Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Several years ago, I flew back in February with a group to the US from Tel Aviv to Newark, three days after a major snowstorm on the East Coast. The above photo somewhat captures the scene when we arrived. Adults with children and aging parents were sleeping and living on floors, on steps, in waiting areas and every conceivable nook and cranny throughout the terminal for days. It was the closest I've come to Bangladesh. Officials had just re-opened the airport to incoming flights and there were miles-long lines snaking everywhere just to get to a ticket agent.
Right then and there, I made a decision never to knowingly get myself in such travel pandemonium again. That, of course, was before having grandchildren with parents who decided---wisely---they were yet too young to travel gracefully....
Still due to a very last minute change of circumstances due to a very sick relative in D.C. whom I was due to visit, before taking the train from Union to Penn stations, I ended up driving all the way to The Big Apple to try to avoid getting sick myself. So today I hope to circumvent airport and train station chaos and take to the New Jersey, then Pennsylvania Turnpikes slowly and carefully in order to get back to I-81, then home in a day or two.
I hope stranded travelers will get un-stranded soon. It's no fun, especially when your Blackberry loses its charge!
More to say on this, but don't have time to say it at the moment. But bottomline: brevity is the better part of valor online and in most communications. I remember when my newspaper editors taught me to assume my readers had many other influences vying for their attention besides me and therefore I needed to hone and refine my message down to the bare minimum, much of the time.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
---Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in a letter from a Nazi prison
THE WHOLE LIFE OF CHRIST was a continual Passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha, where he was crucified, even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last. His birth and his death were but the evening and morning of the same day.
---John Donne, Sermon of Christmas-Day, 1626
Both from today's bulletin, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Manhattan, Hunter College
Friday, December 24, 2010
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7a)
Strategically, it was a brilliant time for a conqueror to be born with a network of Roman roads and commercial travel routes throughout the known world, a cohesive Greek language and monetary system and a location smack dab at the crossroads of Egypt, Turkey and of course Rome and beyond.
Judea was dominated by the despised Roman Empire with its central bankers, immoral dictators, mammoth armies and brutal, hedonistic culture. Still, there was another ruling elite in the promised land: A haughty cadre of Old Testament Jewish scholars and 'religious zealots' known as Pharisees whose heads abounded and overflowed with Old Testament knowledge, Hebrew history of redemption and high expectations. But their hearts were arrogant and hard as rocks.
They were God's chosen people and they alone knew what they wanted, needed, yes demanded, in the savior that was to come to liberate them and topple the current world political/economic system.
They were expecting a spectacular nuclear military/political might to arrive with guns blazing, to kick butt and establish a new world order with them---the Pharisees--as the head of everything, such as the world had never seen.
Even Judea's wicked, self-serving King Herod knew the Old Testament prophesies and was expecting a mighty world conqueror to come....But no one, NO ONE, ever expected what was about to unfold in the Middle East as the time-space continuum was supernaturally, but quietly, humbly split for all time in Bethlehem. No one expected.....this....
No one, let alone the Pharisees, expected two comings....the first one involving a tiny baby boy born under a lean-to into the most humble of circumstances to an almost poverty stricken mother....A child many would consider a bastard who would become a carpenter for most of his life before being baptized at the age ofo 30 by a honey/grasshopper eating lunatic in the Jordan River, then beginning a 3- year ministry of miracles--- turning water into wine at a wedding feast etc, etc, etc---and speaking in symbolic parables and rhymns that many refused to, others could not understand.
An child born to be killed in the most brutal of ways by the very men who were expecting him! A child born to first change the hearts of men and women rather than their political, economic and social status. A child who claimed to be God Himself in the flesh come to save the world--- anyone regardless of race, color, sex or creed---who humbled himself to repent of the depraved lifestyles they were living.
An obedient child who would conquer the snake in the garden and death itself by dying on a Cross, being resurrected and promising one day to come again-- a second time---as the mighty ruler they were all expecting in the first place. A child who came in truth to destroy organized religion and begin personal relationships with anyone---Jew or Gentile--who humbled himself enough to realize he or she was a sinner in need of a Savior to transform his priorities and life.
Absolutely unthinkable!Ttoo preposterous for words! Blasphemy! A joke crucially unfunny and unjoyful to the ensconced ruling religious/ political classes. How dare God even consider doing such a thing to them!
And yet, according to the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, it did happen just that way and a lot more too. A supernatural member of the Triune Godhead came to the densest of matter in the flesh to continue the redemptive history of fallen man by suffering every conceivable indignity and rejection by us, for us all. If you don't have the good fortune to know this Great Savior, Jesus Christ, it's never too late. Kneel down at that manger and ask Him into your life, to guide and comfort and change you from the inside of your heart out. All we have to lose is everything we don't really need. And everything God wants to take from us so He can give us his eternal blessings without end. The only prerequisite is knowing we need Him. And here's the clincher: no sin, no selfishness, no former lifestyle however bad or good is beyond His saving grace and redemption. Nothing is too bad or too good to exempt us, if we merely ask Him into our lives and hearts and begin a personal relationship with HIM. It's not about religion really, he came to destroy organized religion---even Christian pharisee rule-keeping and strictures--- and begin a living body and church fellowship of believers who base their relationships on love and forgiveness and genuine transformation.
He came to bring Truth to Live By. He did not come to enslave us again with shackles of hard-hearted dos and don'ts.
Jesus Christ IS the most perfect Santa Claus, the eternal Santa, that we never knew we needed and still have in our midst today. And yes, He IS coming again one day in a very, very different way.....but that's another story for another time!
