Thursday, August 30, 2007


I've posted about Jason Mitchener before.

I read his devotionals every day. This one struck me in particular.

Looking Beyond Disability

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem:
for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet.

2 Samuel 9:13

I've been disabled from birth. As a baby, I never learned to crawl. I
rolled on the floor to get where I was going. At age three, I started walking
with crutches. When I was fifteen, a wheelchair brought me back to rolling as
my means of transportation.

Through being disabled all my life, I have noticed that people have
widely different reactions to disability. Some people are nervous and have no
clue on how to act around the disabled. Others view the disabled as inferior.
Some perceive the disabled as special and needing special treatment. And then
there are the wonderful people who look beyond the disability and see the

King David didn't care that Mephibosheth was crippled. He only cared
that Mephibosheth was his friend Jonathan's son and he desired to show him the
same kindness he had received from Jonathan. Mephibosheth became a member of
David's household and had full privileges of eating at the king's table.
Thousands of years before disability rights laws came into being, David gave a disabled
man his right to be treated as an individual, rather than as an inconvenience.

Although my disability is obvious, we each have disabilities. We each
have imperfections. We each have areas in which we struggle. And yet God looks
beyond all that. He loves us despite our weaknesses. When we fall down, He
picks us up. When we make a mistake, He encourages us to try again. When we
feeling like giving up, He doesn't give up on us.

We all deserve to be treated as individuals. We all deserve to be
loved. However, we can't expect to be treated with respect and love unless we
treat others with respect and love. We have to deal with people as God deals
with us, looking beyond the imperfections and seeing a person needing love.

(If this devotional has blessed you, please pass it on.)

From a fellow traveler just passing through,

Jason Mitchener

Jason's Music:

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Old Smokey

100-year-old celebrates her birthday by smoking 170,000th cigarette | the Daily Mail
An iron-lunged pensioner has celebrated her 100th birthday by lighting up her 170,000th cigerette from a candle on her birthday cake.

Winnie Langley started smoking only days after the First World War broke out in June 1914 when she was just seven-years-old - and has got through five a day ever since.

She has no intention of quitting, even after the nationwide ban forced tobacco-lovers outside.

Speaking at her 100th birthday party Winnie said: "I have smoked ever since infant school and I have never thought about quitting.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Hot Flash

ABC News: Whoops! Hottest U.S. Years Were in 1930s
Was 1998 the hottest year in United States history, as most reporting on climate change has presumed? Or was that record set back in 1934 before "global warming" became a scary household phrase? A corrective tweak to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's formulation shows that the hottest year on record in the United States indeed was back during the Dust Bowl days.

True believers will be unmoved.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Think Different

NJ Teen Unlocks IPhone From AT&T Network
A 17-year-old hacker has broken the lock that ties Apple's iPhone to AT&T's wireless network, freeing the most hyped cell phone ever for use on the networks of other carriers, including overseas ones. George Hotz of Glen Rock, N.J., confirmed Friday that he had unlocked an iPhone and was using it on T-Mobile's network, the only major U.S. carrier apart from AT&T that is compatible with the iPhone's cellular technology. In a video posted to his blog, he holds an iPhone that displays "T-Mobile" as the carrier.

How ironic that Apple, once the literal and figurative symbol of rebellion, has become synonymous with heavy handed control.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Global Warning System - Weather Blogs - Weather News
And, one last comment about Dean ... computer forecasts of the storm have been quite good, and remarkably consistent. Ever since the middle of last week, most of them were indicating a patch fairly far to the south, a path that would spare the U.S. a direct hit. However, there was one outlier among the models. There was one computer model that insisted that the storm was coming farther north. That outlier was the GFDL which is run in Princeton, N.J., and is considered by many forecasters, including those at the National Hurricane Center, to be one of the most, if not the most, reliable hurricane model that we have. It is interesting to note that at this point, it looks like it is going to turn out to be one of the worst computer models for this particular hurricane. It is also interesting to note that this model was developed at the same place that many of the "super climate" models were developed, which of course are the basis for most of the concern about carbon-dioxide induced global warming and climate change.

The GFDL sounds like the Global Warming equivalent of The Late Great Planet Earth.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Global Gas

Global Warming Fears: Norway's Moose Population in Trouble for Belching - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News
Norway is concerned that its national animal, the moose, is harming the climate by emitting an estimated 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year through its belching and farting.

You can't make this stuff up.

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Another Grim Milestone

When people ask me if football is dangerous for their kids, I say, "not as dangerous as driving".

