Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Unified Theory of the Old Media Collapse

From The Weekly Standard, or actually, "The Daily Standard." See also Hugh Hewitt's specific suggestions of questions that all reporters ought to answer, so that prospective readers, listeners, and viewers can adequately judge their work.

Basically, Hugh Hewitt tells us that the MSM is the way it is because, in their zeal to reform themselves from their pro-segregationist past during the Civil Rights movement, they went from one unhealthy extreme to another, even less healthy extreme. This explains the shocking differences between media coverage of World War Two on one hand and Vietnam (and the present War Against Terror) on the other, and possibly explains why what Hewitt calls the "legacy media" went all-out to elect John Kerry in the last election (a campaign they, of course, lost).

I cannot read the comments that Hugh got for his "ten questions" (actually, six questions, one of which had five parts to it), so I am left with taking his word that the feedback he got for those questions was highly negative:

The outrage in response to my suggested disclosures from some bloggers was intense and immediate. One even suggested that posing such questions was incipient McCarthyism.
Let's everybody calm down here. A private citizen asking, for example, "For whom did you vote in each of the previous five Presidential elections?" is not the same thing as Senator Joseph McCarthy (D-WI) asking, "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" Furthermore, McCarthy's mistake was in assuming that he and the rest of the country were on the same page; his campaign consisted of trying to ferret out a coordinated conspiracy of evil men. (Little did McCarthy or his detractors realize that such a conspiracy actually did exist, much less its actual nature.) Hugh Hewitt clearly states that the MSM made an uncoordinated choice. I see no conspiracy hunting here, but merely an observation of how a like-minded group of people gained a control that they still do not wish to relinquish.

Even so, Hugh Hewitt's analysis is incomplete. Not only did you see the assembly of a permanently hostile press beginning in the late Sixties. You also saw a collection of cabals of men and women prepared to sacrifice even the truth itself to advance an agenda. Dan Rather's disgraceful, reckless (and, I still maintain, knowing) use of forged documents was not the first such episode. I recall the Sarin Gas story of 1998--and the letter-to-the-editor in The Wall Street Journal in which the two producers of that story, after Ted Turner had to fire them, spat and hissed, "We s-s-stand by our s-s-story!" Nor was the affair of the Killian Memoranda the last such story. Indeed, the distortions and willingness to lie go on and on. These people could easily have gotten jobs for Joe Hunt's Billionaire Boys' Club before its principals were finally brought to book for the two murders that the club committed in its lifetime. I quote from the Crime Library online:

Joe liked to persuade people that life was best lived and business best done according to what he called "paradox" philosophy. It was a combination of situation and utilitarian ethics: the ends justified the means, and one should do whatever had to be done to benefit oneself. From different perspectives, the same item or situation can have contradictory qualities: White is black and black is white. Everything depends on how you look at it. As long as there was a payoff, one could reconcile oneself to doing anything. Anything.
A paradox is anything you don't expect. That's straight out of the Greek, and comes from para it's not, and dokei what you think. And a central tenet of paradoxism--as Joe Hunt sold it and as the MSM (and also Islam) practice it today--is that it's acceptable to lie, so long as you know the truth and the lie will benefit your cause.

I don't know whether the Old Media will stay collapsed. I do know that I am proud to be part of its alternative.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Abstinence program offends 'nontraditional families'

Actually, I'm not at all sure what WorldNetDaily makes of the frankly silly spectacle of the Lansing (NY) Board of Education canceling an abstinence program from a local crisis-pregnancy center. About the only real indicator of parental objection to the program is this paragraph:
[M]any parents are upset with the program's basic message of waiting for marriage, and the mother of one student complained abstinence should be taught as a health choice, not a moral choice.
What, I ask, is wrong with the message of waiting for marriage? Am I to understand that some parents actually want their kids to be "free" to engage in premarital sex? Is this irresponsible or what??

Let's also look closely at the false dichotomy of "health choice v. moral choice." First, too many people deny the health benefits of abstinence. In point of fact, sexual intercourse is the most intimate bodily contact that two people can ever have, other than pregnancy and gestation. A lot of diseases spread chiefly or only that way. Furthermore, abstinence is the only method known to prevent pregnancy in all cases, when practiced "properly"--and the only proper way to practice abstinence is "without exception or regard to romantic circumstance." That is also the only way to prevent the spread of those diseases I mentioned.

Now I ask you: when is a health choice not a moral choice? What is morality, anyway, but a code of practice that your values dictate? What shall we say, then, of any person who places so little value on her own health that she will not insist on abstaining as a way to protect her health?

And I haven't even mentioned mental or emotional health. Abstinence has an obvious physical benefit--though I might more accurately say that abstinence is a perfect method for avoiding certain physical hazards. Why do we hear so little about the mental and emotional hazards of adultery and fornication? I think I know why, actually: so many people don't want to admit any such hazard. All they see is the gratification of their pleasures and desires of the moment. Never once have any of them considered that they are on a treadmill to oblivion (or worse)--and that, even apart from any afterlife consideration, they will never be satisfied. No attachment that they make will have any lasting quality--not after they've gotten so used to making and breaking such attachments.

Who coined that phrase "nontraditional families" anyway? That came from the Board of Education. They have no evidence to support their claim, other than a few complaints that defy logic. Besides, the very phrase "nontraditional family" is an oxymoron and a neologism (literally a made-up word or phrase). Family, properly understood, means father and mother and children. It does not mean two overly-intimate roommates, with or without children.

And finally, if a "program's Christian affiliation [is] inappropriate for a public school," then maybe public schools are inappropriate places to send a child if you want to raise that child right.

State cuts number of abortions in half

According to WorldNetDaily, the State involved is Mississippi. How did they do it? WND talks about "restrictions." But have a look at what they are, according to the article:
  • In Mississippi, any health-care provider may, for no better reason than the dictates of his conscience, refuse any abortion-related service or referral.
  • Minors must obtain the consent of both their parents before obtaining an abortion.
  • Abortion providers must inform their prospective patients that having abortions increases the risk of cancer of the breast. (You may doubt this, but just think about it for a moment: Throw your hormones out of whack often enough, and you'll get breast cancer. It's that simple.)
Those aren't restrictions at all. A restriction would be a direct prohibition of the practice under certain circumstances. The conscience statute is an affirmation of a cardinal freedom: the right to decide for yourself what goods or services you will provide or recommend to other people. The parental-consent law is simply an application to abortion of a regulation that now applies to any other form of medical treatment. And the breast-cancer warning is a targeted truth-in-advertising statute. I am ashamed that judiciaries won't apply regular truth-in-advertising law to the abortion-and-breast-cancer link, but if they won't do it, then legislatures must issue explicit orders.

The number of abortions done in Mississippi has dropped by more than half in the last twelve years, to a level one-third the nationwide abortion rate (although the WND article doesn't give the denominator of that rate). Did the above measures bring that about? I just can't say, for many reasons, chief among which:

  1. The article doesn't say when each of these measures was enacted.
  2. I don't know what else has been going on in Mississippi that might bear on the question of why women are having fewer abortions. Maybe the same activists who have been changing the law have also been changing hearts.
I do have one major criticism of the activist Roy McMillan, whose affiliation the WND article doesn't give. WND cites the Associated Press as quoting him thus:
Thankfully, we've arrived at a time I always wanted -- when the women have to come through us.
Roy, if you said that, then let me straighten you out. This isn't about you, or me, or any movement, or about any human beings acting as gatekeepers. This is about changing hearts and minds. All the conscience clauses you can imagine would avail nothing if the doctors didn't have a conscience. All that the legislature has done is allow doctors to act as their conscience dictates; the doctors themselves have then decided not to recommend abortion to their patients, nor tell them where they can get an abortion. Likewise, the women involved have made their own decisions, following a presentation of the facts and just possibly getting their own consciences pricked. Talking about "having the women come through you" is counterproductive and, considering the stakes, irresponsible.

That aside, we can all be thankful of this clear sign that abortion is becoming less of a winning issue on the left, now that the truth is becoming known.

UPDATE: Here is the original AP article, as printed in The Clarion-Ledger. This article uses the same distortions I detected earlier--and I would really like to encourage WorldNetDaily not to carry forward the AP's habitual distortion of the facts when they cite AP articles in staff-written pieces. The article does, however, describe other factors responsible for the decline of abortions in Mississippi: you have women going to other States to get their abortions, or you have women using contraception so that they avoid the whole pregnancy question in the first place. The article also mentions something they call "community pressure," which they don't define.

But then the AP article makes an interesting point: pro-life activists in Mississippi have been pointing out "the checkered legal backgrounds of some abortion providers." This could mean that some of these abortionists have bent the law, or that they have a history of malpractice judgments against them. I can well imagine that either scenario has some basis in fact, and even that this one strategy, more than any other, has been effective in shutting down every abortion clinic but one. Now what the article doesn't explain is why no other abortion clinics have sprung up to replace those that have shut down. That could possibly be the result of doctors refusing "emergency referrals" (I can't imagine any emergent indication for an abortion--none whatsoever) or of minors suddenly needing to get parental consent. Or maybe it's because we now have crisis pregnancy centers equipped with the one piece of equipment that has done more than any other single thing to change hearts and minds: an obstetrical sonograph or "ultrasound machine." When you actually see this life that you have been thinking to terminate, going through with it suddenly gets an order of magnitude harder.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Democratic leaders look to downplay abortion issue

From The State (South Carolina), though actually it comes originally from The New York Times.

