Thursday, October 31, 2002
Just heard a radio report that a Tulsa teenager was shot by a school security guard. No word about about what happened exactly. The radio isn't even willing to say the shooting actually happened. They're still calling it a "possible shooting".
Update-Next report on the radio indicated that the guard was trying to force an intruder to leave and hit the student by accident. Good news is that the student was just grazed on the cheek. Bad news is that the guard is apparently not a very good shot.
As you can see from the last couple of posts, I've been crawling around the San Francisco IndyMedia and the Democratic Underground sites. I hadn't visited either site until recently. Sheesh, I didn't know what I was missing. I don't laugh that much very often, excpect for when I visit Scrapple Face. Of course, he's trying to be funny.
I thought this was ironic. I found this article on the Democratic Underground, that, among other things accuses David Horowitz of seeing a conspiracy theory under every rock. The article right under it was this lovely piece, the most accurate title of which would probably be, "Conspiracy Theories R Us." I gave up counting the individual conspiracies listed pretty quickly.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Where are we? France?
A ballot initiative is going to be voted on that you don't like. What do you do? Do you launch a vigorous get out the vote campaign? Do you hand out literature explaining how bad the law would be? Do you vote no? Do you ask others to vote no? Of course not! You hold a protest!
(Don't forget to demonize your opponents either!)
You say that like its a bad thing
What can I say? It is the Guardian after all.
In a post about Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien, Mark Byron says:
I wonder if it would make Mark more comfortable with Tolkien if I pointed something out. I want to start out by saying that I have not read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although I'm planning on doing so soon. (I just bought the books.) I have read The Hobbit and am currently reading The Silmarillion which is the history of the First Age of Middle Earth. It is from this book that I want to point something out.
The first character you meet in The Silmarrillion is Tolkien's representation of God who creates everything. He is known as Eru, The One, and Illuvatar. Angels are represented by a race known as the Ainur, one of whom, Melkor, turns against the plans of Eru because of his desire to have his own kingdom. The vast majority of thi book is about how The Children of Illuvatar battle against the evil plans of Melkor. If Tolkien has a Christ allegory, I haven't seen it, but he certainly has strong good versus evil allegorical tones in this book that any Christian ought to be able to recognize.
Anyway, that's my two cents.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Here's a Google hit I got recently. I don't know how to take that. Kinda depends on whether or not the Googler was expressing an opinion.
Does anyone no some trick to publishing graphics on blogger? I've can't seem to do it in a post or in my template. I can preview the graphics in other html programs so I know the code is good. When I paste it into blogger it is a no-go every time though.
Well, at least now we know why "Democrats" were furious about the idea that Republicans might continue the race in Minnesota. They didn't want anyone cutting in on their action. This may be the most tasteless thing I have ever seen.
Talk about an educational experience.
The Washington Post reports that Mondale is preparing to officially declare his candidacy. A huge portion of this story read like an attempt to convince Wellstone supporters that voting for Mondale is just like voting for Wellstone. The phrase, "like Wellstone" is used three times by my count. To paraphrase MSNBC, is it news, or is it propaganda?
Red Letter Edition
I don't normally contract this out, but I thought Matthew Henry's explanation of this passage was pretty good.
Indeed. Matters are far less uncertain now. We have the recorded evidence of the resurrection. They did not. We have far less excuse.
1Note, this is not a blanket indictment of Jews. Here Henry is referring only to the Jews Jesus was speaking to, i.e., the scribes and Pharisees who stubbornly refused to believe. The indictment applies, however, to all who refuse to believe.
Survey: Sex Often Part of Casual Teen Relationships
Stupid Poll Alert (and from FoxNews even)
One problem, people don't actually vote like that. This isn't like a Presidential election where we're going in to vote for Republican or "Democratic" electors to decide a single nation-wide election. Congressional elections are votes to determine which 435 individuals are going to Washington. When people vote for Congress, the big R or D beside their names are frequently irrelevant. (In 2000 my Congressonal district had a majority of registered "Democrats" but the Donks didn't even run a candidate because the Republican incumbant was so popular.)
So what's my pont? Asking people to choose R or D in a poll doesn't really give much guidance as to how the election will turn out because the question has little to do with how people are actually going to vote on election day.
I've long believe that the time is coming when the line between TV, radio, DVDs, the internet, etc. will become so blurred as to make the distinction meaningless. This may be another step down that path.
Reuterville must be a strange place
In all fairness, this article isn't too bad, but the headline is atrocious:
Is it just me, or is this about as crass as Chris Matthews lamenting that Bill Clinton didn't have anything like 9/11 to prove his greatness?
By George, I think they've got it!
