Friday, June 24, 2005

BreakPoint | Useful Barbarism

The "barbarism" that Chuck Colson decries is the deliberate creation of human embryos that are then destined for destruction for no better purpose than the harvesting of their stem cells.

People think, first of all, that these embryos aren't even human. Wrong! Check out this article about a recent White House party for twenty-one former "leftovers" who, through "Operation Snowflake", were "adopted" by loving couples. The embryos, when implanted, grew into the twenty-one very lively children who were the President's guests of honor.

Those same goofy scientists also say that adult stem cells aren't as versatile as embryonic stem cells. Wrong again! At Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, according to WorldNetDaily, they're getting adult stem cells to transform into just about any kind of cell that an embryonic stem cell can make--and without the host-versus-graft or graft-versus-host reactions commonly seen with ESC's.

Let all those ESC proponents face the music right now: they are running out of arguments. Grantors everywhere should get it through their thick heads that some people are taking them to the cleaners, and put a stop to it. Now. Today. Before we slide even further to barbarism to no good purpose.

OpinionJournal - Who Wrecked the Movies?

The worthies at The Wall Street Journal seem to think that a lack of proper ushering is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the steady, relentless decline in box-office receipts. I disagree.

The Journal cites the usual suspect of movie and TV commentators today: the sales of home-viewable copies, formerly only on videotape and now on DVD. They even admit that DVD sales bring in more revenue than does the box office! (Yes, and then I would add the cheap, tawdry merchandising campaigns of some movies. What, for example, was Keebler Foods (a subsidiary of Kellogg) thinking of when they agreed to produce "fudge stripe" cookies in the cover of volcanic lava as a tie-in to Twentieth Century/Fox's Revenge of the Sith? Hello! Somebody almost got himself killed in that scene--and you want some kid to think of that as he eats his lunchtime dessert? But I digress.)

But the Journal then disposes of that argument by saying that DVD's aren't so hot anymore--because by now, people have built libraries of classic films and now have nearly full shelves. And at this point they touch on the real issue and utterly fail to recognize how important it is. Because how can you expect the exhibitors to carry all of the load for the "movie experience," by hiring and training ushers and doing all the other fancy things that exhibitors no longer do, if those same exhibitors can't count on people coming to the movies in the first place? No, the running commentators and popcorn crunchers (with apologies to Mike Straka of Grrr fame on Fox News Channel) didn't run people away from the box office. Rather, the producers did by producing one bad film after another.

First, the producers long ago learned how to justify producing films that no audience would appreciate. They simply suggested that to produce a film for commercial reasons only constituted prostitution of their art. And then they made movies that portrayed women as little better than prostitutes, if not actual prostitutes--in addition to movies with offensive political content. (I refuse to dignify any titles of this sort by naming them here.) They get away with it largely for the reasons that the Journal cites--that the studios get paid up front, and the investors end up losing their shirts when people not only won't attend, but won't buy the DVD either--at least, not in large-enough numbers.

But worse than that is that Hollywood has no talent left anymore. Hollywood is now re-making movies (talk about lack of originality!), and the remakes almost never meet the standards of their originals. And small wonder! Where are John Wayne, James Stewart, Charlton Heston, Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, and Audrey Hepburn? Except for Heston, they're all dead. And their replacements are so forgettable that you probably wouldn't recognize their names even if I bothered to name them.

So if Hollywood wants people to come back, then they need to go back to Broadway and recruit acting talent there, just as they did when they started out. And they need to start making movies that whole families can appreciate--and I don't mean--never mind. After that, when exhibitors see some potential, they can think about hiring ushers to make sure that the yakkers and yuckers and popcorn crunchers will cease and desist, or leave. But until that happens, nothing will save the movies.

Except that I just had a horrible thought: a time will probably come when movies are all made by a Department of Information that will make them as salaciously as Hollywood ever did, if not worse. But by then you'll have to let the box-office agent scan your cattle-brand-like stamp on your forehead or right hand to get in....

Thursday, June 23, 2005

WorldNetDaily: U.S. founded to destroy Islam?

WorldNetDaily has made a mistake for once. That is an over-hyped description of a new book by an American pastor--a book that calls people to stop the hand-wringing and take deliberate, concerted action.

In Silent No More, The Rev. Rod Parsley, pastor of World Harvest Church of Columbus, OH, lays it on the line about how dangerous Islam is. That's all very well, and I will personally vouch that the Koran exhorts its followers to lie and kill for their faith.

But I cannot believe that Mr. Parsley, or anyone else, would actually say that the purpose of the founding of America was to see Islam destroyed. That's the sort of wacky conspiracy theory that Al-Jazeera dishes out, along with other Arabs who have reprinted The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and are retelling the infamous Blood Libel against the Jews. (FYI, that last is the theory that Passover matzah is made with Gentile blood, and that Jews have traditionally killed Arabs in order to obtain their supply of this blood.) America was founded in a war of liberation, which still holds the record for the longest war in which America has ever been involved (1775-82, if you cite the Battle of Yorktown as the end of the war, or 1775-83 if you insist on waiting for the Treaty of Paris and the subsequent withdrawal of British forces from New York City). The Declaration of Independence nowhere in its statement of principles says that Islam is a deserving adversary. Nor does the Declaration lay to King George's charge any instance of alleged collaboration with Muslims against Americans.

To call Americans to realize just how threatening Islam really is, is a good thing. But one does not need to distort American history in order to achieve that result. At this point--not having read the book, nor seen any reliable reviews of it--I am more inclined to believe that some overzealous reviewer at WorldNetDaily read it wrong than that a pastor, concerned as he is with American history and distinctiveness, would get that history so horribly wrong.

Peggy Noonan reviews Ed Klein's Hillary book

And basically, she pans it.

Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that conservatives everywhere will rush to pan Ed Klein's new book, The Truth about Hillary, because "we don't do things that way." Peggy Noonan doesn't seem to want to fall into that trap. Indeed she praises Klein for taking on Hillary with the gloves off. Politics, she rightly observes, is a bare-knuckle fight, and Klein dishes out his jabs and crosses and haymakers with the best of them.

The trouble, she says, is that Klein fails to hit the right target--which apparently is her senior thesis from Wellesley College on how to change American political culture and tilt it permanently to the left. Instead he hits other targets that she finds less worthy--specifically the description of a "culture of Lesbianism" at Wellesley College to which Hillary enthusiastically belonged. But her biggest gripe is that Hillary's story is so "over-the-top" that no one will believe it, and so if you're going to write her story, you need to get your facts straight and your sources lined up and willing to stand up and let the public count them--out loud, too, and not anonymously.