Once again, the Democrats know that the Republicans handed them their heads in this last election over the issue of abortion. Yet look closely:

  1. "[C]andidates should make abortion a less central focus of future campaigns." In other words: don't ask, don't tell.
  2. "[T]hey [are] not abandoning their fundamental support for abortion rights." Well, I never thought they ever would. And yet:
  3. "Democrats should consider accepting some restrictions that enjoy popular support--like parental notification when teenagers receive abortions." All right, let's test that: If that is where you now stand, then sit down and shut up and vote "Aye" on President Bush's judicial nominations--and renominations.
  4. Check this out from Donna Brazile: "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies." That's because that is exactly what you are about, and I'll thank you to stop lying to the American public--and more to the point, get your mind right.
  5. Or check this out from Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA): "Republicans have been successful at painting the view of the pro-choice movement as abortion-on-demand--and nothing can be farther from the truth."Senator, that's another lie--and illustrates perfectly why Committees on Standards of Official Conduct are largely jokes. If such Committees (a.k.a. "Ethics Committees") had truth-in-speechmaking clauses, then Senator Feinstein would have been thrown out of the Senate a long time ago.
Of course, from the pro-abortion lobbies who have the perennial seats at the table--Nancy Keenan of NARAL (I refuse to use that ridiculous new name of theirs) and Gloria Feldt of Planned [Non-]Parenthood--are already telling the DNC that any revision in their stance is a no-no. I have to respect them for their brass, because I always respect brass over hypocrisy any day. What they both say, in essence, is that we are the extremists, because we regard abortion as murder. Of course, their positions are morally untenable--and Feldt especially has it all wrong, talking about "unintended pregnancies." To begin with, Planned Parenthood began with a Nazi sympathizer who wanted to con the blacks and other minorities into not reproducing themselves. Furthermore, as Steve Sailer has shown, they've conned themselves into not reproducing, and the next generation of voters is likely to outvote them even worse next time around.

I prredict that the Democrats will end up falling right into line. The test will come when Bush's twenty previously blocked judicial nominees come up for debate in the Senate. The Democrats will fail that test, and we'll be back in the Election of 2006--mark my words.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Exit Polls Show Ukraine Challenger Ahead

From AP.

True enough, the experience of our own elections shows that exit polls are often not worth the breath wasted to take them. A lot depends on who's taking them and who the takers want to see win, or if they even have a horse in this particular race. But if Viktor Yushchenko is set to body-slam Yanukovych to the mat, it is all of a piece with the reports we've seen from the Ukraine in advance of the election, of the overwhelming sentiment in favor of Yushchenko.

Niccolo Macchiavelli is often cited as having said that if you're going to kill the king, make sure of him, or you're dead. I'm not sure that Macchiavelli ever said that (at least, no such saying of his comes up early in a Google search), but I'd say that a similar maxim applies to those who try to poison their political opponents: make sure of them, or they'll beat you soundly in the next election simply because they have the sympathy of the electorate.

Yanukovych is already making sore-loser noises, threatening to go to court to contest these latest results. Will he have a prayer of winning? Only time will tell.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Why 85 Episcopal churches closed their doors

(From WorldNetDaily)

Well, why do you think? This is why. If you doubt that the spectacle of an avowed homosexual serving as a bishop in the Episcopal Church has driven 36,000 members away and forced 85 parishes to close for lack of attendance and financial support, consider this: Those 85 parishes are more than double the number of parishes in the entire Diocese of New Hampshire.

Mr. Robinson, of course, remains unrepentant and defiant. Clearly he fails completely to understand the Scripture he is sworn to defend. But the problem goes further than that. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA (the "American Province" of the Anglican Communion) doesn't understand the issue, either--and neither does the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of it all. Then again, many have failed to grasp issues of even weightier import.

Conservative Episcopalians warned Canon Robinson to step down or gain the ignominy of causing a schism, and similarly warned the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop to remove him--or else. They didn't remove him, so behold the "else."

But then again, Canon Robinson represents only the final outburst of Scriptural down-watering that has been going on for about half a century. It began with Bishop Otis Pike and continued with Bishop John Shelby Spong. That's when I realized that the Episcopal Church were the biggest bunch of losers since the ancient Sadducees. It would take me a great many years to find my focus, but I finally did--which is why I am a fundamental Baptist, and have aligned myself with the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America.

So concerning this latest news from the Episcopal Church, I predict that if the Lord tarries, that church will die. But if He doesn't tarry, then--well, a time will come when I won't be here, and the IBFNA will be an untended Web presence--and Canon Robinson will be preaching to a full house on how the ECUSA should pray for deliverance "from the terror that now dares knock on the doors of this Thy House." (The War of the Worlds, dir. Byron Haskin, with Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, et al., Paramount Pictures, 1953). Little will he or anyone else know the Truth...!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Al-Qaida prepares for major attack over Christmas

This is from WorldNetDaily, who got it from Geostrategy Direct. WorldNetDaily has been working on this for the last eleven days. Now they have more specific information: it seems that some suspicious people have been casing targets in Europe, including NATO's headquarters and even children's hospitals and clinics. Target cities include Brussels, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, and Moscow.

Stay tuned, everyone; that's all I can say for now, in addition to what WorldNetDaily and its partners have.

Report: CBS Eyes Couric for Rather Replacement

This comes from my number-one reliable source,

You'll remember, I'm sure, that when Diane Sawyer was the rumored CBS pick, I thought CBS were out of their minds. I still do--for the same type of reason, and now, perhaps, an even better reason. If Diane Sawyer is Dan Rather with an X chromosome instead of a Y, then Katie Couric is just a bit of fluff! Fox seems to think that this will help ABC better than CBS, because Diane Sawyer's Good Morning, America will run circles around NBC's venerable Today when Katie Couric is gone. Fox, I love you guys, and I know you've got your facts straight on this. (I mean, why would you lie to me?) But who is kidding whom? Today is still coasting on the legacy of Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters. I don't think Katie Couric has done a thing for that show.

As to what will happen at CBS if Katie Couric serves out the last 18 months of her contract at NBC and switches over, I predict one of two things:

  1. Katie Couric will last about a year trying to "perk up" the evening news, and then Peter Jennings over at ABC will chew her up and spit her out. Or:
  2. Katie Couric will become less fluffy--and just as mean as Dan Rather was. If you don't believe me on that, ask Sean Hannity how he was treated the last time he was on the Today show.
Put it all together, and I have even less reason to watch CBS again than I ever had before.

Jesse Jackson Says Bush Would Leave Jesus Homeless

This I have from who else would pay out rope and let Jesse Jackson embarrass himself like that?

Here is a direct quote:

In the last [Bush] budget, we cut housing again, and that was Jesus' dilemma. In Bethlehem, his family ended up homeless...Rome was a wealthy country that left Jesus and Mary and Joseph, in a sense, homeless. He was born an at-risk baby.
All right, Reverend Mister Jackson, it's 'fess-up time. What seminary did you go to? Your ignorance of the Bible, or at least the impression of ignorance that you give, amazes me. It's enough to doubt that you ever were allowed inside a seminary.

For everyone's information, I will quote my fellow physician Saint Luke on the precise circumstances of Jesus' birth:

And it came to pass in those days that an order went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire [Roman] inhabited world would be registered. [Greek apographo I am registering someone, counting him in a census, whatever.] And this first enrollment was done when [Publius Sulpicius] Quirinius was governing in Syria. And everyone went to enroll, each to his own city or town. And Joseph also went up, out of Galilee and the town of Nazareth, into Judea and the city of David called Bethlehem, on account of his being of the house and lineage of David, to enroll with Mary his betrothed, who was pregnant at the time. And it happened while they were there that the time came for her to deliver, and she delivered her first-born Son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the upper room. [Greek kataluma a guest room.]
That's from Luke 2:1-7, which I have translated straight out of the original Greek. (Many thanks to my pastor for granting me a year's instruction in Roman-era Common Greek.)

Now I'll give you all some further readings-between-the-lines: Bethlehem, and indeed all the cities of the Jews, were packed solid. Augustus was very clever when he picked this particular time to take his grand census: it was right during the Festival of Tabernacles, which always falls on the full moon of the seventh month of the Hebrew year. (This was September 16, 5 BC according to the Julian calendar.) Joseph probably showed up in Bethlehem and sought out his nearest relatives--who had already crammed people into every nook and cranny in every spare room on the upper floors of their house. So Joseph and Mary had to make do in the stables on the ground floor--which would be the ancient equivalent of having to sleep in the garage. That word kataluma is often translated as "inn," but if that has you thinking of the kind of modern commercial establishment that men like Kemmons Wilson and Howard Johnson made famous in this country, then you've got it all wrong.

