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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Joe Paterno Out At Penn State?

Say it ain't so Joe! Rumor has it that this year's Outback Bowl against the University of Florida Gators will be Joe Paterno's last game. The man who has guided Penn State University to national championships and umpteen winning records over the last 61 years is about to finally step down after so many years at PSU. I guess when one reaches 84 years of age, then a bit of rest and relaxation is well deserved.

Godspeed JoePa, enjoy your retirement if this is true. 61 years, all at the same institution with nary a whiff of scandal in all those decades. You did it your way, which was with class.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Of all of the future pro football players Paterno ever coached, he only had one Heisman Trophy winner (who is pictured up above) who, as it turns out, was a roommate of my high school football coach. Name that player.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hell is not a torture chamber

"If the government, tomorrow, mandated wearing a flag on every article of clothing you own and only made the knowledge available to a select few, that would be outrageous. If they rounded up everyone who wasn't in compliance and threw them in torture dungeons for the rest of their lives, it would be considered the most brutal injustice the world has ever seen. Nobody would blame the people rotting in prison for not wearing flags. It would be absurd to do so. Even if you were informed that the government was going to start torturing people for not wearing flags, you wouldn't believe it. You'd certainly ask for proof, otherwise you'd just file it away with all of the other conspiracy theories floating out there. Certainly, the idea that a powerful entity that preached equity and fairness brutalizing people for not making specific gestures of fealty is absurd and unworthy of consideration. You'd be crazy to blame the people who didn't know or didn't believe it would happen for being thrown in prison. It would be utterly ridiculous to claim that they chose to be tortured. From extheist.net

The internet is rife with such speculation among non-believers of a terrible God, bent on punishing people because they either believed the wrong things or came from a culture that did not teach forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Author and preacher Dr. D. James Kennedy once wrote that he did not believe that a just and holy God would send somebody to Hell because of their ignorance. Dr. Kennedy was quick to add though that there might be an entire host of other factors, apart from ignorance, that could cause someone to spend eternity in Hell.

Concerning the whole 'Hell Is a Tortue Chamber' idea though, apologist Lee Strobel once put the question to theologian and philosopher J.P. Moreland concerning the existance of "flames" in Hell. Moreland responded, quote, "..the flames are a figure of speech.. I just want to be Biblically accurate. We know that the reference to flames is figurative because, if you try to take it literally, it makes no sense. For example, Hell is described as a place of utter darkness and yet there are flames, too. How can that be? Flames would light things up. In addition, we're told Christ is going to return surrounded by flames and he's going to have a big sword coming out of his mouth. But nobody thinks Christ won't be able to say anything because he'll be choking on a sword. The figure of the sword stands for God's judgement The flames stand for Christ's coming judgement. In Hebrews 12:29, God is called a consuming fire. Yet nobody thinks God is a cosmic Bunsen burner. Using the flame imagery is a way of saying he's a God of judgement."

Now, from what Hell isn't to what Hell actually is. A great number of theologians, both liberals and conservatives, posit that Hell entails "eternal seperation from God" and this point is widely agreed upon by both camps. But what is Hell actually like when we refer to such a "seperation"? Moreland provides his thoughts on the matter and goes on to explain what the term "gnashing of teeth" really means when mentioned in relation to Hell.

"It's an expression of rage at realizing that one has made a huge mistake . If ever you've been around people who are self-absorbed, self-centered and highly narcissistic, they get angry when they don't get their way. I believe the gnashing of teeth is an expression of the type of personality of people who belong in Hell." People don't "consciously reject Heaven and choose to go to Hell instead. But they do choose not to care about the kinds of values that will be present in Heaven every day".

One last point about Hell and a common misconception about it. There is this idea that, in addition to the 'torture chamber' concept that all who fail to make it into Heaven will be sentenced to the same level of suffering in Hell. Adolf Hitler is right alongside the guy who lived a reasonably good life by most standards, yet refused to either acknowledge or fully believe in God. Lee Strobel raised this point as well with Moreland who responded by taking out his Bible and referencing Matthew, Chapter 11...

"Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." Matthew 11:20-24

According to Moreland, "Jesus is saying that people will be sentenced in accordance with their deeds". The concept of "one-size-fits-all" isn't accurate, or as this site puts it, in Revelation 20:11-15, we see that God is opening up TWO books...

"The scene pictured here is the Great White Throne Judgment. And God is opening two books. The first is often called The Lamb's Book of Life. It's a record of all who have trusted in Christ. And if a person's name isn't found there, they're in big trouble. The second book that's opened reveals the deeds of a person's life. Nothing we do is hidden from God's eyes. And a person who doesn't believe in Christ will have their life evaluated and be judged according to their works. Lifestyle and the amount of light rejected determine the degree of punishment experienced in hell."

Why bother having two sets of books and reviewing the respective life of each person if all judgement is exactly the same?

In conclusion, none of this is to diminish Hell in any way. It's a fate that nobody truly wants to experience. However, if your concept of Hell is based upon poor Sunday school theology or highly inaccurate, atheisitic apologetics and is standing in the way of enjoying a relationship with the Most High, then maybe you should reconsider your opinions on the matter. Pride comes into play as well and nobody likes to admit that they were not correct. Won't you begin to explore the possibilitity that maybe there are viable explanations to the questions that you seek? A good starting point would be Lee Strobel's The Case For Faith which contains the above cited interview with J.P. Moreland. Others are free to leave the names of other sources in the comment section to assist those of us who are on our spiritual journeys with something other than a mind that is completely closed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a Nazi Christmas and a Hitler New Year!

One of the more tired old saws of the militant, atheistic set is the claim that Hitler was a "Christian". One would suppose that being that there are no "published sources from acknowledged academic historians or writers that identify Adolf Hitler as significantly Catholic or Christian in his motivations as an adult", that this issue would be over and done with. However, the more socially-challenged will continue to posit that Hitler was a Christian based on choir/church attendance as a youngster. Vox Day has successfully argued that if this is the case then arch-atheists Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins could still be considered Anglicans by such a shoddy standard.

Adding further weight to the argument that Hitler was decidedly NOT a Christian is today's Daily Mail article in which we learn a little bit about Hitler's celebration at Christmas time in 1941...

"..the Nazi Christmas was far from traditional. Hitler believed religion had no place in his 1,000-year Reich, so he replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas with the Norse god Odin and urged Germans to celebrate the season as a holiday of the ‘winter solstice’, rather than Christmas.

Out of sight at the top of the tree behind Hitler was a swastika instead of an angel, and many of the baubles carried runic symbols and iron cross motifs...

In 1944-1945, the Nazis tried to reinvent Christmas once again as a day to commemorate the dead, in particular fallen soldiers – by that time Germany had lost almost four million men in the war. But while many Germans baked biscuits and cakes in the shape of swastikas and adorned their trees with the symbols of the Nazi regime, most still called the festival Christmas."

