My own personal musings, wonderings, thoughts, and results of personal studies. Also, occasional comments on world events.

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Monday, October 14, 2002

The Junk Yard Blog has a few comments on Falwell, riots, and Iran:

Anyway, Falwell has apoligized. Fine.

But he's getting condemned by Iranians--for saying intemperate things. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't these the same people who fairly regularly call us "The Great Satan?" Aren't these the same people who blame Jews for every bad thing that's ever happened? Aren't these the same people who think some Jewish ritual demands that the actual blood of children be cooked into sacramental bread? Don't they preach death to the Jews, call us infidels and lend aid to all manner of terrorists on a regular basis?

And they're all in a wad because Jerry Falwell said something dumb?

Spare me.

Better yet, lets spare the people of Iran. Faster please.


Last night I was talking to my sister on the phone. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. At this point she turns to her roommate and says, "Brandi, are there any new movies out that I want for my birthday?"


Just checked my e-mail. 3 spams in a row for dating services. Is somebody trying to tell me somthing?

And on another note, my cousin writes that her daughter is going to be on Barney again! Ahhhh. Am I still allowed to blog now or am I tainted by association?

Susanna has definitely got one for the oops file.

Oooh! I wonder who's going to win this election? Yes, elections in totalitarian states mean so much.

Now this is impressive

While thinking about the bombing in Bali, I found myself drawn to this passage in Job.

Job 1:13-22 ESV Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.(Italics added)

A couple of years ago I was asked to lead a prayer and say a few words at one of the many memorial services held in Stillwater when a plane crash killed several people associated with the Oklahoma State basketball team. In preparing for that service I found myself, quite by accident (well at least from my point of view) actually, reading this passage from Job. I was struck then, as I am now, by the sheer strength of Job's faith.

Within a matter of minutes Job was informed of the destruction and theft of virtually all his property. Hard on the heels of that news comes word that all of his children are dead. What was Job's first response? He fell to the ground and worshipped God.

This is astounding. Many of us pray to God in times of trouble, but it would be hard to call what we do when disaster strikes worship. Worship is something done solely to bring honor to God. At these times, most of us are more concerned with prayers to help us and to help others. I'm not saying that this is bad. What I am saying is that what Job did was better.

And now it is time to confess. When I read the stories coming out of Bali, I find it very easy to pray for the victims families. I find it easy to pray that the leaders of my country, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, and others act wisely to end these attacks. I find it impossible to worship God while thinking about these attacks. I simply don't know how to do it.

We, meaning me especially, should strive to live up to Job's example.


Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.(Italics added)

A couple of years ago I was asked to lead a prayer and say a few words at one of the many memorial services held in Stillwater when a plane crash killed several people associated with the Oklahoma State basketball team. In preparing for that service I found myself, quite by accident (well at least from my point of view) actually, reading this passage from Job. I was struck then, as I am now, by the sheer strength of Job's faith.

Within a matter of minutes Job was informed of the destruction and theft of virtually all his property. Hard on the heels of that news comes word that all of his children are dead. What was Job's first response? He fell to the ground and worshipped God.

This is astounding. Many of us pray to God in times of trouble, but it would be hard to call what we do when disaster strikes worship. Worship is something done solely to bring honor to God. At these times, most of us are more concerned with prayers to help us and to help others. I'm not saying that this is bad. What I am saying is that what Job did was better.

And now it is time to confess. When I read the stories coming out of Bali, I find it very easy to pray for the victims families. I find it easy to pray that the leaders of my country, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, and others act wisely to end these attacks. I find it impossible to worship God while thinking about these attacks. I simply don't know how to do it.

We, meaning me especially, should strive to live up to Job's example.

David Carr points out some quotes that make me sick.

Frank Lautenberg wants voters to forget about the fact that he was put on the ballot in clear violation of New Jersey Law.

"There are two contenders out there pick the one you want, and forget about the process," Lautenberg said in a meeting with reporters and editors from The Associated Press.

He's apparently none to happy about Forrester's commercials mocking his substitution for the Torch.

Lautenberg agreed that his sudden entry into the race was not pretty.

That's an understatement.

"People were angry and annoyed by it ... and frankly I think we got the brunt of some of that tension," he said.

Good. That's what we call giving credit where credit is due.

"But I really believe, if it's not gone, it will be gone."

Or this will be one of the shortest political comebacks of all time.

He added, "It wasn't the Democratic Party that got criticized by the ethics committee. It wasn't the Democratic Party that caused Senator Torricelli to resign. It was a personal thing, so what effect does it have on a vote for me?"

No, it was the "Democratic" Party that made sure that all he was only criticized and not ejected from the Senate. It was also the "Democratic" Party that supported him fully until they figured out he was going to lose. Further, it was the "Democratic" Party that got the New Jersey Supremes to create new election law out of whole cloth. That is what has an effect on voting for you. (And I thought "Democrats" were supposed to be "intellectuals.")

John Hawkins has some depressing theories about environmentalists and nuclear plants.

Looks like the sniper struck again.


I got a Google hit from someone who was apparently looking for C.S. Lewis's views on war. If anyone else is interested, I suggest reading his speech, "Why I Am Not a Pacifist," which was published in his book The Weight of Glory. Interestingly, this speech was given to a pacifist society during England in the midst of WWII. Now wouldn't that be a nice change? Pacifists actually looking for honest debate rather than screaming hysterically. I'm afraid we may have left those days behind.


While reading about the bombing in Bali and all the horrible stories, escpecially regarding Austrailians, that are coming out I find that I can feel nothing but rage. I find that I have exactly the same feelings reading this story about a father sending his daughters back home to Australia while he, "looks for Mummy," that I have every time I watch this page about the WTC attacks. What I feel is an anger I can barely contain.

While this is natural to most humans, I believe, it frightens me. Anger is sometimes necessary. Anger breeds righteous indignation which causes us to act to remove atrocities. Even Jesus acted in this way. What scares me is that when we act in anger, we are seeking revenge rather than fighting to protect others or to adminster justice. When we act with revenge as our motive, we claim something for ourselves which God reserved as HIs right alone.

The problem is that we must act, but if we act for the wrong reasons we sin. The only answer I know is to learn how to restrain our anger and make sure we are actions against the terrorist are for the right motive.

This is the same moral problem I face in regards to the bombing in Oklahoma City. I am a strong supporter of the death penalty. However, I was worried about the execution of Timothy McVeigh. The reason for this is that I got the firm sense, especially living only an hours drive from the site around many people who were personally affected, that to a large number of people this execution was not about justice. It was about vengeance. For the first time in my life, I found myself questioning the death penalty. (Not in general mind you, just as regards this specific case.) The fact that so many people took a great deal of pleasure in the execution troubled me.

I've rambled on enough, so I think I'll just cut this off by saying that while the bombing in Bali makes it abundantly clear that we must continue prosecuting the war on all fronts, I hope we do so for the right reasons.

Stephen Green responds to a reader who thinks police work will stop al-Qaeda and other terrorists. I'm not trying to disparage policeman, but I feel obliged to point out that our police forces don't always know terrorism when they see it.

Yet another letter from Osama.


