Sunday, September 30, 2007
--- Flannery O’Connor, The Fiction Writer and His Country
Tim Keller, Senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City is one of the best of speakers for the Gospel of Christ and what it does and doesn't mean to be a follower.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I went to a college football game Saturday night with a man who 1) loves football and 2) loves to haggle for cheap tickets from hawkers outside the stadium. Season tickets would be way too easy. He's always looking for two tickets for $5 a piece (but he will pay up to $10 each) on the 50 yard line, around the 15th row.
Sometimes it takes a while for him to find just the right deal. (I refuse to do this game of 'the price is right' when it gets really cold and leave town.) Tonight he got the $5 ticket price, but it was on the 40 yard line on the 9th row. He was nonetheless very pleased with himself, even before we got to our seats. He had won his pre-game game. He loves a deal.
We proceeded to our very good seats on the 40 yard line.
Here's what I know: It was a beautiful night, we all wore shirt sleeves and the stadium was about 80% full. There were two teams, each with 11 men. One team was Vanderbilt in black with gold outfits, and one was Eastern Michigan in white with green outfits.
There were a number of touchdowns, first downs, punts, interceptions, fumbles and field goals during this game. Vanderbilt won, but I don't know by how much, since we left in the fourth quarter after Vanderbilt got way ahead.
Evidently, Eastern Michigan was playing out of it's league and knew this going in. I'm told that even though they were trounced, they made a good deal of money for their athletic program by being the sacrificial lamb for Vanderbilt during Vandy's Annual Parent's Weekend.
Again, the score of the Vanderbilt-Eastern Michigan game: Vandy won. Eastern Michigan lost. We got tickets on the 40 yard line for $5 each, we had fun & it wasn't bitter cold...........priceless!
So go take the political quiz---at WQAD, Molene, Illinois---on where you stand on the big issues, and then see how all the candidates rank in relation to you.
Very, very fun.
So who are your top candidates after taking the quiz??
Mine: Later, baby...if I told you this very minute, I'd have to kill ya....
H/T Susan B.
Friday, September 28, 2007
But there's no death wish here for the tiny baby girl, born 15 weeks early weighing 10 ounces, a little more than a 1/2 pound, over six months ago!
After her premature birth, she was immediately named Kimberly Mueller. And then, as her father looked on her shockingly tiny body for the first time, he spoke his first words to her: "Kimberly, you'll make it......."
What kind words of encouragement he gave her. Read the whole amazing story here.
Now, six months later, Kimberley is home with her parents and weighs over 5 lbs. She still must be fed nutrients and oxygen at times through tubes. But she and her parents are now well experienced in fighting for her life and they feel they have turned a corner, a magnificent corner.
I'm sure they could all use our prayers now. What an amazing story.
After seeing this video, I decided to hold the post I was doing on George----walking softly but carrying a big schtik---Soros until next week. And anyway, I need a good laugh in front of a great weekend with perfect weather.
H/T News Busters
Thursday, September 27, 2007
John Markum on MSM Money.
"Defaulting middle-class U.S. homeowners are blamed, but they are merely a pawn in the game," he says. "Those loans were invented so that hedge funds would have high-yield debt to buy."
The middle class, pawns in a global financial game? Only if we allowed ourselves to be. It's a good time to get and keep our financial house in order, get and stay out of debt, tighten our financial belt and hang on.
If I heard it once, I heard my dear fiscally conservative father tell me a hundred times: get and stay out of debt, live below your means, and save for your future and future generations. He also told me never to co-sign a note. I can still hear him from the other side! Thanks father, I heard you talking, and I'm doing just fine, thank you.
H/T: Flares into Darkness.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This is my comment today at Dr. Helen's regarding Mary Winkler, the woman who shot her pastor husband Matt in Selmer, Tennessee last year. Helen's post entitled "Kill Your Husband---Get a House and a Car" on Mary and under the label "rewarding cruelty with kindness" is here. I have more to say on Mary Winkler later, but for now, I've posted this comment. I hope it speaks for itself.
BTW, no comments will be published for this post. Go to Helen's post if you want to comment, since mine is merely a response to her and her commenters.
(I want to say as an aside that I am personally crazy about Helen Smith. Think she is tops in every way, and in her own right. However on this issue I do strongly disagree.)
Me to Helen and her new (rightouesly indignant) American male victim readers:
"It seems you have a new constituency here--of abused men---who are awfully quick to automatically judge. And you are building your own readership on this premise ---that men are historically just as abused as women---which is certainly your right.
"But I disagree with the angry, self-righteous tone and tenor of most of the comments herewith, except for Richard, who is being excoriated for having a different perspective.
"None of us can know what really goes on behind the scenes of a marriage. Murder is wrong and no one disputes that for a minute. But some murders are wronger than others.....at least in my world. Moral relativism would say I'm crazy, and murder is murder---PERIOD. So be it.
"You seem to be saying that Mary shouldn't have tried to defend herself in court and that there were no extinuating circumstances. You also seem to be saying that now that Mary is out of incarceration that she should be wandering alongside some road, without a car or home---getting her just desserts--permanently separated from her children. Vengeance should rain down on her, and the jury verdict was totally unfair.
Was it really? And can you know that for sure? I can't.
"I don't believe we can ever know what's it's like being in a marriage where you give up selfhood, career, money and destiny to a man and a church---because that's what you're told you must do as a minister's wife in the Church of Chrust---life without parole so to speak.
