Monday, August 29, 2005

Inside Higher Ed :: Proving the Critics' Case

Inside Higher Ed: "Instead, the last two years have seen proud, often inflammatory, defenses of the professoriate’s ideological imbalance. These arguments, which have fallen into three categories, raise grave concerns about the academy’s overall direction.

1. The cultural left is, simply, more intelligent than anyone else...

2. A left-leaning tilt in the faculty is a pedagogical necessity, because professors must expose gender, racial, and class bias while promoting peace, “diversity” and “cultural competence"...

3. A left-leaning professoriate is a structural necessity, because the liberal arts faculty must balance business school faculty and/or the general conservative political culture...
What a bunch of Barbara Streisand.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Saddam and 9/11: Connected

Captain's Quarters: "In one editorial, two months before the attack, al-Nasiriyah -- a state-run newspaper for the Saddam regime -- managed to name all three attack targets for 9/11. They said that bin Laden had spent his time trying to work out how to bomb the White House, which would happen shortly before destroying the Pentagon. Then, in typically flowery Arabic fashion, the author claims that Americans will 'curse the memory of Frank Sinatra', an odd reference -- unless one remembers that 'New York, New York' remains Sinatra's signature song. In the event, the attack followed precisely this plan, except in reverse order: the World Trade Center went first, then the Pentagon, and the White House would likely have followed if the heroes of Flight 93 had not caused the terrorists to down the plane in Pennsylvania.

Even beyond that, the fawning tone and obvious support for Osama bin Laden in one of Saddam's newspapers belies any suggestion that the two could not find common ground for operations against their common enemy. Saddam wanted Iraqis to stand behind Osama and al-Qaeda and cheer on their attacks on the US."

Commentary: What's the difference?

Commentary: "Elites throughout the West are living a lie, basing the futures of their societies on the assumption that all groups of people are equal in all respects. Lie is a strong word, but justified. It is a lie because so many elite politicians who profess to believe it in public do not believe it in private. It is a lie because so many elite scholars choose to ignore what is already known and choose not to inquire into what they suspect. We enable ourselves to continue to live the lie by establishing a taboo against discussion of group differences.

The taboo is not perfect—otherwise, I would not have been able to document this essay—but it is powerful. Witness how few of Harvard’s faculty who understood the state of knowledge about sex differences were willing to speak out during the Summers affair. In the public-policy debate, witness the contorted ways in which even the opponents of policies like affirmative action frame their arguments so that no one can accuse them of saying that women are different from men or blacks from whites. Witness the unwillingness of the mainstream media to discuss group differences without assuring readers that the differences will disappear when the world becomes a better place.

The taboo arises from an admirable idealism about human equality. If it did no harm, or if the harm it did were minor, there would be no need to write about it. But taboos have consequences.

The nature of many of the consequences must be a matter of conjecture because people are so fearful of exploring them."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Gates of Fire in Iraq

Michael Yon: "I saw Prosser's M4 on the ground, Where did that come from?

I picked up Prosser's M4. It was empty. I saw only Prosser's bloody leg lying still, just inside the darkened doorway, because most of his body was hidden behind a stack of sheet metal.

'Give me some ammo! Give me a magazine!' I yelled, and the young 2nd lieutenant handed over a full 30-round magazine. I jacked it in, released the bolt and hit the forward assist. I had only one magazine, so checked that the selector was on semi-automatic."
This is a reporter. Well, not just any reporter.

Read the whole thing. And there's pictures.

The book referenced in the article is Gates of Fire.

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Hotel Rwanda is one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.

It is brutal. Human evil, depicted in all of it's horror.

True story.

I was nauseated by the film. I was made angry, and terribly sad.

If you do not see this film, you're soul will be the less for it.

Racism comes in many colors, but always wicked.

Fellow humans did this. I feel it is my duty to try and understand it.

Heroes like Paul Rusesabagina are worthy of remembrance.

This evil was ignored when it happened.

My Rating: Own it

For a riveting book by a black American about Africa and the Rwandan Genocide, read: Out of America

Blogging 100: Prerequisites

Orangejack Blog: "Hello class. Welcome to the Orangejack Blogging University. I am your professor, Rob. I look forward to being able to take you through your blogging degree.

We have two degrees to offer:
Associate's Degree of Blogging: complete both Freshmen & Sophomore level courses
Bachelor's Degree of Blogging: complete all four level courses

However, before we get started, there are a few questions you may have already. Let's get them cleared up so we can begin.

What is a blog?
Who blogs?
What do people blog about?
Why blog?
What is the blogging process?
How do you blog?"

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Barone: Constitution making (8/25/05) "Many in mainstream media profess to be fearful that the constitution will lead to theocracy in Iraq. Galbraith, who has been scathingly critical of the Bush administration on many counts, and Gerecht, who has been critical on occasion also, disagree.

They make the point that Iraqis are not necessarily going to make the same constitutional and policy choices that Americans would. This is of course true of other democracies. Britain has an established Church of England, and the prime minister effectively (and the Queen formally) chooses the Archbishop of Canterbury. Canada provides public funding for Catholic and other religious schools. France bans girls from wearing headscarves in schools. Germany prohibits the publication of Nazi materials. We don't do any of these things, and most Americans wouldn't want to. But who would argue that Britain, Canada, France, and Germany are not acceptable representative democracies with acceptable levels of human rights? They just have different histories and different traditions, and have made different choices.

Some have argued that Iraq is a poor testing ground for democracy in the Middle East because it has multiple sects and ethnic groups—the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. But I think the multi-sect, multi-ethnic character of Iraq is actually helpful in forging an acceptable democracy. It forces constitution-makers to confront squarely the age-old dilemma of representative government, how to reconcile majority rule with minority rights. In a mono-ethnic, mono-sect state, or one in which one group is the overwhelming majority (Shiite Iran, Sunni Egypt), that issue doesn't necessarily present itself, and you risk getting the tyranny of the majority that our own Founding Fathers strove to prevent."

