30 January 2007

Priorities, people!

The horse fell down and broke his leg.

Now, the horse has died.

I have nothing against the horse and I have nothing against horse owners. I feel bad for both of them in this case.

What bothers me intensely, however, is this comment from an interview:

Q: How much does this sort of surgery cost?

Vets have been coy on that subject, but surgeon Dean Richardson did concede that the care will cost "in the tens of thousands of dollars," which does not necessarily include all the long-term nursing and rehabilitation costs, assuming Barbaro survives.

I would bet that $50,000 was spent on this animal's care - at a bare minimum - which the doctor basically acknowledged had slim hope of success.

Compassion
can provide a child with food, clothing, support for his family and an education for $382 per year. So for my extremely lowball figure of $50k, 130 children could have been fed this year.

The priority ought to be people, people.




28 January 2007

The proof is in the pudding ... out

Or "putting out"

Or maybe "putting in"?

Ok. I'll stop.

But here is a wierd story from London which inspired these bad puns. Seems a dying 22-year old man living in a hospice in London had a dying wish: he wanted to get laid.

Enter ... not the Make a Wish Foundation (thank heavens) ... but ... this is even better ... a "Christian"-run hospice he lives in. They helped him make the arrangements with a prostitute who specializes in ... umm ... recreational therapy ... for the disabled.

But here is the ... well ... climax of the article as far as I am concerned:
"It was not emotionally fulfilling, but the lady was very pleasant and very understanding. I do not know whether I would do it again. I would much rather find a girlfriend, but I have to be realistic."
Gee. Relationship-free orgasms are not emotionally fulfilling? Sounds like this poor bloke is now less handicapped than an awful lot of people living in this country today. He gets it: Sex divorced from commitment and emotion is just a pleasing muscle spasm. Nothing more. And not particularly human.

Oh, and about that "Christian" Hospice ...
"It is not our job to make moral decisions for our guests. We came to the conclusion that it was our duty of care to support Nick emotionally and to help ensure his physical safety."
I thought the Hospice Movement was about the whollistic care of the dying, not just their "physical safety." I guess Sister Frances does not worry about emotional trauma to the dying ... so why run a hospice at all? Just drug 'em and pocket the difference, since morals and emotional health are not in play.

I have never understood ...

...why the left is so supportive of regimes and cultures that would silence them in a heartbeat.

The left is made up of, among others, feminists, many gay activists, "free speech" advocates and various members of what we referred to on the west coast as the "granola" culture. They have this notion that the US should not have invaded Iraq or, in some cases, even Afghanistan. They have a fascination with Castro's Cuba and a deep respect for the butchers who ran Hanoi at the end of the Vietnam war (when the left handed over the south by cutting off funding.) Oh, and most of all, close Gitmo and set those poor mistreated freedom fighters free!

Yet these very regimes and cultures which the "progressives" seem to value so much would just as soon behead the members of the left if they were to take over.

Now, at last, at least one member of the MSM gets that. From a column by Alicia Colon, writing in the New Orc Sun, quoting a speaker named Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

A few highlights of her speech follow: "Sixty years ago it was the Nazis in Europe who were bent on exterminating in the name of racial purity. Today it is a global network of radical Muslims who call for a holocaust in the name of their faith"; "Human beings are equal; cultures are not"; "A culture that spends millions on saving a baby girl's life is not equal to one that uses its first encounter with natal technology to undertake mass abortion simply because girls are not welcome."

Ms. Ali made several comparisons between America's culture, which respects the rights of women, and the one from which she escaped. She was raised in parts of AfricaSomalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya — which were independent. The white man had exited, but she claims he did not take oppression with him, saying: "Almost all the bigotry and persecution in Africa nowadays is committed by blacks against other blacks." Speaking from experience, she listed acts such as mutilation, beatings, rape, and murder that were "committed against girls and women in the most intimate setting of all, the home, by dad or mom, by a brother or a sister, by a husband or his mother."


