Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lutherans and the Crucifix

Pastor Wesley Kan in Florida prepared the following article, I lifted it from Cyberbrethren:

Crucifix

Lutherans and the Crucifix

Protestants of all denominations seem to have one thing in common. They all love to make fun of Lutherans. One of my cousins, a Covenantal Calvinist, calls me "Catholic-light." Some of my friends call Lutherans, "the nuts that did not roll very far from the Roman tree." How odd that the very same Protestants do not hesitate to claim Martin Luther as their own by ignoring the embarrassing historical fact that their spiritual forefathers abandoned the Reformation to go off on their own and that the Luther they claim detested many of the heterodox beliefs they hold dear. The very term "Protestant Reformation" is oxymoronic, a result of historic revisionism. The truth is that there was "The Reformation" reluctantly led by Martin Luther and soon thereafter certain individuals abandoned and renounced the Reformation, thereby causing "the Protestant Schism." So successful has been the centuries old campaign waged in Saxony (Germany), Britain and the United States to blur the historical fact that the Anabaptists and Reformed left the Reformation, some while Luther was still alive, that most American Lutherans have been duped into believing they are "Protestant." Since most who claim to be Lutheran have departed from the Lutheran Confessions, Concordia of 1580, most of them are functionally Protestant. Their error is in continuing to call themselves "Lutheran" which they can no more truthfully assert than a gelding can claim to be a stallion.

So, are there any real Lutherans left, or have they gone the way of the paddlewheel steamer and nickel cigar. No, there are a few gnesio (Greek for genuine) orthodox, confessional Lutherans around just as there still are paddlewheel steamers on the Mississippi River (though I have yet to find a nickel cigar, and probably would not smoke it out of fear). What truly distinguishes gnesio-Lutherans are the doctrines of Christ that they believe, teach and confess in their fullness. However, the rest of the world finds it easier to point to external trappings as gnesio-Lutheranism’s distinguishing hallmarks rather than to its dogma that must be scrupulously studied and understood before they may be honestly criticized.

The one practice in which gnesio-Lutherans engage that drives Protestants up the wall is displaying the crucifix, the cross bearing the image of the dead or dying Christ. Most Protestants firmly (though erroneously) believe that displaying the crucifix is at worst a heresy that is at best a heterodox Roman Catholic superstition that every right minded born-again Christian ought to assiduously avoid. Below is a list of objections to crucifixes that I have heard. After each objection is the Reformation response to that objection.

Objection 1: Displaying the crucifix is a heretical Roman Catholic practice.

The crucifix is not a heresy. It depicts the greatest Christian truth: Christ’s death for the forgiveness of our sins. Neither is displaying the crucifix something exclusively Roman Catholic. They also appear in Eastern Orthodox liturgical art. Crucifixes predate the "Great Schism" that split the Church into the Western (Roman) and Eastern (Constantinopolitan-Byzantine) traditions about a thousand years ago. Crucifixes appeared in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox and Lutheran churches and homes for nine hundred years of the Christian Church’s existence without opposition, resistance or objection. During that period the crucifix was in the truest sense "catholic," that is, "universal" in that the whole Christian church on earth accepted it. Opposition to the crucifix started only in the 16th century with the birth of Protestantism when individuals like Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin broke with Lutherans. They were the first true iconoclasts ("image breakers," those who deliberately destroy images and physical symbols).

There is nothing heretical or heterodox about the crucifix. If one acknowledges the fact of Christ’s crucifixion, how can one object to the depiction of that event?

Objection 2: Jesus isn’t on the Cross anymore, He is risen!

Objecting to the crucifixion because Christ is no longer on the cross implies that those of us who use crucifixes are idiots who do not possess this knowledge. The objectors know Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic and Lutheran Christians celebrate the Lord’s resurrection on Easter and we can be certain that they deny that they ever intended to imply such an absurdity about us. Nevertheless, asserting such an argument without qualification or limitation makes the implication unavoidable.

The fact that the Redeemer is no longer nailed to the Cross does not make crucifixes wrong. If critics were to apply this reasoning behind this objection universally, it would be wrong to portray a Nativity scene, since Jesus is not a baby anymore. It would also be wrong to artistically depict the Lord teaching, healing, performing miracles, or to portray any Gospel event in His earthly life, since He is no longer doing these things in the flesh. Yet the very ones objecting to crucifixes because Christ is no longer hanging there have no problem with artistic portrayals of the life of Christ in art, Bibles, Sunday School classrooms, and Christmas cards. If those objecting on this basis were consistent they could not take or keep photographs or any depictions or pictorial representations whatsoever because photographs and all forms of graphic art depict persons, places and things as they no longer are. But this is the very reason we take photographs: to record how things were and no longer are. This is one of the reasons for displaying the Crucifix: to depict how Christ sacrificed Himself for fallen mankind.

Objection 3: The Early Church never used crucifixes.

This is true. The Church did not begin depicting Christ crucified until the sixth century. Crucifixion was the most shameful, painful and humiliating form of execution utilized by the Roman government. Although the early Christians reverenced the Cross as a symbol of Christ, they were reluctant to artistically portray the Lord’s death.

Crucifixion appeared in Church art only after it ceased to be a prevalent form of execution. Coincidentally, crucifixes began to appear at about the time the church was engaged in battling the Monophysite. These heretics, like the Eutychians who preceded them, denied the human nature of Christ. Depicting Christ Crucified appears to have been one way in which the Church strove to defend the orthodox doctrine concerning Christ Incarnate. Crucifixes therefore served an apologetic function: physical depictions affirming that God came in human flesh to die and save us.

It is ironic that those who reject crucifixes for the reason that the Ancient Church did not use them tend to be the very ones who completely ignore the traditions and practices of the ancient (historic) church as irrelevant because they are "not Scriptural." They seem to argue this point only because those who cherish the crucifix also respect and generally practice the church’s traditions.

