Monday, June 26, 2006

University of Colorado Chancellor to Ward Churchill: You Should Be Fired

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingRemember Ward Churchill? The Native American activist and University of Colorado Professor (head of their Native American Studies department) who lied about being a Native American? Well, after months and months of going through the intricate maze of administrative and faculty review that protects and preserves a tenured professor like an Egyptian mummy, the University of Colorado Chancellor has determined that Mr. Churchill should be dismissed over issues related to research misconduct.

This decision is now, of course, subject to even more review by University faculty before any final outcome can be affirmed. In the mean time, Churchill continues to be paid . . .

You can read the Chancellor's full comments here if you are really, really interested in this.

Oh . . . If you are wondering about the picture . . . it is only there to remind you that Calvin Coolidge was every bit as much of a Native American as Ward Churchill.

Others Comment On the NY Time's Security Breach

Here are some sobering responses to the NY Time's publishing classified details of our government's surveillence program over international financial transactions:

Secretary of the Treasury John Snow's letter to the NY Times (Excerpt):
Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Read the whole thing here at Hugh Hewitt.

Lt. Tom Cotton (a Harvard Law School grad) writes the NY Times from Iraq (excerpt):
...As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here...

I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.
You can read the entire letter here at Powerline.

And Vice President Dick Cheney chimed in on the subject today with this comment (excerpts):
...The New York Times has now twice – two separate occasions – disclosed programs; both times they had been asked not to publish those stories by senior administration officials. They went ahead anyway. The leaks to The New York Times and the publishing of those leaks is very damaging...

These kinds of stories also adversely affect our relationships with people who work with us against the terrorists. In the future, they will be less likely to cooperate if they think the United States is incapable of keeping a secret.

...What is doubly disturbing for me is that not only have they gone forward with these stories, but they've been rewarded for it, for example, in the case of the terrorist surveillance program, by being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding journalism. I think that is a disgrace.
You can read the whole comment at Hugh Hewitt.

President Bush also adds a comment or two:
For people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America...

The disclosure of this program is disgraceful.
You can read the story on the President's comments here.

I, of course, have expressed my own feelings here and here and now I wish that I could add my name at the bottom of Secretary Snow's letter.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The NY Times--Your Source for All Classified Information

Not satisfied with publishing details of the US Government's classified program of monitoring international financial transactions as part of its "war on terrorism," the NY Times has, today, once again boldly taken another step towards what I earlier described as moving from "Fourth Estate" to "Fifth Column."

In publishing details of current military plans for troop reductions and redeployments in Iraq the paper admitted that the briefing from which the information was taken was a "classified briefing."

Why then, does the NY Times feel that it has the right to publish the details of that "classified briefing?" Doesn't "classified" mean, "keep it to yourselves, folks . . . we don't want the 'bad guys' to know about this"?

Well, it appears that the "bad guys" did find out about the briefing and they published it.

The Times states that
General Casey's briefing has remained a closely held secret, and it was described by American officials who agreed to discuss the details only on condition of anonymity.
I note that the paper did not use the phrase, "administration officials," but the oddly vague phrase, "American officials." I'm not sure what this imprecision means but it does raise questions about who these "American officials" might be.

Whoever they are, these folks had clearance to have either attended the classified briefing or to have received a detailed summary of it.

Their security clearance presumes that they will not go around telling major national newspapers classified information that they may come across while supposedly doing their jobs.

It is curious that the Times writer states that those who revealed this information to him were plural in number: "American officials."

Personally, I don't believe this. If it is one source then it is a leak. If it is more than one it is a conspiracy.

Maybe I'm naive, but if someone handed me a copy of "classified government information" I would head straight for the FBI and have the person arrested and charged with espionage, treason or both.

Apparently the NY Times does not consider their publishing of this classified material to be in any way "aiding and abetting" the dissemination of information obtained illegally from criminal felons.

I suppose that this just simply goes to prove the old adage that, "A man (or newspaper) is known for the company he (it) keeps."

From where I sit, I should hope that those responsible for publishing this information at the NY Times will have the opportunity to enjoy the company of their sources for many years inside a Federal penitentiary.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mission to Mexico 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Click on photo for slide show

I just returned from a mission trip with members of my congregation. The trip took us from Honolulu to Los Angeles to San Diego to Tijuana and, lastly, to a campground midway between Tijuana and Tecate where the 19 of us camped for five nights.

In the eastern edge of Los Floridas (east of Tijuana, we built a small, two-room house for a family of five. We worked under the guidance of the wonderful Christian border ministry called Amor.

If you would like to see a short, captioned slide show of the trip you can click on the picture above and enjoy the wonderful adventures of "Renn," a small, plastic dog that went along with us.

It took four days to build the house. No power tools were used. All lumber was local (Mexican) and of a quality that cannot be found at Home Depot! Even the cement for the foundation was hand mixed and hand "poured" shovel by shovel by shovel!

We also enjoyed leading a small neighborhood "Vacation Bible School" for the local children each afternoon and some of us even played a little "pick-up" soccer with them. There are, after all, many ways of sharing the good news of God's saving love in Jesus Christ!

