Sunday, December 30, 2007

Remembering Philosophy of Religion

Maverick Philosopher Does the Argument From Evil Presuppose the Existence of God?
Since from a contradiction anything follows, the theist may calmly conclude that God exists and that our atheist's argument from evil fails.

Sigh. Those were the days.

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Amen -
WHAT TIME SHOULD HAVE DONE: General Petraeus as Man of the Year at The Telegraph.

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American Warming Update Worldwide
Boston may break its snowiest December record, set in 1970 when 27.9 inches fell.

Ever since Al Gore said that the US was "principally responsible" for addressing the problem of Solar Warming, is it any wonder that the US has been hit with record weather.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Praise God

Gateway Pundit: Merry Christmas -2007
Shiite tribal leaders attend Christmas mass at an Assyrian orthodox church in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007. The church, which is located next to a Shiite mosque, hosted their neighbors for Christmas mass as a gesture of friendship.

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Dude, where's my Christmas Present?

The Generational Divide in Copyright Morality - New York Times
"Who thinks that might be wrong?" Two hands out of 500. Now, maybe there was some peer pressure involved; nobody wants to look like a goody-goody. Maybe all this is obvious to you, and maybe you could have predicted it. But to see this vivid demonstration of the generational divide, in person, blew me away. I don't pretend to know what the solution to the file-sharing issue is. (Although I'm increasingly convinced that copy protection isn't it.) I do know, though, that the TV, movie and record companies' problems have only just begun. Right now, the customers who can't even *see* why file sharing might be wrong are still young. But 10, 20, 30 years from now, that crowd will be *everybody*. What will happen then?
Right and Wrong? These are delusions similar to the one about God aren't they?

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Merry White Christmas Probably

Washington Times:
Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world.

In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards. Since the mid-19th century, the mean global temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius. This slight warming is not unusual, and lies well within the range of natural variation. Carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere, but the mean planetary temperature hasn't increased significantly for nearly nine years. Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S. South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades.

In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918. Dozens of homeless people died from exposure. In Peru, 200 people died from the cold and thousands more became infected with respiratory diseases. Crops failed, livestock perished, and the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency. Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered. Last January, $1.42 billion worth of California produce was lost to a devastating five-day freeze. Thousands of agricultural employees were thrown out of work. At the supermarket, citrus prices soared. In the wake of the freeze, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked President Bush to issue a disaster declaration for affected counties. A few months earlier, Mr. Schwarzenegger had enthusiastically signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a law designed to cool the climate. California Sen. Barbara Boxer continues to push for similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.

In April, a killing freeze destroyed 95 percent of South Carolina's peach crop, and 90 percent of North Carolina's apple harvest. At Charlotte, N.C., a record low temperature of 21 degrees Fahrenheit on April 8 was the coldest ever recorded for April, breaking a record set in 1923. On June 8, Denver recorded a new low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Denver's temperature records extend back to 1872. Recent weeks have seen the return of unusually cold conditions to the Northern Hemisphere. On Dec. 7, St. Cloud, Minn., set a new record low of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. On the same date, record low temperatures were also recorded in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Extreme cold weather is occurring worldwide. On Dec. 4, in Seoul, Korea, the temperature was a record minus 5 degrees Celsius. Nov. 24, in Meacham, Ore., the minimum temperature was 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the previous record low set in 1952. The Canadian government warns that this winter is likely to be the coldest in 15 years. Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri are just emerging from a destructive ice storm that left at least 36 people dead and a million without electric power. People worldwide are being reminded of what used to be common sense: Cold temperatures are inimical to human welfare and warm weather is beneficial. Left in the dark and cold, Oklahomans rushed out to buy electric generators powered by gasoline, not solar cells. No one seemed particularly concerned about the welfare of polar bears, penguins or walruses. Fossil fuels don't seem so awful when you're in the cold and dark.

If you think any of the preceding facts can falsify global warming, you're hopelessly naive. Nothing creates cognitive dissonance in the mind of a true believer. In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming. I can't make this stuff up. Global warming has long since passed from scientific hypothesis to the realm of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.

David Deming is a geophysicist, an adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis, and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

The Real "Person" of the Year

Gen. David Petraeus,
Man of the Year

One additional point: Petraeus's counterinsurgency stands out not just for its conceptual ambition and the skill of its execution but for its humanity. There were those who argued that the U.S. military could not succeed in counterinsurgency because Americans were not tough and bloodthirsty enough. They said that brutality was essential in subduing insurgents and our humanity would be our downfall.

They were wrong. The counterinsurgency campaign of 2007 was probably the most precise, discriminate, and humane military operation ever undertaken on such a scale. Our soldiers and Marines worked hard--and took risks and even casualties--to ensure, as much as possible, that they hurt only enemies. Compared with any previous military operations of this size, they were astonishingly successful. The measure of their success lies in the fact that so many Iraqis now see American troops as friends and protectors. Petraeus and his generals have shown that Americans can fight insurgencies and win--and still be Americans. For that and so much else, he is the man of the year.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

You can't buy this kind of publicity...

Apples For The Army -
a division chief in the Army's office of enterprise information systems, says the military is quietly working to integrate Macintosh computers into its systems to make them harder to hack. That's because fewer attacks have been designed to infiltrate Mac computers, and adding more Macs to the military's computer mix makes it tougher to destabilize a group of military computers with a single attack, Wallington says.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Environmental Legacy of GW Bush

Please click on the link and read the whole thing. -
They told me that if George W. Bush were elected, the United States would lag behind the rest of the world on greenhouse gases And they were right!

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Bush's Legacy

Charleston Daily Mail
What happened in 2003?

The Iraq war.

President Bush decided not to take the chance that Saddam Hussein had turned Iraq into an armory of weapons of mass destruction. Byrd had voted against the war in part because he thought Hussein would use his warehouses of chemical weapons against our troops.

When American soldiers got there, thank God, they found no WMD.

The intelligence community had gotten it wrong.

Maybe the intelligence community has it wrong again on Iran.

But we do know that shortly after allied troops took over Baghdad, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi volunteered to give up his programs to develop WMD.

Perhaps Iran followed suit.

Just remember, in 2005 these same intelligence experts said Iran was working on a nuclear program.

I notice that many of those who swear this report is gospel pooh-poohed the earlier report.

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I was watching...

ESPN football earns record ratings - Entertainment News, TV Ratings, Media - Variety
More people watched the New England Patriots squeeze past the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" than viewed any other program in the history of cable TV.

Game drew a total aud of 17.5 million viewers, besting the previous record of 17.2 million set in August by Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2."

