Friday, December 24, 2004

Home for the Holidays

Finals ended late last week, and I’m now back home in Salt Lake City with my family.  Little Jodi traveled with me and has, after a short period of assimilation, really taken to my parents’ home.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas as we wait together for the return of our Savior.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

First Final Complete. Two to Go.

Your friendly host and seminarian completed his first seminary final yesterday for Systematic Theology. The first three exam sections required essay responses, and the last section asked for term definitions and implications. After writing 11 pages in three hours, I cast my answers onto the mercy of our benevolent professor. Two more finals are scheduled this week. Old Testament begins tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., and Church History is this coming Friday. Then, blissful sleep happens.

Friday, December 10, 2004


From's "Tony & Tacky":
DOGGIE BAGGED: A police dog in Minneapolis has been temporarily relieved of duty after biting a naked suspect in the groin. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the dog was deployed as cops chased a nude man who was trying to enter houses and that even after being chomped and Tasered, the man continued to fight. Although the dog followed its training, biting only after its handler was struck by the suspect, it has been put on the canine equivalent of administrative leave "while the incident is being reviewed."
Poor dog.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Missing San Francisco

Careful now.

We're dealing here with a myth.

This city is a point upon a map of fog;

Lemuria in a city unknown.

Like us,

It doesn't quite exist.

- Ambrose Bierce


Originally uploaded by john curley.

International Jihad Reform Act of 2004

The International Jihad Reform Act of 2004 creates a new Cave-level post (similar to a U.S. cabinet-level post) of Global Intelligence Director and a Global Counter-Counter-Terrorism Center to coordinate information from the far-flung network of terror cells that have done a poor job of communicating across cell walls.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Classes Have Ended - Finals Are Next

12 weeks of lectures and mid-terms exams came to an end last Friday, and I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. We're now in the midst of "Reading Week," a time to prepare ourselves for three major final exams: Systematic Theology, Old Testament, and Church History. The exams are scheduled for next Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, respectively.

Then, Christmas!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Something's Wrong with Kansas? Uh, no.

Regarding Thomas Frank's popular, "What's the Matter with Kansas?":
"It's possible his view of us is outdated," says Jim Martin, executive director of the Shawnee [Kansas] Economic Development Council, in classic Midwestern understatement.
I won't be buying Frank's book.

Polity Bowl Results

The annual fall classic "Polity Bowl," featuring the students of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (APTS) and the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest (ETSS), was played last Saturday, December 4, at the grounds of St. Andrews Episcopal Middle School. The following partially-redacted scripture appeared on the Polity Bowl t-shirts this year:
[The Lord] will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball...

Isaiah 22:18
And thus, both teams were tossed into the fray. The result: Victory for the adherents of the doctrine of total depravity! The Presbyterians seminarians defrocked the wannabee priests of the Episcopal seminary by the score of 30-6 on the strength of a well-rehearsed triple-option play that left the Episcopalian defense in tatters. Congratulations to Coach Andrew and the entire Presbyterian team! And thanks to the gracious hosts from ETSS who provided an excellent Texas BBQ post-game lunch.

UPDATE: Pictures are now available here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The "Mercy" of the Netherlands

More stinging satire at Scrappleface:
"Finally, the Dutch will be known for something more than tulips, windmills and wooden shoes," said an unnamed KNMG spokesman. "The Groningen Protocol will simplify all of our lives, end the overpopulation crisis and purify the human gene pool. When you think about it, it's really the ultimate solution."
More here.

Update: George Neumayr has written an excellent critique. See also the reader responses.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Invasion of Flyover Country

Iowahawk has written a great NY Times-esque parody of the red/blue state divide. A sample:
"I'm not sure where we went wrong," says Ellen McCormack, nervously fondling the recycled paper cup holding her organic Kona soy latte. "It seems like only yesterday Rain was a carefree little boy at the Montessori school, playing non-competitive musical chairs with the other children and his care facilitators."

"But now..." she pauses, staring out the window of her postmodern Palo Alto home. The words are hesitant, measured, bearing a tale of family heartbreak almost too painful for her to recount. "But now, Rain insists that I call him Bobby Ray."
Be sure to read the whole piece here.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Utah Wins 52-21: Say Hello to the BCS!

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. My mom's parents attended the University of Utah. My great uncle, Milton, earned three degrees at the U and became the Dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences. Both of my parents graduated from Utah. I graduated from the U with a degree in Management and an MBA. My sister graduated with a degree in Mass Communications.

We all bleed red, but my family's blood is of a much deeper hue. That is why I am ECSTATIC over this season's perfect 11-0 football record (the last undefeated season was in 1930). Congratulations to Coach Urban Meyer, Heisman candidate Alex Smith, and the entire Ute squad! With this win over the team from the South (Provo, Utah), the Utes will become the first non-BCS league team to appear in a BCS bowl. Whooo hoooo!

UPDATE: A slide show, courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The schedule.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Defense of the Cross

Dennis Prager, on attempts to eliminate God from public life and discourse:
This is the real battle of our time, indeed the civil war of our time. The Left wants America to become secular like Western Europe, not remain the Judeo-Christian country it has always been. But unlike the Left, I do not admire France and Belgium and Sweden. And that is what the battle over the seal of America's most populous county is ultimately about. It is not about separation of church and state. It is about separation of a county from its history. And it is about separation of America from its moral foundations.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Does Wikipedia Need a Warning Label?

Robert McHenry, writing for Tech Central Station:
The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.
The Moral of the Story: Verify everything. And make sure you wash your hands.

More Unreported Good News...

...From Afghanistan. Arthur Chrenkoff is, as usual, just about the only one on the story.

UPDATE: And don't forget to check out Arthur's roundup of good news in Iraq.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Sunday Quote

I discovered the following quote by Martin Luther while preparing for an upcoming (Wednesday) examination on the history of Christianity. The quote comes from Luther's 1520 work The Freedom of Christians:
A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none; a Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.
Martin Luther

This particular quote is from Luther's Works, edited by J. Pelikan and H. T. Lehmann, 1955-1976.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Responding to the Election

Mark Roberts has posted a wonderful short series entitled "Presidential Election Results: A Christian Response."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

W Stands for "Win"

I thought John Kerry gave a noble concession address.

President Bush:

  • Became the first President to be re-elected while gaining seats in the House and Senate since 1936 and the first Republican President since 1924 to be re-elected while re-electing Republican House and Senate majorities.
  • Became the first President to win a majority of the popular vote since 1988.
  • Received 57.4 million votes - more than any other candidate in history. He broke President Reagan's 1984 mark of 54.5 million. (96% reporting)
  • Increased the popular vote by seven million votes since 2000 - more than twice Clinton's increase from 1992 to 1996.
  • Improved his percentage in every state except four (MD, OR, VT and WY). This includes a four percent increase in John Kerry's home state, Massachusetts.
An amazing victory. Congratulations, Mr. President.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Psalm 146

On the occasion of today's Presidential election:

1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!

2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.

4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.

5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God,

6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;

7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;

8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.