In point of fact, by finding Iraq in "material breach" of the UN resolutions on which the 1991 cease-fire was predicated, the resolution essentially declares the cease-fire void. You know what happens when a war ends in a cease-fire and one side breaks the cease-fire? War.
Skipping down a bit, this part did confuse me.
Huh? In exactly what way would the international community be defending itself by rejecting the resolution?
Well, you would be an expert on that, now wouldn't you?
A British lawyer is trying to have a retired Israeli general tried for war crimes. As hideous as that is, this is pretty bad too.
The BBC shamelessly repeated Palestinian claims of a massacre in Jenin without mentioning that these claims have been debunked. In fact, as the previously linked article shows, the Palestinians started calling Jenin a "victory." Shoot, even Human Rights Watch, who did accuse the Israelis of war crimes admitted there was no massacre. (As reported by dadada, the BBC)
LGF has picked this up and graciously linked this site.
I say this Headline: Putin vows to go after terrorists 'wherever they are' from the Straits Times. My first thought was, "Does that include Iraq?"
Happy Fun Pundit weighs in on Gore Vidale's idiocy.
Susanna titles a new post, "Dick Morris is a creepy jerk". She certainly makes a good point. Morris is certainly a brillian guy in many respects, but he's also strange. Morris also places way to much reliance on polls. Anyway, go read Susanna's post.
A FedEx truck has exploded. I hope this is just some weird accident.
It looks like this was just an accident.
Ooh. Now there's a lovely image. (I have no comments about the science.)
The Russian press is a little hacked off. They have a right to be.
Monday, October 28, 2002
Fred Lapides puts the sniper attacks in perspective.
Walter Cronkite says that if we invade Iraq it will start World War III.
Hey Walter, wake up! World War III has already begun. The only question is whether or not we're going to fight it or just lay down and die.
Red Letter Edition
Again we see Jesus talking about things that are bound to make us uncomfortable. He's talking about judgement again. There's something important to note here; Jesus says, "by your words you will be condemned." Notice that he doesn't say anything about about people's deeds or words getting them into Heaven. In our fallen condition, we can only bring condemnation on ourselves. To escape it,we need the blood of Christ.
Notice also Jesus's statement about the tree being judged by its fruit. Each of us is a tree putting out fruit. What fruit does the world, and more importantly God, see being produced by us?
Rachel Lucas gives Michael Moore a sound fisking.
Maggie Gallagher tries to figure out where on earth people got the idea that Timothy McVeigh was a Christian?
Editor's note. I slighlty altered this post for clarity.
Thomas Sowell argues that the producers of baseball broadcasts apparently don't like baseball.
Emperor Misha gives the NYT what for as they attempt to blast Putin for his handling of the theater crisis.
I want to throw in my two cents. I know that the way the Russians handled this theater seems heartless. It was not. They were faced with a horrible choice; they could either do nothing and let everyone die at the hands of the terrorists or they could act knowing that many of their own people would die at the hands of their rescuers. This had to be a heartrending choice. They made the right choice.
The choice was a cold and calculated one made by people capable of putting reason above their feelings. I thank God that those in charge were cold and calculating rather than touch-feely types. This was not a good time to be in touch with your emotions. Many people are unable to deal, emotionally, with the idea that force can solve problems. If one of those people had been in charge, they would have froze and hundreds more would have died.
Update-The Safety Valve rants on this too.
Update-James Robbins discusses the use of gas on NRO.
A U.S. diplomat was killed in Jordan. He was shot at least 7 times right outside his home. The White House, when asked if this is terrorism said, "We don't rule that out, but we won't go beyond that at this moment." Hope they continue to not rule it out.
Oh, by the way. Emmitt Smith is now the NFL's all-time rushing leader.
Sunday, October 27, 2002
The Polite Lie
You're walking through the grocery store and bump into a business acquaintance. "How are you?" they ask. "Fine," you respond. You get to the check-out counter and the clerk asks, "How are you tonight?" "I'm good," you respond.
Most of us will be asked how we are several times a day by people who have no expectation that we might actually tell them. It has become just another way of saying, "Hello." The accepted mode of reply is to say, "Fine,' when asked which is also just another way of saying, "Hello."
I bring this up because this subject has been on my mind lately. As many of you may know, I have been very ill for several months. As a result the honest answer when someone asks me how I'm doing is frequently, "Horrible." I know however that people don't want to hear that answer. I know, in fact, that most people who ask me, or anyone, this question never expect an honest answer. They expect to be answered with a polite, "I'm fine," or something to that effect.
Now I've long been aware of this fact. Despite the fact that I know people don't expect an honest answer, I've never been comfortable telling people I'm fine when I'm not. I've found that for the most part, this is not necessary because people don't really listen to the answer you give either. Consequently, I have had many conversations where people asked me, "How are you?" to which I responded, "Good morning," or, "Hello," and no one ever seems to notice.
