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April 09, 2009

Hey, did you know your client is the Taliban?

It sounds like a Dilbert cartoon. Unfortunately, it's not.

April 07, 2009

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April 06, 2009

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March 25, 2009

Eve of Destruction: Pushing Daisies

This is undoubtedly the most famous political ad that hardly anyone ever saw. "Daisy" only aired once during the 1964 presidential campaign.

While it had next-to-no effect on the outcome of that election, it did capture the fears of several generations of Americans in an age when MAD was more than a magazine. If there had been an "Eve of Destruction" shtick 45 years ago, the prospect of thermonuclear war would have rated a "9" on the "Destruction" scale and at least a "6" on the "Eve" scale.

Twenty-seven years, three months and two weeks after "Daisy" aired, the Soviet Union was dissolved. With that, our worst fears of a flame deluge receded. Receded, not disappeared. The irony is that the end of the Cold War made it more, not less, likely that someone might actually set off a nuke in anger. Without the threat of mutually assured destruction, the thought of a "limited" nuclear exchange -- one that kills hundreds of thousands, even millions of people -- became conceivable again. Hopefully not likely, but conceivable.

Continue reading "Eve of Destruction: Pushing Daisies" »

March 19, 2009

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March 11, 2009

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February 27, 2009

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February 26, 2009

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February 25, 2009

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February 17, 2009

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February 12, 2009

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February 09, 2009

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February 02, 2009

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January 23, 2009

’Defiance’: Life is beautiful

Defiance I was out of town last weekend, so I wasn't able to see Defiance, which opened on Friday, until this week. The film is based on the lives of the Bielski brothers, who not only led a cadre of resistance fighters, but who eventually came to shelter more than 1200 Jews in the forests of Belarus during World War II. 

Before I headed to the theater, I checked out this review. Though the reviewer is rather neutral on the film's value, the comments were more illuminating. One clueless fellow said, "Enough Already.  Who are these films supposed to appeal to anymore?"

Thankfully, other responses showed more wisdom: "These films, and the novels, essays, poems, and books of nonfiction on the era are all 'supposed to appeal' to thinking humans who continue to ponder the nature of humankind, what we owe one another, and how we might prevent this happening again." Another commentator simply observed, "We will have 'enough' Holocaust films after six million stories are told." I'm hoping that the wiser voices about the value of seeing Defiance will prevail.

It's not an easy film to watch, and well deserves its R-rating for violence and language. Yet, it's the very grittiness of the film that makes it so valuable. The film doesn't gloss over those moments when the Jewish survivors choose revenge over compassion, but it also shows the danger of doing so as they risk becoming as cruel as their collaborating neighbors and the Germans. The film forces viewers to repeatedly ask, "What would I have done if I had been in their shoes?" It makes us pit our ideals (often formed in peace, security and comfort) against the reality of unwanted moral choices foisted upon us by war. As Sam Thielman says over at World, "The ethical complexities of the movie make it worth chewing over." 

But Defiance does more than that. Some of the best scenes in the film are those that show these desperate, isolated survivors forming a new community: They share food, they build shelters, they nurse the sick, they protect the unborn, they fall in love and marry, and they worship together. The film most strongly reaffirms the responsibility of the strong to protect the weak, but it also reminds us that there's more to life than mere survival. 

In a simple scene near the end of the film, as the Jews flee deeper into the woods, Daniel Craig's character (Tuvia) stops for an instant to soak in the beauty of the forest.  It's a telling moment that reminds Tuvia, and us, that life -- even at its most difficult and dangerous -- is indeed beautiful.

(Image © Paramount Vantage)

January 22, 2009

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January 21, 2009

Daily roundup

Posting may be sporadic tomorrow, as I'll be attending Blogs4Life downtown. (I believe you can watch the webcast at that link.)

January 20, 2009

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January 19, 2009

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January 14, 2009

What’s Going on in Israel?

Check out Joel Rosenberg's blog for continuing updates on what's going on in Israel. You may not agree with his pro-Israel take on current events, but at least you can get some insight into why the Israelis are doing what they are doing after eight long years of being under attack from Hamas's rockets. 

January 08, 2009

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January 05, 2009

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A worthy welcome

My dad -- who literally had to sneak home from Vietnam a few decades ago to avoid the rage of "peaceniks" at the airport -- wishes that Bert Brady had been around back then. So do I.

December 23, 2008

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December 17, 2008

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December 10, 2008

Pray for the Pilot

Artplanecrashpressercnn Dong Yun Yoon, who survived last Monday’s jet plane crash in San Diego, can only utter words of hope and prayer for the pilot who accidentally killed his wife, two young daughters and mother-in-law: "Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident . ... I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could."

I can’t imagine what he’s feeling right now but I'm impressed that he has the capacity not to blame anyone for his tragic loss. Referring to the military pilot, he added, "He is one of our treasures for the country." Well, Mr. Yoon, with your selfless response, so are you.

(Image © CNN)

A One-World Government?

Global_govt According to this article by Gideon Rachman, we're moving ever closer to a one-world government. Do you think you'll see it happen in your lifetime? If so, do you view such a change positively or negatively? Why?

