Monday, October 31

Sponge Bob Fridge

Sponge Bob brings relief to New Orleans...

In the aftermath of Katrina, sidewalk refrigerators are commonplace. Some get a graffiti treatment. Some get sent to Iraq as bio-weapons.

Friday, October 28

Popular Climatology

I was at home alone yesterday afternoon after I pulled a night shift. Flipping through the channels for something interesting, I happened to catch a little of the Oprah show. Why? Call it intellectual masochism. In any event, the little nut case 30 year old recipent of a lifetime achievement golden globe award, who should take it as a clue that his career in film is over, Leonardo DiCaprio, was being interviewed by Oprah, that maven of Biblical dyslexia, about Leonardo's thinly veiled political cause, global warming.

He regurgitated the expected lies that global warming is an authentic man-caused phenomina backed by a majority of scientists and scholars when there is no credible evidence to suggest anything of the sort. Carefully taken camera shots of an intently interested Winfrey helped give his propaganda the gravitas designed.

Oh yeah, they're quick to use the current hurricane season with the current record breaking total of 23 storms and in particular the strength of hurricane Katrina to infer this as evidence of global warming but they never factor in evidence like record cold temperatures in Europe while here in the U.S. we see expected fluctuations. Dicaprio said...

"We're in a situation right now where we're basically emitting too much of this carbon pollution from our cars and our electric power plants that burn coal into the atmosphere, and it's causing our planet to heat up."
It's important to remember that this guy's an actor. He's not a climatologist. But because he's an actor he's got to have a cause. Every actor has one, ya know. There's probably a requirement written into the screen actors guild union agreement that at some point in their career actors pick a cause, any cause, so long as it's PC. Some get a little over-indulgent. Streisand has more than her share.
Winfrey listened intently as DiCaprio warned about the dangers of ignoring the problem, and then said, "You feel like NOAH (biblical character who built an arc in preparation for a great flood) to me - you're like, 'Pay attention, pay attention, pay attention.'"
There's that "feel" word again. Nothing else intelligent matters so long as it "feels". Emotions trump intellect. As long as it's believable and feelable the masses will follow.
And speaking of masses, Ms. Winfrey needs to dust off her Bible, if she has one, and read the Genesis chapter 6 and 7 account of Noah. Noah never gave a warning to the masses of the impending flood. He just built the ark that God told him to. The inference gained from the story is that God saved only those He wanted by speaking to Noah, something people like Ms. Winfrey need to remember next time they're faced with some dark, ominous prophet of doom like Leonardo.
Winfrey then confessed she owns one of the five worst sports utility vehicles on a new emissions list, prompting DiCaprio to state, "That's OK, as long as you change that."
Hey, DiCaprio, your limo driver is waiting with the engine running.

Book review: Blue Like Jazz

I came upon this book because one of my sons, Bling Bling Soggy Pants, has it and from the beginning I was captivated by it. "I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself." says the author Donald Miller and I've found that to be true. Many things about christianity aren't loveable. "Dying to self" and "crucifying the flesh" are metaphorical expressions of that unloveliness. But it's important to understand how the ugliness of Christ's crucifixion can be and needs to be personally embraced. Much of the problem I have with mainstream christianity in America is this apparent drive toward a self-actualizing fulfillment. It became evident to me through this book that Miller cares little for the institutional church. This book lends itself well to those on the periphery of churched christianity as its subtitle, "Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality" would suggest.

Don Miller's book, while not altogether theologically sound, is a refreshing look at one man's spiritual journey. Told in a series of topical essays, and comfortably written in a pedestrian sort of way, I found his views thought provoking. I was struck by an idea of his, shared with some of his Reed college christian friends, about what they could do to make their presence known during a hedonistic campus festival called Ren Fayre. He somewhat facetiously suggests they build a confession booth on campus for the indulgent drunks and pot-heads. One member of the group takes him seriously but turns the idea around to suggest that they take turns confessing their sins to the festival goers. When I think about it, we christians have a lot more to confess over than the heathen in the world. It really made me want to build a mobile confession booth and carry it around to some of these local autumn festivals.

Many of his stories dealing with the subject matter were instructive and as well as personally revealing. He gives us a view of someone in search of truth for himself and becoming at ease with who God is.

