Friday, October 29, 2004

Stolen Honor

You know that documentary that John Kerry's camp doesn't want you to see? The one they're suing Sinclair Broadcasting over? Right, its on the web here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Grand Theftendo

Rockstar needs to hire this man. Grand Theft Auto 3 "ported" to standard NES. Its amazing considering one guy did it in his spare time. Granted its not 3D and its only Portland Island, but its pretty cool.

Neo-Cons and the Fracture of Conservatism

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost is typing about the Paleo-Con/Neo-Con divide. Frankly, I don't buy it. I mean no offense to Joe. The problem is not a paleo-con vs. neo-con divide. It is a "what flavor of neo-con are we going to be" divide.

I have long thought that neo-con was a buzzword. Its a label people. It says to someone "hey you're allowed to not like this guy". I once provoked a post on GetReligion by comparing "neo-con" to "fundamentalist". Two words that few people can define, but everybody knows that they're bad when they hear them.

Is either side in the Bush/McCain split truly traditionally conservative? Traditional policy since the 60s has been much more in line with small government/big morals. This was the sort of platform the founding fathers often espoused because without strong social morality, government must fill the gaps with legislation.

In contrast to this traditional view, the Bush camp is socially conservative but fiscally liberal. The other camp (McCain/Guiliani/Cheney?) is fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Chances are neither one will work: Bush's views are too expensive and McCain's view is historically foolhardy (and has been trumpeted for years by libertarians without success).

Where did this policy come from? It came from the shuffle over to the middle antics of the Republicans as they moved towards the Big Tent in the Clinton Years. They had to leave behind some of their policies but which ones? Its still to be decided evidently.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias is asking what will happen to Republicans if Bush loses. The consensus is that anti-christian side will at least make a play for the limelight. I think which face the party really shows in the long run will depend on the dominant personality of the specific election though.

What RDX?

Matthew Yglesias is asking why RDX is so important. Why not use TNT to build a nuclear device?
  1. You would need to use more TNT because it has a lower yield. That means even if other concerns don't come into play your device is heavier and less transportable. Thats important for a weapons system because war at some level comes down to logistics like how much can you move and where can you move it.

  2. TNT is essentially the first "stable" high explosive. Nitro-glycerin came before it, but transporting nitro was extremely hazardous. Instead people like the railroads manufactured it on site. TNT was much safer in comparison. However TNT typically has an expiration date. As the compound ages it tends to separate, "sweat" out its nitroglycerin, and become less stable and predictable. It gets covered in crystalized nitro and suddenly you can set it off by dropping it. Thats bad news for a weapons system that might sit on the shelf for a while and contains nuclear material. You really don't want that nuclear tipped SCUD going off poorly on your launch pad and spraying plutonium everywhere when the main motor starts.

  3. TNT is actually quite controllable and some explosives folks still like to use it for that reason. The catch is that TNT isn't shapeable like modern explosives are. The explosives used in a modern warhead are machined (no I'm not kidding) to tight tolerances like every other part in the system. You don't get a nuke that works if they aren't.
NOTE: While I work for the Army, none of this is official anything. I don't work with any of these sorts of things. I'm an engineer who likes shooting guns and watching the history channel.

Donald Sensing

He's blogging again. Thank goodness. I find him to be a great voice of reason and christian thought on the blogosphere, despite the fact that we certainly have theological differences. Read this post on Muslim theology of jihad for instance.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

T-Shirts Tell the Tale

Izzy sent me this. It is an unscientific study of a guy who wore a Bush shirt in blue country and a Kerry shirt in red country and what happened. The Reds thought he was a poor misguided sap. The Blues, well read on.

The Quest for San Andreas

What lo a light shines forth from the heavens (and Rockstar Games) and Grand Theft Auto arose from the depths and walks the earth anew. San Andreas harkens to me, quickening my spirit, and lightening my step. To the neighborhood Game Shoppe to slake my GTA lust!

There what should I find but a queue of consumers. Men with years between eighteen and thirty-five. All with the same hollow composure bespeaking a need which was kin unto my own. And so a conversion was struck about our shared desire and hopes for the bounty nestled within.

But my hope was dashed. They revealed it unto me that only those who had reserved copies could except to receive them this night. I had not.

Crestfallen I departed homeward, cursing my lack of forethought, swearing to return on the morrow. And return I did, but to find more of the same. For on the morn, GTA was still held in trust for none but the lucky elect. But a promise was made that after noon would see the release to one and all. I looked forward into a future brimming with promise only to be denied again.

I entered into the Game Shoppe for the last time as the sun drifted into slumber in the far west. A dread-locked troll and a kindly appearing succubus entreated me with kind words. But upon my request the succubus pushed her horn-rimmed glasses towards her horn rimmed head and laughed. "Nay wanderer," she sneered, "our only copies are for the registered."

Denied a third and final time. But it was then that a small voice whispered in the back of my mind, "Pray remember good knight, you are a Republican."

Of course thought I, dealing with a small local shoppe was my mistake. Surely I should be true to my nature and bargain with a large faceless corporation! Their superior sales power will ensure that they have the largesse of games on release. Surely their dedication to the great and powerful dollar will ensure that they have games for one and all! And so I traveled far, over darkened highway and narrow road. My trusty steed Mazda carrying me forth, his cast iron heart pumping driving us onward.

Ever onward I pressed until I reached a corporate temple of capitalism. Its facade glimmered with yellow neon and bright glass. And so I strode forward into its belly, moving quickly to best the horde which arose behind me echoing my desires. There upon a cloth clad altar I found my quarry stacked high, GTA: San Andreas!

Ah the gods had smiled upon me for I even received a second game for price less than rental. Blessed be ye fair corporation for what you have done this day! You have transported me to a magic land full of drive-by shootings and the chronic.

