Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Ok we've looked at baby names. Now where does your last name rank in the grand scheme of surnames?

Smith is number one. Jones is number four. I wonder what two and three are? Mine is in the high 15,000s. Amybear's is off the charts. Looks like she is moving up I suppose.

Trash Technology

Some people think we can't learn anything from the Europeans. Kim shows us one great idea from the streets of Amsterdam.

I honestly wonder whether the US perception of Europe isn't tinged a little by our closeness with Britian. We share a language (sort of) and some of the same perceptions as the British. When we look to do bright new things (or bad ideas like socialize medicine) we often use them as a model. But Europe as a whole is much more diverse than just the UK. Perhaps we need to get out more as a nation and experience the non-anglophonic European nations.

Audio Annoyance

Do you have an infestation of teenagers? Repel them off with high frequency sound.
The device, called the Mosquito ("It's small and annoying," Stapleton said), emits a high-frequency pulsing sound that, he said, can be heard by most people younger than 20 and almost no one older than 30. The sound is designed to so irritate young people that after several minutes, they cannot stand it and go away.
The whole point is to keep teenagers from hanging out in front of your shop and annoying customers who will actually buy something.

My mother bought me an ultrasonic mosquito repeller a while back. It is a little box you can strap to your arm or leg and it drives off the little bloodsuckers. No word whether it works on teenagers too. According to the advertising, the frequency was high enough to be out of the human audio range. My brother and I could hear it just fine, although my parents and my aunts could not.

I play ultimate frisbee after work and the field we were using was quite buggy. So I brought it to work with me. Coworkers my age could hear it, those closer to retirement could not. I found that a little background noise would also keep me from hearing the tone. I was fine when I wore it on my ankle outside, but I could hear it clear as a bell in the office.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Disputed Definitions

One of those discussions that seems to come up over and over again is the meaning of fundamentalist. Joe Cathey, Rob Bradshaw, and Jim West are talking about it now. I was commenting on it over at GetReligion before the 2004 elections.

The problem with the term Fundamentalist is essentially twofold:
  1. People like to use "fundamentalist" similar to "neo-con". It is a buzzword that says "you don't have to like this person." This is what Jim West's definition draws upon.

    Within the Christian faith, Fundamentalists are characterized by rigid and uncompromising adherence to the Fundamentals. The Fundamentals are six theological principles: biblical inerrancy, the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, his atoning death, resurrection, and a future second coming.

    Nowhere in there will you find economic policy, US foreign policy, or recent historical theory. The construction of the Fundamentals is such that they exclude Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

  2. Many people seek to connect the fundamentalist movements together across religious lines. All fundamentalist religions are based at least in part to a reaction against Modernist religious criticism. This reaction to a common philosophical foe leads to some commonalities like a reliance on a definitive revelation and a concentration on core religious principles. However the fundamental tenets of each religion are completely different from each other.

    Which is why attempts to tar Christians with the same brush as Islamic fundamentalist terrorists are so loathsome. Violence in Christian Fundamentalism has never been on the same scale as Islamic fundamentalism because of the difference in fundamental tenets between the two religions. Christianity has no theological construct similar to Jihad and an emphasis on civil government.
I doubt this will clear anything up, but I thought I would write it anyway.

Artificial Stupidity

Intelligence tests can be fun. I've mentioned them in the past.

The last one I took sent me a link to a "free" report giving the detailed results of my test instead of just a single IQ number. In order to see this report I had to wade through a massive amount of spam. I clicked "no thanks" to at least a dozen offers for educational and other services. I'd like to make a suggestion to anyone running these sorts of sites. If someone ranks in the highest percentile on your intelligent test, don't bother presenting us with bogus "opportunities" we are far to smart to take.

I suggest you make up for any revenue lost from us smart people by presenting those in the lowest percentiles with lots of links offering bright shiny objects for them to purchase. Or maybe just a lot of those smack the gopher ads. Yes it is a sort of stupid tax, but I live in a state with a lottery so we already have those anyway.

Honestly, isn't life some sort of stupid tax? P.T. Barnum certainly would have thought so. This way to the great egress.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Joe Carter is discussing why it bothers us so much. I swear sometimes. Not a lot, but when it reflects the nature of my heart at the moment. I am a firm believer in being honest with yourself and others. I would much rather swear than put up a false face. If I say darn, God knows what I meant and so do you. If anything refusing to tone it down encourages me to cut it out entirely.

No one over there has pointed out that not all "cussin'" is not the same. There is profanity which comes from taking the Lord's name in vain and other offenses. Then there is cursing, which involves invoking a curse on someone or something. This is what you are doing when you say "Dammit!" Then there is swearing, which is "I swear to God, I will never do that again." Then there is obscenity, which is the current four-letter craze of f-bombs and the like.

The Bible pretty explicitly forbids us from profanity, cursing, and swearing. The only swearing we may do is to make our Yes mean Yes and our No mean No. Obscenity is much more of a cultural thing and should probably fit in the Christian liberty, don't-cause-your-brother-to-stumble category. People have considered a lot of stupid things obscene. For instance in the eighteenth century, talking about a woman's ankles was considered obscenity. Well let me tell you, my Amybear has very shapely ankles. I've even seen them! Before marriage! I'm sure a lot of long dead dandies are now spinning in their graves. Even now women are wearing burkhas because of cultural customs surrounding obscenity.

But the overarching theme of the bible is that profanity and the like are really indicators of the state of the heart. Make your heart right and the swearing will stop. If you wish, fight against the act of speaking them. That might be a tool to help you discipline your heart and mind. But in the end realize it is the heart and what is before God that counts. Work from without and pray that the spirit will work from within.

The Scientific Paradox

Scott Adams has a pretty keen intellect. I'm reading his non-dilbert book God's Debris right now, and it definite a work to make you think. That work is available for free here.

Scott isn't a Christian, but his current demonstration of the problems surrounding intelligent design is worth reading.
Imagine that lightning suddenly carves into the side of the Washington Monument the words “I am God. I created you. Darwin was a nut.” And let’s say there are hundreds of witnesses who all have video cameras and capture it from multiple angles.

Now imagine that the same phenomenon repeats every day for a month, each time on a different monument. Scientists study the phenomena and conclude that humans probably didnÂ’t cause it, but beyond that, there are no further scientific clues about how lighting could seem so directed.