Let the rationalization begin! I predict that first, the more evangelical of the atheist set will try to argue that the inclusion of the Iron Cross among the symbols used gave the festival a certain Christian flair. To argue as such would be silly and one needs only to look to the words of Richard Dawkins. Even HE recognizes the folly of such reasoning..

"[Hitler] was an opportunistic liar whose words cannot be trusted" The God Delusion, pg. 274

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Will Obama's ex-girlfriends please step forward..

While former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey (D) may have been the poster boy of a repressed sexual orientation of a public figure, at least he had a second female he could point to, his ex-wife Karen, in addition to his second marriage to Dina Matos that at least gave the semblance of heterosexuality for a time while he was a public figure. Writer Jack Cashill, who exposed domestic terrorist Bill Ayers as the ghost writer for Barack Obama's book Dreams From My Father recently mused...

"In his 600-plus page Obama-friendly biography, The Bridge, David Remnick lays down the baseline of what the mainstream media know about the president – or at least what they want us to know.

Where Remnick falls oddly silent – not even to hector the blogosphere, which he does often – is on the question of Obama's amours.

As it happens, Obama spent 13 years as a single man on the mainland before he married Michelle in 1992 – 10 of those before he met her.

And yet, unless I missed something, despite scores of interviews with Obama acquaintances, never do we actually hear from a woman who dated Barack Obama, either in Remnick's book or in any Obama biography.

In "Dreams," Obama talks of his love life on only one occasion. When his half-sister Auma visits him in Chicago pre-Michelle, he tells Auma about a ruptured relationship with a white woman back in New York.

Obama adds, with more than a little calculation, "There are several black ladies out there who've broken my heart just as good," but we do not read as much as a single sentence about any of these ladies.

Although he speaks of the white woman briefly and in retrospect, he does so vividly and lovingly. "She was white," he tells Auma. "She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes."

This is no casual relationship. "We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That's how it was."

This nameless young woman had grown up on a sprawling estate in the country. It was during a visit to the country home that Obama began to see the distance between "our two worlds." That distance ultimately leads to their separation. "I pushed her away," Obama tells Auma ruefully.

An interracial romance should have been grist for an aspiring writer's mill, especially a writer as obsessed with racial identity as Obama, but he gives this tale only a few paragraphs.

I was not the only one to have noticed Obama's curious silence on this issue. One correspondent of mine made a compelling case that Obama's mystery woman was drawn fully from the memory of Bill Ayers and based on the great love of Ayers's life, the late Diana Oughton."

In the above linked article, Cashill lays down all of the similarities between Obama's alleged ex-girlfriend and a former paramour that Ayers is apparently obsessed with. Not that any of this really matters in relation to the performance of his job duties, I just find it quite interesting that nobody in the MSM even bothers asking the question, quote,..

"where are Obama's old girlfriends? Unlike every other president, they just don't seem to exist and there's hardly a woman alive who once had an even remotely notable lover that isn't eager to let the world know that they were once an item. If a woman has ever dated a musician or an athlete, she'll be sure to let you know about it... and there is no way that a woman who was involved with a president, let alone this particular president, would keep her mouth shut."

Monday, December 20, 2010

An Argument from the Emerald Isle on Abortion

Mary Kenny writes in the Irish newspaper, the Independent, that which she claims are some real-life examples that aren't often considered when the topic of abortion comes up...

"Picture a couple of former lovers meeting up again after 20 years, and finding, in their 50s that they have exactly the same loving feelings they had for one another in their 30s. And then the woman says to the man, ruefully: "Our child would have been 17 now. Wasn't it the stupidest thing we ever did?" She has never had subsequent children: he has.

Picture a woman in her late 60s -- a doughty campaigner for abortion rights -- enjoying a family meal with her son and daughter-in-law. A discussion about abortion arises, because it is in the news. The older feminist launches into a polemic about a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Her daughter-in-law suddenly turns on her: "How can you say that? You know our children are adopted. If two heroic birth mothers hadn't gone through unwanted pregnancies, we would never have been able to have our family"

Imagine a homosexual man who, unexpectedly, on a Mediterranean holiday, has a crazy, but fun-filled affair with a bright, amusing woman. The woman then finds she is pregnant. She tells him she has no intention of continuing an unwanted pregnancy. He ardently begs her to continue the pregnancy: it will be his only chance, ever, of fathering a child -- he'll pay any amount of financial support and help out in any way she needs. She turns him down and terminates.

A student, in her early 20s, falls pregnant at the worst possible time for her exams. She terminates the pregnancy with relief. She does brilliantly in her exams, and splits up with the boyfriend in question. Later, she meets the love of her life. They get married, and in their early 30s, securely in possession of house and jobs, they decide to have a family. But no pregnancy occurs. They go for fertility treatment, with no success. They try IVF three times, also without success. Does she tell her husband that she once was pregnant?

All these cases have happened, and many more too...

Respect for new life is, moreover, a value upheld by Christians for many centuries, and, underlined by this very season which is almost upon us -- not coincidentally called the Nativity, in which a baby born in a manger, in dismal circumstances, to a homeless, unmarried mother becomes the shining centre of Redemption and the Prince of Peace."

I believe Ms. Kenny's intention was to provide some balance to the abortion debate and she states that it is an issue that should be guided, above all, by "conscience". Her article provides some insight as to how such weighty decisions as to have an abortion can play out in the years and decades to come. This further underlines the fact that when it comes to a decision being made to actually abort a child, there are no winners. Anywhere

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Response to 'Michadelic‏'

"The earliest gospel narrative is 40 years removed from the events.

I think the problem with the conservative/fundamentalist mindset here is that there really is no reason to believe that the gospels are factual accounts *unless* you are already predisposed to such a belief. But then, one is merely bolstering an assumption that fundamentally has nothing to do with objective evidence anyway. Evidence and objectivity become merely an appendix. There are plenty of writings and claims that Christians dismiss as irrelevant without ever investigating the value of those claims. For instance, how many Christians will spend their time pouring over the Book of Mormon or Koran? This is only natural and reasonable - we could spend our entire lives investigating claim after claim and never get on with actually living. It is enough (it has to be!) to weigh a claim against the background of the world as we know and experience it, and to either accept it or dismiss it as baseless or irrelevant. Muslims and Christians sound virtually identical in their apologetics, the names are changed and in each one the other party is condemned to hell. The problem is not which book is right or which one has the best 'evidence', the problem is in the entire expectation that God literally writes books. 'The whole head is sick', you might say. The whole paradigm is irrelevant.

A mature spiritual practice is fine with the role of myth and doesn't get hung up on matters of historical objectivity. It's not about that at all - and if the Christian narrative offers any truth, its truth will be true regardless of its historical objectivity. The US population has been in dialogue with other religions now for 60 years, and a great opportunity to benefit from that exchange is still being missed by most people, who would rather live in their cultural-religious shells. It really is a tragedy." Michadelic

The above was posted on Justin Vacula's intellectually vapid playground that he generously refers to as a "blog" in response to a comment that I posted there. I would first like to take issue with the opening statement "The earliest gospel narrative is 40 years removed from the events."

