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April 30, 2008


I know reality television has been known to make people hurl . . . but I didn't know that was considered a good thing.

Good timing

Nazi_olympics The "Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936" exhibit has come back to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. I hope it will help keep people thinking about the problems raised when the Games are hosted by a tyrannical regime.

(Image © The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

My Picture of the Day

Nursery_furniture What do you think of this picture? Does it remind you of anything? Feel free to send in your comments, or for fun, your captions. I got the photo from a church furniture catalog, the first of its kind delivered in my mailbox, and the photo immediately got my attention. It’s a six-infant "bunkie" designed for church nurseries.

(Image © ChurchPlaza.com)

The Way Things Ought to Be--but Aren’t

As a Centurion in training, I have been reading Cornelius Plantinga's Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin. I'm intrigued by a passage in which Plantinga describes shalom:

In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight....Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be....Everyone of us does possess the notion of a world in which things are as they ought to be....We would....agree on many of the broad outlines and main ingredients of a transformed world.

It would include, for instance, strong marriages and secure children. Nations and races in this brave new world would treasure differences in other nations and races as attractive, important, and complementary. Government officials would still take office (somebody has to decide which streets are cleaned on Tuesday and which on Wednesday), but to nobody's surprise they would tell the truth and freely praise the virtues of other public officials...Newspapers would be filled with well-written accounts of acts of great moral beauty...

This passage came to mind when I see each new round of attacks our presidential candidates make on each other. If the world were the way it ought to be, we'd see this, instead: 

Continue reading "The Way Things Ought to Be--but Aren’t" »

Abortion Changes You

Abortion_changes_you_2 I've been researching this week for BreakPoint a recently launched campaign called Abortion Changes You and a companion book called Changed.

Basically, this is an outreach movement to help those who have been affected by abortion -- whether it's the woman who aborted her child, her partner, her parents, a friend, or other children of the woman who had an abortion. The website www.abortionchangesyou.com offers support, resources, and help in dealing with the grief and pain following an abortion. I've been profoundly moved in reading the book, Changed, which offers many personal stories.

I want to share some excerpts from this book with you over the next few days. Part of my reason for doing so is that it is likely that either you, the reader, or someone you know has been affected by abortion. According to statistics, one in three women in the United States will have had an abortion by the age of 45. Given the web of relationships that each of us exists in, it is likely that most of us have someone close to us who has in some way been involved in a decision to abort.

Often we talk about these things in a purely abstract and theoretical way. But the reality is that there are many hurting people all around us who are ostracized by what has become such a sharply political issue. Bumper stickers and political debates exist in the same world as the hurting woman who regrets her decision, the boyfriend who helped or couldn't stop his girlfriend from aborting their baby, or the child who later learns that he or she will never know a sibling. I think each of us could share this book and site with those in our lives who have been impacted by abortion, or use them ourselves to rekindle the compassion that made us care about this issue in the first place. It can also season our discourse on the subject with proper sensitivity.

Here is the first of several excerpts from the book:

Continue reading "Abortion Changes You" »

The Point Radio: Nothing But the Truth

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?...

Click play above to listen.

April 29, 2008

Daily roundup

Granola Worldview

C.S. Lewis has an explanation of why I get easily annoyed at the perfectionism displayed on home design TV shows and get turned off by what I call the “granola” parents -- parents who are extremely finicky and structured with their young children’s activities, schedule and diet as if it's the right and only way of parenting.

In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis discusses gluttony from a totally different angle.  "[The deadening of the human conscience on gluttony] has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess," he has Screwtape write to Wormwood.

Your patient's mother . . . is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sigh and a smile, "Oh please, please . . . all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast." You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others.

Lewis gives the example of food having to be prepared just right, or in just the right amount. But it isn't limited to food; we (myself included) might complain about little things such as the slow driver ahead of us, the small service mistake from a restaurant, the temperature in the room, the color of a Post-it pad or the amount of foam on our cappuccino. We’re not aware of it, but we can come up with hundreds of nice words to disguise our fussing over simple things and expecting other people to serve and make things right for us. We insist on being pampered and having things exactly "my way" rather than learning to be patient and understanding about the minor inconveniences of life.