As always those of us who went were blessed by "loving our neighbor" in obedience to our Lord, Jesus Christ. We enjoyed meeting and interacting with the Mexican people and in eating the local food. The sun was often hot. The strong afternoon winds blew sand and dust every afternoon (filling our tents each day) and there were strained muscles, hammered fingers, splinters and a whole lot of sweat poured out in love.

We pray that our efforts not only benefitted our Mexican family but their neighborhood and local community as well.

As a bonus, we visited the house we built two years ago and found the neighborhood and community growing with more employment, improved infrastructure, new businesses and even a nearly-completed multi-screen cinema complex!

May God bless the good people of Mexico.

Friday, June 23, 2006

John Kerry and Sadaam Hussein: When Words Mean Nothing

Captain Ed & John Hinderaker at Powerline have captured two items today that made me smile sadly.

John's post compares Senator Kerry's recently failed bill to withdraw Amnerican troops from Iraq by the summer of 2007 with his presidential campaign when he declared that such a strategy could cynicaly and unwisely be promoted by the GOP for political reasons.

Captain Ed's item concerns Sadaam's latest well-publicized "hunger strike" in protest of the recent murder of one of his defense attorneys; a hunger strike that consisted of the former President of Iraq skipping lunch . . . once.

The "Fourth Estate" as "Fifth Column"

Once again the NY & LA Times have decided that the interests of the enemies of the United States are more compelling that the interests of the people of the United States and the elected government which exists to "provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare."

By once again releasing classified information concerning anti-terrorism measures our American "Fourth Estate" has proven beyond a doubt that its delusions of grandeur and self-importance are greater than its respect for the U.S. Constitution.

By publicly exposing and releasing details of the cooperative efforts of the international community to trace financial transactions between potential terrorist organizations the NY/LA Times have officially laid claim to being legitimate heirs of the infamous legacy of the "Fifth Column."

I suppose that the promotion from "Fourth" to "Fifth" might be viewed by some as a step up.

I, on the other hand, see it as having more in common to a descent into hell

As Samuel Johnson once put it, "Hell is paved with good intentions."

Or, as T.S. Eliot put it,
The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.
Regardless of their intentions, the publishing of this and other classified information by these papers in defiance of adamant requests from the U.S. Government not to do so has undeniably compromised our national security and placed every one of us at greater risk to terrorism.

These publications have not only hurt the United States but, particularly in today's expose, many other nations as well; every nation that has cooperated in implementing the access to international financing data has been exposed as well.

Few in the United States will view this latest "revelation" as helpful and useful to any but those enemies of this country who are the targets of such surveillance.

Never before in my life have I been tempted to seek government suppression of the press. Yet never before in my life have I experienced the American press abusing its freedom of speech in such a blatant disregard for national security and the constitutionally established authority of the U.S. Government to "provide for the common defense."

It is incumbent upon the U.S. Attorney General to begin formal investigation of these matters immediately and in full view of the American and world public.

Not to do so will only encourage the "Fourth Estate" to morph even more completely into an even more bold and shameless "Fifth Column."

Related links to Hugh Hewitt (here, here, here here & here), the Weekly Standard (here & here), Powerline & Captain Ed (here & here).

I'm Back

I just returned last evening from a two-week trip to the Mainland. The trip began with a one-week Mission Trip to Mexico where 19 youth and adults from my congregation camped out and built a two-room house (10x20)house for a family in the eastern edge of La Florida, east of Tijuana. I'll post more on this later.

Afterwards daughter #3 and I enjoyed 2 days with daughter #1 in Los Angeles and then flew to Portland where we rendezvoused with my wonderful wife for a few days of real vacation and checking out possible colleges where #3 might attend when she graduates from high school next year.

Now I'm back. I'll post a little more often now. Aloha.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hawaiian Hibiscus

Here are some different photos of a single hibiscus flower taken this afternoon. I have been practicing on my "close-up" mode with my digital camera. It's still hit-or-miss but I think I "hit" more than I "missed" today! I hope you enjoy them. As a bonus I will post an on-line congratulations for whoever tells me what is wrong with these photos!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting...Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting...Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting...Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Two Views on Iran: Religious/Historical & Political/Secular--Which is Correct? You Decide

A very insightful interview with Princeton Professor Dr. Bernard Lewis (w/summary quotes at Hugh Hewitt) gives valuable background for understanding the Muslim world in general and Iran in particular. The conclusions are not encouraging. Excerpt:
We think of the defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union as a Western victory in the Cold War, and some of us credit President Reagan more particularly with that victory. For Osama bin Laden and his followers, this was a Muslim victory in the jihad. And if one looks at what actually happened, this is not an implausible interpretation. It was, after all, the Taliban in Afghanistan that drove the Red Army to defeat and collapse. And, as he put it, "We have now dealt successfully with the more deadly, the more dangerous of the two infidel powers. Dealing with the soft, pampered, and degenerate Americans will be easy."

In order to understand what is going on, one has to see the ongoing struggle within this larger perspective of the millennial struggle between the rival religions now, according to this view, in its final phase.