How I wish our left would accept the wonder of the freedoms and peace they take for granted even as they scream about imaginary intrusions on their freedoms by (take your pick): 1) the Bush administration, 2) Neo-cons, 3) the Justice Department, 4) the Patriot Act, 5) capitalism, 6) .... (list of imagined conspirators against the freedom to express themselves, expressed quite freely, continues ad nauseam.)
You are correct Ms Colon and Ms Ali: all cultures are not equal. This one is better than any I know.

so then 8 Pictures are worth ...

25 January 2007

Two views on Obama

Barak Obama will not be president in 2008 either. If he is as smart as everyone says, he will not even be in the race by the time of the South Carolina primary. He is too unknown, and from what I hear he is to far left to capture the center.

I have two other responses to Barak Obama from a listserve I am on. (Author's names omitted since I do not have permission to quote yet):

From one honestly evangelical ELCA pastor:
I have worked with Barack Obama personally. During my "do gooder" years as a community organizer in the mid-late 80's I represented the Grand Bouldvard Community Organization (led by Betty Booker) and the Center for New Horizons (led by Sikoune Karancha, never could spell that name...) at many meetings of like-minded community development organizations.
We would sometimes end up at the same (usually small) meetings. He is almost exactly my age and we were both young and idealistic. We were a little young forthe circles we were running in.
I believe he was representing a church based development slumlord-hunting group at those meetings. I doubt he would remember me, but who knows?
He has a Muslim father from Africa, whom I believe left the family at some point; I don't remember. The discussion resulted from my asking him the origin of his name; something that has always been interesting to me (etymologies).

Barack has lived all over the world; I believe he was raised in Hawaii and I do believe he was sent to a Muslim school somewhere in Asia for a few years?

He accepted Christ at Trinity UCC on 95th in Chicago. I know the church well. Middle Class African American congregation. Jeremiah Wright, the senior pastor, may be the finest evangelical preacher in America. We are not worthy to untie Wright's sandals. I am not kidding.

Typical Af-Am evangelical-left-wing church with Pentecostal tendencies. Strong gospel-preaching orientation. If you get saved at Trinity it takes a while for your eyebrows to grow back after getting singed... Their summer week-long evening revivals are worth the plane ticket. They were instrumental in getting Harold Washington elected mayor of Chicago.
If you doubt his conversion, you have to doubt every conversion in your church. If I remember him right, he is energetic, idealistic, more of a centrist than a leftist, a compromiser rather than a hard liner and very warm in person. He's a real gunner, goes after stuff.

I had forgotten all about him and kept thinking, I know him from somewhere! Once I remembered the meeting at the Urban League, then it came back.

Depending on whom he runs against, I may vote for him.
This drew a response from another pastor on the same list serve:

[The] statement that Obama is "...more of a centrist than a leftist..." is laughable. I went on Google and found a page titled "How Interest Groups rate the Senators". The methodology was to take the ratings of each of the 100 Senators who served in the Senate in 2005 as given by eight special interest groups. They are: ACLU, ADA CDF, LCV, NAACP, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League), PTA and SEIU. They gave each Senator a Mean based on his rating by each of the eight interest groups. The Senators are ranked independent of whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Naturally, the Democrats have the highest mean average with the Republicans on the lower end of the list of 100 since all of the eight groups are considered to be liberal organizations. I think you'll agree with that. On a scale of 100 down to 0, the top mean was 98; three senators had that mean average. They were Barack Obama, Dick Durbin (both from Illinois) and Tom Harkin of Iowa. (Ted Kennedy was a mere 95.) The highest Republicans were Lincoln Chafee at 67, Susan Collins at 53 and Olympia Snow at 52. No surprises there. John McCain, usually considered a moderate or "centrist" Republican was a 17. Incidentally, Barack Obama scored a 100 with the NARAL.
I noted that the church in Chicago to which Obama belonged "...was instrumental in getting Harold Washington elected mayor of Chicago." He was the first black mayor of Chicago and won election notwithstanding an earlier conviction and jail term for failing to file Income Tax statements for several years. Now they're pushing one of their number to be the first black president, one who admits (in his book) to using cocaine when he was younger, also a criminal act I believe.
However, the cocaine use doesn't bother me as much as his 100% rating by NARAL.
If it comes down to a race for the Democratic nomination in 2008 between Hillary and Obama, I think Hilary will squash him like a bug. His inexperience will eventually be his undoing. What's funny now is that he's attempting to raise money from the same leftist Hollywood crowd that's been so good to the Clintons over the past ten or more years. He's doing surprisingly well with that crowd. (And when was the last time Barbra Streisand and her crowd supported a centrist candidate for any office?) What he has over Hillary is that while he was not a Senator until after the 2004 election, he was on record as being opposed to our invasion of Iraq while Hillary supported it. But the bottom line is that he has only been in the Senate for two years, has no foreign policy experience and is peaking two years too soon.