9 The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!

(New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

I've done my part at the polls, and so I'm off to study. There will be neither TV nor web surfing until the morning, when I will join you in digesting the results. This news will come as a huge surprise to those of you who know me fairly well, but I've learned my lesson after the 2000 election, when I stayed up all night for no reason as the election took weeks to decide.

For those of you cannot sleep, I recommend the following blogs:


Monday, November 01, 2004

Final Pre-Election Thoughts...

...From Mark Steyn.

UPDATE: Mark's election day thoughts:
For John Kerry to become President, he has to win 270 of the 538 electoral-college votes.

For George W Bush, it's not quite that simple: he's got to win big enough to be outside the margin of lawyer. For example, if he gets 270 and wins New Hampshire's four electoral-college votes very narrowly, the Democrats will sue to flip the state into their column and hand the election to Kerry. If Bush gets 288 or under, the Dems will sue to flip Ohio into the Kerry column. If Bush gets 295 or under, they'll sue to flip Florida.
Here's my favorite quote from the piece:
America cannot be a Greater Belgium or a Greater Canada or a Greater Spain. The only thing that enables Belgium to be Belgium and Canada to be Canada and Spain to be Spain is that America is America. If everyone in the civilised world's torpid and ineffectual and semi-non-aligned, it's not gonna work. Americans will not choose transnational complacency over national resolve.
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happiness, All Snug, Lies Fast Asleep

Freakin' Scary

Jack O Lantern 5

Originally uploaded by Drpoulette.

Happiness, all snug, lies fast asleep

As spirits roam the neighborhoods at night,

Let loose upon the Earth till it be light,

Laughing revelers, whom death doth keep.

O spirits lost, who wail but cannot weep,

Wanton worshippers of rage and spite,

Each the unknown author of its plight,

Equal in the pain you sow and reap,

Now come to us from out your vasty deep!

[Copyright by Nicholas Gordon]

Snow in Salt Lake

Some of you know that I grew up in Salt Lake City. The first big snowfall has arrived there, and my buddy Don thankfully posted a couple of pics. I miss the snow. As I write this, it's 73 degrees in Austin, TX, with a projected high of 83.

On October 31.

Snow in Salt Lake City
First *real* snowfall!
Originally uploaded by Don Nunn.

Happy Halloween

I love this photo. Someone is an expert with a carving knife.


Originally uploaded by jasepielli.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


This John Wesley hymn was the musical preface to today's Worship lecture. Accompanied by a single guitar, a solo male vocalist sang:
Come, O thou Traveler unknown,

Whom still I hold, but cannot see;

My company before is gone,

And I am left alone with thee.

With thee all night I mean to stay,

And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell thee who I am;

My sin and misery declare;

Thyself hast call'd me by my name;

Look on thy hands, and read it there:

But who, I ask thee, who art thou?

Tell me thy name, and tell me now.

In vain thou strugglest to get free;

I never will unloose my hold:

Art thou the Man that died for me?

The secret of thy love unfold;

Wrestling, I will not let thee go,

Till I thy name, thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,

And murmur to contend so long?

I rise superior to my pain:

When I am weak, then I am strong!

And when my all of strength shall fail,

I shall with the God-man prevail.
There was silence in the room as the hymn ended. Our professor, who always opens each lecture with wonderful liturgical music, said, "I think this hymn beautifully captures the essence of Christian experience." I think everyone there agreed.

The melody, by an anonymous composer, comes from a 19th century American Methodist hymnal, and was performed by Daniel McCabe of The Boston Camerata (directed by Joel Cohen).

A sample of the accompaniment can be found here.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Ann Coulter Interviewed

John Hawkins: A few Democrats like Zell Miller, Ron Miller, Christopher Hitchens, & Ed Koch have nailed their own party for their non-serious approach to defending our country. Do you think it's more surprising that they've been wiling to nail their own party on national security or that more Democrats haven't been willing to step up and point out the obvious?

Ann Coulter: Unlike mainstream Democrats, the men you mention are to be commended for having a will to live.
More scathing interview answers can be found here.

Surprise! Austin American-Statesman Endorses Bush

On Sunday, the Austin American-Statesman endorsed President Bush for reelection (major registration required):
[T]here is no guarantee that a change in administrations would bring either stability or security to the Middle East in the foreseeable future. In fact, changing administrations now might embolden enemies who believe that Americans don't have the stomach or the patience for the kind of protracted, unconventional warfare in which we are engaged.

Three years after terrorists struck at targets in New York and Washington, we live in a world that looks familiar but is vastly different from the one we knew before Sept. 11, 2001.

President Bush got some things wrong, but there is much he got right. We are faced with an unrelenting foe who strikes from the shadows and won't be deterred by diplomacy or international resolutions. Bush's resolve and commitment to stay the course are clear. As Winston Churchill once said, "When you're going through hell, keep going."

Though Kerry is an honorable man who knows firsthand the horrors of war, he is deluding himself if he thinks a different administration will change the outlook of a foe that doesn't make war on an individual administration, but on the West in general and the United States in particular.

Dubious also is any notion that the United Nations will suddenly start enforcing its own sanctions and resolutions if there is a different occupant in the White House in January.
It's certainly not a overwhelming endorsement, but it comes as a big surprise in a town where Kerry/Edwards signs are overwhelmingly prevalent.

UPDATE: Some readers were not pleased.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Bio Surprise

Interesting. I didn't know that "evil genius" Karl Rove grew up in my hometown of Salt Lake City.

John Calvin, Pastor

John Calvin, PastorI'm still doing some catch-up reading for Systematic Theology, where John Calvin, as can be expected in any Presbyterian Seminary, is prominently featured. Our Theology professor frequently jokes about this, saying that we seminarians generally study, in order:

  1. Karl Barth
  2. John Calvin
  3. God
Just kidding, of course.

The reactions to Calvin are fascinating and have generated some great discussions. Many students are put off by Calvin's admittedly harsh style - he has the habit of calling his opponents idiots, ignoramuses, etc. I've learned to shrug off some of these more crass pronouncements. Instead, I frequently find myself touched by the Calvin's more pastoral moments. The last paragraph from Book I, Chapter XIV from the Institutes illustrates what I'm trying to describe:
To conclude once for all, whenever we call God the Creator of heaven and earth, let us at the same time bear in mind that the dispensation of all those things which he has made is in his own hand and power and that we are indeed his children, whom he has received into his faithful protection to nourish and educate. We are therefore to await the fullness of all good things from him alone and to trust completely that he will never leave us destitute of what we need for salvation, and to hang our hopes on none but him! We are therefore, also, to petition him for whatever we desire; and we are to recognize as a blessing from him, and thankfully to acknowledge, every benefit that falls to our share. So, invited by the great sweetness of his beneficence and goodness, let us study to love and serve him with all our heart.
Indeed, as I sit here in my office looking out the window, I'm struck by the beauty of creation, given to us in the form of abundant life. What an astonishing, and mind-blowing, gift of grace.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Windows Crash on The Strip

Someone was quick on the draw and captured this amusing scene in Las Vegas.

