Monday, November 30, 2009
.....U.N chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on (man-made) Climate Change and 2007 Nobel laureate lately? He can't be having the best of days there at the IPCC cause he already has a first-class ticket with extra leg-room to Copenhagen. What mankind might have made just got un-made. Or should I say, got made up. Anyway, maybe he could use a big scoop of vanilla ice cream with that hug.
His name is Rajendra Pachauri---I call him Darth for short----and he thinks all the flack over tampered and leaked climate records and emails is a crock.
The Guardian reports Pachauri's position on fraud-gate as follows:
There is "virtually no possibility" of a few scientists biasing the advice given to governments by the UN's top global warming body, its chair said today.
Rajendra Pachauri defended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the wake of apparent suggestions in emails between climate scientists at the University of East Anglia that they had prevented work they did not agree with from being included in the panel's fourth assessment report, which was published in 2007.
Aren't you glad this man is working for you and me towards a new carbon economy and one big happy One World Government family in spite of growing evidence to the contrary? Like I said, have you hugged your Anthropological Climate Change Authority Figure lately? I haven't, and don't think Roger Simon has either.
They're hell-bent on telling us all what to do, ruling us and everything that lives, breathes and pays taxes. They don't want to hurt us....they just want to help us....and they're not going quietly into the night, either. They think our life styles are unsustainable. They planned to sock it to us in Copenhagen next week, but now they're just looking for more hugs and a few cookies.
For the record, I wouldn't let this man tell me where to get my hair cut and styled either. So there.
UPDATE: Clive Crook changes his tune on ACC and writes about it honestly in The Atlantic. The crux:
Remember that this is not an academic exercise. We contemplate outlays of trillions of dollars to fix this supposed problem. Can I read these emails and feel that the scientists involved deserve to be trusted? No, I cannot. These people are willing to subvert the very methods--notably, peer review--that underwrite the integrity of their discipline. Is this really business as usual in science these days? If it is, we should demand higher standards--at least whenever "the science" calls for a wholesale transformation of the world economy.
But White House press secretary presses on towards the goal of ACC for all. Like I said, these people aren't going to let some pesky scandal get in the way of the One World train they're driving to Copenhagen.
WHAT PART OF THE 10th AMENDMENT AND ENUMERATED FEDERAL POWERS DON'T WE GET?
John Tamny writes today at Forbes.com: Taking nothing away from the good that comes from cuts in the rate of taxation, when we ask Congress to pass them we are blindly handing both political parties the power to tax us in order to fund spending the vast majority of which is unconstitutional.
If we really want lower taxes, it's time for us to demand that politicians adhere to the Constitution's 10th Amendment which greatly limits the power of the federal government, and which if read properly, would render most federal initiatives unconstitutional. If so, individuals could once again choose their policy bliss on a statewide basis while no longer being captive to high rates of federal taxation that pervert the intentions of the Founders.
Let's face it, eternal economic growth and universal health care, to name only two, are not the federal government's responsibilities even though we act as if both are our divine right. Congress is more than willing to oblige our every whimsical desire to give itself more power, meaning, purpose at the sad cost of our freedoms with responsibilities. Great liberties are now being taken with our ever-rising, yeasty Constitution and nouveau enumeration of federal powers.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
God knows we tried to make anywhere, anytime sex imbue our lives with meaning. We thought we had found the key eternal fulfillment.That our parents and grandparents were repressed fogies and prudes, while we attempted to write the definitive books on Love with no Limits or Wait Times, and Sexual Satisfaction without End.
Coitus uninterruptus. Where modesty, propriety and the labors of true love and sex within committed marriage finally came to die.
Some haven't given up on trying even to this day. They're still looking to making love/ romance enshrined at the center of their lives. Sadly many of the sex and romance gold medalists of yester year who elevated love pursuits to the pent-ultimate, are now just aging sex/ love addicts or users, with shorter hair, cleaner clothes, a respectable career and a trail of failed marriages and romantic relationships to show for it. Searching for mysteries without any clues. Yet, like Pavlovian dogs, they're desperately seeking a love hit--- from anywhere----without being electrocuted.
Who can deny the promises of the Me for All and All for Me generations have failed to deliver the ultimate things promised? Nobody says it better than the poster boys of sexual freedom without responsibility Mick or Paul.
We fell for the goods back then---many still do--- that promised forever happiness that never delivered. Unless we're talking about the goods of broken lives, shattered families, confused children, rampant sexually transmitted diseases and the big business of abortion-on-demand and pornography-without-end. We won't even talk about the world-class guilt and self-esteem/self-absorption businesses born of our sexual willfulness which has sought to repair our confused and broken lives while making many a psychotherapist/ new age-guru rich and famous.
I'll be back later with more from Keller's book and the Bible story that we might have read before embarking on our rebellious journeys into the sexual revolution. It's still salient today and with Keller's astute commentary, very, very wise.
We forget, God created sex. And he gave us the instruction manual. But past and present generations of cultural elites just couldn't be bothered with such trivia. After all, weren't we put here to show God a thing or two about sex and gender of equality?
JACOB AND HIS APOCALYPTIC ROMANCE ADDICTION
Pretend for a moment that you have met the woman of your dreams. Thundersrtuck from the start by her beauty, great figure and charm, you go to her father and offer to work for him for seven years in exchange for her hand in marriage. He considers and agrees. Time passes quickly because you're in the throes of such emotional and sexual longings for her. Because you never quite had your father's love the way you wanted it, and maybe your mother loved you imperfectly too, now you face the possibility of a love that will set your heart right again and instill in you a once lost sense of significance.
It's called apocalyptic romance (which hopefully leads to apocalyptic sex) and you hope it fulfills in you the deepest sense of meaning, transcendence and redemption from all past hurts and losses. This love is now enshrined at the center of your heart as God has been jettisoned to some peripheral place in your life.
This is the story of Jacob, son of Isaac in Genesis, who tricked his father Isaac out of his brother Esau's birth right before running away to another land and ultimately meeting the woman of his dreams---Rachel (the daughter of Laben, and younger sister of Leah). From the moment Jacob laid eyes on Rachel, he put all of his hopes and longings into fantasizing about a relationship with her and how it would heal his despair on a myriad of fronts On his wedding night with Rachael, Jacob went to bed besotted and woke up devastated only to discover he had instead been married to and just spent his wedding night with Leah, Rachel's unattractive sister whom he had zero attraction for.
