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June 30, 2005

The Founders' Cornerstones

The Federalist Patriot is a wonderful E-mail newsletter that I get 3 times a week. (There are actually 4 separate E-mails sent out weekly, and I get three of them.) According to their website, the newsletter is, "a highly acclaimed publication of anecdotal rebuttal to contemporary political, social and mainstream media Leftists". Today's E-mail noted, as Independence Day is just around the corner, that many of the Founding Fathers' list of grievances against King George, itemized in the Declaration of Independence that were the basis of their desire to become independent, could be charges levelled at the Supreme Court of today. They accused the King of faithlessness to British law, and they let him know the particulars. Mark Alexander gives examples of 7 of the 27 indictments and how they'd apply to today's justices. It's a very telling look at how far we've returned back to the very government abuses we fought a war to be free from.

I highly recommend signing up for one or more of their E-mails.

Posted by Doug at 04:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sex Sells ... Or Not

Looks like sex didn't sell as well as they thought it would.

The hot controversy over Paris Hilton's sexy burger ads for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's has not translated into a surge of sales at the fast-food outlets.

CKE Restaurants, parent company of both chains, says Carl's Jr. posted a 1.7 percent rise in same-store sales for the four weeks ending June 20, while Hardee's notched an increase of 0.7 percent.

Yes, Andrew Puzder (president & CEO of CKE) is putting a positive spin on it, suggesting that people who came in asking for "the Paris Hilton burger" would not have otherwise purchased anything at all. That's a bit of a stretch. Looks like, at most, this may have increased the demand for Paris Hilton video on the 'net, but it did virtually nothing for sales.

Meanwhile, Boddie-Noel Enterprises, which owns around 330 Hardee's franchises, says they're not going to run the ad in their area (four southeastern states). This is the first time they've done that, and it may not be the last.

The conventional wisdom is that all publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right. It's possible that it's time to unlearn that.

Posted by Doug at 12:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Justice Souter's Property to Be Seized?

This story is pretty ironic given the fact that Justice Souter voted with the majority in Kelo vs. City of New London. (Hat Tip: Polipundit)

Posted by Tom at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mohler on Hillary, Emergents

Via Steve McCoy comes this quote from Al Mohler concerning the new book on Senator Hillary Clinton:

We must not give ourselves permission to read a book that will encourage us to feel morally superior about ourselves, even as it poisons our hearts about someone seen as a threat to what we cherish.

That's a poignant quote, and well worth considering for the next three and a half years.

Mohler also has a two part series up on the Emergent Church (see here and here). Not everyone will like his conclusions but it's a fair analysis and worthy of consideration.

Edit: I spoke too soon. Scot McKnight, author of the Jesus Creed, thinks Mohler's view of the Emergent Church is far too simplistic. And he may well be right.

Posted by Matt at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Robert P. George Interview

Here's a link to an article discussing an interview with a leading opponent of embryonic stem cell research. Robert P. George is a professor at Princeton and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. Read the interview for yourself to get a better understanding of the ethics involved with creating embryos just for the purpose of experimentation. Here's the best quote:

We cannot say with certainty that embryonic cells will never prove therapeutically useful in treating other diseases, but as a matter of sheer fact not a single embryonic-stem-cell therapy is even in clinical trials. No one knows how to prevent tumor formation and other problems arising from the use of embryonic stem cells. No one knows whether these problems will be solved or solved before other research strategies render embryonic research obsolete. Like John Kerry, John Edwards, and Ron Reagan, Cuomo is elevating the hopes of suffering people and their families who are desperate for cures and eager to believe that if only embryonic-stem-cell research were federally funded they or their loved ones would be restored to health.

I realize this is something of a controversial topic, but George, who is a Christian, provides both a scientific and a moral basis for his opposition. I highly recommend the read, particularly if you've decided the embryonic research is going to be a cure-all for diseases and disabilities.

Posted by Matt at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Stone to Cry Out

She's witty, intelligent, and has a keen insight into issues of the day. She is Abigail Brayden, the newest Stone (or as Doug refers to her, Stonette). Abigail has been blogging at her self-titled blog since August 2004 and we have been fans of her blog for quite a while.

As you can see from her bio, she is a woman of many talents. We believe that she will help advance the mission of this blog and are thrilled to have her as part of the Stones Cry Out team.

Posted by Tom at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Sad Day in Our Home

There is deep sadness in our home today that many homes have known, but never this one. After a short pregnancy that still had the freshness and vibrancy of an early spring day, our baby has died. There is no good reason at such an early stage, just six weeks old, and there will be no great physical trauma. But the new trajectory that we had just been planning for our lives must now be recalibrated without this child, who we resisted naming even as my other children reveled in the process of coming up with new names and possibilities.

The joy, which I described in an earlier post, was strong and heartfelt, but it was not the opposite of this bitter taste of death. For the joy was mitigated with the view of danger—we knew this was a high-risk pregnancy—and the anticipation of the hard process of bearing and birthing a child. In this world there is little that can mitigate the terrible finality of the death of such promise, the end of a life before it can be truly celebrated.

Because we believe in life and know beyond doubt that human life begins when it is conceived as such, we also know that God took home this young addition to our family, who we had not even named except to call it our “little pumpkin seed,” and He has a name for it that is listed in his book of life.

Almost everyone we have talked to has suffered similar pain, and we know the loss is a common one. We don’t mean to heighten our own sorrow as something special or even unique. But we mourn the loss of this child and the suspension of this hope and the darkening of the light that this growing baby was already bringing to our lives.

We’ve prayed long and hard about all of this, and we don’t have any thought that God lost control. No, we recognize His hand, and we are sad that today His plan was for our home to suffer this loss.

Goodbye little pumpkin seed, until we meet again.

Posted by Jim at 08:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Writing on Celebrity and True Stardom

Ben Stein, in his last column for E Online in December 2003, asked some very important questions, such as “Who is a star?”, “What is my purpose here?”, and “Who is in charge of the universe?”, and comes up with some very good answers.

On the latter he writes:

“We are not responsible for the operation of the universe, and what happens to us is not terribly important. God is real, not a fiction, and when we turn over our lives to Him, he takes far better care of us than we could ever do for ourselves.

In a word, we make ourselves sane when we fire ourselves as the directors of the movie of our lives and turn the power over to Him.”

(Hat tip: Broken Masterpieces)

Posted by Jim at 07:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2005

Religion, minus the "G" word

You can write about religion, but don't dare mention..well, you know, the "G" word.

For using the "G" word 41 times in a term paper, Bethany Hauf was given an "F" by her Victor Valley Community College instructor.

Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic - Religion and its Place within the Government - on one condition: Don't use the word God. Instead of complying with VVCC adjunct instructor Michael Shefchik's condition Hauf wrote a 10-page report for her English 101 class entitled "In God We Trust."

"He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, a 34-year-old mother of four, said. "I didn't realize God was taboo."

Hope the potential offendees never look too close at the money in their wallets. The idea that a report on religion should avoid the word God is akin to writing about the role of government in general without using the words "law" and "order".

I suppose that the teacher can place whatever restrictions he wanted to on classroom assignments. Still, this particular restriction seems one that was designed to ensure failure or at least discourage the topic. The American Center for Law and Justice is representing Hauf, asking for an apology and a re-grading of the paper. Oh, and one other nice bit of irony.

In addition to an apology and a re-grading of Hauf's paper, the ACLJ demands Shefchik "receive some kind of training to sensitize him to the constitutional dimensions of his employment in a public educational institution, including his duty to respect constitutional freedoms of expression."

Sensitivity ought to work both ways.

Posted by Doug at 04:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Your Ring Looks Good on My Finger!

1120063839.jpgTalk about a cultural misstep (if that’s what it was). Vladimir Putin apparently pocketed New England Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft’s 2005 Super Bowl ring after he allowed the Russian president to try it on. I spent a month in Russia when it was still the Soviet Union as a student ambassador. Customs are different for sure, but I’m not sure I buy the “misunderstanding” story. This action seems fitting with Putin’s character. He’s a bit out of touch and a rather confused individual.

UPDATE: Kraft now says that he intended the ring as a gift.

Posted by Rick at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Newsweek on Dinosaurs: Science or Science Fiction?

Mark Tapscott takes a closer look at an article entitled Buried Treasure from the latest issue of Newsweek and finds more science fiction than fact in their report on dinosaurs. He also links to some great resources on the scientific data available to show how dinosaurs really lived.

Posted by Tom at 01:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rite of Passage

Last week I finally took the big step with my son. He’s 10 and I thought it was time. Why wait any longer for the important rite of passage.

I took him to Starbucks.

I had my usual coffee of the day with cream. He had some health bar thing, which he found lacking.

While there he asked: "Why is there a girl on the Starbucks logo?" I did not know. Here are some explanations.

(It’s a mermaid. But I still haven’t figured out what this has to do with coffee).

Posted by Jim at 07:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Just what flavor of Christian are you? MediaCulpa is trying to help you with his latest quiz, and Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has a tongue-in-cheek tool called The Denominator.

Posted by Jim at 07:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

Woody Allen's Insanity

Woody Allen is one of my favorite filmmakers; I'm a fan of both his nostalgia and his neurotic sensibilities. That said, his recent remarks about are 9/11 are inexcusable and asinine.

Thus spake Lileks

Posted by Matt at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Forgotten Emergencies

Either by sheer magnitude, access by the world’s communicators, or political prominence, some humanitarian crises grab international attention, appearing on the evening news or in the morning papers, and staying there for some time.

Even then, the attention moves elsewhere as people focus on their own lives and the daily pressures and problems that face anyone, whether the residents of affluent cities or squatters in refugee camps. Life goes on, and even the horror of a natural disaster, war, or genocide disappears into crowded memories.

The tsunami is no longer news and last year’s Caribbean hurricanes have blown by. Buried even more are the lingering multi-year crises that never made it to page one and have never been of major concern to the world’s powers or the media gatekeepers.

Humanitarians call these The Forgotten Emergencies.

Reuters AlertNet asked more than 100 humanitarian professionals, media personalities, academics and activists which of the world's "forgotten" emergencies they wanted the global media to focus on in 2005. Among them are eight regions that have been in crisis for many years. Conflicts in Congo, Uganda and Sudan are the three biggest forgotten emergencies, dwarfing the Asian tsunami's death toll but attracting scant media interest.

Top forgotten crises include:

o Congo
o North Uganda
o Sudan
o West Africa
o Colombia
o Chechnya
o Haiti
o Nepal

Reuters also found AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and infectious diseases worldwide to be of paramount concern but relatively uncovered by the world’s media.

Posted by Jim at 05:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

FEC Crackdown

A couple of lefty bloggers head to Washington and get some press...and I'm rooting for them!

Posted by Rick at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

More Analysis on the Supreme Court's Hair-Splitting

There is some great analysis on yesterday's hair-splitting decisions from the Supreme Court on the 10 Commandments. Paul Mirengoff of Powerline examines some of the legal reasoning in these cases. Hugh Hewitt says that long-time court watchers were not surprised by the decisions. George Will looks at the historical context of the Establishment Clause to reveal the absurdity of the Court's decisions. Finally, Dr. Albert Mohler says in his commentary today that the decisions reveal the Court's increasing hostility towards religion, specifically Christianity.

Posted by Tom at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

Judgement Day; Muslim & Christian

Don Sensing explains how different Christianity and Islam are by considering what each believes will happen at Judgement Day for each believer. If you're one of those who thinks that Christians and Muslims really just believe in the same deity, you have a big chasm to cross.

Marwan's god wants to know whether he committed mayhem and murder. Christ wants to know whether we fed the hungry and thirsty, welcomed strangers, clothed the naked, nursed the sick and visited the imprisoned.

The contrast could not be clearer.