Mark Twain and Christian Citizenship

Good old Sam Clemens wrote a piece on this anonymously way back in aught five. Its a good read. Here is an excerpt.
It will be conceded that every man's first duty is to God; it will also be conceded, and with strong emphasis, that a Christian's first duty is to God. It then follows, as a matter of course, that it is his duty to carry his Christian code of morals to the polls and vote them. Whenever he shall do that, he will not find himself voting for an unclean man, a dishonest man.
Here is another one:
No church organization can be found in the country that would elect men of foul character to be its shepherd, its treasurer, and superintendent of its Sunday-school. It would be revolted at the idea; it would consider such an election an insult to God. Yet every Christian congregation in the country elects foul men to public office, while quite aware that this also is an open and deliberate insult to God, who can not approve and does not approve the placing of the liberties and the well-being of His children in the hands of infamous men.

GTA: San Andreas

I wrote a bunch of stuff about GTASA coming out. Then blogger/netscape lost it twice. My feelings about the game are mixed but I haven't completed much of it at all so I'm with-holding judgement.

A few complaints: The maps are getting big enough that they have to be designed to be navigated easily. They aren't so trying to figure out where you are and where you are going is a pain. Vice City tended to have major North-South roads on the big islands you could index off of. San Andreas does not, it uses the sprawling structure of GTA3 only much larger. In some ways its the worst of both worlds. I'm sure I'll pick it up though.

Los Santos has the yellow air of LA, nice touch but its really annoying visually. I'm looking forward to getting to the other cities just to get a different color scheme.

The skill based system in the game is a mixed blessing. I haven't played the older games in a while so I'm relearning how to drive/shoot/whatever. The skill system means I have a moving target with that because Carl's capabilities are continuously changing. I dislike that immensely. On the other hand the fat/muscle/respect/sex appeal numbers are interesting. I just wish that the had unlocked the gym at the start of the game. I went looking for it before I was supposed to and it caused me all kinds of grief.

Get Fuzzy

This is a great comic strip and I read it every morning. Todays was especially funny. I'd also like to say that I don't openly endorse mocking liberals... much.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Ambra Nykol is talking about the pagan roots of Halloween. She doesn't like the unholy holiday very much.

I'm used to seeing this sort of stuff in the Christian community. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists in particular like to get all worked up and preach brimstone about Halloween. My church has a "fall festival" as a Halloween alternative. Good for them.

For a long time I used to preach back at them for over-reacting. When I was a kid I went trick or treating and the worst I got was a serious sugar high followed by an acute stomach ache. I didn't get demon possessed or anything and it hasn't really effected my walk. My typical response to this is sort of thing is "yeah it was a pagan holiday but it isn't anymore." Now its just the official costume party holiday.

What changed my mind? One Christmas during college I was working my usual winter break job, I was a department store cashier at Boscov's in Granite Run Mall. I heard someone say the same thing about Christmas: "Yeah it was a Christian holiday, but it really isn't anymore." That did it for me. I remember saying those words, but I sure as hell didn't say them about marking the Birth of the Savior. I'm sure there are a lot of folks who feel the same way about Halloween.

So I while my kids are probably going to put on an old sheet and have fun on Halloween, I keep my mouth shut about the critics. Criticize all you want folks cause it comes only once a year. Get it out of your bloodstreams.

Rebuilding after the War

You know a I've been seeing a lot of people take Kerry's capabilities to fight the war for granted. Andrew Sullivan has talked about the war this way. Megan McArdle has too. Basically, they think that Kerry will be stuck fighting the war and the only way out is through. They are counting on the fact that there is not morally acceptable or politically expedient solution to the problem other than victory. It has raised a couple questions for me.

The first is: What happens when violence escalates after Kerry wins?

It will you know. If the terrorists and insurgents retain any capacity to do so, they will want to test the new guy and see how he reacts. These are called probing attacks and the terrorists do them too. Will he pull a Clinton; drop some token bombs and then pull out? Will he pull a Bush and redouble his efforts?

In the end, the only thing keeping Kerry in Iraq is public opinion on the war. With sufficient effort from the terrorists (to increase body count) and his leadership (to get the hell out) that public opinion can be changed. The reason things aren't collapsing right now is that the current leadership is firmly entrenched in the steadfast resolve camp. What happens when the current leadership is in the "I inherented this from the last guy, but I don't think it was a good idea, and really don't want to do it" camp. I don't think he has the resolve here to see this through or understands its importance to the global War.

The second question is: What happens after Iraq?

What happens with the Global War on Terror? Even if he stays committed and we withdraw with a real tangible victory, what then? The military is going to need to recoup its wartime losses in money and manpower. Is Kerry going to do that? Not if his voting record in the Senate is any indicator. Kerry never met a military program he didn't want to slash. After the war is over and we need to rearm and rebuild the troops back to their pre-war levels, I seriously doubt Kerry will want to spend the money. His Great Society II social programming is going to take precidence and thats bad.

The real big problem is that just going through the Iraq War isn't enough. Iraq isn't the end of the War on Terror. We need to be able to keep the pressure on the terrorist supporting nations and we will still need our military to do that. I don't trust Kerry to maintain and lead them beyond Iraq. I don't think he understands how 9/11 changed the world and I don't think his foriegn policy will be effective at keeping the pressure on.

Good Work at Belmont Club

This piece by Ace of Spades basically sums up my thoughts on the war and war in general. I only wish I had written it.

Want the Readers Digest version? Here:
If you were only a supporter of this war given the assumption that it would be very brief and almost casualty-free, what the hell were you doing supporting the war in the first place? That is an extraodinarily irresponsible and naive position to take.
And here:
I do not like talk of "exit strategies." If the country is willing to accept something short of actual military and political victory in a war in favor of a face-saving "exit strategy" in which we pretend we've won, then that is simply not a war we should be fighting. Either a war is so important that it must be won, or else a war is simply not necessary.
Those are teasers, now go read it.

Monday, October 25, 2004

IQ Tests

Here's one. I got a 142 on it which is ok but I've done better. The test said this:
Jeff, you are a Visionary Philosopher.

