Posts categorized “Rants”

A Conservatarian at Large

December 25, 2019   4:45 pm

As I stated in my last post, I have realigned my political affiliation. I set out to find previous posts I’ve written here which no longer reflect my opinions, and I didn’t find much. Most of the things I would write differently if I were writing them today would differ in tone more than content. This confirms my suspicion that it wasn’t me who changed as much as it was my party.

To be fair, I’m quite happy with many of the things the current administration has done. The Supreme Court has a nice balance now, regularly confounding people who expect party-line votes from what is supposed to be a non-partisan institution. There are now enough strict-constructionist justices that the Constitution is being followed much more closely. And, for as much scorn as I’ve heaped on “the resistance,” it’s been nice to have a press that sees how unjust many of the things our government has been doing is. It’s a shame they lose interest when it’s discovered that prior administrations also did those things - or they choose to ignore that, acting like every shame is a new shame that should be borne solely by the current administration.

What changed (or what was revealed) is the character of those in the party, not just the guy at the top of the ticket. It is a perfectly defensible position to say that you agree with the political job that someone is doing, and still lament their character. Pro-life judges don’t excuse callous mocking of deceased political opponents. Increasing religious freedom doesn’t eliminate adultery and hush-money payments. Yet among the vocal Republican majority, it does. For the “character matters” warriors from the Clinton administration, this is hypocritical; among Christians, this is absolutely devastating to our witness.

(begin evangelical Christian-targeted rant)

Yes, King David was anointed by God to lead Israel; that doesn’t mean his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah were fine, because he was “God’s anointed.” For those making the “Trump is appointed by God” argument - you’re not wrong, but I don’t think that argument makes the point you think it does. I wrote on my devotional blog about Paul’s writing to the Romans; his words in Romans 13 were written about Nero. Remember, too, that the only reason Israel had kings was due to their rejection of God as their ultimate ruler. King David is a terrible analogy to use if you’re wanting to speak positively about our current President while ignoring his personal and professional misconduct; maybe you could draw a parallel about pride, but that’s not really what I think you’re wanting to highlight.

(end rant)

As a faithful Christian, I can no longer maintain a political affiliation with the Republican party. And, while I’m still part of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” against Hillary Clinton (which, of course, is tongue-in-cheek; there is no such thing, as much as she’d like to blame them for her failures), that is no longer the best description of my views. So, the new tagline here is “Conservatarian at Large” (a nod to Jon Gabriel and Stephen Miller’s podcast portmanteau), indicating both a convervative (AKA “classically liberal”) and libertarian viewpoint.

I will also unequivocally state that I do not think that Christians who make a different choice are somehow going against what God wants them to do. There are many different ways to parse our current nuanced environment. Those who believe just as I do may land on continued support for Donald Trump, and advocate for giving him 4 more years at the helm of the good ship USA. As long as they are not seemingly blind to his faults, in my view, they are following a path which they feel God has directed them. That’s the nice thing about a proper view of God’s sovereignty; He can make His followers have different viewpoints - sometimes to call others to change, and other times to cause them to think.

As for me and my conscience, though, I cannot continue with the GOP. As I alluded in my last post, I’ll be exploring the relationship between conservative Christianity and libertariansm in the near future. That won’t be the only thing about which I’ll write here, but it will probably be the first thing (unless I find some time to resurrect the “good, bad, and ridiculous” thing for 2019).

Housekeeping-wise, the college football posts from 2012-2014 have been removed; those URLs will return a 404. If anyone misses them, you can turn this site’s URL into an e-mail address and let me know.

The "Use Your Head" Challenge

January 27, 2019   3:28 pm

NEW FOR 2019! It’s the hottest challenge ever to sweep the Inter-webs! It’s the…

“USE YOUR HEAD” CHALLENGE

This challenge is simple. Whenever you hear about another challenge, you simply “use your head” to decide if it’s actually a worthy challenge. Here’s how it works.