One of the primary reasons often cited by skeptics when arguing for a later late for the gospels is the prediction by Jesus of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which did not occur until after His crucifixion and was ultimately destroyed in 70 A.D. (See Mark, Chapter 13) Such argumentation presupposes that Jesus did not make such an accurate prediction and ignores the following point. If something like Jesus' prediction was being reported after the event, then why isn't it reported as such? For example, why doesn't the gospel of Mark state something along the lines of "Jesus predicted that the temple would be destroyed and just like he said, it surely was"? The narrative does not frame the prediction as such and thus provides evidence for an earlier date. If you were referring to other points raised by skeptics that argue for a later date, then feel free to list them here.

Another point that you raise is "The whole head is sick', you might say. The whole paradigm is irrelevant." I would suggest that when investigating the historicity of claims made by the Bible, that such claims are analyzed through the lense of a historian, not a logician. When one begins with the mindset that once something if found to be false, then the entire statement (or in this case, belief system) is false it misses the larger point. When dealing with historical documents from various witnesses, yes, the accounts can differ. One of the great things about apologetics is that many of these inconsistencies HAVE been harmonized and there indeed are explanations should anyone like to seek them out with anything other than a mind that is completely closed.

Lastly, you bring up for comparison the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Koran. I don't doubt that many Christians haven't poured over those other books that you cite and perhaps they should. However, in light of the fact that NOTHING from the Book of Mormon concerning the concept of 'Ancient America' has ever been verified by the Smithsonian Institute or any reputable historian for that matter, could one blame them for not trying? The Bible, in comparison, is rife with archeologically verifiable facts and thus it's practically a non-starter to compare the two.

This is before we get into analyzing another 'holy book' of the accounts of a certain pederast that sold women and children into slavery and led troops into battle and is held up as comparable to the teachings of Jesus. It just doesn't make sense from the get-go.

I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and a properous New Year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Liberal Protestants and Pacisfism

"..another popular liberal bumper sticker proclaims, "War Is not the Answer." It, too, is completely meaningless. If the question is, "What is the square root of 8?" war is not the answer. But if the question is "How do you stop genocidal regimes?" war probably is the answer." Dennis Prager

Today's article by Mark Tooley informs of of the growing uhber-pacifism movement among certain Christian denominations....

"The latest voice is distinguished evangelical New Testament scholar Ben Witherington (above), a frequent television commentator on biblical topics who commendably and thoughtfully has disputed the Jesus Seminar, the Da Vinci Code and other nonsense. Many religious pacifists of late, including prominent Evangelical Left activist Jim Wallis, are vague about their pacifism, speaking against war, while touting more benign "police" actions, as though they were non-violent. Witherington, in a recent exchange, more consistently suggests Christians must avoid serving in both military and police.

In that exchange with a fellow theologian, Witherington declared he did not think "Christians should either serve in the military or as police." And he wondered whether Christians could even serve as military chaplains or medics. Witherington insisted: "In short, for the Christian, there are plenty of things worth dying for and giving your life for, but nothing worth killing for, for life is of sacred worth, and we are called to save it, even from itself..."

America's Mainline Protestants have been displaced in influence by evangelicals. Unease by many young evangelicals with the length of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has almost certainly fueled widening support for pacifism. But the old Social Gospel pacifism of the last century has been displaced by Anabaptist notions of at least superficial separatism and ambivalence about the state. Old Evangelical Left fixtures, like Jim Wallis, still motivated by 1960s era anti-war activism, and relentless fans of Big Government, have ironically embraced some Anabaptist themes in their wider campaigns against American force. More traditional Evangelicals and Protestants, sometimes unsure of their own tradition, are too often absent from the debate.

Insisting that Christians shun not only the military but also law enforcement, as Witherington suggested, is more faithful to historic Anabaptist separatist beliefs and more morally consistent than what Evangelical Leftists like Wallis usually assert. But removing Christians from government hardly bodes well for a nation increasingly spiritually adrift. And debating pacifism during America's next major crisis, as many Mainline Protestant elites were during even World War II, hardly seems wise. Lawson Stone's exchange with Witherington hopefully will help motivate other evangelicals to burnish their intellectual and spiritual weapons for an important debate that may help determine America's capacity for survival."

The above links are quite informative if anyone is interested in this type of debate. I think Witherington commits an error by arguing during the exchange that "Jesus said no violence" which is overly simplistic to say the least. True, Jesus did say "Blessed are the peacemakers.." and also extolled the virtues of turning the other cheek. However at no point is the concept of "Peace" uplifted over all others and nor did He command His followers to push for peace no matter what the potential price in human suffering could result in such prioritization. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The poor you will always have with you..

The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. Matthew 26:11

John Stossel examines one of the main reasons why poverty is so persistent in certain areas of the world...

"Hernando de Soto taught me that the biggest difference may be property rights.

I first met de Soto maybe 15 years ago. It was at one of those lunches where people sit around wondering how to end poverty. I go to these things because it bugs me that much of the world hasn't yet figured out what gave us Americans the power to prosper.

I go, but I'm skeptical. There sits de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, and he starts pulling pictures out showing slum dwellings built on top of each other. I wondered what they meant.

As de Soto explained: "These pictures show that roughly 4 billion people in the world actually build their homes and own their businesses outside the legal system. ... Because of the lack of rule of law (and) the definition of who owns what, and because they don't have addresses, they can't get credit (for investment loans)."

They don't have addresses?

"To get an address, somebody's got to recognize that that's where you live. That means ... you've a got mailing address. ... When you make a deal with someone, you can be identified. But until property is defined by law, people can't ... specialize and create wealth. The day they get title (is) the day that the businesses in their homes, the sewing machines, the cotton gins, the car repair shop finally gets recognized. They can start expanding."..

Americans marked off property, courts recognized that property, and the people got deeds that meant everyone knew their property was theirs. They could then buy and sell and borrow against it as they saw fit...

De Soto started his work in Peru, as an economic adviser to the president, trying to establish property rights there. He was successful enough that leaders of 23 countries, including Russia, Libya, Egypt, Honduras and the Philippines, now pay him to teach them about property rights. Those leaders at least get that they're doing something wrong.

"They get it easier than a North American," he said, "because the people who brought the rule of law and property rights to the United States (lived) in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were your great-great-great-great-granddaddies."

De Soto says we've forgotten what made us prosperous. "But (leaders in the developing world) see that they're pot-poor relative to your wealth." They are beginning to grasp the importance of private property."

I hope that the leaders of the aforementioned countries take what de Soto is saying to heart. Meanwhile, we here in the developed West seem to be oblivious to such UN initiatives as Agenda 21 and the concept of "Sustainable Development" as the creep towards the elimination of private property slowly and steadily advances.

