Tuesday, October 31, 2006

University of Hawaii Football Breeds Strange Statistics

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe University of Hawaii has one heck of a good football team this year. At the moment, following last Saturday's 68-10 thrashing of Idaho, they lead the nation in Total Scoring (45.4 P/G), Total Offense (538.1 P/G), Passing Offense (421.9 P/G) & First Downs (26.4 P/G).

Quarterback Colt Brennan is the highest rated in the nation (180.0), has the highest completion percentage (74.0%), the most passing touchdowns (33) and would be first in individual passing (instead of third) except for the fact that he has been taken out of the last several games in the Third Quarter because of massive leads (and because one of his two rivals has played one more game).

The Odd Statistic is that, in spite of leading the nation in all of the Big Game statistics the UH Warriors leading individual scorer (Nate Ilaoa) is ranked only 36th in the nation and the team's second highest scorer (Davone Bass) is ranked 76th.

You'd think that, apart from QB Brennan, there would be a Heismann contender hiding in that offense somewhere! But you'd be wrong. You see, UH Football is a "team" sport and an "equal opportunity scoring employer."

For example, in last Saturday's Idaho matchup Colt Brennan threw for five touchdowns . . . to five different receivers! So far the team's passing touchdowns have been divided up between seven different receivers!

I'm not a really big UH Football fan (although I did attend their 42-13 drubbing of UNLV) but I know a good and balanced team when I see one--and the UH Warriors are a good and balanced team.

They will almost certainly find their way into a bowl game (at 6-2 they need one more win to be eligible) and, with four more games on their schedule, I can expect even more high-scoring entertainment from a fine group of athletes.

If you get a chance to watch Hawaii play Purdue (Nov. 25) or Oregon State (Dec. 2) [one of these two games will be broadcast on ESPN] just sit down, let the lawn grow and enjoy one of the most wide-open and exciting offensive teams in college football today. I guarantee that your mouth will be hanging open most of the game! They really are that good!

Go 'Bows!- - - er---ah---I mean, Go Warriors!

John Kerry's "Oops" . . . the Way HE Sees It

John Kerry says that he "botched a joke" about President Bush when he said the following at a political presentation at Pasadena Community College in Southern California yesterday:
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.
Just for fun, let's give Kerry the benefit of the doubt. His attempt at making a joke was muffed and was supposed to be about Bush, not our American soldiers, sailors, airmen/women & Marines (and let's not forget the Coast Guard!).

Let's try to rewrite the joke the way Kerry may have intended it:
You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, like President Bush, you get stuck in Iraq.
Wow, that's a howler! If that's Kerry's idea of a good, leg-slapping "good-un" then he might need to get out a little more often. "Life of the Party" he ain't!

If Kerry had told the joke that way, I suppose that it may not have been considered worthy of comment on the news or internet at all.

But, assumming this was what he meant to say, what does this joke reveal about Senator Kerry and what he apparantly thinks about things that really matter to us these days in the United States. My take is as follows:

1. Kerry doesn't take the "war in Iraq" seriously. Even the most vitriolic critics of the Vietnam War (Kerry among them) did not crack jokes about that war. Americans were dying and sacrificing their lives. Vietnam critics were uniformly serious, sober and angry about that war. They believed that the issue was too serious to trivialize by turning what they perceived as needless suffering and tragedy into a joke.

Apparently times have changed and this time around Kerry sees the "war in Iraq" and those elected by the American people to lead us in ths war as worthy of a "joke." Kerry seems to find it appropriate to say that the death of American troops and the wanton slaughter of hundreds of innocent Iraqis is a subject that he can introduce by making fun of the situation.

Sort of like, "Hey, before I talk about the horrors of death and destruction that is needlessly taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the deluded and deceitful policies of our President and his ilk, I'd like to lighten things a bit by telling a joke about the need for a good education (after all, you are students here) and what a doofus our President is to have gotten us into this silly mess. . . Did you hear the one about the Commander in Chief who was so dumb ("How Dumb was he?) . . . He was so dumb he got us into this big mess in Iraq with people getting killed and terrorism on the rise and . . . and . . . uh . . . THAT'S how stupid and dumb he is!" (cut to laugh track here)

How can we take a man seriously about his position on a serious matter when he cannot stop himself from telling an unfunny joke about it? And, to top it off, botching the joke . . . as if someone else had written it and he had never bothered to read it ahead of time! Now THAT'S up-close and personal!