Suggesting that one god could require such diametrically opposed standards is to make Him just a generalized, all-inclusive guy with no real standards to speak of. That doesn't describe a good God, and it frankly makes it impossible for both religions to be talking about the same one.

Posted by Doug at 10:19 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

UK bank bans Christian group

On Friday I noted a news report about a guy who was fired from Allstate for personal views he held. Today comes word that a religious group is no longer welcome at a bank in the UK for their views.

The Co-operative Bank has asked an evangelical Christian group to close its account because of its anti-homosexual views.

The bank said the opinions of Christian Voice were incompatible with its support for diversity.

Christian Voice said the bank, based in Manchester, was discriminating against it on religious grounds.

It is now waiting for other religious groups with similar opinions to be asked to close accounts, it added.

Christian Voice has held an account with the Co-operative Bank for about three years.

But now the bank has decided the group's stance on homosexuality is so extreme, it has asked members to look for a new bank.

"It has come to the bank's attention that Christian Voice is engaged in discriminatory pronouncements based on the grounds of sexual orientation," a spokesman for the bank said.

"This public stance is incompatible with the position of the Co-operative Bank, which publicly supports diversity and dignity in all its forms for our staff, customers and other stakeholders."

Isn't the removal of someone because they don't think the way you do the exact opposite of "diversity"?

Posted by Doug at 12:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Supremes & the 10 Commandments

The much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling on the display of the 10 Commandments on government property will, I think, reign in the extremists, but still leaves room for local courts to determine how much religion is too much. I've been really waiting for this ruling in light of the fact that the 10 Commandments, or at least references to them, appear in the Supreme Court itself.

Sending dual signals in ruling on this issue for the first time in a quarter-century, the high court said that displays of the Ten Commandments _ like their own courtroom frieze _ are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it goes too far in amounting to a governmental promotion of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits.

In effect, the court said it was taking the position that issues of Ten Commandments displays in courthouses should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

I haven't read the whole ruling (and probably wouldn't understand a lot of it if I did), but I do appreciate the clarification that the court gave to the Establishment Clause.
"Of course, the Ten Commandments are religious _ they were so viewed at their inception and so remain. The monument therefore has religious significance," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the majority in the case involving the display outside the state capitol of Texas.

"Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment clause," he said.

It has been this misapplication of the Establishment Clause that has given the ACLU their teeth in taking down anything remotely religious from he public square. Just because a text or an idea lines up with someone's religious belief, it doesn't automatically make it an establishment of religion by the government. Take these displays, for example. All the religious displays on that page (and don't forget to click on "Part II") are from Washington, DC, and if the ACLU had been around then, they'd have never been made. Go there now, and be astonished at what used to be considered acceptable religion in the marketplace until people started misreading the Establishment Clause.

I agree with Justice Thomas that "a more fundamental rethinking of our Establishment Clause jurisprudence remains in order." While I was hoping that this would be case in which to do it, it is a step in the right direction.

Posted by Doug at 12:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Linda Foley Won't Back Down

Media Slander has been following the story of Linda Foley, president of The Newspaper Guild, who recently accused the military of deliberately targeting journalists. Rather than apologizing for her remarks, she instead attacks her critics in a recently published statement. Media Slander has responded by fisking her statement. They are also calling for people to write to the individual Guild chapters to express outrage over Ms. Foley's remarks.

While it's no secret that many journalists oppose the war on terror that does not give them the right to make slanderous accusations against the U. S. Military. As my colleague Jim points out in a previous post, anti-war remarks from the Left have historically done more harm than good. Ms. Foley should apologize immediately. Based on her most recent statement, it doesn't appear that will happen anytime soon.

Update: The Augusta Free Press has a column today entitled Potty Mouth Politics that directly addresses over-the-top rhetoric such as what we have seen from Ms. Foley. (Hat tip: The Blue State Conservatives)

Posted by Tom at 10:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Finish the Job in Iraq

The Democratic Party is ratcheting up the anti-war rhetoric of retreat. For those of us old enough to remember the retreat from Vietnam, the voices sound eerily familiar.

As Hugh Hewitt points out, the unintended consequences were devastating:

The Democratic Party and its liberal/left supporters negligence with regard to southeast Asia in the '70s bought about the deaths of millions and the enduring communist governments of Vietnam and Laos and the desperate circumstances of Cambodia. They did not intend that result.

Unlike South Vietnam, there is a credible and viable political solution. But this solution is possible only if the coalition maintains a strong military presence. Because the insurgency shows no sign of folding, it is time to escalate, not retreat. Unleash the troops; allow our military leaders to take the actions necessary to defeat the enemy.

As David Brooks wrote last week, ignore the polls and finish the job.

Posted by Jim at 07:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's OK, Dr. Graham

Billy Graham’s last crusade in New York City has become a media love fest, and it is really great to see the admiration for Dr Graham and the way the Crusade is pulling together the Christian church in the city. But please don’t pay attention to anything Dr. Graham says these days, except in his prepared sermon. He has lost his political discretion, but it’s OK. He deserves a little senility late in life. Don’t condemn him, as some have. Just smile when it sounds as though he’s endorsing Hillary Clinton for president (when Bill Clinton joined him on stage, Graham "quipp[ed] that the former president should become an evangelist and allow 'his wife to run the country'”). This wasn’t politics; just a good-natured quip at an evangelistic crusade. We need to read in the discretion the grand old man of evangelicalism is now lacking.

Posted by Jim at 07:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Examining the Joel Osteen Cult

The teaching of Joel Osteen has great appeal because of its sunny prescription for good times. It’s the epitome of the froth that is bubbling up in pulpits throughout the nation. Ken Silva has a sobering look at Osteen and the Word/Faith movement:

As one looks deeper into this “feel-good” message of Joel Osteen, however, it becomes clear that his doctrine is actually far worse than junk-food, for it is indeed the spiritual poison of the metaphysical Mind Science cults which is the actual root of W/F.

Posted by Jim at 07:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 25, 2005

Question of the Day

Martin Luther once said that there is no salvation apart from the church, implying that the Christian life is meant to be lived within the context of the Body of Christ.

Here's an idea, and I'm curious to know what my colleagues and our readers think: There is no democracy outside of the community.

What do you say?

Posted by Matt at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2005

The Iran Situation

Tomorrow Iran will have a runoff in its Presidential "election." I'm not sure how it's possible to have a runoff when the originial election was a sham from the get-go. This situation is so tragic and infuriating. The Iranians are desperate for freedom and the mainstream media hardly utters a peep. There's no ending the terrorism in Iraq, or anywhere else in the world, so long as the Islamo-facist nexus is based out of Tehran. There was a headline on MSN earlier today saying that some Al-Qaeda types have been found in Iran. No kidding. Michael Ledeen has been talking about this for close to four years.

Something needs to be done in Iran, though I realize it's a sticky situation for the Bush administration due to all the intangibles with the largely Sunni Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, to say nothing of Israel's interests in all of this. Still, the rights of the people of Iran and the safety of our nation is dependent upon the removal of the current power structure. In the meantime, the rest of us can continue to push for reform and draw attention to the crisis. And as a believer, I can continue to pray that any and all missionaries or small pockets of Christians in Iran (for they are no doubt present) will find strength and encouragement in their suffering, and eventually enjoy a nation where they can proclaim the name of Christ in peace and freedom.

See RegimeChangeIran for more.

Posted by Matt at 03:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New All-Girl Group Blog

Intellectuelle, the new all-ladies group blog spearheaded by Marla Swoffer looks to be great.

Keep an eye on this one; launch date is soon.

Posted by Matt at 03:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One less bonus to embryonic stem cells

One less benefit of embryonic stem cells over adults ones:

Hailed as a ground-breaking study, scientists in Pittsburgh say they've discovered that adult stem cells have the same ability as embryonic stem cells to multiply.

The previously unknown characteristic indicates post-natal stem cells may play an important therapeutic role, according to the researchers at the city's Children's Hospital.

In the heated national debate, embryonic stem cells -- regarded as destruction of human life by opponents -- have been touted as having a greater capacity than adult cells to multiply, making them more desirable to research as a potential treatment, noted Johnny Huard, director of the hospital's Growth and Development Laboratory.

"Scientists have typically believed that adult or post-natal stem cells grow old and die much sooner than embryonic stem cells, but this study demonstrates that is not the case," said Huard, the senior author of the study.

I have to wonder why we'd bother with all the ethical issues regarding embryonic stem cells when, the more we learn, the more we're seeing that adult stem cells are almost as good. In addition to multiplying as well, they can differentiate just about as well. Not to mention their proven track record in actual use.

Posted by Doug at 02:38 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Corporate values vs your values

If you write an essay on your own time with your own equipment and of your own thoughts, should your company be allowed to fire you if the essays conflicts with the company's values, even if you don't specify your connection to your company? The Allstate insurance company thinks so. J. Matt Barber, a former manager for Allstate, is suing the company after they fired him for writing an article against homosexuality from his Christian viewpoint that was posted on several websites. A month after it was posted, he was suspended with pay and escorted off the premises because, as the Human Resources assistant VP told him, the column didn't reflect Allstate's views. Three days later, he was phoned to tell him he was fired "for writing the article". Allstate even lobbied to keep him from getting unemployment benefits, but after bringing his case to the Illinois' Dept. of Employment Security, the agency sided with Barber and said he was entitled to the money. In their report, the agency said Barber's action was not misconduct, which is deliberate and willful, and his actions were neither.

The firing by Allstate was not specifically due to the Christian viewpoint, but the anti-homosexual ones that came from it. This is the latest symptom of a society that is becoming so "tolerant" of homosexuality that you don't deserve a job if you disagree. Back in October, 2004, the Royal Bank of Canada started handing out special "Safe Space" stickers that workers could place in their cubicles to show they wouldn't tolerate "homophobia". If you didn't agree with the company's position on homosexuality, you weren't "safe"; you were "homophobic". We've now moved to the point that Christians now may have to fear for their jobs if they speak out on their own time. "Sure, we're tolerant of your views, as long as you don't express them" is the motto of this new "tolerance".

Some who agree with Allstate's position on homosexuality may also agree that they shouldn't have fired Mr. Barber. That's all well and good, but it should be clear that we crossed a line quite some time ago where this sort of reaction is not just possible but actually occurring. Unless we reign in this sort of behavior, and I don't see the willingness to do that from "tolerance" advocates, it'll be a brand of intolerance that we'll be seeing more of.

Posted by Doug at 12:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 23, 2005


A few quick hits:

- Matt Crash! has a new look and content focus. Check it out if it's your thing.

- A big welcome to our new colleagues here at SCO.

- The SCOTUS decision today is really disheartening.

- Game 7 is pretty intense right now.

More later when I'm fully awake. Life's been busy.

Posted by Matt at 11:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Will a Book Sink Hillary Clinton?

A new book entitled The Truth About Hillary Clinton is being breathlessly promoted in conservative circles as the book that will do to the Senator's presidential hopes what Unfit For Command did to John Kerry's presidential bid.

Peggy Noonan has a column today on Opinion Journal that pretty much confirms what I already suspected about the book: it doesn't live up to the hype.

Noonan, who wrote the book The Case Against Hillary Clinton, could be considered somewhat of an authority on the Senator. In addition, she is an astute political observer who understands that it will take far more than a so-called expose to undermine the Senator's presidential hopes.

Unlike John Kerry, Hillary Clinton is a known quantity after serving as First Lady for eight years and the junior Senator from New York for six years. The electorate already has strong opinions either for or against her. Democrats, anxious to regain the White House, will be willing to rally around her. Although she has recently tried to paint herself as more of a centrist, she has very liberal views that will play well to the Democratic base.

If Republicans are serious about thwarting Senator Clinton's presidential ambitions, they need to first pick a serious candidate to oppose her. In order to retain the White House, the GOP will have to mount a sustained campaign against whoever is the Democratic nominee.

