Thursday, June 28, 2007

The (Un)Fairness Doctrine

How crazy and unattached from reality are politicians? Earlier this month Republican Senator Trent Lott said, “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.” Now we've got Democrats such as Diane Feinstein and John Kerry wanting to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

According to this article at WND, Senator Kerry says:
… one of the most profound changes in the balance of the media is when the conservatives got rid of the equal time requirements and the result is that they have been able to squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views and I think its been a very important transition in the imbalance of our public eye.
Feinstein adds:
Well, I'm looking at it, as a matter of fact … because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.
In the words of the incomparable John Stossel, "Give me a break!" Talk radio is not squeezing out opinions - it gives the average Joe an opportunity to voice his opinion. Nobody's stopping opposing views from being spouted on the radio (or on TV, for that matter). It's just that evidently nobody wants to listen to liberal crap. There's a reason that Air America Radio filed for bankruptcy after two and a half years. Heck, even Madison, Wisconsin, a hotbed for all things liberal, dropped Air America in favor of all sports radio. Other stations have done likewise:
As of April 2007, Air America programming was carried on 60 terrestrial broadcast stations (40 broadcasting a majority AAR programming). AAR counts any station that carries their programming as an affiliate, similar to syndicates like ESPN Radio.

Several progressive talk stations, carrying some Air America programming, have changed to formats like oldies, sports talk, or even conservative talk (such as the AAR station in Columbus, OH). Clear Channel's WKOX and WXKS in Boston changed to "Rumba", a Spanish-language music format; Akron's WARF went to sports, and WTWK in Plattsburgh, NY, dropped progressive talk for the Greenstone Media women's talk network.
So Senators Feinstein, Kerry, and others: face it, there's not a market for liberal radio. All the Fairness Doctrine would do would be to shut down talk radio altogether. Gee, I wonder if they already know that?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Prayer

Yesterday I finished Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference, by Philip Yancey. Discerning Reader has a fair review of it, although the "In short" review is "Too many questions and not enough answers." That's one thing I like about Yancey - although I may not agree with him on some significant doctrine, he writes the way I think and he's not afraid of unanswered questions.

Here are some quotes/excerpts for your consideration:
Prayer forces me to catch sight of this my true state. In Henri Nouwen's words, "To pray is to walk in the full light of God, and to say simply, without holding back, 'I am human and you are God.' At that moment, conversion occurs, the restoration of the true relationship. A human being is not someone who once in a while makes a mistake, and God is not someone who now and then forgives. No, human beings are sinners and God is love." (p. 34-35)

I am overwhelmed by the vastness of God, the imbalance of any creature's relationship to such a being. "Since it is God we are speaking of, you do not understand it. If you could understand it, it would not be God," said Saint Augustine. We who barely comprehend ourselves are approaching a God we cannot possibly comprehend. No wonder some Christians through the centuries have felt more comfortable praying to saints or relying on intermediaries. (p. 48)

The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God. I need God more than anything I might get from God. (p. 56)

Sometimes, like the boy who asks his parents to solve a math problem while he plays video games, we ask God for things we should be doing ourselves. (p. 127)
In a letter Yancey received from "Susan":
I used to worry about falling asleep during prayer. Now, as a parent, I understand. What parent wouldn't want her child to fall asleep in her arms? (p. 149)

In persistent prayer, my own desires and plans gradually harmonize with God's. (p. 153)

When I am tempted to complain about God's lack of presence, I remind myself that God has much more reason to complain about my lack of presence. (p. 208)

Somehow we must offer our prayers with a humility that conveys gratitude without triumphalism, and compassion with manipulation, always respecting the mystery surrounding prayer. (p. 221)


[Abraham] Lincoln's attitude [during the Civil War] stands in stark contrast to the triumphalism that normally accompanies war. Lincoln accepted the terrible cost of the Civil War as a just judgment on the evil of slavery the nation had perpetrated: "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this might scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue unto all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword ... so still must it be said that 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'"

Moreover, Lincoln called for a spirit of reconciliation, not vengeance, as the war drew to a close: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." (p. 227)


C.S. Lewis observes:

"The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them. Invariable 'success' in prayer would not prove the Christian doctrine at all. It would prove something much more like magic.