Iraqi Constitution Draft: on Parent's and Children

Welcome to MassRight: "I have to say this is pretty competently written modern constitution. Way better than what the EU managed. I'm a little surprised it doesn't specify a means of amendment, is about all.

I'd suggest we could legitimately borrow an idea from theirs:

Art. 29, 2nd — Children have the right to upbringing, education and care from their parents; parents have the right to respect and care from their children, especially in times of want, disability or old age. "

The Great Raid (2005)

I also saw this the other night. My wife was not ready for a tough edged war film, but then again she never is. And what else were we going to see on our date night? The 40 year old Virgin? Wedding Crashers? Deuce Bigalow the disgusting Gigolo? Those aren't exactly what I would call "chick flicks". Come on Hollywood, you're killin' me. But I digress...

I'm really glad I saw this film, in the same way that I'm glad I saw Band of Brothers.

This is not anywhere near as good as Band of Brothers but then again it isn't 10 hours long and it is better than a few of the one hour episodes of BoB.

In two hours this film tells an amazing and true story of heroism and the horror of torture and slaughter in Japanese POW camps. The next time someone asks why Truman dropped the Bomb, remind them that surrender was a disgrace to the Japanese and then show them this film. It puts the current discussion about Guantanamo Bay in proper historical perspective.

Dont' miss it on the Big Screen.

My rating: Big Screen

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Not since Minority Report have I had my expectations of a movie been so vastly exceeded.

This was far more interesting than I would have thought from the previews.

The movie is carefully titled: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The 1971 film that we are all familiar with was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The change is significant. This film is about Charlie and what he has that none of the other characters possess: Significance and Maturity.

The film showcases the powerful parable that Roald Dahl created about parents, children and what is truly important.

As will all great parables the moral is a mature balance between extremes.

Veruca: always buying but never feeling content.

Augustus: always eating but never full.

Mike TV: Always entertained but no joy.

Violet: always achieving but never satisfied.

Each child represents the age old trap that parents fall into by giving their children what they want, rather than what they need.

What they need is what Charlie has, and Willy has not.

Charlie has little food, belongings, achievement or entertainments. What he has is a family of mature adults who give him grace and truth. Charlie has boundaries and real responsibility because his parents have the same and have begun to pass these things onto him.

Willy's character is much different in this film than in the 1971 version. In this film he is not whimsical or lovable. I believe he is intended to be a mirror of Michael Jackson: an adult struggling to find a childhood that was crushed by a Father's expectations.

In this version Willy's father is a dentist who forbade candy and demanded bizarre and torturous headgear braces for Willy's teeth. So Willy grows up to be a candy maker who builds a factory that has much in common with the Neverland Ranch: An very odd aging owner running around with children doing bizarre and childlike things.

We report, you decide.

I also think the Mike TV character is meant to evoke the two teenage Columbine murderers. Mike is introduced as being from Denver, CO and is found playing terribly violent video games as his passive parent looks on.

We report... yeah, yeah.

Finally, the climactic scene in this film is when Charlie chooses his family (and his responsibilities to them) over the passing pleasures of the flesh (represented by the other children).

This maturity, nurtured by the connection to his loved ones, is what all of the other characters lack, and what Willy finally finds.

Even though this movie lacked the emotional climax of the 1971 film, it is a much more profound statement: The hero is more truly heroic, and the moral is profoundly moral.

I suspect I will use this film as an illustration of the differences between maturity and immaturity in children and adults.

My Rating: Own It

Some Thoughts on Casualties in Times of War and Peace

If you missed this, then you missed it.
Power Line: "Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.
The point? Being a soldier is not safe, and never will be. Driving in my car this afternoon, I heard a mainstream media reporter say that around 2,000 service men and women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq 'on President Bush's watch.' As though the job of the Commander in Chief were to make the jobs of our soldiers safe. They're not safe, and they never will be safe, in peacetime, let alone wartime."
A few months ago I heard my Father in Law say that Bush was a bad President because of all the boys that had died in Iraq. This from a man who is old enough to remember WWII let alone Korea and Viet Nam.

Has there ever been, in the history of warfare, more accomplished with so few casualties and death. One country (Iraq) is writing it's constitution that was until 2 years ago a depot's hell hole and active sponsor of global terrorism. Another country (Afghanistan) has a constitution that was an oppressive police state and terrorist training center until 3 years ago.

And it has cost us 2000 brave souls. Yet in peacetime, brave souls die in the military as well.

Has it been worth it. If you can't say yes, I think there is something wrong with you. Either your misinformed or lack the moral courage to understand a just war (Do you think we should have overthrown the Taliban?)

Also, I think you devalue the service of our brave soldiers by claiming that the war they are fighting is "the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time." You may say you support the troops but disagree with the war. I think the troops understand exactly what you are saying.

And the troops are re-enlisting at increasing levels especially in combat units (This was another issue with my Father in Law; his news gathering is limited to the LA Times and watching network news so he's chronically misinformed).

The troops seem to believe in the mission, and believe in the President. I think we might as well.

NYT vs. The Truth

Jack Kelly: "Colonel Thomas Spoehr is annoyed with New York Times reporter Michael Moss, for what I think is a good reason.

Spoehr is the director of materiel for the Army staff. He had a good news story to tell Moss, which Moss converted into a bad news story."

China: Arrest first, ask questions Later

World Magazine: "Eric Pilson is not entirely sure what provoked the police raid on his friend's house in Hubei province, China. The number of people slowly gathering at the home—42 Chinese in total—may have aroused suspicion.

Whatever the reason, Americans Mr. Pilson and Daniel Cohee found themselves snatched up in a raid on the underground South China Church on Aug. 2. While they were reading their Bibles after breakfast on the second floor, plainclothes officers barged in. The officers shoved and yanked the two seminarians toward the door, at first not even allowing Mr. Pilson to slip on his shoes, while rounding up the rest of the household."

Read the whole thing.

Update on the interview, from the interviewed.

