Just a little ahead of the blogosphere, but still doing his part.

October 31, 2008

[Note:  There will be an abundance of thoughtful and serious articles written today about the pivotal event that took place on October 31, 1517.  Challies‘ 2008 Reformation Day Symposium will have links to dozens of those articles.  If you are looking for serious, this is not one of them.]

Today is the 491st anniversary of the day on which Martin Luther, published an “article” that outlined his objections to some of the theological doctrines and practices that were common in his day.  He figured it was a good way to express his thoughts and get reactions from others.  The title of the article that he published 491 years ago today was Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences.  That was quite a mouthful, but it, and the contents of the article were intended to shock readers and elicit a strong reaction.  And, that it did.

Luther published his article, not on the World Wide Web, as Al Gore had not yet invented it, but on a site that was reflective of the low-technology, that characterized the early 1500’s.  He published it where people customarily went to be enlightened by reading articles written by other persons who had an interest in sharing their thoughts.  The site where Luther and others published their articles was the door to the Castle Church in Luther’s hometown of Wittenburg, Germany. 

When articles were written in Luther’s day, the term they might have used for publishing was “nailing.”  I am not certain when the term changed from “nailing” to “posting.”  But “nailing” was the literal means by which they physically published their articles on the door. 

And even more interesting, “nailing” is exactly what Luther did to the object of this particular article.

At the time Luther posted, sorry, “nailed” his article, he invited comments from his readers.  Based on the information I found, Luther evidently had a comment policy for this particular article which was found at the site.  It was originally in German, but here is the translation:

Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will the the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and dully appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place.  He requests that whoever cannot be present personally, to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.

Isn’t it interesting that article writers today, who have adopted the name “bloggers,” share in Luther’s desire and anticipation that someone will read their article and make a comment.  Apparently Luther received lots of comments to this particular “nailing.”  He even received comments from the POPE.  Can you believe it, the Pope!  Pope Leo X apparently objected to what Luther had written.  And from what I was able to read about this exchange, apparently Luther himself got involved in the comment thread, back and forth with the Pope.

I was not able to determine which of the 95 points that Luther wrote about in his “nailing” were the ones the Pope was most upset about.  That said, I thought number 79 might have hit pretty close to home.  Maybe Leo thought the same.  In the end, it seems that Martin Luther and Pope Leo X ultimately agreed to disagree.

By no means trying to suggest that anything I will ever write will accomplish what Luther’s writing did, but I wonder if he ever imagined that his “Disputation” would have resulted in what IT did?  Words matter, and who knows what blaze might be ignited by the collection and assembling of words that appear in our day in some “nailing” out in cyberspace?


Why I could NEVER vote for Barry Obama.

October 29, 2008

As readers of this site may remember during the Republican presidential primaries, I was not especially a fan on John McCain.  His selection of Sarah Palin for his vice-presidential running mate helped me like him a bit more, but still, he is just not my guy.

That said, I have already cast my ballot for him, by way of early voting.  But in many respects, it is less because I am voting FOR him, and more because I am voting AGAINST Barry.  There are lots of reasons to NOT vote for Barry.  Here are a few of the big ones for me.  These are not in rank order, just a list.

1.  Economic and tax policies matter.  Barry is unapologetic about his slip of the tongue with Joe the Plumber.  He intends to redistribute wealth, and whether the adjective term sits well with you or not, socialist is one that works for me to describe this approach to government revenue and spending.  Furthermore, his story keeps changing about the threshold for where taxes will increase.  It used to be $250k, now it is $200k according to Barry.  And Joe Biden has said that threshold is $150.  Do I hear $100, 75, 50?

2.  Foreign policy matters.  Barry is a lightweight in very many respects.  His resume is thin on virtually every aspect of the duties associated with the presidency.  But he is perhaps thinnest on foreign policy.  His attitudes are beyond ignorant, or naive, they are dangerous.  And when his running mate promises a “testing” in the first 6 months of an Obama presidency, that is enough alone to say, “no thank you Barry.”

3.  Protection of innocent life matters.  Obama is indisputably the most liberally aggressive pro-murder-of-the-unborn, candidate EVER to arrive on the national scene.  His positions, as demonstrated by his voting record, make a mockery of even the usual democrat mantra about making “abortion safe, legal, but rare.”  You need look no further than his support of the Freedom of Choice acts for proof. 