"It is not unreasonable for a headmaster to say, 'Such and such things you may do according to the fixed rules of this school. But such and such other things are too dangerous to be left to general rules. If you want to do them you must come and make a request and talk over the whole matter with me in my study. And then--we'll see.'" (p. 234)


... prayed the British author John Baillie:
"Let me use disappointment as material for patience.
Let me use success as material for thankfulness.
Let me use trouble as material for perseverance.
Let me use danger as material for courage.
Let me use reproach as material for long suffering.
Let me use praise as material for humility.
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance.
Let me use pain as material for endurance." (p. 240)


Those of us who struggle with unanswered prayer dare not overlook an important theological truth about how God acts in this world today. The church is the body of Christ, and as such it does God's work. As Ronald Rolheiser expresses it, "A theist believes in a God in heaven whereas a Christian believes in a God in heaven who is also physically present on this earth inside of human beings. ... God is still present, as physical and as real today as God was in the historical Jesus. God still has skin, human skin, and physically walks on this earth just as Jesus did."

To pray "God, please help my neighbor cope with her financial problems," or "God, do something about the homeless downtown" is the approach of a theist, not a Christian. God has chosen to express love and grace in the world through those of us who embody Christ. (p. 243-244)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lone Survivor

In June of 2005, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by the Taliban, and all 16 personnel on board were killed. The helicopter had been going in to help out four U.S. Navy SEALs who had been ambushed by an estimated 140 members of the Taliban. Only one of the SEALs survived the attack, and he is now telling his story.

Marcus Luttrell, who at the time was a petty officer second class, wrote Lone Survivor, telling the story of his survival and rescue from Afghanistan, along with the heroism of his three fallen comrades. His story is an amazing story, one that I don't even want to try to summarize. I just want to get my hands on a copy of this book and read the whole account for myself.

Here are some links to various accounts & interviews regarding the book and Luttrell's story:
I cannot imagine what these guys go through on a day to day basis. The sacrifices they make for our freedom our unbelievable. A couple of Bible verses come to mind:
  • Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. - John 15:13 (ESV)
  • For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)
Please pray for the men & women who are serving our country in the various branches of the military. At the very least, pray for their safety. And pray that God would be glorified in their lives and in their missions.

$5 Books

All the books available online at Desiring God's store will be on sale for $5 on Wednesday, June 27 & Thursday, June 28. If you've never read anything by John Piper before, check out the "Essential Piper" section. I've read and learned from Desiring God, Let the Nations Be Glad!, Don't Waste Your Life, and God Is the Gospel. I've read part of When I Don't Desire God, and have The Pleasures of God waiting in the wings. If you're up for some good meat, I'd recommend Desiring God. If you want something a little lighter in order to get a taste of Piper, I'd recommend Don't Waste Your Life. Or browse through all the books and see what's available.

While you're there, check out the resource library - there's a lot of good stuff there for free.

(HT: Desiring God Blog)

Debt Snowball

Here's a good tool to help you get out of debt, especially if you have several sources of debt. The idea is to give you the best plan to pay off one debt at a time, and once a debt is paid off, you roll that monthly payment onto the next debt, thus creating the debt snowball.

And if all those credit card offers you get in the mail drive you nuts, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) so you will not receive pre-approved offers for credit from the three major credit bureaus.

(HT: Chumpy)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Congress

We've all heard about President Bush's low approval rating, right? Has anybody heard what Congress's approval rating is? Well, I conducted a non-scientific poll today and found out that 100% of Americans have never heard an approval rating for Congress. (The poll has a margin error of +/- 100%, with 1 respondent.) Anyway, Gallup has new data shows what percentage of Americans have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress. And that percentage is ... 14%. There were 16 institutions on Gallup's "Confidence in Institutions" survey. Here are this year's results:

The Military - 69%
Small Business - 59%
The Police - 54%
Church/Organized Religion - 46%
Banks - 41%
The U.S. Supreme Court - 34%
Public Schools - 33%
The Medical System - 31%
The Presidency - 25%
Television News - 23%
Newspapers - 22%
Criminal Justice System - 19%
Organized Labor - 19%
Big Business - 18%
HMOs - 15%
Congress - 14%

One reason why Americans do not have confidence in Congress - deception. CNN's Anderson Cooper tried to find out what kind of earmarks members of the U.S. House of Representatives had asked for:
We had CNN interns for three days call literally every member of the House, 435 of them, to ask them to give us a list of what requests they had made for, you know, appropriations in their district. Only 31 of them were willing to provide the information. Sixty eight of them declined. Three hundred twenty-nine of them didn't even return our calls or provide the request at all.
How quickly these people forget that their job is to represent their constituents. You cannot do that when you refuse to answer to them.

