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Saturday, May 11, 2002

Headship or Mutual Serventhood?-Eileen and I were reading in Ephesians 5 this morning (we try to do the same chapter each day and compare notes) which dealt in part of husband-wife relations, which is of interest to us since we're eight weeks away from our wedding date. This is not one of NOW's favorite verses. Here the part that draws more flamage than probably any part of the Bible-here's versus 21-27
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Feminists will drill in on wives submitting to their husbands and fear a bunch of little dictators. They forget that the husband is charged with maintaining a Christ-like sacrificial love for his wife. That role is that of a servant, not a dictator. The underlying theme of the Pauline epistles in regards to our relation to our fellow man is that of mutual serventhood. If you thumb forward into Ephesians 6, you'll see that parents and fathers need to serve one another, as do slaves and masters. If the husband is acting in a Christ-like manner, he will be concerned about his wife's needs and desires and sacrificially put his wife's desires first when they are honorable. Likewise, the godly wife will try to put her husband's needs first. This can lead to martyrdom fights where both parties want the other to have their way. My favorite example was in a Sally Forth strip, where Sally and daughter Hillary were both trying to let each other have the last piece of pie. Sally closed down the debate by stating "Don't try to out-martyr your mother." The trick in such a relationship is to be gracious when you do truly want some outcome more than the other person and to have a feel for when the other person really wants something but is too giving to say so. This requires developing a sense of empathy for the other person. Mutual serventhood and empathy aren't natural, they're a gift from God. The guy lacking the presence of God in their lives may become the little dictators the feminists fear, but when that servanthood is allowed to blossom, the result is far better than any secularly-compassionate Alan Alda type guy. The servant-husband might pull rank from time-to-time, but will be a more attentive husband and father than the card-carrying liberal guy. This isn't something feminists want to face, but godly guys will make better husbands if gals will let them become godly men. Its the wife's job to get the husband to love God more, so she gets more love as a result. Likewise, the husband should strive to get his wife to love God more, since he will be the first beneficiary of that extra love. Many feminists fill their part of the equation very well; they submit to their husbands and God about the same amount-not much.

I Thought Philly Was a Tough Crowd- At the French soccer championships today, the crowd booed/whistled at the national anthem. Not the Star Spangled Banner, their own anthem, le Marseillaise. President Chirac was in attendance and the game was held up as Chirac demanded an apology. I'm not sure what's more troubling, the fans or Chirac's snit. Good thing he's got his five-year term in the bag already.

Ohio Congressional Races-Patrick Ruffini wanted me to breakdown the Ohio congressional map to see what redistricting would do. The current split has 11-7 Republican and Ohio lost a seat due to the Census numbers. I'm haven't gotten my hands on any demographic data at this point, but there are some key changes that look interesting. As in many states, incumbent protection seemed to be the underlying theme. LaTourette's (R) 14th looks less spidery and a bit more secure, getting more exurban areas of Cleveland and Akron. Strickland's (D) 6th hugs the Ohio River more, grabbing Youngstown away from Trafficant's old district. This larger percentage of old factory towns looks to be incumbent-protection, as Bob Ney's (R) 18th seems to have been shored up with a bigger swath of rural territory away from the river. Three districts catch my eye even before looking at the details. Dayton's 3rd district got much more rural, about 5% extra Republican. Tony Hall (D) is not running and the open seat looks to be winnable for the Republicans. Former Dayton mayor Mike Turner(R) could grab the seat from Hall's former aid Rich Carne. Sherrod Brown's (D) 13th is an interesting district, as its one of the snaky districts that try to figure out what to do with the area just outside Cleveland. It holds the rust-belt towns of Lorain and Elyria west of Cleveland but swings down to pick up western Akron. This district is safe for Brown but would look winnable for the right Republican down the line if the politically-attractive Brown decides to run for higher office. Ed Oliveros doesn't look like the guy for the job, but watch this seat in 2004 (if Brown goes after Voivovich's senate seat) or 2006 (open Governor seat assuming Taft gets a second term or DeWine's senate seat) for a possible Republican pickup. The four-ring circus will be the new 17th, which stretches from parts of Akron through my old home turf of Kent to the rust-belt towns of Warren and Niles north of Youngstown. Democratic nominee Tim Ryan represents the Warren-Niles area on the east side of the district in the state senate while Republican nominee Ann Womer Benjamin is the state rep for Kent's Portage country towards the west of the district. I wasn't all that impressed with Benjamin while she was Kent's state rep, but she's got a way-slicker Web site than Ryan's which is still a work-in-progress. There are two big wild cards in the race. Union activist Warren Davis has filed as an independent, running largely against Tom Sawyer's pro-NAFTA stand. Huck Finn (D-Mo) voted the party line. With Sawyer out of the race, being knocked off by labor-friendly Ryan in the primary, Davis' raison d'être is gone; he may back off from the race. That still leaves Trafficant himself running as an independent. A straight Ryan-Benjamin race would look to be something like 56-44 Ryan, but if the Sultan of Special Orders can pull double digits, Benjamin could squeak in with a mid-40s plurality. The best the Democrats can hope for is the status-quo, but they could easily lose the 3rd and the 17th could get squirrely if Trafficant polls well. A 11-6 Republican split looks to be the over-and-under, with 10-7 being possible if the Democrats can hang on to the 3rd.

White Robes, Aisle 1. Brown Shirts, Aisle 2-Chris Johnson is noted for his Joseph Sobran takedowns, with the most recent surgery pointing out some hard-core anti-Israel bile. If this Jason Soon post is on the up-and-up, Sobran's slated to be a speaker at a Holocaust-deniers convention. Sobran used to be a fairly heavyweight columnist; now, he seems to have become a full-fledged crank.

Canadian Christian Broadcasting- Katheryn Lopez commented in The Corner that Canada had barred Catholic broadcaster ETWN because "material is too controversial for the Canadian government's liking." I think the problem was that the government policy since 1923 was to have a variety of programming on each station and not to have any all-Christian channel. Thus, a one-hour 700 Club or 100 Huntley Street was allowed, but not a 24-7 Christian channel like TBN or ETWN. The ban was broken down in the 90s, but Canadian content laws and simple red tape may be keeping ETWN out. Its the general concept of a Christian channel, especially an American one, that our friends to the north aren't up for. If I'm off on this, denizens of the 51st state, let me know.