The Lone Tree at Enchanted Rock

The Lone TreeI joined a few friends for a hike up Enchanted Rock, an amazing batholith located about 2.5 hours west of Austin. The weather was very hot, causing my dog Jodi to go into "maximum pant" mode.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the rock "is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet above ground, 1825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres." The rock is "exfoliating" because huge slabs have broken away and are slowly sliding off the mountain.

The "Lone Tree" picture is my first semi-decent attempt at black-and-white digital photography. I'm always amazed at the tenacity of life. Flora and fauna, given the slightest chance, will try to flourish in the most unlikely areas, including the face of an otherwise barren rock.

A few more pictures can be seen here.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Bevo the Bull

Bevo the BullI ran into a classmate who happens to be a Texas "Ex" (an alumnus). My friend has had Longhorn season tickets since he graduated, and I was invited to take his extra ticket to watch the Longhorns take on Missouri.

The Longhorns won a fairly tough game. Never before had I seen a game with so many spectators. 82,981 fans were crammed into Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. 99.5% of them were wearing the classic burnt-orange hallmark color. The remainder were Missouri fans, who were shoehorned into a small section near the North end zone.

Pictured above is the famous Longhorn mascot, Bevo. Why "Bevo?" The legend goes something like this:
During a late night visit to Austin, a group of Texas Aggie pranksters branded the University's first longhorn mascot "13-0," the score of a football game won by Texas A&M. In order to save face, UT students altered the brand to read "Bevo" by changing the "13" to a "B," the "-" to an "E," and inserting a "V" between the dash and the "0." For years, Aggies have proudly touted the stunt as the reason the steer acquired his name. But was the brand really changed? And is that why he's called Bevo?

Sorry. Wrong on both counts.
The real story is much less exciting. The bull actually got it's name from a sports reporter covering the Longhorns' 1916 victory over the school then known as "A&M College," now Texas A&M.

More photos from my first Longhorn game can be seen here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Busy Days, Busy Nights

The last week has been hectic. As of tomorrow, we will have had three papers to complete and two exams to pass. There are no classes next week, and everyone here is excited for the opportunity to get some extra sleep catch up on our reading.

I've been blogging heavily on politics lately, but next week will be spent reflecting on the semester, now shockingly half-over!

In the meantime, may I recommend the following article?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Afghanistan Votes

This picture is cool.

[Thanks, Power Line.]

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds is on top of all the good news out of Afghanistan.

It's ABC's Turn... be scandalized.

Matt Drudge has published Mark Halperin's internal memo to members of the ABC news staff. We now know that, along with CBS, ABC will officially do all of your thinking for you, which means that they will be pulling for John Kerry. In the memo, we see clearly at ABC takes editorial direction from the New York Times:
The New York Times (Nagourney/Stevenson) and Howard Fineman on the web both make the same point today: the current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done.
Because this premise originates from the Times, it is accorded the status of Holy Writ by Halperin, who then goes on to say:
Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win.

We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides "equally" accountable when the facts don't warrant that.
Read: Both sides lie, but we're only going to one side accountable.

Now for the real laugher:
It's up to Kerry to defend himself, of course. But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying to serve the public interest. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right.
ABC News serves the public interest, but only by helping Kerry win.

With this memo, ABC now joins the list of major news organization that no longer have my trust. The pantheon of shame now includes:
  • NBC, for the fraud they perpetrated against General Motors during an episode of "Dateline."
  • CNN (and "Time" magazine), for the fraud they perpetrated in their "Operation Tailwind" story. And let's not forget the NY Times op-ed piece written by Eason Jordan, who disclosed CNN's complicity with Saddam Hussein by refraining from reporting systemic rape, torture, and oppression in Iraq.
  • cBS, for their obvious disregard for truth during the recent Memogate scandal.
  • The New York Times for the Jayson Blair scandal.
Visit Jeff for his take on the scandal, which includes a helpful link to a list of ABC affiliates.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A Summary of the Last Eight Days

Courtesy Hugh Hewitt:
In the past eight days, John Kerry has:
  • Announced to a national audience that American actions in defense of national security must pass a "global test";
  • Announced that he would sell nuclear fuel to Iran;
  • Could not answer, and badly filibustered a question on what he would do if Iran continued to push towards nuclear weapons acquisition;
  • Denounced as unilateralism the coalition that George Bush put together to overthrow Iraq, and called for unilateral appeasement of North Korea;
  • Compared Iraq to Lebanon, but insisted a summit could entice other countries to join the effort in Iraq, even after the French and the Germans announced they would not do so even if Kerry was elected;
  • Twice identified the most pressing proliferation problem as the American effort to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons capable of destroying deep bunkers, thus equating the United States with rogue states like North Korea and Iran and proclaiming hostility to modernization of the American arsenal --vintage Kerry defense thinking;
  • Announced plan after plan for which no details exist;
  • "Absolutely" pledged not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $200,000 annually, a pledge that even his most ardent admirers know is either a bald lie or a repudiation of most of his spending plans (e-mailer LL suggests a new Kerry slogan: "Read my flips: no new taxes!");
  • Ignored the creation of 1.9 million jobs over the past 13 months and ignored the economic consequences of the Clinton recession and 9/11 attacks while attacking Bush's tax cuts;
  • While calling attention to his Catholic status, defended his vote against banning partial birth abortion, called for taxpayer support for abortion, argued that "parental notification" was connected to dads raping daughters and defended the wholesale harvesting of frozen embryos for research purposes --four positions completely opposite of Catholic Church teaching and far outside the American consensus opinion on abortion;
  • Actually said "John Edwards and I are for tort reform," and told the American people that lawsuits against doctors are 1% of the health care problem;
  • Defensively denied being "wishy washy," a "flip flopper," and a "liberal," while complaining about being branded such by the president;
  • Embraced the Kyoto Treaty and called for its resuscitation with amendments;
  • Told America that General Shinseki had been fired by Bush and that the firing had a "chilling" effect on all generals, and one day later said Shinseki had been "retired" --not fired-- and left off the "chilling effect" argument --a record one day flip flop;
  • Saw his running mate get woodshedded and his campaign try to reverse that blow by arguing that the Vice President should have remembered meeting Edwards;
  • Heard his wife assert that American troops were fighting for oil and many other stunning things;
  • Watched as Bush did not make a single memorable error in two debates while effectively underscoring Kerry's "global test" pratfall, focusing on Kerry's did-nothing time-serving two decades in the Senate, wrestle the ISG report to its appropriate place in the discussion of the Iraq War, persuade by repeated argument (which the Vice President also helped along) that coalitions can not be led or maintain by derision or democracies built by indecision;
  • Watched as Bush effectively and accurately branded KerryCare as an expanded form of HillaryCare;
  • Watched as Bush simply and devastatingly branded Kerry as not credible on taxes, spending and most important of all, defending the United States.

And to top it all off, this killer line:
If this was a good eight days for Kerry, then November 11, 1864 was a fine day for Atlanta.
The entire Hewitt post can be found here. Excellent.

I have a Dream Plan!

