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Showing posts from 2008
It’s Like This I didn’t mean to scare you, But I need to speak plain. I don’t need more friends, Not the woman kind, And I sure don’t want To be a friend of yours. Don’t misunderstand; I ain’t mad; You ain’t got no sorryin’ to do. But I can’t stand around like I don’t care where you go, And who you go with. You flat out don’t know No guys as cool as me. I know two men Better than me, But they ain’t callin’ And I ain’t leavin.’ Best chew on this And don’t forget: We ain’t made for lonely, And my stomach for losing out Is at an end.
Greg Maddux: A Brief Appreciation The greatest pitcher I've ever seen, Greg Maddux, has retired. I could recount his impressive stats in order to persuade you, but that won't move you to feel what it was like to watch Greg Maddux. Let me just tell you the story of a few games that define him for me. I remember a game in 2003 up in Montreal, before they became the Nationals. Montreal got several soft hits on the speedy turf in the first inning; a few balls barely found holes. Before I knew it, the score was 5-0, and Greg was upset. I thought for sure they'd yank him out. He must've prevailed upon pitching coach Leo Mazzone, or Leo saw how lucky they were, because Maddux stayed in--for seven more innings. Montreal got nothing more, and the Braves were victors, 6-5. Another game was in St. Louis a couple years later. Maddux pitched for the Cubs then, and my hometown Cards hit him hard that night. Four runs in the first, I think. But Maddux returned, this time pitching six
I'll get back to reaming the Democrats for sport some time in the future, but for now, I'd like to talk about something else: music. When I was young, I remember three albums playing continuously: a Marty Robbins greatest hits collection, one for Ben E. King (the guy from The Platters, and the singer of "Stand By Me") and the greatest hits of The Eagles, 1971-1975. I'm pretty musically provincial; there are many artists and genres that are unknown to me. But you could do worse than these, by far. I also think it readily explains my musical taste, which ranges from Alan Jackson to Blackstreet, from Bryan Adams to Babyface. I skipped over "rock" per se; better said, I skipped the white '60s, at least outside Nashville. Which is fine by me; I think music (and political ideas) from the rebellious teen years of (white) Boomers is ridiculously overrated. I don't particularly like Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan, because they couldn't (or can't) sing.
And I Don’t Want To Any idiot Sees it coming A mile away. And the wise run Before their hearts Are won By the One Who knows not, And cares not, Like the unending sun That beats down From the desert sky. And she’ll never know; She hasn’t a clue. I can’t escape And I don’t want to. You’re alone, but you Shouldn’t be. And I’m alone And I should. You don’t feel; I can’t move on And I don’t want to. Let me love you; Why must you wait, As a blooming flower Long past its due? I must admit, I see noone else, And I don’t want to.
10 Reasons to be Dismayed by Democrats: #7 Blaming the Stupidity of Republicans on the Free Market. Obama is doing this routinely. Too bad it's not true. The Republicans wouldn't know a free market if it walked up and shook their hands. Surely the Democrats know this. Unfortunately, their left flank prepares for the overthrow of economic freedom as we speak.
