Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Necessary Fanaticism Fanaticism::By Chuck Colson: "William Wilberforce once said, “If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Day One at GLC Jan 07

Already the food, the fellowship and the work are flowing freely. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 22, 2007

DirecTV is the worst

DirecTV is a customer service nightmare. The geniuses at DirecTV decided they could make their own DVR boxes and kick Tivo to the curb. Probably because they didn't want to pay for a brand name product. When our original Tivo box died after 2 years the box DirecTV replaced it with is an abomination of desolation.

Our "DirecTV DVR" is a functional disaster. As my wife says "it makes me not want to watch TV". Just want you want to pay for from a TV company.

It hangs. It drops the digital time code so you can't fast forward or reverse. I takes 2-5 seconds to respond to remote commands. It doesn't record what it's told to. When you try to record a live sporting event it jumps to the end so that you see the final score without seeing the game first.

When you call DirecTV they say the box needs a software upgrade, but it doesn't need a software upgrade, but it needs to be totally reset and erased, and it needs a technician to come and check the satellite. Each time I call I get a different answer. They're either lying or incompetent


Withering Critique

From Opinion Journal's Best of the Web:

Classic Maureen Dowd--II

Remember that New York Times piece celebrating the decline of marriage, which we noted Tuesday? Gal Beckerman of the Columbia Journalism Review astutely critiques the paper on "diversity" grounds:

Apart from a tossed-off paragraph that reminds us that, buried within these statistics, seventy percent of African-American women are single, there is nothing to indicate how the epidemic of single parentage in the black community contributes to this statistic. We imagine--though aren't told--that many of these women are raising children alone and being dragged deeper into poverty because of their unmarried status.

Instead the rest of the article is completely about those middle class white women who insist they have chosen to be without ball and chain. We meet Emily Zuzik, a 32-year-old musician and model who lives in the East Village of Manhattan, and Linda Barth, a 56-year-old magazine editor in Houston. We hear about how happy Sheila Jamison, who also lives in the East Village and works for a media company, is and about how Shelley Fidler, a public policy adviser at a law firm, has "sworn off marriage."

As far as we can tell, not only was there no socio-economic diversity among those interviewed for the piece, there was also no racial diversity. These other women, ignored entirely by the Times, might have told a story quite different than Shelley Fidler, who said, "The benefits [of singledom] were completely unforeseen for me. The free time, the amount of time I get to spend with friends, the time I have alone, which I value tremendously, the flexibility in terms of work, travel and cultural events." . . .

What's going on here? Maybe the Times . . . is just pandering to its imagined audience, among whom middle-class white woman living in the East Village of Manhattan must make up a large share. . . . If in the part of America where reporters live, being free from marriage is an unequivocally positive thing, this shouldn't mean--as this article leads us to believe--that this is the case for every woman in the country. For some, what the Times is describing as freedom feels, one can imagine, like a curse.

It also occurs to us, though, that the confirmed spinsters and gay divorcées the Times celebrates are far from the norm among middle-class white women. Only a bare majority of all women are single, according to the Times, and several factors skew this number:

The Times relied on statistics that defined "women" as anyone 15 and older, but few 15- to 17-year-olds are married.

As Beckerman notes, 70% of black women are single, which means that the rate of singledom among nonblacks (the great majority of whom are white) is correspondingly lower.

The Times itself acknowledges that many older single women are single not by choice but because they have outlived their husbands (the reverse is far less common).

If the Times intends this story to appeal to middle-class white women, then, its audience is mostly married. Why would a married woman want to read a celebration of the unattached life? Because marriage, for all it has to offer, also demands a lot of compromise and toleration. The Times article offers a fantasy to married women who, even if generally happy, find some aspects of the conjugal life frustrating. It is a work of escapism, closer to a romance novel than to serious social-science journalism.

I'll bet this kind of journalism is a big hit in the newsroom.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Trinity Morning

"When we have said these three things, then – that there is but one God, that the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each God, and the Father and the Son and the Spirit is each a distinct person – we have enunciated the doctrine of the Trinity in its completeness." – B. B. Warfield

It is an interesting fact then when Jesus said to baptize "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19) he didn't say to baptize "in the names" of the Godhead. He used the singular of onoma and not plural.

The Trinity is a very encouraging doctrine to me because it shows me that God is a God of authority and submission, fellowship and service, hierarchy and equality. I heard in my grad level humanities classes that concepts like good and evil were man made dualities that should be rejected as manipulative and illusory. Yet in my experience, those who hold this view of good and evil passionately enforce dualities like hierarchy and equality; one being "evil" and the other "good". No one uses these terms but they are upheld with religious fervor.

The God of the Bible is three persons who are equal but those persons choose various roles of submission and authority. In the same way it seems right and healthy that adults should are equal but capable of service and being served, having authority and living under it.

I can't wait...