Update: More on the Interview, from the Interviewed

A quick note on this article by World Magazine: the interviewer quotes me as

"Almost primarily just the nationals are treated most poorly, just because
Americans are high-profile,"


"Chinese are weaker. They can do what they want to them and no one really

During my phone interview with Ms. Priya Abraham, the article's author, I
communicated to her not the weakness of the Chinese Christians, but rather
their vulnerability. Many of the evangelists who were arrested with us had
left their families to follow Christ and were not allowed to return to their
hometowns due to a high risk of arrest. In addition, many had changed their
names or had new identifications in order to remain safe from the public
security bureau. Therefore, when arrested, they had very few people, other
than their own Church leaders, who could cry out and defend them when being
mistreated. As American citizens, we were treated relatively well by the
Hubei police, because we could appeal to our own government's protection,
but such is not the case for the Chinese Christians. According to accurate
reports, most of those arrested with us were brutally beaten and tortured,
some to the point of critical hospitalization and permanent injuries.
Meanwhile, Daniel and I were merely handcuffed, pushed, shoved, yelled at,
and held for a time. After pressing them with our rights as American
citizens to call our embassy or to be released, the Hubei police started to
"befriend" us, telling us we were welcome to come back anytime and even
offering to share a drink with us after being set free [ although I'm not
sure why exactly ]. These local police officers were extremely undisciplined
and seemed more like a gang of thugs than upholders of law and order; they
realized they could possibly get in trouble for mistreating Americans, so
they let us go and acted like we were old friends. These same police then
hopped in their unmarked audis and drove to the local prison where they knew
they could act freely on their hatred of the South China Church, taking full
vengeance on the other 40 or so Chinese Christians being held; without any
risk of losing their jobs or being held accountable.

Just two days before our arrest, I spoke with one of the South China
Church's evangelists, a young girl named "Jane" who had been learning
english in order to become a translator for future foreign teachers. She had
not seen her family in 5 years because she had earlier been arrested at age
16 and served 7 months in prison for "illegal evangelism", and she told me
how her parents demanded that she stop preaching the gospel because she
would get arrested again, and how they disowned her because she refused to
obey them rather than God. During our conversation, I asked her how she and
the other evangelists had such a passion for the Gospel and were willing to
give up everything to follow Christ, even risking their own lives in order
to faithfully proclaim it. She said simply that God had called her to this
task, and that she would follow His calling wherever it led her; she had a
supreme confidence in the everlasting faithfulness of God because of the
person and work of Christ. These Chinese evangelists were ready and willing
to endure tremendous suffering for the sake of the Gospel; realizing the
cost of following Christ was high, especially in such a hostile environment.

Two days later, during the raid, Jane was arrested and found with some
papers that had english words on them which she kept in order to practice
her english. Sadly, because of these papers, she was treated with greater
severity by the Hubei police, and she endured a horrendous series of
humiliating beatings with a sharp bamboo stick. The police suspected that
she had more information to offer because of her english studies, and she
was therefore singled out as a target of the more brutal torture. She has
since been released by the Hubei police and is undergoing treatment for her

The point of the story is to illustrate the fact that those Chinese
Christians which I met within the South China Church are not weak in the
least or in any way "weaker" than Americans, contra the misquote in the
World magazine article, but rather they have great strength and perseverance
which comes from their utter dependence on God's sovereign hand and His
unchangeable love in Christ Jesus. They are simply more vulnerable to such
severe persecution because their government offers little to no protection
of their human rights or religious freedom. I hope this clears up any
confusion for those who read this article. Thank You.

- Eric Pilson

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bush disses Robertson

BREITBART.COM - Just The News: "The Bush administration swiftly and unequivocally distanced itself Tuesday from a suggestion by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson that American agents assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a frequent target of U.S. foreign policy.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, appearing at a Pentagon news conference, said when asked: 'Our department doesn't do that kind of thing. It's against the law. He's a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.'

Acknowledging differences with the Caracas government, and saying it should be promoting democracy in the Western Hemisphere, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called Robertson's remarks 'inappropriate.'

'This is not the policy of the United States government. We do not share his views,' McCormack said in a flat refutation of Robertson's suggestion that the United States 'take out' Chavez to stop Venezuela from becoming a 'launching pad for communist influence and Muslim extremism.'"

And in a related story, top Democratic Party leaders distanced themselves from Micheal Moore saying...

O wait a minute. Actually, Moore got to sit in the Presidential Box and the Democratic National Convention.

Both parties have nuts. It's just that one is led by them, the other endures them.

Steyn: 'Peace Mom's' marriage a metaphor for Dems

'Peace Mom's' marriage a metaphor for Dems: "There's one Cindy Sheehan, and she's on TV 'round the clock. Because, if you're as heavily invested as Dowd in the notion that those 'killed in Iraq' are 'children,' then Sheehan's status as grieving matriarch is a bonanza.

They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as 'children.' If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that's her decision and her parents shouldn't get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the broadloom in Bill Clinton's Oval Office, she's a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year-old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee 'child' who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Communique: From the Powerful Mr. KR

Nihilist In Golf Pants:

"TO: Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
FROM: You Know Who
SUBJECT: Everything is going according to plan"

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Eric Swanson: 1776

Eric Swanson: 1776: "1776 fills in many of the gaps in early American history. What was most amazing about the book was the incredible odds that Americans overcame to ultimately prevail in our quest for independence. We lost nearly every conflict, troops were deserting in droves...many defecting to the British, morale was often low and Washinton's leadership was in question. The 350 page book includes only two American victories in 1776--Boston and Trenton on Christmas night, where the Americans crossed the Delaware to surprise the British and Hessian soldiers. "
I wonder if there were a lot of "Cindy Sheehans" in that time, demanding an end to the Revolution because of grief at their dead. I'm glad Washington and the signers of the Declaration of Independence prevailed.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Cindy sealed the deal: Democrat to Republican

Scott "Then it happend. The good little democrat in me tied the little noose around his neck and jumped off the stool. He just couldn’t take it anymore.