Friday, December 3, 2010

On Southern Baptists, Don't Ask-Don't Tell, and a Coconut in the Sun

While Ann Coulter explains her view that WikiLeaks contributing traitor editor Bradley Manning could serve as a "poster boy for the don't ask, don't tell' " debate, Baptist Press brings us up to speed on some of the latest developments in this ongoing contraversy. I found the perceived, unintended consequences of repealing such a policy to be quite noteworthy...

"Of those surveyed, 30 percent of the total, 43 percent of the Marines, 48 percent of Army combat units and 58 percent of Marine combat units believe that a repeal of the law would have a negative or very negative impact on their units' ability to work together to get the job done," (Sen. John) McCain said. "Furthermore, 67 percent of Marines and nearly 58 percent of Army soldiers in combat units believe that repeal of the law would have negative consequences on unit cohesion in a field environment or out at sea."

McCain added, "I remain concerned ... as demonstrated in this study that the closer we get to service members in combat, the more we encounter concerns about whether Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be repealed and what impact that would have on the ability of these units to perform their mission."

Another point raised in the Baptist Press article is one that you seldom (if ever) hear brought up in the Mainstream Media..

"More than 60 chaplains, including Southern Baptist chaplains, signed a letter to Obama and (Sec of Defense) Gates earlier this year expressing concern that overturning Don't Ask, Don't Tell would result in the marginalizing of "deeply held" religious beliefs and could harm religious liberty. They warned that changing the policy could influence everything from what a chaplain can say in a sermon to what he can say in a counseling session. The fear is that chaplains who speak against homosexuality will have a discrimination complaint filed against them. Chaplains who preach through entire books of the Bible, the letter said, would "inevitably present religious teachings that identify homosexual behavior as immoral."

"Thus, while chaplains fulfill their duty to God to preach the doctrines of their faith, they would find themselves speaking words that are in unequivocal conflict with official policies," the letter said."

Also weighing in on this debate is someone who is an occaisional commenter here, Coco Rico, who posted his thoughts on the matter over at his blog....

"In the military, you have no privacy; you sleep with the door open, you share your personal space with tons of other people, and you are often naked around people of the same sex. Tensions can get very high. Within two weeks, for instance, there were two suicides in my brigade. And suicides in the Reserves this year actually outpace suicides in the regular Army. The statistics obscure, also, people who kill themselves shortly after getting out of the military, or people who might have allowed themselves to get in harm's way down range.

What, in this scenario, makes you think it is urgent to repeal DADT?

Well, as usual, we have the melodramatic examples. There's the Air Force colonel, the Arabic translator, Lt. Dan Choi, people with horror stories from the 1980s, or mid 1990s, or some other time that had nothing to do with today."

When exactly are policymaking social engineers going to realize that the military is quite unlike either IBM or Westinghouse? The fact that the role of the military is quite different than these organizations is lost upon them as they try to initiate a gigantic social experiment on a group that often faces live enemy fire, IED's, land mines, etc. and the upmost importance of cohesion and working together doesn't merely benefit some quarterly financial projections, it directly affects whether one comes home alive or not and in one piece.

I agree that this is a terrible time to be debating this issue. With sectarian violence flaring in Iraq and the Taliban trying to reassert authority and undermine the kleptocracy fledgling government in Afghanistan, why don't they just wait until tensions on the Korean peninsula escalate to a full-scale, shooting war and then introduce a bill to vote on it's repeal? It would only be consistent with their demonstrated order of priorities. This was, after all, a campaign promise and we can't just let that go by now, can we?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How the Left Legislates Morality

Christopher Taylor points out that while examples can be cited that Conservatives have legislated morality in the past, the Left cannot consider themselves immune from such behavior...

"One of the most repeated complaints against social conservatism is that you "cannot legislate morality." What is meant by this is that you cannot make people better through law, and people who try are not simply mistaken, but actually tyrannical by trying to force their ethical ideology down everyone else's throats. We're told this is what social conservatives want to do; ram Judeo-Christian ethics through the system and force everyone to live like a 1950's sitcom family. No drinking, no dancing, no fun.

The interesting thing, though, is that if you look at the actual record of what has been done in the past, it is actually the left which has tried to legislate morality, not the right. Consider.

In the 1970s, the left insisted that it was immoral to expect women to carry a child to birth when she didn't want to. So Roe v Wade forced legalized abortion on every state in the union. And that's just one example of what the left has done to enforce their moral vision on the rest of the nation.

Homosexual "marriage" is another such example, with left-leaning judges requiring that this be the law of various states over the will of the actual voters in most cases. In Oregon and California, leftist city and county official simply declared these unions legal without legal authority or popular support. Why? Because it was considered immoral to not allow homosexuals to marry by these people, so they used their positions of power to implement policy.

The examples go on. Leftist moral making has resulted in scores of laws and policies forced on the entire nation, such as low flow shower heads, the banning of incandescent bulbs, low capacity washing machines, nutritional information required at all restaurants (including the minimum size of the font!), bans on smoking in public places, and more.

These are all presented as moral imperatives, requirements we all must follow because it would be wrong not to do so. You're killing the planet, its a civil right, think of the children! All kids must wear bicycle helmets because its wrong to let children be hurt. All drives must wear seat belts because it is wrong for us to be hurt in accidents. All cars must have a certain mileage per gallon because it is wrong to use that much fuel."

Just remember the above cited examples by Taylor the next time that your favorite Leftist is carping about "legislating morality".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On Andrew Jackson and Sarah Palin

Columnist Jeffrey Lord has submitted a piece that examines the question, Is Sarah Palin Too Dumb to Be President?. Its a pertinent question being that the GOP saw huge gains in the recent congressional elections and that momentum may carry over for the 2012 presidential contest. Lord cites numerous examples from the history of the 20th century of where the liberal, media establishment predictably, time and again, tried to paint the Republican front-runner as, well, "dumb". Lord goes on to demonstrate that this has been a common tactic since the candidacies of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, George Romney, Ronald Reagan, Bush 41 and 43, Jack Kemp and others.

It's a thoroughly interesting article and the part I found most interesting was the comparison that Lord drew from an earlier era, that of the elections of 1824 and 1828 between presidential candidates Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams...

"In terms of the American presidency and those who wished to run for the job, the first American to seriously face this too-dumb-and unworthy attitude was the man now considered the co-founder of today's Democrats. That would be Andrew Jackson.

Facing John Quincy Adams for the presidency in 1824, the Jackson-Adams battle was infinitely more than a battle between two men of differing political views. Adams was American Establishment Royalty, a category already well come-to- life by the time this son of Founder and ex-president John Adams began his career. At an early age, freshly graduated from Harvard, Adams was set on a path well-salted by elitists of the day. He was elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature, served as a diplomat or Minister in the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain. He was elected to the U.S. Senate, served as a Professor of Rhetoric at Harvard, where he was known for speaking fluent Latin and reading the Bible in Greek. By the time he faced Jackson he was James Monroe's Secretary of State.