BREITBART.COM - Controversial Google library project grows: "Google announced that another major US college library had joined its controversial project to put the world's books online.

The more than one million written works at the University of Texas library in Austin will be converted to digital format and added to Google Books Library Project, according to the Internet search powerhouse"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Luis Fabiano y Diogo a Piñazos

This is the worst fight I've ever seen. Soccer players, sheesh.

Fetus Envy?

A crowded womb | the Daily Mail: "A twin leans over and kisses the cheek of her sister in a heart-warming picture that would not be out of place in any family home.

Yet these siblings are a not even born and the astonishing images have been captured on a new 'four-dimensional' ultrasound scan of the womb."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Day

So last night I sat down with my kids to read the "I have a Dream" speech from "The Book of Virtues" to celebrate MLK.

Then I thought better of the times and pulled this up on the old pc.

What an age we live in.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Junk Science -: "MORE ON THE ANTI-GUN JOYCE FOUNDATION'S funding of anti-gun research. Again, this isn't necessarily wrong but if the NRA were doing this, it would be considered a huge national scandal of bought-and-paid-for science. But the Joyce Foundation is at least as political and doctinaire as the NRA. So why does this get so little attention?|"

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Wounds of Friends


"Dear President Carter,

As members of the Board of Councilors each one of us has been proud to
be associated with the Carter Center in its noble struggle to repair the world.
However, in light of the publication of your latest book Palestine; Peace Not
Apartheid and your subsequent comments made in promoting the book, we can no
longer in good conscience continue to serve the Center as members of the Board
of Councilors.

In its work in conflict resolution the Carter Center has always played
the useful and constructive role of honest broker and mediator between warring
parties. In your book, which portrays the conflict between Israel and her
neighbors as a purely one-sided affair with Israel holding all of the
responsibility for resolving the conflict, you have clearly abandoned your
historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side."

Add this to my reasons for distrusting Jimmy Carter.

Think Different, with only one choice.

Boing Boing: iPhone - the roach motel business model: "It's ironic that a company whose name is synonymous with 'Switch' has built its entire product strategy around lock-in. The iTunes/iPhone/iPod combo is a roach-motel: customers check in, but they can't check out.

And it doesn't stop with the iTunes DRM. Apple and Cingular have been trumpeting the technical prowess they've deployed in locking iPhone to the Cingular network, to be sure that no one can switch carriers with their iPhones. Even the Copyright Office has recognized that locking handsets to carriers is bad for competition and bad for the public.

There's another thing you can't switch with the iPhone: the software it runs. You can't install third-party apps on handset. Steve Jobs claims that this is because running your own code on a phone could crash the phone network, which must be news to all those Treo owners running around on Cingular's own network without causing a telecoms meltdown.

Lock-in isn't good for you. Does anyone really believe that Apple will make better products if its customers aren't free to switch to a competitor? Or that Cingular's network and pricing will be improved by lock-in?"

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Born Free?

From The Best of the Web:

The Gay Science?

A frequent complaint about social conservatives is that they are "antiscience" because in some cases (most notably embryonic stem cell research) they oppose scientific inquiry for moral reasons. But here, courtesy of the Times of London, is a case of social liberals who are antiscience for reasons of ends rather than means. That is, there are some things they do not think we should know:

Scientists are conducting experiments to change the sexuality of "gay" sheep in a programme that critics fear could pave the way for breeding out homosexuality in humans.

The technique being developed by American researchers adjusts the hormonal balance in the brains of homosexual rams so that they are more inclined to mate with ewes.

It raises the prospect that pregnant women could one day be offered a treatment to reduce or eliminate the chance that their offspring will be homosexual. Experts say that, in theory, the "straightening" procedure on humans could be as simple as a hormone supplement for mothers-to-be, worn on the skin like an anti-smoking nicotine patch.

The research, at Oregon State University in the city of Corvallis and at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, has caused an outcry. Martina Navratilova, the lesbian tennis player who won Wimbledon nine times, and scientists and gay rights campaigners in Britain have called for the project to be abandoned.

Navratilova defended the "right" of sheep to be gay. She said: "How can it be that in the year 2006 a major university would host such homophobic and cruel experiments?" She said gay men and lesbians would be "deeply offended" by the social implications of the tests.

It is an article of dogma among gay-rights activists that sexual orientation is entirely biological in origin and that it is immutable. If one accepts these premises, it is harder to sustain the premise that homosexual conduct is immoral or that gays should not be protected by antidiscrimination laws. But what if science determines that there are elements of environment or even choice at play? Seems to us gay-rights activists ought to think about alternative arguments rather than making their moral conclusions dependent on an empirical supposition that may or may not be true.

Friday, January 05, 2007

BWC Time

Since Tuesday I've been in downtown Boston for the Winter Conference. It has gone very well. Much easier and better than last year. I don't have time to blog though. Posted by Picasa

Interesting Stuff