Quip du jour-"May you live in interesting times."-Ancient curse Edifier du jour-"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."-Ephesians 5:1-2

Friday, May 10, 2002

Changes-Today was my last day at Hurley. I was slated to stay on until the end of June, but circumstances changed; I packed up my things today. It was a good three years down there, but I was there as a long-term contractor and the powers-that-be decided that it was time for me to leave. Things were starting to get a bit stressful in the last few months, so I won't miss the problems caused by understaffing, bureaucracy and red ink. I won't miss the hour-long commutes from Midland to Flint. I won't miss having to get up by 5:30AM to be out the door by 6 to be there at 7. I won't miss having to be to bed by about 10 or else be groggy by the end of the next day. I will miss making things better at the hospital, automating their Medicare reconciliation system and coming up with new databases. I'll miss Tina's guarded joyfulness, Louise and Marcia's surrogate auntness (is there a world for auntness like avuncular is for uncle-ness) and shooting the bull on theology and basketball with Tiaras. I'll miss the kindness of the Patient Billing crew on the 4th floor, like Laurinda, Gerry and Lynn. I'll miss finding a missing detail that means bringing in the hospital thousands of dollars. However, new joys await me of teaching people about finance, economics and be able to teach them about God as well without looking over my shoulder. I'll also have they joy of being Professor Byron, the job I have longed for since I was a child, to do my double-masters-degree dad one better and get a Ph.D. and be a college professor rather than just a high school teacher. I'll have the flextime that I often crave when either my health or my emotions call for a put-in-the-minimum day. I'll have great weather and a loving wife to share the experience with. The change in plans was abrupt at the end of the week, so I was worried at first of what I'd do with myself (other than blog like crazy) for eight weeks until the wedding. However, things came through down in Florida, and I'll likely (details Monday) be picking up a Business Writing class to teach in June at Warner Southern. I'll then come back briefly to Midland to get married July 6 and pack up the remainder of our stuff and bring my lovely bride down to Florida in time to start a Management Information Systems class on July 13th. While teaching in June, I plan to find housing for us, so that there will be one less thing on our to-do list after the wedding. Also, I'll be able to get used to the stores and churches in the area, so that at least one of us knows their way around town. Thus, I'll have lots of free time to prep for classes and blog (hopefully in that order) the next three weeks until my class starts. More flextime means more crunchy goodness coming from this sector. God is good!

Workplace Melodrama-One of the databases I work with will give a message "THERE IS NO NEXT PAGE" when you try to page down when you're at the bottom of a report. Every time I get that message, I'm picturing some thriller where the heroes are getting data in a hurry
"What's the next page say?" "There is no next page!" "What do we do now?"
This ranks up with incessant mental punning on patient names as one of the minor joys of working with medical records databases.

The Check-Out Lane Bryan Preston has a good post on pocket universes, and why scientists want them as a way around the Big Bang and the need for a First Cause (a.k.a. God). Emily Stimpson has an interesting history of priestly celibacy in three parts (One, deux, three) You've likely seen this one already, but I'll put in a plug for Lileks' takedown on the UN's Israel bashing. Rob Dreher has a good review of Fortuyn's philosophy and the hyperbolic adjectives the media has sloppily (or maliciously) applied to it.

Good Times and Bad Times-Anthony Woodlief has a good essay on Wednesday on the question of faith and strugling through the bad times. I've had my share of depression and harder times in my life, but I always stood on the idea that God was allowing this to happen and that I'd be a better person for the stuggles. There's the ongoing question of theodicy, of why God allows evil to happen. However, I see enough good, enough joy to feel that there is a valid reason for it all. I'm currently in a near-dream streatch, where I've found the right job and the right lady and a nice, warm place to live. Things are a bit frustrating at the moment, as winding down my present job is stressful, but I can see down the line past the 35 remaining days of work to a brighter future. The stress of getting the wedding details done is near its conclusion, as we're down to some small details, like what to serve at the reception and putting addresses on the invitations. I now have the added stressor of starting teaching on July 13, a week after the wedding, as they swapped an undegrad finance class for a MBA MIS class that starts two weeks earlier. We're now slated to leave for Florida on the 8th, get there on the 9th and then combine apartment hunting, getting use to a new town and a new wife with final prepping for this MIS class and moving into a new office. If I can get to July 20th or so without going insane, I can only give God the glory.

Edifier du jour-"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."-Ephesians 4:31-32

Thursday, May 09, 2002

2007 Naïveté?-Yes, the 2007 future history for the Middle East is rather optimistic but hopefully not naive, as Louder rightly questions. Let me break down things on a country-by-country basis. Iran- Many people think it is but a matter of time before the mullahs are pushed from power. I made up a mythical reformist newspaper to be the focal point of the overthrow, but I think that some misstep by the mullahs will cause a counter-revolution. Democracy will thrive there if given a chance. Iraq- It had a functioning democracy before the Baathists took over in 1958. I think that a mild-mannered democracy can take root there if the Baathists are removed, either by popular uprising or via invasion. I think invasion is more likely to be successful and moving sometime this fall/winter would make sense. You'd rather not be messing with an invasion in the summer, so a October-November kickoff would be possible. . Arabia I think that there will be a domino effect, as happened in Eastern Europe in 89-90, if Iran and Iraq have functioning democracies. It won't be easy, but the cadre of American-educated Saudi intelegencia could be brought to see that democracy will work there as well. Right next door, Bahrain's having their own elections today. I think that there will be a move to a more theocratic rule in the next few years under Prince Abdullah, which will help to bring out the shortcomings of the current system, especially if they try an oil embargo and cut the income of the country. The embargo could work in reverse, if they are persona non grata for their support of terrorism. A friendly Iran and Iraq could crank up production and allow us to blockade Arabia and starve the Saudis into submission. Palestine- Here's the kicker-will there be a moderate leadership in Palestine after a few years of non-nonsense warfare inflicted by a hawkish Likud-led government? If there is, then a 80%-of-West-Bank Palestinian state would make sense to both sides. This is where you can rightly question whether I majored in PoliSci or Pollyanna at CMU. Arafat will not be the man to lead this new Palestine, but I'm looking to see a West Bank Sadat emerge who will see that they will not in the war against the Israelis in their lifetimes. A so-so peace and autonomy beats the heck out of intifada without end. Of course, Sadat got rubbed out by militants, so my analogy might be a bit strained. There's two viable long-term solutions to the West Bank-ethnic cleansing or a autonomous, demilitarized, functional Palestine allowing Israel to live behind defendable borders. If there isn't a moderate leadership to lead such a country, then we could see echoes of Joshua and Saul turning the enemy's towns into parking lots. My head says that we're looking at an Endless Intifada, but my gut says that there will be a moderate leadership after the yahoos are largely killed off by the IDF. Chancellor Stoiber is referring to Edmund Stoiber, the Christian Democrat leader in Germany, who I expect to be elected Chancellor (Prime Minister) later this year. I'm picturing some Islamic type assassinating him or some other key conservative European leader.