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Hollywood Crusade for Non-Christ

Hat tip to my wizened friend Steve:

Raymond Ibrahim on Beowulf & Christianity on National Review Online
At any rate, while Hollywood can appear to be on a crusade to defame Christianity, it would do well to remember that it is because of Christian civilization that they are even able to make movies in the first place.Not only is Christianity fundamentally responsible for what many a Western liberal takes for granted — that is, the freedom and advancements of Western civilization — but also for much of the historical record from which movie-makers are able to exploit, warp, and subsequently rake in millions, was compiled by Christians. It is no small irony that the one single solitary manuscript that contains the text of Beowulf was written by a monk, and preserved in a monastery for centuries.

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ESPN - Chaos doesn't legitimize ignorance or stupidity of flawed system - Columnist
Think about what just happened this past weekend. The short list:

One-loss Ohio State reached a national championship game by doing nothing more strenuous than clicking the TV remote. Congrats. The Buckeyes will go 50 days between their last game and their next.

The 10-2 Mountaineers were eliminated partly because of an injured thumb.

An 11-2 OU team beat Missouri for a second time this season -- including Saturday's 21-point win against the No. 1 Tigers on a neutral field -- and got aced out.

LSU, also 11-2, squeezed in.

Poor Mizzou went from No. 1 to a non-BCS bowl (the Cotton) in less than 24 hours. Meanwhile, Kansas, which lost to Missouri late in the season and failed to reach the Big 12 title game, was invited to a BCS bowl, the Orange.

Georgia, which is 10-2, was in the BCS title game discussion despite not winning its division or conference championship.

USC, playing as well as anyone these days, finished 10-2, but still gets no soup.

And don't even get me started on why the only undefeated team in the country, 12-0 Hawaii, is completely ignored in the Jan. 7 equation.

Is this any way to determine a national champion? And if the bowl results shake out a certain bizarre way, we could even have a split championship. How fitting.

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Oddly Encouraging

Fever can unlock autism's grip: study | Health | Reuters
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, was based on 30 children with autism aged 2 to 18 who were observed during and after a fever of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

More than 80 percent of those with fever showed some improvements in behavior during it and 30 percent had dramatic improvements, the researchers said. The change involved things like longer concentration spans, more talking, improved eye contact and better overall relations with adults and other children.

Zimmerman's team said the fever effect had been noted anecdotally in the past by parents and doctors.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007


Google's Online Storage and Digital Privacy - G-drive - Advertising - Hackers - Popular Mechanics
It’s still shrouded in secrecy, but Google’s free storage service is headed for the Web next year. Still, if the so-called Gdrive becomes as rapidly popular as the company’s e-mail service has in the past three years, what happens to your secrets? The prospect of a massive, speedy and tricked-out online hard drive already has privacy experts and illegal downloaders alike worried—especially if all that data is in the hands of a third-party giant and its cash cow to compete with Apple and Microsoft.

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Google to Bid for Wireless Spectrum: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
Google Inc. confirmed its plans to bid for a prized piece of the airwaves in an upcoming government auction, further underscoring the Internet search leader's determination to shake up the wireless market and plumb more profits from mobile phones.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Online Newspapers also in decline

Investigate the Media: S.F. Chronicle admits to deceptive comment-deletion policy, offers bizarre excuse, then lies again
In response to the scandal caused by our earlier exposé at Investigate the Media, the Webmaster for the San Francisco Chronicle has given an interview to local news site SFist, admitting that the Chronicle's Web site, SFGate , did indeed have a policy of deleting certain users' comments in such a way that the commenters themselves did not know they had been deleted.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hear, Hear!

Roger L. Simon: The Presidential Debates are a National Joke
Today's Drudge headline - BOOB TUBE: CNN DUPED BY HILLARY PLANT AT REPUBLICAN DEBATE - is yet another example of the pathetic quality of the endless presidential debates. But it isn't just the dubious provenance of these questions - or even their inanity - that makes these events so pointless. It is their basic construction, actually their very existence, that makes a mockery of our democracy. Has anyone learned a single thing about anybody from these events? They are an embarrassment, a national joke.

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My Shade of Green

I disagree with some of their particulars but this is the right direction.

OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts
Let it be said that Messrs. Nordhaus and Shellenberger are anything but nature-scoffing know-nothings. They have worked for environmental organizations for years. Thus there is a certain poignancy to their view that "doomsday discourse" has made the green movement just another liberal interest group. They want environmentalism to have a broader appeal--enough to address major ecological concerns, including global warming. But no one, they contend, is going to demand draconian emission limits--the kind that would actually slow the warming trend--if they bring down the standard of living and interrupt the progress of the economy.

A progressive approach, the authors say, would acknowledge that economic growth and prosperity do not, in themselves, pose an environmental threat. To the contrary, they inspire ecological concern; the environment, Messrs. Nordhaus and Shellenberger say, is a "post-material" need that people demand only after their material needs are met. To make normal, productive human activity the enemy of nature, as environmentalists implicitly do, is to adopt policies that "constrain human ambition, aspiration and power" instead of finding ways to "unleash and direct them."

Messrs. Nordhaus and Shellenberger want "an explicitly pro-growth agenda," on the theory that investment, innovation and imagination may ultimately do more to improve the environment than punitive regulation and finger-wagging rhetoric. To stabilize atmospheric carbon levels will take more--much more--than regulation; it will require "unleashing human power, creating a new economy."

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

International Science Facts

From Opinion Journal:

Science Has Spoken, Now Shut Up
"The Scientists Speak," reads the headline of the New York Times editorial, which informs us that there is no question the New York Times editorialists are right:

The world's scientists have done their job. Now it's time for world leaders, starting with President Bush, to do theirs. That is the urgent message at the core of the latest--and the most powerful--report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 2,500 scientists who collectively constitute the world's most authoritative voice on global warming.

Released in Spain over the weekend, the report leaves no doubt that man-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels (and, to a lesser extent, deforestation) have been responsible for the steady rise in atmospheric temperatures.

There is no doubt! These are scientists, after all, and they're working for the U.N. They don't make mistakes!

Or do they? Here's a news story that also appears in the Times today:

The United Nations' AIDS-fighting agency plans to issue a report today acknowledging that it overestimated the size of the epidemic and that new infections with the deadly virus have been dropping each year since they peaked in the late 1990s.

We're so confused. Didn't the scientists speak? How could they have gotten it so wrong? After all, they're scientists!

Here's a quote from the Washington Post that may shed some light on the matter:

"There was a tendency toward alarmism, and that fit perhaps a certain fundraising agenda," said Helen Epstein, author of "The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS." "I hope these new numbers will help refocus the response in a more pragmatic way."

Could it be that we are watching the same phenomenon with the whole global-warmist hysteria? Our bet would be yes.

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Lion and Lamb

Lions build a belief system - Los Angeles Times
Within the Detroit locker room, the reaction to his unabashed spirituality has been very different.

Since his arrival as a free agent last fall, attendance at weekly Bible study has increased from a handful of regulars to as many as 20, roughly a third of the roster. The team chaplain has baptized more than a dozen players and wives and expects more soon.