I'm a little lighter in the wallet today, (God love you, Seminary Bookstore) but it was a relatively painless trip. I always like to look around at the non-textbook shelves to see if there's anything from an intellectual standpoint or other vista that would make good reading. I always find something! Today, it was this book. I'm not sure if it will actually address the subjectivism issue that seems inherent in even the most nuanced versions of Sola Scriptura, but for hermeneutical process itself (if I may borrow a phrase--taking for granted that we mean the same thing--the "literal sense" of the text) theologically "conservative" Reformed people will find much agreement across the Christian world on the soundness of the process, even if the systematic theologies applied afterward widely differ. A rather boisterous, opinionated, gloriously anti-gnostic professor who teaches Covenant Theology here (let the reader understand) often unintentionally says &q
After the Days of War: The Making of A Conservative Obamican I am aware, and do accept the fact that this essay represents a retraction--and a resounding one--of my previous endorsement of John McCain. Little did I know that the 2008 election here in the United States--contested by presidential candidates who routinely fail to answer the important theoretical questions posed by their stated philosophies--would become a watershed. Nor did I expect the heart of the question--American foreign policy--would become a strength for Obama, and a weakness for McCain. Especially in light of the views of the one who evaluates the case (that is, me). After 9/11 a self-professed neoconservative, I did not, and still in large measure do not, fear the projection of US military power. I believe this time of its ascendancy was altogether natural and understandable, given the rotted corpse of a certain realism which seems to prize an honored place at European cocktail parties above justice itself
Both The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games were on AMC last night. I caught the end of Red October and the start of PG at 1:30 in the morning. The latter gets at the complicated nature of terrorism when it's not perpetrated by far-off strangers, but by neighbors. After I watched this video again, the film took on a new freshness. What if--rather than a legitimate means reluctantly employed by a civilized people--violence was a manifestation of our propensity to evil? In other words, what if 'civilized' is a lie? And is violence any more civil when conducted by a state , one much more powerful than the roving bands we often imagine? Is a call for peace nothing more than a limp passivity, a refuge for those too timid to stand against injustice, to defend one's own people? You tell me. But why do Christians celebrate and proclaim the death of a murdered innocent man? Are they crazy? Why did that man forbid violence in his own defense at his moment of greatest need
10 Reasons to be Dismayed About Democrats: #8 Envy. I cannot remember the last time I heard a Democrat say something about economics that didn't involve an overt attempt to make us envious of rich people, even angry at them. Absolutely, if wealth was acquired dishonestly, tell us about the wicked Wall Street CEOs and their golden parachutes. But if not, I DON'T CARE. My first thought is, "Good for them; Isn't America great?" Now, what one does with one's wealth is a spritual matter, one that I will be constrained to offer my biblically-informed advice on when the time comes. But what a blessing it is to have the challenge of thinking spiritually (and globally) about how to be rich. The balances between investing in people (via the state) and destroying their freedom or initiative, as well as the meaning of "general welfare" are difficult ones to strike. But the Democrats never seem to try.
10 Reasons to be Dismayed About Democrats (and John McCain, sadly) #9: "Energy independence". This is a fatuous, meaningless phrase. 2 things in basic outline can happen with our energy. Either we produce more than enough for ourselves, in which case we'd sell the rest of it to someone who needed it, or we'd purchase it from elsewhere (the dominant method right now). Before we get all in a lather about the peoples and countries and regions whence our oil comes, let's ask ourselves if, generally, people making money like to kill those from whom they take money. No. And if indeed that region depends solely upon sales of oil, and we were concerned about its influence, wouldn't we buy as much oil as possible, so as to hasten the day when they need things we Americans have to sell? Furthermore, doesn't importing certain things mean that we have time to create other things?
10 Reasons to be Dismayed About Democrats--#10: Trade I struggle with the urge to physically attack political candidates who (and the frequency is increasing) say some variant of, "My opponent voted to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas!" When I hear this, my mind hears, I hate capitalism and foreigners. My mind might also hear I am envious of the wealth and success of others, even though it has no impact on my wealth or success. Say it with me now, everyone: Voluntary partnerships between two or more parties for the exchange of goods or services is good, and almost always of at least indirect benefit to the common good. Hello, capitalism, my old friend.