In this, Noonan might possibly be paraphrasing Josef Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Information, who brazenly taught his Leader how to lie. But what, I ask, is so hard to believe about a woman who makes a plan for power and sticks to it for forty years, or however long it takes? Haven't her very actions left no doubt in the mind of any sane observer?

I agree that Klein would have served his readers better to pry loose that senior thesis, which Wellesley College is apparently keeping under wraps. I further agree that allegations of homosexual orientation on Hillary's part are direct-mail fund-raising fodder for the base and are not nearly as necessary or to-the-point as her sympathies for a changing of the law to make homosexuality a protected, or even a legally preferred, lifestyle. You don't have to be homosexual yourself to support such wrongheaded policies--and furthermore, not all homosexuals support such policies anyway.

Actually--and I glean this from Klein's interview with Sean Hannity--the evidence points to Hillary being not a dedicated homosexual at all, but a switch-hitter. Witness her having an affair with Vince Foster--an affair that, Klein says, was also a matter of convenience. Switch-hitting is definitely more of a piece with her being willing to cooperate with anyone and everyone to advance herself. And she might indeed be a political switch-hitter--in which case everyone, conservative and liberal, ought to ask himself whether he can trust her any further than he could throw her.

That said, I have to wonder, as does Rush Limbaugh, whether we now are witnessing a pointless dissociative reaction on the part of conservative editorialists and other commentators. As I said above, politics is bare-knuckle fighting. The only real issue is whether the blows you land will be telling.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - Home Schoolers Pushing for Baptist Vote on Public Schools

Unfortunately, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Rev. Bobby Welch, doesn't seem to want the anti-public-schools resolution to pass. When he says that he "doubts" that such a resolution will make it out of committee, he is probably working to quash it. He still thinks, like all too many of his colleagues, that public schools are a "mission field."

Public schools are not a mission field. You don't send children into the mission field; that is never appropriate. ("Missionary Kids" are not at issue here. Of course adult missionaries often take their children into the field with them, or have children in the field. But that's hardly the same as sending children to be missionaries in their own right.)

The real issue with Dr. Welch is that "people can't afford" to use home or private schooling instead of public schooling. Wrong, Dr. Welch. People can't afford not to--especially Christians.

Elizabeth Watkins, head of the Southern Baptist Convention Home Education Association, faults the SBC leadership for--well, for a lack of leadership on the whole issue of education, and who should perform that education. That's fine, as far as it goes, Sister Watkins. You obviously know as well as I that the SBC, so long as they take their present attitudes, have as good as lost. So maybe you should consider leaving the SBC and finding a good Independent Baptist church. Or if you can't find one, plant one.

Friday, June 17, 2005

OpinionJournal - Is America losing the will to fight?

Daniel Henninger asks a good question--but I suspect that he thinks the answer is "yes" just because of what he reads in newspapers other than his own. Nah. Henninger, of all people, ought never believe half of what he reads in the fishwrap papers. Yesterday's media is yesterday's news. If you want to know where Americans really stand, read the last election returns. Bill Clinton Eyeing Talk Radio Deal

Behold the next anti-Rush-Limbaugh wannabe--a former President. Well, if anyone can succeed at this, Bill Clinton can. I doubt it, though--people would soon stop calling after the call screener rejected call after call wanting to know about Monica--and maybe wanting to ask whether he still thinks Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, as he is known to have said when he was President.

Still, former Presidents shouldn't be on talk radio. But Bill Clinton broke the mold of the Presidency anyway, more's the pity.

WorldNetDaily: Autopsy suggests Schiavo cognizant

The autopsy report on Terri Schindler-Schiavo is barely out of the printer, and already people are arguing over it. A Texas attorney points out that while the occipital lobes--those governing eyesight--were wiped out, her frontal and temporal lobes were relatively intact. So she could have known about everything that was happening--could have heard and understood every harsh word that Michael Schiavo had for her--while not being able to say or do anything to stop it, or him.

Finding out that the Pinellas County ME based his report on other reports sent him by Michael Schiavo's own experts makes me question his professionalism. When you get involved in a controversial case, you want independent experts, or at the very least you review expert reports from both sides.

Recently a reader demanded that I make some definite policy prescriptions. All right, here's one: I don't recognize a "right to die." The disgusting spectacle of Michael Schiavo getting the government to do away with his wife so that he could have his Sweet Patootie points out just how bad that kind of policy is. At a minimum, adultery by a caregiving spouse ought to be automatic grounds for termination of guardianship and the reversion of guardianship to the parents, if they're still living, or to siblings. Further to that, I suggest that Michael Schiavo deliberately put his wife into the state she was in and systematically saw to it that she would not get the care she needed, and that is why half her brain withered away. I think he ought to be prosecuted, and I think that a bunch of judges, especially Judge George Greer, ought to face impeachment for high crimes and high misdemeanors from the bench.

The only satisfaction that the world might ever see from this case will come if Terri Schindler Schiavo turns out to have been saved. (Unhappily, I can repose no confidence in that--but at least I don't have to rule it out.) If she is saved, then I can imagine her standing under the altar asking the Lord how long He's going to wait to visit retribution on a few people, and the Lord giving her a toga and telling her to wait a little longer--until every other Terri Schindler-Schiavo is standing right next to her. [Revelation 6:9-10] And when everything is in place, some people are in for a real shock. [Revelation 6:11-17]

MEMRI: Is Al-Zarqawi an American Agent?

A leading government organ in Egypt now makes that ridiculous charge--which I must say is a new angle. First we heard that Islamic terrorism was a figment of American propaganda. Now they admit that men like al-Zarqawi are real, but say they work for us. Sheesh. When liars can't make up their minds which lies to tell, you know they're running scared.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The WSJ on "Doughnut Democrats"

A doughnut is a snack without a middle--and The Wall Street Journal now believes that the Democrats have no middle.

Yet the doughnut analogy is still inaccurate. A doughnut at least has a balance to its extremes. The Democrats are the doughnut with the big gaping tooth-mark-bordered hole where its right wing used to be. They're all left wing now.

Or maybe the Journal believes that the Democrats represent two extremes of personal income. A few "moderate" souls tell this cautionary tale: that the Democrats lost the votes of those making between $30,000 and $75,000 a year. That means that they represent the poorest of the poor, to whom they promise an endless supply of goodies, and the richest of the rich, to whom they offer Lincoln Bedroom overnight stays and photo-opportunities to show how charitable they are--always with someone else's money, sometimes Daddy's, and sometimes the money of adoring and myopic fans.

