Those who laughed at this speech a month ago are now once again realizing how much they misunderestimated this President.
We have seen our vulnerability, and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny -- prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder, violence will gather and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
Monday, February 28, 2005
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Everyone loves a conundrum. Here's an old and valuable one. A manuscript written in a language no one can understand, no known author, and constellations that make no sense from Earth. Maybe Peter Jennings will do two hours on this one if his ratings keep plummeting....
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Even if life is not there now, it still pushes along the hope of human colonization one day. And, perhaps, that day will be sooner than we think.
A new type of organism discovered in an Arctic tunnel came to life in the lab after being frozen for 32,000 years.
The deep-freeze bacteria could point to new methods of cryogenics, and they are the sort of biology scientists say might exist on Mars and other planets and moons.
"The existence of microorganisms in these harsh environments suggests -- but does not promise -- that we might one day discover similar life forms in the glaciers or permafrost of Mars or in the ice crust and oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa," said Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The case for manned landings on Mars is building. A ready source of water provides all we need live and work permanently on another planet. And Mars appears to have vast quantities, not only at the poles, but across the surface.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Sunday, February 20, 2005
As readers know well, distinguishing between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality is one of the underlying themes of this blog. For the President to "get it" long before it became a blazing issue shows once again why he's running circles around the left today.
Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.
But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"
Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."
"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."
Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays."
As early as 1998, however, Mr. Bush had already identified one gay-rights issue where he found common ground with conservative Christians: same-sex marriage. "Gay marriage, I am against that. Special rights, I am against that," Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, five years before a Massachusetts court brought the issue to national attention.
It appears the only big news is how little news is contained in the tapes. I do wonder if the Left will castigate Wead for his secret taping the way they did Linda Tripp. I won't hold my breath waiting for the Times editorial on that one.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
I don't run in Evangelical circles much these days. My faith walk has led me away from the
Initially, my roommate did the "background check" common in the Evangelical world; when did you accept Christ? What’s your background? Where are you spiritually right now? Being Episcopalian required some explanation, and confirmation that the church I belong to is a conservative, evangelical Episcopal Church.
The background check is not meant to be judgmental in any way. It’s a security clearance of sorts, confirmation that the person you are talking to will understand your world view, and share it. Having just awakened from 3 hours of surgery and still feeling the effects of the anesthetic made the task of "passing muster" doubly difficult, but I apparently passed with flying colors.
We settled into a discussion of books, culture, and the Faith in general, using phrases that would have seemed foreign to anyone not raised in the Evangelical mainstream. It made my hospital stay much more pleasant, and provided me with an inside look at the Christian publishing world I could not have received anywhere else.
Evangelicals never stopped believing in covenant marriage, and it one of those principles that have placed Christians at odds with the culture since the oxymoron “no fault divorce” became common decades ago. The concept of marriage being about covenant, rather than some goopy feeling of being “in love” was the topic of more sermons and youth meeting lessons than I can count while growing up. It was just as much a given as respecting my parents and knowing it was wrong to swear. I learned the Greek terms for love early on, and the differences between them.
The threat to marriage from gay unions is not from the idea of committed relationships. This commitment to the needs of someone completely different from your self has been one of the cores of the marriage covenant. Giving of our selves in every area of our lives is so completely alien to us that it needed to be set apart or “sanctified” as a different class of relationships from any other in which humans are involved. The Bible calls it becoming one.
It is the very fact that the sanctity of marriage means so much that motivates gay couples to want the validation so much. Marriage is more than just living with someone. And divorce is more than ending a friendship. Divorce means ripping what was one apart. This always involves pain, no matter what the reason.
But commitment is not covenant, just as eros and philos are not agape. There were reasons why contracts in the Old Testament were done in ink and stone, while covenants required the shedding of blood. Making synonyms of commitment and covenant requires redefining both words, and devalues one.
The threat to marriage, if there is one, lies in the concept of two very different humans becoming one. Can this be accomplished by two of the same sex, regardless of their level of commitment? Or does it devalue the covenant relationship to insist “two of the same” coming together are of the same kind as “two of the different.” Redefining the marriage covenant is not to be done lightly, in favor of commitment, no matter how strong or lasting that committment. This redefinition is at the heart of the controversy. Evangelicals understand this difference well, having been taught it from the cradle. The culture is just now coming to understand the importance of commitment again. The distinction between it and Covenant may still be part of the "foreign language" of the evangelical world.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
``There's a decline ... but what I'd emphasize is that some of that may be an economic reaction or reality,'' (Denomination Treasurer Kurt) Barnes said. ``People's incomes in 2003 and 2004 were recovering or were hurt by the market decline of 2001 and 2002.'But wait. Here's the truth (denial free) about the drop:
(Canon David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council), responded that ``the economy is not down, it's up. ... Maybe he could have argued that two years ago.''