No Christian can argue against the use of crucifixes on the ground that the Ancient Church did not use them without engaging in hypocrisy and academic dishonesty unless his or her own church practices follow those of the Ancient Church. This means one’s church service must be based on a Latin or Byzantine Greek or other ancient tradition, must be chanted and led by a pastor (males only) dressed in an alb or a cassock. This would also mean no electronic keyboards, drums, amplifiers or video monitors.. Many of those who argue against crucifixes because the Early Church did not use them are the very ones who have embraced innovations that were totally unknown to the church until the 19th century. One example is the altar call that is so central to decision theology evangelists such as Billy Graham. This practice did not exist prior to 1800. In answering their criticism that the Early Church did not use crucifixes, one may ask them to point out where in the Bible the Lord ever made or authorized an "altar call." As an aside, I have always wondered how they can be an "altar" calls when they have abandoned the use of the altar.

Objection 4: An empty cross represents the Resurrection.

Many objectors prefer to display the empty cross (cross, no corpus) in their churches. They argue that a naked cross is better than a crucifix because it symbolizes the Resurrection. This is a specious assertion. Calvary’s cross was empty with the Deposition (the moment the Lord’s lifeless body was taken down). At that moment, and for the next thirty or so hours, our Lord was physically dead. The symbol of the Resurrection is empty tomb, not the empty cross. The empty cross is ambiguous because it more immediately and logically represents Christ deceased.

Objection 5: A crucifix that bears the Lord’s image is idol worship.

The sentiment expressed in this argument betrays a gross misunderstanding of the commandment (singular, not plural) prohibiting idol worship (Exodus 20:4-6). Many Protestant denominations divide up the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) so that "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," and "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" was split into two commandments. Early Protestants altered the Commandments to advance their iconoclastic agenda. Until then all Christians and Jews considered "making" and "bowing down" as part of the same commandment. For three thousand years, from Moses until the Protestant iconoclasts’ scriptural revisionism, making and bowing down to graven images constituted one commandment. Iconoclasm required the Reformed to change the meaning of Holy Scripture as reflected in the Reformed Church’s Westminster Larger Catechism of 1647. The answer to Question 109 therein includes the following among the things forbidden in the second commandment: "the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worship of it." (Emphasis added.) The emphasized portion that does not have any basis in Holy Scripture clearly shows an anti-corporeal tendency running through Reformed theology. Prohibiting meditation on the mental image of Christ dying on Calvary’s cross is almost indistinguishable from outright heretical Gnosticism. Such an extreme position can not be justified unless the Commandment itself was altered to become two prohibitions that would cause it to appear as if God prohibited the making of graven images.

In attempting to alter Divine Law to say what they wished it to say instead of what God actually said, the Protestants did an incomplete job. They ignore the Lord’s command that the Israelites adorn the Tabernacle and Temple with liturgical furnishings laden with carvings (graven images) of created beings. The most sacred Ark of the Testimony (Covenant) had two sculpted gold cherubim on its cover (Exodus 25:10). The Temple’s water basin rested upon the statues of twelve bulls (1 Kings 7:25). The movable stands for the portable water basins were covered with bronze friezes of lions, bulls and cherubim (1 Kings 7:29).. The 6th chapter of 1 Kings discloses that the Holy of Holies in the Solomonic Temple contained a pair of identical fifteen feet tall gold covered cherubim statues. Hebrews 9:5 in the New Testament confirms this. Additionally, more cherubim relief carvings decorated the inner and outer rooms and the Temple’s doors.

Cherubim are created angelic beings and bulls and lions are created earthly beasts whose graven images adorned the Tabernacle and Temple in obedience to God’s command as attested to by God’s Holy Scripture. The statues and friezes of created beings were not themselves worshiped or adored. The existence of so many graven images of created beings in the Temple does not at all contradict the three thousand five hundred year traditional and historic (Jewish-Eastern Orthodox-Roman Catholic-Lutheran) reading of the Decalogue. However, according to Protestant theology the Temple images should not have even existed. If a graven image is sinful per se as Protestant theology insists, the necessary and inescapable conclusion is that God must be schizophrenic, prohibiting the making of graven images in the Ten Commandments and then ordering the Israelites in Exodus and 1 Kings to make graven images for the most sacred premises, the Tabernacle and Temple. Clearly, God is not psychotic but speaks with one consistent message. Don’t worship the graven images you make. The conclusion to which God’s sanity points is that Protestant iconoclasm and Scripture twisting are erroneous.

Besides which the proof text the Reformed theologians cite, Deuteronomy 4:15–19, prohibits the act of worshiping idols that have been made, and not merely making idols. Additionally, the rationale upon which their prohibition is based is that they, "... saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to [them] at Horeb out of the midst of the fire." This is no longer the case. We have now seen God the Son. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14, emphasis added.) Because Moses (under divine inspiration) stated the image prohibition in Deuteronomy was based on not seeing God, that prohibition no longer applies because we have beheld God incarnate. To continue the prohibition after the scripturally stated rational has been negated would amount to nothing short of pharisaic pietism. It should never be forgotten that Christ condemned the imposition of law where God requires none.

Objection 6: A crucifix is morbid, the empty cross is life affirming.

This objection is human sentimentality, not theology. Everyone agrees that Christ’s crucifixion deals with innocent death intentionally inflicted and is morbid, but that is unavoidable. The focus of the whole Bible, and therefore of Christian doctrine, is the crucifixion.. This is best reflected in the Lutheran Confessions. Christianity’s cardinal doctrine is justification, which is salvation by grace (alone) through faith (alone) in Christ’s atoning death on Calvary’s cross, the Crucifixion. The depiction of that event is nothing less than the crucifix itself.

As important as the Resurrection is to Christianity, it is secondary to the event which precipitated, preceded and caused it, namely, Christ’s death for the forgiveness of our sins. Those who focus on the Resurrection to the exclusion or diminution of the Crucifixion miss the whole point of Christianity. The Resurrection does not save us; only the Crucifixion saves.

Let us not misunderstand: Christ’s resurrection is necessary for salvation, but it does not save us. Had our Lord’s fail to rise from the grave no sinner could be saved. It would have meant His sacrifice was not acceptable to the Father to atone for our sins and we would continue to be mired in sin without hope of forgiveness. Again, the Resurrection is necessary for our salvation but only the Crucifixion actually saves us.