The Journal does a good job pointing out that the Democratic Party hasn't even been this hostile to free markets, a properly aggressive foreign policy, and limited government in its history. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt would be shocked, they say. Well, I had my doubts--but now that I think about it, I think FDR would seek to throw out some of his party's least temperate members. Like Dick Durbin, out there comparing American troops to Nazis. I can just hear FDR right now:

Now you listen to me, young man. I knew what the Nazis were--and I know what these Muslims are. The Muslims are not the Communists. They were in league with the Nazis in my day, and they are worse than Nazis today. Did it ever occur to you that if they ever had their way, many of your most valuable contributors would get their heads chopped off? Did no one on your research staff ever tell you that Muslims have a worse social-censorship agenda than any that the Christian Fundamentalists ever dreamed of? What will you say when they kill your daughter in a drive-by shooting, to uphold the honor of maledom, like those Hamas idiots we heard about the other day?
Yes, indeed--a President who took absinthe and indulged in many other activities for which the Muslims might have chopped his head off might indeed want to take Dick Durbin to the woodshed for that remark on the floor of the Senate.

I do have this one quarrel with the Journal: in their analysis of the situation, they state that the Democrats no longer provide effective competition in the marketplace of ideas. This, the Journal states, lets the Republicans get off easy with free-spending ways.

Not so. The Republicans spend freely because they still believe that this is what their particular constituents want. They're still competing on how many federal projects they can bring back home, and not on how to lower the tax burden on everyone. How many elections, I wonder, are really decided on whether someone failed to bring home the bacon, or someone else failed to stop a military base from closing? Maybe a few people who had one less job to bid on might stew about that a little bit, but why would most voters care? I certainly don't.

But more than that, Republicans still think that the electorate is as enamored of big government as it ever was. Or maybe those guys aren't really Republicans. If that's the way they feel about it, then why don't they all join the Democratic Party and turn it into something that FDR might recognize again? I still wouldn't appreciate all the make-work projects, but maybe we could stop a lot of the loose talk about setting a date for the withdrawal of the American garrison in Iraq. (Or maybe not.)

In any case, the last time a particular party folded up, leaving nothing behind, was in 1820, when the Federalists finally disbanded. The resulting "Era of Good Feelings" lasted but two years, before Jefferson's original Republican Party split into two other parties--one being the Democratic Party we know today and the other being the so-called National Republican Party, known to history as the Whigs. So if the Democratic Party folded up, then the Republicans would split into rival wings--the Highwaymen (as in highway projects) and the Churchmen (including myself). That might be healthier for our society than the present situation.

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan on PBS

In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan makes a case for retaining PBS, but under considerably more oversight than it has labored under for the last thirty years. Her goal: keep Exxon/Mobil Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery, Great Performances, and the like--and I'm sure that she'd love the incomparable British comedic imports like Keeping Up Appearances and As Time Goes By. But eighty-six Now (or should that be Then?) formerly with Bill Moyers, the Charlie Rose show, and so on. I assume that her standard of news reporting would be The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and possibly Washington Week in Review. (Unhappily, Wall $treet Week is worthless now, ever since they unceremoniously threw Louis Rukeyser over the side--but then, who knew that he would throw his back out and walk away from television without so much as an announcement? But I digress.)

Noonan addresses two arguments, and manages to keep them separate:

  1. Does PBS have a place on the American television dial, a place that no commercial network can fill?
  2. Should someone rein in PBS in order to, for example, tell Bill Moyers that no, he may not tell half the American people that they're nuts?
Unfortunately, Ms. Noonan's case for retaining PBS won't wash. I agree with the critics who say that with 500 channels to choose from, someone will fill the void if PBS disappears. They key is that, although you will no longer see one network to fulfill all of the functions of the current enterprise known as the Public Broadcasting Service, you'll have several, each fulfilling one function, or several. In fact, you already have that. You have at least two channels, Arts and Entertainment and Bravo, to handle the high dramas--and A&E has even run some old PBS offerings and developed new Masterpiece Theatre-style dramas. Bravo, some years ago, ran an excellent original miniseries adapted from Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte-Cristo. A&E's sister channel, History, runs all the historical drama you could want. And while I'm on the subject of historical drama, I have a deep quarrel with the Ken Burns mini-series The Civil War that Noonan cites as good PBS programming--because, being a child of the North and the South, I would like to see a far more balanced perspective on that war than the rah-rah Unionist mega-screed that Ken Burns gave us. But what else do I expect from PBS? They're liberals, and liberals hate the antebellum South and everything it represented--and also impute to the South certain things it did not represent. At least, if I see that sort of thing on History, I'm not paying for its production, as I must on PBS.

But that's not all. Those British comedies could go to TV Land--or to a spin-off of that vintage-show channel devoted to British productions. And they'd be very well-received, and no more pledge breaks that always seem to pre-empt them! (Well, not always--once, in fact, the Keeping Up Appearances cast appeared in a thigh-slapping retrospective and then participated in pledge solicitation--and sounded better than most of the pledge barkers that the PBS channels get these days.) Classic movies already have at least two channels to take them on, if anyone will admit it: American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies.

That leaves but two more PBS functions. One is news. Fine--we have the Fox News Channel. Go ahead, throw the rotten tomatoes; I couldn't care less. Liberal fondness for what passes for news programming on PBS is all of a piece with their despising of Fox News, and for the same reason: when it comes to exposing liberal policy and personal follies, Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill, Kwame Holman, and the rest of them have nothing on Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, and Bill O'Reilly. Furthermore, Hannity has Alan Colmes on board to keep him honest and provide a different perspective--and I'll take Alan Colmes over Bill Moyers any day.

That leaves children's education. Well, sorry, but children's education was never meant to be electronic. The best education is one-on-one, from parent to child. Thus if we never again see a Children's Television Workshop, I for one will not mourn its passing.

Finally, no new-and-improved oversight will wash, either. That will last only until the next Presidential election that Republicans lose. Once that happens--exit PBS oversight; re-enter Fairness Doctrine, with PBS setting the "standard" of what's fair and unfair. And "fair" in the PBS universe means "supportive of what a liberal considers moral"--by the warped standard-of-value of the greatest good for the greatest number, with a little left over for some Big Names with Pull (Russian nomenklatura).

Sorry, Peg, but we can't wimp out here. Dump PBS, and do it now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Schiavo autopsy: No trauma in 1990 collapse

The autopsy report is now out. For whatever reason, WorldNetDaily has chosen to highlight the lack of evidence that Michael Schiavo, or anyone else, beat his wife before her collapse. But in addition to that, the autopsy report finds:
  1. No evidence that Terri Schiavo ever had a heart attack. Her heart was as sound as anyone else's.
  2. No evidence of bulimia or any other eating disorder. Michael Schiavo's partisans had alleged this to explain her low potassium levels at her initial hospital admission, and also alleged that this would have caused her heart to stop. But it won't wash.
And just to set the record straight, Dr. Jon Thogmartin takes pains to point out that "persistent vegetative state" is a clinical diagnosis only and can never be an anatomical diagnosis.