4.  Associations matter.  While we all have acquaintances that we would like to have blotted out of our backgrounds, Barry Obama seems to collect the most suspicious variety like pocket change that gets put in a jar on the dresser every night.  His efforts to merely dismiss his close connections with domestic terrorists, convicted felons, racial and theological anarchists, and high ranking officials of government identified global terror networks, as simply being folks he has known in the past, is beyond troubling.  We have not heard the last from these folks, and I am unconvinced that these people reside only in Barry’s history.  I think they are very much a part of his, and therefore OUR future if he is elected President.

5.  A Liberal Trifecta matters.  It seems like a near certainty that both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate will be largely if not totally controlled by democrats.  A deadly liberal trifecta created by the addition of THE most extreme leftist president in U.S history will undo the nation as we know it.  You think we are leaving a mess for our children and grandchildren based on what is in place now in the way of debt and the like, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

This will warm your heart (or not).

October 27, 2008

To assert that an entire generation universally holds to some standard set of ideologies is preposterous.  If I look at my own generational peers, (reaching adulthood in the 1970’s) absolutely every political persuasion known to man would be represented.  This same magnitude of diversity could be said for just about any other measure of our intellectual pursuits, our interests, and our personal values.  I challenge anyone to prove otherwise as relates to my generation, or any other for that matter.

But alas, take heart.  Things are changing.  Take a look at OUR future!  These are the folks that say they are going to be running the world in 8 years.

An interesting video, well written, edited for great impact and dramatically performed.  I say “performed” because aside from maybe a half dozen or so of the people who appeared, none, in my judgment, would have been able to string together these thoughts without the assistance of someone, perhaps Eric Greenberg himself. 

So, where to begin with dissecting this propaganda?  Perhaps with the shameless indoctrination of children.  According to the script, all of the so-called Generation We’s will be of voting age in 8 years, meaning that everyone in this video must have been at least 10 years of age.  Some appeared to me to be more like 6 or 7 years old.  The production method for a video such as this is to have each person read the entire script, so that once the editing process begins, the producers can select the most impactful recitation of each point made.  Meaning that even the youngest were reading all of the assertions that were made in the video.  Even if this wasn’t indoctrination, it was at least exploitation. 

Or maybe a place to start would be the outrageous generalizations (We’s are more globally oriented, (what is the evidence); technologically adept (because you are comfortable with and can use a computer or play a video game?); less politically partisan (oh, so some of those 10, 11, and 12 year olds are already practicing non-partisanship?).

And how about that hopeful statement that the We’s are going to inherit a nation in decline.  Huh?  They say this as if it is fait accompli.  How was that decided?  Are the We’s also clairvoyant?  Sure we have problems that must be dealt with, but what exactly is it about our nation that allows for so certain a conclusion that it is in decline?    And then there are the contradictions.  Such as, they are the best educated generation, but the education systems are failing.  News break to the We’s…every generation in this country, has been better educated that the one preceding it.  You guys are not unique in this regard!  And your children, as a generation, will be better educated that YOU are.    Don’t be so fast to pat yourselves on the back.  But more to the point, is knowledge the same thing as wisdom?  I think it is NOT.

Or maybe I should start with the outright fabrications (the “We’s” will have a lower life span than their parents…how can they possibly know that?  If it is true, I suspect it will be the first time it has ever happened since some of the accounts in the Old Testament).  And then there is Eric Greenberg’s extraordinary ability to look into the future and discern with such certainty, that there will be this homogeneous value system that will be embraced by Generation We.  Perhaps there is a greater likelihood that the values he assigns to Generation We, are representative of his own.

No doubt Greenberg raises some interesting points and areas that frankly are concerns shared by more than just Generation We.  However, to assert that these matters will define the mission of this generation is absurd.  I have the privilege of interacting with a number of Millennials, a new bunch every year, and I can assure you that the issues raised in this video are not the heartbeat of the young people I am around.  And frankly, the ones I know seem much more hopeful, and far less despondent.  And they also seem to lack the animus for their parents’ generation that is reflected in the video by the intonations of the people reading the script when they mention the expression “Baby Boomers.”  It just seems to drip with disdain.

Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but this video strikes me as a product of unseasoned idealism, or maybe just plain old arrogance.  But in reflection, that is the mark of each generation as they reach their 20’s.  After all, they have this vast institutional knowledge, coupled with an unrecognized dearth of life-experience on which to rely.  And in their cockiness, they are primed and ready to solve ALL of the problems of the world.  How do I know?  Because I am certain I was right there doing the same thing 30-something years ago.