Keller writes of Jacob's obsessive love:
Jacob's inner emptiness had made him vulnerable to the idolatry of romantic love.....Jacob's behavior was that of an addict. There are many ways romantic love can function as a kind of drug to h elp us escape the reality of our lives.....Our fears ad inner barrenness make love a narcotic, a way to medicate ourselves and addicts always make foolish, destructive choices.
Rachel had become Jacob's "savior." He wanted and needed her so profoundly that he heard and saw only the things he wanted to hear and see....That is why he became vulnerable to Laben deception. Later, Jacob's idolatry of Rachel created decades of misery in his family. He adored and favored Rachel's sons over Leah's, spoiling and embittering the hearts of all his children, and poisoning the family system.
In the end, God made sure that Jacob's romantic interests, wives, children and great wealth never were enough to permanently capture the center of his heart in spite of his (Jacob's) best idol-making efforts. In the end Jacob finally turns to struggle with God Himself and gets His blessing and new meaning in the process.
If you've ever struggled with obsessive love and romance/sex addictions---and who hasn't?--- I strongly urge you to get Keller's book and read and re-read the chapter Love Is Not All You Need. It's filled with wisdom for our troubled relationship times and ways to begin to turn away from making romance and sex into ultimate things rather than just good things in God's time and way.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
MONDAY: Tiger Woods is not Princess Di, he's a professional golfer for heavens sake!
SUNDAY UPDATE: Statement from Tiger Woods. Good for him: "Embarrassing" crash was his fault and he takes full responsibility for it. This is exactly as it should be and ought to be the end of the public spectacle, since it's absolutely none of our business. The Woods---Tiger and the elusive Elin---owe the public, with its insatiable, desperate need-to-know, nothing. Repeat: they owe us NOTHING. They owe each other and their children a very great deal which can only be worked out in private.
UPDATE: It's reported that neither Tiger or Elin Woods are ready to talk to highway patrolmen about their domestic altercation and his subsequent car crash into a fire hydrant in the compound where they live outside Orlando. The truth is, to the extent they can, from here on out, they're so wise to keep this as far from the public eye---from our morbid curiosity and the orgasmic press--- as possible, if for no other reason than their children. They need the best publicist money can buy to protect them, and then should work out their problems over time in as low profile, private ways as possible. Who cares anyway? None of it is any of our business anyway even though we may demand to know every detail so we can jammer endlessly about it. I wish them well and pray they can save their marriage and their family. Mega-success and fame like Tiger Woods has attained comes like a loaded gun with a mind blowing number of temptations and challenges.....Just ask Denise and Alan Jackson and so many, many others who have been there and come to the other side, only by the Grace of God.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE in the known universe who's heard about Tiger Wood's "freak" accident, I've wondered how in the world a man could leave home at 2 am, have a wreck in his front yard, then another in front of his neighbor's house, and it not have anything to do with alcohol or drugs. Color me incredulous.
Until now. Even as we heard that Wood's wife Elin helped "rescue" him from the car with a golf club, things were still not adding up. Police said, charges were pending. But pending for whom? The fire hydrant? Nothing made sense to me, at least. Until now.
It's starting to come out that Mr. and Mrs. Woods had a frightful domestic altercation the night of Tiger's accident over the possiblity of another woman. He fled to his car with Elin in hot pursuit wielding a driving iron. And the rest is history.
There are now denials by this other woman that she has only met Tiger but is not involved with him. In any case, it's a sad situation with children involved. Sometimes success and mega-money is harder to endure than the opposite. I hope they will weather this storm intact, and be better for it all in the process.
Friday, November 27, 2009
SEVERAL IDEAS FOR REFORM for a better health-care system:
1. Make health insurance more like other types of insurance.
You don't buy car insurance to cover your purchases of gas or tune-ups or home insurance for a quick paint job, but health insurance is now supposed to be for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from a physical exam to cancer care. This is unrealistic and unsustainable; it covers far too much. Health savings accounts which passed as part of the Medicare reforms of 2003, were an important first step in separating smaller, routine expenses from the costs of catastrophic events. However the legislation is overly rigid. Congress must expand and revise the structure of health savings accounts.
2. Foster competetion.
American health care is the most regulated sector of the economy. The result? A health-insurance policy for a 30-year-old man costs four times more in New York than in neighboring Connecticut because of the multitude of regulations in the Empire State. Americans can shop out --of-state for a mortgage; they should be able to do the same thing for health insurance.
Greater competetion is needed in all medical consumption to lower prices.
3. Make it as easy as possible for people to get coverage.
It's difficult for small businesses to make health-insurance decisions for their employees. Elected officials in Washington should make things easier by allowing association health plans---where different businesses can work together to buy insurance. And health insurance exchanges could also be useful, but should be implemented at the state level.
4. Directly help the uninsured poor.
While the issue of the uninusred is much more complicated than typically presented and presumed---roughly 9 million so-called uninsured are not citizens and another 10 million uninsured have the income to buy insurance but opt not to buy---some Americans do indeed fall through the cracks. Presently the federal government spends billions on uncompensated care by funding hospitals. THAT MONEY SHOULD BE TURNED OVER TO THE STATES TO LET THEM EXPERIMENT WITH DIRECTLY HELPING THE UNINSURED POOR WHO CAN'T PAY (as opposed to the uninsured who can pay but don't), for example, through voucher programs for private insurance or to pay their deductibles for private insurance. States could also use the money to help establish high-risk pools for the chronically ill.----David Gratzer, Why Obama's Government Takeover of Health Care Will Be a Disaster
Thursday, November 26, 2009
1 MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless his name 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
(Above, a side table to the scrumptous main Thanksgiving spread. It could not have been better!)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
GOING HOME TO THE COUNTRY THIS YEAR TO A THANKSGIVING GATHERING with my oldest, dearest friends. Everyone is bringing something. I got to roast vegetables. Our hostess and her hubby are cooking the turkey.
Just pulled everything out of the oven. Tomorrow I'll add some Parmesan cheese to the tomatoes and put more herbs on the radichio before putting everything in the car. I also roasted fresh asparagus which I'll take up with mock hollandaise. Will be away from my computer for a day and night, but be back with some pics late Friday or Saturday.
Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. God bless.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Nancy is always turned out well with the help of the Four Seasons Salon in Georgetown. Tonight is no exception. The only thing that bothers me here is what's going on with her hem, or hems. Think this dress would be snappier cropped a little shorter towards the ankle. Other than that, she looks good in black here with her husband Paul.