The MSM also makes much of the finding that her brain mass was fifty percent what it would normally be. The diagnosis: brain atrophy. Well, of course her brain was atrophied--because she had been neglected for so long. She was also very likely blind--because her occipital lobes, those parts of the brain that process sight, were both dead.

The next question, as Mark Fuhrman, formerly of the Los Angeles Police Department, has said, is: how did Terri Schindler Schiavo come to collapse in the first place? That question ought to interest Miss Sweet Patootie/One-eleven, of course...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

MEMRI: Reformist Egyptian Writer Critiques Islamist Education and Propaganda

This excerpt is especially telling:
At the end of his essay, Al-Qimni presents a famous episode in early Muslim history to support his argument. When 'Ali Ibn Abi Talib became caliph in 656 A.D., he was opposed by a number of the Prophet Muhammad’s closest companions, including Muhammad’s wife ‘Aisha. In the first intra-Muslim fighting (fitna) in history, these opponents met ‘Ali at what is known as the Battle of the Camel, in December 656 A.D. Although killing animals in war is generally forbidden in Muslim law, and despite the aura of sanctity attached to 'Aisha, Muslim tradition relates that ‘Ali ordered his followers to bring down the camel on which ‘Aisha rode, as he considered this necessary in order to win the battle for the caliphate. Al-Qimni uses this episode to urge Egyptians to oppose those who threaten society, even if they speak in the name of religion.
As well he might. Plus ça change, plus ça reste. Muslim law is set at naught when higher goals are at stake, eh?

And how about this:

This suicide bomber was not a lone drop-out from society. He was certainly part of a cell... Nonetheless, it is now possible that an isolated individual can carry out a bombing, as indeed occurred when an [Egyptian] citizen stabbed a tourist who was kissing his [own] wife one week prior to the recent explosion. It is taught in the schools, on television, in the mosques, and within the family that this scene [of a husband kissing his wife], which touches the hearts of people all over the world, and makes them overflow with feelings and humanity - is ugly, promiscuous, and immodest. Thus, the terrorist act of that citizen was merely a result of what we planted in him. He was unable to resist the generator of hate and repugnance within him, so he stabbed the couple with a switchblade.
Now I've heard about rules against "public displays of affection." But this is the limit. Mr. Al-Qimni goes on to remind everyone that Muslims hem themselves in with all manner of do's and don'ts. Of course, any Christian will tell you that one's works, good or bad, will never save him. But Mr. Al-Qimni seems to suggest that Muslims now lack any objective distinction between good and evil. Actually, this might not be correct: to a Muslim, everything is evil that the Koran does not permit, and that the only good thing is anything that leads to the establishment of a global Muslim federation, or a revived caliphate.

This, of course, is the sort of person that the American left has now fallen in love with. If they only knew that they are taking the side of cold-hearted murderers who would order them beheaded on the first day after they achieved their political goals, they might not be so quick to support them.

Unfortunately, Mr. Al-Qimni's perspective seems to be anti-religious in general. A dedicated secularist could write this about Christians--and probably would, even though no Christian ever flew an airliner into a building, nor do Christians in general support any acts of murder or sabotage. If this is all that anyone can muster against Islamic terrorism, then we shall someday see the War Against Terror re-made into the War of the Moderns Against the Anti-moderns.

WorldNetDaily: Flag desecrators issue threat

Now let me get this straight: a bunch of Muslims trample on the American flag, in America. Someone catches them on tape and sends the tape all over the Internet. And for that those original desecrators presume to lay a curse on them?

They also angrily deny the foreign affiliations that some have alleged that they had. Well, whether they are or they aren't connected with foreign "holy warriors," if they make such threats as asking Allah to rip out their central nervous systems, put them back in, and repeat the cycle numerous times, then their foreign connections, or the lack thereof, doesn't matter anymore. The law says that they have come within a millinch of being subject to arrest and imprisonment just for shooting off their mouths like that--because not a single jurisdiction that I know of, regards a threat of bodily harm against another person as protected speech.

As Jackie Gleason would have said: Keep it up, keep it up, and you can all share a crater on the moon. But then again, those guys worship the moon, do they not? - U.S. & World - Aruban Authorities Investigate Blood in Car

The car inovlved was the car that Natalee Holloway rode in to go to the beach. But no one knows whether the blood was hers or someone else's.

The government of Aruba is clearly squirming. Their AG as much as told the foreign media to shut-up, and even Natalee's mother continues to deny that anyone has found a body. The Aruban government is also denying that anyone said, "I killed her" or anything remotely construable as that. However, we must place very little confidence in such denials, since others have observed that the government does not want anyone local to the island to stand accused of this crime, if crime it turns out to be.

Tropical Weather Bulletin 20050612

This comes to us today from Basically, Arlene, the first named storm of this predicted-to-be-hyper-active tropical weather season, never got stronger than a tropical storm and is now down to her unnamed remnants. This happened shortly after she made landfall in Alabama. Well, we got lucky this time.

The National Hurricane Center is finished advising on the remnants of Arlene and has no reports of tropical cyclone activity in the eastern Pacific. That, however, might change.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Taxpayer-supported 'art': Arab sodomizing Bush

What's that, you say? That's more than an insult to the President--it's also an insult to Arabs, and not one that you would expect a liberal to deliver. Trouble is, liberals don't think anymore--and that means that they don't think through the full implications of their utterances, "artistic" expressions, or policy recommendations.

Of course, taxpayers shouldn't be funding art, anyway. Patronage, when forced, is meaningless. Besides, much of what passes for "art" today is idolatrous, and the rest is what I might call anti-idolatrous--so intent on depicting the tearing-down of a thing that it becomes an idol in itself, an idol instead of what one usually means by the term "idol."

Beyond that--well, to tell the producers of such work that they ought to show better respect to the President is useless. The last time they elected a man President, he brought disrespect upon his office. Since then, they have remained convinced that they are the rightful majority--even after the vote totals in 2004 clearly proved them wrong. So they take out their frustration in puerile displays--and ask the taxpayers to fund them.

The latest bill, reported here, to defund the Public Broadcasting System cannot pass soon enough.