This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways.
Well goodie for me. So listen to me people, I'm officially smart. ;) That is if you think IQ tests are useful for more than predicting how well you do on IQ tests.

UPDATE: Oh and this one says its 153. Thats a pretty big variance between tests taken a day apart isn't it?

I find it funny that people seem to want to correlate IQ to accomplishments like "Nobel Prize Winner." Folks, accomplishments are as much about how you apply yourself as how smart you are. Thats why people like George Bush and John Kerry are running for president, because they have ambition. And the truly smart people like me realize this. :)

Racial Profiling

Ambra Nykol is talking about racial profiling among police officers. She talks about instructions she got from her parents dealing with police. They sound a lot like what I recieved. Read it for perspective if nothing else.

I'm a white anglo-saxon protestant male. As a rule WASPs born in my age group do not really pay conscious attention to people's race. In fact we tend to politely ignore and talk around race for fear that noticing might get us called bigots or racists. Trust me there is no worse thing you can call a white man than racist or bigot. It is a charge which can haunt a white man for the rest of his life. Just look at what happened to Mark Fuhrman (who is actually a pretty nice guy and a good cop) at the OJ Simpson trial. For other examples of the power of the race card, look at how Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition got funding for years.

A lot of white folks aren't racist and we don't know anybody who is racist. Yeah we may say look at that lazy black guy, but we say the same thing about a lazy white guy he's hanging out with. We honestly don't care about skin color any more than hair color. The bad thing is that this is not universal, but a lot of white folks think that it is. To paraphrase comedian Ron White "I have a friend who is a racist, does anybody believe that anymore?"

Unfortunately people still do. I was traveling down south to visit my girlfriend Amybear in Greenville, NC. After being told about how racially charged that part of the south is I actually paid attention to race a bit. Specifically I noticed that all the cars the state police had pulled over (and there were many) were driven by black men. To be fair to the cops, some of them were black too.

It surprised me. If I was black I'm sure I would be pissed about it. I'm white and I know I should be madder about this than I am.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Throw-away Generation

Ambra Nykol is posting about kids these days. Ambra is younger than me, she's in her early twenties and I'm bearing down on thirty. I've touched on this topic here. Quizzes has a bunch of fun time-killing religious quizzes up. Thanks to A Case of Me and Messy Christian for bringing this up.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Iran Learning its Lesson

Stephen Green at Vodkapundit is blogging on the European reaction to the Iranian nuclear program.

I think Iran has learned the proper lesson from current events. Even if you are a major conventional power in your region, the Americans can knock you off easily. The US military really is a juggernaut at least when it comes to taking ground and fighting a conventional war.

However the Iranians have noticed that we handle North Korea much differently than say, Iraq. Why? Because North Korea has a nuclear weapons program and long range missiles that can hit important places. Iran is probably trying to follow a similar route. Nyah Nyah US can't touch us. Or whatever the equivalent in Farsi is.

The jokes on them though. The US already doesn't want to fight Iran, we're going to subvert their culture through Iraqi democracy instead. Nukes just aren't that useful at oppressing the masses of your own populace yearning to be free. We can only hope our next president is willing to put a big enough deterrant force in the mideast to stop them from taking the region hostage like North Korea.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The 11th Commandment

David Bernstein is talking about the 11 Commandment of Judaism over the Volokh Conspiracy. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. For those not in the know, the 11th commandment in Judaism is "Thou shalt not vote Republican." (For Republicans its "Thou shalt not run against another Republican".)

My Girl Amybear's dad is a big Republican. Her immediate family tends to vote to the right. The prominent Jews I work with are also Republicans, but I work for the military so trends tend to skew that way anyway.

It has always surprised me that a lot of very conservative religious Jews vote Democrat. You would think that the "family values" and the faith-based initiatives of the Republican Party would appeal to such a religious people, but no such luck. I think there are basically two reasons.

The first is that Jews tend to be very intimidated by evangelical Christians. Jews as a whole don't really try to convert people and evangelicals are all about evangelizing and converting. Big culture clash there. When they see a family member convert, chances are its the evangelicals "fault." When Jews see their kids converting they think about their culture dying because Jews do not see Jewish "Messianic" Christianity as a true extension of Judaism.

Also historically Christians converting Jews have also done so under the auspices of things like the Inquisition. It doesn't really occur to Jews that there were Baptists like me being put to the Question right next to their great-great-you-get-the-point-grandfathers. Jews as a whole don't understand the denominations within the Christian church very well, just like Christians don't really understand the difference between a Conservative and Reform Synagogue. What they do see is that the people acting very "christian" have often given Jews a reason to move someplace else or else.

The second is that Jews are a minority culture. When Christians start talking about faith-based initiatives, Jews realize that anything they do is going to be overwhelmed by the vastly Christian majority. Plus minority cultures tend to look to the government to safeguard their rights, which inherently puts them in the Democrat camp. The only one preventing tyranny of the majority is the government. That's a big reason why African-Americans vote Democrat and I think its a big reason why Jewish-Americans do too.

There are probably other reasons or other facets of these two that I haven't covered, but that's enough for now.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias has some commentary on it too. Its quite good and nice to hear from the other side of the aisle. He basically thinks Bush is too christian and that regionalism plays into it because the Jewish population centers tend to be in "blue" states. He's probably right on both counts.

Early Voting

Hey folks, early voting has started in 10 states. Everyone who's tried it likes it. Heck, my grandfather has been dead for 15 years and he's already voted 3 times in Chicago. Talk about a die hard Democrat. ;)

Every Punisher Comic Ever Made

Go here. I'm never gonna look at Ken and Barbie dolls the same way again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Ah a trip back to those great arcade games of the 1980s that never were. Now fresh from Vice City here comes Degenatron.

Bumper Stickers

Glenn Reynolds is writing about the various campaign bumper stickers. He went into more depth here.