If I crafted my thought experiment right, no one would have any idea how to devise a test that would confirm or exclude the possibility that God really did it. Hypothetically, being omnipotent and all, he would be capable of leaving no clues, other than signing his name. Therefore, any speculation as to the cause is not science.
Here we have one of the fundamental problems of science. Scientific inquiry is based on fundamental assumptions just like anything else. Specifically, scientific inquiry is based on the philosophical principles of Methodological Naturalism. This means that physical phenomenon can only be studied through natural, physical, and material approaches and explanations. Therefore anyone caught saying "God did it" is guilty of being a bad scientist because they are using the supernatural, not the natural. This is why Intelligent Design is considered to be bad science, it is a discipline which centers around "God (aliens, Xenu) did it".

The problem comes with miracles. What if God did do something through direct supernatural intervention? They certainly wouldn't be able to prove God did it, would they? Well a good scientist would simply have to withhold judgement if they couldn't find a natural cause. Their own fundamental principles keep them from using the supernatural as an answer.

Of course there are scientists out there who are not just adherents to Methodological Naturalism, but are also adherents to Ontological Naturalism. Ontological Naturalism says that the supernatural doesn't exist at all, only the natural world exists. Usually these folks are the scientists being given awards from humanist and athiest organization. Were a miracle to occur before them, they would proclaim it a hoax that they just can't prove yet.

I'm not a big fan of religion masquerading as science. But I am even less of a fan as science masquerading as religion. At least religion purports to have answers to everything, where as good science admits to how limited the scope of scientific discussion really is.

Tis the Season

With Thanksgiving behind us, many families are putting up their decorations. Or perhaps turning on the ones they have had up since last year. Amybear and I have enjoyed the ones in my parents neighborhood, but this guy's neighbors take the cake.

I have a bad case of back to work busy, but I'll try to put regale you with the story of my holiday later.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Blue State Skinflints

Hube is bringing some attention to this study on statewide charitable giving.
"We believe that generosity is a function of how much one gives to the ability one has to give," said Martin Cohn, a spokesman for the Catalogue for Philanthropy, a Boston-based nonprofit that publishes a directory of nonprofit organizations.

Using that standard, the 10 most generous states were, in descending order, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, South Carolina and West Virginia.

The 10 stingiest, starting from the bottom, were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and Michigan.
Now you may be noticing that all the top ten are red states and nine of the bottom ten are blue states. Colorado is the exception.

Now the obvious answer to this is that the blue states have higher costs of living and higher taxes. This is the reason many Massachusetts based groups are giving for their poor performance. But really is that any excuse? This is a democracy. If your state is taxing you too much, why don't you vote to cut them back a bit?

So we come back to the fundamental red/blue dichotomy. Blue states take your money via taxes and redistribute it. Part of those taxes go to social spending which is like charity, except with out the voluntary giving part. Red states want to have a small government, low taxes, and then decide for themselves how to give their money. I must say I'm with the rednecks on this one.

Rednecks and Red States

Terry Mattingly is talking country music. Is it the new sound of America? Well maybe. If you want to be literal it has probably been the old sound of America at some point too.

A lot of my family has gotten into country lately. My brother was raised a rockaholic and now listens to a lot of Toby Keith. I don't know whether Amybear's dad has a long country past, but I know he's much the same. The reason for their switch has been many fold.

The first is that rock and rap has gotten decadent. All the big names are singing the same songs of sex, drugs, liquor, fast cars, and loose women. I don't have any of those things. I don't want them either. I'm not having sex until marriage, not doing drugs (unless you count allergy meds), drive a little Mazda, and I have no interest in fooling around when I have Amybear to come home to. Ok ok maybe I'll have a fast car or motorcycle some day. If I have the money and Amybear lets me.

I think most of America is married, dreaming of retirement, and wishing the kids didn't need braces. Rock offers them escapism. Country offers them solutions and moral support. Try hard, maybe fail, then pick yourself up, ask for forgiveness, and try hard some more. Terry puts so very succinctly:
As the old saying goes, the secret to country music’s appeal is that it can deal with what happens on Sunday morning as well as Saturday night.
Tim McGraw's conclusion in "Live Like You Were Dying" are that if your time is to make the most of what you've got and be the best man you can. It seems like Rock's conclusion is let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die.

And that's really what has gotten most of my family into country. It's the values stupid. The unbridled patriotism is nice too of course. After 9-11 we had some pretty boring songs from pretty boring rockers. Then we had "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" from Toby Keith. Yup, I wanted to put a boot in their ass because its the American way. Didn't we all? And where is the rock equivalent to that? While Greenday is calling me an American Idiot, TK is putting out "American Soldier" and touring with the USO. I can respect that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Things I Suck At

Messy Christian puts evangelism on her list and I guess I'm right there with her. I'm not the type to go out and present myself as perfection incarnate bringing all the answers to the ignorant masses. I knew some people in college that could do it, they would walk up to people and it flowed out of them. But they aren't me. I don't have that attitude and frankly I'm just not enough of an extrovert. Messy has similar thoughts:
Back to the evangelism issue. I've never been enthusiastic about evangelism, even when I was a happy card-carrying Christian. I've been at the end of many silly and awkward attempts, and to imagine inflicting them on others just makes me wither with mortification inside.

The kind of evangelism I espouse to takes a loooot of time (years, decades), a looot of commitment, doesn't involve much of a goal except being friends and no guaranteed results.

Evangelism to me means loving people as they are, living my life as best as I can as a Christian (knowing that I'm a f***ing poor example) and harbouring no illusions that my "pure" life will inspire anyone towards Christ.
Sounds about right. I'm a flawed man, living out his flawed life. But I try and hopefully it is more than just me trying. Hopefully the spirit tries through me and together I get better. I'm not going to lie to people and pretend I'm perfect, but I'm not going lie to people and pretend I'm not different either. I am who I am and if you like it, maybe we can talk.

Papa Ratzi

I'm an evangelical and I really don't know what to make of the Pope either as a man or as an institution. Were I a fundamentalist, I suppose I could regard him as a minion of Satan preaching an earthly apostasy. But I'm not a fundamentalist. I grew up with Catholics and many of them are good people. They don't see faith quite the way I see faith, but there are still a lot Christians there. In the end my soul hurts when I think of the fracture of the Church and how much those prospects pained Jesus himself.