Take home here, as then and for all time is only this: HE SHALL REIGN FOREVER! HALLELUJAH! THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM.
God bless and Merry Christmas!
---Webutante, from Manhattan
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
From Wikipedia: Union Station is the grand ceremonial train station designed to be the entrance to Washington, D.C., when it opened in 1907.
It is one of the busiest and best-known places in Washington, D.C., visited by 32 million people each year. The terminal is served by Amtrak, MARC and VRE commuter railroads, and the Washington Metro transit system of buses and subway trains. The facility serves as the headquarters of Amtrak. More.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
~ J.C. Ryle
Old Paths, “The Heart”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1999], 348.
Pray daily and earnestly to God for increasing and enduring faith and a softened heart for the things and people of God.
ALSO: The Wake Up Call
Saturday, December 18, 2010
THE TITULAR HEAD OF ALL WESTERN CIVILIZED SOCIETY AND PROPRIETY, not to mention sensible shoes, head gear and no-nonsense leather pocketbooks has left for Christmas at Sandringham House in Norfolk, eastern England on the train. (I too will be riding the train from D.C. to Manhattan for Christmas soon).
The weather no doubt will be cold and miserable but Our Sturdy Queen and her ever-jovial, if not sometimes cleverly off-color consort will no doubt be occupying themselves in sensible Christmas pursuits. Pouring over 1,000-piece puzzles for days, playing cribbage and canasta, reading endless newspapers delivered in spite of foul weather and having winter strolls with grandchildren and Corgis on the 20,000 acre premises will no doubt be on their agendas. There will be roaring, crackling fires, aged Scotch whiskey, wild game and Yorkshire puddings for many of the holiday feasts with little, if any, nocturnal rioting. Sounds like jolly-good, subdued Christmas fun with lots of deep nights' sleep
Thursday, December 16, 2010
(The Fool's Prayer, Edward Roland Sill, 1841-1887)
Cleverly Adapted by WilliamBanzai7 For Zero Hedge
THE ROYAL FEAST WAS DONE; the Chairman sought some new monetary trick to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a Keynesian prayer!"
The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the fractional reserved grin he wore.
He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the desperate Chairman's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!
"No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with debt to darkened wool;
The markets must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!
"'T is not by gilt the downward steep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'T is by our follies that so long
We hold titled men of fraud away from Dante's fate.
"These clumsy feet, still in the economic mire,
Go debasing common wealth without end;
These duplicitous hands we thrust
To pull the heart-strings of our bankrupt friends.
"The ill-timed truth we might have kept--
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say--
Who knows how grandly it had rung!
"Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening jail stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our fiat blunders -- oh, in shame
Before the eyes of market heaven we shall fall.
"Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!"
The room was hushed; in silence rose
The Chairman, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
"Be merciful to me, a Keynesian fool!"
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
As Expected: Judge Henry Hudson Rules For Virginia And Mostly Against Constitutionality of Obamacare
THIS SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE since Judge Hudson is a Republican appointee. Who knows how short-lived it will be. However, this should be cause for celebration in many conservative circles with those who believe the federal government has vastly over-reached its constitutional mandate in both the process and product of Obamacare, especially with its mandate to buy health insurance or else.
I'm thrilled and have an idea: Let's name a parkway---maybe in New York---after this fine, conservative judge....wink, wink, nod, nod.
REDSTATE has preliminary summary.
VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KENNETH CUCCINELLI,
RISING CONSERVATIVE STAR
I'll grant you it's miserable out there. And it may indeed end up being a record. But I'm not ready to put your call on it just yet.
Meanwhile, the above pic from the Tennessean webpage, shows one of my favorite outdoor aerobic workouts---the steps at the end of Belle Meade Blvd going into Percy Warner Park. Here Vanderbilt's ROTC are getting their chilly afternoon exercise. Do that a couple of times, and you've got yourself a small mountain climb under your belt.
MEANWHILE 1, Mr. Wikileaks' embarassing online dating profile. Free, as in not behind bars, desperate women need not apply.
MEANWHILE 2, today is Fedex's busiest day of the year.
MEANWHILE 3: Southwest experiencing record-breaking warmth. But is it the warmest since 1942?
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Winter is here with a vengeance. I just returned from buying new silk long underwear---tops and bottoms---in black and cream. The lady in the lingerie department politely told me it was time for me to throw away the bedraggled, ripped and ragged long underwear I'd worn in. I tossed them in her trash can then and there! I'm a new woman in my new silks and snuggly wool socks. Time to curl up with a cup of hot herb tea as the wind howls mercilessly outside.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
THIS IS A WONDERFUL, INSPIRATIONAL INTERVIEW with a truly fine athlete and man. Here, Drew talks about how one of the worst things that ever happened to him, turned out to be one of the best. He talks about coming to faith in Christ and how his pastor said God was looking for a few good men.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
UPDATE WITH MORE PHOTOSSKY NEWS HAS MORE ON VIOLENT STUDENT PROTESTS.
GET USED TO IT; WE'VE NOT SEEN ANYTHING YET. As we enter the age of mega-contracting economies all over the globe, we've only seen the tip of the iceberg of protests from lower-middle class people who see their entitlements slipping away to pay down the debt and bail out---bonus---rich financiers (corporate welfare) who've helped create this mess in the first place.