Dynamist picks this up with some self contradicting commentary like this:
Serif types are the original typographic forms of the Roman alphabet. Sans-serif types are derivative letter forms that have been stripped of their serifs (as the name implies, if you know a little French!), a simplification that lends itself to short, simple messages.
So is a bumper sticker a short simple message? Yup. So why wouldn't we want to use sans-serif fonts again? He goes on to talk about some typographic snobbery to back his case for Kerry up.

Honestly I find the social implication of the bumper stickers to be more interesting. I've lost track of the number of people with both a Bush sticker and "support the troops"/yellow ribbon/American flag on their cars as well. I've seen two people with Kerry stickers and any of those features. Not that I'm questioning their patriotism or anything.

Sanhedrin Reconvened

After sixteen centuries, Israel has reconvened the Sanhedrin. I believe this time around they'll be presiding over purely religious and theological issues. Maybe when Jesus comes back they can all shake hands and be friends.

In Jewish circles the Sanhedrin is a very well respected body that contained some of the greatest Rabbis ever. People like Gamaliel (who gets an honorable mention and very favorable portrayal in Acts). Historically it contained both members of the Aaronic priesthood (Kohanites/Kohenim?) and various Rabbis. The current version will contain representatives from the various Jewish subgroups like hasidic, sephardic, and ashkenazic Jews.

In Christian circles, the Sanhedrin is most fondly remembered for killing Jesus and then persecuting/martyring the first apostles. La Shawn Barber's post on the subject has some examples from the Gospels. Saul of Tarshish (who became the Apostle Paul) may have been a member.

After the Passion of the Christ came out my pastor got together with a local Conservative Jewish Rabbi and a Catholic priest and had a little discussion board on the topic at the Jewish Community Center. So a priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a JCC and ... Ok ok no jokes.

One of the big sticking points was the portrayal of the Sanhedrin in the movie. Jews had been raised to revere the Sanhedrin and seeing them used as villains twirling their mustaches while conspiring against the Son of God was a bit much. Even discounting the Passion's one-sided caricature of the priesthood, they still had a lot of trouble with the Gospel accounts of Jesus's trial being held on the eve of Passover. Several individuals came forward and told the Christians in the room that we really needed to revise the Bible because the Sanhedrin would never do such a thing. My pastor very politely pointed out that the men who wrote the Gospels were all Jews. They were there during those events and neither they, nor their audience (also other Jews), had trouble believing their story.

For the record folks, suggesting that someone rewrite their religious canon purely to make you comfortable is about the rudest thing you can do in an ecumenical setting. Especially when you are talking mostly to Christian Protestants who believe in scriptural inerrancy. You didn't see the minister or priest bashing the Talmud or questioning the spiritual basis of the Rabbinical system did you? Sorry but that still pisses me off.

Anyway lets hope this Sanhedrin works better and maybe their actions can help build bridges between Jews and Christians instead of burning them.

UPDATE: Let me clarify a bit here. The Rabbi at the meeting was a nice guy who didn't like the movie and had legitimate beefs about stereotyping, etc. He had the typical religious liberal outlook that I don't particularly care for, but hey so do thousands of ministers.

There were a few people I thought were profoundly ignorant. Ignorant is the best word I can think of and many christians at the panel discussion were highly insulted. The ignorant people happened to be Jews, but I referred to them as individuals on purpose since I don't consider them to be representatives of their faith. I don't want to generalize here.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More Bad Ways to Start the Day

Remember last time? Good I knew you would.

Bad Way 2: After a wonderful weekend together your girlfriend has to go home and you may not see her for months. Its sucks. She's unhappy. I'm unhappy. I miss you already dear.

So that sucks, now get rear-ended at the security gate going to work. Not my fault, he hit me going through the serpentine. Second time in less than two weeks that I have been rear-ended. Last time was by my apartment complex. Lets just say the cops at the security gate were less than competent, so despite getting hit right under their noses I have no police accident report. Can't say much more without mentioning things I'm not allowed to because of security where I work. Suffice it to say I'm filing an official complaint about police that aren't capable of policing.

Putin Backs Bush

CNN has the story here. Putin considers himself an unbiased observer on this since he disagrees with a lot of administrative policies (like Iraq). His basic position is that if Kerry is elected, terrorists will see this as a win. Sorry if that puts the Democrats out of sorts, but its how they will percieve it no matter the truth.

I saw this on Flynn & Larrimore's blog. They also have some commentary on the Flu Vaccine shortages. Go Delaware blogosphere!

Time for Choosing

Izzy had an excerpt from Reagan's 1964 speech "A Time for Choosing." Here is the whole thing with mp3 audio if you want to look or listen to it. The section at the end about appeasement and peace without victory is especially relevant to the current campaign.

The Internet and University of Delaware

I received two degrees from UD. Here is an interesting timeline of the creation of the internet and how the University of Delaware took part.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Weekend Visit

Amybear has been visiting this weekend that's why I'm not posting much. We spent yesterday doing yardwork at my parents place. She successfully did some bonding with my Mom. The men in the family were filling in a bunch of holes where we took out tree roots and whole trees. We put down grass seed, but I'm a little worried that its too late in the season for it to come up properly.

My parents had Blueberry Muffin Frozen Yogurt from Turkey hill for dessert after dinner. I'm not a big blueberry fan, it gives me stomach issues. Amybear loved it though. "It really tastes like blueberry muffins!" All the way home she was having blueberry muffin burps and smiling because she got to revisit the flavor. So if you can get Turkey Hill, Amybear gives their Blueberry Muffin fro-yo five stars.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Holy Peanut Butter Cookies!

The recipe formatting on this site is amazing. Just look at it, elegant and diagrams well. Wow.

Walking Drunk Game

Its a German game about trying to keep a staggering drunk walking straight. Once you get the hang of it you'll do pretty well. Why is a German drunk speaking texas english though?

Childhood Indoctrination

Ambra Nykol is giving her opinion on child raising. I thought this might be interesting for the childhood development folks reading this (and you know who you are).