Lately though, I've found myself thinking about this issue more. During my illness, I've found that many times people have asked me that question in a way that is difficult to pass off. I have found that I have, unconsciously, divided the world into three groups.
In the past few days I've found that this approach, which I never really intended to adopt, has begun to weigh on my conscience. The answers I've given to many of these people weren't the truth. They were lies. Polite lies, to be sure. After all, the chances that many of these people actually wanted to know how I was doing are nil. They might even have found it rude if I had answered truthfully. Nevertheless, they were lies.
Some people might call these lies, "harmless lies." "After all," they might ask, "who is really hurt?" But is there really such a thing as a harmless lie? Don't all lies hurt the truth? Don't all lies hurt God?
So here's my question: What is the responsibility of a Christian when people ask him a question they don't really want to know the answer to. In Ephesians 4 Paul tells the Ephesians that the have been called to a new way of life, far and away above what they lived as pagans. He particularly exhorted them to honesty. Doesn't this charge extend even to situations as mundane as this?
David Adnesnik makes this observation:
TalG has info on another mass murder in Israel.
Greatest Jeneration has the text of Putin's national address. Worth a read.
Susanna has some interesting comments about tools, context and the NYT.
Saturday, October 26, 2002
New technology may allow the blind to have much more extensive use of computers and the internet.
Well, this makes as much sense as what he actually did.
I got a Yahoo hit for for Habbakkuk 3:2-19. Hey, we aim to please.
I love the book of Habbakkuk. Here was a prophet who, after being told things weren't going to work out the way he wanted, nevertheless praised God.
Why does the first two thirds of this story read like a press release?
Update-That rally still doesn't have anything on this one.
There may be new evidence of bin Laden's death.
Gore Vidal, no surprise, accused Bush of complicity in the 9/11 attacks so he could invade Afghanistan to get access to its mineral wealth. The fact that no such plans have materialized since we toppled the Taliban doesn't appear to phase him in the slightest.
Update-I guess I really should point out that I have no doubt that Americans will eventually help the Afghans exploit the mineral wealth of their country. There's nothing wrong with that. That may be the only way the Afghans will be able to get the currency they need to rebuild their country. That is not what Vidal is accusing Bush of. His accusation that Bush wanted to invade to Afghanistan to steal everything from the locals. After all, it is all about OIIIILLLLLLLLLTM you know.
This story has more information on the raid to rescue the hostages in Moscow. It includes some hostage interviews. What it doesn't include is the word "terrorists."
It looks like Mondale will replace Wellstone on the ballot.
This is going to be a logistical nightmare for Minnesota elections boards. Mark my words, if Mondale loses by a small margin, we'll be back in court.
Josh Chafetz asks,
You've got me.
Susanna has some good comments about the ossuary box find.
Glenn Reynolds links to this story on the Michael Bellesiles flap by David Mehegan. I've got to admit that I'm not familiar with Mehegan's work, but the Prof says that he's been on this issue since an early stage. For that reason I'm surprised to find that this article paints Bellesiles in the best possible light considering the actual report that was issued.
The portion of the article I'm concerned with was excerpted by Reynolds so at first I thought maybe I was just missing the context from the article. There's context missing alright, but it is Mehegan's article, not in Glenn's post. Mehegan wrote:
Mehegan's quotations from this report are at best unfortunate. They leave you to believe that the report did not find that Bellesiles intentionally engaged in falsification of evidence. I'm afraid this impression is given exists because of a massive and total failure of context.
The report does indeed say that the committee did not believe it possible to state that Bellesiles intentionally falsified data on two counts. The actual report covers 5 different potential ethical violations. Bellesiles was accused of;
It is important to note that one through four deal with his honesty. Number five deals with his competence. My real concern though is that the quote Mehegan gives where the committee said they couldn't prove he was falsifying data only applied to questions one and two. What the committee actually said was:
Translation: For these two points we know the data is seriously flawed. We're just not sure if he was lying or incompetent.
As you can see though, Mehegan's quote from the report about inability to prove he was lying only applied to the first two questions.
Mehagan's quote about failure to identify sources moving "into the realm of falsification" is also misleading. This quote relates to question four, but was just the tip of the iceberg. The actual statements are far more damming. In point of fact, the committee discovered, and Bellesiles admitted, that he omitted the data for the years 1774-1776 in a table that purported to show data for the years 1765-1790 without disclosing the omission. Worse, Bellesiles admitted that he omitted the data because he believed that the data for those years showed a, "disproportionately high number of guns!" (Facts! We don't need no stinking facts.) The committee stated:
As you can see, the committee did find Bellesiles to have, "engaged in intentional fabrication or falsification of research data," just not in questions One and Two.