Drunken driving deaths up in 22 states -
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data showing there were 13,470 deaths in 2006 involving drivers and motorcycle operators with blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher, which is the legal limit for adults throughout the country. The number was down slightly from 2005, when 13,582 people died in crashes involving legally drunk drivers. The overall number of deaths involving drivers and motorcycle operators with any amount of alcohol in their blood was 17,602 last year. That was up from 17,590 in 2005, according to spokeswoman Heather Ann Hopkins.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Original Axis of Evil

While 780 East Germans were murdered for seeking freedom...

Hugh Hewitt::Blog
Reagan was often attacked as a dangerous ideolouge who needed to reconcile himself to the facts of the world, but he never succombed to Beltway realpolitick.

"Here's my strategy on the Cold War," Reagan declared. "We win, they lose."

This is also George W. Bush's approach to Islamist fanaticism. And a generation from now his resolve concerning the War on Terror will be as esteemed as Reagan's resolve to triumph in the Cold War.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Everyone on Facebook

Facebook Grows Up: Can It Stay Relevant? - Kaplan College Guide -
This would not be surprising if Karasic were a college student. Facebook is as much a part of campus as finals, iPods and beer—the contemporary equivalent of jamming several people into a phone booth is squeezing one's entire social life onto a series of photo shows, news feeds, invitations, friend requests and status updates on the spare blue-and-white grid of a Facebook page. Nor would it be remarkable if she were in high school, where millions of Facebook users, feeling very much like their big brothers and sisters in college, log on as soon as they toss their books on the bed, forming outrageously named groups and moving their lunchroom cliques and locker-room gossip online. Shara Karasic, however, is 40 years old, a Santa Monica, Calif., working mother with a young son. Despite a suspicion that the site was only for college students, she signed on a year ago and found professional people like herself; she quickly got requests to be "friended" from two 40-year-old cousins. And on July 31, when she couldn't get in for a few hours, she realized something: "I'm addicted to Facebook."

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Old Time Religion

Inside the Beltway -- The Washington Times, America's Newspaper
D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."

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Companies and party aides cast censorious eye over Wikipedia | Technology | The Guardian
Editing your own entry on Wikipedia is usually the province of vain celebrities keen for some good PR. But a new website has uncovered dozens of companies that have been editing the site in order to improve their public image.

The Wikipedia Scanner, which trawls the backwaters of the popular online encyclopaedia, has unearthed a catalogue of organisations massaging entries, including the CIA and the Labour party.

Workers operating on CIA computers have been spotted editing entries including the biography of former presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, while unnamed individuals inside the Vatican have worked on entries about Catholic saints - and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

Meanwhile, an anonymous surfer from Labour's Millbank headquarters excised a section about Labour Students which referred to "careerist MPs" and criticisms that the party's student movement was no longer seen as radical.

And somebody from a computer traced to Democrat HQ edited a page on conservative American radio host Rush Limbaugh, calling him "idiotic", "ridiculous" and labelling his 20 million listeners as "legally retarded".

But the biggest culprit that the Scanner claims to have discovered is Diebold, a supplier of voting machines, which it says has made huge alterations to entries about its involvement in the controversial "hanging chad" election in the US in 2000. The company was criticised in the wake of the disputed results, but edits made by its employees on Wikipedia have included the removal of 15 paragraphs detailing the allegations.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chinese Parents Rescue Children from Slavery

I'm amazed that we know about this.

1,340 rescued from forced labor
TAIYUAN -- A total of 1,340 people, 367 of whom are mentally handicapped, have been rescued from forced labor since the notorious brick kiln forced labor scandal came to light in June, a joint investigation group reported on Monday afternoon.

During the campaign to crack down on illegal kilns, mines and workshops, 277,000 work units with 12.67 million workers were inspected, said Sun Baoshu, vice minister of Labor and Social Security and head of the investigation group, which represents the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of Public Security and the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Police found that 67,000, or 24.2 percent of the kilns, mines and workshops inspected nationwide were operating without licenses.

They registered 185,000 cases during the inspection, more than half of which concerned employing workers without contracts and, in 37 percent of the cases, the owner failed to provide workers with social security insurance.

One hundred and forty seven people were arrested and some 98,000 working units which used uncontracted workers were ordered to sign the contracts with 1.5 million workers and pay overdue salaries and compensation totaling 130 million yuan (US$17m).

The use of forced laborers hit the headlines after more than 400 parents in central China's Henan Province posted an online petition, calling for help in rescuing their children who had been kidnapped to work in small brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan as forced laborers.

An employee of a brick kiln at the center of the forced labor scandal has been sentenced to death for manslaughter and unlawful detention, the foreman was sentenced life imprisonment and boss of the kiln was given a jail term of nine years. A total of 95 Party officials in Shanxi have been punished in the wake of the slave-like labor scandal.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Talk about Movements Everywhere

At least they don't have the word Crusade in their name.

