Saturday, March 09, 2002

H. Rap Didn't Beat the Rap- Expect the NPR flags to fly at half mast. Former Black Panther H. Rap Brown, now a Muslim pastor with the nom-de-mullah Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, was convicted of murdering an Atlanta cop. The jury didn't buy the mistaken identity defence. Brown/Al-Amin has been seemingly put a violent past behind him, but not quite far enough.

Israel Adds to its Gunnie Bear Collection-600 Palestinians gunmen surrendered as the Israel army moved in on Tulkarm refugee camp. That's the good news-the bad news is that a Palistinian who went into a Jerusalem cafe near the Prime Minister's residence and ordered a latte with a side of 72 virgins, taking 11 Israelis with him. A pair of gunnies killed three more while shooting up a hotel lobby. Just a two-gun salute for Anthony Zinni.

Avoiding the Second Battle of Madrassas- There seems to be a lot of defusing going on. Pakistan and India are looking to step down from their mobilizations, with the Pakistanis seemingly willing to go first, as they had been doing a Allophones and Gastone number on demobilization. The other key piece is that Pakistan is requiring that foreign religious students will need a formal endorsement from their home countries to be in Pakistan. This will cut down on the madrassas being a collecting point for gunnies and thus spray some DDT on the al Qaeda breeding grounds.

The more you know, the less you like-This should warm James Haney's heart-at the tail end of this Irish election poll piece there's this fun factoid
While [Fine Gael leader] Mr Noonan's satisfaction rating remains at 32 per cent, voter dissatisfaction with him has increased seven points to 45 per cent, while the number of those who don't know has dropped seven points to 23 per cent.
Do the math-all the people who made up their minds about Michael Noonan did so in the negative. Have they all been reading James' blog?

God and Man at NRO-Good Bill Buckley piece in NRO on Simon's win in California. However, I think he's misquoting scripture and giving the wrong version of the 11th Commandment. He says
The president's representative in California urged Riordan to compete for the Republican nomination. This violated Reagan's so-called Eleventh Commandment, which was never to favor one Republican over another in a primary contest.
I thought the 11th was "Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican." A quick Google agrees with me, with a NRO piece using the classic version, as does Alan Keyes and this piece that translates it as "Thou shall not attack ..." (must be Revised Standard) that agrees with Thomas' Sowell's translation here. It seems shocking that such a high priest of the Republican Faith as Cardinal Buckley would be misquoting scripture. However, sometime we need to remind ourselves that even the greats are human and we need to know our scripture and be able to discern between good and bad political spirits.

Poster Fun-Sneaking Suspicions has a cleaver smackdown of Ted Rall. He was inspired by Dispair.com's posters. First time I heard of them-the site is a goldmine of quips. A good laugh-producer.

The Diplomacy Game-Louder Fenn posits that the Zinni peace mission is a gambit to cool tensions to clear the deck for an Iraq invasion. I don't think it will do bupkis to calm down the Fatah and Hamas gunnies (and the White House most likely knows that), but it will make us look better to the chattering classes. Diplomacy works only when both sides are willing to come to the table, and the only table Hamas wants to come to is the halal buffet table at Israel's wake. There is always a call for an extra round of diplomacy, even when neither side is ready to talk. We haven't "exhausted all diplomatic options" yet, even if those options aren't going to get up anywhere, as diplomats will always want to "do something" before letting the generals have their way. Diplomacy's dead for now, but no one wants to face up to it.
"Give him an enema!" "Ma'am, the man's dead. An enema wouldn't help." "It wouldn't hurt!"
Dubya's got out the bag of saline solution and gave it to Zinni. Diplomacy won't hurt, and it may even be good PR. However, the mission is designed for Guardian editorialists more than Jenin gunnies. The Zinni trip will, tangentially, make a Iraq invasion easier for the EUnuchs to swallow. This may be an Iraq gambit, but for different reasons.

Graham's Oval Office Faux Pas-If you don't quite know what to blog, wait a few days and someone will write it for you. I had blogger's block on the Billy Graham story of him making unflattering remarks Jewish media concentration on Nixon's White House tapes. Natalie nails the issue and throws in a good Narnia reference for good measure.

Yo Quiero Carne Humano-Sick fun over at A Dog's Life about a pack of attack Chihuahuas.

Pray for Zimbabwe-They're going to the polls today and the outcome is bound to be messy short of divine intervention. Airstrip One has the mother of all linksets on today's happenings. If the opposition MDC wins, Mugabe will likely cook the books to steal the election or just plain stage a auto-coup. If Mugabe cooks the books, the MDC will revolt to the level of civil war. The little-covered story is the economic collapse that the farm seizures has caused. If Mugabe manages to hold on to power, Ethiopia-level starvation may not be far behind.

