Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Jesus painting in the courthouse lobby

When I first heard that the ACLU wanted to take down a picture of Jesus from a courthouse lobby in Louisiana, this Jesus picture flashed in mind and I thought, "Maybe it's a good thing if it's removed." But then I saw this story with a shot of the Jesus painting and I realized that it was an icon of Christ. It does have religious significance for some but for others it's actually art from the Middle Ages and so has both historic and artistic significance.

Can't we have art on the walls of our courts? Why must we remove all vestiges of our Western heritage from our shared public space? Are those who are offended by art the ones who rule what we do in our society? How we decorate our government buildings? The word "Philistine" comes to mind.

I thought that the quote from the mayor about the ACLU was pretty insightful:

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Judge Jim Lamz of Slidell, La., earlier this month for refusing to take down a portrait of Jesus Christ above the words "To know peace, obey these laws" displayed in a courthouse lobby. The judge says he believes the picture is legal, and the mayor of the city — the mayor and the town are also named in the lawsuit — called the ACLU "America's Taliban."
And it looks like they might be using an art defense:
"The clear secular purpose for this thing was to decorate the walls," Johnson said. "This is not some sort of ulterior motive to advance Christianity."
BTW, if you think that I'm posting this because I support paintings/icons of Jesus on courthouse walls, you couldn't be further from the truth and demonstrate that you don't get the "Reformed" part of the title of our blog (for help understanding, go here).

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Here's something weird

Recently I had to purchase a new power supply for my laptop because the one I had somehow was fried (I don't know when or how it happened). With the power supply was this note:

WARNING: Handling this cord on this product will expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or reproductive harm. Wash hands after handing.
I've never seen a warning like this before. Is this something new in California? Some new law that requires warning labels for cords?

BTW, I had no idea that there was lead on my power supply cord, I think it might be a good idea that they have a warning label in case I had a sandwich after plugging in my laptop (well, if I was pregnant, which I'm not).

Update: It was to meet state requirements (thanks, Anonymous for the link).

If you're interested in what I've been reading lately....

Go check out my review of the book I just finished today.

BBQ & Baptism

OK, I didn't heed the warning and I watched in stunned disbelieve that this is how the Baptists treat the sacrament of baptism? Wow! Isn't this a tad too casual for something so sacred?

Call me old-fashioned but I like baptisms in the church with a little sprinkling and much more reverence and a sense of the shared responsibility of the congregation as we welcome the new covenant child into the community. And yes, we do baptize adults and those baptisms can be quite moving as well.

BTW, shouldn't the pastor have turned the other check when he got cannonballed? :-)

Thompson's Burn Rate

Evidently it's low, below 20% which is much lower than the other candidates. All of those who are predicting the end of his candidacy might want to keep that in mind.

BTW, those of you who are also saying that McCain is finished (wishful thinking I know -- I share it :-), might want to take a look at where he stands in the polls on specific issues. What I find fascinating about this poll is how uninformed the public is on the economy. The economy usually takes a hit when taxes are raised. Wouldn't be smart to put the Democrats in charge of our economy if you actually care about it.

Annual Christian Music Festival on Yebotv

I was asked to pass on this information to let you know about Annual Christian Music Festival:

Yebotv to stream “The Fest” Annual Christian Music Festival with Grammy award winning headliner Michael W Smith on August 5th

27,000+ fans expected to attend – stream can be viewed globally @ www.Yebotv.com

New York, NY – July 30, 2007 – Yebotv announced today that they will stream the 8th annual Christian music festival “The Fest, an all-day event happening on August 5th beginning @ 3:00pm.

This annual event brings thousands of Christian music fans together for an entire day of music, inspiration, family fun, games, and activities for people of all ages – culminating with a dynamic and inspiring Catholic Mass with a 500 voice choir. Last year’s event brought 23,000 fans with this year’s numbers expected to surpass 27,000. “Yebotv.com was inspired by Father Bob Stec’s passion for delivering his message through technology and music. It was obvious to us that our method of communicating is similar and that we had the ability to deliver his message not only to his large following, but to the world.”

"I am excited to forge a new path for Christianity utilizing the Internet. Our partnership with Yebotv will enable us to reach millions of people all over the world. It is a great way for us all to reach out and spread a message of good news and hope globally.” Father Bob

Michael W. Smith, frequently referred to as the father of Contemporary Christian Music, is one of the founders of the industry. He has released 18 albums and ten books—the winner of both the Dove Awards and Grammy Awards. He is the most renowned performer the FEST main stage has ever seen. His fame, his fans and his faith will inevitably make the FEST a day of unforgettable excitement. Also on the bill are: -Divine Soldiers, Leeland and Superchick, and local winner of Real Music, Silent Exchange.

Yebotv will also be launching a Christian music channel in partnership with Father Bob’s mission, taking their past local competitions to a global level with Real Music.

Real Music is Music with Meaning. “Over the past four years we have searched our region for the best upcoming Christian musicians.” Real Music has all styles of music, but brings a different message – a much needed message – a message of hope and peace, a message of faith and prayer, a message that we are one.”

We have partnered with Yebotv.com to give all Christian musicians, across the world, an opportunity to share their music and their message. We look forward to working with Yebotv.com to search out the best of the best across the world and bring those groups/artists to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the finals. “It is an opportunity to create a venue or portal for upcoming artists to share their God given gifts and talents of music and song to bring a different message, a hopeful message to our world.” Father Bob

This year’s theme for The FEST is ONE—celebrating the cultural diversity within the region showcasing the many different ethnic groups being represented at the event. All of these nationalities remind us that we are called to be ONE. The day is FREE and all are welcome. More information can be found at: www.theFEST.us.
When they say "Catholic Mass" do you think that means they will actually be distributing the host and wine? Maybe I'm showing my ignorance of the terminology, could a Catholic correct me if I am. I did ask the person who emailed me and if they respond, I'll update this post.

Update: Turns out it is a full Mass.

A Little Morning Humor

This made me laugh.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A tale of two assessments of Thompson's campaign part 2

On his fund raising: it's piddling or it's better than what Giuliani and McCain raised in their first month.

Taliban claimed to have killed another male hostage

But it hasn't been confirmed:

A purported Taliban spokesman claimed the hardline militia killed a second South Korean hostage Monday because the Afghan government failed to release imprisoned insurgents. Afghan officials said they hadn't recovered a body and couldn't confirm the claim.

The Al-Jazeera television network, meanwhile, showed footage that it said was seven female hostages in Afghanistan.

Militant spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said senior Taliban leaders decided to kill the male captive because the government had not met Taliban demands to trade prisoners for the Christian volunteers.

"The Kabul and Korean governments are lying and cheating. They did not meet their promise of releasing Taliban prisoners," Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, said by phone from an undisclosed location. "The Taliban warns the government if the Afghan government won't release Taliban prisoners then at any time the Taliban could kill another Korean hostage."

Ghazni Gov. Marajudin Pathan said officials were aware of the Taliban's claim but hadn't recovered a body. He said police were looking but he couldn't say when they might find anything.

Sex offenders found registered on Facebook

This isn't surprising but ewwww:

Connecticut investigators are looking into "three or more" cases of convicted sex offenders who had registered on Facebook, a fast-growing social networking Web site, the New York Times reported on Monday.

State investigators had "also found inappropriate images and content" on the service, the Times reported, citing Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The inquiry continues and officials have asked Facebook to remove the profiles, the paper reported.

I guess I better be careful who I make my friend.

Critics of the Iraq war say the surge is working

If you haven't read the opinion piece in today's NY Times, you should go read it. Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack of the Brookings Institution report that the surge is working. They are certainly not neo-cons and they themselves admit that they have been critics of the war but they have been to Iraq and have seen with their own eyes that the surge is having an effect:

VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.

Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.

In Ramadi, for example, we talked with an outstanding Marine captain whose company was living in harmony in a complex with a (largely Sunni) Iraqi police company and a (largely Shiite) Iraqi Army unit. He and his men had built an Arab-style living room, where he met with the local Sunni sheiks — all formerly allies of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups — who were now competing to secure his friendship.


We traveled to the northern cities of Tal Afar and Mosul. This is an ethnically rich area, with large numbers of Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. American troop levels in both cities now number only in the hundreds because the Iraqis have stepped up to the plate. Reliable police officers man the checkpoints in the cities, while Iraqi Army troops cover the countryside. A local mayor told us his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq. All across the country, the dependability of Iraqi security forces over the long term remains a major question mark.

Two huge successes to note in the article:

1. The increased presence of Iraq troops that are being trained to take the lead.
2. Political involvement of Iraqis at the local level.

Then there's this:
In war, sometimes it’s important to pick the right adversary, and in Iraq we seem to have done so. A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help.
Notice that they didn't say "Al-Qaeda in Iraq!" Remember that they aren't Bush apologists, these guys are from the Brookings Institute!

Canada's Version of the Fairness Doctrine

Christian radio stations have to turn over an hour of programming time to non-Christian issues sometimes up to an hour a day depending on their broadcast format. Music requires only a half hour a week of counter broadcasting but a talk format would require over an hour a day:

When is a Christian radio station not a Christian radio station? For the hour or so a day that it must air the views of other faiths to satisfy the CRTC's "balance" policy.

"It's ridiculous," says Bob Du Broy, vice-president of Ottawa's CHRI Christian music station. "It's like asking a rock station to play an hour of classical music." CHRI's announcers also find themselves in the bizarre situation of working for a Christian station without being able to talk much about Christianity for fear of triggering the "balance" issue.

Because CHRI 99.1 FM plays mostly music, its requirements for offsetting Christian proselytizing have been minimal at just over 30 minutes a week.


Religious music needn't be offset with other faiths, but the broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, does require that spoken-word programming offer differing views. However, it is up to the applicant to propose just how this would be done.

Denis Carmel, the CRTC's director of public relations, said "It's unlikely that a single-faith station could be balanced (without some programming on other faiths)." Is it possible to get a licence without outside faith programming? "I'm not going to respond to that." Mr. Du Broy figures the CRTC will want at least one hour and 11 minutes a day devoted to other faiths. To get that figure, he multiplied 67 per cent (the amount of talking on air) by 7.35 per cent (number of non-Christians in the Ottawa area) to come up with 4.9 per cent of the 24-hour broadcast day, or 71 minutes.
This is why we fear the fairness doctrine. Why should Christians broadcast about other religions? Our job isn't to promote false religions, it's to promote Christianity. I wouldn't mind learning about Buddhism or Islam but why does the Christian station have to promote those religions and hire someone to do it? It's not their job.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A tale of two assessments of Thompson's campaign

The campain is sunk or the tippy boat will eventually settle.

Here's the view from the DNC:


Those guys at the DNC! What a prank! Sending Thompson a life preserver because his campaign is taking on water. Ha ha ha!

Don't these guys have anything better to do? How about actually promoting your guys instead of sending some yutz to annoy Thompson's campaign staff?


For those of you who like O'Reilly

You might want to contact his advertisers because the left plan on contacting them to complain about his show.

This made me laugh:

First and foremost we ask that you prove O'Reilly wrong, that we are not hate-filled nor barbarians. A quick note observing that Bill O'Reilly fosters divisiveness and demonizes people with whom he disagrees ideologically, most recently equating millions of liberal DailyKOS readers to Nazis and KKK members, should do it.
Pot meet kettle. What the heck do they think the left has done to Fox for years. Give me a bleeping break!

The Taliban set a new deadline for the hostages' lives

And Karzai tried to shame them into releasing the women hostages:

Afghanistan's top political and religious leaders invoked Afghan and Islamic traditions of chivalry and hospitality Sunday in attempts to shame the Taliban into releasing 18 female South Korean captives.

A purported Taliban spokesman shrugged off the demands and instead set a new deadline for the hostages' lives, saying the hardline militants could kill one or all of the 22 captives if the government didn't release 23 militant prisoners by 3:30 a.m. EDT Monday. Several other deadlines have passed without killings.

Afghan officials, meanwhile, reported no progress in talks with tribal elders to secure hostages' freedom.

In his first comments since 23 Koreans were abducted on July 19, Karzai criticized the Taliban's kidnapping of "foreign guests," especially women, as contrary to the tenets of Islam and national traditions.

"The perpetration of this heinous act on our soil is in total contempt of our Islamic and Afghan values," Karzai told a South Korean envoy during a meeting at the presidential palace, according to a statement from his office.

Echoing Karzai's words, Afghanistan's national council of clerics said the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, taught that no one has the right to kill women.

"Even in the history of Afghanistan, in all its combat and fighting, Afghans respected women, children and elders," the council said. "The killing of women is against Islam, against the Afghan culture, and they shouldn't do it."

And a former Taliban commander and current lawmaker who has joined the negotiations, Abdul Salaam Rocketi, said the government policy was that the "women should be released first."

But the Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, instead invoked the religious tenet of "an eye for an eye," alleging that Western militaries are holding Afghan females at bases in Bagram and Kandahar, and saying that the Taliban can do the same. He said the Taliban could detain and kill "women, men or children."
I just pray that the military is able to get them out of there before any of them are killed.


Should business and jounalism majors pay more for a degree?

I think it's about time that universities started charging more for their more popular degrees. If people want the degree, they'll pay for it.

Should an undergraduate studying business pay more than one studying psychology? Should a journalism degree cost more than one in literature? More and more public universities, confronting rising costs and lagging state support, have decided that the answers may be yes and yes.

Starting this fall, juniors and seniors pursuing an undergraduate major in the business school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will pay $500 more each semester than classmates. The University of Nebraska last year began charging engineering students a $40 premium for each hour of class credit.

And Arizona State University this fall will phase in for upperclassmen in the journalism school a $250 per semester charge above the basic $2,411 tuition for in-state students.

Such moves are being driven by the high salaries commanded by professors in certain fields, the expense of specialized equipment and the difficulties of getting state legislatures to approve general tuition increases, university officials say.
Though, of course, the academics don't get that:
Even as they embrace such pricing, many officials acknowledge they are queasy about a practice that appears to value one discipline over another or that could result in lower-income students clustering in less expensive fields.
Well, the problem is that society and the students themselves place a value on one discipline over another. Education has become a means to an end and not a goal in itself. What are you going to be able to do with a degree in literature once you graduate? That's the question we ask today. When you spend thousands of dollars on education, you expect a return on your investment and that does not include a more well-rounded adult.

But at least the students get it:

Officials at universities that have recently implemented higher tuition for specific majors say students have supported the move.

Students in the business school at the University of Wisconsin, for example, got behind the program because they believed that it would support things like a top-notch faculty. “It’s very important to all the students in the business school to sustain our reputation,” said Jesse C. Siegelman, 21, who expects to graduate in December 2008.

Mr. Siegelman said representatives of 26 of 28 student groups that belong to the school’s Undergraduate Student Leadership Council, of which he was president last year, voted to support the tuition proposal.

In engineering programs, the additional money often goes toward costly laboratory equipment, because students and the companies that will employ them expect graduates to be able to go to work immediately using state of the art tools, said Mr. Lariviere of the University of Kansas.

“In many instances,” he said, “industry itself is demanding this.”

The students will pay more for a better product. Give them good teachers, the latest technology and a good reputation in the business community and they will be happy to pay for it. A business college that understands market forces would be one I would want to send my children to if they decided they wanted a business degree.