Gateway Pundit: Massive Hizb ut-Tahrir Caliphate Conference Opens in Jakarta- 100,000 Expected
Tens of thousands of radicals will meet today at the Jakarta Hizb ut-Tahrir Conference to push for global Islamic law starting with the re-establishment of a caliphate across the Muslim world.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Asia Times Online :: China News - Christianity finds a fulcrum in Asia
Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by the National Catholic Reporter's veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world's largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history. [1] If you read a single news article about China this year, make sure it is this one.

I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric

religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it. Islam might defeat the western Europeans, simply by replacing their diminishing numbers with immigrants, but it will crumble beneath the challenge from the East.

China, devoured by hunger so many times in its history, now feels a spiritual hunger beneath the neon exterior of its suddenly great cities. Four hundred million Chinese on the prosperous coast have moved from poverty to affluence in a single generation, and 10 million to 15 million new migrants come from the countryside each year, the greatest movement of people in history. Despite a government stance that hovers somewhere between discouragement and persecution, more than 100 million of them have embraced a faith that regards this life as mere preparation for the next world.

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Your Tax Dollars at Work

The Club For Growth -
The Club for Growth has compiled a RePORK Card of all members' votes on all 50 anti-pork amendments (see below). "Taxpayers have a right to know which congressmen stand up for them and which stand up for the special interests," said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. "Unfortunately, the Club for Growth RePORK Card shows that most congressmen care more about lining their buddies' pockets than they care about protecting American taxpayers."

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The Reformation continues unabated...

US public sees news media as biased, inaccurate, uncaring: poll
More than half of Americans say US news organizations are politically biased, inaccurate, and don't care about the people they report on, a poll published Thursday showed.

And poll respondents who use the Internet as their main source of news -- roughly one quarter of all Americans -- were even harsher with their criticism, the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center said.

More than two-thirds of the Internet users said they felt that news organizations don't care about the people they report on; 59 percent said their reporting was inaccurate; and 64 percent they were politically biased.

More than half -- 53 percent -- of Internet users also faulted the news organizations for "failing to stand up for America".

Among those who get their news from newspapers and television, criticism of the news organizations was up to 20 percentage points lower than among Internet news audiences, who tend to be younger and better educated than the public as a whole, according to Pew.

The poll indicates an across the board fall in the public's opinion on the news media since 1985, when a similar survey was conducted by Times Mirror, Pew Research said.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Iraq Today

I learned last night that the son of a good friend and colleague was just scheduled to redeploy to Iraq. I read this account of Iraq with more than the usual interest.

NY Daily News; Michael Yon:Al Qaeda is guilty of monstrosities in Iraq - no matter what anyone says
Amid all this talk of timetables for the War in Iraq, blurred as they are by a strange lemming-like compulsion to declare the "surge" strategy a failure almost before it actually began, one deadline looms larger with each passing day: It's time for a reckoning with the truth.

The problem is that almost none of those who have cast themselves as truth-tellers have the requisite credibility for the job. The one man who does was told he had only until September to evaluate progress.

I'm not suggesting that I make a worthy substitute for the commanding general, David Petraeus, on this or any subject, but since December of 2004, I have spent roughly a 1½ years on the battlefields of Iraq.

I've traveled alongside American Army and Marines and British forces, from Basra to Mosul and just about anywhere of note in between.

When it comes to Iraq, being there matters because of the massive disconnect between what most Americans think they know about Iraq, and what is actually going on there.

The current controversy about the extent to which Al Qaeda is a threat to peace in Iraq is a case in point. Questions about which group calling itself an offshoot of Al Qaeda is really an offshoot of Al Qaeda is a distraction masquerading as a debate.

Al Qaeda is in Iraq, intentionally inflaming sectarian hostilities, deliberately pushing for full scale civil war. They do this by launching attacks against Shia, Sunni, Kurds and coalition forces. To ensure the attacks provoke counterattacks, they make them particularly gruesome.

Five weeks ago, I came into a village near Baqubah with American and Iraqi soldiers. Al Qaeda had openly stated Baqubah was their worldwide headquarters — indeed, Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed just a short drive away.

Behind the village was a palm grove. I stood there, amid the crushing stench of death, and photographed the remains of decapitated children and murdered adults. I can still smell the rotting corpses of those children.

Clearly, not every terrorist in Iraq is Al Qaeda, but it is Al Qaeda that has been intentionally, openly, brazenly trying to stoke a civil war. As Al Qaeda is now being chased out of regions it once held without serious challenge, their tactics are tinged with desperation.