2. Kerry's memory is apparently failing to the point where he cannot remember the amusing revelations during his 2004 Presidential campaign that compared his academic record with that of George Bush . . . a comparison that showed Kerry to have been LESS of an achiever than "W." (And that is no mean feat, considering how badly average Bush was in school!)

(Aside): I'm reminded of an appropriate and self-effacing joke President Bush told a group of Texas high school students shortly after being elected President for the first time, "I am standing here before you today and living proof that, in America, anyone, even someone with a "C" average, can become President of the United States."

Can anyone see Kerry telling such a joke on himself and his own academic mediocrity? Of course not! As I recall, someone even found their respective IQ scores and Bush edged him out there, too!

Why tell a joke that degrades the President of the United States when the objective facts of history prove that Kerry himself is even more qualified to be the "brunt" of it? Is it because Kerry's memory is that bad? Or is it that what Kerry wants to believe is true is more real to him than objective reality itself? Either way, it does not speak well to Kerry's qualifications to be a leader or a critic of our national foreign or demestic policies.

3. Kerry is completely unaware of how this sort of joke goes down with the troops that he so vehemently claims to "support."

Joking about how only a stupid idiot could have gotten us into the "war in Iraq" will not sound particularly "supportive" to a Marine Private hunkered down on a Baghdad rooftop searching for snipers who are trying very hard to kill him.

It's as though Kerry said, "You poor soldier. I feel so sorry for you. There you sit in harm's way, placed there by stupid orders from an idiot President telling equally moronic and incompetent military Generals and Defense Secretaries what they should be doing and how they should do it. You shouldn't be where you are doing what you are doing. It is a waste of your time and, quite possibly, a waste of your life. If any of your buddies have died, that was a waste, too. You are, of course, "heros" (perhaps just like those US soldiers in Vietnam who raped and pillaged and murdered like Ghengis Khan and cut off people's ears and brought shame and humiliation to our nation years ago). If I were President you wouldn't be there at all . . . or else you would be there with 50,000 more troops . . . or maybe with lots and lots more troops (which I could have accommodated without a draft, of course) . . . or maybe you would be just redepoloyed to Taiwan or Okinawa or along the Iraqi border perimeter or sitting inside a protective enclosure while the Iraqi forces that you would not have been allowed to train would be carrying the burden of their country instead of us. Something like that. But it would be different than what we have now . . . and better. Whatever it might be. I can promise you that because I have a plan!"

Now, maybe this isn't very fair. But, knowing as I do, many military folks who have served or are still serving our country in Iraq and/or Afghanistan (or both!) I can tell you that this is what most of them "hear" when they listen to what Senator Kerry actually says . . . or means to say . . . whichever suits him at the moment.

4. Kerry is a threat to the peace, unity and security of the Democratic Party in the United States. He is a liability and a fool's fool . . . especially if he actually believes the sort of things he has said both yesterday and today (in his unhinged official press release). Perhaps, as Dean Barnett (guest blogger at Hugh Hewitt) puts it, Kerry is a secret Karl Rove operative timed to undermine and destroy the Democrat attempt to take over the U.S. Congress in next week's mid-term national elections.

But the odd thing is that many in the Democratic Party will be cheering him on for attacking Bush straight on and for not "backing down" or apologizing for something he actually said but, as everybody knows, did not actually mean to say which is a very different matter entirely.

5. Kerry's lack of character was shown not so much by this joke, whether misspoken or not--but by his volcanic reaction to criticism of his gaffe.

When a man blames everyone else when he makes a (supposed) mistake then that man is either in denial or otherwise suffering from some sort of neurotic delusion.

When a man's motivation in national affairs is more driven by anger and hate and ridicule of others than a driving passion for what is good or right then that man is clearly lacking in both focus and substance.

Kerry strikes me as almost a caricature of a man of substance. He is T.S. Eliot's "hollow man." He is not a "bang" but a "whimper." He is Shakespeare's "tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

And, most of all . . . he is not funny.

