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Saturday, September 28, 2002

Morning Musings-A little Google fun-"ontario lycanthrope werewolf." Werewolves of London, Ontario, maybe? "hemp deigns?" First, I think that's designs, and you'll have to get the pattern from Josh. Good news for Jeb Bush-Eileen and I watch the second half of the debate last night and Bill McBride didn't come accross too well, rambling off-topic and avoiding a straight answer. If you can play verbal dodgeball with style, that will work, but McBride came across a bit clunky as a speaker. Bush was well-polished, although it seemed like he had a dozen spiels practiced and ready to insert at the right moment. Nice USAT piece on Magic and Bird, as Magic just got inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame. It has been a quarter-century since I first saw Magic play, watching his Lansing Everett team in the state finals in the spring of 1977. Seeing a 6-8 guy bring the ball up the court was startling; in 1977, you just didn't see guys that big with point guard skills. The year before, Indiana went undefeated with Bobby Wilkerson playing the two-guard at 6-7 and that was freakish. A 6-8 center (in high school-that's like 7-2) playing the point just was too much of an outlier. Not any more. Now every big kid wants to handle the rock like Magic. The anarchoweenies keep looking worse and worse. "We have a right to demonstrate." Yes, and the local constabulary in DC has the right to haul your stinky butt off to jail if you're vandalizing property or blocking traffic in the process of your protests.

Edifier du Jour-Proverbs 15:3(NASB)
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.
This isn't an overly profound verse, but one that struck me today. We have a tendency to be more prone to sin when we're by ourselves. Things we wouldn't do or say in a crowd or with even one other person can become fair game. That little devil on the shoulder is saying "C'mon, no one's watching. You'll get away with it." No, because God's in the house, regardless of when or where. Yes, we know in theory that God's omniscient, and we chuckle thinking of the Christmas ditty
He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad or good, so be good, for goodness sake.
Do we really live that out? Do we live like we know that He's got it all down on tape? Not as much as we'd like to admit. [update 4:45PM- Jeffery Collins elaborates Yep-it's more than just having God watching, it's greiving God and disobeying him]

Friday, September 27, 2002

TGIF Musings-Everybody give Brian Griese a break-the golden retriever's the Sam Mills of the canine world; it's got a low center of gravity and can deliver a hit (paraphrase of a Jim Rome caller this afternoon). Stuart Buck's suggestion-nominate Ann Coulter to an appeals court seat. She wouldn't get through but we'd have some serious fun at the committee hearings, maybe even something approaching Sulik's idea of a Sam Kinison meltdown. One more go-round for His Airness. He'll be only the third sixth man in league history to make the All Star game, if I have my history right. Kevin McHale made it coming off the Celtic bench-there was a couple of years where Bird, Parish and Cornbread Maxwell would start and McHale would come in, filling in for all three, with Bird sliding to the 3 when Maxwell was out. Also, I remember Bobby Jones making two All Star slots coming off the Sixer bench. Doesn't the US always do badly on day 1 of the Ryder Cup? It makes it all the more fun that way-but after so many close matches over the years, the ESPN header of "surprising Europeans" is a bit clueless.

Midday Musings- Is it just me, or does Johnny Toogood sounds like something out of a Dick Tracy episode or a nickname for an overtalented player. "Go, go! Go Johnny Go!" That wasn't an earthquake in Georgia, it was the collective conniption fit of all the ACLU types over this Cobb County school board decision allowing creationism to be discussed in the schools. Can you say "lawsuit," boys and girls? Better Ingredients, Better Football? I'm sure there will be some glum Seminole backers at lunch today after FSU got beat at Louisville, 26-20 in the newish Papa John's Stadium. Lame Duck Season- Once the election is decided in Missouri, the winner of the Talent-Carnihan race gets the remaining four-plus years of the Senate seat then, not in January. If Talent wins, that will knock the Senate back into Republican hands in November. Here's an interersting NRO look at the possibilities (thanks, Ben).