Mark Steyn on last night's debate:

WINNER: BUSH! (and whoever loaded his percolator)

The unasked questions: Is there anything you can ask John Kerry that he doesn't have a plan for? Is his plan to have a plan for everything? If you ask him whether he's concerned that something might come up that he doesn't have a plan for, does he have a plan to deal with things he hasn't planned? Has he planned for the possibility that he might misplace one of his plans?
More good news for the War on Terror:
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Prime Minister John Howard scored a convincing victory in Australia's federal election Saturday, winning a historic fourth term in a vote ensuring the staunch U.S. ally keeps its troops in Iraq.

With more than 70 percent of votes tallied, Howard appeared likely to increase his government's majority in parliament, exceeding most analysts' predictions that the result would be very tight.
"Exceeding" is a laughable misstatement of what the Australian liberal press "analysts" wanted, which was for Howard to get crushed. "Destroying" would have been a better choice. Lesson: Don't blindly accept the press poll numerology.

UPDATE: Kerry plans have been found! [Hat tip: Power Line]

Friday, October 08, 2004

Kerry's Foreign Policy Collapse

With Kerry's widely unreported and ignored admission that he would not be able to convince France or Germany join the United States in Iraq -- despite his campaign promises-- we now have the famous 1,000 page report from the Iraq Survey Group which contains the following conclusions:
Saddam Hussein believed he could avoid the Iraq war with a bribery strategy targeting Jacques Chirac, the President of France, according to devastating documents released last night.

Memos from Iraqi intelligence officials, recovered by American and British inspectors, show the dictator was told as early as May 2002 that France - having been granted oil contracts - would veto any American plans for war.


To keep America at bay, he focusing [sic] on Russia, France and China - three of the five UN Security Council members with the power to veto war. Politicians, journalists and diplomats were all given lavish gifts and oil-for-food vouchers.

Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister, told the ISG that the "primary motive for French co-operation" was to secure lucrative oil deals when UN sanctions were lifted. Total, the French oil giant, had been promised exploration rights.

Iraqi intelligence officials then "targeted a number of French individuals that Iraq thought had a close relationship to French President Chirac," it said, including two of his "counsellors" for his re-election campaign. [Emphsis added]
May I agree with Glenn Reynolds (aka "Instapundit")?
It's hard to pass the "Global Test" when the people grading it are being bribed to administer a failing grade. Perhaps Kerry should change his stance, and promise that a Kerry Administration would "outbid the bad guys." That approach is more likely to succeed than the one he's been touting, which even he has admitted is doomed.
Claudia Rosett , seemingly the only journalist interested in the UN Oil-for-Fraud scandal, had this to say:
As Duelfer documents, Oil-for-Food allowed Saddam to replenish his empty coffers, firm up his networks for hiding money and buying arms, corrupt the U.N.'s own debates over Iraq, greatly erode sanctions and deliberately prep the ground for further rearming, including the acquisition of nuclear weapons. As set up and run by the U.N., Oil-for-Food devolved into a depraved and increasingly dangerous mockery of what was advertised by the U.N. as a relief program for sick and starving Iraqis.
So here we have Saddam Hussein, murderer of 500,000 Kurds, working with UN Security Council members to undermine the United States so that he could later resume production, acquisition, and eventual use of biological, chemical, and, yes, nuclear weapons. But naturally, the decision to remove Saddam was, according to Kerry, "wrong."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The New Soldier - Now Available Online

(Hat tip to Little Green Footballs)

John Kerry has been trying to buy up copies of his 1971 book "The New Soldier" for a number of years. As a service to those who may be curious, gas created a PDF version of the book which you can download for free here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Stuck on a Velcro Wall

Last Friday, the seminary community held a little to-do in the common area surrounding the student housing. The main attraction was an enormous velcro wall, orginally made famous by David Letterman.

I couldn't resist.
Moi Stuck on a Velcro Wall

Moi Stuck on a Velcro Wall

Originally uploaded by whatnext.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Seminary Updates

A couple of developments have transpired over the past few days:
  • I received a passing grade on my first-ever seminary exam, a short-answer test on Church History. I missed one point because I failed to provide an orthodox response to Marcionism. I'm a bit frustrated about the mistake. I knew the answer, but was so concerned about the legibility of my handwriting that I forgot to double-check. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled with the result, because it gives me some hope that I still have some student left in me.
  • Second, I'm now one of two newly-elected Student Senators representing the Junior (first-year) class. A fellow junior graciously asked if I would like to be nominated. I responded affirmatively, and I'm deeply honored to have been given this opportunity to serve such a wonderful community.
Now, back to Calvin.

The Natives are Getting Restless

Do date, I haven't yet disclosed my position on Rathergate. Opps, I think I just did. He's totally busted, along with Mapes, Joe Lockhart, and these rest of the CBS/DNC/Kerry Memogate axis.

Glenn Reynolds notes that these ads are running during the CBS nightly news in some markets. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Mark D. Roberts on Faith and Public Life

I was poking around Hugh Hewitt's blog today and read his post lauding the work of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts. After perusing Mark's site, I enthusiastically link :: What Next? :: readers to his five-part series entitled "The Church and Politics in America."

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Allawi visited Washington earlier this week to address Congress. On Thursday, he stood with President Bush in the Rose Garden for a joint press conference. Mr. Allawi was totally ignored by the press.

After the Bush/Allawi press conference, John Kerry was actually asked the following question by a reporter accompanying him in Ohio:

"Allawi told Congress today democracy was taking hold in Iraq and the terrorists were there on the defense. Is he living in the same fantasy land as the president?"

I no longer use the term "unbelievable" to describe such questions from our "unbiased," "professional" mainstream media. Coming from them, this type of question is utterly believable, and will become increasingly so as the major news outlets come to terms with an increasingly certain Bush victory in November.

Mark Steyn, meanwhile, will have none of this:
It would be nice to think this was a somewhat crude attempt at irony, but given America's Ratherized media this seems unlikely. Just for the record, Allawi is not living in a fantasyland. He's living in Iraq, and he begins his day with a dangerous commute across Baghdad's ''Green Zone.'' John Kerry's regular commute, by contrast, is from his wife's beach compound at Nantucket to his wife's 15th century English barn reconstructed as a ski lodge in Idaho. Nonetheless, he's the expert on Iraq and the guy living there 24/7 is the fantasist, and he's happy to assure us the prime minister doesn't know what he's talking about. It's all going to hell, forget about those January elections, etc.
For my part, the press has a lowsy record reporting on the successes in Iraq. The talking heads concluded that a transition from the CPA to an interim Iraqi government would have to be delayed. Instead, the transition happened early. Now these same doom-sayers are predicting a delayed election. On these and most other major events in Iraq, the press have got it wrong.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Fortnight Reflections

Classes started on September 7th, and after two weeks

of lecture and sections, I think I've seen enough to draw a few

conclusions about my new life here at Seminary.

But before I begin, I have to tell you, dear friends, that my short

time here has already resulted in tremendous sense of confirmation,

both for my choice of school, and for this new life that lies ahead.

Now, the recap.