  • “Here’s a new challenge where you blindfold yourself for the day!” Well, let’s use our heads. First off (#SpoilerAlert), if you’ve seen Bird Box, you know that nearly everyone in that movie ended up dead! Couple that with respawns being way tougher in real life - maybe this one is a pass.
  • “Look how pretty these Tide Pods are; I bet they’re delicious!” (head engages) Let’s check the container to see what flavor these are. Hmm… “WARNING: Do not ingest.” Looks like this is a pass as well.
  • “Only the truly toughest people can salt their arms, then rub ice on them!” (does a cursory search as to what this would actually do) That’s a hard pass.

See how easy this is? If that description above is too long, maybe this one will be better.

DON’T DO STUPID STUFF JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE CALLS IT A CHALLENGE.

p.s. Only the toughest folks can do this. Are you worthy of the #UseYourHeadChallenge?

2018 = Twenty Eighteen

January 22, 2018   5:07 pm

…not “Two Thousand Eighteen”…

Think about the years past…

  • 1492 = “fourteen ninety-two”
  • 1776 = “seventeen seventy-six”
  • 1984 = “nineteen eighty-four”

Now, we are eight years hence from 20xx where xx was a number with two digits. “Two thousand six” (4 syllables) is the same as “twenty oh six” or “twenty aught six” or “twenty and six” (though see the note at the end about “and”). However, “two thousand eighteen” (5 syllables) is longer than “twenty eighteen” (4 syllables).

I know we got on the “two thousand” thing with the “year 2000”, but it’s time to get back to pronouncing our years they way they should be pronounced.

Note on “and”: No number has the word “and” in it. 117 = One hundred seventeen; 8,402 = eight thousand, four hundred two (or four-oh-two, or eighty-four oh-two); and 5,332,012 = five million, three hundred thirty-two thousand, twelve. (That last one is another reason 2012 is “twenty twelve”; it disambiguates years from numbers in other contexts.) Therefore, “two thousand and eighteen” is right out.

On the Eve of the Anniversary

August 27, 2013   5:17 pm

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech he delivered as part of the March on Washington. Plans have been made to observe it, but I don’t see how Dr. King’s dream will be furthered by someone else’s narcissistic speech. I also find it highly unlikely that the people who are actually working to further Dr. King’s dream will even be represented tomorrow. Why have we allowed “content of their character” to be replaced by bean-counters and diversity czars?

I heard someone on the radio this afternoon saying that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were consummate capitalists, becoming wealthy off racial agitation because that’s what the free market will support. The more I think, the less I think I can come up with a convincing argument against that view. As such, they should be subject to at least as much derision as those evil CEOs that the left routinely decries. I would suggest they be held in even more derision, as the CEOs generally produce products and jobs that improve people’s lives, not foment racial anger that turns one tragedy into many more.

The wrongs of the past have, for the most part, been righted, at least as much as can be expected from people who have owned no slaves, nor ever consumed water from fountains adorned with “whites only” and “coloreds only” signs. The only people even thinking about race, it seems, are those who continually obsess over it, hurling charges of racism so far and wide that the charge is now more often the punchline of a joke than a substantiated claim. These same people abide racism among their own supporters, many of whom have cross the line of equal rights a long time ago.

For those of you, like me, who believed what you were taught growing up; who believe that when the Declaration of Independence said “all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;” who believe that the biggest “affirmative” action we can take is leveling the playing field, not tilting it in the other direction; who believe that Jesus died for all mankind, thus demonstrating God’s view of importance - for you, congratulations. You are exactly those of whom Dr. King was dreaming.

For everyone else - just stop. We are the United States of America, but you have been doing your best to make us the Divided States of America. How about expending that energy helping people focus on the opportunity they do have, rather than stirring up anger and rage against perceived* injustices? God has blessed America, and your efforts are keeping people from recognizing and enjoying that blessing for themselves, just so you can look good to the outside world because “you care” and “you’re doing something.” Shame on you.

* I’m being generous; here lately, a better word would be “fabricated”.