Debate #1 I'll keep it brief, but I wanted to share my thoughts. I agree with what was said over at the Volokh Conspiracy ; the first 20 minutes were the mindless bromides that indicate both these candidates think we are stupid. But the rest, with its foreign policy emphasis, struck me as really significant. That is, we were treated to the national conversation on the use of force in basic outline: national honor (and sense of self) vs. strategic prudence. Given the fact that the strength of AQI is unknown, that our impending withdrawal's impact on that nation is unknown, Obama gave a more than adequate defense of his own view in contrast to the once-dominant neoconservative view (which McCain still holds). I was actually very impressed with Obama's defense of 'without preconditions.' Yet McCain almost trapped him here into a mistake, noting usefully, "Low-level meetings like this already happen all the time." The question becomes, "What impact will O
Good luck resisting this song . Of course I know the original . They're both great, but Gwen's is better. "Pray tell," you ask, "why mention a song whose remake is itself not current?" I have a theory: try to be behind the times (or at least behind the charts) a bit. If a song sounds good to you three years later, there's a good chance you won't be ashamed of it in five or six. If you think it's still good then, chances are you're golden for 15-20. At that point, unless you are a total freak-show, (or even if you are) there are other souls who share your view that this track stinkin' rules the world, man! I know some of my music scares my friends. It's terribly eclectic, so that's no surprise. But music is powerful. Let noone deny this. I'll bet you can stop a war with a song. Or start one, for that matter. People do everything to music. I saw a commericial a couple weeks ago that moved me. No, it was a vignette of a commercia
That’s what I keep thinking. She does appear to be exactly the sort for whom I’d vote. As I noted, Obama is alienating me again. I am fully prepared to overlook his gravest weakness if he will make the effort to convince me he’s not Huey Long (or Father Coughlin). Or that his foreign policy will not be the Obama Apology Tour. I may well want to go in a different direction, but Europe or anyone else can firmly plant their lips on my posterior if they think I’m ashamed of my president or my country. I appreciate rather the gravity of those decisions and the office, even if I disagree (e.g. waterboarding). I noticed also that I like McCain better when others extol him. Maybe he should do what Kerry tried: stay away, and shut up. That’s really your best option when you are a pompous windbag in a winnable election. (Thanks, Mickey ) Honestly, Obama’s appeal is also his weakness: he thinks like a college freshman. He’s an idealist. Sure, he can’t be bothered with messy realities (like social
Since my withdrawal of the endorsement for John McCain, I have endeavored to maintain (at least officially) a certain level demeanor about the whole thing. If I have an ideological point to make, I'll make it. But I think people who don't know me intimately could only guess for whom I'll vote. You'll pardon me then while I speak bluntly about Obama's nomination acceptance speech Thursday night in Denver: I hated it. And darn near every second of it. I felt alienated; I felt the crushing weight of impending statism. I felt that important discussions about the market economy (and the rationale for a decidedly free one) were being sidestepped or minimized. I also felt that profound moral questions were likewise minimized, with little thought to the weight or validity of opposing arguments. (Abortion is by far Obama's biggest weakness.) The criticism of John McCain was fairly harsh and personal, especially for one who claims to desire a new kind of politics. I would
As It Was I saw it for what it was, After so long a mosaic surprise. Hidden like the forgotten key Under the flower-pot. What it adds And what is gained Cannot be lost. There is no pretending That what is seen Is not seen; No, That will not do. Say what we see; What is before us? Yes, us. Shall we not study it together? If not, Then we ourselves Must cease. But we may not ignore beauty, And we may not lie. As for me, I saw the glory in the picture. I saw that you saw. And I will not go back.
Thanks to Nate Van Valkenburg (and his facebook profile) for the pointer to this. As I watched this new Batman film, at the unfolding moral equivalence, I scoffed. Only an idiot would consider that notion for more than a second. What the Joker does is show human beings as grievous sinners. I'm not sure we need help with that. There is something definitely Christ-like in the way Batman deals with the ending problem, though not entirely. The film was undoubtedly an Oscar-worthy performance for the late Mr. Ledger, and should be recognized as such. However, the script itself, replete with facile arguments, wastes the formidable talents of this cast. I'd give it 4/5.