Liberal Theology

La Shawn Barber is talking about Liberal Theology and scripture.

One of the big problems I have with liberal theology is one of their first tenets is a rejection of the inerrancy or validity of scripture. This means that when they do seek to use scripture they almost inherently pervert it. Why? Because they never seem to fit things into a coherent scriptural ideology. The biblical use for scripture is as a ruler or standard. By rejecting this they try to impose their own ideas onto the word of God. Unfortunately once you start throwing the portions of the bible out that doesn't support your conclusions you can follow anything.

For instance Christ said "Blessed are the peacemakers" yet he himself made a whip and cast the moneychangers out of Gods temple. Liberals like to portray anger or hate as a negative emotion and inherently sinful. The problem is that we know from the Bible that God hates sin and becomes angry with disobedience.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Christian Right

I lead this post on Evangelical Outpost down a rabbit trail. I know I know I shouldn't feed the trolls. Anyway sometimes those trails are worth traveling so I'm going to bring it up here instead of sidetracking someone elses post about the voting habits of American novelists (They're democrats! What a shocker!).

Basically my thoughts revolve around this comment:
I visit this blog from time to time as an interested European wishing to learn about Evangelical Christianity in the US. I’ve learnt a lot. The author appears to regard the promotion of the Republican Party and its presidential candidate, as a matter deeply connected to his faith. God apparently wants you to vote GOP.

That I’ve read little or nothing concerning the Gospels, or the teachings of Jesus Christ, speaks for itself.
I think he's right. The Christian Right is doing a piss poor job of communicating Christ right now. We are making the mistake of the Ephesian Church and forgetting our first love while standing up for our principles.

Yes its true the world will hate us. We are commanded to be in it but not of it. Christ himself says we will be treated badly for that. Some of this lack of Christ is because he stripped out by the mainstream media as religious windowdressing. However our own media outlets have no such excuse. Robertson, Falwell, why do we put up with these people? Sometimes I think they are like the comforters of Job.

Are we really standing for our core principles? I have heard the religious right talk about gays and abortion until they are blue in the face. Where is the love of christ? The hope of the Savior? Shouldn't that be the most important thing?

The reason we are in the spot we are in socially, is because we have given up the fight for the soul of our culture. So instead we fight on the fringes of relative morality just like everybody else. The more I see the current Gen-Y kids, the more I see a hopeless and cynical generation. They have a huge void in their lives and are trying to fill it with whatever they can find liek sex and drugs. We have what they need, but we fight on about sex and stem cells instead of bringing them Christ. Bring the children the hope their parents have forgotten and we will change the world.

I just think that we as evangelicals and evangelical bloggers need to do better. I think as a group we are fighting the symptoms instead of publicizing the cure. What we really need is good modern apologetics, but I don't hear much about that. We're too busy opposing the culture to effectively engage it for Christ.

Growing Family

Joan at Seven Inches of Sense just adopted a new little guy. Go read the post because I'm trying valiantly to avoid spoilers. Maybe Amybear and I will do something similar soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More Biased Voters Guides and Affirmative Action

The Christian Coalition voters guides might be biased towards Bush. Evidentally Kerry didn't bother to reply to their inquiries about his policy positions so they filled in the blank with his voting record. One that is especially upsetting people is: "affirmative action programs that provide preferential treatment."

Sorry folks but thats a pretty accurate description of affirmative action. My federal Equal Employment Opportunity guide defines affirmative action as:
Some protected classes such as minorities, women, and persons with disabilities have suffered severe employment discrimination. Affirmative employment requirements were established to correct the effect of past discrimination and to achieve a goal of a workforce that represents our nation's diverse population.

Thus affirmative emploment is not for everyone. It is for members of those groups who have suffered from past discrimination...
This is in contrast to EEO policy which has no protected classes and is purely anti-discriminatory. So yes affirmative action provides preferential treatment, but in an attempt to correct past wrongs.

I seem to recall similar concerns about this sort of thing when Clinton was running. Some things change some stay the same.

Give People What They Want

Do you want to know how to succeed in business? Simple. Give people what they want. Want some cases in point from the Gun industry? I knew you might.

There have been a handful of trends in the last few years, they are:
  1. Large capacity semi-automatic pistols, the so-called Wonder Nines
  2. Small pistols for concealed carry
  3. Military style semi-automatic "assault" weapons like the AK and AR derivatives
  4. Affordable production near-custom 1911 semi-automatics ala Kimber, Springfield Armory, etc.
  5. Affordable reproductions of old west guns driven by Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS)
These trends have occurred for several reasons, for instance 2 and 4 were arguably driven by the now defunct Assault Weapons Ban (long may it rot). Similarly 1 and 3 were driven by the desire of gun owners to have more lethal weapons. What is my point? Well lets take a look at some gun companies that aren't doing so well.

Case 1: Colt

Colt was the company to beat during the war and even post-war years. Until the 1970s and '80s when they ran themselves into the ground. Now they are trying to rebuild. They have canceled the lions share of their makes and models. This isn't necessarily a problem since some of their guns, like their double action revolvers, are unlikely to be profitable.

So Colt basically makes two guns. The first is the 1911. However Colt really only sells milspec, non-custom models. In fact the reason market 4 exists is because Colt missed the boat and didn't offer upgraded models when they had the chance. So they don't fill market 4. The second is the AR-15 (market 3), which Colt does well with, especially in the civilian and LEO markets. However they refuse to sell several models to civilians and the models they do sell are modified from the military spec standards so parts will not interchange. People don't like that either.

Colt doesn't make the guns for markets 1, 2, or 5. They have a design for a wonder9 because they show it off with their smart gun. However nothing has hit production except for the All American which was a horrible failure. Colt once made the Mustang .380 in several model styles for the concealed carry market. Even now Springfield Armory is considering bringing back a clone of it when Colt's patents lapse. But Colt doesn't make it anymore. Colt makes the SAA (THE cowboy gun) but at $1500 a pop from their custom shop, it isn't affordable for the average cowboy shooter. They also made the Colt Cowboy, which was shoddily made and still priced $300 more than their competition.