Even nonbelievers say religion has helped to unify a team ripped apart by years of losing. With the Lions unexpectedly at 6-4 facing Green Bay in a crucial game today, they point to Kitna's influence as a factor in their unlikely run at the playoffs.

"Really, every day in football you're selling a vision," Coach Rod Marinelli says. "Faith is a belief in the unknown and, as a team, that's where we're trying to get."

The question makes Kitna smile. No, he was not always a Christian.

During his first three seasons at tiny Central Washington, he says, "I was basically an alcoholic, a womanizer, cheating my way through school."

The change came when his girlfriend caught him with another woman. She turned to Christianity, he followed, and they were married eight months later.

Jon and Jennifer have been together 14 years now.

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Google Privacy

Globes Online – Israel business news – Israel economy – Israel banks – Tel Aviv Stock Exchange – Israel stocks - Shekel – Israel technology – Israel real estate – Israel defense companies - Globes [online] - In precedent, Google to hand over blogger's IP
In an unprecedented move, Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG) has agreed to supply the IP address of an Israeli blogger who used "Google Blogger" for a blog in which he slandered Shaarei Tikva council members running for reelection.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All you need to know about Shocking Modern Art

Artists too frightened to tackle radical Islam - Times Online
Britain’s contemporary artists are fĂȘted around the world for their willingness to shock but fear is preventing them from tackling Islamic fundamentalism. Grayson Perry, the cross-dressing potter, Turner Prize winner and former Times columnist, said that he had consciously avoided commenting on radical Islam in his otherwise highly provocative body of work because of the threat of reprisals.

Perry also believes that many of his fellow visual artists have also ducked the issue, and one leading British gallery director told The Times that few major venues would be prepared to show potentially inflammatory works. “I’ve censored myself,” Perry said at a discussion on art and politics organised by the Art Fund.

“The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.” Perry’s highly decorated pots can sell for more than £50,000 and often feature sex, violence and childhood motifs.

One work depicted a teddy bear being born from a penis as the Virgin Mary. “I’m interested in religion and I’ve made a lot of pieces about it,” he said. “With other targets you’ve got a better idea of who they are but Islamism is very amorphous. You don’t know what the threshold is. Even what seems an innocuous image might trigger off a really violent reaction so I just play safe all the time.”

The fate of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker who was murdered by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after he made a film portraying violence against women in Islamic societies, is the most chilling example of what can happen to an artist who is perceived to have offended Islam. Perry said that he had also been scared by the reaction across the Islamic world to Danish cartoons deemed anti-Muslim in 2006 and by the protests against Salman Rushdie’s knighthood this year.

What a powerful comment on the peaceful and civilized nature of Christianity. I guess there is such a huge difference between fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity that the most "transgressive" critics of Christianity clearly understand it.

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School Phone - Montclair State Unveils Mandatory 'School Phone'
College students at Montclair State University are all talking about a new requirement that will require students to have a cell phone.

CBS 2 HD has learned more on this required feature that is forcing students to dig into their wallets.

At Montclair State, there is no excuse for being out of touch.

"'School Phone' I use for campus e-mail, different things like that," freshman Angela Vuocolo said.

That's right.

First-year student Vuocolo said 'School Phone' -- as in a Sprint-operated cell phone -- is now mandatory for all students. It's the first program of its kind in the country.

The cost: $420 a year for a base plan which is bundled into the tuition bill.

It includes just 50 peak voice minutes a month, but unlimited text messaging to any carrier, unlimited campus-based data usage, and student activated emergency GPS tracking.

"What it does is allow students to have an extra pair or group of people watching over them when they're going from one location to another," Montclair Police Department Chief Paul Cell said.

The positive impact is already being felt across campus.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Social Sector Leaders

Forces for Good–Spiritual Movements as High-Impact Nonprofits : OnMovements
Share leadership. The leaders of great social sector organizations are exceptionally strategic and gifted entrepreneurs, but they also know they must share power in order to be as stronger force for good. They distribute leadership throughout their organization and their nonprofit network—empowering others to lead. They share leadership, empowering others to be forces for good . The CEOs of these organizations cultivate a strong second-in-command, build enduring executive teams with long tenure, and develop highly engaged boards in order to have more impact.

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Modern Maturity

Friday, November 23, 2007

Facebook for Freedom

Syria blocks Facebook in Internet crackdown | International | Reuters
DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syrian users of Facebook said on Friday the authorities had blocked access to the social network Web site as part of a crackdown on political activism on the Internet.

"Facebook helped further civil society in Syria and form civic groups outside government control. This is why it has been banned," women's rights advocate Dania al-Sharif told Reuters.

"They cut off communications between us and the outside world. We are used to this behavior from our government," said Mais al-Sharbaji, who set up a Facebook group for amateur Syrian photographers.

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Emory building draped in black to save birds |
It is one of Emory University's most environmentally friendly buildings, a hallmark of the institution's efforts to "go green." To hear John Wegner describe it, it's also a slaughterhouse.

The soaring glass windows in Emory's Mathematics and Science Center reflect the woodsy view, confusing hapless birds who smash into it at full speed.

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Eco-Celibacy, Not Hereditary

Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly | the Daily Mail
Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time. He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery. Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way. At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet". Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card. While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal. "Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35. "Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

The future belongs to those who believe in it.

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Thanksgiving Blogging

I am thankful for rest. Oddly enough blogging is restful for me. I love learning and I blog some of what I learn so blogging is a by-product of what feels like recreational learning. To the extent that learning is unconnected to some kind of work, it is recreational for me.

Writing, however, is exhausting. Which is why my blog posts are so often bereft of comment by yours truly. I post the ideas, or at least the carrier of the ideas in a news item or commentary but resist the work of actual writing. This would make blogging laborious. And since blogging is something I tend to do in my leisure hours, I engage in leisurely blogging (e.g. sans writing, solo linking).

Ironically, since the Thanksgiving holiday is a time of abundant rest, I find I have time and energy to actually write. The motivation for this labor is my gratitude for the cessation of labor commanded in the Bible. One who works constantly is a slave, regardless of pay. I am grateful that God cares enough about me and humanity to urge us to refrain from voluntary slavery.

Thanksgiving is among the last truly shared American experiences. It is the closest modern remnant of the holidays (read Holy Days) of the Bible. The nation refrains from it's usual work to rest, celebrate and ponder it's beliefs and values.

I pray that this holyday weekend would be for you a time of rest, recreation and meaning.

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Visions of Universal Health Care

Alistair Darling fights for job after data loss - Telegraph
Two compact discs containing bank details and addresses of 9.5 million parents and the names, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers of all 15.5 million children in the country went missing after a junior employee of HM Revenue and Customs sent them in the mail, unrecorded and unregistered.