Jackson was everything Adams was not. A rough-and-tumble frontiersman, spottily educated but enough to become a country lawyer, he was the embodiment of what was then seen as the American Western frontier. His fame came from his role in the American military, a brutal Indian fighter who emerged as the hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. Briefly a U.S. Senator, Jackson was rough-hewn and plain-spoken, like Palin the very embodiment of everything the refined fledgling Eastern Establishment of the day simply could not abide.

After losing to Adams in a hotly controversial 1824 election settled in the House of Representatives (which Jacksonians dubbed "the corrupt bargain"), Jackson roared back in 1828 to serve two presidential terms as the bane of the American Establishment, launching among other things a successful war on the Bank of the United States, roughly speaking the Federal Reserve of its day. He was decidedly anything but too dumb to be president, and in fact well outranks Adams in those historian-generated "great presidents" ranking lists.

The point?

What began with the blistering fight between Jackson and Adams has in one fashion or another rooted itself in today's world as an ongoing battle between the American Liberal Establishment, its media acolytes (what Palin refers to as the "lamestream media") and American conservatives.

If Andrew Jackson was pilloried in the day as little short of a hot-tempered barbarian from the frontier who was not good enough or smart enough to wipe the soles of John Quincy Adams' fancy Boston boots, since at least 1952 the image of the dumb-conservative or dumb Republican has become the modern telling of this tale."

Lord goes on to ask, quote, "Based on all this history, just who is it among the prospective 2012 candidates that they think will escape the "too dumb to be president" treatment Palin will undergo were she to run? George Romney's son Mitt, like his father a successful businessman turned governor? Mike Huckabee? Or a Pawlenty, Daniels, Barbour, Rubio, Perry, Jindal etc., etc., etc.?"
Let us gauge the accuracy of Lord's interpretation of history by keeping our eyes and ears open to any characterizations of dumbness on the part of the Republican front-runner that will emerge and see if the Democrat candidate has no such characterization attached to them.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Social Autism of Atheists Growing in Intensity as Holidays Approach

It's been reported that the above billboard now appears in New Jersey just in time for the Christmas shopping rush.

"A group called the American Atheists has paid for a huge billboard on Route 495 outside the Lincoln Tunnel in North Bergen, N.J., that is raising some eyebrows.

The billboard shows a silhouette of the Three Wise Men approaching the Nativity, with the words: “You KNOW it’s a Myth / This Season, Celebrate REASON!”

The group says the billboard is not designed to convert Christians to atheism. Rather, Dave Silverman, a spokesman for the American Atheists, says the sign is designed to encourage existing atheists who are going through the motions of celebrating Christmas to stop."

One wonders if the group intentionally wanted to appear snarky and catty during The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. If they were, they are doing a magnoificent job at it.

People might wonder how members of this group can rationalize having such a billboard at Christmas time when a poll released yesterday by Rasmussen conveys the following...

"As Americans crowd stores nationwide, most still prefer being greeted by signs that say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays.”

According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, just one-out-of-four Adults (24%) like “Happy Holidays” instead. Sixty-nine percent (69%) prefer that stores use signs that say “Merry Christmas.”

These figures are consistent with surveys during the holiday season for the past few years."

If I were to wager a guess, I would speculate that people find the term "Merry Christmas" preferable to the more generic "Happy Holidays" greeting because Christianity offers hope to people during the time of the year in which the announcement "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" is celebrated and Happy Holidays offers little in the way of this type of hope.

Atheism does not offer hope. Perhaps that is why this particular group appear so sour at this time of year.

Perhaps some atheists might like to comment on this. I am of the opinion that such a group would be much better off scheduling debates with Christian historians concerning the actual birth of Jesus of Nazereth and then taking it from there, than starting off with the statement, "You KNOW it's a Myth." Your thoughts, please.

UPDATE: Catholic League counters atheist billboard

"Take that, atheists.

New York Catholics, furious about an atheist-sponsored billboard calling Christmas "a myth," lashed out with a counter-attack today — a billboard of their own that defends the celebration of the birth of Christ.

The billboard erected by the Catholic League went up near the New York side of the Lincoln Tunnel, at Dyer Avenue and 31st Street, in a bid to offset the anti-Christmas billboard at the tunnel’s New Jersey entrance.

"We decided to counterpunch after a donor came forward seeking to challenge the anti-Christmas statement by American Atheists," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League." Link

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ireland Should Default

Columnist Vox Day has provided a very precise assessment of the economic crisis in Ireland and the bailout option offered by the European Union...

"According to figures published by the Bank of International Settlements, the Irish government now owes $146 billion to German banks, $134 billion to British banks and $54 billion to French banks that have invested in Irish banks and Irish bonds. This means that if the Irish government refuses to default on the debts incurred by its failed banks, it will put every single man, woman and child in Ireland on the hook for $76,781.61 for the benefit of the European bankers to whom the Irish bankers owed that money.

Fear that the Irish will follow the example of the Icelandic people and refuse to pay loans they never took out are why the International Monetary Fund and the European Union are so insistent upon the Irish government accepting what is described as "a bailout package" but is actually a loan of around $112 billion with many insidious strings attached. This loan will take the European banks and the Irish banks safely out of the picture, while the people of Ireland will be forced to pay the Irish bankers' debts to the people of the various European countries who have been forced to take the risk that previously belonged to the German, British and French bankers who originally made the loans.

It isn't necessary for the Irish people to be impoverished for multiple generations in this way. After the failure of the biggest bank in Iceland, Dutch and British banks tried to force the Icelandic people to pay them $16,400 apiece to settle bad debts incurred by the owners of Landsbanki. Fortunately for Iceland, some of the politicians in Reykjavik were made of less corrupt stuff than Brian Cowen and his Fianna Fáil government and they took the matter to a referendum in which only 1.5 percent of the electorate voted for the "bailout." And contrary to the dire predictions of the furious banking elite, the island nation did not sink into the Atlantic as a result."

Agreed. Indeed a majority of the Irish people would rather default, but I don't think their leadership is listening. As we see the Fianna Fáil government becoming synonymous with "Epic Fail" one harkens to the cry of Scottish independence fighter, William Wallace.... Freedom!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The War That Never Ended

Columnist Austin Bay writes in today's Washington Examiner concerning the increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula. After laying down what an abysmal failure appeasement has been over the years when negotiating with the Stalinist regime of the north, Bay then proposes an interesting solution to how to deal with North Korea...

"A terrible day of decision is approaching -- the day North Korea deploys its nuclear warheads. The dangerous game then becomes more dangerous, and South Korea may no longer enjoy the luxury of avoiding war. Until that day arrives, North Korea's continued belligerence demonstrates that the allies' economic incentives are little more than acts of cyclical ineptitude. Rewards for murderous behavior must end. Let wealthy China pay all of North Korea's bills. Who knows, investment-savvy Beijing may finally tell Kim to quit wasting money on nukes."

