Wednesday, July 26, 2006

MEMRI: If Hizbullah's Patience Runs Out There Will Be Chaos in Tel Aviv

That threat comes from Mohsen Rezai, head of something called the "Iranian Expediency Council"--where do those names come from? He also says that a NATO force would constitute occupation. See? Those guys won't compromise at all. Does he want the world to attack his country? One wonders...

MEMRI: Hizbullah Secretary-General Nasrallah on Al-Manar TV

His position is quite clear: he's going to fight on, presumably until he falls in action.

Falling Apart - Christianity Today Magazine

What's "falling apart" is the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA, which is in essence the Province of America in the Anglican Communion. And why? Thank the current Primate of America, that is to say the Presiding Bishop of the PECUSA, The Right Reverend Ms. Katherine Jefferts Schori. A woman bishop is bad enough--but to bring extra-biblical mysticism into a sermon is simply not becoming an overseer of God's flock. A large number of parishes--and dioceses--have announced their desire to have arch-episcopal oversight from a different primate.

Will the Archbishop of Canterbury finally move to appoint another Primate of America and organize a rival Province? Stay tuned. (Not that it makes all that much difference to this independent Baptist.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

'Lebanon is the Scene of an Historic Test, Which Will Determine the Future of Humanity'

So said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Iranian TV. The "test" he's talking about is, quite simply, forcing all who call themselves Muslims to "get with The Program"--that is to say, to follow the text of the Koran as it is written. And that text says that Jews are the descendants of pigs and monkeys and that Mualims are to "fight and slay the infidels wheresoever [they] find them." [Surah 9:5]

'Who Is My Neighbor' in the Lebanon-Israel Conflict - Christianity Today Magazine

Martin Accad is at it again--this time accusing Israel and the United States of Nazi tendencies. I quote:
The reality is that practically every man in almost every family in these regions belongs to the militant group that was first born in an effort to resist Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon in 1982...[W]hen Israel and some Western nations promised to get rid of Hezbollah, they effectively vowed the extermination of about a third of the Lebanese population!
That's a lie, Martin Accad. I demand that you take it back at once.

And then there's this:

Seven hundred thousand out of a total Lebanese population of 3.5 million, 20 percent of the population, mostly Shiites, are now being cared for and given refuge by mostly Christian schools, churches, and other humanitarian organizations. This is the story of the Good Samaritan at a mega scale! And to think that this is the outcome of a strategy that meant to rouse anti-Hezbollah feelings among the Lebanese population and government. Talk about a failed strategy!
Huh? Muslims have to accept help from Christians, and this is military defeat for Israel? I expect to see this kind of poor-man's analysis on the Daily Kos, not in Christianity Today magazine.

WorldNetDaily: Threat: Cancer teen to be taken by force

And for what reason, say I, other than that a judge has decided to plump for a "cadeuceocracy"--a state in which a doctor's orders carry the force of law?

As a doctor myself, I wouldn't even recommend the second course of chemotherapy--not after it has already failed once. The chances of success with a second round are almost nil--and certainly not significantly better, in my professional opinion, than those of the alternative treatments that Abraham Cherrix desires to try.

And as a citizen I find the notion of ordering such treatment repugnant in the extreme. That way lies forced abortion, for example.

Sadly, as a Christian I cannot recommend that his family resist the government by force. The best they could do now is flee their own country and live in exile in Mexico--which is where the alternative-therapy developer has his practice. Things might come to a head today.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Another Point of View: Evangelical Blindness on Lebanon - Christianity Today Magazine

Mr. Martin Accad, dean of Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, blames Israel for just about everything that is happening in Lebanon--and blames the Americans, too.


Didn't he read Genesis 16 and sundry other passages that speak of Ishmael and his descendants as being like wild donkeys? He is certainly braying like one.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Why Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama

It's not just that he supports partial-birth abortion, according to Jill Stanek. It's because he also supports live-birth abortion, or the practice of leaving babies to die in soiled utility rooms just because the procedure that their mothers opted for was "voluntary termination of pregnancy" rather than "delivery."

Read the article for yourselves. I should think the description of live-birth abortion ought to speak for itself.

WorldNetDaily: Liberals: Born to run

So says Ann Coulter, of course. She will always say what no one else will dare--but however outrageous it sounds, it's the truth.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Video: Tony Snow thanks Helen Thomas for presenting the Hezbollah view

Hat Tip to An absolutely priceless exchange between Tony Snow and Helen Thomas. For years Helen Thomas has asked her usual sarcastic and frankly mendacious questions of many a (Republican) press secretary. Today, Tony Snow talked back. And she couldn't handle it.