You Are Harming the Cause

July 11, 2012   9:29 pm

Earlier today, I saw a link to a blog post about a man, Michael Salman, who had been thrown in jail and fined for hosting a Bible study in his home. We’ve seen things like this before, but what made this one unique is that it was in Arizona; yes, this is happening right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I shared the link with others, voicing my support for him if the situation was as it was presented. However, a friend followed up with a link to a news story that gives more of the history and what has happened. As it turns out, the original post is highly-slanted advocacy that left out some key details. The more I’ve thought about it, the angrier I’ve become, to the point where I now hope that Salman comes to his senses while he’s in jail.

Here is the Cliff’s Notes version of the first post (feel free to read it if you’d like). This man and his wife were having family and friends over for a Bible study on a weekly basis. Neighbors complained about the extra cars and the traffic, and the fire department broke up one of their studies. The man then gets building permits for a 2,000 square foot building where the number of people could be without causing a fire hazard. Since erecting that building, he has been continually harassed and accused of running a church on his residential property. He maintains that these are simply guests in his home and new out-building, and that they have as much of a right to be there as would a birthday or Super Bowl party. Salman is now facing 30 months in jail and $12,000 in fines.

Sounds pretty bad, huh? Well, my opinion began to turn when I saw a picture of his yard…

A view of the yard in front of the Salman property, with a wooden cross and a message sign typically found outside churches

OK - the “this is not a church” claim just became very, very hard to swallow. From the above link, plus another from the DailyMail, we learn some other interesting facts. First, Salman is an ordained minister. Second, this out-building, contrary to the restaurant-looking picture from the Freedom Outpost article, is equipped with a pulpit, stage, and chairs. Third, these Bible studies were hosted on the weekend. A time of Bible study on the weekend in a building with a pulpit on a stage… If only there were a word that would be more succinct to describe that sort of thing! There is, and it’s the one the city of Phoenix used - church.

This brings me to the angry part. My anger is based in the blemish to the name of Christ that this has caused, and for the people who are going to look like fools for supporting this when the first, incomplete, biased, and dishonest story came out.

Yes, dishonest; candor is a part of honesty, and involved disclosing information that the hearer, upon learning that it was not disclosed, would feel wronged. There is real religious persecution going on all around the world; this does NOT rise to that level. In the realm of ideas, honesty is paramount. This is why so many arguments fall flat on their face when all the facts come out; even those who claim that their are no absolutes tend to still hold honesty as a moral character trait.

Secondly, what happened to “love your neighbor as yourself,” Mr. Salman? A Super Bowl party and a birthday party are both once-a-year events, and even those have been broken up by police and fire officials if they cause a safety concern. You knew that your neighbors did not like the extra traffic, particularly when your study expanded from 15 to nearly 40. I’m sure there is a restaurant in Phoenix that would love to have a weekly banquet room reservation for 30 people; there are two I could attend in the Albuquerque area every week. But, rather than show peace and love, you extended “the middle finger of the Lord” to your neighbors and the city. You are now reaping what you have sown; how can you expect your neighbors or the city to have mercy on you when you were not interested in giving it to them?

Thirdly, Mr. Salman, did we miss Romans 13:1-2?

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

- Romans 13:1-2 (ESV)

The city told you what you needed to do. They did not prohibit you from continuing to have meetings; they told you the codes with which you must comply if you wanted to continue doing so. All churches have to meet building codes; if you have any doubts regarding their importance, compare the earthquake devastation in countries with them to the devastation in countries without them. They ensure public safety where large numbers of people are present on a regular basis; a building does not have to be a public building to meet this criteria. You chose to call your meetings something other than church to get around that (see how that honesty thing keeps cropping up?), you got called on it, and now you have, to quote Paul, “incur[red] judgment.”