Update: The BBC has an interesting take on this matter . . . one with which I wholeheartedly agree!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Honest Quote of the Day

At least he's honest!
From a piece at Atlas, with a killer quote:

The invaluable Brussels Journal recently translated an interview with the writer Oscar van den Boogaard from the Belgian paper De Standaard. A Dutch gay “humanist” (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool), Mr. van den Boogaard was reflecting on the accelerating Islamification of the Continent and concluding that the jig was up for the Europe he loved. “I am not a warrior, but who is?” he shrugged. “I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”
HT: Maggie's Farm

14-Year Old Iraqi Boy Beheaded for Being a Christian

If someone tries to tell you that this is not a religious conflict we are seeing in Iraq or around the world just point them to this article on the Assyrian International News Agency website:
(AINA) -- According to the Assyrian website ankawa.com, a 14 year old Christian Assyrian boy, Ayad Tariq, from Baqouba, Iraq was decapitated at his work place on October 21.

Ayad Tariq was working his 12 hour shift, maintaining an electric generator, when a group of disguised Muslim insurgents walked in at the beginning of his shift shortly after 6 a.m. and asked him for his ID.

According to another employee who witnessed the events, and who hid when he saw the insurgents approach, the insurgents questioned Ayad after seeing that his ID stated "Christian", asking if he was truly a "Christian sinner." Ayad replied "yes, I am Christian but I am not a sinner." The insurgents quickly said this is a "dirty Christian sinner!" Then they proceeded to each hold one limb, shouting "Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!" while beheading the boy.
Pray for Ayad, his family and the Christian communities in Iraq. No doubt Ayad is now numbered among those described by John in Revelation 20:4:
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Are You a Republican or a Democrat? Here's a Test...

Harold Ford, Democrat candidate for Senate in Tennessee, offers this bit of wisdom on the difference between Democrats and Republicans:
My friend Lincoln Davis who chairs our campaign says there are, there's one big difference between us and misfortunate Republicans when it comes to our faith: he said that Republicans fear the Lord; he said Democrats fear AND love the Lord.
If you can't believe this man actually said this then check out the interview tape here and see for yourself. The way I see it, this is a scurrilous blasphemy against the Body of Christ and the person of our Lord, himself. This is not a Democrat or a Republican matter. Republicans such as Pat Robertson make such outlandish and disgraceful comments all the time. No matter who says it, however, it is equally unacceptable.

If Ford has a pastor, I hope he/she has the courage to gently correct him by speaking the truth in love. Unless, of course, his pastor is a Republican, in which case he/she would only speak the truth.

John Hinderaker at Powerline adds this thought:
"Misfortunate"? If he were a Republican, he'd be stupid.

Friday, October 27, 2006

High Sierra Vacation 2006

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Half Dome from Olmstead Point

Well, my brother and I did it again! Hiking and fly fishing in the Sierra Nevada (you can see previous trips here and here).

This year I couldn't get over to California until the first week of October. A major storm was threatenting to bring wind and snow across the mountains so we kept our hikes more modest than usual. The storm never materialized but, finding ourselves in the midst of all the glorious Fall foliage, we found plenty to see and do and enjoy in any case!

Our first hike was up Mine Creek from just below the Tioga Lodge (which is just below Tioga Pass on the east side of Yosemite National Park). The trail is very easy as it winds past the remains of Bennettville, an old mining camp associated with the abandoned Great Sierra Mine nearby.

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Remains of Bennettville

Soon comes Shell Lake and then Fantail Lake.

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Fantail Lake

The sky was thick with dark and dreary clouds but the sun would burst through every once in a while and blind us with the brilliant yellows of the high elevation scrub willows that seemed to be everywhere!

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Fantail Lake

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Mine Creek

Behind us rose 13,057 foot Mt. Dana with either the season's first or second dusting of snow.

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Mt. Dana with Fantail Lake

Then came a slightly more vigorous climb up to Spuller Lake.

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Looking up toward Spuller Lake from above Fantail Lake

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Spuller Lake & Mt. Dana

Just above this Spuller is a good view down into the neighboring canyon where we could see White Mountain towering above Green Treble and Big Horn Lakes below.

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Big Horn Lake and White Mountain

We caught few fish in the lakes but did catch (and release) many small Brookies and Rainbows from the creek.