Scripture itself emphasizes Christ’s death rather than His resurrection. St. Paul wrote, "For I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2). The Apostle DID NOT WRITE, "…Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen." He also wrote, "Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal 6:14). Here also St. Paul mentioned or referred to the Crucifixion, twice, not only once, and both times he omitted any mention of the Resurrection. The blessed Apostle was simply expressing the absolute indispensability of the Crucifixion to the Gospel message, as he repeats in I Cor 1:23-24. "But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God".

Conclusion

Two millennia after it occurred, "Christ crucified" is still a stumbling block for skeptics. Unfortunately, the Lord’s crucifixion has also become a profound embarrassment to estaurophobic (crucifix fearing) Christians. These doctrinally handicapped persons are easily identified by the extraordinary efforts they exert to avoid speaking about the Lord’s gruesome death. When they must mention Christ’s death, their language becomes particularly euphemistic. They shun words like "blood" and "death," always emphasizing God’s "love" for us by His "sacrifice of love." In avoiding the crucifixion these particular Christians run the risk dodging salvation altogether. God has always loved us, but if His love had not moved God the Son to die for us, God would be no less loving but we would be doomed to eternal damnation. The very love God possessed compelled Him to pay the horrifying price for our sake. Speaking of God’s love is not wrong but it is vague, and vagueness leaves enough wiggle room so someone can wiggle right out of salvation.

The Greek grammar the Holy Spirit through St. John used to write Revelation clearly admonishes Christians to overcome their squeamishness over Christ’s excruciating death and mangled body. Revelation 5:12 most dramatic indicates that Christ’s crucifixion is the subject of the angelic song in heaven and shall be our song throughout eternity. The NIV, ESV, NKJV and many other English translations all have the hundred million plus angels singing, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain..." These translations render the Greek perfect passive participle as a past tense verb, "was slain." The Greek ¦σφαγμένον St. John wrote could mean "the one who was slain." However, σφάζω, the root of ¦σφαγμένον also means "slaughter" and "butchered." What the angels actually sing to Christ in Revelation 5:12 is closer to "Worthy is the Lamb, the Slaughtered [or Butchered] One." Any who claim to be "Bible believing" Christians ought to consider the context of the song. It is being sung in heaven, by the sinless and perfect Four Living Creatures, Elders, hundred million (or more) angels to Christ who is in their midst and who does not correct them. This song was revealed to St. John to be recorded so that you, one claiming to belong to Christ, may join in the angelic song while you yet remain on earth.

At the very least what avoiding Christ’s crucifixion does is to obscure and compromise the Gospel message. For example, many Christians quote John 3:16 as if that verse by itself will insure salvation. That verse does not give the reason how or why God gave His Son and so it cannot by itself serve as a self-sufficient basis for salvation. In contrast, there is nothing vague about a crucifix. First, everyone knows what it is. Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims may detest the crucifix, they may deny the Atonement purchased by it but they know exactly who is depicted, and what happened (Christ died). The crucifix is unambiguous and uncompromising in showing saved and unsaved alike exactly what God’s love looks like.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Christianity and Science

One issue I have been studying for a long time is the relationship between science and Christianity. The problem comes when some folk on both sides of the issue try to exclude those of us who dwell in the middle. Some fundamentalist Christians will say that the only biblical interpretation allowable is 6 literal creation days several thousand years ago. Some fundamentalist atheist-evolutionists will declare that even considering the idea of creation is out of bounds. I am of the opinion that yes, the bible is true, and yes the evidence of science is that the universe is billions of years old and that there seems to be much evidence of descent from common ancestors, especially within the higher orders or "kinds" of life. I also don't find this to be a real contradiction. :-)

Here is a fine article on the subject at the bethinking.org site by Melvin Tinker:

No conflict

Why Melvin Tinker thinks evangelicals can differ over their approach to creation

‘It is impossible for a scientific discovery given by God to contradict a Word given by God. If therefore a scientific discovery, as distinct from scientific speculation, contradicts what we have believed by the Bible, it is not a question of error in God’s Word, but of error in our way of interpreting it. Far from “defending” the Bible against scientific discovery, the Christian has a duty to welcome thankfully, as from the same Giver, whatever light each may throw upon the other. This is the “freedom” of a fully Christian devotion to the God of Truth.’ (Full article is here.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten Fast for Christians. I had thought of various forms of fast to do this Lent. Then I read this post from Pastor William Weedon:

Is There a Lutheran Way to Fast?

Yes! The Augsburg Confession disdains the distinction of meats, and does so solidly based on Colossians But that doesn't mean that Lutherans didn't and don't fast. If we remember that fast mean "to go hungry" the solution is apparent: skip meals! It's not a matter of what FOOD you give up for Lent, but a matter of what MEALS and feeding (as in snacking!) you set aside. If one follows the typical Western fast, one eats but 1 and 1/4 to 1/2 meals per day. This is not done to impress God, but to train our bodies (that our belly is not our boss) and to free up time for prayer and money for charity. I bring this up again because we are preparing to enter Holy Week. During this week as we give time to specially contemplate the Passion of our Lord, the discipline of fasting is highly appropriate for all who can safely do it. A complete fast on Good Friday suggests itself to allow for total concentration upon our Lord's self-immolation for our salvation. Fasting is such a blessed discipline and is a bodily form of prayer - as we are reminded that no earthly food can satisfy the hunger of the human being, which is ultimately a hunger for the Blessed Trinity - to whom be glory forever!

So I think I'll change my plans a bit. My last plan had been "no eating out" during Lent. Instead I'm going to add to that, no lunch at all, especially since that includes the major part of my eating out anyway. I'll use the few minutes freed up by skipping lunch to pray each day. Also I will have lighter meals all around during the period. No snacks, no seconds, no second glass of wine. Yeah, I can show my belly who is boss... ;-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yeah it's "news" but hey....

I actually have met these guys, they have stayed at my building several times over the last several years, really nice couple actually.