The shot taken here at Harold Washington is, in my opinion, out of place. I am no defender of criminality, but Washington was a sea change in a politically segregated city. After his death, one of the white politicians was quoted - not by name of course - by a reported as saying that Washington never treated the White community with the same disdain that the Richard J Daley administration (and his immediate successors) had treated the Black community. I think that Washington made it possible for Richie Daley to be a better mayor today.

Still, the concerns about Obama and his politics are legitimate, even if the original poster did respond: "I have met these men. You have not."

Be Not Afraid

Hillary Clinton will not be president in 2008.

Reasons:

1. She is running against history. I frankly think that the nation is ready for a woman president, but there are two bigger obstacles.
  • I do not remember a time when the (non-incumbent) frontrunner two years out remained the front-runner into the election. She is running right now with a big target on her back. Everyone behind her takes shots at her.
  • More importantly, only two sitting U S Senators have ever been elected president, and only one of those post WW2. Hillary Clinton is no John Kennedy. Too much of a record to try and run away from, and no administrative experience.
2. The Left is Balkanized. Wisconsin, where I now live, is a right of center state. If you back out the People's Republic of Madison and it's left wing voting record, I bet the place would be indistinguishable from Montana politcally. In 2004, they managed to elect a left of center Democratic governer, and a large part of the reason was that the Libertarian Ed Thompson got 10.5% of the vote. The Democrat Doyle only won by 3.7%, so if there had not been a Libertarian candidate, the Dems would have needed 1/3 of those voters to break even, which I consider unlikely. (Assuming the Libertarian voters would have voted at all, which I think highly likely.)

In other words, by splitting the right of center vote, the conservatives gave the election to the Democrats. One can argue the the Greens did the same thing to Al Gore in 2000.

If the Ned Lamont / Joe Lieberman situation from 2006 is any indication, the left would rather be right than win. And nationally, the right would rather have a barely palatable victory than a loss on ideological grounds. (Though after hearing Tom Tancredo on Fox & Friends saying that President Bush had "worked so hard to get" a Democratically controlled Congress, maybe I am wrong.)

Hillary will have to run hard to the left to be acceptable to the Daily Koss left, and that will expose her to scrutiny by the vast center who will then not vote for her in the general election. And I do not think that she has the guts or the right history to do a Sister Soljah moment, even if she has the smarts.

So I think that the politically aware probably know the name of the next president, but Hillary is not going to be it.

19 January 2007

Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

No matter what I do or what happens to me, no matter what my kids do or do not do or go to or meet on their own accord, apparently someone owes me money!

What happened to the girls (who are appropriately not named) in this story is tragic, but, at least in the Texas case, the responsible party is in prison.

NewsCorp and MySpace should not be liable if you let your kid use it and an abuser meets them there and an awful thing happens. If they are going to be held liable, every mall, movie theater and public street in America will probably have to close down, because molesters are known to troll those places as well.

12 January 2007

Its not about the truth...

... its about the discussion!

That seems to be what English professor and former dean Karla Holloway is saying in this article. As it becomes increasingly clear that the accused Duke lacrosse players are innocent of the sexual assault charges leveled against them, Duke offered two of them reinstatement as students. Holloway decried this:

Former dean Karla Holloway calls the decision, quote, "a clear use of corporate power, and a breach, I think, of ethical citizenship."

Earlier this month, officials at Duke said Finnerty and Seligmann could return to school as students in good standing for the spring semester, which began this week. Evans graduated the day before he was indicted.

Holloway was one of 88 faculty members at Duke who endorsed an ad last April in the campus newspaper that included anonymous quotes from students discussing racism and sexual assault on Duke's campus. She is worried discussion of race and gender equality will end once the lacrosse case is settled.