Sadly, very few dare to point out how petty or foolish this is, and in fact perfectionism and a “granola” lifestyle are now being admired and praised (especially in Hollywood) as if they were virtues.

Re: Don’t let ’em get you, Miley

Her fans don't want 'em to get to her either. According to NPR's Morning Edition, many of Miley's 10- to- 15-year-old admirers are disappointed that their role model appeared in such a provocative pose on the front of Vanity Fair. These "tweens" are upset that Miley is acting "too mature" for her age.

But since when does maturity have anything to do with "flaunting your stuff?" If anything, it's a sign of immaturity, not simply in Miley who apologized and said she was embarrassed by the shot, but most definitely in the adults in her life who should be protecting her and guiding her.

Yet again, the young will lead us, or, at least, they should, in the case of Miley's young--but wise--admirers.

Which of these is not like the other?

Is it possible that the answer is d) none of the above?

a) Miley Cyrus' provocative Vanity Fair photos

b) "The Cellular Generation"

c) "Officials say 31 teen sect girls are pregnant or had baby"

Do you see any correlations or disconnects in how our society/culture views these three situations?

Teachers Gone Wild

When I was a kid, I used to be really into the Grandma's Attic books, which were sort of a wittier version of the Little House books. The stories were explicitly Christian and taught good morals, but sometimes I thought that they, or at least some of the people in them, went a little overboard. For instance, when the heroine became a teacher, she had to promise "to abstain from dancing," "not to go out with any young man except insofar as it may be necessary to stimulate Sunday school work," "not to fall in love,"  and "to remain in [her] home  when not actively engaged in school or church work elsewhere."

I always thought that was a bit much even for the 1890s. But when I read something like this (adult themes) --

The crudeness of some Facebook or MySpace teacher profiles, which are far, far away from sanitized Web sites ending in ".edu," prompts questions emblematic of our times: Do the risque pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents and school officials don't see them?

. . . I'm forced to concede that maybe those puritans in the 1890s were on to something.

Methodist Spring: Will Wonders Never Cease?

John_wesley Hold the presses! Is this some sort of joke? No, it looks like a real bit of news from Methodism's in-house watcher on the wall, Mark Tooley. In this article from Friday's roundup, "Will Methodism Tilt Right?",  Tooley gives perhaps the first real bit of cool comfort the conservative-dominant Methodist laity in America has had in years.

Like other mainstream congregations, the United Methodists have had too many liberal seminarians, professors, and church leaders filling key positions. Thus, even though a decided majority of Methodists in the pews have been orthodox in their approach to Christian teaching and practice, they have had to stew and do their best at the quadrennial conference of the church to fight tenaciously for traditional positions on sexuality, pro-life issues, and even basic church doctrine.

It seemed like a lost battle, quite frankly, as so many of us never knew anything different from our largely moderate-to-conservative local parishes on one hand and then our condescending liberal leaders on the other.   

But this quadrennial meeting may start to change all that. The conservatives' numbers are on the rise, as young seminarians who are becoming the next wave of ministers are much more conservative than the fading cast of 1960s ministers who can't get enough of their "peace and justice" causes while their congregants starve spiritually. All Methodists want peace and justice; the majority of us would just like those initiatives to be informed by the Holy Spirit, not the spirit of 1960s decadence.

Continue reading "Methodist Spring: Will Wonders Never Cease?" »

The Point Radio: Slobs Like Us

Who said men are slobs?...

Click play above to listen.

Read more and continue the discussion at this post.

April 28, 2008

Daily roundup

Changing Life As We Know It

Tired of unsightly children, an obese society, or genetic health issues like diabetes and breast cancer?

According to NPR, “Advances in human genetic engineering may one day make it possible to design a newborn — from what he or she (your choice) will look like, to how athletic the child will be.”

Currently in laboratories across the U.S., genetic doctors are working on creating babies who can look as we want them to, and also removing infirmities and genetic disorders. This combination of reproductive and genetic medicine has been dubbed "reprogenetics” by some scientists.