A good friend comments on the disappearance of Natalee Holloway

Here is an excerpt from a good friend of mine, "Cheyenne Cin", who runs a list called "pretribbersonly" on Yahoo! Groups:
My comments about the pretty blonde 18 year old young woman who went to Aruba, only to end up probably (gang?) raped and then murdered. I don't know if she were out on her own, but my guess is that she was still in high school or just graduated, and was still living at home with her parents. Here are some of my thoughts about trips to foreign countries or beach settings in these circumstances. If she had never been on her own and if she didn't earn the money to go on this trip by herself- those two things are a separate issue. Young women are the objects of lust for young men who are around them and see them alone, especially in the undressed state of wearing swimsuits, etc.... and in a place like Aruba, it's a vacation atmosphere. Even the most sensible ones staying in hotel rooms are not always going to have others around them every minute. The students in high school are not taught to be mature or apprehensive and add to the sexuality the element of trust. No 18 year old attractive teenager from the USA is ever going to think that men are capable of rape and/or murder. They don't realize what foreign men think of women and/or Americans, especially tourists. What it simply boils down to is that NO AMOUNT of chaperones are going to be able to control or protect the group of students on these trips. Trips to beach resorts in foreign countries just won't work. Again, if she were out on her own or earned all of the money for this trip herself, even with all of the precautions and instructions in the world, this could ultimately be the tragic result, but unavoidable. If she were still living at home and didn't earn this money herself, then there are others to blame. Of course, the man or men who did this to her, leaving her parents with a life of grief ahead, should be immediately put to death, and are the ones ultimately responsible. It is just not worth the dangers or results to be taking these minors on these trips, period! Even the young men and boys are not capable of doing this with or without supervision. Mixed groups are far worse, and the hassles of trying to separate the two sexes is beyond anyone's capacity. Just GIVE IT ALL UP, I say!--"Cheyenne Cin"
She goes on to say that if the Aruba officials do not execute the man or men who did this to Natalee--assuming that the early AP reports are true and Natalee was indeed murdered--then the USA would have the right to make sure of their execution for them. She does not elaborate.

And now here are my thoughts. Full disclosure compels me to add that most parents who send their children to the school that my church keeps might have considerably higher priorities for their money than sending their graduating children to Aruba for a vacation. Many of these children will enroll at Bob Jones University or Northland Baptist Bible College or some such place, and then drive their children back and forth every year, every Christmas season, etc. Aruba, and the flights too and back from it, would represent the height of worldly extravagance. (Think how many Bibles you could load onto a small, stripped-down plane and fly into Afghanistan for the amount of cash required to send one person to Aruba and bring her back, even if she doesn't meet with foul play.)

Worse yet, it offers gambling--in which Natalee took part--and provides opportunity for the sort of free-wheeling romance depicted in a novel--later a motion picture--titled How Stella Got Her Groove Back. And wherever any of those children went, they would not go anywhere without their chaperons--and certainly not with strange men, and I don't care if one of them is the son of a ranking official in the Aruba Ministry of Justice! Sometimes, in fact, the sons of attorneys general are the most likely to break the law in this area--because they think Daddy can "fix" it, and Daddy might even have given that impression.

Bottom line: Natalee Holloway showed bad judgment even in going to Aruba, much less getting involved with three strange men in a sexually charged atmosphere and setting. Her parents showed equally poor judgment in sending her there with their money. And while poor judgment by the victim never excuses crime, sin has consequences. Sin, after all, is a shot wide of the mark of how God intended us to live. Natalee missed the mark big-time--and, again if the initial reports are correct, that miss cost her her life and possibly her eternal soul with it. (That might sound harsh, but the road to God is paved with a saving faith in His Shed Blood and not by any good intentions or works. While Natalee might have been saved, and just not sufficiently convicted in matters involving gambling and going out "stepping" with strange men, I have zero evidence that such is the case. Sorry to be blunt, but that's God's call, not mine. See Ephesians 2:8-10.)

Possible break in case of missing teen on Aruba - Crime & Punishment -

Specifically, one of the three men arrested in the second round of arrests on Aruba, by Aruba police investigating the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, has said that "something bad happened" to Ms. Holloway. Translation: "I killed her, and I'll show you where her body lies." The cops don't want to admit it, but that's the only thing it could mean. And with Natalee missing this long, her death is a statistical near-certainty.

So much for the reputation of Aruba as being a safe place to travel, where you need fear no crime. In a fallen world, no place is safe.

Friday, June 10, 2005

New York Daily News - Rangel in 'Holocaust' firestorm

Senator Charles Rangel (D-NY) has done it again. He effectively said that the Iraq war was just like the Holocaust. Then he hastily said that he meant to say that the "silence" of the media (not true) about the Iraq war was like the silence of the media about the Holocaust.

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-defamation League is not satisfied:

It is so outrageous that I think he owes an apology not only to the families of the victims of the Shoah, but he also owes an apology to the soldiers who are fighting for freedom.

If the world had recognized the evil of Hitler early enough - just like we're confronting the evil of terrorism and fundamentalism now - then maybe the 6 million wouldn't have died.

I was wrong about you, Abe. After you let Bill Clinton's FBI crib from your notes on the then-pending Y2K problem, I didn't think you'd have it in you. You have certainly stood tall today--and your words of support for our troops are unmistakeable. Mazel Tov!

Back to Senator Rangel: An hour ago, he gave an interview to Sean Hannity--in which he not only refused to apologize, but also refused even to discuss the issue with Mr. Foxman. That ill befits a Senator--and I'm through granting to Democrats the excuse that "one can expect no better." If, as Senator Rangel says, his own Jewish constituents don't challenge his credentials on the subject of the Holocaust, or Shoah, then he ought to be mensch enough to repeat that to Mr. Foxman. I happen to doubt his word on that--but even if he's correct, he still makes himself look bad. Totally inappropriate--and unnecessary.

MEMRI: Arab Criticism of Muslim Extremist Activities in the West

Whenever the Middle East Media Research Institute sees any articles in the Arab media that actually talk sense, they put those all the way to the top. While this tends to skew their coverage in the direction of kindness, it also amplifies those few reform-minded voices in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The following story is especially interesting, in light of all the negative coverage of American-Muslim relations in our own press:

An American friend of Arab origin told me that he went with his 13-year-old son to a demonstration for the Palestinian cause, held in a U.S. city. Everything went well until one of the demonstrators, in the grip of enthusiasm, took the U.S. flag and set it alight. My friend said to me: This instance saddened me, but I intentionally turned a blind eye – while my son commented that it was not fitting to thus treat the flag whose citizens we are…

As soon as I heard the story I remembered the imam of the mosque where I attended Friday prayers when I studied in the northwestern U.S. The imam was an American of Palestinian origin, and it seemed to me that he thought a sermon was pointless unless he cursed the Jews and Christians every week.