"The issues about race and gender and sexuality that were made more apparent by the case need to continue to be receive serious and sustained attention by this institution," she said.

So it is apparently not a breach of ethical citizenship to pre-judge someone and kick them out of school as though they were guilty until proven innocent, but it is a breach of ethical citizenship to recognize that you have wrongly judged someone in a collapsing legal nightmare.

And the important thing is the discussion, even if those who are quoted discussing are allowed to remain anonymous, though three young men are having their huevos served up on a platter for the media, apparently wrongly, by a desperate prosecutor in a tough primary campaign.

And apparently the essential discussion of "t
he issues about race and gender and sexuality that were made more apparent by the case [and] need to continue to be receive serious and sustained attention" can only continue properly if we punish people because of their race, their gender, and their socio-econimic class, if those happen to be white, male & upper income.

Boy, what a discussion that'll be. I bet they will come to some real honest, relevant conclusions in that one.

*********

This criticism does not in any way negate the fact that these morons got into this difficulty through what can only be called immoral living. If these guys had decided to forego the stripper party, or if the coach had instilled a sense of real manhood amoung the team so that such a party would not have occurred, this would never had happened.

Let's hope these all these boys have learned their lessons.


09 January 2007

Dumb MSM quotes

From Friday, Jan 5, 2007, the Today Show:

Meredith Viera ...

Excursus: I still cannot figure out why they plucked Viera from The View to replace Katie, when they had all kinds of talent right there in the newsroom. Could it be that the competent and adorable Campbell Brown was too young and threatening to the aging demographic that watches the network morning shows?

... was interviewing the person who is producing Grease: You're the One that I Want, a talent show where, get this, America will pick the next stars of a Broadway production. And Viera says:
This is so original.
Yeah, Original. Except for everything from the Ted Mack Amatuer Hour up through American Idol. What hole has this woman been hiding in?

08 January 2007

A little perspective

In the event that Israel actually launches an attack on Iran, the moonbats and the Europeans (is there a difference) will be shocked .. shocked! Best of the Web Today recieved this input from Israeli reader Hershel Ginsburg:
Now Israel is faced with a worse situation with Iran and Mad Mahmoud, who explicitly states he wants to wipe Israel off of the map and is backed by the "moderate" Hashemi Rafsanjani, who muses about Iran absorbing a 50% loss of its population as the bearable price for wiping out Israel in a nuclear exchange. On the one hand we have been waiting for the all-powerful and all-wise "international community" to work its magic and impose meaningful sanctions on Iran. To date, that is still a joke. So now we are facing a threat against our existence on the one hand, and grave warnings on the other hand from the "progressive" types not to expect the U.S. to do the job but not to do it ourselves either lest it upset the Muslim street. In the end we will have to deal with Iran ourselves and bear the consequences because ain't no one else going to do it.
'Nuff said.

07 January 2007

Casualty: Update


JR Salzman, whose injury in Iraq I reported on here, and who has his own blog here is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He has lost his right arm below the elbow, and they will take his left ring finger off next week. His mom & dad were out to visit him over the holidays. Here is a picture his mom took of JR, his wife Josie and a visitor to WRAMC on New Years Day.

God speed your recovery, JR.

Expert on everything

"The moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."

Thus famously spake Maureen Dowd of Cindy Sheehan.

Is that supposed moral authority absolute in all things? Or does her second son need to die, crushed by a south Florida forklift truck for her to now be an expert on trade relations with the Castro regime? (I wish him well, and certainly hope nothing happens to Casey's brother.)

Or maybe, as the right wing blogosphere has been pointing out for a long time, Sheehan is just a moonbat nutjob who never say am extreme left cause she didn't support?

06 January 2007

The Evils of Feminism

One of the great myths of the 20th century was “Feminism.”

Don't get me wrong. Women's liberation is a good thing. Women deserve equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity and equal responsibility. I am a strong supporter of women's liberation.

But feminism is not the same as women's liberation.

I am going to engage in a couple of broad, sweeping generalizations here. These tend to be more true than they are false, but there are always exceptions. Women tend to be relational, feeling & nurturing. Men tend to be action oriented, visually stimulated and challenging. What do I mean? Women talk, men do. Mothers care, fathers push. Chick flicks, action movies. I could go on.