Though largely unregulated, Britain’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority currently must affirm all requests. Still, the future implications of making a “perfect baby” has raised some concerns. The HFEA’s current concern is the discarding of embryos that might carry cancer mutations. Does the search for the “perfect baby” warrant selecting and discarding embryos?

Sound frighteningly like Nazi Germany’s education that led to concentration camps and the Holocaust?

Continue reading "Changing Life As We Know It" »

Chuck Colson weighs in on Oprah and ’A New Earth’

As promised, Chuck Colson covers the Oprah Winfrey/Eckhart Tolle controversy in today's BreakPoint commentary:

. . . Tolle’s supposedly groundbreaking message is simply the same old New Age thinking in pretty packaging. While Tolle acknowledges something wrong with the human condition (what Christians call “sin”), he preaches the need not for repentance and salvation, but for a new “awakening.”

This involves looking deep within the self for peace and harmony, not looking to Christ. There is nothing new or revolutionary—and definitely nothing Christian—about it. It is paganism.

Read more.

You Say You Want a (Commuter) Revolution?

Carpool This seems a bit extreme, but Dan Dorfman is citing two industry analysts who say we could see the dawn of $10.00-per-gallon gasoline in America. Before you scoff, just remember what you would have said to someone four years ago who told you that gas was going to be close to $4.00 per gallon by the summer of 2008. Stranger things...have already happened.

Until now, the American gasoline consumer just ate it, particularly commuters who gobbled up so much of their paycheck in their daily treks to work. But I'm beginning to hear that faint little jingle, played on Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s, encouraging us all to "kalaka," another name for carpooling.

Can 21st-century Americans share the ride, even if it means--gasp--taking turns with what is played on the CD player or radio? Time will tell. But look at it this way: at least there's finally going to be someone to hold your drink, breakfast burrito, and Blackberry while you drive!

(Image © Vermont Agency of Natural Resources)

Thanks, old friend

Wright As predicted, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's latest speech to his groupies the media at the National Press Club is doing his friend Barack Obama a bit of no good. Isn't selfless love for one's friends supposed to be a major tenet of Christianity?

(Image © AFP)

Don’t let ’em get you, Miley

Cyrus_miley Kathryn Lopez has a post up about "the pornification of Hannah Montana." Having seen the picture in question, I wouldn't go quite that far. It isn't explicit at all, but it is suggestive -- much more suggestive than a fifteen-year-old girl needs to be. And as Kathryn's link reports, now that the photo shoot is over, young Miley Cyrus apparently isn't feeling too good about it.

Personally, I have a liking for Miley Cyrus. I just lost every shred of street cred I ever had (and I had SO MUCH to lose!), and will have to turn in my Cynics of America card, but what the heck -- I like her. I've caught a few episodes of her show, and despite the obligatory bouts of loud generic teen pop, I found myself enjoying it. Cyrus is a cute kid with a gift for comedy. Plus she seems to share her dad's taste for country music, which may bode well for her future after her fifteen minutes of Disney Channel fame are up.

Sadly, we know what Hollywood does nowadays to cute kids with gifts. They barely hit puberty before the barrage of lies -- "You have to do this or this or this to prove you're grown up, or to get publicity, or to be different" (even when it's exactly what everyone else is doing!) -- comes at them full force. It's a rare fifteen year old who can handle all that without losing her grip.

Don't let 'em get you, kid. We've got all the Britneys and Lindsays we need in this world. Try for something better.

(Image © AP)

Sacred Cows Make Good Burgers

Beef_hamburger_patty If you think that the scientific establishment is harsh on those who question their sacred cows (e.g., Darwinism), just imagine how they'll react to this question.

Fashion faux pas

Flds_women Is it just me, or is there something slightly grotesque about writing a fashion piece on women who have never had any real choice about what they wore?

(Image © AP)

The Point Radio: No Family Left Behind

When it comes to a career, prestige and paycheck are important. But what about family life?...

Click play above to listen.

Want some more ideas for balancing your family and career responsibilities?