Another angle on the British government's data fiasco |
As the late Ronald Reagan used to say, a state that is powerful enough to give the public everything it wants is powerful enough to take it from them too.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Volunteers | Roll Call and Reveille
More than 100 young men and women raise their hands and recite the Oath of Enlistment into the Tennessee Army National Guard on Nov. 17 at the Tennessee-Vanderbilt football game. The ceremony took place at mid-field in Neyland Stadium and the young warriors received a standing ovation from 107,000 fans.

Not victims.

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Organized Criminals

Saddam was profitable. No wonder so many in Europe opposed deposing him.

Vitol Pleads Guilty In Oil-for-Food Case - November 21, 2007 - The New York Sun
A Switzerland-based oil trading company has pleaded guilty to paying $13 million in kickbacks to the Iraqi government in violation of the U.N. oil-for-food program's rules, the Manhattan district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, announced yesterday.

Vitol S.A. allowed the kickbacks to continue between June 2001 and September 2002 but did not report them to the United Nations, according to a release from Mr. Morgenthau's office.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

MTV: What's with Kids these days?

Key findings from the happiness study included:

* BFF. Friends are and will continue to be the most important relationships contributing to youth happiness. 80% of the youth polled said that having lots of close friends is very or somewhat important; 23% said that when they go out with friends, they stop feeling unhappy.

* No Body’s Perfect. Body image and traditional routes to good health will be important aspects of happiness for many youth. “At my school, skinny is what everyone’s trying to be,” said Vanessa A., 13, of Philadelphia. “People make fun of fat [but] also of the skin-and-bones look.”

* My Life, My Time, My Way. Youth will take control of their own happiness. 91% said they have goals for the future (81% have career/work goals, 64% education, 62% family, 63% money, 48% travel, 17% sports, while 12% hope for fame).

* Virtual Community. Technology will be important for staying in touch as well as for the pleasure of the moment. 37% of the youths polled said they play videogames to stop unhappiness. 61% said technology helps them make new friends. In the 24 hours before the survey, half of the respondents said, they sent a text message; 71% said they received one.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Non-Jesus Camp

Where Are The News Media? (Forum)
There's an obvious explanation of why so many university watchers don't seem to know what's going on: the news media are extremely reluctant to report on what the increasingly coercive diversity lobby is doing to the campuses.

The brainwashing and indoctrination at the University of Delaware (and anyone who has read the voluminous documents in the case knows that use of these words is surely fair) has been pervasively reported on conservative blogs and right-wing radio. But the left has been silent and the mainstream media have almost universally avoided telling alumni, parents and trustees what is going on. Only a few news outlets covered the story. The Wilmington News Journal ran a piece headlined "Some Made Uneasy by UD Diversity Training", thus reducing indoctrination to discomfort. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a similarly soft report that used the headline word "unsettled" instead of "uneasy." The story's lead: "When University of Delaware freshmen showed up at their dorms this semester, their orientation included an exercise aimed at bridging cultural

Well, no. Bridging divides is not what the programmers had in mind. If that had been the goal, the Delaware indocrtrinators would not have kept telling the students that all whites are racists. And they wouldn't have insisted that "Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society." The point of the program (which isn't just for freshmen) was to change the thoughts and beliefs of the students to the ones the university administrators wanted them to have.

If a Christians did this it would be in every newspaper and on every network weekly "magazine". Someone would make a documentary for the film festival circuit called "Jesus Camp". Of course they already did. I won't hold my breath for "Diversity Camp: Back to School". I've said for years that Universities are full of religion, it's just that traditional religions are less welcome.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

No Excuses

The Washington Times, America's Newspaper
After his speech, sipping a vodka gimlet as he talked to a group of writers, Mr. Surnow scoffed at the suggestion that Hollywood's liberalism prevents conservatives from getting work in film and television. "There's tons of conservatives who work," he said. "If you write a great script, you could drop it off a freeway overpass in rush hour, and the movie would still get made."

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Good News for Me

Chubby Gets a Second Look - New York Times
Chubby, it turns out, may be the new healthy. Who knows if it will be the new beautiful.

Two years ago, federal researchers found that overweight people had the lowest mortality rate of any weight group. Investigating further, they were able to link causes of death to specific weights. Obese people had more deaths from heart disease, they reported last week. And thin people? They had more deaths from everything but cancer and heart disease.

But there were 100,000 fewer deaths among the overweight than would have been expected if those people had been of normal weight. This is what might politely be called the chubby category, with body mass indexes (a measure of weight for height) of 25 to 30.

...It’s too soon to say. But it may not be a bad thing, say some social scientists. “The ideal image of a woman is almost impossible for anybody to achieve,” said Peter J. Brown, an anthropologist at Emory University.

Dr. Brown is among those social scientists who say that being thin really isn’t about health, anyway, but about social class and control.

When food was scarce and expensive, they say, only the rich could afford to be fat. Thus, in the 19th century, well-do-do men with paunches joined Fat Men’s Clubs, which gave rise to the term “fat cat.” Heavy women of that era were stage stars. Lillian Russell, “airy fairy Lillian, the American beauty,” weighed 200 pounds.

Those notions of fashion gradually gave way to a more streamlined physique.

The sponsors of a 1904 contest to find “the best and most perfectly formed woman” settled on Emma Newkirk, an athlete from Santa Monica, Calif., who stood 5-foot-4 ¼, measured 35-26-36, and weighed 136 pounds. That would have given her a B.M.I. of 23.3 — not overweight, but close.

The body mass indexes of Miss America winners, according to a 2000 study, have been steadily decreasing since 1922, so much so that for most winners in the last three decades their indexes would cause them to be considered underweight.

How thin is thin enough? One Miss America had a body mass index of 16.9, which is considerably underweight. A woman of Emma Newkirk’s height would have had to weigh 99 pounds to have that body mass index. That may help explain why, in recent years, as many as two-thirds of women and more than half of men have expressed dissatisfaction with their weight.

How did we get to this point?

George Armelagos, an anthropologist at Emory University, calls it the King Henry VIII -Oprah Winfrey effect.

Henry VIII, king of England in the 16th century, “was huge,” he said, which was a symbol of his wealth. To get that way, Dr. Armelagos said, “it took 100 people collecting food for him and cooking it.” Compare that to the billionaire Oprah Winfrey. “She has to have a dietitian and cook and a trainer so she doesn’t get to be like that,” he said.

Today, poorer people are most likely to be fat and so, said Abigail Saguy, a sociologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, “fatness is associated with downward mobility.” Weight has thus become a moral issue couched in health concerns, she said. After a while, it almost becomes inconceivable that anyone would see a fat person differently.

