|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
Check this cat out:
Friday, February 28, 2003
Posted 3:15 PM by WiN
"In case of terrorist attack, consider moving to one of the solar systems' outer planets"
Posted 8:08 AM by WiN
"When I think about heaven, it is a state in which we are so greatly loved that there is no fear and doubt and disillusionment and anxiety. It is where people really do look at you with those eyes of Jesus." - Fred Rogers
You will see in all the tributes to Fred Rogers that he was an "ordained minister" in the Presbyterian church. I don't know about most people, but I used to think when I heard that, "Oh, well, perhaps when he was young he thought he wanted to become a minister but then he moved on to doing the show." This world makes us so cynical, and I hate that when I see it in myself. I always figured, well, here's some Dr. Spock disciple who buys into all this government social services junk (I mean, he's on PBS after all!) and he's probably left all that God stuff behind him. So I can't tell you how much it means to me to find out how wrong I've been. I heard one of the hosts on the Christian radio station I listen to say that Fred Rogers "loved the Lord". I had to find out if this was true, so I went to their web site and found a link to this story from Christianity Today. It's long, but it was well worth it to me to find out the truth about 'Mister Rogers'.
But Mister Rogers still believes that human beings are God's vessels of mystery and beauty and he refuses to give up hope. "I have seen in my life too many indications of what is wonderful about human beings. I think the accuser would have us be so despairing that we wouldn't do anything. You know the effect of one little candlelight in great darkness. That sounds simple, but it's true.Here's some very interesting quotes from Margaret McFarland, who co-founded the Arsenal Family and Children's Center with Erik Erikson and Benjamin Spock and served as Fred Rogers' mentor in learning how to effectively reach children with his show:
Margaret McFarland believed that "As a child is loved, he loves in return." She said that to understand children, we have to understand "powerful human influences" and "strong impulses conceived in love." She called it "part and counterpart," the interplay--positive or negative--between humans and their intimate relationships. The nature of this interplay is critical during a child's early years. Things can go very wrong, she said, if a child does not receive positive messages. "There is no daycare center that replaces the mother," she said. "[If] in the future children are reared in groups, the human personality will become different."Very simple, very obvious, but how profound that sounds in today's 'It takes a village' world.
One more quote from this story that really touched me. He is talking to the interviewer about his mentor from seminary, Dr. William S. Orr.
"He was a great influence on many of our lives. Not just because he was brilliant," he says. "He was the kind of person who would go out on a winter's day for lunch and come back without his overcoat.And we, your television neighbors, will never forget you Mister Rogers.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Posted 2:58 PM by WiN
Fred Rogers is dead at 74
Fred Rogers, butt of many jokes and satirical skits, died today after a long bout with stomach cancer.
Rogers was diagnosed with cancer in December 2002 and had surgery in early January, but his health declined in the past two weeks, said Bill Isler, head of Family Communications. Funeral arrangements were incomplete, but Isler said a private service for the family and a public memorial would be scheduled soon.I remember watching Mr. Rogers as a kid, even though I was older than his target audience. I especially enjoyed how he would have 'field trips' to places to show how things were made. I remember one of my favorites was the Crayola Crayon factory. It was beyond comprehension how many thousands of crayons, of every hue imaginable, were moving through those manufacturing machines. I thought stuff like that was cool, even though I found the Land of Make-Believe stuff pretty banal.
Anyway, anyone who related to Fred Rogers when they were in their childhood will most likely take this pretty hard. I know I am. Sure, he was easy to poke fun at, but to a kid he was an adult who listened, who took the time to explain things, and who seemed to understand how a kid felt. That was pretty important, especially to us who grew up without father figures in their lives. The positive impact he's had on millions of lives is immeasurable. Not too many folks can say that.
God bless you, Fred Rogers, and thanks for being there for us kids. I appreciate it.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Posted 3:28 PM by WiN
Griff's still got it. And u l t r a m i c r o s c o p i c has been around for 7 dog years now. Go ahead and blogroll it. You won't regret it.
Posted 1:38 PM by WiN
More blogroll favs
Clicking through the blogroll - Education section - is both a delight and depressing. A delight in that there are such super-brainy yet articulate people on the right side of education, like Kim at Number 2 Pencil and Lisa at Education Weak, and depressing in that they tell the unvarnished tale of how far public education in this country has fallen due to the ministrations of the NEA and their ilk, like in this story. Keep fighting the good fight, guys! And thanks for keeping us informed.
Posted 11:43 AM by WiN
Carnival of the Vanities is up on Kesher Talk
Check out the bloggy goodness that is CotV.
Posted 10:30 AM by WiN
Helen Thomas - raving lunatic...