This may be the greatest miscalculation they've made in their otherwise sophisticated battle for the hearts and minds of locals, and it is one we must exploit.

In fact, some Sunni insurgents who formerly were allies of Al Qaeda have turned on them simply because Al Qaeda has proven it will murder anyone — and in the most horrible ways. One of these groups is called the 1920 Revolution Brigade, which turned on Al Qaeda and joined forces with the U.S.

On July 16, I was with American Army forces, Iraqi Army forces and 1920 fighters when together they went off to hunt Al Qaeda. The 1920s guys were in front of us. They got hit by a bomb that was almost certainly planted by terrorists. A major gunfight ensued.

Anyone who says Al Qaeda is not one of the primary problems in Iraq is simply ignorant of the facts.

I, like everyone else, will have to wait for September's report from Gen. Petraeus before making more definitive judgments. But I know for certain that three things are different in Iraq now from any other time I've seen it.

1. Iraqis are uniting across sectarian lines to drive Al Qaeda in all its disguises out of Iraq, and they are empowered by the success they are having, each one creating a ripple effect of active citizenship.

2. The Iraqi Army is much more capable now than it was in 2005. It is not ready to go it alone, but if we keep working, that day will come.

3. Gen. Petraeus is running the show. Petraeus may well prove to be to counterinsurgency warfare what Patton was to tank battles with Rommel, or what Churchill was to the Nazis.

And yes, in case there is any room for question, Al Qaeda still is a serious problem in Iraq, one that can be defeated. Until we do, real and lasting security will elude both the Iraqis and us.

Yon is a former Special Forces soldier who later became a writer and a photographer. His work appears in the Weekly Standard, the National Review and on .

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Sunday, August 05, 2007


Simpsons Movie, D'Oh! Top Ten (Plus One) Religious Episodes on 'The Simpsons' --
In 18 seasons of "The Simpsons," nearly 20 episodes of the award-winning animated series have focused almost exclusively on faith, religion, and spirituality, while similar subplots, jokes, and images are scattered throughout 150 other episodes.

With "The Simpsons Movie" opening on July 27th (and rumored to explore more irreverent faith-focused storylines), the time is ripe for a list of the top ten (plus 1) episodes dealing with religion.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm for paper ballots

Threat Level - Wired Blogs
A team of computer scientists tasked with examining the source code of voting machines used in California (and elsewhere across the country) finally released their much-anticipated report on Thursday and it contains significant information that could lead the secretary of state to decertify the machines on Friday (the last day by which Secretary of State Debra Bowen can make decisions that affect voting machines that will be used in 2008).

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Free Exchange of Ideas?

Not on campus.

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Hot Air audio: How one wealthy jihad supporter is using UK courts to kill American free speech
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this story. The Chronicle of Higher Education (sub. required) on Wednesday published an article about Khalid bin Mafouz, a wealthy Saudi banker, and his successful effort to persuade the Cambridge University Press to halt the publication of four books that detail how Saudi citizens use their wealth to finance global terrorism. One of those books, Alms for Jihad, was once on sale at Amazon and elsewhere, but it has been pulled from sale and copies of it are now being pulped. Cambridge has even sent out letters to libraries that stock it and the other three books, asking for their return so that they too can be pulped, meaning they will soon disappear, burying the details they contain on how terrorism finance works and who is behind it.

Hollywood won't stand for this though. They make documentaries and movies all the time that speak truth to power.


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Homeland Security Update

This is troubling considering I live in a state that began shortly after the Mayflower landed, where things collapse that are newly built.

Minneapolis I-35 Bridge Collapse - Expert Op-Ed - America's Weak Infrastructure - Popular Mechanics
It will take time to determine why the Interstate 35 bridge collapsed, so tragically, during the height of a Minneapolis rush hour on Wednesday night. But investigators will likely find that two factors contributed to its failure: age and heavy use. Bridge 9340 was constructed in 1967, 11 years after the launch of the Eisenhower Interstate System. Until it plunged into the Mississippi River, it served as a transportation lifeline for the growing Twin Cities population, carrying across its 14 spans many of the SUVs, cars and trucks that accounted for the 42 percent rise in Minnesota’s vehicle traffic from 1990 to 2003.

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Pope John the Elton

The Sun Online - News: Why we must close the net
“Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet. “Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging. “I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span. “There’s too much technology available. “I’m sure, as far as music goes, it would be much more interesting than it is today.”

Maybe we could ban pianos too! Other than Sir Elton's of course. Maybe Sir Elton could review what is art and what is not and he could "tear down" anything that he doesn't like. I'm sure everyone would be happy to have such a great artist tell us what is and isn't art.

The Reformation will not be on the radio either apparently.

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Interesting Stuff