Now I don't expect most people to know about that. But I do expect a man of the cloth to know it! And if Jesse Jackson is going to shoot his mouth off, trying to politicize our remembrance of the Nativity, then at least he should do his homework!

And while I'm on that subject: I can think of no man less qualified to speak for or about Jesus than Jesse Jackson. Other more qualified and patient investigators than myself have already chronicled his various and sundry frauds and extortions--and indeed fraud and extortion are a way of life with him. I'm not talking about what you traditionally mean by extortion, involving physicial assaults or any such thing--I'm talking about sheer political or juridical blackmail. And when that man starts comparing our President to someone's evil concept of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Octavianus, Emperor of the Romans...well, all I have to say is that if Jesus were alive today, and were to confront him, He might begin by overturning his desk and continue by chasing him with a cat-o'-nine-tails, shouting, "How dare you turn My Memory into a cheap, mendacious political statement? I am about to spit you out of My mouth!"

Rush Limbaugh spent some of his last two hours on the air for 2004 basically laughing at Jackson, particularly for ignoring what Jesus became, and what He means to so many people in this world to this day. If I'm not laughing, it's because I shudder to think of a man who purports to be a minister of the Gospel speaking so cavalierly of One Who, when He returns to earth in glory to judge the quick and the dead, will definitely tolerate no nonsense! But why am I even surprised? Jesse Jackson has no respect for the President, or even for the abstract concept "President of the United States." And similarly, he doesn't seem to believe that Jesus is Real. I know better than that, and I suggest that Jackson needs to get his mind right [Greek metanoia a change of mind or heart, or "repentance"] before it's too late.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Let's have a pity party for Michael Moore!

One! Two! Three! Awwwwwww!

I recognize, as I'm sure NewsMax also does, that a contender for any of the Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) Awards, or "Oscars," always wants all the publicity he can get. But what kind of publicity does Michael Moore think he'll get by going on a paranoid blather?

At issue, apparently, is a full-page ad in USA Today and a similar ad in Variety, strongly suggesting that Michael Moore's so-called documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, was not deserving of the honor of Best Picture of 2004. Moore also charges that Bill O'Reilly issued a threat that if Fahrenheit 9/11 did make Best Picture, it might be the last time that middle America went to the movies for a long time.

This from a man who withdrew his film from contention for the Best Documentary Feature award, so that he could get away with showing his film on pay-TV before the election. (That deal fell through.)

Bill O'Reilly has not been shy about criticizing Michael Moore. Here is one example. Here is O'Reilly's interview with Moore over the summer, during which O'Reilly didn't pull any punches--and if you follow his show for any number of episodes, you know that O'Reilly is an equal-opportunity giver-of-hard-times to guests. (And by the way, Moore did indeed imply that the Iraqis didn't need us to liberate them from Saddam Hussein--and he'd get a lot of arguments about that, if he dared visit Iraq.) Here is Bill O'Reilly's scathing review of Michael Moore's earlier book, Stupid White Men. But you know what? I haven't yet found the transcript that quotes Bill O'Reilly as actually saying that AMPAS would provoke a boycott of the movies if they gave Moore an Oscar for his latest film.

But let's assume, for the moment, that Bill O'Reilly did say that--and I'll leave it up to Bill as to whether he will avow or deny that. (Bill O'Reilly never "concedes.") Has Bill O'Reilly committed libel, then? No. Truth is an absolute defense against a charge of libel or slander, as Michael Moore's lawyers ought to have told him by now. Hollywood is already in major trouble for making hate-America movies--and shack-up/shoot-'em-up movies, too--and if they were to grant Michael Moore any Oscar, they would debase themselves even further than they already have. Because Fahrenheit 9/11 is a pack of lies from main title to end title. It is not a documentary; it is fiction posing as a documentary. John Forsythe, Jackie Cooper, and an all-star (for the time) cast did a better job in Shadow on the Land, back in 1968, than Michael Moore ever did--because Shadow at least told a decent story and didn't pretend to be a true-to-history drama!

Michael Moore seemed on the path to self-redemption when he frankly admitted that Bush got more votes than Kerry did, and no "electoral theft" was involved. Now he's back in his old stupid form. What a pity.

Somebody's Been Watching Too Much Iranian Television

Check this out from MEMRI: Saudi Government Daily Accuses U.S. Army of Harvesting Organs of Iraqis. That's right--someone has already cooked up a conspiracy theory and published it in a government organ. This would be the rough equivalent of NOW (or maybe that should be THEN) with Bill Moyers, or All Things Considered on NPR, interviewing one of many theorists who charge that those vapor trails that you're used to seeing, when an airplane at just the right altitude flies overhead, are in fact a deadly poison.

And these guys pretend to be our friends? Once again: According to the Koran, it's OK to lie, so long as you know the truth and the lie will benefit the Muslim faith. Here is an example.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Iranian TV Drama Series about Israeli Government Stealing Palestinian Children's Eyes

From MEMRI. Folks, now you've seen everything. First we had the Great Blood Libel, or the accusation that Jews killed Christians and Arabs to drain their blood to make pastry or Passover matzoh. Now it's the crime that sci-fi writer Larry Niven called "organlegging"--taking transplant organs from unwilling donors. The series concept begins with the theft of children's eyes, and continues with kidnap-murder. (Larry Niven, call your lawyer. I think someone has violated your copyrights.)

The article contains partial scripts, plus links to full scripts and video clips. Even apart from the subject matter, the material is typical latter twentieth century horror fare--the sort of thing that down-on-their-luck directors used to make with actresses chosen for their looks, dubbed-in screamers, and lots of ketchup. (I just remembered: ketchup is an Arab condiment!) The dialogue is one-dimensional and wooden, and the premise, politics aside, is preposterous. The whole thing would be funny were it not so absolutely disgusting.

And to see it come from a former official of Iran's Ministry of Education makes it worse. What kind of "education" do those kids get, anyway?

And these are the people with whom liberals and "moderates" would have us negotiate? Sorry--but there's no negotiating with government officials who make such trash.

Bad News for Fired Christian is Good News for Christian Organizations

From Christianity Today's Weblog. The case at hand is LeBoon v. Lancaster Jewish Community Center. At issue: the JCC fired Linda LeBoon after a Jewish counter-missionary appeared at a Jews-for-Jesus event, saw Ms. LeBoon there, and--well, snitched. The trial court ruled that the JCC has a perfect right to fire anyone who is not spiritually in tune with the organization and the rest of its staff.

Ted Olson's point, and it's a good one, is that if a Messianic Jew (or Hebrew Christian) can get fired out of a Jewish group--even one that offers services of any kind to any and all comers--then a Christian ministry, including a Catholic charity, can fire anyone for not being a Christian. The principle is a very simple one: freedom of association. That freedom includes the freedom not to associate with any person whatever, for any reason or no reason. If "equal protection of the laws" means anything at all, then an awful lot of "problem plaintiffs" will suddenly have no room to complain.

Watch this case closely, sportsfans. We might now have a split in the circuits, which might force the US Supreme Court to grant certiorari to a number of freedom-of-association defendants and finally give the argument the attention it deserves. As for Linda LeBoon--well, she'd be welcome at my church any time.

Bush Snuggles Illegal Aliens

From WorldNetDaily. All right, it's not quite as bad as it sounds. Specifically, the Border Patrol are issuing blankets and heat packs to its border stations--because illegal border crossers don't have sense enough to dress for the weather before they cross.

Now I don't advocate letting someone freeze to death, even for his own mistake, once we've caught him. But I want him sent back. When you put this in the context of Bush's continued misguided efforts to pass an amnesty--yes, amnesty--for those same illegal aliens, it's even less attractive.

Let's have some perspective:

  1. If, as Bush alleges, some Americans won't do certain jobs, that's because we pay people to be slackers and hold out for "more dignified jobs." This must stop. Personally, I prefer Robert J. Ringer's Quick-as-[censored] Full-employment Theory, which states: If you eliminated all the welfare and other such programs today, then the unemployment would find jobs tomorrow--quick as [censored], and without complaining about anything being beneath their dignity. (And what dignity exists in taking a handout from the government?)
  2. Why are farmers still diddling around at every harvest time, looking to gather in their crops by manual labor? Can't they buy enough equipment to get in the harvest using their regular farmhands? Farmers seem to do better forcasting the weather than planning for the harvest!
  3. If some border crosser doesn't have sense enough to prepare for the weather and other hazards of the crossing, then how can he possibly be worth a hoot as a worker? Would someone please explain that?
But the larger point is this: All that Al-Qaeda has to do is salt one saboteur among all those "good-hearted people...coming here to work," and the next story you will hear about is another act of mass murder. Bush needs to think about that--and to tell El Presidente Vicente Fox (as in Crazy As) to stop exporting his poverty problem and start taking some responsibilidad for his own country.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Adult Answer

Adult stem cells, that is, according to Michael Fumento on National Review Online. If adult stem cells are the answer, then what's the question? The question is, "Which type of stem cell has actually provided workable therapies for human diseases?" Those diseases even include primary paralysis due to spinal-cord injury, the disease that plagued Christopher Reeve with complications of which he ultimately died. (Believe it or not, adult stem cells have already helped the lame to walk, and much of the funding for that research came from Reeve's own foundation! Yet he continue to hype embryonic stem cells until the day he died, and John Edwards even made it a campaign issue.) The article is very rich in hyperlinks, so that you can check out for yourself everything that Mr. Fumento says. Among his findings is one that I consider the key: that fourteen types of adult stem cells are now know, and those fourteen together just might hold the solution for re-creating any other type of cell a patient might need. This, while embryonic stem cells are so incredibly difficult to control that all they do is produce teratomas (literally, "monster tumors," or malignant tumors of cell types normally seen halfway or so through embryonic development) in rats.