So what does this all mean for the chubby among us, who may be the healthiest, or at least, the most likely to live the longest? Will chubby become fashionable? That may have to await the day when chubby becomes inextricably linked to health, or privilege.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Favorite Prayer Request

Google Android Effect on Cellphone Carriers - Open-Source Mobile Software - Popular Mechanics
So Android is by no means a slam-dunk as a category-dominating OS standard, but it throws down the gauntlet to start a few much-needed brawls in the cellular industry. Google estimates that the operating system amounts to 10 percent of the total cost of a phone, so a free OS combined with falling hardware prices could eventually result in multifunction handsets that are cheap enough to do an end run around carrier subsidies. This could potentially mean a fertile unlocked handset market. But what’s got to be really scaring the carriers right now is the prospect of thousands of freely available applications that could subvert almost every communications product they sell. Why subscribe to Sprint’s GPS mapping service when you can simply download a free one that taps into Google Maps? Why pay for text messages to your friends when you can download an instant messaging client? In fact, why pay for cellular minutes at all when you can download Skype and just use your data plan? This sort of functionality has been creeping onto cellphones for years as they have become more and more like tiny computers. But OS’s such as Android threaten carriers with a loss of control over the applications on the phones on their network. And they may find themselves becoming nothing more than wireless Internet service providers, forced to compete on price and bandwidth (another brewing battle, by the way, with Sprint’s WiMAX rollout next year). Regardless of what happens, it is going to be good for consumers. If things shake out in the best possible way, we could end up with cheap, highly-functional, customizable, Internet-enabled handsets that work across multiple carriers with no long-term contract requirements.

Someday soon, I pray. Cellphone carriers are as user-friendly as the recording industry.

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Not Appearing in the NYT

Roger's Rules: Norman Mailer, a dissenting view
The news that the novelist Norman Mailer died earlier today at the age of 84 has already elicited little hagiographical murmurs. That hushed choir will doubtless turn into a deafening chorus of praise in the coming days and weeks—how much space do you suppose The New York Times will devote to its (I predict) front-page obituary? What grand superlatives will be dusted off and rolled out to commemorate the polyphiloprogentive wife-stabber and booster of homicidal misfits? “Genius” will be paraded early and often, I’ll wager, as will the extended family of adjectives emanating from the word “provocative.” One early notice described Mailer as “the country’s literary conscience and provocateur” and characterized The Armies of the Night as one of his (presumably many) “masterworks.” Perhaps, before the celebratory paeans entirely drown out critical judgment, there is room for a few dissenting observations.

Mailer epitomized a certain species of macho, adolescent radicalism that helped to inure the wider public to displays of violence, anti-American tirades, and sexual braggadocio.

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Heroes Real and Imagined

End of the War Hero
Despite spend several million dollars on advertising and marketing, 'Lions for Lambs' will flop--just like 'Rendition' & and 'Valley of Elah.'

They will flop because the human psyche, especially the American variety, prefers real heroes--like the original hero of the Valley of Elah, a young shepherd named David who killed Goliath then cut off the giant's head.

In the latest round of war movies the heroes are not the Soldiers and Marines who every day fight and defeat a vicious and barbaric enemy--the heroes are reporters, lawyers and activists.

And since every story requires a villain, the real enemy--Mohammedan Jihadists--are replaced by neo-cons, politicians, Soldiers and Marines.

This substitution of the traditional mono-myth away from a hero who faces physical danger and conquers an enemy is a result of cowardice of the modern story tellers.

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Much like Miami Football...

Pajamas Media: The Calm After the Storms: Hurricane Season 2007
As the relatively mild 2007 hurricane season winds down, Brendan Loy reflects on the the dire preseason forecasts. He doesn’t think they were dishonest or inflated - they were simply wrong. Why? He offers a variety of meteorological reasons that have nothing to do with Al Gore and everything to do with luck and the unpredictability of weather.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

From where I am back to where I began...

ASU students amid 21-day prayer marathon
Many students on campuses nationwide are speaking to God, or, at the very least, hope to.

A survey of more than 112,000 incoming college students in 2004, today's seniors, by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA revealed that a significant number of them describe themselves as spiritual.

• 80 percent have an interest in spirituality.
• 76 percent are searching for meaning/purpose in life.
• 80 percent attended a religious service in the past year.

Jennifer Lindholm is the project director for the study and knows that college students are often portrayed as being focused entirely on getting a job or having a good time. "Our data shows they are invested in spirituality," Lindholm said. "We were, to an extent, surprised." Lindholm's study further indicated that students have no intention of putting issues of faith or spirituality aside during their college years. "They have expectations that college will help develop their personal values and their spirituality," she said.

Reasons to pray
Emily Verrelli, a 20 year-old junior, had strong religious convictions when she first arrived on the ASU campus from her home in Long Island, N.Y., as a freshman. She prayed daily and attended services regularly. "I've always prayed, but more so now,"

Verrelli said while taking a break from prayer. Verrelli believes college students may turn to prayer because of their environment. They are away from home for the first time. Some are facing new pressures and new temptations. "Today, I am praying for our campus," she said. "For people who are lost or hurt."

The patch of lawn next to the Danforth Meditation Chapel has informal stations where poster board and pens allow students to write down what they are praying for, or who they are forgiving, or Bible verses that have resonance for them. There is no particular agenda. It is, instead, prayer for the sake of prayer.

The people who come are absolutely college students. They sometimes stop in midprayer and text-message or shout a hello to a passing friend. Some arrive on skateboards, others have tattoos and piercings. They know their public act of faith may result in people looking at them as different, but they are fine with that. "We pray for the big things, but sometimes, we pray for the small things," Slate Stout, 21, said one night during the 9-to-10 shift he had signed up for.

"It's just a bunch of people hungry for God."

This article is poignant for me because the stuff about students interest in spiritual things is right on. It explains where I’ve been from a few feet from where it all began for me. I shared my faith publicly for the first time in the fall of 1987 at the fountain at ASU, just feet from Danforth chapel. Everything changed for me after that. Now I’m in Boston working with some of the smartest, most skeptical and spiritually interested students in the world. And, I love it.

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Chock full of Biblical Goodness
This weblog documents the development of including announcements of forthcoming material and links to other interesting material I come across.

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More than a 1000 Words

Compassionate Conservatism

Chronic Homelessness Takes Dip in 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of people who are chronically homeless dropped by nearly 12 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to government estimates being released Wednesday.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development credited government programs designed to move homeless people into permanent housing.

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Journalism 2.0 -
Michael Yon emails: "I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John's Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome. A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from 'Chosen' Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John's, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope. The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. 'Thank you, thank you,' the people were saying. One man said, 'Thank you for peace.' Another man, a Muslim, said 'All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.' The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.

Go here to see the picture of the year.

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Self Esteem

YouTube massacre: Schoolboy gunman posts threat on the internet then kills eight | the Daily Mail
He adds: "I am the law, judge and executioner. There is no higher authority than me."

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

A poignant film about kindness, emotional process and healing. It has fascinating layers about idolatry, intimacy and community. I immediately wanted to watch it again. It illustrates a phrase that my wife and I have developed to explain what we believe is true about many of us: Most people have emotional time bombs in our hearts, usually from our youth, that don't go off until we are adults physically; and signify the need to grow further as adults emotionally.

