Monday, January 31, 2005
In terms of numbers, this election is at WORST on a par with the historic 1964 Civil Rights movement in the US. 10 million Iraqis voted. Last report I saw tallied nine suicide attacks with a couple dozen reported killed. Let's add to the at the nine British soldiers and ten US soldiers killed in support of the elections in the last couple of days; still less than fifty. Let's say there were another 150 killed in the run-up to the elections. This would include the election workers murdered in the street for the AP cameraman, as well as others that didn't make the news. I'm probably overestimating. So a SWAG of 200 deaths. That's 50,000 ballots cast per election-related death. By way of comparison, in the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights movement, 250,000 new Black voters were registered by the end of 1965. According to this timeline, ten people were killed in 1964/65 for particpating in the civil rights movement. Let's assume that's an undercount and multiply it by ten. 250,000 new voters / 100 deaths = 2,500 voters per election-related death. So by that reckoning, the Iraqi election was 20 times more successful than the Civil Rights movement of the mid-1960's. But let's not get too giddy. What if we figure in the 1,400 US servicemen killed since the invasion and a 3,300 Iraqi civilians (including those killed by insurgents and as a result of operations against the insurgents - *note that these figures may be inflated). 1400 + 3300 + 200 = 4,900 deaths for 10,000,000 votes. That's 2,041 votes cast per death; not much different than the civil rights movement.
Friday, January 28, 2005
SmartChristian Blog � THE CHRISTIAN BLOGOSPHERE CONVENTION (GodBlogCon) This could be something big, or it could crash and burn. Watch and see, watch and see...
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Recieved via email: No Relief in Sight for the Lincoln By Ed Stanton It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline. I'd like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces. What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in the Lincoln's wardroom a few days ago. I went in for breakfast as I usually do, expecting to see the usual crowd of ship's company officers in khakis and air wing aviators in flight suits, drinking coffee and exchanging rumors about when our ongoing humanitarian mission in Sumatra is going to end. What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like they owned the place. They wore various colored vests with logos on the back including Save The Children, World Health Organization and the dreaded baby blue vest of the United Nations. Mixed in with this crowd were a bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers in uniform. They all carried cameras, sunglasses and fanny packs like tourists on their way to Disneyland. My warship had been transformed into a floating hotel for a bunch of trifling do-gooders overnight. As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of "Nice china, really makes me feel special," in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place. My attitude towards these unwanted no-loads grew steadily worse that day as I learned more from one of our junior officers who was assigned to escort a group of them. It turns out that they had come to Indonesia to "assess the damage" from the Dec. 26 tsunami. Well, they could have turned on any TV in the world and seen that the damage was total devastation. When they got to Sumatra with no plan, no logistics support and no five-star hotels to stay in, they threw themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy, which, unfortunately, took them in. I guess our senior brass was hoping for some good PR since this was about the time that the U.N. was calling the United States "stingy" with our relief donations. As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these "relief workers" from place to place every day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night. Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us their guardians by default. When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the fellow replied, "We aren't paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you want to." In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling around reporters and various low-level "VIPs," which further wastes valuable helo lift that could be used to carry supplies. We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for America-hater Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News. Another camera crew was from MTV. I doubt if we'll get any good PR from them, since the cable channel is banned in Muslim countries. We also had to dedicate a helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor of Phoenix, Ariz., one day. Everyone wants in on the action. As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our help but they don't want their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them. To add a kick in the face to the USA and the Lincoln, the Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water. The