Mr. Salman, I hope you use your time away to think about what you have done. Will the world be better off if your 5 children show the world the love of God the way you’ve modeled it for them in this situation? And please, be HONEST when asking for help. There are good people who will support you, but we don’t want to be played for fools. By doing what you have been doing for the past several years, YOU ARE HARMING THE CAUSE OF CHRIST. Christ did not come to give us freedom of religion; He came to free us from sin. He chose to place us in a country where we have very few limits on the free exercise of religion; don’t lose sight of that because you happen to have bumped up against what you view as an impediment on that free exercise.

The good thing in all this is, Mr. Salman, that grace is always there. You can receive it, and you can extend it. This cause is not hopeless, especially if you change the focus from “I have a right!” to “where does God want me to hold this study?” Who knows the ministry God may have for you if you get out of a landlocked residential neighborhood and into some place with room for growth?

10 Years After 9/11

September 11, 2011   6:00 am

A picture from the explosion just after one of the planes hit the World Trade Center, with the caption "NEVER AGAIN"

To the unholy alliance of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, I just have one question:

Are you enjoying your 72 raisins?

Never again. And if, by reason of treachery or covert actions, this does occur again, rest assured that your actions will lead to your fate matching that of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

(In prior years, I have written about remembering this travesty, the importance of persevering to defeat those who perpetrated this, and remembering how I felt on that day. It was also two years ago when I profiled Louis Neil Mariani, one of the innocent Americans killed 10 years ago today. All these still apply. But, for today, my fist is in the air; I’m still angry, and I regret that we cannot exhume every terrorist we’ve dispatched in the intervening 10 years, resuscitate them, and kill them again.)

 

It's NOT a New Decade

January 4, 2010   10:17 pm

Time for another history lesson; nobody learned from Y2K. Today is January 5, 2010, which is the last year of the first decade of the 21st century. The reason, of course, is very simple - the first year of the Gregorian calendar is 1, not 0. The first year was 1, so the first decade was from 1-10. The tenth decade was 91-100. The second millennium was from 1001-2000, so the “new millennium” did not begin until 2001.

This is different, of course, from birthdays. When one is born, your age is 0; your “first birthday” comes one year after your birth (at the completion of that year). So, when you turn 10, you’ve completed a decade. Your cars’ odometer is the same; it starts at 0, so when it rolls 100,000, you’ve completed your first 100,000 miles. With years starting with 1, we haven’t completed the last year of this decade.

Feel free to buy the hype if you want, but now you’ll be doing it with full knowledge of the facts; just because the tens digit changes doesn’t mean it’s a new decade. Just think - if you get your facts straight, you can have a huge party 359 days from now to celebrate The New Decade!

What the Heck Is Wrong with You People?

November 4, 2008   9:49 pm

I haven’t been this disgusted with my fellow Americans in 16 years.

For those of you who voted McCain / Palin, congratulations on seeing through the empty platitudes while not overlooking the past of our now President-elect.

PUMAs? Where were you? I’m gonna call you PUMAMAs. You gave up on your principles just so your party would be in power. Luckily, Sarah Palin came and saved your bacon; otherwise, you’d have set womens’ achievements back nearly a decade.

To blacks who voted for Obama just because he’s black - fine, you’ve had your achievement. Next time, let’s drop the identity politics and pay attention to policies, okay? Why you, as a voting bloc, continue to blindly support candidates who placate you during the campaign then keep you suppressed the rest of the time, is beyond me. A sinking tide brings down all ships.

To the media - thanks for nothing. Your objectivity, long in question, is now completely gone. You should hope along with those in talk radio that the Fairness Doctrine is not resurrected, as you’re now in jeopardy of falling as far to the left as Rush Limbaugh is on the right.

I’m praying that, for the next four years and two months, each one of the nine Supreme Court justices enjoy the best health of their lives.

And, to my fellow Americans who voted for Obama - I truly hope you get the change you deserve.

My Illegal Immigration Rant

June 20, 2007   1:06 pm

Up to this point, I have not commented on the current “immigration reform bill” that is being pushed in Congress. I am quite disappointed that our President is pushing this - I would much rather see him attacking Social Security with the vigor with which he has now seemed to find. One of the problems I’ve had with the Republican leadership, and this President in particular, is that they are not using the resources at their disposal to educate the electorate. They assume that the nation is “split down the middle,” and they respond to the chest-pounding from the left with chest-pounding on the right, without explaining facts or educating the American people.