Quip du jour-"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."-Lord Acton Edifier du jour-"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." Romans 1:16

Friday, March 08, 2002

Michigan Governor's Race-John Ellis has a piece earlier today on Jennifer Granholm who's the early favorive in the governor's race. He links to a Detroit News piece that has her leading Lt. Gov Dick Posthumus 52-28. That's good for the Democrats, but there are a lot of positives that Granholm has going for her. As state AG, she gets to do consumer protection stuff that get lots of free media, like this recent piece on drug prices. Posthumus has no such outlet a Lt. Gov except if Gov. Engler (he's term-limited) leaves the state just in time to let him sign a bill as acting governor. Michigan Lt. Governors run as part of a ticket unlike some other stats, so he's not run statewide on his own before. The poor polling shows the need to get his name recognition up, but the fall will do just that. Once the race kicks into gear, it will tighten. Michigan is a swing state, and Granholm and Posthumus are representative of their parties. Both are generally likable, with Posthumus reminding me a bit of Mike DeWine as a slightly laid-back generic conservative. I'm not that impressed with Granholm; she seems a bit too knee-jerk and a bit mentally dull, even adjusting for my conservative bias. While she's cute, I'm not sure it her shortcomings will wear well at the top of the ticket. Just remember that Mel Carnahan showed that you can win a race Posthumusly.

Blogger Upgrade-The graphics seem a bit nicer, as the text in the bottow left is clearer. There must be more to it; if it's less buggy, it will be worth a down morning.

The Check-out Lane Good Doug Turnbull piece on government waste and Dubya’s canning of the Army Corps of Engineers chief that beefed publicly about budget cuts Christopher Johnson over at MCJ has a good piece on the American West and why the EUnuchs don’t like it. Interesting Opinion Journal piece on dying languages. It reminded me that USS Clueless beat them to this study by a couple of weeks and has a take that complements the OJ piece..

Americans Stand on Guard for Thee- I only caught a snippet of the West Wing episode where Donna was discovered to be a Canadian instead of a Minnesotan and wondered when our Canadian friends would chime in on the episode. Jackson Murphy is surprised how so many of these fictional Americans are supposed to know the lyrics to O Canada. Hockey games, sir. The fictional Bartlets are from New England, and might well be Bruin fans. If you’re a hockey fan, you get O Canada played in a quarter or more of your games, even if you follow a US team. Even in baseball and basketball, you’ll hear O Canada at all-star games and when the Jays and Raptors are on the shed-jule. I'm not quite up to singing it solo, but I'm be able to remember most of it to the point that I'd be able to sing along with others.

Unique Australian Desires- Funny headline in the Melbourne Age. “PM wants a strong Virgin.” I’ve heard of worse fetishes. Never mind, they’re talking about Virgin Blue airlines. The link went bye-bye before Blogger got back up.

West Bank Endgame-I don’t think the US sending Zinni over to the Middle East will solve anything, but it will give the US Brownie points with the Euroweenies that it needs after that steel tariff debacle. I don’t think US policy has changed in that the US trusts Arafat a bit more than it does bin Laden. The Israelis are in a war, and their latest moves should be seen as part of a war strategy as opposed to a peacekeeping attitude. It’ll look like a civil war, except these are two separate peoples; the analogies from other conflicts are a bit forced. The Israelis appear to be going with the philosophy of picking what the want to defend and building a defense perimeter around it. Once that is settled, they’ll make any peace they can given the perimeter as a fait accompis. That peace it is likely to be a cold one (more of an armistice) for the next half-century or better until a generation of Arabs who weren’t subjected to a steady stream of anti-Jewish propaganda comes on the scene. It’s time for the Israelis to kick butt and take names. The best thing the US can do is stay the heck out of the way and let it happen, because this is not the time for diplomacy.

Quip du jour- “A moderate Arab is one who’s ran out of ammunition.”-anon. Edifier du jour: “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” Proverbs 18:2 (Hey, I resemble that remark!)