Internet Monk has a great article about a group of Protestants meeting then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
In 1988, representatives from the French Reformed Seminary of Aix-en-Provence in southern France where I taught for 18 years were guests at the Vatican through the auspices of some very orthodox French priests who loved Christ and the Scriptures and who wanted us to visit Rome. We were shown the more protected tourist sites, such as Peter’s tomb and the pagan necropolis under St. Peter’s Cathedral. We were also received in the private quarters of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who at the time was serving his seventh year as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Who is Ratzinger? Here is my personal testimony, for what it is worth. This very powerful ecclesiastical figure, even then the No. 2 in the Vatican hierarchy, warmly received us, an unimpressive group of French orthodox Protestant/Reformed theologians, for two hours. In the first hour, in fluent French, he gave a magnificent overview of the state of theology and of the dangers of German liberal theology in particular. His critique of Bultmann was superb. We Protestants then took an hour to present the case for orthodox Protestant theology. Cardinal Ratzinger listened with rapt attention. Our time together was not a casual, nor perfunctory “audience,” but a genuine theological exchange. I was impressed by his intellect, by his linguistic ability (fluency in at least five languages), by his theological wisdom and by his openness to biblical theology. As we left, we gave him a bound copy of Calvin’s Institutes, and he graciously accepted my article on the apostle Paul as the last apostle. Clearly my article did not change his mind about the papacy, but I have it on good authority that he has been reading the copy of Calvin’s Institutes. So that was that, I thought. However, the next day while sight-seeing in Rome I happened to meet his secretary, a French priest. “How did the Cardinal enjoy our visit?” I asked. Without hesitation he replied: “The Cardinal said he wished there was a seminary like that in the Catholic Church.”
Concerns about Catholics aside, it seems as though this Pope is a good guy worthy of respect. Not exactly my kind of guy, but hey that's why I'm Baptist. I wouldn't kiss his ring, but I would be more than willing to shake his hand and call him my brother.

UPDATE: Somehow I missed putting in a link. Oops. Fixed now.

Jack Lewis Could Pick'em

With the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe coming out in a few weeks, interest in C.S. Lewis is up. This amusing anecdote from one of Lewis' stepsons David Gresham, an executive producer of the movie:
A favorite memory of Mr. Gresham's happened one day while walking behind his mother and stepfather at the Kilns, Lewis' home. His mother was apt to carry a shotgun and hunt pigeons in the trees.

While enjoying the outdoors, a young man jumped from the bushes carrying a bow and quiver of arrows. When Lewis asked him to leave the property, the man pointed the arrows at him and Mr. Gresham's mother.

"Immediately, Jack displayed his chivalry, his courage and his sense of duty by stepping in front of my mother to shield her from the arrow," Mr. Gresham says. "He stood there for a few seconds, until he heard my mother ... behind him saying, 'Jack get out of my line of fire.'"
What a woman!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe opens December 9th.

You're So Stupid

Scott Adams is going into depth with the many ways to show how stupid someone is on the internet. He leaves out a few, like the blanket assertion. "You're stupid, everyone knows that." He also forgets the appeal to authority, "You're stupid, because I have a PhD in this very subject." That one is especially great because it is impossible to check the qualifications of an anonymous poster. Oh and of course "You made a minor grammar/spelling error, therefore you are stupid."

Democrat War Plans

Yup this seems about right.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Weekends and Meeting the In-laws

My experience this weekend was much like Joan's. Ok ok no I wasn't propositioned by a bunch of married blue-collar workers and other horny commuters, but I did end up with surprisingly little free time or rest.

Saturday, my parents and I went to Northern Virginia to see Amy and, more importantly, her parents. My parents drove and we got started early on Saturday morning when I would rather have been sleeping. They had never driven down through Baltimore and into DC before. So basically I drove from the back seat of the minivan, it was slightly hair raising and mostly annoying. Traffic around DC was predictably bad and the beltway was it's usual intimidating self.

Once we got to Amy's house, things got better. We saw the wedding site, and ate dinner at the rehearsal location. We saw the hotel everyone will be staying at. Sometime in there we squeezed in the new Smithsonian Air and Space Museum over by Dulles Airport. It was fun but very busy. We conked out early on Saturday, got up early Sunday ate a good meal, saw some more sights in DC and drove home. The trip back was better than the trip up, but not by much.

At home, I had to do laundry, get dinner, go to church, and get set for some Thanksgiving stuff happening at work today. Then Amy called, we talked, and I finally conked out. It was a good weekend. It went well. But I'm still tired.

I am so looking forward to sleeping in on Thursday and Friday.

Geek Novels

I'm sorry to say I've only read nine of the top 20. Mostly this is because I haven't read much Neal Stephenson, Asimov, or Phillip K. Dick, who have 7 books in the top twenty.

There are some disappointments though. Way too much Stephenson, but no Arthur C. Clark or Tolkien or Orson Scott Card. I am also disappointed that Stranger in Strange Land is Heinlien's book in the top 20. I thought some of his other novels were much better. It could be worse though, George R.R. Martin could be on the list.

Walk the Line

Jared Wilson says this Johnny Cash movie is good, very good. Good music, good acting, good everything. If there is anything he'd like to see, it is a little more Jesus. In the movie, what turns Johnny around is the love of June Carter and her family. In real life, Johnny gave God the credit too, especially after he survived a very novel suicide attempt. Cash went on to work with the Billy Graham Crusade and other Christian groups.

Mini Cooper S

There is a new one coming out, the new Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit. You get lighter weight, 220 horses, better aerodynamics, and ... still not enough car for what you are spending.

I looked at the Mini when I was planning to get rid of my Escort. It was nice, and quick, and ten thousand dollars more than anything its size. For the same price as a Mini I could have bought the V6 Mazda 6 which is as fast, as nice, and can seat four adults comfortably. But instead of either of those, I bought a Mazda Protege which is a bit slower, more reliable, and much cheaper than either. And I paid off my 60 month car loan in 30.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Gods of the Copybook Headings

I'm not a poet. I don't, as a rule, read a lot of poetry. But this poem by Kipling caught my eye after seeing it mentioned here. It appears I must read more of Rudyard's work.