It's hard to call this a comedy though I laughed out loud often. It's lifelike in it's mixture of mirth and tragedy. I will treasure this movie for the duration.

My Rating: Own It

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

The UN: The Gold Standard for Corruption and Scandal

As if the largest financial scandal in human history isn't enough, there's sexual abuse of minors... -
If American troops had the kind of sex-scandal track record that U.N. peacekeepers do, we'd never hear the end of it. Since it's the U.N., though, we barely hear the beginning.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Two Lessons in One Item

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today
From Here to Eternity One of the ways in which the media bolster their anti-Iraq narrative is by maximizing the number of U.S. casualties. The figures you hear for the number of deaths--currently approaching 4,000--almost always include noncombat deaths. Roughly 20% of "Iraq war" deaths are from illness, accident, suicide or other "nonhostile" causes. By this standard, of course, every serviceman in Iraq is doomed, and so are the rest of us. Even for those who perish in combat, war is only the proximate cause of death. A striking example of "Iraq war" deaths that weren't appeared last week in the New York Times:

The Department of Defense has identified 3,825 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans on Tuesday: CAMACHO, Anamarie Sannicolas, 20, Seaman, Navy; Panama City, Fla.; Naval Support Activity. GRESHAM, Genesia Mattril, 19, Seaman, Navy; Lithonia, Ga.; Naval Support Activity.

The San Francisco Chronicle published news of Camacho's and Gresham's deaths under the headline "U.S. Toll in Iraq," and the text said they had died "in Iraq." This is false, as the Chronicle's own Web site confirms. The paper has a database with details of all the deaths "in Iraq," and both Camacho's and Gresham's entries show that they "died Oct. 22 in Bahrain during a non-combat related incident." (Nonetheless, the heading on the Chronicle's database pages reads "Portraits of Sacrifice: U.S. Casualties in Iraq.") To find out how they died, we turn to the Gulf Daily News, an English-language Bahraini paper:

Anamarie Sannicolas Camacho, 20, and her colleague Genesia Mattril Gresham, 19, were shot dead at the Naval Support Activity Base, Juffair, at around 5am on October 22. Their alleged killer, fellow serviceman Clarence Jackson, 20, is still clinging to life after apparently shooting himself in the head immediately after the murders. He is now at the National Naval Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, US, after being transferred to the US from a specialist hospital in Germany. . . . [Camacho's mother, Jovie] Paulino, who served in the US Air Force for six years, is also angry at the way the navy have handled the shooting. "I had entrusted my daughter to the navy when she joined and this is what has happened, I just don't understand," she said. "I was in the military and right now I feel so angry and disappointed. She put her life on the line for our freedom and the only thing they should do (in return) is protect her." Her comments echo that of Ms Gresham's mother Anita, who earlier blamed officials for leaving her daughter exposed to danger from a man she said turned nasty when she tried to cool their "casual" relationship. Ms Gresham revealed Jackson had a restraining order against him and had been on suicide watch, after he allegedly attacked Miss Gresham less than four months ago. She was also angry that Jackson was allowed to carry a gun after his alleged attack on her daughter and that officials were not telling her what happened in the run-up to the killings.

If Jackson dies of his wounds, will the Times and the Chronicle list him as another casualty of the "Iraq war" rather than of his own twisted rage? The incident does illustrate an uncomfortable truth: that romantic entanglements can be harmful to military discipline. This is why servicemen can be prosecuted for adultery, and it is one reason that the military excludes open homosexuals and restricts the roles in which women may serve. This was a horrific and senseless crime. Imagine how disruptive it would have been in a combat unit.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Amen and Amen

10 Reasons To Hate Cellphone Carriers | Gadget Lab from
A turd by any other name is still a turd, but there's no harm in counting the ways.

One of these days, it's all going to come crashing down. Much like the Roman Empire.

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The Greatest Play in the History of Football

ESPN - Forde: Dash of the Holy Trinity - Columnist
It has to be the longest play in college football history, timing out at 1 minute and 2 seconds. It's more than twice as long as the legendary five-lateral kickoff return (9) by California against Stanford in 1982, which took roughly 27 seconds to transpire. This evolved slower than a Ken Burns documentary. Down two points with two seconds left and 61 yards from the end zone, the historic play began simply enough. Coach Steve Mohr (10) made it up on the sidelines: four guys run deep and Thompson curls underneath in the middle. "That was all of the plan," Curry said. In the huddle, offensive lineman Hooten looked at Barmore and cracked, "Make it happen." Barmore winked back, broke the huddle, called the signals and delivered the ball. After Thompson made the catch, the freelancing commenced. And almost never ended. The initial flurry of flips didn't get Trinity very far. Millsaps defenders still swarmed the middle of the field and prohibited any Tigers from doing much other than playing keep away. "At one point I just sort of stopped and started laughing to myself," Curry said. Best lateral of all was the blind-over-the-head toss by Hooten almost as soon as he got the ball. It fortuitously fell into the hands of wide receiver Tomlin, who possesses more maneuverability than the 6-foot, 250-pound Hooten. "On these lateral plays, a lot of times there's some fat guy trying to score and he gets tackled at the 10-yard line," Hooten said. "I didn't want to be that guy. I just hot-potatoed it and looked for someone to block.

That guy deserves Lineman of the Year, maybe of the Century.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Religious Fascism

If Christians did this, someone would gain fame, prestige and wealth by making a documentary, shown in fashionable art house theaters with patrons who shake their heads and wring their hands at the impending theocracy.

Indoctrination At Delaware (Forum)
Many universities try to indoctrinate students, but the all-time champion in this category is surely the University of Delaware. With no guile at all the university has laid out a brutally specific program for "treatment" of incorrect attitudes of the 7,000 students in its residence halls. The program is close enough to North Korean brainwashing that students and professors have been making "made in North Korea" jokes about the plan. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called for the program to be dismantled. Residential assistants charged with imposing the "treatments" have undergone intensive training from the university. The training makes clear that white people are to be considered racists - at least those who have not yet undergone training and confessed their racism. The RAs have been taught that a "racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality."

FIRE reports that the university's views "are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to 'sustainability' door decorations." Residents are pressured to promise at least a 20 percent reduction in their ecological footprint and to promise to work for a "oppressed" group. Students are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings and one-on-one sessions where RAs ask personal questions such as "When did you discover your sexual identity?". Students are pressured or required to accept an array of the university's approved views. In one training session, students had to announce their opinions on gay marriage. Those who did not approve of gay marriage were isolated and heavily pressured to change their opinion.