I'M NO MOVIE critic, nor deep, intellectual elite thinker. I'm a small town girl at my core. As such, I can smell manure a mile away. So take what I think with a grain of salt. No doubt it says more about me than anything else.
Having said that, I went to a movie early this evening with a friend that has to be among THE WORST movies I've ever seen. This is going to be a short post because frankly it was so bad, so nothing, ridiculous, inane and lifeless that it doesn't deserve my time or attention. Except to warn you not to bother.
Rather than us paying Clooney et al to watch and endure this flabiness, I think we should have been paid to be utterly bored for two hours in the most ignominious way. Frankly, I'm embarrassed we sat through the whole thing. I kept thinking it would get better. But it only continued to go nowhere at zero-miles-an-hour.
It's called Men Who Look At Goats or Men Who Stare At Goats, something like that. Who cares. It's with George Clooney and Jeff Bridges. Were they stoned or drunk while writing and filming this? While I've never found Clooney particularly attractive, I always thought Bridges a great leading man. Until now. Clooney sank to new lows of appeal and Bridges shattered any last myth of my thinking him attractive in the first place. What a complete and utter slob!
I've never seen such unappealling men doing such unbecoming no-things. As far as I could tell there was no plot, no character development, no point, no resolution and no redeeming values, unless you had taken mind-altering drugs before going into the theater. There was not one character in this melange of nothingness that I mildly cared one hoot what happened to.
The only thing I can figure was Clooney got so bored drinking and motor-cycling his way through Europe with Brad Pitt such that he, Clooney, decided to entertain himself by making a movie and seeing how inane he could be with all his so-called sex appeal and still make a few bucks off his crazed and adoring fans towards his next house in Italy. Count me out from here on out.
This is liberal presumptuous Hollywood hokey---60s Boinged-out Berkley meets the Iraq War---and believe me, unless you're truly stuck in that sad by-gone era, which bores the stew out of me, then run for your life. Don't give Clooney et al the satisfaction of making a dime on this dismal ditch of black humored despair.
I ran over my word limit, but gosh I feel better.
On the other hand, this is one we both want to see soon. Know we'll walk away at least a little if not a lot more inspired:
Monday, November 23, 2009
THE WAVE OF UNENDING SPENDING AND DEBT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESS is piling on on our country should gravely concern each and every one of us. I don't want to sound like Chicken Little in continuing to sound the alarm, but from my perspective, it looks like the U.S. Treasury et al is playing Russian roulette with all of our lives, especially the those of our progeny. Seems like wanton, wreckless, not to mention unsustainable, fiscal policy to me.
The continuing fall of the U.S. dollar and rise in gold (I was wrong about gold, we're in unchartered territory here and where this gold bubble will end nobody knows) tells me to pray for the best but prepare for much worse.
None of us should be fooled into thinking the economy is improving because of the rising stock market. Nice as it is, it's temporary as money flees the bond and currency markets and takes short-term refuge in stocks.
When the U.S. Treasury issues debt like there's no tomorrow just to make interest payments rather than pay down principle---we better know we're living in a ponzi scheme and house of cards that's going to come tumbling down.
It's not a matter of if but when.
William Goss of Pimco gives us a simple explanation of his take on our country's wreckless spending:
What a good country or a good squirrel should be doing is stashing away nuts for the winter,” said William H. Gross, managing director of the Pimco Group, the giant bond-management firm. “The United States is not only not saving nuts, it’s eating the ones left over from the last winter.”
This is serious, folks. To make matters worse, China owns a great deal of our debt. Which means they are becoming our masters and we enslaved to a communist economy. We can not know the long-term consequences of this. But no matter what any one says, how this administration spins it, there is much adversity ahead for this country and its people.
And no, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing if we can survive it, though it's gonna be painful, really painful.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
JONAH AND THE NINEVITES: WHEN GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE
AT A TIME OF UNPRECEDENTED POLITICAL, FINANCIAL AND CULTURAL upheaval in our country and world --- as people of all stripes become more polarized along national, ideological and religious and even racial lines---it might behoove those of us professing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and even those who don't, to review a chapter from Tim Keller's recently released book called The Hidden Idols of our Lives.
Here, Keller unpacks the staggering story of Jonah in the Old Testament. Be forewarned, it's not your 1st grade Sunday school myth of a man who falls out of a boat into the sea during a storm, spends three days in the belly of a big fish and is finally belched safely onto dry land after disobeying a direct order from God. No, the story speaks to the reasons for Jonah's disobedience and to the deep idols in his heart that caused him to run from God in the first place.
Jonah had been commanded to go preach God's impending judgment to Nineveh, the world's most powerful city and seat of the Assyrian Empire, so its people might repent and be saved. This didn't suit Jonah's idea of how things ought to be. How dare God do such a merciful, kind thing to Israel's enemies!
Jonah would have none of it so he ran away in disobedience. Needless to say, God stepped in to discipline Jonah in supernatural ways. Jonah's illusion of control, his clannish superiority and desire to leverage God's will to suit his own little agenda was soon turned upside down several times.
But the story doesn't end there. A great struggle ensues between Jonah and God after Jonah goes to Nineveh and the people there end up repenting. Jonah gets furious with God---furious enough to die--- because God, the God of the Jews, would dare show such compassion and mercy on the Ninevites whom he hated. His religious and national pride, all good things in and of themselves, had become ultimate things---idols---which Jonah had put before obeying and loving God.
Jonah is a large, deep book of the Bible which could aptly be titled Advanced Idol Worship of Grownups--- or When Good Things Happen to Bad People--- which under Keller's eye-popping commentary takes a piercing look at both the personal and national idols that intersect every human heart, including yours and mine. Jonah had multiple idols, and God dealt with all of them, albeit very slowly over time.
It's a shocking and poignant tale for today's turbulent times and us arrogant peoples when Keller gets his skilled hands on this famous Bible story.
Keller writes of Jonah: His fear of personal failure (of preaching and ministering to the Ninevites), his pride in his Jewish religion and his fierce love of Israel had coalesced into a deadly idolatrous compound that spiritually blinded him to the grace of God. As a result he did not want to extend that grace to an entire city that needed it. He wanted to see them all dead.....
Racial pride and cultural narrowness cannot coexist with the gospel of grace. They are mutually exclusive.....Because of the self-justifying nature of the human heart, it is natural to see our own culture or class characteristics (or our own political or economic ideologies, I might add) as superior to anyone else. But this natural tendency is arrested by the gospel.