ship has to steam out into international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel. What is even worse than trying to help people who totally reject everything we stand for is that our combat readiness has suffered for it. An aircraft carrier is an instrument of national policy and the big stick she carries is her air wing. An air wing has a set of very demanding skills and they are highly perishable. We train hard every day at sea to conduct actual air strikes, air defense, maritime surveillance, close air support and many other missions - not to mention taking off and landing on a ship at sea. Our safety regulations state that if a pilot does not get a night carrier landing every seven days, he has to be re-qualified to land on the ship. Today we have pilots who have now been over 25 days without a trap due to being unable to use Indonesian airspace to train. Normally it is when we are at sea that our readiness is at its very peak. Thanks to the Indonesian government, we have to waive our own safety rules just to get our pilots off the deck. In other words, the longer we stay here helping these people, the more dangerous it gets for us to operate. We have already lost one helicopter, which crashed in Banda Aceh while taking sailors ashore to unload supplies from the C-130s. There were no relief workers on that one. I'm all for helping the less fortunate, but it is time to give this mission to somebody other than the U.S. Navy. Our ship was supposed to be home on Feb. 3 and now we have no idea how long we will be here. American taxpayers are spending millions per day to keep this ship at sea and getting no training value out of it. As a result, we will come home in a lower state of readiness than when we left due to the lack of flying while supporting the tsunami relief effort. I hope we get some good PR in the Muslim world out of it. After all, this is Americans saving the lives of Muslims. I have my doubts. Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S. Navy officer currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group. Send Feedback responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
B-36 PEACEMAKER MUSEUM in FORT WORTH This is great news. The "Last Peacemaker" looks like it finally will have a permanent home. BUT - contributions are urgently needed. Click here to donate. Here's the story, in brief: The B-36 Peacemaker was the US's main heavy strategic bomber during the darkest days of the Cold War. 385 were built between 1946 and 1952. The last one was retired in 1959. Four survive today. The last one built, #52-827, was preserved in Fort Worth. During the 1970's it suffered extreme damage from vandals, and languished outside in the harsh Texas climate, slowly deteriorating. During the 1990s it was lovingly restored by a team of dedicated volunteers. Click here for before-and-after photos. However, plans to build a permanent home in which to display the massive aircraft have fallen through time and again. The current caretakers have been given space at the terminal of Ft. Worth's Meacham Airport to set up displays, and a promise of space on the airport to construct a building for the great plane, but they need to raise a construction fund of $2 million in order to convince the Air Force (who owns the plane) not to move the plane to the desert near Pima, Arizona. Click here to donate.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Monday, January 24, 2005
10 Christian Blogs I want to FURL this page, but for some dang reason, the Furl This button isn't showing up. Greg Boyd came out in favor of 1st-term abortions. Big-time news, for those of us in the evangelical camp. Another pastor is taking him to task and Greg is answering, point by pint. I don't have time or brainspace to read the whole thing now, and FURL isn't furling. grrr.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Received via email: > Captain Lyle Shackelford > Battalion Chaplain > HHD, 57th Transportation Battalion > > As a transportation battalion, my unit will be delivering the voting > machines and the ballots to villages and cities throughout Iraq during > the upcoming elections. (January 30/31) Our convoys are prime targets > for the insurgents because they do not want the equipment to arrive at > the polling stations nor do they want the local Iraqi citizens to have > the chance to vote; timely delivery must occur so that the elections > occur. Encourage your friends and family members and those within our > churches to pray specifically for the electoral process. Historically, > the previous totalitarian regime would not allow individual citizens > to vote. Democracy will not be realized in Iraq if intelligent and > competent officials are not elected to those strategic leadership > positions within the emerging government; freedom will not have an > opportunity to ring throughout this country if the voting process > fails. > Announce this prayer request to your contacts throughout your > churches, neighborhoods, and places of business. Those with leadership > roles > within the local church post