"I don't think Mary considered divorce as an option for herself, because that's what she grew up being taught. That was incorrect, of course, but it does mitigate the horrific tension that led to the murder of Matthew.
"My hometown has taken Mary in because she and Matt lived there---where he was a youth pastor for several years---before moving to Selmer. I can tell you that many of Matt's younger students at the church he was the youth pastor, disliked him intensely and few were surprised by what happened.
""That still doesn't make his murder right. Mary should have left him. However, it does make the concept of mercy viable in an atheistic worldview that calls for justice, justice, justice for the sake of the now, new victim du jour...the man! It's justice without mercy.
"We're all victims, and we're all perpetrators in some form or fashion. And when we so summarily pass such strong emotional judgment then it looks and sounds and feels to me like a whole lot of projection is going on......"
Helen back to me in the comments of her post:
"My question back to you is, if the circumstance were such that Mary was Michael with a wife who was critical and "intensely" disliked, would you say that he should get off? Because that is what happened. This woman walked away from a murder rap--would you say it's okay for a man to do the same to his wife--shoot her in the back when she is asleep. I have known many wives in my time who have been horrible spouses, as bad or much worse than Matthew Winkler is described as, if they were shot dead in their sleep, would you be so nonchalant in your attitude towards their murderer? And shower them with a house and a car? "
Me back to Helen later in the day:
Helen, let me say:
1) I NEVER said that Mary should have gotten off from jail time for murdering her husband. Where ever did you get that idea? If it had been left up to me, I would have indeed sent her to jail for some years.
2)I NEVER said either that murder is justifiable, especially as a way to deal with a bad marriage. Where ever did you get that idea? Murder is wrong, period. Whether Mary knew what she was getting into when she married Matt, or not, murder was in no way justified.
I might add, though, that many people, including myself, think that abortion is a form of murder, even though society now condones it through our laws. One of your commenters said, "Mary knew full well what she was getting in to when she married him." I wonder if he would say the same about the millions of women who had sex and then realized they were pregnant after the fact. Didn't they know what they were getting into on the front end? They get off the hook and get to rechoose. Nevertheless, I accept the law of the land. But there does seem to be a big double standard here.
3) My comment was addressing the reality: Mary Winkler did get off after a jury trail.
She and her case went through due process of law, not a perfect process by any means, but it's the best we have in this country. The verdict can always be appealed.
My comments addressed how a jury in a small town might find their way to this verdict. I was saying, frankly I can understand how they came to their verdict. They had to balance justice with mercy in my opinion. And the verdict they rendered is the reality we have, like it or not. You clearly do not like it.
4) As to your rhetorical question about how I would respond to your commenter Richard being murdered:
If it were such a simple answer, without a discovery process and due process, I couldn't know. If such an answer were so obvious and easy, then we do we need juries or judges (all imperfect to say the least)? We could just plug your question into a big judicial computer and get the right answer: JUSTICE.
5) Everyone I know who has ever gone through a difficult divorce---and I know you are blessed not to have--- can honestly say when they hear about a murder like this, if they're really, really honest can say, "But by the grace of God go I."
What I am saying is but by the Grace of God I am not in a federal pen somewhere myself, or dead; and but by the Grace of God my erstwhile husband isn't in a federal pen or dead The emotions of an explosive divorce are, to say the least, murderous at times. It can be hell.
Only if you've been there, lived through it, and can ever look back and shake your head at both of your craziness, can you have a little more gracious and generous opinion about the Winkler murder. Only if you've been there can you know that both people are culpable in that murder, as is the case in every divorce.
I don't expect you to agree. But I do want to say, that life has knocked me off my self-righteous pedestal just a bit. And since the jury in the Winkler case has spoken, I shall not cast any more stones.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I would love to be a fly-on-the wall there. Know why?
Cause that's where Mr. Ahmadinejad is staying during his New York visit to the U.N. Mid-town. East side at 48th and Park. Far away from the killing fields and gallows of his own country.
Who knows how he feels this morning? Hung over? No real pun intended. Suppose any gays are working at the Barclay today, delivering him a room service breakfast in his suite? Will he refuse their service? Will they refuse to serve him? Ahh to be a fly on the wall at the Barclay today!
Think he's getting in touch with that infamous inner green glow for his appearance later today at the U.N.? How do you suppose he does it? Green eggs and ham?
Only the shadow knows.
Wesley Pruden, one of my favorite columnists, at the Washington Times, has a great wrap-up on yesterday's event at Columbia University. Don't miss it. It's titled "Getting Tough in the Ivy League." A highlight:
"Mr. Bollinger may have felt under pressure from rich alumni after his brazenly provocative and astonishingly uneducated remarks earlier about his eagerness to invite Hitler to speak on campus, if only der fuehrer were not still dead. But whatever the why and the wherefore, he gave Mr. Ahmadinejad ample reason to wish that he had slept late in his suite at the Barclay. Such contempt is usually heard in the Ivy League only for George Bush, soldiers, Israel, churchgoing Christians and others with whom they have differences of opinion.
President Bush, smarting from the diplomatic necessity to allow Mr. Ahmadinejad into the United States, applauded the outcome at Columbia. His appearance on Morningside Heights "speaks volumes about the greatness of America," and if Professor Bollinger considers Mr. Ahmadinejad's visit an educational experience, "I guess it's OK with me.'"
Well, color me impressed. Nice eastern elites can be pugnacious? What a world!
And yes, I know where President Bush went to school. I'm mostly being silly here......mostly, not totally, that is. But I'd still like to be a fly on the wall today at the Barclay.