Hay Rides

Amy and I went on one last weekend. I'm wearing the same fleece now I wore then. It occurs to me that hayrides are the fall seasonal equivalent of the beach. Just like the beach, I will be finding little pieces of hay in various things in my possession for months.

But the ride itself was fun. It was a singles group activity and we had enough folks for two carts. When the tractors pulled one past the other, we unleashed a furious broadside at each other. I kept hitting this one guy in the face. We've known each other since High School. It was great. Thank goodness I don't have hay allergies though.

The Lighter Side of War

Michael Yon's latest dispatch is quite good. I'm glad the boys of the Deuce Four are home and man Bruce Willis is a great guy.

To Quote Jim Kirk

Iran obtained detailed instructions on how to set up the complicated process of enriching uranium, which can used to make nuclear arms, from the black market network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan..
Khan also manufactures knock-offs of Russian MANPADS (MAN Portable Air Defense Systems) for the Pakistani Army. It wouldn't surprise me if he let other people have them too.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Machine Gun Fun

A friend send me a link to this google video.

Some gun enthusiasts complain that 5.56 is a poor anti-vehicular round. It is, but what do you expect? For that matter 7.62 is a crappy anti-material round too. When you see the volume of fire a vehicle can soak up and keep going, you need to realize that stopping a car with anything less than a lot of high explosive is a difficult proposition.

Consumer Christianity

Rev Ed has a good discussion about Christian merchandise and representing the faith.
I take a ten-minute glide through a few of my favorite blogs and I hit a theme. ... That idea was simple: If we make any outside indication of our Christian faith to the world, then our walk had better not run the name of Jesus Christ through the mud.
It is a good piece and he makes a good case for buying Christian merchandise to create ministry opportunities. I'm going to play a little devil's advocate. Hopefully not too literally.

The problem I have with a lot of Christian merchandise is that in the end I think it is really poor advertising. If you do a bad job of walking the walk, then the t-shirt reflects badly on Christ. If you do a good job, then you don't need a t-shirt to tell people what you are. They will know. If they don't know yet, then they will see the difference and ask. T-shirt that says "Ask Me Why I'm Different" would be a far better choice than a giant cross. It starts you talking and relationships are where ministry and witnessing really begin.

This is why I will never have a Jesus fish on my car. If you see the back of my car it will be after I pass you while speeding, you pass me while speeding, or maybe if I'm stopped at a red light or pulled over by a cop. It might say "Christian" on the car, but under no circumstances will we ever get out of our cars so we can actually talk about who my savior is.

I also think in the end a lot of Christian merchandise just serves to marginalize Christians. Oh it's a Jesus Freaky girl in a Jesus Freaky shirt. I'll just put them in a nice little box labeled Jesus Freak where I can deal with her and keep her at a distance. Which is fine, because a lot of Christians wear the merch to keep the non-Christians at arms length. They may not actually realize this themselves. But if someone asks you about your witness and your answer is "I wear godly t-shirts" not "I actively befriend ungodly people" then we know the real deal.

But really my problem is just the quantity of Christian merchandise and the pervasiveness of it in American Christian culture. Oh so much of it is unnecessary. There is a lot stuff out there that is just junk with a cross stamped on it. It's like people think "well I want to buy these extravagances, but if I buy these Christian brand ones then that doesn't count as materialism." Well I'm sorry, but it does count. I've gone into quite few Christian homes and been appalled by all the Christian baubles and tchotchkes. Enough with the Christian kitsch! When Jesus sent out his Apostles it was with the clothes on their back and a good walking stick. Why are you spending hundreds or even tens of dollars on this stuff if the homeless man on your doorstep is still hungry? Is this storing up treasures in heaven? Is it?

I used to wear a lot of Christian merchandise. I had a Reebok-esque "Life is Short, Pray Hard" shirt. I had some other shirts that looked heavy metal, but were actually scripture. I wore them to school and hung out with some metalheads at the time. They did make for good conversation starters. If you use something similar for that purpose, then do so with my blessing. Now the only piece of Christian merchandise I carry on a daily basis is a small metal cross. It is in my wallet and it is there to remind me of whose money I am spending.

From the Mouth of Babes

I was trying to explain the irresistable Grace joke to Amybear last night. Her response was "who cares if God chose you first or you chose God first, isn't the real point that you believe in Jesus?" She's so smart. If only other Christians were as smart as my Jewish fiance.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bad Movies and Snakebites

So Charlies Angels: Full Throttle came on TV last night when I was at the gym. I didn't turn it on, but I did watch it all the way through when I got back to my apartment so that's still my bad. The film required rampant suspension of disbelief. Demi Moore's .50 AE Deagles seemed woefully underpowered (as was her C4). Things explode and these skinny little girls get thrown around like matchsticks, then bounce back up ready for more.

In the final fight sequence they start driving a Cobra around. I really gave me a lusting for one of these.

This Guy Has Me Figured Out

You scored as Engineer. Military Engineer. Your job is usually overlooked, but without you nothing gets done. While you sometimes annoyed at this, and you know the only time people come to you is when there's something wrong. You understand that you are the heart and soul of any organization with honesty and nice work ethic to boot.

"I need more Duct Tape!!!"



Combat Infantry


Special Ops




Support Gunner








Which soldier type are you?
created with

PBS the Bell Tolls for Thee

The former chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is accussed of breaking federal law after trying to influence PBS politically. This is against the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Why was he trying to influence them politically? He wanted to balance the political content of the network back to center from where it stands on the far left. I'm sure some liberals are celebrating. They shouldn't. What this says is that PBS is unreformable. This is the reaction from the right:
So what are we to do with PBS? Leave it a sewer of left-wing propaganda? Put in a quota system? -The last guy got in trouble for that idea.- It's a catch 22. You can't politicize it but you can't do anything to keep it from becoming politicized because that is politicizing it.

The answer is simple. Dissolve it. Can it. Toss it. Sing it a few choruses of "Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey- Good Bye" and send it packing.

