, "(Expletive) religious freedom and the silent KHSD."

He also made a statement while in the ambulance about the destructive effects of religion, said Milam.
Click here to see a picture and read the rest of the story. Also, there's a link to a video of the action.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wow! The Left Behind game is worse than I thought

Here is a report from someone who actually played the game, so this cannot be considered rumormongering:

How can you tell who the bad guys are?

They cuss.

No, seriously.

No, seriously.

What do you mean?

Each character has special traits and abilities. The Christians all have "Pray" under their special ability section. Like, there's a woman who's the Worship Leader, and her special abilities are "Pray, Crowd Worship" When you equip her with "music" and "public speaking" training, she gets the ability to "positively rivet the audience nearby."

Awesome. But she doesn't cuss.

No. Bad guys have "Swearing" as their special abilities. All of them. For example, non-Christian musicians get special abilties "Swear, Sing" or "Swear, Play", or -- for the Level 3 Rock Star -- "Swear, Perform Concert" And she wears a scanty blouse-thing, which should tip you off that she's fixin' to swear.

ALL the bad guys have "swear" as their special ability?

Yes. It's pretty realistic of the end-times, when cussing will increase ten-fold. The Gangster bad guy has "Swear, Rumble", the soldier has "Swear, Explosive Bullets" and thief, curiously, has "Swear, Pickpocket, Poison", which is an awesome name for the next Shaun Groves CD, in my opinion.

Swear, Pickpocket, Poison?

Swear, Pickpocket, Poison.
Sometimes it's really embarrassing being a Christian.

BTW, go read this post written by the same blogger, he is really funny and this story made me laugh so hard I cried.

Christmas Shopping in NJ

I talk about my recent shopping experience here.

What Would Not Be If Jesus Had Not Been

Just read this over at Justin Taylor's Blog Between Two Worlds; it's too good not to pass along..

The letter is introduced by John Piper; listen to what he says:

"I read this letter from Pastor Sam Crabtree to our congregation on the evening of December 23, 2006. I tried to read it to my wife and was not able to finish it for tears. I called Sam and said, “Sam, this is a very powerful piece. I could not finish reading it without tears. May I share it with the folks who come to Desiring God?” He agreed.

Why was I so moved? I am not entirely sure. I think it was a mingled effect of four things: 1) the length of the list, 2) the surprise elements in it, 3) the combination of global and intimate, 4) and reference to the Mayans no longer sacrificing their children.

I believe you will want to read this list to your families on Christmas day and perhaps to your churches, with some tweaks to make it personal to your situation (for example, in my case, I am sure I would not exist if Jesus had not been born because he was at the center of my parents’ love affair.)

O that the world would awaken to the greatness of Jesus Christ! May God grant us the passion and the ability to make him look like what he really is, till he comes or until he calls.

Glory to God in the highest through Jesus Christ!

Pastor John

Here is Sam’s letter:

Dear Bethlehem Family,

I believe I speak for all the staff and elders when I pray that during this Christmas season and at all times God would enable you to treasure his incarnate and risen son above all else.

Have you ever asked yourself what would be different if Jesus had never been born? If Jesus had not come in the fullness of time and been born of a woman and fulfilled the law..."

Here's where the rest of the letter is.

It made me think. What would my list look like? How about you...?
This would be a good dinner conversation to have with our families over Christmas.

What? A Plaque Over a Cross?

You've really got to love these college presidents who think that compromise actually works but don't have a clue about the people they are dealing with:

In a move aimed to appease Christians who were offended by the removal of a cross from the campus chapel, College of William and Mary President Gene Nichol on Wednesday announced a "compromise" that acknowledges the chapel's Christian roots - but keeps the cross stored most times.

The move seems to have backfired, as a group of Christians who want the cross returned called Nichol's decision "insufficient."

In October, the college president announced the cross would be removed from its permanent position in the Wren Chapel in order to make the building more inclusive of other religions that use the building for services and events.


In a statement Wednesday, Nichol announced what he called a "compromise." Under the new policy, the school would commission a plaque to be hung in the chapel commemorating its Anglican roots, he said. The cross would also be displayed all day on Sundays.

But it will remain in storage at other times during the week unless the group using the building asks for it to be displayed.

Mathew D. Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, praised the move in a press release, calling it "a step in the right direction. The plaque commemorating the religious heritage of the school is a welcome addition to serve as a memorial to the religious history of the College of William and Mary."

But other Christians, including some William and Mary alumni, criticized the decision.


In a statement released by a group calling itself Save the Wren Cross, Klugewicz said the plaque "merely implies that the chapel's Christian identity is part of its past, not its present.
A plaque over a cross? What kind of Christian would take that deal? I think Klugewicz is right, it's evident that Christianity is in the past at William and Mary College. This is to be expected in a post-Christian society. The symbol of our religion is regulated to storage because it carries no weight in society, it's just one of many religious symbols. It has lost it's power as far as society is concerned because Christianity is no longer central to our nation. We are no longer a Christian nation as we were when William and Mary was founded. So, a plaque or a cross, what does it matter? They are just symbols of the past and share the same meaning. This is the culture that we live in today.

But the good news for Christians is that even though they may regulate the symbol of Christianity to storage, they can't contain the power that it represents because it's the power of God and He can't be held in storage. Maybe those who are trying to put the cross back in the chapel should be working to bring Christ back to that campus as well.

BTW, I know that some will think it strange that I would say that we live in a post-Christian society when we have the day off on Monday to celebrate the birth of Jesus but I think this is just a remnant of our history. It's a Federal holiday, do you think anyone wants to give that up? And as a society Christmas has become a time of celebrating family and friends, not the birth of a Savior. The meaning of Christmas isn't Christ but peace on earth and good will toward men. That phrase means one thing to Christians and another to the rest of the world.

Don't you know that Santa is the reason for the season? Sad but true.

Related post:

Cross Removed from Chapel at William and Mary College

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hey Democrats, you proud of your victory now?

The reason they won was by the blood of the victims of al Qaeda:

Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists.

In a portion of the tape from al Qaeda No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, made available only today, Zawahri says he has two messages for American Democrats.

“The first is that you aren’t the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen — the Muslim Ummah’s vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq — are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost,” Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.

Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help.

“And if you don’t refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate,” he said.

What I find interesting about this is that it's the second time they've mentioned not negotiating with anyone but them. Do they really think we're stupid enough to negotiate with them? What is probably happening here is that they know our MSM is stupid enough to think it's a good thing to negotiate with them and they are giving them the talking points to start pushing for it (the same way the Democrats give them the talking points). "Hey, they're softening up because they know they are winning. They are ready to negotiate."

Sounds like one of Clinton's trial balloons.

So, I guess everyone is out shopping or traveling to relatives

You certainly aren't reading my blog! It was dead today. Well, I'll be blogging about my shopping experience later tonight, it was quite an adventure.

A Christmasy Focus

I thought I would start posting some Christmas related stuff to get us in a Christmasy kind of mood. Here is a cute Madagaskar video:

And here is a link to a funny video of Santa being coached by a director.

Here is a guide to making your own Christmas TV-movie (via).

And the culture wars have hit Britain:

But now, like an unwelcome guest arriving at midnight on Christmas Eve, Britain has imported America's "culture wars," in which Christmas becomes a pitched battle between Christians, secularists and minority faiths.

The Christmas cards of Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his heir-apparent, Gordon Brown, have been scrutinized to see whether they offer anemic "Seasons Greetings" rather than a stout "Merry Christmas." Journalists have been dispatched to find school canteens that have replaced the traditional fattened goose with halal chicken. The tabloids are full of trendy teachers that have banished the nativity play in favor of a multifaith "festival of light."


Nevertheless, Britain remains officially a Christian country. The British monarch has the constitutional title of "Supreme Governor of the Church of England" and "Defender of the Faith." The 24 most senior bishops in the Church of England, known as the "Lords spiritual," still wield political power through their right to sit in the House of Lords. And this isn't just a fusty constitutional nicety. The bishops were instrumental this year in blocking laws that would legalize euthanasia.

The passions spilled over the last few weeks suggest that this is no silly- season frippery. Christmas has become the latest battleground in a series of skirmishes over whether Britain will remain a Christian society.

However personally pious, everyone born into Britain 50 years ago shared a Christian heritage — at the least, a vague sense of sin, a working knowledge of the Bible and a sense of the year segmented by religious festivals. But this familiarity with religion as the bedrock of national life has eroded within two generations.

Go read the rest here.

Not good news for Eragon fans

I was thinking about taking Sarah and Samantha to see Eragon over the Christmas break but it looks like it's getting panned by the critics. I have a feeling that my daughters aren't going to care and they're going to make me take them anyway and I'm going to have to watch a really bad movie. I can't even hope that it's better than what the critics say (as was the case with The Nativity Story) because I was bored watching the trailer.

Islam on the march in Africa

Islamic forces are attempting to takeover the area held by the secular government and are attempting to bring Ethiopia into the fight:

Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991. The country's secular interim government, set up in 2004 and backed by the U.N., has rejected religious rule. Muslim leaders have insisted on an Islamic government.

Somalia's internationally recognized central government holds only a small area around the central town of Baidoa, about 140 miles northwest of the capital of Mogadishu. The Islamic militiamen, meanwhile, control Mogadishu along with most of southern Somalia.

Fighting along two separate front lines continued for a fourth day on Friday, with both sides claiming victory. Around 500 Ethiopian troops with eight tanks and 30 pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns were headed for Bandiradley, an Islamic group stronghold in central Somalia, said witnesses and Islamic officials.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It will be a miracle if London isn't attacked

So says British intelligence:

British intelligence and law enforcement officials have passed on a grim assessment to their U.S. counterparts, "It will be a miracle if there isn't a terror attack over the holidays in London," a senior American law enforcement official tells

British police have been quietly carrying out a series of key arrests as they continue to track at least six active "plots" tied to what they call "al Qaeda of England."

Officials said they could not cite any specific date or target but said al Qaeda had planned previous operations during the Christmas holidays that had been disrupted.

"It is not a matter of if there will be an attack, but how bad the attack will be," an intelligence official told

Authorities say they are seeking at least 18 suspected suicide bombers.

Bill Roggio on Hugh Hewitt

If you didn't hear Bill Roggio on Hugh Hewitt, go listen. You are not getting the full story of what's going on in Iraq from the MSM so it's great that there are embedded bloggers willing to do the job that the MSM refuses to do. Bring us the truth about what's really going on over there.

How bad is it that I haven't even taken our Christmas card picture yet?

I'm starting to panic!

As Promised....

I took a lot of hits over my condemnation of the Left Behind video game. People accused me of rumormongering because I passed along what a newspaper had reported on their website. I understand their skepticism because we have learned that we cannot trust what the MSM reports. When it comes to Christianity, they are usually either ignorant or biased and sometimes both.

I had promised that I would look into the story and would refute what I wrote if it turns out that the game was being misrepresented. I went to the website and found this response to the published reports:

Recently, much controversy has ensued due to published articles in the media which discuss the violence in our upcoming game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces. However, references to “praise the lord and pass the ammunition” or “kill in the name of God” or others were made by journalists spreading misinformation, which is absolutely not true. And for this reason, I have published this statement.

There is no blood or gore in Left Behind: Eternal Forces. The game is designed to be a classic battle between good and evil, but it does not gratuitously depict violence or death.

Others are concerned about the pre-trib religious doctrine believed by the Left Behind authors. Left Behind is not the Bible, it is a fictional story and accordingly, situations resulting from the stories' post-apocalyptic time-frame are used to encourage gamers to think about matters of eternal significance, a topic largely ignored by modern games.

Because our game is a ‘strategy' game, never does a player click a key or press a button to actuate a first-person violent act. Instead, control is managed by the player in much the same way as an animated chess game would be when pieces fight for position, except that in ‘real-time' strategy games, many pieces fight for position at the same time.

In Left Behind: Eternal Forces, the players' objective is to find ‘tribulation clues', which include Bible mysteries, codes and fascinating and eternally relevant information. In the initial missions, there is little emphasis on physical warfare and gamers are introduced to powers of influence which result in a battle for the hearts and minds of people. As missions progress, there are no ‘objectives' to cause war physically. However, physical warfare results when the player is required to defend against the physical forces of evil; led by the Global Community Peacekeepers.

Several months ago, there was a news story with erroneous information about the game. Unfortunately, some readers accepted the misinformation as being factual, and then the rumor mill and the blogs were off and running.

If you hear someone making negative statements about this game, we encourage you to ask if they have personally reviewed the game. If they are merely passing on hearsay, it is false and misleading information.
OK. So I can't report what is published in the news until I've purchased and played the game? Yes, that makes sense. I will run out and use our hard earned money (my husband would really love that) to buy a video game and spend weeks playing it so that I can report to you whether this game actually advocates shooting those who refuse to convert to Christianity.

I think it's the responsibility of the makers of the game to clearly state what happens in the game because here is another report and the CEO of the company talks about killing but not killing:
"The reality is that our game perpetuates prayer and worship and that there is no killing in the name of God.

"There is killing of course, it is a video game. But the basis of the game is spiritual welfare," said Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games Inc.

"The antichrist is the main bad guy and so you are dealing with his henchmen. Both sides are trying to win the hearts and the minds of people who are not on either side," Lyndon, who describes himself as a "follower of Christ," told Reuters.
I think the question remains, at anytime in the game do people shoot those that they tried to convert? If someone associated with the game answers that question, I will post it here and will certainly apologize if I misrepresented the game by believing the published reports about it.

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Rebel Monks?

OK, this doesn't sound like the behavior of someone who is following Christ:

Rival groups of monks wielding crowbars and sledgehammers clashed Wednesday over control of a 1,000-year-old monastery in a community regarded as the cradle of Orthodox Christianity, police said.

Seven monks were injured and transported by boat to receive treatment. They were released after several hours, police said. No one was arrested but three monks were banned from re-entering the Orthodox sanctuary of Mount Athos, located on a self-governing peninsula in northern Greece.

Esphigmenou monastery is the scene of a long-running dispute between Orthodox Church authorities and rebel monks who occupy the facility. Both Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, leader of the Orthodox Christian church, and Greece's highest administrative court have ordered their eviction, but the monks have refused to budge.

The rebel monks vehemently oppose efforts to improve relations between the Orthodox Church and the Vatican.
What happened to turn the other cheek?