Thursday, October 27

Raising politicos

Encouraged to express thanks to a parent for their leadership in a church group study class, Colonel Ghillie writes me this letter...

Dear Pop,

Thanks for not bein' a liberal. If your conservative values weren't prevalent in your everyday life, I wouldn't be as politically minded as I am today. I find it easy now to throw off the neo-conservative chains of political slavery and follow my conscience. Soon I'll be "changing the world" with my "wasted vote". Vive la Revolucion!

Col. Ghillie
What have I done? Pray for me...

Wednesday, October 26

Where the buffalo roam

I wouldn't want to be in the position to have to move because of a disaster, but were there an opportunity... this...

ANCHORAGE, AK -- Abe Conway Jr. took an unlikely path out of harm's way as Hurricane Rita bore down on Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The day of the evacuation order, a Tuesday, Conway accepted a job he'd applied for online. That Saturday, he stepped onto the tarmac in Cold Bay, Alaska, a community of 89 people remote even by 49th State standards, to be one of the city's two teachers.
About 19 years ago I worked at a Pizza Hut delivery store in Slidell, LA. At the time Pizza Hut was making an attempt to penetrate Dominoes market share by setting up delivery only stores in the New Orleans area linked by a centralized call center with a computer system to dispatch the orders to the Pizza Hut delivery store closest to the customer. Of course, just like the best laid plans of mice and men, we'd get orders sent to us for customers 40 miles away. They even invested in a few delivery trucks for each store so drivers like me could share the use and spare some wear on our personal vehicles.

It was a rough time. I was between jobs, having been recently laid off, and I just needed something to bring in some extra cash until I could get the next "real job". Of all the jobs I've had though, and I've had many, it was one that I made more fun than money. Running around delivering pizza was cool, especially in those Pizza Hut trucks.

The manager of the place was a thirty-something woman, who took the Pizza Hut job offer and left Jackson Hole, WY to be with her sister. I never met anyone from Jackson Hole before and I remember talking to her about life there when we found ourselves making pizzas together. She would go on about how Jackson Hole was 20 years behind the rest of the country, uncontemporary and unassuming. People left their doors unlocked and crime was practically non-existent in small town life where everybody really knows everybody. She told of Christmas card winters in the picturesque Grand Tetons.

Sometimes I'd dream about going there, wishing it were just as she described it. There were times I'd go to the Jackson Hole Web cams and imagine I was at the town square, just reading on a park bench near one of the antler arches, soaking in the scenery.

Moving to a town of 89 in a place as remote as Cold Bay, AK would be an adventure, all right. But it would only change the backdrop. The play and characters would be the same.

Tuesday, October 25

Word for the day

Hobson's Choice

Definition: An apparently free choice that actually offers no alternative. This expression alludes to Thomas Hobson of Cambridge, England, who rented horses and allowed each customer to take the horse nearest the stable door or none at all. [Mid-1600s]

Usage Example: Thank goodness I'm a Constitution Party member. In the presidential elections of 2008, Republicans and Democrats will offer their usual Hobson's Choice.

Monday, October 24

Ishmael barbecue

Bristish banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims.

Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reported today.

Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.
Pork can't be dirty. Congress approves more every week.

Reminds me of my favorite Georgia barbecue at the Colonel's

Excuse me while I go to the snack shop and get some pork rinds.

Oh, the sites we see

It's a toss-up which is more torture, Atlanta traffic or working w/satellite TV equipment. Ku band satellite equipment especially likes to be pampered. I'm ready to treat mine to a mauling.

The BJU equipment is just crap. Their Hughes Satsound 8009 goes dead at just the wrong time. The Colonel is taking his last set of satellite classes and BJU wants $299 for a new receiver. They don't sell refurbished receivers...naturally. As if I'm gonna pay that kind of money for a receiver that'll only get 4 channels. And I had the thing programmed for some FTA (Free-to-air) stations like the Iranian Cinema Channel, or Rang-a-Rang TV. Somebody needs to put Iranian romance shows with English subtitles on the Comedy channel.