Unfit For Command did help defeat John Kerry. However, John Kerry helped defeat John Kerry more than anyone else did. Conservatives should not expect one book to be enough to defeat Senator Clinton. She is a far more formidable opponent than John Kerry was. If they expect to win, they better be prepared for a difficult fight.

Posted by Tom at 04:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Kelo v. City of New London

As a land use and environmental planner by trade, I have developed what many have called “socialist” positions on land use and zoning-related issues. For example, I have the audacity to believe that citizens should not be able to use local government as a tool to artificially constrain residential development in an attempt to limit housing opportunities for people of all incomes or pad their own wallets (i.e., boost property values). If I own a tract of land and want to put low-income apartments on it, I should be able to do so with MY LAND. For reasons beyond me, this position draws ire from my conservative friends.

Also drawing ire from conservatives (including friends), is today’s Kelo v. City of New London SCOTUS decision.

Local governments now have the power to condemn private land for private economic development projects. A local jurisdiction’s power of eminent domain to acquire land for public uses, such as schools, roads, fire stations, libraries, etc., while often abused, has gained rather wide public acceptance. However, this expansion of power will allow cities to, as the article puts it, “bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.”

Don’t get me wrong, local redevelopment agencies have done this for a while now. In the 2003 report, Public Power, Private Gain, the Institute for Justice documented more than 10,000 cases where condemnation was used for private gain. It’s just that Kelo sanctions Constitutional a practice that many cities in the past have pursued with relative caution. The floodgates are now open.

Allow me to summarize the petition, majority opinion of the Court, O’Connor’s dissent, and present my thoughts on the decision and its effect in California.

In 1998, Pfizer expressed interest in building a research facility near the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London Connecticut. With an unemployment rate twice as high as the County’s and this part of the city experiencing an greater degree of decay than other parts of the city, New London’s City Council gave the go ahead to the New London Development Corporation (NLDC) to prepare a development plan for 90-acres of the Fort Trumbull area. The plan was essentially built around the Pfizer concept plan for a research facility and strived to “create jobs, increase tax and other revenues, encourage public access to and use of the city’s waterfront, and eventually build momentum for the revitalization of the rest of the city” (App. to Pet. for Cert. 5). The Kelo petitioners own property in two of the seven parcels of the NLDC development plan. One of the parcels was designated for “research and office space” while the other was designated, rather vaguely, for “park support” (possibly parking).

Understand that the NLDC is not a public entity. It is a non-profit entity effectively created by the city to assist the City Council with redevelopment and economic development planning. It is not therefore directly accountable to the public, although the City Council, which has the power to condemn the land, is.

The Court ruled that New London’s condemnation of Kelo et al’s property for economic development qualifies as a public use and is therefore not an unconstitutional take. Rejected was the claim that the condemnation was an abuse of public power for private gain. The City had established a thorough development plan that the Court did not find to be adopted for the purpose of benefiting “a particular class of identifiable individuals” (Midkiff, 467 U. S., at 245). The Court argued that “public use” has been defined broadly with deference given to local jurisdictions in defining what justifies use of eminent domain (Berman, 348 U. S. 26; Midkiff, 467 U. S. 229; Ruckelshaus v.Monsanto Co., 467 U. S. 986. Pp. 6.13).

The City’s development plan for the area, which included Kelo’s property, included a variety of proposed land uses, including commercial, residential, and recreational uses, together would provide a number of public benefits, including, but not limited to new jobs and increased tax revenue. Therefore, the petition was considered in context of the whole benefit to be provided by implementation of the City’s development plan. The Court felt that the City’s redevelopment plan for the entire area “unquestionably” provided for a public use and therefore taking of Kelo et al’s property met the public use standard.

In her dissent, Justice O’Connor wrote:

To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings for public use is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property and thereby effectively to delete the words for public use from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent.
O’Connor argues that the majority’s references to Berman and Midkiff are inappropriate. In both those cases, the land condemned “inflicted harm on society.” That is, the land had a direct impact on the public good and the Court’s decided in both cases that removing the direct harm caused a direct public benefit. In Kelo, the land in question caused no immediate societal harm, only that the economic and aesthetic environment had a chance of improving if the land was condemned.

This is a subtle, but wholly consequential shift from the Court.

In moving away from our decisions sanctioning the condemnation of harmful property use, the Court today significantly expands the meaning of public use. It holds that the sovereign may take private property currently put to ordinary private use, and give it over for new, ordinary private use, so long as the new use is predicted to generate some secondary benefit for the public, such as increased tax revenue, more jobs, maybe even aesthetic pleasure… It was possible after Berman and Midkiff to imagine unconstitutional transfers from A to B. Those decisions endorsed government intervention when private property use had veered to such an extreme that the public was suffering as a consequence. Today nearly all real property is susceptible to condemnation on the Court’s theory.
I’m not too familiar with state-local fiscal regimes of other states, but I have an idea how this will play out in California.

Proposition 13 capped property taxes in the 1970s and other initiatives in the state require supermajorities to raise taxes, forcing local jurisdictions to rely on other revenue sources to balance municipal budgets. Since land use powers are a last vestige of local autonomy in California, and a jurisdiction can increase local revenue by increasing the amount of sales-tax generating uses within its borders, a phenomenon referred to as the “fiscalization of land use” ensued. (See this publication for a good overview of CA issues and Fulton’s The Reluctant Metropolis offers a fascinating case study of fights (even lawsuits) between neighboring Ventura County jurisdictions over sales-tax revenue generating uses.)

In my article, A Marriage of Convenience: Fiscal Incentives and Residential Development Patterns, I define fiscalization of land use as a “phenomenon whereby local land use decisions are mostly influenced by fiscal concerns, contrary to the expressed desires of the affected community.” In light of today’s decision, this definition falls a bit short as it is limited to land use and zoning powers, not powers of eminent domain. Nevertheless, the concept is the same. In California, where the State has a penchant for raiding local revenues to balance its budget, the incentive to bulldoze otherwise viable neighborhoods to capture sales tax revenue is even greater. Local governments now are freer to condemn land to pad local coffers and where jurisdictions have limited revenue alternatives, land use fiscalization can be expected to increase.

As detailed in Fulton’s book linked above and elsewhere in the literature, neighboring jurisdictions often offer a variety of concessions to developers of retail uses to “win” the new big-box use. Under this arrangement, non-constituent private corporations, become a client of the jurisdiction. Set aside for the moment the moral problem with condemning private land to make a buck, stuck between a rock and a hard place, the suburbs, dependent on sales tax revenue, may discount the expressed opinions of their current constituents when considering requests from powerful corporations.

Fiscalization of land use is one likely unintended consequence of the decision. Justice O’Connor’s nailed another with this statement:

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.
With Kelo, incentives are structured to encourage local governments to discount the opinions of existing, perhaps less mobilized or influential, constituents in pursuit of balancing local budgets. But objecting to the Kelo decision on these grounds is a bit wonkish.

Kelo blurs further the line between public and private land. While I agree that in the specific Kelo case, the overall development plan would provide for a public benefit, since the petitioners’ property was causing no immediate harm to the public, the government’s role is to establish the plan, and the market’s job to implement it. If Pfizer could not purchase the land required to build their factory, then they have to take their project elsewhere; they have no inherent right to the property. Taking it in this instance is not only unconstitutional (despite what five justices say), it is immoral.

QUESTION: Does anyone know what impact, if any, this decision may have on protections afforded under the Religious and Institutionalized Persons Land Use Protection Act? Can a City now condemn a church to make way for a WalMart?

Posted by Rick at 04:12 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

More Stones to Cry Out

On April 29, 2002, when most of us still thought a blog was the result of a spill or computer term that remained beyond us, an Atlanta-based blogger cited bias in the media as it related to the homosexual elements of the molestation crisis in the Catholic church. He has been blogging regularly ever since.

During the blog explosion of 2004, a Virginia-based baseball fan, homeschool advocate, and prolific reader launched his blog in the run up to the election and called John Kerry’s hypocrisy as a goose hunter.

On behalf of the Stones Cry Out team, I am pleased to announce that these two bloggers, Doug Payton—the pioneer, and multi-faceted and well-read Tom Parsons, have agreed to join the SCO team of contributors.

If you’ve had an eye on our blogroll—-which probably isn’t all that likely—-you would have noticed that we’ve been fans of Doug’s Considerettes, and Tom’s Daddypundit for some time. (Doug is also my brother-in-law—-he coined the term, blogger-in-law; and the person who launched me into the blogosphere).

The Stones Cry Out vision statement reads in part:

We believe the role of a blog produced by followers of Christ is to--like Paul at Mars Hill--"reason in the marketplace day by day with those who happen to be there" (Acts 17:17). As we contend for the faith, we seek to bring glory to Jesus Christ (Luke 19:40), and advance His kingdom.

We firmly believe these two talented bloggers will help us advance this mission.

We’ll be getting their biographies and photos up shortly. In the meantime, please join us in welcoming the newest Stones.

Posted by Jim at 03:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What’s in Domain Name? This Eminent Domain is Called Tyranny

Stay tuned for Rick's post on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision today to allow governments to use eminent domain to seize the land of private landowners for the purpose of giving the land to other private interests, for economic purposes. He has professional expertise that will inform his analysis.

From my standpoint, this is one of the worst Court decisions since Roe v. Wade.

Property ownership is a pillar of our free society, is it not? Not according to the liberals on the Supreme Court. We’re not talking about taking private land to build a road or put in a river levee or a power plant. We’re talking about seizing land so Wal-Mart can add a store, or a land developer can put in a multi-use development, office park, or hotel complex.

Why is it that the liberals want every kind of freedom, except the freedom to buy and own land?

The battle to put conservatives on the Court gains in importance as each day passes. Especially today--a bad day for freedom in America.

Posted by Jim at 01:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Oh, the Boycott Hadn’t Already Ended?

The Southern Baptist Convention, which kick-started a widespread conservative religious boycott of Walt Disney Co. eight years ago, voted Wednesday to end the action but warned Disney that it was keeping its eye on the company (MSNBC).

I’m not against boycotts, but they just invite derision if they have absolutely no impact. It seems to me the boycott by the Southern Baptists and others had no effect on Disney, either because not enough conservative Christians participated or because Disney’s size and popularity could sustain the loss of a small portion of its business.

Next time, it would be good to do an impact study before sticking out our necks.

Posted by Jim at 07:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

“It Can Never Forget What They Did Here”

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have hallowed it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. (A. Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 1863)

We are met to build a casino on this hallow ground? Is there nothing in our history sacred enough to shield it from the developer's shovels. A casino by the Gettysburg battlefield? A bad idea.

From ABC News:

A group of developers proposing to build a casino, hotel and spa near the Gettysburg battlefield call the plan synergy that would benefit the national park, the community and the state of Pennsylvania, but a local citizens' group that opposes the plan says it is just a sin.

"This is a desecration. They're bringing in a product. They're saying we want to sell this product in your town and we're saying that product is fundamentally exploitation, and it's a product we don't want here," said Susan Star Paddock, a spokeswoman for No Casino Gettysburg, a group that formed in the town after the investors' group announced its plan on April 26.

The plan needs to die at this hallowed resting place.

Posted by Jim at 07:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Air Force Academy Findings

A Pentagon panel investigating charges of improper religious pressure at the Air Force Academy found zealotry and what it called “insensitivity” by Christians sharing their faith, but no overt religious discrimination. (Source)

Of course this wasn’t good enough for the likes of the NY Times, which editorialized that the findings were a whitewash, evidently because they didn’t agree with a Yale University investigation.

Let’s see, who do a go with on issues of Christian expression, the Pentagon or a liberal east coast university? I’m supporting the men in uniform. This was a witchhunt from the start, which took advantage of the whines of a handful of cadets and tried to smear Christians preparing men and women who will put their lives on the line.