Continue reading "The Point Radio: No Family Left Behind" »

April 25, 2008

Daily roundup

On ’Day of Silence,’ Talk About THIS

"'Day of Silence' vs. homosexual health risks"

Bring ’Em On

The Washington Post ran a front-page piece this week about the rise in military waivers for ex-convicts. You have to read for a while before you come to the sentence letting us know that "the vast majority of such convictions stem from juvenile offenses." Also, that "most involve theft." And that those with waivers constitute "less than 1 percent of the total soldiers and Marines recruited" in 2007.  Also that huge numbers of waivers are also being given for medical reasons--such as would-be soldiers being overweight.

So this story seems like much ado about not very much--certainly not front-page fodder.

But let's think about this for a minute, anyway, as employees of a world-wide prison ministry. What's the Number One problem for ex-cons? Finding a job. And because of the way America treats drug crimes, we have huge numbers of people (especially young people) in prison or on parole for drug-related offenses. Should the U.S. military be one more employer that says, "No, we don't want you"?

The military offers young ex-offenders a chance to straighten out their lives and perhaps learn a marketable skill for when they finish military service. Would we prefer to have those (in 2007) 13,000 young men on the streets, jobless--or serving their country, learning self-control, and perhaps straightening out their lives, permanently?

As long as Army and Marine higher-ups are keeping a close eye on each waiver granted (and they are), and on how each candidate performs once accepted, I say, bring 'em on.

More Trouble for Darwinism

Now this is something that should trouble the Darwinian establishment. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), researchers found “that a deficiency in an enzyme called pyruvate kinase, which is required for energy production in the body, provides protection against malaria infection."

Here’s the trouble: Darwinian evolution depends on the ability of unguided, naturalistic processes to build genomes over geological time scales. Note that the information content of the smallest genome would fill a 500-page book. (The instructions in the human genome would fill a 50,000 page book!)

The astute person will wonder how an unconscious process could lead to the creation of what amounts to a mini-library from scratch. The catechistic answer is that genetic words, sentences, and whole books are written through the creative power of genetic mutation. Mutations that have “cash value” in evolutionary “fitness” are accumulated over time, leading to an increasingly complex code of life.

It’s like believing that, given two hundred million years, a double-wide trailer could become the Taj Mahal from the combined influences of cosmic rays, wind erosion, tectonic movement and quantum effects. As any homeowner knows, it’s precisely such unconscious effects that lead to home deterioration, not home improvement. But, on occasion, even deterioration can have a beneficial effect.

Continue reading "More Trouble for Darwinism" »

What is it about Oprah?

Oprah_1 I was intrigued to see this week that Dennis's post "Oprah Winfrey, the High Priestess of New Age Worldview" has been our #1 post among readers for four weeks straight. If memory serves me, no other post has ever matched that record, although I think Regis's "The Remains of Jesus Uncovered" came close (and is still getting comments over a year after it was published). Maybe Travis can set me straight if I'm wrong on this.

But I'm dying to know: What is it about Oprah that brings this reaction? Sure, she's famous -- very famous -- but we've posted about a lot of famous people. She's controversial, but we've covered lots of controversies too. She's teaching heresy -- and again, we talk about that kind of thing all the time. What about Oprah's particular combination of fame, controversy, and heresy attracts so much attention? I'd like to hear what some of you think.

Next week, I'll let you know if Oprah hit the top of the chart yet again -- though I may have just given her a bit of an artificial boost! The fact that Chuck Colson has a BreakPoint commentary coming up next week on her new venture with Eckhart Tolle might even propel her into a six-week run in the #1 spot.

Me, myself, and I

Mirror At The Corner, Stanley Kurtz reflects on a phenomenon in the current presidential campaign that's been on my mind as well:

How did an inexperienced senator, substantially to the left of the American public, make it to the top of the Democratic race? Identity politics. Why didn’t Hillary collapse when math and momentum some time ago ought to have handed Obama victory? Identity politics. And why is Obama still the front runner after a series of disastrous revelations that would have destroyed most other candidates? Identity politics.

It may be no surprise that identity politics is playing a large role in the race for the Democratic nomination, but the full extent of its influence — which is massive and in many ways determining — is still not being acknowledged.

Indeed, it's proving impossible to get through this campaign season without realizing just how great that influence is -- whether it's the Washington Post noting the increasing tension between "this country's competing isms" (should African-American women vote for Obama because he's African-American, or Clinton because she's a woman?), or Chris Rock accusing Hillary Clinton's black supporters of hating themselves.