I think I've found a way around this though. Robbie has these Coship receivers for a great deal that carry Irdeto encryption. I'll just have to see if the smart card encryption is transferrable. I just need the four BJU stations on Intelsat 5

For a listing of FTA accessable satellite stations in the U.S.: Lyngsat Free TV - United States

Sunday, October 23

When the vow breaks, Part II

Ask any young person, they know the problem. Most of those in our youth group have stable families. Some few have never known anything other than a two parent family. Two things I know for sure. One, the statistics don’t reveal all the effects of divorce and two, every young person will experience something of those effects. Even if they haven’t gone through a parental divorce personally, the chances are great that their friends, classmates, co-workers or neighbors have, and their thoughts and attitudes about parenting and marriage will be affected. They may not be among those who show the statistical signs but they probably know someone who does. No matter how idyllic their childhood, they will come face to face with a society damaged through divorce.

Traditional marriage faces modern day challenges as it is essentially a spiritual covenant. Many of the current arguments in support of traditional marriage miss this point. Secularists defraud marriage by stripping it of the sacred and making it an entitlement of humanity. The elements of good and evil are at war with each other in the spiritual realm. Traditional marriage is but one of those areas where we see the battle being fought.

When God is in the marriage there is a spiritual cohesion in the relationship. Leave God out and it basically becomes a legal contract subject to the wills of the partners. In this youth Bible study I turned to Ecclesiastes 4:12 to make the point that the only hope for lasting unity in marriage lies in the threefold bond between God, the husband and the wife. I illustrated to these youth in the study session that where two standing together have some strength, having God as a marriage "partner" makes it impervious. Also, choosing a marriage partner carefully in prayer will help to avoid the pitfall of divorce 1 Corinthians 6:14. It's essential that young folks understand these things to make the careful choice, the right choice, with God's help, for lifelong commitment.

For those in the midst of divorce hope lies in God’s power to endure the crisis, heal the emotional scars and overcome the setbacks. The church has to be a present help for those families through emotional support and spiritual discipleship to stay on track with God. Through faith in Jesus Christ there is reassurance that God is a father to the fatherless and a defender of the family.

Saturday, October 22

When the vow breaks, Part I

"Children of divorce have a hard time in life..." So began the chapter study of the family series I was leading in our youth group. I’ve had minor issues with other Sunday school/Bible school material before. Never any great theological problem, it just comes down to matters of preference. This study wasn’t an exception. Generally I try to work around the material, using it in some fashion, but in this case it was better to just come up with some lesson plan of my own sticking to the essential theme.

In this senior high school study, the scripture text from the book of Joshua was used to allegorically illustrate the character of a promise kept in marriage through the pursuit and possession of the Promised Land. I knew if it was difficult for me to connect the scripture with the problem of divorce it would be difficult for the youth. I also had difficulty with the suggested group questions such as, “If you’d been Joshua, how would you have felt about losing your hero and leader, Moses?” and “How are the feelings you have when your parents get divorced like the feelings Joshua had when Moses died?” What does Joshua's exploits have to do with divorce and if it does, would these youth care? This, combined with the suggested scripture text, seemed like trying to fit a scriptural square peg into life's round hole. Eventually, I came to take another direction in the treatment of the subject.

The oft-quoted statistic that 50% of all married couples end up divorced remains generally accurate. Four states, California, Colorado, Indiana and Louisiana, keep no track of divorces, which skews the actual percentage. Beginning in the 1960's with states adopting no-fault divorce policies, getting a divorce has become as common as fast food. Obtaining a divorce in California is as easy as going online (http://www.divorcewizards.com/dmstart.html). The extent and effects of divorce upon children are chilling. There is the fact that 50% of all children born today will witness the divorce of their parents before their eighteenth birthday. Also, since 1972, over one million American children every year have seen their parents divorce. Consider also:

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
- US DHHS, Bureau of the Census

85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
- CDC

80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes
- Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-426

71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
- National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools

70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes
- US Dept of Justice, Special report Sept. '88

85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home
- Fulton County jail populations & Texas Dept. of Corrections, 1992

90% of homeless/runaway children and well over 50% of teen mothers are from fatherless homes

(Part II tomorrow...)

Friday, October 21

Shhhh...they're listening

VoIP is threatened by our intrusive FBI wanting wire-tap capabilities for the expanding technology. Enter your PIN at the sound of the tone, they're listening.