Johnny Sutton

FoxNews.com has this story about Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. Sutton, you may recall, was the prosecutor of U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, which I've been following. Sutton continues to stand his ground, basically saying they got what they deserved. A while back, I pointed to the transcript of an interview Glenn Beck did with Sutton, but didn't take the time then to break it down at all. Here's some of the interview:

BECK: Let`s start with the alleged cover-up. The two agents go, and they shoot at the drug smuggler...

SUTTON: Fifteen times.

BECK: ... 15 times, they shoot at him. He`s running away. He`s shot in the butt. Forensics show that it looks like he may have been turned around, which shows that he was running. They go and pick up the shell casings, right?

SUTTON: Yes.

BECK: OK. There are two agents -- I`m sorry, seven agents and two supervisors there. What kind of cover-up is going on when they`re picking up the shell casings with seven -- or, I`m sorry, nine other people?

SUTTON: Right, and that`s another big part of the misinformation here. At the time of the shooting, there were not seven agents. There was three. And that`s Compean, Ramos and Agent Juarez, who is standing right there. I mean, they have this drug dealer in a ditch with his hands in the air. All they had to do was put the handcuffs on him. And, instead, someone yells in English, "Hit him," and Compean tries to hit him with the shotgun.

BECK: According to the drug smuggler.

SUTTON: No, no, Juarez says that, and Compean says that. I`m sorry, the drug smuggler and Compean say somebody said, "Hit him," in English. I mean, Compean admits that in his own testimony.

BECK: But you said -- I`ve heard you on several problems -- you said the real problem here is the cover-up. So, again, I`ve got nine agents, including two supervisors, there, watching people pick up the...

SUTTON: No, all those people show up later.

BECK: Really?

SUTTON: All those people show up later. And even Compean and Ramos admit that the supervisors weren`t there. They admit that in their own testimony at trial, supervisors weren`t there. There were agents who were involved in a cover-up. Agent Vazquez picked up the shell casings with Compean. Compean only found nine of his 14 shots, so he was missing five shells. Vazquez went back and picked those up and threw them away and called them on his cell phone.
If you read that closely, you can see Sutton twisting his responses to avoid the facts that Glenn received from official government documents regarding the case. Glenn is asking where the cover-up is when there are seven agents and two supervisors there when the casings are being picked up. Sutton's response is to say that those agents weren't there at the time of the shooting. So to clear this up, there were three agents there at the time of the shooting, then by the time the casings were picked up, there were seven agents and two supervisors there.

So if Ramos and Compean are being prosecuted for the cover-up, Sutton's got some explaining to do about why the other five agents and two supervisors weren't prosecuted as well. Sutton himself says that Vazquez was involved in picking up the casings, but Vazquez (or Juarez as Sutton previously referred to him) was not prosecuted.

And I don't get the "somebody said, 'Hit him,' in English" argument. So an agent who sees his partner with his firearm ready, and thinks the suspect is armed and ready to shoot, cannot say "Hit him"? Or can he just not say it in English? But I do continue to appreciate the U.S. Government building a case on the testimony of an illegal alien drug smuggler. That's nice.

Here's some more:
BECK: ... Let me give you -- this comes from the Department of Homeland Security. This is the actual report. You didn`t have the FBI. You had the Department of Homeland Security investigate this. So this is from their actual report, that they were on location during the shooting incident or of the shooting incident. They assisted in destroying the evidence of the shooting and/or knew or heard about the shooting, and it lists all of them, including the two supervisors.

SUTTON: Everyone agrees, including Compean and Ramos, their supervisors were not on the scene. And even their own testimony says, "We didn`t tell our supervisors. We just assumed someone else did."

