Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Extremely sad news from the country of Burma, where Christians are being targeted in an apparent ethnic cleansing program. The culprits belong to the official state religion, of which 89% of the people are a part of, according to the CIA's World Factbook. The religion? Buddhism. I'd never heard of "Extremist Buddhists" before, but I guess this just goes to remind us that people are sinful, regardless of their religion.

(HT: Vitamin Z)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Super Bowl Coaches

This might be the best article I've ever read on ESPN.com, courtesy of Michael Smith. Speaking about Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, the first black head coaches to ever coach in a Super Bowl, Smith says that "It's character, not color, that separates Smith, Dungy." Here's some excerpts, but I encourage you to read the whole thing.

For Dungy and Smith to get their teams here had nothing to do with where their ancestors originated. Just as a person's ethnicity, ideally, should have nothing to do with ... well, anything.

So, then, why are we wasting so much (air) time talking about the colors of these men's skin?

I've been guilty of it for six paragraphs, but no more. It distracts us from what's really important: what's inside these men. And, trust me, it would do people good to see more of that.

Dungy and Smith are role models, not just for coaches who look like them or men who look like them, but for all coaches and all men. They live their lives the right way, and as a result they do their jobs the same way. Their priorities are, in order: faith, their families and football. The outcome of the Super Bowl or any game does not define them. They personify words such as class, grace, dignity, honor and integrity. We all can draw inspiration from men such as these.


Dungy and Smith are Christian men who serve the Lord first and spend nearly as much time serving their communities. Doesn't prevent them from winning. And often. In just three seasons Smith, last season's Coach of the Year, has helped build the Bears into a league power. Dungy has won more regular season games than any coach since 1999. Where does color factor into that?


On Jan. 15, the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We could honor his dream by celebrating Dungy's and Smith's achievements not because of the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

There's a lot of talk about hoping for a day when black coaches in the Super Bowl won't be a big deal, when we won't find it necessary to refer to a coach as a "black coach" (or any person by their race, for that matter).

What's wrong with that day being today? Dungy and Smith have made history, and we happily acknowledge it. As for our practice of categorizing NFL head coaches, let's make that history, too.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Reason #1,500,943 Why I Hate Politics

From Charles Gibson's interview of Hillary Clinton:
Gibson: Would you take a pledge to sign a bill that would not raise taxes?

Clinton: I'm not going to take any pledges on any issues because I want to be in a position to bring people together and figure out the best ideas to solve our problems and not get locked into this partisan ideological debate that's been so sterile so many years.


Gibson: Is Barack Obama qualified to be president?

Clinton: Well, he's a terrific guy and we're going to have a great group of talented competitors in this contest and I'm looking forward for everybody putting out their qualifications and let the voters decide.

Gibson: That's something of a dodge. In your mind is he qualified to be president?

Clinton: You know Charlie, this is such an intensely personal decision that voters make.

We're all going to get out there, we're going to say what we believe in, put our experience out there before the voters and that is what is so great about our system, all of the people watching you tonight are going to make that decision — about me and everybody.

Seriously, Hillary. Answer a freaking question or get off my TV. (Okay, so she wasn't really on my TV - I actually heard this on the radio today.) I understand if you don't want to pledge to not sign a bill that would raise taxes. But just say so. To respond the way that you did just reinforces why so many people are afraid of you - you don't stand for anything! And I'm pretty sure Gibson wasn't asking who was going to win the Democratic nomination, just whether you thought Obama was qualified for the job. And you don't have an answer? No, "Of course he's qualified," or "I don't know," or "Of course not, he's more of a crazy liberal than I am!"?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

This Is Abortion

From Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds:
On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court issued its ruling for Roe v. Wade.

As Richard John Neuhaus recently wrote, it was "the most consequential cultural and political event in American history in the past half century," establishing "an unlimited abortion license that wiped from the books of all fifty states any legal protection of unborn children."

This video shows some of what that decision has wrought.

Somebody want to try and explain to me how that is the better "choice"?