Take what? The whining. The constant whining by the extreme left about the reasons for war, the incompetence of this administration, and how we’ve all been lied to, and how we should pull out of Iraq immediately, because, *gulp* our soldiers were in danger.

Guess what folks….they signed up to join the Army, not the boy scouts. Anytime your orientation to a new job involves an automatic weapon, you should be smart enough to figure out there’s danger involved. I actually read some people’s comments about many of the soldiers over there being naive….they weren’t expecting to go to war, so, they should be allowed to go home. Wow.

Soldiers know, when they enlist, that it is entirely possible they will be shipped out and never come home. It’s part of the job. The fact that people still walk in to recruiters’ offices and sign that piece of paper make them heroes. To imply that they are simple kids who didn’t know what they were getting into, or even worse, that they died for no reason, or an immoral reason, does a horrible thing. It strips their sacrifice of the honor that it deserves. Even though those folks sitting out there in the Texas fields claim to honor and support the soldiers, they obviously have been blinded by their own selfishness as to the real way to support them."

via MassRight

Regarding Cindy Sheehan

I think this sums up my thoughts rather well.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Xbox 360 price announced

I.T. Vibe: "Microsoft has announced that its next generation gaming console, the Xbox 360, will be shipping in two versions when it goes on sale this Christmas.

The basic version of the Xbox 360 will cost $299, but will be lacking various value-added features which come with the more expensive pack.

For gamers who want a more fully featured system, the more expensive bundle, costing $399, will include a 20GB detachable hard-drive, a wireless controller, a headset, a remote control, an additional faceplate and an HD-ready AV cable."

Save your money kids. After all, nothing good is too expensive, right?

Hollywood to Newsosaurs: You're irrelevant.

LA Weekly: "In a surprising role reversal, Hollywood is about to deliver bad news to the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times and, to a lesser extent, other big-city dailies around the country. Every major movie studio is rethinking its reliably humongous display ad buys in those papers because those newsosaur readers are, to quote one mogul, “older and elitist” compared to younger, low-brow filmgoers — so it makes no sense to waste the dough.

Wait, it gets worse: IÂ’ve learned that at least two Hollywood movie studios have decided to drastically cut their newspaper display ads as soon as possible. "
Newspapers are dying or dead. Yet they still act like they rule the world. You can't avoid stories like Air America/Enron or the good news in Iraq and still expect serious people to take you seriously. And those who aren't serious aren't reading newspapers anyway. I guess Hollywood has figured that out.

Onward Christian Smokers

Looks like one of the great Christian Leaders of the modern age was fond of "Old Toby": - Home of Doug TenNapel : "C.H. Spurgeon was arguably the greatest preacher of the 19th century. Referenced here is his fondness for the leaf"
His "love of the haflings leaf" had clearly not slowed his mind. (Hat Tip: Hugh Hewitt)

Batman Begins (2005)

I finally went to see it tonight. I liked it though the whole movie seemed to be in a kind of fast forward.

I thought it was an interesting analogy to the Tower of Babel story: too much city = too much corruption. Yet a redeemer intervenes to make the city new. Only this time he's wearing a black Kevlar Bat suit. Still, we do love our salvation stories.

Some of it was a tad silly, but on the whole a good comic book movie.

My Rating: Big Screen

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Treasure! Aaaargghh!

Archaeologists Find Ancient Treasure - Yahoo! News: "The treasure consists of miniature golden rings, some so finely crafted that the point where the ring is welded is invisible with an ordinary microscope.

'We don't know who these people were, but we call them proto-Thracians,' Nikolov said."

QuEST: Questions Exploring Students' Thinking


"Almost 40% of students today rate their desire to know God as a 10 on a 10 point scale.

9% of college students surveyed would describe their life as being fulfilled."

The iGod

Telegraph | News: "The Rev Leonard Payne, the vicar of a remote parish in Suffolk, has been overwhelmed by the response after he posted some of his homilies on the Apple iTunes store last month.

'We were stunned. Within a short period of time, over 2,400 people had downloaded one of the sermons,' he said yesterday.

'The volume was so great we had to change servers and in the last five days of July, over 230 copies of our talks have been delivered, an incredible reaction to the work of a small rural congregation.'"

What's going on in Iraq?

Media Blog on National Review Online: "LAUER: Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing... What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?

CAPTAIN SHERMAN POWELL: Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I'd be pretty depressed as well."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

NPR : Now Playing on MP3: iSermons

NPR : Now Playing on MP3: iSermons: "A few pioneering houses of worship are spreading the word from the pulpit to the iPod. Members of the congregation can download Sunday's service and listen to it anytime during the week."

"Jesus" gets some "love" from the NYT

Putting Jesus in Every Mailbox - New York Times: "Warren Smith, the publisher of an evangelical Christian newspaper in Charlotte, N.C., compares the movie 'Jesus' to the jawbone of an ass.

That is, it does not matter if the movie, a 1979 box office flop, has a gooey soundtrack and a British voiceover, or if the actor who plays Jesus breathes noticeably as he lies in the tomb. If a weapon as unlikely as a jawbone can slay an army, as the biblical story goes, then 'Jesus,' direct-mailed on DVD to every household in Mecklenburg County, N.C., can offer salvation."

Hollywood's New War Effort: Terrorism Chic

Jason Apuzzo: "Slow to awaken after the 9/11 attacks, Hollywood has finally come around to contributing what it can in the War on Terror: namely, glossy, star-studded movies that sympathize with the enemy.

Hard to believe? Here's the pitch: with box-office numbers trending down, studio executives are suddenly greenlighting movies they can describe to shareholders as 'controversial' or 'timely.' Whether the films are anti-American or otherwise demoralizing to the war effort is apparently immaterial. Its appetite whetted by 'Fahrenheit 9/11''s $222 million worldwide gross, Hollywood thinks it's found a formula for both financial security and critical plaudits: noxious anti-American storylines, bathed in the warm glow of star power."