this message in as many newsletters and > bulletins as possible. There is unlimited potential for God's presence > in this process but if we do not pray then our enemy will prevail (See > Ephesians 6:10-17) A prayer vigil prior to the end of the month may be > an innovative opportunity for those within your sphere of influence to > pray. This is a political battle that needs spiritual intervention. A > powerful story about God's intervention in the lives of David's mighty > men is recorded in 2 Samuel 23:8-33. David and his warriors were > victorious because of God's intervention. We want to overcome those > who would stand in the way of freedom. David's mighty men triumphed > over > incredible odds and stood their ground and were victorious over the > enemies of Israel. (Iraqi insurgents' vs God's praying people). They > don't stand a chance. > I will pray with my soldiers before they leave on their convoys and > move outside our installation gates here at Tallil. My soldiers are at > the nerve center of the logistic operation to deliver the voting > machines and election ballots. They will be driving to and entering > the arena of the enemy. This is not a game for them it is a historical > mission that is extremely dangerous. No voting machines or ballots. No > elections. Your prayer support and God's intervention are needed to > give democracy a chance in this war torn country. Thank you for reading > this e-mail. Please give this e-mail a wide dissemination. > > Thank you for your prayer support for me and my family. Stand firm in > your battles. > > Blessings, > Lyle > Captain Lyle Shackelford > Battalion Chaplain > HHD, 57th Transportation Battalion >
Yahoo! News - Spacecraft Landed in Mud on Saturn Moon We've landed on another world... again. Cassini was launched in 1997. It circled the sun for a couple of years, swinging around planets to pick up speed, then shot out to Jupiter. It passed Jupiter in December 2000, and for three and a half years years flew through the void to Saturn - at 12,000 miles per hour. 12,000 mph for three and half years. And that's just the gap between two planets in THIS solar system.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
So I'm getting my daily dose of Lileks. He's got this ongoing "Joe Ohio" feature where he's making up as he goes along the life story of a 1950's guy from Ohio based on a matchbook collection. He includes this link It's a painting of Azar's Big Boy restaurant in Fort Wayne, IN. A numbered print from a limited edition, for sale for $75. Only $75 for a numbered limited-edition print OF A "BIG BOY" RESTAURANT IN FORT WAYNE INDIANA. Wonder what it would go for on eBay?
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
John Podhoretz is always worth reading. This one is an example of why paper will never be supplanted by the Web, though. I can't read thirty pages of text online. I've printed it out to peruse offline. It seems that it might be an interesting point-counterpoint to Chuck Colson's more optimistic assessment.
The New York Times > Technology > Free Speech, or Secrets From Apple? As part of a lawsuit filed by Apple in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Dec. 13, the company obtained a court order allowing it to issue subpoenas to AppleInsider.com, PowerPage.org and Thinksecret.com. The three Web sites published or linked to information on what they said was a future Apple audio device that was code-named "Asteroid." The subpoenas are aimed at getting the operators of those sites to disclose the sources of the information that was reportedly leaked. I'm not an Applephile, so I'm not terribly interested in the technical details of "Asteroid." What is interesting here are the limits of free speech. A company or individual can prevent persons from saying X with a simple non-disclosure agreement. I've signed many of those in my work as a training consultant and multimedia developer. Here, it appears that someone violated the NDA, and Apple wants to know who it was. Historically, journalists have been afforded protection for their sources. Bloggers likely to be following this case with an eye towards the question, "are bloggers 'journalists'?" That's understandable given the "new-media-versus-old-media" meme that's emerged, but there's a much larger issue. Under what circumstances and for what reasons can the courts compel private citizens to reveal their private communication? Under what circumstances is an individual at risk for making private information public?
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Preacher Dies During Sermon About Heaven The Rev. Jack Arnold, 69, was nearing the end of his sermon Sunday at Covenant Presbyterian Church in this Orlando suburb when he grabbed the podium before falling to the floor, said the Rev. Michael S. Beates, associate pastor at Covenant Presbyterian. Before collapsing, Arnold quoted the 18th century Bible scholar, John Wesley, who said, "Until my work on this earth is done, I am immortal. But when my work for Christ is done ... I go to be with Jesus," Beates said in a telephone interview.