Monday, September 24, 2007
There's much to say after watching Columbia President Lee Bollinger and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad live on the podium at Columbia. However, for now, let it suffice that by the end of the forum I observed three things happened:
1) Bollinger came away looking far, far better and more patriotic than anyone, especially in the conservative blogosphere, could ever have fathomed. Saying Ahmadinejad "exhibited all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger put the full court press on Mahmoud about women, gays, Israel, the Holocaust and nuclear power. Bollinger asked some hard hitting questions, many of which never got answered, and made note of Mahmoud's lack of answers or evasive rhetoric.
On several occasions students/spectators booed and hissed, especially when Mahmoud said there were no homosexuals in Iran! (Yeah right, since all of them are dispatched by the noose.)
The Columbia president came away from this public spectacle Smelling. Like. A. Rose.
2) Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, came away for the worse, much worse, than he could have ever expected or we expected. We all thought Bollinger would play the appeasing sycophant and throw the dictator puff ball questions. Ahmadinejad definitely departed on the defensive, looking smaller than when he arrived. And there was no glowing white light eminating from his countenance this time.
The Iranian president came away Looking. And. Smelling. Like. A. Weasel.
3) Columbia University saved face big time with Jews, women, gays and 1st Amendment defenders and even conservative naysayers.
Columbia University came away still Seeing. Green. In. Its. Endowment. Coffers.
The shocka of the year!
So now let me say, I was the first to throw stones at Bollinger and Columbia and may have jumped the gun. It's probably true that Columbia should never have given the Iranian any forum in the US---and I personally don't think he should've been let in the US in the first place, or should be ever again---however, from what I saw, given the reality, the whole thing turned out much, much better than I could have ever imaged.
Columbia hit a homerun. It only remains to be seen if it was a homerun with all the bases loaded.
Bet if Ahmadinejad returns to the US next year, and gets invited back to Columbia or anywhere, he'll definitely think twice about accepting the invitation.
And that's as it should be. Meanwhile, let's not let him in again, and move the U.N. out of the USA.
More on the stunning event here.
Joel Rosenberg has a completely new angle on Ahmadinejad's visit and speech here. Very interesting, if you like to know more about the Shiite end-times prophecies driving the Iranian dictator. Here.
I haven't read Diana West's book yet, but definitely intend on doing so soon. However, I already know I agree with most everything she says.
To me, the greatest indication of our individual and societal regression and refusal to grow-up is the ever-increasing harkening for rights without responsibilities.
No society can endure long without realizing there are no real rights without concommitant responsibilities. It's a myth.
I also subscribe to the notion that individual rights and institutions should never be exercised solely for the benefit of a small group of individuals just because they demand it, without regard for the greater good of society. All too often today, small segments of society demand that institutions bend and change to fit their agendas, rather than understanding that it may not benefit society as a whole. I am specifically thinking of the institution of marriage here, the world's oldest institution.
More on Hot Air.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
That he is even being allowed in our country is an abomination; that he might be allowed to go to the World Trade Center site is unthinkable. That we aren't pushing, promoting the United Nations to move out of the U.S. is ridiculous.
Going to get very interesting in the next 24 hours.
Who does he think he is? Who do we think he is?
We are currently studying the Book of Isaiah as our Old Testament selection. And this morning I happened upon a new resource that I want to share. It's called the Jerome Bible Commentary, and evidently it was started by a man, Dr. Jerome Dominguez, whose son Jerome died in the World Trade Center on 9-11-2001.
I find this touching and fascinating and want to explore this resource as a companion to my other Bible studies.
Today's link from OneYearBible blog takes us to the many Messianic prophecies in Isaiah, and especially in Isaiah 42, foretelling the coming of Christ. As I really read and study the Bible, it is stunning and humbling how it all points to the Savior of Jesus Christ, and our need for Him, hundreds and hundreds of years before the fact. Hope you find this edifying in your exploration of the Bible in the days ahead.
Today's sermon is by Max Lucado on how the numbers 3/16 can and will triumph over 9/11.
Listen to his message of hope here. God bless.
If you haven't been to Michael Totten's Middle East Journal lately or at all, then you haven't been to the best reporting in the Middle East, anywhere. He is a photojournalist of great ability. It's almost like being there. Scroll down and look at his extraordinary photos (one of Micheal's on the left here) of Anbar Province. Read about the peace that's come there. You can go to Michael's journal, where he's currently reporting from Iraq here. Don't miss it.
We have much to be thankful for. God bless our troops. God bless America.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I mean, he's so fond of us here.
And yes, I know he's coming to the UN, but that, as my mother used to say, isn't a good enough reason for me. And I know he has diplomatic immunity and can go wherever he wants. But what about us? Don't we have immunity from dictator/murderers who want to do us in? Who want to wipe our allies off the map?
Don't think he won't play the MSM like a violin in the next few days. Get my smelling salts out! I feel disgustingly faint.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
More from the Weekly Standard here.
UPDATE: More on Columbia University President Lee Bollinger can be found here. He is best known in the world of college administration for his strong political stand on racial preferences in college admissions processes. But I would bet, he would ironically be against racial profiling in the war on terror.
Bollinger can accurately be characterized as the Head Pastor of the left-leaning Church of Political Correctness.