More and more, it seems, it's not about voting for the person whom you believe has the best stance on the issues -- it's about voting for the person who looks like you. It's understandable, but I'm not too sure it's healthy.

It figures

Someone finally uses John Lennon's Imagine properly (i.e., takes the lyrics at face value), and they get sued.

The Point Radio: Marriage Survival

Do you want to put the sizzle back in your relationship? Well, a real survival experience might be the trick....

Click play above to listen.

April 24, 2008

Daily roundup

Warning to men

Satc Reading this article will lose you serious man points.

But if you're willing to risk that to watch a feminist tie herself in knots to justify her love for Sex and the City ("if you're about to start letting political doctrine arbitrarily dictate which bits of the culture you respond to you may as well give up now and submit to the patriarchy"), read on. Adult themes, obviously.

(Via Cinematical; image © New Line)

When a Would-be Assassin Smiles

Hearing You have to wonder what is going on inside the head of eighteen-year-old Ryan Schallenburger, who smiled and waved at the judge and courtroom when he appeared on Tuesday for his hearing.

The teenager who was found with a journal with detailed plans for detonating a WMD at his local high school in Chesterfield, S.C., along with a video to be played after the execution of the plan, was turned in by his parents when they received a notice for ten pounds of amonia nitrate delivered to their home. That's the same compound used in the Oklahoma City bombing, by the way. It seems to fit into a larger trend of teens/young adults seeking celebrity status through violent crime or suicide, like the string of teen suicides in Wales that have been commemorated, and, in a twisted sense, celebrated through online venues similar to MySpace.

But then again, maybe I'm not helping matters by writing about all this.

(Image © AP)

Beautiful mothers

Mybeautifulmommy Speaking of those tricky conversations parents get to have with their children, one of those just got a little easier, thanks to the new book My Beautiful Mommy. Yes, sadly, this is a book to help mommy have that difficult talk with her little ones about why she's getting a new nose and a flat tummy. It's so good to see that children's authors are conquering the tough subjects.

For you "less pretty" moms--the ones who are still walking around with the noses you were born with and the stretch marks and extra skin from your pregnancies--here's a little something you can share with your little ones.

Love is patient, love is kind . . . love is manly?

Man_baby At least, so says Thomas à Kempis. I've been reading The Imitation of Christ for research and I stumbled across one of the most eloquent passages describing love I've ever read.

I also stumbled across the phrase, "Love is manly." I'm thinking about putting it on t-shirts and selling it.

My fiancé and his guy friends have this ongoing joke about things that earn them "man points." There are also things that make them lose "man points." I'm sure you can imagine. Anyhow, now I can tell him that according to Thomas à Kempis, he's been earning lots and lots of man points by loving me well.

If you don't believe love is manly....Read it for yourself here:

Continue reading "Love is patient, love is kind . . . love is manly?" »

Devilishly good

Toadpipe If you don't mind one more Screwtape post, I'd like to congratulate everyone involved with the show for the excellent review from the Washington Post this morning:

. . . Audience members interested in spiritual reflection will certainly find food for thought -- and mortification -- in this dramatization. But the fiendish reality the production conjures is colorful enough to appeal to theatergoers of any, or no, religious persuasion. The Devil is an equal-opportunity entertainer.

Read more here.

(Image © Gerry Goodstein)

Porn and the military -- a bad mix

There's an interesting argument going on at The Corner about whether military bases should be allowed to sell pornography. (See here, here, here, here -- my father answered that query, but I haven't seen his e-mail posted --  herehere, here, herehere, here, and here. Or you can just go here and start scrolling. There's a bit of language here and there that might be offensive.) As usual, at least one of the perpetual dissenters over there tries argument by disdain. Also as usual, it's ineffective.