But, you know what?  This sort of thing has been going on since the beginning of human history.  And the first examples were a young(ish) couple, in a garden, a long time ago, half a world away from where most of my readers sit, thinking they had a better plan than their father.

By the way, did anyone happen to hear any mention of faith in this oh, so wonderful future world?  Nope, I didn’t catch it either.  Shall we assume then, that Generation We will be post-theonomous?

I wonder how the cost/benefit/risk was calculated?

October 25, 2008

Proposition 8 is the ballot item in California, which if passed November 4th, will amend the California constitution to permanently define marriage as between one man and one woman.  This would effectively reverse-the-reversal made by the California Supreme Court earlier this year when it struck down a voter approved measure to so define marriage in its traditional terms.

Let it first be said that I am not a resident of California (thank you, Lord), so I have no standing in the matter.  However, that is not to say that I don’t have an opinion.  Secondly, as I understand it, California already has some of the most progressive “partner rights” laws in the country, effectively granting same-sex partner privileges for such things as health care decision making and visitations and some of the other matters that the GLBT lobby has cried for as having been formerly denied to them because they lacked the legal status of a marriage.  So, “marriage” really is a straw man for them.  Insofar as “rights” and benefits are concerned, this is purely symbolic.  Finally, this whole matter is, to say the least, divisive.  There are militants on both sides of the issue, but they probably represent only a small percentage of Californians.  Still, virtually everyone has an opinion on the subject and many of them will vote on Prop. 8.  I have no idea how this may turn out at the polls.  But if the results are similar to what they were several years ago when voters were asked to indicate their opinion, the measure will likely pass by a significant margin.  That said, Barry Obama has indicated he is in favor of the defeat of Prop. 8, and he will draw lots of folks out to the polls, so who knows?

Irrespective of which side of this debate you are on, you must admit that it is amazing that major corporations would provide financial support to the groups seeking to defeat Prop. 8.  Or more to the point, why support EITHER side?  Why pick a side at all?  It seems like they are risking their reputations and more importantly their businesses.  I would love to have been able to listen in to the discussions (assuming there were any) as the decision makers weighed the cost of supporting such a divisive issue against the perceived benefits and risks.  Is the consumer buying power that great among GLBT’s in California to make this a no-brainer for them?  How about the buying power of the GLBT’s around the country?  Will that be enough to offset the potential losses from people around California and the rest of the country who might find support for the defeat of Prop. 8 to be repugnant?  How are these calculations made?

While consumers can certainly make their voices heard with the way they choose to do business with these companies, shareholders ought to really be outraged.  As owners of these companies, their profits have been reduced by the amount contributed in support of a cause they may have no interest in supporting.  A cause that, insofar as the core mission of these companies is concerned, there is NO correlation.  And unless the contributions can be rationalized as a “marketing expense” that produces increases in business in excess of potential losses of business, these really were dumb moves.

Here is a partial list of corporations who have contributed money to support the defeat of Proposition 8 in California.  These names were gathered from websites of major news sources, and groups, some in favor of, and some opposed to Proposition 8.  If there are corrections that need to be made to this list, I will be happy to do so, if you can provide verifiable evidence of an error.

Levi Strauss
Pacific Gas & Electric
Time Warner Cable

So, are you still thinking about that Mac for Christmas?  I had sort of tossed around an iPod Touch for my holiday wish list.  But now…not so much.  And as for an iPhone at some point in the future.  Gonna have to rethink that!  Good news is that I already have satellite TV, so that’s a switch I won’t have to make.

“It’s the economy stupid.” Well, yes and no!

October 24, 2008

Charles Krauthammer is a brilliant commentator.  He is generally regarded as a conservative, although he served in the Carter administration and was a speech writer for Walter Mondale.  And he holds what would be considered almost radical views on such things as legalized abortion and bio ethical issues.  He opposes the death penalty and intelligent design.  Yet on matters of foreign policy, you can find fewer clear heads. 

His article today on the presidential election and his choice of candidates brings attention to a matter that really has faded a lot with current headlines concentrating on the economy in the U.S. and around the world.

An excerpt:

The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.

Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who’s been cramming on these issues for the last year, who’s never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of “a world that stands as one”), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as “the tragedy of 9/11,” a term more appropriate for a bus accident?