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Along the trail

On the return the view of the road winding down Tioga/Lee Vining Canyon was, as always, breathtaking.

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Tioga Pass Road

A drive up to Lundy Lake brought us even more glorious Fall colors

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Along Lundy Creek

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Along Lundy Creek

as well as a nice Rainbow or two caught downstream in Lundy Creek.

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Lundy Creek Rainbow-Photo by my brother

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Lundy Lake

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Lundy Lake Aspens

Above Lundy Lake I tripped on a beaver-cut tree stump and smashed my digital camera into a granite boulder. From then on my photos were taken with disposable cameras (sigh).

Later, above June and Silver Lake (south of Lee Vining), we wound our way beneath Mt. Carson

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Aspens & Mt. Carson

up two separate canyons to Yost Lake

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Yost Lake

and Fern Lake.

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Fern Lake

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Me at Yost Lake--Photo by my brother

Although Fern is the prettier of the two they proved to be little more than large ponds or meadow lakes, shallow, filled and filling with sediment. Even so, we caught a few fish in Fern and enjoyed the colorful Aspen and willows.

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Aspens near Fern Lake

Mono Lake was also worth a visit as we stood among the professional photographers watching the sun rise on the tufa formations at Navy Beach.

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Navy Beach Tufa, Mono Lake

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Navy Beach Tufa, Mono Lake

Aspens were also in full glory along the lower stretches of Lee Vining Creek as it found its way into the briney expanse of Mono.

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Along Lee Vining Creek

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Along Lee Vining Creek

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Along Lee Vining Creek

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Along Lee Vining Creek

Several days later, on our way back to Modesto, we passed through South Lake Tahoe and over State Route 89 to Hope Valley.

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Hope Valley

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Hope Valley, Little Carson River with Freel's Peak looking east

Wonderful colors and scenery followed us all the way over Carson Pass (on State Route 88) and down to the San Joaquin Valley where our annual adventure came to a close.

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Hope Valley aspens

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High Country ranch, Hope Valley

I hope you enjoyed sharing the trip with us!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Covenant Presbyterians Propose a Single Essential for Faith

In their latest "Covenant Connection" newsletter the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, in an article by Cynthia Campbell, President of McCormick Theological Seminary, suggest that,
"When you come right down to it, there is only one Christian essential: that Jesus Christ is Lord and through him, we believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All the rest of doctrine is commentary."
I agree. But I also suggest that the "commentary" is what puts flesh and blood onto an otherwise string of empty words devoid of any meaning in and of themselves.

So what if someone cries, "Lord! Lord!"? Jesus himself declares that saying the words does not gain entry into the Kingdom of Heaven for anyone. (Matthew 7:21) The words of the traditional Christian confession of faith that "Jesus Christ is Lord" is not the "essential" at all, but a brief, summary, short-hand version of the real essential which is, in its fulness, revealed in the holy Word of God.

The scriptural context of the confessional statement makes it clear that the essential efficacy of that confession rests not just in the confession itself, but in repentance (in accordance with the moral law revealed by God) and in authentic faith in the One (Jesus Christ) through whom God has brought salvation to the world.

For two thousand years the Church, the new covenant people of God, has asserted that this moral law precludes and forbids the normalization of sexual relations between members of the same sex.

It is this interpretation and similar interpretations of many other declarations and revelations from scripture that give teeth and substance to the Christian confession of faith.

The essence of the Christian faith is not and never has been subject to the eccentric whims or "scruples" of any one Christian believer. That which the Church considers to be "essential" is the faith which has been "once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3) (Note that the world "saints" is in the plural!)

The obvious fact that "faith" and moral behavior are inseparable is made clear in the "Historic Principals of Church Order" found in the first chapter of the PCUSA Book of Order. Here we read,
That truth is in order to goodness; and the great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness, according to our Savior's rule, "By their fruits ye shall know them." And that no opinion can be either more pernicious or more absurd that that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence what a man's opinions are. On the contrary, we are persuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otheriwse, it would be of no consequnce either to discover truth or to embrace it." (G-1.0304)
Jesus added that, "Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' . . . For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. all these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'" (Mark 7:15,21-22)

Just as a Sacrament is a sign that something far greater in substance and meaning in present, so also is the Christian confession, "Jesus is Lord," a symbolic representation of the essential substance and meaning of faith as found in its full context in scripture.