...and other tidbits from Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus today. You must read the whole thing, but here are some of my favorite morsels:
Posted 9:33 AM by WiN
Saddam says he will stay
According to excerpts from his interview with 'Bagdhad Dan' Rather, Saddam says "We will die here. We will die in this country and we will maintain our honor."
Well, I don't know about you, but that makes me feel a lot better about the chances of a post-Saddam Iraq being ruled by a democratic republic that respects individual liberty and the rule of law, especially if Bush picks the right partners. But it might not make the Russians too happy.
Posted 9:30 AM by WiN
Indiana abortion counseling law stands
On Tuesday the Supreme Court opted not to review a lower court decision on an Indiana abortion counseling law enacted in 1995. The law requires both an 18-hour waiting period and that women seeking abortion be given certain facts about abortion risks and the fetus. Abortion advocates argue that the law creates an unlawful barrier to abortion by necessitating two trips and causing greater exposure to the mother from those who would not want them to abort the child i.e. a spouse or parent.
Although I am adamantly pro-life, I also realize the futility of the 'all or nothing' mentality that has prevented the pro-life movement from making any headway in reducing the demand for abortion on demand. This law provides for two of the three constraints on abortion that I think would go a long way in short-circuiting the rampant 'no-fault' abortion mentality that our nation has fallen into since Roe v Wade. The most important thing the pro-life movement has going for it is the truth about abortion, and they should press that advantage whenever possible. Women seeking abortions should be fully informed about the long-term physical and emotional ramifications of abortion, both of which have been well-documented by the medical community. They should be informed about the developmental stage of their baby, its' viability and, ideally, be given a chance to view their infant 'face-to-face' via 3-D sonogram.
The other two provisions for abortion-on-demand that I would like to see, and that I believe the vast majority of the American public would agree makes sense, are a reasonable waiting period after a woman has all the facts, and the enforcement of some minimal safety and health regulations for every abortion facility - at least as stringent as those imposed on "emergency care clinics".
At heart I am pro-life, and I am greatly saddened not only by the millions of lives snuffed out by abortion but also for those childless couples who long to shower one of those "unwanted" babies with love and care. But my head says that a solid federalist approach, letting states set their own abortion standards according to local culture, is the only 'fair' way to approach the question of abortion law. This law, and this decision, is but one small step in the right direction along that path, and serves to further marginalize the radical pro-abortion position that is losing favor in mainstream America.
Posted 7:13 AM by WiN
A Man of God has gone Home
I just learned this morning that L.A. pastor E.V. Hill has gone home. I have heard Rev. Hill preach many times, mostly in conjunction with the Promise Keepers ministry, and I consider him one of the great men of God of our day. He has touched literally hundreds of thousands of men with the Truth of the Gospel and God's message of forgiveness and restoration. He will be greatly missed.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Posted 5:47 PM by WiN
I continued my neverending task of revisiting the sites on my blogroll(s), just to see if (1.) they're still there (2.) they're still blogging (3.) they're still worth reading. Decided to check in with that crusty curmudgeon, the Grouchy Old Cripple in Atlanta. He's changed domain names (duly updated) and is still turning out gems like this screed-slash-fisk of the 'Not In Our Name' ad.
Keep up the good work, Denny.
Posted 3:42 PM by WiN
Posted 2:41 PM by WiN
Larry Miller vs. the Peace Mantras
No, it's not an old Japanese horror flick. It's actually a very thoughtful rundown of the most popular mantras of the Peace In Our Time crowd by the Weekly Standard's funnyman, Larry Miller. Only this time, he's more pensive than funny.
I know facts don't matter to people whose favorite hobby is shouting, but has no one noticed that if we wanted Iraq's oil so much, all we'd have to do is make a deal with Saddam tomorrow? Oil companies aren't running policy, because if they were, that would be it: Sign a deal with the man.I truly believe that very, very few people actually want a war with Iraq. We wish that diplomacy, economic sanctions, international tribunals - whatever - could bring down murderous tyrants like Saddam and dismantle dangerous regimes that seek to rule using fear, intimidation and torture. We'd love to see a world free of terrible weapons of mass destruction that kill in horrible ways. If only life were like that old Coke commercial - "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony..." But it ain't.
There are bullies, and murderers, and just plain evil people who rule hundreds of millions of people and control unbelievably terrifying weapons and would use them to have their way, if they could do so without suffering too great a consequence. For better or for worse, it falls to America at this time in history to provide the threat of that consequence. And God help us if we ever abdicate our authority for the mere sake of 'peace'. There's another liberal mantra - If you want peace, work for justice. Let's bring justice to Iraq. Soon. And then maybe, just maybe, peace will break out. [via Balloonjuice]
Posted 1:44 PM by WiN
Posted 1:27 PM by WiN
Axis of Evil - Fact or Fiction?