Hey I dig the glasses!



The Iraqi Christians are under intense persecution

There is widespread persecution of Christians going on in Iraq, not only from the Islamists but ordinary Muslims who are trying to gain from the persecution of Christians. The persecution is so widespread that there are few areas of refuge for the Christians. They have been forced to remove the crosses from their churches, conceal their Christian names, and women now wear the hijab.

Before being executed, they were informed that they would be spared on the condition that they converted to Islam. All refused. Ganni was one of many Iraqis killed since 2003 for no reason other than their Christian identity. Additionally, thousands of Christians have been expelled from their homes, extorted, harassed, beaten, raped and ordered to covert to Islam, spawning a frantic and ongoing exodus. As a result, Iraq's Christian community stands on the verge of extinction.


The violent and anarchic period following the invasion has proven disastrous; some estimates indicate that in the past four years, the Christian population of Iraq has halved. Although bombings of churches receive media attention, assassinations and kidnappings go largely unnoticed. Recently, however, expulsions and large-scale harassment of Christians, such as those under way in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Daura, have been reported. "The Islamic State of Iraq," a Sunni terrorist umbrella group which includes Al-Qaeda, ordered Christian residents of Al-Daura to pay a jizya, the Islamic poll tax historically imposed upon non-Muslims. The money would go to financing the very activities that threaten the future of Christians in Iraq. Seventy percent of the neighborhood's Christians subsequently fled.

It is crucial to understand that Christians in Iraq are not simply suffering from the general violence and anarchy plaguing the country, but are being targeted as Christians by Islamists as well as criminal gangs. While Islamist terrorists openly aim to rid Iraq of all "infidels," criminals seek to exploit the perceived wealth of Christians. Thus, many Christians who were middle-class are now destitute, having paid exorbitant ransoms for kidnapped loved ones - some of whom were killed nonetheless.


Christians are targeted by both Sunni and Shiite violence. Though some have sought sanctuary among coreligionists in the Kurdish-controlled north, for many there is no option but to leave Iraq altogether. Women are especially vulnerable. Theological justifications for the rape of non-Muslim women and their forcible betrothal to Muslims are widespread - Mandaean women have been specifically targeted - as are rulings permitting the summary murder of all non-Muslims who violate Islamic law. Violations can be selling liquor, dressing "immodestly," refusing to pay a jizya, expressing a political opinion, or even just professing one's faith openly. In the worst circumstances, the very act of being non-Muslim is perceived as an offense; many Islamist militias simply present non-Muslims with the choice of converting to Islam or being killed.


Eventually, the violence in Iraq will subside and a modicum of security will return. Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will arrive at a modus vivendi, however imperfect. In attempting to forge some semblance of unity, a nationalist historiography will likely blame the occupation forces for Iraq's post-Saddam violence. And this will be the second crime perpetrated against Iraqi victims of Islamist terror. After all, there can be no greater insult to the murdered than to exonerate their murderers. For the Christians of Iraq, indeed, for all Iraqis who have been killed or otherwise persecuted for their religious affiliation, this would mean exonerating the Islamist purveyors of holy war, Sunni or Shiite, who incite against one another and against non-Muslims. It would mean "moving forward" without ever confronting the Islamist theologies of murder, rape and genocide, whose adherents have forever disfigured Iraq.
Go read the rest to get the full picture of the plight of the Iraqi Christians.

Please join me in praying that the Iraqis will be able to bring order to their country and that they can deal with these issues once the area has been pacified. That those who persecute Christians and others will be brought to justice. And that God will give the Iraqi Christians the ability to witness the love of Christ to those around them even during this time of persecution.

Hannity Interviews Thompson and other news around the Internet

On his announcement date:

HANNITY: No, I want to keep that away from me. We'll get the big question out of the way first, because there was speculation you may announce on the 4th of July. Maybe it's after Labor Day. Are you planning on making an announcement that you're getting in this race anytime soon?

THOMPSON: August is kind of a down month, not much going on, so it wouldn't make sense to do it in August, but clearly, I think you know the direction I'm headed in. A final decision will be made soon, and I'm just urging my friends to keep their powder dry.

We put our toe in the water a while back, haven't been planning this thing for years. It takes a while to get your organization together and get your apparatus going. But the response has been tremendous, and I can't tell you how appreciative I am for that. And we're going to respond to that. We'll have an announcement to make and the final decision to make in the near future.
On meeting for talks with our enemies:
THOMPSON: Well, as I understand it, Senator Clinton was suggesting that the thing she disagreed with was the fact that Clinton thought that they should send an envoy first to make sure that they wouldn't use it for propaganda purposes. My response to that is that I don't trust their envoy. I mean, what if he says that they won? It wouldn't mean anything.

When you are at that high a level, when you're talking about national leaders or cabinet members or something like that, there's a symbolic factor that you have to consider.

These people are killing our people. These Iranians are doing everything they can to undermine us and have been for a while, through Hezbollah and otherwise. They perceive us to be weak right now. If we met with them at those levels now, it would look like we were coming to them. It would look like that we were weak, and they would use that for sure for propaganda purposes and recruiting purposes.

HANNITY: I've never understood, what's the first question that Barack Obama would ask Ahmadinejad? "Will you believe the historical fact that the Holocaust occurred?" "Will you please, Mr. Ahmadinejad, please stop threatening to wipe Israel off the map?" I'm trying to understand, where do you begin the negotiation with somebody with those extremist views?

THOMPSON: "Would you quit sending people and IEDs, explosive devices, and weaponry into Iraq killing our people right now?" No, it is a naive proposition. And you can always keep the avenues open at lower levels on a secretive basis, if they want to change their position on it, but there's no indication that they're going to do anything but look out for their self-interest.

A lot of political leaders think that they can persuade these tyrants by the force of their personality to move off their position. They won't. They look at it for what they consider to be their interest, and their interest is undermining us.
On his Republican opponents:
HANNITY: What do you think of the Republican candidates that you'll go up against in the primary? You've got — the leader right now is Rudy Giuliani. You've got Mitt Romney, Senator McCain in there. Obviously, you must have differences or else you wouldn't even be considering getting in the race. Where do you see some of the differences or distinctions in your positions?

THOMPSON: Sean, I don't want to talk about them. I really don't. I think it's going to be extremely important that we come out unified after this election. There will probably be times that, you know, you have to respond to soma things people are saying.

They're beginning now, because I'm perceived to be doing well, and they're getting a little bit disturbed that they've spent all this money and haven't done any better than they have, some of them, but I'm going to hang off of that for as long as I possibly can.

It's really between — as far as I'm concerned, I'm responding to what I think is going on out in the country today. I'm responding to what I perceive to be an opportunity the American people are giving me to establish myself and to prove that I'm worthy of their consideration. And if I can do that, these other guys are irrelevant; if I can't do that, then I'm irrelevant.
Here's something weird. The headline for the article is "Possible Presidential Candidate Fred Thompson on ‘Campaign’ Shakeup" but I couldn't find anything on the campaign shakeup in the interview. Too bad he didn't ask him about that, it would have been good to hear his response (though I doubt it would have been different from what he said in Houston).

In other news:

This just makes me nuts:
The Rev. Laurence White, a Lutheran pastor who heads the Texas Restoration Project -- a group of pastors who push a conservative-values agenda and candidates to match -- calls Thompson "an establishment Republican of ambiguous principle." He said the Tennessean did little during eight years in the Senate to advance the anti-abortion agenda.

"I don't think nominating a centrist Republican who will tell us what they absolutely have to in order to keep us on the political reservation is a formula for achieving our basic goals," White said. "This pattern over the past few decades has gotten us nowhere."
He did more for abortion than Romney and Guiliani. And how anybody who is pro-life, pro-gun, pro-small government and is fiscally conservative could be called a centrist is beyond me. "Conservative" has to be redefined for Thompson not to qualify.