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Everyone's a Bit Moody About the NRB-While we're on Ben's return from break to do some blogging, he mentions a inter-evangelical food fight between James Dobson and the Moody Broadcasting people. There isn't much of a theological difference between the Nazarene Dobson and the Baptists at Moody, but the difference is that Moody is largely apolitical while Dobson has a political component to his Focus on the Family show. Dobson isn't Pat Robertson, as political issues are part of but not a focus of his ministry. Dobson does a politically-related show about two or three times a month on his daily show. The National Religious Broadcasters president, Wayne Pederson, thought the NRB was becoming too close the "Religious Right" and Dobson and others, ticked by the statement, forced his resignation. Moody's vice president Robert Neff returned fire, backing Pederson and blasting the "600-lb gorilla" that everyone assumes to be Dobson. From a theological perspective, the NRB is a conservative bunch; there aren't enough theologically liberal religious broadcasters to fill a phone booth. There is a difference between styles and formats of programs. Some shows, like Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley or Ravi Zacharias, will focus purely on Bible study, while others will cover current events more closely. There's plenty of room for both; they complement, rather than compete with, each other. Other than personal pride, their doesn't seem to be a good reason for this rift. Dobson, for all the good he does do, does have a stubborn streak, and it's showing here. It's not good for the two biggest players in Christian radio to be having a pissing match . What was up at W&M IV chapter, Ben? I was part of InterVarsity at four schools (Delta College, Saginaw Valley State, Michigan State and Kent State) and helped run a bookstore at their Cedar Campus conference center for a summer. They were largely apolitical within a generic evangelical framework. The closest I remember politics coming was when the U of M chapter had problems with pro-gay anti-discrimination clauses driving them off-campus.

Conservatives and Tibet- Ben, there are a few reasons why the support Tibet gets from conservatives is so wimpy. The first is The Dalai Lama is a threat to Chinese rule there as an independent moral force and the realpolitic crowd knows that a free practice of Buddhism ain't gonna happen on this regime's watch. The second is that they are Buddhists and that most Christian activists will focus their fire on freeing up the house churches and the underground Catholic church rather than work on Tibet. A third is that the Hollywood left, like Gere, are the biggest backers of Tibet (Gere seems like he's on the Dalai Lama's payroll) and that these New Agey types would make very strange bedfellows.

Neocons and Anti-Americans -Kevin got some machine-gun blogfire from a Pigs and Fishes web site, and responds well. Don't think too much of it, sir- the post just below his screed was on various fetishes, so he's not a redo. His calling you naive was an ad hom with no basis in reality. The P&F article was off on the fact that there is a difference in the criticism of government from the left and the right. Conservatives want government to do less, while liberals (especially the paleoliberals that P&F wants to defend against the "anti-American" rap) want government to do more. In a way, the anti-American label does apply to the platform of the anarchosocialists protest crowd, but in a way that goes beyond the issue of patriotism; they reject the basic premise of a free-market, free-association system that makes America work. Maybe anti-Anglospherian would be better. In their perfect world, there would be no corporations, no suburbs, few privately-owned cars, free healthcare, a guaranteed income regardless of laziness and very limited economic interaction with other countries, except to send money to the poor in the rest of the world. The resulting country would be a dystopian commune that freedom-loving Americans wouldn't recognize. These people fight against most of the things that make the US different from Europe. I'd like to look at Kevin's last sentence in that post.
Third, I am not a neocon in any sense of the word and if you had a "fraction of a clue" you would know that - or if you bothered to look around when you visited the site.
You're not a paleocon, that's for sure. If you make The Weekly Standard and their past infatuation with McCain your benchmark, you're not a neocon, either. I'll loosly call myself a neocon as I fit a bit of the classic model of a Democratic liberal (more neolib) who got mugged by reality. My mugging was going to business school and seeing that the rich weren't any more evil than the poor and that the burden of taxes and regulation was more of a problem than I was taught growing up. My egalitarian streak stayed put (making sure I didn't go paleo) and the existent moral conservatism and pro-military stance made it easy for me to make the switch to the conservative camp. That makes me a fairly standard modern American conservative. If you grew up as a conservative rather than having grown into it as an adult, you might be more comfortable with the unadorned title of conservative. I may be a conservative, but not a status-quoian. My problem with the straight version is that I'm more of a dynamist than many conservatives; most change and technology doesn't scare me as long as it moral and stays clear of cheapening life. The stereotype would have the neocom as more dynamistic than the unadorned conservative. The centrist party to the north has the full title "Progressive Conservative." I'd like to live up to that idea in the best sense of both words; being conservative (smaller government, a strong military that is used where it can do good and standing for traditional moral values) while promoting changes that would progress (progress <> big government and loose morals) the overall well-being of the country. I think Kevin isn't far from my worldview. "Why I'm not a neocon" would be an interesting post, seeing how he defines his terms and how he differs from his vision of a neocon.