Look, when you shoot somebody, you`ve got to say that you shot somebody. You don`t have to incriminate yourself, but you at least have to explain that guns were fired so the investigation. And, by the way, Ramos is on the sector evidence team, so he knows, whenever there`s a shooting, you`ve got to mark it, you`ve got clear it off, you`ve got to pick up the evidence.

BECK: Sure. But you don`t write a report, do you?

SUTTON: No, you do write a report.

BECK: No, you report to your supervisor orally, I understand.

SUTTON: Right, what you do is you must report within one hour of a shooting. And then you don`t have to...

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: And if your supervisors were coming to the scene, you would just assume that it...

(CROSSTALK)

SUTTON: You`re supposed to tell them that, "I shot 15 times at a guy who pointed a gun at me."

BECK: So is that 10 years for assuming that nine people there on the scene pretty much understood it? Is it 10 years...

SUTTON: No, 10 years is for committing a number of serious crimes. When you shoot an unarmed guy in the back.
Again, there's Sutton twisting the timeline, in addition to forgetting what the reporting procedure is. I find it extremely believable that Ramos and Compean didn't tell their supervisors "I shot 15 times at a guy who pointed a gun at me" because they were there while the casings were being picked up. To me, that's a bit like going into your boss's office each day to tell him that you're at work. It's not like they needed documentation - it's supposed to be an oral report, remember Johnny?

One final portion:
SUTTON: Then it becomes a debate about punishment. And that is a different -- I have a lot of sympathy for those who say, look, punishment is too high, you know, 10 years. I agree. Punishment in this case is extremely...

BECK: Really? You agree?

SUTTON: I agree it`s extremely high.

BECK: Have you written the president? Have you written your good friend, Gonzales, about this?

SUTTON: What I say about that is the punishment is set by Congress. They set...

BECK: So you have no discretion, you can`t write the president and say, "Come on"?

SUTTON: I do have discretion.

BECK: Have you made that? Have you written it?

SUTTON: And we have discretion at the beginning of the trial with regard to plea bargains and things like that. And what people have said...

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: So you can`t make a recommendation?

SUTTON: We have no interest. We have no interest.

BECK: You can`t make the reconstruction?

SUTTON: With regard to a pardon or clemency, at some point, the Department of Justice will probably ask for my recommendation. And when that comes, we`ll make one.
Another great part. I love the "I have a lot of sympathy ... the punishment is too high ... I have discretion ... We have no interest ... at some point they'll probably ask for my recommendation" part. This is what I hate about politicians - and yeah, I consider this guy a politician. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call it a duck. Stop talking out of both sides of you butt, say what you mean, mean what you say, and stand up for your convictions!

A Muslim Christian?

My sister sent me this story about an Episcopal priest who became a Muslim 15 months ago:
Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.
How does that work? After all, there are significant differences between the Christian faith and the Muslim faith. Most of all their view of Jesus:
Christianity has historically regarded Jesus as the son of God and God incarnate, both fully human and fully divine. Muslims, though they regard Jesus as a great prophet, do not see him as divine and do not consider him the son of God.
Redding explains it this way:
"I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both."
Um, sorry, Rev. Redding, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way. You're an American by your citizenship, African by your ancestry, and woman by your gender. Those are three distinct categories. Muslim and Christian are in the same category of religion/faith, but are quite contrary to each other.

The programming director at the Al-Islam Center of Seattle, Ayesha Anderson, doesn't agree:
"Islam doesn't say if you're a Christian, you're not a Muslim. Islam doesn't lay it out like that."
Would Anderson say the same about the Jews, who are also considered to be "People of the Book"? Why is there so much Muslim vs. Jew and Muslim vs. Christian persecution? How do you explain much of the Middle East and places like Sudan?

Later on there are some more clues regarding Redding's beliefs:
She calls Christianity the "world religion of privilege." She has never believed in original sin. And for years she struggled with the nature of Jesus' divinity.

...

In March 2006, she said her shahada — the profession of faith — testifying that there is only one God and that Mohammed is his messenger. She became a Muslim.

...

She believes the Trinity is an idea about God and cannot be taken literally.

She does not believe Jesus and God are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus.

She believes Jesus is the son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.

What makes Jesus unique, she believes, is that out of all humans, he most embodied being filled with God and identifying completely with God's will.

She does believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, and acknowledges those beliefs conflict with the teachings of the Quran. "That's something I'll find a challenge the rest of my life," she said.