We report, you decide.

Readers weigh in on 'using' your neighbor's Wi-Fi

Readers weigh in of 'using' your neighbor's Wi-Fi - Aug. 16, 2005: "Earlier this month, a CNN/Money article explored the legality and risks of piggy-backing on your neighbor's wireless connection without paying for it, or even letting your neighbor know what you're doing.

The story touched a nerve within a large part of our audience. About a million people read it, and many of them were provoked enough to write in to share their thoughts.

Most of the e-mails we received took the tone of 'if it's not secured, and it's in my house, it's not stealing.' Which was interesting, because two-thirds of the respondents in our poll said using your neighbors wireless connection is stealing."

What do you think? The Young & the Sexless "What if the true face of the Christian right in America is not that of Dr. James Dobson or Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson; not that of an aging, comb-over preacher orange with pancake makeup, smiling orca rows of ungodly white teeth on The O'Reilly Factor or Hardball? Nor that of spittle-flecked Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, roaring that God hates fags? What if the true face of the Christian right is, instead, that of a twenty-four-year-old religious-studies graduate student at New York University?"
Rolling Stone discovers Christian chastity. And of course they interview a Northeast student. Don't read it if you're offended by profanity and frank and earthy talk about sex.

CAIR to know about terrorism?

Profile CAIR - Yahoo! News: "CAIR's national spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, says police should ignore such obvious terror traits and search riders at random, while paying close attention only to people 'sweating.' Never mind that during New York's balmy summer months, that would include folks who don't remotely fit the terrorist profile.

CAIR should know better than anyone who does fit the terrorist profile. Three of its own officials were recently convicted of terror-related crimes. One even worked for Hooper. He's now in prison for conspiring to kill Americans."
The next time you see a CAIR spokesmen on TV talking about terrorism, keep this story in mind. Read the whole thing.

The Da Vinci Cash

Films | This is London: "A handful of protesters were making their feelings known about the decision to film scenes from The Da Vinci Code in the historic building.

Led by a Catholic nun, Sister Mary Michael, they claimed the movie, based on the bestselling novel by Dan Brown, should be filmed elsewhere. She led a 12-hour prayer vigil to push the message home.

The controversial thriller is the story of a Vatican conspiracy to suppress the supposed marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

And despite the dean of Lincoln Cathedral branding the book 'a load of old tosh' he has agreed to let the movie be filmed there. He and the church authorities said yes after the producers donated £100,000 to the coffers."

No word on whether the Cathedral received thirty pieces of silver.

Higher Education? The University of Nude Copulating Asians

Mike S. Adams: "Indeed it was an experience. It was a film called 'Masters of the Pillow', produced by a professor of Asian-American studies out at U.C. Davis named Darrel Hamamoto. I learned of the event after I had dropped my daughter off for swim practice at UNCA one afternoon. I looked down on the sidewalk and saw a promotional pamphlet for the film. On the front was a photograph of an Asian couple having sex with a shot of Dr. Hamamoto lecturing behind them in front of a chalkboard. The pamphlet described the basic premise of the film, which was that Dr. Hamamoto felt Asian-American men had become emasculated by popular American culture, and that this project of his was supposed to somehow change that."
And to think how many parents took out a second mortgage to pay folks like Dr. Hamamoto to teach there kids silliness that will be forgotten in a decade. (Hat Tip: Ken Miller)

Nihil Fit: McLaren, A Series of Unfortunate Literary Events

Nihil Fit: "Firstly, I'm genuinely torn. I really enjoyed McLaren's book. As someone in vocational ministry who is at a point in his career similar to that of the fictional protagonist, many of the pages of McLaren's book were deeply affirming and therapeutic. As a work of fiction, it seemed like a well-crafted and creative narrative, but I'm no writer.

On the other proverbial hand, there were problems that no amount of existential empathy could overcome. "
Whither Brian McLaren?

Google balances privacy, reach | CNET

I have a little program called Covenant Eyes that monitors my web browsing and then sends it to a close friend in order to provide some encouragement to stay away from pornography on the internet.

As it turns out, I may just as well have Google monitor my internet use, and my life.
Google balances privacy, reach | CNET "Google CEO Eric Schmidt doesn't reveal much about himself on his home page.

But spending 30 minutes on the Google search engine lets one discover that Schmidt, 50, was worth an estimated $1.5 billion last year. Earlier this year, he pulled in almost $90 million from sales of Google stock and made at least another $50 million selling shares in the past two months as the stock leaped to more than $300 a share.

He and his wife Wendy live in the affluent town of Atherton, Calif., where, at a $10,000-a-plate political fund-raiser five years ago, presidential candidate Al Gore and his wife Tipper danced as Elton John belted out 'Bennie and the Jets.'

Schmidt has also roamed the desert at the Burning Man art festival in Nevada, and is an avid amateur pilot."

Monday, August 15, 2005

I Boast No More

Recently I have been struggling to be obedient to what is right in circumstances that require me to persevere without my needs or wants being satisfied.

Without going into details, it has been a difficult time, with ups and downs, particularly in my mood.

When my mood is at it's worst, I am usually thinking about how I deserve better, how I shouldn't have to miss out on what I want.

When I gain a little perspective I think about my perseverance and draw comfort from knowing that God sees my obedience and commends me for it. What a great job I'm doing, right?

Then when I gain more perspective I consider the suffering that was done on my behalf by my savior Jesus Christ. Jesus did not have his needs met. He did not achieve his maximum potential in career advancement. He was murdered, suffering many pains throughout his life, to accomplish perfect obedience and atonement, for others.

And he chose all of it. The only human who didn't have to die, chose to die. Of him alone can it be said, "he gave his life."

No mortal can keep his life. In the end we may choose the hour of our death but there is no escape from it. Jesus not only chose the hour of his death, but death itself, which had no power over him.

Providentially all of this came home to me in a song (which often happens).

I heard recently an updated version of an Isaac Watts hymn: I Boast No More.