Read the whole article here.

I think he’s on to something here.

October 24, 2008

Yesterday, columnist Jim Pinkerton wrote an article that provides an interesting thought.  And I am not talking about his Alinsky-Lucifer connection, but rather the point he makes near the end of the article.

I have been somewhat amazed that the associations that Barry Obama has with some rather unsavory characters has not gained more traction.  The fact that the mainstream media has not covered it on its own is well understood.  Their adoration for Barry has caused them to selectively abandon their journalistic objectivity and blood-thirst for substantive stories. 

But maybe the lack of coverage is not totally their fault.  Perhaps McCain and his campaign management have blown it strategically with respect to really demonstrating the pattern of behavior suggested by Barry’s embrace of radical colleagues.  Had McCain done so, perhaps even the leftist media would have succumbed to pressure and done their job.  After all, eventually they jumped on William Jefferson Clinton’s moral failure with Monica Lewinski, when the evidence was too great to allow them to continue to provide cover for him.  And recall that stories of his indiscretions were rampant before the famous blue dress affair.  Maybe that was the straw that broke the camels back…a la the “rule of three.”

When this year’s campaign is over and the debriefing takes place, win or lose, the McCain camp and all future republicans (who also will not be assisted by mainstream media investigative journalists) better take this “rule of three” thing to heart.  But equally, the “rule of three” can work against them.  Better watch who you keep company with if you desire to hold political office.

Tell me again how we’re responsible?

October 23, 2008

The subject of global warming (or climate change as its fear mongering proponents now call it since temperatures are so stubbornly unwilling to consistently rise) is a divisive subject.  It has become terribly politicized.  It is a cause celebre for the political left.  And global warming’s chief proponents are so off-putting to people who are even slightly to their right politically, that we have a difficult time hearing anything they say.  My case in point…AlGore, literally screams about global warming on many occasions, and I simply can’t hear him.

A meteorologist from a local television station mentioned this week that there had been a reduction in sunspots over the last couple of years, which he said may account for why there has been a “growing” of ice in the arctic and antarctic regions of the world.  I did some checking on this and guess what, he’s right.  Here are some charts that show historical incidence of sunspots.  Click on the graph to enlarge.  [Source:  N.A.S.A.]

Then, I found this chart that supports the idea that variations in solar radiation (read sunspots) affects global temperatures.  More sunspots/radiation, warmer temps, and vice versa.  But they also suggest that volcanic activity or lack thereof, is also a contributor to variations in global temperatures.  Click on the graph to enlarge.  [Source: Harris-Mann Climatology]

I think this is interesting stuff.

But wait!  I thought that global warming was caused by man?  That’s what we’ve been told.  Isn’t it our dependence on fossil fuels for extravagances like modern transportation and energy to produce goods.  I thought man was destroying the planet with his carelessness, inflexibility and indifference.  After all, it must surely have been all the automobile emissions and and smoke from factories that were the cause of the spike in temperatures back in 1100 B.C.  And the reputation for utter ruthlessness of the Vikings back in 1300 A.D. is well deserved considering the carbon footprint they left behind with all of their internal combustion engines.

This changes everything.  When temperature fluctuations boil down to matters that seem slightly beyond our control like the sun and geothermal and seismic activity, what are we to make of the doom saying of the left-leaning political elitists and Hollywood intellectuals?

Like a broken clock that tells the correct time twice a day, climate activists are right from time-to-time if you limit the discussion to temperatures alone.  To the extent that we find ourselves in one of those periods where sunspots are active and we have few or no volcanoes, they can correctly point to an increase in global temperatures.  And the good news for their credibility is, if they can time it just right, they can jump on the global cooling bandwagon because that period will also come.  Then rather than worrying about rolling up our pant legs in the heartland due to rising sea levels caused by the melting of arctic ice, they can convince us to begin wringing our hands that all the water on the planet will be caught up in ice, and ports like Houston and San Francisco will be miles from the ocean, as sealevels decrease. 

The problem for the global warming fanatics is that they are jousting with the wrong windmill.  I believe the term is quixotic.  Sure, mankind can and should do things to protect and preserve our environment.  I support well conceived and thoughtful initiatives that can make a real difference.  And I agree we should reduce our consumtion of oil, and especially our dependence on foriegn sources.  But as I have said elsewhere at this blog, these are for ecomonic and national security reasons. 

Sancho, tell them to saddle up and find a new cause.