I saw [in the congregation] native-born Americans who had joined Islam not long ago, and mused at the curse applying to them, harming their parents and sometimes their wives, and their friends and co-workers.

A few months later came the catastrophic events of 9/11. I met with a group of students from the Gulf states in the [U.S.] city where we were studying, and we discussed what we could do regarding our apprehensions about American reactions… We agreed that we would not go anywhere alone and would wait [to go together to the mosque] until the coming Friday – the first after the events.

[That Friday], when the young Arabs reached the street where the mosque was, their hearts were beating like that of a sprinter. Their pulses quickened when they saw groups of Americans surrounding the mosque. They drew closer in dread – to discover that the groups were Christian organizations and 'hippies' who wanted to protect the Arab and Muslim worshipers from any attack that might occur as a reaction by Americans to [the Al-Qa'ida] raid on Manhattan.

The sight was melodramatic. Those same people whom our imam customarily cursed every Friday and whom he asked Allah to exterminate, orphan their children, and widow their wives – and, when he was really fired up, whose blood he would also ask Allah to dry up in their veins – these same people came to serve as a human shield for our prayers.

I remember that most of the worshipers believed, like parrots, the calls of the imam who angered me. I confess that I was too cowardly to oppose them in public, settling for conversations in closed rooms with some of my colleagues.

But I thanked Allah greatly that he did not answer the calls of our imam… The American presence [near our mosque] continued every Friday for the next five or six weeks, and the governor joined them.

Allah treated us mercifully when he did not stop the blood in the veins [of these Jews and Christians], and did not curse them or orphan their children

You can read the original of this here.

Other articles speak directly to the spectacle of Muslims in Europe stirring up trouble, and Muslims in both Europe and America fostering hatred of the West in Muslim immigrant children.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Egyptian Historian on Saudi Iqra TV: The Vatican's Mission of Destroying Islam was Delegated to the U.S.

From MEMRI. And not only that, this Egyptian also says that the US carried out the destruction of the World Trade Center--on assignment from the World Council of Churches. Now that's a new angle.

Only an ignorant fool would believe that the World Council of Churches would have anything to do with bringing down the World Trade Center. So right away, I assume that's what that so-called historian takes us for. He also suggests that the church has eliminated the American left--also false. (Don't I wish!)

The TV host to whom Professor Zaynab Abd Al-Aziz made those outrageous assertions is almost as outrageous himself. He asks:

Why is America hostile to Islam, although we never had and never will have the same conflict with them we had with Europe?
Whom does he think he's kidding? First, Muslims started the conflict with Europe. it didn't start with the Crusades; it started with the attempted invasion of Europe, which only men like Charles the Hammer and Charles the Great (Charlemagne) stopped. And the Crusades themselves started after Muslims captured and desecrated the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And as for their not having the same conflict with America as they did with Europe--well, I guess names like "Great Satan" are not names that you call an enemy. Maybe I'm terminally dense.

And mentioning the WCC and the RCC as having the same mission is absurd. The WCC is the most liberal bunch of Laodiceans I have ever known--while the RCC at least stands by many vital biblical doctrines (though not all of them).

And finally he says that the USA blew up the buildings--killing three thousand people in the process--using the same controlled implosion process that demolition experts use. And he repeats the laughable assertion that four thousand Jews caught a convenient form of the 'flu on that day.

I don't have to rehash idle conspiracy theory, and that is not my intention. I merely wish to point out the sort of junk that appears in government TV in Saudi Arabia. They get away with this because we have to buy their oil. Imagine if we didn't...!

WorldNetDaily: Critics charge Kerry still covering up

He evidently did not sign Standard Form 180 after all--because The Boston Globe has not received all of Kerry's Navy records, but only certain records that he specifically directed the Navy to release to the Globe.

Those records that he did release, certainly cast doubt on his repeated assertions of being smarter than Bush. But we still don't know the truth of sesveral matters that were actually of interest to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and, after they began their campaign, to all the rest of us. Kerry ran for President on these matters, so of course the public deserves to know--and for a former member of his campaign staff to say that the issue is moot because Kerry lost the election is total hogwash.

Especially since Kerry wants to run for President again.

WorldNetDaily: U.S. Muslims desecrate American flag

Now I knew to expect this in the Middle East. Seeing it happen in the USA provides prima facie evidence that many Muslims are now starting to decide to take their Koran seriously and literally. And that can mean only one thing: war. War is what the Koran tells them to wage, and what they have just done is a warlike act.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Liberals Rethinking Senate Filibuster Deal

This is from The Washington (Com)Post, and therefore I am skeptical that the reporter is capturing the liberal mood accurately. But right now I can't think how liberals would benefit by grousing about the deal to move forward on three (or was it five?) of Bush's nominees if such grousing did not represent their real feelings on the matter.

Regular readers will recall that I was skeptical of that deal from the beginning--and when the Democrats filibustered John Bolton (and then tried to deny that this was what they were doing), I declared that the deal was now off, because the Democrats had reneged on it. (I will not use the phrase "they welshed," because that is a gratuitous and totally undeserved insult to the good people of Wales.) And from the distance that the seven Republican deal-makers were putting between themselves and that deal, after the Bolton fiasco, you would have thought that the Senate basically agreed with me.

But I cannot deny that the deal has brought results. Janice Rogers Brown achieved cloture, and today achieved confirmation. From the multiple snipes from one liberal source or another, you would think that she was the Wicked Witch of the West. Of course what she actually is, is a jurist, who happens to be black, who respects the ideals of individual freedom apart from, above, and often against the group-think "interests" of the black race as a whole. And if you were to ask her, I am ninety-five-percent confident that she would deny that a race of people could possibly have an interest deserving of any respect apart from, above, or against the interests of any individuals, whether they belong to the race in question or not.

In any case, you can judge a person's character with at least sixty percent confidence by the nature, character, and pronouncements of her enemies. By that measure, Janice Rogers Brown is a very good pick indeed. And the real point is that she will stand in direct line to advance to the United States Supreme Court--and that is exactly what the Democratic Party and their allies do not want. Now, of course, they've gotten it--and I suppose that I can readily explain their grousing over that deal, if this is the result it got.

So why is this deal still hodling, though the Democrats reneged on it over Bolton? Possibly they are monumentally embarrassed, or simply undisciplined. Either way, their prospects of continuing to run a crito-legislature (from the Greek krites a judge) are getting dimmer all the time.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

CAIR to give away free Korans

Twenty-five thousand of them, to be exact. (From Agape Press.)