The new rules from the FCC were published last month and take effect Nov. 14, though companies have 18 months to comply. The order expands a controversial 1994 law known as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, which required phone companies to buy or retrofit switching equipment to meet stringent, government-approved wiretap standards that permit law enforcement to more easily wiretap digital phone calls, and to capture information such as voicemail PINs typed on a phone after a call is completed.
The FCC order says that all calls on such a system [like voice over IP] -- not just the ones to and from the traditional network -- have to be wiretappable using CALEA standards.
Isn't it nice to have that secure feeling knowing that our government is looking out for us?

Thursday, October 20

8,000,000,000,000 reasons...

...to get rid of spendaholic politicians. Like my new little counter on the right? Just a little reminder why I don't trust government or the politicians to do the right thing. Eight trillion dollars worth.

In biblical times there used to be a year of Jubilee. A time occurring every fiftieth year in which debt was cancelled and land ownership reverted to the original owners.

Maybe we should just give it all back to the indians now before the rush.

Saturday, October 15

Time

First, Col. Ghillies cross-country meet. It's the championships so like I gotta be there to cheer him on. He's getting much better at the 5k. Something like a sub 20min time. I'll try to post an update later today to give his final position and time.

Then, the customary after meet greet with parents as this is the second to last meet of the year. I'm not very good at these things; not very good at socializing with people I hardly see. These times are uncomfortable.

Later, working on the pastors wife's PC. I've got to set her up on a POP mail client. She's still doing dial-up. Yeah, there are still people who use it. Having a mail client should reduce her overall online time.

Then when all of that is done maybe I'll have time to fix the toilet. It needs a new valve tower, the old one keeps leaking.

Time, time, time. I've been awake reading other blogs, posting comments and now making this entry since 0500hrs EDT. Time is a blanket, covering truth only it knows. The blanket slowly reveals part and hides the rest. Then the blanket will be removed and all will be revealed. Do I yearn to know? Do I wonder? Only in reverent respect. I know in part. I know I'm alive.

UPDATE: He came in 10th with a time of 19.33. His team came in 2nd overall.

Friday, October 14

RIP ISW

I mourn the loss of ISW (Inside Wiring). It was MCI's attempt to work mass market, i.e. residential and small-business, inside wiring internally rather than contracted. It's been a year since it began and now its been given back to a contractor. I think they found that most of the poor, unsuspecting, POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) customers will put up with bad service to save a few bucks. They wanted this to die from attrition. Now they don't know what to do with it beyond just giving it to a contractor.

No more kids peeing on my leg. No more musty, moldy crawl spaces. No more roach motels (It's almost unimaginable how many of those creatures can hide out inside a telephone baseboard jack). No more long drives to Columbus, Carrollton, LaGrange and points south, although I did enjoy the windshield time. No more kids plugging phone jacks into various and sundry organic and inorganic orifices (Just use your imagination). This has been an adventure. I've made a few posts about my exploits but there were many, many other stories. I guess whenever one does work involving going to a customer's home there are as many stories as there are customers. You just never know how people live until you walk around their homes.

There was the lady, and, pardon the pun, I use that term broadly, who wore but a tank top and shorts which didn't fit too well. Two of her three kids, one was an infant who didn't care to get to me, kept playing with my tools. I bored a hole through the wall of her trailer to run a new piece of CAT-3 and by the time I got outside to pull it back through the drill bit was moving. Then there was the lady who had no furniture in the apartment. She explained she'd just moved from out west and didn't know much of anyone around Jonesboro, GA. She tried to find problems for me to continue to work on until I had to make it clear that there wasn't anything else I could do. MCI phone repair dispatching makes a poor dating service.

Demographics have changed since my early days in telephony of doing this. It would've helped for me to have had Spanish in my repertoire before I dove back into this again but I'll make that a priority now. When you get a trouble ticket with a name like Salvador or Mantena you KNOW you've got trouble. Thankfully, some of these people had kids who were hip to unilingual phone repairmen and using them as on site translators made my adventure into the United Nations of ISW easier. Some, on the other hand, couldn't tell an English major from General Electric. There were times I so desperately wanted to tell them that there wasn't any trouble and they should chase planes on the runway but I knew all I'd get was the same dumb smile and head nod.

Like Capt. James T. Kirk said before he died for the last time in Star Trek: Generations, "It was fun." Just when I thought it wouldn't end, it has. Pray that the vestigial vestige of this beast rots quickly.

Thursday, October 13

Talking to myself

"Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have of changing others."