This is not an over-night job for God with either Jonah or you and me. Keller quotes Richard Loveless on spiritual life preservers from The Dynamics of Spiritual Life:
Those who are not secure in Christ cast about for spiritual life preservers with which to support their confidence, and in their frantic search they cling not only to the shreds of ability and righteousness they find in themselves, but they fix upon their race, their membership, their familiar in a party, their familiar social and ecclesiastical patterns and their culture as a means of self-recommendation. The culture is put on as through it were armor against self-doubt, but it becomes a mental strait-jacket which cleaves to the flesh and can never be removed except through comprehensive faith in the saving work of Christ.
The story of Jonah is a story I can identify with. It convicts me of the multiple layers of my idolatries and asks me to examine my heart early and often for racial, political and ideological pride that would cause me to look down in superiority and marginalize people with differing views. It calls me to do what I can in any situation yet know in the depths of my heart that in the beginning, middle and end, God is in control. There's a much bigger picture unfolding than I can see. I, like Jonah, may not like what I see unfolding in our country. After all's said and done, I'm called to obey God and leave the results up to Him without taking on a false sense of superiority, thinking my position is always right or that I'm in control.
More in the weeks ahead. Love this mighty little book! It has the potential of being a searing flashlight in the heart of anyone who reads it and is willing to look at their own depravity. Again, not for the faint-of-heart.
(Please note, I intended to write today about the idols of family---my personal favorite--- in Keller's book, but with the news late last night the health care bill ( which I oppose on many grounds) passed its first hurdle in the Senate I decided this was a more timely subject for me to focus on today. It's something I need for continuing to look at my own idol of moral superiority of being a fiscal conservative on the political right. We often read and write what we need to learn. )
Friday, November 20, 2009
HATE TO KEEP POSTING VIDEOS HERE, yet listening to this is the most important thing I can publish today. Please call your Senators. Their numbers are found by clicking the Capitol icon at the top right.
We are in the throes of a liberal, mega-lawyer takeover of our country which seeks to change it to its foundations at a time of unprecedented federal insolvancy and economic instability. This country's fiscal situation is unsustainable. If this bill passes, it will accelerate our downhill slide.
In spite of the odds Corker predicts, Intrade on my right sidebar under links gives more encouraging odds for those opposed, at least for this year. All bets are off for January 2010. Keep an eye on it because markets can be wiser than individual opinions.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
A QUICK AND DRAMATIC study on why the War on Terror should not be criminalized and relegated to Federal Civil Court rather than Military Tribunals. Senator Lindsey Graham grills Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday in a one-on-one in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Every thinking American should watch this and be edified. If you don't come away discomforted and wondering what in heaven's name the Obama administration is thinking trying these terrorists in NYC as criminals---with the same rights as U.S. citizens---rather than enemy combatants--- then we're in worse trouble than I think. As Graham reiterates to Holder this decision would be a major perversion of justice and set a dangerous precedent. Graham lays it out and tells Holder in no uncertain terms why. I get the feeling Holder heard things he'd never heard before.
Either way, the decision by the Obama administration is ill-advised and very poorly thought out. It makes them look more sophomoric and wreckless than ever.And we won't even begin to talk about the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars the taxpayers--you and I---we be required to shell out in this high population density venue. As if we don't have enough monetary distress already.
Thanks to Neo for calling our attention to this. She's at her best.
DO TAKE TIME to watch the latest re-creations of this white-knuckle flight, its long glide down and perfect landing by Captain Sully (aka Cactus) in the Hudson River last winter. Amazing. Professionalism, coolness exhibited by all. Still, only by the Grace of God.
The moral of the story: Life can change on a dime. And often does. In millisecond. For all of us. Everyday. Are we ready?
In watching this again, I notice how quickly the captain realized---almost within seconds of the strike-- the plane was going down in the Hudson even even though he briefly considered going back to LaGuardia. Cactus inquired less than a minute later about Teterboro, but there was never a question that the only sane option for him was to glide his plane down over water where there were no buildings to crash into and land on the river. A quick decision that worked out, to say the least.
Kas Osterbuhr, an engineer at K3 Resources, has taken all the data released by the NTSB and used it to create -- recreate, actually -- the entire incident with an obsessive dedication to accuracy, and in astonishing detail, too.
When you're done, head over to Osterbuhr's website to view all the different videos and graphics he's made, using the information released by the feds. H/T
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
NEVER THOUGHT I'D SAY THIS. Even as President Obama grapples with whether to send more troops to Afghanistan and assures us he's getting closer and closer to a decision, I have another proposal to offer:
Send in U.S. troops to invade China, capture and bring home our president before he can do any more damage on his now famous excessive deference tour. Surely he can be intercepted on land somewhere between the Great Wall gift shop (first try the CD department featuring digital biographies of the 20th Century's World's Greatest Tyrants) and the Peninsula Hotel having tea while Michelle refurbishes her silk shantung wardrobe in Hong Kong. If that doesn't work, some of our Drones can spot him from several miles above the mainland. He's the one in perpetual bowing and scraping mode, so he shouldn't be too hard to find, even in the dark of night.
There's more to this story. Nobody says it more elegantly than Richard Wolffe at The Daily Beast:
He bowed to Japan. He treaded lightly with China. And then Israel thumbed its nose at Obama’s calls to freeze settlements.
To the president’s critics, this week’s White House trip to Asia has largely failed because of excessive deference. Obama bowed to the Japanese emperor, and he metaphorically genuflected to the Chinese leadership by refusing to confront them publicly about human rights.
Yet the president’s biggest foreign-policy setback of the week—by several orders of magnitude—came on the other side of Asia. And its negative impact was worsened by an administration policy that started with public confrontation, not compromise.
To sum this trip up, President Obama is far too obsequious with our enemies with whom he and we have human rights issues, too offensive with our allies. And for that I think he needs a troop intervention that will bring him home for a while, before he can do any further damage through deference.
Please don't misunderstand. There's nothing wrong, and lots to gain, from humility, admission of mistakes and a sense of humor on the world stage, or anywhere for that matter; however when deprecation and shaming of our country and its bedrock principles are our president's primary MO, then I draw the line and think our citizens should also. This is not about left verses right. It's about upholding the Constitution and representing the interests of freedom and human rights both here and abroad. President Obama is doing neither, in my opinion.
Until he does, for the next few years, forget the phrase Bring Our Troops Home! instead memorize this new one: Send in the troops! Bring Our President Home!