Kathryn Lopez's most recent post is particularly good:

Like I said yesterday, I don’t know that [Rep.] Broun’s legislation is a good idea. But I know what he’s thinking: Porn is bad. Why is the military peddling it? It’s a good question. Not the biggest question of our day; it's not the hill to die on, as many readers have put it to me. But porn in our culture does need to be addressed and discussed. And if that indicates a feminization of anything, maybe that’s what women are here for — to, every once in awhile, stand athwart history and yell, "Stop. What are we doing to our men?" Porn is a sad and lonely world, and I respect men — especially military men — too much to know they may be living in it. Is there a role for the government in it? I don't know. My instinct is always respond "no," until convinced otherwise. But Broun's brought up the topic and that's a good thing, even if the bill isn't right or exceedingly necessary.

The Point Radio: TV Overdose

A new study suggests that having a TV in the bedroom can be harmful to kids....

Click play above to listen.

Here is more information about this study:

Continue reading "The Point Radio: TV Overdose" »

April 23, 2008

Daily roundup

Consider the source

I'm not sure which is more shocking: that the director of Basic Instinct and Showgirls thinks that Jesus was a rapist's child, or that the director of Basic Instinct and Showgirls "holds a doctorate in mathematics and physics from the University of Leiden."

(H/T The Corner; adult themes)

Scientists Gone Wild

Expedition_alaska_179 Discovery has a week-long docudrama about “global warming” and melting glaciers in the Alaskan wilderness. 

Advertisements for the program included cuddly-looking bears and magnificent whales. They shot spectacular footage of three pods of whales munching their way through the sea.   

However, the program was completely ruined by the scientists and other team members bludgeoning viewers with their doomsday rhetoric. The scientists featured in this program repetitively used only a couple of hand-wringing sentences about rising CO2 levels replete with “maybe,” “might,” and “could.”

Is their dire prediction about global warming right, and is it a man-made phenomenon? Should we all start intoning, “Hallowed are the Scientists,” and stop buying cars, light bulbs, and hardwood floors? 

Continue reading "Scientists Gone Wild" »

America’s Patsy

Carter_2 I feel sorry for Jimmy Carter. However, I feel much more sorry for the people he potentially affects in the Middle East and elsewhere with his insistently naive approach to terrorists and geopolitics.

Carter made a bold claim following his meeting with Hamas's political leader Khalid Mashaal recently in Damasus. The former President announced that Hamas would accept a Palestinian state with 1967 borders and, most importantly to Israelis, Hamas would recognize Israel's right to exist. Wow, what a breakthrough, especially coming from hardcore Hamas!

But even Carter should have guessed that this was too good to be true, and now one may wonder if Carter was indulging in wishful thinking from the start. Why? Because Hamas has come out after Carter's remarks to reaffirm clearly that they would not be recognizing Israel in any such agreement. 

This has prompted the State Department to say that it is clear that "nothing has changed in terms of Hamas' basic views about Israel and about pace in the region...the bottom line is, Hamas still believes in the destruction of the state of Israel."

Continue reading "America’s Patsy" »

Good Catch

Specialdelivery Albany postal worker Lisa Harrell was delivering an Express Mail package to a home, looked up, and noticed a baby in a second-story window. The next thing she knew the baby was in her arms, safe.

The mother had placed the baby on a bed near the open window and turned her back to it for a moment, and when she turned around the baby was gone. When she realized what happened she ran outside, grabbed the baby, said thanks and ran to her mother's house.

Another example how God looks out for us. Lisa is normally on another route and shouldn't have been there at that time. So God changed her route, had an Express Mail package sent to be delivered at that address on that day and at that time. Coincidence? Someone once defined coincidence as God acting and choosing not to take credit for it. Miracle is the appropriate word to describe this catch.

The postmaster said, "The stars were aligned for that baby today."

However, Lisa Harrell said it best: "God was there for me and the baby."

Good catch, Lisa.

(Image © Fox News)

The State of the Union Is--The Same

State_of_the_union I just watched a 1948 Frank Capra film called State of the Union, starring Spencer Tracy as a dark-horse presidential candidate, Katharine Hepburn as his wife, and Angela Lansbury as a power-mad newspaper publisher who is determined to make Tracy--with whom she is romantically involved--the next American president.

The film contains a line that will amuse viewers in a year when the first serious woman candidate for President has a shot at winning: Katharine Hepburn notes that no woman will ever become president--because no woman will ever admit to being over 35 (the youngest age at which an American is allowed to become President). Thank heavens we've gotten beyond that! (writes the blogger who is--ahem--over a certain age herself).