Posted by Jim at 07:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

How Are We Doing? A Mid-Year Look at 2005

In December 2004, in the afterglow of a Bush victory and solid Congressional gains fueled by a coalition of values-voters, I made my predictions for this New Year. While only a few of the predictions were off-track, somewhat unrealistic optimism is clear in the timetables for change. Meaningful social, political, and geopolitical change is slow cooking. While we see some of the predicted advancements brewing, it appears that it will be some time before they are possible. Many will depend on the mid-term elections of 2006, the 2008 presidential election, and the effectiveness with which the conservative evangelicals use their supposed political power.

Let’s take a look at mid-year progress on these predictions:

1. Iraq: There will be no meaningful reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq during 2005, and there may be an increase. However, the insurgency will begin losing its popular support and violence will decline.

I did not envision the dramatic success of the Iraqi election, or its impact on the movement of democracy throughout the Middle East and the world. There is no sign of troop reduction and solving the insurgency remains a mystery. But I still predict that by year’s end the Iraqi political progress will take some of the wind out of the insurgents sails.

2. Iran: The opposition in Iran will grow in strength and the government will accelerate meaningful reforms rather than face upheaval. There will be a thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations.

The protests prior to the election, and the election itself, suggests that there is, indeed, a meaningful move toward reform. I believe this prediction is on the right track, but that it is unlikely that there will be signficant reform during this year.

3. Palestinians: There will be significant progress on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, with Egypt and Jordan exercising a strong hand. A firm timetable will be set for the establishment of a Palestinian State.

Things are relatively quiet and there are more positive signs than negative. I’m optimistic about continuing progess, but don’t see a firm timetable for a Palestinian state this year. Hope can be dashed so easily here.

4. Attack on the U.S.: As a result of the progress in the Middle East, those who do not benefit from the advance of democracy will turn to additional terror in the U.S. and attempt another major attack in 2005.

Not yet, praise theLord. Although I’m grateful, I honestly don’t know why. Our homeland security isn’t that good; we know that. Border security? All a Middle Eastern terrorist has to do is learn Spanish and swim the Rio Grande disguised as a Mexican peasant.

5. Deaths: There will be major losses in evangelical leadership, as key leaders die. As I’ve mentioned in this space, there is a generational shift in the evangelical community, with the entrepreneurs of the 1950’s passing or fading from active involvement. (Who will die in 2005, and what will the impact be? I’ve provided my 15 names to the morbid Dead Pool, competing to predict the most of those who will pass to the next life during 2005. Mine are a combination of religious leaders, statesmen, and heads of state, among others.)

Here are the 15 that I predicted will pass in 2005:

1. Rev. Billy Graham, evangelist, born November 7, 1918
2. Pope John Paul II, Bishop of Rome, (Karol Józef Wojtyła), born May 18, 1920
3. William Rehnquist. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, born October 1, 1924
4. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State, born May 27, 1923
5. Rev. Robert Schuller, TV pastor, born September 16, 1926
6. Gerald Ford, former President, born July 14, 1913
7. Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan born December 24, 1957,
8. Dr. Iyad Allawi, interim Prime Minister of Iraq, born in 1945
9. Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, born October 13, 1925
10. General Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan, born August 11, 1943
11. Fidel Castro, dictator of Cuba, born August 13, 1926
12. Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, born July 18, 1918
13. Rosa Parks, civil rights hero, born February 4, 1913
14. Muhammad Ali, American boxer, born January 17, 1942
15. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Philip Mountbatten), born June 10, 1921

I’m failing miserably. Only the Pope has died,which is great news for these other folks, and really for all of us. In fact, Billy Graham is preaching a New York City Crusade this week. Never say die.

6. Conservatives: Bush will begin falling out of favor with the most conservative groups, as more focus returns to domestic issues and he fails to deliver on their social priorities.

More than anything, the President has been falling out of sight, with the focus on Congressional Republicans. Conservatives seem to hanging with the President, but largely in support of his war against terror. Hard to find a rock-ribbed conservative with any enthusiasm for Bush’s domestic policy. The greatest disappointment may be in his failure to lead in stopping illegal immigration. This prediction is on track; the disenchanment will deepen..

7. Evangelical Politics: The political high water mark will soon pass for the evangelicals, as leading evangelicals overplay their hand and politicians calculate that they will succeed in 2006 with more moderated positions.

The high water mark probably passed when the Senate Moderate Club dictated how the filibuster issue would be handled, which left First hanging out in church with the suddenly emasculated religious right. The evangelicals seem more comfortable in the opposition. In power, they find ways to eat their own young. This prediction seems to be on track.

8. Network Change: At least one of the major networks will make an attempt to bring more conservative viewpoints to its reports, but in a way that will be more showcasing than meaningful change.

Anyone see any evidence of this? This prediction now looks like wishful thinking.

9. Blogosphere: Blogging will explode, but there will be efforts to organize the blogosphere to create categories of bloggers, and to further separate types of blogs and degrees of professionalism.

The explosion continues, although we feel as though the fever has broken in the post-election months. The organization is yet to come. I have no idea when this may happen, but if the growth continues, it must.

10. Charity Scandal: There will be a major legal case against one or more charities, probably Trinity Broadcasting Network, but perhaps elsewhere. This will have a slight negative impact on charitable giving.

Might be TBN, or perhaps Benny Hinn. Could happen at any moment, or might not be part of the 2005 story.

11. Supreme Court: Two Supreme Court seats vacancies will be created, one at Chief Justice. Bush will want only two confirmation battles, so he will nominate two new justices—a conservative for Chief Justice, and a moderate for Associate Justice. This will enrage just about everyone, but both will be confirmed.

Renquist should retire soon, which will set up the battle everyone has been preparing for. I don’t think Bush will try to move Clarence Thomas to Chief Justice, facing that confrmation battle, and then another to fill Thomas’ post. The White House must already know who they’ll nominate as Chief. This selection and the battle that ensues will frame the relationships and effectiveness of the White House and Senate over the remainder of the Bush presidency.

12. Bin Laden: Osama Bin Laden will be captured or more likely killed, but the impact will be largely symbolic, since he has been ineffective hiding in a cave anyway.

This may or may not happen in 2005. At some point, Bin Laden will be history, as will al Zawari. But the inevitability of these captures no longer captivates the public as much as the question of when the insurgency will be defanged in Iraq. That won’t happen in 2005, but if the situation in Iraq is not greatly improved by November 2006, the nation may be seeing blue.

13. Fair Tax: The Fair Tax movement will grow and progress will be made in the Congress, although passage is years away.

There’s good momentum for the Fair Tax legislation, but right now it appears impossible to get much of anything done in Congress. Still waiting for the new book on the fair tax by John Linder and Neal Boortz, which should be out any day.

14. Radio: Democrats will push for a return of the Fairness Doctrine, as an attempt to defang the Republican advantage on talk radio. The effort will not succeed.

At the moment, the liberals are still playing with a competitive radio network, but it’s failing, so an attempt for legislative remedies can’t be far behind.

15. China: The growing business class in China will push for more civil freedoms as their economic power grows, and the Communist government will yield some ground.

This is going to happen, but no news yet.

16. Same-Sex Marriage: The homosexual community in America will change tactics, backing away from the same-sex marriage initiatives and seeking equal rights for homosexual couples without using “marriage” language. This will not raise the same red flags among many groups across the country.

Except for a few localcourt rulings, there isn’t much happening on this front. Mitt Romney is trying to reverse the Massachusetts measures. And it does appear that the homosexual community is laying low on this for now, looking for a fight they can win.

17. Economics: There will be steady economic growth, and the stock market will continue its climb and end the year over 11,000.

We’re over 10,500, and with a little good news out of Iraq or Israel, or a significant drop in gasoline prices, we’re reach 11,000 this year.

18. Pharmaceuticals: The positive economic trends will be marred by the collapse of major pharmaceutical companies, fueled by massive class action suits.

If a pharmaceutical company can come up with vaccines for the bird flu, it will give them some air to breath.

19. Social Security: Social security restructuring will see some progress in 2005 because of a relentless campaign by the Bush administration. Fear of demagoguery will prevent meaningful reform, but the steps taken will be seen—in retrospect—as the beginning of serious change.

I think I got this one wrong. Social security reform is probably dead for now, and I’m sure Bush is wishing he hadn’t burned so much political capital to fight for the private accounts. The groundwork by this Adminsitration may payoff in the long run, however.

20. EU: The European Union will seek to flex its muscle and establish itself as a major economic and political competitor to the United States—opposing the U.S. on key international and trade policies. The U.S. will shrug and turn to the Far East.

The death of the EU constitution makes it more difficult for the EU to be a unified competitor. Until the Europeans work as hard as the Americans, the Japanese, and Chinese, they’ll never pose a serious economic threat.

What is most striking about making any predictions for a new year, is that other events overtake those that seems so important at a previous time. Who could have predicted that Terri Schiavo and the filibuster would dominate political news in the New Year. Or that the Democrats would let Howard Dean push their national rhetoric further to the left.

Posted by Jim at 07:30 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 21, 2005

Durbin Apology - Only the Beginning

Number two ranking Democratic Senator, Dick Durbin apologized for his utter ignorance of history, insult to those who suffered at the hands of Pol Pot, Nazi's, and the Soviet's, and smear of the U.S. military.

While those harmed by his outrageous comments may accept his apology, as Trent Lott learned, an apology does not absolve one from responsibility. Let's see if the Democrats pressure Durbin to forfeit his leadership positions, like Republicans pressured Lott, for his reprehensible comments. I'm not holding my breath.

Bravo to Democratic Mayor of Chicago, Daley, whose son serves in the ARMY, for standing up to his Senator. Hiss to John McCain for suggesting the apology should end this issue. An apology is only the beginning of an appropriate response.

Posted by Rick at 06:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Schiavo Tombstone

Terri’s “husband” refused to tell her parents when and where her ashes were to be buried and had the audacity to inscribe “I kept my promise” on her tombstone (HT: Drudge). This man is an adulterer. If he had kept his promise to Terri, he wouldn’t have had children with another woman while still married. His abuse of her and her family is disgraceful and this final thumb in the eye makes me sick.


Posted by Rick at 01:56 PM | Comments (34) | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

The Pope and Animals

Good stuff from Benedict XVI. Does this make the Pope a crunchy con?

Posted by Matt at 03:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bloggers Could Have Told Them It Would Be a Problem

Frank Barnako relates that:

“The Los Angeles Times' experiment with readers' comments on editorials came to a crashing halt over the weekend. Trouble occurred soon after the newspaper, owned by Tribune Co. (TRB), posted an editorial about the Iraq war, and opened it for comments, additions and corrections. "Unfortunately, we have had to remove this feature, at least temporarily, because a few readers were flooding the site with inappropriate material," said a message on the Times' Web site. Michael Kinsley, the newspaper's editorial and opinion editor, was pleased that hundreds of people did respond to the invitation to add their two cents to the paper's opinion. However, he added, the mischief was "quite a strange thing."

At SCO, like many other blogs, we know all about inappropriate commenters spamming up our site.

Posted by Jim at 01:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PCA Rejects Anti-Public School Resolution

Last week the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) wisely rejected a resolution that would encourage Christian parents to remove their children from public schools. It was proposed by a Tennessee minister who does not believe any subject can be taught separate from a intentional Christian worldview.

The PCA stated:

"We strongly affirm that it is the responsibility of Christian parents to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; it is not appropriate for the General Assembly to make such a recommendation as contained in [the] Personal Resolution to all the members of the PCA,” stated the Bills and Overture Committee.

Those who have made the legitimate choices of Christian schools and homeschooling often unfairly criticize those who make the choice to sent their children to public schools. Well-grounded Christian children who received proper training and care at home can thrive in public school settings. And they can be salt and light in school. Who is going to do that if all the Christian kids are pulled out of school?