The fundamental problem with Feminism is that is isn't about women at all. Webster's says that the definition of Islamism is
a popular reform movement advocating the reordering of government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.
(For our purposes here, I will not comment on how popular I think it actually is and will stipulate to the definition.) Taking this as a corollary, once could argue that feminism ought, then, to be a reordering of society in accordance with the needs, interests or rights of women. Which, it would seem to me would be the logical end of the second Webster's definition of feminism:
organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.
The problem is, that is not how it has played out. Instead, Webster's first definition is what has transpired. That definition is
the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
What is wrong with this? In attempting to achieve social equality, women have allowed the male stereotype to set the agenda. Rather than bring what might be called women's values to the table, women have adopted men's values and elbowed their way into a marginally functional old boy's club.

There is no place where this is clearer than in the expressions of sexuality. Again with the sweeping generalizations: women crave relationships; men crave sex. In the best of all possible worlds, both would get what they want, because the traditional delivery system for both of these things long term was marriage, and while it was imperfect, it had a near monopoly on the delivery of sex and there was strong social pressure to keep it that way.

If the pundits are correct, one of the places that this monopoly has broken down almost completely is the college campus. There was a great article by Danielle Crittendon in the WSJ a couple weeks back. It describes a book, Unprotected, by an anonymous campus physician that describes the medical and emotional consequences of a sexual-boundary-free campus on women.
[T]he danger of sexually transmitted diseases is too often overlooked in the lifestyle choices of the young women ... But the dangers go far beyond the biological. A girl named Heather, for instance, has succumbed to an intense bout of depression. The doctor presses her to think of possible causes. She can't think of anything. Then she says: "Well, I can think of one thing: since Thanksgiving, I've had a 'friend with benefits.' And actually I'm kind of confused about that."

Heather continues: "I want to spend more time with him, and do stuff like go shopping or see a movie. That would make it a friendship for me. But he says no, because if we do those things, then in his opinion we'd have a relationship--and that's more than he wants. And I'm confused, because it seems like I don't get the 'friend' part, but he still gets the 'benefits.'" It finally dawns on her: "I'm really unhappy about that. It's hard to be with him and then go home and be alone."

Heather is not an unrepresentative case. The author meets patients who cannot sleep, who mutilate themselves, who exhibit every symptom of psychic distress. Often they don't even know why they feel the way they do. As these girls see it, they are acting like sensible, responsible adults: They practice "safe sex" and limit their partners to a mere two or three per year.

They are following the best advice that modern psychology can offer. They are enjoying their sexual freedom, experimenting, discovering themselves. They can't understand what might be wrong. And yet something is wrong. As the author observes, surveys have found that "sexually active teenage girls were more than three times as likely to be depressed, and nearly three times as likely to have had a suicide attempt, than girls who were not sexually active."

And should all this joyous experimentation end in externally verifiable effects--should girls find themselves afflicted with a disease or an unwanted pregnancy--then (and only then) do their campus "women's health" departments go to work for them. They will book the abortion, hand out a condom or prescribe a course of antibiotic treatment. And then they will pat their young patients on the shoulder and send them back into the world, without an admonishing word about the conduct that got them into trouble in the first place.

"Look at how different health decisions are valued," the author advises. "When Stacey avoids fatty foods she is being health conscious. . . . When she stays away from alcohol, she is being responsible and resisting her impulses. For all these she is endorsed for keeping long-term goals in mind instead of giving in to peer pressure and immediate gratification. But if she makes a conscious decision to delay sexual activity, she's simply 'not sexually active'--given no praise or endorsement."
When looking for this article again after a re-boot, I came across the blog Et tu, Jen. She writes:
I was in my early 20's at the height of the Sex and the City craze and saw this sort of thing play out over and over again: girl meets guy she doesn't know very well --> girl sleeps with guy she doesn't know very well --> girl tells herself and everyone else that she's totally cool with this --> girl is actually conflicted and unhappy about it.