- Jacob M. Braude (1896~) American Humorist, Writer


Then comes the discovery that self is the source of problems. Blame the world and the world blames back. The world would be wonderfully perfect were it not for people, wouldn't it?

It comes down to me, I'm the cause. The issues of life come from each one of us. We have only ourselves to blame. Attempt to change others and I will break relationships. Change myself and I'll alter history.

Tuesday, October 11

In da Bginnin God cre8d da heavns & da earth

An Australian Christian group has created a version of the Bible in text-speak so church-goers can spread The Word via mobile phone. "We've been careful to stay true to the Bible," he said. "We didn't want to alter its message in any way and we never abbreviated any names. The response has been amazing." Mr Rodriguez said the SMS Bible had proved particularly popular among young people.
I'm sure it is popular among young people. If you've ever spent any time over at the Xanga blogs you'll find this an ever present kind of short-hand. Trying to understand the posts is sometimes difficult without some kind of lexicon. Xangas, as they're called, are almost entirely youth blogs with that ever provocative "I'm bored..." post somewhere in the mix. Cpt. Crayon, Col. Ghillie and BBSP have theirs but thankfully are of a more substantive quality. My only objection to this language short-hand is that it reinforces bad spelling habits. Other than that, making the Word of God readable and understandable for as many people as possible, without dumbing it down, is a good thing.
Check it out for yourself...http://www.biblesociety.com.au/smsbible/

The politics of traffic

If you drive a vehicle, they've got you right where they want you. Ride it, park it, or use it for a planter, whatever you do with it, they regulate it and they'll find infractions to draw revenue from it.

Here in Atlanta, we have charming EPA guidelines to tell the local ARC (Atlanta Regional Commission) what sort of air quality standards it must have. Those counties who are part of the Commission force compliance upon those in their counties who own vehicles and mandate a $25 yearly extortion, excuse me, emissions inspection fee. Fail to pass and be prepared to spend up to $689, adjusted for the CPI mind you, in repairs before you're eligible for a waiver.

It's just one of my pet peeves and something I've been personally plotting to circumvent. Now comes news that should come as no surprise to those who've gotten to know the Mother Government mentality in the U.S. Ever thought about living in Hawaii, land of idyllic scenery? Try this for a dose of reality. Car buyers to pay parking tickets of previous owners.

Purchasers of used cars in Hawaii have been put on notice that they may be forced by a dumb state law to pay the parking tickets of the previous owner for the transaction to be completed. The Legislature should change the law to make clear that cars don't break laws; people do, and the offenders should be held accountable.
Honolulu resident Bob Webster was given a temporary clearance to have his Buick Regal registered after buying it in June 2004 but was blocked from renewing its registration this year because of a $65 traffic ticket the previous owner had neglected to pay. "I was outraged that I would be held responsible for something that somebody else did," he told the Star-Bulletin's Mary Vorsino.
Also note these articles... Georgia: Red Light Cameras Fund Deluxe Police Station
and...Chicago: More Red Light Cameras Needed to Balance the Budget
From the Chicago piece...
The existing set of twenty cameras has already generated than $18 million in tickets for the city since they were installed in 2003.
Australian camera vendor Redflex operates the photo ticket program on behalf of the Chicago Department of Revenue. A number of embarassing errors have plagued the windy city's camera program, with several innocent motorists forced to spend more than the cost of a ticket to prove their innocence.
So their revenue is based not upon the infractions they can prove, just the ones they can account for. It's not a matter of obeying the law, it's a question of how much money they can extort, excuse me, how many fines they can levy citizen drivers. It's not a matter of ensuring public safety, it's a matter of cash flow.

Maybe I'll ride a horse. I'll give 'em something to do with parking tickets.

Links courtesy Strike the Root

Saturday, October 8

Katrina Blog

Just a quick recommendation of a blog chronicling the effects of hurricane Katrina in the gulf area. Although I do like to recommend things with a qualifying Christian-friendly/family-friendly basis, I found this one to be particularly interesting even though there are a few off-colour phrases and remarks, so be forewarned. "Siege's" pictures are particularly good and his background I've found fascinating.