However, while these words may be considered clever, risque or funny, I'm not posting them to be cute or provocative in the most obvious sense. They really embody for me a deeper, more deadly serious reality in Iraq: much of our country and its Congressional leaders have withdrawn support, after they gave it, for the War at a time when I believe we need to stay the course, and finish what we have started there. Our country's future, in the War on Terror, and in Iraq, depend so much on this:
Having said that, here are my two new words to add to the lexicon of war:
iraqtion, noun----rigid, distended state of some members of society and Congress caused by a strong vexual desire to engage in military intercourse in Iraq followed by an even stronger desire for immediate, quick withdrawal.
Examples of those with such iraqtions are: Hillary Clinton, Cindy Sheehan, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry...and other's in the GeneralBetrayUs crowd.
iraqtile dysfunction, noun---A chronic state of not wanting to or being willing to finish what we started in Iraq. This disease was first diagnosed in the sixties during the War in Viet Nam and first manifested in the editorial pages of the New York Times.
Now that I've put them out on the Web, I'm going to use them as needed in the coming months where appropriate.
Be. That. As. It. May.
Coming soon....a new word in the lexicon of.......of .......
I'm getting up my nerve.........
It's soon now or nevah!
I'm liking Fred's style and substance here: Brief, simple, informal, clear, seemingly spontaneous, down home. (And of course, I like the message on Hillaryscare.) Feel like I'm in the limo with him, but I'm in the front seat and he's in the back....interesting. Nice job. Want more of these...short, sweet and conversational.
This is the way Fred can use the Internet to his greatest advantage: these short, unexpected video snippits. He knows the American attention span is easily bored and over-caffeinated.
Hat tip: Bill Hobbs
UPDATE: Some reviews aren't so great for Fred's speaking style.
Simply amazing! What goes round, etc.
Arrogance Unlimited. A HELL NO! waiting to happen.
Think it's time we let the UN go to some other part of the world, so these thugs don't have any excuse to be allowed in the United States.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Now, I'm weary of all things computer, but know it won't last.
At some point, I will get my groove and enthusiam back for blogging, but at the moment, it's at a very low point. I am not only bored, but worse, feel boring. That's not much fun.
I'm bored with all things Hillary, bored with Fred, bored with the upcoming elections, bored with illegal immigration, bored with OJ---lock him up and throw away the key, along with any and all keyboards that write another word about him after he's behind bars---bored even with the endless criticism of and from the left. Hopefully, I'll snap out of it, but if not, I am comforted knowing there is a proliferation of new, well informed bloggers out there not at a loss for words.
UPDATE: There's nothing boring to me about this:
Thanks to Pajamas Media, I want to link to the piece written by Daniel Pearl's father, Judea, today in the Guardian called The Death of Relativism. A wonderful heartening read.
All I can say is amen. And may Judea Pearl's son rest in peace.
Monday, September 17, 2007
With stainless steel thighs, she cracks the toughest nuts......we'll see. Think she'll crack Rudy or Fred? It's a question we want to answer to the negative. I wonder who profits from this potboiler?
And from Irregular Times, here's a list of the most favored Democratic tickets from left leaning polls:
It’s been three months, so let’s do an update on Democratic Party running mate choices to look at patterns that appeared over the summer. The following are running mate combinations (placed in President-Vice President order) that have garnered at least a 1% share of all sales from June 8, 2007 through September 10, 2007, making them the major contenders in the hearts of our customers for a 2008 Democratic presidential ticket:
Obama seems to be the hands down favorite for their VP nomination.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Are we paying attention to history?
Judeo-Christian Values have a foundational role in America, beginning with the Declaration of Independence: "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..."
Since the pursuit of happiness, as Sigmund Freud surmised, is tied to human love and to creative work and play, the principles of American Judeo-Christian Values can rightly be summarized as the honoring of God-given Life, Liberty and Creativity. This seed of American Social Justice was then fleshed out in the U.S. Constitution through reason and common sense, unencumbered by the dysfunctional religious and secular traditions and laws of Old Europe.
Our Founding Fathers separated church from state, but they wisely did not separate God from state; they acknowledged God as the source of our rights, and, in fact, they were careful to place Biblical morality directly into our founding documents and laws, and into our values and culture precisely to help prevent a future of totalitarian or tyrannical rule in America.
The combination of keeping Judeo-Christian religious morality in the state, as opposed to the church itself; and, additionally, setting up our laws based on reason and common sense has contributed to the American Character, and to what is known as "American Exceptionalism."
Our Founding Fathers were religious in a new way, the Judeo-Christian way, and they were the liberals of their day by deducing that our political and human rights come from a power higher than human government; but they were conservative to Biblical morality. There was and still is a connection between God and Liberty; He is the author of it.
It is ironic that American Conservatives are now the champion of this our most liberal founding principle; and also an irony that most American Conservatives are wholly unaware of their connection with the liberal founding ideas of this great republic. It is also an irony that many American Liberals have turned a blind eye to the required connection between God and Liberty.
As Thomas Jefferson and John Adams noted, as you will see below, Liberty cannot survive among men without its Divine connection.
In Judeo-Christian America one finds the idea of equality before God and the law, but not government forced economic equality. Modern European culture has stressed the value of economic equality rather than Liberty, and their governments unjustly enforce the principle.
This has led to the failed European inventions of Socialism and Communism. Socialists in America have been lured into this failed European idea of social justice. Socialism is a failure in that it unjustly suppresses human creativity by excessively taxing away its rewards, and by foolishly giving economic reward to many who, even though mentally and physically able, fail to honor their Divine privilege and duty to work creatively.