The Classes

There are four classes all new students take here at the seminary -- Systematic Theology I (Theology), History of the Old Testament (OT), Introduction to the History of the Christian Church (History), and The Church as a Worshipping Community (Worship). All are subjects I thoroughly enjoy, and all are being taught by excellent scholars. If I had one wish for this semester, it would be that we had more time to delve deeper into particular course topics. This is especially true for the Church History class, where the professor has had to place an emphasis on rote memorization of dates, people, and places because of the historical expanse we must cover.

History of Old Testament (OT) class was a real mind-blower for me, and our theology professor is, in a word, astonishing. We're already diving into Barth, Calvin, Migliore, and others.

My favorite class at this point is Worship. Here we examine what we as Christians do. What is this thing we call worship? Why do we do it? Who, in fact, is doing the worshipping? By its very nature, the class weaves together history, ritual, tradition, theology, and music.

We pray before every lecture. Our Worship professor always precedes his prayers with the traditional invitation "The Lord be with you."

"And also with you," we respond. That little couplet means so much to me.

Chapel services are held every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 11:00 a.m. The regular pauses for prayer and worship provide much-needed spiritual refreshment during the course of the day. To encourage students to find a local church, Chapel services are not held on Sundays.

The People

The faculty and students here are wonderful. The collegiality of the faculty was one of my key considerations when choosing Austin. And the students! They come from everywhere, with an amazing portfolio of experience. We're already establishing study groups and social adventures. I'm a member of the seminary's "Polity Bowl" flag football team. We've already begun scrimmages in parparation of taking back the Polity Bowl crown from the Episcopalian seminarians down the street.

That's it for now. Back to reading. The Lord be with you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Kerry's Mind

Rich Lowry attempts to decode John Kerry, with "nuanced" results:
[I]f the war that he authorized needs funding, he's against it. If American troops need more body armor, he criticizes President Bush for not providing it. But if funding for such armor is in the $87 billion bill to fund the war, which he authorized and once supported but no longer supports even though he authorized it, he's against it.

If — prior to readjusting fully to the Dean surge — he is asked about the $87 billion, he believes voting against it would be "irresponsible." Later — after vanquishing Dean, and as he tries to move to the center — if he is criticized for actually voting against the $87 billion, he explains that he voted for it, before voting against it. He voted for it because it would be wrong to abandon our troops, but he voted against it because it would be wrong to support the war the troops are fighting in, which he once supported, but now opposes, even though he supports the troops as long as they can fight it without new funding.
Et cetera. You get the point.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Like you, I remember exactly where I was,

Exactly what I was doing, and

Exactly who said it first.

Fellow citizens fell to their deaths to avoid being burned.

Even so, some ran in to the buildings.

They saved many with their calm heroism.

Some were able to fight back, and they prevented further calamity at the cost of their own lives.

Like you, I will never forget, even though I would like to.

That would make it easier to see, think, and comprehend without the pain of remembering.

But we do remember, and we must.

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Jodi Comes Home

I first discovered her about a three weeks ago at the Austin SPCA. After hours of debate and consideration, I adopted Jodi today.

Jodi is a 5-year old terrier mix, so she's already had a bit of training (including the all-important potty training) and she knows a few tricks.

Jodi Comes Home
Originally uploaded by whatnext.
She's a sweetheart and I'm already totally in love with her.

Classes start tomorrow with Old Testament at 9:30 a.m. and Worship at 1:00 p.m. I'll file a report about my first day back to school once the lectures and induction ceremonies have been completed.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Bat Bridge

About a week ago, I joined a small group of seminary friends to check out the much-heralded Congress Avenue Bridge bat flight.

I was very excited to see my second bat flight in as many weeks. Earlier, during the long drive to Austin, my family decided to take a slight detour off of Interstate 10 to see Carlsbad Caverns and their daily bat flight. Impressive.

The Congress Avenue display, however, was astonishing. Just after 8:00 p.m., the bridge expansion cracks disgorged about 1.5 million Mexican Freetails. Five to six thick streams of bats (and cubs) swarmed out in pursuit of their daily insectoid meals.

Bryce at the Congress Avenue Bridge
Originally uploaded by whatnext.
Of course, I wasn't able to capture any of this with my digital camera because I had exhausted the already-low battery taking pictures of several cute kids who where there for the flight.

Bryce was one of those kids. With his cherubic face, he's Hollywood material at age one.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Time Warner Completes Me

I finally have my own personal high-speed internet connection. All it took was about 25 phones calls, three appointments, and 24 hours of waiting. I'm now going to take a nap.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Student Orientation Tomorrow

I'm chilling in the McMillan classroom building, within which can be found the student lounge. My cable and high-speed internet were supposed to be installed and connected yesterday afternoon, but it seems that the installers were "over-scheduled" and they never bothered to show up. So, after eight hours of waiting and repeated calling, I asked when the appointment could be rescheduled.

"This Friday afternoon", says the disappointed-sounding CSR.

"WHAT!? Are you folks aware that there are actual alternatives to Time Warner?"

"Oh yes sir. I'm really sorry you've had this problem." Etc. Etc.

Eight hours of waiting for nothing. I'm not even sure I can make myself available for the new appointment.

Anyhoo, tomorrow is the first day of a three-day student orientation. More will be reported our new incoming class becomes more familiar with the campus, curriculum, UT, etc. I've already purchased my first official round of textbooks, so things are getting pretty exciting!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

George Foreman

No, this post isn't about his famous grill (I do love mine, though), it's about George finding Jesus. Mr. Foreman's conversion experience is remarkable:
Nowadays, the beloved bruiser-turned-minister sells grills and preaches the Word in his own church. Once upon a time, though, he was the meanest, most lethal cat around. His about-face began in 1977, after a tough split-decision loss in Puerto Rico.

"I started thinking, 'I could go home and retire. I got money. I could retire right now to my ranch and die,' " he told "And before I knew it, that had taken over my whole conversation -- you're gonna die. I realized I was going to die in that dressing room from a boxing match. ... It was like someone dropped me off in the deep sea -- no help. There was no way I could get out of this."

"I saw blood coming down my forehead, and I hadn't been hit in the boxing match. And I told my masseur, 'You move your hand because He's bleeding and they crucified Him.' And I started screaming words I never screamed before, that Jesus Christ was coming alive in me. And I jumped in the shower, started screaming, 'Hallelujah! I'm clean, I'm born again, I'm going out to save the world!' And they said, 'You better put on some clothes first.' "
Other celebrity spirituality stories from the same article can be found here.

The Vampire that Can't Be Killed

Mark Steyn is at it again, this time he's on to the laggards at the New York Times, etc., who seem flummoxed by the "partisan politics" that have shockingly appeared during, of all things, an election season (from the Jerusalem Post):
So both groups are "politically motivated." Good for them. That's what multi-party democracy is all about. The New York Times and CBS News are also "politically motivated." So is this column. It's a political column, and it's "politically motivated." One day I'll start a ballet column, and that will be politically motivated.

So now that we've got all the preening patrician media snobbery out of the way, would it be too much to expect so-called political journalists to investigate Kerry's Cambodian stories? You know, the way they did when the comparatively minor question arose of whether Bush was AWOL from his National Guard base three decades ago. Boy, The New York Times loved that one:

February 4: "Military Service Becomes Issue in Bush-Kerry Race"

February 11: "The President's Guard Service"

February 13: "Seeking Memories of Bush at an Alabama Air Base"

February 15: "Still the Question: What Did You Do in the War?"
As the Times put it, "Mr. Bush himself also made the issue of military service fair game by posturing as a swashbuckling pilot when welcoming a carrier home from Iraq."