For those of us who adhere to the Reformed Faith, it is scripture itself that forms the only authoritative "commentary" on our confession of faith. It is here, in the living, Spirit-breathed Word of God that the true essentials of our faith are to be found.

These truths are, by the Holy Spirit, discerned, affirmed and articulated by the voice of the Church. In the end it is the Church as a whole who decides what is or what is not to be considered to be "essential" for its members.

When the Church adopts a principal of biblical faith or moral order and affirms it with a "shall" or "must" then such a principal of faith & life cannot be reasonably considered to be anything less than "essential" to the faith and life of the Church.

It would be nice, of course, if the "essential tenets of the Reformed Faith" could be reduced to a single sentence or two. But, then again, it would also be very foolish.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Photo of the Week

This photo was submitted this week to BBC on-line by Dr. Asif Ali. The picture shows a sunrise over End Point, Manipal, India. Wow!

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CNN Replaces Al-Jazeera As Terrorist's Propaganda Outlet of Choice

Move over Al-Jazeerah, CNN has decided that they should be the one's serving up the terrorist propaganda to the people of America.

But not just any old propaganda, either. CNN has now posted an on-line propaganda video made specifcally for an American audience by an Iraqi "insurgent" group calling itself the "Islamic Army of Iraq." The video clearly states that it is part of a PR campaign designed to influence public opinion in America.

The video gives American viewers the opportunity of watching American soldiers being shot down by Iraqi snipers.

Have you ever wondered how your close friend, husband or brother died in Iraq? Well, CNN may well be airing the actual moment of death for your friend or loved one.

I guess pictures of the caskets of slain U.S. troops are too tame these days. We now get to see them actually die.

Courtesy of the ones who murdered them.

Courtesy of CNN.

Southern Baptist Seminary Tells the Holy Spirit to "Get Lost"

Jesus once said that "the [Spirit] blows where it wills" but the Southern Baptist Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, begs to disaqgree.

The school has a policy that forbids faculty from speaking in tongues (either in public or private) or encouraging others to do so.

While speaking at a chapel service recently, new seminary trustee Rev. Dwight McKissic mentioned that he sometimes spoke in tongues during private prayer. This led to a reaffirmation and a strict enforcement of the policy.

The Associated Press story quotes the policy as follows
"Southwestern will not knowingly endorse in any way, advertise, or commend the conclusions of the contemporary charismatic movement including private prayer language. Neither will Southwestern knowingly employ professors or administrators who promote such practices."

Seminary President Paige Patterson did not allow a videotape of McKissic's sermon to be posted online or saved in the seminary's archives with the sermons of all chapel speakers.

. . . "I have opposed (speaking in tongues) for all of these years because I think it's an erroneous interpretation of the Bible."
No doubt these folks would never see the "Star of Bethlehem" (astrology) or accept the dreams of Jacob (Jungian) or the visions of Ezekiel, either (channeling). Apparently, at least at Southwestern Theological Seminary, the Southern Baptists have curtailed the freedom of the Holy Spirit by a vote of 36-1 (McKissic dissenting).

In a condescending nod to the rest of the Body of Christ, seminary President Patterson said he defends the right of other Christians to believe in speaking in tongues.

It was not clear, however, whether such Christians would be welcomed on his campus.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dems Blame Rove for Stock Market Surge

A spokesman for Democratic Congressional leaders publicly blamed Karl Rove for the NY Stock Exchanges record-breaking 12,000 close yesterday:
It should be obvious that the timing of this event has been manipulated to occur in the final weeks of a national campaign that has the Republican Party badly beaten and staggering against the ropes. The American people are smart enough to see through this ruse for what it is: a new ethical low-point by the "party of desparation."
No one actually said this, of course (I made it up). But don't be surprised if someone actually does say it in the next few days. (I'd suggest checking out comments at the Daily Kos for leads).

Just for the record, CNN writes,
The Dow Jones industrials jumped past the 12,000 mark for the first time in history Wednesday as a tame reading on inflation, surprisingly solid housing numbers and strong earnings pushed stocks higher.
I suppose that the only thing that would disappoint the Democrats more than this would be an American victory and withdrawl from the war in Iraq.