I think Bay is correct when he asserts that appeasement just doesn't work insofar as tin-pot dictators are concerned and his approach to "let wealthy China pay all of N. Korea's bills" just might be workable. However the only problem I could see in all of this are he poor, North Korean peasents that would lose out on the deal. I really don't think that the Chinese regime is sympathetic to their plight to the point of providing food shipments to them. It's been said that N. Koreans are on average 3 inches shorter than their counterparts in the south due to the lack of nutrition. China wasn't much of a help when that generation was growing up and I don't see them having the good grace to start embracing charitable giving and philanthropy now either.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Dr. Peter Lillback of The Providence Forum sent this out to those on the group's mailing list. If you are interested in history and are selctive about it, then consider joining their mailing list to receive informative emails on the topic of early American history.

"WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine."

Ralf Augstroze of the Providence Forum posted this more in-depth article on the topic and you make click here to read it in it's entirety.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Response From Jill D.

"He (JD Curtis) seems to think bigotry is using racist names or categorizing any entire group (Entire group minus one person is enough of a loophole for him) .
He's not racist because he married a black woman and has links to black commenters on his sidebar is JD's frequent defense."

Jill D., Nov. 14th

I stand by each sentence of it.

Jill D., Nov. 25th

Outstanding Jill, welcome to the party. Better late than never. It's nice that you "stand by" your statements, now please defend them. In case it somehow escaped your notice, I posted my rebuttal to your remarks immediately below yours, yet curiously, you don't address a single point that I raised. I guess if I were a maleducated intellectually vapid fool, I wouldnt try to defend such slop either. In case you have forgotten, I will repost that which I wrote...

#1. Did I ever say that an "entire group minus one person is enough of a loophole for me" or even remotely try and argue as such? If the answer is absolutely never, then why is this not an complete and outright lie? I'm sure that you meant to answer this earlier, so please post your response here. As it stands now, you are accused of lying.

#2. I will go on record and state that it is an absolute, 1000% fact that my wife is black. The above writer (Jill D.) mentions this but then fails to square this with the alleged, yet factually bankrupt notion that I am in any way, a bigot, (or a racist). Please explain why this is so.

#3. "..links to black commenters on his sidebar is JD's frequent defense". As if I use this as mere cover for my latent racism. Jill D. fails to take into consideration that the sidebar of columnists on my blog serves as a resource for me. In a blog that is about a year and a half old I have cited columns and created threads for writers like Larry Elder, Walter E. Williams, Ellis Washington (at least 3X), Mychal Massie (at least 5X),Deroy Murdock (at least 5X), and from Thomas Sowell a minimum of SEVENTEEN TIMES. Can you cite any other blog on the internet that you frequent that cites more black columnists then this one? If not, then perhaps you can provide a link to the blog that you comment on in which black columnists are featured at all. If you comment on no such blog at all, then why are you so closed minded to exploring the writings of black columnists? Youre not a racist, are you?

Please answer the above in order that we can get to the bottom of this. Happy Thanksgiving BTW.

On Race and American Exceptionalism

Mark Tooley reports on a recent survey conducted to assess American's religious attitudes toward the concept of American Exeptionalism which broke down the results into categories which including race of the respondents...

"The left-of-center Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Brookings Institution have released a post-election survey showing nearly 60 percent of Americans believe God has assigned America a "special role" in human history. Over 80 percent of white evangelicals believe in this special role for America, as do two thirds of minority Christians. Majorities of white Mainline Protestants and Catholics also agree. Two thirds of the religiously unaffiliated disbelieve in any special role for America.

Probably the surveyors were discomfited by the results, especially that the devotees of American exceptionalism were not confined to white evangelicals but were nearly as numerous among minority Christians, which presumably mostly means blacks and Hispanics. American exceptionalism essentially originated with the ancestors of Mainline Protestantism, who were America's earliest European settlers and America's primary religious pillars for most of our history. A half century of leftward drift by Mainline church elites unsurprisingly has dampened their confidence in exceptionalism, but most still adhere. Likewise for most Catholics. The survey frustratingly does not provide a detailed break-down, but almost certainly most religiously active Mainline Protestants and Catholics are more prone to American exceptionalism than the nominally affiliated.

Much and perhaps most of American exceptionalism originated with the Calvinist English religious dissenters who settled New England, the first wave of whom landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. With Thanksgiving, America celebrates those dissenters' founding holiday. Later waves of Puritan immigrants conceived of their American adventure as an "errand in the wilderness." And some metaphorically likened their new civilization to the Chosen People of the Old Testament, with special blessings but also special obligations, always under both God's gracious care and sometimes severe judgment. Subsequent immigrants were not always as religiously devout. But the Puritan conception of America on a special mission from God that would benefit not just Americans but all peoples was reinforced by the heroic and spiritually animated struggle for American independence. Later immigrants, though far removed from the British Protestant tradition, still often comfortably embraced the notion of America as a sort of Promised Land, especially when compared to the travails of the old country. The Calvinist conception of American exceptionalism expanded to include other Protestants, Catholics and Jews."

Oh boo-hoo. The idea that all cultures and regions of the world don't carry the same weight when it comes to a broad spectrum of metrics of comparison and are decidedly NOT all of equal value still hasn't percolated through the tough veneer of the religiously affiliated. I was quite pleased to see that this idea isn't anywhere near dead but indeed prevelant in minority churches.

It's curious that the rumblings of artillery of the world's most recent crisis are currently aimed at the largest percentage of Christians in East Asia (S. Korea). May we take a moment to remember them this Thanksgiving as we sit in relative comfort and security here in the West. Me? I gotta work tomorrow, but I just started marinating a seven pound butt roast to pop into the slow-cooker tonight to have ready for Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Thankful, Conservative Mindset

Not to make this place "Dennis Prager Central" or anything, but when someone knocks several articles out of the park in succession, then my hat's off to them. Today's article by Prager explains why it's more than just a generalization to think of Leftists as whiney, complaining types who do little to improve things...

"According to polls -- Pew Research Center, the National Science Foundation -- and studies such as Professor Arthur Brooks' Gross National Happiness, conservative Americans are happier than liberal Americans.

Liberals respond this way: "If we're unhappier, it's because we are more upset than conservatives over the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves."

But common sense and data suggest other explanations.

For one thing, conservatives on the same socioeconomic level as liberals give more charity and volunteer more time than do liberals. And as regards the suffering of non-Americans, for at least a half-century, conservatives have been far more willing to sacrifice American treasure and American blood (often their own) for other nations' liberty.

Both of these facts refute the liberals-are-more-concerned-about-others explanation for liberal unhappiness."