Simply put, America does not need state funded media.
His reaction is by no means isolated. We're running a deficit. Why should the government be funding TV to the tune of over a hundred million dollars when we have a million channels of cable that can do the same job? Especially when it is TV that is only watched by rich liberals who can afford to pay. PBS might have been necessary when the Big 3 networks were it, but they aren't anymore. Times have changed. I guess I'll just have to catch my Dr. Who reruns on Sci-fi channel or BBC America.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Beat Me to It

John the Methodist says:
Pat Robertson is a total jackass. And it's important that Christians in general and conservative Christians in particular completely disavow him. You are judged by the company that you keep, and I have a strong desire not to be considered in his company.
My thoughts exactly. I cannot stand idly by when a someone says things like:
I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for his help because he might not be there.
Unfortunately our cries to cut Robertson off may not matter. ABC family is legally required to show the 700 Club three times a day. This goes back to when the Family Channel was originally sold to FOX in 1988 and then resold to Disney 2001. The good news is that CBN is currently more dependent than ever on financial donations because many of its business interests have failed. So now is a great time to not write a check.

For the record, I'd like to point out that God is not a single issue voter. Nor does claiming to speak for Him actually make it so. Why is it the world turns on Intelligent Design with some people? Aren't there more important things? Like murder, rape, theft, and the plight of the poor?

UPDATE: Ok Von and Bob got me. I don't think anyone is going to come out publicly for murder, rape, or theft. The plight of the poor is very much unsettled and up for grabs though. I have a real hard time cutting government spending when it means people aren't going to eat. That isn't to say it isn't necessary so that investment can bear fruit and people can eat tomorrow. That is part of the ongoing debate of course.

The point is this: when you think about the sorry state of K-12 education in this country, I really don't think ID should be at the top of anyone's list for things to fix first or even second.

Tinfoil Helmet Alert

Paranoids beware, aluminum foil helmets may actually be amplifying the effects of corporate and government mind rays.

Stupid Kids

Did you know the Lilitz, Pa teenagers were bloggers? Yup. He's on myspace and xanga. She is too but only her xanga account is public.

Weird stuff. I have to admit that this story me interested. The kids seem so normal. Why do it? Is there more that hasn't come out? I guess I'll have to keep my ears open.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hybrid Economics

I did an analysis and found that hybrids didn't work for me. They are slow, handle poorly, and don't save me any money. They really aren't any fun for me so I drive a zippy econobox with a decent suspension. This article does a pretty decent job of examining the cost/benefits of hybrids.

I would really like to see an examination of diesel cars and diesel-electric hybrids added to this. I would also like to compare the environmental costs of hybrids compared to high occupancy vehicles they would compete with under HOV restrictions. I have a real hunch that 4 guys in a Camry is far more efficient in both fuel consumption and emissions production than 1 guy in a Prius.

UPDATE: Turns out there are diesel-electric hybrids out there. London is testing some for use as cabs. However a coworker has pointed out that the diesel combustion cycle doesn't not seem to benefit from hybridization to the same degree as gasoline engines. It has something to do with the idle cycle of the engine. Oh well.

The Political Catfight

Joan has some great points in her current post.
I'm tired of all the biting remarks coming from both sides of the aisle. It's a never-ending game of 'your mama'. If just once I could find a candidate that was about more than that (and wasn't crazy as a fucking loon), I would throw everything I had into supporting them, no matter what their political affiliation. But unfortunately I don't think that person exists in Washington anymore. And that is a very sad thing for our country.
There is an old saying, "It only takes one person to start a fight." Lately both parties have been taking turns starting the fight. At some point we're going to get a real leader, then we might actually see a true uniter not a divider. Reagan did pretty well at this, the Bushes and Clinton did not. I'd personally like to see someone step forward and tell both Ralph Nader and Pat Robertson to go screw themselves. But that's just me.

Calvinist Romances

You know I never heard this pickup line back when I was a PCA church member. I'd try it on Amybear, but I don't think she'd get it.

Oh and is it me or does that Truly Reformed hipster look a bit too much like JFK?

Where Do You Belong in Middle Earth?


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

10 Years and a Promise

Amy and I went to my ten year on Saturday. It was surprisingly sparsely attended, maybe 35 attendees out of a class of 250. I did get to rub elbows with guys and gals I hadn't seen for over ten years. It was nice. A lot of people have just started families and a lot more are on the verge of doing so. Good stuff.

I will relay one story to you guys, because I want to ask for your help. Don't worry it won't be anything that makes you get up or leave your computer.

One guy who really touched my heart was a guy named Joe. In high school, Joe was your average athletic football player type. He was a very nice guy, but we didn't share many interests or classes so we didn't hang out much. Now Joe is 28. He's still a young man, but he has cancer. At the reunion he had lost a lot of weight and all of his hair fighting colon cancer. He managed to beat it. Now it has come back. He has surgery to remove a tumor from somewhere in his digestive tract on thursday.

It wouldn't surprise me if this was his last reunion. I think he realised that too, which was why he came to the thing. I did the only thing I could. I promised to pray for him. He said, "Thanks man, I'm going to need it." He looked like he needed it too.

So I'm asking you guys to pray as well. As soon as possible and as often as possible. And thank you in advance.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Love Your Freedom?

Today is a great time to thank a vet.

Joe Carter has a post up on being a Marine. Since I work for the Army, I don't think I'm actually allowed to respect someone for being a Marine. Semper Fi anyway Joe.

We had our Veterans Day observance on Wednessday. Everybody in the organization showed up for it. One of my coworkers who is both a Korean War and Vietnam War veteran spoke. He joined the Army at age 15(!) by lying about his age. He ended his career in the mid 1970s as a Lieutenant Colonel. This year he focused on Korea, which I imagine brought up some unpleasant memories. Like a true hero, he denied he was worthy of honor but honored the men he served with, many of whom never made it home. I'm honored just to know and work with him.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Incoming Epidemic

The first avian birdflu death has been reported in California. A former Navy man and the primary caretaker for triplets too. What a shame. Via Vodkapundit.

Why is Paris Burning?

I've given this a lot of thought. Most of the right wing blogs are operating on the theory that the rioting is a result in the breakdown of the socialist stratification in French society. The ethnic French get the benefits and the immigrants to France pay for it. I've never seen the words "dirigiste economy" used this much before.