I also have a few words about this article, which Mr. Fumento said "has some validity." No way. Its author, Christopher Mooney, is an atheist, as his on-line column in Skeptical Inquirer clearly shows. And furthermore, that column contains some of the most fantastic (in the negative sense) submissions that I have ever seen--and anyone who brought this kind of stuff into a medical journal club session would be booted out by whoever could stop rolling on the floor laughing long enough to give him the boot. Here is one example--I mean, come on! Either a Hollywood movie is a stupid movie or it isn't! This other example clearly shows that Mooney is only skeptical about things that don't fit his particular fancies.

Mooney's biggest problem, however, is that to him, the imprimatur of presently reputable scientific journals is gold. It isn't. (And again, he could never publish half his stuff if those journals really lived up to the standards they pretend to have.) The editors of those journals are fallible human beings, like him or me or anyone else. They have their agendae. And I can personally attest that those agendae are anti-God and anti-freedom; they plump for a techno-cratic elite that would shock Aldous Huxley, and they commonly act as though they already are that elite. So when he says that if the "Christian fundamentalists" keep up trying to play scientist when they are not scientists, they will only marginalize themselves--well, I won't say that he has it backwards. I will say that all that will happen is that a scientific counter-establishment will arise and will be at war with the old establishment from now to the Rapture. And shrill denunciations like those of Chris Mooney will not help the old establishment's cause.

Syrian MP Dr. Muhammad Habash Denounces the American Culture of 'Violence' and 'Cruelty'

From MEMRI. Let's take that article one at a time:
What do the Americans want? The Americans don't want to hear any Arab voice, any Islamic voice.
On the contrary, we hear those voices every day. And this:
I was going to America to represent the tolerant voice of Islam.
Oh? Which voice is that? The one that says, "Fight and slay the infidels wheresoever ye find them"? Or the voice that tells the sort of lies that it's OK to tell if they'll advance the faith?
I want to talk about the philosophical roots of this condescending culture, a culture that realizes the desire for expansion at the expense of others. Take for example Nietzsche, the 19th century philosopher. I personally view him as the philosopher of American administrations and philosopher of American policy. He speaks very clearly about the need to create a superman and that the creation of superman, the creation of a strong man, requires the annihilation of the weak from the face of this earth. Nietzsche said through Zarathustra in his book 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' and which angered the Zoroastrians who condemned these words… Nietzsche says, 'If we want to build our culture we must crush the weak, oppress the weak, crush them, climb all over their corpses. We must fulfill this duty in order to build our culture.' Nietzsche says that Christian values are lethal poison [impeding] any cultural development. He said, 'We work and our fathers worked just to sustain the poor, the miserable, and the weak. We must supply the poor with an honorable and quick death so we can build the culture, this cultural giant, this superman.' These words are not an attack on American culture. This is exactly what a well-esteemed philosopher wrote.
Well, at least he later admitted that most American soldiers never heard of Nietzsche. Too bad--because they would have gotten a primer on how wrong Nietzsche was. But Nietzsche is no more "esteemed" in America than is Karl Marx--and probably less well esteemed. And since when has any Muslim expressed any sympathy, even indirect, for Christians? Did you happen to notice Nietzsche's criticism of Christians? (I'll vouch for its accuracy, by the way.)

Now when he says this, I am of two minds about it:

The culture that is exported today, through Hollywood, for example, is a culture of violence, a culture of films ending usually with the policeman bleeding and the robber hugging his lover and smoking a cigar. These images glorify cruelty, glorify force, glorify the man who is victorious because of his might and his weapons. This is the language that still controls these people's culture.
If Dr. Habash did not himself represent a culture that wants to kill everybody who isn't a Muslim and who won't bow to Arabia uber alles, then he and I might have a point of agreement here. Because I abominate Hollywood. When he describes movies that end with the law-enforcement officer defeated and the robber and his moll getting away, he only slightly exaggerates. The old Motion Picture Production Code (i.e., Hays) expressly forbade this kind of project:
Crimes against the law...shall never be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and justice or to inspire others with a desire for imitation.
And even when the stories do not throw sympathy with the criminal against the LEO's, movies are far too violent today. Production values are governed more by the desire for primal set pieces than by the desire to have a good story and tell it in an edifying manner. This is why the Academy Awards, for example, have become meaningless, and why I don't go to the movies anymore, unless the movie involved is adapting a classic or semi-classic novel title--like The Lord of the Rings or, coming up next spring, Pride and Prejudice.

That said, Dr. Habash needs to do better research than he's now doing. Whom did he think Hollywood supported in this last election? George W. Bush, the one who has played havoc with the terrorists' plans? Oh, no--John F. Kerry. And has he any attendance figures for those movies that keep playing--largely to nearly-empty theaters? How can anyone cite movies like these as reflective of American cultural values if people are already growing disgusted with them, turning away from the box office, or throwing their TV sets over cliffs when the last of the decent shows get cancelled in favor of more shack-up/shoot-'em-up trash?

But what does he know? He comes from an authoritarian society, not an open one like ours. He's still looking for our equivalent of the Ministry of Information, which we don't have (well, maybe we have, but not what he means by it). He's also pushing a party line, and is looking for excuses. As I said--too bad, especially when I have some of the same problems with the Hollywood counter-culture as he has.

Star Parker: The answer to AIDS is values

Star Parker, of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, has this column in WorldNetDaily this week. She has some truly sobering statistics--and some well-placed criticism of Newsweek magazine for, again, getting it wrong on the role of traditional values. She also covers many subjects that Newsweek, in its recent cover story, won't cover--such as the role of prisons in the incubation of AIDS.

To sum up Star Parker's point: Men are not the helpless, hard-wired animals that the liberal media always want to assume. The solution to AIDS--and all other sexually transmitted disease--is to get men to value honor and integrity and, yes, chastity, both in themselves and in the women in their lives. But don't expect the mainstream media to recognize that--not when so many of its reporters and editors play the Sex and the City game themselves.

You're going to love this!

From the National Archives comes this image of the official Electoral College certificate from the State of New York. Note the name given for the man for whom New York's Electors cast their ballots: John L. Kerry. You'd think they would get that straight before they sent it in!

That will probably rate a footnote in the minutes of the joint session of Congress, over which Dick Cheney will preside, where he shall open all those ballots. For everyone's information: The Electoral College imposes no restrictions on "who is on the ballot." Therefore, as far as the Electoral College is concerned, individual Electors may vote for whomsoever they please, as their conscience or any applicable State statutes direct. The only time to challenge this will be in that joint session, and it will take one or more members of the House and Senate to file a written objection.

Given the current make-up of the Electoral College, this will not matter. But now let us suppose that Ohio reverses the election of Electors and sends twenty Electors to re-vote for Kerry instead of Bush. (Or let us assume that Ohio's Democratic House delegation finds a willing Senator to object in writing to the votes as cast, and the objection is, by some miracle, sustained.) What then? With thirty-one electoral votes going to the fictitious John L. Kerry, the election for President will be thrown to the House of Representatives, which will vote State by State. And guess what: it will be the new House, not the current one, that will vote on this. Either way, Bush's re-election is all but assured. (That, unfortunately, does not go for Cheney. None of the electoral voting mistakes affect Edwards in any way, shape or form--so far.)

Indeed, this is not the only mistake that a Presidential Elector has made! My colleague Tim Thornton over at C-POL (who also tipped me to New York's mistake) reports that an Elector from Minnesota mis-cast his Presidential vote for John Edwards! He got the two candidates named John mixed up in his head. (Here's the Certificate of Vote! And look at this: John Edwards gets a vote for President and for Vice-President!)

Folks, you can't make this stuff up. If anyone tried to make a political thriller of an election that turned on such mistakes, I don't know of a single Hollywood producer who would dare finance it--nor a single New York acquisitions editor who would dare accept it. But this is enough to make one wonder--what if God is so Determined to return Bush to office that He confounds even the counsels of various delegations to the Electoral College?

UPDATE: From comes this report that the New York delegation knows what they did wrong and are rushing out with corrected copies of the certificate-of-vote. Uh, huh--so they're taking a Mulligan. Would a Red State get the same privilege? So save the above-linked image while you can--it's a keeper.

Bishop: 'Israel is a terrorist state'

From WorldNetDaily. The bishop involved is that of the Pakistan Presbyterian Church.