There are those who scoff at the term 'Axis of Evil', contending that the concept of evil is a moral construct, irrelevant at best in matters of statecraft. Another argument is that the secular dictatorship of Iraq, the Islamic fundamentalism of Iran and the Stalinist national gulag of Kim Jong Il have nothing in common that could even remotely justify the term 'axis'. What will they say when confronted with the truth?
"Over the years, [the Iranian Security Ministry] sent a number of groups of Revolutionary Guards personnel and security [forces personnel] to North Korea. Among those who received combat training were Revolutionary Guards Commander Rahim Safavi and his deputy Dhu-Al-Qadr. Among the personnel of the [Iranian Revolutionary] Guards were units of pilots who received training in flying and parachuting operations, among them Brigadier-General Kalibaf (now military forces commander). Our group included intelligence officers. The first time I went for 40 days and participated in special courses on psychological warfare and counter-espionage, and the second time, I stayed in North Korea again for 40 days and participated in a special course for protecting nuclear and other secret installations."On ties between the Iranian security apparatus and Iraq:
"After the [Gulf] war, the [Iranian Revolutionary] Guards, commanded by Morteza Rezai, established commercial companies in order to provide work for the Guards personnel and the Basij [paramilitary units loyal to Khamenei that operate together with the Revolutionary Guards]."Do they have the courage and integrity to correct their false assumptions? I'm not holding my breath. [interview translation and transcription via MEMRI]
Posted 1:11 PM by WiN
Right-wing politics and free market economists - in Europe?
Like Republicans in San Francisco and Democrats in New Hampshire, they do exist. And according to this report from NRO, the momentum is actually beginning to shift towards the right.
Seen from the U.S., Europe is a monolithic miasma of anti-American fever, high taxes, and absurd regulations. That view is about two years out of date.So what does this mean for American policy, and Bush foreign policy in particular?
And as the Left loses power and influence, anti-Americanism fades. Notice that the eight prime ministers who recently signed a letter in favor of America's coming liberation of Iraq were all from center-right governments elected or reelected in the past two years? Or flip the question around: What do Germany, Belgium, and France have in common? Germany has a left-wing coalition government, Belgium has a left-right coalition government and French president Jacques Chirac spent the last two decades "co-habiting" with a Socialist-Communist party coalition government. Anti-Americanism is a left-wing thing, not a European thing.For those who favor a new economic paradigm of cross-Atlantic trade between the U.S. and former communist-bloc 'New Europe', the signs are good. For 'Old Europe', those who cling to stagnant socialist economic theory, it's time to wake up and smell the greenbacks or get left behind in the coming American-led free-market economic turnaround.
Monday, February 24, 2003
Posted 10:05 AM by WiN
Justice Dept. joins candy cane case
CNSNews is reporting that the U.S. Justice Department has filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of seven students who were suspended from school for handing out candy canes with religious messages attached right before Christmas break. The Liberty Counsel, which provides legal support in many civil liberties cases involving freedom of religion, has filed a lawsuit against the students' school in the federal district court.
I'm glad to see that these kids are standing up for what they believe, and also that they are challenging their school's unwritten policy of allowing other, non-religious groups to disseminate information but prohibiting their Christ-centered message. I know that school officials are wary of ACLU lawsuits charging First Amendment violations, but if they are going to prohibit religious messages at least they should be even-handed about it. So far, no school that I'm aware of prohibits activities or speech related to Halloween (an important wiccan holiday), St. Patrick's day (Irish Roman Catholic holiday), or Kwanzaa (a holiday invented from whole cloth and loosely related to African pagan beliefs). Not to mention the explicitly taught, officially sanctioned religion of secular humanism*. I'm not asking that Christianity be the only religious viewpoint allowed to be presented, just that it (and Judaism) be given equal footing. I have reason to think the tide is turning, and kids like the ones at Westfield are helping to make it happen.
* See also this summary of federal court cases which establish that secular humanism is to be considered a religion for First Amendment purposes.
Posted 8:36 AM by WiN
Pilot gun rules "a huge problem"
After receiving a mandate from congress to allow pilots to volunteer to carry a weapon on the flight deck, the TSA formulated regulations that pilots say are discouraging the practice. The chairman of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance says that psychological examination by a TSA psychologist (pilots are already screened every six months by the FAA) and the requirement that the weapon be carried in a locked box are meant to discourage volunteers for the program.
"We know they're not trying to give us the most secure method for carrying these weapons," he said. "What they are trying to do, in our view, is give us the most cumbersome and difficult method that will minimize the number of volunteers."I predict that there will be quite a few volunteers anyway, but the psychological examination should be protested. If these guys aren't stable enough to carry a gun, they shouldn't be flying a commercial airliner. The TSA is fast becoming an oxymoron.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.