NBA's New Bird Exception- Jason Kidd stunk up the joint in his return to Pheonix last night and gave the America West crowd the middle-digit salute on the way to the locker room. Kidd's checking account is now $5000 lighter. More in-your-face tacky attitude from the pro hoopsters.

The Wizard of Az to Motown. (But Who'll throw to him?)- The Lions got speedier by signing Az-Zahir Hakim, filling in the void of Herman Moore's eminant release. This gives the Lions a legit deep threat and a good kick returner. Just sneak some stickum in there and he'll be a keeper.

A Chair-Lift? Is Detroit A Ski Resort?-Interesting National Post piece on a proposed gondola across the Detroit River connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario that might ease commuter traffic going through customs. The Detroit landing site near the RenCen has been cleared; the Windsor side, near the Windsor Casino hasn't, the casino doesn't want to give up the land. Eminent Domain, anyone? It worked over in Detroit, where the city used it to clear part of the Poletown area and the sell the property to GM. A bit abusive, but would that stop the powers that be?

Randroid Foreign Policy-Kevin looks at some of the shortcomings of libertarian foreign policy. While most libertarians are properly hawkish, especially about going after al Qaeda, many libertarians will lean towards an anti-interventionist (not really isolationist, since they're generally free traders) foreign policy. Here's a quick five-pack of reasons that lean libertarians in that direction. (1) A secular, cynical nature will question the merits of the intervention- the relative lack of a concept of good and evil makes it harder for a libertarian to get revved up for a war. (2) The higher taxes needed to pay for it. (3) An individualism that underplays the pain of the guy halfway around the world. There are many people who have the attitude-"They can take a flying @!*&^ at a rolling donut as long as it doesn't affect my freedoms or my pocketbook." (4) Distrust of the military. The military is the ultimate arm of the dreaded State, and thus libertarians are hesitant to use it. Also, libertarians who get there from the anarchist left will look down at the buttoned-down image. (5) Fear of being the hegemon. Their freedom-loving nature makes them lousy centurions, as they don't want to force their world-view on others. If you couple these trends with an ethnocentric streak, you get antiwar.com. That being said, most small-l libertarians with a proper respect for an active foreign policy. It's often the big-L Libertarians that run in that direction. If memory serves, 1980 Libertarian presidential nominee Ed Clark had such a minimalist foreign policy- protect the shores and bring the boys home; let Europe and Asia fend for themselves, they're big boys. Their dislike of government makes them throw out the baby with the bathwater in this any many other areas.

Irish Anti-Abortion Referendum Loses in a Squeaker-It went down 49.6-50.4. However, it's refreshing to see a spot where such an argument gets a 50-50.

Roman Centurion Warn Fuzzies first-Thumbs up to Louder Fenn on his pieces on homosexual clergy, too many to give a single link to, just give him a good overall read if you haven't been there recently. I'll have something on that issue sometime soon, but I try not to write on things before I have something coherent to say. Some rants take time to take form. However, I'm going to take him to task on his Century Rule for when a religion should be recognized for having chaplains. Note that I'm not defending Wiccans, but to make an arbitrary rule as to what religions to accept leaves the rule open to a lot of abuse. It reminds me a bit of the Russian religion law, where only the pre-glasnost religious groups were allowed to function openly. Depending on how tightly you define a religion, you'd nuke a lot of conservative Protestant denominations, since many of them are less than 100 years old, especially those that came out of the theological splits of the early 20th century. For instance, the modern Pentecostal movement is less than 100 years old, if you use Azusa Street in 1906 as the kickoff. As I understand it, the chaplain service is suppose to meet the spiritual needs of servicemen, regardless of what the religion is. Back about 2000 when the Wiccan chaplain thing was a warm issue, I remember Bob Barr was in full rant about it. I don't want a rule that restrict religious freedom to what is politically correct, either by Bob Barr or a comparable liberal. If you say Wiccans are too dangerous and undisciplined for a serviceman to practice, you can make the same crack at "holy rollers." I feel like the Jewish ACLU guy defending neo-Nazis, but I want to err on the side of allowing people to express their faith, even if they are on the fast track to Hell.