Stanley Steams Connecticut Congressman-Stanley Works, the hadrware-maker, just voted to move its corporate headquarers to Bermuda as a tax-saving measure. Congressman James Maloney compaired the flight of Stanley to the flight of Benedict Arnold, who fled to Bermuda after handing West Point over to the British.If this were Lockeed-Martin selling plans for the next Steath Fighter to Osama and then moving the corporate headquarters to Yemen, I could see making the analogy. Fancy financial footwork doesn't equal being a traitor. What this points out is that our tax rates could be lower, and Stanley decided to vote with its feet to a lower-tax country. While he sees a Benedict Arnold in Stanley, I see an Erich Honecker in Maloney and other politicians who want to put a Berlin Wall up to keep people and corporations trapped in high-tax locals. Well, at least Maloney doesn't has the Stasi to shoot the fleeing millionaires as they try leave the country.

Interesting pictures of a robot bomb-detenator checking over the Veteran Suicide Bomber from ealier this week

2007-Licenced to Thrill-Bryan Preston’s post of late Tuesday prompted me to do some long range prognosticating as he wondered how the events of 2001/02 will play out in the months and years to come. I’ll be posting a series of future histories in the style of blog posts in May 2007. Assad’s Days are Numbered- As the Middle East’s last main holdout from democracy, the hold on power of Bashar Assad the looks increasingly tenuous. With the front page filled with reporting on the convening of the first Parliament meeting in Riyadh and the polls showing the Democratic Reform party holding onto the Republic of Iran’s lower house despite a stronger-than-expected showing by the clerical parties, it makes the autocratic rule from Damascus seem so 20th century. It’s worth remembering that back at 9/11/01, none of the Islamic countries of the Middle East had a functioning democracy. Of course, the process started with Ramadan War getting rid of Saddam in December 2002, installing the new Republic. Despite the rhetoric of the revitalized Baathist party, the latest Abdul-Fox News poll shows that 83 percent of Iraqis think the country is better off now than it was before the Ramadan War four-and-a-half years ago. The Saddamistas talk a good game, but their 23% showing in that same poll shows that the people support the INP and that the Iraqi public doesn’t see them as lackeys of the West. How could we not talk about the history of democracy in the Middle East without Abdul and what they meant to the history of the region. When the mullahs tried to shut down the paper and arrest the editors in February of 2003, the resulting Abdul Revolution kicked the mullahs out of power and brought the Democratic Reform movement to power. Khatami’s been griping ever since that they’ve gone too far and that the Islam they practice is too watered-down, but he’s not yet resigned to the fact that he’s the Gorby of Iran, having shown the need for reform but not having the chutzpah to finish the job. The fact that Andrew Sullivan and Abdul aren’t on the same page isn’t news; the basic morality of their editorials has showed the Islamic world that democracy and a devout Islam can mesh. With a flourishing democracy in Iran, Iraq and Jordan (they stay out of the news, so King Abdullah's deft hand in setting up a constitutional monarchy gets ignored), the Saudis had no choice but to establish a constitutional monarchy as well in 2005. There were too many Saudis reading Abdul on the Web and watching Al Jazzera on the dish and too many new democrats going on the Haj talking up democracy to their Saudi hosts to allow them to keep the old theocratic monarchy. The hyper-theocratic phase they went through in 2003-5 was hard to watch. Finally, the food protests of 2005 forced a change in regime. Yes, we still have to keep an eye on those pockets of irredentist Wahhabists in Yemen, Sudan and Somalia, but the old al Qaeda bunch is on the run. We haven’t heard from Osama in four years. The joke of his body being buried in the cornerstone of the new Abdul Tower in Tehran, like the never-found body of Jimmy Hoffa being under the grandstands in the Meadowlands is fitting, since that brand of house-broken, democratic Islam helped do militant Islam in. Not that Islamic terror has gone away entirely. Hamas still manages a autoboomer every quarter or so, and the sight looking down from the Washington Monument at the hazmat teams cleaning up the radioactivity on Capital Hill and the Mall reminds us that the job’s not done. However, the temporary Capital building in Tyson Corners is a testimony to the resiliency of American democracy. We’ve lost a few battles on the War on Terror, like the Capital Dirty Bomb, the Orlando Ebola bioattack (I lost two friends from church from that, so I’m still not in a forgiving mood) and the assassination of Chancellor Stoiber. However, the war that President Bush started six years ago is being won slowly but surely. It’s odd to talk about the Middle East and go this far in without talking about Israel and Palestine. The new Palestinian government’s got its hands full keeping the Hamas and al Asqa crew under wraps. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s got his hands full handling border clashes in the north and working with the Palestinian government on joint security issues. This new election coming up’s a pain, but Shas will get theirs at the polls. Walking out of the government just because Likud insisted in holding the line on the education budget was stoopid. Bibi’s pulled multiple rabbits out of hats the last four years, defeating Arafat and the Fatah and Hamas to the point that a Palestinian moderate class that was brow-beat into saying “No Mas! No Mas!” He’s also done good things with the Israeli economy, trimming government and helping the new biocomputing industry to take off. After two-years of hard-nosed, often ruthless, fighting in the West Bank and Gaza, the Basra Accords set up the Palestinian Republic. The Euroweenies still complain that the 82% of the West Bank wasn’t enough, but the borders have given security to Israel while giving the Palestinians a place to call their own. It will take a few election cycles for the Palestinians to be comfortable in their new skin and fend off the siren song of the irredentist. The Jericho uprising of last year shows that the job isn’t done yet, but after two years of democratic rule, things are looking a lot better than we ever would of thought five years ago when the Autoboomer War started. Posted May 10, 2007, 9:05AM