The High Court and 2008 Oftentimes when I read noted Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen, I must confess a common, uncharitable reaction: “That is the most mindless drivel that has ever been printed in an American magazine.” If I may continue the insults for at least this sentence, I shake my head knowingly as I read her biography, which notes her time as an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. (Their place as an organ of rank, illiberal, apologists for statism is well assured.) But this piece is worth something. She is more than correct to note the place the Supreme Court has had in shaping our views of the Constitution, an effect that we take for granted whether we cheer the Court or not. She is, however, blatantly wrong to impugn judicial restraint by citing Brown v. Board as an example of judicial activism. In reality, it was nothing of the sort. We must remember that Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) was a high-profile, historic flag planted in
With apologies to Mr. Butler , I had begun to write more on the subject of liturgy as character formation, and as I did so, I realized it was the same bloody essay as before! If I come up with better, I’ll let you know.
I'm sitting here watching the Cards and Royals, and it occurs to me that St. Louis has not even begun to play up to their abilities. And that may well be an outlandish statement, given their record (42-29, 2nd, NL Central). As for the Royals, their record (28-42, 5th, AL Central) is not at all a reflection of their talents. They need more walks. Not enough runs? Get on base; the most hit-challenged teams can get lucky runs with men on base. The pitching is pretty good. But I could be crazy. Doubtless Mr. Hall would say I'm simply "choking on Coke and belligerent comments."
The weather has been scary the past few hours here in St. Louis. Thunder I have never liked, as I am easily startled. I played some poker, (badly) read some politics, and just sat around. I should pray, or read the Bible. We’ll see if I actually do this. I am hopeful that the Cardinals do not suffer another soul-crushing defeat like last night; 10-9 to the Washington Nationals they fell, on a sudden two-run homer from Elijah Dukes. And that after clawing back into the game down 7-0, capped by a Joe Mather home run (good on ya, rookie) to make it 9-8 Cards in the top of that same 10th inning. I feel for poor Ryan Franklin. It wasn’t that bad a pitch, from what I could tell, and it was a fastball with something on it, you might say. Dukes hit it to straightaway center; it was not a “Crawford box” (let the reader understand) shot by any stretch. The boys need to put it out of their minds before tonight’s contest, a series-opening game against the hated Astros in Houston. My grudging respe
Brief thoughts on McCain's speech: The delivery was horrid. Bush on his worst day is better than this. But ignoring the juvenile 'gotcha' games so beloved by uneducated opponents of President Bush, which are given occasion by his well-known verbal inacuity, I'd say it was pretty good speech by McCain. Though he demonstrated he is no movement conservative, he will find plenty of opportunity to punch holes in Obama's statist dreams. He gave an able defense of non-withdrawal in Iraq (whether persuasive or not) and gave a decent critique of "big government" and our attendant loss of freedom. I must be a genius, because McCain pointedly emphasized the oldness of the proposals coming from the young Senator. I am skeptical of McCain's commitment to lower tariffs, taxes, and regulations, but at least we know that Obama will either ruin our economy, or lie to his own base (if he has any sense, that is).
Barack Obama gave another soaring speech last night in claiming the Democratic nomination, as we have come to expect. Whatever you think of him, I think he’s proven that his prepared speeches are must-see TV. I actually didn’t watch John McCain’s speech; I did see Senator Clinton’s. But I digress. Indeed, after the “shock and awe” of an Obama speech, after the emotion fades, several questions are going to be asked and criticisms leveled. Such as those articulated by Karl Rove, asking whether Obama had the ability to “make” oil companies use their profits in the way he wants (to say nothing of the morality/constitutionality of such a move), and whether it was possible to provide healthcare to every American. (And there remains that same moral/constitutional question, which deserves an excursus) [Sidebar: The means of arriving at a desired good, and the opportunity costs of the various means, are exactly at issue in politics. Obama ought not expect that his opponents simply lack in comp
Who might Babyface vote for in this election? I could guess, but that would be slightly unfair to Mr. Edmonds. Anyway, before you dismiss the question [yeah, this is a shallow exercise that cheapens politics and the political process.—ed.] consider 1) how truly awesome Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds’s music truly is [sorry, couldn’t help myself!], and 2) what the pop culture sensibilities of our presidents might say about their relation to us. For example, President Bush’s favorite TV show is Baseball Tonight . I’d be lying if I said that factoid had no impact upon how I view him. (And that’s why they tell us those things, surely) It is almost beyond question that we care about such things, despite our claims to make decisions on “the issues.” Al Gore lost in 2000 essentially as the incumbent, in a robust economy, in a time of peace, because we just didn’t like him. Though it was extremely close, the “With whom would you hang out?” polls were very telling. And they’ll be telling again, I’
Karen Carpenter “O for a thousand tongues to sing…” But yours is silent. We mourn again, Even those who are young, Because there is no glory in death. The songs now are knives to us. We are reminded There is no glory in death, And you will not sing for us In the land of the living. Even now, I hope Through the pain. Hope in the Resurrection. I wonder aloud: Will you sing for Him again?