From
February 25, 2009

Sweden's Princess Victoria to marry

fitness trainer Daniel Westling

Crown Princess Victoria jogging with Daniel Westling

(Stella/Ken Goff Photos)

Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling take some informal exercise

Image :1 of 2

There was nothing but bleak news on the schedule in Sweden yesterday morning — the carmaker Saab flailing for life, a financial meltdown in nearby Baltic states — and most Stockholm journalists were glumly turning on their desktop anti-depression lamps for another day at the coalface.

Then came the flash from the Palace: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is to marry her fitness trainer.

And all was right with the world. (read the rest)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Matt Harrison

From The Wittenburg Trail


Find more videos like this on The Wittenberg Trail

Serenity the Beheader

The other day Lora was playing one of those machines where you try to grab a toy with a remote controlled claw and accidentally ended up with Stewie Griffin from The Family Guy.

For some reason Lora thought of me when she got it and stuck it on my bed. Maybe it was the "Victory shall be mine!" quote on the tag, or his penchant for planning world conquest. Anyway, I left it on my bed for a couple of days but found it more and more repulsive, especially since I really can't stand Family Guy at all.


Today Serenity picked it up and I said to her, "You can have that thing, I don't want it." As she walked down the hall with it she shouted out "Shall we behead it?" Ah, my sweet, innocent, little executioner of a granddaughter. Brings a tear to my eye I tells ya.


As I posted this Serenity said "Die Stewie, die!"

The Lunatics are still running the assylum formerly known as LCMS, Inc.



Sign the Petition Here.

The Lord Is in His Temple!

In which sense are our churches really and truly houses of God? In which sense are they places of the real and essential presence of Christ? We can desire nothing more beautiful and greater for our houses of God than that they be places where the Holy Supper is celebrated according to the institution of Christ, and a believing congregation is gathered about the altar to receive the true body and the true blood of our Lord. Only then will the church of the Gospel, the church of the pure doctrine remain among us. Only then will it remain, but it will truly remain, "and the gates of hell shall not overpower her" (Matthew 16:18)

And everywhere a congregation is gathered about her altar in the deep faith in the one who is her Lord and her Head because He is her Redeemer, where she sings the Kyrie and the Gloria and lifts her heart to heaven and with all angels and archangels and the entire company of heaven sings, "Holy, Holy, Holy" to the Triune God - there will her church be a true house of God, a place of the real presence of Christ in the midst of a boisterous and unholy world. And this text will apply to her: "The LORD is in His temple! Let all the world be silent before Him!" (Habakkuk 2:20) (Hermann Sasse 1895-1976 from "The Lord Will Answer, a Daily Prayer Catechism" for Saturday, Epiphany 6 pg 128)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ya see what happens...

...when I skip even one lousy day of reading the sNEWs? They go full tilt bozo bonkers commie and threaten to nationalize the freaking banks!!

U.S. Lawmakers Clash Over Nationalizing Banks to Stem Declines

By Alison Vekshin

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senate and House Democrats who steer financial-industry legislation clashed over having the government take over some banks as a way to help lenders that have been hammered by the worst economic slump in 75 years. Full story.

Idiot commie crap! That's what I say. Yeah, I know I'm not supposed to be reading the news, but if they do this after only one day what will they get away with by the end of Lent? I could come back from the fast to find out we have freaking King or something! Gah! Snarfle gack fracking insanity! @#^%#@^!

Or maybe it's not really over

Father Hollywood thinks pointing out the nakedness of the Emperor might still make sense:

The police state's worst enemy is the little boy who points out the emperor's nakedness, the one not buying the propaganda and not intimidated into silence. That's why the police state doesn't want those "little boys" of every age and sex to have signs, blogs, or radio programs. (Full post)

Governmentium (Gv)

Well, since I can't talk about politics I guess I'll forward this "science" article I received from my sister Kari this morning ;-)

--

New Element Discovered

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from four days to four years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

May God help us survive this growing mass before it becomes a giant hole that sucks us all in!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fred says it's over

Oh man, I just said it was all over and it was pointless to continue screaming and fighting, now even one of my idols, the great Fred Reed, has thrown in the towel. :-(

Now is a good time to bow out.

My reasons for inditing the sucker were, first, to see whether a web column could work and, second, to get away from the strangling grasp of political correctness. A third reason, common I suppose to most columnists, was the hope that, however minor my voice might be, in combination with thousands of others it might engender pressure for slowing the rush into the high-tech medieval twilight that the culture has undertaken.

This by now is clearly quixotic. The civilizational changes we now see are both irremediable and beyond control. The peasantrification and empty glitter of society, pervasive hostility to careful thought, onrushing authoritarianism, and distaste for cultivation are now endemic. I do not know where these lead, but we are assuredly going to get there. Fuming buys nothing.

I have just turned 63. Judging by familial history I have ten to fifteen years left on the planet. I have no intention of spending them railing against the inevitable. Books need my reading when I again can, sunsets my supervision, Padre Kino my drinking. Nepal, I am persuaded, cannot survive without my doing some serious trekking over it. I cannot let an entire country die for want of my attention. There are crazy friends from distant times and far places with whom I need to eat noodles in various remote back streets and tell lies. Equally crazy daughters require my time. And I require theirs.

I thank my readers over the years, including those who gave me hell. You are a bright and wacky group, no two alike. If a writer can be judged by his audience, I have done well indeed. Starting in perhaps four months, any who wish can check the site, and welcome.

Fred, out.

Full Text Here

Bummer, I was holding out hope that it was just my own pessimism, but it seems even the most radical are giving it up. The fight is over, except for the blood and destruction. Which means the time for talk is ended for good.

Unschooling

A big part of unschooling is giving freedom to the child to direct her own life. We've gone so far as to make bed time free choice. It turns out Serenity is a total night owl. She hates getting up in the morning and dislikes going to bed at night before about midnight. This is not really a problem most of the time, she gets plenty of sleep, just on her schedule. Only if there is a family outing, like church on Sunday, do we pretty much insist she get up in the morning.