And many families cannot make the choice to send their kids to private schools of any kind, and cannot teach them at home. Nothing but public schools are available for families who can barely make ends meet with both mother and father working.

Instead of demeaning their brethren who either choose to mainstream their children or don’t have any choice at all, Christians are better served engaging the system, tackling the structures and policies of public education, and seeking to make a difference in this very public square.

Posted by Jim at 09:28 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Romney: The Right Stuff?

There’s a nice post on Mitt Romney at Homocon, which also links to SCO.

Posted by Jim at 09:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Study Skewed Facts on Sexual Conduct of Virginity Pledgers

The results of a study on sexual activity by young people who have taken a virginity pledge were purposely skewed, according to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation.

[Heritage researchers Rector and Johnson] conclude that virginity pledgers are substantially more likely to not engage in risky sexual behaviours, and that those who do break the pledge are still less likely than non-pledgers to engage in more risky anal or oral sex – a direct contradiction to the supposed conclusions reached by [the study’s researchers Bearman and Bruckner.]

The Heritage reports says:

“The centerpiece of their argument about pledgers and heightened sexual risk activity is a small group of pledgers who engaged in anal sex without vaginal sex,” Rector and Johnson explain. “This ‘risk group’ consists of 21 persons out of a sample of 14,116. Bearman and Bruckner focus on this microscopic group while deliberately failing to inform their audience of the obvious and critical fact that pledgers as a whole are substantially less likely to engage in anal sex when compared to non-pledgers.”

“This tactic is akin to finding a small rocky island in the middle of the ocean, describing the island in detail without describing the surrounding ocean, and then suggesting that the ocean is dry and rocky,” they add. “It is junk science, a willful deception of the American public.”

Posted by Jim at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2005

For Father’s Day: Portrait of a Great Day

June 9 was a great day.

I awoke in a cabin on the shore of Lake Michigan a few miles west of the Mackinac Bridge on the northern most tip of lower Michigan to the sound of light waves breaking on the gentle shore. After a big breakfast fit for a male outing, my 10-year old son, Michael, and I were standing in our waders, with brother-in-law Dave and nephews Caleb and Enoch, in the shallows of Sturgeon Bay, lazily urging the bass to bite. It was a bright morning, and although we caught very little, there was cool breeze on a warm day, with the expansive clear waters stretching to the shores of Upper Peninsula. The only concerns were keeping bait on the hook and finding the rock refuges of the reticent fish. I doesn’t get any better, it seemed to me.

It was the final day on our fishing expedition, and after an ice cream and coffee in quaint Mackinaw City, and buying fudge for the women in our lives, we headed south to my sister’s house in Grand Rapids, where our families were gathered.

Amazingly, the best part of my day was yet to come. An exuberant wife, happy to see me, noticeably even more happy than usual, greeted me. After pleasantries, Debbie took me by the hand and we went to our downstairs room, and she urged me to kneel with her by the bed, where she began to pray.

“Thank you, Lord, for bringing back safely to me my husband. . . and the father of our new child.”

As I’m processing what she’s prayed, she leaps to her feet and grasps a positive pregnancy test indicator, with all the right lines. We’re going to have a baby. We embraced and kissed and tears rolled down my cheeks. We plotted an announcement to the family, and spent the rest of the evening sharing the good news.

A great day, indeed.

Posted by Jim at 07:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 18, 2005

I'm It!

I got tagged by Lowell Brown of Hedgehog Blog who was tagged by John Schroeder of Blogotional who was tagged by Catez who was tagged by...you get the picture.

Lest I become cursed with bad blogarma, I decided to jump in.

Total number of books owned, ever: Things are a bit hazy pre-salvation, but I collected a about a dozen or so books prior to 1999, mostly from my first attempt at college (1994-1997). Now I count around 150. Haven’t read them all though.

Last book I bought: Nothing Like it in the World, Steven Ambrose.

Last book I read: Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment, edited by Hugo Adam Bedau and Paul G. Cassell. The death penalty and immigration are topics that I’ve wanted to explore at SCO, but lack the time to do them justice with blog posts. Maybe some day…

Five books that mean a lot to me:

Power Broker, by Robert Caro. I read this 1,200 page biography of Robert Moses in about 10 days. I haven’t read anything like it since.

Master of the Senate, by Robert Caro. After reading the Power Broker, I figured that anything written by Robert Caro would be thoroughly researched and wonderfully written. I was not let down. There is a chapter in that book describing the lynching of Emmett Till that should be required reading for all American high schoolers. Powerful stuff. I never knew LBJ was such an aardvark. This book sparked a passion of sorts for the institution of the US Senate.

Truman, by David McCullough. It was a kick to read the first few pages about my relatives (Truman’s great grandfather, Jacob Young, is my great, great, great, great grandfather). Besides that, I found Truman to be a very honorable man.

Band of Brothers, by Steven Ambrose. I loved the HBO series, so I had to read the book. I can’t say one or the other was better, but I’ll definitely read the book AND watch the series again.

To America: Personal Reflections of An Historian, by Steven Ambrose. I loved this short little book from a truly great historian. Can’t quite put my finger on it…

You're It!
• Josh Britton formerly of The Daily Anvil (c’mon Josh, jump back in there for one more post!)
• Shawna Benson of Shouting into the Wind
• Mark Sides of Stones Cry Out
• Doug of Bogus Gold
Hugh Hewitt.

Posted by Rick at 09:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The American Way: Mocking Dads On Television

Can you think of one consistent positive portrayal of a father on prime time television since Bill Cosby’s Huxtable?

John Tierney can’t.

We can make our share of mistakes, but fathers aren’t nearly as stupid as we are made out to be on television. The decades-long campaign to emasculate men and to demean fathers has been remarkably successful. Its part of the devastating trend of the great disappearing father and the resulting delinquency, teenage pregnancy, increasing drug use, and much more.

Here’s one group, the National Fatherhood Initiative, whose mission is to restore the proud role of fathers.

Posted by Jim at 08:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 17, 2005

Amnesty from Durbin Please

Hat Tip to my co-worker Nick, resident Kerry voting-Democrat supporting “Independent”, for alerting me to this Christopher Hitchens piece from Monday. Be sure to read it all, but here’s a choice excerpt:

I think it is fairly safe to say that not one detainee in Guantanamo is there because of an expression of opinion. (And those whose "opinion" is that all infidels must die are not exactly prisoners of conscience.) Morally neutral on this point, apparently, Amnesty (International) nonetheless finds its voice by describing the prison itself as "the gulag of our times." No need to waste words here: Not everyone in the gulag was a "prisoner of conscience," either. But if an organization that ostensibly protects the rights of prisoners is unaware of the nature of a colossal system of forced labor and arbitrary detention—replete with physical torture, starvation, and brutal execution—then the moral compass has become disordered beyond repair. This is not even neutrality between the fireman and the fire. It surely expresses a covert sympathy with the aims and objectives of jihad and an overt, if witless and sinister, hatred of the United States. If only this were the only symptom of that tendency.
Dick Durbin and Amnesty International: Representing the moral compass of the left that has become disordered beyond repair. God help us.

Posted by Rick at 08:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Schiavo Autopsy Aftermath

Many on the left have concluded that Terri’s autopsy vindicates their position. As a doctor, Senator Frist is even taking some heat from cackling lefties.

The argument for me was never about whether Terri’s condition could improve. I was and remain most incensed that a man who violated his vows of marriage by living and having children with another woman could be allowed to decide the fate of a woman contrary to the wishes of her immediate family. Doug of Bogus Gold has a fine post reflecting on other issues not decided by the autopsy.

But this story doesn’t make much sense to me. Why is Governor Bush requesting an investigation into the circumstances around Terri’s fall and how long it took her husband to call 911?

Michael Schiavo apparently testified in 1992 that he found his wife at 5am. In a 2003 interview, he said he found her at 4:30am. His 911 call came through at 5:40am.

“Between 40 and 70 minutes elapsed before the call was made, and I am aware of no explanation for the delay," Bush wrote. "In light of this new information, I urge you to take a fresh look at this case without any preconceptions as to the outcome."
Occam’s Razor tells me that the simplest answer is probably the right one. I’m guessing that Michael Schiavo’s recollection of time that morning is not exactly clear. Has anyone asked him how long it took for him to call 911? I’m guessing he would say it was almost immediately.

Posted by Rick at 03:02 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Durbin and Gitmo

I heard of Senator Durbin's remarks on Gitmo yesterday morning via Laura Ingram's radio program. On the floor of the US Senate, the #2 Senate Democrat Dick Durbin compared the military's treatment of terrorist thugs at Gitmo to the atrocities of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Pol Pot. I searched for a story on-line, but no luck. Finally, the Washington Times filed a story and Drudge linked to it. The blogosphere pounced.

The White House, along with Senate Republicans, roundly denounce his remarks, but Durbin stands firm.

Where is the MSM? I found this small story buried on page 11 in the Washington Post this morning and a peep from the NY Times, but silence from the LA Times. In fact, the LA Times seems to think that a story claiming that Senator Frist is "plagued" by his comments on Terri Schiavo since they were contradicted by her autopsy is more newsworthy than Durbin's comments.

For the most thorough roundup of commentary and analysis of Durbin's outrageous comments, visit Michelle Malkin. Hugh Hewitt, as usual, is another great place to shop for information that you won't get from the MSM. Hugh's posted a couple e-mails from readers/listeners that are spot on.

Once again, the Democrats demonstrate why I am not a Democrat.

Posted by Rick at 09:28 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Why Won’t the Christians Play Nice?

Former Senator John Danforth, now an Episcopal minister, boils down the Christian relationship with the state to an expression of the “Love Commandment,” in an op-ed today in the Times.

But the lovefest Danforth prescribed for moderate Christian is one where we don’t advance meaningful public positions on issues such as the Terri Schiavo case, embryonic stem cell research, and homosexual marriage.

He writes:

When, on television, we see a person in a persistent vegetative state, one who will never recover, we believe that allowing the natural and merciful end to her ordeal is more loving than imposing government power to keep her hooked up to a feeding tube. When we see an opportunity to save our neighbors' lives through stem cell research, we believe that it is our duty to pursue that research, and to oppose legislation that would impede us from doing so.

We think that efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith.

Following a Lord who reached out in compassion to all human beings, we oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would humiliate homosexuals.

For us, living the Love Commandment may be at odds with efforts to encapsulate Christianity in a political agenda. We strongly support the separation of church and state, both because that principle is essential to holding together a diverse country, and because the policies of the state always fall short of the demands of faith. Aware that even our most passionate ventures into politics are efforts to carry the treasure of religion in the earthen vessel of government, we proceed in a spirit of humility lacking in our conservative colleagues.

There’s a great need for more humility in Washington, no doubt. But a love for God is empty if it does not include applying His truth to all areas of life. And loving one’s neighbor cannot be interpreted as capitulating on seminal issues of life and the foundations of family.

Posted by Jim at 08:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mitt Romney Still Afloat in the Massachusetts Alligator Pond

Mitt Romney is showing creativity and dexterity as he carves a thoughtful conservative agenda in Massachusetts. Now he’s trying to roll back the advances of same sex marriage in his state. It’s a bit like watching the protagonist using the alligators to step his way across an alligator pond.

Posted by Jim at 07:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2005

Philippians Overview

I'm giving an overview of the book of Philippians tonight. My outline is below the fold. Any Bible scholars (or not) care to comment, please feel free. It's only my second study, so go easy ;-).


Paul the apostle.


A letter to the church in Philippi.


Imprisoned. Most agree it was in Rome.


Around 59-61 AD.


How did the church start?

During Paul’s “second missionary journey” (49 AD), Paul with Luke, Timothy, and Silas sailed for Europe in response to a vision (Acts 16: 5-12). Note that Paul did not choose Philippi. They tried to preach in Phrygia and the region of Galatia, but the Spirit prevented them. Same thing in Bithynia, Mysia.