She considers Jesus her savior. At times of despair, because she knows Jesus suffered and overcame suffering, "he has connected me with God," she said.

...

Being Muslim has given her insights into Christianity, she said. For instance, because Islam regards Jesus as human, not divine, it reinforces for her that "we can be like Jesus. There are no excuses."
After reading that, Rev. Redding, I'd say you're definitely Muslim. If Jesus is not part of the Trinity, is not the Son of God, then His death and resurrection are meaningless, and He is not able to be the Savior.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Call Me A Geek, But...

Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds, himself an editor, points to a post by IVP's Andy Le Peau regarding their policy of not using "serial commas." Here's the difference:

With the serial comma:
- "I had bananas, blueberries, and strawberries on my corn flakes this morning."
Without the serial comma:
- "I had bananas, blueberries and strawberries on my corn flakes this morning."

So what's the big deal, you ask? Well, fellow blogger Tim Ellsworth, who also writes for BP Sports, nailed it with this comment on Le Peau's post:
I'd like to dedicate this response to my parents, Mother Theresa and the Pope.
Well done, Tim. Well done.

UPDATE: As Tim points out, that comment was the one after his, posted by "Another Andy." Either way, I'm still amused.

MLB Suspensions

From ESPN.com:
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee and Padres pitcher Chris Young were suspended five games each and fined undisclosed amounts on Monday for their Saturday fight which set off a a benches-clearing skirmish between the teams at Wrigley Field.
So Young throws one high and tight, Lee doesn't like it, and they each throw a punch at each other, both missing. And they both get suspended five games. Sounds fair, huh? I don't think so. Assuming they're "equally guilty" (which is debatable), 5 games each is not equal punishment. The Cubs will be without Lee, their everyday first baseman, not to mention one of the best hitters in the game, for 5 games (pending a possible appeal). But Chris Young is a starting pitcher, not an everyday position player. That means he pitches once every 5 days/games. So basically, his suspension means he gets an extra day off between starts. If the league really wanted to suspend him for 5 starts, it would have to suspend him for 29 games/days.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Real Cause Of Darfur

In an opinion column published in the Washington Post, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that "the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change."

Triumphant Grace

While listening to a podcast from Desiring God Radio on my way home from work today, John Piper ended his message with the following words penned by Charles Wesley:
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace.

My gracious master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread the through all the earth abroad,
The honors of Thy name.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
- Colossians 2:13-15

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

As my first Father's Day as a father draws to a close, I wanted to share this exhortation to dads from a sermon given by John Piper on Father's Day 1986:
[Children] ought to see in their human father a reflection—albeit imperfect—of the heavenly Father in his strength and tenderness, in his wrath and mercy, in his exaltation and condescension, in his surpassing wisdom and patient guidance. The task of every human father is to be for his children an image of the Father in heaven.
After reading that and thinking of the immense task that lies before me, I could only give thanks to my Heavenly Father for providing an earthly father that was such a reflection for me. So thank you Dad, and thank You, Abba, Father.

(HT: Desiring God Blog)

Britain's Got Talent

Check out this audition for the UK show, "Britain's Got Talent." I'm not really a big fan of opera music, but this guy's not too bad, for a mobile phone salesman:

By the way, Mr. Potts won the contest.

(HT: Between Two Worlds)

Saving Faith

From J.I. Packer:
Faith is a conscious acknowledgment of our own unrighteousness and ungodliness and on that basis a looking to Christ as our own righteousness, a clasping of him as the ring clasps the jewel (so Luther), a receiving of him as an empty vessel receives treasure (so Calvin), and a reverent, resolute reliance on the biblical promise of life though him for all who believe. Faith is our act, but not our work; it is an instrument of reception without being a means of merit; it is the work in us of the Holy Spirit, who both evokes it and through it ingrafts us into Christ in such a sense that we know at once the personal relationship of sinner to Saviour and disciple to Master and with that the dynamic relationship of resurrection life, communicated through the Spirit's indwelling. So faith takes, and rejoices, and hopes, and loves, and triumphs. (Honouring the People of God, p. 228.)
(HT: Between Two Worlds)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Closed Minds At The Museum

Russell Moore writes about his family's visit to the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum:
My family attended the grand opening of the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum and I saw what I expected to see: closed minded propagandists who don't want any challenge to their narrow view of origins. But they weren't in the museum.