But I'm not sure they're right about this. One of the things you have to understand about the rightosphere is that they are all libertarians. Well perhaps not all, but the vast majority have those tendencies. So the opportunity to blast the French not just for being cheese-eating surrender monkeys, but for being socialist collectivist cheese-eating surrender monkeys is too good to pass up. In the end though I think we're really discussing a symptom not the underlying disease.

Where am I going? Well lets stop looking at France for a moment look at ourselves, ourselves meaning the US. The US had a massive spike in crime and related social unrest starting around 1960s. For over a century previous to that, we had done things a certain way. We liked industry and making things. We oppressed black people and anyone else we didn't like. But that all changed and we really didn't know what was going to happen. Crime skyrocketed as did other less than legal coping behaviors. Then at some point in the late eighties the Cold War ended, we realized that the color of someone's skin doesn't really matter, and everything started to look alright again. The crime rate plummeted accordingly.

Great now lets look at Europe. Their crime rates are taking off. Their societies are undergoing massive social change. Immigrant populations are moving in as the birth rates of the nationals are dropping off. The European Union trying to break down the old national borders. Things are changing quite quickly.

Honestly, Europe doesn't know what to make of this. Most of France, with the exception of Alsace and Lorraine, have basically been French since the Vikings got tired of invading and Jeanne d'Arc kicked the English back across la Manche. Even relatively young countries like Germany and Italy have been that way for quite a while now. Unlike the US which has been a melting pot for most of our history, the Europeans really don't know how to handle immigrants from place they don't like and even immigrants from places they do like. As a friend of mine who taught at universities in Scandinavia once said:
Jeff, they are a very nice people. They're polite and they don't mine a Czech like me living down the street, working hard, and keeping to myself. But everything changes if I start trying to marry their daughter...
And that is the long and short of it. At some point France will come up with an answer for how to be France when you aren't even French. I expect to see lots of social tension in Europe for a generation or so just like it happened over here.

I'd Gladly Pay You Tuesday...

A friend sent me to Chomp Champ, a flash-based eating contest. It is fun provided you enjoy getting typing cramps.

White Phosphorus

Here is the current round up on the White Phosphorus "scandal".

Daily Ablution is questioning the seriousness of white phosphorus claims coming out of the British Media. He also gives a thorough rundown on the reports of civilian casualties.
Dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned the consistency of leather by the [phosphorus] shells.
Several groups are claiming that intact clothing is a sign of white phosphorus. It isn't. WP burns everything and one of the major ways it causes problems is by lighting a person's clothes and equipment on fire. These poor people probably look the way they do because of their stage of decomposition, not anything having to do with WP.

Remember Jeff Englehart? I mentioned that he might not be the most reliable witness. Turns out that was a pretty good call. He's an antiwar activist and his testimony about WP injuries also conflicts with established facts.

Instapundit is also weighing in with a mammoth post collating commentary from all over. A reader reports that the military still uses WP for marking (similar to a smoke bomb) and illumination, but not as an incendiary.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And I'm Not Even English

English Genius
You scored 92% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 86% Advanced, and 80% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!
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Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid.

Leaders of the Christian Right

Short Attention Span has a scathing criticism of political leaders on the religious right. Are they being used or are they just stupid?

Via Reverend Ed's highlight reel.


Joe Cathey posted several Oleg Volk posters up on his blog last weekend. I've mentioned Oleg before. Here is one of the posters. Dr. Jim West reacted very strongly and frankly somewhat irrationally to all this.
The poor child is clearly traumatized knowing that there is a gun six inches from her head. Note how she subconsciously tilts her little head away from, and not towards the tool of death that won't protect her as much as it will endanger her.
Jim's reaction is a bit scary to me. I don't worry about the little girl. She is a model, she is probably acting, and she is in no danger. She is most likely tilting her head so Oleg can get a clearer shot of the gun and balance the image left to right. What Jim sees in that poster is not what is there, but what he is projecting upon it. These are his fears not the girls.

Guns are things. They are tools. They won't bite unless you do something wrong. Truth be told that little girl is in more danger from the swimming pool in her back yard and the cleaning products under the kitchen sink than the gun on her father's hip.

School Shootings

Helen Reynolds, Mrs. Instapundit, is commenting on a school shooting near her home in Knoxville. I find this comment at the end of her blog heartenin:
For those of you interested in the gun debate on this issue--it has been found that boys who own legal firearms show less delinquency even then those boys who do not own guns at all. It is the boys that own illegal guns who comitt more crimes--not surprising as they have shown themselves willing to break the law already.
She links to these study results to prove her point.

I've suspected this sort of thing for a while, legal gun owners in general have a very low crime rate. Concealed carry permit holders are far less likely to commit crimes than even police officers. But as a gun owner who aspires to eventually be a parent, I'm still glad that the general statistical trends hold for kids too. Not that statistical trends mean you can rest on your laurels.

WMDs! Bush Lied!

One of the things that annoys me about Iraq is that the press has been persistent in reporting that we have found no WMDs. It isn't true. We've even had an IED used on us made from a Sarin-laced artillery shell. But two weeks after we find something, the press goes right back to "2 years into Mr Bush's war and still no WMDs."

Well someone has written a book on all the WMDs found in Iraq. The numbers are quite impressive. Wizbang has more.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Whisper Down the Lane

I love this post over at Mainstream Baptist
BBC has reported that Italian State TV has broadcast a documentary that accuses the U.S. military of using white phosphorus bombs against civilians in Falluja.
Wow that is a lot of one guy telling the next guy about something else. Was a study hall involved? The response from the US military:
"Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Falluja, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters," the US statement said.
Or in other words, yes we did and there is nothing wrong with that.

Their eyewitness account leaves something to be desired though
Jeff Englehart, described as a former US soldier who served in Falluja, tells of how he heard orders for white phosphorus to be deployed over military radio - and saw the results.
Wow a US soldier. That means US Army. Too bad the storming of Fallujah was a Marine Corp operation. One way or another someone involved in this story didn't do their legwork.
"Burned bodies, burned women, burned children; white phosphorus kills indiscriminately...
This is exactly why it is used sparingly, because it will kill our guys just as indiscriminately.
When it makes contact with skin, then it's absolutely irreversible damage, burning flesh to the bone," he says.
Wow good imagery Jeff. You should be a writer. But do you actually know this? Have you ever treated Willie Pete burns? Are you a doctor? No I didn't think so. WP is not harmless and will put a hurting on somebody, but so will high explosives and sharp metal fragments.