Quip du jour-"The President [Clinton] and the First Lady are congenital lawyers"-anon (Someone coined that, but I can't find who) Edifier du jour-John 20:27-29
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Steel Tariff Fallout-I'm not liking being in the position of siding with the Euroweenies against Dubya on an issue, but Bush has it coming on this one. I don't like agreeing with the general thrust of a piece titled "The United States of Hypocrisy", but the US does love free trade when the other side has the barriers up, but not if it would harm an American industry. I still think it would be cheaper to let Old Steel die a quiet debt and retrain the mill-rats. The big issue is subsidies that other countries give their steel producers. As long as it doesn't pose a national security issue, I'm happy to let South Korea or the UK pay 20% of the cost of steel. It may be crude to the mill-rats, but why not let the other countries pick up the tab for something if they're willing to? We can bank the savings and focus on other industries. This policy is stagflation-on-a-stick, ticks off our allies and makes up look like hypocrites.

Stanley Steamed out of Office- I work in Flint, so I have a interest in this one. Voters dumped mayor Woodrow Stanley yesterday in a recall election, 56-44. When he was re-elected in 1999, he won a squeaker that broke down on racial lines. Stanley tried to play the race card, bringing in black Democratic bigwigs to get out the vote, but blacks stayed home on this one. He seems to be an arrogant son-of-a-pup, reminding me a bit of Coleman Young without the charm. Goodbye and good riddance.

How Big of an Issue is Abortion on a State Level?- Added thoughts on Simon's win, as pundits fear he'll scare off centrist abortion-rights voters. With the Supreme Court blocking all but the most modest restrictions to abortion, it doesn't leave much room for a governor to act on the issue. I haven't seen too many state-level candidates make this point. Most of the tweaks that O'Connor will let states do are usually popular, like parental notification/consent, waiting periods and "partial-birth" methodology bans. That leave the anti-abortion candidate with a good tool-here's my prototype stump speech, free of charge to any pro-lifer who wants it
Yes, I think the life of the unborn is precious in God's eye, but there's not much I can do about it until we get two pro-Roe retirements from the Supreme Court, which won't likely happen on my watch. Here's what we can do until then. I'm in favor of parental consent before a teenage girl gets an abortion. If she needs a note from home to get her ears pierced, having a surgical procedure done should require a note as well. I'm in favor of a 48-hour waiting period so that a woman can avoid a rash decision to end her pregnancy. I want to lend support to crisis pregnancy centers who want to help a mother carry a baby to term rather than offer abortion as their best option. I'm also in favor of getting rid of the barbaric act of pulling a viable baby all-but-out of the mother, then killing it. Many of you who would place yourself in the pro-choice camp on abortion are with me on these proposals. If Roe gets overturned, then my anti-abortion stance will be more of an issue. For now, the pro-restrictions and pro-life crowds should band together and work on passing these proposals. If [the Democrat] doesn't want to support these proposals that have the support of a solid majority of the public, then he is the one who is the extremist.
On the state level, if played as above, a pro-restrictions stance is a net plus. The Democrat might try to paint the pro-life Republican as an extremist, but that should backfire if the above strategy is used.

Midday Musings- The Sanchez Sisters-one under the radar thing yesterday is that Loretta Sanchez's sister Linda won the Democratic primary and a now-Democratic 39th district. This was, loosely, Steve Horn's district, but the moderate Republican is retiring before he gets his butt kicked. They might joins the Levin brothers as the only sibling act in Congress. More Thoughts on Simon There is an standard tension in a primary between picking someone who has a better chance of winning versus picking someone who may be less electible but better represents the party values. In this scenario, there are two reasons to vote for Simon. The first is that there isn't (to use the Wallace cliché) a dime's worth of difference between Riordan and Davis, thus freeing conservatives to cast a protest vote if Riordan had won. The second is that Simon is enough of a non-political that he could gain by being new to elective politics. A third advantage is that Simon can appeal to Democratic votes in ways Riordan wouldn't. If Simon can get past being in the party of Pete Wilson and ditch the Prop187 anti-Hispanic baggage, he'll have a shot at winning an added share of the Latino vote if he plays up minimizing the time in bilingual ed as pro-child, not anti-Latino, puts in a long-term plug for vouchers and plays up conventional moral values. True, he'll lose some of the abortion-rights crown, but he can pick up as many (or more) other swing voters with empowering proposals. Simon needs to run as a proud economic conservative. Four years ago, Dan Lungren ran out of his AG spot and was selling law-and-order when the voters weren't buying. The other conservative to run statewide recently was Bruce Herschenson and he lost out partly on being made to look too hard-core (IIRC, he was a TV commentator before; punditry can make you look that way) and partly, as Rand Simberg points out, being a victim of the "Year of the Woman." Simon's won't be as easy to characterize.

