Sunday, July 29, 2007

Some Good News

Who knows where or how this will end up, but I liked reading this, courtesy of WorldNetDaily:
The House of Representatives has attached two amendments to spending bills intended to free Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean from prison and prohibit the Department of Transportation from spending any funds on the development of NAFTA Superhighways.

Several congressmen are discussing a third amendment, designed to shut down the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America working groups in the Department of Commerce, but as yet no sponsor has been finalized.

Taken together these memos evidence a growing resistance in the House to open borders, prosecutions of law enforcement on the border, and the increasingly evident drive by the Bush administration to push North American integration.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More Onion

A little satirical perspective on Barry Bonds, courtesy of The Onion:
SAN FRANCISCO—Although Barry Bonds remains the target of criticism over his possible—some say almost certain—use of performance-enhancing substances, the fact that Bonds has not been implicated in dogfighting, nightclub shootings, gambling, or murdering his family has transformed his controversial pursuit of the all-time home-run record into the feel-good sports story of the summer.


"I know Bonds is probably 100% pharmaceutical Frankenstein," said Brewers fan Charles Michaels, who waved a banner reading "Make Us Relatively Proud, Barry" while not exactly rooting against Bonds at Milwaukee's Miller Park Sunday night. "But I also know for a certainty that gambling problems didn't compel him to affect the outcome of the NBA playoffs. You have to give him that much."

"Bonds is not exactly my hero," said Braves fan Bradley Hanson, who flew to San Francisco for Monday night's Braves game in order to pointedly not boo Bonds. "But he's a reminder that in these troubled times for sports, there are still players whose crimes are simple, pure, and only tarnish our beloved sport and everything it stands for without killing anybody."


"Say what you want about Bonds, but he's not a murderer, or even an attempted murderer," San Francisco Chronicle reporter and co-author of Game Of Shadows Lance Williams wrote in Sunday's edition. "The only thing I believe Bonds did was inject himself with Winstrol, Deca-Durabolin, insulin, testosterone, synthetic testosterone, testosterone decanoate, human growth hormones, Norbolethone, Trenbolone, Clomid, and possibly commercial racehorse laxatives, all in order to make himself a better athlete. Not to allow himself to gut-shoot a gentleman's club bouncer, but to become a better athlete. A better athlete…it doesn't seem so bad when you think about it like that."

"It's a relief of sorts to see someone putting performance first," Frank Deford said in a New York Times Magazine editorial Sunday. "I think we all believe that Barry has taken steroids, and that they made him into a hulking monster who rewrote the record books. But they didn't turn him into a hulking monster who drugged his wife and children into unconsciousness before strangling them to death and hanging himself from a weight bench. And in these troubled times, Bonds' performance is one we can all reluctantly applaud."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Evidently Some "Bad Things" Are Good

Unfortunately, unlike my previous post, the satire story from The Onion, this story about John Edwards is true.
Edwards generated most of his wealth as a trial lawyer, but last year his principal employment was as a senior adviser to Fortress Investment (FIG, news, msgs), a large hedge-fund operator, for which he received $479,512. His and his wife's investment in Fortress Investment Fund III (Fund D) totaled between $1 million and $5 million.

Fortress, based in New York, owns subprime lender Nationstar Mortgage, formerly Centex Home Equity. The Dallas company calls itself "one of the nation's leading mortgage lenders offering nonprime mortgages and home-equity loans."

As a presidential candidate, Edwards has lashed out at subprime lenders, saying they are "pulling a fast one on hardworking homeowners."

Fortress Investment Fund III is based in the Cayman Islands. Edwards' campaign said he opposes offshore tax havens and, "as president, he will end them."

Edwards has said he worked for Fortress to learn more about financial markets and their link to poverty.
What better way to learn about how things such as subprime lending and offshore hedge funds can be linked to poverty than by building your portfolio on them? This guy may be the biggest hypocrite I've ever heard. Hey Mr. Edwards, if you want to help poverty, how about spreading around some of that $29.5-$62 milion? Oh wait, you only want us to be socialists. Nevermind. I wouldn't expect you to attempt to live up to your own ideals.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bad Things Are Bad

From the Onion:
AMES, IA—In an effort to jump-start a presidential campaign that still has not broken into the top Democratic tier, former Sen. John Edwards made his most ambitious policy announcement yet at a campaign event in Iowa Monday: a promise to eliminate all unpleasant, disagreeable, or otherwise bad things from all aspects of American life by the end of his second year in office.

"Many bad things are not just bad—they're terrible," said a beaming Edwards, whose "Only the Good Things" proposal builds upon previous efforts to end poverty, outlaw startlingly loud noises, and offer tax breaks to those who smile frequently. "Other candidates have plans that would reduce some of the bad things, but I want all of them gone completely."