Let's hope he learns at least how to treat world leaders as equals rather than subordinates or higher-ups. If this excessive deference doesn't stop, one day Obama may be curtsying to Osama. While he's learning, it might behoove him to practice saluting our flag (the American one, that is) when it passes by. God bless America and our president too.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Instead, I want to focus on perfume and how good the curvaceous Scarlett J. looks in the Dolce & Gabbana ad above. Love her hair, dress, pose. There's neither too little nor too much of her showing. She's carrying just the right amount of weight and hasn't been photo shopped out of existence. And that unfussy, little black dress will take her anywhere. She's alluring, yet restrained in a lady-like way and showing us how to be ready for a sensual night on the town or an intimate one at home. Add a little (and I do mean little) fragrance and she's rules the night and any man fortunate enough to be in her company. Nice. I also love it that the ad is in black-and-white. Very classic and classy.
Monday, November 16, 2009
WHAT I'M POSTING HERE IS NOT NEWS. Yet, I think it bears repeating and along the way begs a few questions---even if they're rhetorical. Ready?
OK. The Democratic Party is made up of lots and lots of lawyers who don't make anything; they'd rather pass things like laws. Many elected Democrats in Washington are lawyers. To review, here are a few from the Democratic Legal Complex:
Barack Obama is a lawyer.
Michelle Obama is a lawyer.
Hillary Clinton is a lawyer.
Bill Clinton is a lawyer.
John Edwards is a lawyer.
Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer.
You know all this, but are you nonetheless dizzy yet? I'm not done.
Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate). Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school.
Now let's look at current Democratic leaders in Congress:
Harry Reid, Democratic leader of the Senate, is a lawyer.
Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House, is a lawyer.
So let's stop for a minute and ask our most important question: SO WHAT?
This surfeit of Democratic lawyers means they want to change our country and world through laws and law-making and expanding government. That's what they do, and all they know how to do. Lawyering, law making and laws are their focus, job description and meaning in life. So why do we keep electing these lawyers? They wouldn't be caught dead passing term limits, btw, which would limit them staying forever in office and passing even more laws. No law will ever be passed by Democrats that expires or limits a Democratic lawyer or law maker.
Democrats view the world and change exclusively through the lens of laws, rather than of innovation in the free markets, economies and other creative private sector enterprises. Liberal Democratic lawyers believe ALL THINGS are possible by the power of writing, passing, enforcing bill for every aspect of our lives. Once passed, Democrat lawyers love to play the blame game of suing for massive damages. The Democratic ACLU loves to sue and divert precious resources for frivilous suits for anything and nothing. Making trouble is its job.
Currenty, Obama and his Democratic lawyer-led Congress believe they can remake America by passing two huge laws: First, healthcare reform law which makes big government bureaucracy hugely bigger while invading every American's life and health care process from cradle to grave.
Ever wonder why one of the most obvious ideas to revamp health care and bring down costs--tort reform and limiting a doctor's liability--- is wantonly and consistently overlooked by Democratic lawyers and law makers? Look no further than Democratic lawyers who refuse to pass tort reform because then they couldn't sue the daylights out of doctors and hospitals, taking millions of dollars in awards for themselves and their clients.
Democratic lawyer and presidential candidate-with-a-mirror John Edwards made his fortune lawyering, suing and feeding off doctors through predatory medical lawsuits which had no limits to liabilities and which lined his pockets beyond handsomely--pun intended.
Again, it's all about the Democratic party of lawyers making laws which help lawyers make more laws and more money so more can run for office, win and make even more laws and money.
The second big-ticket item on Democratic lawyers' agenda is man-made climate change laws they want passed on the national and international levels. Such laws would enlarge big government and regulation to unheralded proportions (and One World government) putting the heavy burden of paying for these laws on the shrinking backs of taxpayers.
Climate change laws would help Democratic lawyers make gazillions of dollars by suing law breakers, so then running for office in order to make even more laws, raise taxes and continue to help "solve" all our problems through more laws and bigger government and law suits.
Ever wonder why Al Gore, a would-be lawyer who never graduated and also a wanna-be theologian, wants to have all these climate laws passed? It's because these laws will help him and his investors make trillions upon trillions of dollars in alternative energy and carbon-based products they damn well expect better be mandated through these new laws. (That's why Goldman Sachs and The Nature Conservancy--both private corporations---want massive climate change laws passed. They stand to make a monetary killing on these new laws and are backing them and the Democratic lawyers with all the resources they have at their disposal.)
Make no mistake, the Democratic Lawyer Party wants to reform America through making laws that will be hard on us taxpayers, but good for them politically and monetarily. It's not rocket science that with all these lawyers in Washington today, WE, the American people, are in a heap of trouble.
Now let's contrast this with the Republican Party made up mostly of non-lawyers:
President Bush is a businessman..
Vice President Cheney is a businessman.
Newt Gingrich, leader of the Republican revolution, was a history professor.
Tom Delay was an exterminator.
Dick Armey was an economist.
House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon.
Gerald Ford was the last Republican president who was a lawyer. He left office 31 years ago and barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.
The Republican Party is made up of professionals and real people doing real work who are often the targets of lawyers---liberal Democratic lawyers. Doctors are also major target of lawyers. The ACLU's Democratic lawyers sue any and every thing that has even the slightest tinge of Christian religious overtones.
The bottom line for now is that Americans have now elected so many Democratic lawyers who are leading this country that we may never recover from the onslaught of new laws most people don't want and government growth and taxes that will sap more and more money its unhappy citizens.
Isn't it time we sit down and have another cup of tea and start to figure out our next move to get these liberal Democratic lawyer criminals out of office?
(Thanks, Steve in Grand Junction.)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
TAKEN THE WAY I BELIEVE it's written, Tim Keller's most recent book Counterfeit Gods on idols found in every human heart---the worship of family and group, children and grandchildren, romance and sex, approval, power, influence, money, power, politics---is not for everyone because it's a panoramic treatise on sin. And reading it begs the question of our willingness to look within to excavate the idols of our hearts.
To review, idols are things---even good things---that we make ultimate things in our hearts and lives. They replace God at the center of our hearts and if we lose them, our loss can shatter and embitter us for the rest of our live.
I would not recommend reading this book to anyone who's not on the spiritual journey in earnest and seeking greater maturity in Christ. That's because taking down idols is only a temporary game at best---in which we get rid of one thing only to replace it with another---and impossible at worst unless it's replaced permanently by God.