So we drove past the protesters and into a museum whose exhibits constantly reference both sides of the creation/evolution debate.
(HT: Tim Ellsworth)

NBA Finals

From the Sports Guy's running diary of Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers:
6:37: They just showed a promo for the NBA Cares program, a successful and generous charity program by all accounts, so forgive me as I make this joke: The clip included Shawn Marion cutting the ribbon for a new reading and learning center in Arizona. That's right, the same Shawn Marion who left UNLV after three years and never graduated. Come on, that's a little funny. You have to admit.

6:42: Uh-oh ... ABC's using that roaming "Blair Witch" camera at midcourt that everyone hates. It's a great idea if you want all your viewers to either (A) feel like they're on a cruise without Dramamine, or (B) end up like Colin Hay. Seriously, did you ever hear anyone say, "You know what, the standard midcourt camera isn't doing it for me anymore, I wish we had something closer and much more wobbly and disorienting"?

7:02: Who hasn't washed his hair for the longest time -- Anderson Varejao or Manny Ramirez? I'd have to go with Manny. I don't think he's taken a shower since 2002. And that's debatable.

7:03: I'm not kidding, the Blair Witch Cam just made me have to close my eyes and shake my head the same way someone does when they've just been accidentally elbowed. This is going to lead to one of those class-action lawsuits like in "The Jerk," isn't it?

7:11: Ginobili sinks an end-of-the-half 3. Our halftime score: Spurs 40, Cavs 35. Honestly, I don't know what to make of that half. The Spurs looked rusty, the Cavs looked mildly overmatched and LeBron looked frazzled. That's all I can tell you. Hey, here's the beginning of Michele Tafoya's halftime interview with Parker:

Michele: "You had an easy time getting into the paint until LeBron started to guard you. How much of a difference does he make defensively?"

Tony: "Well, he's a little bit bigger, uh, more athletic, obviously. So he's got a better chance to block my shot."

(Again, it's so great to have sideline reporters there. What would we do without them? If you're scoring at home, we just learned that LeBron is bigger and more athletic than Larry Hughes.)

7:26: Enjoyable halftime piece about the Popovich/Duncan relationship. I still think they're related. Nobody can talk me out of this.

7:38: You know a Finals might suck when the announcers are spending an inordinate amount of time praising the defense of both teams.

7:39: Hey, LeBron's on the board with a layup! That ended a 29-minute drought. Even Eric Snow was getting embarrassed.

7:53: Our first ridiculously wuss-tastic flagrant foul of the night: Gooden getting whistled on a breakaway foul where he kindasorta cuffed Ginobili's neck, who then reacted like he was being gunned down by a firing squad. We're about 20 years away from this game becoming a noncontact sport like women's lacrosse. I'm telling you.

8:01: Whoops, it looks like the NBA and ABC didn't get my order: I specifically said, "Gimme the NBA Finals and hold the David Blaine."

8:05: More comedy from Van Gundy: During a story about how Varejao didn't speak any English when he joined the NBA, then learned the language with help from Zydrunas Ilgauskas -- and by the way, this has all the makings of a great sitcom -- Van Gundy interjects, "And you know the first word he learned? Flop!" Send the writing Emmy to Bruce Vilanch's house right now.

8:11: Well, ABC is premiering a reality show in which Shaq tries to get six kids with weight problems to get in shape. And you know what? That's too easy. Any joke is too easy for that one. I'm abstaining. There's a 0.0 degree of difficulty.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Grace

Haven't posted a quote for a while, so I went to my archives and found this:
"God can do whatever he wishes with his mercy. Since everybody deserves his wrath, how can we argue with that?" - Michael Horton, p. 80, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace

We Should Chat

Here are a couple of feel-good stories from two misunderstood men. We really ought to reach out to them, try to understand them, and have peace talks with them, even if they have no desire for peace. First, some not so good news from our "friend," Vladimir Putin:
MOSCOW — In a threat not uttered since the Cold War, Vladimir Putin said that Russia intends to aim its missile systems - potentially nuclear weapons - at targets in Europe in retaliation for the U.S. decision to establish antimissile bases there.