So Colt has been and remains in serious financial trouble. They refuse to sell the profitable products that would require little development and they no longer have the money to develop new products because of lack of revenue. So they have been trying to eke out enough revenue with their current line to get them to place where they have a pot of development money. Good luck.

Case 2: Remington

Remington doesn't make any guns for any of these markets. Part of this is because they don't make handguns which are 4 of the growth markets right there. They might be able to get into Market 3 with a ruggedized model 700 rifle like military/LEO snipers use, but they don't sell it. Instead the aftermarket is raking in a bundle on ruggedizing the guns themselves. Oops. Similarly the LEO version of their 870 pump shotgun might get them close, but it isn't sold to the general public either.

Their bread and butter is the hunting market which is slowly shrinking as the US population grows more urban. This is opposed to the self defense market which has been growing as the population shifts urban. Their marketing strategy so far has been to make cheaper versions of their current products (like the 710 and 597) using lower labor prices at their Kentucky factory. That will only go so far.

Christian Science Voting Non-Guide


Izzy pointed me to this. It said he should vote for Kerry. We both had a good chuckle about that. I took it and it said that I agreed with Kerry on foreign policy. Also funny because that's the thing that scares me most about him. Its scarily biased and if you are a centrist on most issues it will tell you to vote for Kerry. Evidentially there is a 200th percentile of liberal on the CS scale so Kerry is the centrist. Who knew?

UPDATE: Messy Christian just took it here. She got had the same Kerry/Badnarik spit Izzy did. She's Malaysian though and I don't know how well descriptors like "centrist" track across national boundaries.

Get Up and Walk!

Instapundit has picked up on the faith-healing meme I first saw on GetReligion.

To paraphrase SNL, "John Kerry if you can heal this arm, Bob Dole will vote for you."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Wanna See a Proud Papa?

Look here. Doesn't Bush look all moist eyes and proud? The full post it is from is here. Vodkapundit has pictures of the same Colorado Republican Event here.

Mount St Helens

Looks like its the end times. Mt. St. Helens is not only erupting but also beset with giant insects.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Federal Holiday

Hope everybody enjoyed Columbus Day. Being a federal employee I had the day off (gloat gloat). I celebrated the discovery of the New World by sleeping in and then cleaning a lot. I got a few chores done too.

In my last apartment I tended to go a while between cleanings. That isn't necessarily bad, but things tends to build up and then its a pain. Cleaning out my apartment last month broke me of that habit. Now I'm probably going to go for more of a regular weekly or bi-monthly cleaning schedule that will keep everything tidy and probably save time too.

I realized that the shower at night methodology just doesn't work for me. I went shooting yesterday with my brother at our local indoor range. That means I basically got myself covered in a light dusting of lead and lead salts. I made sure to take a shower and wash that stuff off before ended up inhaling it all night long. I woke up this morning and had to shower again just to get myself feeling clean enough to leave the house. Showering is just part of my morning routine I guess.

Chores were good. I dropped my FN Hipower off at a local gunsmith for some trigger work. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with it. If he does do good work I will be giving him some free publicity here.

Coming back from there I stopped in at my old supermarket. Its a Mega Superfresh that is within walking distance of my old place. I miss it. My new neighborhood supermarket (also in walking distance) is a crappy Acme with a really horrible produce section. How am I supposed to eat healthy if I can't get good fruits and veggies?

I did my second act of mindless routine coming back from Superfresh. My old apartment complex is on the way home and I stopped to make a turn into it. I didn't actually make the turn, I just stopped at the turn like I would if I was about to turn. It annoyed the woman behind me to no end. I didn't even realize what I had done until a second later. I guess its some sort of weird pavlovian response to coming home from that Superfresh. Part of my mind must have still thought that I had to make that turn.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Debate and Why I Missed It

I hear Bush won last night. Good for him. I had other stuff to do. I wonder how many people were watching a debate on a friday night. Lets hope enough to stop his slide in the polls.

Amybear and I were starting to talk details about marriage instead. We aren't engaged yet, but now is the time to talk about this stuff before we commit to getting married. Amybear is smart and realizes this. We love each other but the interfaith marriage stuff is going to be challenging, especially once we have kids.

Despite what Jews may think, Baptists are pretty cool with going to Jewish stuff. We see Judaism almost as a parent religion so learning more about it is pretty cool for us. It allows us to put ourselves in better context. The Jews don't have as enlightened a position about Christianity. While they spent the first hundred years of Christianity persecuting us, the tide turned and they've basically been called "Jesus killers" and persecuted ever since. I can understand why they wouldn't like it very much. The fact that they're a less popular religion (in the purely numerical sense) and they tend to attrit a fair number of people to christianity every year doesn't help either. Anyway while Christians are pretty cool with learning about Judaism, Jews can be kind of uptight about it going the other way around which should make raising the kids interesting.

100th Post!

Yup, the big one-oh-oh I feel so old...

Anyway, bought myself a new gun today. Its a mossberg 590. 8+1 shots of 12 gauge shot. It has the bayonet mount and heat shield so it should look sufficiently mean. Well if trouble happens I'll be ready. Until then I'll be praying it doesn't happen.

I was originally looking at Winchester 1300 defenders and Remington 870 HDs. The 1300 is really nice, but its sales numbers are fairly low. If you already own one, it is a problem if you want to get aftermarket parts. If you want to buy one then good luck finding someplace local with them in stock. Walmart carries the sporting models, but they do not carry the defense models. I wanted a defense gun.

The 870 is also quite nice but it has the disadvantage of being an older generation design. The 590 and 1300 have aluminum receivers. The 870 is all steel which should allow it to last longer, but makes it heavier and more expensive for what you get. Remington just doesn't offer the features the other companies do at the same price point. My Mossberg is roughly competitive with the 7 round (6+1 in the chamber) HD, but its superior in many regards. The remington needs a new forend, sling swivels, and a new mag extension just to get in the ballpark.