Pasadena Rose Parade Queen Wins Ugly Dress Award

Don't forget to blink when you look at the dresses worn by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses "Rose Queen" finalists or you might not be able to break out of the hypnotic trance for days! What were they thinking! (Oh, and congratulations to the winner, 17-year old Mary McCluggage!)

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HT: Pasadena Star-News

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shameful Quote of the Day

The following quote is embedded in a story published by The Independent based on an interview with Salmon Rushdie, the author whose novel, "The Satanic Verses," earned him a death fatwah by the Ayatollah Khomeini back in 1989. It is not clear from the context whether this quote represents the mind of Rushdie (whose quoted statements seem otherwise rational and insightful) or the mind of the interviewer/writer of the article. After reading the quote, let me know if you are able to figure out who the "most people" are (do you know any of them? I don't!):
When looking at the Christian fundamentalists of the United States, most people see an autonomous movement of superstitious madmen.

Earthquake in Hawaii

I live in Hawaii but am in Southern California until next Saturday. After worshiping with my Daughter #1 at Bel Air Presbyterian Church this morning we each found a message on our cell phones from my wonderful wife. The messages told us that there had been two major earthquakes (felt by my wife in Central Oahu) and that all electricity was out on Oahu and only one radio station (KSSK) was on the air.

The first quake, now determined to have been 6.6 on the Richter scale, hit about ten miles off the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.

By good fortune (or by God's grace and mercy) the quake took place at an early hour (a little after 7:00 am) on a Sunday morning. Although two hotels and the major hospital in Kailua/Kona were damaged and evacuated and two of the main roads on that island were closed there were no reports of either deaths or injuries.

The web page for Hawaii television station KITV posted some photos taken by folks on the Big Island. Here are two that you will probably not see on your CNN or FoxNews channels.

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This one (taken by Andrea Gomes) shows what looks like major structural damage to the famous Hulihe'e Palace in Kailua/Kona

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And this one (taken by Victor Yadon) shows a screen door with a hole in it where the family cat made a frantic exit during the quake!

Meanwhile, electricity is not expected to return to Central Oahu by tonight. With the weather being hot and humid with flash-flood warnings across the state and nearly 4 inches of rain around my home during the past two days my wife is finding it hard to laugh.

So far, however, even though a state of emergency has been declared for the state by Governor Linda Lingle, the earthquake does not appear to have produced a disaster . . . simply a colossal and very, very expensive inconvenience for a whole lot of people who have nowhere else to go.

Dalai Lama Says Muslim Terrorists are Simply "Mischievous" Like Some Christians, Jews and Buddhists

My post heading tells the whole story and it is a disgusting one. Unfortunately putting the quote in context doesn't help much either. Here it is (as cited by Reuters):
“Nowadays I often express that due to a few mischievous Muslims’ acts we should not consider all Muslims as something bad. That is very unfair,” the Dalai Lama told a news conference organized by a Rome university hosting him for a seminar.

“A few mischievous people you can find among fellows from all religions — among Muslims and Christians and Jews and Buddhists. To generalize is not correct,” he said.
Yes, I suppose we do hear about "mischievous" Christians cutting off the heads of little girls in Indonesia; "Mischievous" Jews cutting off the heads of Christians in Iraq, and; "Mischievous" Buddhists cutting off the heads of teachers in Thailand.

Or . . . maybe not. But the truth doesn't really matter to the Dalai Lama . . . as long as his words contribute to (as he puts it), "the promotion of religious harmony."

Ah, yes . . . "Mischievous!" Or, as one dictionary defines the word, "Playful in a naughty or teasing way."

Perhaps the phrase "Islamist terrorism" should now be replaced by the words, "Muslim naughtiness" and the phrase "War on Terrorism" by the words, "War on Mischievousness."

Now that's an inspiring phrase if I ever heard one! Thanks, Dalai, for the tip!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Harry, Rory & Cindy Reid . . . Live from Las Vegas!

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Things are dizzy in southern Nevada today!