California Smackdown-Bill Simon would up winning the primary 47-28 with Bill Jones bringing in 22%. Once the Emperor had no clothes, it got ugly quickly. I think a consistent conservative will a quite a bit of appeal and his dullness might be an asset if played right, contrasting to the demagogues that have been Governor the past decade. If he gets hit with the "no experience" label, grab the old Cory Aquino speech where she proudly exclaims that she has "no experience" being a corrupt dictator like Marcos (do crank the rhetoric down two notches before using). Simon should note his business experience and point to MBA Dubya as an example (light touch, though, don't be seen grabbing for the coattails). Wrap the energy crunch around Davis' neck and tie it down; when Davis uses Enron as a mantra, spin it back at him with the bad long-term deals he made with them and the lousy semi-deregulation plan that the Sacramento powers came up with that caused the mess. Davis is 55-45 beatable if Simon plays his cards right. A few slips below that could still bring home a win.

Quip du jour-"The only way I could lose is if I get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."-Edwin Edwards (Close enough, Gary) Edifier du jour-"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."-Proverbs 11:2

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Grbac hanging 'em up. When he came out of Michigan I didn't think he'd have a chance to "retire." I figured he'd just be cut after a few years as a backup, never to be heard of again. However, Michigan QBs tend to overperform in the pros, just as Florida QBs tend to underperform. He's from Cleveland; if Tim Couch gets hurt, he's in town. Simon's win.- A strong conservative will be a better candidate in the fall than a wimpy moderate. Even if a voter might not agree with your stand, they will admire your integrity. True, Simon might lose some pro-abortion moderates, but he'll gain an equal number of swing voters for being a straight-shooter. After 12 years of demagogues in Sacramento, the voters might be ready for a calm, honest leader. I'm not staying up to see the returns come in, but I'll blog in first thing tomorrow morning.

Licence to Steel-The Bush Administration made its first serious misstep by imposing tariffs on steel imports. It would be cheaper to let the Big Steel dinos go under and take care of the workers than to jack up steel prices and start a trade war. This is one Dubya will most likely regret. I have a longer piece in me on this, but that will wait 'til tomorrow.

Gone Fission-Beauty of Gray has excellent coverage of today's bubble-cold-fusion report, both a quick review of the study and a primer on fusion and fission. Go read and learn. It does seem a bit too good to be true, like the Utah guys a decade ago who reported cold fusion but couldn't back it up upon scientific review. However, let's let the scientists run the traps before declaring this one a hoax.

Keep the Condoms Video in the Box, Steph-Stephanie Salter is in full homophobe-bash mode, trying to shame the evangelical community by pointing out Franklin Graham's work on AIDS. She made this lightly veiled plea for safe-sex education.
Alluding to more than just-say-no, Graham included education in his six- point plan of action. "We should do all we can to give people a fighting chance. Knowledge is power," he said.
Here's what Franklin said two years ago before a Congressional committee
Short of a medical antidote for the HIV virus, the only true solution to the AIDS epidemic in Africa-and worldwide-is behavioral change. While governments, schools, and others seek to educate people in how to avoid becoming infected by the HIV virus through practical, safer-sex means, such asuse of condoms, these measures are inadequate. This has been shown to be particularly true as the African crisis has escalated. Education is inadequate without the teaching that the only reliable way to avoid contracting AIDS through sexual contact is by maintaining a lifelong monogamous relationship. But just as important, we must recognize that the ability to adopt such dramatic lifestyle changes is almost impossible without the moral conviction that sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is contrary to God's law. This crisis will be curbed only when the moral teachings of God's Word permeate African society. In the matter of AIDS, this will happen only through the work of the Christian church, and when church and mission based hospitals and clinics are strengthened and equipped in their physical, social and spiritual ministries.
I don't think Franklin's signing off on a full-bore safe-sex message yet, Stef. Pet peeve-Websters defines homophobia as an "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals." The word back-handedly equates a Biblical theology as a treatable disease, but has come in as common currency for the left to describe the right on this issue. How about trying to make theophobia stick to describe the secular left? Thanks to Christianity Today's blog for the Salter link.