At least one evangelist and former Muslim is not worried about CAIR making much headway with this gesture:

W. L. Cati, founder of Zennah Ministries, believes most Americans would probably find the Islamic sacred text hard to decipher. "If you really try to read that book," she says, "it's very confusing. The Koran was put together not by chronological events, like [in] the Bible; it's all sporadic. It was put together from the largest sura [or chapter] to the shortest sura, vice-versa."

Besides, Cati contends, a reading of just a few key verses would likely scare off most rational readers. "All they've got to do is read suras like 'Take not Jews and Christians as your friends,'" she suggests, or "Sura 47:4, that says, 'When you meet the unbelievers, smite at their neck and make a great slaughter of them.'"

Or Sura 9:5, which states: "Then when the forbidden months are past, fight and slay the infidels wheresoever ye find them; seize them, besiege them, ambush them with every ambush. But if they will get their minds right and follow Allah and pay the poor-due [Arabic zakat actually a 2.5% due], then let them go their ways: Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

This Koran giveaway just might have an impact, after all--but not what CAIR intends. Let the Muslims convict themselves, with their own words, of treason and incitement to murder.

In contrast:

the inspired words of the Holy Bible are meant to move hearers to repent and seek salvation.
Then we have Romans 13:1, which states: "Let every soul subject itself to the ruling powers-that-be, because no power is, that does not come from God." In short, the Bible does not exhort its followers to overthrow governments. God makes kingdoms (a word I use loosely to mean "nation-states and their governments") and breaks them. But the Koran exhorts Muslims to do the making and breaking. Theirs is a gospel of works; ours is a Gospel of faith.

WorldNetDaily: Kerry: Dunce is not enough

And what are we talking about? Simply this: John F. Kerry refused, during the Presidential campaign of 2004, to sign Form 180, authorizing the US Navy to release his personnel records to interested media and other parties. All of us--including this blogger--assumed that he was hiding certain embarrassing facts that contradicted his war-hero image, the ones that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth spent so much effort debunking. Well, the Swift Boat Vets are gone--even their web site is down. But the records that did come out today were, of all things, his grades at Yale. And those grades show that he was a lesser academic achiever than was Bush! Thus, in the middle of Kerry's hoity-toity trumpeting of himself as smarter than Bush, we now learn that he was anything but.

An old proverb--old enough to be part of a typical mental-health evaluation in a psychiatric observation ward, as I know from my experience as a psychiatric clinical clerk--says that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. John F. Kerry's house turns out to be made of an even more delicate substance: Baccarat crystal.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Telegraph | News | Blair gives up on his EU dream

Meaning that he will not seek ratification of the EU Constitution, either in Parliament or by "going to the country" or any variation on that theme.

A finding of very heavy opposition to the very idea of the EU, much less subsuming Britain to a single continental government without a referendum, might have weighed in Blair's decision. But then again, Tony Blair does not always wet his finger and thrust it into the political wind. Did he do that in the context of the War Against Terror? Indeed he did not. Give the man credit where credit is due. So maybe--just maybe--he has genuinely recognized that the whole EU scheme is too badly flawed to salvage.

Things are going so badly for the EU that many countries, Italy among them, are threatening to go back to their own national currencies. The French hate that very idea, of course--Christian Noyer, governor of the Bank of France, says that the very idea of abandoning the euro is absurd. But he might have no say in the matter, after his countrymen were the first to vote "Non" to the EU constitution.

WorldNetDaily: Intelligent design movie loses Smithsonian aegis

And yet, the movie makers--the Discovery Institute--come out ahead and show their film anyway.

The Discovery Institute is an Intelligent Design think tank. Remember: all that Intelligent Design Theory says is that certain variables about the universe, and irreducible complexities about life itself, all are evidence of design. ID theorists sometimes describe the situation in terms of the Universal Probability Bound that gives the absolute longest odds that anything can have against it before we have to admit that something--or rather Someone--made it happen. ID theory says nothing about Who that Someone is.

And to be more specific, the Discovery Institute produced a film, called The Privileged Planet, which says outright that our earth has a uniquely privileged position in the universe. That position derives from earth's placement in its orbit around the sun, the sun's position in the galaxy, and the values of certain key constants that govern gravity, electromagnetism, and the "strong" and "weak" nuclear forces that affect subatomic particles--in short, the four fundamental forces of nature. Here's the point: if any of those constants differed by more than a minute fraction from its present value, life would be impossible. Such is the privilege of earth--that it is well-enough situated even to host life, much less have life begin on it. I would imagine that the odds against the granting of this privilege are easily longer than the Universal Probability Bound allows them to be.

The Discovery Institute made a sixty-minute documentary to make this point. They sought to have it shown at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, and specifically at the Baird Auditorium at that edifice. So, according to the Smithsonian's rules, they ponied up $16,000 and announced that the Smithsonian would co-sponsor the event.

Enter James Randi, illusionist and professional debunker of psychics and paranormal claimants. Now I have no brief for psychics--the Bible says that any legitimate psychics are, by their very nature, extremely dangerous. But Mr. Randi doesn't believe that any of them are legit at all. Fine--the overwhelming bulk of them are humbugs and frauds. But Mr. Randi also says that about any clergyman, or any adherent of any religion. He knows no god but reason--and "reason" can be a god that man can easily stand up in preference to the One True God.

Mr. Randi offered the Smithsonian $20,000 if they would renege on their promises to the Discovery Institute and refund them their donation. Well, the Smithsonian knew that if they kicked them out of the auditorium, the Institute would have grounds to sue. So they ended up refunding their donation, asking the Discovery Institute not to list them as co-sponsors--and letting them show their film in its facility anyway.

Folks, it doesn't get any better than this.

I do have one other comment to make, concerning Mr. Randi's defense of reason:

This situation reflects a very critical situation in the present status of the ongoing war between reason and superstition...It has become increasingly obvious that the creationists are flailing about trying to borrow or steal validation from science for a distinctly unscientific notion, by any means they can invent. And they have been successful in that goal when their tricks have worked. They borrow scientific terms, superficially apply legitimate scientific findings to their ideas in inappropriate ways, and try to appear to be using reason while actually abusing it.
Wrong, Mr. Randi. What you have made obvious is that the science doesn't support pure evolution anymore--the Universal Probability Bound says that it couldn't have happened in all the time that anyone is willing to allow for the age of the universe, and frankly Dr. William Dembski's estimates for that bound are too generous, anyway. So the evidence is stacking up against you, and you know it. But of course you're not really defining the word reason as "an objective inquiry into facts and events." What you call "reason" is actually materialism. You can no more dismiss the preternatural--that's right, preter-natural, or That Which existed before nature--than we can dismiss nature itself. Nor have any of us tried to dismiss nature. But the numbers incontrovertibly tell us that Something More must surely exist and be at work.