Were I the royals, I'd take a powder at Balmoral for a while. No matter how much they may laugh this one off, they're sitting ducks, and will continue to be. Camilla should cover that spectacular sapphire-diamond necklace when traveling through Parliament Square. Ostentatious shows of wealth---except in the most guarded of private affairs---will never be fun or safe again. It simply won't do as tempers-atures rise in a new rendition of global warming.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Aren't men in dark suits and ties---rather than loin cloths or motorcycle jackets---refreshing to see in battle, rolling around on the floor, dislodging each others spectacles?
What could be the subject of such heated contention for these civilized-looking chaps, screaming and gnashing their teeth at one another? Why, the national budget of course. To wit:
Members of the ruling Grand National Party scuffled with opposition lawmakers who blocked their entry into parliament in Seoul Wednesday. The ruling party rammed through a $270 billion government-spending bill for 2011. (Han Sang Gyun/Yonhap/Reuters)
I could add more, but I'll just leave it here at this classic, no-holes-barred photo.
SOURCE FOR THIS FREE-FOR-ALL
SWEDEN. THE SPEED CAMERA LOTTERY AND FUN.
Source, Carpe Diem
Meanwhile, some of the least fun things I saw around the Web early this morning:
IT'S SORTA OLD NEWS, yet bears repeating. As the public increasingly cools on climate change and the scare tactics of AlGore and company, the Cancun conference outdoes itself in believing its own silliness. Does the Mayan Goddess Ixchen ring a bell? If not it's because she and her culture were destroyed thousands of years ago by----wait for it....a climate catastrophe of some kind--- and so now the climate nazis---who are experiencing their own climate catastrophe of sorts--- are resurrecting and calling on her help in their opening prayers. Makes sense to me. Meanwhile, Brian Sussman has more on The Cancun Climate Crock @ American Thinker.
As my grandmother used to say, Lord help the church! This reminds me of a time a while back when I sold my cabin in the wilderness to a well-bonused/flushed with cash employee of Goldman Sachs who was in the process of leaving Manhattan and wanted to simpler life in Wyoming. When I asked him why he was leaving the heady world of investment banking at Goldman---and I'll never forget his reply--- he said, It's time to leave because I'm starting to believe my own BS!
Something for the climate crowd in Cancun to keep in mind no doubt as they pray to their goddess Ixchel.
MEANWHILE, Ed Driscoll has a word for Ted Turner on his climate extremism @ Pajamas.
Monday, December 6, 2010
THE TENTATIVE agreement would extend all the Bush tax cuts for two years, while extending unemployment benefits for the next 13 months. In addition, the payroll tax would be slashed as a new stimulus, while new equipment purchases and college-tuition tax credits would be kept in place. In an unexpected concession, the so-called “death tax” would be set at 35% with a $5 million exemption.
“In one fell swoop, you have a Democratic president and a Democratic congress ratifying the signature domestic policy accomplishment of the Bush administration,” Taegan Goddard of PoliticalWire.com told the Daily Beast.
While the angry left decries President Obama's lack of tough fiscal love, the rest of us see it as a flight to economic sanity. Extending the cuts and reinstating the inheritance tax at 35% will only---at least for a while--- serve to buoy up the sinking job market, and the president knows it in his heart. And the president got his sought-after unemployment benefits extension. Sure, the battle will have to be fought again in two, and the economy is far, far from being out of the woods. However, for now, this is a small, heartening step. At this point, we should be grateful for whatever we can get with an out-of-control Fed printing and Congress spending astronomical amounts of fiat currency at truly unsustainable levels.
INTRADE WEIGHS IN
UPDATE: TAX DEAL SHOULD HELP ECONOMY
The French first couple during an official to India were visiting Fatehpur Sikri, a shrine to the Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti, after they returned from a romantic dusk tour of the Taj Mahal, India's celebrated "monument to love" in Agra.
Their earlier visit had provoked protests and panic when thousands of tourists were forced to leave quickly so the Sarkozys could be alone at the monument.
After they reached Fatehpur Sikri on Sunday, they had a private audience with Muslim cleric Peerzada Rais Mian Chishti, the shrine's guardian, who told the president and his wife that it had been built by the childless Mughal emperor Akbar so that he might be blessed with a son. He was soon rewarded with his first son, Prince Salim, who later became Emperor Jahangir.
I wish the Sarkozys well and suppose we never know what un-spoken, deep longings the si-called rich, powerful and famous have in the depths of their souls, in the darkest hours before dawn. Now we know the Sarkozys are very much longing for a son.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
~ J.C. Ryle
FIRST MARK: Forgiven Souls Hate Sin
They can enter most fully into the words of our Communion Service, “The remembrance of sin is grievous unto them, and the burden of it is intolerable.” It is the serpent which bit them—how should they not shrink from it with horror? It is the poison which brought them to the brink of eternal death—how should they not loathe it with a godly disgust? It is the Egyptian enemy which kept them in hard bondage—how should not the very memory of it be bitter to their hearts? It is the disease of which they carry the marks and scars about them, and from which they have scarcely recovered—well may they dread it, flee from it, and long to be delivered altogether from its power! If you and sin are friends, you and God are not yet reconciled. You are not fit for heaven; for one main part of heaven’s excellence is the absence of all sin.
~ J.C. Ryle
SECOND MARK: Forgiven Souls Love Christ
Forgiven souls LOVE CHRIST. This is that one thing they can say, if they dare say nothing else—they do love Christ. His person, His offices, His work, His name, His cross, His blood, His words, His example, His ordinances—all, all are precious to forgiven souls. The ministry which exalts Him most, is that which they enjoy most. The books which are most full of Him, are most pleasant to their minds. The people on earth they feel most drawn to, are those in whom they see something of Christ. He is their Redeemer, their Shepherd, their Physician, their King, their strong Deliverer, their gracious Guide, their hope, their joy, their All. Were it not for Him they would be of all people most miserable.