The background: Someone calling himself a Pakistani Presbyterian pastor--whose name is given merely as "Reverend Boiz" and has no further reliable identification--called for the church to recognize Israel. Today the bishop refused, and even went so far as to call Israel "a terrorist state." Then he said:

I wish to make it clear that my statement is based on principles and I am not trying to please the Muslim majority of Pakistan. What we see every day is enough to condemn this demand.
Well, you could have fooled me. I don't know what The Right Reverend T. Nasir "sees every day," but I fail to see anything that would make Israel morally equivalent to Taliban Afghanistan, for example. I have heard that Israel recruited a spy in the United States--which spy is still cooling his heels in an American prison, and whose case is still an occasional sore point in our own relations with Israel. I have heard that an Israeli bulldozer operator ran over a protester who had the bad sense to stand in front of the bulldozer and then fall out of view. But nowhere have I heard that Israel, or any of its agencies:
  1. Arrested Christian missionaries, held them without a proper trial in conditions that fostered a gastrointestinal parasite infestation, and then threatened to kill them and would have done so were it not for American military intervention, or
  2. hosted a gang of irregulars who then flew airliners into American commercial and government buildings.
Both of which Taliban Afghanistan did, and that is why Taliban Afghanistan is no more.

And as far as I'm concerned, Bishop Nasir is "trying to please the Muslim majority of Pakistan." That he would have to deny this specifically speaks volumes about his attitude. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "the gentleman doth protest too much, methinks."

Nasir goes on:

We have seen more than enough blood and deaths of unfortunate and forgotten Palestinians at the hands of Ariel Sharon, and as such we do not support this demand. We will go to visit the holy places only after the Palestinians get their right to establish their own homeland and start living in peace. Nothing less will be accepted by us.
Then the Bishop will wait until hell freezes over, mostly because the Palestinians are not a peaceful people. If they get their own state, it will be more of a terrorist base than it already is.

The prophet Zechariah predicted all this folderol. He said that Jerusalem would be the stumbling-block (Greek skandalon, whence "scandal") of the nations. How true this is turning out to be.

Monday, December 20, 2004

An Update About That Famous Armor Question

It turns out, according to, that Edward Lee Pitts of the Chattanooga Times Free Press didn't have his facts straight when he coached a GI (actually a National Guardsman) and then finagled to have the question recognizer at Donald Rumsfeld's press conference recognize his prepared questioner first. I quote from NewsMax:
In fact, by the time Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts rehearsed Spc. Thomas "Jerry" Wilson on what to say to Rumsfeld, the Pentagon had already up-armored 97 percent of the vehicles in Thomas' 278th Regimental Combat Team, senior members of the Army's combat systems development and acquisition team said Thursday.

Further undermining the premise of Pitts' question, orders to up-armor the last 20 of the 278th's 830 vehicles were already in the pipeline when he engineered the bogus inquiry.

The Hat Tip of the Day goes to the Maryville (TN) Daily Times, which found out that only twenty vehicles assigned to that Guardsman's unit remained to be up-armored, and the job was done the very next day.

Once again: in WWII, soldiers didn't complain about things like this--they improvised. GI's have been doing it since the days of Gaius Marius, seven-times consul of the Roman Republic, who rediscovered the whole GI concept for Rome's armies more than twenty-one hundred years ago. Any soldier who complains about a thing like that today needs a reality check--and for that matter, maybe the whole country needs much better instruction in ancient and medieval history, and especially in military history, in order to put questions like that into their proper perspective.

The above makes that question bad enough, even before we find out that the questioner-behind-the-questioner was asking about a problem that was already solved.

Democrats eye softer image on abortion

From The Boston Globe. But what does it mean? Merely that even the most ardent apologists for abortion-on-demand-and-without-apology are actually realizing that the Democrats' hard-line stance on abortion is costing them votes. So how do they propose to fix the problem? By encouraging their relative moderates on this issue to run for leadership positions in the Democratic National Committee.

But I've got news for them: they will never solve the problem until they junk their abortion-on-demand-and-without-apology platform plank. That is a sure loser for them, and in twoways:

  1. That position makes clear how hostile they are to family values, and
  2. By having that plank in place, they are encouraging their own base to abort away the next generation of voters. And haven't I told you this before? Of course I have.
Why Nancy Pelosi and others are talking in such terms now, rather than right after the election, is still an open question. I wonder--mightn't the now-building criminal case of Kansas v. Montgomery have a little bit to do with their wanting to appear to be changing their hearts without actually doing so?

I'll tell you what, all you Democrats out there: Keep right on trying to window-dress your platform. But it won't do you any good. My fellow bloggers and I will simply break the window, just as Charles Johnson, John Hinderaker and his buddies, and others broke Dan Rather's window for him.

UPDATE: That criminal case citation is wrong--it should read US v. Montgomery. That's right--it's a Federal case. That last link is to the FBI affidavit on the case, courtesy of FindLaw. For everyone's information, kidnap has been a federal offense ever since J. Edgar Hoover declared war on what was then the most common form of domestic terrorism: the kidnapping of the wives, children, or other relatives of the rich and the holding of those persons for ransom. This is especially true when any kidnapper transports his or her victim--in this case, a one-month-premature baby--across State lines. J. Edgar Hoover, requiescat in pace, is no longer with us--but those old federal anti-kidnap statutes still are. And nobody is better qualified to investigate kidnap or to at least try to rescue its victims than the FBI. All that to say this: I'm just waiting for the first national Democrat to be foolish enough to put his or her foot in his mouth about this case--as a friend of mine now tells me that some other commentators did on the Sunday "morning shows." (I wouldn't know--I was on my way to church when the alleged comments, if any, were made, and I've seen no transcripts.)

Social Security Rejects Marriage Papers

In the unintended-consequences department, the Social Security Administration is rejecting all marriage certificates from four cities and towns across the country, issued after a different date in each city--the date after which that city started issuing marriage certificates to homosexual couples. These cities and towns are New Paltz, NY; Asbury Park, NJ; Multnomah County, OR; and Sandoval County, NM. (Apparently the New Paltz problem is worse than the rest: no marriage certificate issued after February 27 of this year is acceptable at all. Certificates from the other three locales might be valid if they were issued after a date certain when the homosexual certifications stopped.)

At first glance, one might ask legitimately why Social Security can't tell a homosexual "marriage certificate" from a regular heterosexual one. The answer is painfully simple: epicene names, or names that can apply equally to men or women. Epicene naming is itself a symptom of a larger social problem of which the whole "gay marriage" issue is the biggest blow-up: the deliberate blurring of gender distinctions in modern society.

People would do well to go back to giving their children readily identifiable boys' and girls' names. Gender identity is not just a social convention for its own sake. Your gender is as much about who you are as anything else about you. The problem, of course, is that too many women found that they could no longer take any pride in being women--so now they don't want the men to take any pride in being men. Then they wonder "where all the good men are"--if they're not seeking to redirect their sexual passions toward their fellow women, and wishing that all women would do the same. (And as to the men who redirect their sexual passions, I suspect that they don't know what they want, and haven't been able to figure that out for years.)

Actions have consequences. It's about time that any Federal agency gave a sharp reminder of that maxim to those who thought they could ignore it.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Baby cut from womb found alive by police

From WorldNetDaily, although in fact it's been all over even the MSM.

The particulars are beyond anything I would ordinarily put on a family-friendly blog--and also beyond any previous police or medical experience. A young mother had been corresponding with someone on-line, through Internet chat. Yesterday (Friday, December 17), the chatter paid the mother a most unfriendly visit--not only choking her to death but also cutting her eight-months-developed unborn daughter out of her womb! The sheriff of Skidmore, MO, where this atrocity occurred, insisted on calling an Amber Alert, and even went so far as to call the US Representative from his district. (This rather adds new meaning to the phrase "constituent services"!) The Amber Alert went out, and not only was the chatter found, arrested, and charged, but the baby was found safe and fighting gamely for life. She's in a hospital in Topeka, KS (the chatter had evidently taken her across State lines) and is expected to live about as well as any one-month-premature newborn might live.

What's the moral--other than, again, be careful whom you chat with on the Internet? How about this: Tell me again that an unborn child is not a person worth protecting. The sheriff seemed to think so, his congressman agreed with him. and their swift action paid off handsomely--or perhaps I should say "prettily." This case will surely be very difficult for pro-abortion activists to live down.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Tony Blankley: 'God Bless' Immigration Hawk Hillary

From Tony Blankley used to be Newt Gingrich's chief-of-staff. He notes that Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has been making border-security pronouncements since February of last year. Moreover she's been saying all the right things. If Blankley's recollections of her remarks is accurate, then I can't fault anything she says along that line. For this reason, Blankley welcomes her "efforts" at immigration reform.

Well, let's test that. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Jim Sensenbrenner should put together a border-security package and go out and seek Hillary's sponsorship. If she sponsors this legislation in the Senate, then we can believe her to be sincere. But I would like to know where she was when the Senate stripped out of the 9/11 bill a vital measure imposing a uniform standard of security for drivers' licensure.