Quip du jour-"Power is the greatest aphrodisiac of all."-Henry Kissinger Edifier du jour-Ephesians 3:16-21
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Front Page Haiku Chelsea, Sex Symbol? Gen Y can do better than Big He's little girl.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

The Path to Tomorrow?-Bryan Preston has a keeper from late yesterday, "The Staggering Gods," where he's having trouble taking it all in
Truth is, I'm having a very hard time making any sense, or finding any meaning, in anything lately. I just have a sense, not really of dread or doom, but a sense, very real, that we're on the edge of a momentous time. As I look at the world around me I see a rising tide of chaos unlike anything I've ever seen before. And a quick study of history delivers no parallels--everything, every nation, every institution, seems to be staggered as though surprised by a heavy blow.
I recall one blogger citing a line from the Babylon 5 Shaddow War season-"The Year Everything Changed." There is a whole lotta geopolitical shakin' going on. I've got more in my brain on this line of thought than I can crank out this evening. See you bright and early tomorrow.

No One Expects the Sociopath-I was reading this Natalie piece on how normal Fortuyn's appearant killer was. Don't most sociopaths look normal on the outside? I remember Stefan, one of the technicians at my computer store I used to run. A very mild-mannered, unassuming guy with a very dark sence of humor. I remember saying something to the effect of. "You don't seem to be the type to act on that, but ... most serial killers are quiet and unassuming types." Stefan retorts-"He was such a nice young man...."

Yes, We Now Have a Veteran Suicide Bomber- As I had heard this morning, the Megiddo Junction autoboomer was "seriously injured" but not dead. It looks like the Israelis are heading into Gaza as their next gambit, moving troops in that direction as the cabinet met to figure out the next move. Don't the autoboomers hit synagogues or apartment complexes? They hit a poolhall and illegal casino this time. It continues to be safer being a devout Jew rather than one who enjoys the secular nightlife.

Tom Sawyer slipped a Mickey Finn in Primary-There were primaries in Indiana and Ohio yesterday. Indiana's races held form, as Mark Souder fended off a challange for the left by Paul Helmkeand longtime incumbant Republican Steve Buyer beat freshman Brian Kerns in a dual-incumbant primary. Ohio's primary saw Akron congressman Tom Sawyer (my congressman when I lived in Ohio) get beat in the Democratic primary by state senator Tim Ryan. The new district merged Sawyer's Akron base with Warren north of Youngstown, leaving Sawyer with more of Trafficant's old district than his own. Warren-based Ryan was able to run against Sawyer's support of NAFTA. A four-way race with Trafficant and union activist Warren Davis running as independants could make for a very squirrely race.

Dangers of blogging at work-The copy buffer didn't clear like it should, and I just got "most recently busted, IIRC, at a Vieques protest" pasted into the patient number field (and about 6 fields after it). Oh well. 36 work days to go, praise!

Glossy Sheen-This is cute, Martin Sheen stumping for Reno in my soon-to-be-adopted (62 days and counting) home state. He's identified as an "actor and activist." Not "liberal activist" , not even "progressive activist" for the resident civil disobedience expert (most recently busted, IIRC, at a Vieques protest) amongst the Tinseltown Trotskyites. But this is the WaPo, liberals don't get labeled.

A Eulogy for Batch-I was reminded of this when someone got here with a Google on ("Charlie Batch" "June 1"), June 1 being the magic capology date where you can cut someone and have the remainder of any unamortized signing bonus for future years deferred until next year . Nothing against Batch personally, he seems to be a decent guy, but he gets hurt too often and was ineffective when he was healthy. He had one of the better rookie seasons statistically of any QB, but went downhill from there. McMahon and Joey Harrington (I'm going to call him Joey Heatherton at least once, I know it) should keep the Lions in good stead at QB with Ty Detmer in the house as a tolerable vet if McMahon gets hurt and Harrington's not quite ready. It's time for Batch to move on and start anew elsewhere. Godspeed, Charlie. P.S.- While I'm on weird Google hits, what would someone want with "General Patton Enema?" I've gotten plenty of Googles looking for naughty pictures of girls in countries in the news, but really! The other weird one was Fortuyn Antichrist, which I did have in the same paragraph. Nope, the bullet took.

More Than One Streaker in the EU- I saw someone in blogdom [Doug Turnbull via Papa Blog] refer to this proposed EU flag as looking like a bar code. I thought they were joking. They wern't. There were thus two streakers in the Eurpoean news today, the poor fool who came up with this flag with the vertical streaks made up of the bars of the various flags and the idiot who showed his shortcomings to the queen.

An End to Terror-Not!-So, for the nth time, Yasser "King Canute" Arafat has called for a halt to "all terrorist operations". No word as to whether Yasser has called for an end to the armed struggle against Zionist oppression (which we all know is not terrorism, right?).