To make things more clear, here is the final conclusion of the report:
To summarize the summary:
Again, my concern is that if you just read Mehegan's article, you would think that the committee never found proof of intentional wrongdoing and that is simply false. On Question 4, the report shows clear evidence of intentional deception.
[Editor's note. I had to transcribe all quotes from the report from a PDF file and I have not checked for typos. If you find any, please let me know.]
Apparently Libya is leaving the Arab League. The reason? Apparently the AL doesn't hate Israel enough.
According to Fox, the body count of hostages in Moscow is up to 90. Disturbing, but still better than the seven to eight hundred that would have otherwise died.
Here's one odd thing I've seen in a couple of stories:
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Muslims aren't supposed to drink. Either the leader of these terrorists died with a drink in his hand or some soldier has a twisted sense of humor.
We still don't understand this "democracy" thing
Kosovo goes to the polls on Saturday in its third election since the 1999 conflict, but many Serbs may boycott the ballot in protest at their difficult living conditions.
UN Orders Sanctions Against Jemaah Islamiyah
Yeah, that will show them.
Bill O'Reilly is depressed:
If the American public is responsible for cleaning up TV news, then we're all doomed. OK. Maybe I'm depressed too.
For the most part, I'm not going to link to the "Senator Wellstone was such a great person" items that I stumble across. For this post, I'll make an exception.
Bjorn Staerk has some comments about stupid press freedom rankings.
Ahem. Kook alert. No surprise, but the conspiracy theorists are out in full strength about the death of Senator Wellstone.
Of course there's no evidence of foul play at all, but who needs evidence? No suspects either, but that's just a detail. They have a motive. What is that motive? Republicans are EeeeVvvvIiiiiiLLLLLL!!!!!!! I mean, what else did you need to know? And of course, when the NTSB issues its report, which will almost certainly wind up being, "pilot error," (As I understand it, that's the reason for most crashes. Nothing against pilots. The cause of most car crashes is driver error.) they will conclude this is just a coverup.
I've got to go with Orrin on this one.
Here is a more detailed account of the hostage rescue in Moscow. Reports I saw last night had estimated hostage deaths at 10-20. This story puts the death toll for hostages at 67. That's much worse than originally reported, but not nearly as bad as it could be considering the estimated 750 hostages who were rescued.
I want to excerpt a few things here that I think are important.
I just want to say some things about the Russian special forces soldiers who executed this raid. The reporter says that this wasn't a planned raid. It is certainly true that they didn't plan to go in when they did, but I can pretty much guarantee that they had a, "Here's what you do if they start killing all the hostages plan," and it clearly worked petty well. My hat is off to these fine men who made the best of a terrible situation. The terrorists had said that if Russian soldiers stormed the building they'd kill all the hostages and blow up the building. Clearly, they weren't given that chance.
I'd pretty much resigned myself to the idea that I'd wake up this morning to hear about hundreds of dead people. I was overjoyed when I read that these fine men had saved all those people before I went to bed.
One other thing. This is just another in a long line events that we should NEVER FORGET. The Jihadists believe they are in a war between good and evil. We need to remember which ones we are.
Update-Here's another good story on the rescue from the Toronto Star.
Update-Greatest Jeneratoin has some comments.
Here's a Q&A about the ossuary box in the Jerusalem Post. Not much new information, but interesting all the same.
Friday, October 25, 2002
Just when I was feeling so happy, I say this update from the religion of peace.
Yes!!! It looks like Russian soldiers have taken control of the theater with a minimum of deaths.
Link via Blogs4God.
Update-I think Jen is happy about this.
Just picked up this story on Australian Broadcasting Online:
Its looking worse all the time. I have the horrible feeling that this is going to end with a high body count.
Update-FOXNews reports the terrorists have murdered two hostages and wounded two others.
Hundreds of people are held hostage in a Russian theater. What do I find when I go to Google news? Stories like this one about how the Russian papers are covering the story! Can we maybe wait on that until after we know what happens to these people? Arghhh!
Red Letter Edition
Free Enterprise wins out
How Appealing points out an appeals case which invalidates municipal statutes in California that attempted to outlaw ATM fees. Let this be a lesson. If you don't like the price businesses charge for their services, don't do business with them.
He's right. Not even the "Democrats" deserve this.
Here is a truly fascinating artilce about the newly discovered ossuary box.
Joe Bob Briggs wants us to leave the teachers alone.
This post by Todd Zwicki at the Volokh Conspiracy is a must read.
John Miller has a good tribute to Wellstone.
Somebody needs language lessons
The U.S. wants the Security Council to vote on Iraq. France and Russia still don't like our version. They really don't like the words, "material breach" when describing Iraq's stance in relation to previous resolutions. They don't like it because if Iraq is found to be in "material breach" then the Gulf War cease fire becomes a worthless piece of paper and the war is back on.
China doesn't like that phrase either, but they have a different reason.
Huh? What different interpretations? Unless he's worried someone might think we're talking about a tear in someone's trousers I really don't see the interpretation problem here.
The hostage situation in Moscow is deteriorating. Apparently the terrorists have reached the "meet our demands or we kill the hostages stage." I really fear this is going to end badly.
Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein issued a statement to the terrorists telling them to stop wasting time on the Russians when there are so many Jews and Americans they could be killing. Charming.
Families of many of the 9/11 victims are suing members of the Saudi royal family based on their connections to al-Qaeda. Apparently our government is considering asking the court to drop the suit for fear it might hurt relations with our "ally." Guess, what, "Saudi" Arabia is not a friendly country. They may be a strategic asset, but they are not our friends. The suit should go forward.
Update-Charles Johnson didn't care for this much either.
Well, Senator Wellstone died today. I didn't like the man's politics, but I never heard anything negative of a personal nature about him.
While I can't deny the possibility that his death may help my parties political situation, I just have no desire to discuss that or some of the silly theories I've seen regarding what might happen for the rest of his term. Some events just transcend that type of wrangling. The discussions have to happen, but for now I don't want to be a part of them.
The terrorists have released seven more people from that theater in Moscow. Contrary to prior reports, they apparently still hold some children.
This was well thought out as far as who to release. First they released all the Muslims. This avoids one of the problems propaganda problems the WTC bombers had; it is hard to justify your jihad when you're killing Muslims too. Now they have agreed to release foreigners. This is probably an attempt to get the rest of the world to think that the terrorists only quarrel is with the Russians. A little late for that I think, but that is probably the intent.
Thursday, October 24, 2002
I came across a site earlier tonight which I have decided not to link to. It was purportedly a Christian site. Some things I found interesting about this site.
I don't know about anyone else, but I find this kind of stuff disturbing.
Well, it's official. John Mohammed's gun was positively identified as the murder weapon.
I was reading this post at LGF and started thinking. The Chechen terrorists say they want the Russians to withdraw from Chechnya. They've also been quoted as saying that they want to kill, "hundreds of infidels." I think this goes down in the "stupid terrorists" file. Do they not understand that the chances of getting what you want approach zero when you tell everyone in advance that you want to kill all the hostages?
Please take some time to say a prayer for those trapped in that theater in Moscow, their families, and those responsible for negotiating their release.
Is it just me, or is there something a little sick about calling people who charge into a theater, take hundreds of hostages, and threaten to blow everybody up, "guerillas." That's especially true because we have another word that describes them so much better: terrorists.
Have you ever wondered . . .
. . . why the term "investigative journalist" isn't seen as redundant? It isn't though, is it? Our media has a very small number of reporters like Joel Mowbray who dig in places no one else thought to look and come up with stuff no one would have ever guessed. It also has a vast majority who just follow the pack and report whatever falls in their laps. It is sad, really.
Oh no! What should we do?
Ok, months late I put my links into categories. Dividing between "Christian" and "Politcal/News" is a little difficult. I tried to categorize blogs based on where they spend the majority of their time. If anybody has suggestions about moving some links, please let me know.
Red Letter Edition
This is a passage that some people find hard to stomach. People like to think of Jesus as the warm and fuzzy God. The idea of Him passing judgement on anyone makes people uneasy. I think it is useful to remember the reason Jesus was passing judgement on these people; judgement was passed because they refused to repent.
We have to remember that we have all sinned and are subject to a sentence of death. God requires that all of us repent. If we don't, we can expect a condemnation worse than what Jesus proclaimed in this passage.
According to this story, the U.S. has offered Russia a $10 billion radioactive materials storage contract if they will stop helping Iran with develop weapons. I find it interesting that I've seen estimates that Iraq owes Russia between $7 billion and $10 billion. It has been widely speculated that fear of losing this money forever is part of what is motivating Russia's obstinacy about a war with Iraq. Is this a back door attempt to get Russia the money?
Jonah Goldberg has an incredible piece about power and corruption.
Martin Devon has something to say about the hostage takers in Moscow:
Can I get an Amen?
Well, its looking more and more like they did catch the sniper. Guess what, he's a Muslim. I bet he's not a terrorist though. (And I'm not a CPA.)
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
Red Letter Edition
At the moment, I'm mainly concerned with that last statement. Jesus compares the way the religious authorities treated John and Himself. In doing so, he demonstrates that no matter what form God sent his message to them, they would not accept it. I hope that I am more open and more willing to look for God's word.
What were they thinking?
Hundreds of people are being held hostage by Islamist terrorist in a Russian theater. How does ABC conclude the story on this nightmare?
At this point does the theme of the play really matter? Does the number of people who have seen the play have any significance? The only relevant information in the last two paragraphs of this story is the capacity of the theater. That at least gives us an idea of how many hostages there might be. The rest is useless trivia. Why on earth did ABC dilute this very important story with useless information?
Iraq claims to have released every prisoner, murderers included, from its prisons. Why then, are so many people still demanding to know what happened to their relatives? For that matter, why does Amnesty International have such a large list of political prisoners that they can't confirm have been released?
I see 3 possibilities:
Personally, I'd go with number 3.
Was Iraq really behind the OKC bombing? The evidence just keeps piling up.
Just a thought
I keep hearing Democrats rage about how Republicans are ignoring our horrible economy. I also keep hearing EUnuchs claiming that Bush only wants to go to war in Iraq to distract all the angry people at home. Every time I hear either claim I find myself thinking, "What the heck are they talking about."
I don't know about anybody else, but when I look around, the economy just doesn't seem that bad. In fact, it seems pretty good. I'll grant that it is not as great as we've had in the past, but pretty good.
I'm totally bumfuzzled about claims of angry American populace which Bush must go to war to distract. Have the EUnuchs making the claims actually talked to any Americans besides those who work in Hollywood?
I echo the prayer at the end of Jen's post.
So, would you know a hate crime when you saw it?
Now this excerpt from a State Department press conference about bonuses is just embarrassing.
Juan Gato has links to several stories about gunmen taking hostages in a Russian theater.
Susanna has a great rant about doing the right thing regardless of cost.
Ok, let me use this article about a vote in Oklahoma that could potentially ban cockfighting to make a point about rhetorical techniques I despise. Let me begin by saying that I am undecided about the actual measure. I oppose cockfighting on general principal, but I'm also concerned that the wording of this measure may intrude on people's rights beyond what is necessary to end cockfighting in the state. Consequently, I'm still not sure how I'll vote on this issue. That being said, here are a couple of the arguments being used.
First I will look at an argument by current governor Frank Keating who supports the measure to ban cockfighting.
This is the stupid comparison argument. The technique is simple. (Truthfully, Keating didn't even pull it off very well.) In its fullest form you first name off a list of "civilized" countries where the activity you want banned is already illegal. You then name off a list of "barbaric" countries where the undesirable activity is legal. Then you say, something to the effect of, "I'm just embarrassed that my country/state is on of the few places in the world outside (insert barbaric countries again for emphasis) where this is still legal.
Clearly the purpose of this "argument" is to cause people to infer that if we don't make this activity illegal then we're just a bunch of barbarians. Ironically, I find this argument coming most often from liberals who want to abolish the death penalty. These are the same people who routinely spout multicultural nonsense about how no culture is better than another; when it suits their purpose, though, they have no problem portraying other countries as a bunch of barbarians.
Let me be perfectly clear, the fact that other people may or may not be doing something is not an argument. Even if we, in general, look up to one group and look down on another, the fact that one group bans something and the other doesn't is not evidence of anything.
If, for the sake of argument, every country in Europe had bull fighting and it was banned in every tiny Arab thugocracy would that be a valid argument that we should institute bull fighting here? No! Every activity on earth is either moral, immoral, or morally neutral on its own merits. The groups who are and are not practicing the activity are irrelevant.
Now let us move on to a stupid argument against the ban on cockfighting from former governor, not to mention Senatorial candidate, David Walters:
So Walters says we shouldn't ban cockfighting because this is how a lot of poor people make their living. Yeah, and North Korea can't release their political prisoners because then all of the poor prison guards would be out of work.
The problem with Walter's argument is that the cockfighting ban didn't get on the ballot because people don't happen to care for it. It is on the ballot because a whole lot of people believe cockfighting to be immoral. Walters doesn't address this at all. He simply says that a lot of people make their livelihood this way so we shouldn't ban it. This is not an argument likely to sway anybody whose take on this issue is based on the morality (or lack there of) of cockfighting. If you believe that an activity is immoral, unethical, disgusting, and (probably) fattening, then you're not likely to have a lot of sympathy for those who actually promulgate the activity.
As I say, I haven't really decided yet, but neither of these arguments is likely to sway me. I wonder how many people actually fall for them.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Good point. So What?
John Samples from the Cato Institute has an article on FoxNews. He uses the story of James Madison and the War of 1812 to show that even a President committed to limited government may find that war contravenes that goal. He then tries to connect that history lesson to President Bush's current war goals.
I've got a couple of points. The first is that his basic assertions about war and limited government are true as far as they go, but he doesn't really tie it to our current situation very well. The second is that he spends the entire column explaining what he sees the problem to be (I think it's probably a valid point), but he doesn't offer any suggestions or alternatives. What good is that?
Mark Steyn has an excellent column about the American non-response to the bombing in Bali. He makes some great points. I'd make some excerpts, but its just too good. Read it now.
Cranky Hermit has a theory about Clinton and al Qaeda. He says he doesn't believe it, but that he thinks it is just as plausible as the Bush only wants to go to war with Iraq to get the oil theories. I don't believe his theory either, but he's right about the plausibility.
Red Letter Edition
When Jesus made this statement he was doing more than simply calling attention to his miracles. Consider this passage:
Isaiah 35: 5-6a ESV
You'll notice that this passage does not mention the cleansing of lepers. I understand that recently discovered copies of Isaiah from this approximate time period include a reference to the cleansing of lepers. That would indicate that the meaning of Jesus's statement would be more obvious to John than it is to us. The passage in question refers to the coming of Yahweh and the ransoming of His people. John would most likely have understood that Jesus was making reference to this passage and see that He was saying that He was the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Joel Fuhrman's got some comments on the Little Green Footballs fiasco. He's got some good points.
Update-John Hawkins has some great stuff too.
And then there's this post from Dr. Weevil.
Er, make that nineteen.
New Zealand, I salute you.
Apparently the Washington sniper has left a warning that, "Your children are not safe anywhere at any time." Now to me, this should be iron-clad proof that whatever the shooter's political or religious beliefs, his motivation is terror.
Let's think about this. As far as I can remember, he's shot one kid and one bus driver. The other victims don't have any apparent connection to this threat. He's shown no actual compulsion for shooting children per se. He has shown an ability to shoot people pretty much at will. Now he threatens to kill children. The reaction of school administrators and parents is predictable at this point. Panic. And who can blame them? Regardless, it seems clear to me that terror is the object of the shooter's actions.
Juan Gato points out something that simply hadn't occurred to me:
He's got a point.
In case I haven't said it before, Joel Mowray is an incredible reporter. He's turned up more dirt at the State Department. What on earth is wrong with these people?
Go here. You'll know what to do.
David Adnesnik points out an excellent article in The Economist about the differences between Israel and Iraq.
Deceptive Practices Alert
I got a call from a tele-marketer just now and I thought I'd take the time to issue a warning. This warning is to those who use MCI as their long-distance carrier but not for their local telephone service.
The phone rang and I answered. The woman on the other end called and said, "I'm calling from your long distance carrier, MCI. We are now a local telephone company and as of 21 days from now, we will be your local service carrier." She then started trying to talk to me about what plan I'd like to have.
Here's the deal. Telephone service doesn't work like that. Just because your long-distance carrier becomes a local telephone company, you do not automatically become their customer for local service. However, if you go along and they start talking about their offers, if at any point they can get you to say, "OK," then just like that, you are their customer for local and long distance.
Personally, I asked her to back up and explain why my service was being transferred to MCI. She said, "Because we want to make sure that you get the best deal."
I've heard this scam for long distance, but it was new to hear my own long distance company, a major company too, trying to scam me into local service. Needless to say, they won't be my long distance carrier for long.
Anyway, remember folks, always be suspicious when someone from a telephone company calls and tells you that such-and-such has changed and you're their customer now. Most of the time things just don't work like that. However, if you're not careful, even though you weren't their customer at the beginning of the call, you may be at the end. It can be a real pain fixing that stuff later too.
Monday, October 21, 2002
Well, this is fascinating. Archaeologists may have discovered the box in which the bones of Jesus's brother James were buried.
Specifically, they found an ossuary box inscribed, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," and the inscription is estimated to have been written in 63 A.D. which would be about right considering when Josephus placed James's death. This is not definite, of course. It could all be a coincidence. If it is, though, that would be a very striking coincidence indeed.
Sunday, October 20, 2002
Red Letter Edition
I occasionally get very upset when I hear countries all over the world demanding that the U.S. fix any major foreign policy problems they find themselves in. It is that feeling that made me a little uneasy when reading Matt Welch's new article in the National Post. While I think Welch goes a little far in places and I don't agree with all his conclusions, I must admit he makes an excellent point; the why we find every country in the world demanding that we solve their problems is because we've been doing it so long that they no longer know how to do it on their own. Whatever else happens as we deal with the Islamic extremist, we must find ways to stop infantalizing our allies. If we expect our Western allies to bear any part of the burden in defending Western civilization, we must make sure that their foreign policies have the opportunity to grow up. If we don't, we'll find that our allies have little to offer, and they will probably continue to find us loud and overbearing.
How Appealing points out several new developments in the Pledge of Allegiance case. Apparently there is seriously question whether the plaintiff, Michael Newdow, had standing to bring the case.