Replacing these idols embedded in the deepest layers of our hearts can be a shocking and painful and emotional process and the work of a lifetime. There are no quick fixes in this journey withint. In the end, only the explosive power and love of God can move into those holes of our hearts for restoration and redemption.
Anyone who does therapy, prays and worships in ways that focus primarily on changing others and things outside of ourselves, rather than focusing on what's going on inside probably can't yet understand the stinging relevance of Keller's book. It would be like water rolling off a duck's back.
The immature---and we're all immature to varying degrees---want and demand ourselves and the outside world change to meet and fulfill the idols of our heart. The maturing Christian understands that real change comes first from within as we let the Holy Spirit break down and destroy strongholds so we can begin to live life on God's terms, rather than our own.
That doesn't mean we have to like this process or that it's a quick and easy transformation. Seek ye first the Kingdom and all things will be added, is not a fairy tale, but a bedrock, fundamental Truth of the Bible from beginning to end.
This is not the prosperity gospel.
Keller's book, if used that way I believe it's intended, is a shocking handbook for growth that can be read and worked for the rest of our lives. It's based on Bible stories of people with idols like you and me as it maps the idol-making factory of the human heart and its only and ultimate redemption. There's no escaping the fact that we've all made good things into ultimate things and replaced God as our Center.
The greatest secret in the world is: Try as we might, nothing can or will ever fit into the center of our hearts except the Triune God.
Yet we keep hacking away, trying, hoping to do it our way. Don't our lives and experiences and brokeness finally bear witness to the futility of our incessant attempts to serve our idols, no matter how often we fail? Mine certainly has.
I'll be back in the weeks ahead with more on this book.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
EVEN AS HER POLL NUMBERS DROP, Mrs. Obama is getting herself mixed up in the same political issue that defeated the Democratic first lady before her. Linda Hirshman at the Daily Beast explains:
Despite the clear lesson from Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated venture, health care is a siren song for any first lady—because it looks like such a womanly thing. Taking care of sick people, especially sick children, fits perfectly into a traditional female caregiver role.
But it’s a trap. Health care is big, big business—15 percent of the economy, some say. Big insurers, Big Pharma, the AMA, big boys play health care. And as the tea bag summer went by, the political stakes got unimaginably high, too. As Michelle Obama turned her attention from healthy veggies to pre-existing conditions, pundits speculate that the “fall” in her approval ratings—from a high of 72 to 61 percent in the latest Gallup poll—may indeed be due to her venture into the politics of health care.
But theories about her dwindling appeal abound. Maybe she’s not too blue but too red: The mom-in-chief thing has gotten really old as the economy tanks and the president plays basketball with the boys. We know there’s a Harvard law degree in there somewhere; why is she appearing with kitty ears and Halloween treats?
Six months ago, all the first lady coverage was a just-right purply hue. What happened? The obvious answer is that everything was never just right. Just like regular politics, red and blue gender politics can’t be magically wished away, not even by the Obamas. And the gender challenges of being a first lady, 40 years after feminism, are darn near insurmountable.
A quick learner, Michelle Obama found out during the campaign that she’d be better off seen than heard. When asked what she’d do in case of the dreaded 3 a.m. emergency phone call, she answered that she’d hand the phone to Barack and go back to sleep. The more she embodied a conservative concept of “ladyship,” the more the most vocal parts of the country, especially the media, liked her. Why, they even compared her to the sainted Jacqueline Kennedy.
That's enough. I don't want to go down the Michelle-Jackie road again today. But the point is well taken that the American people want a first lady who's a lady in the White House. For many, the often (false) nostalgia of the Kennedy days embodies that sense for liberals.
Me, I don't have to look any further back than Laura Bush a lady's lady whom I miss greatly. One thing's for sure, she'd never have worn that ghastly cat outfit, looking like a wildcat siren on Halloween. Her venturing deeper into the wilderness of healthcare reform can only take her poll numbers deeper down.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The veteran on the right is a retired airline captain who once was a top gun Navy fighter-pilot, flying from aircraft carriers off Vietnam. When he and his generation of heroes came home, theirs was not a warm welcome. In fact it was downright hostile. Many of these veterans nevertheless recovered, got on with their lives---though some did not----became successful at what they did.
However, they never forgot the chilly reception they received when they returned to America as veterans of an unpopular war that was essentially lost in the mainstream media.
Today as a result, some of these men of Vietnam and earlier wars, are making concerted efforts to help many soldiers, especially the physically and emotionally wounded, returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Their support has taken many forms, like Wounded Warriors Project. It's turning many dreadfully lonely, lost young veterans into men who find fresh opportunities, new skills and interests and experience a fresh sense of camaraderie and mentor relationships with their elder vet brethren.
No one does this better than the man above, along with other Vietnam vets who are still young and active, yet have decades of life experiences after coming home in the 60s and 70s. The veteran above, aside from his other accomplishments, has become a master fly fisherman. He and several groups he works with takes young vets out on rivers and lakes teaching them to cast, fly fish and tie flies. These trips reacquaint them with the healing qualiities in the great outdoors. The young guys love every minute.
Recently, they went to the American River where they fished, camped and did guy-things for three days.
No injury, no false prosthesis, no emotional trauma excludes any young vet from such an event if they want to attend. Getting these kids outdoors, refocusing their pain or hostility or lostness to fishing and hiking has proven extremely beneficial to their healing processes.
I respect men who use their talents, time and resources---and even their past pain and rejections--to help others have an easier time of it, than they did.
And a good time was had by all.
God bless our veterans of all ages. God bless America. And a good man who uses his good influence well is hard to find.....but not last week on the American River.
DOES this surprise you about the lunatic Muslim gunman at Fort Hood? Does it soften your heart?
An uncle who lives in Ramallah said Major Hasan chose psychiatry over surgery after fainting while observing childbirth during his medical training. The uncle, Rafiq Hamad, described Major Hasan as a gentle, quiet, deeply sensitive man who once owned a bird that he fed by placing it in his mouth and allowing it to eat masticated food.
When the bird died, Mr. Hamad said, Major Hasan “mourned for two or three months, dug a grave for it and visited it.”
How quaint. Get out the violins. Let's keep those humanizing articles coming in the NYT. I shudder to think what's next.
As John Tamny says below, every single day this administration is tied up in gridlock and experiences delays of all kinds is one day closer to the 2010 mid-term elections. Now that's something we can really hope for.