Edifier du jour-Psalm 75:1-7(NASB)
1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works. 2 "When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity. 3 "The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah. 4 "I said to the boastful, 'Do not boast,' And to the wicked, 'Do not lift up the horn; 5 Do not lift up your horn on high, Do not speak with insolent pride.'" 6 For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation; 7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.
Somehow, I'm hearing Han telling Luke, "Don't get cocky, kid!" Humility is the art of knowing who you are, who God is and carefully noting the difference. I don't think God has this type of New Yawker attitude, but I have this picture of God looking down upon the prideful, saying "Ya ain't got nuttin'!" The other picture comes from a Frank Peretti comedy routine I heard on Focus on the Family years ago, where he's giving Shirley McClain a good verbal Fisking. If I recall correctly, there's a scene in her bio that has her shouting out her New Age axiom "I am God!" on the beach. Change location to Heaven as shout dwindles to whisper-"[chortle] Hey, Michael, Gabriel. [chuckle] Check this out." A good starting point for theology is to know that God is God and you're not. You can get a good laugh at the old joke with the punch line of the cocky politician getting to Heaven and telling God "I'm [fill in name] and you're sitting in my spot." However, we need to let God keep his seat and not kick him out.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Liberals, Just War and Human Nature-The Washington Times had a piece on a group of a hundred center-left theologians coming out against a war with Iraq, thinking that it fall short of just war principals. Here's the core piece from the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Looking at the names shows a center-left bias, with few evangelical names on the list. The last name on the list is from Anderson University, Warner Southern's sister school in the Church of God sphere (and more than a bit more liberal, according to some of my colleagues). The affiliation of the list is interesting, but the text is interesting as well.
He cited a letter by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivered to Condoleezza Rice, the president's national-security adviser, last week. The letter contains several references to the principles of just-war doctrine. The bishops state that no evidence of "an imminent attack of a grave nature" by Iraq (just cause) has been offered, and that Iraq's long-term threat to the international community should be dealt with by the United Nations rather than a single superpower (legitimate authority). They also cite the traditional requirement that military action "must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated."
With WMD, there is no easy imminent attack to see. If delivered by an ICBM, you would have a few minutes warning, and zero warning if delivered by infiltration. Also, they have now handed to the UN the "legitimate authority" mantle, depriving individual nations the right to self-defense. The key difference between my stance and this bunch is that last sentence-the evil that we would be eliminating is greater than the damage we would be doing to extricate it. We might not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law that Iraq would use those weapons in the future, but given Saddam's track record, it is a fair assumption. Liberals tend to downplay personal evil and assume that people can be reasoned with. Some people don't want to be reasoned with, and Saddam seems to be one of them. At least this bunch put this counterpoint at the end
But at least one theologian -- the Rev. Richard Land, president of the ethics and religious-liberty commission of the Southern Baptist Convention -- has endorsed pre-emptive military action on just-war grounds. "I believe we are defending ourselves against several acts of war by a man who does not keep treaties and who has already used weapons of mass destruction," said Mr. Land in a debate with Mr. Casey and others on the PBS program Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, broadcast in mid-September. Citing St. Paul's endorsement of secular authority's power to punish wrongdoing, he said, "There is recognized use of lethal force by the civil magistrate. And while I would be happy to have U.N. Security Council support for this, for the United States of America, the appropriate authority is the government of the United States."
Human nature has no history, as Jonah likes to say. Conservatives recognize that people are sinful, some more so than others, and that diplomacy has its limits.

Torchdown-The court papers on David Chang's relationship with Robert Torricelli are to be made public, says the 3rd Circuit. Chang was convicted of giving illegal gifts (sometimes called bribes) to Torricelli. That will liven things up in Joisey.

Give the French Their Props-They did one right in evacuating foreign nationals, including a bunch of American MKs, in the Ivory Coast. The phrase "surrender monkey" is hereby given a three-month banishment from this site.

Here's a Solution-Bush and Daschle at Twenty Paces-A Peruvian congressman is challenging VP David Waisman to a gun duel after he felt dissed by the VP. The Veep is politely declining.

The Wholly European Empire-This is an interesting NRO piece by Roger Scruton on Europe and the nation-state, suggesting that the countries of the EU will eventually bristle over their loss of sovereignty to a federal Europe. However, the European tradition seems to lean towards either sub-national principalities or multi-nation empires. At the turn of the last century, Europe had many multi-nation empires-Great Britain, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Russian. You can make a case for Spain fitting in that category if you look at the Basques and Catalonia as conquered nations. Is nationalism strong enough to resist this tide? Many European nations are younger than the US. Germany and Italy weren't unified until the 1800s and many of the other countries will look to their region as their identifier rather than the nation. Yes, there isn't much of a European identity, but in many of the nations, it's the region or sub-nationality that is more of a identifier than the nation.

Don't Cry for Jeb Just Yet-The Democrats are making hay about Bill McBride pulling within 49-43 of Governor Bush in a recent poll. It's more likely that McBride is basking in a post-primary high added to by his largely high-road approach to the election snafus and the drawn-out counting process. We saw the same thing in Texas where Ron Kirk got a big poll bounce after he came through a primary and a run-off, getting oodles of free publicity while Cornyn got none running essentially unopposed on the GOP side. Once the general election campaign commences, Kirk's numbers came back down, and McBride's numbers will likely fall as well.

The Democratic Inquisition-Miguel Estrada's finally getting a Judiciary Committee hearing and Democrats are grilling him for his lack of judicial experience. Of course, if he had judicial experience, they'd be grilling his record. The Democrats seem to be hell-bent on stopping anyone seriously conservative unless they are shamed by liberal law professors. Here's and interesting factoid on Estrada via a GOP press release that I got e-mailed (turns out it was Patrick Ruffini who put me on the e-mailing list). Estrada got a "well-qualified" rating from the ABA, their highest rating. Only one such ABA-well-qualified nominee has ever been shot down by the Judiciary Committee; Priscilla Owen earlier this month. Remember that the ABA leans to the left and often gives conservative nominees a notch-lower rating then they deserve, so Estrada must have something going for him.. On the way in, the NPR piece on Estrada mentioned that the "Hispanic community" is split on Estrada-I thought the standard sociological fact is that Hispanics aren't one big community but several, often based on their country of origin. The Fox piece points out that Hispanic liberal groups oppose him, but more mainstream groups support him.