No More My God, I boast no more

Of all the duties I have done

I quit the hopes I held before,

To trust the merits of Thy Son

No more my God

No more my God

No more my God

I boast no more

Now, for the loss I bear his name,

What was my gain I count my loss

My former pride I call my shame

And nail my glory to His cross

Yes, and I must, I will esteem

All things but loss for Jesus' sake

O may my soul be found in Him

And of His righteousness partake

Amen, amen

The best obedience of my hands

Dares not appear before Thy throne

But faith can answer Thy demands

By pleading what my Lord has done.

Caedmon's Call \ I Boast No More

I have been reading this lately: Philippians 3:7-9 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.

I boast no more. I lay down the anger of unfulfilled presumption. I regret that I have only one life to live for my Lord.

Back from Boston

Ok, so I dropped off the face of the earth for a few days. Actually I was in Boston for a conference and I literally had no time where I wasn't in meetings but had internet access, hence no blogging.

I did have a great time in Boston however. On Friday I got up and Nordic walked from The Prudential Center (where our winter conference will be) to down around Fenway Park.

I saw the 2004 World Champion Banner. I saw the back bay fens (after which the Fenway is named) and I even got a glimpse of the field as workers were bringing supplies in through a door in the right field wall.

I was struck by how small Fenway Park is. It's definitely a classic, even from the outside.

Now that I'm back, I'm back.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson on Hiroshima

Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online: "As it was, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, General Tojo’s followers capitulated only through the intervention of the emperor. And it was not altogether clear even then that Japanese fanatics would not attack the Americans as they steamed into Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremonies.

These are the debates that matured in the relative peace of the postwar era. But in August 1945 most Americans had a much different take on Hiroshima, a decision that cannot be fathomed without appreciation of the recently concluded Okinawa campaign (April 1-July 2) that had cost 50,000 American casualties and 200,000 Japanese and Okinawa dead. Okinawa saw the worst losses in the history of the U.S. Navy. Over 300 ships were damaged, more than 30 sunk, as about 5,000 sailors perished under a barrage of some 2,000 Kamikaze attacks.

And it was believed at least 10,000 more suicide planes were waiting on Kyushu and Honshu. Those who were asked to continue such fighting on the Japanese mainland — as we learn from the memoirs of Paul Fussell, William Manchester, and E. B. Sledge — were relieved at the idea of encountering a shell-shocked defeated enemy rather than a defiant Japanese nation in arms."

World War IV

I heard Mike Rosen on KOA a few weeks ago and he mentioned World War IV. I thought about that and it made a lot of sense.

World War III: The war between Soviet and Chinese Communism and the free World (The U.S., Western Europe).

Russia; China; Romania; East/West Germany; North and South Korea; North and South Vietnam; Indochina; Nicaragua; Cuba; Afghanistan.

World War III

World War IV: The War between Islamist Fascism and Israel and The Anglosphere (The U.S., The U.K., Australia and India).

Israel; New York; Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Washington D.C.; Afghanistan; Bali; Beslan; The Philippines; Sudan; Madrid; Iraq; London; Iran; Syria; Egypt; etc.

World War IV

Found: Biblical Pool of Siloam

DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2004®: "Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the old city of Jerusalem have discovered the biblical Pool of Siloam, a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making religious pilgrimages to the city and the reputed site where Jesus cured a man blind from birth, the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports.

The pool was fed by the now famous Hezekiah's Tunnel and is ``a much grander affair'' than archeologists previously believed, with three tiers of stone stairs allowing easy access to the water, according to Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archeology Review, which reported the find Monday.

``Scholars have said that there wasn't a Pool of Siloam and that John was using a religious conceit'' to illustrate a point, said New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary. ``Now we have found the Pool of Siloam ... exactly where John said it was.''"
Cool, huh.

Even some love for Princeton Seminary, eh Andy?

More on Enron, er, I mean the U.N.

Two U.N. officials accused of kickbacks, bribes - Yahoo! News: "UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The former head of the U.N. oil-for-food program, Benon Sevan, was accused on Monday of receiving nearly $150,000 in kickbacks, and another U.N. official was arrested on charges of pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from U.N. contractors."
The Enron guys are in jail.

The U.N. just profited from Saddam's regime of murder and terrorist financing.

It's the zenith of irony that people say Bush went to Iraq for oil money.

The U.N. stayed out of Iraq for oil money.

Never mind those mass graves...

or the terrorists operating from Baghdad...

as long as I'm rich.

Oh, and Bush lied... blah, blah, blah.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Denver Mayor asks for Church Involvement

Rocky Mountain News: Local: "More than 1,000 religious congregations exist in metro Denver, and Mayor John Hickenlooper hopes that their involvement will make a huge dent in homelessness."
Paging Externally Focused Churches.


OnMovements is a blog by Jay Lorenzen.

If your in campus ministry. You need to be reading Jay's blog.

The Emergent Church (July / Aug 2005 Modern Reformation Magazine)

Faith a La Carte? The Emergent Church (July / Aug 2005 Modern Reformation Magazine): "FAITH A LA CARTE?

T H E E M E R G E N T C H U R C H"

Articles from Modern Ref about Emergent.

Frankly I think much of it is Remergent.

But what do I know.

McCain to America: "Do as I legislate, not as I, uh, violate the spirit of said legislation in an attempt to ready myself for another presidential run

Protein Wisdom: "It'’s one thing to co-author legislation that, when all is said and done, will do more to weaken the First Amendment than just about any piece of legislation ever signed into law; it is quite another, however, to insist everyone else'’s free speech be regulated while reserving for yourself special dispensation.

Unless of course "“maverick"” means "above the law." In which case, carry on, Senator. Fight the good fight. After all, if anybody knows what's best for us, it's the guy who doesn'’t trust us to speak freely."
I was at Arizona State when John McCain first rain for Congress. I respected his war record and thought well of him. I now think he will go down in history as one of the most damaging politicians in the history of the United States of America.

(But he took the money out of politics!)