I mention this because over the last couple of months I made the mistake of signing Serenity up for not one but two morning classes! What was I thinking?!? To be honest they were both MY idea and not hers. I think I was getting nervous about the whole unschooling thing and wanted to make sure that she was "learning" something. There was the wonderful art class at Monart and then a science class at a local homeshooler's house presented by a "real science teacher." Serenity gave it a good try and enjoyed the classes for the most part, but two weeks ago asked to quit both of them for the perfectly legitimate reason that she does not like getting up in the mornings. I resisted until this morning when I realized that me rousting her out of bed and off to class in the morning is not exactly unschooling. :-/ So, Serenity is still in bed now, and the morning has been peaceful, no fight to get her up and dressed and off to "class" today! Which was a huge part of why she wanted to homeschool in the first place, and why I wanted her to homeshcool, the freedom to do what she wants without the big fight and hassle of conforming to everyone elses schedule... so, I guess I will make sure to consult with Serenity more carefully from now on when it comes to doing things like classes, and I certainly won't sign her up for any morning stuff, ever!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Martin Luther

I'm sort of holding to my attempt not read politics, which makes most of my blog reader activity just clicking on "Mark all read" for the time being. Today is the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther in 1546:

+ Martin Luther, Doctor and Reformer +

18 February AD 1546

Martin LutherMartin Luther, born on 10 November 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, initially began studies leading toward a degree in law. However, after a close encounter with death, he switched to the study of theology, entered an Augustinian monastery, was ordained a priest in 1505, and received a doctorate in theology in 1512.

As a professor at the newly-established University of Wittenberg, his Scriptural studies led him to question many of the church's teachings and practices, especially the selling of indulgences. His refusal to back down from his convictions resulted in his excommunication in 1521. Following a period of seclusion at the Wartburg castle, Luther returned to Wittenberg, where he spent the rest of his life preaching and teaching, translating the Scriptures, and writing hymns and numerous theological treatises.

Of course, Luther didn't work alone. First of all, he knew that the Holy Spirit, working through the Word, was principal actor in the Reformation, and said, "While I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends ... the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything." However, his "friends," including Philipp Melanchthon, Nicholas Amsdorf, Johannes Bugenhagen, and others contributed mightily to the cause. Meanwhile, his prince, Frederick III of Saxony, defended him. Finally, he probably received no earthly support greater than that of his beloved wife Katie.

We remember and honor his lifelong emphasis on the Biblical truth that for Christ's sake God declares us righteous by grace through faith alone. He died on 18 February 1546, while visiting the town of his birth.

Please visit Xrysostom for The Life of Martin Luther: A Chronology. A number of recommended books and web sites are included along with this biographical outline.

Lection

Psalm 46
Isaiah 55:6-11
Romans 10:5-17
John 15:1-11

Collect

O Lord God, heavenly Father, pour our Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people, keep them steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and comfort them in all temptation, defend them against all enemies of Your Word, and bestow on Christ's Church Militant Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lenten Fast

The Lenten Fast is approaching and once again I am considering what to "give up for Lent". In the past I've done such things as skipping meals, not eating meat and not reading the news or making political comments.

I think that this year I will do the last one, I will not read the news, I will not make any political comments. I will also start early this year and from today on I'll keep the fast. Maybe I can even manage to make it a permanent habit ;-)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Freedom, now retrievable only by armed revolt...

...well in England in any case.

Here in the USA? Probably the same story at this point. The Republican and Democratic wings of the One Ruling Party of America are both dedicated to the imposition of a totalitarian police state on the ruins of the Old Republic so the chances of it being reversed peacefully are exactly zero. Cute little squeals by Ron Paul and company with their well intentioned but ineffectual Campaign for Liberty will do nothing to stop this juggernaut. Armed revolt has the same chances of starting and even less of succeeding as turning it around politically. Why? The subjects of the American Empire don't actually want freedom, they like the all powerful nanny state, even though it comes with that slight inconvenience of the iron fist of totalitarian police power. "Your papers please." Hey, they said please!

Brits show Yanks how a police state is done

In years to come, those of us mourning the erosion of liberty in America will probably turn to each other from time to time and sigh, "It could be worse; we could be British." Actually, we can do that right now. Maybe it's something in the water over there, but the government of the UK seems to have watched the former Bush administration's abuses of due process and privacy (and the Obama administration's "nothing to see here" attitude toward maintaining much of the same), sneered "pikers," and set about to show the world how a democracy is really turned into a police state.

Things like this rarely happen over night, and sure enough, Britain's descent into the world of V for Vendetta has been building for a long time. There have been creeping restrictions on free speech, closed-circuit TV cameras on every corner, national ID cards on the way, and the like for many years.

But over the past two weeks ... Well, let's just look, shall we? (Read the rest.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Darwin Day!

People who posted this thought it was a slam against Darwinism, but most atheistic Darwinian types would have no real problem with it:


It is amusing though. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

That other birthday

Of course today is also the birthday, on the same day in 1809 as Darwin, of the despot and mass murdering war criminal, destroyer of the republic and vile pig, Lincoln.

Here is a nice sampling of real Lincoln information for those who only know what they were taught in the government indoctrination centers of their youth...

From Lew Rockwell.com

A 'Lincoln Scholar' Comes Clean

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo


Historian William Marvel is a past winner of the Lincoln Prize and the Douglas Southall Freeman Award for his scholarship. The author of Lee’s Last Retreat, Andersonville, and A Place Called Appomattox is described by the renowned Steven Sears as "The Civil War’s master historical detective." He is also unique among all the "Lincoln scholars" who I have read in that his books do NOT read like defense briefs in The War Crimes Trial of Abraham Lincoln, filled with hundreds of bizarre rationalizations for every odious or barbaric act. Instead, they read like they are written by a man searching for historical truth.

Marvel’s 2006 book, Mr. Lincoln Goes to War, says this on the inside cover: "Marvel leads the reader inexorably to the conclusion that Lincoln not only missed opportunities to avoid war but actually fanned the flames – and often acted quite unconstitutionally in prosecuting the war once it had begun." This is obviously not how to win another "Lincoln Prize."