A Secondary Scourge-The school's server is blocking Blogspot for the moment, so I don't know what Charles Austin is doing with this the latest Richard Cohen steaming pile. This one set off the bogometer
As for the Democrats, many of them are so afraid of being labeled appeasers that they want to quickly give the president the war resolution he wants -- so they can then turn to the weak economy as a campaign issue. Many of these Democrats happen to share Gore's misgivings, but, to put matters in their crassest terms, they seem quite willing to sacrifice the odd 19-year-old soldier for the odd congressional seat.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cohen's willing to sacrifice thousands of Israeli and European civilians to future Iraqi WMDs to save the odd 19-year-old soldier.
From the reaction to Gore's speech, you would have thought he had advocated unilateral disarmament followed by an aid package for Iraq. On the contrary, he advocated "taking on Saddam Hussein in a timely fashion," but only after the United States had built an "international coalition" to do so. He also said that Washington ought to first finish the job against Osama bin Laden and ensure that Afghanistan does not once again become a Club Med for terrorists.
Well, we have an international coalition ready to rumble-it's just not international enough for Gore or Cohen. I'm not sure what Gore means by a "timely fashion." Saddam toyed with his old boss for eight years without Clinton doing much more than to take out a few radar sites, so a timely fashion might mean sometime after Tel Aviv gets gassed. The two fronts aren't mutually exclusive. For now, the al Qaeda front is more of a special-ops and intelligence mode while a war with Iraq will be more of a conventional military operation. If we had hundreds of bombers still strafing Afghanistan, Gore would have a case.
For that matter, neither is Gore. He was one of only eight Senate Democrats to vote for the Persian Gulf War -- and, just for the record, he served in Vietnam.
Do I smell chickenhawk on the barbie?
He knows a bit more about war than some of the drumbeaters who want not only to knock out Hussein (I'm for that) but also to virtually annex the Middle East. (What are these people talking about?) War is a serious matter and it ought to be debated seriously.
OK, sir, let's propose a military-affairs quiz featuring you and Gore versus Rich Lowery and Byran Preston, two people that might loosely fit your drumbeater persona. You and Al better not spot them any points.
But it is not. All across the landscape, charges of "appeasement" fill the air. The accusers range from Fox News's Sean Hannity -- "Am I wrong? Are we watching something similar to appeasement before our eyes?" -- to the editorial pages of more than a few newspapers. Almost always, Hussein is likened to Hitler, Munich is mentioned and sometimes the Holocaust as well. The question, though, is not whether to give Hussein the Middle Eastern version of the Sudetenland but how -- and when -- to render him impotent or, better yet, gone. The means, not the ends, are in doubt.
WMD and Sudetenland might not be the best parallels, but the parallels of the Chamberlains of 1938 and the UNistas of today is that they trust the word of the bad guys. Chamberlain trusted Hitler's line that he would stop at Sudetenland and be a good boy while the UNistas think that Saddam will actually allow for a no-holds-barred inspection regime. Saddam might be a somewhat lower grade of evil than Hitler, but we can trust him about as far as we can throw him.
You may not agree with everything Gore said. But he raised some legitimate concerns. After all, the Bush administration has promoted this war with something less than a punctilious regard for fact or, for that matter, tact. It implied a nonexistent connection between al Qaeda and Hussein. It suggested the imminence of an Iraqi nuclear capability that's hardly imminent. It barged ahead unilaterally, pausing at the United Nations only after being forced to do so, and it shredded international law and precedent by asserting it can do whatever it wants in the name of self-defense. This is not a doctrine; it's an impulse.
The Iraq-al Qaeda link is light but far from not-existent. If Mr. Cohen thinks Iraq's nuclear capability is far from imminent, then he should call Tony Blair a liar to his face and dare him to sue for libel. Bush went ahead without the UN, but not unilaterally (let's remember that Britain and many other countries are with us) and has yet to shred international law on the issue (as if the Ollie North Memorial Shredder is getting warmed up). Cohen's column isn't a critique, it's an impulse, a knee-jerk liberal impulse.

Overstatements-<jaw drop> I'm going to agree with Tom Daschle for once in recorded history</jaw drop>-he thinks Dubya's line about the Democrats "not caring about the security of the American people" deserves an apology and I agree. It was a bit of a cheap shot by the president, but merely overstates a truth- Democrats are overweighing the job security of their AFSCME union brothers and underweighing the physical security of the average American as they scuffled over the administration's desire to allow them to ignore civil service job-protection clauses in overhauling the homeland security function. However, Daschle quickly reverts to doofus form here
"That is wrong," Daschle said on the Senate floor in an impassioned speech. "We ought not to politicize this war. We ought not to politicize the rhetoric about war and life and death."
Translation- "We ought not to politicize X " means "we're on the wrong side of X and we'll get our butt kicked at the polls if people hold us accountable." Daschle knows it and he's in full CYA mode. [Update 12:15-Just added Daschle and doofus to my spell checker at work-fitting] [update 1PM-it wasn't a cheap shot at all; via The Note,here's the original quote from the president
I am not going to accept a bill where the Senate micromanages, where the Senate shows they're more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people.
Change the "not interested" to "less interested", which he seems to be wanting to say in context, and you have a valid critique. Given he said this off-the-cuff, you can chalk it up more to a slip of the tounge than a full-bore dissing of the Democrats. Doofus Daschle rides again.]

A Rolling Moss Gathers Stones-I've got Randy Moss on my Blogger Bowl team, so I've got mixed opinions on this-he slow-motioned knocked over a policewomen with his car as she tried to get him to stop, getting charged with misdemeanor careless driving rather than a felony assault charge. He's on my bench until this clears up. I almost looked for a trade yesterday based on the original felony charge, but I couldn't find the running back that I wanted that I felt I could get with the dinged goods of Moss.

Young Guns-One reason that I'm not a big fan of term limits; the short-term legislator is giving up a current carrer and will then have to find his way back into it when his six years are up, thus putting a damper on talented people willing to serve. Here's an interesting Detroit Free Press piece on 20-somethings runing for the state house-they haven't much of a career to leave from. You have a maximum of 14 years (6 in the house, 8 in the senate) to be in the state legislature, which might mean we'll see more people from outside the legislature running for statewide office; the short-termer won't have as much time to make a name for themselves.

Edifier du jour-2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NASB)
8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it--for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while-- 9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
We have a conscience for a reason-to get us to make a 180 when we are doing (or are about to do) the wrong thing. The sorrow that is supplied by the Holy Spirit helps us make that 180 as a negative reinforcement for our sins. There is also a devilish sorrow that can either try to brush off the conscience by a "I'm sorry (I was caught)" routine that doesn't lead to repentance or a pity party that replays the memories of your sin over and over again. The second person might well be repentant, but can't forgive themselves or believe that God has forgiven them. It takes discernment how to differentiate between the types of sorrow and how to minister to a person who recognizes that they've done the wrong thing.

The Prototype American Candidates-Part II-The CampaignHere was my part one, where I came up with three prototype finalists for the proposed American Candidate series. To answer Jeffery's Collins' question on all three being under 50; I didn't make the ages with that in mind, but with a younger audience, I think that a younger candidate would tend to fare better in viewer's eyes. You won't see any straight conservatives or liberals in the finals, for people will be looking for an alternative to the two basic flavors. Here's my daydreams about how each of the campaigns will run, assuming that the candidates get plenty of exposure and they get, say, $5,000,000 to run a simple national campaign funded by 900-number calls to vote for the candidates in the show. Butch Davidson- If he decideds to run, it will be a wild-card. He could get some disgruntled moderate Republicans and some patriotic Democrats. If the Democratic nominee is seen to be too liberal and too dovish, he could start to reach the 30% that would make him a viable candidate. However, it's more likely that he can't make a case to too many swing voters and stick in single digits. Morgan WilliamsThis would be the true rainbow coalition. A pro-life black DLC type would give both parties fits, especially if Bush has some sort of falling out with religious conservatives. If you got James Dopson ticked enought at Dubya to endorse Williams, he could draw half the black vote, a plurality of the centrist vote and a plurality of the evangelical vote. His race chips away on the left, his economics chips away in the center and his faith comes at it on the left. In that scenerio, 40% is achievable, but only if Dubya is on the outs with the evangelicals two years from now. Without that, it's 5% at best, hurting the Democrat more. Andi Petroccelli If she runs, it will hurt the Democrats more. She might carry a few states such as Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Maine running as Jessica Ventura. Whether she draws more from the centrist Republicans or the green Democrats is an open question. She doesn't quite have the room to get a plurality nationwide unless she starts to eclipse the Democrats enough were it is a Petroccelli-Bush race. She might also have a Ross Perot momement where she sticks her foot in her mouth so bad that she becomes toxic.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Bobo Conservatives?-Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Crunchy Conservative Celebrity Boxing. In this corner, wearing the red, white and blue trunks, the Augustinian Atlas- Ben Domenech. In the other corner, wearing the khaki industrial hemp trunks, the Birkenstocked Burkian from Bloomington, Josh Claybourn. Ben had an interesting critique of the group, with Josh counterpunching. Let me play a good middle man here. You can enjoy the outdoors and be a conservative. You can enjoy the music on NPR stations and be a conservative. However, there's a grain of truth to Ben's critique, where many crunchy conservatives may be putting on a green facade that stops short of an honest commitment to environmentalism. Could what Ben's describing be bobo conservatives? Quick side trip-bobo is short for bourgeois bohemian, coined by David Brooks to describe a class of secular inteligencia who combine upper-middle-class materialism with a 60s liberal ethic towards the environment, culture and anti-brandism. If you take a bobo and give them a touch of traditional values and a love of the free market, you've got a crunchy conservative. Crunchy conservative=Bobo conservative? Discuss. [update 10:50 PM- Josh makes a good point in the comment section-
I'm confused by this: "a green facade that stops short of an honest commitment to environmentalism." Ignore the environmental aspect of this debate, and you'll still have "crunchy cons." In fact, when I think of crunchy cons, the environment never enters my mind. So, how is this dishonest? Take movies, music, style...in all these things it's still an issue. I think this has nothing to do with environmentalism and everything to do with culture
We might be shouting past each other, folks. Let's take a look at the part of Ben's piece that prompted my "green facade" line.
I know plenty of guilty suburbanites who pay their Sierra Club dues and like to shop at REI but still don't recycle, and Dreher's Crunchy Conservatives seem to look a lot like them. They listen to NPR and eat granola, but just doing that doesn't do anything to help nature. They take on the trappings of an environmentalist life, but actually do nothing of the sort.
Is what Dreher pontificating on is a conservative appreciation of a non-commercial culture? Here are some comparisons with CC culture versus mainstream culture: health food rather than processed food, folk, bluegrass and jazz rather than Top 40, handmade rather than factory-made, mom-and-pop store versus MegaMart. In some ways, CCC is a truly conservative culture, going back a century before radio and TV and easy cross-country transportation. Things were more local by necessity. Today, it costs more to live that way, since the factory-made stuff costs less, and upscale people can afford to do more of it. Once again-does the CCC look a lot like conservative bobos?]

Crying Uncle-A new addition to the Byron clan-my sister Kathy gave birth to Tyler Matthew Eurich at 3:30 this afternoon, a healthy 8lb 11oz. Eileen's happier than I am; she gets to be an aunt-from-birth for the first time.

Saving The Albino RINO-I'm not sure how The Note keeps publishing-its rare to see a traditional news outlet have such cheeky verbage sniping at both sides. Check out this paragraph from today's edition.
As we've said in this very space before, casting this election as a war-versus-economy fight entails a somewhat oversimplified view that Republicans do better on military and national security matters, and Democrats do better on domestic issues such as Social Security and prescription drugs — without taking into account successful GOP efforts to muddy the waters, a la George W. Bush in 2000, on some of those domestic issues. But what happens if/when congressional Republican CYA efforts to muddy the waters on domestic issues get undermined by a president who might come to be perceived by voters as not caring enough about the economy?
About this time in every election cycle since the Republicans took back the House, we get an unholy center-left alliance, getting some pro-union or otherwise mildly-statist legislation passed to keep the attack ads off the moderate Republicans. It's almost like that cadre of RINOs have to pay protection money to the left
"Hello, Congressman Belfrey. You do know what time it is?" "Yes, Guido, its the fall of an even-numbered year. What do we have bend over for this year?" "Increased unemployment benefits would be nice. Say, 13 extra weeks." "Thirteen Weeks!?! Are you kidding?" "Would you like to see the ad where the auto worker has to tell his daugher she can't have braces because of you?" "No, no. Not that. I'll be on board."
It would be interesting if they stood up to the bully for once. However, such statist tweaking is now such an institution that people don't think too hard about it. I think this is one of the differences between the status-quoians and the conservatives-the status-quoians will easily give in to such deals where the conservatives won't. Yes, there are some swing districts where they truely need to vote center-left or else lose, but I'd like to see more backbone.

Midday Musings-Kevin's Holtsberry ain't in no blog funk today, fer shur. He's got a lot of good pickings-go check 'em out. Great-it looks like we're going to get another round of Hindu-Muslim mob violence in Gujarat after someone blew up a Hindu temple. The PM's blaming Pakistan, but he'd blame his next headcold on Pakistani germ warfare. Looks like the hurricane season started to get interesting. Isidore's heading for Louisiana and Lili might be heading to Florida by way of Cuba. Just a thought-how will Cuba hold up after getting schmucked by both Isidore and Lili? Lileks takes apart a anti-war-weenie from toe to toncil. I offer this passage in the Freestyle Pop Culture Allusion catagory.
. But let’s say we go with the Special Forces option. Let’s say we even use our fearsome brigade of sitcom writers who specialize in tear-jerking episodes, aka the Very Special Forces. They’d have to hit all the palaces at the same time, just for starters. Ever seen a picture of the palaces? Especially the one with a moat the size of New Hampshire? They’d have to get in, find Saddam, find the lookalikes - Saddam apparently has that same machine Harcourt Fenton Mudd had in the Star Trek episode, and he whips up a batch of dupes every fortnight. AND they wouldn’t have the distraction of a war to help them out. It might be easier to kill Saddam while he’s distracted by the sound of nine thousand cans of Yankee whup-ass being opened overhead, but spec-ops option has them going in without an invasion. But let’s say it works! What’s left? The Republican Guard, the SRG, the secret police, and the rest of the entrenched Tikrit mob. Meet the new Ba’aths; same as the old Ba’aths. And now the world community clamors for a return to inspections and international accords. Why, Saddam’s gone; wasn’t that what we wanted? We got our regime change. Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1991. Look, I’d love for these things to work. I don’t want war. I’d love to leave it all to James Bond or some grim nimble throat-slitters or Jim Phelps and the Mission: Impossible team. That would be wonderful. But it won’t work and it won’t happen. Which brings us to the Gore speech.
"Bud, what did you think of that routine?" "A very high degree of difficulty. That Steve Austin-Who-Prince triple combination is something few writers ever try in competition, and he landed it flawlessly."

Define Conservative-Interesting David Broder piece and Kevin Holtsberry retort on Dubya's brand of conservatism. Here's what I think the key problem with Broder's piece-this paragraph (my italics)
The word, as this president uses it, has little or nothing to do with the traditional conservative inclination to preserve the status quo. Instead, it suggests a very bold and risk-taking readiness to reexamine, revise and restate basic tenets of government. It is a pattern that now pervades Bush's economic, social and foreign policy and makes this, in some respects, a truly radical government.
There are two competing definition of conservative in my Webster's New World Dictionary that's in my office
1 conserving or tending to conserve; preservative 2 tending to preserve established traditions or institutions and to resist or oppose any changes in these [conservative politics, conservative art] 3 of or characteristic of a conservative
Broder has headed to definition 2 rather than definition 3. The key problem with this is that many people will look at the big-government programs established in the mid-20th century as "established traditions or institutions." Thus, economic and cultural conservatives who look to turn back some of the liberal changes from the New Deal on are viewed as radicals rather than conservatives. We had much the same nomenclature problem with the Gingrich crew in the mid-90s (yes, Newt has become history, tempus does fugit) where their desired overhauls of the status quo made them look something less than a definition-2-conservative There are plenty of people, generally in the center, that are status-quoians, who see the current state of government as established and are unwilling to make big changes to it. I remember saying of Bob Dole back in '96 campaign "he's a status-quoian; he's too conservative with his conservatism." The tight definition of judicial conservative creates a similar status-quoian, for judges like O'Connor or Kennedy will be reluctant to overturn an established decision. Had those two been ruling on Roe v. Wade back in 1973, they might have ruled against it, being a radical departure from existing law, but bow to stare decisis today, as Roe is now the status quo. We have a problem meshing the overlapping definitions of conservative. In economics, dynamist or economic libertarian are terms that can fill in the gaps. In moral issues, there are a number of modifiers to conservative that can add to the mix. However, the characteristics that are implied in the current defintion-3-version of conservative include commitments to free markets, a strong military and traditional moral values. When the status quo is more statist and amoral than was the case a century ago, the two definitions will come into conflict. This is also a game of definition. If status-quoian Republicans are "conservative" then the definition-3-conservatives can get some superlative prefix, like arch-conservative or ultra-conservative tacked on. Liberals would like to label even status-quoian Democrats as conservatives so as to make liberals moderate and socialists liberal. Broder is a left-of-center status-quoian who would likely be more comfortable with status-quoians such as John Warner or Jim Leach as opposed to definition-3-conservatives like President Bush. Kevin and I are definition-3-conservatives, but not definition-2.

Edifier du Jour-2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (NASB)
1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain-- 2 for He says, "AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU." Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION"-- 3 giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 4 but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9 as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
There's a number of schools of thought that want to have the faithful have a perfect life, that no problems will befall them. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, and problems will come. These ten verses are a run-on sentence that will tempt the Business Writing prof to cuff Paul upside the head, but the effect is to contrast the trials of verses 4 and 5 with the godly responses to such trials on 6 and 7. Through all the crap, we're supposed to keep our cool and keep acting out the fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes, we get a bad rap from the world when we don't deserve it; Paul saw that coming in verse 8. We need to keep plugging away with as much of a smile as we can muster through the bad times, for we're serving God through it all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Gore and War-I didn't see the speech last night, but have seen the take on it. The take from Susanna Cornett , who's not prone to exaggeration, and others seem to think it was Gore at his least effective; the stiff, pedantic, condescending dweeb. Add to that he has pretty-much painted himself into the anti-war corner. This creates an interesting possibility if the war goes safely; having a less-dovish challenger paint Gore as too out of step with the swing voter to be elected. John Edwards, maybe? John Kerry? Both guys are liberal enough to get nominated yet could paint Gore as too "out-of-touch." The swing Democratic primary voter will be looking at two things. The first will be whether the candidate agrees with them on the issues. The second is whether he can actually beat Bush in November, 2004. If we have a rematch today, Bush wins by about 8-10%. Bush has added to his luster in office, while Gore seems to have gone backward from 2000. How many 2000 Gore voters would thing Bush had done a good job and deserves a second term? Much more than those who voted for Bush in 2000 and wish they hadn't. If Gore sticks to this arch-multilateralist stance, he could be isolated within his own party if he is seen to have POed the patriotic swing voter.

Midday Musings-I just got done with the first session of Keynesian economics in my Macro class and I'm having a hard time taking it seriously. I'll have a longer post later once I've clear my desk of papers to grade, but the assumptions that the model makes assumes away reality. The one that got me was to assume that savings equals investment and that investment is a constant. Once you make those assumptions, demand essentially creates its own supply and pumping up demand is the game. For my own sake and those of my students, I really need to see if there is something more there to Keynesian theory than I'm absorbing or whether it is truly suitable for use as fertilizer. We might have an actual hurricane on our hands in the US. Isidore looks like it's had enough time exploring the Yucatan and wants to see the bayou, heading up towards Louisiana. We're not getting anything in particular from Isidore here in central Florida, but it is a lot rainier and windier than I've been used to. We're getting a solid shower even as we speak, and that's not typical, for most of our showers are afternoon and evening events. "New Jersey Senate Candidates bring in big guns." Duyba was up stumping for Forester and Daschel was up stumping for the Torch. Guess who brought in three times as much (1.5M versus 500K)? With Democrats supporting gun control, they're not used to handling big weaponry. An NPR piece on the race had Torricelli trying to make it a Democrat-Republican race, as if control of the Senate is on the line. One of the listed downsides of a Republican Senate would be "handing Social Security over to Wall Street sharpies." That's not a bug, that's a feature. This WaTi piece is getting on Charlton Heston for praising Alabama's Democratic governor Don Siegelman for his solid pro-second amendment stance. Most "special interest groups" will back the incumbent if he is 100% with them on what has crossed his desk, even if the challenger would be even more helpful. I've seen Right to Life back a moderate conservative state rep who has voted the correct way over the theocon challenger that might be more to their liking.

Blogger Down-When checking my site for comments, I started to get a very-dated (April posts) blog of one of the Pyra guys (Ev, IIRC) on my site. I wasn't the only one, the same problem was happening with other Blogspot blogs. Then, the maintenence screen came up, showing that they'd be down from 7:30 to 10:30.

Edifier du jour-2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NASB)
6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight-- 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
If you're a younger believer, you might have Out of the Gray's Walk by Faith going thorough your head. If your walk goes well back into the 80s, you might have Petra's Not by Sight getting called out of the memory banks. Either way, you've likely heard "walk by faith, not by sight" on about a monthly or so basis in various settings. What does that mean? Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." While we don't have Get Out of Hell Free card in our pockets, we know that God is perfect, we're not and that Jesus died to bridge that gap between us. I can't prove that definitively, but we are altering our lives and sticking our necks out for a guy who is alleged to have risen from the grave two millenia ago. None of us were there, but we've seen enough indirect evidence that God exists and that the Bible tells His story to be able to take confidence in that our sins have been forgiving and that the believer will spend eternity with God.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Evening Musings-Long day, no posts. Managerial Accounting day-four hour night classs-just got back from work with a side-trip to the grocery store, Congrats to Ben and Caroline. We knew something serious was going on for him to move to DC to be near his lady-it's now confirmed. I'm not sure what to think of this squeeze on Yasser-does Israel have the guts to follow through and raid the place? A few interesting items in the Junkyard, on the set of tunnel-splatter marks that is the likely status of Osama and a disection of Spotted Al. However, the most interesting one was the possible constitutional amendement on replacing a nicely-nuked House. A couple of nice Illinigirl posts-one reflecting on the youthful indescressions chain she got started and one on the new un-PC Miss America fron Illinois-make sure to click through to the NRO piece.

Edifier du Jour-2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NASB)
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
We're not perfect; we're not supposed to be in this life. While we are saved, we are still human, showing the way through our lives. The more mundane we are, the better God's work can be seen as coming from outside of ourselves. I think it is that reason why Jesus chose mundane people like fishermen and tax collectors as disciples rather than a bunch of seminary grads; these were mundane people showing a supernatural God. When we take the trials of life in stride with a minimum of grumbling, we show that life-changing power to the world.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

The Prototype American Candidates-Part I-The Resumes-There are three prototypes that I could see getting the final nod in this American Candidate series. One would be a Ventura-type blue-collar libertarian, a second would be a apolitical can-do ex-GI and the other would be a black pro-life moderate Democrat. Let's look at who would be interested in running; they would have to be dissatisfied with President Bush and the garden variety liberal Democrats. You would either have to have a true moderate who is ambivalent about the two parties, a hard winger from either the right or the left or someone who doesn't fit the standard conservative-liberal paradigm. However, the wingers would likely be weeded out before the final three were chosen, with some kind of leftist possibly making into that last group of three. However, you're more likely to see someone who is either a centrist or is a mixture of conservative and liberal. Here's my three mythical finalists for The American Candidate. All people and resumes are fictional. James "Butch" Davidson. Age 47, principal at Greenwood Middle School in Dayton, OH. Retired Army Reserve Captain-flew helicopters in Gulf War. Churchgoing Methodist, but not particularity evangelical. Miami University B.S. in Mathematics, Master in Education-Wright State U. Married, two grown kids. Known as a no-nonsense problem-solver. Registered Republican, slightly right of center on most issues, is generally pro-choice on abortion, but favors some modest restrictions. Voted for McCain in the 2000 primaries. Morgan Williams Age 38. Director, The Potter's House Youth Center, Dallas, TX. Black. Registered Democrat, but pro-voucher and anti-abortion. B.A. Psychology North Texas State, M.Div. CH Mason Seminary. Married, two junior-high aged kids. Served as a youth pastor at a growing charismatic church before starting the Potter's House as a vehicle for reaching the youth of the poorer parts of Dallas for Christ. Left-of-center on economics-"We don't need to cut taxes or raise taxes; we need to spend what we have a lot better." Modestly pro-military-backed the war with Iraq as a last-resort. Got some hisses on his solid defense of traditional moral values, but gets respect for his dignity and character. Andrea "Andi" Petroccelli- Age 47. President, Andi's Place, Inc. Started small chain of health-food oriented restaurants in Portland, OR in 1983 with her ex-husband. "Granola libertarian" with hard-to-pin-down ideology; skeptical of big government but staunch environmentalist. BA. English, Oregon State University. Ex-Catholic, with some unkind things to say about the current church's stand on women, abortion and hierarchy in general. Divorced with long-term male significant other, one grown daughter. Part II coming soon-how would these candidates fare?

Evening Musings-Bad news for the good guys in Germany-the ruling Social Democrat-Green coalition seems to have won a squeaker, having a single-digit majority 303-298 in early projections) in the Bundestag. The CommunistsParty of Democratic Socialism seem to have missed the 5% cutoff to get seats, thus holding off the toxic possibility of neither the civilized right or the civilized left (almost an oxymoron) getting a majority and creating one of those ugly "national unity" governments. London seems to have gone to the dogs today, as a pro-hunting coalition put 400,000 on the streets for a pro-rural rally. On a percentage basis, that would be like a two-million man march on Washington. Ya think Tony's Cronies are thinking about this one?. Samizdata's Perry de Havilland has a good pre-march piece-"For Liberty and Livelihood" is the march motto, right up their libertarian alley. Let's raise the ghost of Cornwallis and play The World Turned Upside Down-Carolina, San Diego and New Orleans are 3-0 An early Christmas music plug-4 Him's The Season of Love-we picked it out of the sale rack Friday at our local Christian store, and have it playing in the background even as I speak. It's worth full retail. Sabado Futbol- Michigan had all they wanted from Utah-not a good sign. Ohio State went down to Cincinnati (I'm surprised that gave them a home-and-home) and got all they wanted as well. In a bit of a surprise, Florida went up and beat up on Tennessee, relieving a lot of doubts down here in Gatorland. How much is this Kansas State win over USC going to puff up Alllison-Gallimore's head? They might be for real after all. NC State 51-Texas Tech 48 in OT. After letting out an expletive-laden tirade on his teams brick-laying, Bobby Knight praises his man-to-man defense in a tough loss-Oh, that's a football score? I see on the schedule that Virginia Tech is playing at Western Michigan next week. That's a good home-game get for a MAC team, ranking up with Toledo getting Syracuse into the Glass Bowl. Hokies, don't think a trip to Kalamazoo is a freebie, the Broncos gave Purdue a 28-24 game at West Lafayette last week. Notre Dame proceeded to ruin MSUs season-be prepared for all those Irish fans to get chests so big they'll have to buy new suitcoats. Can we live with Regis if the Irish win it all? Can we live the affirmative-action drivel that the conventional media will give us if the Irish win it all?

Afternoon Musings-I'm busy making dinner to take to a church potluck this evening, taking my killer spaghetti sauce that won the fair Eileen's heart (the day after I fixed it at her Grandmas, we were talking engagement) on macaroni (since the long spaghetti noodles don't lend themselves to a multitasking potluck plate). Some other day, I'll post what I do to doctor it up. It'll be the first time I've attended a church potluck as a married person-at least I'll have someone to talk to. Our new church in Winter Haven, New Hope Assembly, is having the potluck on the site of our new church on Cyprus Gardens Boulevard, the main drag on the east side of town. Once it is built early next year, we'll have more visibility than our current location, and might draw some new people. Location, location, location. Also, we're starting to max out the parking lot in the current facility, not good for encouraging newcomers. It looks like Hokie Pundit forgot to swap QBs on his Blogger Bowl team. He's got Rich Gannon at QB and the Silver and Black have the week off. Hopefully, he'll switch QB before all his QB have played today. I'm of two minds on this " The American Candidate" idea. If Fox winds up picking a good cross-section of competent people with a good mix of ideologies, it might make for good political theatre. However, it could easily be tweaked to bash one or the other party. Could such a process produce a viable candidate who would be an actual threat to take away votes from the big guys? I think so.. More on that later.

Edifier du Jour-2 Corinthians 3:2-3(NASB)
2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
That's a bracing thought, that as representatives of Christ, we are a living Gospel. My self-centeredness, sarcasm and gluttony can get in the way of that message, but that message is there nonetheless. That can be a plus or a minus. It shows that a less-than-perfect person can be saved, but it also shows that we don't get turned unto Superman overnight. These jars of clay that God has chosen to use have the advantage of being down-to-earth and not some fancy stuff that gets put on the shelf. We're more approachable than some spiritual superman and the faith we have is attainable.

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