Mark Byron thinks the bombing in Bali could make politics very ugly in Indonesia. By the way Mark, I didn't know that Catholicism was an ethnicity.

Update-Philip Murphy also has some comments about the effect on Indonesian politics and what we ought to do about it.

Another reason why we have to win the war. Link via Tim Blair.

The DNC is recalling a bunch of baloney.

William Kristol thinks its time for the President to start lying.

John Leo addresses legal coercion. It ain't pretty.

Is Bush acting Nixonian? Orrin Judd thinks not.

Steve Chapman compares polygraphs to trial by water. Ouch.

Reuters:Defence minister says bomb shows al Qaeda is in Indonesia

The bomb blasts that took nearly 200 lives on the resort island of Bali were the work of professionals and shows the presence of the al Qaeda network in Indonesia, Defence Minister Matori Abdul Djalil said on Monday.

Gee Wally, do you really think so?

Sunday, October 13, 2002
Red Letter Edition

Matthew 10:16-23 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.


Is it just me, or is the peace at any cost crowd telling us simultaneously that al-Qaeda has absolutely no ties with Iraq (Because there's no way religious zealot bin Laden would work with the secular government of Hussein which he despises), but at the same time arguing that al-Qaeda attacks will increase because of the outrage of our invasion of Iraq? Doesn't this seem a little odd? Isn't there something a little odd about holding both views simultaneously?


Steve den Beste has a great piece about the shadow war. The whole post is worth reading. I do however want to offer this for your consideration:

There are many who believe that the kind of peace and freedom that we enjoy is the natural state of the human race, the default to which all will return if only they could somehow convince us all to disband our armies and stop fighting. But the natural state for humans is barbarism, cruelty, violence and death; our peace and prosperity is an artificial bubble which must actively be maintained and defended at all times. If we cease to be vigilant it will vanish. My ideological opponents think that armies cause wars, and that war can be prevented by getting rid of armies. But you don't need an army to fight a war; no army attacked Bali last night.

I wonder if our atheist friend knows he's in complete agreement with the prophet Jeremiah:

The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick;who can understand it?

Anyway, the recent upswing in bombings makes it painfully aware that this war is far from over. In fact, the more I study the problem, the more I realize that this is a war of enormous scope. It will require us to move from place to place breaking the will of those who seek to destroy us and reforming nations in a manner that fosters freedom, fundamental rights, and openness. At 27, I begin to wonder if the war will be won in my lifetime. Don't get me wrong. I'm not becoming a doom and gloomer, and you certainly won't here me whining about quagmires. I just think that this is a bigger job then many of us realized and its going to take a really long time.

Tim Blair reads a letter that makes me proud to be an American.

This is embarrassing too. New polls make it look like Jean Carnahan may be in trouble in the Missouri Senate race.

Perhaps most damaging to Carnahan is the latest poll's finding that 52.1 percent thought it was "time for someone new" in the Senate.

Ouch! She's only been there 2 years. She is someone new. Of course, as a conservative Republican, I find this wonderful news. Just got to remember not to count my chickens yet.

I'm glad he cleared that up. *Chuckle*

Well, this is embarrassing. Its tragic too, but that's another story.


Tim Blair has been keeping running updates of the bombing in Bali. Follow that link and scroll up. He takes it kind of personal. About 80% of the people in the nightclub were Australian. The religion of peace marches on.

And you were doing so well

From the Austin American Statesman

Police said the male suspect, a Finnish chemistry student with no criminal record, was killed in the blast, but did not say why they thought he set off the bomb, which was packed with shotgun pellets.

Police said they had no evidence to indicate it was an organized terrorist attack. Lipponen said he believed it was an isolated incident with no connections to terrorism.

``We have no motive,'' said Chief Superintendent Tero Haapala of the National Bureau of Investigation, who headed the investigation.

``Some sort of professional knowledge was necessary'' to construct the device,'' Haapala said. ``There were several kilograms (pounds) of the explosives.''

Hmm, lets see. A twenty year old sets off a bomb with enough power to kill, wound, or maim about 85 people for no apparent reason. You've determined that some sort of professional knowledge was necessary to construct the bomb. You say that it wasn't terrorism. What we have here is an inability to connect the dots. Look, there's two likely alternatives here. Either you've got a depressed and angry guy determined to go out with a bang or you've got a terrorist. He may not be connected to a terrorist organization, but he was most likely committing terrorism. This was an act calculated to strike fear into people. And it worked. I realize we're not talking about a huge country here, but the Prime Minister is giving press conferences on this thing. This one act apparently managed to rattle and disturb an entire nation. But its not terrorism. Of course! What was I thinking?

While I'm on the subject I've got another gripe. What is this, "no connections to terrorism" line about? Is terrorism now a person of its own? You can't have "connections to terrorism." Terrorism is a combat tactic. It is not a person or even a group of people. (This is why Jonah Goldberg argued that we should stop the "war on terrorism" and declare war on the terrorist.) There is a question as to whether this guy had connections with terrorists. There is no question of him having "connections with terrorism" because that simply isn't possible.

And another thing. If I see this quote in one more story about the bombing, I may go insane. (Or, if you think I already am, then maybe I'll go sane.)

``This is the most serious accident since World War II in (the) Helsinki (region),'' said Eero Hirvensalo, a physician at Helsinki University Central Hospital.

Accident? Accident? Since when is suicide bombing considered an accident? Now to be fair, I first saw this quote before the police found evidence of a bomb. At the time I thought calling it an accident was a bit naive, but I let it slide. Besides, at the time I'm sure this doctor was more concerned with treating the victims than figuring out exactly how it happened. What I'm upset with is the reporters who keep sticking this line in their stories long after it became clear that this was no accident. And why on earth did they feel then need to add "the" and "region" to this quote. He didn't say, "the Helsinki region." He said, "in Helsinki." The sentence made perfect sense before they starting adding their parenthetical comments. Not to mention that doing so actually changes the meaning of the sentence. ARGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, rant now concluded. I'm better now.

Saturday, October 12, 2002
The death toll is up to 150 in Bali.

Bene Diction notes a large number of explosions world-wide in the last day or so.

Somebody's been visting the twilight zone.

I stand corrected. They are calling the mall bombing in Helsinki terrorism. Well there's a change. Could common sense be breaking out? Nah. (Link via Daily Pundit.)

Mean Dean at Blogs4God lives in Maryland near the shootings. He shares some excerpts from his recent life:

My wife and I mapped out strategies for getting gas without getting shot. I was so paranoid filling up my tank that when I heard the loud CLICK from the pump, I jumped. I recall driving away with the thought "phew." My wife told me that she and another woman pumping gas both sat in their cars while the gas pumped. Two men just stood by their cars. Thanks guys for the block!

Speaking of the block. My 2.75 year old daughter and I went to Trader Joe's. We also took along her Uncle (the bow hunter). We were walking on the strip of pavement in front of a strip of stores. With the stores to our left, I noticed my brother intentionally keeping speed with my little jogger - placing his body between my daughter and the potential shooting lanes from the right ... and from time to time glaring at a strip of trees 150 yards off.