Maybe the only reason why Helen Thomas still has her press credentials is that, if she didn't exist, Tony Snow knows he'd have to invent her.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Another court squashes parental rights

So says Ted Baehr of the recent decision in the case involving CleanFlicks and other third-party video editors.

But Mr. Baehr doesn't seem to understand what CleanFlicks was all about, and what they had to work with. In his piece, he offers an example--you buy a copy of a book, you own it, you have the right to quote excerpts from it, and so on--that simply doesn't apply. In point of fact, even when you buy a book, you do not own it outright--or a DVD, either. Read the fine print:

Licensed for home viewing only. All other use prohibited.
Besides: if a movie had to have objectionable words or scenes in it, then it wasn't really worth watching, was it? If, therefore, Hollywood wants to appear unreasonable, and to continue to make films that will lose audience (and money, too, if the experience of Superman Returns becomes typical), let it. If I never go to a public movie theater again, I won't care. (Ticket prices are outrageous, anyway, but that's another topic.)

So what's a family to do? Well, the Bible itself is a surprisingly good read. What blockbuster disaster story can compare with the story of Noah and his Ark? What sea story can compare with Paul's shipwreck on his way to Rome? What story of dysfunctional families can compare with the stories of Esau and Jacob, Jacob and Laban, Joseph and his brothers, David and Uriah, or David and Absalom? And what story of monumental self-sacrifice can compare with the account of Jesus' Passion and Resurrection?

Other than that, the church has always produced some of the best music ever written. Many times I've had this vision of J. S. Bach greeting people at the Pearly Gates, affecting his best Jack Benny expression, and saying, "Why did you so offend your own ears with such noise?"

So as many an angel said to many a mortal, fear not! We have better things to do with our time than try to edit out objectional moments from the movies, while missing their equally objectionable premises.

WorldNetDaily: Hispanic group boycotts Disney 'white supremacists'

At issue are the talk-show hosts who appear on radio stations that Disney owns.

But no, it's not whom you think. Or at least, it's not whom I thought. Specifically, it's not Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, or Monica Crowley.

Oh, no. It's Paul Harvey and Doug McIntyre.

Paul Harvey? He, a racist? A gentler soul you will not hear on the radio today. As you can see, the anti-Anglo campaign has now gone from the hateful to the ridiculous. If this is their style of whipping up the faithful, then that lends credence to the theory that even most illegal immigrants have no use for those guys.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Letter With White Powder Found in 'NYT' Mailroom, But It's a Hoax

This rather sounds as though someone got angry enough with The New York Times to remind them that by blowing the Terrorist Financial Tracking Program, the Times was aiding and abetting the sort of people who would have the whole city of New York breathing finely milled sand laced with Bacillus anthracis. I don't approve of that kind of behavior, as it makes one suspect that the sender himself would attack the Times with anthrax someday. Let's leave mass murder, or even the appearance of the threat of same, to the terrorists.

WorldNetDaily: Report: Syrians shoot at Israel

Furthermore, some Lebanese people-in-the-know expect Syria to do something provocative. If that happens, then the Syrians would do well to remember that God has already said, through one of His "Minor Prophets," that Damascus will engage in one act of provocation too many and will not survive.

Researcher: Bush Embryonic Stem Cell Bill Veto Wouldn't Halt Science

From The researcher involved (Francisco Silva, head of stem cell research at PrimeCell Therapeutics of California) says that adult germ-line cells, reprogrammed to be "pluripotent" (literally, able to make many different kinds of new things for the body), show far more promise than embryonic stem cells ever did. He should know--he does this for a living.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Lawsuit challenges massive spotted owl 'habitat'

Bottom line: if liberals can use the courts to get what they want, then they shouldn't be surprised when the rest of us fight back--and this time, go on offense.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

WorldNetDaily: 'No EU in U.S.'

That from Tony Snow, currently serving as Press Secretary to the President.

From any press secretary other than Tony Snow, I'd have to take that with a milligram of sodium chloride. But Tony Snow is a straight talker, and one who, furthermore, has never hesitated in the past to give back as good a barb as he gets at White House Press Briefings. So I am inclined to take him at his word: that the proposed Security and Prosperity Partnership is not the foundation of any "North American Union" with a "North American Dollar" and all the other trappings of the EU.

But: The SPP itself is still a suspect program, particularly when you consider the less-than-cooperative attitude that Mexico has lately taken.

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE - My Role in the Valerie Plame Leak Story by Robert Novak

The most sensational revelation: Novak first read the name of Valerie Plame in Joseph L. Wilson's biography in none other than Marquis Who's Who in America. All right, all you Democrats! What will you now do? Sue Charles Marquis International or Elsevier International for their role in processing a biography that they perhaps ought to have redacted on their own initiative? Sorry, pals, but that won't fly. Everyone who cares to know, knows the procedures of Marquis Who's Who.