On to Miami for Super Bowl XLI

Bears 39, Saints 14!!!! Time for me to break out the greatest music video in the history of the NFL:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

By His Wounds

I heard a new song on the radio today, and it pretty much instantly became one of my favorites. If you had told me several years ago that Steven Curtis Chapman and Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell would collaborate on a song, I would have called you crazy. But this song features both of them, in addition to Third Day's Mac Powell and Casting Crowns' Mark Hall. The song is called "By His Wounds" and is taken from Isaiah 53:5. It appears on a CD called "Glory Revealed: The Word of God in Worship." Find out more about this CD here. Without further ado, here are the lyrics:
He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

He was pierced for our transgressions
And crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed
By His wounds, by His wounds

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
A high quality download of the full song is available here. (HT: Sporadical)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

In The Navy No More

A while back I wrote about a Navy chaplain who faced a court-martial for praying "in Jesus' name." WorldNetDaily now reports that the chaplain was dismissed by the Navy.
"This fight cost me everything. My career is over, my family is now homeless, we've lost a million dollar pension, but Congress agreed with me and rescinded the Navy policy, so chaplains are free again to pray in Jesus' name," Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt told WND. "My sacrifice purchased their freedom. My conscience is clear, the fight was worth it, and I'd do it all again."
There's an interesting twist in this story, one that at first made me wince, but then seemed to have a point:
He's also launched a legal battle that he said he hopes eventually will result in his reinstatement, alleging the Navy assembled a "civic religion" by ordering its chaplains to pray in a certain way.

"There's a Unitarian system of religion that's aimed at Christians," John Whitehead, founder of the The Rutherford Institute, told WND. "It boils down to that. We're seeing it all across the country, with council prayers, kids wanting to mention Jesus. What's going on here is it's generally a move in our government and military to set up a civic religion."

"I think the Supreme Court's going to have to look at the idea of can the government in any of its forms tell people how to pray, set up a basic religion and say you can only do it this way," he said.
Whether or not that's what the Navy or the government as a whole is trying to do is debatable, but I think it's a conversation worth having. That's exactly what the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are for - so that the government can neither establish & mandate a specific religion nor prohibit the free exercise of a religion.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Weather Bulletin

(I got this in an email today - can't verify the info, but thought it was worth posting nonetheless.)

From Denver, Colorado:

Up here, in the "Mile-Hi City," we just recovered from a Historic event - may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" - with a historic blizzard of up to 44 inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.

  • George Bush did not come.
  • FEMA did nothing.
  • No one howled for the government.
  • No one blamed the government.
  • No one even uttered an expletive on TV.
  • Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.
  • Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else.
  • Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.
  • CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit - or report on this category 5 snowstorm. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.
  • No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.
  • No one looted.
  • Nobody - I mean nobody - demanded the government do something.
  • Nobody expected the government to do anything, either.
  • No Larry King, No Shepard Smith, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson.
  • No Sean Penn, No Barbara Streisand, No Hollywood types to be found.
  • Nope, we just melted the snow for water.
  • Sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars.
  • The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny.
  • Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families.
  • Families took in the stranded people - total strangers.
  • We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns.
  • We put on extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die".
  • We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin at home' checks.
  • Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

He's Back!

The Fire is Blazing once again.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


I've shared Glenn Beck's "Real Story" with you before, but Thursday he featured a pair of stories that I thought were quite interesting. Both touched on national security and/or illegal immigration, two huge issues facing our country that have barely been mentioned since the November elections.

The first story is about the city of Phoenix. Turns out there have been more than a handful of terrorism-related stories that came out of or point to Phoenix. Here's part of the story:
First, remember that FBI memo from right before 9/11 that caused a huge political uproar because it supposedly had documented the idea that Osama bin Laden was sending terrorists to flight schools in the U.S.?

Guess what -- it's actually called "The Phoenix Memo" because it was written by the Phoenix FBI. It reads, in part, quote, "Phoenix has observed an inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest who are attending...civil aviation...colleges in the State of Arizona."

Hmmm, interesting.

And when the 9/11 report was finally issued, it contained 59 references to terrorist activity in Arizona and mentioned, for the first time, the existence of a highly classified FBI/CIA report titled, "Arizona: Long Range Nexus for Islamic Extremists." That report has still not been made public.

Nothing to see here people, move along.

Now, fast forward to this past November. A guy is stopped by Detroit police and is found to be carrying $80,000 in cash, information about cyanide, nuclear power plants and suitcase bombs, along with newspapers commemorating the 9/11 attacks. And just in case you think all of that is coincidence, he also had a hand-written note that said:

"This community is angry. Something is going to happen. We are going to see justice. This is a powder keg waiting to go off."

Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention...he was arrested in the airport on his way to, yes -- Phoenix.

Now, move ahead another couple of weeks. Remember those six Imam's who were kicked off a flight after acting suspiciously like the 9/11 terrorists? Yeah, you guessed it, they were also headed to Phoenix.

But here's the best part...Despite all of those incidents, and despite the fact that Arizona sits right on our unsecured border with Mexico, and the fact that Arizona's been called, quote, "the most important nexus for international jihad outside of...Pakistan and the Middle East," the city of Phoenix lost 60% of their homeland security funding last year -- that's more than any other urban-area.
Maybe those are coincidental, isolated incidents. But it seems like at least enough circumstantial evidence to keep Homeland Security from taking away that much funding - that 60% cut was from $10 million to $4 million. Phoenix is now in the process of seeking up to $17.6 million in "Urban Area Security Initiative" (Or UASI) grants. (Data collected from this story in The Arizona Republic.)

The other story is about our friends to the south and Social Security. What does Mexico have to do with our Social Security system? Well, it turns out that illegal immigrants may soon be eligible to collect Social Security benefits. Here's Glenn's take on this "Totalization" agreement:
After breaking into the country and using fake documents to secure work, an illegal may soon be able to actually claim social security benefits! A new agreement, if signed by the President, would allow an illegal alien who subsequently becomes legal, to claim benefits for the work they did prior to becoming a citizen. Put another way -- we'll ignore how you got here and how you got your job, as long as you do it the right way later.

Are you outraged yet? Well what if I told you that while most Americans need ten years of work to qualify for benefits -- Mexicans would qualify with as little as 18 months of work! NOW are you getting that rage back? I hope so, because our leaders have once again proven that the only way this insanity will end is through the will of the people.
This deal with Mexico isn't exactly unprecedented, but it is relatively unparalleled. The United States currently has totalization agreements with 20 countries. However, most of them are more "developed" countries with economies and systems much more like ours than Mexico's. An article from WorldNetDaily explains:
It's not the first such agreement; the U.S. already has nearly two dozen other agreements with other nations. They are intended to eliminate dual taxation for people who work outside their country of origin. But the other agreements are with developed nations with economies similar to that of the U.S., the league said.

For example, a worker who turns 62 after 1990 generally needs 40 calendar quarters of coverage to receive retirement benefits. Under the cross-country agreements, workers can combine earnings from both countries in order to qualify for benefits in the U.S.

The agreements generally provide that workers need only 18 months of coverage in the U.S. to qualify.

However, the league said Mexico's retirement system is "radically" different from other nations, the group said. "There, only 40 percent of the non-government workers participate in the system, as opposed to 96 percent of America's non-government workers. Additionally, the U.S. system is progressive, meaning lower-income workers get back much more than they paid into the system. But in Mexico, workers get back only what they put in, plus interest."
According to the article, a Washington Post story reported that, "The Bush administration reached an agreement with Mexico that would permit illegal aliens, after they are granted amnesty in the future, to claim Social Security benefits for the work they performed while in the U.S. illegally, even if they committed felonies by using fraudulent Social Security documents."

The way I see it, there are two HUGE problems with this. One is the apparent rewarding of illegal immigrants for falsifying documents so they can obtain jobs here. And the second is the added drain on our Social Security system. Again, from the WorldNetDaily article, "at the end of 2003, the Social Security System owed retirees and current workers benefits valued at $14 trillion, with assets of only $3.5 trillion." Now we're going to add the strain of people from Mexico putting in only 18 months of work to qualify for benefits while the rest of people - whether American citizens or immigrants from other countries with totalization agreements - need a combined 10 years of coverage under the system to qualify for its benefits.

Glenn's current Real Story can be found here. There is a bar of links to the "Real Story Archive," along with links to "Research Articles" used in putting together the Real Story.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hall of Fame

The Sports Guy writes about the Baseball Hall of Fame; in particular about Mark McGwire's inclusion on the ballot for the first time. I especially enjoyed his conclusion:
If we really want to do the right thing, let's vote in [Pete] Rose and McGwire as soon as possible, then inscribe on Rose's plaque that he's a dirtbag who bet on his own team, and inscribe on McGwire's that he almost definitely used performance enhancers and wouldn't answer questions about it under oath. And if that information is too sobering for your kids, well, don't take them to Cooperstown. Take them to Disneyland.