Canada's Psyche on the Couch-The latest Euroweenie to show up is just to our north-Canadian PM Chretien was trying to broker a common denunciation of Mugabe at a Commonwealth leader's conference, while waiting until it is proven that he stole the election to apply sanctions. Most of the Commonwealth, including Britain and New Zealand, wanted sanctions put on now, while the Africans in the Commonwealth wanted to wait until after the elections to do anything. This might set off a stink bomb, but I think Canada's problem is that the culture of Anglophone Canada is 60% American and 40% British; we can debate the exact proportions, but the dichotomy exists. That skews the politics to the left, as there is more of a communal spirit there than in the US. The communal spirit can tend to make Canadian politicians, especially on the left, more internationalist and sounding like the EUnuchs that get a constant stream of blogfire. Add the French culture of Quebec, (where even the PQ, who take the right part of the political spectrum, are statists) and you have a political culture that looks European but with an American accent; no wonder American liberals love it. There is a geographic split that could lead to a Velvet Divorce in the future-the western part of Canada is more evangelical and more politically free-market conservative than Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. The prairies provinces have a prairie populist streak like that of the Dakotas. Alberta has a streak of free-market populism like the Rocky states and BC has a muted respect for free markets much like Washington state. All four have been open to the free-market conservatism of the Reform/Alliance party, while the Alliance has had negligible success east of Manitoba. If the Alliance fails to get its act together and force a Alliance-BQ coalition in parliament, could we be looking at a partition of Canada? If the Liberal government's policies have the Loonie in free fall and the Canadian economy continues to underperform, Quebec might not want to stay attached to Canada and look to leave. The western part of Canada might want to join them, either setting up a separate Western Canadian republic or becoming states 51-54, leaving Ontario and the Maritimes to fend for themselves. If, by the end of the decade, Euro-style stagnation has Canadian incomes at 70-75% of the US, there may be nasty side-effects. If the Liberals can get two more elections under their belt in, say 2003 and 2007, they may wind up splitting the country as their policies cause Canadians to flow south to look for a better life. However, the Alliance has a few years to get its act together and being enough large-C Conservatives on board to get back into government by 2007/08 to prevent that nightmare scenario.

Safest Place is in the Synagogue?-Another round of Palestinian attacks, and another nightclub attack. The Friedman Hypothesis on attacking secular Israel still holds. It the idea behind that is to get the secular Israelis to want to sue for peace, it doesn't seem to work; it seems to drive them to the nationalist right and a more militant solution.

Mark's Inappropriate Response-Where I hear about the al Qaeda guys putting up "fierce opposition" in their little mountain retreat, I have a quarter-century flashback to rowdy games of Risk in my teen years. One common invocation while shaking your dice, especially when on defense, was to conjure up your campiest English Officer and say "Fight fiercely, fellows!" Doesn't quite fit today, since I'm not rooting for Osama's boys, but I can't stop thinking about it.

Ruining A Googlewhack-Rantburg had one for "Autostupid" on this post-
The Observer's Mary Riddell sets her word processor on Autostupid and lets 'er fly. Gary Farber at Amygdala pokes through the rubble with one hand, while holding his nose with the other.
Sorry to ruin it, but that's too good of a line not to share.

Quip du jour-"Men, it is not your duty to die for your country; it is to make the other [SOB] die for his"-George Patton (the great country of al Qaeda?) Edifier du jour- "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Monday, March 04, 2002

Tough news from Afghanistan-Up until now, we had lost more troops through acidents than via combat. Not after today. Nine body bags aren't quite enough to get the q-word back into circulation, but it does stress the unfinished business remaining in Afghanistan. Add "thermobaric", or air-sucka, to our war vocab. This is the bomb's first use in anger, it wasn't even in the arsenal at the begining of the war. It seems to be designed to suck the air out of a tunnel complex while inflicting massive damage to people outside the cave.

The Opposition at Wartime-The politically expedient position for a member of the opposition is to "support our brave men and women in uniform" and to be "concerned" about the conflict's conduct. It the war goes well, the President's going to get the credit and saying "I was with him all the way" won't help the opposition party much. If the war doesn't go well, your "concerns" can be brought up as a I-told-you-so. Most Republicans took this tack in Kosovo; McCain was one of the few Republicans (yeah, I know, an albino RINO) to back Clinton on that effort. Democrats are beginning to take that gameplan to heart as well. Note that Daschle has upped the ante, insisting that not nabbing Omar and Osama will be equated to a loss. The Democrats are readying the spin doctors for fall deployments.

Golden Anniversary for the Reagans- My appreciation of Nancy has grown as I've watched her look after her husband all these years. She seemed a bit cold as first lady; maybe that was the media's way of getting at the Teflon President by making his wife look like a she-dog Lady McBeth. However, a honestly endearing marriage shows through in this last decade, as her devotion to "Ronnie" stays there despite the Alzheimers. I hope to have that level of devotion to Eileen fifty years from now, if the Lord grants us both that much more life.