~ J.C. Ryle
MARK THREE: Forgiven Souls Are Humble
Forgiven souls are HUMBLE. They cannot forget that they owe all they have and hope for to free grace, and this keeps them lowly. They are brands plucked from the fire—debtors who could not pay for themselves—captives who must have remained in prison forever—but for undeserved mercy—wandering sheep who were ready to perish when the Shepherd found them! What right then have they to be proud? I do not deny that there are proud saints. But this I do say—they are of all God’s creatures the most inconsistent, and of all God’s children the most likely to stumble and pierce themselves with many sorrows. We have nothing we can call our own–but sin and weakness. Surely there is no garment that befits us so well, as humility.
~ J.C. Ryle
MARK FOUR: Forgiven Souls Are Holy
Forgiven souls are HOLY. Their chief desire is to please Him who has saved them, to do His will, to glorify Him in body and in Spirit, which are His. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?” (Ps. 116:12), is a leading principle in a pardoned heart. It was the remembrance of Jesus showing mercy that made Paul in labors so abundant, and in doing good so unwearied. If anyone points out to me believers who are in a carnal, slothful state of soul, I reply in the words of Peter, “They have forgotten they were purged from their old sins.” (2 Pet. 1:9.)
But if you show me a man deliberately living an unholy and licentious life, and yet boasting that his sins are forgiven, I answer, “He is under a ruinous delusion, and is not forgiven at all.” I would not believe he is forgiven if an angel from heaven affirmed it, and I charge you not to believe it too. Pardon of sin and love of sin are like oil and water—they will never go together. All who are washed in the blood of Christ, are also sanctified by the Spirit of Christ.
~ J.C. Ryle
FIFTH MARK: Forgiven Souls Are Forgiving
Forgiven souls are FORGIVING. They do as they have been done by. They look over the offenses of their brethren. They endeavor to “walk in love, as Christ loved them, and gave Himself for them.” (Eph. 5:2.) They remember how God for Christ’s sake forgave them, and endeavor to do the same towards their fellow-creatures. Has He forgiven them pounds, and shall they not forgive a few pence? Doubtless in this, as in everything else, they come up short—but this is their desire and their aim. A spiteful, quarrelsome Christian is a scandal to his profession. Forgiveness is the way by which every saved soul enters heaven. Forgiveness is the eternal subject of song with all the redeemed who inhabit heaven. Surely an unforgiving soul in heaven would find his heart completely out of tune. Surely we know nothing of Christ’s love to us but the name of it, if we do not love our brethren.
~ J.C. Ryle
Thursday, December 2, 2010
HITTING THE NAIL ON THE HEAD would be a gross understantement for describing Roger Simon's most recent post on the earth-shattering ramifications of Wikileaks. So well done that I present it here in all its short/sweet simplicity. Wish I could have said it this cleverly. It just doesn't get any better. I give you Roger Simon @ Pajamas:
Because we know sifting through over a quarter of a million documents can be time-consuming for the average citizen and therefore somewhat daunting, Pajamas Media has hired a dozen dolphins from Sea World to go over the voluminous material. Working non-stop for several days, they have boiled it down to its essence.
Berlusconi likes girls.
Sarkozy likes himself.
Angela Merkel is boring.
David Cameron is more boring.
Hillary thinks Cristina needs a shrink.
Benjamin Netanyahu can’t stand Ehud Olmert.
Al Qaeda hates America.
Yemen’s president hates Al Qaeda
Ahmadinejad is Hitler.
North Korea likes Iran.
Saudi Arabia hates Iran.
Julian Assange is Dennis Kucinich.
PFC Manning will never see the sun again.
America needs a new president.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
More from Scotland. England.
Meanwhile, Manhattan isn't having such a great day at the beach either with winds gusting up to 40 mph.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
THE CUTEST DRESS OF 2010. WITHOUT DOUBT. I have more to say here soon. Just not tonight. I'm fading and will be back early in the morning to tell you how much I want to make a fool of myself wearing this dress....Truth is, not just any woman can carry this one off. It takes a unique attitude.I'm fading and will be back early in the morning to tell you how much I want to make a fool of myself wearing this dress....Of course at my age, I would either be arrested or abducted to a 12-step program for being out of touch with reality. Still, I know a great look when I see one, even if it's not going to be on me.
Kelly Brook pulls it off with perfect hair and figure, lithe, sexy shoes---thank heavens she shunned that awful bondage foot fashion look which ruins even the best look from the ankles up---and a smiling assurance that will take her anywhere she wants to go. The only thing I might add---with emphasis on the might---is a little silver/platinum/diamond understated earring that could add a little more movement though it should not take away from the focus on the dress.
Meanwhile, I love it and will dream of silver feathers shimmering in the breeze all night long.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Love the commodity. But I also like its more delicate presentations. I would prefer this fabulous dress to be a tad---say about 2 inches---shorter for ideal proportions. But overall, love this symbol of our times.
MEANWHILE, THIS IS IMPORTANT
THE DRAMA OF IT ALL BORES ME TO TEARS
I HAVE TO ADMIT IT. I HATE TO. But sometimes confession is good for the soul....so here goes.
Of all the stories that have hit my radar screen this year---and there have been plenty--- this has left me utterly uninterested, uninvolved to the point of massive boredom. Is it just me or can I get a witness? Whatever the answer, I am still unmoved to the point of terminal ennui. I simply can't get beyond the first paragraph.