A Meditation of Depression and Drugs-Yesterday, in my commentary on the WaPo piece on anti-depressant's effectiveness being largely (if not totally) a placebo effect, I mused "whether it's better to tell them that their drugs aren't worth taking and ruin the placebo effect or to be honest/frank about what I've found. " Jason Steffens gently calls me to task on this
I wonder if you could be honest about it, and by doing so help them realize that they can escape depression on their own. And then that they could do it a lot better if they would ask for God's help.
I escaped depression on my own, as the problems I had as a teenager and young adult weren't a chemical imbalance but a lack of God in my life. There are some people who do need medication to correct some flawed body chemistry but there are many others for whom drugs aren't the answer. Drugs are cheaper than therapy for the insurance industry, so they tend to be overprescribed. Drugs are also "easier" to deal with for the individual than facing the problems in life head on. In a depressed Christian’s case, we have the Holy Spirit's help to get us through these things; it's what got me out of a dozen-year funk. However, there was a lot of heavy sledding and tears to get be out of that slop into a productive life. I have, when I think about it, lots of friends who need to face some things in their pasts, but facing them down with God's help should allow them to get past their emotional problems. Recognizing the causes and forgiving and moving on is painful but needed. I'm hesitant to talk about it because I'm not a psychiatrist, just a smart guy who knows enough psychology to be dangerous. I don't want to take them off their meds if it truly helps in their case, but I also think that the numbing side-effects of many of the anti-depressants can be blocking them from a more joyful life while it numbs the pain of past traumas. I'm struggling to figure out the best approach to help without driving them away.

Veteran Suicide Bomber?-Don't have a link to confirm this, but there was a botched second autobooming late yesterday in Israel, and radio reports had the bomber surviving his bomb going off.

Gothic Tale in the Heartland-I don't know quite what to think about Pipe Bomb Boy. This kid reminds me of the a cross between McVeigh and the Columbine killers, anti-establishment rage with a double dose of nihilism.

Bad Boys Boom Bus in Karachi-This won't make Pervy's day. 12 people, 10 of them French construction workers, were killed in Karachi, Pakistan. The French were working at a submarine-building facility. Local fundi goons? It could be an Indian thing, given the submarine angle, but I think not. The fern'ner angle trumps the strategic preemption angle.

Quip du jour- [Added 1:15PM]-"It's my way of atoning for my bachelor life, when I lived in such filth that my laundry basket became sentient once or twice a year and started to drag itself towards the door."-James Lileks (Had blogger's block this morning on this front, the Bleat delivereth) Edifier du jour-"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."-Ephesians 2:8-10

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Fan, Meet Manure. Manure, This is Fan-Just saw part of the Sharon press conference. Can you say Pee-Ohed, boys and girls? If the last month's attacks didn't help, then it might be time for them to start more vigerouysly attacking the sourses of terror, to take out the PA in its entirety. This could start a Middle-East war. I'm thinking through some sub-scenerios. • If the IDF moves to destroy the PA and Hamas, would Hizbullah and the Syrians wind up starting a second front in the north? Probably . • Would Iraq decide to throw whatever WMDs it has up its sleeve at Israel? Depends on what side of the bed Sadaam woke up on. • Would the Saudis come to the military aid of the Palestinians, bring the US into the war on the side of the Israelis? That would be a erotic fantacy of quite a few warbloggers, but the Saudis aren't that stoopid. Or are they? • Will Iran and Egypt stay on the sidelines? Yep. At this point, things will get ugly, but as long as the IDF stays within the West Bank and Gaza (with a possible few attacks to the north in the Syrians get frisky), I don't see The Big One coming out of this. But some big move is coming, with an intensity about seven times that of what we've seen in the days past. This time, there will be IDF bombing runs on PA and Hamas strongholds, being fought as a war and not a police action. I hope that I'm wrong, but that's what I'm seeing.

I don't want to read too much into the fact that a Petanazi was the assassin of Fortuyn. However, that gives us a number of tangents that we didn't have yesterday at this time. • The demonization of animal rights activists/militant greens. This might give more cause to look at the Earth Liberation Front-type wackos as well as their fellow travelers. • The left has a black eye from this and doesn't control the moral high ground. Who's the fascist, Fortuyn or the assassin? • It give a black eye to gun control activists, since we have had mass-murder shootings before this in Germany and France. This might help bring some on the left to think again about guns as a way to stop crime. Since gays do have to fend off some hostility from time to time, having a larger "Pink Pistol" motif, not just of homosexuals but of liberal women and other people that could come to a new insight on crime.

Nice Terry Pluto piece on OSU spring football. Good news for us Michigan and MSU people- neither of the QBs there were impressive. Bad News- the QB of the future (and Pluto's got a decent eye for such things), Justin Zwick, will be hitting campus this fall, good enough where the kid may not redshirt.

This is a decent piece on Teen Mania Ministries. (Thanks to Bloggedy blog for the links) I've not been to any of there events personally, but my sister's chaperoned youth groups from her church down to their Acquire the Fire events at the Silverdome which seem to be good avenues for teens to soak in some good teaching and praise in a GenY-friendly enviroment.

For you American Mind arrivals, the article on European politics from last night's here.

Poolhall Bomber Racks Up 15 Israelis-Israel, this is your country. This is your country when you play nice with terrorists. Any questions?

Having a Cow Over Abstinence-Interesting piece on the Ugandan tribal kingdom of Buganda where they are rewarding abstinance by providing goods (cows, appliances) to youths who stay virgins. It might be hard to prove whether people are breaking their word, but this Buganda bunch might be on to something.

Carlisle Coach of the Year- Rookie Pistons coach Rick Carlisle won coach of the year honors today. They could of gone with Byron Scott, but they decided to go with Carlisle, who didn't have Jason Kidd and Keith Van Horn to work with, just Stackhouse and a lot of good role players.

Our Saudi Buddies-One of the highlights of Sharon's goodie box of evidence on Palestinian terror is some evidence showing the Saudis actively funding the intifada and the autoboomers, not just the innocent victims of the war as they would like to have the world believe. At what point do we declare them and (gulp) their oil persona non grata? Do we wait to see similar paperwork that they were actively behind al Qaeda? It will be interesting to see where the Europeans start to come down on this and if this changes their pro-Arab slant. Interesting times.

Scoring in the Red Zone- I was all set to rip into Krugman's latest fertilizer delivery but the muse wasn't there this morning, so I waited for someone to lay blogfire on Kruggie's takedown of Red Stateland. Once again we see why no one gets out the gasmask and rubber gloves and goes through through a steaming pile quite like resident fecesologist Chris Johnson, although Susanna Cornett's getting there.

James Miller was riffing on this NYT piece on the Convention on Biological Diversity pointing out that the genetics of a country's wildlife belongs to the country, not to the person finding it. If MegaCorp makes a discovery based on a rainforest flower in Parador, how much of a cut should Parador get? The treaty seems to treat the genetics of a country's wildlife as a saleable natural resourse that could be handled in a manner not unlike that of mineral rights. If people take issue with MegaCorp's "bioprospecting" in the wilds of Parador, then could Parador issue a bioprospecting licence? If you don't want gold miners trashing the mountainside, don't issue mining permits to look on government land. If Parador doesn't want MegaCorp and World Wide Widget stomping through the backwoods, don't give 'em licences. The genome isn't that much different from oil or gold deposits since they are no new gold or oil deposits being made either. If this weren't a power grap looking to give small Latin-American countries a way to get into the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry, I'd be more inclined to back it, but applying a mineral-rights paradigm to bioprospecting isn't as screwy as it sounds to a free-marketeer's ears.

Prozac and Conzac-There's been a lot of talk in the last few years about the lack of effectiveness of anti-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft, and this WaPo piece brought it back to mind. This piece tries to point out that the drugs may be simply working on a placebo effect, that merely the idea that you're getting cared for and getting "good drugs" is helpful in and of itself. Given the side-effects of the anti-depressants, might it better to find a way to get that placebo effect without giving the drugs? It isn't ethical to give someone a sugar pill and say they're getting treated, but it appears that it would be in the patient's best interest to be so conned. [Update-Great minds think alike-James Miller was on that wave earlier this morning] Since individuals and companies pay a pretty penny for these poorly-performing pharmaceuticals, there well may be a move to limit the proscribing of such drugs. I have friends who are on this class of anti-depressants and wonder whether it's better to tell them that their drugs aren't worth taking and ruin the placebo effect or to be honest/frank about what I've found.

Quip du jour-"Those who resort to violence have already lost the argument."-anon(?) Edifier du jour-"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."-Galatians 1:10 Front Page Haiku Political hit What they can't do with ballots, they do with bullets

Monday, May 06, 2002

Politics and Nationalism in Europe-I'm still digesting the news of the last 30 hours, of the Chirac whupping of Le Pen and the assassination of Fortuyn. Early information is pointing to a native-Dutch killer of Fortuyn, which will soften the blow. Even so, Fotruyn backers were in an ugly mood, doing a good chunk of rioting tonight. There are a lot of underlying issues that have just begun to truly pop up on the political radar in Europe that the main parties and the elites have wished away until now. The first that has come to light is that of immigration and assimilation of immigrants. With a low birth rate, Europe needs to have a large number of young people come in to make up for the birth dearth. Europe doesn't have a tradition of being a place of immigration so there is no Lady Liberty "Give me your tired, your poor ..." ethic to counteract the siren song of nativism. A stagnant economy due in part to a more socialist economic system will leave the children of immigrants feeling left out and the children of natives feeling that the immigrants are getting all the jobs and draining their tax money. Just like the KKK and other white-power groups target poor whites, poor natives are targets for the nativists and the more ugly neo-fascist groups. A large majority of the European immigrants are from Islamic countries and they have been slow to assimilate into their new countries, unlike the nominally Catholic Latinos and the spiritually unthreatening Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants that make up the core of American immigration. It isn't so much a Christian-Islam fight but a Islam-secular fight. Foruyn was bashing Islam not in the name of Christianity but in the name of Dutch secularism. French battles to ban Islamic dress in schools is also an effort to enforce secularism. Immigration isn't the only problem in Europe. European centralization is a problem that the elite leadership doesn't want to talk about. Many people want to move away from a centralized Europe and may look to Euroskeptic parties to get their voice heard. Le Pen and Haider play to this localist sentiment while the general trend on the continent is towards more centralization. These parties can also rail against high tax rates, pointing out that even the main "conservative" parties are more economically liberal than the American Democrats. Fotruyn was more Jesse Ventura than Jesse Helms, using a similar bare-knuckle libertarianism to get things rolling. A party that wants to cut taxes, scale back the reach of the EU and focus on better assimilating existing immigrants and slowing down the acquisition of new immigrants will have a big spot in the political ecology. This can be done without going the route of the bigot. The Tories are close to picking up this mantle, as are the Christian Democrats in Germany under Edmund Stoiber. In France, the main parties haven't gotten the message of the mad-as-hell right quite yet. If the successor to Le Pen had a bit less bigot in him, they could compete with the Gaulist RPF for a spot in the run-offs on a more regular basis. If the RPF is smart, they will lean to the right and play to the Le Pen vote with a more skeptical view of Europe and a bit tighter view on immigration and assimilation, doing an analog what the Republican party in the US did in the 70s to woo the Wallace vote by stressing law-and-order and being against black militancy without being significantly racist. The fun part will be watching the proportional representation countries and how new coalition governments will take shape. A strong nativist/nationalist party that gets 15-20% of the vote could force the center-right party to choose between them or the local center-left social democrats as their main partner in government. This is a unstated motive in the left's bashing of people like Haider. If the nationalists are persona non grata, then you're left with a center-left grand coalition of continued big government. In Austria, Haider's Freedom Party got 28%(IIRC), making a center-left coalition hard to pull off and leading to them becoming part of the government. The Fortuyn party might play a similar role, with the left's cries of intolerance being muted by the gunshots of their own guys.

Fortuyn the Martyr-Pray that a native-Dutch lefty did the deed, because if, as Rob Dreher intones, this may set off an earthquake of anti-immigrant sentiment if it was a Islamic immigrant (or a son of one) who did the killing. This could sway the upcoming Dutch elections to the Fortuyn block, give the Christian Democrats (running on a tougher-on-immigrants platform if memory serves) a boost in Germany and possibly help the Front National (Le Penists) in France's legislature elections coming up later this spring. Yes, do keep an eye on the investigation on this one and its fallout. Added thought-the Jean Carnahan angle doesn't quite work. A downside of Fortuyn being homosexual is that there isn't a widdow to carry the banner of the slain husband.

Looks like Fortuyn's dead. The PM has confirmed it as per this BBC piece.

Kevin James has a good post on the Fortuyn shooting (haven't seen a firm piece to confirm his death), noting that calling him a fascist may have shown where "character assassination can incite the more deadly kind." Enjoy the traffic, Kevin, Papa Blog just linked to it, but I clicked in directly (honest!) a bit earlier and headed over to Instapundit to see what else was up in the blogosphere on Fortuyn.