This is nothing new and the same can apply to the atheistic mindset. Indeed, as far back as 1855, for all of their complaints about Christianity, according to an article in The New York Observer, "Infidelity makes a great outcry about it's philanthropy, but religion does the work". It is as true today as it was back then.

Prager goes on to note some other differences in the opposing views that can affect one's happiness...

"Utopians will always be less happy than those who know that suffering is inherent to human existence. The utopian compares America to utopia and finds it terribly wanting. The conservative compares America to the every other civilization that has ever existed and walks around wondering how he got so lucky to be born or naturalized an American.

..imagine two Americans living in essentially identical socioeconomic conditions. Both earn $45,000 a year, both have the same amount of debt on their homes and both have the same number of dependents. One seeks governmental assistance wherever possible; the other eschews any governmental help. Which one is likely to be the liberal and which one is likely to be the happier individual?

This is not a question only an oracle can answer. The one who yearns for governmental help is the one who is likely to be both liberal and less happy. Conservatism, which demands self-reliance, makes one happier. The more one feels that he is captain of his or her ship (as poor as that ship may be), the happier he or she will be."

All of this paints a picture of insecure, inward-directed people who feel that Big Government should be taking care of them. I personally despise governmental tyranny and want to deal with it/rely on it as little as possible. Perhaps if the current (US) congress does what it was elected to do, there will be less intrusion into people's lives and self-reliance might be seen as the virtue that it can be and not some odd sort of anamoly that it is more commonly being viewed as these days.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Questions posed by an atheist..

Jay D. Homnick writes about a recent phone conversation he had with a young man who states that he is an atheist but still has some doubts concerning the validity of his position. It's an interesting article and I highly encourage you to check it out on your own time. In the meantime, I will highlight a few of the points raised in order to pique your interest in it. For instance, right off the bat, the young man states...

"I was brought up Jewish but I rejected that and became an atheist," he begins. "This friend of mine is very positive about her religion and now I am beginning to wonder who is right."

"Well, were your parents knowledgeable about religion?" I (Homnick) asked.

"No, not at all."

"Did you attend religious school?"


"So you never really rebelled against Judaism. You rebelled against your parents' attempt to saddle you with a religion without an explanation."

"I guess you're right."

"What it amounts to is that you need to get enough information about the claims of the religion so you can make an informed judgment. The problem is that it's hard for you to find the time to essentially go back to college and study a new discipline."

Religiosity is in decline in the West and as the old adage goes, 'If you don't believe in something, you're liable to fall for anything', in this case, the lie of atheism. Dr. Norman Wise once said, "It doesn't matter to the devil what lie you believe in. You can believe in Hinduism with it's plethora of gods, or you can believe in atheism with it's idea that there is no God. Both are a lie. The only thing that he doesn't want you to explore and more fully understand is the Christian gospel". I wholeheartedly agree that there are many Christian theists out there who have no idea how to defend their beliefs when asked hard questions about it. Of course, that in and of itself does not make their belief in the Christian God invalid, it just means that there are very many out there that seldom engage those who have points of view that are in opposition to theirs. Unfortunately for the state of discourse, certain (yet not all of course) atheists seize upon the lack of a profoud answer and this in some way reinforces their worldview. The young man goes on to ask Homnick, "How can you prove to me that God exists in the first place?", to which Homnick replies...

"In a way the Bible itself proves God. Once you accept the Jews could not have made up the story of what happened at Sinai, then you have to believe it was true revelation. Either that or a genius theatrical production which not only fooled a few million very sharp cookies in the audience, it also left behind a book of such superior literary quality that it still moves people to live nobly thousands of years later."

As a literary work alone, the Bible is unlike anything else we know of. It is almost beyind comprehension how 66 books written over the millenia in three different languages could be so harmonious.

I think the key thing here is that Homnick stated that the guy approached him with "an open mind". Is your mind at least open to the possibility that God exists? I believe that stating with certainty that God does not exist is folly and I don't see how one could ever prove this universal negative. Vox Day has said that he always found agnosticism to be a much more reasonable position than atheism and for the afore mentioned reason, I agree.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the article or any legitimate questions one might have concerning today's topic here on this thread. I'll check back in later.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dembski-Hitchens Debate

Just a quick heads up to the atheist/Christian debaters out there. Last Thursday's debate between arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens (above) and William Dembski should be viewable online by Monday, November 22nd. Here is the link to the debate which was entitled Does a Good God Exist?. Did anyone have a chance to see the debate? I haven't heard anything about it yet. Anyone wishing to opine concerning their impressions toward it are welcome to leave their thoughts here.

Better Late Than Never

The American Spectator arrives at the same conclusion that I did in 2008.

"A Gallup poll released this week showed a wide-open Republican field. Romney led the pack at 19 percent, with Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee at 16 percent, Newt Gingrich at 13 percent, and all other candidates in the single digits.

While Palin remains the biggest GOP star and has a passionate following, when you get beyond her core supporters, voters are deeply skeptical of her ability to be president. An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken last month found that even conservatives are divided -- with just 45 percent saying she's qualified to be the nation's top executive and 48 percent saying she isn't. Tea Party supporters are split 48 percent to 48 percent on the question. Meanwhile, among the public at large, just 27 percent view her as qualified compared with 67 percent who say she isn't. Were Palin to run, she'd have to prove that she could build a functioning national political operation and translate her celebrity into actual votes beyond her fan base.

When Huckabee ran the last time around, he built a strong campaign on a shoestring budget with little name recognition, but he had trouble competing in states that did not have a critical mass of evangelical voters. And national security and economic conservatives distrusted him. Were he to make a second bid for president, in addition to these obstacles, Huckabee's penchant for pardoning criminals as governor of Arkansas would come under added scrutiny given that he commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who in 2009 was suspected of killing four cops in Washington state.

Gingrich, who in the past has exploited speculation about his presidential ambitions to promote himself and his books, may actually decide to run this time. But while he's respected in some quarters for being a one man idea factory, he's rankled many grassroots conservatives for such decisions as recording a television ad with Nancy Pelosi demanding action on climate change and endorsing liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava over conservative Doug Hoffman in a well-publicized special election, allying himself with the GOP establishment. Should he run for president, he'll also carry a ton of personal baggage that he'll be seriously questioned about for the first time since the late 1990s.

The list goes on and on. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will enter the race with lower name recognition than his rivals and a sense that he's too boring to be president. His rightward shift over the past few years will also open him up to charges of being a flip flopper. Over the past several months, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has managed to anger key constituencies of the conservative movement by calling for a "truce" on social issues, saying that defense cuts had to be on the table, and flirting with a value added tax. At a time of unprecedented anti-Washington sentiment, it's hard to see Republicans rally around a lobbyist in Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour."