I've often said, learned over the years, we can't manufacture interest in things we're not interested in. Can't make connections when there are none. Can't like what we don't, even when we want like crazy to, and think it may be in our best interest.
And so it is with this entire WikiLeaks story. From Day 1, I've simply had zero interest. It may be the Story of the Century, Decade and Year, but I remain unimpressed to such a degree that I'm actually repulsed every time I try to read more and see the pic of that insipid-looking man at the center of the story. Looking at him leaves me cold and bored.
Of all the articles I've attempted to read of this molehill-made-into-Mt. Everest, one of my favorite collegues and political wise guys, Roger Simon, says it best. I was able to get entirely through his post late last night with a sense of proportion and a very small degree of interest. Sure there are lessons to be learned about digital propriety and publishing our inner thoughts online. And sure there are people out there who will do anything for attention and their 20-30 minutes of fame.
Still, continue to color me massively unimpressed by this story. I'm willing to let the chips fall where they may in whatever shallowness it says about me. I don't think Hillary should let the bags under her eyes get bigger with this one, even though some new procedures could and should be put into place. Sorry....
A few updates from Roger:
UPDATE: Reading through the New York Times’ new posting from the leaks, just linked by Drudge, there still does not seem to be anything extraordinary here. Perhaps the most meaningful revelation — and something we all knew anyway — is the continued concern with Pakistani nukes. What impresses me about this information, reading through the Times report, is the predictability of it all (an erratic Gaddafi — imagine!). So far, the story remains the leaks themselves.
MORE: On of the most fascinating leaks is that North Korea sent 19 medium range BM-25 missiles to Iran. This was communicated in a cable of Feb 24, 2010 but has remained secret until this date. Why was this hidden from the public – that is the most important of this. After all, that the NORKS have been in an alliance with Iran is known to anyone even slightly interested. The fact that the Iranians are so heavily armed in the missile department has never been documented before. Was the administration afraid someone would want to do something about it? Sounds that way to me.
And now my 12-step meeting for addictive boredom with WikiLeaks is over...thank you for listening.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
OUR CHIEF DANGER, OUR HEART
Let it be a settled resolution with us to “keep our hearts with all diligence,” all the days of our lives. (Prov. 4:23.) Even after renewal they are weak. Even after putting on the new man they are deceitful. Let us never forget that our chief danger is from within. The world and the devil combined, cannot do us so much harm as our own hearts will, if we do not watch and pray. Happy is he who remembers daily the words of Solomon, “One who trusts in himself is a fool.” (Prov. 28:26.)
Friday, November 26, 2010
I REALLY LIKE JEFF FISHER EVEN THOUGH I'M NOT A BIG PRO FOOTBALL FAN. He's my kinda man. Like everyone in the sports world, I've been following the latest Titans flap which erupted when quarterback Vince Young injured his thumb, was sidelined then stormed off the field during a subsequent temper tantrum. Young was protesting Fisher's decision to bench him for the duration after the Titans loss to Washington recently.
The latest to this brouhaha is that Young texted Fisher an apology on his cell phone for walking off the field. Say what?
It did not go over well with the Titans coach. I couldn't agree more. Not only did Young show Fisher massive disrespect as head coach for storming off the field, he also minimized his childish behavior in his less than courageous text apology.
Fisher confirmed he did receive Young's text but preferred a face-to-face effort on Young's part.
"I'm not a real big text guy," Fisher said. "I'm not really into this new-age stuff. I don't Twitter or tweet, but I think face-to-face is a man thing."
According to ESPN, the text included Young thanking Fisher for the opportunity to play for the Titans and wishing him and the team good luck for the rest of the season. Young ended the text by asking Fisher to have more faith and confidence in him moving forward, and said that they each wanted the same thing — to win a Super Bowl.
Fisher said he hasn't met with Young. On Monday, Young was told by an assistant coach to leave Baptist Sports Park while the team met to discuss his situation. Young was placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season with the torn flexor tendon in his thumb.
Fisher has done the right thing to not jump at Young's puerile apology and let him off the hook so easily. He should take his time before letting Young approach him in person and take full responsibility for his childish behavior. Then and only then can Fisher decide what to do next, if anything.
As I say, I really like Jeff Fisher. To accept Young's cowardly excuse for an apology would only diminish Fisher in the eyes of his team and fans. So I back him 1000% in his stance on Vince Young. Young needs to man up and grow up, and taking short cuts won't cut it.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
THANKSGIVING WAS NEVER A FAVORITE holiday of mine. Now that I think about it, I never cared for any of them: 4th of July, Christmas, or Columbus Day (which, by the way, Berkeley long ago renamed "Indigenous People's Day".
If I'm completely honest here, my main activities during the holidays were ranting and raving. For instance: Why should we celebrate Thanksgiving when the holiday marks the slaughter of Native Americans? Why do these cashiers keep cheerfully extolling me to "have a Merry Christmas!"? And if I hear one more [censored] Christmas song, I will lose my frigging mind.
Of course, I was just one of the progressive pack, parroting the party line. Being a Leftist means honing in on every possible injustice. Never-ending gripes and grievances are the glue that keeps progressives cemented together. (Like this woman who's grossed out and wants no part of the injustices and lies of Thanksgiving.)
But then, three years ago, the bottom fell out of my life. Slowly but surely, it dawned on me that everything I had held as sacrosanct was a lie. I woke up -- and now I behold the world with fresh eyes. Consequently, I am celebrating my First Thankful Thanksgiving.