Friday, October 7

4 Nights

Took the day off to take Col. Ghillie (my youngest) to 4 Nights in Peachtree City. Tickets were kinda expensive and it was raining most of the time but the bands were good. The Wedding, a rock band from Fayetteville, Arkansas, was pretty good with a good mix of modern rock, unlike the rock I'm more used to. John Rueben and Falling Up, on tour together, were there and it rocked. I actually like hip-hop, surprisingly. Falling Up just rocked the house. Lastly, Mute Math from New Orleans was an interesting mix. A little 70's keyboard sound that seems to be having a renaissance of sorts with some reggae. The drummer was awesome.

It's good being able to share things like this with the Colonel as he's 17 and it won't be long before he's busy with an adult life. Lawnman is the oldest with BBSP (Bling Bling Soggy Pants) in the middle along with Black Dog. They're growing up and sometimes it seems like the "empty nest" around here. Such is life...

Wednesday, October 5

Spam - Part Una

So I get these e-mails, like most everyone else does, that are called "spam". The origin of the name and the reasons maybe I'll get into another time but for now, suffice it to say, I don't use a spam blocker. I just have 5 different e-mail addresses. Primarily I use one just to catch all the unwanted spam; using it for things I know are going to generate spam, such as access priviledges to websites and sign-ups. My other e-mail addresses I give out only to trusted sources. Don't you just hate it when people continue to "Fwd:[fwd:" futile stuff like signing an online petition to tell Pres. Bush to keep his promise and appoint a conservative to the SCOTUS, despite your protestations otherwise? I know I do and many of those same e-mailers are the cause of my getting on some spammers' list...so, "I got yer e-mail right here".

Every now and then I get the desire to flagellate my mind and actually read these things. Observe one of the latest objects of my curiosity, the E-Diets mag. Consider the bylines plastered across the front of the mag, if you will.

The first item which drew my considered attention was KILLER ARMS IN 10 MINUTES, which is juxtaposed next to a picture of a lovely looking young lady with her belly-button exposed. Should I want to be able to kill her with my arms? Kids with their kinky relationships these days.

Next was FIGHT FATIGUE: 8 WAYS TO GET ENERGIZED. I'm personally not an advocate of it but I understand that crystal-meth works. Of course there's perennially legal, "premium octane" coffee, heavy on the caffeine mind you. Or how about that one-third of our overlooked and underachieving day called sleep. Ah, perchance to dream.

Lastly, I give you WANT OR NEED: WHAT'S YOUR PARTNER TO YOU? What does my partner have to do with an e-diet anyway? Besides, is that some invitation to dinner? I thought cannibalism was illegal in the States.

Art imitates life...

...or is it life imitates art? Whatever, television drama seems to have tested the waters and cleared the path for the leader of the Left Wing Conglomerate, Hillary, for her ascendency. She'll take from this another sign that she's "needed" in Amerika. (from Drudgereport)

#1 AGAIN TUESDAY NITE-- ABC 'COMMANDER IN CHIEF' SCORES MOST-WATCHED IN OVERNIGHTS... 12.8 RATING/18 SHARE FOR SECOND WEEK, UP AND OVER DEBUT... DEVELOPING...

Tuesday, October 4

Harriet Miers: The lesser of weevils

Randy Barnett's piece in the WSJ OpinionJournal spells out one clear misstep of Pres. Bush in his nomination of Harriet Miers to the SCOTUS. Alexander Hamilton would have dissented.

During the Clinton impeachment imbroglio, Alexander Hamilton's definition of "impeachable offense" from Federalist No. 65 was plastered from one end of the media to the other. With the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, get ready for another passage from Hamilton to get similar play--this one from Federalist No. 76:

"To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. . . . He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure."
Are Christian conservatives who voted for Bush on the basis that we must have a "conservative" president to nominate "strict constitutionalist" judges to the Supreme Court convinced now that we have neither? What all of this promise to nominate someone in the mold of Thomas or Scalia? First Roberts, who had little judicial background and no record on issues to determine which way the flag flies in his front yard, and now this.

Every election cycle, Christian evangelicals are cajoled into voting for Republicans, with the encouragement that Republican "conservatives" in the White House and Congress mean the power to stop the flood of unconstitutional judicial activism and the erosion of liberties. The Republican party has no conservative, constitutional designs. For conservatives, there is a choice in the Constitution party.