I guess this is as good a time as any to give those of you who care an update on my health. At this point the doctors still have no diagnosis for my headaches. Thankfully the dizziness has pretty well stopped. I'm supposed to see another specialist, this one at the University of Oklahoma Medical School, in about 3 weeks. Meanwhile the neurologist has me on 4 different medications. Most of the time these medications make the pain bearable, but they also tend to make me very sleepy. Unfortunately, that's all I know at the moment.
Mark Steyn has another great column.(Link via Occam's Toothbrush.)
There's more. All of it good.
Did somebody hit Arafat upside the head with the Clue StickTM1?
I've got several interesting things out of this Jerusalem Post story.
Now this is a big change from past conflicts where the Palestinian people, sometimes urged on by Arafat himself, have openly supported Hussein.
However, Arafat is going even further.
What else are they going to talk about? Of course, I'm a little worried about what the people are going to do on the weekends too.
I guess all those effigy builders are going to have to get real jobs. Woops, they'd have to have an economy to do that.
So what motivated this enormous shift in policy. We get a hint about mid-way through the story.
Is that really what the Palestinians expect. Do they really think that if they ban rallies in support of Hussein, tell the preachers to stop screaming, "Death to America," and prevent people from burning effigies that we will suddenly forget the Palestinian people's widespread support for terrorism?
I think not. I think the last paragraph of this story is more telling:
Shoot. It wasn't The Clue StickTM after all. Just ordinary ego.
1The Clue StickTM is, of course, the creation of His Royal Highness, Misha I.
2Note to leftists, this is what Squashing DissentTM looks like.
Jim Hoagland has a must-read column about the problems at the Iraq desk of CIA.
Excerpts from an interview with Tariq Aziz.
They don't condone religious fundamentalism? Then what exactly is the explanation for this?
Bounties for "martyrs' and jihadikazes. Yup, seems perfectly secular to me.
This bit later in the article is pretty good too.
We'll leave aside the "courageous" part. Trust me, I'll get to that later. Now, besides the fact that during Gulf War ITM Iraq launched Scuds against Israel, what might make me doubt Aziz's assertion that they, "are not going to fight outside Iraq,"? Oh, I don't know. Could it be their annoying habit of invading neighbors? Yeah, that just might be it!
I'll pass over his idiotic statements about past weapons inspections so I can get to this little gem:
Of course not. We used it all up on the Iranians and the Kurds.
Mr. Aziz also described what fighting will be like in the upcoming war.
Right. Just like last time.2
1ALF is the Arab Liberation Front. The group was founded and funded by Saddam Hussein.
2Hint. Skip to the last paragraph. Sorry, it was the best I could do without spending more time than I cared to searching for older records.
Saturday, October 19, 2002
Some people try to preach the Gospel Of Personal ProsperityTM. This is hardly the Gospel preached by Jesus. While it is true that he taught that his followers would receive earthly rewards, Christ's focus was always on the eternal. It is also true that if we want to receive God's rewards, in this world and the world to come, we must be willing to give up what we already have. Here God tells his disciples, still in his instructions before sending them out to preach, that because of Him and his word, families will be divided. While we should always aspire to convert family and friends, we should not be surprised if some of them turn on us rather violently for our efforts.
Martin Devon has some things to say about North Korea and Iraq.
Philip Murphy notes some of the idiotic excuses people have made for North Korea in the past and how stupid they seem now.
I don't even want to know what prompted this search.
Apparently this site comes in tenth for the Google search, "pro nazi ladies beating jews in concentration camps."
If you haven't read, "The Immutable Laws of Maureen Dowd" yet, it is worth your time. (You're welcome Josh.)
A car bomb went off at a Moscow McDonalds. Authorities were quick to point out that it might not actually be terrorism. And the other reason you blow up McDonalds is what exactly? I might point out that the Islamist have a pointed hatred for capitalism and McDonalds in Moscow was just about the first sign that capitalism was taking hold in the Evil EmpireTM. Of course, I could be wrong, but don't be surprised if this turns out to be Chechen Muslim jihadists.
Victor Hanson on preemption:
Ain't it the truth? Sad though it is, war, even preemptive war, is sometimes necessary. Even when it works, people never rarely the success.
John Foster-Bey has an article in NRO about the way the liberal "black leadership" 1 reacts to Clarence Thomas. I thought this passage was important to look at.
I think he's got a good point here, but he is missing something; Anita Hill would have never made these charges if Thomas was liberal. Even if they were true, which I very much doubt, she never would have made the accusation if Thomas was a liberal judge in the Thurgood Marshall mold.
1 The term "black leadership" has always bothered me. I note that "black leaders" are mostly media appointed and self-promoted. I also note that the media never refers to any one as a white leader. Things would hit the fan if anyone made themselves out that way, and they should. The presumption required to call yourself the leader of an entire group of people entirely on the basis of their skin color is galling to me.