Instead of laser-focusing on every unfairness, I am now moved by life's bounty. I finally see my great fortune in being born in this country, in this moment in time. Although I used to lambaste the United States and everything it stood for, I realize that I was like a spoiled child -- ungrateful, mean-spirited.
I was under the delusion that living in another country, any other country, would be better than in the world's oppressor, the U.S. of A. And now that I've actually gotten a clue, I thank my lucky stars that I was not born a woman in Iran, Ethiopia, China -- actually anywhere aside from the United States.
I realize all of this now, but also much, much more. Because not only is this my first Thanksgiving as a patriotic American, but it's my first as a true believer. With my spiritual evolution, my life has come full circle.
So this Thanksgiving, I feel not only grateful, but blessed. I read something evocative in the illuminating book Back to Virtue. The author writes that before a person believes in God, he feels either happy or unhappy. The person will cling to fleeting pleasures, no matter how harmful they may be.
When a person wakes up to the Divine, he's still sometimes happy and other times unhappy. But through all the trials and tribulations of this human realm, he continually feels blessed.
I too feel blessed, even as I must face the unavoidable sorrows of this transient human life. My health problems flare up; I'm worried but still feel blessed. I live in an insane area and lack community -- and yet, through it all, my gratitude never wavers.
This is because I know what it's like to live with and without God. I know what it's like to search aimlessly for something I lack, not even knowing what it is, and to blindly embrace political leaders because they promise to fill the void. And I know the bliss of finding what I was looking for all along.
Because I live a before-and-after existence, every day feels brand new. Now when I start losing something precious -- which I am doing right now, as a close friend is broadsided by a deadly disease -- I know that something endures even after everything else is gone.
As my cup runneth over this Thanksgiving, my mind drifts to the many guides and mentors I've had along the way. I'm eternally grateful to American Thinker's mensch of an editor, Thomas Lifson, who embraced my writing from that first article two years ago, "Letter of Amends."
By doing so, Thomas opened a window for me into the conservative community -- "My Peeps" -- that I would not have discovered on my own. He gave me the chance to find my way to those readers who, quite frankly, changed my life. I can even recall the exact moment when the spark of the Divine was planted in my consciousness.
I was reading a comment by a reader who wrote the oddest and yet most intriguing thing. He/she wrote, "God is revealing Himself to you." I had no idea what the person was talking about; I had never heard language like this before. And yet because my eyes moistened, I knew that a door to something big and transformative had been opened.
But mostly, as I celebrate my First Thankful Thanksgiving, I feel so blessed that God gave me the opportunity to get my head on straight, even though I am on the cusp of my twilight years. For reasons I will never understand, He gently plucked me up and deposited me with this faithful flock. And given the dark times we live in, He did this just in the nick of time.
MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU, ROBIN. I'm probably a few years ahead of you in coming back both. It is indeed glorious to be here now!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
1) North Korea was emboldened after sinking a South Korean warship, The Cheonan, last May. Every country short of China blamed this attack on North Korea which got off Scot-free. With no consequences and no censure, this member of the Axis of Evil had no reason, like a spoiled and disobedient child, not to test the limits again.
2) This is another ploy---a bark louder than a bite---to rattle the international community into believing it has the capability of processing and enriching uranium when it really doesn't.3)
3) The attack seems to be anger and a temper tantrum seems over a military drill by South Korea it said was simulating an invasion of the North. The military drill, called Safeguarding The Nation, is a annual exercise involving 70,000 troops including some American forces.
4) Father to son regime change involving an internal power struggle as Kim Jong un replaces father Kim Jong il. Geopolitical analysts have warned of an internal power struggle that may result.
Anyway you slice it, North Korea, like Cuba and Venezuela is a desperate and deeply poverty stricken country which will stop at nothing to get the world's attention and respect.
Monday, November 22, 2010
NOT JUST FOR KIDS EITHER.
I myself think it's a clever depiction though I haven't read the article. Who cares whether I agree, it's still a creative if harmless magazine cover. I'm just waiting for the one of Obama as Neville Chamberlain or Allah, or Marlboro Man. The possibilities are endless, priceless.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I place these five grand marks of the Spirit’s presence before my readers, and confidently claim attention to them. I believe they will bear inspection. I am not afraid of their being searched, criticized, and cross-examined.
1) Repentance toward God. (Knowing beyond a doubt that we are truly sinners in need of a Savior. That doesn't make us perfect, it just keeps us continually in the repentance process with God.)
2) Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Knowing we are saved only by believing in the finished work of redemption by Jesus Christ on the Cross.)
3) Holiness of heart and life. (Striving to life a life worthy of our salvation, because we love and want to please Christ, not to earn our salvation because that's impossible.)
4) Habits of real private prayer. (Having an ongoing personal relationship and conversation with God.)
5) Love and reverence toward God’s Word. (Being more and more attracted to reading and studying God's Word on a daily basis.)
These are the real proofs of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in a man’s soul. Where He is, these marks will be seen. Where He is not, these marks will be lacking.
~ J.C. Ryle
Source With Gratitude
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Another reason for families to live within a reasonable drive or train ride to loved ones and most year-round travel destinations as government insanity continues to grow the police state and cost taxpayers billions. Our worlds and pocketbooks are getting smaller.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners and more invasive pat-downs at the airports.
It's a booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but instantly detonates any explosive device you may have on you, in any body cavity. They see this as a win-win for everyone, with no need for racial profiling. It also eliminates the costs of long, expensive trials. Justice is swift. Case closed!