Having a lot of female friends and hearing the intimate details of their lives actually convinced me early on, even before I had any sort of belief in God, that we'd been sold a bill of goods on this whole so-called sexual freedom thing. Whether it's just evolution or something given to us by God or both, for whatever reason, it's just not good for women's mental health to have no-strings-attached sex. (Not that it's good for men either, of course, but it seems to be disproportionately detrimental to women.)
She is right on point. And while I believe that a drive for no-strings-attached sex is, for men, a consequence of physiology, it is not good for us. We need relationship as well. Genesis 2:18 describes this necessity well.

As for Sex and the City being the model for the lifestyle of the modern single woman, it isn't. It is a show based on the lifestyle of gay men.
Even Marge Simpson has recognised the secret to Sex and the City. "That's the show about four women acting like gay guys," she said in a recent episode of The Simpsons. She's always been a thinker, that Marge.

Author Camille Paglia recently said the series was a victory for "the huge wing of us pro-sex feminists" over the "1980s anti-porn, anti-sex wing of feminists". Some see Carrie, the New York columnist, as a feminist icon for her candid struggles with uncaring, uncommitted males. Others see Samantha as the real statement about women enjoying sex as much as men once they detach from emotion.

But let's go back a few steps.

Dipping into the series over the years, I was always reminded of an old American theory about writing comedy - you write black and cast white. In other words, you add style and cool to your white characters by writing as though they were black. A variation is writing Jewish and casting gentile to add personality and humour.

For Sex and the City, it seemed the formula was to write gay male and cast straight female. Its (gay) creator, Darren Star, devised one of the gayest hit series featuring straight characters in television history. The lives of the glamorous central characters - and apologies here to gay readers who dislike the stereotyping as much as anyone - revolve around sex, shopping, gossip and bawdy humour. As City Journal has noted, the show is a Yellow Pages of Manhattan's status fashion objects, including Prada skirts, DKNY jeans and shoes by Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. "The heroines lust after these pricey and au courant accoutrements of success ... They size up men with a similarly calculating eye for surfaces."
(As a corollary to this, and to expose yet another lie, the supposedly sweet romantic relationship between the gay shepherds in Brokeback Mountain [sorry, I missed the movie] is actually based on a short story by a woman. Brokeback Mountain is what a woman thinks gay men should act like, just as SATC is about what some gay men think women should act like. Does anyone else see a deception going on here?)

So, back to my original point: feminism has not been about women at all, except in its demand that women act like men. Women's liberation = good. Feminism = bad for women, good for horny college guys. Egged on by radical feminists (like Camille Paglia, quoted above) women like Heather (also noted above) have exchanged relational intimacy for, in some cases literally, a pig an' a poke.

Feminists call this a victory for women.

I call it surrender. And society is worse off for it.

04 January 2007

There is nothing funny ...

... about this tragedy. Everyone should leave this family alone to cope as best they can.

And yet, as one who has lived in Washington State 12 of the last 17 years, and having some experience with the professionals and intellegentsia of Seattle, I could not resist poking fun at the writer for the construction of this sentence, which may speak more truth than intended:
Ashley, the daughter of two professionals in the Seattle area, never had much hope of a normal life.

Of course he is kidding ...

But Scott Ott over as Scrappleface.com is on to something here.

(2007-01-04) — Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, became the first female Speaker of the House today, and immediately called for a ban on abortion to promote social justice because almost 60 percent of aborted children are ethnic minorities.

“It took a long time to get a woman Speaker,” said Rep. Pelosi, “because we killed off 30-to-40 million potential Democrat voters in the last 35 years. Otherwise, by now we could have had a black lesbian Speaker, universal tax-funded healthcare, and a ban on ownership of guns, personal automobiles and private investment accounts.”

The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, she said, was “a Republican plot to wipe out non-white racial groups, especially the poor, and thus to slow the growth of the Democrat party.”

He does not reference the stats, but it is consistent with what I have read that the the numbers of abortions that are devastating ethnic minority communities does amount, in my opinion, to a tragedy of enormous proportions in the black and hispanic communities in this country, and I strongly suspect the native community in Northern Wisconsin.

Now, I am not an absolutist on the abortion issue. I do not want to see abortion made illegal. I am, however, increasingly conservative on the issue, finding that the justifications that I would accept as rationale for an abortion are decreasing in number.

My journey goes like this. A long time ago, I had the whole issue wrapped up in a neat set of ideas about trimesters and viability outside the womb. This got messier and messier as medical advances pushed the viability envelope back further and further. I also have a notion that part of the definition of being human is to be in relationship.

All my neat litle theories went out the window in September 2002 when I walked out of a doctors office having heard the heart-beat of a child that I would not hold for 6 more months. (Oh, I held him within moments of birth, but up to then, it was his mother's job.) But 6 months ante-birth, I had a relationship with that kid, and he was human.

I have not gotten involved in the pro-life movement because I do not believe that this is a political issue, and I do not want to carry signs or sign petitions. I believe that every individual facing an unplanned pregnancy is in the midst of a personal tragedy of Shakespearian proportions, and I am interested in helping those in crisis.

So I am the chair of the steering committee which is incorporating the Northwoods Pregnancy Resource Center here in town, and we will seek to affiliate with Carenet, so that we can walk along side those in crisis and help where we are able.

I will keep you posted on our progress in opening the center.

02 January 2007

Jimmy Carter in a Nutshell

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, American Rabbi

Jimmy Carter was arguably the most hapless president in all American history, and indeed, today most presidential historians today rate him at or near the very bottom of the list.

Ronald Reagan was able to crush Carter at the polls with the simple slogan "Morning in America," a tacit acknowledgement that under Carter's watch it had been a cold midnight across the fruited plain.

But with the publication of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, his ignorant rant against Israel, many in the American Jewish community believe that Carter is not just a loser but an anti-Semite. I disagree.

Jimmy Carter is not so much anti-Semite as anti-intellectual, not so much a Jew-hater as a boor. The real explanation behind his limitless hostility to Israel is a total lack of any moral understanding.

Carter wants to do what's just. His heart's in the right place. He just can't figure out what the right is. He is, and always has been, a man of good intentions bereft of good judgment. He invariably finds himself defending tyrants and dictators at the expense of their oppressed peoples. Not because he is a bad man, but because he is a confused man.

Carter subscribes to what I call the Always Root for the Underdog school of morality. Rather than develop any real understanding of a conflict, immediately he sides with the weaker party, however wicked or immoral.

Israel has tanks and F-16's. The Palestinians don't. Therefore the Palestinians are being oppressed. Never mind that the Palestinians have rejected every offer to live side by side with Israel in peace and elected a government pledged to Israel's annihilation. Their poverty dictates the righteousness of their cause even if their actions speak otherwise.

If Israel builds a barrier to cordon off the Palestinians, it is not to prevent their suicide bombers from dismembering children but to punish them for having darker skin.

Carter's obsession with the unrighteous underdog has embarrassed him many times before. It was what motivated him to visit and legitimize Fidel Castro and take his side in a bio-weapons dispute with the United States. Castro runs a tiny island in the shadow of the world's superpower. He must therefore perforce be a victim of American bullying, even if he is a brutal dictator and tyrant.

Championing the unrighteous underdog also led Carter to praise the murderous North Korean tyrant Kim Il Sung with these words: "I find him to be vigorous, intelligent... and in charge of the decisions about this country." Carter added, "I don't see that [the North Koreans] are an outlaw nation."

He also hailed Marshal Joseph Tito as "a man who believes in human rights," and said of the murderous Romanian dictator Ceausescu: "Our goals are the same: to have a just system of economics and politics... We believe in enhancing human rights."

This, of course, gives me reason to point out the two best articles on the net for explaining the mindset of the left: this one and this one.

If you haven't read them, do. It will help you understand President Carter and much of the left, gentle reader. (And I address you, gentle reader, in the singular, because based on the page count reports, there are probably only a couple of you at best.)

Hat Tip: BOTW

01 January 2007

Modern Culture = High School!

Most of my Seminary profs were good theologians. Some were positively brilliant. A few were excellent at synthesizing a broad variety of cultural and historical data into a coherent and relevant narrative for pastors in training. One of those was Dr Pat Keifert.

I had Keifert only for a few lectures in a multi-discipline class taught by three or four profs. I recall one of those lectures quite vividly. Keifert was discussing modern culture (in the anthropological - not qualitative - sense.)

Now, does
modern American urban culture ever seem a little too pre-occupied with sex and violence? A little too hormonal? There is a reason for that.

Mediaeval Europe always had a significant homeless population. These were beggars and hired hands and transients. In the 17th century, the process of Enclosure, in which previously common, open land was fenced in, sped up in England. After the London Plague of 1665-66, it was also a period when the effects of the Black Death ebbed. As a result, there were a lot more young people around, homeless. Enclosure forced them to go somewhere.

Between 1600 and 1700, London grew from a city of 200,000 to a city of 600,000 people. This is the time when modern urban culture was invented in England. And, while America might be a melting pot, combining many cultural influences, the pot itself is English.

What does this have to do with hormonally driven culture of sex and violence? Well, as one online source reports:

[A] combination of low overall fertility rates with high levels of migration substantially skewed the age structure of London. Low fertility rates, for instance, generally result in a low overall dependency ratio (the number of old and young people supported by the working population). For England as whole this ratio reached its lowest point in the 1670s. Because a high number of London's inhabitants were relatively young migrants over the age of 14, the effect would be even more powerful in the capital. In other words, London in the late seventeenth century was not a city of children or the elderly. Instead, it was dominated by young men and women in their teens and twenties. [emphasis added]
As Keifert put it (my phrasing), the problem with modern urban culture is that it was invented by teenagers.

Think about those questions again. Does modern urban culture seem a little too pre-occupied with sex and violence? A little too hormonal? Even the Victorians were pre-occupied with sex, even if it was to the point of an unhealthy denial. The reason: the essence of urban culture is high school.

I was driving to Duluth (“the city” around these parts) the other day and I hit scan on the radio, so I can hear what the youth are listening to. I think that Bowling for Soup may have the best up to the moment commentary on modern urban culture.
Four years you think for sure
That’s all you've got to endure
All the total weenies
All the stuck up chickies
So superficial, so immature
Then when you graduate
You take a look around and you say HEY WAIT!
This is the same as where I just came from
I thought it was over
Aw that’s just great

The whole dang world is just as obsessed
With who‘s the best dressed and who‘s having sex
Who‘s got the money, who gets the hunnie's
Who‘s kinda cute and who‘s just a mess
And you still don’t have the right look
And you don’t have the right friends
Nothing changes but the faces, the names, and the trends
High school never ends

Check out the popular kids
You’ll never guess what Jessica did
How did Mary Kate lose all that weight
And Katie had a baby so I guess Tom’s straight
And the only thing that matters
Is climbing up that social ladder
Still care about your hair and the car you drive
Doesn’t matter if you’re sixteen or thirty-five

Reese Witherspoon,She’s the prom queen
Bill Gates,Captain of the chess team
Jack Black, the clown
Brad Pitt, the quarterback
Seen it all before
I want my money back!!

The whole dang world is just as obsessed
With who’s the best dressed and who’s having sex
Who’s in the club and who’s on the drugs
Who’s throwing up before they digest
And you still don’t have the right look
And you don’t have the right friends
And you still listen to the same sh** you did back then
High school never ends

High school never ends

The whole dang world is just as obsessed
With who‘s the best dressed and who‘s having...
Who‘s got the money, who gets the hunnie's
Who‘s kinda cute and who‘s just a mess
And I still don’t have the right look
And I still have the same three friends
And I’m pretty much the same as I was back then
High school never ends ... High school never ends ... High school never ends ... Here we go again
I remember high school pretty well. High school never ends. Scary.




Not to get ...

... all holier than thou, and certainly not to get all bleeding heart on you, but really: I hope not.

via Ex-Donkey.

Lost in the Ecumenical Fog

Ok, I am a Lutheran. And the Seminary I went to is ostensibly Lutheran.

So why is this on the front page of their internet site?


St. Nicholas, Patron Saint of Students

Luther Seminary
The seminary's most recent Iconography class displayed their icons of St. Nicholas and led a morning chapel service on December 19.



ELCA-brand Lutheranism has been lost in an ecumenical fog for a while now, but Luther Sem had been an outpost of hope.

Past tense.