I am presently in Pasadena attending a two-week course at Fuller Theological Seminary as part of the Doctory of Ministry (DMin.) degree program I began this past summer. It so happened that I had Friday afternoon and Saturday free so, having "seen all the sights" in LA already I acted on impulse and drove to Las Vegas, Nevada, a 4.5 hour drive (each way).

While heading south from Las Vegas to see Hoover Dam this afternoon (I'm now safely back at Fuller) I noticed two large billboards looming over US Interstate 415.

The first was an ad for Rory Reid's campaign for reelection to the Davis County Board of Commissioners. Rory, of course, is U.S. Senator Harry Reid's oldest son who may or may not have been serving on the County Board when it granted a rezoning request for property that brought a $1.1 million windfall profit to his father. The ethical impropriety in not reporting this transfer and sale of property to the Senate ethics committee (as required by law) is currently being critiqued as are the legality and ethical problems associated with the profiting from the sale of a piece of property that Reid apparently no longer owned.

The second billboard, not too far away from Rory's, was another campaign ad, this one for a "Cindy Reid" for reelection to the Nevada State Board of Education.

The name "Reid" seemed unlikely to be a mere coincidence so, when I could get online access this evening I checked and discovered two things about Cindy Reid:

1. She is Rory's wife, and;
2. She was never elected to the State Board of Education in the first place, but "appointed" (apparently to fill a vacancy?) by Nevada Governor Ned Guinn to serve a term that began on February 3, 2005 and will end on January 1, 2007.

I don't know what to make of this but it does look as though having the name "Reid" can go a long way in advancing a person's career in politics (at least in southern Nevada) . . . and keeps control of some very important government matters in the hands of people who are related to someone who seems to enjoy having his own hands in these matters as well!

Note: I do not want anyone to think that I am overlooking what is certainly a sincere, intelligent, informed and talented involvement in local politics by Rory and his wife. In reality, I commend them. But, given the recent revelations of how this sort of political nepotism can potentially be abused I thought this information might at least add something to the current discussion and debate over ethical misconduct among members of Congress.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

LA Times Headline of the Week: "Still No Palestinian Solution Set"

I don't know about you but I was bitterly disappointed when I read this headline in the LA Times' "Wednesday Briefing" section on page 2A this morning.
"Still No Palestinian Solution Set"
Along with everyone else I had been expecting that solution to have been announced today.


I wonder what could have gone wrong.

But I am grateful to the LA Times for keeping me up-to-date on the breaking news stories of the day.

As always, the LA Times is way ahead of everybody else when it comes to irrelevency.

Gates of Vienna: Uncle Sam Blocks Gates of Vienna (Among Others)

U.S. Department of the Interior Bans "Bird of Paradise" Blog

Yes, it's true. My blog...this blog...has been banned from viewing by the Department of the Interior.

According to news received from DOI employees, a block on certain web pages has been emposed on DOI computers. All "blogspot" addressess (including mine) have been blocked along with conservative-leaning web-sites such as:

Captain’s Quarters
Cox and Forkum
Gates of Vienna
Little Green Footballs
Michael J. Totten
Michelle Malkin
Power Line
Protein Wisdom
Rantings of a Sandmonkey
Roger L. Simon
The Adventures of Chester
The American Thinker
The Belmont Club
The Doctor is In

Web-blogs NOT blocked include (all politically "liberal"):

Democrat Underground
America blog
The Huffington Post
And, in fact, every blog linked to off of DailyKos seems to work.

I'm intrigued that Atrios, a "blogspot" blog, seems to still work????

In any case, I am proud to be found worthy of being "banned" along with other sites far more prestigious than myself. I am in good company.

Even so, I am curious...

Was it something I said?

Streisand's Intolerance Shines in Concert Stage Return

According to AP Barbara Streisand's recent return to the concert stage included the following sequence of events:
[T]he night's most riveting moment came during what was perhaps the only unscripted [Unscripted? Sure...with a "celebrity impersonator" sharing thestage?]-- and truly uncomfortable -- episode in the three-hour show. [That's why people paid a great deal of money and came to the concert...to feel uncomfortable?]

There was Streisand, enduring a smattering of very loud jeers as she and "George Bush" -- a celebrity impersonator -- muddled through a skit that portrayed the president as a bumbling idiot. [Now that sounds like a "polite" and "tolerant" thing to do.]