The indoctrination program pushes students to accept the university's ideas on politics, race, sex, sociology, moral philosophy and environmentalism. The training is run by Kathleen Kerr, director of residential life, who reportedly considers it a "cutting-edge" program that can be exported to other universities around the country. Residential assistants usually provide services to residents and have light duties, such as settling squabbles among students. Kerr and her program are more ambitious. She has been quoted as saying that the job of RAs is to educate the whole human being with a "curricular approach to residential education." In this curricular approach, students are required to report their thoughts and opinions. One professor says: "You have to confess what you believe to the RA." The RAs write reports to their superiors on student progress in cooperating with the "treatment."

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An Apparently Broken Compass

A good friend sent me an email about The Golden Compass which has apparent anti-God and anti-religious themes.

Here are a couple of observations:

Opposition to “God” is different from opposition to the triune God of the Old and New Testament. Some years ago I learned that when people say they don’t believe in God, I should ask, “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in”. You can imagine that when people describe their idea of God it is very different from how God reveals himself in scripture. This is an opportunity to help someone reevaluate their thoughts and feelings about “God” in general and consider YHWH, who is slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness, proven Christ.

I see this movie as perhaps a similar opportunity. With college students, any opportunity to talk about God is a good thing. Pointing out the differences between the “God” and “religion” of The Golden Compass and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could be fruitful.

I think this is possible because that which is good, true and beautiful can’t be made otherwise. The God of the Bible is good, true and beautiful and the only way to say otherwise is to describe him falsely. Just because this author criticizes God and religion, doesn’t make him anti-Christian, it makes him anti-false God and anti-false religion.

Let me illustrate with this paragraph from the Snopes article:

“His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny and the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife, regardless of creed.” As one of the novel’s pagan characters puts it, “Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.”

This sounds serious and it is but mostly because it is such a narrow minded view of religion. Let me play with the quote to show why:

“His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny “

Really, does he think father’s exercise ideological tyranny over their children when they instruct them that it’s wrong to hit other kids in class or to refrain from touching a hot iron? The God of Scripture is a loving father who acts for the good of his children like many fathers. I guess from one perspective this is ideological tyranny but one that almost all humans recognize is necessary to protect and provide for the weakest and most vulnerable of the human race.

“His fundamental objection is to… the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife”

What a relief that the God of the Bible is so interested in this world that he sent his only son to live right in the middle of it to redeem not just creation but even humans, who most people recognize are responsible for destroying this world. Perhaps other beliefs require rejection of this world through lifestyles of cloistered meditation or vows of silence but not the Bible. And about the afterlife: will Adolf Hitler experience justice in the afterlife? What would Pullman tell a cancer victim about the afterlife? Many recent atheist authors are quick to write about how God (and the afterlife) does not exist. I would take their views more seriously if they wrote books for those facing death that actually provided hope and comfort. Also, a rejection of the afterlife is a rejection of justice, because every adult knows there is no justice in this life.

As one of the novel’s pagan characters puts it, “Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.”

How about this, “Every family is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.” This kind of statement is clearly bigoted and reflects the limited experience of an individual. It is probably born out of painful experience. It certainly doesn’t reflect on my family or undermine my belief that families are a good idea. In the same way, any statement that starts with “every church” should be met with the derision as statements like “every Jew” or “every Asian” or “every government”. Moreover, when someone says something so extreme, it’s a great opportunity to respond with hope of relief from such an extreme. I would encourage Pullman to come to my church and get involved with our mercy ministry, and join a community group. I’m pretty sure he will at least experience good feelings. Or he could read The Rise of Christianity to learn how churches renewed the Roman Empire by refusing to murder infant girls and feeding plague victims at the cost of their own lives. All of this came as a result of their belief in a King who mandates that the world be reconciled and redeemed and promises an idealized afterlife.

I don’t know whether The Golden Compass is a well crafted book or movie. But I know that I’d rather be talking about God with students than sports or fashion. This movie might be such an opportunity.

By the way, this will be a tremendous resource for helping people know the difference between the God of the Bible and other, less true and good gods: The Reason for God

Friday, October 26, 2007

What news from Mordor?

Human race will 'split into two different species' | the Daily Mail
The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.

100,000 years into the future, sexual selection could mean that two distinct breeds of human will have developed.

The alarming prediction comes from evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry from the London School of Economics, who says that the human race will have reached its physical peak by the year 3000.

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Call Me

Friday, October 19, 2007

Al Gore, stand down.

Cape Cod Commission denies Cape Wind application | Environment | Reuters
The Cape Cod Commission in Massachusetts Thursday denied Cape Wind's application to bury electric cables needed to connect its proposed 420-megawatt offshore wind farm in the Nantucket Sound to the state power grid.

Cape Wind said in a release that it would challenge the Commission decision. The Cape Cod Commission is a local organization created by the state in 1990 to manage growth and protect Cape Cod's natural resources.

Sen. Ted Kennedy and many residents who own coastal property from where they could see the wind turbines on a clear day oppose the project along with some environmental groups concerned about disrupting the patterns of migratory birds and the potential effect on local sea life.

The project's supporters, who include other environmental groups, meanwhile claim it would provide renewable energy, improve air quality, lower electricity costs and increase the reliability of the power grid.

I'm so relieved. The Global Warming crisis must be over.

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An unlikely treasure-trove of donors for Clinton - Los Angeles Times
All three locations, along with scores of others scattered throughout some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate -- Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown.

To make a tired and ironic point: I'm sure glad John McCain got the money out of politics.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

They can't bear the bias Worldwide
Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest shareholder in New York Times Co., sold its entire 7.3 percent stake today, according to a person briefed on the transaction, sending the stock to its lowest in more than 10 years.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Broken Trust

» What’s really broken with Windows Update - Trust | Hardware 2.0 |
nitial investigations of PCs at the PC Doc HQ What’s really broken with Windows Update - Trusthave turned up no leads but I have discovered something else that broken about Microsoft Windows Update mechanism - trust. See, here’s the problem. To feel comfortable with having an open channel that allows your OS to be updated at the whim of a third party (even/especially* Microsoft … * delete as applicable) requires that the user trusts the third party not to screw around with the system in question.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Toast -

A recent report (seen on Science Daily--yes, we’re interested in science as well as food) from researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia points to a discovery made that shows that red wine, beyond the numerous current known health benefits, probably can work to protect humans from a number of common food-borne diseases. The researchers have found that, “red wines--Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot in particular--have anti-microbial properties that defend against food-borne pathogens and don’t harm naturally useful bacteria like probiotic bacteria.”