"Fred Thompson's 'trophy wife' runs the show"
She has sometimes been dismissed as a tanned and bleached blonde "trophy wife", only ever glimpsed in sleek and glamorous outfits on the arm of her much older spouse.

But in the past few days Jeri Thompson has suddenly emerged as the real political power behind her husband Fred's presidential campaign.

Mr Thompson, 64, a former senator and actor who is running second in most polls of Republican nominees even before he has officially declared his candidacy, last week replaced his campaign manager in a shake-up of his top team - which, it has emerged, was initiated by his wife.

Another senior aide quit after clashes with Mrs Thompson, a youthful-looking 40, who is in effect managing her husband's White House bid and has hiring and firing authority over staff, according to campaign insiders.

The upheavals have highlighted the key role of Mr Thompson's second wife, a lawyer and Republican political operative widely believed to have encouraged him to enter the fray. As her husband's de facto campaign manager, Mrs Thompson has the greatest hands-on role of any spouse in the presidential campaign, even though she has so far steered well clear of the political hustings.

Despite her political pedigree as a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee, her sway over day-to-day operations is troubling some of her husband's supporters. "I do worry that Jeri is the one really running his campaign," said a Republican in Congress who describes himself as "likely" to support Mr Thompson. "She's smart, but that could be a recurring problem."

A campaign aide, also speaking anonymously, told The Washington Post that Mrs Thompson decided everything from the content of direct mailings to the date for her husband to make his official declaration, now expected at the end of the summer. "You name it - anything," said the aide.
Looks like they're switching the template from bimbo to control freak and Hillary Clinton wannabe.

Thompson's campaign will report contributions and expenditures on Tuesday:
Mr. Thompson’s supporters say he can fill what they see as a void for a true conservative who can also get elected. But there are also concerns about a summertime drop-off in enthusiasm and fund-raising, that the campaign has fallen short of its initial $5 million fund-raising target. (The “Friends of Fred Thompson” committee said it would report contributions and expenditures for the first time on Tuesday.)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

LA Times religion reporter loses faith

If you haven't read William Lobdel's story of his loss of faith after years of covering the priest sex abuse scandals, the treatment of Mormons who leave the church and the prosperity gospel of TBN, go read it now because it's pretty powerful stuff.

It can be hard reconciling the teaching of Christ and his sacrificial death to the actions of the church. I remember being disappointed time and again by the actions of Christians when I was a baby Christian. How could they be so selfish when Christ was so selfless? I've since learned that we are still sinners who need to be reminded constantly that we have been bought with a price and we are a new creation in Christ. Remembering that will help us to appreciate the struggles of others.

But it is also important to remember that there are many who call themselves Christians but are not. Jesus warned us of this:

Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' 24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." 28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Putting our trust in those who call themselves Christians is like building your house on the sand. When they fall you fall with them. Putting your trust in the word of God gives you a foundation on which to build your life in Christ. That is a much surer foundation and one that will withstand the winds of doubt.



Dissing the Milbloggers

Did they just get called chickenhawks? Well, that's just wrong!


Update: Evidently I confused some with this post. I linked to a milblogger who links to an article in which the author implies that milbloggers avoid service which implies they are chickenhawks. I didn't say that the milblogger was calling anyone a chickenhawk. Look at the way I worded the link.

Praying for Hollywood instead of boycotting

This seems like good idea:

It's around 10 at night and Lewis Payne puts on his pajamas and eases into a chair in his study to say a prayer – for Paris Hilton.

Payne resides in the tiny city of Quincy, Ill., on the banks of the Mississippi, but at this late hour his mind is typically 1,500 miles away in Hollywood.

"Tom Cruise doesn't know he has a lot of prayers being sent up for him," he says.

Payne is among a growing number of people across the country praying for celebrities.

While most of us shake our heads, snicker or secretly gloat over celebrity scandal and misfortune, the Hollywood Prayer Network views the planet's "most influential zip code" as an important, yet written off, "mission field," rife with people just waiting to be introduced to God.

Karen Covell, a producer of documentaries and TV specials ("Headliners and Legends with Matt Lauer"), founded the non-profit ministry partly out of frustration with other members of her own faith.

"Sometimes the Christian church outside Hollywood hates Hollywood," she says. "If I can get the church to pray for the people of Hollywood, they can't hate them or be afraid of them anymore."

In what may be a first, the prayer network is calling for Christians to stop boycotting movies and asking them to turn their TVs back on.

Instead, the network gives away stickers that you can put on your remote control to remind you "to pray for the people involved in the shows on your screen" while you channel surf. You can also buy (on the network website) red rubber wristbands embossed with the Hollywood zip code, 90028, to remind you to pray for "America's culture shapers."

Nearly 5,000 people are on the network's email list; "people who want to create art but keep an ethical and moral code to our lives," Covell says.


I never boycott movies or TV because it's a waste of time and backfires as it creates a buzz that it wouldn't have had if it had just been ignored. I think I'll pray for Lohan, she really needs it.

Here's the link to their website if you want to join.


Clinton fund-raising using cleavage

If we were not talking about politics, there would be a name for that :-)

The Clinton campaign is circulating a fund-raising e-mail, using the flap over the senator’s “cleavage” as the peg. “Now, I've seen some off-topic press coverage,” writes Senior Advisor Ann Lewis, referring to the Washington Post article and ensuing coverage of the topic, “but talking about body parts? That is grossly inappropriate.” She goes on to call the coverage “insulting” and urges supporters to “Take a stand against this kind of coarseness and pettiness."
I agree, that's grossly inappropriate, coarse and petty. But what about using all that coarseness and pettiness to raise funds? What should we call that? Politics as usual?

Related story:
Clinton's Cleavage? What? Are you kidding me?
Clinton's cleavage coverage has upset the feminists

The Top Beautiful Person on Capital Hill has a New Opponent

He has a challenger for his seat in the House:

Fresh off being named the most attractive member of Congress by The Hill newspaper, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) has his first Republican challenger for 2008: Indiana State University lobbyist Greg Goode. Goode, 34, also served as an aide to former GOP Reps. Brian Kerns and Ed Pease.
Actually, that should be the most beautiful person on the Hill. I hope this guy is good looking, cause evidently that matters.

Update: Here's some ammo for his challenger:
The Farm Bill that passed the House today (231-191) contained far more weighty matters than the non-binding anti-obesity resolution. It also contained a tax increase of somewhere between $6 billion and $7.8 billion on the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations. This could possibly threaten the jobs of tens of thousands of Americans and discourage multinationals from establishing a presence in the United States. It's also a corporate income tax hike, which will ultimately be paid for by higher consumer prices.

Americans for Tax reform informed all the members of the House who have taken Taxpayer Protection Pledge, that a vote for this bill would break their pledge. Nonetheless, several members showed bad faith to the taxpayers. All four Democratic pledge signers broke their promise — and for all four, it was the second time they have done so in seven months. That includes Rep. Brad Ellworth (D, Ind.) (The Hill's #1 most beautiful person on Capitol Hill), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), and Rob Andrews ( D-N.J.).
He may be pretty but he's a promise-breaker.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I think if Thompson's campaign completely unravels...

I'm going to become a Huckabee supporter (even though I think he might be "Son of Bush"). It's not looking good for the Thompson campaign and it looks like he might not announce until October.

...Fred Thompson's roadmap relies on keeping his would-be candidacy as far above the fray, and outside the spotlight, as possible, for as long as possible. Insiders now say he likely will jump into those well-tested waters sometime in "mid- to late September." But even that timetable appears flexible. "October isn't completely impossible, no," said one ally of a Thompson campaign kick-off.
BTW, Thompson's been meeting with Newt:
Newt Gingrich's long, slow striptease over whether he will seek the presidency in 2008 looks like it might come to an unexpected conclusion: a date with Fred Thompson.