Monday, July 16, 2007


In case you missed it (and I'm betting most of you did, since the ratings were rotten), Robert F. Kennedy Jr. went off during a speech at the Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium on Saturday, July 7. Advertised as a non-political concert (or series of concerts) "to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis," Kennedy proved otherwise in his rant:
...And so I am going to tell you this, that the next time you see John Stossel or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity --- these Flat Earthers, these corporate toadies, lying to you, lying to the American public, and telling you that global warming doesn't exist --- you send an email to their advertisers and tell them that you are not going to buy their products anymore....
Kennedy referred to "these Flat Earthers" along with the "rotten policiticans" who may likewise question global warming, or at least man's effects on global warming, or even just possible solutions, as "traitors."

Last week, Thursday night, Glenn Beck had Kennedy on his CNN Headline News show to ask Kennedy what his sentence should be for being a traitor (taken from transcript):
KENNEDY: You asked me a question, what your sentence should be. Your sentence should be that you should have to read the IPCC report and from cover to cover. And I know you don`t have it. I don`t mean this with any particular disrespect, but I don`t believe that you have a long attention span.

BECK: I am trying to ask questions, sir, honest questions. And yet you call me a fascist for asking questions. You, sir -- and I know you probably, and I mean no disrespect -- probably have even a shorter attention span, because I'm only asking you to read the definition of fascist. What, sir, is a definition of fascist? In your world, someone who says, "Wait a minute, slow down, let`s just talk about this before we spend all kinds of money and raise all kinds of taxes, let`s just slow down, sir."

KENNEDY: Let me answer your question. You asked me what the definition of fascist is. The American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as the domination of government by corporate power. You and John Stossel, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh have made yourselves the primary spokesman for the domination of corporate power over American government, and that is...
A couple points of clarification here. There's a bit of history between Kennedy & Beck. Earlier this year, Kennedy referred to Beck as "CNN's chief corporate fascism advocate."

The other point is the actual definition of fascism, taken from the American Heritage Dictionary, which Kennedy misquoted:
  • Kennedy's version: "the domination of government by corporate power."
  • Actual AHD definition: "A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."
Hmmm, "suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship"? Like calling people who question the human effects on global warming "traitors"? And I'm no political/government expert, but I think that "stringent socioeconomic controls" might keep "corporate power" from dominating the government.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

You Might Be ...

I found this in the current issue of Modern Reformation:
You might be a Pelagian if:
  1. When thinking of salvation you draw on the old Smith Barney commercial (i.e., "We get to heaven the old fashioned way.... We earn it!")
  2. You think "Amazing Grace" refers to someone's girlfriend.
  3. You think the whole fuss about original sin is just sinfully wrong-headed.
  4. Simply hearing the name Augustine makes you break out in a rash.
  5. You think "propitiation" is something that happens to your heart when you over-exert yourself.
  6. The Beatles song which goes, "one two three four five six seven, all good children go to heaven" is in a continuous loop inside your head.
  7. Your last name happens to be Pelagius.
  8. You think the lines from Invictus "I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul" are found in the book of Proverbs.
  9. You think "self esteem" is the most crucial component of sanctification.
  10. To the question, "What is your only comfort in life and death?" you answer by saying, "That I am my own, and have been taught to be nice."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Older Brother Never Did This For Me

From CNN:

KINGSTOWN, North Carolina (AP) -- A 5-year-old boy grabbed a rabid fox by the neck and pinned it to the ground during a family cookout, protecting six other children until his stepfather could kill the animal.

"I wanted to protect my little brother," said Rayshun McDowell, who battled the fox in the front yard of his home Sunday in Kingstown, a town about 50 miles west of Charlotte.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Entitlement Culture

This story makes me want to scream:
NEW YORK (AP) -- The new interim president of the NAACP belittled baseball's efforts to boost black participation, chastising the sport in a letter Tuesday to commissioner Bud Selig.

Baseball announced an agreement last month with KPMG in which the company will give $1 million annually to MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. Dennis Hayes called it "a small step."

"I hope that MLB will start listening to current and former African-American baseball players about their disappointment in the dwindling number of young blacks who are being coached and trained to enter the game that they love," Hayes wrote. "They believe, just like the NAACP believes, that if we don't do something now, African-American players will become extinct when it comes to Major League Baseball."
Can we please agree to stop demanding things from people who have no responsibility to meet those demands? MLB is not responsible for it's demographics, either on the field or in the stands. If they want to get involved in projects like the RBI program, that's fantastic, but for Hayes to blame them is ridiculous. Reminds me of another story I recently read:
CEDAR RAPIDS - It's not a health care crisis that worries Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, but America's health crisis.

"The best health care in the world is in America,'' the former Arkansas governor said during a visit to St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids on Monday. "People come to America to get health care.''