Thus, Socialism is a dual insult to God-given creativity. Communism was much worse in that it also dishonored the sacredness of human life and liberty. Communism was the inevitable result of separating not just church from state, but God from state. Communism dishonored God's gifts of Life, Liberty and Creativity. European cultures have historical ties to authoritarian and totalitarian systems dating back to the Roman Empire. Even European Christianity was, for a time, contaminated by its links to authoritarian rule.
American Judeo-Christian Culture, on the other hand, has been linked to honoring Life, Liberty and Creativity from the outset; deriving its wisdom from the lights of reason, common sense, and both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament Christian Bible. Thomas Jefferson and the great majority of our Founding Fathers explicitly put God into the national life of the United States, by putting the Creator into the Declaration of Independence.
It is important that American Liberty has something to do with God; that is something for students to know and discuss, even if they are not particularly religious. This does not represent some form of tyranny of the religious majority or an injustice; it was in fact the wisdom of our Founding Fathers to stand in opposition to tyranny and injustice by acknowledging the source of our rights -- those rights originating from God rather than from King George III, or for that matter from the Soviet or Chinese Politburo, or a courthouse, or a legislature.
America is a melting pot of diverse people including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Atheists; and from the Judeo-Christian perspective, all are made in God's image. We have in America a multiethnic society, and that is good. What would be unhealthy for America would be for it to become Balkanized, something likely to happen with the atrophy of Judeo-Christian American Culture and Values. Worse yet would be for America to adopt the toxic values which exist in some parts of the world and which are endemic in some foreign cultures. The values of Fascism, Nazism, Communism or Totalitarian Islamic Sharia Law for example must never metastasize into our American Culture, rooted in Judeo-Christian values.
These values have been with us from the beginning and they have made us strong and successful. These Judeo- Christian Values should be kept central to the American Spirit and Culture even as we have become more multi-ethnic.
Some of the words of our Founding Fathers will illustrate American Judeo-Christian Values and our separation of church and state, but not the separation of God from state, and provide grounding for our understanding of social justice.
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them 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 ...."
He, Jefferson, also wrote:
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" He also wrote: "Almighty God hath created the mind free. ... All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion..."
He also wrote:
"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
Our Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
President George Washington said this when proclaiming our National Thanksgiving Holiday:
"It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God ...."
John Adams wrote this:
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Later, Abraham Lincoln wrote these words about the Bible:
"In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to men. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong."
He also spoke these words at the Gettysburg Address:
"...that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
The following are the Judeo-Christian Values embraced by the American Republic and People.
I am indebted to Dennis Prager who has listed Judeo-Christian Values and elaborated on this subject long before I took it up; and those who know his work will recognize many of his thoughts.
1. Our sense of right and wrong and our sense of wisdom come from the use of reason and common sense, but also, and importantly, from the Bible which, by faith was considered by our Founding Fathers to be God's inspired text; and not just from the mind or heart of man. This faith lead to the mottos: "In God We Trust" and "One Nation under God." Our Founding Fathers were believers in the God of the Bible, even if some were not orthodox Christians, and they put that faith into the Declaration of Independence, into our laws, into our national monuments, and into our culture. Faith is a part of American Culture, something Atheists, Secularists, Humanists and those of other religions should acknowledge and accept as historically accurate truth. To remove the results of Biblical Faith from America is to undo what the Founding Fathers have wrought.
2. Truth is Sacred; there can be no liberty or justice, and little happiness without it. Jesus connected truth and liberty when he said "the truth shall make you free." In the Book of Exodus of the Hebrew Bible God describes Himself: "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth..." In Deuteronomy God is described this way: "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice." Listen to King David in Psalm 25: "Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth..."; and in Psalm 51: "Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom."
3. Human life is the first gift of God, and it is of infinite value since man is made in the image of God. Judeo-Christian Values have lead to a culture of life in America, not a culture of death. Americans with Judeo-Christian Values will defend innocent God-given life.
4. Our Liberty is a gift from God and stated so in the Declaration of Independence. It is also stated in the New Testament Christian Bible: "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty." Americans with Judeo-Christian Values will defend their God-given Liberty from tyranny and terror.
5. Human creativity is also a gift from God and is not to be unjustly suppressed by totalitarian, tyrannical or excessively taxing government. The work ethic is an important part of Judeo-Christian Values since honorable work is a reflection of God-given human creativity. Human reason is also a part of God-given human creativity, and it has led to scientific knowledge and technological progress. Reason and science are important aspects of Judeo-Christian Values. Human creativity is central to the pursuit of happiness, but does not guarantee it; totalitarian systems such as Communism or Islamic Sharia Law guarantee utopian happiness, but don't deliver it.
6. "Establish justice." This is commanded repeatedly in the Hebrew Bible. This is how it has been done in America: Honor Life, Liberty and Creativity. Liberty in practical terms means: Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, no established or state-supported religion, right to bear arms and act in self-defense, uninterrupted elections and the division of powers into its three branches. Where our culture is now headed in the wrong direction, in my opinion, is to provide special rights for certain groups of people. Our Founding Fathers acknowledged these basic rights for all people, and our Civil War enforced it for the American slaves when they were denied their God-given Liberty.
7. "Hate Evil". This is commanded three times in the Hebrew Bible; this is from the book of Proverbs: "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." Hear the Prophet Isaiah: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness...." Americans with Judeo-Christian Values, as opposed to Europeans, still believe in the death penalty for pre-meditated murder, and America is still the nemesis of terrorists and tyrants - see the seal of the state of Virginia.