While in Philippi, Paul met Lydia “a seller of Purple” (Acts 16:14-15) and cast out a demon in a slave girl (Acts 16: 18). The demon brought her masters profit and seeing the profit potential lost, the masters dragged Paul and Silas to authorities in the marketplace (Acts 16:19). Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison (Acts 16:23-24), where they prayed and sang hymns at midnight (Acts 16:25).

God sent an earthquake and the jailer got baptized (Acts 16:30-34). Word came that Paul and Silas were to be freed, but Paul did not want to be released secretly, for they were Romans who were beaten in public (Acts 16:37). The magistrates were afraid and went to Paul and Silas in person, begging them to leave (16: 38-39). They went back to Lydia’s house before departing Philippi (16:40).

According to Daniel Wallace, New Testament professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, Paul may have left Luke in charge of the work in Philippi because the “we” changes to “they” in the original language once Paul heads to Thessalonica (17:1). Timothy may have also been left briefly with Luke before heading to Thessalonica (from a reconstruction of 1,2 Thess.).
While in Thessalonica, the Philippians sent Paul funds (Phi: 4-15-16). Paul eventually ended up in Corinth, and the Philippians sent him aid (2 Cor. 11:7-9).

By the time of Paul’s 3rd missionary journey, he had stirred the pot a bit and began to draw detractors, the Judaizers. Galatians Ch 2 is a good example.

Paul spent three years in Ephesus (52-55 AD or so) and began raising funds for his trip to Jerusalem. 2 Cor 8:1-4 discusses the liberal giving of the churches in Macedonia – almost certainly inclusive of the church at Philippi – despite their deep poverty.

Paul made it to Jerusalem (Acts 21: 17-19), but was arrested and sent to jail in Caesarea. The Philippians didn’t seem to know what became of him, but there are indications that they wanted to help out (Phil. 4:10). The churches may have learned of Paul’s fate when he appealed to Caesar and sailed to Rome for trial (Acts 25: 10-12; 27:1), because the Philippians sent Epaphroditus to Rome with gifts (Phil. 4:18).

It is thought that Epaphroditus brought more than gifts. He may have brought word of the condition of the church and questions about how best to handle various situations. They also may have asked for Timothy by name (Phil. 2:19) and Paul may have sensed that they would be disappointed with his decision to return Epaphroditus (Pg. 418 of the Message).

It is with this context that Paul drafts his letter to Philippians.


Why did Paul write the letter?

Paul's letter to the Philippians is an outburst of love bundled with words of comfort, joy, rebuke, encouragement, exhortation – and a bit of doctrine thrown in for kicks.


Although the letter reads like a “thank you” letter, it is much more. We discussed five major themes of the text: Self Sacrifice, Humility, Unity, Christian Living, and Joy. Everyone feel free to interrupt when you encounter something in the text that relates to these themes.

The letter begins with Paul’s customary greetings (Phil. 1:1-2), but note that the church seems to be well established by this time as he mentions bishops and elders. Paul quickly moves to thanking the church (Phil. 1:3-8). Paul also prays that their love will be full with discernment. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ…”(Phil. 1:9-10). So we get a glimpse of Paul’s exhortation to persevere and embrace a discerning love.

Beginning in Phil. 1:12, Paul turns his focus to his circumstances. The Philippians, may have inquired through Epaphroditus as to Paul’s condition. Paul takes the opportunity to share how Christ has used his chains for the furtherance of the gospel (Phil. 1:12-14). He even mentions that some have been emboldened to preach Christ, but with the wrong motives (Phil. 4:15). Regardless, Paul rejoices that the gospel is preached irrespective of motive (Phil. 4:18) and he intends to plug along because he knows the outcome. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 4:21). He struggles with the desire to be with Christ and remaining to continue his ministry to the body (Phil. 4:22-24).

Paul expresses confidence though that God wills that he remain for a while longer and that he will eventually return to the Philippians (Phil. 1:25-26). However, he doesn’t know for sure and he exhorts the church to unity and sanctification through suffering.

(READ Phil. 1:27-2:30)

Okay, what did we see there? Exhortations to live boldly, humbly, and obediently.

Paul encourages the Philippians to live boldly and in unity, expecting suffering for Christ (Phil. 1:27-30). Second, Paul exhorts the church to live humbly as servants (Phil. 2:1-11. Phil. 2:5-11 is often referred to as the Carmen Christi, or the Kenosis passage. (READ again). The mind that is supposed to indwell the Christians in Philippi is a mind of humility and obedience and self-denial. The Kenosis is the emptying of self. If Christ could do it, what right do we have to refuse? Through this emptying, God exalted Christ. Paul seems to be implying that God will exalt believers exalt Him (not in the same way of course).

This principle of self-emptying then becomes the backdrop of the rest of Chapter 2. In Phil. 2:12-18 Paul exhorts the believers at Philippi to live obediently and to serve with joy.

Then comes the “shocker.” Some commentators believe that the Philippians sent Epaphroditus and requested that Paul return Timothy. But Paul informs the Philippians that Timothy will not be coming just yet, but in the meantime, Epaphroditus will return (2:19-30). That makes the section on obedience a bit more interesting, and especially the part on grumbling and complaining (Phil. 2:14). Paul seems to have discerned that the church would be disappointed to see Epaphroditus and not Timothy. One commentator wrote: “Thus Paul concludes the section on sanctification with the offer of Epaphroditus even though they had hoped for Timothy, hoping that his audience will not be selfish, nor grumble, but will instead exalt and honor Epaphroditus.”

Having lavished them with thanks and encouraged them toward santification, Paul turns to a bit of doctrine. He starts Chapter 3 by lashing out against the Judaizers. Maybe Epaphroditus brought word that the Judaizers were making headway into the church, or maybe Paul, having encountered them or heard of them in other churches wrote this section of the letter as a warning. He began by calling the Judaizers names. (Phil. 3:2 - “dogs” and “evil doers”)

The Judaizers emphasized the works of the flesh and Paul sets the record straight. Phil. 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

He presents himself as an example “circumsized on the 8th day” “tribe of Benjamin” “Hebrew of Hebrews” “Pharisee” “blameless in the law” etc (Phil. 3:4-6). Why does Paul not boast in these works of the flesh?

(READ: Phil. 3:7-11.)

Instead of boasting, Paul turns his focus on the prize. “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). He reminds them of them of their heavenly citizenship and to look forward to the coming transformation of our earthly bodies to heavenly bodies (Phil. 3:20-21).

I read in places that the Philippians were leaning towards a hybrid between the teachings of Paul and the Judaizers. That, they could be saved by faith, but sanctified by works. Paul is credited to have, with Phil. 3:1-16, effectively condemned both the Judaizers’ view of salvation and their doctrine of sanctification. Not clear on all of this. Don, care to comment?

It seems that Paul tries to end the letter on a few occasions, but gets side tracked. He calls out a feud between Euodia and Syntuche to encourage the body to suffer each other, get along, and be gentle (Phil. 4:2-3).

(READ Phil. 4-9)

With those words, Paul exhorts them to rejoice and be gentle (Phil. 4:4-5), not be anxious (Phil. 4:6-7), and to think and act purely (Phil. 4:8-9). Then he spends 11 verses closing the way he began; with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:10-20). He expresses joy in his contentment with God’s provision (4:10-13). The clue to his contentment and joy during such trying times? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). Paul then acknowledges gratefully the role their church played in this provision (4:14-18), and prays for them that God would in turn supply their needs (4:19-20).

The book ends with final greetings and a benediction (4:21-23).

Concluding SUMMARY quoted from GotQuestions.org

This is Paul’s happiest letter. And the happiness is infectious. Before we’ve read a dozen lines, we begin to feel the joy ourselves – the dance of words and the exclamations of delight have a way of getting inside us…Paul doesn't tell us that we can be happy, or how to be happy. He simply and unmistakably is happy. None of his circumstances contribute to his joy: He wrote from a jail cell, his work was under attack by competitors, and after twenty years or so of hard traveling in the service of Jesus, he was tired and would have welcomed some relief. But circumstances are incidental compared to the life of Jesus, the Messiah, that Paul experiences from the inside. For it is a life that not only happened at a certain point in history, but continues to happen, spilling out into the lives of those who receive Him, and then continues to spill out all over the place. Christ is, among much else, the revelation that God cannot be contained or hoarded. It is this “spilling out” quality of Christ’s life (the Kenosis) that accounts for the happiness of Christians, for joy is life in excess, the overflow of what cannot be contained within any one person.

Posted by Rick at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2005

Objective Reporting of the Kansas ID v. Evolution Debate

Let’s play a little game, shall we?

Identify the bias introduced by the “objective” AP reporter in this story: “But one of the three board members, Connie Morris, lectured the board's four moderates for not attending the public hearings in May…Conservatives have a 6-4 majority...”

Posted by Rick at 06:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Problem of the Hannity Right

An e-mailer to Andrew Sullivan makes a very interesting point, well worth considering.

Let it always be known that I am a Kirk-Buckley-Reagan conservative, and never a Hannity conservative.

Posted by Matt at 05:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That Poll is Biased!

Have you ever read a MSM poll and concluded: “That poll is biased! They sampled too many Democrats/Republicans!”? If you have, the first two installments of “Ideology as a Diagnostic” by Mystery Pollster are must reads (Part IPart II).

After careful consideration of these issues over the past few months, I can now declare my allegiance to the “Ideology as an Attitude” camp. Where do I get my official membership card?

Posted by Rick at 05:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iran's Nukes

UN: Iran 'misled UN on nuclear work'

I'm shocked.

Posted by Rick at 03:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An Important Matter

I noticed yesterday that we had someone reach SCO by doing a google search on the matter of baseball being better than football.

We thank all our readers for visiting this site, and we hope you continue to do so. Yet let it known from this day forward that while baseball is fine American game with many noble attributes, football is the greatest game ever invented by man. Within that framework, college football is superior to professional football. To that end, I cast my vote for the greatest American whose public life did not revolve around a political, religious or ideological position.

Posted by Matt at 11:32 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Meaning of X &Y

My blogging comrade Abigail Brayden pointed me to this article concerning the interesting cover art on the new Coldplay record. The artwork, once decoded, simply means "X & Y." How appropriate. Coldplay, meanwhile, is still passionate about making trade fair.


Look. I buy fair trade coffee. It's a voluntary thing on my part to pay a buck or two more for the java, and it always taste better than the cheap dreck. (Community Coffee being the notable exception) But that's a willful act, and it's not a massive reorganization of trade agreements. Using an international framework to artificially inflate prices may help third-world workers in the short term, but it is a horrendous long-term solution. It just doesn't work. Eventually the market will collapse on such prices, and then we're back to square one. Not a good idea, folks.

So how to help the third world? I can support some debt relief, on the agreement that the relieved funds go to develop infrastructure. It is important that developing nations have a free government, a free press, the rule of law and freedom of religion. Without those things, a stable economy will not develop for any significant amount of time.

Posted by Matt at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Nation of Wimps

Russell Moore points readers to a new article in the Wilson Quarterly discussing the epidemic of clingy parents in today's society. It's a good read, though I quibble with his first line:

"Ever see a college student walking about with a cell phone in hand, paid for by mom and dad back home? Ever see a ten year-old child with knee pads, elbow pads, and ankle pads riding a bicycle with a nervous mother walking behind him, waiting to catch him if he fall? Well, these may not be two entirely different things."

College students have cell phones because they're reliable. It's a nice form of communication. Every twentysomething walking around on a cell phone is not calling Mommy and Daddy and asking for permission to go to the movies. Then again, Moore's probably right that a lot of parents use cell phones to keep tabs on kids without letting them grow up on their own. So I guess we're both right.

