|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, May 09, 2003
Posted 9:53 AM by WiN
Presidential sex symbol?
After Bill "Open-fly boy" Clinton, we assumed that the words "sex" and "president" would not be appearing together in print for a while. But along comes George W. "Fly-boy" Bush and blows that theory to hell [link via the Barrel of Fish].
Heck, if a guy that's more than a little gray around the temples and is sporting a widow's peak can be "hot", maybe there's hope for middle-aged guys like moi. Gotta lose 30 or 40 pounds before I slip into that flight suit, though. Maybe by Halloween - I'll go as "Military" Bush. Gotta work on my smirk, too.
Thursday, May 08, 2003
Posted 6:13 PM by WiN
Tornado hits central OK again
Almost exactly 4 years after the devastating May 3, 1999 tornado that left thousands homeless, another tornado has swept through the central Oklahoma area right through the Oklahoma City metro area.
I'm sure you'll see plenty of coverage of this on the evening news, but I just wanted to let anyone who is concerned know that I and everyone that I know is safe. I'll be checking up on other bloggers from this area, and also posting info about relief efforts for those who are interested.
Posted 10:14 AM by WiN
I predict much longer lines for the loo
To be perfectly honest, I'd love to have a setup like this in my home, but the sainted wife would never go for it. Unless we had 'His 'n' Hers' potties. My 'library' already strains the bounds of acceptability.
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Posted 11:26 AM by WiN
Posted 6:56 AM by WiN
Official announcement on Iraqi WMD imminent?
With this story from Reuters today, it appears that the Bush administration may be close to making an announcement on evidence discovered so far in the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction [link via Richard Bennett's Omphalos]. The story reveals that a tractor-trailer turned over "in late April" to U.S. forces in northern Iraq may be one of the reputed "mobile weapons labs" used by Iraqi scientists to work on chemical and biological weapons while avoiding detection by U.N. inspectors.
"There is no question that we are going to find weapons of mass destruction and the infrastructure that goes with the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. And I think, actually, that announcements are quite close," said (a) U.S. official in Paris, who asked not to be identified.I don't think I could state my reaction to this news any better than Richard did:
With evidence like this falling into place, I wonder how long it will be before ANSWER and fellow travelers admit they were wrong on the "there are no WMDs in Iraq" charge. Prolly gonna take a while.Eggzackly.
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
Posted 8:58 PM by WiN
Marriage, divorce, child support and the Feds
I really can't do justice to the insight provided by this article on NRO on the government's role in today's crisis in marriage and fatherlessness. Suffice to say, for those looking to the federal government to solve the problem it's just about as likely for O.J. to find the "real murderer". If you have any interest in this topic at all, this article is an excellent exposition on the current state of the family in America and how we got here. Check it out.
Posted 2:59 PM by WiN
A day off
Clubbeaux has had a rough last few days fighting atheist perfidy. A reasonable soul sure couldn't blame him for wanting to take a little break from fighting G-dless leftists. And that's exactly what he did. Check out the idyllic world of Clubbeaux’s day off.
Wandering on with a bottle of Boone’s Farm in one hand and another clothing-optional lady friend, Rainbow hanging on the other Clubbeaux is hailed by another group to come and turn on to a discussion they’re having. Now that God is dead, that the patriarchichal archetypes have been rooted from the Western world’s consciousness isn’t it wonderful, wonderful that we’re all now free to let our souls expand to Eastern levels of cosmic consciousness? That instead of being hung up on sin and guilt and commandments and bad trips like that, we’re all now free to explore our inner divinity, to rise to a harmonic convergence with nature and the universal consciousness? Yes, Clubbeaux agrees, eyes misting over in the wonderment of it all, yes that would be so, so lovely, unspeakably lovely, much like this spirit-partner Rainbow here whom I’ve never met in this incarnation before three minutes ago, but whom I can tell is somebody I have known in a previous life, and if you’ll excuse us we’ll go renew our acquaintance with the help of this incense in her tent over there. How beautiful this way of life is, Clubbeaux thinks, how perfect.Go read the whole thing - it's worth your trouble. A masterpiece.
Monday, May 05, 2003
Posted 10:48 AM by WiN
Why charity works and welfare doesn't
Through a chance click-through from The Great Den Beste's site, I came across a new blog for the blogroll - Work In Progress by Chris T.
One of the posts that really hooked me was this one which was originally meant as a comment to this post. Chris's post makes a very cogent argument for why one-to-one charity, of the type advocated by Jesus, is generally extremely effective whereas welfare, defined as assistance distributed by some large, faceless organization or government entity, doesn't.
We can save a fool from his folly on the small scale because all but the truly immoral will see the damage that their folly is causing; they will see what other people are doing for them and what is being left undone on their account. In the more natural system, there are significant checks on people acting foolishly....What it boils down to is, when you put a face to the person who is willing to sacrifice some of what is theirs (time, money, talents) for the sake of another, so that the one being helped is fully aware of both the person and their sacrifice, they have a natural human tendency to try to improve in order to reduce the burden on the giver. When the person being helped receives the help from some faceless bureaucracy, they have no such incentive. The assistance they are getting come from a seemingly inexhaustible supply, which no one in particular is having to sacrifice to maintain. Therefore, there is no incentive for them to change.
I think this touches on the very basic reason why government assistance of any kind is not only misguided and generally ineffective, but is often harmful to those being helped. If they have no incentive to improve their lot, to strive to pull themselves out of their temporary misfortune, then their suffering becomes habitual and ongoing. If, on the other hand, they are made acutely aware of the 'cost' of the assistance provided, they have much more of a motivation to expend that effort and withstand temporary inconvenience and even hardship in order to improve.
The great social welfare programs instituted during the last 65 years in America have constituted perhaps the most colossal waste of resources in the history of civilization. The social security 'safety net' (a legalized Ponzi scheme), the 'War on Poverty' (a forced redistribution of income), Medicaid and Medicare, to name but a few, have not only squandered billions upon billions of dollars but have also ruined literally millions of lives by removing all incentives to work, save for the future and take reasonable care of one's health. That is why the success of President Bush's 'Faith Based Initiative' is so crucial. It represents a sea-change in the philosophy of how we help 'our neighbor' in America. The ultimate goal, in my mind, is for government to act only as the provider of the incentive to help others in our community, using local faith-based services, by giving tax credits for qualifying direct contributions. The money should never go to Washington in the first place. It should stay in the community where it can be put to work helping friends, neighbors and family whose faces we see and whose hand we can take and whose tears we can dry - first hand. And that, in my view, is how Jesus intended us to 'love our neighbor as ourselves'. I pray that I will see that day come.
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.