Yeah right. Read the whole thing.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bono's Confession of Christ

World Magazine - Weekly News | Christian Views: " The interviewer, Mr. Assayas, begins by asking Bono, Doesn't he think "appalling things" happen when people become religious? Bono counters, "It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma."

The interviewer asks, What's that? "At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one," explains Bono. "And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that. . . . Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff."

The interviewer asks, Like what? "That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge," says Bono. "It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity."

Then the interviewer marvels, "The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that."

"The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death," replies Bono. "It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven."

The interviewer marvels some more: "That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has His rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?"

Bono comes back, "Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' . . . So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. . . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

NCAA Decision Banning Use Of Native American Symbols

It's always nice to see secular organizations shoving their beliefs down other people's throats. That way I have handy illustrations for those who say that Christians are the only ones who do such things.
Florida State President T.K. Wetherell has issued a statement following the NCAA's ruling.: "Florida State University is stunned at the complete lack of appreciation for cultural diversity shown by the National Collegiate Athletic Association's executive committee, which announced today a policy banning schools using Native American names and symbols from hosting NCAA championship events. That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole Tribe of Florida as culturally 'hostile and abusive' is both outrageous and insulting.

On June 17, the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida spoke unequivocally of its support for Florida State University in its use of the Seminole name and related symbols. Accordingly, I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the 'unconquered' spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

National surveys have shown in recent years that an overwhelming majority of Native Americans are not offended by the use of Native American names and symbols. In making its decision, the executive committee has been swayed by a strident minority of activists who claim to speak for all Native Americans. It is unconscionable that the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been ignored.

The rules as we understand them would have us cover the Seminole name and symbol as if we were embarrassed, and any committee that would think that is a proper and respectful treatment of Native Americans should be ashamed."

Friday, August 05, 2005

MIT engineers an anti-cancer smart bomb

MIT News Office: "Imagine a cancer drug that can burrow into a tumor, seal the exits and detonate a lethal dose of anti-cancer toxins, all while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

MIT researchers have designed a nanoparticle to do just that."

Update: Will it someday be said, that a graduate of the Northeast, a campus in Boston, discovered the cure for cancer?

Wired 13.08: The Blogs of War

Wired 13.08: The Blogs of War: "who call themselves milbloggers, as in military bloggers. Whether posting from inside Iraq on active duty, from noncombat bases around the world, or even from their neighborhoods back home after being discharged - where they can still follow events closely and deliver their often blunt opinions - milbloggers offer an unprecedented real-time real-life window on war and the people who wage it."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Remember Hersh - Honoring the Life of Brett Hershey

Remember Hersh - Honoring the Life of Brett Hershey: "Brett gave his life serving his country. Above anything else, he would have wanted you to know about someone, who like him, gave his life in service of others. That man was Jesus Christ. "

Brett Hershey died in Afghanistan fighting for the Afghan people and the American People. I posted on his death back in March.

His father Roger Hershey is a legendary Campus Crusade staff member. I have heard Roger speak several times and he has been a powerful and faithful servant of Jesus for all of his professional life.

His son had the same passion.

Click this link to learn more about Hersh and his life and impact.

Roger and his family spoke about their fallen son at our CCC staff conference.

He asked, through tears, for prayers that the enemy would not gain any leverage in this to cause them to doubt the goodness of God and that they would continue to trust Him.

Brett was engaged to be married when he died. His fiance is going back to Indiana University to continue to share the Gospel in the Greek houses where Brett was an active member.

Even the faithful, suffer tragedy and loss.

Maythe peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Brett is with Jesus right now.
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Eric Swanson: Amish Honeymooners

Eric Swanson: Amish Honeymooners: "As we were standing in line purchasing our tickets we couldn't help but notice three young (late teens / early 20's) Amish couples all dressed as...well Amish--the girls in bonnets, aprons and long skirts and the boys w/ pants without back pockets, C. Everett Coop beards and Dutchboy haircuts."

And then they went racing.

This is the kind of thing that always seems to happen when Eric Swanson is around.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Faithful flock to church in China

This story is evidence of the amazing growth of the Church in China.
(Registration Required)
Faithful flock to church in China - World - "Chinese Christians outnumber members of the Communist Party.

The beauty salon near Beijing Zoo gives its customers more than they bargain for: not just facials and manicures, but the Word of the Lord.

Its owner, Xun Jinzhen, sees beauty salons as a good place to transform souls as well as bodies.

"I introduced 40 people to the church last year," he said.

Mr Xun, and millions of other Chinese Christian converts like him, may well be living proof that God moves in a mysterious way.

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong's China turned on itself, torturing and killing hundreds of thousands of people. But the seeds were sown for an unexpected upsurge in Christianity.

In a social revolution that has prompted a heavy-handed response from the Government, religion is spreading through town and countryside and Chinese communities abroad.

Protestantism and Catholicism are among the approved faiths, the others being Buddhism, Taoism and Islam.

Buddhism and Taoism claim most worshippers but the state-sanctioned churches count up to 35 million followers. More significant are the underground or "house" churches, which are believed to have up to 100 million members, many more than are members of the Communist Party.

Visits to villages in rural provinces or to urban churches in Beijing, where even on weekdays the young and middle-aged gather to proclaim their faith, confirm the ease with which conversions can be won.

One woman told a gathering of hundreds at Kuanjie official protestant church in Beijing last week: "My brother's daughter had a virus which doctors had never seen before. She was on a ventilator and everyone had lost hope. But I prayed for her, and she recovered. Now her family follow Christ too."

The association of Christianity with healing powers may be embarrassing in the West, but in China it is one of conversion's driving forces, particularly in rural areas that lack health services."

Eric Swanson: The power of Ops and Systems

My new role as an Operations Director for Campus Crusade might seem like a far cry from traditional "missionary work" or "ministry".

This great post from Eric Swanson shows that Ops and ministry effectiveness are inseparable.
Eric Swanson: The power of Ops and Systems: "Operations?!? What's that all about? Let's think about it for a moment.