Congratulations, Mr. Randi. You've just shelled out $20,000 for the privilege of making a jackass of yourself, $16,000 of which will now help the Discovery Institute in ways that would not have been possible absent your ill-considered intervention. Aesop did say, did he not, that sometimes one ought to leave well enough alone.

Rocky Mountain News: Shadows of doubt

The doubts are specifically about Ward Churchill, the prickly professor at Colorado University, and the many stories he has told about the Native American experience in the USA, the laws of this country that deal with Native American populations, and Churchill's own ancestry and scholarly integrity.

UnlikeThe Washington Post, the Rocky Mountain News actually investigates the stories it receives. They do not seek after a "Deep Throat" or a "Source Close to the Case," or a "Person Familiar With The Matter," any of whom is likely too cowardly to come out on record. Instead, they do real reporting, the kind of stuff that reporters used to do, before Deputy Director W. Mark Felt, FBI, changed the rules of the game.

And what they've found is dynamite.

He has asserted that the United States Army deliberately spread smallpox among the Mantan Indians in 1837. In fact, as numerous historians have claimed, the Mantans caught smallpox from a group of infected steamboat passengers. The Army had nothing to do with it. Churchill is the first person to accuse the Army in this, and at least two of the works he cites as references in fact contradict his outrageous assertions. Indeed the authors have told the Rocky Mountain News that Churchill has totally mischaracterized their writings.

He has further stated that the Dawes Indian Allotment Act of 1887 established a "blood quantum" of fifty percent Indian blood that everyone had to meet in order to be called an Indian. A careful reading of the Dawes Act reveals no basis for such a claim.

I, along with others, have commented on accusations of plagiarism against him, and lately of his playing fast and loose with the definitions of "work made for hire" to justify certain quotes he made. Now others have flatly accused him of using their works without their permission, and at least one scholarly expert has also accused him of plagiarism.

With regard to his ancestry, he has made specific claims to the university in order to get hired--claims to belong to certain Native American tribes by birthright. This, too, is now in question.

And in nearly every case, the Rocky Mountain News has asked him to substantiate his claims or to bolster his defense. He has offered them nothing but generalities that have little or no evidence--and certainly not a preponderance of evidence.

This article is only the first in a series. Others will follow, every day, beginning Monday of next week.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Mainline Christians Slowly Realize Modern Israel's Relevance


So says Moshe Auman, at the end of a 35-year career with Israel's foreign ministry. Well, who better than a career diplomat to know, or at least be able to figure out, current trends in how the nations (Hebrew goyim; Greek ethnoi, Latin gentes, or in the most common expression, "Gentiles") view the Jews? Here he concentrates on the so-called mainline denominations of Christendom, or more particularly of Protestantism--Presbyterianism, Methodism, the Anglican-Episcopal Church, and the Lutheran Church (with which the Reformation began). These he contrasts with the evangelical denominations and non-denominational groups--and I would have to include my own Baptist denomination in that evangelical group.

Mr. Auman nails the central flaw in Protestant thinking ever since the Reformation began: while they broke away from Catholic doctrines of trans-substantiation, purgatory, and so on, they did not abandon the worst of the Catholic Church's flawed positions: replacement theology. Replacementism essentially says that all the blessings originally granted to national Israel (by which I mean ethnic Jews, not necessarily a nation-state now called The Republic of Israel) now belong to the church--that is, to all Christians. James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, held the same attitude. His Annals of the World end with the Sack of Jerusalem in AD 70, and he says quite plainly that the era of the Jews was over at that time.

Well, you could understand Protestants and Catholics alike taking that attitude--though we Baptists never did. We always knew that the Jews would come back to the land of their ancestors someday; we just never knew how.

And then, in the century just past, they did. And Mr. Auman has now discovered that the mainline Protestants are beginning to realize what we Baptists have always known--that God is not through with national Israel at all. The very forming of the nation-state called the Republic of Israel was a miracle in itself--and contrary to constant Arab carping, Israel got no substantial help from the USA or the USSR back then. Their hanging on in the face of overwhelming odds is a continuing miracle. And the Bible predicts more such miracles to come.

If, at last, a larger number of Christians are beginning to understand that, that's very refreshing indeed.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Baptists revive anti-public-school resolution

This resolution is similar to one unfortunately voted down last year at the SBC annual meeting. Essentially it says that no Southern Baptist ought to keep his kids in the public schools.

So, you ask, what makes the anti-public-school activists so sure that they will prevail this year? Simply this: the nay-sayers said that a Christian child in public school represents "salt and light" to their school chums. But the proponents now have evidence that 88 percent of all Southern Baptist kids who graduate from public schools end up leaving the church.

Small wonder, given this finding in the resolution:

Government schools are by their own confession humanistic and secular in their instruction, [and] the education offered by the government schools is officially Godless.
But as a former member of an SBC church, I see more than that. The SBC engineered a "top-down revival" of their denomination. They still have a lot of liberal pastors and deacons to deal with, and they can't fire them; that violates the Baptist "Distinctive" of autonomy of the local church. And as long as those liberal pastors and deacons are in place, children in those churches are not going to get nearly enough Christian instruction to counteract public-school influences. Those pastors and deacons don't even recognize a problem when it stares them in their faces. They even compromise on the teaching of evolution, just as they compromise on the role of women in the church and the appropriateness of modern women's fashion.

Until, therefore, they replace the glass walls of their own house, all the stones they throw at the public schools will avail them nothing. Ultimately this decision rests with individual Baptist churchgoers. My decision was to get out of the SBC entirely and join an independent Baptist church. I would advise every other Baptist who cares enough about this appalling situation to do the same.

WorldNetDaily: Temple Mount leaders planning Jewish protest

That's right: yet another protest of what is, by all odds, an absurd situation.

Little do those protesters know of the real role they are playing in a drama much, much larger than themselves...

WorldNetDaily: Iranian smuggling ring busted near Mex border

A 39-year-old Iranian "Green Card" holder is now under arrest. The FBI estimates that he brought sixty illegal Iranians across the border before they stopped the practice.

The good news is that Zeayadali Malhamdary will not be bringing any more Iranians into this country.

The bad news: sixty is sixty too many.

The FBI denies having any "reason to believe" that any terrorists were among the sixty. And if you believe that, I still have that bridge I keep mentioning.