OK, funny story: I took one of those "How Reformed Are You?" quizzes. It came back as 'Very Reformed'...and I was disappointed. I was trying to answer as dangerously non-Reformed as I could without lying. We know I'm an Anglican or a Catholic at heart! Well, I guess that goes to show, well, me that the Reformation wasn't completely pointless. But I'm still disappointed.
I'm strongly considering a withdrawal of my previous presidential endorsement of John McCain, based upon a needed assessment of some new information on a most weighty matter. In light of the nature of it, it would be irresponsible to reveal my intuitions as they stand now.
The Letter I wrote you a letter Plain as day The pained way From the heart. But not because It’s too sick To bear to watch What I did today. But because noone knows How many days between today And the joyous bells, Which when they ring Mean too late to say, “You’re Beautiful.”
The Beautiful Lie It was a new thing And if it went bad, You’d laugh in that way you do; It seemed right At the time. I didn’t mean to scare you; It was a spot and nothing more. I need to know if I can relate One time without falling in love. Was it you or me? I’d like to think it was you. And yet… You’re that scary kind of beautiful; From the first, I’d do anything you say. I’m on my way If that’s for the best. But if I smile just a little Too much, Well, I’m only a man And you’re most certainly A woman.
Obama and the Politics of Symbolism Some time ago, I wrote that Barack Obama may well be undeserving of the high praise he engendered from nearly all quarters (myself included) regarding his ability to transcend race, politics, and division. Certainly, this man has some obvious weaknesses that now threaten this hagiographic narrative. How will this man--who has not only failed to repudiate the politics of identity, but actively embraced them--going to restart the dialogue on racism in America? How will this utterly conventional liberal--who not only rejects conservative thought, but shows a very limited ability to interact meaningfully with it--going to change political culture from poisonous to one of respectful disputation? All these and more are worthy challenges to the preferred Obama narrative. BUT, we’re way past policy in some ways now. The criticisms that Obama is a blank slate upon which we project our desires (and policy preferences) is a valid one, perhaps the most valid of
“Shouldn’t you say some words?” The humor and the weight of that story hung over us. Dr. Calhoun related a tale of a man who had never tried the sweet resin of a tree. (Was it a maple?) The man’s friend offered to rectify the situation, and he accepted. As the man humbled himself by letting his friend pour the sweetness into his mouth—nay, he paused just before and asked the question. And it contains the profoundest wisdom; I summarize it thusly: We humans instinctively need to mark the moments of our lives with ceremony, with ritual. In every area of life, we follow patterns. We are creatures of liturgy. Indeed, we are made to worship, and to do so continually. I gratefully acknowledge the pastoral instruction of Travis Tamerius on this; I have not had an original thought ever in my 28 years of existence, and my best ideas, I stole from him, at least for the last 6 or so. (smile) So why—in the face of so many monstrous idolatries and competing allegiances—have we in the American churc
Well, I was engaging in that hallowed tradition among theology students—watching YouTube instead of studying—just now. As I left this morning, one of my favorite songs was playing: “Two Occasions” by The Deele (a band that included Babyface and noted producer Antonio “LA” Reid in the 1980s). Because I had to rush out, the video played to an audience of zero. But I have returned. So, it dutifully asked me if I’d like to watch that video again, which I did. YouTube shows you other related videos, so as I watched, I noted that Pebbles’ “Love Makes Things Happen” was an option. (This song shows you what beautiful things are possible with a keyboard before any words are sung.) And I like the song, I guess. That ambivalence is why I’m writing this post. From a Christian perspective, this is one of the worst songs ever written. Love is portrayed as a disease you catch, a mysterious force that leads normal people to commit adultery, (or at least fantasize about other people) and that it’s al
I don’t have to write this post. And I could dispatch with recent days’ events with a fairly nerdy, clinical recitation of the relevant football statistics. [Frankly, maybe I should write about the horror of this .] But I’m hurting right now, and it has nothing at all to do with anything serious, or important. Not for people outside of sports. And I feel guilty about that, in a way. But as I noted, Brett Favre is walking away. For me, that’s very hard. And I won’t say he’s a hero; heck, I won’t even say he’s my hero. But a joy to watch, good or bad? Yes. Do I feel privileged to have done so? Yes, indeed. Will watching football be less fun? Certainly. Go ahead and call me an idolator (if the Bible’s any guide, I am the worst) and I’ll admit that. Moving on. People can sometimes be more powerful symbols than they are as human beings. I think of Favre, I think: man, tough, strong, America, team, guts, like me, like us, your neighbor, your dad, your friend. If someone did a Fourth of July
This one’s been percolating in the brain for a bit now; it’s controversial, so please hang on. I don’t think the defense of ‘justification by faith alone’ (as traditionally understood) is the most pressing issue of the day in the church. Rather, it is the relation between the finished work of Christ, the sacraments, (I am referring to Baptism and the Eucharist) the individual, and our ecclesiology. In no sense do I mean to deny Luther’s important contribution, but rather to ask, “What are the means of experiencing that justification?” If the blessedness of justification by faith alone is that, on my own, I wage a battle to convince myself that my sins are erased by the work of Christ on the Cross, if the (chief) work of the Church is to help individuals contemplate the gloriousness of their individual reconciliations with God in Christ, then, frankly, I want no part of it. It makes very little sense. I’ve now been a Christian 10 years, (6+ baptized) and for the first 7 or so, this is e
Tough news. I knew it would come some day, just not today, Brett, just not today. I won't write another lengthy post about him; I'll just say that Favre is the only one who could make me pause a second before answering the question, "Which is your favorite sport?" I reserve the right to write a sickeningly hagiographic post the day of the press conference.
I have a Facebook account, (it remains the more attractive option for non-teens in the social-networking world) and an application within it called ‘iLike’ that allows you to do various music-related things. It pleasantly informed me (as per my instructions) that Mariah Carey would be releasing an album in March, 2008 called, “Rainbow.” I said, “Wait, didn’t she already release an album by that name in 2000?” I clicked on the Amazon link, and sure enough, it redirected to the old album. Why don’t you just admit, iLike, that you have no idea what the new album in called? I wasted an entire 5 minutes of my life unraveling that mystery! Well, you wasted half your life listening to Mariah Carey.—ed. Touche! But if you had gone through the “I want to be ‘Black’” phase that every suburban white kid does (with no more than a quizzical curiosity about gangsta rap) you’d listen to MC as well. You’re still in that phase, aren’t you?—ed. Be quiet about that! Disclaimer: I in no wise endorse Ms.