But that isn't the real point, is it? The American left wanted Karl Rove's head on a plate. And they're not going to get it, as Novak makes abundantly clear.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Commentaries: No More Smut Editors? - Christianity Today Movies

One of the movie critics at Christianity Today tells us that a federal judge in Colorado has ruled that third parties may not edit studio-produced movie recordings, i.e., DVD or VHS rental copies, for sale or rental to consumers. Such editing violates copyright laws. The reasons might seem complicated, but I'll boil it down to this: only the studio has the right to edit a movie for content. No one else. These people did not pay the studio any royalty, or otherwise get their permission, to edit out objectionable language, scenes, or other content from these films. Without that right, they may not do what they're doing.

The critic says that the third parties were not doing the right thing, legal or not--because, he says, the job of screening a movie for content belongs to a parent and not to some middleman. His solution is to withhold renting the titles involved until his children are old enough to discern the content--and in some cases, not to have nightmares about it.

I'll give some personal perspective on this matter. In 1966, Planet Film Productions released, and Universal Pictures distributed in the United States, a film titled Island of Terror. This was at the height of the horror/sci-fi craze of the late Sixties. The premise was as dumb as it was hackneyed: a team of scientists, working on an island and pursuing yet another research pathway they hoped could cure cancer, create a form of life based on silicon rather than carbon--and this form of life breaks containment, with results that would indeed make anyone shudder. Days later, a team of investigators arrive on the island and find a number of deadly creatures on it--creatures that liquefy and digest the bones of any creature, human or animal, accursed enough to let those creatures touch them. The creatures are also impervious to conventional weapons, be they blunt, sharp, or explosive. The only thing that saves the island community is the discovery that if the creatures consume any animal whose bones have taken up a radioactive isotope of strontium, then they will die of radiation poisoning. Even so, the final confrontation results in the deaths of many villagers and nearly requires the throwing of a female member of the team to the creatures. (The woman-in-jeopardy angle; how typical.) And then what should happen, after the creatures are dead: a foolish Japanese investigator re-creates the creatures independently! The movie rolls its end titles after this haples investigator's death.

I had the bad sense to watch this on late-night TV, back when broadcast TV network stations had late-movie shows. And I had nightmares about that for three solid weeks.

The bottom line: some movies are just flat-out unfit for viewing. You can't sanitize them. And any movie that has to tell its story with profane language and scenes designed with no higher purpose than to scare people, frankly doesn't deserve to be shown. Even Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde didn't require such blood and gore and bad language in its three first film tellings. Actors Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, and Ingrid Bergman made that tale riveting, and gave us a much-needed morality play about science run amok. They would be ashamed to work in the Hollywood of today.

And even if they weren't: by editing out the obviously objectionable parts of the movies in question, these third-party sanitizers blind us to the more pervasive but subtle harms that such movies represent. Consider: do you really need to watch a film that proposes, for example, that ghosts exist, and that one can deal with them with no more effort than is required to deal with a rat infestation, even if the off-color jokes are edited out? And what do you do with a film that tells the story, not of the sinking of a famous ocean liner, but of a pair of star-crossed lovers having their affair aboard that vessel, and implying something glorious when they, quite simply, commit fornication? Even if you cut out the nude-sketch scene and the making-out-in-the-car scene, you are still left with the premise of a woman being faithless to a promise that was made and agreed-to. In short, the very story premise is objectionable. Sanitizing doesn't change that, and might even blind you to that.

So, like the film critic at Christianity Today, I don't mourn the passing of the third-party editors. If the studios are going to keep making titles that use sex, violence, and profanity to sell tickets, then the divide between the faithful and the faithless will widen, and in-country missionaries like myself will concentrate on persuading our fellow citizens and lawful residents to jump the gap, come over to our side, and give up the overwhelming bulk of the movies produced today.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Adult Stem Cell Research Breakthrough Produces Insulin for Diabetics

Not only that, but it delivers insulin far more effectively than one can do with embryonic stem cells.

The reason: Embryonic-stem-derived Islet-of-Langerhans cells do not conform to any known tissue type--and therefore any patient into whom they were transplanted would reject them. Not so islet-of-Langerhans cell populations derived from umbilical cord-blood stem cells. They deliver insulin far more reliably, and on cue.

This is not the first time that researchers using adult stem cells have produced reliable treatments, far easier to deliver than anything that embryonic stem cells can produce, and without the malignant tumor risk that embryonic stem cells carry. This should be a no-brainer. Unhappily, good healing plays second fiddle to the culture of death in some doctors' minds.