The God Gene and Human Pride

David Limbaugh presents an excellent rebuttal to the allegation--yes, I said allegation--that believers in God have a gene that determines that belief, or at least determines whether someone will believe in something or not. The geneticist claiming the find has the audacity to compare Jesus, who is God and man in One, to Muhammad and Buddha, both of whom were fallible men.

To Mr. Limbaugh's commentary I'd like to add this: The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that God pre-determined who would choose to follow Him from before He laid the foundations of the earth. This is what I mean when I quote a certain fictitious road-gang warden, who says, "Some men just can't be reached." They can't be reached because God did not make them reachable. Indeed, Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke illustrates the position of the unrepentant sinner better than any man had done before or has done since:

Well, that's Your answer, then. You're a Hardcase, just like me. Fair enough.
That's not entirely accurate, of course, but as an illustration of what non-repentance sounds like, it's pretty close.

All that to say this: I'm not ready now, nor do I think I ever will be ready, to run a genetic test on anyone to see whether he will receive the Gospel or not. Frankly, someone could have this gene and still choose to believe in Islam or Buddhism or New Age. That's hardly a specific test of regeneracy--and that's even assuming that it's perfectly sensitive, which it probably will not be (meaning that it will miss some Christians). Thus, David LImbaugh is more correct even than he might know: for anyone to claim that spirituality all boils down to genetic make-up is the height of arrogance. Sooner or later a Heavenly Throat will clear--and when it does, nobody will be able to miss That.

There Is NO Man-Made Global Warming

Hat Tip: News with Views. That's right: the notion that mankind is causing global warming is a deliberate fraud.

As Tom DeWeese clearly and convincingly demonstrates, all you have to do is follow the money. The money is chasing any finding that anyone can "spin" to suggest man-made global warming. And where is this money coming from? From a geopolitical community hoping to stick its hand in the American till.

DeWeese covers everything--from real scientists to pseudo-scientists, from Kyoto to the politics behind it. He tells you everything you ever wanted to know about global warming, but didn't know whom to ask--including some things you were probably afraid to ask.

Once again, I think some people owe Michael Crichton an apology.

Saudi Journalist and Childhood Friend of Osama bin Laden Criticizes Muslims for Misreading Koranic Verses to Justify Hatred of Christians and Jews

From MEMRI. At issue, as usual, is differing interpretations of the Koran.

Khaled Batarfi, who was once friends with Osama bin Laden when they were boys, insists that Bin Laden and all his followers and fellow-travelers are willfully ignoring parts of the Koran that speak of dealing "kindly and justly" even with outsiders (but not with those who are trying to drive Muslims out of a place). For example:

Allah says in Sura Albaqrah, Verses 191-193:

191. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.

192. But if they cease, Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.

193. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.

Fanatics would take the first half of the first sentence of the first verse, and ignore the rest. They would concentrate on the slay part and omit all the peace-seeking, mercy and forgiving commands. Allah strongly prohibits this practice as he says in the same sura: 84. Then is it only a part of the Book that ye believe in, and do ye reject the rest? But what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life? And on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty.

Sorry, Mr. Batarfi, but you know perfectly well that everything hinges on what does, and what does not, constitute "fighting someone for one's faith" and "driving one out" and "oppression." Furthermore, you yourself ignore those parts of the Koran that dictate that the fighting must not stop until the whole world answers to Islam.

Is Mr. Barturfi lying deliberately? I don't know--though I do know that the Koran says that it's OK to lie to advance the faith. I also know that, when you add the Koran all together and resolve the contradictions by giving precedent to the most recently written parts--which the Koran itself says to do--you end up with a manifesto for world conquest. Neither Mr. Barturfi nor anyone else can allege anything in mitigation.

I believe in Creation

So says Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily, and so say I.

At issue with Mr. Farah is the latest wrangling in school boards--and the courts (what else is new?)--regarding the teaching of evolution on one side and Intelligent Design on the other.

Intelligent Design, or ID, basically says that life is far too complex to have happened by chance. Properly understood, ID makes no attempt to name the Designer or even to speculate on His nature, origins, or motives. (I capitalize that, as The Amplified Bible might, because of Whom we're really talking about, regardless of What anyone might think we're talking about.) That's because ID steers clear of untestable assumptions. Instead, ID tests the central assumption of evolution--that, given enough time, even the building of life can happen--and finds it false.

How false? Simple: evolution is what we call a null hypothesis, or a statement that things just happen in a certain way, without any outside intervention. In order to accept a null hypothesis, the odds against a thing happening cannot be any longer than nineteen to one--which statisticians express as "a five percent probability." You want to know how long the odds really are for just one cell forming? Even the maintainers of the "Skeptic's Dictionary" admit that the odds against DNA forming are on the order of one followed by forty thousand zeroes, to one. Of course, determined skeptics try to finesse that by saying, for example, that the parts of an irreducibly complex system do not evolve one at a time, but together. Just one problem: When success depends on two or more events occurring together, the overall probability of success is the product of the probabilities of the separate events. Thus for parts of a complex system to evolve together is actually harder than for any of those parts to evolve separately.

But that's not all that's wrong with evolution. Simply put, the earth hasn't been around that long--and it couldn't have been around nearly long enough for anything like "evolution" to have taken place. Ten thousand years ago, the earth's magnetic field would have been strong enough to rip it apart. If comets were seventy-six hundred or more years old, Halley's Comet would not have been naked-eye visible in its last visit, back in 1988--or at the very least it would have been a lot dimmer than it is. If the earth were half as old as the evolutionary astronomers say, then the moon would have been touching the earth. You name it; it can't work out.

That's why, according to Tom Wolfe (interviewed for this month's print issue of The American Spectator), some theorists speculate that the first-ever living cell came from a meteor strike from space. (Meteors apparently containing living matter have struck the earth. But the living matter is never reliably distinguishable from something you can find on earth anyway. So how did they get into space? Answer: meteors came from earth; see here and follow the frame link for "The Origin of Asteroids and Meteoroids.") That's also (though Wolfe did not mention this) why Francis Crick, no less, is openly speculating that life on earth came, not in a meteorite, but in an interstellar payload from an ancient civilization, now long since dead (and how does he know that, and where did they come from?). And it's because of goofy theories like that, Tom Wolfe goes on to say, that evolution will last another forty years and then "go down in flames."

So why are we continuing to lend credence to the idea that Intelligent Design is merely religion in scientific dress? As Farah says, evolution qualifies as that--or maybe as anti-religion. Either way, it's false. We all owe it to ourselves to stand up for truth against falsehood.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

University of Louisville rescinds professor's contract

From The Louisville Patriot.

At issue is the following comment by Dr. John McTighe, lecturer in sociology:

It was the religious zealots who say they were voting on morals. I think we should all buy AK47's and shoot them all! That's what I would suggest, if it were allowed.
Funny that I missed that--but The Louisville Patriot didn't. The college got 1600 e-mails of protest. So finally an academic institution does something about it: they yank his contract. And then he complains that the columnist and publisher of the Patriot took his remarks out of context. Of course, context dropping is the favorite mode of attack--by liberals. Naturally they will accuse the other side of the same thing when their remarks become the issue.

The university is now "investigating," whatever that means. This professor actually ought to be fired--not just because of the off-the-cuff remarks, but also because of what those remarks represent. Which one of his students could possibly count on objectivity from him at grading time? Since he has expressed a willingness to shoot people, why would he stop at a little downgrading? Especially since that sort of thing goes on all the time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Seat at the Table: Islam Makes Inroads in Education

And the problem, according to CBN News, is that our kids don't get the full story of Islam.

At issue: the treatment of Islam in school textbooks (and also in middle-school curricula in California, but that's another topic). All you get is the touchy-feely, nicey-nicey version of Islam. Not a word about what jihad really means, or how under Islam women are property. (I know what you're thinking--that under Christianity women are also property. This is not correct. Women are asked to defer to their fathers and husbands, but that's not the same as declaring them to be property. And Holy Scriptures never, at any point, exhort husbands to beat their wives, as the Koran does.)

By the way, did you ever wonder why the marching song of the United States Marines begins, "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli"? That goes back to the Barbary Pirates campaign of 1790-1806. That was actually the first American instance of power projection. Most people don't even hear about this war in their study of US history. They hear about the War for Independence and the War of 1812. If they're lucky, they'll hear about how we almost got into a war with France, and how John Adams sacrificed his re-election hopes in order to make a peace that, at the time, we really needed to make. But the Barbary Pirates? No one ever learns who they were, or realizes that the United States Navy and Marine Corps were hot and heavy in a war with them for sixteen years.

And maybe we don't hear about it because nobody wants to admit the cold, hard reality: Islam is a religion of war. In fact, it is pan-Arabism in religious dress.

This quote from an aggrieved mother sums it up:

We really just need to pay very close attention to where we're sending our children, and what they are learning when they go there.
And ironically, even the head of the California-based (where else?) Council on Islamic Education makes a sympathetic comment:
Every committee that I'm invited to sit [on], if there are religious institutions that are brought in, I never see conservative Christians, for example.
That's all very well--but I remain skeptical that anything will serve other than to crack the table.