You're in the airport terminal and hear a muffled explosion. Shortly afterwards, an announcement comes over the PA system : "Attention standby passengers - we now have a seat available on flight number XXXX. Shalom."
ANOTHER REASON NOT TO FLY, or fly as little as possible during the holidays. Opting out of full body scans and then having to go through this kind of invasive physical nonsense, especially if you're a U.S. citizen and frequent flier, is simply beyond the pail and frightfully expensive for American tax payers. I sincerely hope the newly configured Congress will do whatever is necessary to initiate the kinds of airport security measures that are effective and appropriate in this country. It will necessarily include ethnic/geopolitical profiling and taking many cues from the low-tech security protocols which have been so effective in Israel.
I've flown in and out of Tel Aviv twice now and both times I was personally interviewed by extremely well trained security personnel who know how to spot trouble. I also went through the traditional old screeners. Security was also extremely tight to get onto the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. If we don't begin to follow Israel's common sense leads, airlines will go bankrupt because much of the flying public simply won't put up with this for long. That includes me. The same goes with this health care sham, as more IRS agents are hired for similar reasons. This growing police state needs to end and end now.
One final observation: I think allowing airports to opt out of using TSA screeners is fine as a temporary measure. However, using private contractors only shifts the invasion process. We've got to find ways to get the job done with a greater bang for our tax buck and less hassle for the majority of the low risk flying public. Treating three year-olds like suspected criminals is not going to fly with the public for long.
The next terrorist attack will be much different and most likely light years away from the nearest airport. Oh, let us count the ways it could come.
FINALLY from Nick Baumann writing at Mother Jones comes A Five Point Plan to A Sane Airport Security System:
...I asked Goldberg, security expert Bruce Schneier, and airline pilot (and security critic) Patrick Smith about what their ideal airport security schemes would look like. After speaking to them, I think Kevin is missing the point: the elimination of existing useless security procedures is the heart of the plan. It's not about doing something "instead" of the current system—it's about not doing things that are wasting money and time and not making us safer. It's quite possible that we're already as safe as we're going to get—and every subsequent airport security "improvement" is just reducing our freedom without improving security.
Schneier is famous for explaining that "exactly two things have made us safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door and convincing passengers they need to fight back. Everything else is a waste of money." All three experts favor scrapping most of the security measures that people hate—and not necessarily replacing them with anything. Ideally, the money that was saved wouldn't be spent on airport security at all: it would be spent on trying to stop terrorists before they got to the airport. That means better-funding law enforcement and intelligence.
All that said, Goldberg, Schneier, and Smith did offer some suggestions for new or different security procedures to use "instead" of the methods we're currently relying on. Here are a few options:
1. Enhance baggage security. All three experts mentioned this. Baggage is where the greatest danger is, and where airport security resources should be focused. "Right now the biggest threats are still bombs and explosives. That's the path of least resistance," Smith says. "All luggage going on passenger planes should be treated the same, and scanned," says Schneier. Making sure that a passenger's bags never, ever fly if he doesn't is also key. And we could do more. Here's an excerpt from a 2006 article by Schneier:
If I were investing in security, I would fund significant research into computer-assisted screening equipment for both checked and carry-on bags, but wouldn't spend a lot of money on invasive screening procedures and secondary screening. I would much rather have well-trained security personnel wandering around the airport, both in and out of uniform, looking for suspicious actions.
2 .Pay more attention to airport workers. Schneier was an early advocate of background checks and increased screening for airport employees. If you're screening pilots, it's "completely absurd" not to screen the guy who is loading food on the plane, Smith says. This has improved in recent years, and the TSA now conducts random screening of airport employees. That could be broadened. Goldberg suggested considering biometric IDs for airport employees.
3. Randomize enhanced screening. Schneier has suggested that any "enhanced" screening of passengers be "truly random." That means that while the majority of passengers wouldn't face the invasive security checks they face now, every passenger would face the risk of a thorough search. Terrorists can't avoid or plan for truly random enhanced searches, like they can with protocol-, background-, and profiling-based searches. You don't want terrorists to be able to plan their way around your security. You want them to have to get lucky.
4. Make security lines less vulnerable. The huge lines of people waiting in airport security lines are themselves a huge target. "If you want to terrorize the country, you don't have to take down an airplane, you can just take people down in a security line," Goldberg says. "All these people packed in tightly waiting and waiting and waiting... The next day all the airports in America will be closed." Moving people through security quickly and efficiently will make the security lines themselves less of a target.
5. The Israeli model is unworkable on a large scale. But that doesn't mean you can't replicate parts of it. Some people believe that America should move to the Israeli model of airport security: intense screening based on asking passengers many, many questions and assessing their responses. But the experts I spoke to don't think that plan is workable in the United States. Israel has one medium-sized airport, and it would be next to impossible (and incredibly expensive) to enact Israeli-style security procedures in a country the size of the US. But that doesn't mean you couldn't have more (well-trained!) people observing passengers' behavior or asking key questions of randomly selected passengers.
The U.S. dominates the world now in only two disparate arenas: defense technology and entertainment. In nearly all else, it is slipping.
It will be a shocking day for Americans when people from another country walk on the moon, where astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trod in 1969. But it will happen.
---Llewellyn King, Energy Tells Tale of Fading West, Booming East
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
There are a few on this list that leave me less than gaga-ed; but the first few, including Jessica do lift the bar for looking like a woman should.
It's lites out for me...nitey-nite.