The book is about Lincoln’s entire first year in office. It accurately portrays Lincoln’s henchman William Seward not as some Great Statesman but as "a coward & a sneak." Marvel does not hide the fact, as most other Lincoln "scholars" do, that Seward, on Lincoln’s instructions, orchestrated the passing through the U.S. Senate of a "constitutional amendment specifically prohibiting congressional interference with slavery" in the South. The Amendment, known as the Corwin Amendment, did pass the House and Senate before Lincoln’s inauguration. In his first inaugural address Lincoln explicitly pledged his support for the amendment. In that speech Lincoln also said that there need be "no bloodshed" unless a state refused to pay the tariff tax, which had just been doubled (the Morrill Tariff) two days before Lincoln’s inauguration. Since the Southern states that had seceded had no intention of paying taxes to the U.S. government any more than they intended to pay them to the British government, this was an explicit threat of war over tax collection.

Unlike all other Lincoln "scholars" who simply ignore this fact, preferring to dwell instead on atheistic Abe’s flaky religious rhetoric, Marvel states the truth: "Lincoln’s address drew [an] ominous reaction across the South. Moderate newspapers strained for hopeful interpretations, but the Richmond Dispatch read it as a declaration of war because of the implied threat of coercion." South Carolinians "translated Lincoln’s denial of the right of secession [in the speech] and his refusal to yield federal facilities [which the South offered to pay for] as a solemn promise to subjugate the Confederacy."

Another fact that Marvel, unlike all other Lincoln "scholars," does not shy away from is the fact that there was overwhelming support in the North in early 1861 for peaceful secession. He quotes newspapers in New York, Washington, Illinois, Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere as saying so. He also notes that there was a strong movement to form a "central Confederacy" involving New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey (See The Secession Movement in the Middle Statesby William C. Wright). All of this shows that most Americans, unlike Dishonest Abe, understood that the union was voluntary and not held together by the threat of mass murder, looting, pillaging, plundering, and the burning of entire cities.

Lincoln’s decision to incite a war had nothing to do with freeing slaves, writes Marvel. "[H]e gambled [by resupplying Fort Sumter] on provoking a war to assure the dominance of federal authority." Marvel also understands that the real Lincoln was no Great Statesman but a most ordinary, Illinois machine politician who had maneuvered himself into the White House where he fully intended to continue his machine politician’s ways. "The president interested himself in the most minor patronage of his cabinet members, annoying his attorney general by interfering even in the assignment of federal marshals." He was an early day Governor Blagojevich, in other words, a "pay or play" politician.

Lincoln’s objective at Fort Sumter, writes Marvel, was to "launch a patriotic frenzy" in the North as a prelude to waging total war on his own country. The "frenzy" was not exactly spontaneous, and not as "patriotic" as the Lincoln "scholars" contend. The Republican Party orchestrated mayhem in cities throughout the North:

Perceived reluctance and insincerity [to invade and murder their fellow citizens] led Unionist mobs to descend on dissident businesses and individuals, demanding nationalistic demonstrations. Pennsylvania mobs destroyed the offices of dissenting newspapers, forced business owners to adorn their buildings with flags, and intimidated political figures into public expressions of Unionism. In New York City a resident described an absolute ‘despotism of opinion’ in which considerations of personal safety discouraged any unflattering remarks about the Lincoln administration or government policy.

And they say fascism began in Europe in the 1920s. Furthermore, Republican Party "orators" saw to it that "listeners came to have their hearts steeped in hatred" toward their fellow citizens of the Southern states, as "speakers competed for the most venomous denunciations of all things Southern." German immigrant Carl Schurtz informed Mid-Westerners that "all the world wants to march" to war. Any who disagreed, writes Marvel, "risked physical violence." The Lincoln "scholars" call this "national unity."

Marvel describes in chapter and verse how Lincoln ordered the arrest of the Maryland legislature (in a chapter entitled "The Despot’s Heel") despite the constitutional requirement that the states be assured a representative form of government, and how he ignored the Southern peace commissioners who sought a compromise. He also recognizes the importance of Lincoln’s illegal suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus, which was followed by the imprisonment of at least 13,000 Northern political dissenters without any due process. "Without that repression, later war measures, like the imposition of direct federal conscription for military service, might not have survived public opposition to become fixtures contradictory to a free society."

When the public did protest the revocation of their personal liberties, "Lincoln responded to the public outcry with more severe repression . . . and with more audacious examples of it," in fine Stalinist fashion. Soon he "would grow sufficiently confident to wield unilateral authority and military might against the most fundamental elements of democracy, imprisoning duly elected representatives of the people, arresting opposition candidates, and ‘monitoring’ elections with soldiers . . ." Think of these actions the next time you read one of Lincoln’s pretty speeches about government "of the people and by the people."

Lincoln "scholars" can never, ever mention the possibility that the U.S., like all the other countries of the world in the nineteenth century that ended slavery (including the British and Spanish empires, the French, Danes, Swedes, Dutch, and others), could have done so peacefully and in a relatively short amount of time. For by doing so they would be admitting that there was an alternative to having the federal government murder some 350,000 fellow citizens in the 1860s, the equivalent of 3.5 million deaths today standardizing for today’s population. That’s why today’s Lincoln "scholars" devote inordinate time and effort to repeating Lincoln’s religious rhetoric while ignoring so many of the plain facts of history. Lincoln covered up his war crimes with a masterful use of religious rhetoric; his modern-day excuse makers are merely following his lead.

Not Marvel. "[P]eaceful emancipation on some scale seems at least to have been feasible," he writes. "The repeal of the fugitive slave laws would have encouraged even more slaves to escape . . . further weakening the institution. . ." Furthermore, "just as isolation hastened the end of apartheid government in South Africa, the international stigma and external economic pressures of an increasingly enlightened world ought eventually to have driven Confederates . . . to a voluntary abolition . . ." This of course is how slavery was ended in the Northern states – voluntarily and for mostly economic reasons, supplemented with the beginnings of a moral crusade.

For those who are wading through the putrid swamp of Lincoln "scholarship" that seems to have exploded in recent months thanks to Abe’s 200th birthday, and are seeking something other than yet another bundle of doubletalk and circular reasoning, read Lincoln Goes to War and its sequel, Lincoln’s Darkest Year: The War in 1862, by William Marvel.

February 12, 2009

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest AbeandHow Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2009 LewRockwell.com

Happy Birthday Chuck!


Today was Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, or would have been if he hadn't dropped dead long ago. :-)

Serenity and I celebrated with some TVE Homeschool folks out in Livermore. Jenny set up a huge time line covering 3.8 billion years that was very cool. There was also a demonstration of the sexual aspect of natural selection using colored tiles which demonstrated that even though a trait like a bright color might make a species more susceptible to predation the increased success in breeding due to that trait can result in that trait driving out what would otherwise seem to be a better trait. Another demonstration used a variety of colored beans to demonstrate differences in survival rates under predation. Colored beans were scattered around the front yard and the kids "hunted" them down. Starting with 100 each of six different types we discovered, as expected, that large white beans were easy to locate and "capture" while the small green beans blended into the lawn never to be seen again ;-)

After the science there was cupcake and brownie eating followed by sugar powered running and playing. :-) A great time was had by all!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Socialists?

Of course prior to the election when we libertarians claimed Obama was a socialist people for the most part scoffed and called us alarmists. But now that the economy has been thoroughly nationalized with trillion dollar buy-outs, well the main stream press is admitting what we knew all along.

So Long Freedom! It was fun while it lasted. Your papers please, thank you very much, now give us all of your money, we will provide gruel and a roof, don't bother working...



Well, I'm not a socialist, I will never be a socialist yet I will not continue to fight against it. It's the end of the American Republic in all but name, there is nothing left to fight for!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Patent insanity

Micro-crud is continuing its ongoing effort to bring all progress in computer software to a grinding halt by it's ridiculous patent farming scheme...

First read this on Cnet: Microsoft gets 10,000th patent

Then read this to discover just how horrible the first one really is. Seen and Unseen Costs of Patents by Jeffery Tucker.

And if you are really ambitious and have lots of free time read Against Intellectual Monopoly.

Patents and copyrights are both evil. No matter what the FBI warning says at the start of your DVD (my granddaughter chants "Blah! blah! blah!" whenever it flashes onto the screen) copying it is not a crime in any real sense. No more than smoking unapproved herbs is anyway.

How much is a trillion dollars? (AKA-Stimulate This!)

From the Houston Chronicle:

I heard a commentator try to put the number 1,000,000,000,000 into perspective. We throw these numbers around so easily. What do they mean?

Here's one way to think about it. We could spend one million dollars every day since the day Jesus was born and we would still not have one trillion dollars. Do the math. Jesus was born about 2012 years ago. 2012 x 365.2 = 734,782.4. So if we spent one million dollars every day since the day Jesus was born, we'd have spent $734,782,400,000 or almost 735 billon dollars. The numbers we are dealing with are staggering. This is, of course, on top of what we have already spent in corporate bailouts and our oppressive debt left over from the last 40 years of overspending our budget.

Yikes.

Issues Etc. Trademark issue

They finally got the link up on Issues Etc. so here is the actual podcast:


Catholics giving indulgences still

Proving they remain the heretics they were 490 years ago when brother Martin grabbed a hammer and eventually restored the gospel to the Church...

Brother Martin has some comments on Strange Herring:

Plenary Indulgence Proclaimed, Lutherans Raid Hardware Stores for Hammers

Posted by Martin Luther (Doktor) on February 10, 2009

url9I should never have dropped dead, then I wouldn’t be alive now to see this.

For the last time: sin in unquantifiable. The idea of some Treasury of Merits from which the Church can extract a handful of grace-filled pixie dust and sprinkle it on the sufficiently contrite is a ludicrous perversion of the meaning of grace itself. It is God’s merciful and UNMERITED disposition toward us in Christ.

It is not to be manipulated, bargained with — or, Heaven help us, earned.

Dispensing penances based on the severity of sins is like experimenting with vitamin regimens on Julius Caesar.

If it makes you happy …

But I despair of salutary results …

The Cross and the Cross alone covers over all sin. If the Lord wishes to chastise an individual as a corrective, to remind a transgressor that he is a vessel of the Holy Spirit, He will do so without the aid of a priest or bishop, as He did in the case of King David.

As for the fable that is purgatory, from which indulgences are intended to spare the quivering soul, pfft.

I am afraid Rome makes the same mistake that reincarnationists make on this point. Just as there are not enough lifetimes that could conceivably be lived to burn one’s “karma” and thereby conquer death, so too there is no human work — either in this life through penances and pilgrimages or in the next through suffering the pains of purgative fires — that can undo even the temporal consequences of one errant thought. That is the severity of sin, such that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity had to assume human flesh and hang on a tree to rescue us.

And need I remind you that the birth of the plenary indulgence is to be found in Pope Urban II’s goading of the very first crusaders. “Die in a Crusade against the heathen, win a ticket to Heaven.”

Sound familiar?

My friends, turn from sin and cling to the Cross. Forsake these vain attempts at self-justification, these man-made trifles, these “transactions” between you and a holy God. The only transaction that matters is the one wherein you are granted Christ’s righteousness and Christ takes upon Himself your sin.

Listen to me! Or I shall come to your home and sit on you.

Now … breakfast, and DVR’d repeats of Just Shoot Me! What kind of mess will Nina get up to today?

Reading through the Psalms

I have a habit of reading through the Psalms and Proverbs once a month, I've done it for quite a while now, yet almost every day it seems there is something new that leaps out at me from my readings. The Psalms are the prayer book of the church, they have depths we cannot exhaust in or short mortal lives. Last night Psalm 49:5-9 and then Psalm 49:15 spoke to me while I was feeling a little bitter toward the rich looters grabbing the wealth of America at our expense and claiming it's for our own good. In the end they will have nothing, while we as Christians are the heirs to God and so have everything! :-)

Monday, February 9, 2009

LCMesS

Well the totalitarian semi-Lutherans running the LCMesS have struck again. I'll let Todd Wilken explain it below.