Since Robinson was first confirmed by the Episcopal General Convention in August 2003, parishioners and their local leaders upset over the denomination's direction have moved to withhold or limit contributions to the national church in protest.
Some dioceses, including Pittsburgh and Dallas, have refused to send any money to the national church.This sentence does not begin to tell the story of the conflict within the Episcopal Church over the gay issue. To be fair, some parishioners tried to make up the difference in Pittsburgh. But it was but half of the amount given by the total diocese.
The price being paid for a decision so contradictory to historic Chistrianity may very welll be the end of a denomination that has been the faith cradle of many, including Presidents, and continues to be common ground for Protestants and Catholics today.
Growth is occurring in some Episcopal churches, however. Ask the conservative Episcopal churches in Pittsburgh and Dallas, or any other conservative Anglican community in this country.
-Hat tip to Carol Platt Liebau for this story.
-Apologies for the sudden change in font size. One of the joys of using blogger, I guess.
I was reminded again of that conversation by the reactions of the MSM to the Eason Jordan story, and the blogosphere that kept it in the light.
Journalism is not the only profession being confronted with new ideas and scrutiny. The left across many fields are experiencing the power of the blogosphere, and are reacting much the same as the MSM. Carol Platt Liebau chronicles the wailing and gnashing of teeth :
But now the air is filled with the laments of those who, for so long, have had exclusive powers through their status in the MSM to decide (1) what will be news and (2) what matters. And many of these people -- many of whom are fine people personally -- have taken to deploring the "new" incivility that's supposedly flowering with the birth of the blogosphere.The stages of loss include Denial, Anger, and Bargaining. The shifting of the left through these stages is fascinating to watch. Perhaps some civility will come when the beginnings of Acceptance are seen from today's power brokers on the Left.
But what they don't realize that the incivility is only "new" to them. They are those who have enjoyed positions of power within the liberal elite, where they have been able either to level abuse, look away while their colleagues did it, or assume that everyone so fully accepted their own world view that abuse wasn't "incivility" -- it was just received wisdom (e.g. "Everyone knows Reagan's a warmonger").
Perhaps they're discovering now that it feels a little different when you're on the receiving end of the "incivility". But those who carry a torch for (among other things) the U.S. military, William Westmoreland, Whittaker Chambers, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush could have told them that, because they've been experiencing "incivility" from the press for some time now. And unlike the liberal media bigshots, the difference is that these "ordinary" people never had a network or newspaper to fight back with; they've been defenseless to make their claims and clear the names of their heroes -- or their own.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Why Lawyers should never ask a witness a question if they aren't prepared for the answer:One of the best laughs I've had in a very long time....
In a trial, a Southern small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand -a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked,"Mrs.Jones, do you know me?"
She said,"Why, yes I do know you, Mr.Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."
The Lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs.Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"
She again said, "Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women, one of them being your wife. Yes, I know him."
The defense attorney almost died. The judge asked both counsellors to approach the bench, and in a very quiet voice, said, "If either of you bastards asks her if she knows me, I'll throw your sorry asses in jail for contempt."
Should we bloggers and we journalists keep watch on each other to improve the quality of discourse and the reliability of the reporting? You bet. That's what these journalists are trying to do with bloggers. And that's what the bloggers were trying to do with CNN.
But I can't resist noting whose language -- lynch mob, McCarthyism, Taliban, Gang of Four, morons -- was the more fiery and who sounded more like a lynch mob.
The paradigms are shifting, and Mainstream Journalists can be expected to become more shrill as they lose more readers, and therefore power. Not all that different from their political colleagues on the left in Washington.
Last night, a caller to the Hugh Hewitt Show said this:
"The blogosphere is to the media what internal affairs is to any law enforcement agency. Nobody likes them, and they are absolutely necessary."
A very good analogy. Not quite up to the Protestant Reformation analogy of Mr. Hewitt, but very good indeed.
Monday, February 14, 2005
No book in recent memory has had such a profound impact on me personally. The lessons Mr. Sharansky learned, both in Soviet Gulags, and in the rough and tumble of Israeli politics are lessons we would all do well to emulate. His sense of hope and optimism are much needed, and stand in sharp contrast to the pessimism and obstructionism of the American left.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Abortion and same-sex marriage, by contrast, do spark strong opposition, but not on privacy grounds. Abortion opponents argue that life before birth is worthy of legal protection, while the case against same-sex marriage is that it confers public approval on gay relationships--approval the New York and Massachusetts courts have given without public consent.