Posted by Matt at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Natalee Holloway

Certainly I can't offer any news in the Holloway case, but I would like to offer some perspective. Natalee is from Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham is my hometown, so I think have a little bit to say on the matter.

The thing that really irks me about the media coverage is that the attitude seems to be that "a bunch of kids from 'Bama went on a senior trip." Well, true enough. The thing is that Mountain Brook is a nice community. A very, very nice community. It's the wealthiest zip code in the state, as well as one of the oldest established communities in the Birmingham area. What difference does that make? I'm not sure. I know that it's likely that many of these kids had been to Aruba before. I don't know that for sure, but given the incomes of many in the area, it wouldn't surprise me.

Feel free to take this as rambling on my part, or maybe I'm going into defensive Southerner mode. I just got the feeling watching O'Reilly last night that the media thinks this is just a bunch of hillbilly bumpkins who went to the islands, and poor Natalee was a wide-eyed country girl wandering off the farm for the first time. I know that when Elizabeth Smart disappeared, the fact that she was from an upper-crust area was prominent. I don't know if Natalee's family is rich or not. I just think that some mention of the neighborhood's status might provide a little context to the story, as it's likely that many of the students and chaperones - and the parents back home - have had experience being outside the country.

Posted by Matt at 10:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

No Exit

Salon's Farhad Manjoo writes a very lucid summary of the exit poll debate to date.

Posted by Rick at 09:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Turmoil at Hollywood Presbyterian

Hollywood Presbyterian Church, an evangelical congregation within the liberal Pacific Presbytery, is in turmoil as two of its pastors are placed on leave by the Presbytery.

The news article I wrote for the next edition of Christianity Today has been posted on the CT website.

Posted by Jim at 08:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Gitmo Discussion

Because we are a nation founded on and sustained by Judeo-Christian values, central among them that human beings are created in the image of God, we treat prisoners and prisoners of war humanely. That’s why there is a prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and not a mass grave.

While there will be violations of policy wherever there are young soldiers and old wounds, it is our values that cause us to correct our excesses. But it is clear that the drumbeat of criticism of the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo stems not from the concern for human rights, but distain in some media and Democratic circles for the military and this Administration.

The Anchoress has a selection of articles on Gitmo, including links leading to this good piece by Patrick Ruffini.

Posted by Jim at 08:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2005

Lunacy Explained

Morgan Reynolds, former Bush “team member” (what does that mean?) thinks a "controlled demolition” brought down the WTC towers. (HT: Drudge)

Reynolds, currently a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, said: "If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling."

I thought the fraudster professors were the most credentialed conspiracy theorists pedaling anti-Bush tripe.

Wait! All of this academia lunacy can be explained rather simply. George Soros and MoveOn are putting lead in the water at major universities! Makes perfect sense!

Posted by Rick at 03:17 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Iranian Protests

Michael Ledeen posts some inspiring pictures of protest in Iran from over the weekend. Check them out here at the Corner.

What's it going to take for American leadership, political or otherwise, to step up and back the Iranians? Where are the American bishops? Where are the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, who gather next week? What about the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America? They're meeting right now. Someone must make common cause with these dissidents, for their sake and for ours.

Posted by Matt at 02:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sean Hannity's Subjective "Journalism"

Andrew Sullivan nails it.

Posted by Matt at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Dating and sex at Matt Crash!

All of this is in regards to new books:

Real Sex
by Lauren F. Winner and Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor.

Posted by Matt at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yeah Mammon!

Pursuit of the Almighty Dollar leads Microsoft to suppress freedom in China. Oh. Yeah. It was strictly a business decision. I get it. That makes everything all right. I'm betting the American consumer factored little into their business decision since the economy virtually revolves around Microsoft products. Victory for capitalism and tyranny. Loss for principle and freedom. Yeah mammon!

Posted by Rick at 10:40 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Mohler and the Sith

In a recent blog post, Al Mohler does a nice takedown on Dick Staub's new book equating the Jedi teaching from the Star Wars trilogy to the teachings of Christ. The only curious remark in the whole post wasn't even related to Staub's book. Says Mohler: "The Revenge of the Sith is a gripping story, and the movie is propelled by generally strong acting performances."

Did Mohler see the same movie as the rest of us? Gripping story, I'll give you. Generally strong acting is another thing altogether. Ewan McGregor wasn't bad at all, but Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman were nothing short of awful.

Posted by Matt at 10:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Plug-In Help?

Comment spam is still destroying us. Does anyone have experience with MT Plug-Ins and have a spare moment to help us out? We're thinking of Blacklist and SCode, but we're open to suggestions! The spam is very discouraging. I've spent nearly all my "free" time (aka "blog" time) working on this problem lately and I haven't made much progress.

Posted by Rick at 09:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

Christian Truth

FYI: there's a great article on Christian truth by Timothy George in the most recent issue of First Things.

Really fantastic.

Posted by Matt at 10:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

From Grand Rapids: A Study Shows Profitability of Family-friendly Films

I spent the last week in Michigan with my family, most of it in Grand Rapids and a few days bass fishing on the northern-most shores of lower Michigan, on Lake Michigan near the Mackinac Bridge.

Grand Rapids is a tidy city of conservative values and largely Reformed faith, the former Congressional seat of Gerald Ford, and home of Amway. It’s the buckle of a northern Bible belt, headquarters of Zondervan and Baker publishing houses, the site of Calvin College and Cornerstone University.

While I was there I ran across (h/t: Doug) this report, from the Hollywood Reporter, that Grand Rapids-based Dove Foundation will release a 10-year study tomorrow that “family-friendly movies are more profitable than R-rated films.

The Dove Foundation advocates wholesome family entertainment. The study examines the revenue and production costs for 3,000 Motion Picture Association of America-rated theatrical films released between Jan.1, 1989, and Dec. 31, 2003, using the 200 most widely distributed films each year based on the number of theaters.

"While the movie industry produced nearly 12 times more R-rated films than G-rated films from 1989-2003, the average G-rated film produced 11 times greater profit than its R-rated counterpart," said Dick Rolfe, Dove’s founder and chairman.

The new study found that the average profit for films rated G rose to $92.3 million from $74.2 million, PG vaulted to $78.8 million from $9.9 million, PG-13 rose to $45.6 million from $15.4 million, and R-rated films increased to $17.9 million from $3 million. The study notes that those increases are probably due in part to higher ticket prices, coupled with a decrease in home video manufacturing costs.

"Dove is not suggesting that Hollywood produce only G and PG movies," he said. "We just think the proportionality is out of balance, given the relatively few, highly profitable family-friendly movies released each year. Our study reveals that Hollywood is not serving the most prolific audience segment in the entertainment marketplace: the family."

Posted by Jim at 07:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 09, 2005

Polling and Conservative Hysteria

Maybe you read it at Ankle Biting Pundits. Perhaps you picked it up at Instapundit. If you missed those posts, surely you caught the commentary from John Podhoretz and Robert Moran via K.J. Lopez at National Review Online. Not a reader of those blogs? Well, if you listen to the Tony Snow radio program, you might have heard about it there. What am I talking about? Critical analysis of the latest ABC/Washington Post poll of course.

Really. I'm noticing a trend of hysteria from conservatives against polls that don't go their way. As usual, read Mystery Pollster for an insightful point-by-point analysis of the Bulldogpundit "takedown." This is embarrassing folks. I'll be the first to admit that question wording and/or the ordering of questions can nudge people into respones, potentially biasing a poll. But, these charges are mostly unfounded.

Posted by Rick at 01:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2005


Enough! is a great pro-democracy Iranian blog. Lots of pictures of riots and protests. Very inspiring.

Faster, please.

The above link is thanks to Michael Ledeen. In today's NRO piece, Ledeen further pleads for Western support for democracy in the region. When will someone - President Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard, Silvo Berlusconi - stand up and join in solidarity with the protestors? Where are our Christian leaders? Instead of hand-wringing over the nefarious Hollywood, how about a movement in support of democracy in Iran? The Southern Baptist Convention begins in two weeks: will someone propose a resolution in support of the students and the democracy activists, or will there be more culture war talk?

If not, how long will the oppression and terror continue?

Faster. Faster. Faster!

Posted by Matt at 10:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 07, 2005


My thoughts on the new Coldplay release can be found at Matt Crash!

Keep scrolling for my humble opinions on the best rock bands in the world, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson in Birmingham and my first viewing of the Grant/Hepburn/Stewart classic the Philadelphia Story.

Posted by Matt at 10:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Senator Brownback

One of our readers has inquired about our thoughts concerning Kansas Senator Sam Brownback. I do not speak for my fellow bloggers, but here goes. On the whole, I like him. Brownback is a faithul conservative on economic and military issues. I am thankful for this. I love his support of human rights issues, particularly as it relates to the issue of genocide in Darfur. Brownback is a strong pro-life, pro-family advocate. For the most part, I have no quarrel with him. Indeed, I am thankful for his presence in the Senate and he has my support.


Everytime I hear him talk of the Senate needing to get Hollywood to "clean up its act" or somesuch nonsense I am nervous and annoyed. I realize there is plenty of garbage in film and on television, but the Senate's job is elsewhere.

Posted by Matt at 02:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dumb and Dumber for President 2004

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this article from the Boston Globe (HT: Drudge). Apparently, John Kerry, like George Bush, was a C student at Yale, only Kerry had 4 Ds his freshman year while Bush had only 1 D.

The transcript shows that Kerry's freshman-year average was 71. He scored a 61 in geology, a 63 and 68 in two history classes, and a 69 in political science. His top score was a 79, in another political science course. Another of his strongest efforts, a 77, came in French class.
Kerry earned his second best grade in French? Classic!

Another insight into the character of John Kerry. He let the press and Bush-haters mock the President's grades knowing full well that his grades weren't any better.

Posted by Rick at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Amy Wellborn on the Pope and Marriage

Amy Wellborn has a nice post on Pope Benedict XVI's recent comments on marriage and family, and Andrew Sullivan's typical hissy fit.

Posted by Matt at 11:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Aid and AIDS in Africa

Yesterday I referred our readers to some aid groups working to make a change in Africa. I reiterate my support for such causes, but Mere Comments offers us a careful reminder that tossing money at the problem has never worked. Something deeper must take place in Africa, and here is where Christian aid groups have something particular to offer.

On that same note, it was nice this morning to open up the new Coldplay record at find, in addition to links to OxFam and Amnesty International, a link to World Vision. Very nice, indeed.

Posted by Matt at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wayne on Wallis

Jollyblogger has a nice post concerning Chuck Chalberg's aggressive fisking of Jim Wallis's work.

Highly recommended.

Posted by Matt at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2005

Worthy Causes

I'm not a huge fan of debt relief (because it doesn't work), but the ONE campaign seems alright to me.

iAbolish is also a good resource for anti-slavery activism.

Voice of the Martyrs covers Christian persecution.

Freedom House is doing great work, also.

Posted by Matt at 03:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Emergent Christians and the GOP

Steve McCoy at the invaluable Reformissionary blog points to this essay by several leading thinkers in the Emergent church movement. The PDF version of the document can be found here. It's an interesting and important read, but I must take issue with a passage between the eigth and ninth points that discusses the tendency of evangelicalism to move towards "specific views on on U.S. domestic, foreign, military or economic policy."

This is a red herring. Politically conservative believers have not arrived at their current position willy-nilly. Christ still loves those who vote Democrat or at least non-GOP, but it is foolish to suggest that believers can vote however they like and God is A-Ok with the whole deal. I would refer these Emergent leaders to the following articles from Touchstone magazine:

Voting as Christians

Voting for Pontius Pilate

The Godless Party

Political Orphans

Pratical Atheism
(a must read!)