Monday, January 10, 2005
Hugh is fulminating over the Rathergate report, and mystified that the center-right bloggers aren't joining in his indignation. I find myself strangely unmoved. OF COURSE the report is a whitewash. OF COURSE the Democrat insiders who tried to circumvent the law get off. OF COURSE Mapes et all will get sweetheart parachutes. I don't care. The truth came out, the new media forced the old media to back down and admit it screwed up, and no sane person one will ever again assume that anyone reporting news in any outlet has no agenda. The horses are loose, the barn is empty and burning. Let it. A new barn is already a-building. Join in.
This is a variation and expansion of a comment I left over on my pastor's blog. There is a difference between an "act of judgement" and a "God-ordained event". The Flood was a judgement by God on the sinfulness of the world. 9/11 was an act of evil that God permitted to occur (some Religious Right pundits notwithstanding). The tsunami was an act of nature that God permitted to occur. God foreordained each of those events, knew about them in advance, knew before the beginning of time the names of the people killed and the children orphaned. He also knew whether or not they were going to choose Heaven or Hell, either as a result of the hearing Gospel or along the lines Paul laid out in Romans 2. God will condemn those whom He will, and will show mercy to those whom He will. In my view, 9/11 was not a judgement. It was a blessing. The hijacked airplanes were nearly empty. So were the buildings. Many people escaped before the towers collapsed. The nation was drawn back to its knees, and awakened to the terrible danger of radical Islamism. As a direct result of 9/11, millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq who were opressed are now tasting freedom. The Gospel is being proclaimed in nations that were closed. That doesn't mean we're airdropping Chick tracts. Christian soldiers and sailors are bearing living witness to the Gospel daily in their interactions with the people of those nations. God is being glorified. In the terrible aftermath of the tsunami, millions of people are seeing the compassion of Christians (and of non-Christians; let's be fair) as billions of dollars in aid comes in. Further, millions may be led to consider that their lives could be snuffed out in an instant as a sunny vacation turns in seconds to chaotic watery death. Who can tell how many will reconsider what "those crazy Christians" have been saying about a God who provides salvation from sin, if not from tsunamis? In the end, God WILL be glorified.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Yahoo! News - India's untouchables forced out of relief camps The "untouchable" Dalits of India - the lowest caste - are being forced out of refugee shelters by higher-caste Indians. The caste system goes back centuries. Hinduism perpetuates it, teaching that being born into a low caste is a punsihment for sins in a previous life. There is no upward mobility in Hindu society; one can only hope to to be reincarnated in a higher caste. I wonder what the liberal elite will think of this? It must conflict them greatly. One the one hand they are terribly enamored of Eastern religion and philopsophy. And yet the results of that worldview is an entrenched racism and social oppression.
Y'all listen up, now, heah? Oh, this is sweet. Sweet. Sweet indeed. I was "growed up" in Texiz, though mah Daddy wuz from down in dem bay-yoohz in sout' Loozeeanah. (He went to work for IBM right after WWII, and was advised by his mentors to lose the "hillbilly" accent of southern Louisiana. He did. I was rasied with a very neutral accent. People who hear me speak often wonder where I'm from.) My Uncle Bill was a paratrooper in WWI (Normandy, Bulge, Purple Heart w/3 Oak Leaf clusters) and built a million-dollar oil field services company in the 1970's. You wouldn't know it to look at him or talk to him. He was jess' a good ol' boy. Once he went to look at a new bass boat (if you don't know, don't bother to ask) with his operations manager, Mike. Uncle Bill was dressed (as ususal) in a ragged, oil-stained jumpsuit. After wandering around the dealership he accepted some glossy handouts from the nattily-dressed salesman and went out to the truck to smoke a Lucky Strike, sip a Falstaff, and consider his options. The utterly clueless salesman asked the #2, "Can that old man really afford one of these boats?" To which Mike replied, "Son, that 'old man' probably has enough cash money in his pocket to buy this place and fire your ass." Not the only time a savvy Texas businessman has been misunderestimated.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
FrontPage magazine.com :: Dissident Arab Gets the Treatment by Ahmad Al-Qloushi "By Ahmad Al-Qloushi FrontPageMagazine.com | January 6, 2005 I am a 17-year-old Kuwaiti Arab Muslim and a college freshman studying in the USA. ... Make Comment View Comments Printable Article Email Article Font 6pt 7pt 8pt 9pt 10pt 11pt 12pt 13pt 14pt 15pt 16pt 17pt 18pt 19pt 20pt Dissident Arab Gets the Treatment By Ahmad Al-Qloushi FrontPageMagazine.com | January 6, 2005 I am a 17-year-old Kuwaiti Arab Muslim and a college freshman studying in the USA. I was three years of age when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. My parents still remember what it was like for us during the invasion. Waiting for long hours in line for a few pieces of bread. We had darkness 24 hours a day from the burning oil wells. My two uncles are still traumatized from being kidnapped and tortured in Iraqi prisons. Most of all we remember our one-week-old baby cousin who died while the Iraqi invaders were stealing incubators from hospitals to sell them for profit. The Americans by contrast came in to liberate us and asked for nothing in return. I love this country for the freedom it provides and for rescuing Kuwait’s liberty in the first Gulf War. 12 Years later, America once again has selflessly protected my country and my people by removing Saddam Hussein. I arrived in the United States for the first time 5 months ago with tremendous enthusiasm to study the political institutions and history of this extraordinary country. I enrolled in Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California and immediately registered for “Introduction to American Government and Politics." I was shocked by my Professor’s singularly one-sided presentation. Week after week, I encountered a lack of intellectual and political diversity that I would have more commonly expected to have heard on the streets of pre-liberation Iraq. In this particular class I heard only one consistent refrain: America is bad. ... The final exam consisted solely of one required essay: “Dye and Zeigler contend that the Constitution of the United States was not ‘ordained and established’ by ‘the people’ as we have so often been led to believe. They contend instead that it was written by a small educated and wealthy elite in America who were representative of powerful economic and political interests. Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded the majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America's elite interest.” ... I did not leave my country and my family to come to the United States to receive further brainwashing. I disagreed completely with Dye and Zeigler’s thesis. I wrote an essay defending America’s Founding Fathers and upholding the US constitution as a pioneering document, which has contributed to extraordinary freedoms in America and other corners of the world - including my corner, the Middle East. Professor Woolcock didn’t grade my essay. Instead he told me to come to see him in his office the following morning. I was surprised the next morning when instead of giving me a grade, Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me naïve for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me "America is not God's gift to the world." Then he upped the stakes and said "You need regular psychotherapy." Apparently, if you are an Arab Muslim who loves America you must be deranged. Professor Woolcock went as far as to threaten me by stating that he would visit the Dean of International Admissions (who has the power to take away student visas) to make sure I received regular psychological treatment. This scared me. I didn’t want to be deported for having written a pro-American essay, so as soon as I left his office I made an appointment with the school psychologist. She let me go with a comment that I don’t need regular therapy. As I left her office, I couldn’t help thinking that even my Palestinian high school teachers had never tried to silence me or put me in therapy."
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
I'm having a discussion over at a non-blog discussion board; I thought I'd mirror some of my comments and arguments over here. The NT doesn't contain an account of the resurrection itself. It contains an account of an empty tomb, and eyewitness accounts of encounters with a risen Jesus. The rules of textual scholarship say that you give the text the benefit of the doubt - you don't call the contents a fabrication unless you have clear extra-textual evidence that it was fabricated. That the contents describe miracles is not itself a reason to discredit the texts, since 1. IF they are correct about who Jesus was, then it is possible that miracles actually took place as described, and 2., it is possible to find natural explanations for some events described as miracles (see the 1950's novel "The Robe").
Generalissimo Duane is collecting photoshops of Hugh's new book. My own modest contribution is among them. Barbie tm is a trademark of Mattel, Inc., and the the copyrights of the other images used in the collage are retained by their original creators. Besides, it's satire.