Well, the other feller made his military service fair game by posturing as a swashbuckling Swift Boat lieutenant to the exclusion of the other 59 years and eight months of his life. The story now is not John Kerry's weird secret-agent fantasies but the media's willingness to act as elite guardians of them. They're his real "band of brothers," happy to fish him out of their water, even if their credibility sinks in the process.
You can read the entire article here.

MORE: Is this all Douglas Brinkley's fault? Some say yes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Trip to Austin - Texas Capitol Dome Interior

An impressive edifice, the Texas State Capitol features an amazing dome. Click the image to navigate to a larger version. You should be able to make out the "Texas" letters surrounding the gold Lone Star. The Texas capitol is, naturally, the largest capitol building in the United States.

The complete set of pics can be found here.

Texas Capitol Dome Interior
Originally uploaded by whatnext.

Trip to Austin - Enterin' Texas

Naturally, Texas has three different signs welcoming visits to the state. This one is self-explanatory. There is also a decorate state-shaped sign, and a huge "Welcome to Texas!" sign.

The complete set of pics can be found here.

Enterin' Texas
Originally uploaded by whatnext.

Trip to Austin - The Guadalupe Mountains

Yet another unexpected, beautiful sight. The Guadalupe mountain range is part of the National Park system. El Capitan rose slowly into view as we traveled easy on Interstate 10. At 8,749 feet, it's the highest point in Texas. The range is actually a huge, Permian-era limestone reef - anywhere from 230 to 290 million years ago.

The Guadalupe Mountains

Originally uploaded by whatnext.
The complete set of pics can be found here.

Trip to Austin - Texas Canyon

Texas Canyon isn't in Texas, it's about 55 miles east of Tucson, Arizona. We were happily driving along when we came across this unexpected, stunning landscape. I insisted over the two-way that we stop at a nearby rest area to take in the sight of these huge boulders strewn about the Arizona wilderness.

The Drews at Texas Canyon
Originally uploaded by whatnext.
The complete set of pics can be found here.

Trip to Austin - Truck Stress

There is no real way to tell you how stressed out I was about the truck. A week before, I examined out a "sample" Budget truck and was quite confident that all of my stuff would fit inside the box. By moving day, however, I was in a big panic -- the movers thought the truck was too small.

Posing with The Truck

Originally uploaded by whatnext.
As the truck was being loaded, mom and dad arrived from the Oakland airport. The first words out of my father's mouth were "I don't think you'll be able to fit everything into that truck." Fortunately, we were all wrong and discovered, to my immense relief, that the truck had room to spare. Kudos to Budget!

The complete set of pics can be found here.

Still Waiting...

...on high-speed internet access. Time Warner, the local Austin cable provider, won't be able to install my high-speed line or cable until August 30th becuase of the crushing influx of UT students. Posting will be limited until I'm fully wired up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

We Made It!

We arrived in Austin at about 7:30 pm and immediately visited the Seminary to pick up the keys to my new pad. The apartment is surprisingly spacious, with hardwood floors and a tile bathroom. The kitchen is small but workable. The small workroom behind the kitchen is designed to accomodate a washer and dryer.

We're taking the night off for some margaritas and fun. Tomorrow is move-in day, and we want to get an early start when the weather is a bit on the cool side.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Arrived in El Paso

Hello from the Super 8 motel in El Paso, Texas. Great drive today, and we've been lucky to have unseasonably cool weather. We hit Carlsbad tomorrow, and we're all looking forward to the Caverns! More later.

Day 3 From the Road - In Phoenix

Well, the family and I are starting the third day of our five-day journey into Austin, TX. I'm composing this entry from the Big O tire store adjacent to the Super 8 motel we stayed in last night. Yes, we're here for a reason. When we returned to the hotel from dinner last night, I noticed that something had come loose in the front-end suspension in my car. Rather than make a small problem worse by putting on another 400 miles, we decided to come over to Big O first thing this morning to have the car examined and, if necessary, fixed up. We waiting for the Master Technician to arrive and put the car up on a lift. Convieniently, Big O has wireless internet in their waiting area. Kudos!

The last two days have gone by quickly. We met up with my sister yesterday evening in Long Beach, and we had a happy reunion with some of my father's old Navy buddies, Ron and Paul. The 15' Budget rental truck is performing very well, and other than this little hiccup with the car, there have been no problem. I suspect we'll be back on the road in the next two hours.

Pictures will be coming in the next day or so!

Thursday, August 12, 2004


You wouldn't believe how busy I am preparing for my move. I'm whittling down the remaining work (I only have a few office and kitchen items remaining), but it still represents several more hours of activity.

Little sleep expected tonight. On-the-road reporting begins tomorrow!

Monday, August 09, 2004


Several months ago, I attended a wedding shower for some close friends here in San Francisco. At the shower, someone sneaky snapped a photo of me as I was crooning along with a festive karaoke tune.

Well, this photo made a creative reappearance at a going-away party in honor of my forthcoming departure from San Francisco. When I arrived, I discovered that the infamous photo had been "Warholized" by a very good friend, and then plastered all over the home at which the party was held. Here it is:

I LOVED it! I'm so grateful to have such wonderful friends, and this collage will be displayed proudly in my new Austin pad.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Kerry's Vietnam Problem

The question of John Kerry's service in Vietnam is a huge hot-button issue, as it should be. After all, Mr. Kerry himself made his Vietnam service a campaign cornerstone starting with the Democrat primaries. In fact, Kerry's service received so much attention during the DNC convention that his 30+ years of public service weren't mentioned.

The major problem with all of this posturing is that it creates a significant logical fallacy. The George Neumayr hits the nail on the head with his analysis at the American Spectator:
Kerry is being hoist by his own petard. Did he really think that he could launch his political career on discrediting the Vietnam war, including his role in it, and then complete that career by taking credit for fighting in it? Kerry has never persuasively explained why he deserves so much credit for fighting in a war he said was utterly discreditable. A pol who starts his career by saying "We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service" and then ends it by campaigning on those memories invites the backlash we've seen this week.
Despite the furious indignation of the Bush-haters and DNC lawyers, this issue won't go away because it represents a fundamental structural problem with the Kerry/Edwards campaign storyline.

UPDATE: For the inside skinny on the Kranish/Boston Globe "newspaper" scandal, click here and here.

FURTHERMORE: Mark Steyn opines on Viet-Kerry:
Look, I would rather talk about the war. The current one, I mean -- not the one that ended three decades ago. But, insofar as I understand the rules of Campaign 2004, every time any member of the administration says anything about the present conflict, he is accused by Democrats of shamelessly "politicizing" it. Whereas every time John Kerry waxes nostalgic about those fragrant memories of the Mekong Delta, he should be allowed to take his unending stroll down memory lane unmolested. After all, as everyone from John Edwards to Max Cleland to Bill Clinton has assured us, being a Swift boat commander for four months is the indispensable qualification for being president. When Hillary runs in 2008, no doubt she'll be leaning heavily on her four months running a Swift boat up and down the Shatt al-Arab during the Iraq war.

