Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reformation Day

1516 Martin Luther preached against the abuse of indulgences one year prior to his nailing of the 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg.

1517 Luther posted 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, calling on all and sundry to debate the question of indulgences by word of mouth or by pen. As a result Thomas Cardinal Cajetan (1469-1534) at Rome wrote "On Indulgences" against Luther. Johann Tetzel got Professor Konrad Wimpina (ca. 1460-1531) of the new University of Frankfort to write two sets of theses against Luther. Johannes Mair von Eck (1486-1543) of Ingolstadt denounced his friend Luther as a "Bohemian," equating him to Jan Hus (ca. 1369-1415).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Strange Train Ride

I am on the BART train trying to get home, what a strange ride this has been! First we were trapped in the Embarcadero Station for 45 minutes waiting for a train because some inconsiderate jerk committed suicide by jumping in front of a train at Powell Street. This caused them to shut down the station while the coroner did his business and caused tens of thousands of people to be significantly delayed on their trip home.

Finally we got a train and only a few minutes later there was a 5.6 earthquake that caused BART to halt all trains while they checked for damage.

I like boring uneventful rides, interesting rides are not good. Ah well, I think I might finally make it home, we are just outside of Dublin now... if I survive my bike ride home from the station I'm having a whiskey and going to bed :-)

Other gripes for the day: I got a note from the incompetent louts at the Voter's Registrar saying I had not registered a PARTY! What crap! I deliberately re-registered as a Republican, even though that act made me a bit nauseous, just so I could vote for Ron Paul. Now it looks like I will not be allowed to vote for him. If not I will not vote at all. I have long thought it likely the whole thing is rigged anyway... I will still see if I can get it changed but it doesn't look good right now. I'm not having a very good night :-/

Don't make me rich and don't make me poor...

Proverbs 30:7-9
7
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9lest I be full and deny you
and say, "Who is the LORD?"
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I am David


The other day we watched the movie "I am David" on DVD. I don't often write movie reviews but this movie was so good I feel like I need to say something here. I initially rented it because it had James Caviezel in it, the actor who played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ". I was wondering what else he had worked on and this was one that came up. The reviews were all good so I ordered it from Netflix.

The story is about a boy trapped in a communist labor camp in Bulgaria in the early 1950's and his escape and journeys as a refugee. The story is simple but incredibly moving. The actor who plays David, Ben Tibber, is exceptional, his eyes and face are so expressive, and much of the story is told just by looking at his face, his reactions to what is going on around him are as real as any I've ever seen.

James Caviezel's character is actually rather Christ like, at least in that he gives up his life for another, saving David by taking his place.

This is one of those very rare movies that I will probably end up buying a copy of. It is also one of those very rare movies I'm going to recommend that everyone I know watch.

You can read other takes here on IMDB.

The movie is based on a novel by Anne Holm as described on Amazon: David's entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. With his vengeful enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann and Paul Gerhardt, Hymn Writers

Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608) was a pastor in Germany during the Great Plague, which took the lives of 1,300 of his parishioners during a sixth-month period. In addition to his heroic pastoral ministry during that time of stress and sorrow, he wrote the texts for "Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying" and "O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright," known, respectively, as the king and queen of the Lutheran chorales. Johann Heermann (1585-1647), also a German pastor, suffered from poor health as well as from the ravages of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). His hymn texts are noted for their tenderness and depth of feeling. Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) was another Lutheran pastor who endured the horrors of the Thirty Years' War. By 1668 he lost his pastoral position in Berlin (for refusing to compromise his Lutheran convictions) and endured the death of four of his five children and his wife. He nevertheless managed to write 133 hymns, all of which reflect his firm faith. Along with Martin Luther he is regarded as one of Lutheranism's finest hymn writers. [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dorcas, Lydia and Phoebe, Faithful Women

These women were exemplary Christians who demonstrated their faith by their material support of the Church. Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) was well-known and much loved for her acts of charity in the city of Joppa, especially for her making clothes for the poor. When Dorcas died suddenly, the members of her congregation sent to the neighboring city of Lydda for the Apostle Peter, who came and raised her from the dead (Acts 9:36-41). Lydia was a woman of Thyatira, who worked at Philippi selling a famous purple dye that was so much in demand in the ancient world. She was also a "worshiper of God" at the local synagogue. When the Apostle Paul encountered her in prayer among other proselyte women, his preaching of the Word brought Lydia to faith in Christ. She and her friends thus became the nucleus of the Christian community in Philippi (16:13-15, 40). Phoebe was another faithful woman associated with the Apostle Paul. She was a deaconess from Cenchreae (the port of Corinth) whom Paul sent to the church in Rome with his Epistle to the Romans. In it he writes of her support for the work of the early Church (Rom 16:1). [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We know how to suffer properly here on the left coast...

(10-23) 06:26 PDT SAN DIEGO (AP) --

Like Hurricane Katrina evacuees two years earlier in New Orleans, thousands of people rousted by natural disaster fled to the NFL stadium here, waiting out the calamity and worrying about their homes.

The similarities ended there, as an almost festive atmosphere reigned at Qualcomm Stadium.

Bands belted out rock 'n' roll, lavish buffets served gourmet entrees, and massage therapists helped relieve the stress for those forced to flee their homes because of wildfires.

"The people are happy. They have everything here," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared Monday night after his second Qualcomm tour.

Although anxieties ran high, the misery index seemed low as the celebrity governor waded through the mob. Scarcely a complaint was registered with him.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/10/23/national/a024152D24.DTL&tsp=1

Give me my bicycle any day.

Yesterday I drove my car to the BART station. I thought I would save some time because I was dropping off Serenity at day care and then going directly to the BART station.

Boy was I wrong!

In the first place, I'm leaving late because I’m working 9-5 all this week. There was a lot of traffic on the road and it took forever to get to the station. Then I had to park about halfway back to the house in the far western end of the BART parking lot and walk for about ten minutes to get to the station! It took way longer to drive, park and walk than it does to ride the bike all the way to the entrance of the station. The same thing on the way back, traffic and walking took longer than just hopping on the bicycle and riding home along the Iron Horse Trail!

Today I'll just ride my bike.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Krauthammer's razor

Krauthammer's razor (with apologies to Occam): In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit.

Hillary Clinton and the Merchants of Death and Greed

The US arms industry is backing Hilliary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama. Full story is here.

HilLIARy Clinton is the candidate of the Merchants of Death and Greed, who is shocked by this news? If the Merchants of Death and Wall Street are your backers you are my enemy, and you are an enemy of humanity.

A vote for HilLIARy is a vote for mass murder and theft.

A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for freedom and peace.

What does Ron Paul promise us?

...a 72-year-old grandfather who promises...nothing other than to leave [us] alone...

Check out Anatomy of the Ron Paul Nation By Cyd Malone

Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean

At the start of the Academy Award-winning movie "American Beauty," a character videotapes a plastic grocery bag as it drifts into the air, an event he casts as a symbol of life's unpredictable currents, and declares the romantic moment as a "most beautiful thing."

To the eyes of an oceanographer, the image is pure catastrophe.

In reality, the rogue bag would float into a sewer, follow the storm drain to the ocean, then make its way to the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a heap of debris floating in the Pacific that's twice the size of Texas, according to marine biologists.

The enormous stew of trash - which consists of 80 percent plastics and weighs some 3.5 million tons, say oceanographers - floats where few people ever travel, in a no-man's land between San Francisco and Hawaii. Full SF GATE story is here.

When I go to the store I almost always use the plastic bags. Sometimes I recycle them, sometimes I reuse them for trash bags or dog poop bags and sometimes I just pitch them into the trash. I think I will start asking for paper and eventually I will buy some canvas bags to use.

This is why I don't use bottled water any more either. It is unfortunate that there is not the option to use glass containers for milk. Plastic is convenient and light but it is really not a good thing for the planet as far as I can tell.

How to help

You can help to limit the ever-growing patch of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean. Here are some ways to help:

Limit your use of plastics when possible. Plastic doesn't easily degrade and can kill sea life.

Use a reusable bag when shopping. Throwaway bags can easily blow into the ocean.

Take your trash with you when you leave the beach.

Make sure your trash bins are securely closed. Keep all trash in closed bags.

Trash is also a problem in parts of San Francisco Bay. For an interactive map showing some of the worst locations, go to www.savesfbay.org/baytrash.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Letter from Ron Paul

October 17, 2007


The other day, my old sparring partner in so many Congressional committee hearings, Alan Greenspan, was on the Fox Business Channel. After Alan promoted his new book, the reporter asked if we really needed a central bank. Greenspan looked stunned, and then said that was a good question; he actually talked about fiat money vs. a gold standard. Now, the ex-Fed chairman is not about to endorse our sound monetary policy, but you know our Revolution is working when such a question is asked in the mainstream media, and this powerful man gives such an answer.

You and I are reopening a whole host of questions that the establishment thought it had closed off forever: on war, on taxes and spending, on inflation and gold, and on the rule of law and our Constitution.

A few years ago, I asked a famous conservative columnist a question. What did he think about the prospects for a restored Robert Taft wing of the Republican party? He thought I was joking. As you know, I was not.

After all the aggressive wars, the assaults on our privacy and civil liberties, the oppressive taxation, and the crazed spending and deficits, I believe that many Republican voters are ready to return to our roots. And the big boys feel it too. It is no coincidence that the Republican National Committee invited me to a fundraising dinner involving only "top-tier candidates."

Some of the opposition claims that I am not a "real Republican," whereas I am the only one in the race. And our campaign is registering new Republican voters by the boatload. None of my opponents is doing anything approaching that.

Of course, they pooh-pooh our success. "He's just registering Democrats and Independents and people who have never voted before." Well, yes. It's called growth. We are laying the groundwork for the primaries.

All over America, our support is wide and deep and growing, and young people are joining like never before. After the Dearborn debate, I went to the University of Michigan for a rally. 2,000 students turned out, something that has happened to no other candidate this year.

The crowd cheered all our ideas, but especially our opposition to the Federal Reserve, and our support for real money of gold and silver, as the Constitution mandates, instead of prosperity-wrecking fiat money. American politics hasn't seen anything like this in many decades. It is truly revolutionary.

But time is getting short. We must do massive radio and TV advertising, open many small offices (three in just South Carolina the other day), staff them, pay all the bills, and turn out our vote with massive organizational and phone-bank efforts.

As you know, the blackout is ending; our campaign is starting to get mainstream media attention, thanks to growing donations and volunteers. And contributions are the key to more attention, and to our being able to do the actual work of victory. Good news: our recent green-eyeshade analysis of all the candidates' net finances, which got so much press attention, shows our campaign as one of only three in the top-tier.

But we must keep moving up, and the Iowa caucuses are now on January 3rd. The New Hampshire primary may be in early December!

As always, everything depends on you. Please, make the most generous donation you can https://www.ronpaul2008.com/donate/ as soon as you can. I need your help so badly.

The other day, an 8-year-old boy handed me a small white envelope. It contained the $4.00 he had saved from his allowance, as a donation to our campaign. I can't tell you how seriously I take my responsibility to work hard, and spend frugally and effectively, to be worthy of his support, and yours.

Please help me keep working, even harder and more effectively, for all we believe in. Without you, I'd have to pack it in. Donate now https://www.ronpaul2008.com/donate/ . We have more than an election to win. We have a country to save.

Ron Paul

For October 17th

Ignatius of Antioch, Pastor and Martyr

Ignatius was the bishop of Antioch in Syria at the beginning of the second century A.D. and an early Christian martyr. Near the end of the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (98-117), Ignatius was arrested, taken in chains to Rome and eventually thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. On the way to Rome he wrote letters to the Christians at Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia and Smyrna and also to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. In the letters, which are beautifully pastoral in tone, Ignatius warned against certain heresies (false teachings). He also repeatedly stressed the full humanity and deity of Christ, the reality of Christ's bodily presence in the Lord's Supper, the supreme authority of the bishop and the unity of the Church found in her bishops. Ignatius was the first to use the word catholic to describe the universality of the Church. His Christ-centeredness, his courage in the face of martyrdom, and his zeal for the truth over against false doctrine are a lasting legacy to the Church. [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Also on this day in history: October 17, 1480 The Spanish Inquisition was activated.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No traffic cops here...

Please read the whole article, it's glorious, life without cops can be a good thing :-)

Anarchy, or Spontaneous Order, on the Streets of Saigon
by Joshua Snyder

News of the several successful experiments by several European cities with getting the state out of traffic regulation created quite a stir last year. (See European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs.) Non-libertarian-minded folks saw it as counter-intuitive, not self-evident, that people themselves would do a better job looking out for their own safety rather than relying on a nanny state to warn them of every conceivable danger. But it turned out that drivers slowing down at intersections and looking both ways was much, much safer than blindly trusting one's life to a mindless green light.

Perhaps these successful experiments with traffic anarchism would have come about sooner had planners visited a city ironically located in a socialist country and renamed after a socialist "icon" of the 20th Century. The streets of what is now called Ho Chi Minh City offer the same lessons learned from the European experience, and much more. Following is a description of what the author experienced on a visit in 1997. In the intervening decade, I'm not sure to what extent archy has broken out, if at all, and destroyed the glorious freedom on the streets of the Paris of the East that I am about to describe.

The full article is linked HERE.

The "Showtime Syndrome" and Police Thugs

Check out this set of stories about police thugs in several different "police" departments around the Empire:

The "Showtime Syndrome"


I once felt it necessary to concede to people, when talking about these myriad cases of brutal assaults on innocent people by the so-called "police," that there was at least the slight possibility that these cases are the exception and that most "police officers" are dedicated servants of the law and their communities. I no longer am willing to concede this point. The police in America have been militarized so much that they are no longer "police" at all but are really an army of occupation. Excessive use of force is not rare but common, and violence is the first response by these thugs at the slightest sign of resistance by the peasants they rule.

I have less than no use for the police. I have never been helped by the police and would prefer they were disbanded completely, or at least disarmed. I am far more afraid of being murdered by government agents than I am of private sector criminals.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Hobbit

It looks like they will be making a movie of the Hobbit, sadly Peter Jackson will not be directing. I am looking forward to seeing it anyway though.

From the BBC:

McKellen keen to be Gandalf again

Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian said the Hobbit film was becoming "more and more Likely"
Sir Ian McKellen has said he would be "very pleased" to reprise his role as wizard Gandalf in the planned film of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit.

"If I am still functioning and working well, it is very likely I would be asked to do it," he told Reuters.

Sir Ian played the role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, landing an Oscar nomination in the process.


Full story is here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh Woe is me!

Oh Woe! Woe! Doom and despair! Oh pity poor wretched me who has melted down his computer!

Bummer.

I was fooling around with part of the operating system I ought not to have been fooling with, since I do not know what I am doing. Changing "skins" for windows, making it look "cool," as I thought. And I found upon the World Wide Web a place where one said he could make my computer look "WAY COOL" and I did download his evil program and I did run it without looking at it or really thinking about it. And behold it did summon up the demonic blue screen of death, and did dump memory and did prevent booting up of the computer in any way at all. And lo, I was forced to format my hard disk and reinstall my system to its original factory issued state and all was lost... all was lost... woe is me!

But I have back ups of most everything anyway so it's really not all that bad :-) It is just a royal pain in the neck for sure.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Salvation is from the Lord, not of ourselves...

Psalm 65

O God of Our Salvation
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.
1Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
2O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
3When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

(This is one of the morning Psalms for the 12th of the month and this portion leaped out at me today. Even in the Old Testament it is clear that we are saved by the actions of God and not of ourselves.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Philip, Deacon

Philip, also called the Evangelist (Acts 21:8), was one of the seven men appointed to assist in the work of the twelve Apostles and of the rapidly growing early church by overseeing the distribution of food to the poor (6:1-6). Following the martyrdom of Stephen, Philip proclaimed the Gospel in Samaria and led Simon the Sorcerer to become a believer in Christ (8:4-13). He was also instrumental in bringing about the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (8:26-39), through whom Philip became indirectly responsible for bringing the Good News of Jesus to the people on the continent of Africa. In the town of Caesarea he was host for several days to the Apostle Paul, who stopped there on his last journey to Jerusalem (21:8-15). [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Yet another SCOTUS Travesty

In yet another in a seemingly endless series of anti-freedom and un-American decisions the 9 utterly corrupt, traitorous, conscienceless vermin of the SCOTUS have decreed, without reference to that obsolete rag the constitution, that a lawsuit against the Empire can't go forward because it would expose "state secrets." Said "secrets" being the fact that the Empire routinely kidnaps, tortures, abuses and even murders people without even pretending to follow the due process of law. Since the "state" wants to do this, and since it would be very humiliating for most Americans to admit they live in a barbaric and evil "state" that routinely murders and tortures people and they might demand that the "state" stop doing it if it were proven, this becomes a vital state secret!

---------------------------------------------------

(10-09) 13:25 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

A German man who says he was abducted and tortured by the CIA as part of the anti-terrorism rendition program lost his final chance Tuesday to persuade U.S. courts to hear his claims.

The Supreme Court rejected without comment an appeal from Khaled el-Masri, effectively endorsing Bush administration arguments that state secrets would be revealed if courts allowed the case to proceed.

El-Masri, 44, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, says he was mistakenly identified as an associate of the Sept. 11 hijackers and was detained while attempting to enter Macedonia on New Year's Eve 2003.

He claims that CIA agents stripped, beat, shackled, diapered, drugged and chained him to the floor of a plane for a flight to Afghanistan. He says he was held for four months in a CIA-run prison known as the "salt pit" in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

After the CIA determined it had the wrong man, el-Masri says, he was dumped on a hilltop in Albania and told to walk down a path without looking back. Full Story.

Isolationism vs. Non-Intervention

From LewRockwell.com


I Advocate the Same Foreign Policy the Founding Fathers Would

by Ron Paul
by Ron Paul

Published on October 8, 2007, in the Manchester Union-Leader.

Any response to this paper's Friday editorial on my foreign policy position must rest on two fundamental assertions: first, that the Founding Fathers were not isolationists; and second, that their political philosophy – the wisdom of the Constitution, the Declaration, and our Revolution itself – is not just a primitive cultural relic.

If I understand the editors' concerns, I have not been accused of deviating from the Founders' logic; if anything I have been accused of adhering to it too strictly. The question, therefore, before readers – and soon voters – is the same question I have asked for almost 20 years in Congress: by what superior wisdom have we now declared Jefferson, Washington, and Madison to be "unrealistic and dangerous"? Why do we insist on throwing away their most considered warnings?

A non-interventionist foreign policy is not an isolationist foreign policy. It is quite the opposite. Under a Paul administration, the United States would trade freely with any nation that seeks to engage with us. American citizens would be encouraged to visit other countries and interact with other peoples rather than be told by their own government that certain countries are off limits to them.

American citizens would be allowed to spend their hard-earned money wherever they wish across the globe, not told that certain countries are under embargo and thus off limits. An American trade policy would encourage private American businesses to seek partners overseas and engage them in trade. The hostility toward American citizens overseas in the wake of our current foreign policy has actually made it difficult if not dangerous for Americans to travel abroad. Is this not an isolationist consequence from a policy of aggressive foreign interventionism?

It is not we non-interventionists who are isolationsists. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders. The real isolationists are those who choose to use force overseas to promote democracy, rather than seek change through diplomacy, engagement, and by setting a positive example.

I do not believe that ideas have an expiration date, or that their value can be gauged by their novelty. The test for new and old is that of wisdom and experience, or as the editors wrote "historical reality," which argues passionately now against the course of anti-Constitutional interventionism.

A Paul administration would see Americans engaged overseas like never before, in business and cultural activities. But a Paul administration would never attempt to export democracy or other values at the barrel of a gun, as we have seen over and over again that this is a counterproductive approach that actually leads the United States to be resented and more isolated in the world.

Buy a copy of Ron Paul's
new book for $20.

See the Ron Paul File

October 9, 2007

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

Commemoration for October 9 - Abraham, Patriarch

Abraham (known early in his life as Abram) was called by God to become the father of a great nation (Genesis 12). At the age of 75 and in obedience to God's command, he, his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot moved southwest from the town of Haran to the land of Canaan. There God established a covenant with Abraham (15:18), promising the land of Canaan to his descendants. At the age of 100 Abraham and Sarah were finally blessed with Isaac, the son long promised to them by God. Abraham demonstrated supreme obedience when God commanded him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. God spared the young man's life only at the last moment and provided a ram as a substitute offering (22:1-19). Abraham died at the age of 175 and was buried in the Cave of Machpelah, which he had purchased earlier as a burial site for Sarah. He is especially honored as the first of the three great Old Testament Patriarchs-and for his "righteousness before God through faith" (Romans 4:1-12). [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Demo-Publicans

In case you needed more confirmation that really there is only a single huge monolithic and totalitarian political party in the American Empire fully dedicated to stripping the few civil liberties that still remain from the Old Republic, there is this today from the New York Times, official mouthpiece of the ruling classes:


Democrats Seem Ready to Extend Wiretap Powers

By ERIC LICHTBLAU and CARL HULSE WASHINGTON,

Oct. 8 — Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.

Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval.

As the debate over the eavesdropping powers of the National Security Agency begins anew this week, the emerging measures reflect the reality confronting the Democrats. Although willing to oppose the White House on the Iraq war, they remain nervous that they will be called soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on gathering intelligence.

A Democratic bill to be proposed on Tuesday in the House would maintain for several years the type of broad, blanket authority for N.S.A. eavesdropping that the administration secured in August for six months.

Full Story Here

Vote for Ron Paul or condemn your descendants to the misery of living for the next hundred years under a totalitarian police state!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Nor Cal Ren Fair

Today Mike, Lora, Serenity and I all went to the Nor Cal Ren Fair at Casa de Fruita.



There was jousting and all sorts of fun...



I took quite a few photos, with my cheap digital camera, and you can see them all here.
Enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2007

A night at the Symphony

Last night Lora and I attended the San Francisco Symphony together. We had a nice father-daughter night out. Mike graciously agreed to watch Serenity for us, they went to church while we took the train to the city and had dinner at Chevy's because I had a coupon :-)

Then we went down to Davies Hall and heard:

CONDUCTOR AND FEATURED ARTISTS

Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Jeremy Denk, piano

PROGRAM
Beethoven King Stephen Overture
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1
Brahms Symphony No. 2


Jeremy Denk was fantastic in the Piano Concerto No. 1 and came back for an encore after the end, though I must admit my musical ignorance and say I have no idea just what the piece he played after the concerto might have been.

The Brahms Symphony No. 2 was wonderful as well, I do love the last movement! I've got that symphony on a BBC Orchestra CD, so I know it well. :-)

The King Stephen Overture was OK but, for Beethoven, it seems a little perfunctory, like he was just doing a job and not really into it when he composed it.

Today Serenity and I are hanging out around the house, it's cold outside this morning! There is no school because government employees get a four day weekend for Columbus day! Real working people don't get this holiday of course.

Tomorrow the whole family, Mike, Lora, Serenity and me, are going to the Nor Cal Renaissance Fair at Casa de Fruita down in Hollister, that will be fun!

Casa de Fruita was one of Grandmother DuPertuis' favorite places to go, we took a number of trips down to Hollister over the years just to get fruit and jams and preserves there. I'll post more after our trip.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

More Torture News from the Evil Empire

Back in the days, not all that long ago, when the American Empire was at least pretending to still be a free republic, this sort of thing would have resulted in huge outcry against the perpetrators. I predict that this will be received by the subjects of the Evil Empire with a shrug instead of the outrage it clearly calls for. Torture is torture, no matter what the scum working for the emperor call it. Slavery is Freedom, War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength. 1984 is here in full bloom today.

New York Times

October 4, 2007

Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations [Torture]

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.

Click here for the full story. You may need to do a free registration with the New York Times to read it though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Candidate Match Game

Check out this candidate match game on USA Today.

Of course I came out a very solid Ron Paul voter, since I agree with him on virtually every issue :-) It is cool to have a candidate you can actually back fully, without any reservations at all.

Bike Sharing

What a great idea:

San Francisco Chronicle

S.F. moving to catch up with European bike-share programs

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A ride around the Eiffel Tower is a perfect use of Paris'... New tech-enhanced bikes known as Velib can be used by res...

San Francisco is one push of the pedal closer to offering residents and visitors a bike-sharing program in an effort to ease traffic congestion and to promote health through exercise.

More than a dozen European cities have government-sponsored programs in which bikes are provided for people to share. Last month, Paris started the most ambitious program yet, providing more than 10,000 bikes at 750 stations and expecting that the program will be double in size by year's end.

Now, hilly San Francisco is gearing up for a program of its own. Full Story

Also check out the Bike Sharing Blog

Harmless as Doves

I just stumbled upon this site, I'll be checking it out in detail since it seems in agreement with my take on the relationship between Christians and the state. One thing that caught my eye was a comparison of Romans 13 and Titus 2. In both cases Christians are being told to be "subject" to authority, but in one case most people say it doesn't condone the authority, slave owners, but in the other it does, government. Odd that :-) In any case check it out:


But is it really important?

I write quite a bit about what I see as problematic and false teachings in some evangelical Christian circles. I hope that I am not sounding self righteous when I do it. Self righteousness is the problem, any righteousness outside of that provided by Christ is the problem. I am utterly sinful, incapable of even wanting to good except in Christ. So when I see something that is presented as being Christian that ignores the perfect, sinless life, death and resurrection of Jesus I worry that something else might be taking the place that belongs to Him alone. Our Lord Himself says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." So yes, I really do think it is important to get it right, not all of the details of theology and liturgy, those are important, but ultimately if you get this one thing wrong nothing else matters.

I've been trying to work this out in my head and explain it here but somehow I can't quite express it the way I want to. But while I was working on it I did find a well written explanation by Tod Wilken that he wrote in response to Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life."

Purpose-Driven or Forgiveness-Given?

by Todd Wilken

One day God is going to reward you for everything you’ve done. But on that day, when God hands out heavenly rewards, Jesus isn’t going to do you one bit of good.

Oh yes, if you trust Jesus, God will let you into heaven. But when it comes to those heavenly rewards, you have to earn them yourself. Jesus may have earned heaven for you, but not heaven’s rewards. When it comes to salvation God may be gracious, but when it comes to rewards He’s purely quid pro quo.

This is the message of The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.1

It’s Not About You…Or Maybe It Is.
Ironically, Warren begins The Purpose-Driven Life (TPDL) with great promise, by saying, “It’s not about you.” 2 However, he spends the rest of the book explaining that it is up to you to earn rewards from God. This is typical of what the reader will find in TPDL. In one section Warren rightly affirms,

God is not just the starting point of your life; he is the source of it. God…planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death…. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose…. God was thinking of you even before he made the world…. there is a God who made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning. 3

But in another section he writes, “God will give you what you need if you will just make the choice to live for him.” 4

So, which is it? Is the starting point and source of my life God, or my choice to live for God?

Warren does know the Gospel. He knows that we are sinners saved only by the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But what little Gospel Warren does give the reader of TPDL, he ultimately takes away. All the assurance of the Gospel is siphoned off by Warren’s relentless emphasis on earning rewards from God. Instead of directing his readers to the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for them, he misdirects them to their own choices, decisions and deeds done for God. Warren must do this. The very premise of his book demands it.

In the first half of this review, I will let Warren lay out his premise with minimal commentary. In the second half, I will offer a critique and response to TPDL. Read the full review here.

From my morning readings today

Matthew 7:13-23 (ESV)
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

[1]

[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


Sort of makes me wonder about those "Mega-Churches" that have 10,000 "members" and no law and gospel preached, no cross and no Christ Crucified for sinners. Instead we get Jesus as "coach" and "7 ways to a better you." When I read the passage above I fear for those people who are there in those churches. I fear they are not hearing the gospel but are hearing nothing but "self-help" advice. Christ and Him crucified must always be at the center.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gestapo Murder in the airport at Phoenix

I heard about this story the other day and didn't have enough information to make the declaration I make today, this was plain Police State Murder. This sort of thing does not happen in a free country, but it does happen in the Evil Totalitarian Empire that Amerika has degenerated into.

Here is the news story from the New York Daily News, and here is an editorial take from Lew Rockwell's site.

If you don't want to be sickened by how low Amerika has fallen then don't read them.

I'm angry, and this time I don't think I am going to need to repent, this is plain evil and cries out for justice.

Over the top

I have been told that my post "Is this really God" was insulting. While it was not my original intention to be harsh and insulting when I began to review the video "Interview with God" I recognize that I allowed my emotions to run overboard and I was not kind in my words. As I went along I began to take sinful pleasure in heaping derision on what I saw as error.

Sad to say I lived up to my richly deserved reputation once again.



I have sinned in not putting the best construction on things and I have been called to repentance, and I do repent of my insulting and harsh tone and words, though not of my opinion about the theology of the video.

Really though, what can we expect of an Angry Gnome?

Well I know what God expects of me "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22) While I know I will fail these are most certainly the things I must aim for.

Thanks be to God for the salvation and forgiveness of sins He gives us through Christ!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Paul ‘Revolution’ rally draws 800

From NBC/NJ’s Mike Memoli
Even a half hour after Ron Paul's "Revolution" rally ended in downtown Manchester, there was a crowd larger than other candidates could only hope to draw. The campaign estimated that as many as 800 people showed up as the Texas congressman kicked off a canvassing effort in New Hampshire's three largest cities.


The campaign gave out buttons asking: "Who is Ron Paul?" But who are Ron Paul's supporters? "I think they're new to the process," said Paul's son, Rand Paul. "We definitely have Democrats that are crossing over, Libertarians crossing over, Independents crossing over. And I think the people that come out are definitely gonna vote."

Full Story

Creation

I have a question or maybe a comment. In reading the account of the creation in the bible it occurred to me that the angels must have been created at some point. I began to wonder when that was. Was that a separate creation from the "In the beginning?" Or where they created on the first day or another day?

From extra biblical sources, like movies and novels, I have the impression that the angels, and thus Satan, were ancient creatures who had been around for an extremely long time. But, is that necessarily true? Could it be that Satan and the other angels were created by God at some point in that 6 day period when God created the Heavens and the Earth?

It seems to me that it must have been during the 6 days because of the fact that Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Don't the heavens include the angels of God? Perhaps I'm off base here but...

If that is true is it important? Probably not :-) But it makes the idea of Satan's rebellion against God more immediate to man's fall. Which makes the idea of God creating things and then allowing Satan access to it when he was already in rebellion make more sense to me. Satan was created good and with free will just like man was, he fell and then enticed man to fall as well, both after the creation. It never made sense to me before but if Satan was created along with the heavens and the earth then the dilemma, for me, fades a bit. Though I am still left with the omniscience of God, He knew before the creation that the fall would happen, yet still He created everything the way He did.

All these questions do give me a headache. :-p