I can't wait until Italian TV starts eating up my documentary. I'll be exposing the fact that the US military is actually shooting people in Iraq. It's Europe so the thought of people actually shooting guns should be pretty mindblowing. I can just imagine the shock from the left now when they realize that fighting a war involves actually killing people.

UPDATE: Wizbang also has two posts on White Phospherous: When the Defendant is the US, the Guilty Bar is Lowered to the Floor and Killing Me Softly. His reasoning is similar to mine. Some commenters are also noting that we did not sign any of the conventions regulating its use.

Remember all the complaints about Depleted Uranium a few years ago? This is the same thing with a different part of the periodic table.

Movie Reviews: Jarhead, Hitchhiker's Guide, and Kingdom of Heaven

Joe Carter has a review of Jarhead over at Evangelical Outpost.
Francois Truffaut once claimed that there could be no such thing as an antiwar-movie since even a gruesome war movie makes war look energetic and exciting. If the French director had lived long enough to see Sam Mendes’ latest film he might have changed his opinion. Jarhead is so lifeless and dull that it could qualify to be the first true antiwar movie.
Now I really don't want to see the movie.

I rented Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Kingdom of Heaven this weekend. Long story short, they were both ok. Not spectacular but ok.

HHGttG surprised me. Originally, it was a Radio series on the BBC, which I have copies of on MP3. Then it went through incarnations as a TV series and several books, although possibly not in that order. What surprised me was that they changed a good bit of it for the movie. I understand much of this was Douglas Adams's idea, but that isn't a good excuse because many of the changes don't work.

The comedic timing of the film is just off until you get Ford and Arthur onto the Heart of Gold. You rush through the destruction of Earth so quickly you can't really take it in. This pacing means you also don't have any time to laugh at the early jokes.

Some of the changes do work for me. In the books and radio series, Arthur Dent is a pitiful earth monkey who has a profound effect on the universe because he's the only survivor of Earth's destruction. In the movie he's far less pitiful and loserly. They accomplish this transformation mostly by making Trillian his love interest. To make up for turning Arthur interesting, they turn Zaphod into a worthless twit and add a whole bunch of stuff to the middle of the movie that doesn't belong there. Ah well, at least it was just a rental.

Kingdom of Heaven is to medieval history what Gladiator is to Roman history. Both are Ridley Scott films. Both tell the story he wants to tell with little regard for actual history. There are good fight and battle scenes, none of which have any particular historical accuracy at all. The swordplay is wrong. The battle tactics are wrong. There is a lot that is wrong. But it looks good. So if you want a movie that has a lot wrong with it, but looks good, then this is a good choice. It made me want to take my sword off the wall and give some milk jugs what for.

Kingdom of Heaven got a lot of bad press when it initially came out. Some reviewers thought the movie showed a very one sided portrayal of Christians and Muslims. This is mostly true. There are token Christians who are "enlightened" and tolerant and token Muslims who aren't. Generally devout Christians are portrayed badly while devout Muslims aren't generally portrayed at all. The overall theme of the movie is that Muslims, Christians, and Jews really aren't any different and we should just live in peace and toleration. The problem is that the movie comes to no conclusions about how to accomplish this when individuals on all sides want the conflict to occur and will actively engineer it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Today in Technology

A couple articles from Gizmag caught my eye today.

The first is that Japanese entrepreneur Daisuke Enomoto will be the next civilian on the International Space Station. Dice-K, as he is referred to, is a technology company exec and investment advisor. The good news is that Dice-K shouldn't have any trouble adjusting to the cramped quarters on the ISS which is still larger than a typical Tokyo apartment.

The second is that someone has shoehorned a 1000cc 180 horsepower sportbike engine into the Smart. This has turned the minute motorcar into a tiny terror that does the quartermile in the 12s. This is really scary. Not because you have a little car that goes very fast. That is kinda cool. No, the problem is that the Smart has been declared the worst cornering car ever by Top Gear. It is tall, skinny, and short. The worse of all possible worlds in terms of cornering. This wasn't a problem when it was also slow, but putting a fast engine in one is creating a widow maker.

Marriage and Arguments

Behold: the Graph. Empirical proof that men cannot win arguments post-marriage. You are immersed.

UPDATE: Amybear has informed me that I will be allowed to win some arguments once we are married. Specifically, I will be allowed to win the ones we have over things she doesn't actually care about. Nice to know that I may decide whether Miller Lite "tastes great" or is "less filling" for my entire household.

General's Test

King Edward I
You scored 72 Wisdom, 69 Tactics, 56 Guts, and 65 Ruthlessness!
Or rather, King Edward the Longshanks if you've seen Braveheart. You, like Edward, are incredibly smart and shrewd, but you win at any costs.... William Wallace died at his hands after a fierce Scottish rebellion against his reign. Despite his reputation though, Longshanks had the best interests of his people at heart. But God help you if you got on his bad side.
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Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on OkCupid

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Election Anniversary

The president was elected a year ago yesterday. I've been hard on him lately. Just like La Shawn Barber, I'd like to reiterate how glad I am that he won instead of Lurch.

Summer Solstice

I don't live in a convertable climate, but I have to admit that the new Pontaic Solstice is looking good. I won't buy one anytime soon, but if they're still making it when my mid life crisis hits I definitely start shopping the used market. Others seem to be having a similar reaction because the assembly plant in Wilmington is up to three shifts now.

Edmund's has picked it as the most significant new car. Maybe. The technology going into it for it's price is pretty amazing. Plus it's an American made roadster, previously you had to look to Mazda or Honda or BMW for one. Neither of those worked for me. The S2000 has no torque, the BMW too expensive, and the Miata is just too small. Seriously, have you ever seen a Miata driver who was over five foot eight? If you meet one, ask how much they had to modify the seats so they could fit. Seriously, ask them and they will tell you.