American Reservists

Posted by Matt at 03:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

NRO Doesn't Get It

Longtime NRO readers will remember the crunchy con debate from a few years back. In relation to the current trend of South Park conseratives, Kathryn Jean Lopez offered this last Friday:

"That episode reminded me why I don't like the term "South Park Conservative." It's the same reason I get annoyed at Rod Dreher's "Crunchy Con" thesis (as our friend Rod knows). Conservatives can eat organic and—shocking as it may be—can be pretty darn funny. Neither makes us anomalies. Conservatism is about ideas, but it's not a lock-step army, with dress and behavior codes. (I think Warren gets this right here.) If, in the end, "South Park Conservatives" and "Crunchy Cons" make more people realize conservatives are people too—i.e. most of red America—cool, fine. But my worry has always been these unnecessary labels and things just further ghettoize and stereotype. This goes back to why I get annoyed every time I see another "conservative beat" story by David Kirkpatrick in the NYTimes. We're not an alien species. Just cover politics, etc., and the Right will fit in in that beat.

When Lopez speaks of being "annoyed" at Dreher's premise, she's annoyed at something she doesn't understand. Dreher doesn't in favor of organic carrots just for the sake of being crunchy; he is making a conservative argument in favor of organic farming. (An argument I'm quite sympathetic to, by the way) He is saying that "crunchy con" rejection of mass culture has a conservative value. And as a red-stater he's doing all of this because in red state culture, for all its many strengths, going against the grain is frowned upon. Walk into a community center or church or diner in flyover country, a venue likely full of Bush voters, and tell them that as a conservative, you oppose corporate animal farms, prefer homeschooling and think that Maxwell House coffee tastes awful...well, you won't get an open hand shake after such a proclamation.

I hope that one day National Review will have an employee or two who is not stuck in Beltway or big-city Northeastern culture. Until then, the wide disconnect by populist Bush voters and high-minded conservative thinkers will only continue. This of us in the middle will just muddle through.

Posted by Matt at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Question About Nancy Pearcey?

In regards to the post below concerning Nancy Pearcey's new book, I have a question. I read the book she wrote with Chuck Colson and in the section on culture, she made some comments suggesting that because of its emotional, deconcstructionist tendencies, rock music is, essentially, bad.

Am I misreading Pearcey? Is this a fair perception on my part? I'm curious to know what our readers think. Leave a comment or e-mail me at mattATstonescryout.org

Posted by Matt at 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ICC to Investigate Sudan War Crimes

I'm no fan of the International Criminal Court, but admit a feeling of relief that someone is paying attention to Darfur. I'm worried though that a criminal investigation will become a charade. How long will the investigation take? How many more Sudanese will be slaughtered in the meantime? What is "Plan B" when the Sudanse government doesn't hand over the indicted?

Posted by Rick at 09:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A Patchwork Quilt

Philip Yancey offers some interesting thoughts on evangelical Christians and why hard and fast labels may not always be useful.

Yancey gives short-shrift to US evangelicals who are conservative politically (or perhaps he gives short shrift to the why behind the fact that so many US evangelicals are conservative politically). Still and all, though, I think his move towards more generality in defining evangelicals is healthy, as it re-focuses one on the real mission of being an evangelical Christian, and not on the temporary political leanings of one group of evangelical Christians.

Posted by Mark at 12:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2005

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

It seems to me that this concoction is nothing short of blasphemy, not because of its elevation of women, but because of its total perversion of the biblical text without any basis in the historic documents, and because it's a violation of the 4th commandment: "Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God" (Holman CSB).

Posted by Jim at 02:41 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Titles of Honor

Headline: North Korea Praises Bush for Use of 'Mr.'(HT: Drudge)

North Korea gave rare praise to President Bush on Friday, welcoming his use of the honorific "Mr." when referring to leader Kim Jong Il and saying the softened tone could lead to its return to nuclear arms talks.
Is the North Korean response a cultural nuance, or is the communist regime desperate for a reason to reengage the US?

I don't know about you, but whenever I hear the press refer to President Bush as "Mr. Bush" I cringe. I think "President" is more of an honorific than "Mr." and in that vein, referring to Kim Jong Il as a "Mr." is sort of an insult.

Posted by Rick at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wallis Gets Served

Chuck Chalberg absolutely nails Jim Wallis. Readers of SCO know that I'm no fan of Wallis, and Chalberg's dissection is honest, necessary and brutal.

Read about it here. (HT: Mere Comments)

Posted by Matt at 11:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Trouble for the European Repose

Reading about Europe in the aftermath of the rejection of the EU constitution by France and the Netherlands made me think about China. France and so much of Europe are going the way of the welfare state, which has deadened ambition and work ethic in the seedbed of Western Civilization. I contrast this with what I saw in Beijing on two trips there last year. The ability to be rewarded for hard work, as capitalism emerges, has unleashed fresh ambition that is red hot.

European ease, comfort, and privilege are going to be left in the dust by Asian ambition. It’s a theme that Thomas Friedman has written about today in the Times.

This article from Acton Institute on European statism is also a good read. (h/t: Considerettes). It notes:

People who expect the state to do everything for them will come to do nothing for themselves, whereas a healthy democracy depends on notions such as self-governance and moral responsibility supported by vibrant religious faith and practice. It is no surprise that Europe’s woes continue as governmental power grows and faith lags.

Posted by Jim at 09:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2005

Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth

Mark Tapscott reviews Nancy Pearcey's "Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity."

Posted by Rick at 08:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mission to India

My old roommate and friend Shamus is wrapping up his mission to India. He writes that the Horizon School of Evangelism team recently arrived and have hit the streets with the gospel. Shamus is an evalgelists evangelist. He has a gift for boldly sharing the word as God leads. Pictures of his trip are posted here, and if anyone feels led to support his ministry (although he's not asking for funds, I know things are tight), please visit Send Ministries and click on "support."

Posted by Rick at 12:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 01, 2005

Evangelical Underground

Pastor Eric of Evangelical Underground has transformed his blog into a discussion forum for Christians. The site looks clean and registration was a snap. It is an interesting experiment and I hope the Lord will grow it into a valuable resource. Check it out!

Posted by Rick at 11:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NCPP Recognizes Contributions of Blogger

The National Council on Public Polls recognized Mystery Pollster, Mark Blumenthal for "his achievements in using his website as a forum for discussion of many complex poll-related issues during and after the presidential campaign.  Blumenthal dealt with these poll concerns in a thorough and thoughtful manner that provided much needed illumination in a highly-charged election environment." (see press release here). Bravo NCPP, bravo!

Check out MP for the best roundup of polling data related to the Constituional Option.

Posted by Rick at 11:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vetoing the Morally Repugnant

A clear and compelling column by Andrew Sullivan on a Bush veto of embryonic stem cell legislation. (h/t: Jeff at Shermblog)

Posted by Jim at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Lazy French Reject the Godless Constitution

The French made the right decision for the wrong reasons. Fearful that they lose some of their cushy government social giveaways, Frenchies rejected the accountability of a European union with teeth. But the constitution is a horrendous collection of bureaucratic nonsense in which the European framers choose to deny the existence of God. It will go down in flames, praise The One Who Was Ignored.

George Will has a good column on the right decision, wrongly determined:

Posted by Jim at 06:27 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

An Identity for Deep Throat; But Do We Know Everything?

In a shot at the Blog Nation, the NY Times editorialized Wednesday that the identity of Deep Throat was now certain, although “it’s likely that by tomorrow at least a few bloggers will have set about trying to prove that it wasn’t really him after all.” The free exchange of ideas would be terrible, wouldn’t it?

I don’t have any evidence that Felt isn’t the man who provided Bob Woodward with information that helped him crack the Watergate case with Carl Bernstein. I indicated in an earlier post that Watergate figure Chuck Colson, with whom I worked for many years, had always said that no single individual had access to all of the information that was attributed to Deep Throat.

Perhaps Chuck never imagined that the source would be a trusted law enforcement officer.

Colson said he's shocked and saddened to learn that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. Colson said he's sad for Felt, with whom Colson worked --and whom Colson always considered a "consummate professional." "I never thought anybody with such a position of sensitivity at the Justice Department would breach confidences," Colson said in a Today show interview.

Yesterday, Chuck told AP: "[Felt] had the trust of America's leaders and to think that he betrayed that trust is hard for me to fathom.”

It’s quite possible that “Woodstein” attributed to Deep Throat information that they received from more than one anonymous source.

It is disappointing that Deep Throat didn’t turn out to be someone who was better known, but more than that its unfortunate that Felt is so old he can’t engage in interviews and conversations about the entire affair. That’s going to leave a lot of history unknown, at least for those of us who believe that Bob Woodward frequently plays fast and loose with the truth.

Even more mysterious that the identity of Deep Throat is the question: Why did the Committee to Re-elect the President hire the “plumbers” to break into the Watergate office of the DNC? There has never been a credible answer to that core question of the entire debacle.

Posted by Jim at 06:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Deep Throat

Count me in with the likes of Chuck Colson and Pat Buchanan. W. Mark Felt is no hero; he should be indicted for divulging classified information.

Ben Stein has a fantastic piece up on the American Spectator, and David Frum is speaking out at NRO.

(HT: Rush)

Posted by Matt at 01:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Re: Failues

Concerning Jim's post on the President's failures, a few points:

- I whole-heartedly agree that the White House's immigration policy has thus far proven to be an unmitigated disaster. I realize that GWB is trying to be compassionate, but he's also being incredibly foolish. He stands to do great harm to his party, his country and his own legacy.

- On Darfur, Jay Nordlinger writes in the most recent issue of National Review that Americans can take comfort in the fact that their country is doing everything short of sending troops into the region. The situation in Darfur is not one that is conducive to massive troop movements, but we're doing what we can.

- Lastly, I've never been convinced that the bankruptcy bill was a bad thing. George Mason law professor Todd Zywicki certainly doesn't think so in this NRO piece from March. Quite frankly, I trust National Review more than I trust Dave Ramsey when it comes to this sort of thing.

Excluding immigration, I would argue that the President's greatest domestic blunder was the absurd enactment of steel tarriffs during his first term. A terrible decision.

Posted by Matt at 11:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And Yes, There Are Failures

I am a huge supporter of President Bush and this Administration, for many reasons, high among them the President’s courage to fight the good fight against international terrorism and against domestic opposition to the very strength that has resulted in the expansion of democracy in the world.

But there are disappointments. For me, the major disappointments of the Bush Administration thus far:

(1) Illegal Immigration: Failure to secure our borders and stop or even slow illegal immigration. This problem didn’t start with the Bush Administration, but I am shocked that it has not been addressed meaningfully—particularly in a post 9-11 world. I am for liberal immigration—I think it makes our nation strong. But allowing unfettered illegal immigration makes no sense at all. None.

Some think the tide may be turning. John at What Can Brown Do For You cites Mark Krikorian at NRO:

Perhaps most important, the public is becoming increasingly concerned about immigration. The issue is seldom among the top two or three issues for voters, but that seems to be changing. Recurrent reports of terrorists and super-violent gang members exploiting our broken immigration system are finally getting people's attention. The way the Minuteman Project border-watch program in Arizona resonated on talk radio, its spread to other states, and its adoption by prominent politicians like California Gov. Schwarzenegger are all signs that the McCain/Kennedy amnesty bill may well be the last gasp of the anti-borders crowd.

Others weighing in here and here.

(2) Darfur: Failing to take effective action to halt the genocide in Darfur. With a miniscule expenditure of money and military personnel, we could stop most of the killing and abuse. This would not be another military front; it would be a demonstration of compassion. Must we wait for Hotel Darfur, the movie, to be outraged as a people and a government?. Here and here are two posts on the travesty.

(3) Bankruptcy: The bankruptcy bill, which was a total sell-out to the banking industry. Rick wrote about this here, and I did Christianity Today’s news article. I share Dave Ramsey’s outrage.

Posted by Jim at 06:07 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack