Thursday, November 11, 2004

Swiped from Instapundit. Interestingly enough business faculty seem to be less fiscally liberal.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Baptists and Thorny Issues Part 2

I'm very impressed that Baptists took a stand and pointed out that God is not Allah and that Mohammad was a pedophile (among other things). Let's deal with the truth. The one thing I don't like is that no scriptures are quoted in the story. The public needs to know why Christians believe as they do. Simply put Islam attempts to stand on Christianity, which Biblically cannot happen. The Bible cannot be true if Islam is as well. Islam is false if Christianity is true and if Christianity is false then Islam has built on a false doctrine in which case it is also false.

God loves everyone, and Christians must as well, but part of the way we must show that love is to call non-Christians to live for Him. Here are a few passages I would like to have seen in mentioned in the article when the conventioneers interviewed supported their side.

Jesus' claim in John 14:6 to be "...the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me", would have been a good start. I Timothy 2:5 would have been another of many good passages. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." And there's always the all-time favorite to trip up Mormons and Muslims, Galatians 1:8. "But even if we or an angel from Heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned."
Baptists and Thorny Issues Part 1

Sounds like the quotes from the Baptists were pretty good, but this would have been a prime opportunity for 200 delegates to leave their seats and go talk with a protestor like Jesus would have. I'm don't know if that happened or not, but it sounds like it didn't. This isn't to say all Christians who have a different sign on their door would have handled this perfectly, but hopefully everyone can learn from it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Three-minute book review: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Genre: Classics Recommended: Yes

Synopsis: A naive country gentleman's daughter samples the uppity social climes of Bath.

Who am I to doubt a Jane Austen, book, but it's apparent to me that the authoress got much better with age. Northanger Abbey was the first novel Austen wrote (but not the first published). She was just a teenager when she penned this one, and her characters and narrative are a pale reflection of the icons that would populate Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, etc.

The story takes place mostly in Bath, which is a frequent destination in Austen stories. It was almost like I had been transported to Austen's world, but I happened to be stuck with a particularly dull set of acquaintances. I was tempted to peer across the concert hall into another box and see if something more interesting was happening there.

Still, trademark Austen wit is evident throughout as she wryly exposes the excesses of her own social sphere. I particularly enjoy her matter-of-fact explanations of plot recited directly to the audience. With a wink and a nod, these occasional sections relay the facts of story to the readers with an appeal that they use their own best judgement for how the particulars would occur. Sounds like a silly gimmick, but she pulls it off.

Why should I read it? If you'd like a more complete picture of Austen's writing career, this one can provide some background. Not her best, but still Austen.
Three-minute book review: It Ain't Necessarily So by David Murray, et al.

Genre: Current Events Recommended: Yes

Synopsis: An examination of the way media reports the results of scientific surveys and research. The subtitle is "How media make and unmake the scientific picture of reality."

I was expecting great things from this book, but I generally found it too politically skewed to be a reliable guide. The authors argue persuasively that the news media have ultimate control over the public's understanding of scientific "truth". Many times this leads to an inaccurate portrayal of the significance or accuracy of research. But the book's exclusive use of pro-Republican examples tainted the otherwise effective arguments.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't another book about liberal bias. Its main points are that reporters often over-simplify the results of a study to make them seem more definitive than they are. Or they practice "press release journalism", which means they just regurgitate whatever the source tells them, without providing context or opposing views.

The overall goal of the book is that citizens would use critical thinking when reading media accounts along the lines of "scientists have proved that..." I would just add the reminder that you should employ these skills when receiving information from conservative sources, too.

Why should I read it? If you'd like to become a smarter news consumer, there's some useful stuff here. But be ready to wade through a serious conservative bias.

Friday, May 24, 2002

SIFY News - comparing India's and Pakistan's military strength

It looks like war will be averted for now, but here is an interesting comparison of the militaries of these south Asian unfriendly neighbors.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

AlterNet -- Israeli Repression and the Language of Liars

Interesting article. This is sort of how I felt when I heard some commentators trying to frame the argument as "democracy vs. totalitarianism". No realist would consider Israel a democracy in any important way.

They've got their reasons for what they are, but that doesn't mean that they are devoted to freedom.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

AlterNet -- With Liberty and Justice for All

This would be an interesting article about the history of the Pledge of Allegiance, if the author wasn't so clearly opposed to the pledge itself. He sneers at the idea of a pledge serving a positive purpose in uniting citizens, instead claiming that any show of patriotism is actually contrary to the pursuit of liberty.

This quote (about the Supreme Court overturning the mandatory pledge in schools) sums up his feelings towards the pledge itself:

"Why? Perhaps the Court realized that at the height of a war against totalitarian regimes, a central feature of which was a slavish devotion to national symbols, compelling devotion to our flag was inappropriate. It contradicted the very spirit of the pledge, 'With liberty and justice for all.'"

Can someone explain to me why liberals are so opposed to outward shows of patriotism? My friends from the liberal slant cringe when they hear a patriotic song, or flag-waving of any kind. They consider all that stuff "fake patriotism". It seems like their motto is "if you can see or hear it, it's not patriotism."

It just seems like more America-hating, and I just don't get it.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

AlterNet -- Roe v. Wade v. Ashcroft

This LA Weekly article says: "It's hard to imagine a politician with a more steadfastly anti-abortion record than John Ashcroft."

For all my other problems with John Ashcroft, that sounds like a vote of confidence to me. Of course, the author meant it as a slur.

In fact, his opposition to abortion makes him the equivalent of the Taliban, in the opinion of the LA Weekly.

Fun with Pandora's Box : California and Slave Reparations

Gov. Gray Davis is apparently seeking to further distinguish himself as, well, who knows? It's certainly not as one of the young century's great intellects. Not only is Davis pondering slave reparations, a lousy and unconstitutional idea in and of itself for reasons which will be discussed in a moment, but he is considering not giving money to descendants of slaves, but to minority political groups such as Jessie Jackson's Rainbow Coalition. Pray tell how was the Rainbow Coalition adversely affected by slavery?

However, before that question is asked one must first address the validity of slave reparations in the first place. No slaves or slave owners are alive today so which individuals would pay which individuals? Certainly companies and individuals proffited from slavery but it is probably not a stretch to say that any financially solid family or corporation that proffited from that evil institution has had to wisely manage money for the past 137 years to be where they are today.

And why only punish those who have turned a profit over those 137 years. Are not the families and companies who lost their fortunes over that time equally to blame. But the stickiest situations have yet to be discussed. A lot of people have procreated during the last 137 years irrespective of race and status. Shoud I receive reparations if I 1/4 of my ancestors were persecuted by 1/16 of my ancestors and 1/32 of my ancestors weren't even in the U.S. until 1903? And what if an individual is 1/2 the offspring of freemen before 1800 and 1/2 of slaves until 1865? Should she receive only half the reparation she would normally receive because part of her ancestors were freed well before the Civil War?

Clearly there are many other scenarios, none of them good. The fact of the matter is that unless people are able to move on from the mistakes of generations past they are condemned to live as the Israelis and Palestenians. Each side always seeking to redress grievances from times past and thus making the present unlivable.