Everyone is anxious to get in and out of parking lots these days.

Or how about this from the Junkyard Blog:

Do you want to know how irrational the Death card killer is making people behave around here? This morning I left a little after 10 to go to the airport for a business trip. A minute or two into my drive, the news broke on the radio that there had been another shooting, this one in Fredericksburg, Virginia at a gas station, at around 9:30. I looked at the gas guage in my car, and noted that it was due for a filling. I did the math--the killer hadn't had more than 30 minutes to get to my area, which is more than an hour away. But when I stopped to get gas, I was constantly looking over my shoulder, not standing in one place too long. As I finished up, a man pulled up in a late model Cadillac and seemed confused. He asked me if I could help him with his gas cap--it seemed to be stuck. I helped him, but as I did I just kept thinking that I wanted to get into my car. Keep in mind that I knew the killer hadn't had anywhere near enough time to get from his most recent shooting to where I was. Didn't matter.

As I drove on to the airport I continued listening to the news, which aired multiple versions of a description of the vehicle that authorities were looking for--a white panel van with a ladder rack on the rear and a ladder on top. I must have counted a dozen or more vehicles fitting that description on the way to the airport. If that's the type of vehicle the killer is running around in, no wonder he hasn't been caught. They're everywhere. As for that vehicle narrowing down the type of work he must do, I don't think so anymore. He could be a delivery guy for any one of several firms, or a plumber, landscaper, cable guy, electrician, home improvement contractor, basement waterproofing contractor, or just about anything else that involves carrying around tools or needing space to move large objects around.

As for my business trip, it's taken me to Charlotte, North Carolina. The contrast between home and here couldn't be more stark. In the Baltimore/DC area, you don't see many people eating outside at sidewalk cafes and the like lately. It's just too dangerous. And people seem to be walking the streets less. But here in Charlotte, I went walking through the downtown area to go to dinner, and people were everywhere, strolling, window shopping, and eating outside since the weather here today was perfect. This killer must be having the sadistic time of his life. He's killing with impunity and altering how people are living their lives.

Tell me again how this isn't terrorism. This may or may not be Islamic terrorism. It may or may not be organized terrorism. Regardless, these shootings are clearly designed to inflict terror and they have succeeded.

Guards at the US embassy in Tel Aviv captured a would-be suicide bomber. Captured suicide bomber. Now there's an oxymoron. Well, for my money you can drop the "oxy."


Yesterday, you may recall, I lambasted the Helsinki police for their stunning inability to come to the logical conclusion that the source of the explosion at a shopping center was a bomb. Well guess what. It was a bomb. Next stop on this sorry train will almost certainly be, "But it wasn't terrorism."

Does anybody know where I could find the complete text of the agreement that ended the Gulf War?

I posted a piece over at the University on God's justice and mercy that you might want to check out.

Victor Davis Hanson thinks something nasty is brewing in Germany.

Hanson makes a convincing case that there is a growing tide of nationalism with dangerous overtones growing in Germany. He also asserts that we should start slowly moving troops out of the country to force them to build up their own forces. One question: If the growing tide of nationalism is as bas as he says, are we sure we want them growing their military? I seem to remember a couple of really nasty wars that resulted, in part, from strong nationalism in Germany accompanied by a strong army. Just a thought.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Jonah Goldberg has an excellent article about confusing the personal with the political. That is not, however, what I want to talk about. Well, not exactly. Goldberg mentions a friend who is a libertarian. He said the friend told him that if he believed socialism was better for poor people that he would be a socialist. That got me thinking. Would I be a socialist if I thought it was better for poor people?

The answer is, "Not exactly." I would be a socialist if socialism actually delivered all the things people claim it can. After all, in theory socialism sounds so wonderful. Everybody taking care of everyone else. No one keeping more than they need. No one allowed to go in need. It sounds so wonderful. So compassionate. There is just one little problem. It doesn't work. Instead of lifting everyone up to the same level, socialism brings everyone down to the same level. It is, as often noted, a system that brings about the equal distribution of misery.

Capitalism on the other hand sounds so awful. (Especially if you hear a socialist describe it.) It sounds merciless and cold. Those who have ability and cunning get rich while the rest do not. Capitalism offers nothing that appeals to our noblest instincts. In fact, capitalism has only one redeeming value. The only thing that makes capitalism bearable is that it happens to work. In practice, capitalism is a rising tide that lifts all ships.

Its ironic really. Socialism promises virtually everything, but it delivers so little. Capitalism promises practically nothing, but delivers so much.

I can't say that I would necessarily be a socialist because I thought it was, "better for the poor." I can say that I would almost certainly be a socialist if only socialism happened to work.

A shopping center blew up in Helsinki:

VANTAA, Finland (Reuters) - A powerful blast has rocked a shopping center packed with thousands of people in the suburbs of Helsinki killing seven and injuring around 80, Finnish authorities said.

Police said it was too early to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred late Friday at peak shopping hours on the first floor of the well-known mall, Finland's second largest.

To early to determine the cause of the blast? Do you think it might have been a bomb?

"At this moment we are not excluding anything not even crime," Vantaa Police Chief Seppo Kujala told reporters at the mall.

Even crime? Funny. When a shopping center blows up, my first thought is, "It was probably a bomb." Think that fits as a crime.

"We are checking whether there have been or still are any explosive materials in the building."

I don't know about, "still are," but I think the, "have been" is fairly well established.

A senior police source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters the cause of the blast at around 7:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT) was most likely explosives or inflammable materials.

You mean like a bomb?

"It is most likely caused by something that has been brought in from the outside," the police official.

You mean they didn't store bombs in the building?

There were no suspects, authorities said.

No? I wonder. If we find out that al Qaeda did this, then will Reuters take the scare quotes off of terrorist? Or will they still be "freedom fighters?" Also, if this was al Qaeda or some other jihadist group how long it will take for some idiotarian to blame the United States. My guess: 42 seconds.

I'm afraid I may not have been sarcastic enough. I want to make sure its understood that I have no intention of cheapening the deaths from this event. I just want to point out that, given the geo-political climate, this kind of thing is almost certainly terrorism. If it looks like terrorism, feels like terrorism, and kills like terrorism, then its probably terrorism. I suppose there could be some other explanation here, but could we try looking in the obvious places first for once, huh? And another thing, if they trace this to some Islamic extremist (or any other wacko) and say, "But its not terrorism because he's not connected to any known organization, I'll scream." Terrorism is a description of a crime carried out in such a way as to instill fear in the general population. If this was indeed a bomb, then it fits the description of terrorism.

John Hawkins examines the "Democrats" new campaign strategy. I hope he's right.

You know, there's a word for North Koreans who are able to succeed in getting amnesty in the South. Lucky.

Okay, I can understand Muslims protesting Jerry Falwell calling Mohammed a terrorist. What I don't understand is why the Hindus showed up to fight them. Reading this story, the only guess you'd have would be that the Hindus were defending Falwell. Isn't it far more likely that the riot itself, unlike the protest, didn't have anything to do with Falwell? Isn't it far more likely that the actually fighting, like most of the fighting in India, is just as a result of the general animosity between the Indian Hindus and Muslims?

Some people don't know when to shut up. Man, I'd hate to see what Belafonte says about people he does mean to defame.

Voter fraud in South Dakota. Seems some people misunderstood the point of a "Democratic" party voter registration drive.

Um, this wouldn't go over well in the US at all.

Lileks does a great Robert Byrd (D-Lalaland) impression. Made more sense too.

Senate authorizes uses of force 75-25. That was fast.

Update- InstaPundit links to a WaPo story that shows the vote to be 77-23.

Well, somebody said the "T" word. They said the "A" word too.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

I've been thinking. If we just gave Russia the $10 billion, do you think they'd stop griping?


In the last few years our country has pretty much convinced itself that democracy is the thing that makes it great. I grew up in schools whose slant on America was exactly that. We tend to worship the majority. If 50% plus 1 say it, it must be right. (Hence people's fetish with the UN despite the fact that most of those countries who are voting are not themselves democratic.) It took me years to figure out on my own that democracy is not a panacea. It is possible for a majority of people to agree on something and even vote that something into being and for all of them to be wrong. That is what makes it so vitally important that we stand up for our rights. To protect ourselves against the tyranny of the majority. This is necessary because sometimes the majority is wrong. I'll say it again because I'm afraid it isn't said enough: Sometimes the majority is wrong. If you don't believe me, look here.

I think I figured it out
This story is primarily about some anti-war protestors who wholed up in Hillary Clinton's office demanding she vote no on the force resolution. However, I think I understand now why she's doing so.

During the Senate's floor debate, Clinton said backing the resolution was "the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but I cast it with conviction. I want this president, or any future president, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country, at the United Nations or at war."(emphasis added)

Now call me crazy, but I think those four words, "or any future president," are what Hillary's vote is all about. She thinks this is the best position to take to help her down the road. She also wants to make sure the executive branch is strong if she ever gets there.

All afternoon bloggers have been making fun of the envivonmentalist who fell off a tree and died. The thing that really bothers me about myself is that I laughed every time. As foolish as this guy's actions were, his death is a real tragedy to his family and friends. There I was laughing about it. We're not always as civilized as we like to think we are.


Steve at Happy Fun Pundit rants about the problems with American visas. He finishes great:

My point, if I must have one, is that there's something wrong with a system which discourages productive and skilled workers while simultaneously offering amnesty to semi-and-unskilled scofflaws and admitting terrorists with minimal scrutiny. Nobody has a right to come to America, but how about a little sense being applied when deciding who gets in and who doesn't?

Phew. Thanks for listening. I feel better now.

PS: All of this, of course, goes out the window when I find a nice anti-idiotarian American girl to marry. As soon as I have a green card, it will become imperative to keep all those damn foreigners out so they don't steal our jobs.

PPS: Any nice anti-idiotarian American girls in the SF Bay Area are strongly encouraged to contact the author, preferably before his current visas lapses.

CPO Sparkey gives a great discourse on the problems involved in dealing with a postmodernist.

I love integrity. I especially love it when a columnist writes a column, hears a denial, issues a correction and then keeps digging to find all the facts.

Ann Coulter really has it in for Bob Byrd. (See if you can catch all the Klan references. Some are actually subtle.)

So anyway, Bush goes to Congress for a vote and Byrd gets his white sheet in a knot.

In addition to the indignity of having to vote in an election year, Byrd said the resolution on Iraq was diverting attention from important issues. Imminent military action to remove a madman with weapons of mass destruction who watches torture videos for fun and longs for a mushroom cloud over the nation's capital is crowding out the big stuff like naming another building in West Virginia after Bob Byrd.

Don't you love it when politicians speak out of both sides of their mouth?


While looking for something totally different, I came across this great sermon on the resurrection preached by Dr. Gene Scott. It really is a must read. Among other things, he made a point I'd never considered; of all the theories that have been espoused to explain the resurrection, each one depends on the disciples telling a lie. Seen in this light it becomes even more important than I had realized to establish the honesty of the apostles and early evangelists.

You knew it had to happen

Mike Taylor, the Republican Senatorial candidate in Montana is dropping out of the race. Unsurprisingly, some people have already started suggesting that the Republicans attempt to replace Taylor on the ballot even though the deadline to do so has passed. For instance, Orrin Judd said:

Who cares if it's legal to replace him; it was illegal to replace Torricelli in NJ and that didn't stop the Democrats. We oppose unilateral disarmament by the GOP.

I'm not sure whether he's serious or not. I hope not. I'll explain in a moment why I think this would be a bad idea. First though, we should look at the similarities between New Jersey and Montana.

In Montana a Republican candidate withdraws from the race facing lagging poll numbers and allegations of prior misdeeds while running his business in Colorado. These allegations came from the Montana "Democratic" Party. (Yes, those are sneer quotes.) Also, many people allege that the ad in question was an attempt to paint Taylor as a homosexual.

In New Jersey the "Democratic" nominee withdrew facing lagging poll numbers caused by his opponent harping on his many ethical problems. (See here, here, and here.)

From what I can figure out from the coverage I've seen so far the situations are very similar factually. Sure, you have the homosexual angle in Montana. Certainly, from what I've seen so far the allegations of corruption against Taylor are more flimsy. However, when you boil it down, both candidates withdrew because they were loosing. Neither of them even tried to hide that. They told us straight up, I'm backing out because I'm loosing.

Now let us look at the law. In Montana, the election of Senators is governed by the election law for governor. The relevant statute for the governor's race reads:

(1) Except as provided in 13-10-328 for a vacancy in the candidacy of either governor or lieutenant governor caused by the death of a candidate, if a party candidate dies or withdraws after the primary and before the general election, the affected political party shall appoint someone to replace the candidate in one of the following ways:
[. . .]
(2) Except as provided in this section, appointments to fill vacancies must be made no later than 76 days before the election. A candidate may not officially withdraw 85 days or less before a general election. However, if a candidate for partisan office dies less than 85 days before the general election, the affected political party shall appoint a candidate within 5 days after being notified of the vacancy. One of the procedures provided in 13-12-204 must be used to place the name of the appointee on the ballot if necessary. (Italics mine)

So, under Montana law if a candidate withdraws less than 85 days before the election, his party may not replace him. There is an exception, but only if the candidate is dead. Taylor certainly appears to be alive and I don't see anybody knocking him off just to win an election.

In New Jersey, the relevant law reads:

In the event of a vacancy, howsoever caused, among candidates nominated at primaries, which vacancy shall occur not later than the 51st day before the general election, or in the event of inability to select a candidate because of a tie vote at such primary, a candidate shall be selected in the following manner:

So, in Montana, the law expressly states that a vacancy cannot occur 85 days or less before an election except by death. The opinion of the New Jersey Supreme Court aside, the New Jersey statute does not allow a vacancy to occur on the ballot for any reason less than 50 days before the election. In the New Jersey case the Supremes claimed that the statute did not expressly forbid a vacancy occurring after the 51st day. I personally think, "shall occur not later than the 51st day," was pretty expressive. Regardless, the Montana statute expressly states that a candidate cannot officially withdraw once he hits the 85th day before the election. It appears that this wording, being more precise than the New Jersey statute, would effectively cut off the loophole used in New Jersey. For this reason, I believe that any attempt to replace Taylor on the ballot should, and hopefully would, fail. This is the case even though the fact patterns are the same. Take that analysis for whatever its worth. Remember, I'm an accountant, not an attorney. I do a good bit of legal research, but this is nowhere near my area of expertise.

Apart from the issue of whether or not the Republicans could prevail is the issue of whether or not they should even try. I affirm most passionately that they should not. We just spent nearly two weeks arguing about how important the rule of law was, especially when related to elections. This is a nation of laws. We don't get to change the rules just because the other side got away with it. Of course, I'm a conservative first, a Republican second. I believe it is more important to stand up for my principles, in this case the rule of law, and possibly (even probably) lose than to compromise principles to improve my chances of winning. I opposed the replacement of Torriccelli because it was illegal. If the Republicans attempt to replace Taylor, I'll oppose that as well. I take the same position both times for a simple reason: In this country, the law must be king.

Then there is also the issue of credibility. As I see it, the Republicans have three basic choices here:

1. Leave Taylor on the ballot (as required by law) and attempt to work a cumbersome write-in campaign.

2. Try to get the courts to pull a Torch and get Taylor replaced all the while pretending there is nothing wrong with trying to do so and that doing so doesn't violate core conservative principles. While doing so, they better be prepared to explain why their foreign voter argument in their appeal to the Supreme Court does not apply more forcefully now then it did then.

3. Publicly declare that the "Democrats" were right in New Jersey. We were wrong. We've seen the light. Then proceed with number 2.

Number 3 isn't happening in a million years, but it would avoid charges of hypocrisy. It could also be the death nail to American politics as we know it. That would pretty much mean both parties declaring open war on election laws across the country. I fear that may happen anyway, but this action wouldn't help. Number 2 would open the whole party up to charges of hypocrisy. Of course, the same would be true for the Donks as they try to explain why its okay for them, but not for the Republicans. Sure, the situation and laws are slightly different, but they're not that different.

Ultimately, I believe that Republicans should throw the political calculations aside and choose number 1. I say this even though I think the Torch fiasco is one of the most embarassing episodes in the history of American jursiprudence. I say that even though I am a Republican and it is fairly obvious we got screwed. I say that because morally and ethically it is the right thing to do. We are not above the law. We should not attempt to push, pull, bend, or break the law just because we don't like it.

Doing that however opens up huge problems. Taylor is still on the ballot. The election is in less than a month. We've got huge problems. The first is that to get a write-in campaign to work will require huge amounts of PR just to get people to understand what is expected of them. The second is the party line voters. Lots of people pay little attention to politics and just walk into the both and vote straight "D" or "R." Its very likely that whoever the Republicans convince to run will end up splitting the Republican vote with Taylor, whose not even running any more. I hope that Taylor spends every last dime of his campaign funds running, "Vote for the other guy," commercials.

I'm afraid that political calculations may convince the party to try to pull the Torch number. On the other hand, there is even less time to make a credible showing unless they pull out a hugely popular celebrity. My hope hangs on the idea that party leadership won't think its worth the effort.

None dare call it terrorism

An initial investigation indicates that the French taker that blew up was attacked. However, even after admitting this, I still don't see that anyone's willing to step up and say the "T" word.

Check out this great post on constitutional rights by Eugene Volokh.

den Beste speculates that we're pressuring the EU to admit Turkey as a quid pro quo for their help in the coming war. That may be what they asked for, but I suspect we'd help them more in the long run by convincing them to stay out.

Bellafonte on Powell

"What Colin Powell serves is to give the illusion that the Bush cabinet is a diverse cabinet, made up of people of color," when "in fact, none of that is what is true," he said.

Bellafonte says that Powell is there to show that the Bush cabinet is made up of people of color. Then he says that this is not true. This must mean that Powell is not black. (Presumably, neither is Condi Rice.) I am always amazed by this thinking. Powell doesn't hold the "right" political views so he suddenly ceases to be black. It happened to Clarence Thomas too. The thing is, the people who say this stuff really seem to believe it. Powell is not black. They say it like its someone everyone should know. Would someone please tell me when we discovered that your politics, rather than the color of your skin, determined who was "black."

Red Letter Edition

Matthew 10:5-15 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

A few thoughts:

1. Jesus made it clear here, as in other places, that he came to teach the Jews. The time for the Gentiles would come later. Likewise, Paul established a pattern of going to the Jews first, and then going to the Gentiles. Strangely, in today's world many have adopted the policy of going to the Gentiles first and the Jews not at all. (See here and here.) How did this happen? To see the way Christianity acts today, it is easy to forget that the original debate was by Jews about whether they should teach the Gentiles.*

2. The apostles were commanded to neither provide for themselves monetarily on their journey nor profit by it. This would require a great deal of faith in God. I doubt I could have done it.

3. Jesus told the apostles to go out and teach the word. If the people refused to accept it, they were to shake the dust off their feet and move on. This is a symbolic act. "I have nothing further to do with you. You're on your own." This indicates that the people being taught, not the teachers, are the ones held responsible for not listening to the word. Likewise, our job is to teach the word. Ultimately, what people do with it is not our responsibility. They must answer for themselves.

*=Note, this is not an attempt to launch into any kind of discourse on "Replacement Theology." I am merely lamenting the idea that Jews shouldn't be taught.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002
How Appealing was listed as recommended reading by the New York Bar Association. Strangely, as noted by Bashman himself the readers are cautioned to be aware of his biases. I find this strange because in my experience, How Appealing is one of the least biased blogs I've come across. In fact, after reading the blog for months, I'm still not sure where Bashman stands politically. I guess bias is in the eye of the reader.

And I thought the traffic cops around campus were bad.

Reading this article, reminds me of two things. The first is that the State Department is incompetent. The second is that Joel Mowbray is a great reporter. I wonder how long until State detains him again?

What do you bet that this won't convince the Germans?

As if we needed more proof that Jim McDermott is an idiotarian. Yes, I'd heard faint rumblings about this one, but I've been having more trouble with headaches the last couple of days, so somehow I missed that McDermott believes Bush is trying to have himself crowned emperor. Hey Jim, you don't become emperor by having your troops seize control of a foreign nation. You do that by having troops seize control of you own nation. Ain't seen no signs of that happening. (Link via The Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller)

Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Words simply cannot describe. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. (Via Tim Blair.)

Red Letter Edition

Matthew 9:35-38 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

When I look on our world, "sheep without a shepherd," seems an apt description. The harvest is still plentiful and the workers few. What are we doing about it. I fear that the answer is, "Not enough." I know that in my own life that is frequently the case.

Josh, this is all I was trying to say. Jonah said it much better though.

So this is what I've beed doing wrong.

Scrappleface also takes a look at polling data.

Here's an interesting article on the meaning of praying without ceasing. (Link via Cut on the Bias)

Joshua Claybourn gives some advice to Christians in politics.

Update-Joel Fuhrman expands on this topic. In doing so, he makes an excellent point.

Government cannot be compassionate because it has no resources with which to be so. Whatever the government gives to anyone must be taken away from someone else, with some taken away to the bureaucrats who manage our system. Bill Bradley was wrong when he said we needed a more compassionate government; it just isn't so! True compassion is provided by people who give of their own time and money, not those who wish to utilize the services of someone else's wallet.

Well said.

Advice from the master

Dick Morris, the king of polling for a purpose, explains how the NYT used a poll to create news.

The ironic thing, is that this "solution" has already been tried.

Monday, October 07, 2002
What can I say? When he's right, he's right. Cato the Youngest tells Europeans we don't actually want war, we just see it as necessary. He also tells them that if they don't get their collective heads out of the sand eventually, it could all be over for the west.

Red Letter Edition

Matthew 9:27-31 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

I had several half-baked thoughts about this passage, but in the end, the only one that I could put into words was this. When these men say, "Have mercy," they are admitting that nothing they can do merits what they are asking of Christ. Whatever he gives them will be wholly of his own accord. There is nothing you can do that puts God in debt to you. In some cases, God may choose to say to his people, "If you do x, I will do y," but even then he is not bound by our merit, but by his own character. God doesn't lie, so he honors promises. However, nothing you do, in and of itself, forces God to act, or even warrants God's action.

I think that many people understand this idea intellectually but fail to grasp it on the emotional level. Hence, you here people saying things like, "I've been a good guy, I don't understand why God won't do this one little thing for me." (Incidentally, the most accurate response to this argument might be, "No, you haven't." It may not be the most well received response, but true regardless.) Maybe this is because we fail to understand just how great and powerful and, well, good God is. Maybe its because we fail to grasp how weak, and insignificant, and, well, bad we are. Let us be honest. It is both.

In our everyday lives, we get used to quid pro quo. That is, we tend to think most everything we do deserves a response from someone else. He should do this for me because I did that for him. We then try to apply this idea to God. Here we see one of the dangers of extrapolation. On our small scale, this works. When applied to God, it cannot. There is simply no quid we can give which demands a quo from God. Even if you could add all the good that every human had ever did (assuming that humans actually do good and it actually could be added which are totally different discussions) you still wouldn't have enough goodness to require a single thing from God. He is infinitely good. None of us are. Hence we will never reach his level of goodness. We will never be able to require anything of God.

The opposite works as well. God gives us great gifts. God gave us the greatest gift. We can never give enough back to God to earn, to be worthy, of what He has given to us. In this case, we simply have no quo that matches his quid. Fortunately, He doesn't ask that of us. He had mercy on us when He gave his Son to die, knowing we would never deserve it.

One final note, just because we will never be worthy of the gift, doesn't mean we should stop trying. Just one of the paradoxes that makes life as a Christian so interesting, not to mention frustrating.

Susanna has some cutting words on slavery and the current UN conference. (I know, I know. Bad pun. Hey, if you grew up with my dad, you'd understand.)

My question exactly.

Things you need to know to understand the Israeli's position. (Link via Daily Pundit)

Not even the Guardian is buying it

So we're supposed to believe that bin Laden made an audio tape? The worlds number won raving egomaniac wants to be seen and heard. This pretty much clinches it for me; he's dead.\

This might prove an interesting problem to the anti-war crowd. Think about it: On the one hand they would like to use this tape to argue that bin Laden is still out there and we've got to get him first; on the other hand, the peaceniks love to argue that there is no way on earth that bin Laden and Saddam would ever work together, but, if this tape is genuine, we've got bin Laden offering to scale down his terrorism if we don't attack Iraq. My guess is the anti-war crowd runs with the tape until someone points out the stupidity of this decision.

Saturday, October 05, 2002
Martin Devon thinks Hillary Clinton will vote (Are you ready for this?) for an attack on Iraq. He's actually got a good argument.

Here's a thought. When people are driving around shooting people at random with a rifle, that's terrorism. It may not be Islamic terrorism. It may not be Arabic terrorism. But its terrorism none the less. Terrorism is an act of violence calculated to cause terrorism in the populace. Let's be honest, this qualifies.

Friday, October 04, 2002
Robert Alt says the New Jersey Supreme Court clearly didn't think out the consequences of their decision and says the SCOTUS should take up the case. Robert Levy, on the other hand, argues that as bad as the decision is and as damaging the reasoning would be if carried to its logical conclustion, the SCOTUS should stay out of it.

At this point, why not?

Here's the latest edition of, "Are the Democrats on crack?" I don't know about anyone else, but portraying a very popular president pushing little old ladies off cliffs sounds like a really stupid tactical move.

Following in German footsteps, the Iraqis are now comparing Bush to Hitler.

Thursday, October 03, 2002
Red Letter Edition'
Matthew 9:18-26 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. And when Jesus came to the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district.

"Your faith has made you well." That simple remark has meaning to us as well, and I'm not talking about physically. Scripture is clear that we cannot have salvation without faith. In a way then, those words apply to us as well.

I've always been interested in why Jesus told the crowd that the girl was just sleeping. This was, of course, not the only time that Jesus referred to someone who was dead as sleeping. However, in this case, he specifically said that she was not dead, but sleeping. I just can't sort this one out.

HokiePundit points out this disturbing scenario as dreamed up by Bigwig.

And then there's this from Philip Murhpy.
I was looking forward to reading how The New York Times would describe the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to ignore state law and allow the Democrats to name a new more popular candidate for the Senate. To most people the law seems pretty clear: no substitutions less than 51 days in advance of an election.

The Times reports today:

“New Jersey law only speaks of allowing a candidate to be replaced 51 days or more before an election, but does not expressly address making a change closer to the election.”
Isn’t that a bit like saying the statutory rape law only speaks of consenting adults 16 years of age and older but does not expressly address 12 year olds?

The Times could actually provide a useful service to voters if it were to report well before Election Day which election laws the Democrat Party intends to recognize this cycle.

Well, that would be cheaper than listing which ones they didn't intend to recognize.

Dick Morris thinks the entire "Democratic" party has lost their minds.

Paul Cella has posted his complaints against the Bush administration. Its well written, provacative, and long. (Take a look at the time stamp.) I'm still not sure what I think about it. When I decide, I'll probably let you know.

Marc, wasn't that kind of, oh I don't know, tacky? (Tacky or not, it was funny.)

Susanna at Cut on the Bias takes a look at todays killings and tries to profile the killer.

Have you ever notice that Matt Drudge has this tendency to grab hold of some public figure and then just refuse to let go?

Update-Drudge is not entirely fair here. It was actually Streisand's private foundation which bought the stocks at issue. As much as I love rolling in liberal hypocrisy, she may have very little direct control over how the foundation invests. I doubt she's managing the portfolio herself.

Josh Chafetz weighs in again on whether there is a constitutional issue in the case of extinguishing the Torch. He makes some good points. I'm still on the fence on that one. On the other hand, the Republican request also claims that this decision violates federal laws in relation to overseas voters. I haven't researched the issue, but their case there was pretty compelling on that issue.

On another note, anyone who thinks we didn't create a monster in Florida a couple of years ago should think again. In about 15 pages this application cited at least 3 cases that came out of that brouhaha, two of them incessantly. If we don't get a handle on this whole issue, our election laws will be utterly meaningless before long.

LGF has got a better idea than any silly duel.

Ok, I'm reading the Republican appeal to the Supremes in the New Jersey fiasco. I'm still not sure that this is a federal issue, but their making a pretty good case. I thought this line was priceless.

There is no ambiguity in the number 51 or the number 48 that requires statutory construction of any sort, or that can be "liberally construed," in the interests of voters or otherwise, to yield a different number.

I guess I should clarify, this isn't actually an appeal per se. Its actually their request to stay the New Jersey opinion pending the court's decision to accept or deny the case.

I guess I should point out that I got that link from Instapundit, but then most of you already knew that.

Recent happenings in New Jersey made me feel just how pressing the words of Thomas Paine are. In his book Common Sense, he made a suggestion whose time might well have come. Rather than typing the whole thing out, I shamelessly lifted the quote from here.

But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you, friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set aside for proclaiming the charter, let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God, let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. for as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremonies be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.

Hey, it couldn't hurt.

How about cruise missiles at 100,000 paces?

Yes, the Iraqis proposed a duel to settle things. As Bill Quick noted, Mullah Omar made a similar suggestion. I've got two competing theories on this type of talk.

1. There is something cultural that genuinely makes the Islamists internalize everything as some sort of personal affront leading to these insane challenges. Maybe this is somehow related to the warrior ethos that runs through much of the culture. (Yeah, that post isn't directly on point, but I like it and its close enough.)

2. This is a PR game. A lot of people in the anti-war crowd would like nothing better than to believe that this whole war talk is just some sort of grudge that Bush has against Hussein. (When they're not screaming, "Oil! Oil! Oil!") To those people (except for the truly anti-gun folks) this idea might actually make a certain kind of sense. After all, why should so many people have to die over some stupid grudge. Sure, just let them duel it out and be done with it. Maybe Iraq is hoping to sway public opinion by appealing to that type of thinking. Of course, the idea that this is just about Saddam, or even a few of his chief deputies is absurd. Our problem is the entire Baath party in Iraq. They're cruel, vicious, ambitious, and vindictive. They also collaborate (not to say bribe) with terrorist and are seeking weapons of mass destruction. A wonderful combination there. We've got to remove the whole ugly system. Nothing short will do.

Well, I do have one other theory. Maybe they're just all related to Patton. (Okay, that was good for humor, but full disclosure, I can't find any affirmation or denunciation of this quote.)

Many in the legal profession have withheld opinion on the NJ Supreme Court ruling. Robert George however, has a few choice words.

Susanna at Cut on the Bias has uncovered a scary prospect.

Orrin Judd has a good question.

Well, this is not good.

Well, here's a good reason not to have a pet snake. I hope there doing something about this.

I suspected as much.

Sgt. Stryker wants us to remember that in the grand scheme of things, bloggers aren't as important as we sometimes like to think.

Red Letter Edition

Matthew 9:14-17 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

For a long time I had trouble understanding this passage. That's because when I use symbols as Jesus does here, I am usually describing a simile or some other form of parallel. My father explained to me that Jesus isn't drawing a parallel here at all. What he's saying is that it would be as inappropriate to for his disciples to fast while he was with them as it would be to sew an unshrunk path on a shrunk garment or to put new wine into new wineskins.

Of course he also says that when the bridegroom is gone, they will fast. It seems clear to me that Jesus expected his followers to fast. We are given no instructions about exactly how to do so or how often we should do it, but this and other passages make it fairly clear that we should. I'm afraid we don't put much emphasis on fasting. I know that I don't. For the last several weeks I come across passages like this and think, "I need to take time to fast," but I haven't gotten around to it. I think its pretty clear this is something we should make time for.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Now that I'm on the faculty I guess I've got to stop heckling them to post and actually do it myself. I've posted a theological musing over at the university. More (hopefully) on this issue to follow.

Eugene Volokh asks a good question. If 51 days is no longer the cut off date in New Jersey, than what is?

This is a great question. No matter how unfair the 51 day bright line rule may seem to be, it was a bright line rule. There is a reason legislators put bright lines into the law. That reason is that they have determined that, in this instance, it is better to have a clear demarcation that everyone is aware of in advance, even if it sometimes leads to unfair results. (By the way, the unfairness argument in this case is a huge stretch.) The court has now removed the bright line and left nothing in its place. People used to know how long they had to make a substitution on the ballot, now its anyone's guess.

Josh Chafetz argues that the NJ Supreme Court decision allowing the "Democratic" party to bait and switch is not appealable to the federal court system. What can I say? When the man's right, he's right. I hate the decision, but I just don't see a federal issue here.

Ok, I was a little upset when I read that decision. I apologize for the tone. I stand by the analysis.

By the way, as bad as that decision is, I doubt the Supreme Court will take it. They managed to couch their opinion entirely on New Jersey law and precedent. (Sort of.) I'm just not sure this is a federal issue.

I've now read the decision. It didn't take long. It took them longer to lay out the parties of the suit than it did to actually explain their reasoning. Its a crock. The court's decision was based on three points:
1. It is in the public interest to present to the electorate a ballot bearing the names of candidates of both major political parties.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we already have that? Torch is a Democrat and would have been on the ballot.
2. The election statutes should be broadly construed to allow people a choice on election day.

Um, a Democrat (Torch), a Republican (Forrester) and four 3rd party candidates constitute a choice don't they? But at least these two points quoted some sort of precedent. Misapplied based on my quick reading, but precedent.
3. There's nothing in the law that says we can't.

Well except for the fact that the law explicitly says that you can make a substitution up to 51 days before the election. They argue that the law doesn't say what happens after 51 days. This is nonsense. I think any fool knows that if you say something can be done up until a certain date that it can't be done after that date.

That's it folks. The great legal wisdom of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. We need a Democrat on the ballot. You had one already. The people should have a choice. 6 people isn't enough of a choice? Besides, they won't have any more choice now than they had before. You're just changing one of the choices. Well, there's nothing that says we can't. Except common sense. Oh, my bad. Never mind.


Jane Galt points out that if the Democrats are allowed to replace Torch on the ballot that there are candidates the Republicans could substitute as well. I have heard this kind of talk as well, although she provides more details. I've also heard people, some in jest but other seriously, suggest yanking Bill Simon off the gubernatorial ballot in California and inserting Arnold Schwarzenegger. As much as this kind of talk sparks the, "Yeah, we'll show them," side of my character, I must, in the end, reject this kind of thinking. What the Donkeys are attempting in New Jersey is both illegal and unethical. If the Republican party duplicated their actions they would also be acting illegally and unethically. They chicanery of the Democrats does not justify chicanery by Republicans. No matter what they do, we must follow the law.

Patio Pundit just foud out he moved and didn't even know it.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002
One anti-war argument is seriously questioned over at JunkYard Blog.

Red Letter Edition

Matthew 9:9-13 ESV As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

One of the things I struggle with is the ability to reach out to those that most people consider the dregs of society. As a tax collector for the Roman overlords, Matthew and his friends were looked on as collaborators. That is not a term that has ever been applied with anything but the utmost contempt. The Jewish people thought these men lower than dirt. Jesus, on the other hand, went with them, dined with them, and ministered to them. His statement to the pharisees is profound. He told us that it is the sick that need doctors. Just so, it is the godless who need God. How far will we go and what indignities are we willing to suffer to take Jesus to a lost world. I'm generally ashamed of my own answer.

Mean Mr. Mustard is first out of the gate with news that Donald Rumsfeld unleashed a new weapon of mass-irritation on Iraq;
In a seminal strategic event, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield announced his plans to deploy New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd to the Middle East theater early today, prompting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to quickly announce his complete and uconditional surrender.

"I have stood up to the United States before, and have been willing to suffer many harsh consequences for my stance, but I am unable to submit my country to this horror of horrors," the Iraqi president said in a televised statement, adding, "I've used poison gas on civilians, murdered parents in front of their children and endlessly tortured dissidents to death, but in my defense, I never tried to do something as hideous as that."

Unexpectedly, the arrival of the Pentagon's new Dowd weapon system, which functions by assailing its target with irritating, incomprehensibly shrill and painfully unfunny newspaper columns, has prompted the spontaneous submission of several other hostile nations in the region as well, including Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Not to be outdone, France has also offered it's complete surrender.

Read the rest. Its great stuff. I laughed so hard my head hurt. Oh wait, my head already hurt. Well, good stuff regardless.

Dr. Weevil has a couple of not-so dumb questions. One smart, one scary.


Eugene Volokh responds to Mickey Kaus's suggestion that the governor of New Jersey could simply call off the November senate election if Torch resigns from the Senate. (Aside: I think it highly unlikely Torch could be convinced to resign. That would be too big a sacrifice of ego.) Volokh responds that he does not believe this is the case, but with the caveat that he is not an expert on New Jersey law. That points to the one problem I have with the analysis he gives; he bases his argument entirely on New Jersey law. It seems to me that the Constitution comes into play here.

The 17th amendment reads:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

As I read this, this Amendment can only be construed to read on of two ways. Either:

1. There is a single term of office that lasts six years and that term will expire at the end of six years even if the original senator is replaced, or

2. A senator has a six year term, but if his place becomes vacant the people can replace him with another senator who would begin a new six year term.

In point of fact, option 1 has always been followed meaning that the term lasts 6 years and then is over. Period. It seems to me that any attempt to appoint a new senator and cancel the November election would extend Torch's original term beyond the constitutionally limited 6 year term.

As I read the New Jersey statutes under discussion, they explain how to fill Torch's current term which ends in January. They say nothing about how to fill the following term for which the election has already been scheduled. Any attempt to interpret them otherwise would result in extending a senate term beyond its constitutionally allowed length.

Somebody's been cleaning out under the bridges.

Cato the Youngest has some got an unintentional visitor."great comments on courage.


A history lesson from Sharp Knife:

Remedial History

For those youngsters coming out of the Academic fog.

"Ich bin ein Israli" paraphrases John F. Kennedy's speech to Berliners, telling them he stood with them in their struggle against the murderous Soviets. Both JFK & RFK had rejected the appeasement and equivalence their father had shown towards totalitarianism during WWII. RFK worked for McCarthy, & JFK despised the liberals of his party, saying he would personally vote for Nixon, if he(JFK) wasn't the Dem. nominee. Teddy has become what John despised.

By the way, I date the start of the current war from RFK's asassination by a Palestinian in 1968. At least, that's when one side started fighting.

JFK ran on national defense and tax cuts, to the right of Nixon. You could argue that the conservative won in '60. If you wonder what a Gore War on Terrorism would look like, I'd say like Johnson's Viet Nam, only more schizo. Yes, that's possible...we're talking about the Tennesee Tuxedo, Old Hempry, Al in Wonderland.

Whatever else is true about Jack & Bobby, they loved this country and were serious about it.
Today, the Democrat Party is run by America-haters, America-dislikers & America-uneasy abouters...

It wasn't always so.

Unfortunately, that's the way it is now.

In democratic countries we arrest people for bribing voters. What do they do in Zimbabwe. Arrest and torture people who film the bribing of voters. Oh, why didn't I think of this. I also particularly liked this part:

Mr Bennett and the other white opposition MP, David Coltart, have been the target of vociferous attacks by the Mugabe regime. Mr Bennett represents Chimanimani and has refused to leave his farm under Zimbabwe's land reforms. On his return from the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Mugabe said: "The Bennetts and the Coltarts are not part of our society. They belong to Britain and let them go there. If they want to stay here, we will say, 'Stay here, but your place is in jail.'"

Now here's a great idea! If politicians stand up to the President, tell them to get out of the country or go to jail. And peacenik idiots try to convince people we live in a police state? Why don't they go to Zimbabwe and protest an actual dictator who is actually abusing human rights?


Josh Chafetz says that the really embarrassing thing about the Streisand blunder is that it doesn't even sound like Shakespeare.

As a tax accountant, I guess I have trouble understanding how things like that happen. If I ever quoted a piece of tax law without a specific citation, I'd get humiliated. That's why I verify everything that comes across my desk, even if it comes from people I trust. As such, I really don't understand people using a quote unless they know exactly where it came from.

It also occurs to me that the people in the anti-war movement who attributed this quote alternately to Shakespeare and Caesar apparently did so to claim the voice of authority so as to bolster their cause. That effort has now damaged their cause. I realize that they didn't anticipate the thing becoming national news, but didn't they anticipate someone looking it up and discrediting the quote?

I agree.


David Heddle asks, "Was Melchizadek a Christophany?"

To begin with, let us define Christophany. The phrase is generally used to describe appearances of Christ on earth prior to the Incarnation. While I have to admit that I know as little about Melchizadek as David, I think a little reasoning will indicate that he was not a Christophany. I just have a few points.

1. Melchizadek was king of Salem (later known as Jerusalem). All the other events held up as Christophanies, some quite convincingly, such as the appearance of God to Abram prior to the destruction of Sodom are very short occurrences. In these, God (And by implication Christ since God on earth would appear to always mean Christ) appears for a short period of time to make a specific communication. For Christ to have been king of Melchizadek implies Him coming to earth, becoming king of this city (with warfare quite likely involved), and then waiting an indeterminate amount of time for Abram to come along. I am not saying that I know this to be something that Christ wouldn't do, just that this implies several months or years waiting for Abram to come along which doesn't seem to fit the pattern.

2. Would Christ really rule over a physical kingdom? This seems un-Christlike. In fact, it brings Christ too low, at least as it seems to me.

3. Why did the author of Hebrews not just say the two were the same rather than using Melchizadek as a metaphor for Christ? That's an awful lot of beating around the bush without accomplishing much.

I could be wrong of course. This could have been Christ. But the evidence seems all against it to me. This looks like another example of theologians making very much out of practically nothing in their ongoing quest to explain every inexplicable passage in the Bible. I, for one, while being curious, am contented to wait to find the answers to some mysteries.