During a lengthy dinner, Russia's President defended his semi-authoritarian style and insisted he is the world's only true democrat. In an interview with The Globe and Mail and a small circle of other journalists, he stressed that his country is not moving away from a market economy, refused to consider extraditing a former KGB agent charged with poisoning a dissident in London, and lashed out repeatedly at the United States and NATO for operating in countries previously within Russia's sphere of influence.
And then there's this news out of Tehran:
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday said the world would witness the destruction of Israel soon, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Ahmadinejad said last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah showed for the first time that the "hegemony of the occupier regime (Israel) had collapsed, and the Lebanese nation pushed the button to begin counting the days until the destruction of the Zionist regime," IRNA quoted him as saying.

"God willing, in the near future we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying during a speech to foreign guests mostly from African, Arab and neighboring countries who attended ceremonies marking the 18th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who is known as the father of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

It's stories like these that make me keep reading Joel Rosenberg. Day after day, headline after headline, he's pointing to what appears to be fulfillment of Biblical prophecy of an alliance between Russia & Iran in order to attempt to destroy Israel and the West.

Back to 49?

Would anybody really miss Vermont?
MONTPELIER, Vt. - At Riverwalk Records, the all-vinyl record store just down the street from the state Capitol, the black "US Out of Vt.!" T-shirts are among the hottest sellers.

But to some people in Vermont, the idea is bigger than a $20 novelty. They want Vermont to secede from the United States - peacefully, of course.

Disillusioned by what they call an empire about to fall, a small cadre of writers and academics is plotting political strategy and planting the seeds of separatism.

They’ve published a "Green Mountain Manifesto" subtitled "Why and How Tiny Vermont Might Help Save America From Itself by Seceding from the Union." They hope to put the question before citizens at Town Meeting Day next March, eventually persuading the state Legislature to declare independence, returning Vermont to the status it held from 1777 to 1791.

Terror Attempt at JFK

After the thwarted plot to attack JFK airport, I almost wrote a sarcastic post about how the U.S. presence in Iraq caused it. But I decided that would be inappropriate to joke about. However, U.S. Representative John Murtha not only thinks it's appropriate, he thinks it's true:
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., says homegrown terrorist plots like the alleged plan to bomb fuel pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport are provoked by the U.S. presence in Iraq.
So let me get this straight - our presence in Iraq is causing radical Muslims from Trinidad & Guyana to try to attack us? I don't know how some of these politicians refuse to identify radical Islam as a real threat to us, yet they make claims like this.

(HT: Iowa Voice)

The Grass Is Greener Where?

ESPN.com tells about Billy Donovan turning his back on his recently signed 5-year, $27.5 million contract with the Orlando Magic. When will somebody hold a coach to his word? When will a school say, "We're sorry, but you left us. We've moved on and so should you."?
Billy Donovan didn't know the right decision for his career until he made the wrong one.

After signing a contract with the Magic on Friday, Donovan, who is fresh off leading the Florida Gators to back-to-back national titles, has decided he wants out of Orlando, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

Friday, June 01, 2007

My New Favorite Song

Take a listen:





Here are the full lyrics, if you want to play it again and sing along:
Please don't melt our glaciers
Please don't kill us all
Please don't destroy our atmosphere
The sun will kill us all

Global warming
It's not just a prediction anymore
It's not just a prediction anymore
It's true
Help

Bush is such an idiot (I know)
He won't sign the Kyoto Treaty
Why doesn't he care?
Why won't he help?

Global warming
It's not just a prediction anymore
It's not just a prediction anymore
It's true
Help

Icebergs are falling into the ocean
The ozone layer is thinning
Make good choices
Don't use so many resources
Every single day
Don't drive your car as much
Find alternatives
Don't be careless
Recycle
Don't use so much electricity
Don't use styrofoam
Be friendly to the earth
It will be friendly back

Global warming
It's not just a prediction anymore
It's not just a prediction anymore
It's real
Help
They've got a point: "The sun will kill us all." That's why Evil Conservative Industries has launched the following campaign:

(Click picture for larger image)

(A little clarification for the totally confused: the song is serious, and was written & performed by a band called Bl├╝bird, while the picture is sarcasm courtesy of EvilConservatives.com, a production of the Glenn Beck Program.)