You can't be too careful.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Power in the University

Power Line: God and man at Dartmouth
When William F. Buckley founded National Review in 1955 at the age of 29, he lit the fire that sparked the modern conservative movement. Buckley had already achieved notoriety -- if not celebrity -- with the publication of God and Man at Yale in 1951. He attacked the undergraduate education on offer at Yale for its hostility to Christianity and its adulation of collectivism. He sought to dispel the indifference of Yale alumni to their supervisory responsibility, calling on them to grasp the nettle of university governance. Yale was, of course, only the example that laid closest to Buckley's hand. The necessary changes having been made, Buckley could undoubtedly have written the same book about any of America's most prestigious universities. In the ensuing decades the conservative movement as a whole has experienced successes that must exceed even Buckley's visionary imagination. Yet the university remains untouched by Buckley's call to action. In fact, it understates matters considerably to say that circumstances on campus have not improved since 1951. That is why the Lone Pine revolution underway at Dartmouth was of such interest. At Dartmouth, alumni have been answering the call Buckley delivered more than 50 years ago. Given the role allocated to elected alumni trustees on the Dartmouth board, the opportunity existed at Dartmouth for alumni to participate substantially in the governance of the institution. With the election of alumni petition candidates T.J. Rodgers, Peter Robinson, Todd Zywicki and Stephen Smith over the past three years, Dartmouth alumni were undertaking precisely the kind of supervision of the institution that Buckley had called for -- the independent supervision that as a general matter is alien to elite nonprofit institutions. In today's Daily Dartmouth, Professor of Economics Meir Kohn eloquently describes the miscarriage that the Dartmouth board of trustees has effected by resorting to its highanded decree remaking Dartmouth's governance structure...

Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

We decide, we report

The Corner on National Review Online
Today, on the front page of The Washington Post, we see the third in a three-part series on roadside bombs in Iraq. The stories in this series have been centered on the top half of the page and highlighted in red (a device I don’t recall seeing before). Next to that is a huge headline about allegations of killings In Iraq by Blackwater. Below that is a headline that reads "Most in Poll Want War Funding Cut." Meanwhile deep inside the paper, on page A14, we find the following article: "U.S. and Civilian Deaths Decrease Sharply in Iraq: American Military Credits Troop Influx." True, nestled between the other screaming headlines on page one, there is a brief minuscule teaser for this far more positive story about Iraq. Yet the bias here is clear.

If the top story is Iraq, then I don’t see how you can put those three stories on the front page, while burying the other one on page 14. Arguably, an actual report of substantial positive progress in Iraq is more important, and more dramatic, than any of those other stories. By rights it ought to have been headlined on page one. The Post seems more interested in fighting our political battle over the Iraq than in reporting on it. So if the poll data the Post is pushing reflects less support for the war than it might, that clearly has a great deal to do with the way biased coverage by the Post is skewing public perceptions of the war. I’m not saying all is well or that success is inevitable–far from it. Yet the relative placement of these stories by the Post is profoundly biased and misleading.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007


James Fallows (September 25, 2007) - For once, I'm with Bush on a language issue: it's Burma, not Myanmar
I'm watching CNN in Beijing, which keeps tut-tutting President Bush for saying "Burma," rather than "Myanmar," in his just-completed UN speech, as if this were merely another of his gaffes.

I'm with Bush. For nearly twenty years, since first visiting the country during the violent protests in 1988, I've followed arguments about the twists and turns of what to call the country in Burmese. The complications mainly involve what the various names say about the relations between the Burmese people proper and other ethnic groups within the nation.

But when it comes to referring to the nation in English, there's little debate. Myanmar is the name invented 18 years ago by the benighted junta, known as SLORC* back then and the State Peace and Development Council now, when it seized power through force. When Westerners say "Myanmar," they're not being culturally respectful to the people of a beautiful but oppressed nation. (We don't call China Zhongguo or Germany Deutschland just because the locals do.) They're bowing to the whims of the generals who still imprison Aung San Suu Kyi.

There is no reason to humor them. Say Burma, as George Bush did. And CNN, grow some backbone when it comes to terminology!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Web Gem 2.0

The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News
"The fans have spoken and the asterisk will forever be part of the history of this ball. It is a reflection of fans' sentiments and will be preserved by the Hall of Fame in this manner. This was never about the record. I saw the purchase of the ball as an opportunity to open a national conversation using new media -- the Internet, blogs, videos -- to allow America's oldest sport to have America's most modern conversation. The people should be the arbiters of what is historically significant about this artifact. The opportunities for expression, and our participation in the public square, are endless.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Rendering unto Caesar

The Volokh Conspiracy - -
More generally, it seems to me that many religious leaders who pronounce on public policy tend to reflexively favor increasing the role of government with little consideration of ways in which the interventions they favor might have perverse results, or ways in which social problems can be alleviated by reducing the role of the state instead of increasing it. Left-wing clergy seek to increase the role of government in fighting poverty, discrimination, and the like, while right-wing ones tend to focus their political energies on promoting "morals" regulation. This may well be painting with too broad a brush, and I'm sure there are religious leaders who are exceptions to this generalization. Nonetheless, it seems to me true as a general pattern (though I welcome correction by anyone who has compiled systematic data).

Learning basic law and economics won't necessarily turn religious leaders into libertarians. But it might give them a greater appreciation for markets, and engender at least a modest skepticism towards government. There are, to be sure, many clergy who don't make a practice of preaching on public policy issues. Danny's argument (or at least mine) doesn't apply to them. But it surely does apply to the many who do.

By the way, I have no doubt that the public policy pronouncements of leaders of atheist organizations often display just as little knowledge of economics as those of clergy. However, few people (even among atheists) give credence to the public policy views of atheist spokesmen merely because of their status as leaders of atheist organizations. By contrast, many religious people do take seriously the public policy pronouncements of their clergy, especially when those pronouncements are linked to religious duties such as Tikkun Olam.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Obit for the Overculture

Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media
The twentieth century was the high point of mass culture—or “the overculture” as some call it. Any culture that could produce Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and The Honeymooners can’t be all bad. But eventually, the connection between media elites and their audiences began to fracture. Though apocryphal, the line frequently attributed to Pauline Kael of the New Yorker in 1972 sums up the growing chasm between the overculture—particularly the media—and its audience: “I don’t know how Nixon won. No one I know voted for him.” Just as the Big Three car manufacturers, with a once-monolithic hold on American consumers, seemed unaware that the public wanted a wider choice of cars (until Japan listened and responded), Pauline Kael’s in-crowd of coastal elites has, if anything, become even more clueless and resistant to emerging changes in the culture and dissemination of information. How clueless? In 2004, Jonathan Klein, the former executive vice president of CBS News, described blogging as “a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.” Last May, Time-Warner CEO Richard Parsons was quoted as saying, “The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation. They will lose this war if they go to war. The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion.” Just how did the mainstream media (“MSM”) become so monolithic and unresponsive in the first place? And how is the rise of “Weblogs” helping to establish a new, more “fair and balanced” form of journalism?

Read the whole thing.

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Free Exchange of Ideas at Columbia -
HOW TO SABOTAGE AHMADINEJAD: Have some scantily-clad coed run up and give him a kiss. Make sure photos are distributed in Iran.

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