The Lure of Theocracy - Christianity Today Magazine

Philip Yancey takes a dive of logic into a dry pool. He equates Christian and Muslim fundamentalism. He plumps for a secularistic, hedonistic society as the principle most in need of defense.

He does open with one provocative statement:

I find no guidance in the Qur'an on how Muslims should live as a minority in a society and no guidance in the New Testament on how Christians should live as a majority.
That, of course, is because Christianity was born as a minority faith. The best-ever Christian nation, the United States of America (before the Darwinian rot set in), derived its principles of religion and of government from refugees--specifically, the Pilgrims, and after them thousands of French Huguenots and German refugees from the Thirty Years' War. I know--I am descended from all three groups.

But Yancey ignores one key fact: good Muslims have followed their Koran into careers of terrorism and piracy since long before the Crusades, and never let up until a stronger power forced them to. A Moroccan diplomat famously and brazenly told Thomas Jefferson that the Barbary pirates were acting according to religious precept, and that Morocco would continue to issue them letters of marque and reprisal to continue their activities. When Jefferson became President, he gave the Moors his answer, in the person of Commodore (that is, one-star admiral) Matthew Preble.

But that did not mean that Jefferson was an epicure. Yancey utterly fails to understand that ours is a three-cornered war, not two: Christians, Muslims, and secular epicures. And the Beast of Revelation will be an epicure; Revelation 9:20-21 leave no doubt on that score.

WorldNetDaily: U.N. gun confab ends in frustration

Written by Jerome Corsi, of SWIFT Boat fame--who, more to the point, was there. If you have any confusion in your mind about the UN's real attitude, let Mr. Corsi straighten you out. And start with that photo of the sculpture of the revolver with its barrel tied in a knot. That about says it all.

OpinionJournal - Conservatives and Immigration

Or rather: what The Wall $treet Journal thinks will convince you that a totally open border, with admission without regard to whether anyone is willing to commit to the American ideal, is a good idea for America and the world. They also append this document, rather like a petition, bearing a lot of famous names associated with the right.

Well, they don't speak for me, and their analysis is woefully incomplete. Like the typical businessmen that they are, they don't believe in independent countries. Neither do they realize just how dangerous the one-world federation for which their policies would pave the way, would be.

They must be answering the opposition to their open-border pitch, appearing not only in WorldNetDaily but also in Investors Business Daily. They are also being defensive--clearly. Their entire editorial is one answer after another to criticism of their editorial stance. Those answers vary from wishful thinking to outright lies. (For example: they state that illegal aliens are not flocking to La Raza rallies. Oh, yeah? They certainly are, and the Minutemen saw them!)

Congratulations, sportsfans. You've just put an old-line paper, read more by senior business executives and corporate and corporate-group directors than by individual investors and ordinary workingmen, on the defensive. Keep it up.

WorldNetDaily: U.S.-Mexico merger opposition intensifies

I don't know whether to credit Joseph L. Farah's specific theories--or not. I will say that a breakup of the United States would make perfect sense to certain elite-minded opinion-makers, and that missionaries from LDC's have informed me that they see signs of a coming one-world federation affecting their work. (Currency exchanges, that sort of thing).

To his credit, Mr. Farah is now reporting increasing opposition to the sort of ill-considered and ill-advised cross-border "cooperation" that this administration seems to be pushing. From Lou Dobbs at CNN (and I congratulate Mr. Dobbs; I didn't think he had it in him) to Minuteman Operations Chief Christ Simcox, people are not only talking about it but also doing something about it. And you know they're touching some nerves when the rent-a-mobs call such men racists.

This article is all about the opposition, but it has specific links to prior stories from WorldNetDaily. Read them, and judge, for yourselves. Again, though I suspect that Mr. Farah has a curious mixture of fact and unsubstantiated (and insubstantial) rumor, the one thing he will never do is lie to you. Which is more than I can say for a certain former TV anchorman now considered for a teaching job--at Harvard, of all places!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Professor Dan Rather at Harvard University?

That's right: Harvard, the oldest university in America, a place of learning originally for clergymen--and most ironically of all, an institution whose motto is the Latin word Veritas, which means "Truth."

Well, after Harvard sacked its President, Lawrence Summers, for suggesting that maybe women found math class to be tough because it was in their genes, I knew then that Harvard clearly had no more regard for the truth than it had for its clergy-training heritage. This confirms it. If they hire a known liar and fraud to teach courses in journalism and public policy, then they will have shown to all and sundry where their heads are.

Now some of you might possibly remember that I'm a Yale man. And you might expect me to crow about Yale having one-up on Harvard by default. Sadly, I can't--because Yale has no more regard for truth than Harvard has.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

MEMRI: Muslim Intellectual Calls for 'Protestant Islam'

What do you suppose "Protestant Islam" might be? Well, I hate to tell you, but it won't look quite like Martin Luther's nailing of the nine precepts on the church door. The only parallel here is that Dr. Bassam Tahhan is proposing to play Don Quixote against Osama bin Laden's Torquemada.

Incredibly, Dr. Tahhan tells us that multiple versions of the Koran existed before 901 AD, when a certain Ibn Mujahid "canonized" one version. This, after Muhammad had been more than two centuries dead! (And also after the Eleventh Shi'a Imam died of poison, and his five-year-old son, now awaited by the Iranian President, vanished without a trace. But I digress.)

Now let's put that into perspective, shall we? The Bible's Old Testament is known to be absolutely reliable, because it has checksums that allow us to know positively what's authentic and what isn't. The New Testament, for its part, has multiple manuscripts, and while they disagree on some minor points, they all agree far more than they disagree.

Don't just take my word on this. Ask any serious Textual Critic of the New Testament. Better yet, get yourself a good Koine Greek New Testament with a textual apparatus. You'll see that the NT manuscripts have very few differences.

And according to Dr. Tahhan, the Koran has almost as many versions as there were copies extant before 901 AD.

This, on the surface, would seem to make the Muslim faith extremely vulnerable to the sort of watering-down that we have seen with the publication of multiple translations of the Bible, many of which don't even get the original text right. Unhappily, al-Wahhab's spiritual descendants have the perfect weapon against this sort of thing: naked, merciless force, which the 901 Koran explicitly directs. I know--I've read it.

So what do we have here? We have a challenge that says, in essence, that the world cannot know what the Prophet said. It is the most wishy-washy challenge I ever heard of. This is not equivalent to Protestantism at all--but rather to post-modernism, which says that no such thing as truth exists.

What is 'truth'?

Pontius Pilate

Yale University Under Investigation for Mismanaging Stem Cell Research Grants

Bad enough that they were mixing human and animal brain cells, creating who knows what sort of horrible creatures that, one would have thought, only an ancient Hellenic poet could have invented. Now they turn out to have been misappropriating grant money.

Actually, I wonder sometimes whether that's anything new. What's new is that:

    the government decided to investigate for once, and
  1. Yale got caught red-handed--or perhaps that should be blue-handed.

Monday, July 03, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Atheist who sued priest over Jesus' reality fined

The fine was for filing a frivolous case and pursuing a frivolous appeal. I wish we had that rule on this side of the lake.

More to the point: an atheist sued a Catholic priest, claiming that anyone who asserts the reality and historicity of Jesus Christ is guilty of fraud. But that atheist had one small problem: Jesus Christ is, without a doubt, the Best-attested Figure in all of human history, "both sacred and profane" as Archbishop James Ussher might have said. Historians from Flavius Josephus to the Romans Tacitus and Pliny the Younger attest either to Him directly or to His followers. Not even Julius Caesar has as many historical references about him--and no one disputes his reality!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Anglicans Set for 'Divorce' over Gay Issue

Specifically, six American Episcopal bishops have declared that they no longer wish to remain a part of the American Province of the Anglican Communion, and want the Archbishop of Canterbury to name them another Primate.

Some background: the Anglican Communion, formerly known as "The Church of England", has a number of large administrative units, called provinces, each headed by a primate. The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America is, in essence, the American Province of the Anglican Communion, and the Presiding Bishop of the PC-USA is its Primate. Primates and provinces are the rough equivalent of Catholic archbishops and archdioceses.

The problem is that the Anglican Communion has always governed itself and its provinces as though it were a territorial franchisor, and the individual parish ministers its franchisees. As such, never before in the history of the Communion have two Primates attempted to govern geographically overlapping provinces.

Well, they're about to start right now--because the Archbishop of Canterbury has already suggested that any bishops not willing to go along with the EC-USA Presiding Bishop may "stand apart from" that worthy "as associate members." Granting those bishops their own primate would be the logical next step.

It is the sharpest rebuke that the Archbishop can possibly deliver--but one that the EC-USA richly deserves. Particularly after they elected a sworn liberal as their Presiding Bishop!

Of course, I doubt that this will solve the problem. Revelation 18 strongly hints of only one possible solution for aggrieved conservatives: Get out. Let the Episcopal Church be to them as though it were a social club (like Rotary International), or some kind of private tax collection agency. (Matthew 18:15-20).