Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Breaking the Da Vinci Code - The Movie...

Reviews: Breaking the Da Vinci Code - Christianity Today Movies: "Breaking the Da Vinci Code is the latest DVD release from Grizzly Adams Productions, which primarily produces 'sweeps week' television specials and series for the PAX-TV Network. The documentary is based on three books from an evangelical perspective: Breaking the Da Vinci Code by Darrell Bock, The Da Vinci Deception by Erwin Lutzer, and Cracking Da Vinci's Code by James Garlow.

The documentary's purpose is clearly stated when one expert interviewee says, 'Mr. Brown's assertions of accuracy once again fall before modern scholarship.'

The documentary begins by summarizing the plot and basic premise of The Da Vinci Code for those who have not read it. However, the movie focuses its investigation on Brown's opening sentence in his book's preface: 'FACT: All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in the novel are accurate.' The narrator further clarifies, 'Brown's assertions of fact are central to our investigation of his work, along with the reasons he gave to justify those assertions.'

Thus begins a sweeping examination of the people, places, and events mentioned in The Da Vinci Code. Along the way, Breaking the Da Vinci Code revisits Arthurian legend, the Gnostic Gospels, the Council of Bishops at Nicea, the canonization of the New Testament, the conversion of Constantine and the paintings of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

The documentary also analyzes the origin, nature, and activities of Opus Dei and the Priory of Sion, along with the relationship of Jesus Christ to Mary Magdalene, all of which are central elements of The Da Vinci Code story."

Speaking of Secular Extremists...

New York Daily News - Home - Top prof sparks outrage: "A Brooklyn College professor who called religious people 'moral retards' was elected to head his department this month - sparking a campus uproar."

Dennis Prager has observed rightly that although the term "religious extremist" is common in current ideological debates, the term "secular extremist" is unheard of.

That's because in the minds of Education and Media elites, one cannot be too secular.

I've said for some time now that the greatest barrier between students and the Gospel is moral, not intellectual or historical. This story is evidence of that fact.

Students generally don't believe in intellectual Truth or historical Truth. They do however harbor an inner sense of moral truth.

Students have been told by their professors, and now heads of department, that earnest Christians are 'moral retards'.

Is there any other group that professors so easily and openly subject to derision? Can you imagine using the term 'retards' for any other group and not being fired?

Now imagine that your religious and trying to earn a grade from one of these "open minded" profs.

U-WIRE.com: 10 reasons not to kill Bush

Enjoy the kind of enlightened debate that happens on your local campus:

U-WIRE.com/COLUMN: 10 reasons not to kill Bush: "I've met people on this campus who see America as the worst human rights abuser in the world (unlike the angelic paradise of Cambodia) and people who sway liberal not because they actually know anything about issues but because it's popular.

Liberalism has to be more than a college fad or a collection of loudmouths whose idiotic comments stir headlines. The rabid dislike some people feel for a man they've never even met makes me ashamed to be a Democrat."

This was a column giving reasons not to kill the President. A Democrat cautioning fellow campus dwellers not to kill the President. And they call religious people extremists.

Muslim and Media Extremists: Steyn at his best

Due to the surpassing quality of this article by Mark Steyn, I'd like to reproduce it in it's entirety:

"By my reckoning, just five American newspapers mentioned the name of Imran Khan last week. Who? Well, he's a world-famous -- wait for it -- cricketer. No, hang on: Don't all stampede for the exits, this isn't a column about cricket. He is, as it happens, a beautiful cricketer, the first great fast bowler from the Indian subcontinent and -- whoops, no, honestly, it's not a cricket column. But the point is he's a household name in England, Australia, India and everywhere else where the summer game means the thwack of leather on willow.

And in the same week a mere handful of American media outlets mentioned Imran, over a hundred newspapers mentioned Michael Isikoff of Newsweek. Isikoff was the guy who filed the phony-baloney story about some interrogator at Guantanamo flushing a Quran down the toilet. But Imran was the guy who, in a ferocious speech broadcast on Pakistani TV, brought it to the attention of his fellow Muslims, many of whom promptly rioted, with the result that 17 people are dead.

To date, reaction has divided along two lines. Newsweek has been hammered for being so flushed with anti-Bush anti-military fever that they breezily neglected the question of whether their story would generate a huge mound of corpses.

Which is true. On the other hand, there are those who point out it's hardly Newsweek's fault that some goofy foreigners are so bananas they'll riot and kill over one rumor of one disrespectful act to one copy of one book. Christians don't riot over ''Piss Christ'' and other provocations by incontinent ''artists.'' Jews take it in their stride when they're described as ''a virus resembling AIDS,'' which is what Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris said a week ago in his sermon on Palestinian state TV, funded by the European Union. Muslims can dish it out big-time, so why can't they take it, even the teensy-weensiest bit?

All of which is also true, but would be a better defense of Newsweek if the media hadn't spent the last 3-1/2 years bending over backwards to be super-sensitive to the, ah, touchiness of the Muslim world -- until the opportunity for a bit of lurid Bush-bashing proved too much to resist. In a way, both the U.S. media and those wacky rioters in the Afghan-Pakistani hinterlands are very similar, two highly parochial and monumentally self-absorbed tribes living in isolation from the rest of the world and prone to fanatical irrational indestructible beliefs -- not least the notion that you can flush a 950-page book down one of Al Gore's eco-crazed federally mandated low-flush toilets, a claim no editorial bigfoot thought to test for himself in Newsweek's executive washroom.

Watching the media circling the wagons around the beleaguered Isikoff this week, Martin Peretz of the New Republic described them as ''a profession that is complacent, self-righteous, and hopelessly in love with itself.'' The media are the message: But, hey, enough about the war, let's talk about me.

As for the wackiness of Muslim fanatics, well, up to a point. But, you know, we've been told ever since 9/11 that the allegedly seething ''Muslim street'' was about to explode, and for four years it's remained as somnolent as a suburban cul-de-sac on a weekday afternoon. Invade their countries, topple their rulers, bomb their infrastructure from the first day of Ramadan to the last, arrest their terrorists, hold them at Gitmo for half a decade, initiate reforms setting the Arab world on the first rung of the ladder to political and economic liberty, and the seething Muslim street gives one almighty shrug.

In October 2001 Faizal Aqtub Siddiqi, president-general of the International Muslims Organization, warned that the bombing of Afghanistan would create 1,000 Osama bin Ladens. In April 2003, Egypt's President Mubarak warned that the bombing of Iraq would create 100 bin Ladens. So right there you got a 90 percent reduction in the bin Laden creation program -- just by bombing a second country! Despite the best efforts to rouse the Muslim street, its attitude has remained: Start the jihad without me. The short history of the last four years is: They're nuts but not that nuts.

Until, that is, Newsweek's story of Quran-flushing prompted bloody riots from Yemen to Afghanistan to Indonesia. To get a rise out of these guys, it took a peculiarly vivid combination of disrespect: the literal word of Allah plus the flushed toilet, a quintessential symbol of Western decadence to the remoter parts of the Hindu Kush. Message to Bush: You can do anything, but lay off of my holy book.

And even these riots wouldn't have happened if Imran Khan hadn't provided the short fuse between Newsweek's match and those explosive mobs. Imran is a highly Westernized, wealthy Pakistani who found great fame and fortune in England. He palled around with the Rolling Stones, dated supermodels and married Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of billionaire businessman Sir James Goldsmith. Jemima was hot but of Jewish background and therefore, like much of Imran's stereotypical playboy lifestyle, not particularly advantageous when he decided to go into Pakistani politics. So, having demonstrated little previous interest in the preoccupations of the Muslim street, Imran then began pandering to it. I doubt whether he personally cared about that Newsweek story one way or the other, but he's an opportunist and that's why he went out of his way to incite his excitable followers.

It's not the mobs, so much as the determination of the elites to keep their peoples in a state of ignorance. The most educationally repressive form of Islam, for example, is funded and promoted by Saudi princes who, though not as handsome as Imran, also spend a lot of time in the West -- gambling, drinking, womanizing and indulging other tastes that even the wildest night on the tiles in Riyadh just can't sate. Whereas most advanced societies believe that an educated population is vital to the national interest, many Muslim elites seem to have concluded than an uneducated population is actually far more useful. And, when you look at Saudi funding of radical madrassahs in hitherto moderate Muslim regions from the Balkans to Indonesia, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that they're having great success de-educating hitherto relatively savvy parts of the world.

This disaster took a combination of factors. We can't do much about Muslim fanatics; we probably can't do much about our self-worshipping vanity media whose reflexive counter-tribalism has robbed it of all sense of perspective or proportion. But we ought to apply pressure on the link between the two worlds: the self-serving elites who enjoy the privileges of the West even as they exploit their co-religionists' ignorance of it. That's just not cricket, is it?"

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day at the McRyanMac House. I put up the flag for the first time in too long. It's a small way to teach my children gratitude for those who have died to preserve the freedom that we now enjoy.  Posted by Hello

Memorial Day Meaning

EU just won't take 'no' for an answer: "'In a world that is wholly private,' he says of America, 'we lose our bearings; deprived of any public anchor, all we have are our individual subjective values to guide us.' He deplores the First Amendment and misses government-regulated media, which in the EU ensures that all public expression is within approved parameters (left to center-left). 'Europe,' he explains, 'acts to ensure that television and radio conform to public interest criteria.'"

And they call Bush a Fascist.

These are the people that John Kerry said we need to approve our foreign policy via a "global test".

I guess the U.S. just doesn't conform.

Amen. Thanks to all who have fought, served and died to preserve the First Amendment.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Should we be more tolerant?

Islamic Biological Warfare:
"In Nigeria, faith based paranoia on the part of Islamic clergy, and politicians, caused a polio epidemic, which is now spreading to other Islamic nations. The UN has been trying for years to wipe out polio (which has been eliminated in most Western nations). In the last few years, UN medical resources were massing to wipe polio out in one of the last places where it still thrives; northern Nigeria.

But some local Islamic clergy got the idea that these foreigners and their medicine (polio vaccine) were actually out to poison young Moslem females and make them sterile. Yeah, it'’s nuts, but it went over big in northern Nigeria and stopped the polio eradication program cold. The Islamic clerics finally relented (after the UN brought in Islamic medical experts, and jumped through a lot of hoops), but by then it was too late. The polio was moving to areas where it had earlier been eliminated.

Since you can track where a polio strain came from, it is now known that the "Nigerian strain"” is responsible for outbreaks as far away as Indonesia. So far, there are only about 1,300 cases in Nigeria and elsewhere. Polio is not nearly as bad as AIDS. Many of those infected with polio never know they have it, but they can spread it. About one half of one percent of those who get it can end up paralyzed for life, usually in the legs. Polio mostly hits young children."

A few years ago I talked with an admittedly liberal campus minister who cautioned me about the desire to judge others ideas as wrong. She told me of the importance of standing within my own religious tradition and yet affirming the equal validity of other traditions. It was important after all to be tolerant.

I responded with this dilemma:

Suppose you are a Physician charged with caring for indigenous peoples in South America. You discover that one of the tribes that you desire to care for has an outbreak of Cholera. You have a drug that will cure the disease and save the tribe from being wiped out.

But the tribe's spiritual leader sees your "medicine" as a threat to the spirit forces guarding the tribe. She refuses to let you treat any of the tribe.

You know that without treatment most or all of the tribe will die from disease.

What would you do? Would you "push" your beliefs on the tribe or let them die?

The campus minister responded that she would be very careful.

I asked, "So would you push your beliefs and save their lives or let them die.

She again said that she would be very careful in how she proceeded.

That's all she could muster. She couldn't say what she would be careful in doing, because that would be either intolerant or immoral.

This is why I find the modern concept of "tolerance" so morally suspect. Tolerance seems to have come to mean that all beliefs and cultures are equally moral. And yet that clearly is not true.

So, would you tolerate Muslims who allow polio to paralyze children or would you advocate pushing your beliefs on them and vaccinating children in order to save them from this "false gospel".

Ironically even the UN seems to be willing to "cram their beliefs down other peoples throats".

You might even say that the UN went on a "crusade" to save children from their parents religious beliefs.

How intolerant.

Friday, May 27, 2005

A Christian Blog about Reality TV

RealityBlogs.com: "A blog about watching reality television and living the E.P.I.C. life"

This is an interesting paradigm on evangelism in the midst of pop culture and the blogosphere.

I expect it will become much more the norm in the future.

Da Vinci Code Responses

Quoted on effective web ministry notes: "
"I had never read The Da Vinci Code and despite telling my colleague that there was no evidence in the Bible to suggest that this was true, I felt inadequate about my inability to adequately defend my faith with informed knowledge of the facts that were pertinent to the issues raised by The Da Vinci Code.

...I searched on the Internet for a Christian response to The Da Vinci Code...information was not easily accessible to anybody looking for it. I knew that other Christians must be in the same position as I am, and therefore I must make quick, relatively short answers that could help Christians to answer their critics or to refer those people who have questions to the website with the answers.

I hope to email all of the people who have visited the website with details of Alpha Course(s) starting in their region. I am also planning to produce some flyers and small business cards for Christians to use.

Visit daVinci-decoded.com for his site."

Vonage Calls to Puerto Rico

Orangejack Blog: Vonage Calls to Puerto Rico :: aka Rob's Blog: "You want to Vonage?"

I've been thinking about Vonage for a while to replace my local and long distance service for less than half the price. Here's a review.

Orangejack Blog: PSA: Map Cheap Gas

Orangejack Blog: PSA: Map Cheap Gas :: aka Rob's Blog: "Very cool. Use Google Maps to find cheap gas in your area."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Theocrats punish author for heresy...

Where? In the Bible Belt?

No. Not in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In Europe.

Instapundit.com -: "MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT:

ROME (Reuters) - A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.

Fabrizio Quattrochi was unavailable for comment. However, Jeff Goldstein sees this as a 'velvet insurgency.'

Basically, where people warn about theocracy in the United States, we're seeing what amounts to a trial for blasphemy in Italy.

Tom Wolfe once said that Fascism is forever descending on the United States, but that somehow it always lands on Europe. Perhaps the same is true with theocracy?"

And France appoints news reporters only with the permission of the Government.

And Canada can bar the press from talking about it's Government scandals.

How do these countries muster the Gall to criticize the U.S.

Pull the log out of your own eye.

Child Population Dwindles in San Francisco

Child Population Dwindles in San Francisco - Yahoo! News: "It is no mystery why U.S. cities are losing children. The promise of safer streets, better schools and more space has drawn young families away from cities for as long as America has had suburbs.

But kids are even more scarce in San Francisco than in expensive New York (24 percent) or in retirement havens such as Palm Beach, Fla., (19 percent), according to Census estimates.

San Francisco's large gay population — estimated at 20 percent by the city Public Health Department — is thought to be one factor, though gays and lesbians in the city are increasingly raising families.

Another reason San Francisco's children are disappearing: Family housing in the city is especially scarce and expensive. A two-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot starter home is considered a bargain at $760,000.

A recent survey by the city controller found 40 percent of parents said they were considering pulling up stakes within the next year."

An interesting factoid. What is the effect on an adult, of a life lived with little contact with children?

We report. You decide.

NYT and me!

NYT Co. to Axe 190 Jobs, Including Journos, at 'Times' and 'Globe': "CHICAGO The New York Times Co. will shed 190 employees, mostly at its flagship newspaper, the company announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the company said the reductions will include 'fewer than two dozen' employees in The New York Times newsroom. About two-thirds of the reductions will occur at the Times, with the rest coming from the company's New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe."

Maybe Micheal Moore will make a hard hitting documentary called "NYT and Me" detailing the immoral business practices of the NYT which led to downsizing and disenfranchising the average joe worker.

How can the NYT live with itself. Do they care more about corporate profits than the welfare of the common man. Let's wait on Paul Krugman to condemn his own paper.

JustOneMinute: Betting Markets smoke out Harry Potter

JustOneMinute: Betting Markets Elicit Inside Information: "British gamblers taking a punt on the next major figure to die in the 'Harry Potter' series allegedly have tipped the odds by sneaking a peek at the printer's galleys."

This is facinating.

I guess money does make the world go round.

The Winner takes it all?

bestdestiny: "
Now, the winners. Actually, just one winner, and here's where I get back to the title of this draft.

Hillary R-Clinton--who has been conspicuously silent about the whole thing. In fact, she doesn't even have a statement on her website about the filibuster, the judges, or any topic related to this.

Why does Hillary win? Because, with the exception of the delusional John Kerry, she has no serious competition for the Dem nomination in 2008. And now, arguably the top three candidates from the GOP have just been taken out; on top of that, count on small Dem pickups in the mid-terms, and it will look like she's riding a wave of progressive sentiment into a momentous 2008 Presidential bid. When, in reality, she's just hanging out in the troughs between waves of GOP faithful anger.

That's right, in the long run, this battle will be about the 2008 Presidential campaign, and right now there's only one viable candidate still standing."

Interesting analysis.

Dennis Prager: Liberal feeling vs. Judeo-Christian values: Part VI

Dennis Prager: Liberal feeling vs. Judeo-Christian values: Part VI: "In fact, feelings are the major unifying characteristic among contemporary liberal positions.

Aside from reliance on feelings, how else can one explain a person who believes, let alone proudly announces on a bumper sticker, that 'War is not the answer'? I know of no comparable conservative bumper sticker that is so demonstrably false and morally ignorant. Almost every great evil has been solved by war -- from slavery in America to the Holocaust in Europe. Auschwitz was liberated by soldiers making war, not by pacifists who would have allowed the Nazis to murder every Jew in Europe.

The entire edifice of moral relativism, a foundation of leftist ideology, is built on the notion of feelings deciding right and wrong. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

The animals-and-humans-are-equivalent movement is based entirely on feelings. People see chickens killed and lobsters boiled, feel for the animals, and shortly thereafter abandon thought completely, and equate chicken and lobster suffering to that of a person under the same circumstances."

Feelings... nothing more than feelings. Not exactly the basis for a sound moral philosophy.

Foreign Policy: Arabs success in the good 'ol USA

Foreign Policy: Arabs in Foreign Lands: "The Middle East’s poor economic and social performance today has also prompted explanations of some malignancy in the prevailing culture. The respected Harvard University historian David S. Landes wrote in his 1998 book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, that the ill that plagues these countries “lies with the culture, which (1) does not generate an informed and capable work force; (2) continues to mistrust or reject new techniques and ideas that come from the enemy West (Christendom) and (3) does not respect such knowledge as members do manage to achieve.”

Such views are common, given the inexcusably poor performance of Arab nations. In the last two decades, no region besides sub-Saharan Africa has seen income per person grow as slowly as in the Middle East. At the current rate, it will take the average Arab 140 years to double his or her income. Asians, Europeans, and North Americans are expected to double their incomes in the next 10 years. The total economic output—including oil—of all Arab countries is less than that of Spain, the Middle East’s unemployment rates are the highest in the developing world, and its literacy rates rank near the bottom.

But if cultural impediments are behind the Arab world’s disappointing performance, what explains Arab Americans’ incredible success? The answer, of course, is opportunities and institutions. Arabs in the United States have access to ample opportunities to prosper and can rely on powerful institutions to protect their civil, political, and economic rights to do so. Indeed, the census data show that Arab ancestry mixed with markets and meritocracy creates a potent fuel for success...

...In general, Muslims living in Europe—of which Arabs constitute a significant proportion—are poorer, less educated, and in worse health than the rest of the population. In the Netherlands, the unemployment rate for ethnic Moroccans is 22 percent, roughly four times the rate for the country as a whole. In Britain, the Muslim population has the highest unemployment rate of all religious groups. The failure of Arabs in Europe is particularly worrisome given that 10 of the states or entities along Europe’s eastern and southern borders are home to nearly 250 million Muslims—most of them Arabs—with a birthrate more than double that of Europeans."

There's nothing sweeter than when The Great Satan suckles you to her tete.

Read the whole thing.

What about the Crusades? Primary Source Edition

Triablogue: "For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impurity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them."

Now that's good scholarship.

I wonder if Foofadilly knows about this.

More on Spyware - Kiddy version.

Instapundit.com -: "UPDATE: Ran the MS antispyware beta and seem to have gotten rid of it, along with a bunch of other crap -- but I had to do manual surgery before I could even access the Internet to download the program from MS. (I've used AdAware for this before, but wanted to give the MS version a try; seemed fine.)

Kids' sites seem to be especially infested with this crap, which is particularly unforgivable."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sarcasm on the Brain; Researchers Pinpoint Brain's Sarcasm Sensor

- Forbes.com: "No, it's true -- many of you don't go a day without dishing out several doses of sarcasm. But some brain-damaged people can't comprehend sarcasm, and Israeli researchers think it's because a specific brain region has gone dark.

The region, according to the researchers, handles the task of detecting hidden meaning, a crucial component of sarcasm. If that part of the brain is out of commission, the irony doesn't come through, the scientists report in the May issue of Neuropsychology."

I don't get it.

Insert your own sarcastic comment in the comments.

New York Times: Why I'm going to the NE

Class Matters - Social Class and Religion in the United States of America - The New York Times - New York Times: "While working for Campus Crusade, Mr. Bennett had discovered that it was hard to recruit evangelicals to minister to the elite colleges of the Northeast because the environment was alien to them and the campuses often far from their homes. He also found that the evangelical ministries were hobbled without adequate salaries to attract professional staff members and without centers of their own where students could gather, socialize and study the Bible."

Game on.

Hopefully this link is to the full print version.

New York Times: Christians on the move in the Ivy League

Class Matters - Social Class and Religion in the United States of America - The New York Times - New York Times: "On The Chronicle of Philanthropy's latest list of the 400 top charities, Campus Crusade for Christ, an evangelical student group, raised more from private donors than the Boy Scouts of America, the Public Broadcasting Service and Easter Seals.

Now a few affluent evangelicals are directing their attention and money at some of the tallest citadels of the secular elite: Ivy League universities. Three years ago a group of evangelical Ivy League alumni formed the Christian Union, an organization intended to 'reclaim the Ivy League for Christ,' according to its fund-raising materials, and to 'shape the hearts and minds of many thousands who graduate from these schools and who become the elites in other American cultural institutions.'"

Campus Crusade is in partnership with Christian Union.

Read the whole thing.

Power Line: Those who lie in the name of God... or whatever.

Power Line: Lies and the Lying Liberals Who Tell Them: "A Lutheran theologian offers, as the key support for her attack on a former government official, a single sentence--from which she has removed the second half, thereby reversing its meaning. Is this really what they teach in the seminary? As a Lutheran, I hope not. Then, the National Council of Churches issues a press release attacking a purported body of theological opinion which is said to be associated with 'emboldened political leaders and policymakers'--Republicans all, of course. Yet, when challenged to name a single person who holds these supposedly widespread views, the person who headed up the task force for the NCC is stumped. He can't name a single human being who holds the views he has so vigorously denounced. This is, apparently, the quality of scholarship we should expect from the National Council of Churches. Pathetic."

I guess it's ok to lie if you are trying to protect the environment. Slander is not a big deal if you are slandering a Republican.

I'm sure Bill Moyers and the National Council of Churches don't think of themselves as bigots.

How else do you explain it?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Bush: Oil in India?

From The Australian quoted viaPower Line: "The Bush administration, far more cohesive with Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State, has launched a diplomatic offensive with India that is stunning in its rhetoric and serious in its content. 'India's relations with the US are now the best they have ever been,' says Rajiv Sikri, the senior official on East Asia at India's external affairs ministry.

In a calculated State Department briefing in Washington on March 25 (now famous in New Delhi), the real US purpose was made explicit. The spokesman said that Bush and Rice earlier this year 'developed the outline for a decisively broader strategic relationship' between the US and India. When Rice went to New Delhi she presented this outline to Singh, its purpose being 'to help India become a major world power in the 21st century', the abiding dream of the Indian elite."

Wait a minute, I thought Bush was Hitler. What is he doing strengthening other democracies?

Does India have Oil? Israel doesn't either. Hmm. There both democracies. That's an odd coincidence.

Oh, that's right that freedom thing he's always talking about.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wanna see something unbelievably cute?

For what it's worth!: "Everyone, meet Zoe.
Yes, she really is that small."

Are you sure you didn't photoshop this Jeff! Good Land that dog is small.

Fight for your right to be bloggy!

RedState.org ||: "Time is running out. The public comment period for the FEC's proposed rulemaking regarding your freedom online ends on June 3rd. I can tell you that they have not yet received nearly as many comments as they expected.

There is a threat. You need to act.

More important - you as a blogger or just a reader have input the FEC needs. They need to know what sort of things you do (or will do) online. Do you raise funds for candidates? Do you have a group blog that might get a little revenue? Are you considering incorporating to protect yourself from liability?

You don't have to be a lawyer to comment, and you don't have to write 10 pages of legalese. Just send an email to internet@fec.gov and explain your concerns. If you've got any extra time you can actually skim the rule and see all the places that the FEC asks for comment.


No Future for Oil?

Instapundit.com: "Simmons says that the Saudis are a lot closer to running out of oil than the world realizes, and that Saudi production is at unsustainably high levels right now. "

A few weeks a go I met a new friend who suggested to me that the worlds oil supplies were with 50 years of exhaustion. I didn't believe it but this supports his point.

On the other hand, this post underlines the difficulty of planning ahead.

Hackers Circulate Fake Microsoft Security Update - Yahoo! News

Hackers Circulate Fake Microsoft Security Update - Yahoo! News: "Hoping once again to fool security-minded users, malicious hackers have released a fake Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT - news) security update, claiming that it is an update to Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and Outlook."

Be careful.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Nightline: Is Intelligent Design a religion or science?

Christian News - The Christian Post | Is Intelligent Design a religion or science?: "By the end of the debate, both Dembski and Ruse agreed that ID will be more prominently taught and followed in the next ten years.

“I think it's going to be taught in more [schools]…we'll see ID within ten years,” said Ruse.

Dembski was also positive ID will take a more prominent role by then.

“It takes about ten years for somebody from high school to get a Ph. D. and go out for a postdoc and I do see the young generation latching onto these ideas of ID and running with them,” Dembski said. “Darwinism is totally a status quo in the main streams. It's academy."

This debate was on Nightline with Ted Koppel.

Pepsi and the danger of preaching to the choir.

HughHewitt.com: "PepsiCo had better hurry. Scorn, and lost loyalty, won't wait for McKenzie & Co to come up with a report."

If you haven't heard about PepsiCo's CFO Indra Nooyi's "America is the middle finger" speech, you may be one of the few in the blogosphere who hasn't.

My only comment (at this late hour) is how surprising I'm sure it is to Ms. Nooyi that I"m sitting in my pajamas blogging about a speech she gave at Columbia University last week.

She no doubt thought that she was saying things that would be well received by her audience and that her audience was limited to those in her hearing.

This is the sea change of information technology that is upon us.

Blogs have made public comments, truly public. It's just as likely that persons in College Station, TX would "hear" Ms. Nooyi's speech as those souls seated in attendance at the graduation ceremonies of Columbia's School of Business.

I feel confident that this fact, if appreciated by Ms. Nooyi, would have perhaps caused moderation of her remarks to make them more palatable to the millions of potential Pepsi drinkers across America who don't share her view of America's role in the world.

I imagine she had no idea that her words were accesible, at the speed of light, to the rest of us.

Now ask yourself this question: How long until your local Public University Professor (read: Ward Churchill) has the contents of class lectures readily available to alumni via bloggers or other new media?

I think this kind of feedback loop would be very healthy for Higher Education.

PepsiCo is getting feedback this week. As is Newsweek.

They can't just feed anymore. Now it's feedback.

Lebanese Political Journal: Bush freed Lebanon

This from a Lebanese Blogger.

Lebanese Political Journal: Bush freed Lebanon: "Where Iraq was significant was in Syria's departure.
Bush's Iraq campaign may not have had an effect on us, but it sure had an effect on Syria.
Would Syria have exited Lebanon without American pressure and proof that Bush means what he says in the Middle East? Probably not.
Would Syria have left so quickly? Definitely not.
Would Syrian soldiers have moved into place to crack down on Lebanese citizens? Probably.
Would we have fought them? Definitely.
Would this have caused a war? Quite likely."

Bush didn't lie. And he actually saved lives.

Allthings2all: The Darfur Collection

Allthings2all: The Darfur Collection: "The Darfur Collection brings together various writers who share a common concern for the people of Darfur and a desire to see an end to the suffering and genocide in Sudan."

This is an informative round up on issues of tragic importance.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bushfish? No!

Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels: "The Bushfish, you know by now, is a car magnet. Employing the most ancient symbol of the Christian faith--the fish, it attempts to equate the policies and person of the President with Christianity. An attack on (i.e., a disagreement with) Mr. Bush or his policies is seen as an attack on Christian faith, as though the President were an authorized political embodiment of God's political preferences.

The Bushfish marketers make the connection between GOD and GOP explicit by emblazoning the President's last name on the fish. In previous posts, I've mentioned two major objections I have to the Bushfish:"

Mark goes on with a third and I could probably think of many more. I join Mark in hearty rejection of the "Bushfish".

As much as I may advocate the Bush Presidency (just read my blogging past), there is NO equivalence between being a Christian and being a Bush lover, Republican or an American. In other words it is possible to be a Bush lover, Republican and an American and NOT be a Christian. And it is more than possible to be a Christian and not be a Bush lover, Republican or an American.

My learned seminary teacher Michael Horton taught me this with his story of inadvertently sitting down to breakfast with the local communist party leaders in East Germany during the Soviet Bloc years. It turned out that the head of the party was a Christian. Mike said he had never met a communist Christian. The man responded that he had never met a capitalist Christian.

The point is that the church is made up of people of every tribe, tongue and nation; and each of us have enough heresy in our heads right now to make us unfit for acting as an advocate for Christianity. Yet the grace of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit is working in me and fellow believers in many different countries and political parties.

That's why I believe it is misguided to place an American Flag inside of a church. The church is for every human who wishes to draw near to God in Christ. It's not right to bind the conscience of someone from another country with symbol of a human government. I am a proud American. I believe that America is the greatest country on Earth. But I am a citizen of Heaven first. And one's citizenship in heaven is not dependent on voting for George W. Bush.

Let's not confuse Bush with the burning bush.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Foofadilly - Why I have a problem with Campus Crusade for Christ

Here's a student (actually a number of them) blogging on how politically incorrect Campus Crusade's name is.

Foofadilly: "What kind of a name for an organization is that? Campus f---ing CRUSADE for Christ? I feel I should inform my Christian friends that a crusade is not a positive event. It's ethnic slaughter in the name of religion."

This is one reason why anyone in student ministry should be blogging. The conversation is going on on campus. It's just not face to face anymore.

Campus Diversity

The Leadership Institute's Resources: Speeches: "American campuses are very different from the nation that surrounds them. The differences are especially profound when it comes to politics. The United States is closely divided between the two major parties. No such division exists on any major college campus.

Federal Election Commission records from 2004 show a wide disparity in donations to the two major presidential candidates from employees of colleges and universities.

Employees at Harvard University gave John Kerry $25 for every $1 they gave George W. Bush. At Duke University, the ratio stood at $8 to $1. At Princeton University, a $302 to $1 ratio prevails.

The Kerry/Bush split in the number of donations is even more extreme. John Kerry received 257 donations of $200 or more from Stanford, while his opponent got just 28. At Northwestern, Kerry received 100 contributions and Bush six. Georgetown University donations swung 132 to six in Kerry’s favor."

Read the whole thing. It's unbelievable. No, actually it's very typical, and something we all, if we're honest, know already. There's very little diversity in academia.

University Of Iowa Offers Porn Class

TheIowaChannel.com - EDUCATION - University Of Iowa Offers Porn Class: "Some University of Iowa students may be able to get an 'A' in X-rated.

The school will be offering a class on porn in the fall semester.

All 20 student slots have been filled and there's a waiting list.

Grad student Jay Clarkson is teaching the course. But he cautioned that students looking for a cheap thrill will be disappointed. He said no films or other explicit material will be shown in class. Clarkson said the class will examine the impact of porno on mainstream culture."

Hmm. CU Boulder actually has a class that shows pornographic material. There is also a waiting list.

Worthy of Attention - The Uzbek Massacre

Quoted from a letter sent to Instapundit.com -: "As a concerned Muslim who wants to see democracy take root not just in Iraq but all across the Middle East and Central Asia, I despair of the stunning silence in the blogosphere regarding the terrible news from Uzbekistan, a massacre of civilians by the odious Karimov.

What is really depressing is that all the bloggers who made such a song and dance over the Iraqi elections cannot for the life of them be bothered to even MENTION this atrocity, not even in passing."

Read the whole post to find out more.

Star Wars fandom: DEFCON 1!

A Small Victory - Star Wars fandom: DEFCON 1!: "I'd say there's three levels of Star Wars fans. There's Level 1: the person who really enjoys the movies and can name all the main characters, but stops short of engaging in a discussion of whether or not Han shot first. A Level 2 fan (of which I would be one) has a more in-depth knowledge of the movie series; recognizes the Star Wars world as one of fantasy but often discusses aspects of it as if it were real; owns action figures, but realizes that Peter Mayhew is not really a Wookiee and wouldn't ask him to do a Wookiee yell if they ever met him. Then there's Level 3. That's the guy who will wait on line months in advance of the premeire of a new SW movie. At the wrong theater. And demand that Lucas show the film in the theater he's on line at. A Level 3 lives in a world inhabited by people who are one light saber duel away from never coming back to this side of reality. He or she is the person who dresses their dog in a Vader costume or names their son Luke Skywalker."

Which are you David Lewis?

Newsweek Meets 21st Century War - Austin Bay

Newsweek Meets 21st Century War - On Point Commentary by Austin Bay StrategyPage.com: "We have enemies looking for 'operational opportunities' on a global scale. Al Qaeda has sympathizers who are cued to react to Western news reports that 'insult Islam.' The 'fifth-columnist' throws the first stone. If he can get a couple of bored teenage boys to throw a second and third stone, he's done his job. Al Qaeda gets another 'the Muslim street is angry' story and perhaps a bloodbath.

Is this a fanciful scenario? Indian military analyst Bahukutumbi Raman claimed the Afghan riot riots in the wake of the Newsweek phony story were incited by 'well-organized agents of the Hizb ut-Tahrir terror gang.'

Welcome, Newsweek, to the 21st century -- and 21st century war."

More Evidence of the Right War...

in the right place and the right time.

Instapundit.com -: "SIGNS OF PROGRESS IN SYRIA?

Beset by U.S. attempts to isolate his country and facing popular expectations of change, Syrian President Bashar Assad will move to begin legalizing political parties, purge the ruling Baath Party, sponsor free municipal elections in 2007 and formally endorse a market economy, according to officials, diplomats and analysts. . . .

Emboldened opposition leaders, many of whom openly support pressure by the United States even if they mistrust its intentions, said the measures were the last gasp of a government staggering after its hasty and embarrassing troop withdrawal last month from neighboring Lebanon.

The debate over the changes comes during a remarkable surge in what constitutes dissent in this country of 18 million. For the first time in years, opposition figures and even government allies are openly speculating on the fate of a party that, in some fashion, has ruled Syria since 1963 in the name of Arab nationalism, and today faces perhaps its greatest crisis.

As Jonah Goldberg notes, the rush of democratization has reached the point where the Post isn't even treating this as big news."

Froggy Ruminations: Why the Left Doesn't Get It

Froggy Ruminations: Why the Left Doesn't Get It: "In significant contrast to the media’s dismissal of this event, is their hyper-criticality of the U.S. Military. Over the last few years, we have gone through countless news cycles with the MSM doing backloops through its collective grommet to find some kind of dirt on American troops and often, in the process, becoming willing dupes of our enemies’ propaganda efforts. If they happen to catch it on film they will demonize the most junior soldier for using justifiable force against the terrorists trying to kill him, only playing enough footage so as to shed the worst light possible.

What did our troops do to the left and the MSM to deserve this treatment? Was it putting aside their families and careers in order to serve something larger than themselves? Was it cheering when the President of the United States declared unequivocally that terrorist were no longer going to murder Americans with impunity? Was it for having the spine to stand up for noble purposes like maintaining the security of our Nation and securing freedom for the oppressed? It was all of these things."

Well said.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Blogs May Not Be as Influential as Some Think | Personal Democracy Forum

Blogs May Not Be as Influential as Some Think | Personal Democracy Forum: "Bloggers are often touted as influential instigators, feeding buzz-worthy topics to the mainstream media they so disdain, and even guiding discussion in other communication channels. Not so, says a new study analyzing the impact of political blogs on the national conversation leading up to the 2004 presidential election. Indeed, Buzz, Blogs, and Beyond: The Internet and the National Discourse in the Fall of 2004 concludes that, while a force to be reckoned with, blogs are merely cogs in the meme machine."

We'll see.

ScrappleFace: Newsweek Told Koran Flush Story Was 'Slam Dunk'

ScrappleFace: Newsweek Told Koran Flush Story Was 'Slam Dunk': "(2005-05-16) -- An unnamed former top government official told a Newsweek magazine reporter that his story, about a U.S. military guard at Guantanamo prison flushing a Koran down a toilet, was 'a slam dunk,' according to the latest apology from Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker.

The magazine's uncorroborated, single-source, hearsay report of the Koran desecration sparked riots in several Muslim countries, killing at least 15 and injuring perhaps 100."

Dennis Prager: Newsweek and the rioters

Dennis Prager: Newsweek and the rioters: "Did any Buddhists riot and murder when the Taliban Muslims blew up the irreplaceable giant Buddhist statues in Afghanistan?

Did any Christians riot and murder when an 'artist' produced 'Piss Christ' -- a crucifix immersed in a jar of the 'artist's' urine? When all Christian services and even the wearing of a cross were banned in Saudi Arabia? When Christians are murdered while at prayer in churches by Muslims in Pakistan?

Have any Jews rioted in all the years since it was revealed that Jordanian Muslims used Jewish tombstones in Old Jerusalem as latrines? Or after Palestinians destroyed Joseph's Tomb in 2000 and set fire to the rebuilt tomb in 2003?

It is quite remarkable that many Muslims believe that an American interrogator flushing pages of the Koran is worthy of rioting, but all the torture, slaughter, terror and mass murder done by Muslims in the name of the Koran are unworthy of even a peaceful protest."

Speaking of "Piss Christ", how come "transgressive" artists don't relish the opportunity to bath the Koran in their own urine. Maybe it's because they know what will happen.

Maybe "transgressive" only applies when your pretty confident you won't get the Salman Rushdie treatment.


MSM: Behold the double standard...

HughHewitt.com: "When American corporations screw up, the American media whales on them day after day, week after week, and year after year. Think the Exxon Valdez, Union Carbide and Bhopal, The Ford Pinto, Enron.

Now an American media company has committed a huge and grave error leading to widespread unrest and the loss of life. Will the Washington Post Company, Newsweek's owner, suffer similar fallout as those examples listed above? Probably not. The club will protect one of its own."

The similarities to the University should be obvious: Plenty of blame for those outside of the institution, little self-criticism or real debate inside.

The press limits it's own freedom with the blinders of idealogy. That's why new media has arrived.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Education and the Bible

Bible Illiteracy in America: "A REPORT JUST ISSUED BY the Bible Literacy Project (more on this later) suggests that young Americans know very little about the Bible. The report is important, but first things first: A fair number of Americans don't see why teenagers should know anything at all about the Bible.

Scripture begins with God creating the world, but there is something these verses don't tell you: The Bible has itself created worlds. Wherever you stand on the spectrum from devout to atheist, you must acknowledge that the Bible has been a creative force without parallel in history."

An educated person, religious or not, knows the Bible well.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Shocking Revelation of the Decade...

New Survey Finds Huge Gap Between Press and Public on Many Issues: "Asked who they voted for in the past election, the journalists reported picking Kerry over Bush by 68% to 25%. In this sample of 300 journalists, from both newspapers and TV, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 3 to 1--but about half claim to be Independent. As in previous polls, a majority (53%) called their political orientation “moderate,” versus 28% liberal and 10% conservative."

Fair and balanced? We report, you decide.

University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire Wages Campaign Against Student Viewpoints

FIRE - University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire Wages Campaign Against Student Viewpoints:

"EAU CLAIRE, Wis., April 27, 2005—The University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC) Student Senate has amended its rules to forbid any student-organized activity that promotes a “particular ideological, religious, or partisan viewpoint” from receiving student-fee funding. This new policy directly contradicts the university’s First Amendment obligation to distribute student funds regardless of viewpoint and violates the rights of all UWEC students."

I tell people all the time that the one place in the world where free and open debate is not permitted is the local college campus.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Personal Nuclear Power: New Battery Lasts 12 Years - Yahoo! News

How cool is this?

Interesting Politics of Base Closing

HughHewitt.com: "Want your favorite base to stay open? Then call your senator and talk to their staff about the crucial senate votes looming next week. 202-225-3121."

Read his whole theory.

Friday, May 13, 2005

From Corona to Ventura?

Press-Telegram - PM Updates: "With a proposed net loss of more than 1,500 jobs, Naval Base Ventura County stands to be the biggest loser in California, followed by 1,200 jobs proposed to be transferred out of San Diego County.

``The base remains open and if you count 1,500 jobs out of 18,000, I think we came out of the whole thing very well, but I'd have to say 1,500 jobs lost is 1,500 people,'' Ventura County Supervisor John Flynn said.

Flynn was told that 2,300 Ventura County jobs will transfer to Naval Air Weapons Center China Lake in the Kern County desert, but that 850 will be added from a Navy installation in Corona in Riverside County."

It looks like my Brother in Law may be moving to Ventura. I'm blogging this stuff so that my Sister can get some good intel on these changes until my Brother in Law gets off of an airplane.

Update: Here's the official list of closures from the Defense Dept.

CA Base Closures

bakersfield.com | Breaking News: "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said the closures would save $48.8 billion over 20 years while reshaping the military for America's expected 21st century adversaries.

Rumsfeld's plan calls for a massive shift of U.S. forces that would result in a net loss of 29,005 military and civilian jobs at domestic installations. Overall, he proposes pulling 218,570 military and civilian positions out of some U.S. bases while adding 189,565 positions to others, according to documents obtained by The AP.

The closures and downsizings would occur over six years starting in 2006.

Before closures or downsizings can take effect, the Defense Department's proposal must be approved or changed by a federal base closing commission, and then agreed to by Congress and President Bush, in a process that will run into the fall. In four previous rounds of closures starting in 1988, commissions have accepted 85 percent of bases the Pentagon recommended for closure or consolidation.

Among the major closures Rumsfeld seeks is Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, home to 29 B-1B bombers, half the nation's fleet of the aircraft, and the state's second largest employer. That would deal a potential political setback to Republican freshman Sen. John Thune, who had claimed he could protect the base if elected during his campaign to defeat former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

Rumsfeld also recommended closing the Naval Station in Pascagoula, Miss., which barely survived previous base closure rounds. The decision was a blow to Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who had fought the 1995 round of closures. At stake are 844 military jobs and 112 civilian jobs.

The list of California bases recommended for closure is:
--Armed Forces Reserve Center, Bell
--Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Oakland
--Defense Finance and Accounting Service, San Bernardino
--Defense Finance and Accounting Service, San Diego
--Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Seaside
--Naval Support Activity, Corona
--Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Detachment Concord
--Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Encino
--Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Los Angeles
--Onizuka Air Force Station
--Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant"

My Brother in Law works at the base highlighted above. This might mean that his family will have to move. I'm sure these changes will affect many people.

View From a Height- Review of Kingdom of Heaven

View From a Height: "In any hands other than Scott's, this movie would have come out as disdain for religious belief. In Scott's hands, it merely warns of the need to rely on God, but keep military necessities in mind, too. It's not critical of religious belief as such, or even as the motivation for action. But it does seem to put a little too much of the blame on the Christians: Guy and Reynaud may have lit the match, but the wood had been drying out for a while. And Saladin really did want the city.

To the extent that the film fails in its big ideas, it's in the conflation of tolerance with truce. Historically, both sides were forced by the other to tolerate. (The Third Crusade, usually presented as a failure, did restore the rights of Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem.) But both sides were also willing to kill and die in large numbers to be the tolerators rather than the tolerated."

I want to see it.

The Campuses, they may be changin'

Hugh Hewitt:
"The message the Robinson-Zywicki election sends is simple, and I think of much wider applicability than just Dartmouth: Colleges and universities are out of touch with large segments of their alums, and those alums do not like the policies and practices they read about at their alma maters."

Maybe there's hope for CU Boulder.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dennis Prager: The case for Judeo-Christian values: Part V

Dennis Prager: The case for Judeo-Christian values: Part V: " Judeo-Christian values combine the two religions' strengths -- the Jewish emphasis on moral works in this world with the Christian emphasis on keeping God at the center of one's values and works."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Cheating is "realistic"...

The Corner on National Review Online:
"And so let's shoot down marriage as a realistic option for a happy life, too, early on, with 'CNN in the Classroom,' where a story on infidelity tells high-schoolers: 'the increasing incidence of adultery has some people asking whether fidelity is even a realistic expectation for marriage today.' "

And the increasing incidence of cheating by high schoolers has some people asking whether academic integrity is even a realistic expectation for students today.

Why the hypocritical effort by teachers to block cheating when, according to CNN, cheating in marriage is not a "realistic expectation".


"We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst." - C.S. Lewis from The Abolition of Man.

All the news that's fit to blog...

Sam Jaffe proves (again) why blogs rule: "Four Under-Reported Stories"

There really isn't a slow news day, only slow news people.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How do you spell Blogger?

Ironically, the spell check feature on Blogger.com does not include some basic words in it's dictionary. Words like blog, blogger and blogs. How about a little self-respect?

Blogging for dummies

John Hawkins has a list of wisdom for bloggers:

"23) Avoid blogging angry. It may save you a lot of grief.

24) Everybody on the net with an opinion gets hate mail. Don't sweat it.

25) Given that there are plenty of people who've been fired or disciplined at work either for blogging on the job or for something they said on their blog, the fewer people at your job who know about your blog, the better. "

I can tell that I'm not a "big time" blogger because I don't get hate mail. Send me an expletive filled missive so that I can feel better about myself.

But I thought Dick Cheney was Evil?

The Corner on National Review Online:
"What the U.S. Court of Appeals today decided is that the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch (plus the entire MSM) were simply wrong to suggest that the President and Vice President had any obligation to disclose the inner workings of the National Energy Policy Development Group. In its decision today in In re Cheney, the entire D.C. Circuit concluded that "severe separation-of-powers" problems prevented the court from applying the Federal Advisory Committee Act to require the Vice President to disclose the details of his meetings within and without the government in formulating the President's 2001 National Energy Policy (still not enacted into law, by the way)."

Emphasis mine.

No one from Wyoming could be evil? Right?

No more thwap on the morning driveway.

Paulding.com FASTREAD could be the future of your local newspaper.

The energetic among us will create such sites and in 20 years this will be how you keep up on local news (maybe).

I'm moving to Reading MA which I'm sure will have a local paper. I wonder how long it will take for that news to move online.

Dennis Prager: The case for Judeo-Christian values: Part IV

Dennis Prager: The case for Judeo-Christian values: Part IV: "That is why people estranged from Judeo-Christian values (including some Christians) support programs such as 'Holocaust on Your Plate,' the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign that teaches that there is no difference between the slaughtering of chickens and the slaughtering of the Jews in the Holocaust. A human and a chicken are of equal worth."

I've been falling behind on these.

and those with good grades will go to college...

bestdestiny: "A majority of high school students in the USA spend three hours or less a week preparing for classes yet still manage to get good grades, according to a study being released today by researchers who surveyed more than 90,000 high school students in 26 states.

Is it that students are lazy? Not Particularly. More like undisciplined.

Researchers also found that a higher proportion of students are likely to spend four or more hours a week doing personal reading online than doing assigned reading for their classes."

Austin Bay Blog � James Campbell on Bill Cosby

Austin Bay Blog � James Campbell on Bill Cosby: "Since last year, Cosby has been traveling around the country on his own dime with the fire of a revival preacher holding what he terms “call-outs” that are free and open to the public. He mostly wants to talk to parents, particularly low-income and single parents, to show them examples of people like them who are overcoming their condition. He also wants to point out community-based organizations that are in the trenches trying to make a difference."

I respect this.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Make it easier to read on your computer...

The I.T. Workshop - Tech Tips: "Turn on ClearType Font-Rendering Technology
Get that extra text clarity you've always wanted. The incredible Microsoft ClearType® technology can be enabled in Windows XP to smooth all fonts at all sizes, making the whole system so much easier to read. I don't know how I lived without it! To turn on ClearType: Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Appearance and Themes. Click the Display icon, click the Appearance tab, and then click Effects. Click the Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts check box to select it, and select ClearType from the list. Click OK, and then click OK again. Happy reading."
This is really a great tip. However you must click the Display control panel in order to find the Appearance tab and implement this setting (at least on my machine running XP).

Happy reading.

New Tool to Battle Spyware

I talked with my old friend Darren Patoni who is an IT professional and he let me know that Spybot - Search and Destroy is not enough.

I've had my Spyware pants down.

I ran the Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta software tool on my home computer last night and found 17 spybots that my other tool had missed.

Don't get caught with your pants down.

Earth's air is cleaner, but this may worsen the greenhouse effect.

news @ nature.com - Clear skies end global dimming - Earth's air is cleaner, but this may worsen the greenhouse effect.:

"Our planet's air has cleared up in the past decade or two, allowing more sunshine to reach the ground, say two studies in Science this week.

Reductions in industrial emissions in many countries, along with the use of particulate filters for car exhausts and smoke stacks, seem to have reduced the amount of dirt in the atmosphere and made the sky more transparent.

That sounds like very good news. But the researchers say that more solar energy arriving on the ground will also make the surface warmer, and this may add to the problems of global warming. More sunlight will also have knock-on effects on cloud cover, winds, rainfall and air temperature that are difficult to predict.

The results suggest that a downward trend in the amount of sunlight reaching the surface, which has been observed since measurements began in the late 1950s, is now over.

The researchers argue that this trend, commonly called 'global dimming', reversed more than a decade ago, probably following the collapse of communist economies and the consequent decrease in industrial pollutants."

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with a friend about how a Christian should care for the environment. The main thrust of my opinion was that I find it difficult to trust the claims of Environmentalists because they are so often proven wrong.

And stories like this one make it difficult to even discern what is morally upright behavior with regard to the environement.

I think care for the environment is important, but far less important that care for those suffering genocide, hunger, disaster and other human tragedy. I guess that's just the Judeo-Christian ethics talking.

What about the Crusades?

Variety.com - Bound for 'Heaven'?:
"But the film has also been dogged in recent months by accusations that it short-shrifts real history. Jonathon Riley-Smith, one of Britain's leading authorities on the Crusades, labeled it 'Osama Bin Laden's version of history' and said, 'It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists.' Islamic professor Khaled Abu Fadl of the U. of California accused the film of 'teaching people to hate Muslims.'"
I posted an article on the Crusades here. I wonder why Ridley Scott isn't being attacked for defaming Christians the way Mel Gibson was attacked for doing so to Jews with The Passion of the Christ.

I wonder?

More on the Force...

The Kerry Spot on National Review Online: "judging from the e-mail response and links around the web, I shouldn’t be writing about U.K. politics right now, or Turkish politics, or even U.S. politics. I should be writing about the Palpatine/Vader 2005 campaign, the swing planet of Alderaan, the “red and blue” divide on Naboo..."

So much for the Force...

The Kerry Spot on National Review Online:
"Let me get this straight. With villains in Attack of the Clones that consisted of the “Trade Federation”, “Commerce Guild”, “Techno Union” and “Intergalactic Banking Clan”, etc., I’m being warned about the dangers of capitalism from a man who made perhaps more money from merchandising than any other man in history. I’m getting lectured about the dangers of greed from man who authorized, “C-3POs” breakfast cereal, “The Star Wars Christmas Special” featuring Bea Arthur’s musical number, and not one but two Ewoks made-for-TV movies.

I’m being warned about the dangers of technology, and the glory of primitive cultures like the Ewoks, who are able to defeat the ‘technological terror’ of the Empire, in what is supposedly an allegory of Vietnam. Technology is bad, soulless, dangerous, and dehumanizing. Mmm-hmm. This from a man who replaced a tall man in a hairy suit, a projecting the human-eyed loyalty and sadness of Chewbacca, with the CGI cinematic war crime that is Jar-Jar Binks. A man who tossed aside the Yoda puppet, the spaceship models, the stop-motion animation of the Imperial walkers to go all-computer-animation-and-green-screen, all-the-time.

I’m being warned about the dangers of a “you’re either with me or against me” attitude, and the viewing of the world in a black and white morality, from a filmmaker who has his villain dress entirely in black, choke the life out of helpless pilots, and blows up entire planets. This from a man whose nuanced moral view required an edit to make Greedo shoot first."

From the people who brought you cigarette taxes...

My Way News: "Other cities and states have special taxes on prepared food, and some have tried 'snack taxes.' In New York, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has proposed a 1 percent tax on junk food, video games and TV commercials to fund anti-obesity programs."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Purpose Driven to Purpose Driven to...

This is classic.

LarkNews.com: "'I'm on my 400th day of purpose and I still feel invigorated,' says Wendy Sotter, 44, a 'proud purp' from Omaha. 'My purpose in life is to find my purpose."

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Hey Mom or Dad, need a back rub?

Some friends of mine started a company with gift idea for parents that is, well, adorable.

Check outKoala-T Time Products and Toys and see if your kids can "drive" you to relaxation.

Chicago Tribune | `Smiling preacher' packs the pews, but message gives his critics pause

Chicago Tribune | `Smiling preacher' packs the pews, but message gives his critics pause: "In his book, as well as his sermons, Osteen preaches about how being positive will result in blessings from God. Osteen writes: 'Let me encourage you to raise your expectations; start seeing yourself receiving good things. Expect the favor of God.'

Michael Horton, a professor of apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California, said Osteen trivializes the Christian faith by viewing God as a being who exists solely for our personal happiness. Osteen is part of a growing 'prosperity gospel' movement, he said, where followers are instructed to pray to God for health, wealth and happiness.

'In this religion, God is not worshiped. He is used,' said Horton, a minister in the United Reformed Churches of North America.

'Joel Osteen uses the Bible each week like it's a collection of fortune cookies that can be opened to suit any of your needs or goals in life. The Bible is a story about the redemption of Christ, not a timeless set of principles for success.'

Osteen said such criticism unfairly fails to look at his message as a whole.

'When I talk about prosperity and better things, I'm not just talking about financial success,' he said. 'I'm talking about prosperity in your marriage, prosperity in your health, and with your kids. I don't think God wants us to be at the bottom of the totem pole. He wants us to have a better life than our parents did.'"

A lot of people have been recommending Osteen's book to me. I must say I'm very skeptical.

And my former seminary prof Mike Horton gets some love from the Chi Trib.

Interesting Stuff