Monday, November 9, 2009
OVER THE WEEKEND, I had the pleasure of having a cup of coffee with these guys early one morning. They're Knoxville men in the 278th division of the Tennessee National Guard and are about to go mobe and deploy to Iraq on December 1. Most have been there before and will leave their families and full-time jobs again to serve our country another year.
Their particular unit is assigned to protect the American Embassy in Baghdad. After talking to them, I feel better already. Below the photos they kindly agreed I could take (Again, I do not tell anyone I meet that I'm a blogger), I would like to give a brief synopsis---later today---of some of the politically incorrect things they told me. Meanwhile, may God bless these men and soldiers who serve our country so well.
IRAQ 101 (none of this is new, but a fun review), IN A NUTSHELL, what they said:
Don't believe anything you read or hear in the news about Iraq, or Obama's War, cause they don't know what's really going on......There's been good progress in Iraq, but a lot more to do....not only more fighting, but rebuilding infra-structure and keeping things from going downhill.
All the other countries have pulled out, except us and the two-timing Saudis. We need to have a presence there for at least 10 more years so that some of the children who are now 9-10-11 can grow up with a sense of freedom and begin to take positions in the real world in business and government. These young people who've lived through the war and tasted freedom won't let it slide back again.
Basically, you've got the Sunnis who are like Old Testament pharisees going by the letter of the law of Islam and are really strict.
Then you have the Shi'ia who are more like New Testament people, not as strict and rigid as the Sunnis. The conflicts between the two sects of Islam in Iraq are ongoing.
Then you got the Kurds who just want their own land up north which is essentially a mountain range. (From the Wikipedia line above: As a major economic power in Iraq, Kurdistan has the lowest poverty rates and highest standard of living in Iraq. It is the most stable and secure region of Iraq where not a single coalition soldier or foreigner has been killed, wounded or kidnapped since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Maintaining its own foreign relations, Kurdistan hosts a number of consulates and representation offices of countries most notably those of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Israel and Russia.)
The Saudis act like they're helping us on one hand, but on the other, are sending radicals and terrorists into Iraq through Syria to destroy everything we're trying to do. Saudis know there are vast oil reserves in Iraq and they're very interested in them. It's more than the Saudis and Kuwaitis have together. There's a lot of money and oil money on the line in Iraq and that's the truth.
But we're going to make it a good year and progress will be made while we're there....
When I asked if any of them will return home to visit during the year away? they all said probably not except in emergencies. It was too upsetting and disrupting to their families to come and go again. But with cell phones and computers, they'll be in constant communications.
I feel rebellious and very politically incorrect this morning, and it fits my kick-the-can mood. So without further ado, take it away whoever-you-are:
I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers.
The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America.
Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America ; and see what happens.
Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.
Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.
I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, which is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE ?
I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.. I have the right 'NOT' to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.
When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling; it is the Law of Probability.
I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English! My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours.
think the police should have every right to shoot you if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word 'freeze' or 'stop' in English, see the above lines..
I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business. We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.
I don't hate the rich I don't pity the poor I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.
I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building...."
Sunday, November 8, 2009
MOST PEOPLE SPEND THEIR LIVES trying to make their heart's fondest dreams come true. Isn't that what life's all about, "the pursuit of happiness?" We search endlessly for ways to acquire the things we desire, and we are willing to sacrifice much to achieve them. We never imagine that getting our heart's desires might just be the worst thing that can ever happen to us.
My wife and I once knew a single woman, Anna, who wanted desperately to have children. She eventually married and contrary to the expectations of her doctors, was able to bear two healthy children despite her age.
But her dreams did not come true. Her overpowering drive to give her children a perfect life made it impossible for her to actually enjoy them. Her overprotectiveness, fears and anxieties, and her need to control every detail of her children's lives made the family miserable. Anna's oldest child did poorly in school and showed signs of serious emotional problems. The younger child was filled with anger. There's a good chance her drive to give her children wonderful lives will actually be the thing that ruins them.
Getting her heart's deepest desire may end up being the worst thing that ever happened to her.
THE INEVITABILITY of IDOLATRY
Why is getting your heart's deepest desire so often a disaster? In the book of Romans 1, Saint Paul answers that the human heart fashions these desires into idols, and summarizes saying, "They worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:25).
Every human being must live for something. Something must capture our imaginations, our heart's most fundamental allegiance and hope. But, the Bible tells us, without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, that object will never be God himself.
If we look to created things to give us the meaning, hope and happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver. And it will break our hearts.
The woman, Anna, who was ruining her children's lives did not "love her children too much," but rather she loved God too little in relationship to them. As a result, her child-god were crushed under the weight of her expectations.
The Bible is filled with story after story depicting the innumerable forms and devastating effects of idol worship. Every counterfeit god a heart can choose----whether love, money, work, success, sex or power has a compelling biblical narrative that explains how that particular kind of idolatry works itself out in our lives.
-----Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
Friday, November 6, 2009
At the top, some of us just take a nap and enjoy the peace and exhaustion, happy we made it.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Friday, I leave for East Tennessee to join hikers in the Smokies. Saturday there's a mountain to climb with my kind of elevation gain. All to say, I'll be doing some short posts for a while. Getting out in lots of fresh air and exercise is at the top of my list right now. We all need it, but I really do.
My dear family member who spun out of control several weeks ago after going through a very difficult bout of insomnia---having suffered with this for years, but after Michael Jackson died recently has gone into utter and debilitating terror/hysteria over it---has gone to a month-long treatment program to hopefully break the cycle and her paralysing fear---and negative self-speak--that she'll never be able to sleep again. Even when she gets 4-5 hours sleep, it's not good enough. The need and demand for perfection is destroying her sanity.
My prayers are for her to get help and relief and learn to connect and get reassurance whenever she needs it--and to learn to sooth and reassure herself sometimes through these panic attacks---before it gets to this completely dysfunctional and dire (in her eyes) place again. My solace is that God is in control and I'm not. I wish I could fix this, but she has to find her own way and I believe she will by the Grace of God. My job is to pray and stay sane and centered and do what I can. But it's been tough.
Anyway, I'm going hiking this weekend. Praise God!
ODDS DROP FROM 14% to 6% OVERNIGHT
SOME FUNNY, HOPEFUL THINGS are happening on the way to Nancy Pelosi healthcare-land: Monday's elections of two new Republican governors AND our continued protest of the government's attempted take-over of a huge, mammoth part of our economy. Please keep the heat on Congress. We can't get lax and let this Faustian thing sneak by. Nancy knows no shame and will do absolutely anything to get her way with this. And we need to keep the heat on so as not to win the battle and lose the war.