Let us turn to the Shi'a equivalent of this through the Iranian revolution . . .
On the other hand we have this exquisitely written description of an Iran blowing hot air, bluffing its way to power even as it begins to collapse from within. For J.R. Dunn and The American Thinker the best response to Iran is . . . to do nothing and let Iran hang itself on its own rope. Excerpt:
So what are they up to? Readers of this site will not be unaware of the contention that the entire business is a bluff, one designed to repel international interference until a nuclear weapon is in hand and Iran can move up a weight class into regional superpower status. But recent developments have raised yet another possibility: Iran may also be hoping to deliver a stinging humiliation to the U.S. without a shot being fired.
So, pretend you are the Bush administration. What would YOU do! (Besides pray, that is . . .)

Personally, I would like to believe that the second analysis is correct but prudence and reason both demand that I be inclined to that given by Dr. Lewis.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Don't Talk Stink About Canadian Liberal Politicians or They Will Shut You Both Down and Up

Joe Volpe, one of the leading contenders for leadership in Canada's Liberal Party (and thus a potential Prime Minister), was not amused by a new internet site entitled The site was created to poke fun at and satirize the revelation that two major political donors to Volpe's campaign turned out to be 11-year old twin brothers, children of someone who tried to squeeze out the maximum family campaign contribution possible.

The legality of such a contribution is in serious question, of course, and worthy of spoofing.

But Volpe, as detailed in a post by Stephen Taylor, called his buddies at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority and had them shut the site down. In an amazing demonstration of chutzpah, a Volpe spokesman emailed out this unabashed declaration of "victory" over political opposition:
My Office has had the website suspended through CIRA [Canadian Internet Registration Authority] and CDNS [Canadian Domain Name Services] and it will be down as soon as 6 p.m. I think the issue with the website has been dealt with. . . .
Here in the United States such a thing would be, of course, unthinkable . . . or would it?

Recent Congressional legislation attempting to regulate political content on the internet came dangerously close to putting a stranglehold on the very sort of "free speech" that just got throttled in Canada today.

Those in power, or who seek power, will always be tempted to use their influence to crush and disable those who threaten their ambitions.

It is particularly troubling when someone like a Joe Volpe not only acts out that temptation, sees nothing wrong in doing it and, heaven forbid, gets away with it!

It is my hope that those who might otherwise have supported Volpe will see that his approach to the political process poses a threat to everybody in Canada, Liberals as well as their Conservative rivals, and will abandon him like rats fleeing a sinking ship.

I could not resist sending him an email of my own:
Mr. Volpe, Be glad you are Canadian. If you attempted to pull this kind of bad political sportsmanship in the United States you would be blogged into well-deserved oblivion. No doubt your fellow countrymen will find the American model of political dismemberment worthy of imitation. Sincerely, . . .
Thank God we have a Bill of Rights that stands between us and an American Volpe wannabe.

Even so, given that the U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that the government can seize your property and turn it over to a private company we should not be so ignorant as to believe that they might someday rule that our "free speech" can be "seized" as well. We will do well to keep vigilant. After all, Canada is not that far away. Today, in fact, it appears to be too close for comfort!

John Witherspoon: Presbyterian Mid-Wife to the Founding of America

I have often discussed how the essence of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were derived from the Presbyterian theological/philosophical legacy of John Calvin.

A new essay by Roger Kimball in the New Criterion entitled, "The Forgotten Founder: John Witherspoon" helps demonstrate that it was not only Presbyterian thought but an actual Presbyterian named John Witherspoon who helped shape the emerging nation more than most of you may have been aware of before. Click on the link in the previous sentence to read the entire essay.

The essay begins with the following paragraph and from there it just gets better and better . . .
Who is the most unfairly neglected American Founding Father? You might think that none can be unfairly neglected, so many books about that distinguished coterie have been published lately. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington—whom have I left out? It has been a literary festival of Founders these last few years, and a good thing, too. But there is one figure, I believe, who has yet to get his due, and that is John Witherspoon (1723–1794). This Scotch Presbyterian divine came to America to preside over a distressed college in Princeton, New Jersey, and wound up transmitting to the colonies critical principles of the Scottish Enlightenment and helped to preside over the birth and consolidation of American independence

"A Typo to Die For" or "Why Bother?"

I Just caught this wonderful typo in the April 24/May 1, 2006 issue of The Presbyterian Outlook. (Click on picture to see the original) A summary of the good part reads: “He was preceded in death by his wife . . . Survivors include . . . two sisters and a bother . . .” As someone who has one older bother brother of my own I couldn’t keep from laughing! (I might add that Robert Ball, also mentioned in the obit section, was a good man, a friend from my youth.)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, June 01, 2006

This Might Turn You Into a Boxing Fan!

Even if you hate boxing you've got to love this story on Wladimir Klitschko, a current heavyweight boxing champion you have never heard of before.

By the time you finish reading this link to Mary Katherine Ham's post at you will be a BIG fan of the Ukrainian World Heavyweight Champion boxer with a PhD., a helicopter license and a love for America.

Go it. You know you want to!