But hang on, most of these fellows in the anti-Kerry ad -- the ones talking about how he can't be trusted, etc -- are also Swift boat commanders? If being a Swiftee is the most important thing in American life, why are all these "Swift Boat Veterans For Truth" less entitled to be heard than John Kerry?


The Danger of 9/10 Thinking

Victor Davis Hanson has a must-read column at National Review Online:
I would never have imagined that journalists, academics, actors, artists, and the intelligentsia in general would have so opposed the end of dictatorship and promotion of democracy abroad. And who would have thought that Vietnam would become the source for Democratic nostalgia, rather than the usual recrimination? Did anyone think the appointment of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, promises of $15 billion in grants to combat AIDS in Africa, and lectures to the politically powerful Arab world to cease the genocide of black Sudanese would earn George Bush slurs evoking the Taliban, the old Confederacy, and fascism? Have we become children who live in a world of bedtime stories, afraid to face the cruel truth around us?
Read the complete column here.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Museum Pieces

I found these artifacts while cleaning out my apartment:

  • An old "handheld" Space Invader-esque video game called "Cosmic Combat"
  • Extended BASIC for the TI 99/4A computer
  • A "Parsec" game cartridge, also for the TI.
Museum Pieces

The BASIC cartridge retailed for $94.00 all those years ago, and I remember spending hours designing graphical "sprites" that I then programmed to float around my low-res portable color TV.

I can't remember if I threw out the old machine or not. I suspect not, as I would have no reason to keep this junk unless the TI was either hidden somewhere around here or in my parent's pad back in Salt Lake City.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

I'm Digitized

I finally purchased my first-ever digital camera, an Olympus 8080 Wide Zoom with an 8 megapixel sensor. The photo on the right is the first-ever shot taken with the camera. Yes, I'm a charmer goofball.

Thursday, July 29, 2004


OnStar®, an emergency service provided with several new car models (for a subscription fee), has been advertising heavily on TV and radio. These ads feature actual conversations between OnStar® operators and hapless customers who have:
  • Just crashed their car and need assistance
  • Just saw someone else crash their car
  • Locked themselves out of their car
Strangely, this particular call never makes the cut.

[Hat tip: My sister, and the unknown genius who put this clip together]

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


"", which used to feature an open letter from Joe Wilson (screenshot here), is now gone. The link now simply redirects you to John Kerry's website.

It took several weeks, but give John Kerry some credit -- he jettisoned the liar from his campaign.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

"Euro-English" Adopted as New EU Lingua Franca

I can't understand why this major development hasn't been picked up by the mainstream press:
The European Commission has just annouced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of th EU rather than German which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Goverment conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase-in plan that would be known as 'Euro-English'.

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favor of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keybords kan have one less lettre.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkorage the removel of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"'s in the language is disgrasful, and they should go away.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps sush as a replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v". During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor truble or difkultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen world!

Friday, July 23, 2004

Idiotic Spam

Content of a spam e-mail message received just now:
copolymer ligand supremacy efflorescent dod guillemot absolution descend anther ascribe escalate educate wield boniface sightsee supervisory bottleneck abe geyser destruct invertible injure derby daly chinamen flick hanna crosswise cockleshell chairman knotty decca clattery prepare aleck sandra abridge beater bonneville inoculate prophesy convect effluvium declarative australia resorcinol seaquake aromatic vale advisee acrimonious teeth dickey councilwoman univariate cerulean cookbook risk commiserate frown flatworm cast bracket countryside belgrade borderland inhabitation nebulous cataclysmic antiperspirant ...
... Etc. What is the point?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Way Too Many Books

this is an audio post - click to play

"The Power and Politics of Blogs"

Daniel Drezner and Henry Farrell have co-authored an academic paper on the blogosphere. All are invited to read and comment on their findings. The abstract:
Weblogs occupy an increasingly important place in American politics. Their influence presents a puzzle: given the disparity in resources and organization vis-à-vis other actors, how can a collection of decentralized, nonprofit, contrarian, and discordant websites exercise any influence over political and policy outputs? This paper answers that question by focusing on two important aspects of the “blogosphere”: the distribution of readers across the array of blogs, and the interactions between significant blogs and traditional media outlets. Under specific circumstances – when key weblogs focus on a new or neglected issue – blogs can socially construct an agenda or interpretive frame that acts as a focal point for mainstream media, shaping and constraining the larger political debate.
Interesting stuff!

9/11 Commission Report: Now Available

9/11 Commission Report

The PDF version of the report can be found here.

Bound copies of the report can be purchased from Amazon.

Remain vigilant!

UPDATE: An overview on reading the report can be found here.

More on Sandy Berger

From The Corner:
ARCHIVE MISHAPS [Fr. George W. Rutler]

On a recent visit to the library of Trinity College, Dublin, about seventy pages of the Book of Kells inadvertently fell into my underwear. To my surprise, I later found several major illuminated pages in my socks. If the library wants these pages back, I'll see what I can find, although my desk is always a mess, as everyone knows. I assumed the library had photocopies of the whole Book. So it is no big deal. In fact, when I mentioned this to my friends at the Vatican Library, they all had a good laugh. I do not understand all the fuss. I must say that I find the timing suspicious. Everyone knows that in the late eighth century the Vikings tried to grab these pages, and where were the investigative reporters then? Fortunately, I have entrusted these items to an antiquarian friend in Chappaqua.

PS Silly me: My dry cleaner tells me that the original Donation of Constantine somehow found its way into the lining of one of my jackets. I have always been neglectful of my dress.
Great continuing coverage here, including a document pants/socks stuffing contest.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

"An Honest Mistake"

"It was an honest mistake," said Mr. Berger, who until this morning was an advisor to Democrat presidential hopeful John Forbes Kerry. "I accidentally wrapped the Constitution around my left leg and mistakenly secured it with rubber bands."

More here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

35 Years Ago Today

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon (Credit: NASA)

Neil Armstrong stepped on the surface of the moon on this day, and at this time, 35 years ago.

Oh, how I wish today's generation had the opportunity to witness something this profound.

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

(Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)

Problem Endorsements

Communists for Kerry.

[Hat tip to Jeff]

What Is In Dennis Miller's Pants?

Dennis MillerI've been watching Dennis Miller's show on CNBC this evening. I haven't really watched the show since it first debuted on CNBC, but I caught it today to see what, if anything, he would have to say about the burgeoning Sandy Berger trouser scandal (I'll let someone else call it TrouserGate). Anyway, Miller is addressing today's "expert" panel, and he visually demonstrated, by removing his jacket and shoving his script into his pant, how ridiculous Berger's "inadvertancy" claim really is.

UPDATE: Laura Ingraham is on air and just reminded me that Fawn Hall also tried smuggling documents in her pants.