Michael Crichton Speaks: Let's Stop Scaring Ourselves

Michael Crichton finally lays it on the line, in his own words, courtesy of PARADE Magazine. After the professional global-warming Chickens Little yelled, "FOUL!" over his latest novel, State of Fear, Crichton decided to explain himself.

Crichton's answer is more powerful because he spends the first part of it repenting of all the scare-mongering of which he himself was guilty thirty to forty years ago. I remember many of his novels--like The Andromeda Straing and The Terminal Man. (That last was about a man given a microprocessor-based implant to treat the temporal-lobe epilepsy that made him a violent criminal. As you could predict from reading a Michael Crichton novel, the experiment failed, with results you can guess, I'm sure.) Crichton spent a lot of time talking about fad fears. Now he has changed his mind, and turned his redoubtable pen against those who might once have seen him as an ally. No wonder they're angry.

University Says Blood Drive Biased Against Gays

This we hear from, and moreover it's an original piece with them.

At issue is this question, which I know from my personal experience in giving blood at hundreds of blood drives before, during, and after my career in medicine: "Are you a male who has had sexual relations with any male at any time since 1977?" In fact, the Red Cross goes so far as to ask the would-be donor again, and give him a bar-coded sticker that he can put on his application, behind a privacy screen, stating whether the Red Cross ought to accept his donation or not. He doesn't even have to walk out in front of everybody, or blurt it out, or anything. The Red Cross will even go to the trouble of collecting a unit of blood from him and then throw it out afterwards if he has coded his application with the sticker that says, "Yes, I lied before--throw it out." (And I emphasize that no one and nothing but the appropriate bar-code scanner can read that sticker. It isn't even color-coded.)

And as Fox points out, that is not primarily a Red Cross rule. Absolutely any institution that collects blood, whether it's a regional blood bank that the Red Cross operates, or a true hospital blood bank that serves just one hospital, must ask that same question. That is a universal rule that the Food and Drug Administration, which registers all blood banks and blood dispensaries, imposes on absolutely every blood bank. You can read all their regulations about blood here. (Most hospital laboratories that are called "blood banks" are not true "blood banks" at all, because they don't collect blood; they merely dispense it. Such a service is called a "transfusion service" or a blood dispensary, not a blood bank.)

Full disclosure requires me, right now, to state that I have served as a clinical laboratory associate director. And in my time I have been a co-administrator of, and medical staff liaison for, two hospital blood dispensaries. I have seen those dispensaries through accreditation inspections by both the College of American Pathologists and the American Association of Blood Banks (which covers blood dispensaries as well as true blood banks that handle collection as well as dispensation). And when one hospital where I was on staff explored the notion of collecting autologous blood (that is to say, letting the patient give blood to be set aside in advance of an operation to be performed on himself), I called the FDA to find out what extra certification would be required.

All that to say that I know, better than the Western Oregon University Student Senate, about what sort of regulation human blood comes under, and why. When some HIV-tainted blood made it through the screening process at the Tennessee Regional Red Cross Blood Center, the director of that center got fired. I remember that, because I was a resident in Pathology at Vanderbilt University Affiliated Hospitals at the time--and indeed that scandal broke shortly after I finished my own stint in Vanderbilt University Hospital's blood bank (yes, they collect blood, mainly from autologous or "directed" donors). And among the commentaries that I read in my medical journals nearly every day for a month, were a litany of we-told-you-so's from Jehovah's Witnesses, who are famous for refusing transfusions under all circumstances.

That's when the FDA ordered all blood banks to ask that infamous question. It's a good question, because when you don't ask it, people have their lives foreshortened. It's that simple. Therefore, this comment by WOU Student Senator Shauna Bates, is absolutely irresponsible:

There may be less blood in the blood supply, or we can continue to have a world full of hate and discrimination.
How would she feel if she contracted AIDS from an infected blood unit given by one of those "victims of discrimination" that she seems to care so much about? But that's the trouble with undergraduate student activists--they never think things through. At least, the liberals don't--because liberalism is largely an emotion-based ideology, based solely on what "feels good" at the moment. You can't base public policy on that kind of emotion. That's a good way to get people killed.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Real Skinny on Public TV News Desks

Early this morning (December 13), I got this comment on this post:
NPR, PBS audience holds most accurate views of Iraq war, says new study.

Public Broadcasting Services consistently deliver news with better accuracy than any other mainstream broadcast media. Yet you want to "destroy" public broadcasting. Are "Christian conservatives" afraid of truth? Or is it just you who is afraid?
All right, friend, let's examine each of your assertions in detail. Let's begin with the date of that study you mentioned: October 20, 2003. That's hardly recent.

Then, let's consider the source. is a site by and for friends of public broadcasting--hardly an objective source. But that in itself would be all right, if you could trust their study. So let's examine it in detail.

They state that viewers of PBS and listeners to NPR are least likely to have what they say are three key misconceptions about the War Against Terror:

  1. Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or proven to be supporting al-Qaeda.
  2. Weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq.
  3. International popular opinion favored the U.S. war against Iraq.
Well, guess what, sportsfans: Those aren't misconceptions. They represent the truth.

Let's examine them one at a time:

  1. Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or proven to be supporting al-Qaeda. Now Iraq has not been shown to have had a direct operational link to the September 11 attacks. But they absolutely have a logistical link, in that:
    1. Saddam Hussein provided safe haven to members, and even entire cells, of Al-Qaeda, or "The Base" in Arabic. He even allowed them to establish a training camp in his country. We found that training camp, and it had a fuselage of a Boeing 737 in it.
    2. Saddam Hussein bribed most of the Security Council in the Oil-for-Food program, the full particulars of which are only now coming to light, with more damaging revelations every single day.
    3. Documents obtained from the Iraqi Ministry of Intelligence make clear reference to an Al-Qaeda planning meeting in Prague, Czechoslovakia, with Iraqi intelligence agents in attendance.
    4. Iraqi intelligence was demonstrably involved in furnishing explosives to Timothy McVeigh for use in blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
    5. Saddam Hussein paid cash bounties to the families of homicide bombers in Israel. That might not seem to constitute logistical support for Al-Qaeda, until you recognize that all Muslim terrorism is oriented to one over-riding objective: converting or destroying the entire civilized world.
    So don't say that I misperceive Saddam Hussein's links to Muslim terror.
  2. Weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. That is absolutely true. We have found mobile laboratories, base stocks, and--in the recent sack of Fallujah--recipes for producing weaponized anthrax and other chemical and biological toxins.
  3. International popular opinion favored the U.S. war against Iraq. Here it's largely a matter of whom you talk to. If you mean Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, then of course they didn't favor the US war in Iraq, because they were taking bribes from Saddam Hussein. But if you talk to Iraqis themselves, they'll tell you they're glad for the US presence. And furthermore, if you were to peruse the various releases of the Middle East Media Research Institute, you'll find that many Arab columnists have spoken and written in favor of the entire US anti-terror war effort. These are the reformist voices in the Arab world--but the MSM doesn't want you to hear those voices. Then, too, consider the popular demonstrations in Iran, also in favor of our actions.
So I don't know what this commentator is smoking, but I'd say that PBS and NPR are no better than the rest of the MSM--and probably worse. If you want the truth of the War Against Terror, or even of what it means to be an American, don't bother with NPR or PBS. Go to Fox News Channel, or to any of a number of conservative blogs--including the ones who took down the Killian Memoranda.

I'm not afraid of the truth. But the MSM clearly are. They have a consistent problem telling it. I am ninety-five-percent confident that Bill Moyers' only regrets over the Killian Memoranda are

  1. that he didn't think of it first, and
  2. that Dan Rather got caught, and the forgeries did not stand.
And Bill Moyers is only the most prominent offender. How about David Kestenbaum calling the Traditional Values Coalition and asking her where she had been contacted by the FBI yet? Yet?? What is this "yet"? He went on, basically, to accuse TVC of complicity in the mailing of anthrax-laced letters to US Senators.

I realize that this isn't going to settle it for maybe half of you who read this. I'm a veteran of the Yale Political Union, and I know a "sourcing war" when I find myself in one. That is what this is: "My source beats your source!" But more to the point, I don't have to be afraid of the same old tissue of lies from the same old people. But some people are outraged that their monopoly on the news is over, and that when they pull stunts, varying from the Kestenbaum TVC Anthrax Smear to the Killian Memoranda, they're not going to get away with it anymore.

ECUSA 'Never Likely to Face Discipline.'

Hat Tip: Christanity Today Weblog.

In case anyone has forgotten, the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, which also is the Province of America within the worldwide Anglican Communion, recently consecrated a practicing homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire. That the Diocese of New Hampshire would stoop so low as to recommend a homosexual candidate is of a piece with John Kerry carrying the State this time around. But the Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA, in his role as Primate of America, ought never have accepted the election. But he did--and whitewashed his decision by saying that the church had no procedure for over-riding the election of an unsuitable bishop-candidate.

This is hogwash, of course. A bishop who abdicates his oversight responsibility is not a bishop anymore. The very word bishop means "an overseer," after all.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has never been able to ignore the issue entirely, but has done everything to avoid dealing with it. In the process he has just about made the Anglican Communion a dead letter. Conservative Anglican primates--who, as strange as it might seem, are located in the Southern Hemisphere, not the Northern--know it and are doing a number of things about it. Chief among these things, they have opened up "missions" here in America for disaffected Anglicans, allowing them to join non-American provinces--provoking the ECUSA Presiding Bishop to cry "Foul!&qout; Whether they'll be able to do more than that remains to be seen.

Frankly, I doubt it. Then again, when the ECUSA watered down their doctrine, ordained women, and in general made it clear that they were not paying the Bible the attention it deserved, I left the ECUSA a long time ago. I am now an Independent Baptist. Stories like this should tell you why.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

An Obituary for a Disappointed Democrat Voter?

This is what liberals are now reduced to. What's the matter with this man's family--composing an obituary like this?
Herbert M. Hazelkorn, of Glencoe, Illinois, left us on December 7, 2004, of a broken heart at the recent passing of his wife of 35 years, Bobby, exacerbated by a broken spirit arising from the results of the Presidential election.
This is an outrage. I sympathize with Dr. Hazelkorn's family for their recent loss, of course. I have no trouble imagining that Dr. Hazelkorn lost a good measure of his will to live when his wife of 35 years died. But never before have I seen an obituary column used as a vehicle for political protest. Have his loved ones no shame?

Massachusetts gays divorcing

And this, less than seven months after the Massachusetts SJC said they could "marry." Well, well, well.

I could have predicted that any such "marriages" would be far less likely to last than heterosexual marriages. Requiring additional legal folderol will never be enough to transform an inherently transitory relationship into a permanent one. In fact, now that a number of these people got their expressed wish, suddenly they didn't want it anymore. This rather adds new meaning to the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for."

But more-frequent divorce is not the primary reason why such relationships do not deserve the name of "marriage." The primary reason is that marriage exists to define and recognize families. The term "family," properly understood, means one man, one woman, and optionally one or more children. And the strongest families are those whose children have not known divorce. That is why God hates divorce, as Jesus made abundantly clear.

And no matter what any doctor, not properly mindful of his oath of practice, says: Same-sex couples cannot reproduce. This brings us to the real issue of those who are pressing most strongly for this change in our laws: They want homosexual couples to adopt children and rear them with liberal values. This goes right back to the primary demographic challenge against modern liberalism: some things are just not right to do in front of a child. Parents know it--and some of those parents, I daresay, changed their votes from one election to the next. Because of that, the liberals want to mess with children's heads. We must not allow that to happen.

ABC News Highlights Sexual Abuse in the Amish Community

The case in point is that of Mary Byler, formerly of an Amish community in Viroqua, Wisconsin. She testified that three of her brothers committed rape against her and her sister (then four years old), even going so far as to have herself wired for sound as she confronted one of the brothers. All three were convicted and drew varying degrees of punishment. The mother in the case also received a sentence for failure-to-protect. That case is a matter of public record, so there's little reason to doubt its authenticity. But what is clearly missing is a proper sense of perspective.

Forums dedicated to discrediting the Amish have existed for some time, and without fail all have begun trumpeting this case as typical. In addition to specific anti-Amish forums, I have seen commentary on atheistic forums and even on Democratic Underground, where some correspondents draw parallels between what happened to Mary Byler and John Kerry's failure of election this last November.

The photograph of Mary Byler is revealing. I see a typical hard-edged liberal single woman--or perhaps just another former Amish girl who, having participated in rumspringa (literally, "running around", from the German rum about and schpringe to run), decided to stay out in the world. I don't deny the pain she felt, mostly because I doubt that Eli Byler, for example, would have drawn a twelve-year prison sentence on the basis of a made-up or exaggerated story. (I often think it's almost too hard to convict a man of rape, anyway.) But neither do I think that this pain is the sole reason for her leaving the Amish way of life. The evidence as to whether Mary Byler is now officially shunned is scanty at best.

We deal here with two issues:

  1. The handling of the Byler case (and possibly other similar cases) within the Amish community, and
  2. the perspective on the matter on the part of outsiders and those who have left the community in recent years, before and after this case.
With regard to the handling of the matter within the church: Apparently the church's punishment of the brothers consisted of six weeks of shunning followed by reinstatement upon some evidence of repentance. Incredibly, we hear that one brother started to molest the four-year-old sister of Mary Byler after this mass shunning had run its course. Obviously the punishment didn't "take." That led Mary to seek help from outside authorities. But more than that, this case demonstrates that the Amish do not know how to handle a case of sexual violence within their community. The Amish lifestyle emphasizes prevention of such sin by restricting outside influences. That's certainly commendable. But what isn't so commendable is not having a policy to deal particularly with such sin when it happens.

Part of the problem is that the Amish, as much as I admire their attempt to create a simple lifestyle, clearly preach a "works gospel." To suggest, as they do, that only those who are baptized in their particular church will be saved is no more proper than was the attitude of the Judaizers in St. Paul's day. The keeping of any set of customs, whether of circumcision or of the ordnung of Amish life, constitutes works--and works will never save anyone.

The other problem is that the Amish misapply Scripture. True enough, Paul did say to the Corinthians that a Christian should not bring a lawsuit against a fellow Christian [I Corinthians 6:1ff]. But Paul also said, "Let every soul subject itself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority that is not of God." [Romans 13:1ff]. I would not advise anyone, even a community trying to "keep things simple," to try to keep criminal matters away from outside authorities. Rape is certainly a criminal matter. You don't wash it out by shunning alone. Any sin has its consequences, and if those consequences include a severe sanction by an outside authority, nothing in Scripture says that the community ought not deliver up an offender to face those consequences. Frankly, the Amish community leadership, upon finding out about this cancer in its midst, ought to have called in the authorities themselves. That their ordnung would appear to forbid this practice (which I can't vouch for) is, if true, the most tragic flaw in Amish custom. (And even failing this, I should think that rape merits a shunning for life, not merely for six weeks!)

In sum, an emphasis on prevention is laudable as far as it goes, because a mina of prevention really is worth a talent of cure. But when prevention fails, you must have an adequate corrective or curative policy. I find the Amish lacking in this.

We now turn to the reaction to this case by certain persons, including former Amish who have left the lifestyle, who have various agendae of their own. One such person is Ruth Garrett, who also appeared on the ABC-TV 20/20 program last night with Mary Byler. She cannot discuss the Amish except to condemn them--a view not quite shared by the co-author of one of her books, Born Amish. The other author, Deborah Morse-Kahn, has studied the Amish for years and by at least one account almost wishes she could be one. Morse-Kahn, and also Linda Simpkins, writing in the Sauk Centre Herald, are the only two commentators I have found so far that put the matter into proper perspective: that any community has its good and bad elements. As I've said before, the Amish failure to allow for the possibility of grievous sin in their communities leads to their failure to deal with it, and that can only harm them.

But many other commentators, including, very likely, the producers of 20/20, are looking for any excuse to portray a community of faith as inherently flawed. They will never have the proper perspective because they don't believe that God is even Real. While their criticism of the particular handling of Mary Byler's case might have some justice, I also read of commentaries suggesting that such incestuous rape is the norm in Amish society--and not one person has advanced any statistical or other evidence to suggest that such sexual sin is more common inside Amish communities than out of them.

Indeed, let us remember that the Byler case is as remarkable as it is tragic. It is remarkable because it is rare. Even this site, purporting to exist to publicize cases of criminal behavior in the Amish world ("There is rape, incest and even murder, whith the local law enforcers ignore."), cites only three cases and, by the admission of its webmaster, confines its analysis to one particular Amish order, the Swartzentruber order. (Indeed, a purported link to a page listing multiple Amish "abuse" case records turns out to be broken. The site does, however, list some Scripture that bears on the question of whether the Amish are really well advised to keep criminality in their midst to themselves. That Scripture list does not include Romans 13:1-7, which would have strengthened that webmaster's case. But it does treat the issue of how man-made rules and works do not substitute for saving grace and faith.)

I have left a lot of commentary on this case for two reasons:

  1. I doubted before that any such cases would be found. I see now that I am in error.
  2. I could have predicted that, as soon as any such case was found, the atheists (both in name and in fact) would make more of that case than it warranted. In this I am not in error.
Bear perspective in mind, before you decide that a society that trumpets sexual expression and subjects its people to constant sexual stimulation would really be better, all other things being equal, than a society that regarded sex as the private matter that it ought to be.

Kerik Withdraws His Name for DHS Chief

The Associated Press has the announcement of Kerik's withdrawal from consideration. Kerik cited "personal reasons" for his withdrawal. But another AP article gives further details: Kerik discovered that a nanny he had once employed had doubtful immigration status--an untenable conflict of interest in an official who would oversee the agency responsible for enforcement of immigration law. Kerik is no fool. Even a Democratic nominee for a Cabinet post can't finesse a conflict like that; consider Zoe Baird, Clinton's original choice as AG. Give Kerik credit for deciding not to try.

That sends Bush back to the blackboard. Once again, I recommend that he not choose Asa Hutchinson, the current undersecretary in charge of border and transportation security. Will Rudy Giuliani get back into the race? Time will tell.