The problem is Americans' health, he said. Eighty percent of health care dollars go toward chronic disease -- most of it the result of overeating, too little exercise and smoking, he said.

Health in America, he said, is like an NFL football game … 22 people on the field in desperate need of rest being watched by 70,000 people in desperate need of exercise.
I'm with Huckabee. We seem to have exchanged our personal responsibility for a sense of entitlement. "I shouldn't have to stop eating fast food 10 times a week, the government should pay for my health care!" We cannot expect our government (or Major League Baseball) to fix our own problems. I understand that we all need help. No question about that. I can barely get through the day without help from others. But I have no illusions that anybody owes me any help.

Bears Sign First Round Pick

When the Bears selected University of Miami tight end Greg Olsen with the 31st pick of this year's draft, I was a little concerned. By all accounts, Olsen was a great pick, but the part that concerned me didn't have much to do with him or his talent, but his agent - the notorious Drew Rosenhaus. However, this news makes me feel much better:
The Chicago Bears reached a contract agreement with top pick Greg Olsen, on Tuesday, making the former University of Miami tight end the initial first-round selection in the league to come to terms on his rookie contract.

And in striking the deal, agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bears negotiator Cliff Stein relied on a creative structure that could pave the way for other first-round signings.

Olsen, the 31st player chosen overall in April, will sign a five-year contract with a maximum value of $10.696 million.
The part I really like about the contract is that his "base" salary over the five years is only $2.315 million. The rest is wrapped up in various incentives. I wish more contracts were this way in the various professional leagues. It only seems to make sense that a player would get paid more if he performed well than if he underperformed.

Wouldn't Surprise Me

Every once in a while I get a kick out of reading some "news" at The Onion, such as this:
WASHINGTON, DC—In a near-unanimous vote Monday, 434 members of the House and all 100 senators voiced their approval of $250 billion. "My fellow members of Congress, $250 billion is an incredibly vast sum of money," U.S. Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT) said. "That much money is totally awesome." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the lone dissenter, disagreed with Rehberg's assessment, saying that, unless the money was stacked on a table in one-dollar bills, it was "pretty cool," but not "awesome."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Good Wait At The Dentist

I was at the dentist a couple of weeks ago, sitting in the waiting room. At my last couple of visits I hadn't really had to wait at all, so I thought I'd just sit there. But then I noticed there were several others in the waiting room with me, and a couple of them got called in while I was waiting. So I finally decided to cave in and look for a magazine. I moved to a different chair near an end table with a stack of magazines and picked up a sports magazine that I'd never seen before. It was "Sharing the Victory," which is a part of the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The cover story was about one of my favorite baseball players, Atlanta Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur. In it, I learned a lot about Francoeur that I hadn't known previously, including the fact that exactly one year before he made his Major League debut, he was sent to the hospital after being hit in the cheekbone by a 95 mph fastball while squaring around to bunt.

Some of the Q&A from the article (read the whole article here):
Jill Ewert: Obviously you’re passionate about impacting kids, and I know you do a lot of speaking for FCA. Why is that important to you?

Jeff Francoeur: FCA has always been special to me because I got saved [at a retreat] in Black Mountain, N.C., when I was a sophomore in high school. So, I go back every year to do the Winter Recharge with about 400 to 450 kids. It’s a lot of fun. And then I speak at two or three different banquets during the off-season.

I know when I was in FCA, I loved the chance to worship with other people I never knew were Christians. And I think through it you just develop friendships and the chance to grow with other people.

Ewert: Talking about guidance and accountability, one of the most recognized Christians in baseball in John Smoltz. Can you tell me how he’s helped you spiritually?

Francoeur: He helps me out so much. When I got called up in 2005, he took me aside and let me know who on the team were strong Christians I could learn from. That was great because, as a young guy coming up, you’re just trying to fit in. You see all these guys who have been on TV for years, and they’re your role models; but at the same time you have to stay grounded and know where you are spiritually so that you don’t fall. You have to set standards that you won’t sway from. And I think that’s what I’ve tried to do the last couple of years—just let the guys know where I stand with my faith. When you do that, it makes it a lot easier, and guys respect you more.

Ewert: Another veteran Brave, Julio Franco, also said in reference to your group of young players, “We’re raising them to be winners.” Based on what they’ve taught you and what you know about God, what does it mean to be a winner?

Francoeur: People always talk about winning and losing, and I think to be a winner means a couple different things. First of all, when you wake up in the morning you realize that the most important thing is your relationship with Christ. That’s first and foremost in anything. And then, that everything you do is for His glory. Sometimes in this game you can get so lost in doing things for yourself and being selfish. Nobody’s perfect. You like seeing your name up on the scoreboard, you like seeing people wear your jersey; but you have to remember that it’s God who has allowed you to do that. He’s put you in a great position to give the glory to Him.