Though most of the crowd offered polite applause during the slightly
humorous routine, it got a bit too long, especially for a few in the audience who just wanted to hear Streisand sing like she had been doing for the past hour. [As Laura Ingraham would say, "Shut up and sing!"]

"Come on, be polite!" the well-known liberal implored during the sketch as she and "Bush" exchanged zingers. But one heckler wouldn't let up. And finally, Streisand let him have it. [Apparently this means, "You be polite. I'm so important that I don't have to be."]

"Shut the (expletive) up!" Streisand bellowed, drawing wild applause. "Shut up if you can't take a joke!" ["Bellowed?" No comment on that one. But the wild applause for a public expletive does reveal something about the sophistication of Streisand's fans.]

With that one F-word, the jeers ended. And the message was delivered -- no one gets away with trying to upstage Barbra Streisand, especially not in her hometown. [Translation: "I am so far above everyone else I can say and do anything I want. This is my concert and the hell with anyone who doesn't like it.]

Once the outburst (which Streisand later apologized for) was over, Streisand noted that "the artist's role is to disturb," and delivered a message of tolerance . [At least the irony is amusing.]
Even as a teenager I felt that Streisand was about as substantial a talent and personality as a piece of puffed rice. What particularly offended me even back then was the clear indication that she truly believed that she was a "diva" worthy of the money, fame, success and adoration that she received.

The silliness of the matter would be clearly shown if Streisand and Bush were put alongside each other on a Presidential ballot. The campaign and the election results would reveal two things: 1. Who the real bumbling idiot is, and; 2. Just how many moonbats there are in the far-out liberal left who would actually vote for their personification of "tolerance."

Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea Pops a Nuke

As a child growing up near San Francisco I was given a dog tag with my name on it. I didn't think of it at the time but later I figured out that dog tags were designed to identify a person's body. In my case, the dog tags were related to the "duck and cover" drills we had in my elementary school classes. For fire and earthquake drills we would exit the school. But "duck and cover" was designed to protect us from a nuclear attack.

After the successful resolution of the Cuban missile crisis we stopped the "duck and cover" drills. By that time the size of nuclear devices attached to intercontinental missiles was so large that "ducking and covering" would have served little purpose as a defensive response.

I still have my dog tag in a box in the garage. But maybe it's time to get it out again.

With North Korea setting off what appears to have been a small nuclear explosion earlier today there reappears, for the first time since the early 1060s, the possibility of a small nuclear device capable of being delivered to the US mainland by an intercontinental ballistic missile. I have no doubt that North Korea will soon have a rocket large enough to deliver some small piece of its nuclear arsenal as far as the West Coast.

On the other hand, I can't imagine that this missile would be able to hit much of anything within hundreds of miles of what it might be aimed at but that wouldn't be the point. The point would not be a strategic attack but a legitimate threat of a nuclear terror attack against the US if we should one day launch an attack against North Korea.

Of course, the threat of such an attack would be even more unsettling for folks in Japan. (I can see little deterrent value in North Korea aiming such a missile anywere else, either at China, Russia or even against the people of South Korea.)

My guess is that the US anti-ballistic missle defense system already being tested and minimally deployed is more than capable of shooting down virtually any missile that North Korea currently possesses or plans to building the near future. But the day will come when, should it last so long, North Korea (not to mention Iran) could surpass and bypass that level of technical sophistication.

I suppose that even more anti-missile development will be the result of all this. This will, of course, create a new incentive for folks in Russia and China to raise the stakes on their own development of similar technology (in order to maintain nuclear deterrent parity with the US).

This, in turn, will probably create more destabalization in the current world military balance and elevate the anxiety level of powerful countries who do not feel quite as safe as they used to feel.

As always, it will be the United States that will be blamed for destablizing world peace. The US will be seen as the agressor and will be condemned by everyone else for seeking to provide protection for its citizens against such an attack from such unstable and distrustful regimes.

But we would be remiss if we did not pursue such a defense in any case.

I really do not want to see my future grandchildren wearing dog tags and practicing "duck and cover" drills when they get into elementary school like I did.

As for a what should be done about North Korea? I have absolutely no idea. I'll leave that to the politicians who have absolutely no idea what they should do about North Korea, either.