Senate Opposition Definition-"Informed"=The right to grandstand at a committee hearing at your expense and to leak stuff that makes you look bad.

Good Things do Happen- (1) Bill Simon's leaving Riordan in the dust as tomorrow's primary approaches. He'll be able to make a clear difference between he and Gray Davis. (2) Nice post from Amy Welborn
Loads of so-called "Catholic" colleges have presented performances of the (ahem) V - Monologues over the past month, including Boston College, Holy Cross, DePaul, Georgetown and Notre Dame. Here's where you won't see it:Gonzaga University, where the President has said, "I don't think so." to this tendentious, risible, divisive piece of garbage. Good for him.
I agree. Could the fact that Gonzaga's in flyover red-state country (yeah, Gore just carried Washington, but Spokane's more Boise than Seattle) and less influenced by east-coast liberalism be giving them some backbone? God may be letting the "basketball gods" smile on this bunch-RPI's as of this morning:
Gonzaga-22 Notre Dame-39 Boston College-42 Georgetown-55 Holy Cross-176 (they're not trying to play with the big boys) DePaul-189 (they are trying)
Maybe just a happy coincidence, but I'll take it.

Peacefull weekend- We had over a foot of snow show up, slowing even us weather-hardened Michiganders. About half of that (the wet kind, since the temp was hanging near freezing) was on the ground Saturday PM, slowing things down, but I did make if up to Sanford (a resort town/exurb 10 miles NW of Midland) to Eileen's place. Saturday was the first anaversery (well, 52 weeks) of our meeting at a church young-adult bonfire on Saturday, March 3rd a year ago. She''s had the flu all week, missing Tuesday-Friday at work, and we were making up our cozy time, looking over the snowy lake (she shares a lakeside house with an old lady from her old church) and marveling where God has taken us in the last year. I want to take her to a nice resteraunt for this annaversery, but the roads weren't condusive to driving to Midland and back through the slop for a more romantic place. We setted on Sanford Lake Bar and Grill just down the road, a real McCoy good grub place that Bennigans and Applebees try to do upscale imitiations of. They make a mean wet burrito, but I have that too often, so I went for a good bowl of chili and a jumboburger with milady's company. It's small joys like good meals, snuggling on a couch enjoying each other's company and having her whup me in cribbiage (hey, the cards weren't there and I own Scrabble when we play) that make life worthwhile. We got another six inches or so overnight, shutting down quite a few churches. Eileen was snowed in and had to get coverage for the Sunday School class she was teaching. I wasn't quite snowed in back in town, but didn't brave the elements. It's been more than a year since I missed church on Sunday. I got time to kick back, read a truckload of blogs, and get my Texas overview done for BPJ. Note-the official term for a denizen of the Great Lake State is "Michiganian", but I liked the old bumper-sticker with the cartoon goose-"I'm a Michi-gander"

Quip du jour-"The older narcissist loved himself so much, he was dating himself."-anon (Mr Murphy's Dean Martin line fits nicely here. I underbloged this weekend,too) Edifier du jour-"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:20-21

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Wierd Namesakes-Houston Congressman Kent Bentsen (in the news nationally as a major recipient of Enron donations) is running for Phil Gramm's Senate seat, and has a decent shot, running neck-and-neck with former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk for second in the Democratic primary to go against frontrunner Victor Morales in a runoff. While doing a write-up over at my BPJ blog, I wanted to make a play on his homonym, Indiana U great (and NBA journeyman) Kent Benson and found that the Basketball Kent was running for Indiana secretary of state. He was an OK big guy for the Pistons and Bucks, but seems to be a good guy off the court. Let's see how he does in politics.

Usual Suspects Blast Friedman Plan-Both Syria and Libya are on record against the Saudi peace plan. Dr. Bashar's pulling Syria out a plan unless Palistinian refugees are allowed the right of return (In which millenium?) and Gadhafi Duck's upset about having his peace plan ignored. So much for a comprehensive settlement. Is Sharon disappointed in this news? Methinks not. Another great Reutersism-Lebanon as an "ally" of Syria. Try "Vassel State" on for size.

Quip du jour-"Don't get your mouth set for a jelly-bread sandwich until you make sure you have some jelly."-Charles Schultz (Mr. Riordan, we're out of Welch's. Care to play Simon Sez?) Edifier du jour-" I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"-John 16:33 Groaner du jour-"Coming Soon-Howard the Duck II, staring Ben Aflac." Daffynition-"Pashtuns"- New Spice Girls album.

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