8. "Love your neighbor" - commanded in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. "Love your enemy" - commanded in the New Testament Christian Bible. Generations of Americans, starting with our Founding Fathers, have had to square the values of "Hate Evil" with "Love your enemy." This has been done by hating the evil within the enemies of God-given Life and Liberty, but not hating the evil-doer him/herself.
9. In the Judeo-Christian Value System there is a natural and common-sense balance between compassion and courageous confrontation of evil. This can be seen metaphorically as a natural balance between femininity and masculinity; both good and necessary. The secular culture of Europe and of many in the United States today have unwisely suppressed the masculinity of Judeo-Christian American Culture, and this has put our society out of balance.
10. From Many, One: e pluribus unum. Ethnicity and race don't matter, but values do matter. We Americans should consider ourselves blessed to live under God-given Liberty in the same melting pot; and we are privileged to pursue happiness through creative work and play, unencumbered by excessive government. Those things that divide us, such as race or ethnicity, can be viewed metaphorically as our various styles; and are not very important. Those things of lesser importance should melt into what is very important and which should unite us: our value of Life, Liberty and Creativity - those rights defined by the Declaration of Independence, and rightly identified as the gifts of God.
11. The natural resources of the Earth, including the animals, along with the rest of creation should be honored and well cared for, but also used and enjoyed; and never worshiped.
Ronald R. Cherry is a medical doctor.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The winner of my looking back at the week that was is:
Tennessee State Representative Rob Briley. He happens to be a Democrat from Nashville, which is neither here nor there. He's now the former chairman of the State House Judiciary Committee.
I say former because his drunken behavior last weekend in his SUV cost him his leadership role in state government after he was forced to resign. It may cost him still more in the public arena.
Evidently Briley is going through a nasty divorce and coping through heavy alcohol abuse. He's allegedly had problems with alcohol for years. By all accounts, Briley is a decent guy when not living (LUI) or driving (DUI) under the influence. But all hell breaks loose when he is.
I don't usually write about state and local politics on the Web because people like Bill Hobbs and A.C. Kleinheider are much more knowledgeable in these matters than I. But I make this exception. When our problems meet alcohol especially on the highway, it's a pretty universal tale of woe and tragedy that needs to be tended to.
Below is a blurb from last week's local newspaper as to what happened:
Report: Briley finished drink at gunpoint after 100 mph chase --Republican leaders are calling for state Rep. Rob Briley to resign after his arrest for drunken driving over the weekend, a move House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh called “pretty lowlife.”
A heavily intoxicated State Rep. Rob Briley, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, fled the scene of an accident in DeKalb County on Saturday afternoon, then led police in Wilson County on a 100-mile-an-hour chase before finally stopping, according to police reports and court documents.
The Nashville Democrat was arrested at gunpoint after stopping his SUV in the middle of the road and is alleged to have kicked the window of a patrol car while in custody.
Briley, 40, a lawyer, was booked at the Wilson County jail shortly before 6 p.m. on charges of DUI, evading arrest and violation of the implied consent law.
Naifeh said today that Briley suffers from alcoholism, was in treatment last fall and is preparing to enter treatment again. “I will do everything I possibly can to help Rob Briley down the road to recovery,” he said.*********************
Rep. Briley is reportedly back at an alcohol treatment/detox facility at Cumberland Heights in the area, attempting to get a hold of himself. He is fortunate that he didn't kill or injure anyone and has another chance to go through such a program. He still has an opportunity to find sustained and permanent healing, one day at a time.
As of now, I do not think that Briley should resign his seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives, unless he does this again. However, I do think he is acting responsibly to resign his leadership position of the state Judiciary Committee.
Right now and for the foreseeable future, Rob Briley has one job, and one job only: to responsibly take care of himself and do no damage to his fellow man. He is in no position to lead anyone publicly or privately at this point. I hope and pray that he will find new coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult family problems----including knowing what's his stuff and what's not---and can one day begin to use this rather dismal affair to help others coming along behind him.
Friday, September 14, 2007
This young Sheikh, Abdul Satter, met for almost two hours with President Bush when he was in Iraq earlier this month. He was a friend of the United States and the coalition government in his struggling country.
The State Department had this to say about the life and death of Sheikh Abdul Satter who has headed his tribe since the assassination of his father by al-Qaida in 2004.
The editors of the New York Sun say more:
"The assassination of Sheikh Abdul Sattar al Rishawi, 37, coming as it does during a crescendo of cynicism in the anti-war camp in Washington, is a reminder of the extraordinary risks that free Iraqis are prepared to take to side with America and the liberty for which we stand. The sheik was killed by a bomb planted under his car yesterday at Ramadi, ten days after his 90-minute meeting with President Bush and two days after the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. The sheikh was on his way back from an event to hand out food, money and medicine to the poor.
"We never had the honor of meeting this particular risk-taker for freedom, but the reporting of our Eli Lake and others have left no doubt about the significance of his entry into the lists and his accession to leadership in the rebellion against Al Qaeda in the heart of Anbar. At a time when our GIs and Iraq's sheikhs are fighting for the prospect of politics itself, Sheikh Abu Risha, as Iraqis called him, was the model of the warrior statesman.
"Abu Risha was one of the sheikhs who rose up against Al Qaeda last September and began the awakening model now employed throughout the Euphrates River Valley. Others before him had challenged Osama bin Laden's terrorists, but he was the first to do so publicly and survive — until his murder. He strengthened his ties with the United States Marines in the spring, when Al Qaeda thugs left in front of the main hospital at Ramadi an ice cooler filled with the heads of the children of slain sheikhs.
"That is the kind of terror he was facing.
"His actions taught Al Qaeda that its barbarity would only earn greater enmity from their new Sunni foes. With his newly found popularity, Sheikh Rishawi did not make the mistake of so many other Iraqi leaders who placed the interest of their sects over the good of the nation. He took steps in March to integrate his militia into the Shi'ia dominated government. On the day of his murder it was the Shi'ia led Interior Ministry that announced the Iraqi government would build a shrine to Sheikh Abu Risha on the road that leads to the Anbar Province.
"The sheikh also made an impression on General Petraeus, wThe sheikh also made an impression on General Petraeus, who presented him with an Arabic version of Machiavelli's "The Prince" and yesterday called his murder a "terrible loss for Anbar and all of Iraq." We hear that Abu Risha privately told General Petraeus of his dream to lead an Arab army to the caves of Pakistan and the Mosques of Saudi Arabia to chase the enemy that Americans and so many Iraqis now share. That promise is the kind of thing that draws the laughter of the Democrats, but not of those who take this war seriously.
"The sheikh from Anbar had his detractors. Sunni leaders who tolerated Al Qaeda and were once courted by the Central Intelligence Agency, such as Harith al Dhari, who called the sheikh a fraud. Among the sheikhs in Anbar he had his rivals, some of whom spread rumors about him to the foreign press. Abu Risha certainly meted out his own rough justice to terrorists who had enslaved so many Anbaris before the revolt. But the scenes of purple fingers and dancing voters will be but a memory if others do not continue the prince of Anbar's struggle for democratic polity."
This is a great loss for America and Iraq. Acute Politics in Iraq has more.
Remember this when Hillary begins her healthcare rant. Wonder if she'd ever go to Canada for surgery?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Okay, I admit it's a bit sentimental, but, hey it's my blog and I get to do what interests me. If it touches one or two others, then all the better. Here's a little 12-week-old macaque monkey abandoned by its mother in China before its recent rescue. It has now taken up with a little white pigeon and is reported to be happy as, er, a lark with its new-found friend.
I admit to being completely charmed by this picture and hope it's authentic. If you want to know more, click here.
Thanks to Drudge for this one.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
So, we have Putin, Chavez, Ahmadinejad in an unholy alliance for the next round of world struggle. The axis of weevils. I like it!
Is it any wonder Russia has such low birth rates? And if Putin becomes the czar and takes away the peoples' economic and political freedoms, who on earth would want to have more babies for the state? What a complete farce.
Monday, September 10, 2007
No offsets for the perpetrators.
God bless America and all who suffered loss as a result of this attack on our great nation, and its freedoms with reponsibilties.
May we never forget or put some insane spin on it: this was done by Islamic terrorists for their own reasons and it was a declaration of war against our way of life. Are we paying attention?
Looks like she might have a lot more "confessin to the preacher to do." I am very sorry to hear this.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
His was not an easy message to hear. His was not an easy message to give. But give it he did and suffered greatly for his obedience to God and God's will for his life. Jeremiah was sent to grieve for a people who had lost the gifts of remorse and repentance. But though God was about to discipline Judah, he was always gracious and told of future redemption through His chosen prophet:
Jer 29:10-14 This is what the Lord says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity."
Another wonderful piece I read this week at a new link I've added to my blogroll, thanks for Mike at OneYearBible Blog, is over at Tim Challis' blog. This piece is about how ministers and writers often wrongly play the "it's God's will" card for their advantage and others' great detriment. It's titled "Bludgeoning with Divine Providence." Well worth reading and noting, in my opinion.
Friday, September 7, 2007
"I've got God's shoulder to cry on. And I cry a lot," Bush is quoted as saying in Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush which was released to U.S. bookstores Thursday and written by Robert Draper. "I do a lot of crying in this job. I'll bet I've shed more tears than you can count, as president. I'll shed some tomorrow."
Good for him. I don't know why I'm not surprised to read this about Bush. And yes, I mean that as a compliment. Somehow, I don't think Dick Cheney with his heart problems is in the same criers league as Bush.
But it got me to thinking, especially about about men and crying. Women, we all know, reserve the right to cry almost anywhere, anytime for any reason or no reason at all. We seem to have that market cornered!
But men? Shedding tears has been taboo for decades in private but especially in public. (Think disgraced Ed Muskie, Presidential candidate, 1972, who was laughed out of the race for crying during a campaign speech.) But it wasn't always so throughout history.
Before going on, let me show my hand at the outset with this important disclaimer: I am not a therapist or counsellor---praise God! What I've come to believe and know about crying in general, and men and crying in particular is from courses I've taken and barely passed in Life Experience 101-201, Emotional Upheaval 301, Missing, Catching and Releasing Fish and Men 401, We're Not Always One Big Happy Family 501, and Doing the Right Thing Is Often Much Harder Than Doing the Easy Thing 701......you get the drift.
Having said that, I now want to say men who can and do cry on occasion are prone to be much healthier---mentally, physically, emotionally---than their stoic counterparts who cannot or will not cry for any reason. These men move through life able to forgive themselves and others more freely and seem to get less stuck. Men who cry as a rule get caught in less hubris.
I would go so far as to say there should be carbon offsets for men who can and do cry.