Voting the Republican party line hasn't given us lesser evils or lessened our evils. If this hasn't convinced evangelicals that Bush is no conservative and that the political arguments of the "lesser evils" and the "wasted vote" are nothing more than conceited attempts to sway the electorate through fear, then forget about Hollywood and the liberal left. We are our own worst enemy.

The Return of Judge Roy Moore

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was fired in 2003 for disobeying a federal order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a courthouse, said on Monday he would be a candidate for governor of Alabama in 2006. "It is a crucial time to run for office when rights and liberties are being eroded, taxes climb, the education of our children declines and morality erodes while judges tell children they cannot pray," Moore said at a rally in Gadsden, 63 miles northeast of Birmingham. "I believe that God is leading me to uphold the laws in Alabama and guide its policies," Moore said in an interview after he announced his candidacy.
I do hope so. Maybe Judge Moore can marshal the political favor among evangelicals he has into a statewide consensus. He certainly has clout and considerable backing among many sectors in the South. His constitutional acumen is refreshing and is much closer to my political inclinations than the "Three Monkey" Republican Party.

Monday, October 3

Status: Nominal

It was a busy weekend, mainly due to work on setting up a "media admin" room in the downstairs basement of our church. The network access router is upstairs in the church receptionist's office but one of the principle switches along with the sound board and server are in the new room. Originally, I planned to have the router in the admin room but some problems prevented me from doing that now. The way I've wired the LAN should eventually allow me to move it to the admin room later with a few config changes. It'll give us a more central location for the DSL modem and router.

It took some time to build the counter for the stuff due to the fact that I know little about carpentry; should've paid closer attention to dad with his carpentry skills when I was growing up. The server was a cast off from a now defunct MCI site admin and even though it's slow, 200mhz Compaq Prolinea, it'll "server" the purposes of playing audio files through the sound board and by being a parking spot for shared storage on the network. Really, the server is just a piece of "compujunque" with a couple of nice SCSI 9 gig drives but for now it does the trick. I'll have to get to the next computer show to see if'n I can find another SCSI drive for it.

I also took the time to set up a couple of stage speakers in the young adults room and wired them to the sound board in the admin room. Talk about ROCK! Playing Third Day's Consuming Fire from the server through the board really made it seem worth the hard work. The next step is to wire some ceiling speakers and a mic in the fellowship room into the sound board for sunday school use. I'll probably get to that sometime this weekend.

Sunday, October 2

Judgment or Justice?

I've heard and read commentary from a variety of sources attempting to bring understanding for the effects of natural disasters. To attribute blame for gulf coast hurricanes and California wildfires by claiming that this is the expected judgment of God responding to evil and wickedness I think is to not only miss the big picture but to misunderstand God's justice. Some Christians, however, seem to want a quid pro quo explanation.

"New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness," wrote Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, in a column, according to the Birmingham News. "It is the kind of behavior that ultimately brings the judgment of God. Warnings year after year by godly evangelists and preachers went unheeded. So why were we surprised when finally the hand of judgment fell?" he wrote. "Sadly, innocents suffered along with the guilty. Sin always brings suffering to good people as well as the bad."
New Orleans, and parts of Louisiana, have more than their share of political corruption and evil does abound but it's got no corner on the market of sin. Some believe, ...please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers--out of here!-all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations. See how I hate those who hate you, GOD, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance; - Psalm 139:19-21 (Message Version) But to paraphrase scripture, the floods and wind came upon the just and the unjust. I'm sure there were many who perished who had no participation in the environment of "gambling, sin or wickedness" prevalent in the area. Those who did participate in such things may have been spared but could've been killed by other means. Why a hurricane? In my opinion, the justice of God, through tragic events such as these, can bring an individual down one of two paths of thought. Acknowledge His sense of justice or hold to one's own.

God judges by His character. His ways are not necessarily ours and the choice He makes between leniency or punishment is peculiarly His. Insofar as natural disasters are concerned, as I see it, the judgment of God falls upon those who die in the events. Their opportunity to be weighed in the balance of life came before the events took place. Those who survived, those who lived through these disasters, should be considered as having the mercy of God upon them. They have the responsibility of answering questions that mankind has been yearning to answer for centuries, "What am I here for?", "Why am I alive when others died?"

Not everything do we see clearly now. Some things are evident. Some are obscure. We mistake when we assume to know more than we can.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12