Back in 2008, I forced myself to become quite pragmatic over what was then the current crop of presidential nominees and I concluded that on net balance, Romney was probably the best candidate out of all of them. Of both parties. Although far from being anywhere near the perfect candidate, at least Romney had accomplished something in life and helped turn around failing, money-losing businesses for a living before being elected governor of Massachusetts. Guiliani? Too much personal baggage and his type of so-called conservatism doesn't play well west of the Hudson River. Fred Thompson? Good, but uninspiring. One commntator noted that it seemed he was walking for the nomination rather than running for it. Mike Huckabee? Too many pardons of hardened criminals while governor of Arkansas. McCain? Wrong on immigration, cap and trade and a whole host of other issues as well. We all see what a disaster his campaign turned out to be.

Yet Romney, despite some baggage of his own, seemed to be the best out of the entire lot. Although he had some dalliances with policies that skewed to the left, I do not question his patriotism or that he would throw the US under the bus. I cannot say the same for our Kenyan-American president.

Who do you think is presidential material for 2012? Post your thoughts here.

P.S. I just realized something. If I were to follow the patented Whateverman System of Logical Argumentation, I would have to conclude that the reason that Romney didn't get the nomination in '08 was due to bigotry because of his non-traditonal religion (Mormonism) and it couldn't possibly have anything to do with policy differences. B-b-b-b-bigots!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Left and les faits de la vie

Dennis Prager's recent column examines the inherent problem that the left has in effectively presenting it's idealized worldview and trying to conform it to fit reality. Les faits de la vie, or "the facts of life" seem to be unimportant when presenting a worldview that is not grounded in anything resembling the state of affairs as they actually exist.

"In my original article, I offered one explanation: Since the Enlightenment, the secular world has had to believe in man (or "humanity") because if you don't believe in God and you don't believe in humanity, you will despair.

But one critic opened my eyes to an even deeper reason most liberals do not acknowledge that people are not basically good.

This is what he wrote:

"What a sad world it would be if we all believed as Dennis Prager that mankind is inherently evil."

And this is what I responded:

"I did not write that man is inherently evil. I wrote that he is not basically good. And, yes, that does make the world sad. So do disease, earthquakes, death and all the unjust suffering in the world. But sad facts remain facts."

...the left lives by theories and dogmas into which the facts of life must fit. That is why left-wing ideas are usually wishful thinking...

Here are four descriptive statements rejected by the left for these two mutually reinforcing reasons.

1. People are not basically good.

Leftists tend to reject this because a) It is too painful to accept, and b) it undermines the leftist dogma that people do bad because of outside forces -- poverty, capitalism, racism, etc.

2. Men and women are inherently different.

Leftists have rejected this idea because some of the differences are too emotionally upsetting to accept. Men are variety-driven by nature? Too upsetting. Women may have less yearning for, and ability in, math and engineering? Only a sexist like former Harvard president Lawrence Summers would say such a thing. Moreover, the belief that men and women are inherently different violates the left's foundational principle of equality. Many liberals admit that they reject talk of male-female differences because it can easily lead to gender inequality.

3. Black males disproportionately commit violent crime in America.

Leftist reactions to this truly painful fact are to label one who notes it a racist and to decry American society as racist because there are more black males in prison than in college.

4. The United Nations is a moral wasteland.

Since before the U.N.'s founding in 1945, liberals placed much of their hope for a peaceful world in the United Nations. That the U.N. has turned out to be an abettor more than a preventer of violence is a fact that the left finds too painful to acknowledge. And it violates the left-wing belief that nationalism is evil and internationalism is the solution.

It is generally believed that as people grow older, they reject much of the liberalism they believed in when they were young. This is true, and one reason is relevant here: As we get older, we tend to make peace with painful faits de la vie."

I tend to agree with all of Prager's points except for perhaps one. Gregory Kane points out in today's column that "There are more black men in prison and jail than in college, some black talking heads like to point out. The claim is false: For the 18-to-24 age group, the ages when black men should be in college, the numbers of black males in institutions of higher learning outnumber those in prison by 4 to 1." However this is a talking point that is widely accepted after being repeated ad naseum and it tends to be believed by a lot of people.

Star Parker reports on something I touched upon the other day which involves some painful facts as well...

"Almost two years ago, a new Democrat administration and congress took control of Washington.
They immediately sent out invitations to the American people.

“You are cordially invited onto the government plantation. P.S. We’re in charge but you pick up the tab. RSVP by November 2, 2010.”

The RSVP’s have poured in and the majority of Americans have replied “Sorry, we’ve got other plans.”

But it was mostly white voters who turned down this invitation.

Why are blacks, who know life on the government plantation better than whites, and who are proportionately being hit much harder in this difficult economy, still buying what working class whites have rejected hands down? That, as Karl Rove put it, “…we can spend our way to prosperity?”

The problem is broader and deeper. Blacks still by and large see government dependence as the remedy rather than the disease, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They still choose to listen to left wing black political leadership and media who have careers in keeping it all going."

Of course when I criticize left wing black political leadership for keeping it all going, it's suggested in ominous tones that I just might be "a racist prick" or a "bigot". Is Star Parker a racist for holding such views? Of course not, to argue as so would be an exercise in abject stupidity. The important thing in the mindset of the left is to appeal to emotion, make the accusation of intolerance and move the discussion away from the issues at hand and try to paint those with opposing viewpoints as racists because they cannot win in the court of ideas with arguments on their own merits.

EDIT: It turns out that a certain internet cesspool has taken up the topic of whether or not I am bigot. Wow! My own thread. I HAVE arrived people! The comment that made me literally laugh out loud the hardest was this one...

"He (JD Curtis) seems to think bigotry is using racist names or categorizing any entire group (Entire group minus one person is enough of a loophole for him) .
He's not racist because he married a black woman and has links to black commenters on his sidebar is JD's frequent defense."

I would like to see this person come over here and argue such nonsense.

#1. Where did I ever say that an "entire group minus one person is enough of a loophole" for me or even remotely try and argue as such? If the answer is absolutely never, then why is this not an complete and outright lie?

#2. "He's not racist because he married a black woman". I will go on record and state that it is an absolute, 1000% fact that my wife is black. The above writer mentions this but then fails to square this with the alleged, yet factually bankrupt notion that I am in any way, a bigot.

#3. "..links to black commenters on his sidebar is JD's frequent defense". As if I use this as mere cover for my latent racism. Ha ha ha ha! The above writer fails to take into consideration that the sidebar of columnists on my blog serves as a resource for me. In a blog that is about a year and a half old I have cited columns and created threads for writers like Larry Elder, Walter E. Williams, Ellis Washington (at least 3X), Mychal Massie (at least 5X),Deroy Murdock (at least 5X), and from Thomas Sowell a minimum of SEVENTEEN TIMES. Can the above writer cite any other blog on the internet that they frequent that cites more black columnists then this one?

B-b-b-b-but don't let that fool you folks! It's all just an intricate scam that he devotes alot of time and effort to just to throw you off! Bigot! Bigot! Bigot! Racist! Racist! Racist! or something like that.