I believe not having this emotional release as a coping mechanism in today's manic world can cause chronic depression, ennui, low energy, and often stuckness in various areas of a man's life. Not to mention heart attacks, high blood pressure and various immune deficiencies. My own dear father, a truly Godly man whom I adored, told me for years after his wife, my dear mother died at 51 of cancer, that he was so heartbroken he could/would never cry again. Though he went on to re-marry and ostensibly have a very good, loving and successful marriage and life, he battled depression on and off until the day he died. I sometimes encouraged him to grieve but he simply couldn't do it. In a sense, his grief became frozen and was never was allowed to pass through and out of him. What was meant to be an acute painful emotional crisis became, through lack of grieving, a chronic, long-term emotional reality.
I've known all kinds of men, and the ones who maintain the ability to have a good, healthy cry are the ones I prefer today. They don't have to cry in front of me to prove anything; I'm not one of these women who needs a man to jump through a sensitivity hoop for me to like them. Still it's nice to know they can be touched deeply by life, its poignancy, the suffering of others and even joy and a sense of relief.
In my humble experience, men who can weep also tend to have the best senses of humor and energy levels. And why shouldn't they? They're partaking in the greatest de-stressor and anti-depressant for heart, body and soul anywhere on the market today. Tears are priceless. And completely outside government regulation and hospital bills!
It's like taking a pill that neutralizes, clarifies, grounds, humanizes and detoxes all in one. Doesn't matter if tears are triggered by sad movies, concerts, mistakes and regretful behavior, taking a stand that is right but painful, or tragic circumstances going on all around us all the time, all tears are potentially healing, growthful and important for men, and women too, in my opinion.
How and where a man accesses his grief and need to cry is an individual thing and his own business as far as I'm concerned.
I remember going to New York from Nashville years ago to visit a man I was seeing at the time. He had a spectacular weekend planned for us which included one of his favorite venues of entertainment: OPERA at the MET. We were seated front row, center.
Being from Music City and all, I had grown up around another kind of opera: the Grand Ole Opry, and, and being the sophisticate that I of course was, I wasn't too hot on it either. So when confronted with the OPERA, I tried to be a good sport and went mainly to be with him. During the last scenes of the performance---you know, the part where everyone is lying on the stage crying and dying like beached whales---my companion began to sob. And sob. And sob.
For my part, I found this death scene ridiculous and was quietly biting my tongue to keep from snickering, since of course I didn't have a lot of emotional investment in the characters. To my great horror, after he broke out sobbing, I looked around and half the audience at the Met was sobbing too with handkerchiefs in hand and tears rolling through eyeliner, makeup, opera glasses, into lipstick, shirts and ties. Sniffling, snorting and outright bellowing had broken out all around me.
I was momentarily incredulous at this mass of blubbering adults. But quickly got hold of myself and tried against all cultural odds to feign a more somber demeanor for the rest of the climatic tragedy going on only a few feet on the stage. I was clearly out of my emotional catharsis milieu.
Music, sure, can make me cry, but coming unhinged in French, no, Italian, just wasn't going to get it for me. But, it sure did for the man next to me.
I later learned that opera was designed to be a cultural group catharsis for anyone who wanted to use it as such. It isn't, wasn't and never will be mine; however, the older I get the better idea I think it is. Today, I can laugh at myself about it and when I occasionally chat with the man, I still tease him about our night at the Met when everyone, including he, was crying albeit moi, a world-class crier at other times and places.
So for my money, men who cry are more healthy than those who can't and won't. It sometimes makes them more attractive to women. It almost certainly never detracts from being masculine, real men.
In closing, I defer to a quote from the above link from our history books:
"Through most of history, tearlessness has not been the standard of manliness."
For instance, when Roland, the most famous warrior of medieval France died, 20,000 other knights wept so profusely they fainted and fell from their horses. Long before that, the Greek warrior Odysseus cried in almost every chapter of Homer's Iliad while St. Francis of Assisi was said to have been blinded by weeping. Later, in the 16th century, sobbing openly at a play, opera or symphony was considered appropriately sensitive for men and women alike."
Perhaps we're coming back to a more reasonable view of men and tears.
And in the words of one of my favorite men, Bob, who does all the landscape maintenance of the condominium complex I live in and who is 100% man and the salt of the earth:
"Look here, if God hadn't wanted us to cry he wouldn't have given us tears and tear ducts. I cry all the time and you can quote me on that."
Thanks, Bob, I think I will. And thanks for sharing!
This one's for you, Bob, George, Luther and all the guys who aren't ashamed to let it rip every now and then whether I ever know about it or not. In my opinion, the world needs more men like you.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
It's dull, but was fun to make and upload to YouTube, and fun being in the boat with my teammates.
I see a whole new world opening up with this new learning!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Marty Meyer, conservationist, GTNP Ranger and River patrol, boatman and fisherman extraordinaire nets a fish on his day off.
Marty gets the boat ready to put in the water for our float trip down the Buffalo River, a tributary of the Snake, near Moran, Wy.
Marty, chooses a fly for our next round. One particular fly was our hands-down favorite this summer....but if we told you what it was, we'd have to kill you.
Drift boat fishing on the Snake.
Indigenous Snake River Cutthroat after being caught on an olive sculpin, before being released.
John Gendell, our New Zealand guide, up in Jackson for our summer and his winter, on the Snake.
It's a tough ride with just an okay view, but somebody's gotta do it...
Scott Sanchez, master fly tier from Jack Dennis, ties all kinds of flies to torment big fish.