Publicly, Gingrich has been sending signals making clear that a presidential candidacy for him is becoming less likely. Privately, he and some of his closest advisers have been meeting with — and, in at least one prominent case, going to work for — the lobbyist-actor and former Tennessee senator.

"I've always said it was unlikely I would run," Gingrich said in an interview last Friday with The Associated Press. And, he added, if Thompson "runs and does well, then I think that makes it easier for me not to run."

The same day that Gingrich made his comments, his former communications director, Rich Galen, disclosed that he had signed on as an adviser to Thompson's campaign in waiting. In an interview, Galen termed the coincidence "an unfortunate confluence of events," denying that there was any link.

Newsbusters' Weekend Captionfest

What time does the bus arrive?

The South Korean hostages are still alive

Update: CNN is linking to an older post. This is the post that they should be linking to.

And the Taliban are not setting anymore deadlines, they are in negotiations with the government over a hostage swap:

The remaining 22 South Koreans held hostage in Afghanistan are alive, a Taliban spokesman said on Friday, and the group will not set further deadlines as it negotiates with the government on freeing them.

A government official also said the Christian volunteers, whose leader was killed two days ago by their Taliban captors, were alive, adding an Afghan delegation was in talks with the militants.

"They are alive and fine," Munir Mangal, a deputy interior minister who also heads an Afghan team trying to secure the freedom of the hostages, told reporters in Ghazni. Medicines had been sent for some of the captives who are ill, he added.

Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said the government had assured the group it would release eight members of the Taliban as part of an exchange deal for the freedom of a similar number of the hostages.

"They are alive. The talks are going on and we are not giving further deadlines for the government has assured us that it wants to resolve the issue through talks," he told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location.
Thank God that they are still alive. Join me in continuing to prayer that the Lord will protect them and open the eyes of the Taliban to the truth about God's goodness and mercy:
Matthew 9:13 Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

Who are "they?"

According to Edwards, they want to shut him up so that he won't talk about healthcare or the poor. Um, I wonder who "they" are? If I were the Republican candidate Edwards would be the Democrat I would most want to face and I would be happy to talk about socialized medicine with him given the many failures in Canada, the UK and France.

He has delusions of grandeur if he thinks that the Republicans really care about him at this point since no one believes he's even going to get the nomination. I think the pressures of the campaign are getting to him and he might want to rest for a couple days.


Few GOP Candidates Commit to CNN/YouTube Debate

Thankfully there is some sanity in the Republican field. I would lose respect for any candidate who would participate in a CNN/YouTube debate like the fiasco the Democrats participated in. That's why I'm not surprised that Ron Paul and McCain are interested in doing it.

Four days after the Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C., more than 400 questions directed to the GOP presidential field have been uploaded on YouTube, as Republicans are scheduled to take their turn at video-populism on Sept. 17.

But only Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) have agreed to participate in the debate, co-hosted by the Republican Party of Florida in St. Petersburg.

"Aside from those two candidates, we haven't heard from anyone else," said Sam Feist of CNN, which is co-sponsoring the debate with the popular video-sharing site.

Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both with dozens of videos on their YouTube channels, have not signed up. Neither have the rest of the Republican candidates, including Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.), whose "Tancredo Takes" on his YouTube channel draw hundreds of views. Sources familiar with the Giuliani campaign said the former New York mayor is unlikely to participate. Kevin Madden, Romney's spokesman, said the former Massachusetts governor has seven debate invitations over a span of 11 days in September.

"We haven't committed to any of them yet," Madden said.

In an interview Wednesday with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Romney said he's not a fan of the CNN/YouTube format. Referring to the video of a snowman asking the Democratic candidates about global warming, Romney quipped, "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman."

I'm sorry but a guy cradling his gun and a snowman aren't exactly the images that one associates with the dignity of a presidential debate.

I agree with Hewitt on this one that this would be more harmful than helpful to the Republican candidates since the very liberal CNN staff will be selecting the questions and you just know they are going to include all the gotcha questions they can.

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Beautiful has to be redefined

For Pelosi to make it to a list of the Top 10 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill (via).

BTW, it isn't surprising that Brad Ellsworth is number one on the list given the fact that he was recruited for his looks.

Iranian-American Men's Group Tackle Domestic Violence

I read and blog about the horrors of honor killings and other acts of violence against the women of Islam and always feel hopeless about the situation. When will the violence against these women stop? When will the men learn that they are tearing down the foundation of their community by attacking their wives and teaching their sons to do the same thing. So I was pleased to learn about this group of men who want to do something about the problem of domestic abuse. I'm not going to quote from the article because I want you to read the whole thing. I hope others from this community and other communities will join this effort to try to help stem the violence against women so that these women can live in the freedom and joy of a relationship that is filled with love, not fear.

A Draft Joseph Lieberman for President Website

What? Is this a joke? Didn't this poor man suffer enough humiliation the first time around? Why put him through that again? I think the nation doesn't need to be subjected to "Joementum" ever again.

Bitten by the Golf Bug

Bet you didn't know that this Reformed blabbing chick is also very into golfing these days...

This is a picture of my golf bag. I just got some new head covers for my woods. Aren't they cute?

I am still technically a beginner. But the other day, while at the driving range I was finally getting the ball off the tee. No more worm burners for me!

The reason I like golf so much is that it makes it impossible to think about anything else but golf. It is a great way to take your mind off things. Somehow doing something physical relaxes my mind.

I can also golf with my husband now. We are at the point in our marriage where our oldest daughter can watch her younger sisters so we can go and play nine holes on a Sunday afternoon. It has been really good for us and our marriage.

The South Korean MSM sounds as clueless about Christianity as American MSM

Read this report and you will see what I'm talking about.


Congress ties Pakistan aid to terrorism progress

This seems like a good idea, why didn't we do this sooner?

Congressional negotiators have agreed on legislation that would tie U.S. aid to Pakistan to significant progress by Islamabad in cracking down on al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militants, congressional sources said on Thursday.


The Pakistan aid provision is part of a massive bill implementing recommendations of the September 11 commission that was the result of compromise by House and Senate negotiators.

It bars assistance in the fiscal year beginning Oct 1 until President George W. Bush finds Pakistan is "making demonstrated, significant and sustained progress toward eliminating support or safe haven for terrorists," according to a draft made available to Reuters.

Islamabad must show a commitment to eliminate from its territory "any organization such as Taliban, al Qaeda or any successor, engaged in military, insurgent or terrorist activities in Afghanistan," the bill said.

And it must undertake a "comprehensive military, legal, economic and political campaign" to achieve that goal.

Did Edwards get a 3 page spread in the Washington Post about his career as a lawyer?

How about Clinton? I'm really not interested in what Thompson did as a lawyer and tort reform isn't really big on my list of problems facing this country. I'm more concerned with what he plans to do about illegal immigration, the war on terror, what type of judges he plans to put on the bench, what's he going to do about shrinking the size of government and how he plans to rein in spending. How about actually writing a story about something the matters in this race? If the MSM did that, I would be shocked.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Did you know that you can now subscribe to Blogger comments?

I just found out by accident that you can subscribe to our comments. What to know what o'brien and anonymous 1 and 2 said about Bush, the war, the brave and patriotic Democrat Senators, taxes, and a host of other topics? Want to read my snarky reply? Even though it may be weeks later? Then subscribe to the comments of a post your think may erupt into an interesting discussion.

You can do so at the end of the post below the comments right under "Home." And if you noticed this already, that demonstrates just how unobservant I am :-)

Obama called Clinton "Bush-Cheney Lite?"

Only in the Democrat primary would a candidate be compared to the "enemy" just because she understands that the president doesn't get used for propaganda purposes by dictators. It was a pretty smart answer which demonstrated her experience and knowledge of foreign affairs. Obama might want to stop reminding us that he isn't ready for prime time.

Clinton aide Phil Singer e-mails out a passage from a taped interview with CNN, in which she responds to Obama referring to her (indirectly) as "Bush-Cheney Lite."

SEN. CLINTON: “Well, this is getting kind of silly. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney, certainly. We have to ask, what’s ever happened to the politics of hope?

“I have been saying consistently for a number of years now, we have to end the Bush era of ignoring problems, ignoring enemies and adversaries. And I have been absolutely clear that we’ve got to return to robust and effective diplomacy. But I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings with the likes of Chavez and Castro and Ahmadinejad.”


Not much blogging today...

Because I was on the road. I had to meet my in-laws in VA to get my daughters. We meet in VA because it's halfway between SC and NJ. We just got back and are going to get something to eat, blogging will resume when I return :-)

Why pay for propaganda?

Hollywood is set to release anti-war propaganda in the fall. It's their thank you to our soldiers for putting their life on the line to protect our freedom to even diss the very people who continue to lose their life protecting it. They are about to turn our soldiers into killers without a future:

On a night four years ago, five soldiers back from three months in Iraq went drinking at a Hooters restaurant and a topless bar near Fort Benning, Ga.

Before the night was over, one of them, Specialist Richard R. Davis, was dead of at least 33 stab wounds, his body doused with lighter fluid and burned. Two of the group would eventually be convicted of the murder, another pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and the last confessed to concealing the crime.

Now some in Hollywood want moviegoers to decide if the killing is emblematic of a war gone bad, part of a new and perhaps risky willingness in the entertainment business to push even the touchiest debates about post-9/11 security, Iraq and the troops’ status from the confines of documentaries into the realm of mainstream political drama.

On Sept. 14, Warner Independent Pictures expects to release “In the Valley of Elah,” a drama inspired by the Davis murder, written and directed by Paul Haggis, whose “Crash” won the Academy Award for best picture in 2006. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones as a retired veteran who defies Army bureaucrats and local officials in a search for his son’s killers. In one of the movie’s defining images, the American flag is flown upside down in the heartland, the signal of extreme distress.


Still, Mr. Haggis insisted that “Valley of Elah” — the title refers to the site where David fought Goliath — was not intended to enforce his point of view. Rather, he said, it is meant to raise questions about “what it does to these kids” to be deployed in a situation where enemies are often indistinguishable from neutral civilians, and the rules of engagement may force decisions that are difficult to live with.

But whether the case truly speaks for returning veterans will not be easily settled, even with help from Warner Independent. The studio plans to supplement some of its promotional screenings with panel discussions of post-traumatic stress disorder, a factor raised in the movie.

“The issues are similar to what a lot of us are coping with,” said an approving Garett Reppenhagen, an Iraq veteran who saw “Valley of Elah” last week at one of the first such screenings in Washington. Mr. Reppenhagen, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, helped recruit viewers for the screening.

By contrast, Dennis Griffee, a wounded veteran who is national commander of the Iraq War Veterans Organization, said he turned down a request to become involved with the film after learning that Susan Sarandon, a vocal opponent of the war, had a prominent role.

“At the very least it is offensive,” Mr. Griffee said of what he sees as a widespread refusal to acknowledge the troops’ pride at achievements in Iraq. He added that virtually every member of his platoon wound up in college, not jail, on return.
Update: Oh. My. Heck! That will teach me to blog before I've had my morning cup of tea! No, it was not ant-war propaganda, it was anti-war propaganda. Our readers are obviously either:

1. Unobservant
2. Polite

Which is it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Taliban killed one of the South Korean hostages

The pastor was killed:

Taliban insurgents shot dead a South Korean hostage in Afghanistan on Wednesday and threatened to kill 22 others, but a deadline passed without word from the kidnappers or the Afghan government.

A Taliban spokesman had said the government had been given until 2030 GMT to release rebels from prison or the remaining 22 Korean Christian volunteers would be killed.

"Yes, they have killed one of the hostages and efforts are under way to have the others released," said the Qarabagh district chief in Ghazni province, Khowja Seddiqi.

The body of the Korean was later found with bullet wounds.

The Taliban accused the government and South Korean negotiators of failing to act in good faith after Kabul rejected a demand for eight named rebels to be freed from prison.

"Since Kabul's administration did not listen to our demand and did not free our prisoners, the Taliban shot dead a male Korean hostage," Qari Mohammad Yousuf told Reuters by telephone from an unknown location.

"Why Al Qaeda Supports the Emergent Church"

What the heck? Kind of a leap, don't you think?


Westminster Bookstore Sale

They are having a great sale on some of the Biblical Theology books. Go check it out and buy something so that I can get me kickback :-) I need to buy a book and I'm waiting for one more coupon to do so.

BTW, I really recommend The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. It is very helpful and I use it when I'm studying a particular book of the Bible or doing a word study.

Church may erect a cell phone tower

Now, you guys may think that I'm nuts but I think this is a good idea. And those of you who are tempted to remind me about Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple can refrain from doing so since I've already thought about it. Something like this was actually proposed to my pastor but I don't think he's going to do it. But it's a great source of income that could be used by the church to spread God's word and it's a great way for the cell phone company to erect more cell towers given the amount of restrictions they face.

A local church along with the help of Verizon Wireless may take cell phone tower development to a new and technologically divine level.

You've likely seen them erected somewhere along the side of the road or hidden with a grouping of trees, but it's hard to miss those tall cell phone towers, usually identifiable by their triangle-shaped platforms, planted among our communities. And it's definitely not often that a town is forced to balance its respect for a religious symbol against a cell phone company's reliability, but that's exactly what's happening in Pequannock Township.

At Bible Christian Fellowship Church, there is a proposal to develop a 100-foot cell phone tower that would be disguised as a cross and provided by Verizon. Not everyone in the town has dialed into the idea.

Too bad they didn't use this question for the CNN/YouTube Debate

For the dialup people, the question is: "if any of you could be on the Law and Order show, what would you play? Would you be a lawyer, or a policemen or a rapist?" Then they suggested that Chris Dodd could play a rapist and Obama could play Ice T's brother (it's funnier when you view it).


BTW, if you haven't gotten enough analysis about the debates, you might want to check out John Hawkins -- he has highlights. He watched the debates so that his readers didn't have to. That's pretty nice. I'm not as nice. I don't love guys enough to put myself through that amount of torture. I only love you guys enough to listen to some clips but after awhile I got so bored I had to stop. Sorry!

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Ugh! I've spent the day trying to get caught up on my email

And I'm only up to July 16th! Ugh!!!!! Really was a mistake owning two blogrolls. Remind me never to do that again! Though, the good news is that we're close to 900 blogs on the Blogging Chicks blogroll and 135 on the Christian Blogosphere. I guess it's worth it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Drinking with Bob

I just heard this guy on Hannity and he's pretty out there. I'm posting this one for Dr. Jim West. Bob's rant made me think of Dr. Jim's comment.

If Bob were older, I would be afraid that he would stroke out or have a heart attack during these rants. Good thing he is still young.

Newt: Our political savior? Or knight in shining amour?

Save us, Newt! Save us from the "pygmies!"

I know that there are some of you waiting around for Newt to enter the race and think that he has something to offer that the others in the field do not and evidently he feels the same way:

Dismissing the GOP presidential field as a "pathetic" bunch of "pygmies," Newt Gingrich hinted Monday he might step in to beat Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"If, in mid-October, it's quite clear that one or more of the current candidates is strong enough to be a serious alternative to a Clinton-Obama ticket, you don't need me to run," the former House Speaker said at a breakfast sponsored by the American Spectator. "If it becomes patently obvious, as the morning paper points out, that the Democrats have raised a hundred million more than the Republicans, and at some point people decide we are going to get Hillary unless there's a radical change, then there's space for a candidate," he added. "So you'll know by mid-October one of those two futures is real."

Asked by the Examiner if he was prepared to commit to a run, Gingrich said, "I'm perfectly happy to do what I do," he said. "Whether that leads to the presidency is the country's problem, not mine."
Maybe Newt has delusions of grandeur or something to think he is more electable than the other Republicans in the field. Hunter and Huckabee would be way better options than he would since their negatives are much lower than Newt's. If Clinton is the candidate, wouldn't it be a good idea for us to counter her candidacy with a less polarizing figure than Newt? One who has much lower negatives than Clinton? Newt is just as hated as she is and I think their negatives are pretty close.

The left is just waiting for us to nominate someone like Newt that they can demonize (and who comes pre-demonized). Why would we want to make their dream come true?

BTW, Newt stole that "pygmies" line from Thompson.

Lindsay Lohan's Mugshot

She looks good for someone who was arrested for cocaine possession and drunk driving.


Taliban extends deadline till Tuesday for the Korean Christians

Praising God that they are still alive:

Troops killed at least 75 militants in three separate battles in southern Afghanistan, while the Taliban extended the deadline for the lives of 23 South Korean hostages until Tuesday evening.

South Korea's president appealed for calm as the deadline neared. Afghan elders and clerics were trying to negotiate with militants holding the hostages in central Afghanistan.


If the government won't accept these conditions, then it's difficult for the Taliban to provide security for these hostages, to provide health facilities and food," Ahmadi told The Associated Press by satellite phone. "The Taliban won't have any option but to kill the hostages."

Though some of Ahmadi's statements turn out to be true, he has also made repeated false claims, calling into question the reliability of his information.

A five-member delegation from Ghazni province traveled to a remote area of Qarabagh district to try to secure the Koreans' freedom, said Khwaja Mohammad Sidiqi, the local police chief.

"Our negotiations are continuing," said Khial Mohammad Husseini, a lawmaker for Ghazni. "I hope that today we will get a good result."

The South Korean hostages, including 18 women, were kidnapped on Thursday while riding on a bus through Ghazni on the Kabul-Kandahar highway, Afghanistan's main thoroughfare.

I would think that they would want the military involved in trying to get them released.

Related Posts:
The Taliban has kidnapped 18 South Korean Christians
Taliban Threatens 23 South Koreans

Brody interviews Obama Girl at CNN/YouTube Debate

And he has video :-)


Clinton's cleavage coverage has upset the feminists

This is no way to treat a presidential candidate:

Dear feminist activist,

Mainstream media coverage of women politicians has hit a new, unbelievable low. On Friday, the Washington Post ran a prominent article analyzing Senator Hillary Clinton's cleavage.

Let the Post know that this kind of demeaning coverage will not be tolerated. Senator Clinton is a distinguished member of the Senate and quite possibly the next president of the United States. Instead of writing about her strategy to end the war in Iraq or her plans to reform the health care system in this country, the Post devoted a feature story to analyzing her breasts.

Let's stop this ridiculous coverage now, in the early stages of the campaign, and demand that Senator Clinton is treated with the same dignity and respect as her male competitors.
Read the rest here.

But how about a story about the cleavage of a presidential candidate's wife? Is that OK? Where's the outrage over that? It should be equally offensive that the wives' cleavage should become an issue in the campaign.

Related story:
Clinton's Cleavage? What? Are you kidding me?

CNN/YouTube Debate Video: Kucinich as President?

Science of human relationships? Diplomacy? International agreements and treaties? How does that work with al-Qaeda? When they take over Iraq, are we going to sign a treaty with them?

CNN/YouTube Debate Video:God and Guns

The atheist YouTuber lived up to the snotty attitude one associates with atheists but he does ask a good question: will you pay lip service to the religious and snub the secular voters. I guess he wants the candidates to give equal time to the concerns of atheist. Maybe he wants them to pander to him the way they pander to the Christians. Edwards obliged. He said that he wouldn't let his faith get in the way of making decisions that effect all Americans. That's a good trick if you could pull it off. And you must not have much of a faith if you can put it on the shelf while you lead the country (maybe he'll promise to put it in a lock box next). Obama gave a much more honest answer and I thought it was pretty good. He believes in the separation of church and state which benefits both the state and the church but he did admit that faith informs his decisions. That answer is honest because everyone's belief in whatever they believe guides their actions.

I already addressed Bidens' response to the question on guns here. I think Richards gave an interesting answer to the question: the problem is not the guns it is the people who own them who shouldn't and we should address the underlying problems of gun violence like poverty. Not a bad response and much better than Biden.

CNN/YouTube Debate Video: Biden Disses YouTuber

Questioning his mental capacity to own a gun.


Um, it looks like Biden isn't going to get the NRA vote.

CNN/YouTube Debate Video: Show of hands who used a private plane

To get to the debate? Biden looks like he doesn't want to raise his hand. Mike Gravel took the train and a bus. He and Kucinich appear to be the only ones who didn't use a private plane.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Islamic Rage Boy is not amused

Islamic Rage Boy responds to the ridicule of the right side of the blogosphere:

With his clenched fists, wild eyes and gnashing teeth he has become the face of Muslim fury, protesting against the enemies of Islam.

Shakeel Ahmad Bhat has been on the frontline of political activism in Srinagar, India, for more than a decade. His constant presence, captured by photographers and beamed across the world, has caught the imagination of rightwing bloggers who have dubbed him Islamic Rage Boy and turned him into an internet phenomenon.

Typing his nickname into a search engine yields more than 75,000 results. He has inspired a cartoon character and merchandise.

But the 30-year-old Kashmiri activist is puzzled, not angered, by his overseas fame. In his first interview with a British newspaper, he says he is carrying out Allah's wishes.

From his home in Fateh Kadal, Malik Angan, he says: "I am not happy with people joking about me or making me into a cartoon, but I have more important things to think about. My protests are for those Muslims who cannot go out onto the streets to cry out against injustice. This is my duty and I believe Allah has decided this for me."

Mr Bhat, a school dropout and former militant with a pro-Pakistan rebel group, has been arrested more than 300 times. He spends days away from his widowed mother, four brothers and his sister, travelling to protests or attending court hearings. But his family, he says, is used to it.


Mr Bhat, unaware of the row he has fuelled, vows to carry on protesting. Undeterred by being locked away or being laughed at, he says: "I do not like being called Islamic Rage Boy, it is not nice; but why should I care what people think of me in this life? The afterlife will decide my fate, not a mousemat."


I was wondering when someone would interview him about his fame on the Internet.

Brownback and Tancredo fighting over abortion

Brownback's campaign is accusing Tom Tancredo of accepting campaign contributions from the founder of a Planned Parenthood chapter in Michigan. Why is he even bothering with Tancredo? Why not knock someone who has an actual chance at winning? And why does he think that he will benefit? What about Huckabee or Hunter?

Brownback has criticized Tancredo for accepting campaign contributions from Dr John Tanton, founder of a Planned Parenthood chapter in Michigan. His campaign has been making automated calls to Iowa voters demanding that Tancredo donate the money to an Iowa Crisis Pregnancy Center. “Say no to Tom Tancredo and his Planned Parenthood friend and help end abortion in America,” the caller says. Tanton is also a prominent anti-immigration activist.

“The facts are clear: Tom Tancredo says he is committed to being pro- life but has accepted thousands of dollars from the founder of a major Planned Parenthood network,” Brownback spokesman John Rankin said. “The only inaccuracy in this matter is Tom Tancredo’s hysterical and disingenuous distortion of Senator Brownback’s record.”

Taliban Threatens 23 South Koreans

The Taliban is threatening to kill 23 South Korean hostages if the Afghan government does not release 50 insurgents from prison.

And they will probably get there way because:

President Hamid Karzai in March authorized the release of five Taliban prisoners in exchange for a kidnapped Italian reporter, but called the trade a one-time deal. Karzai was heavily criticized for the move by the United States and European nations, who felt it would encourage more kidnappings.
When you're right, you're right.

This is what happens when you concede to terrorists, they just keep asking for more.

Those 23 South Koreans just so happen to be Christians. We need to pray for them and for Karzai to do the right thing.

Family value advocate arrested for hiring a prostitute

I think it's time that every leader of any "family values" organization who is involved in prostitution, homosexual relationships or extra-marital affairs needs to step down right now. I'd say that it might be time for women to run these groups but I don't hold out much hope that they would not fall as well.

A longtime champion of family values once nominated as chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention's moral-concerns agency surprised citizens of North Carolina with his arrest last week on multiple charges of aiding and abetting prostitution.

"Hell has just frozen over," a state Democratic leader told a Raleigh newspaper editor after hearing news of the Thursday arrest of Coy Privette, 74, a retired Baptist pastor and four-term Republican legislator long associated with North Carolina's Christian Action League.

Privette was arrested the same day as suspected prostitute Tiffany Denise Summers, 32, who drew police attention after cashing suspicious checks from his checkbook. Investigators believe Privette paid Summers six times during the last two months for sex in hotel rooms he rented in Salisbury, N.C.

Privette is a past president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, which last year voted to ban membership to churches that accept gay people as members. He stepped down as a current member of the state convention's board of directors and executive committee following his arrest.

He also resigned after six years as president of the Christian Action League, a group formed to "discourage the promotion and use of beverage alcohol and other drugs, pornography, sexual immorality and other sinful practices that not only undermine the spiritual lives of those who participate in them, but also undermine the strength of our state and national character."

Privette previously served 15 years as the league's executive director, earning him the reputation as one of North Carolina's leading opponents of gambling and alcohol sales and making him a household name in the state's Baptist community.

"Because of the nature of the allegations, I believe it is in the best interest for me to resign so that the charges will not distract from the important work of the Christian Action League," Privette said in an e-mail posted on the league's Web site.
Um, I don't know. If the head of the organization is unable to abstain, how will others? I'm not trying to knock the group but I can't see how Christians can effectively promote "family values" when we fall into the temptation to sin. I would suggest that Christians and politicians might want to add disclaimers to their campaigns, something like this: "We know it's hard to abstain from alcohol, prostitution and drugs because we struggle just like you. We want to eliminate them from society but we fall prey to their temptations. We care about the issue but we are weak." I think that type of honesty would be a good idea and would be refreshingly honest and would be closer to the reality of the situation.

But what does any of this have to do with the gospel? Since when is the promotion of "family values" the business of the church? I thought the business of the church was to make disciples of all the nations. How is this making disciples? This is just imposing law (living up to some standard of "family values") and law that we ourselves can't keep.

Members of al-Qaeda becoming informants

Looks like al-Qaeda is too brutal for Iraqi insurgents:

Fed up with being part of a group that cuts off a person’s face with piano wire to teach others a lesson, dozens of low-level members of al-Qaeda in Iraq are daring to become informants for the US military in a hostile Baghdad neighbourhood.

The ground-breaking move in Doura is part of a wider trend that has started in other al-Qaeda hotspots across the country and in which Sunni insurgent groups and tribal sheikhs have stood together with the coalition against the extremist movement.

“They are turning. We are talking to people who we believe have worked for al-Qaeda in Iraq and want to reconcile and have peace,” said Colonel Ricky Gibbs, commander of the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, which oversees the area.

The sewage-filled streets of Doura, a Sunni Arab enclave in south Baghdad, provide an ugly setting for what US commanders say is al-Qaeda’s last stronghold in the city. The secretive group, however, appears to be losing its grip as a “surge” of US troops in the neighbourhood – part of the latest effort by President Bush to end the chaos in Iraq – has resulted in scores of fighters being killed, captured or forced to flee.


Al-Qaeda informants comprise largely members of the Doura network who found themselves either working with the group after the US-led invasion in March 2003, or signed up to earn extra cash because there were no other jobs going. Disgusted at the attacks and intimidation techniques used on friends, neighbours and even relatives, they are now increasingly looking for a way out, US officers say.

“It is only after al-Qaeda has become truly barbaric and done things like, to teach lessons to people, cut their face off with piano wire in front of their family and then murdered everybody except one child who told the tale afterwards . . . that people realise how much of a mess they are in,” Lieutenant James Danly, 31, who works on military intelligence in Doura, said.


The increased presence of US forces in Doura, however, is encouraging insiders to overcome their fear and divulge what they know. Convoys of US soldiers are working the rubble-strewn streets day and night, knocking on doors, speaking to locals and following up leads on possible insurgent hideouts.

The surge is clearly working. Those who hate al-Qaeda but fear their power will continue to side with us when they see that we can overcome al-Qaeda. If we quit now, all that we've gained will be lost. We haven't lost the war in Iraq and if the left could see past their BDS fog, they would understand that.

BTW, this news comes on the heels of more goods news (if it turns out to be true) on the war on terror front: there may be a rift between Zawahiri and al-Libi.

Who was the shadowy general behind the wave of violence [in Pakistan in the wake of the Red Mosque assault]? Pakistani and Taliban officials interviewed recently by NEWSWEEK say it was none other than Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the Qaeda No. 2 who has also been appearing in a recent flurry of audio- and videotapes. While Osama bin Laden has been keeping a low profile—he may be ill, U.S. intel officials say—Zawahiri has moved aggressively to take operational control of the group. In so doing, Zawahiri has provoked a potentially serious ideological split within Al Qaeda over whether he is growing too powerful, and has become obsessed with toppling Musharraf, according to two jihadists interviewed by NEWSWEEK last week…

The anti-Zawahiri faction in Al Qaeda fears his actions may be jeopardizing [their] safe haven [in Waziristan and Bajaur], according to the two jihadists interviewed by NEWSWEEK. Both have proved reliable in the past: they are Omar Farooqi, the nom de guerre for a veteran Taliban fighter and chief liaison officer between insurgent forces in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, and Hemat Khan, a Taliban operative with links to Al Qaeda. They say Zawahiri’s personal jihad has angered Al Qaeda’s so-called Libyan faction, which intel officials believe may be led by the charismatic Abu Yahya al-Libi, who made a daring escape from an American high-security lockup at Baghram air base in 2005. The Libyan Islamists, along with bin Laden and other senior Qaeda leaders, would love to see Musharraf gone, too. But they fear that Zawahiri is inviting the Pakistani leader’s wrath, prematurely opening up another battlefront before the jihadists have properly consolidated their position…

The Egyptian-born Zawahiri is nominal leader of the Egyptian faction, the Jamaat al-Jihad, which he united with Al Qaeda in the 1990s. It is larger and contains more senior people than the Libyan group. Both jihadist sources who spoke to NEWSWEEK say there is now what Khan calls “a clear divide” between the two factions. In part, the Libyans seem to be irked by Zawahiri’s unchecked ego and self-righteousness. “The Libyans say he’s too extremist,” says Farooqi, and they resent Zawahiri for appearing to speak for bin Laden. “Libyans tell me that the sheik [bin Laden] has not appointed a successor and that only the U.S. government and the international media talk of Zawahiri as being the deputy,” Farooqi says