There's also a scene that will strike a chord with those familiar with Ronald Reagan's history. As Spencer Tracy is about to tell the truth about himself and his candidacy on a nationwide radio hookup, his aides frantically try to cut off his microphone. "Don't you shut me off! I'm paying for this broadcast!"  Tracy shouts.

Like most Capra films, this one is charming, but sixty years after it hit the box office, State of the Union is also a bit depressing to watch because so little has changed. Presidential candidates still scramble for delegates, still have affairs, make one promise to Labor and a contradictory one to Big Business, still tell lies and still make deals with grubby people who promise votes in exchange for, say a cabinet position.

Continue reading "The State of the Union Is--The Same" »

The Point Radio: Slow to Wrath

Russian tennis player Mikhail Youzhny has become a sensation on YouTube -- but not for his spectacular play....

Click play above to listen.

Want some more ideas on how to deal with anger?

Continue reading "The Point Radio: Slow to Wrath" »

April 22, 2008

Daily roundup

Green Heroism

Iwo_jima_tree On a recent cover, Time Magazine replaced the iconic Iwo Jima flag with a tree, accompanied by the headline: "How to Win the War On Global Warming."

On NPR's Blog of the Nation, listeners expressed everything from hearty agreement to outrage.

Here's one comment:

I'm curious- how many have died to save the earth from global warming? Many American men died to ensure they could safely raise the flag. I just don't know [how] they compare and how someone could disgrace the picture that was more than just a symbol.

And another:

Whatever it takes to wake the sleeping giant of the American public on global warming is okay by me! I feel the same sense of urgency and am relieved to finally see a major publication take a stand!

What do you think? Is this a horrible slap in the face to heroism or a warranted warning to skeptics of environmental crisis?

’Expelled’ is doing well. No, really.

Eric Snider at Cinematical gets major brownie points for honesty. While he hated Expelled, he's willing to (a) admit that he learned from it the difference between ID and creationism, and (b) call out certain other media outlets for their attempts to spin the box office results:

The film opened on 1,052 screens and made $2.97 million, coming in 10th place at the weekend box office. That's the third best opening in history for a documentary, and it's already enough to make Expelled the 30th highest-grossing doc of all time. By the time it's finished its run, it will almost certainly crack the top 10. It's a terrible movie, but for a documentary, it's very successful. Those are excellent numbers. You gotta give 'em their props.

Or maybe you don't. IMDb's studio briefing for Monday (which used estimated weekend figures, not the final ones) said it "flopped," adding: "The Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which argued on behalf of 'intelligent design' -- that is, the biblical view of creation -- failed to bring out church groups in big numbers and settled for just $3.1 million to wind up in ninth place." Never mind the inaccurate definition of ID -- what's with the slanted assessment of the film's box office haul?

What indeed, Mr. Snider. What indeed.

(By the way, Rolley, looks like you're going to have to dig down for the price of those Rolaids.)

Dawkins Recants after ’Expelled’

In Expelled, as Jeff Clinton recounts, Richard Dawkins does an unexpected turn-about...or does he? After stating that he didn’t know how life went live on earth, he suggests that it may have been jump-started with the help of super-advanced aliens—in other words, intelligent causation! But I thought that intelligent design was not a scientific theory—at least according to Judge John Jones and Darwinian evangelists like Dawkins.

Was Dr. Dawkins serious or did he misspeak? (He seemed, to this reviewer, quite uncomfortable at this point in the interview with Stein.)

According to Dawkins himself, he was merely handing an “olive branch to these people by pretending to take their ‘space aliens’ political ploy seriously.” Yep, that’s his story and he’s stickin’ to it.

I’m sorry, but that dog just won’t hunt.

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Is Earth Day dead?

Earth One author argues that it is -- killed by "a long but admirable struggle with celebrity piety and corporate baloney . . . [and] too many 'green' issues of too many magazines." The massive amounts of "eco-junk to buy" didn't help either, it seems.

What do you think? Is there still a faint pulse, or has Earth Day indeed bought the farm?