I also like the mossies controls better. Everybody mentions the ambidextrous safety on the back of the mossies receiver. Great position for it and a big plus. What they don't mention is that the mossberg has the bolt release back by the trigger guard instead of in front of it. That means I can press it without having to move my hand. Bigger plus.

Weird Polling Numbers

Seems to me a lot of the political polls have been behaving weirdly. Some results favor Bush, other Kerry and often skewing by larger values than the margin of error. Maybe this is due to ideological skew in the questions introducing bias, but I have another idea.

I was just called by someone doing a survey of new home owners. Problem? I don't own a home, I rent an apartment. It is not unusual that I would get call from this survey, since they basically call people at random. What is unusual is that this time the woman on the other end had a strong Indian accent. I had a hard time understanding her and I believe it was mutual. When I explained that I'm not a homeowner she ignored me and kept right on going with her script. So I hung up.

Then something occured to me. How many of these polling firms places are outsourcing their legwork and data gathering overseas? If this is common that may explain the poor quality of polling these days.

Friday, October 08, 2004


I've been running around most of the day. I went to the DMV and I took care of my voter registration. I moved at the beginning of the month. It went well and now I have a new license with the correct address on it.

This especially good because I hope to be buying some guns soon (before the election). I need the DL for with the proper address for that. If Bush wins things could get violent in some liberal dominated areas. I'm a stones throw away from the ultra-liberal conclave also known as a college campus. I'd like to have a long arm to go with my hipower just in case. Luckily for most the ultra-libs don't usually own guns. Unfortunately for them if they try anything near me and mine, I do.

I got my car washed too so the protective layer of filth has been removed. Hopefully I won't get rear-ended again now.

My girlfriend showed me an Anna Nicole game on E! Online. Its disgustingly addictive. So far I've managed to get up to level 9. The level when the first introduce the pickle is a bear too.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Messianic Jews

GetReligion is writing about the cultural divide between Messianic "Judiasm" and the unleaded variety. More specifically they're talking about the trouble the press has expressing this objectively in a way that both sides can agree upon.

This kind of hits home for me. My Girl Amybear is a Reform Jew. I'm a Baptist (duh). We're seriously considering marriage at this point and we're wondering how the kids religious upbringing will work out. What's my point and how does this relate to the article? Well one of the things we considered (well I considered more on that later) was Messianic Judaism. They have the Jesus I want and some of the Jewish tradition she wants.

The problem? Well its twofold.

One is that a lot of Messianic congregations are pretty non-traditional in Jewish circles. Regular Jews do not, for instance, practice Davidic worship. Thats when parts of the congregation starts dancing up front during the worship section of a shabbat service. Its weird. Amybear and I are unanimous on its weirdness. Regular Jews have some traditional dances they do at wedding receptions and parties of religious significance, but in services? Don't be ridiculous.

The second problem is what GetReligion is talking about. Jews as a whole tend to be inclusive of all other Jews provided they are ethnically Jewish and not Christians or Muslims. The exclusion of Jewish Christians and Muslims has a lot to do with cultural/religious warfare and historical incidents of forced conversion like the Inquisition. Jews have been excluding Christian Jews from their fellowship since the Apostle Paul.

Our kids will technically be Jewish because Amybear is Jewish and Jews follow matrilineal descent. But Jews specifically exclude Messianic Jews from their congregations and gatherings. You can't even join a Jewish mailing list or online forum if they find out you're Messianic. Amybear doesn't want our kids to have to go through that and I see her point.

So we're going to have to do some tap dancing once we have kids. It should keep our lives interesting at least.

Bad Ways to Start a Day

Bad Way Number 1: Get rear-ended leaving your apartment complex. I pull forward to get set to merge out into traffic, she pulls forward into me. I'm guessing she was looking at traffic and not at the guy in front of her.

Anyway the good news is that the collision was very low speed. My car has a small scratch on the rear bumper. She might have something similar. Looks like the bumpers did their jobs and prevented any other damage. Plus, for once, it isn't my fault.

My last car had really crappy brakes. So that the last two times I've been in one of these I had the guilt of causing it. Not so with this one, she hit me. I can't really be too mad. She didn't do much damage and I've done worse to other folks. Ok so I can be mad, no sense going into denial or anything, but frankly little harm was done.

Bad news. I have her information, she has mine. I was mister nice guy and didn't insist that the cops be called. Like I said, there really isn't any damage or injury so it shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully the lack of a police report won't do much since no money should be changing hands. I'm going to have to buy a cell phone now so I can call the cops and not depend on the other person though. Oh well hopefully learning from my mistakes won't be too costly.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Christian Blogging

Should blogging be a spiritual discipline? Well not necessarily, but lately it seems that the vast majority of material written by christian bloggers is political. Kerry Sucks, Bush Rocks.

Thats nice and I don't disagree, but where is the love? Where is your first love my fellow Ephesians? I think this has really become the leading failure of the religious right. We just don't show the love of God enough. We don't show the truth we live for through our actions enough. I'd rather not fall into that trap myself.

Scripture commands me to do all things for the glory of God. This blog is included.

Spiritual Deserts

No, not Death by Chocolate. I mean those dry places, the lonely valleys we travel through where spiritual direction is difficult to discern. It seems like a lot of folks are going through that right now. Messy Christian and Reepicheep are two people on my blogroll that have had a bit of it.

My first instinct is to start giving advice on how to be happier or why people are going through trouble. I usually manage to shut up before I inflict permanent spiritual harm. You never know who to blame, but the tendency is to blame the guy in the relationship that didn't create the universe. Blaming someone is not a way to bring comfort. You just end up being one of Job's comforters, I guess. What I really should be doing is just sympathizing/empathizing and let them know they aren't alone.