P.S. Did you know Al Gore's Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)---owned also with Al by Goldman Sachs ec.---is fading faster in the night than I am? Yep, it seems it will no longer be trading carbon credits as it was a miserable flopola. What! You mean carbon may not be the next world currency? Typically, the MSM isn't saying a single word! MORE.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
THE TELEGRAPH INTERVIEWS WILLIAM AND KATE
The big question is, can Kate fit into to the stuffy royal family for the long haul in ways that Princess Diana never could? Will she be able to take the endless, insufferable press attention in stride? No one knows for sure, but all indications signal she can and already does. Sure there will be bumps in the road, but overall, I think Kate and William have known each other long enough---and each other's families---to know there won't be any huge surprises. They certainly seem well suited and devoted to each other. I wish them the best and hope their union prospers in every way.
Hopefully they can live in north Wales far away from the maddening crowds and insatiable press enjoying early marriage together in the more casual countryside where the prince will continue being a search and rescue pilot for the RAF. They both love the outdoors. As the British like to say: More information will be forthcoming in due time.
Monday, November 15, 2010
UPDATE 2: SELF-RIGHTEOUS TINA FEY JUST CAN'T HELP HERSELF WHEN IT COMES TO DISSING SARAH; PBS HAS TO AIRBRUSH HER REMARKS AT MARK TWAIN DINNER. Prediction: What made Tina's recent career will now break it.
DON'T RETREAT, RELOAD
QUESTIONS AND INNUENDOS SWIRLED EVERYWHERE THIS MORNING: Is this her next step to the White House? Is it really politically motivated? Were they fishing too close to the grizzlies? And on. Of course I loved it all, cause Sarah is my kinda get-your-hands-dirty-then-wash-'em woman. Best of all, she's got a light touch and terrific sense of humor. Can't imagine (just kidding) how feminists are reacting to this-here blippin' reality show. But I'd bet a dime-to-a-doughnut they're not happy with how charming and fresh they all come across. Scenery and wildlife are spectacular! What fun! That's enough. Who cares where it leads?
More at The Daily Beast.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
THIS WONDERFUL PIECE appears this week at The Gospel Coalition by Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham:
I’ve been preaching a series of sermons through the book of Job entitled “The Gospel of Suffering.” These sermons are changing my life. I’m learning so much about the gospel, idolatry, the long-term blessings of God-appointed trials, and so on. You can listen to the sermon series here.
A few weeks back I was expounding on Job’s sweeping losses and his response to those losses in chapters 1 and 2. What we learned together was stunning.
Job’s maintained his joy and perspective in a season of suffering because he held onto a robust theology of grace. Job knew that he was not entitled to anything he had—God held the title to everything. He knew that everything he had was on loan from God—his money, his relationships, his place in society, his family. Because he understood that he was an owner of nothing and a steward of everything he was able to say, “I came with nothing from the womb; I go with nothing to the tomb. God gave me children freely then, He took them to himself again. At last I taste the bitter rod, my wise and ever blessed God” (John Piper). While he loved his health and children and reputation and role and wealth, he didn’t locate his identity in those things.
This clearly shows that if the foundation of your identity is your things—the thing that makes me who I am is this position, these relationships, having this name, having this money, and so on—then suffering will be pulling you away from the uttermost foundations of your joy–and that will make you mad, bitter, and sad. But if your identity is anchored in Christ, so that you are able to say, “Everything I need I already possess in Him”, then suffering drives you deeper into your source of joy. Suffering, in other words, shows us where we are locating our identity. Our response to suffering reveals what we’re building our life on and what we’re depending on to make life worth living.
This means that suffering itself does not rob you of joy—idolatry does. If you’re suffering and you’re angry, bitter, and joyless it means you’ve idolized–and felt entitled to–whatever it is you’re losing. Entitlement and self-pity stem from our belief that we deserve more than what we’re getting–love, attention, respect, approval. The gospel, however, frees us to revel in our expendability! The gospel alone provides us with the foundation to maintain radical joy in remarkable loss. Joylessness and bitterness in the crucible of pain happens when we lose something (or think we deserve something) that we’ve held onto more tightly than God.
As Paul Tripp so probingly asks, “How is your present disappointment, discouragement, or grief a window on what has actually captured your heart?” When we depend on anything smaller than God to provide us with the security, significance, meaning, and value that we long for, God will love us enough to take it away. Much of our anger and bitterness, therefore, is God prying open our hands and taking away something we’ve held onto more tightly than him.
With this in mind, I find this fictional story from Elisabeth Elliot (taken from her book These Strange Ashes) to be refreshingly rebuking to my own soul–and therefore, remarkably liberating:
One day Jesus said to his disciples: “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” He didn’t give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find. After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulation for weight and size! So he put it in his pocket. Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey. About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down. He waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread. He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.” In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over. When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up. He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!” So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger. But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.” Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.” They did. Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk. Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded. Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do? Who were you carrying the stone for?”
THIS CAN'T BE GOOD NEWS FOR OUR PRESIDENT who has been thrashed by foreign leaders during his recent Asia tour. But coming as it does today from the WaPo, which formerly endorsed Mr. Obama, it's a stunning admission of his failure of leadership and bumbling incompetence as our head of state. Pat Caddell writes One and Done and it is a must read.
This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.
To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.
If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.
We do not come to this conclusion lightly. But it is clear, we believe, that the president has largely lost the consent of the governed. The midterm elections were effectively a referendum on the Obama presidency. And even if it was not an endorsement of a Republican vision for America, the drubbing the Democrats took was certainly a vote of no confidence in Obama and his party. The president has almost no credibility left with Republicans and little with independents.