Monday, July 19, 2004

'Root Causes of Terrorism '

Jeff (last name unknown) over at Beautiful Atrocities has created a chronology that resolves the "root cause" argument. A short excerpt:

  • 50 million years ago: First cartilaginous fishes
  • 240 million years ago: Gore Vidal born
Read the whole thing here.

Terror in the Skies Followup

Annie Jacobsen promised a followup to her gripping account of a recent flight she took from Detroit to Los Angeles. You can read the latest here.

My confidence in airport/airline security is rapidly waning, and it seems that everyone is terrified that they'll be accused of insensitivity if they act on suspicious activity. None of this is reassuring, and, as usual, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Good News Roundup

Writing for OpinionJournal, Arthur Cherenkoff has a great summary of the good news that has transpired in Iraq for the past fortnight. Says Cherenkoff:
In many ways, it now falls to the political blogs to do the work one would expect from the mainstream media--to provide a fair and balanced picture of situation in Iraq. It's the blogs that dig up the information, disseminate it, and bring to everyone's attention the more outrageous examples of media bias or carelessness with facts. As John Leo wrote recently, "What's new about the press is that so many people who follow it with a critical eye now have an outlet to howl about inaccuracy and partisanship. The big media used to be able to shrug off critics like this. Now they can't."
Long live the blog!

Friday, July 16, 2004

Psalm 102:1-7

There are days when this prayer takes over (from the New Jerusalem Bible):
LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.

Incline your ear to me; when I call, make haste to answer me,

For my days drift away like smoke, and my bones are hot as burning coals.

My heart is smitten like grass and withered, so that I forget to eat my bread.

Because of the voice of my groaning I am but skin and bones.

I have become like a vulture in the wilderness, like an owl among the ruins.

I lie awake and groan; I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house top.
I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.

Apollo 11 and The Moon: 35 Years Later

Apollo 11 AstronautsThe Apollo 11 mission to place a man on the moon began on this date, and NASA has a great website to commemorate the event.

The moon landing has always had a special place in my heart. The mission ended on July 24th, 1969, and my life began the next day, capping what must have been an amazing week for my parents. The picture at the right is in my baby book.

Terror Scare

Annie Jacobsen's "Terror in the Skies, Again?" is making serious headway across the blogosphere. This is a very chilling read, and the FBI's response -- that agents cannot be deployed unless there is an actual event -- is causing me to wonder how much progress the terrorists have made lately, and if we are properly prepared to deal with another devastating attack.

Be vigilant, everyone.

UPDATE: More on Annie Jacobsen's story thanks to the diligent work of Michele Malkin here, and here.

MORE: There are several skeptics.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The "Who Knew?" Files

Who knew that The Incredible Hulk had a blog?

Wow! Blogger Releases New Editor

The good folks at Blogger have just released a new WYSIWYG editor. This is a test post using the editor.

It's pretty nifty. You can include images and resize/position them right in the editor window. Additional functionality makes it easier to upload pictures as well as change fonts/sizes. VERY cool stuff.

Move Update: A Discovery and Reflection

this is an audio post - click to play

How Much Longer?

I wonder how quickly this will disappear from John Kerry's website?


"I'm not a politician and I'm not a political partisan." Yeah, right.

UPDATE: A great Wall Street Journal slammer piece on Joe Wilson can be read here.

MORE: More on the irony of at Instapundit.

The Cultural Tipping Point

I have a very close friend up in Seattle with whom I regularly chat over the phone and online. Recently, I called him up to discuss some personal issues that were bugging me, and as our conversation bobbed and weaved, we eventually got to the point where we were discussing the cultural "tipping point" I think we are rapidly approaching.

Much has been made about the "culture war" that has been underway for the past several years. In reality, I think we've been having a cultural shouting match. Whether the topic is abortion (and the use/abuse of birth control), the high rate of divorce, or, most recently, homosexual "marriage", I think we're approaching a significant cultural debate, the results of which will determine whether the United States will continue to be a great nation, or slide into a permanent, Euro-esque cultural malaise.

My own thoughts on this were prompted by Ramesh Ponnuru over at National Review Online (Highly recommended). Ponnuru comments on a recent American Prospect piece by Robert Reich, entitled "Bush's God." Here's Reich's conclusion:
The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face.
Ramesh responds:
This goes well beyond the common denunciation of "fundamentalism" where that term is meant to describe an ideology that seeks the imposition of religious views on non-believers. (That's what Andrew Sullivan means when he uses the term.) It is a denunciation — as a graver threat than terrorists — of people who believe that the world to come is more important than this world, or that all human beings owe their allegiance to God.
I join Ramesh in his prayers for peaceful coexistence, but I think Reich's comment points to a coming conflict that is unavoidable, particularly in a nation where a significant segment of the population classifies religious belief as a threat worse than terrorism; and where there is increasing tendency within US judiciary to craft law out of whole cloth, and to change basic cultural institutions without any regard for the electorate.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Categorical Debunking

Dave Kopel's "Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11" can be found here. Kopel's rundown is huge, and includes Moore's "responses."

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

This Land

Bush v KerryIt seems that everyone in the blogosphere is posting this hilarious flash movie parody of John Kerry and W. (Because everyone is linking to the movie, you may have to revisit the site several times in order to watch. Good luck!)

What Will They Think of Next?

If you want to hear what my voice sounds like, you can listen to me blather by clicking the link to this audioBLOGGER test post:

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, July 12, 2004

The "Intelligence" Report

Instapundit (here and here) and others have now expounded on the big Washington Post revelation that Joe Wilson fabricated accusations about the President and the infamous uranium/Niger story.

Michael Ledeen and Dan Darling have the best rundowns of the Senate's report, and Mark Steyn shreds Wilson here.

The Wilson revelation, apart from the blogosphere, will get almost no coverage, unlike Wilson's original accusation, which was plastered all over the place.

Oh, and there were intelligence failures.

UPDATE: The Senate report can be downloaded here.

Preparation Continues

My move preparations continue. Posting limited today.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Funny Microsoft Support Articles

I was surfing around the other day and found a pretty funny compilation of Microsoft's so-called "Q" articles which answer user support questions about Microsoft products. Here are a few examples:
  • Q282850: Cookies Lost After Upgrading to Windows XP
  • Q178748: SATAN Causes High Memory Utilization in WUSER32
  • Q216641: Computer Hangs After 49.7 Days "SYMPTOMS: After 49.7 days of continuous operation, your Windows-based computer may stop responding (hang).
And my personal favorite:
Q110261: Airframe Damage from Stress Causes Aircraft to Explode "This functionality is oversensitive in Flight Simulator 5.0; any stress applied to the aircraft causes it to tear apart when this option is selected."
Much more here.


My folks are visiting from out of town, so blogging will be very light for the remainder of the week.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Kerry Picks "Mr. Inexperience" for Veep

Senator John Fitzgerald Kerry has picked Sen. John Edwards as his running mate. Just two months ago, Sen. Kerry proclaimed John Edwards unqualified to be President.

This is obviously a poll-driven choice by the DNC, now that Kerry's first choice, Sen. John McCain, has endorsed President Bush for re-election.

The GOP, by the way, was ready for the Kerry announcement:

Glenn Reynolds has an excellent rundown on the Edwards selection here.