"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Worse than you think

Via wizbangblog.com – it’s worse than you think!   READ

Let's start with the biggie. 80% of the city is underwater - in some places it is 20 feet deep. People are spending the night on their roofs waiting to be rescued. (New Orleans proper has a population of about 500,000)
Both Airports are underwater.
An oil tanker is aground and leaking oil - 3 more "big boats" are aground.
MAJOR levee break on the 17th street canal flooding both NO and Metairie.
The Southern Yacht Club burned and is completely destroyed.
The High-rise bridge got hit by a barge and they don't know if it is safe.
All of Slidell under water (population ~110,000)
Most of Metairie is under water. (population ~200,000)
About 50% of the "lower Northshore" (Mandeville etc) is under water (population ~150,000)
Gas leaks all over the city, many burning.
and one of the biggest...
The Twin Span bridges are completely destroyed.
as an added bonus they don't know about the safety of the Causeway.
Basically the dooms days scenario was 20 feet of water across the whole city... Instead it looks like 5 feet of water (on avg) across 80% of the city. Not a whole lot of difference…….

It will take a LONG time for N.O to recover;  There is no reason to go back in the immediate future.  It’s got to get the water pumped out  (must fix levees first) before they can even start the process of assessing and then rebuilding.  Huge disaster.

VIEW Gulfport destruction

To catch a 15 view from a news helicopter of the Biloxi/Gulfport shoreline damage go HERE.  It is a news station out of Jackson, Miss.  The shoreline is basically wiped out; the barge gambling casinos have been moved ¼ mile inshore and perhaps will not again be viable structures.  There is one casino that ended up on the top of a motel – crushing it underneath.  The chopper is riding along the coast slowly surveying the damage.   Amazing!

Just Don't Believe "the Research says"

From NationalReview.com terrific blog section, “The Corner.”  Let me just say that I thought the following has been true for a very, very long time.

As my dear friend,  Dr. Maurice Robinson, once said.  “Statistics don’t lie but liars do statistics.”

DON'T BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU READ IN, ERM, SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS [Iain Murray]A Tufts University School of Medicine reporter has realized that a pretty large amount of scientific findings are, well, wrong. This work follows on from a recent publication of his that found that a third of medical research articles published in major scientific journals and then cited over a thousand times in the literature are later contradicted or have major questions raised over them. The reasons are many:
One of these factors is that many research studies are small. "The smaller the studies conducted in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true," says Ioannidis. Another problem is that in many scientific fields, the "effect sizes" (a measure of how much a risk factor such as smoking increases a person's risk of disease, or how much a treatment is likely to improve a disease) are small... Financial and other interests and prejudices can also lead to untrue results. And "the hotter a scientific field (with more scientific teams involved), the less likely the research findings are to be true," which may explain why we sometimes see "major excitement followed rapidly by severe disappointments in fields that draw wide attention."
I'm glad he mentions "other interests and prejudices." The reaction of some on the left to the news that the recent fetal pain study was conducted by abortion providers is especially interesting. Public choice theory suggests that there are a whole range of influences on researchers rather than just financial, yet current disclosure requirements focus exclusively on financial interests. I should not need to add that arguing that the results must be wrong because of conflicts of interest, whether financial or ideological, is a bad example of the ad hominem fallacy, but if we're going to consider the possible effects of conflicts of interest the we need to consider the whole range (I argue in my recent science paper that conflicts of interest are actually useful to the development of science). One other point; this is a useful conclusion:
We acknowledge that most studies published should be viewed as hypothesis-generating, rather than conclusive.
A shame that so many in the environmental movement choose to read scientific studies that cannot even be proved by experimental evidence as conclusive. A tragedy that so many in the scientific establishment agree with them.

God is God; I'm not He

From the keyboard of the incomparable Al Mohler!

The Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Every thoughtful person must deal with the problem of evil. Evil acts and tragic events come to us all in this vale of tears known as human life. The problem of evil and suffering is undoubtedly the greatest theological challenge we face.
Most persons face this issue only in a time of crisis. A senseless accident, a wasting disease, or an awful crime demands some explanation. Yesterday, evil showed its face again as Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the Gulf Coast.
A venerable confession of faith states it rightly: "God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any way to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures."
We dare not speak on God's behalf to explain why He allowed these particular acts of evil to happen at this time to these persons and in this manner. Yet, at the same time, we dare not be silent when we should testify to the God of righteousness and love and justice who rules over all in omnipotence. Humility requires that we affirm all that the Bible teaches, and go no further. There is much we do not understand. As Charles Spurgeon explained, when we cannot trace God's hand, we must simply trust His heart.

Ah, to trust that God is God and God is good.  If that is Not True then existence is surely a cosmic joke of epic proportions.

I chose to believe!  JB

Sunday, August 28, 2005

God's Katrina II

MORE on Katrina – God’s Hurricane

Very Scary

Landfall location and intensityKatrina has continued to expand in size, and now rivals Hurricane Gilbert and Hurricane Allen as the largest hurricanes in size. When hurricanes reach such enormous sizes, they tend to create their own upper-air environment, making them highly resistant to external wind shear. The global computer models are not really hinting at any wind shear that might affect Katrina before landfall, and the only thing that might weaken her is an eyewall replacement cycle. Even if one of these happens in the next 12 hours, the weakest Katrina is likely to get before landfall is a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. Katrina is so huge and powerful that she will still do incredible damage even at this level. The track forecast has not changed significantly, and the area from New Orleans to the Mississippi-Louisiana border is going to get a catastrophic blow. I put the odds of New Orleans getting its levees breached and the city submerged at about 70%. This scenario, which has been discussed extensively in literature I have read, could result in a death toll in the thousands, since many people will be unable or unwilling to get out of the city. I recommend that if you are trapped in New Orleans tomorrow, that you wear a life jacket and a helmet if you have them. High rise buildings may offer good refuge, but Katrina has the potential to knock down a high-rise building. A 25 foot storm surge and 30 - 40 foot high battering waves on top of that may be able to bring down a steel-reinforced high rise building. I don't believe a high rise building taller than six stories has ever been brought down by a hurricane, so this may not happen Monday, either. We are definitely in unknown waters with Katrina.


KATRINA: There doesn’t appear to be a port in the storm. A lot of people will probably not leave; mostly because they have no transportation or money; the elderly, infirmed and the cat and dog lovers may try to ride it out. They’ve now had windgusts on the edge of the storm over 200 MPH.

This is, as one forecaster put it, a storm of “biblical proportions.”

Here are a couple of posts from “the moderate voice.”

The BBC is inviting comments from readers who have info about the storm. And some are highly dramatic, such as:
The scene here looks like something from the apocalypse. People are running around the city, terrified about what to do. Those who are leaving have clogged the roadways so extensively that little hope remains for those who have not yet decided to leave. Gas stations are breeding grounds for fighting and riots, as people are resorting to a state of martial law in order to get the precious gasoline they need to move their vehicles. This truly is the worst part of the storm and it only looks to get worse. God be with everyone who is trying to escape the madness.
Sam Morrison, New Orleans, LA USA

I am from Pailton, Warwickshire, England. I am travelling after working at a summer camp. Me and my friends are stuck in New Orleans and have no way of getting out! We were supposed to have a flight to New York on the 29th September but it has been cancelled and now there is a possibility that we cannot fly until the 1st September or even longer! All of the shops are putting boards up over their windows and most shops are closed by law. It is frustrating because we need water and food. we managed to find one shop and the prices were very expensive. We are not scared that we will get injured - just at the fact we cannot get out!
Stuart Bird, New Orleans, USA

GOD reminds people on a fairly regular basis that we are not really in control. JB

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A funny movie review

A funny movie reviews on Warren Beatty’s cinematic “tour de force”  REDS!