Plus it looks incredible. The new Miata looks like a jelly bean. The Solstice has curves. It is sexy and extravagant, an impression hammered home by the complete lack of trunk space. At 3000 lbs. I'd like to see a little more power. Not this much, but a turbocharged inline-four or even V6 would be great. Plans for a turbo four are out there.

Rule of Law

One of the things I really don't understand about liberals is that they make a huge deal about concepts like Rule of Law and Precedent. Then they throw all that out whenever they want. This seems to be pissing Dale Franks off too. Here is a good taste:
This is a microcosm of whole problem with the way the Left views the Courts. They view the Courts as another governing branch, which makes interest in "proper results" and "looking like America" and "making history" important to them. But the Judiciary is not a governing branch. At best, it's a referee for the real governing branches, the executive and the legislative.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

SBC Denies People Water

A lot of people out there may have heard the story: Southern Baptists denied hurricaine survivors water because it came from Anheuser-Busch. Oh, that beer water would taint their very souls! Better for them to die than allow them to drink it!

Turns out it's a damn lie. The Baptists didn't distribute Busch's water, but that's because they didn't need to. They had more than enough water to go around, so they held the Anheuser water in reserve. Had they needed it, they would have used it.

Quiz Time

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

Via Hube.


My title graphics don't seem to be loading. I'll have to see about hosting them on a different site. I'm currently using Roadfly and they seem to be reworking what services are allowed for free.

UPDATE: Thanks to Izzy who suggested Photobucket. I've switched the graphics over and we shall soon see if they work. Yup they do.

As an aside, I can tell my blog has really grown just from the amount of time it takes to republish the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Faith and Reason

Joan has written a good paper on the Senses vs. Reason philosophical debate. She posted a copy on her latest blog entry.

I don't necessarily agree with these sorts of debates. Senses vs. Reason seems to be a false dichotomy. Your senses can be lead astray as it is not possible to perceive everything. Anyone who has examined witness testimony will realize that people's senses are very unreliable. Your reason can also be lead astray. Most of Aristotle's scientific work is crap for this reason. In ancient Greece, the great philosophers did not dirty their hands with experimentation. That would be turning great thinking into the work of mere tradesmen.

So the truth is that you need both. Sense and Reason inform each other. Together they bring you closer to the Truth than either can separately. Sense informs Reason and grounds it. Reason allows multiple senses (and individuals) to be combined into a more accurate whole. Which one of the two is more reliable depends on the specifics of each case.

Now I'm a Christian. I would hope my regular readers would have figured this out by now. Another false dichotomy we Christians encounter a lot is Faith vs. Reason. The truth is that both are necessary.

Reason is a great tool. God gave it to us after all. The problem with the Faith or Reason debate is getting the "Reason" side started. You need first principles to reason from. While those can be achieved by starting from conclusions that have already been reached previously, this is really just moving the starting point. Those conclusions had to come from somewhere, etc., etc. At some point you come down to foundational assumptions. These could be empirically derived or just "reasonable" basics. The point is that these things cannot be proven, they just have to be assumed or postulated without proof.

So what is Faith? The writer of Hebrews says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Faith is the proof for the unprovable assumptions. It is the starting point.

This doesn't have to be religious faith either. This is any faith. Faith that the scientific methodology was valid that you used to generate your foundational empirical assumption. Faith that that this result is has wide enough applicability to be useful. It all comes down to faith one way or another.

Which is why the Reason not Faith argument does work. Faith is not the antithesis of Reason, at least it doesn't have to be. Faith is not where Reason stops. Faith is where Reason starts. It is faith in both your first principles and in the reasoning process itself that allows Reason to operate in the first place. It is the foundation of Reason. Reason is built on a bedrock of Faith.

Now Faith can be misled just as your senses can be misled. People have faith in very silly things. Faith alone is pretty weak proof of anything and Reason can greatly reduce the burden of Faith necessary for belief. Ideally the conclusions reached by Reason should inform Faith, just as the assumptions made by Faith are the feedstock of Reason. Really, neither can exist alone for long.

The right answer is Faith and Reason not Faith or Reason.

Christian Healthcare

Joe Carter is discussing taking "social justice" issues back for the Church starting with Healthcare:
These "church plans," as they are known in the insurance industry, attempt to fulfill the Biblical admonition to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) by bringing Christians together to share the cost of their medical bills.

Although the plans differ in details, their basic premise is similar to health insurance programs. Members send a monthly check -- a "share" rather than a “premium”-- ranging from $100 to $400, either to the plan or directly to those the plan designates with "needs." The members also agree to send cards and letters or to pray for those members who are sick or injured.
This seems like an bad idea to me. If run properly this sort of plan will work like health insurer (give or take). "Shares" might be higher or lower than normal insurance and coverage would vary as well. If run improperly, this could defraud the plan members and be a poor witness for the Church at the same time. Since there is no regulation of these things, it's a coin toss which plan will do which. If you're lucky you will roughly break even. If you are unlucky you lose out. There is no win here. Which means on average you still wind up behind. From a purely financial perspective, it is a bad idea. This is medical coverage in the same way that the lottery is an investment plan.

But more importantly, should the Church even be doing this? No, this is just taking the Church where it really doesn't belong. In the end this is just a business, albeit a non-profit one. Does the Church need to be involved? No. Is this the image of the way christians are supposed to help one another? Not really. This isn't charity or communal sharing. This is a purely contractual business relationship. It does not meet the definition of true Christian sharing found in Acts.

Is health insurance inherently unchristian? No. So why are we inventing an inferior wheel? I'll have to go with the wisdom of the Apostles on this one, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables." When you look at the churches who have been heavily influenced by concerns of "social justice" it has taken over their church to the detriment of ministering the Word. It is just arrogant to think that we wouldn't follow the same path.

This isn't even touching on the fact that "social justice" is not social but political. It generally isn't just either.

Disappointment in Alito

From Instapundit:
On the other hand, there's this smoking gun: "As for Judge Alito's trumpet skills, the former band leader said, 'he certainly was no virtuoso.'"
As a former trumpet player, I don't think I can stand behind a judge with shoddy horn technique. Being a crappy musician might have been good enough for Presidents like Bill Clinton or Attorney Generals like John "the Singing Senator" Ashcroft, but Supreme Court Justices are life appointments and must be held to a higher standard. My disappointment with the president grows along with my sarcasm.