WANNA BET? Go here.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I BELIEVE, as did the late Dr. Murray Bowen who pioneered family systems/differentiation-of-self theories (The Bowen Center) of human behavior, that our country and culture---are in a massive societal regression. I also think there's no end in sight for our downhill spiral. We live in coarse and vulgar times, to put it mildly.
Anyway, Robin of Berkeley has just written a piece at American Thinker that's well-worth reading entitled Sociopathic Epidemic. This shows in shocking focus where we're probably heading and parts of society have already arrived.
Of course, her perspective is from the way-liberal, left coast and highlights some extreme and tragic behavior out in Pelosi-land., where empathy flows like honey.
In this piece, Robin makes the distinction between our being a nation of mere narcissists who nonetheless have in-tact consciences which can feel shame and remorse, to being a nation of sociopaths who have totally separated from all moral constraints and the ability to know right from wrong.
It's no surprise, in such a sociopathic world, black is white, up is down and evil is good. Everything in life is relative and divorced from all spiritual, moral and founding principles as individual omnipotence and its concomitant adoration of self-esteem is raised to dizzying heights and staggering proportions.
In the beginning, middle and end though, only profound, individual spiritual renewal can save us from ourselves. This is something we can seek and pray for.
I want to come back later with my short list of individual behaviors that I think lead us from narcissism to sociopathtic nihilism and endemic to individual behavior today. None of this is new, yet I want to reiterate it.
What do I mean when I say we're living in a societal regression? I'll be posting various thoughts during the day. But here are a few for starters:
***We live in a constant feeling state of anxiety which comes from our lower reptilian brains and mistake this feeling state for reality.
***Living out of feelings demands that we spend most of our waking hours and much of our sleep time managing and medicating our feelings from what we don't want to something we do. We want stimulation and then relief. Drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sex, shopping and all kinds of addictive behaviors---where we get less and less or a kick even with more of the substance---are part of this syndrome.
****Loyalty to tribe, family, friends, groups and significant others---even despicable ones in the face of cruel behavior---is mandatory and more important than living from principles and doing what's right. Taking a stand against group think is not OK and risks expulsion from the lower functioning immature group. Bowen called this fusion. The only way out is differentiation of self and such a process requires higher functioning brain power.
***Projection takes the place of human introspection which naturally leads to taking responsibility and making changes where changes are called for.
****The inability to either make an amends or receive and acknowledge another's amends comes with increasing narcissism.
****An irresistible attraction to drama and adrenaline in greater and greater amounts.
***The need to be right rather than authentic, especially when being authentic conflicts with our need to be loyal/fused to our group. Authenticity is not letting every crass emotion fly; it comes from having processed our emotions and then getting to the real issues underneath the rawness of feelings.
****A sense of entitlement---which is a lack of appreciation and gratitude---goes with increasing narcissism. In working the 12 steps a sign of recovery is always a sense of gratitude and of personal responsibility. Conversely, falling in the hole goes with ingratitude and narcissism.
All of us to some degree possess many these traits, and we must choose whether we take up the long and arduous spiritual journey of recovery and from narcissism to sanity and maturity. It is always a journey from living, working and recreating in the lower reptilian realms up into the saner neo-cortex and higher brain. It takes courage, humor and patience.
It's never a straight line up, but filled with many fits and starts and detours. I can tell you from experience. Still our recovery into sanity is the only hope for a regressed society. We can't even begin it without a belief in God which hopefully sooner rather than later becomes a belief in the redeeming power of Christ.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It's called a House Call. Not a minute too soon either. Pelosi and her liberal band of thieves are hell-bent on passing this travesty. We all need to get on the band wagon and protest by phone, email, in person commiting ourselves to doing whatever we can to keep this bill from passing in the House.
Monday, November 2, 2009
LET'S BE HONEST: Sometimes the best way to start the week is with a resounding NO!
NO THANKS, NOT TODAY, NO WAY, JOSE! OVER MY DEAD BODY! There are many reasons to say NO this Monday---Nancy's stem winder health care monstrosity that is again being attempted to be rammed down our throats whether we like it or not for our own good, for starters. But, if the reason for NO! could be linked to so-called fashion pics, then look no further than the ladies below! These outfits are so bad, it's an effort to say the very word.
Go Fug Yourself has lots of clever copy on these ghastly get-ups--like sad starlet wearing grandma's curtains. However, it's late and we're all way too tired to read and laugh at them anyhow. So in the interim, all I can say is NO! And if you have to ask why, then you need a good night's sleep and maybe tomorrow you'll wake up and understand.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
FROM TIM KELLER'S NEW BOOK, COUNTERFEIT GODS:
Money can become a spiritual addiction, and like all addictions it hides its true proportions from its victims. We take more and greater risks to get an ever diminishing satisfaction from the thing we crave, until a breakdown occurs. When we begin to recover, we ask, "What were we thinking? How could we have been so blind?" We wake up like people with a hangover who can hardly remember the night before. But why did we act so irrationally?" Why did we so completely lose sight of what is right?
The Bible's answer is that the human heart is an "idol factory."
When most people think of "idols" they have in mind literal statues---or the next pop star anointed by Simon Crowell. Yet while traditional idol worship still occurs in many places in the world, internal idol worship, within the heart, is universal.
In Ezekiel 14:3, God is saying that the human heart takes good things like success, love and romance, material possessions and even family, and turns them into ultimate things that come before God. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment, if we attain them.
The central plot device of "The Lord of the Rings" is the Dark Lord Sauron's Ring of Power, which corrupts anyone who tries to use it, however good his or her intentions. The ring is what Professor Tom Shippey calls a "psychic amplifier," which takes the heart's fondest desires and magnifies them to idolatrous proportions.
Some good characters in the book want to liberate slaves, or preserve their people's lands, or visit wrongdoers with just punishment. These are all good objectives. But the Ring makes them willing to do anything to achieve them, anything at all.
The Ring turns the good thing into an absolute that overturns every other allegiance or value. The wearer of the Ring becomes increasingly enslaved and addicted to it, for an idol is something we cannot live without. We must have it, and therefore it drives us to break rules we once honored, to harm others and even ourselves in order to get it.
Idols are spiritual addictions that lead to terrible evil, in Tolkien's novel and real life.
I'll continue to post on this book next weekend and several weeks after.