Note to the LCMesS "leadership": guys, you are looking more and more foolish and vindictive. We know you are not Lutherans, why don't you just give up the "Issues Etc." trademark, and while you're at it you might consider dropping "Lutheran" from LCMesS! You can keep the "Missouri Synod" part and the confessional Lutherans can keep the "Lutheran Church" part. Deal?

Well, I was going to "embed" the short segment where Todd talks about the trademark and lawsuit threat but it seems not to be on the web page at Issues Etc. So, here is the iTunes URL instead, you can download and listen to it there. Just click on play after iTunes opens and it should play an Open Mikes segment of about ten minutes. It's worth listening to and will really tick you off if you are a Missoui Synod Lutheran.

I told you so...

Obama is no different, he's just Bush with more melanin, so what was all the excitement about?

Obama sticks to Bush stance on torture suit

So, the wars go on, torture goes on, the economy implodes while the government prints phony money to drive us all into poverty while still trying vainly to prop up a collapsing but useless and pointless empire. Duh.

More on the USZ

United States of Zimbabwe talk again, it's looking more and more like we are heading down the road of hyperinflation, which will finally be the end of the Empire, if not the USZ itself.


The Value of Lazy

Good post over on "Life without School" about laziness, or what is perceived by laziness by the culture:

Dinner with unschooling friends; kids mixing and mingling all around, is the perfect place for a blog post to begin. Lively conversation, intense debate; it's all excellent fodder for my brain to percolate on educational philosophy and our collective parenting culture. This particular evening led to lots of conversation about the way our culture views laziness.

Webster's says that the definition of lazy is: averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent. Sounds pretty negative, huh? Particularly because we live in a culture which values work and productivity above many other things. We've created a system of pay-offs and incentives to train children to become workers so that we can continue making more, being more, doing more, and then we hurry up and do a little bit more so that we can finally relax when we're 70. Interesting system, I think. And not very supportive of creativity, mindfulness, or letting things unfold in a gentle manner.

Read More

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Yesterday evening Lora, Serenity and I took the train to San Francisco for the Lunar New Year Parade. It was pretty good, though it's not something you need to see every year :-)


After the parade we went and had dinner at Tadich Grill, the oldest restaurant in California, founded by Croatians in 1849 and still owned by Croatians today, though there are no Croat dishes on the menu ;-/ The waiter said that they do serve Dalmatian stew from time to time, the menu changes regularly so you never know quite what you are going to get, it's always good food though!


"In 1849, an unassuming coffee stand was founded on the San Francisco waterfront. Enduring earthquakes, fires, and changes of name, location, and ownership, that establishment still stands, now known as the Tadich Grill, California’s oldest restaurant. The constants throughout the Tadich’s evolution have been hearty seafood and other local specialties, and the stewardship of Croatian American families. John Tadich immigrated to San Francisco in 1872 and started working at the then-called New World Coffee Saloon soon after, becoming sole owner in 1887. He sold the restaurant in 1928 to the Buich family, which has carried on the Tadich tradition ever since. A destination restaurant and a local treasure, the Tadich Grill continues to evoke an old-world feel."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nancy Pelosi, what an embarrassment to California...

...and the whole American Empire of course. She is a typical politician though, stupid, vicious, power hungry. But stupid always comes first.

500 million Americans will lose their jobs? Here is Video proof of a real American Hero... idiot in action.




Thanks to Strange Herring, again.

If God didn't want us to eat animals...

...why did he make them out of meat? (and taste so good?)

I fell off the wagon again ;-) I had a buy one get one free coupon from Quiznos and instead of getting two veggie subs I got a "Traditional" with roast beef, turkey, ham and cheese along with a "Honey Bacon Club" with turkey, bacon, ham and cheese.

Not quite vegan subs those. :-P

OK, I start over again tomorrow. Taste aside the moral and environmental issues have to carry quite a bit of weight with me...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chad Vader

Who needs NBC anyway? Not me, not when fine entertainment like "Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager" is on the web. Chad Vader is Darth Vader's less charismatic younger brother... Here is episode one from last season (Check out the full series here.)


Bizzaro


So, I was checking out the latest cartoon and blog post on Bizzaro.com and found out via this link that Dan Piraro is Vegan! Cool. Which reminded me that I was intending on going that way myself but people keep shoving animal flesh at me and I keep eating it. Blech. I must try be less polite, you know me, always so genteel and shy about expressing my opinions that I just go along with everything proposed, even against my will. ;-)

This cartoon also brought back to mind the classic "Cows with Guns" video.


In Crusade Against Barry Bonds, Feds Victimize Family To Get Trainer To Talk

Ah, this just really makes me PROUD (proud in this context means embarrassed and disgusted) to be an American! From Lew Rockwell.com:

What's the best way to get a tough guy to cooperate? You lean on his family, right? Even the hardest case will usually break if you smack his kids around, threaten his wife or ... send 20 federal agents crashing through his mother-in-law's front door? Yup. That's what the federal government did as part if its jihad against accused steroid-user Barry Bonds; a mob of IRS and FBI agents raided the home of Madeleine Gestas, mother to the wife of uncooperative trainer Greg Anderson.

It should be no surprise that the federal government uses mob-like tactics in pursuit of its goals. Fundamentally, government is just the Mafia with better PR. You tick off the wrong people, you'll wake up next to a severed horse head.

Except that the government's version of a severed head usually has a little more finesse, since politicians control the law books. And tax law makes an especially handy horse's head, since it's so easily subject to interpretation and carries harsh penalties.

Read the rest of the article

NBC anti-life?

I would boycott NBC, if I ever watched it that is. I actually never watch anything on the old line networks, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX. Everything I watch is on the cable only stations... do they still broadcast over the air? Ah well, this story is about the fact that it seems NBC refused to air an ad put together by some Catholic outfit that features an embryo and all of the hardships it faced in early life ending up with the revelation that they were talking about Obama. Here is the ad, check it out and see how unoffensive it is. Like I said, if I watched them I'd quit now. :-/