The power of capacity is found in operations even more than strategy. When the right systems are put in place they provide the back end operations that allow multiple strategies and tactics to be more effective. Remember Moses' dilemma in Exodus 18 that he reviews in Numbers 1. He was totally exhausted yet prayed that God would multiply the Israelites a thousand times. It was his Mideanite father-in-law that advised him correctly regarding the selection, training and empowerment of leaders. No amount of talent, drive and hard work can overcome a bad operational systems. Bad systems are those where even the best people are reduced to mediocrity. On the other hand good systems allow everybody to function at their maximum capacity and ability. Because Moses was freed up from much of his sun-up to sun-down responsibilities, he had time to do that which he needed to do...write the Pentatuch!

Now think about Acts 6, when the widows were being overlooked in the serving of the food. Rather than taking a behavioral approach, the church leaders took an operational approach by creating the office of diaconate--to oversea the physical needs of the church. Nearly two milennia later we are the benefits of their decision.

Good systems cause good things to happen even if no one is paying attention to them. If you have automatic withdrawal from your checking account to pay your regularly scheduled bills you understand the power of a good system. Operational systems wedge between your vision of what you want to see happen and what actually is happening. If the behaviors or outcomes are not aligned with the vision, the problem most likely lies in operational systems. Like an iceberg, the behavior is what you see on the surface but what's under the surface is what leaders need to pay attention to. Systems drive behavior. What do I mean?

Steve Douglas, president of Campus Crusdae has a "stand-up" desk. That is, there is no chair at this desk. Any desk work that he has to do, he does while standing. He has no other option. Now if you can't sit at a desk you probably only are able to stand for so long. Douglas determined that his was not a desk job. He had to be close to the field to really understand what is going on. So he put a system in place to help determine the outcomes he wanted. This frees him up to meet students weekly on campus in Orlando. Imagine that!

Steve Sellers, vice-president of the Americas for Crusade takes the system one step further. He doesn't have a desk at all! Visiting him in his cubicle there is a chair and a small loveseat and a small table with a lamp and family pictures. "I find that if I don't have a desk, people can't drop work off on my desk--'Steve, I put something on your desk I'd like you to take a look at.' 'Steve, I've written a draft and put it on your desk. Would you mind...'" Without a flat surface to set stuff on people just walk away.

The restructuring of the Campus Ministry in the 90's is another good example of how structures determined behaviors and ultimately growth of the ministry. By creating and staffing the Catalytic, WSN, and Ethnic Student Ministry, by definition, these created the strategies and tactics to win, build and send thousands more students. The ministry grew exponentially beyond anything we'd ever seen. The mindset that "ministry is where the students are, not just where the staff are" drove many innovations. In a good system the good get better and the beginners get braver.

St. Patrick had a system for evangelizing Ireland and he stuck to it. After attaining a critical mass of converts, Patrick left two of his leaders in the village and took two new converts with him. This way he always had an inexhaustible supply of leaders. In his 27 years of ministry he planted over 750 churches and ordained over a thousand priests!

Real leverage (getting better results with less effort) is always found in operations and systems...even more than tactics and strategies."

Monday, August 01, 2005

Seriously Protein Wisdom

Pound for pound, I think this might be the best blog post I've ever read.

Funny, on point, insightful.

No wonder newspapers are in trouble.

Enjoy Protein Wisdom:
"Jimmy Carter: Guantanamo 'is a disgrace to the USA'": "...Not that it matters, of course. Carter’s just a fringe element of the Democratic party anyway, and besides—who listens to ex-Presidents?

And do you honestly believe terrorists donÂ’t have more important things to do than pay attention to the partisan sniping of grandstanding western politicos? There are nail bombs to make, and buses and subway cars to blow up.

As to whether or not Carter’s comments provide rhetorical cover for the terrorists—of course not! Carter is simply voicing his dissent, and if a former US president can’t openly criticize his government—publicly, overseas, during wartime, and on the basis of a narrative of events that an investigative panel has already concluded simply does not represent the facts on the ground—well, then the terrorists have already won. After all, aiding the enemy in their propaganda war IS the highest form of patriotism, and nothing says “I love my country” more than “I love my country provided its run by people like me; otherwise, I don’t really much like it at all—or rather, I like it, I just don’t like all the stupid rubes who keep ruining it by voting for evil assholes.”

From aljazeera.COM:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Saturday blasted the U.S. detention center in Cuba, saying that Guantanamo Bay Naval base was an embarrassment to the United States.

Carter was speaking at the Baptist World Alliance’s centenary conference in Birmingham, central Englandcriticized also criticised the current American President’s decision to invade Iraq, describing the war as “unnecessary and unjust.”

“I think what’s going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the USA,” he told a news conference, adding that it was “the cause of terrorism.”

Carter went on to say that Gitmo “has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts”—a statement that, robbed of context, is certainly factually correct (after all, as the Times Online pointed out last week, London bomber Shehzad Tanweer cited it as a reason for his turn to jihad), but one that is nonetheless repulsive for being “true,” in that Carter is not only describing terrorist reaction, he is implicitly validating it by explicitly corroborating its claims. So when the Moderate Voice argues that “It’s a separate issue as to whether the perception is correct,” and that “Guantanamo [...] has become a public relations disaster for the U.S.,” the editors miss the obvious point, which is that pronouncements like Carter’s are what created the public relations disaster in the first place.

Rhetoric matters. And no amount of defensive sneering will change that fact.

So, for my part, I’m going to continue saying so—in the most direct terms possible—until self-loathing terror apologists like Jimmy Carter are shamed into deferring their own self-righteous ego masturbations for the sake of waging war against those who truly do wish to destroy us. "

New York's New Hope

New York's New Hope - Christianity Today Magazine: "From inner-city gardens, to fine-art exhibitions, to political activism, street-smart churches are changing the culture of America's largest and most dynamic city."

Here's some scoop on the Church in NYC.

Interesting Stuff