• My sacred cow is "Reds," Warren Beatty's 1981 ode to John Reed. I saw it then and remember it like it was yesterday. Clocking in at 200 minutes, the movie just dragged, on and on and on. Around the 60 minute mark, people started stirring, heads bobbing and turning, the realization dawning that we're not even a third of the way through. After the intermission, fewer than half of my fellow theater-goers returned. I sat in an aisle seat, one foot wandering left to the aisle, the other uncertainly planted in front, as the seats around me continued to empty out, frustrated theater-goers muttering to themselves as they all but ran up the aisle. As the movie slowly ground its way into its third hour, I stopped debating whether to leave, the whole thing having become a weird sort of endurance contest, one of those things you do just to say you did it, no matter how excruciating the pain.
And then, of course, Beatty won an Oscar for best director.
Googling "Reds" just now I was heartened to note that no less an authority than Paul Schrader, the writer of "Taxi Driver," among many others, had a similar experience:
"Paul Schrader likes to talk. Fortunately for his listeners, he is a very good storyteller. 'I remember I was over at Paramount, and Warren Beatty and I had been fooling around, doing this Howard Hughes thing. He had made the film "Reds" and he was showing it on the lot, and he wanted me to come. I was so tired. I thought, "Well, I'll sit way in the corner, way in the back. If I fall asleep, I'll fall asleep, and nobody will know." Nobody told me there was an intermission. So the lights come up, everybody from Barry Diller on down is in the room, all of Warren's friends, and I am sound asleep. Afterward, one of Warren's minions came over to me and said that Warren had expressed his displeasure. And I said, "Look, I know it took Warren 10 years to make this movie, but it took me three hours to see it, and I can guarantee you that three hours of my life mean more to me than 10 years of Warren's.'"

posted by terryteachout @ Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Permanent link

Murder on the Public Trans

I pretty much love the Powerlineblog guys.  Two out of three reside in Minneapolis and apparently keep tabs on the local newspaper and the local authorites.  I’ve learned more about Minneapolis recently than I ever dreamed possible.  Some of the items are quite interesting such as  THIS

Down on the killing floor
This summer Minneapolis Mayor Rybak contributed memorably to the city's collection of fatuous quotes on the subject of crime when he assured citizens that "Minneapolis is a safe city for those not involved in high-risk lifestyles." Among the high-risk activities leading to criminal victimization this summer have been sleeping at home in bed and riding a city bus.

One of my favorite activities is riding my bike downtown and and then taking the local bus back towards my neighborhood.  Maybe the trip is about 15 miles.  
I’ll say this about the bus; its riders are not well represented by the intellectual and cultural elite of our community.  And, I’m not exactly gloriously attired when I’m riding the bus.  In fact, people attempt to not sit near me; the odor of sweating old white man can be a bit “stiff” if you know what I mean.  But that’s life on the bus.

You really should ride your local transportation and get a feel for it.  Interesting little community on the bus.  JB

Friday, August 26, 2005

Clergy and the U.P's

Church Panel Urges Gay-Clergy Change
Presbyterians to Consider Exceptions
By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff WriterFriday, August 26, 2005; Page A14
After four years of work on the most contentious issues facing the church, a task force of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recommended yesterday that the 2.4 million-member denomination keep all its national standards for ordination but give local bodies the option of making individual exceptions for some gay ministers.
If approved next year by the church's General Assembly, the proposal would open the door to the ordination of openly gay clergy members -- although only on a case-by-case basis that would be subject to challenge in church courts.

This strikes me as a type of John Kerry moment. I voted for it before I voted against it.
The United Presbyterians are suggesting: No this isn’t acceptable unless you find it acceptable. OR We’re going to keep our standards but maybe we won’t – it all depends.
Here’s the real deal. If you’re a conservative in the United Presbyterian Church; you need to come to grips with the realities and BAIL OUT! The leadership of the U.P’s and the intellectual elite are bound and determined to allow active homosexuals to pastor their churches, teach in their seminaries and run their daycare centers. So be it. Conservatives; you just gotta “MoveOn dot Pres!”

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blame Bush for EVERYTHING

Ah, more really funny stuff from the BLAMEBUSH website.  This one will have me chuckling all morning.

Farewell, Uncle Harvey
At 8:32 this morning, Pacific Standard Time, my Uncle Harvey was released from Seattle's Harborview Medical Center in good spirits. At 8:45, he was struck by a '95 Jeep Cherokee in the hospital parking lot. Less than a minute later, dear Uncle Harvey was granted Death With Dignity when the Jeep mercifully backed up and rolled over him again, ending his suffering and bringing his Life Journey to a peaceful conclusion.
My mother would like to thank all those who remembered Uncle Harvey in their non-denominational prayers and incantations yesterday. Everyone is invited to the memorial service, where the first twenty people will get free "Bush is Hitler" t-shirts, courtesy of MoveOn.org. Afterwards, we'll pack as many people as we can into the Impeachment Jeep and head back for Camp Larry.
Aside from its history, culture, government, leaders, military, language, religion, flag, and people, Mother and I love this country and long for the peace & prosperity it knew during the Clinton years, when the economy was booming, gas was three cents a gallon, and terrorists were merely average joes learning to fly commercial airplanes. We hope that in light of Uncle Harvey's untimely passing, Bush will finally awaken to the futility of this immoral war and bring our tots home.
Oh, and legalize marijuana.

Bible Thumpers in Jesusland

Nothing like a good PARODY to bring a smile to your face.  (Hattip – Powerline)

For the lack of a more gender neutral noun, our founding "fathers" never intended for one man (Pat Robertson)  to wield so much power over the mouth-breathing, biblethumping lemmings of Jesusland. That's why they constructed a wall between church and state - the only thing in the Living Breathing Constitution that isn't ethereal or anachronistic. It's for our protection, people! One word from this Osama Bin Laden of the Religious Right and Christian sleeper cells could be activated all across the nation, acting all Holier-Than-Thou and making gay couples feel like second class citizens. Before you know it, Robert Schuller would be sawing off the heads of fornicators on The Hour of Power.
Venezuelan Vice President Charles Rangel (D) had it right. Calls for the assassination of world leaders should be done only by the seasoned professionals on Air America, where they can be directed at members of the Bush administration in a humorous, light-hearted fashion. What Robertson did goes beyond the pale. In a free, democratic society like Venezuela, he'd never get away with it.

Of note:  Apparently Dr. Robertson has apologized for his remark suggesting that Chavez could be assassinated and that the world might be the better for it.  Even a casual reading of New Testament Scripture should suggest that assassination of one’s enemy’s isn’t really the Church’s number one option.  Oh, we’ve acted like it is; but it isn’t.  I guess Pat Robertson’s sleeper cells can go back to sleep.  JB

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Christianity: neither "hip" nor "cool"

FOLLOW-UP with Don Miller – Q & A

Q: How do you react to ministries that try to present Christianity as being cool and hip?A: There are many problems with trying to market the gospel of Jesus, not the least of which is that, in itself, it is not a cool or fashionable idea. It isn't supposed to be. It is supposed to be revolutionary. It's for people who are tired of trying to be cool, tired of trying to get the world to redeem them.

I’ll say AMEN and admit I’ve spent ¾ of my life attempting to be “cool.”  I should have gone with radical – of the least significant kind.  JB


Ooh, Do I like this or what!  Radical Faith; Radical reaching out!

Don Miller was a student and campus ministry leader at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, a decidely secular and highly intellectual place that Princeton Review named "the college where students are most likely to ignore God." In his book Blue Like Jazz (Nelson, 2003), Miller tells of an unlikely event that introduced him to the mysteries of spiritual transformation.
Each year at Reed they have a renaissance festival called Ren Fayre. They shut down the campus so students can party. Security keeps the authorities away, and everybody gets pretty drunk and high, and some people get naked. The school brings in White Bird, a medical unit that specializes in treating bad drug trips. The students create special lounges with black lights and television screens to enhance their mushroom trips.
Some of the Christian students in our little group decided this was a good place to come out of the closet, letting everybody know there were a few Christians on campus. Tony the Beat Poet and I were sitting around in my room one afternoon talking about what to do, how to explain who we were to a group of students who, in the past, had expressed hostility toward Christians.
I said we should build a confession booth in the middle of campus and paint a sign on it that said "Confess your sins." I said this because I knew a lot of people would be sinning, and Christian spirituality begins by confessing our sins and repenting. I also said it as a joke. But Tony thought it was brilliant.   READ THE REST

The Palestinian Goal

Troubling words by Mark Steyn on the Palestinians.   READ

By contrast the world deemed Palestinians “deserving” of a state ten, three, six, eight decades ago, and they’ve absolutely no interest in getting it up and running. Any honest visitor to the Palestinian Authority is struck by the complete absence of any enthusiasm for nation-building – compared with comparable pre-independence trips to, say, Slovenia, Slovakia, or East Timor. Invited to choose between nation-building or Jew-killing, the Palestinians prioritise Jew-killing – every time.

You dread that Mark Steyn just might be right in his assessments.  Whenever your read what the Arabic world is saying; it is ALWAYS about the demise of ISRAEL.  Arabs appear to be a 1-note-people.
It’s always negative; it’s always inflammatory.  

Is there any reason to think there will be changes in the near future?  I fear not.  The war continues; no end in sight.    JB

Evangelicals in America

From George Barna; interesting statistics to those of you following Evangelicals.
( Read the Whole Thing)
Seven percent of the adult population of the U.S. is evangelical. Those 15 million adults are not equally distributed across the country, but the report shows that their distribution forms a different pattern than many political and demographic analysts have suggested.
For instance, the market with the highest percentage of evangelicals is Little Rock, Arkansas, where better than one out of every five adults (22%) met the survey criteria for “evangelical Christian.” (That is not a self-defined category; it is based upon people’s responses to nine survey questions about their religious beliefs. See the Research Methodology section of this report for the description of those factors.) Of the 86 largest metropolitan areas in the nation, those with the lowest proportion of evangelicals were Salt Lake City, Utah; Hartford, Connecticut; and Providence, Rhode Island.
However, when determining which metropolitan area has the greatest number of evangelical adults, the outcome will shock many people: Los Angeles. The city that produces the media often criticized or boycotted by evangelicals is also home to nearly one million of those deeply devout Christians. In fact, there are more evangelical adults in the Los Angeles market than there are in the New York, Chicago and Boston metropolitan areas – combined! The Barna Group’s analysis showed that although the evangelicals living in the ten most populous markets account for only 6% of the adults in those markets, that group represents one out of every four evangelicals (24%) in the United States.

"A God who commands you"

Quote of the day!  ( Hat tip – Al Mohler)

Sociologist Alan Wolfe of Boston College suggests that the current American search is about the empowerment of the self. "Rather than being about a god who commands you, it's about finding a religion that empowers you."

“A god who commands you.”  That is a scary thought – unless God is indeed all knowing, all loving, all wise, the Creator and Sustainer of life – the only hope for humanity.  JB

Monday, August 22, 2005

Blogger for Word

Blogger for Word”  --  so far it’s terrific!

Very simple to download and install – it will take 1 minute.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

MS Word now a Bloggin Tool

Some Genius has created an add-on for Microsoft Word which allows you to write and post your blog while in Word.  If it works, I’ll be very happy.  

Now if I can just find the “link” symbol -  Ah Hah!  I have found it.

Thanks to John Mark Reynolds for keying my attention to the Word upgrade!

Harry Potter; His Clinton Years

J.K. ROWLING will be needing help with the plot of the last Harry Potter book.

What we have to this point; Lord Voldemort wishes to rule the world. He’s not a nice guy – kinda Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler all rolled up into one.

For reasons less than totally clear, he tried to kill Harry Potter when Harry was just a baby. This act triggered the media avalanche that has Harry Potter becoming as famous as ELVIS without the hip gyrations.

Harry will be in his very late teens or early twenty’s when the final volume is released. We have a lot to play with here. Just what kinda guy will Harry ultimately be?

It appears to be Harry’s lot in life to go “one on one” or “mano a mano” with Lord Vee. But will he? Ah, there’s the rub.

The following are some of the suggested plots, with titles, for the final volume.

Harry Potter: His Clinton Years
Harry is a charismatic superstar. The people love him BUT he’s developed a penchant for witches of the fast and loose variety (is there another kind?). He has various opportunities to nail Voldemort but that would be unpopular with about ½ the population; death eaters, politicians, and Slytherins everywhere.
Harry learns the importance of talking a good game but actually spends all his time and energy on witches of ill-repute. Hermione hasn’t talked to him in years. Voldemort has nothing to fear with Harry in charge. Harry’s personal motto becomes: “So many witches, so little time.”

HILARY POTTER: The Sex Change Years
Harry decides that girls have more fun and being secretly attracted to Neville Longbottom for several years decides to come out of the closet and find herself. She assures one and all that unless Voldemort becomes more tolerant of gays, lesbians and transsexuals bad things will happen to him. Things so bad they can’t be printed in a teenage fiction novel.

KERRY POTTER: The Hogwash Years
Kerry Potter joins forces with O.J. Malfoy (Draco’s dark skinned uncle) to search every seashore, lake, paradise or golf course until the perpetrator is found and brought before an international jury of politicians where strongly worded messages will be used as a reminder to do what’s right; or at least different, or at least evil in a discreet and nuanced manner.

GEORGE WINSTON POTTER: The Gathering Storm Years
Tired of being called “Harry the Fairy” Harry changes his name, squares his jaw and determines to rid the world of the growing evil. Unluckily ½ the population thinks Voldemort just needs a little psycho-therapy so Harry is ultimately fired even though the power and influence of evil is reduced 80%.

Follow ups may include the Harry Gore years, the Jimmy Potter years, and the Dead Kennedy Potter years. But that’s for another day!

Jaguars, 1 Peter, The 1/2 Blood Prince

IN the last 12 hours items on my agenda were the following

A) Put together finishing touches on adult lesson of the Holy Scriptures from the first chapter of 1 Peter. Questions and answers were found thru an internet search. I think lessons should attempt to be interesting. One of my theories is; the more you involve the students, the happier they are. I do NOT want to lecture for 1/2 hour or so. Boring, boring, boring!

B) Watch the Jaguars! Now I never played a lick of organized football in my life though I loved school yard ball and was at times, decent. Jaguars have a problem. They drafted this really terrific guy - Byron Leftwich - to be their Q.B. Fans, we all love him but he ain't got it. He's never going to be a great Q.B.; maybe he'll become a serviceable one. The same can be said of our backup David Garrard. Who actually intrigues me is Quentin Gray; our number 3. Quentin OBVIOUSLY throws the best ball but there's more to being the Q.B. than throwing the best ball. The number 1 challenge is to read the defense. I can only assume that the staff of the Jaguars must believe Quentin doesn't read the defense as well as the others. But, from in front of the T.V., everytime I've seen Quentin play in the pre-season, he's read the defense well and he can throw ALL the passes; bomb, bullet, fastball, curve, low, high - and they always look pretty darn catchable. Byron's throws are ugly. Ugly wind-up, ugly pitch, and he throws them all over the place. sigh

Well Jags won; I'd say our starters are better than Tampa Bay's but that's not actually saying a whole lot. I don't think T.B. will be real good this year.

C) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I got the book from the local library; had to wait 3 weeks for my turn but it saved me money.
Mixed feelings about the book; it's not a great book, it's not real well written (but neither is this blog) and it is clearly the setup book for the final yet to be written. It was interesting enough that I managed to read the whole thing in the last 24 hours but since I knew what was coming (A.D. R.I.P. - I thought it would happen in the last book) the ending was kind of anti-climatic.

SNAPE is the only interesting character left. He holds the key to the whole thing and J.K. Rowling had better get it right in the last volume. I'm not at all sure how Rowling will have it play out but SNAPE; he's the dude to watch.

Harry hisself has become less likeable. And Hermione has been somewhat supplanted by Ginny Weasley. That's rather amazing. No wedding bells in store for Harry and Hermione. I predict HOGWARTS will not be significant in the final book and Harry has done played his last game of Quidditch - trust me. J.K. Rowlings is sick of Quidditch.

There you go readers. I'm now going to wander off to the kitchen and search for nourishment. AND I'm still waiting for the morning paper. Time to do the crossword in the television section.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I like this though I'm pretty sure only another "theological nerd" would find it of interest. But this is my blog so.....

J. Gresham Machen was once speaking with B.B. Warfield about whether the mainstream Presbyterian church (at the beginning of the twentieth century) was going to split over the issue of liberalism. Warfield said that it was not possible, and his reason for this is that "you can't split rotten wood." Machen was to go on to win renown for his great battle with liberalism, and in my view, his greatest contribution on that front was his book Christianity and Liberalism. In that book, Machen argues that liberalism is another faith altogether; it is not a variant form of the Christian faith. It does not involve minor doctrinal adjustments here or there, it is rather the result of global assumptions that affect every doctrine. This is why liberalism has afflicted every kind of denomination -- as liberalism has done its work, it has functioned as a universal corrosive. This rot of unbelief cannot be said to be a peculiar unfolding of, say, Reformed presuppositions, or Free Methodist presuppositions, or Roman Catholic presuppositions. Liberalism is a parasite that has been able to function within any number of host bodies. Roman Catholics used to say that liberalism was a "logical consequence" of Protestantism, but now liberalism has shown its ability to flourish within the confines of Rome as well. (Here's the whole article)

As a point of interest, Machen and B.B. Warfield were theological superstars. However, due to Machen's unwillingness to bend about the authority of Scripture - the United Presbyterian Church under the leadership of it's liberals and moderates managed to have him defrocked. Machen's fame and influence only increased. The people who had him defrocked are buried and unremembered. They faded into oblivion - of course.

(Off topic but perhaps relevant: Who will have the most pages in the history books in the years to come. George Bush Sr. or George W. Bush. My prediction: GWB will have 4 pages for every 1 of his Dad. The son clearly trumps the old man. GWB forges ahead and doesn't listen to the naysayers. George Sr. was overly concerned about the naysayers; pundits, columnists and opposition. If it wasn't for GWB, George Sr. wouldn't be remembered today!)
AUTOMOBILE NEWS; KEEPING THE HOI POLLOI ABREAST OF RECENT AUTOMOTIVE DEVELOPMENTS. ( Rabbi philosopher; buy your used cars from him!) (Hattip - Hughhewitt.com)

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It's all about the car.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

They're bashing men? Why didn't my wife tell me!

THE TIMES OF LONDON is writing about man-bashing and masculinity: (Instapundit.com)

Outperformed by girls at school, emasculated by women at home and at work, shockingly dislocated from your emotions and the hapless joke figure in endless TV commercials and sitcoms whose message is that females rule and men are fools.

Well wise up, because apparently it�s time to say enough is enough; the ridicule of men must stop. The pendulum of power has swung too far into the female corner and you must stand up and assert your right to masculinity.

I promise, this very day, to ask my wife if it's okay for me to stand up and assert my masculinity. If she gives me the "ok" then I'm full-speed ahead with it. JB

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The curse upon the Jews

Ed of CaptainsQuarters had this fascinating commentary on Dennis Prager's discussion with Hugh Hewitt this p.m. (Read the whole thing!)

Hugh asked Prager where he thought antisemitism had originated and where it was worst. After responding (a long answer not easily summarized), Dennis said something that truly resonated with me [Captain Ed] as a secular Jew. This is as near a quotation as I can paraphrase; when the transcript is available, I'll come back here and replace my words with Dennis's.

The curse of the Jews, Dennis said, is to be hated by the most evil men of every generation. The Jews are a barometer of hatred, canaries in a coal mine: to find the greatest evil, find the greatest haters of Jews.

When the Nazis were the greatest evil on the planet, they were also the most insane and "exterminationist" Jew haters. Now that the militant Islamists are the greatest evil (though not necessarily the greatest danger to America; North Korea and China are still out there), they are also the most unhinged Jew haters -- and they, too, are exterminationist, wanting not just to disassociate from Jews but to expunge them from the world.

One of the curious things about the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson is their support for Israel and the Jewish people despite the cultural and political differences. But of course, Falwell and Robertson are also hated and vilified. However, from what I've read over the years; neither of them are haters themselves. But they certainly draw hate. JB
File this under: Not Working but Very Popular! Or Why buy the Cow when you get the Milk for Free?

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY -August 2005 - Co-habitation (hattip - Al Mohler)

The logic Wartik describes is shared by millions of Americans. According to her research, nearly five million opposite-sex couples in the United States currently live together without marriage, and millions more have done so at some time in the past. Within just a few years of deciding to live together, most couples either get married or dissolve the relationship.

An amazingly large number of Americans see cohabitation as something of a laboratory for future marriage. Individuals agree to cohabitate, enjoying personal and sexual intimacy, without making the final commitment of marriage. The period of cohabitation amounts to a test-run for marriage. The logic is simple--couples believe that living together will allow them to make an informed and reasonable decision about marriage.

Nevertheless, the research is now clear. Cohabitation prior to marriage serves to undermine, rather than to strengthen the marital bond. Here's how Wartik summarizes the research: "Couples who move in together before marriage have up to two times the odds of divorce, as compared with couples who marry before living together. Moreover, married couples who have lived together before exchanging vows tend to have poorer-quality marriages than couples who moved in after the wedding. Those who cohabited first report less satisfaction, more arguing, poorer communication and lower levels of commitment."...............

" Nevertheless, she insists that all parties must agree that cohabitation is often injurious to children. "Cohabitating relationships, by their nature, appear to be less fulfilling than marital relationships," she argues. People who cohabit say they are less satisfied and more likely to feel depressed, the result, perhaps, of "the inherent lack of stability" in cohabitating relationships. Wartik then asserts, "As a result, cohabitation is not an ideal living arrangement for children. Emotionally or academically, the children of cohabiters just don't do as well, on average, as those with two married parents, and money doesn't fully explain the difference."

Monday, August 15, 2005



Have divorced parents

Married young

Lived together before engagement

Been previously divorced or marrying a divorced partner

Having a child before marriage (to a lesser extent getting pregnant before the wedding)

Being much older or younger than your spouse

Marrying someone of a different race

Following different religions

Having NO religion

Having low education levels

Twas while reading the Florida Times Union this August morning 8-15-05, that I came across these items in the Lifestyle section. The article itself was written by Kyung M. Song for the Seattle Times.

It would appear that the keys to a successful marriage (staying together without actually committing homicide or suicide) are classically conservative "family values."

Unluckily the culture at large appears to be continuously drifting away from these values at some steady rate of speed.
I believe that as family break-ups or break-downs occur, CHAOS grows.

CHAOS feeds further breakdowns in society. Sigh JB

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Do "must read" blogs; particularly if you're of the married female persuasion.



Ya know, maybe it's tougher to be a wife than I thought. That's probably why I love being a man! JB
Ah Yes, thanks to the North Koreans, an avid watcher of theirs has established a website and built a "random insult generator" based upon North Korea's ongoing flayings of anything not North Korean. HERE

Insults it has made against me so far include:

"You shameless Hooligan"

"You extra-large Stooge"

"You bellicose Philistine"

"You half-baked lackey, you have glaringly revealed your true colors"

"You blood-thirsty reactionary"

"You syncophantic lackey"

AS you can see, they're all true. Obviously the North Koreans (but nobody else) have been reading my web-site and have analyzed my personality - puerile and infantile as it is.
"Extra-large Stooge" particularly hurt. I can live with "bellicose Philistine" but "extra-large" anything is bound to offend. Sigh And to think they're allowed to have bombs and ballistic missiles to carry them.

Et tu Kim?

Railroad Trivia

You've probably been giving some thought to trains and rail-roads in the last couple of weeks. I mean who doesn't think about them on a regular basis.
One of the questions you've been pondering is; what is the average speed of a train? Well, your sharp eyed blogger (moi) while killing time in the green room of his house this fine Sunday morning while getting ready to teach the "Sunrisers" came across this fascinating tidbit of information. It should answer all your questions.

On many of those matrixes, CSX still lags behind other Class One railroads, the common term for the dozen or so major North American railroads. Its train velocity, for example, is an average of 19.1 miles per hour, compared to speeds in the mid-20s posted by its competitors.

YES - 19 miles an hour; or maybe up to 20. Speed, speed, speed!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lutheran Church rejects homosexual pastors

Lutherans Reject Easing Gay Clergy Rules

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A national meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America rejected a proposal Friday that would have allowed gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy under certain conditions.

The measure would have affirmed the church ban on ordaining sexually active gays and lesbians, but would have allowed bishops and church districts called synods to seek an exception for a particular candidate - if that person was in a long-term relationship and met other restrictions.

Delegates voted against the measure 503-490. Even if it had won a simple majority of votes, that wouldn't have been enough; the proposal needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Earlier in the day, delegates voted 851-127 to keep the church

All denominational debates in the Protestant Church are really about 1 issue; and it's not the issue of homosexuality. It's really an issue of whether or not ancient Scripture is actually the Word of God in this day and time. If Scripture is just a good book, then there is not ( to many people) any reason to deny active homosexuals the right to be a priest/pastor.

However, if Scripture is ACTUALLY the Very Word of God, then it stands across time and eternity as correct in all it says. And it says very clearly in both the Old and New Testament sections that homosexual behavior is an afront to God; sin to be resisted.

Well the ELC has put off active homosexuals in the pulpit -- for the moment. But some elite group will undoubtedly over rule the people and "legalize" homosexual clergy. JB

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Blow Torch?

Doesn't every boy/man wish to play with a his own, Semper Fi Blowtorch? I should think so.
HOWEVER, it's really not the best idea unless your a brainless geek with no social life (not that there's anything wrong with that.)


(Cool Pics down towards the bottom of the page!)
One of my favorite blogs recently is www.thinklings.org. They're a small group of guys and they just kinda write off the cuff. Some of the stuff is quite thought provoking; other is just humorous or sad. But most of it is interesting. Below are some questions I've been asking myself for the longest time.

How Did They Ever Live Without... ?
Posted by Shrode @ 1:55 pm - permalink

How did the people in Bible times ever make it through the day without our modern solutions to our problems? Did they even have our problems?

How did they ever live without:

Prilosec- I, mean, come on. Every other person you meet has Acid Reflux or something similar. And the whole world is on Nexium, Prilosec, Zantac or some such thing. Oh, how the esophaguses must have suffered two thousand years ago... Wait. Come to think of it, how did our parents live without Prilosec? Did a zillion people lived lives with Acid Reflux and just didn't know it? Or did it even exist back then?

Ritalin- How did people in Jesus' day deal with kids who had ADHD? Are those the children destined to grow up into wanderers or Temple Guards? Or is that what half the beggars were? How did they ever survive without anti-depressants and drugs to help people "concentrate"? Were those zillions of undiagnosed people with ADHD or Bi-polar or anxiety disorder etc.. and they were just destined to wander as misunderstood outcasts? Or did these problems even exist at all? (Disclaimer: No offense is intended to those of you with genuinely diagnosed medical problems. I'm just wondering what people did before these things were diagnosed? And yes, I do wonder if the huge number of such cases now means that we are being too quick to assign a "problem" label to people.)
Read the Rest

Other issues of concern mentioned by "Shrode" are toothbrushes and toothpaste, glasses, deodorant and "B.O.", erasures and dogs. I've been particularly worried about deordorant and "B.O." - specially for the dogs.

I try not to worry about these things in the middle of the night but sometimes you just can't help it. JB

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Yearning for those cold war days? On the one hand this guy well lays out the problem. On the other hand he's hoping moderate politics will save us. Hmm, Moderate politics? I don't think the Imans will be reading his blog. JB

M.A.D. conditioned us to have our cake and eat it too. But today's WMD perils are unlike the days of M.A.D. In the Cold War, we could depend on the rationality of our adversaries, the Soviets. We could mutually agree on something, heinous as it was. M.A.D. created a sense of certainty out of nucler parity. That certainty was: if it happens, everyone dies. That's it. No debate necessary. If you were alive, it meant everything was normal. If you were dead, well...

Weapons of mass destruction in the 9/11 era no longer represent the end of everything. The threshold to this brave new terror-nuke world is far lower than the threshold to M.A.D. Parity is no longer apparent. That makes catastrophe with a small "c" far more likely to happen. The forces that might unleash such destructive power appear to be gathering.

Read the rest
The last line of the ( partial) article taken off of Yahoo is incredibly sad. "Her women yearn to connect with men or family to find love, but typically find it unattainable."

Judith Rossner was a feminist. Feminism has allowed men to become even more irresponsible while putting so many women into the lifestyle of "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." What radical feminism promised was - you don't need a man. However the modern, independent, employed woman still spends so much energy looking for a man -- and the pool of mature, semi-healthy, gainfully employed males who's psychological baggage does not include a stint in the slammer and or permanent membership in their local Al-Anon or Narc-Anon is very small. So the women keep looking, keep hoping they can find the right guy; in a bar holding a beer in his right hand, a cigarette in his left and telling ribald stories while oogling the waitresses AND being "temporarily unemployed."

Yeah, that'll work. JB

NEW YORK - Judith Rossner, the straight-talking, straight-writing New Yorker who in "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and other novels relentlessly analyzed educated women amid the fear and freedom of social and sexual revolutions, has died at age 70.

Rossner died Tuesday night at NYU Medical Center, her family said Wednesday. She had been ill with diabetes and leukemia, but the cause of death was not immediately determined, said her brother-in-law, Rayner Pike, a retired Associated Press writer.

"Mr. Goodbar," which came out in 1975, was likely her best known work, thanks to the 1977 movie that starred
Diane Keaton as the Roman Catholic schoolteacher in New York City who frequents singles bars, with fatal results.

"The sureness of Judith Rossner's writing and her almost flawless sense of timing create a complex and chilling portrait of a woman's descent into hell that gives this book considerable literary merit," The New York Times wrote.

Rossner's many novels also include "To the Precipice," in which a woman leaves her husband after she becomes pregnant from an extramarital affair, and "His Little Women," a modern, feminist retelling of "Little Women." The No. 1 best seller "August," published in 1983, tells of a young woman and her Manhattan psychoanalyst, whose own travails include dealing with two husbands, a lover and a society that views women over 40 as over the hill.

In a 1983 interview with The Washington Post, Rossner said, "It's astonishing what some women will put up with just to have a warm body some of the brightest women I know are just obsessed with that search. It's very sad."

It was a subject she explored repeatedly.

"My abiding theme is separations," Rossner, married three times, said in the same interview. Her women yearn to connect with men or family to find love, but typically find it unattainable.

This is a FAIR warning to those of you planning to do educational murals for pay. Check your spellying!

Artist corrects her infamous spelling mistakes in Livermore mural

Kelly St. John and Suzanne Herel, Chronicle Staff Writers

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

What's in a name? "Shakespere" asked.

Make that "Shakespeare". Miami artist Maria Alquilar, much maligned for 11 misspellings that popped up in the educational mural she designed for the Livermore public library last year, spent today under the hot sun correcting her mistakes.

In addition to fixing the bard's name, she changed "Eistein" to "Einstein", "Gaugan" to "Gauguin" and more.

Quite possibly educational murals should exhibit correct grammar and spelling? However, don't hold me to "mural quality" will ya. I've got a ways to go -- and no way to get there. JB

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

SUICIDE BOMBINGS: The new "in" thing of the soldout-to-satan set.

But there is looming a BIGGER problem. You don't have to believe in a gift of 70 virgins to be a suicide bomber. All it requires in these United States is one angry, depressed teenaged boy who wants to "go for the record." Think Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of the Columbine killings.
If you don't think Eric Harris would have laced himself with a bomb corslet to amaze and kill his friends and fellow students; then you weren't paying attention. Eric would have done just that.


Suicide Bomber Blows Up Bus in China (hat tip to Little Green Footballs who was clued in at the Jawa Report where there is a FULL REPORT including some pictures).

The Chinese government is apparently trying to suppress the news, but Chinese bloggers are reporting that a suicide bomber blew up a bus in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, at around 2:30 pm on August 8. The Jawa Report has more details, including photos from unofficial Chinese sources.

I like to read the Barna Updates. He more than anybody else plumbs the attitudes and worldviews of Americans regarding their spirituality and church life.

Americans remain inclined toward spiritual matters and feel comfortable with their relationship with God and the clarity they have regarding their purpose in life. Despite that sense of security and discernment, only 5% of American adults possess a biblical worldview, and a minority believes in absolute moral truth. To find out more about people�s views on truth, morality, the Bible, and their purpose in life, check out this week�s free Barna Update report. Go to The Barna Group�s home page at www.barna.org or click on the link below.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

PETER JENNINGS assumed room temperature today, this 7th of August, 2005. He died at age 67 of lung cancer. Was it only 4 months ago that he announced his diagnosis?

Death will never be impressed by our looks, our family connections, our degree's, our achievements, our wealth or our sincerity. It comes to us all, ordained of God.

It is final.

There are two eulogies; One is by people, the second is by God. Ultimately, the first eulogy doesn't matter and we don't know the determination of the second eulogy.

"Peter, we say Rest-In-Peace" but it is an empty statement. What we say here and now on Earth will not at all determine whether or not Peter Jennings rests-in-peace. That has already been determined.

But to Peter's family we DO offer our sincere codolences.
While surfing I came across this site that features a concert he performed in Bryn Mawr, PA in June of 1776. It is on the one hand, pretty unpolished; after all it was a live concert in a small club. On the other hand it is quite "cool" for want of a better word. You can clearly hear the band at work; Warren on the vocals and other instruments, at the same time it has the ambiance of a smoke filled club; a few patrons and the group performing some songs that will one day be huge.

Warren's life was interesting. His father was a professional gambler and later Warren would reference him as a proto-gangster. Somehow despite his father, Warren had the musical gene in him and even pursued classical piano for awhile. But Warren was ultimately one of the great rock wordsmiths. His most famous cut (which you can hear on this site) is Werewolves in London.

A couple of the cuts reference death though he indicated his desire to be around a long time.

Unluckily he wasn't. He died of lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 56. During the last few months he started and completed his final album THE WIND.

The album's most moving cut is the final one, "Keep Me In Your Heart". Recorded at Zevon's home when he was too sick to make it to the studio, the song, more than any other on "The Wind", exposes the ravages of lung cancer on his voice. "Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath," Zevon sings, and you can hear it. But the most amazing thing about the song is its tempo. It could have been a dirge. Instead, the song is almost a march, as if Zevon is walking off into the sunset with a wave goodbye over his shoulder.

"Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house
Maybe you'll think of me and smile
You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for awhile."

Found on http://dusty.booksnbytes.com/columns/2003/2003_0914.html
Highlighting the Cheapening of Marriage - a problem with the new homosexual marriage laws.

Bryan And Bill Get Married, Keep Girlfriends - read it all
Posted by Kate at 10:07 Found on OUTSIDETHEBELTWAY.com

Toronto Sun article highlights one consequence of Canada's new laws allowing same-sex marriage that should have been obvious.

Bill Dalrymple, 56, and best friend Bryan Pinn, 65, have decided to take the plunge and try out the new same-sex marriage legislation with a twist -- they're straight men.

"I think it's a hoot," Pinn said...................................................

Predictably, a "warning" from Toronto lawyer Bruce Walker, a gay and lesbian rights activist.

"Generally speaking, marriage should be for love," he said. "People who don't marry for love will find themselves in trouble."

Whatever, Bruce.

Having convinced a majority of Canadian MP's that the "ability to procreate" isn't a defining characteristic of "marriage", tell me - -what's so damned special about "love"?
An absolutely terrifying but all too plausabile scenario. You have to read the whole thing. It will scare the pants off of you. JB

San Diego, California. August 6th, 11:36AM

THE TECATE TRUCK was just like all the other Tecate Beer trucks that went back and forth daily at the border crossing, except that it was not owned by Tecate. The driver of that truck spoke fluent Spanish and the truck was always loaded with Tecate. In time the US border guards got used to it. The difference was that this truck had, at its center, a narrow, hollow space shielded with thin sheets of lead so that no ambient radiation would escape.

It had cost The Base over $150,000 to convert the truck at a garage in Ensenada a year before. That was little enough when it came to securing the device which had cost the same group more than $10 million in Russia in 1997. In any event, the truck did its job and passed without incident over the border and into the United States at Rancho Cucamunga on August 6th. Dates were important to The Base, and this date was especially significant. After all, what could be more significant than the day on which Hiroshima was destroyed?

After clearing the border the Tecate Truck followed Highway 94 north to Highway 8 at La Mesa, California, and then drove west to Highway 5. It pulled off the road at a rest stop where it picked up a technician in a Tecate uniform who was carrying a case with the necessary electronics and a couple of weapons. After that, the two men followed 5 to the coast and swung down into San Diego. It got off the freeway in downtown and quickly made its way to the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway. It's total travel time from the border to downtown San Diego was just over an hour. It was running close to schedule. It was about 11:30 in the morning.

The truck pulled over and parked along North Harbor drive and the technician took out some binoculars and scanned the harbor beyond the Navy Region Southwest Complex whose entrance was less than 100 yards away. Intelligence was correct. The USS Ronald Reagan was in its home port and riding comfortably at anchor.

The technician opened his case and took a wire that ran from the back of the truck along the floorboards. He plugged it into a jack in the simple switching device in the case. He looked at the driver and smiled. The driver smiled back. They both began to recite a prayer in Arabic while looking over the San Diego harbor. At some point in the prayer, without really thinking about it, the technician threw the switch. In the next instant, at the intersection of North Harbor Drive and West Broadway in San Diego, California on a warm August morning, a miniature version of the Sun appeared on the surface of the Earth.

During the following brief moments, everything within a quarter mile radius of the truck was heated to a temperature equivalent to that found at the center of the sun and became, essentially, vapor. Beyond that, for about four miles, every living thing was blinded, then incinerated and crushed to death. This included all the exotic animals at the San Diego Zoo, a myriad of birds, reptiles, cats, dogs, fish and marine and plant life. It also included about 500,000 men, women and children. Those that survived close to, but outside of, this killing zone came quickly to wish that they too had died.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

INTELLIGENT DESIGN scaring the Darwinian evolutionists to death.

( From David Limbaugh - Rush's successful brother)
The Intelligent Design Bogeyman

Our secular popular culture is throwing a fit over President Bush's endorsement of teaching in public schools the controversies surrounding Darwinian theory.

Note that the president did not recommend that the teaching of Darwinism be banned in public schools, merely that the theory of intelligent design (ID) ought to be taught as well. Bush said, "I think part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought."

The main players in the ID movement are not even insisting on that much. Discovery Institute, for example, opposes the mandatory teaching of ID in public schools but favors requiring students to be exposed to criticisms of Darwin's theory.

It of course is always interesting that the university academy is much opposed to any discussion that threatens their worldview or calls it into questions. It is also interesting to note that the intelligent design guys are not for mandated teaching of I.D., they just think there should be open and honest discussions about the incredible weaknesses in current evolutionary theory. But the evolutionist are NOT going to allow any discussion if they can darn well stop it. Next thing you know, people might believe in God.
ACTUALLY, they do. I think somethink like 70% of Americans believe there is a god behind creation. The evolutionary scientific community is DESPERATELY hoping there isn't a god.

Ach, if only we could have honest discussions about such things. JB
The BATTLE over the BIBLE will never go away. This is a battle between spiritual and unseen principalities. This battle is not just carried out on Earth, but in the otherworld.

Stinson believes, as do I, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Church of England have each revealed a mutual yet independent lower view of the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Both have or are in the process of elevating women to positions far above their biblical roles in the Body of Christ. He says ...

It's very dangerous for churches, [for] denominations to begin to slowly, sometimes quickly, undermine the authority of the Word of God in this way. I think it has incredibly devastating effects on church members. I think it has devastating effects on lost people who aren't familiar completely with the Bible. It offers confusion.

Stinson says more and more denominations are giving in to a "sinful, fleshly pull away from Scripture" in order to accommodate the culture. And the recent actions by the Disciples of Christ and the Church of England, he says, indicate they are continuing down a "slippery slope" of Scriptural compromise.

Accomodating the culture: That is where the battle is always joined. "The culture" will despise and denigrate you if you hold to fundamental values. I hate to be seen as ignorant and naive -- I prefer to be respected for being either "cool" or a thinker. But that will not happen if I hold firmly to Biblical basics: It says what it says and it means what it says.

So everyday you must choose; be "cool" or be biblical. It is actually a tough enough choice.
Today is Saturday August 6, 2005. We will make decisions today; decisions that will affect our future; affect our family's future. Perhaps we should keep this quote by Robert Louis Stevenson in mind. I know I need to remember it.

"Everyman will one day be seated at a banquet of consequences."

Friday, August 05, 2005


Somewhere in my blog I should make it clear that I'm NOT an ordained/certified/licensed rabbi. But I believe the rabbinic tradition encompassed moral teachers; people who where somewhat obsessive about what morality is and what it means. I find myself in the later category.

As for being a philosopher? I certainly don't teach or receive direct pay for being a philosopher but I have an earned graduate degrees and I'm utterly fascinated by the impact of people's worldview on their behavior, beliefs, politics and ultimate joy in life. So to call myself "rabbi philosopher" is both a little presumptous perhaps but also descriptive of my interest and passions in life.

But here's a tidbit about Jewish orthdoxy in these United States.
Whole Article HERE

Officials estimate a population of about 800,000 Orthodox Jews in the United States and Israel.

Under Jewish law, the faithful are forbidden from lighting or extinguishing fire on the Sabbath -- a ban construed in modern times to apply to all electrical devices, including televisions, light bulbs and scooters.

The law does not punish indirect actions that produce the same effect, however. An Orthodox Jew may not blow out a candle on the Sabbath, but if he or she opens a window and the wind blows it out, then it is no sin.

The law does not allow Jews to intentionally carry out non-Sabbath activities under the principle, but it does provide exceptions for people in dire need.

I find orthodox judaism to be quite fascinating; I know little enough however. JB

Being Numero Uno on Google

When I first started blogging a few months ago; my immediate goals was to make it into the search engines. Today on Google I typed in rabbi philosopher .

Much to my surprise/pleasure I'm the first 3 listings on Google's search engine. Now since nobody appears to read the blog I can only assume people are not actively searching Google to find what the combination; rabbi philosopher brings. Sigh

Well, ya gotta be patient I guess.

As we like to say in F.O.M.Bi.C (Fat Old Men's BIcycle Club) "it's all good."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Morphing Laws

CAN WE REALLY OUTLAW INCEST? Read the Whole Thing Here!

Allen Muth challenged the constitutionality of the state�s prohibition of consensual incest.

His argument is straightforward. Why shouldn�t he claim (in Judge Manion�s words) a fundamental right, protected by the Constitution, for adults to engage in all manner of consensual sexual conduct? In Lawrence, Justice Kennedy held for the Court that a state may not prohibit consensual homosexual sodomy, and did so on extremely broad grounds, holding that those who engage in such activity are free as adults to engage in [such] private conduct in the exercise of their liberty under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Recognizing that laws forbidding certain sorts of sexual conduct are grounded in profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles by many people, Justice Kennedy refused to accept the notion that the majority may use the power of the State to enforce these views on the whole society through operation of the criminal law. And he concluded with a critical passage that can be altered, just slightly, to cover the case of Allen and Patricia Muth (replacing references to homosexuality with ones to incest):

The present case does not involve minors [involved in a sexual relationship]. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that [incestuous] persons seek to enter. The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to [an incestuous] lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government.

So why, with Supreme Court arguments like this at his disposal, did Allen Muth lose his case in the Seventh Circuit? According to Judge Manion�s opinion, there were two reasons. First, Lawrence did not address the constitutionality of incest statutes. This is true but trivial.
Manliness? Cool? Macho? Heroic? Muscled and fit? Hm, maybe not.
( Be sure and Read It All; it's really good. JB)

There is much talk about manhood today, but I don't see much of it in practice. Contrary to popular opinion, it's not about hunting bear with a pointy stick and never has been.

Many bestselling Christian writers talk about being warriors. They sell truckloads of books and inspire the creation of thousands of men's groups in countless churches. Men go on "advances" (don't EVER call it a "retreat"--too girlie) to learn how to develop their inner warrior, or if the group has more of a business focus, their inner leader.

Despite the millions of books sold, speaking engagements across the world, and a guaranteed bestselling sequel when the sales of the latest warrior tome peak, one arrow is routinely left out of the warrior author's quiver: humility.

By nature, humility and war are a hard marriage. The examples don't come as readily as the images we get of tough, swaggering men in bullet-shredded uniforms, each with a cigar firmly clenched between his teeth, mowing down one wave after another of Nazis, flamethrower in one hand, tank gun ripped off a flaming Sherman in the other. Such men ascend through the ranks and become twelve-star generals, husbands to nubile movie starlets, and CEOs of multinationals that consume lesser companies no matter how many poison pills are consumed. That's the role model of manliness we Americans hallow. (In the American Christian world, the model's pretty much the same, though the cigar is suspect.)
( Hat Tip to Adrian Warnock's blog)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

To understand the true nature of man is to understand sin and corruption. There really is no protection for the babies killed in their mother's womb. No protection from death; no protection from vile practioners/experimenters who will not acknowledge that man was created
IMAGO DEI - in the image of God.

Specialist: Keeping fetuses may be widespread
'At last I knew the truth'

Investigators probing the shocking discovery of hundreds of fetuses and stillborn babies stored in a Paris hospital morgue are likely to find that the practice is widespread in France, a top medical specialist said Wednesday.

A day after officials said 351 stillborn babies and fetuses were kept at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Hospital's morgue -- some for two decades -- more than 100 worried families called a hotline to inquire about their cases, hospital authorities said.

Investigators were probing how such a breach of French law could have happened, and why. But one top geneticist and medical ethicist said he was not surprised.

"I think that there are fetuses and stillborn infants in all maternity wards at university hospitals," Dr. Axel Kahn, a member of France's national ethics committee, told The Associated Press. "Once, it was the norm ... Researchers who needed them for their work asked obstetricians not to dispose of them."

The law was changed in the mid-1990s to prevent the practice.

Current French law calls for bodies of unclaimed stillborn babies to be cremated within 10 days. Fetuses cannot be used for medical purposes except with the parents' explicit consent. In that case, the bodies must be cremated within six months.

Even after the laws were changed, some specialists at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul may have wanted to keep the remains to do genetic testing on them one day, Kahn said.

As the great Russian novelist Dostoyevski wrote decades ago:

"If there is no God, then everything is permissible."

Here's the question for you Potterheads out there:

If he could obtain it, would Harry use The Ring to defeat Voldemort?

JB here! Okay anybody who actually reads this blog (besides Mom) needs to answer the above question. I'm taking votes. (From the Llamabutchers.com)
A funny (hat tip Instapundit -- as if he needed the notoreity).

"California Screaming":

Another very amusing column by Cathy Seipp about my town's dysfunctional signature industry. It closes with this funny story:

Screaming actors, it seems, can be easier to deal with, perhaps because they are not always famous for their brains. Many years ago, I read a story about how Roger Moore (a nonscreamer) took a younger actor aside and suggested he stop attacking everyone on the set. I'm not in this business to win a popularity contest, the screamer fumed. I just want to be a good actor.

Well, you've failed at being a good actor, Moore replied reasonably. Why not try for the popularity contest?

Profit Per Second

According to Ryan Hemelaar's Tech Blog:

* Google's profit last quarter was $44 per second.
* Microsoft's profit last quarter was $471 per second.

Just in case you're interested. (j-walkblog.com)

JB here: I own exactly ZERO Microsoft or Google Stock. I'm still holding 1,000 shares of Edsel however. I'm hoping it will make a comeback this next year.
Actually I'm proud to be a blogger -- but as the number of bloggers explodes exponentially, my chance for blogging fame are increasingly reduced. Sigh

BUT, I like to blog and those of you who read my blog ( Mom) like me to blog.

Here's what was found on Instapundit.com


The blogosphere is continuing to grow, with a weblog created every second, according to blog trackers Technorati. In its latest State of the Blogosphere report, it said the number of blogs it was tracking now stood at more than 14.2m blogs, up from 7.8m in March.

It suggests, on average, the number of blogs is doubling every five months.


Monday, August 01, 2005


Gilder's dark future

Speaking at the AlwaysOn conference at Stanford University, futurist George Gilder predicted a harrowing future for humanity. TV will die, he said, and be replaced by blogs. HERE

"TV is dying fast and it will be followed by Hollywood. These industries fed on scarcity. There are only a few channels available. TV was technology of tyrants. It fed this advertising model that has collapsed," Gilder told an audience at the conference. "The thirty-second spot is just going to die. Nobody is going to watch any ads they don't want to see.

"Book culture and blog culture can redeem a civilization," he said.

Humanity, however, is resilient. After the Middle Ages, Italian thinkers rediscovered the classics during the Renaissance. So who knows--after six centuries of blogs, maybe future generations will rediscover Mannix.

JB here: As I mentioned I don't watch much TV. My wife NEVER watches TV (she hates it) and my children, not being reared by the TV, don't watch it all that often either. But are they reading my blog instead? Well NOOOOooo. sigh I better give George Gilder a call.
"Everyman will one day be seated at a banquet of consequences."
Robert Louis Stevenson
Ya gotta love some of the quotes you come across while surfing the web. How about this one?

"I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for the day. . . . I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland."

Newton N. Minow, FCC chairman (May 9, 1961)

Newton called it right. And it's even worse than it was in 1961 though there's far more programs available. It's STILL A WASTELAND! But, we keep watching. (I don't watch TV everyday but I do admit to liking the reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond and Seinfeld. This comes on at 7:00 and 7:30 respectively. And because I can be rather addictive, I don't have cable or satellite TV. I've just get local stations and use rabbit-ears - which don't work particularly well however. Finally, I still watch a LOT of football; pro and college. But not as much as I used to. Whew; confession is good for the soul. JB)