I’m really mad today. And before I tell you why, let me preface it with this: I hope that RINO (let the reader understand) “Democrat” John McCain politically carves Obama in bite-sized, quivering little progressive pieces. Now, formalities aside, I don’t give a rat’s behind that Mr. Obama’s middle name is Hussein. It does not evoke fear in me, nor conjure a memory of a deposed Iraqi dictator (not a lasting one, anyway). I do not believe that his election will bring Sharia law into the center of US life. If he says he’s not a Muslim, I believe him. And there is NO reason whatsoever to continue stating his full name in the hope of scaring people into not voting for him. I can think of a hundred reasons to vote against Senator Barack Obama; his connection to Islam (by family, or the technicalities of conversion from Islam) is not one of them. Some guy named Cunningham brought this out again. They say Cunningham is a conservative radio talk show host. Spewing hostility in the direction of
For the record, if and when the Republican nomination is decided in the expected fashion, John McCain has my full, unequivocal, unhesitating support. His many crimes against movement conservatism, and various constituent parts of it, are hereby pardoned. We cannot take the risk that American foreign policy (especially vis a vis Iraq) will substantially change in the coming months. Questioning the decision now is fruitless, and bringing the opposing policy to bear on the people of Iraq is immoral and stupid. We owe them at least a fair shot at a free country; to do anything less would be to ensure that the enormous cost in blood and treasure will have been in vain. This policy represents the very heart of liberal internationalism, and how terribly ironic that the opposition now pretends to disavow it. The numerous errors in execution and strategy do not change the mission from worthy to unworthy. The hardships on our soldiers and their families (and us) break our hearts, but they should
It seems proper to me today to pray for this nation. (The United States, that is, if I am lucky enough to have overseas readers, which I apparently do. Thank you, Tim.) We’re picking a president, even today, in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. One of these four people will be our next president (Sen. McCain, Sen. Clinton, Sen. Obama, or Gov. Huckabee) and, to put it mildly, they’ll need all the help they can get. Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, we know that you already know who our next president will be. We humbly ask that you equip that person with everything they need to lead us. Grant them wisdom, patience, and love to carry out this high calling. Bless every one of the candidates to finish well, and give them grace and graciousness to accept the outcome of the contests, in victory or defeat. We ask you to bless in a special way Mrs. Edwards, and Mrs. Romney, who deal with illness and affliction. Give them a knowledge of your true presence there with them. May
I have an ongoing dialogue with Nathan Hall of re: U.S. military intervention. He would like us to take a less involved approach, in contrast to my position, which (arguably) favors more. He identifies the desirable position (in response to my queries) as follows: “When would Libertarians use force? When US property, territory, or citizens are threatened and force is the only way of meeting the threat. In principle, it isn't a hard question to answer at all.” [Italics are mine, and indicate the foci of my response.] After I indicated that my response to a request for an apology for invading Iraq (from the ‘international community’ for instance) would be along the lines of, “Kiss my ass,” Nathan replied thusly: “I don't want to see hand-wringing guilt or abject, tearful apologies. I also don't want us to run away from Iraq with our tail between our legs. I just think we should learn from our mistakes and follow the principle below in the future, possibly with an
Fine, I admit it: I’ve been giving Obama a free pass on his outlandish liberalism, which, as a conservative, I normally would hammer such ideologies with glee. But these are not normal times. We could use a little hope, a little lofty rhetoric. I also admit that this blog is Right-Wing Obama Fan Central, and in the end, I may conclude that he’s another hopeless statist, liberal dreamer who’s completely undeserving of the high compliments I’ve paid him. (I could not disagree more on issues than I do with him; I will not vote for him.) But I appreciate above all the tone he is setting; by sheer force of personality and (apparent) character, he does indeed have a chance to be a liberal Reagan, because a president Americans like and trust is one who can shift the terms of debate with less effort. As correct as I may perceive Reaganism to be ideologically, I’d be a fool to deny that some portion of its acceptance owes to Reagan himself, not some seismic shift in the intelligentsia’s evaluat