When judges find rights in hidden constitutional meanings, they run a twofold risk. If they limit those rights, striking balances and compromises between such competing values as privacy vs. life or privacy vs. morality, they act as politicians, only without democratic accountability. The alternative, to let those rights expand without limit, seems more principled and thus is more appealing. But it ignores democracy's most important principle of all: the right of the people to govern themselves.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Saturday, February 05, 2005
And in terms of Intelligent Design, my vote is for private school and home schooling getting some of the money currently going to public education. Intelligent Design can go only so far. Faith takes over at a certain point. It takes a great deal of faith to believe completely in Evolution and Chaos Theory as the sole answer to the creation of the universe, or as Robert Heinlein call it, the omniverse. I think both theories, intelligent design and evolution, have a place in our children's education. Leaving out one or the other lessens our children's ability to think critically about science and faith.
I even find myself in partial agreement, or at least on the fence, regarding gay couples adopting children. My jury is very much still out on that issue. One caveat though: The reason the tragedy in Florida is news is in part because it happens so rarely. To blame it on Governor Bush, or on marriage in general is going a bit too far. But, as Meat Loaf once said in a song, Two out of three ain't bad.
Friday, February 04, 2005
It will be the knee jerk reaction of my left of center readers to immediately start composing rebuttals. I would ask that you read the complete column before you respond. Which of the predictions of gloom came true? What does that say about the future for the left in this country? I refer you again to Mark Brown's column of the other day. It's been a long time since the Democrats got it right on foreign policy. I see no reason to begin trusting them with it now.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
My breathing is good, with only one major asthma attack in the past 48 hours. Due to increasing pain levels, I'm really pushing for the surgery to be moved up. Again, thanks for the emails of support. It is greatly appreciated.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Senator John Kerry loudly proclaimed on "Meet the Press" that the Iraqi election represented President Bush's "last chance" to "get it right." Nothing is easier than to demand more from somebody else -- even when you yourself have been an obstacle to achieving what has already been achieved.
Senator Kerry has a long record as a defeatist and obstructionist. Back in 1971, he said, "we cannot fight communism all over the world" -- adding in the same arrogant tone he uses today, "I think we should have learned that lesson by now."
Ronald Reagan never learned that lesson -- and hundreds of millions of human beings are free of communist tyranny today as a result. But during all the years when President Reagan was building up our military forces and our intelligence agencies, Senator Kerry was consistently voting against the appropriations required to do so.
This is most definitely the column I wish I had written. And, here from Dennis Prager, The Left is Worth Nothing. There is simply too much in this column to pull an excerpt. Read the whole thing. Then, if it makes you angry, read it again, slowly, and tell me where Dr. Prager has erred, if you can.
Perhaps he's still in a funk from not getting any Academy Award Nominations.
I find it telling that the man who has lamented such great concern for the kite-flying, tea-sipping Iraqi people featured in Fahrenheit 9-11 can’t be bothered to string together a few words of admiration for those same people who braved the threat of death to cast their votes this past weekend.
A while back, Moore declared:
“The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow—and they will win.”
It seems that Moore only admires the Iraqi people when they validate his agenda of hating George Bush. Now that they have embraced this ideal of democracy, he seems to have lost respect for them by failing to acknowledge their achievement. I think he’s taken this whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” concept a little over the edge. Given the oppportunity to applaud the Iraqi people for their brave embrace of the concept of self determination, the silence from Moore is deafening. The Iraqi voters, they are the revolution, their numbers grew, and they won. Moore’s contempt for Bush can’t take that away.
Nothing from George Soros, either.
How about Jimmy Carter?
Cat got their tongue too?
Billionaire Bush-basher George Soros and left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore were among critics of the administration's Iraq policy who had no comment after millions of Iraqis went to the polls in their nation's first free elections in decades.I'm sure we'll hear from all of them the next time something bad happens in Iraq, or Afghanistan. For now, with so much good news coming out of both those new democracies, all Moore, Soros and the ex-President can do is sulk. Funny, that's probably what the terrorists are doing too, when they aren't taking action figures captive and threatening to behead them.
The Carter Center determined that the security situation in Iraq was going to be too dangerous to send election monitors, so the Atlanta-based human rights organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter posted its personnel in neighboring Jordan.
And who is against this? Planned Parenthood and NARAL, of course. There is an abortion industry out there, and that industry would be threatened if more women actually hear and see the child in their womb. Now, we can't have that, now can we?
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Whoopsie. Now Mr. Brown has decided he really didn't mean what he said yesterday. Prochaska would call the stage of change Mr. Brown is in Pre-Contemplative. Apparently still in need of more evidence that he needs to change, characterized by extreme ambivalence.