Sniggering Sniglets- Natalie coins a good sniglet/neologism for European nativism-"Le Penism."

Weird Eschatology Thought-Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, a gay libertarian nativist (that's a mouthful) just got shot in the head. What if this guy survives? A standard part of the pre-millennialist timeline is the Antichrist surviving a head shot, if I remember correctly.[Yep--Revelation 13:3] If he survives, the prophesy folks will have a field day. You heard it here first. If he doesn't survive, he'll be a martyr to the nativist cause in Europe, and a very weird one at that.

Allah versus Generic God-Nice National Post piece on comparative religion scholar Huston Smith, whose book I had for a long time after we used it in my Philosophy of Religion (actually more of a comparative religion class) class at Delta College in 1980. He was even on campus in that winter term talking about Islam when that had become a hot topic given the Iranian revolution and the embassy hostage crisis of the time. However, Smith's not quite right on this thought
"Ages of religious wars where people fought over doctrine are past," says Smith. "Today religion enters by providing the identity for each side in the conflict. But after doing that, the causes for the conflict are not religious, they are historical. They take the form of 'the bad things you have done to us, and we are going to get revenge for that' or 'people of our religious faith do not get fair treatment in the political situation we are in.'"
Smith's right in that many of the wars (Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia) that look to be religious are frequently us-versus-them. The different sides are marked by different religions but the conflict has become tribal rather than spiritual. Many, but not all. I think that there's a large theological component to the al Qaeda movement that goes beyond general dislike of the West and scapegoating of the West as the reason for Islamic backwardness and impotence. This is something that Western leaders don't like to talk about as they don't want this to be seen as a Christianity-versus-Islam death-cage match. From the Western perspective, it takes on a semi-religious element in that it is the small-l liberal democracy that the Wahhabites are rejecting and that westerners of all theological bents hold dear. However, there are Biblical principals of individual value and a personal God that underlie our philosophy. The Declaration of Independence, written by deist-leaning Thomas Jefferson, recognizes that a capital-C Creator endowed us with inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Secular writers will stress the Enlightenment nature of the founding of this country, but Christian thought was an equally-potent part of the foundation. Without the Enlightenment values, you get a harsh theocracy. Without the moral tug of Christian values, you get a brutal dictatorship of the masses as in Jacobite France. It's an awkward dance between the two visions, as secularists will chafe at the moral strings attached to the American Bargain, and the more spiritual will chafe at having to allow the heathens to hold their beliefs and to allow the government to run with only a modest amount of moral suasion on the public. This makes calling this fight between the West and the Wahhabites religious in a quirky way, as Christian values have percolated into our secular culture in ways that aren't seen as being religious. The Kingdom Now crowd (and quite a few less flaky Christians) derides the God of civil religion as being too generic and not Biblical enough. However, it is an unifying force to American culture to agree that God's part of the picture while allowing individuals to fill in the blanks in that generic God trotted out in times of national distress, such as after 9-11. Purists will have to stifle a gag reflex when Oprah presides over a gathering of every religion under the sun "praying to the same God," but that generic God helps keep us from heading into a sniping match on the issue. Ignoring God isn't acceptable, but getting to a specific vision of God in those settings defeats the purpose. Once we separate into our own houses of worship, we then address how the Real God we worship looks at the details. By definition, the generic God is not something we can live for, but something we can live with collectively. We will fight over how much (and which) morals we put into our laws, but only the militant secularists will argue that we have nothing to learn or add from our religious faiths that will enlighten the law-making process. The problem with our constitution democracy is that no one will be real happy with the generic morality and generic God of the civic religion. It takes a bit of political and intellectual maturity to know that if there was a non-generic religion put in charge, it probably wouldn't be mine. It makes things run much smoother if we have a more generic God than a specific one in the civic space, since most of us will get the short end of the stick if a particular one comes out on top. One of the problems with a theocracy is that power flows from the priests, thus the power-hungry look to become priests. The priesthood (or whatever title the theocrats take) becomes less and less spiritual and more and more political. One doesn't keep the church from running the country to save the country as much as it is to save the church. We need the church to speak truth to power, but the church can get in trouble if it is the only game in town. The problem with the Wahhabi world-view (and the Restorationsts and the Kingdom Now crew) is that the insist on a particular definition of God to drive the system. They want to have a particular vision of Allah be put in charge, one that all but a handful of Muslims in the US or Europe would be comfortable living under. It is the generic God of our civic culture, the God of the Golden Rule, that Osama's boys have to fight. That's why Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics and even most Muslims will rally around the American system rather than put up with a very specific take on Allah to be in charge. We are defending a God, but a rather odd one. In an ideal world, Jesus will be in charge running the place as a benevolent dictator. At that time, we'll have a Real God in charge of the system, as there will be no civil religion but just the worship of the Real God. In the meantime, we're better off with a more generic God presiding over the political system.

Addicted to Spudlets?-Marc Velazquez has his new blog, Spudlets, up. He's one of the few Pentecostal bloggers I know of besides my Bapticostal Bad Self. He had e-mailed me last month (flattering when that happens) on advice on starting up a blog and has taken the plunge. Good work so far, even before he started heaping too much praise on my celibacy post. Between all the new blogs that Martin Roth has led me too and the growing number and quality of Catholic blogs, my Augie Doggie folder's gotten cramped.

PC Hits Hundred-Acre Wood-Poohpundit has talked about all of the key denizens of the Hundred Acre Wood except the "Critter that Dare Not Speak His Name"- Tigger. There, I've said it! TIGGER! I know that one can get in trouble for using the word these days, but aren't blogs supposed to be call it as it is and not sugarcoat things. There was a day when Tigger was an acceptable word, as the given name of a proud, energetic feline in the HAW. Then, it fell into disrepute, as teachers, administrators and child psychologists used it to describe hyperactive children. Being called a "uppity Tigger" was a sure sign a regime of Ritalin was soon to come. As the years went by, social activists then moved to ban the word from polite vocabulary as a slur on the hyperactive. Then, us fellow hyperactives started to apply it to ourselves, turning the slur into a badge of honor-"That's one wired Tigger" or "Jason Williams in Memphis is one loco Tigger." Say it loud. We're Tiggers, and we're proud!