My favorite political blogger (other than Instapundit--simply required daily reading) Mickey Kaus seems to think Obama is about to be jobbed by racism in tonight's SC primary. Geez, I hope not. I'll be the first to out Hillary's modified "Southern Strategy" if most Edwards supporters go to Clinton. (Not that it's her fault, but I want her to lose.) If one is truly liberal, Hillary is not your candidate. She betrays would-be liberal supporters routinely, as Ed Klein's book so amply demonstrates. If Pat Moynihan doesn't like you (and you're a Democrat) that's a really bad sign. The book details the late Senator's antipathy toward her very well indeed. (I was not inclined to dislike her until I read Klein's book. I have a generally favorable view of President Clinton, likely more favorable than he gets from most conservative Republicans.) She has never said anything that I felt deserved my affirmation. The only major vote she cast with wh
It's MLK, Jr. Day here in our beloved United States. Whether it should be a federal holiday or not has lost a bit of salience because many businesses continue to operate. And it is indeed separate from the question of King's importance and legacy, despite some attempts to equate not supporting the creation of the holiday with the very racism that King opposed. I would surmise that King would oppose a holiday about himself. Here is a curious article. Would we not expect that King would lose support as he took stands that reflected a particular political ideology? In spite of his many flaws, King is to me an American hero. He has (rightly) been appropriated as a symbol by nearly everyone--right, left, and center--and by people in other nations. But I can say that I differ with Dr. King with respect to the Vietnam War, Ali, and probably economics, as well. Must I have been in lockstep with him politically at all times to share his 'Dream'? I should say not! It seems to me
This past Sunday (if ESPN Classic is to be believed) was Joe Frazier's birthday. Yes, that Joe Frazier. Happy Birthday, Joe. They say he had the scariest left hook ever. If Ali-Frazier III is any guide, I'd have to agree, and so would "The Greatest." Speaking of that fight, have you ever seen it? (All of you who think boxing's barbarity should be outlawed can surf elsewhere now.) The last time ESPN Classic aired it (that I knew of, anyway) I watched it maybe 12 times over the next couple months. Someone from the modern day commenting on it between rounds made the astute observation that two aging legends declining at the same rate can make for a great fight; some say it was the best boxing match ever. (Not in the down-to-the-wire, "Who'll win?" sense; Ali won in 14, and it was trending his way for a few rounds prior.) But you saw shadows, glimpses of what each guy could do back in his younger days, and it's astounding to me that these two men wer
Before I get to something substantive and theological, there are 3 things I am positively amped (that's right, AMPED) about. Tomorrow (or today, in roughly 10 minutes) when I rise, my seminary grades for the last term will be made known to me. (It's about time, boys, with all due respect.) Also tomorrow, the Michigan primaries for both Democrats and Republicans will take place, and we'll be that much closer to knowing who our (main) two parties will nominate for President of the United States. (It inspires me just to type that; I couldn't be cynical about this even if I tried!) Thinking back on it, my mother instilled in us a quiet, yet forceful patriotism and love for this USA. We're not unquestioning apologists, by any means, but we have/had this hope that this country can be what we want it to be, that people can indeed change things for the better. I have grown up simply knowing that: 1. It's un-American to talk loudly/make excessive noise/boo when our presi
I've been a long time away, but it is the night after the caucuses in Iowa, and we had two big winners: Barack Obama, and Mike Huckabee. To me, they are the most likable of all the candidates. If they should win their parties' nominations, it would demonstrate that the young evangelicals have arrived. We are still figuring ourselves out politically; enormous shifts may still occur. Many of us are just learning that the scope of God's redemptive concern goes beyond the personal salvation of individuals. As a consequence, we should expect a statist, leftish hue to both nominees backed by evangelicals. The first step for many of us is to realize that God is not single-issue anything. The next phase is the realization that candidates on offer in the past may not have been holistic in their concern. The third phase would be the continuing wrestling with individual issues, abandonment of certain reductionisms adopted in idealistic and religious zeal. For an economic conservative,