There are big problems with the current bill, that legitimizes illegals and basically allows them to “jump the line” on immigrating to this country. There are a lot of side effects that come with this invasion that most people don’t even know about. In Nashville, the police have discovered a Hispanic prostitution ring going on in residential areas. In cities across the country, illegal alien drunk drivers are killing Americans quite frequently. Some say that driving after drinking is part of the Mexican culture. They are also much more lax in their attitudes on the age of sexual consent.

I can’t imagine any Americans wanting this to become a part of our culture. However, none of the current legislation does anything to discuss assimilation. Rather than encourage learning English, we are actually translating government documents into all kinds of languages! How much money are we wasting on that? Gov. Schwarzenegger (R-CA) took some heat for suggesting that Mexican immigrants turn off Spanish-language television stations and watch English-language stations instead. (Of course, he isn’t an immigrant who decided to learn English… Oh wait - he is!)

But something I saw today just takes the cake. It’s a report by the Center for New Community entitled “Indecent Proposals: Top 10 Most Offensive Quotes.” (I only link to it so you know I’m not making this up; also, it has footnotes where the source of each quote is found. I don’t want to reproduce those here.) The entire mindset of this article is wrong - most of the people they quote do not hold “anti-immigrant” views, just “anti-illegal immigrant” views. It would be like saying that a British entertainer who talks about “lighting up a fag” is anti-gay. (In Britain, “fag” is a slang term for a cigarette.) But I digress… Suffice it to say, I’m not going to address the “anti-immigrant” label every time they apply it.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel…

“This nation desperately needs informed, reasoned debate on this issue,” said Rev. David Ostendorf, executive director of the Center for New Community. “The anti-immigrant groups and their supporters are clearly not interested in helping our nation move forward - all anyone has to do is turn on the radio to hear that these groups’ values do not represent the values shared by the vast majority of Americans.”

Turn on the radio? Isn’t it talk radio that is completely responsible for the death of the first incarnation of the immigration reform bill? These folks are not the brightest bulbs in the pack, that’s for certain.

WARNING: Graphic, offensive and otherwise inappropriate language follows:

Strangely enough, regular readers will know that I don’t post graphic or inappropriate language, but I will be able to quote these in their entirety. It may be offensive to liberals, but in my exhaustive search through the Constitution, I haven’t been able to find a right against being offended. On we go…

1. “We need the National Guard to clean out all our cities and round them up…They have no problem slitting your throat and taking your money or selling drugs to your kids or raping your daughters, and they are evil people.”

- Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project and president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. As quoted in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report magazine, Summer 2005.

It may be difficult to hear, and even more difficult to accept, but the links above address these very issues. Not all illegal immigrants do these things - but, deporting all illegal aliens would eliminate these as well, and then, maybe the law-abiding would-be immigrants could, you know, obey the law and emigrate legally.

2. “Mexican men have a reputation for leering and worse at little girls, which shouldn’t surprise us, since sex with children is socially acceptable in Mexico.”

- Brenda Walker, California anti-immigrant leader and publisher. From VDARE.com article titled “Top Ten Reasons Why the US Should Not Marry Mexico,” January 1, 2007.

Again, addressed above, by someone who grew up there.

3. “My message to them is, not in two weeks, not in two months, not in two years, never! We must be clear that we will not surrender America and we will not turn the United States over to the invaders from south of the border.”

- Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), at the March for America, Washington, DC, June 18, 2007.

I’m guessing the “offensive” part of this is the “invaders” term. What else would you call a large-scale illegal incursion into a foreign country? La Raza is an organization dedicated to reclaiming the land “stolen” from Mexico (land gained through the Spanish-American War). Nothing offensive here - just the facts.

4. “I don’t care if Mexicans pile up against that fence… just run a couple of taco trucks up and down the line…”

- Neal Boortz, anti-immigrant talk radio host on WSB-AM in Atlanta on June 18, 2007.

How is this offensive? Is this any different from the people who set up water stations in the desert so the illegal aliens don’t die on the journey? And, tacos! Food that Mexicans are used to! I’m so offended - not.

5. “Terrorists are also walking in unopposed; our southwestern border is littered with Arabic papers and Islamic prayer rugs.”

- Jim Gilchrist, founder of Minutemen Project. From a press release announcing the forthcoming publication of a new book co-authored with Jerome R. Corsi, February 2006.

I don’t know why this is offensive to these folks - terrorist bombs don’t discriminate between legal and illegal status. In fact, this is one of the facts that motivates those who want the border closed. In this day and age, having an open door into this country, with sympathetic liberals aiding those coming across the border, and the Mexican government publishing comic books detailing how to sneak into this country - terrorists see an easy way into the country. They can just be part of the invasion!

6. “The brown toxic cloud strangling Los Angeles never lifts and grows thicker with every immigrant added. One can’t help appreciate the streets of Paris will soon become the streets of LA. However, Paris’ streets erupted while LA’s shall sink into a Third World quagmire much like Bombay or Calcutta, India. When you import that much crime, illiteracy, multiple languages and disease - Americans pick up stakes and move away.”

- Frosty Wooldridge, anti-immigrant author and activist. Summarizing an address by a KABC-AM talk radio host to the Federation for American Immigration Reform director’s meeting, Fall 2005.

How is this any different than what happened with the inner cities back in the 60’s and 70’s? Undesirable element in, everyone who can gets out. Rather than an offensive ant-immigrant statement, this looks to me like insightful analysis.

7. “What we’ll do is randomly pick one night every week where we will kill whoever crosses the border…step over there and you die. You get to decide whether it’s your lucky night or not. I think that would be more fun.”

- Brian James, anti-immigrant talk radio host with KFYI-AM in Phoenix. Suggesting a solution to the immigration problem in Arizona while filling in for the regular host, March 2006.

The death penalty is a little harsh - but this is an understandable reaction, borne of frustration over our governments lack of ability or desire to control the border itself.

8. “Shoot him.”

- Phil Valentine, anti-immigration talk radio host, WWTN in Nashville. Advising Border Patrol agents to shoot undocumented immigrants during an anti-immigrant rally in Franklin, Tennessee, April 27, 2006.

Brevity is the soul of wit. But, we know from history that if Border Patrol agents shoot someone, even if that person shot at them first, they get thrown in the slammer.

9. “;We’ve got to make it in this country so (immigrants) can’t exist here…We’ve got to rattle their teeth and put their feet to the fire!”

- Terry Anderson, anti-immigrant talk radio host with KRLA in Los Angeles. Speaking at a “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” anti-immigrant rally organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, April 22, 2007.

This one is just poor. Notice the “(immigrants)” in the quote - that means they substituted that word for what was actually said (more than likely “they”). Again, we’re not against immigrants - just do it right. Don’t try to jump line. If you love this country, why would you make your first act here violating our laws? Or is it just appealing since we don’t actually enforce our laws?

10. “Our enemies are bloodied and beaten. We cannot relent. Our boot is on their throat and we must have the willingness to crush their ‘throat’ so that we can put our enemy down for good. The sovereignty of our nation and the future of our culture and civilization is at stake. The United States is a beacon of salvation unto the rest of the world. Our freedoms, our culture is mans salvation. If we perish, man perishes.”

- Joseph Turner, Save Our State (S.O.S), now a staff member with the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Message sent to Save Our State supporters on October 7, 2006.

Well, they may have actually found one that’s “out there.” However, the “sovereignty of our nation and the future of our culture and civilization is at stake” part is tough to argue. The illegal immigrants, as a whole, are interested in nothing here but our money, and how far it goes in their home country. They care nothing for our culture, our laws, our traditions, or our history.

Unless I’ve missed something, these “Indecent Proposals” would actually make pretty good legislation.