Quip du jour-"Sometimes the best trade is the one you don't make."-Anon(?) Edifier du jour-"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1-2

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Yes, it Was a Bad Rough Draft-That earlier AP report may have been premature Palestinian spin. A deal is being worked on, but it may not be quite that one. That seemed a bit too good for the Palestinians

More Fun than Blogs? -John Ellis just knocked down productivity amongst bloggers by a few percent by posting this MiniGolf game, a good web-based game that takes me back to my Grandpa Kraenzlein and all-you-can-putt Mondays at the Putt-Putt courses in Bay City.

Add This to the California Politics Database-I haven't seen this hit the national news yet, but Rand Simberg is all over a policy-for-cash scandal in California, most notably with Oracle getting a nice state contract and giving a 25K campaign contribution to Gov. Davis as an apparent pro quo. I second the emotion of this Simberg fan of being happy to see Samurai Larry go down with Davis.

US-India Military Alliance?-News came out earlier today that the US will be running a joint military exercise with India later this week in northern India near Agra. The exercise is being called Balance Iroquois; that's a nice touch to give it an Indian name. For the US, this could be useful down the line if Pakistan gets unfriendly. Right now, Musharraf is in control, but for how long? Right now, he's somewhat helpful, but for how long? Northern Pakistan is becoming the hiding spot of choice for the al Qaida boys, and keeping another friend handy if a future Pakistani government gets nasty or uncooperative. Pakistan after Musharraf would more likely be a hostile Islamic government, with a ISI-al Qaeda coalition not unlike Taliban-era Afghanistan, than a liberal democracy. In that case, the ongoing WW4 would have a US-India tag team against Pakistan-al Qaeda. For the Indians, especially the BJP, having the US in their corner is a good bet. With a half-century plus of bad blood with Pakistan to the west, a less-than-chummy China to the north, a potentially explosive Burma to the far east and a growing Maoist rebellion in Nepal that wants to grow beyond Nepal, the Indians need all the friends they can get. The BJP doesn't have the socialist anti-American baggage that the Congress Party has and thus can look at the relationship with a fresh take. As long as the VHP thugs don't start killing local Christians wholesale and create an anti-Hindu backlash in American politics, then the US-Indian courtship should go forward without too many hitches.

Chirac 82-Le Pen 18 The stay-at-homes came out to vote for Chriac, as Le Pen got but an extra percent from his first-round total. The left had the common sence to "vote for the crook, not the fascist." We can stop the hand-wringing about Le Pen and look at the elections for the legislature next month. Le Pen got into the second round via a fractured left. People may feel freer to vote FN (Le Pen's party) in the legislative elections since they won't be voting for the one guy who'll be running the country. The big question in my mind is whether the left can unite sufficiently to avoid having the FN sneak into second in a lot of districts.

The Israelis blinked- Looks like the gunnies in the Church of the Nativity got off the hook. This AP report says that 30 will be sent to Gaza and 6 sent to Italy, with the remainder free to go. I hope that's just a bad rough draft.

American Christian Hegemony?-First-my congratulations to Martin Roth for the unbelivable sucess he's had in the month he's been at it. He just got a favorable link from US News' PC-buster John Leo ( as solid a blogging article as I've seen from a mainstreamer) as well as his Instapundit links. I thought he was being a bit pushy with his active e-mailing of fellow bloggers, but it sure has worked, and I ask forgiveness for the mild jelousy I'm feeling. Martin's post of today (get a way to link items, mate!) bemoaned the fact that there are so few Australian books and CDs on the shelves at his local Christan bookstore. I'm posit two possibilities. First, most Christian writing is fairly universal, so that the modest difference between American and Australian culture won't significantly affect the readability of books or the lyrics of CDs. There aren't too many cultural or political markers in American Christian songs that Aussies woudn't get and visa-versa. I can think of a reference to Regis and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in Steven Curtis Chapman's Live Out Loud, but that heads up a fairly short list. The market for Christian media in English is essentially an Anglospherian one. Thus, the larger number of American Christians would tend to dominate the market. I can't think of a promenant Australian Christian writer, but there are a number of good Aussie Christian musicians. Darlene Zschech is probably the top person in the praise-and-worship genre, and Rebecca St. James and the Newsboys are major players in the Christian music scene. Australia more than holds its own on a per-capita basis. From my vantage point, I don't care what the nationality of the singer is if it's good uplifting music. The idea that Zschech is from Australia or that Matt Redman or Delerious? are from Britian isn't a factor to me. However, people from smaller countries feel swamped by all the stuff coming out of the US and feel a need to have an indigeneous media industry. Would excluding good American stuff to replace it with so-so Aussie stuff help? The other thing that Martin rants about is the production of Christian media stuff in China. That, IMHO, is in large part due to the take-over of many Christian media companies, such as Word Music and Zondervan Publishing, by secular corporations, who look at the financial bottom-line and not the morality of the manufacuring process. In the US, the question of letting China into the WTO and to give it normal trading status was fought by an odd coalition of the standard (usually leftist or Buchananite) anti-trade forces and Chrisitan activists not liking the bad record of the Chinese cracking down on independent religious groups, be they evangelical house churches or the Falung Gong brand of hyper-spirtualized Tai Chi. It would take a concentrated effort by Christian leader, backed up by a boycott with teeth, to stop make the publishing companies to clean up their acts. It's unlikely to happen, since most denizens of the local Christian bookstore aren't going to want to work (or think) that hard.

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo-"¡Luche los monos de la entrega el Queso-Comer!-"** Ben has a good, quick history of the Mexican holiday. **"Fight the Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys!"

Quip du jour-"The Anglican church is Catholic Lite: all the ritual, half the guilt!"-Robin Williams. Edifier du jour-"The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" -Galatians 5:14 Groaner du jour-
"Do you have Cinco de Mayo in Michigan?" "Not Really." "Then you go straight from the fourth to the sixth?"

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