About the only advice I can give is this: God knows what you are going through. Spend some time with him and ask him to show you what you need to do to get things right. Jesus didn't call the Holy Spirit a spiritual counselor for nothing. If you do have wrongs that need to be settled, the Spirit can also convict you of your wrongs. God is good and he is always faithful and waiting. Go to him.

Taco Bell and Accents

Izzy and I went to Taco Bell today. They revamped their combo menu a while back so, in our opinion, it makes less sense. (They don't have a two taco combo and number 2 for instance.) Turns out they still have the old combo options available though. That made me happy because, as a creature of habit, I really wanted my two supreme gorditas and a soft taco. It used to be the number 8. Now its the number nothing, but I can still order it just the same. We also found it interesting that the taco at Taco Bell is the equivalent to french fries at Burger King or McDonalds. A taco is a meal for some folks, fries aren't a meal for anybody.

The woman taking my order sounded like she was an immigrant from some part of Germany. "Vhat kint of taco vood you like to go mit your gordita..." Somehow "Mexican" food is not supposed to go with Natasha Badanov's accent. But she did a good job so who am I to really complain. I was amazed that no mexican immigrants worked at the mexican restaurant. Although frankly if I was Mexican I would probably see Taco Bell as an affront to my entire people and culture.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Vice Pres Debates

Not watching it. Who cares? Does anybody ever vote for Vice President? No. The only thing they're good for is breaking ties in the Senate. It doesn't take much to guess which way either of these two guys will vote in that case.

UPDATE: Thought of another reason to avoid them. These guys aren't even arguing their own ideas. They're arguing for their boss. For instance Cheney is not the social conservative that Bush is. Edwards is not the northern liberal that Kerry is. So these guys are just parroting their respective party lines. Big whooptie do.

Turning into Mr Rodgers

Its cold at work right now. The heat isn't on but the weather is downright chilly at night. So the temperature in the office is pretty cold. To combat this I wear a fleece jacket at work. I also wear a windbreaker outside cause its cold and windy.

Long story short, I come back from lunch and I go into my cube. I take off my jacket and put on my fleece. I think about what I just did. Great now all I need is some slippers and the King Friday to come a-callin'.

Thoughts on the Trinity

If there is one christian theological concept people have trouble wrapping their minds around its the trinity. How does the trinity square with something like the Shema from Deuteronomy: "Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."

One of the best illustrations I have heard is that of water. Water? Yes. The trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Water is liquid water, solid ice, and gaseous water vapor. All are the same yet all are different. God is water, but he can be perceived in different forms depending on what is happening.

My roommate used this illustration my freshman year. I like it so I thought I would put it down here. Thanks Dave.

Liberal Leadership

La Shawn Barber has a post up on her dismay with African American leaders. She's drawing her piece from a similar Armstrong Williams piece. I can see why black conservatives will be unhappy about "their" leadership. The most telling quote in William's piece (which Barber quotes):
Like the old saying goes, "easiest way to control the mob is to agree with them."
It seems to me this is what a lot of liberal leaders do. They use polling to get out in front of the current trends. Then, once they get to the leading edge of the mob, they shout "Follow me!" and everybody thinks they're leading and setting the agenda. They aren't of course, they're just mimicking the cry of the mob on a larger stage.

Eventually the mob slows down or changes course and the old leader loses touch. Then a new leader shows up and yells "Follow me!" in that direction.

Contrast this to Republican leadership (I hate call the Repubs conservative anymore because, well, lots of them aren't). Bush is known for disagreeing with a lot of the folks in his own party. He dislikes excessive polling because he thinks policy should not be based on a popularity contest, it should be based on judgement and fundamental governing principles.

In the end though I think the real difference is in how the two groups work socially. Conservatives are more authority driven. You follow the leader. Liberals have too much of that hippy culture for that to work. They're more anti-authoritative so you end up with cat-herding leaders. What do you guys think?

The Blogging Reformation

Doug Kern has a tech central column comparing the effect blogging has had on Big Media to the effect of the printing press had on the Protestant/Catholic divide.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Fortune Cookies II

I talked about fortune cookie fortunes here before. Tom, one of my coworkers, brought in two got at a restaurant with his fiance. His was "you are kind and courteous" hers was "It tastes sweet." Insert to proper phrase after the second and you will be appalled or laughing so hard you will have to sit down.


I'm starting to see why everybody moves off of Blogger eventually. Its not that the user interface sucks. Granted, it could use some improvements. For instance I just had to delete over a hundred posts by hand, and blogger forces a time consuming republish after every friggin' one. It took hours. If they had designed it properly it should have taken minutes (like purging my hotmail account does). I should be able to select the posts to kill and then do a single republish. But thats not the real problem.

The problem is that it breaks. A lot. And the channel they use to tell us that it is broken doesn't respond in a timely manner. So I don't get the message until 2 hours and 100+ accidental posts later. And that sucks, not because a service I use for free broke, but because my discomfort was completely avoidable if they had just promptly reported its brokenness. I don't pay money for this service but I do pay time. And I want those hours back dammit.

Oh did I mention that the rate Blogger sends random people to your door with the "next" button up top there seems to be dependent on how often you post? I seem to be getting a lot of folks recently because of my blogger screwups.

Commuters in the Mist: Updated

It was a foggy morning on the way to work today. Driving at highway speeds in a moderate fog isn't fun. It did give me a bit of revelation about which driver to avoid though. Seems that the people who weren't bright enough to put their headlights on were also not bright enough to slow down with reduced visibility. So now a I have an easy methodology to identify dangerous drivers in fog: no headlights.

UPDATE: Blogger broke so now I have a million of copies of this post. Grrr. I'm starting to realize why nobody "professional" uses blogger. Anyway I will be deleting the redundant posts but it will take a while.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Chris Muir

Unfortunately Day by Day has been on haitus because of things going on in the life of Chris Muir, the artist. Even more unfortunately it seems that one of the family members who was battling cancer has lost her fight. My prayers are with you Chris.