(Image © James Ferguson for the Financial Times)

December 03, 2008

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December 02, 2008

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December 01, 2008

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It’s going to be a long four years....

Obama_cabinet During the Nixon years, we had DR. Kissinger as Secretary of State. During the Clinton era, we had DR. Albright. During the Bush era, we had DR. Rice. And now, we have: Miss Hillary. You know, the smartest woman on the planet when it comes to foreign policy, despite her lack of the serious educational credentials possessed by those predecessors.

Why did Barack Obama pick Miz Cattle Futures? Some observers think it's the only way he can shut her up and keep her from scotching his legislative plans over the next four years as she plans another run for the presidency. Obama himself says he chose her because he is "a strong believer in strong personalities and strong opinions."

Really? Who's going to be his national security advisor? Rush Limbaugh?

Obama also says he's planning to consult with military commanders before deciding when to surrender yank our troops out of Iraq. What will "The One" do if they advise him to let our troops finish the job honorably? (Yeah, I know--he'll ignore them.)

In preparing for the presidency, Obama could do no better than to read the book of Proverbs, where much is written about where wisdom can be found. (Hint: It's not among the loud, the graspingly ambitious, and the opinionated.)

It's going to be a long, folly-filled, but highly entertaining four years....

(Image © AP)

November 20, 2008

What’s Going On in Iran and Israel?

Today's Drudge Report links to an article claiming that Iran now has enough material to build a nuclear bomb. If this is so, it's obviously not good news for Israel.

To put it all in perspective, check out Joel Rosenberg's latest post, "War with Iran?"

November 19, 2008

Daily roundup

November 18, 2008

Let’s Pay Attention To National Security Issues

Thanks to Rick Santorum, now a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, for his alert to an insightful piece (written before the election, but still relevant and important) in the Wall Street Journal by Frederick Kagan about what happened to America the last time it didn't pay attention to world affairs and national security.

Our incoming president needs to pay close attention to worldwide enemy movements from the start. As Kagan warns, "It is important to note here the distinction between an enemy and a threat. Threats are problems to be concerned about in the future; enemies are organizations trying to kill Americans right now. Al Qaeda and Iranian agents are both killing Americans on a regular basis and have proclaimed their determination to kill more. They are enemies, not threats, and they will confront the next president from day one."

If you think our enemies are going to somehow vanish because of a new administration, think again. 

November 14, 2008

Want to End Wars? Then Stop Calling Each Other Names

Donahue Or at least that’s what anti-war activist and former talk show host Phil Donahue claims. For those of you that don’t remember Phil, he is the father of tabloid talk shows. His show aired nationally from 1970 to 1996 and was a very revolutionary, in-your-face type of show. Oprah Winfrey says, "If there hadn’t been a Phil, there wouldn’t have been a me."

Phil has never seen a war he hasn’t hated, be it the Vietnam War, Gulf War, our invasion of Afghanistan, or the current Iraq war. Recently he was on Bill O’Reilly’s show promoting his new anti-war film Body of War. Bill and Phil went at it when Phil looked Bill in the eye and said, "If we want to stop all of the mayhem, one of the things we need to do is stop calling each other names."

There it is, plain and simple . . . . Stop calling each other names and war is history. Makes you wonder what names Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, etc. were called that drove them to war and the elimination of millions of people.

In the October 18 issue of WORLD Magazine (subscription required), Marvin Olasky writes about an author from the early 20th century, Norman Angell, who also believed war was doomed based on simplistic thinking. Norman wrote in his very popular book The Great Illusion that warfare "belongs to a stage of development out of which we have passed." He wrote this before 1910. He believed that nations should rely on trade and industry to grow, because "military and political power give a nation no commercial advantage." He honestly believed that humans were evolving into peaceful creatures and that war made no sense.

Phil and Norman have one thing in common: the apparent belief that man is basically good, a humanistic viewpoint. War doesn’t happen because of evil in the world, it simply happens because people don’t think of what they are doing or saying and do stupid things.

Continue reading "Want to End Wars? Then Stop Calling Each Other Names " »

November 13, 2008

Daily roundup

November 12, 2008

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November 11, 2008

Daily roundup

Two Veterans Day videos

As promised earlier, here's the video of 90-year-old Edith Shain on Fox & Friends this morning.

And here's another video (via Hot Air) honoring the American soldiers who fought in the wars of the last 100 years.

Nurse reunites with Navy

Vjdaytimessquare1945 Here's a heartwarming story for Veterans Day:

A 90-year-old who says she's the woman being kissed by a sailor in Times Square in one of World War II's most famous photographs reunited in town with the Navy on Sunday -- days before she is to serve as grand marshal of the city's Veterans Day parade.

Edith Shain of Los Angeles, donning a white nurse's uniform like the one she wore back in 1945, went to see the musical revival of "South Pacific" and posed for pictures, being hoisted off her feet on stage by five of the actors in their Navy whites.

On Tuesday, she'll ride in the parade at the head of a contingent of World War II veterans. . . .

At least three veterans still lay claim to being the kissing sailor, and at least one other woman has claimed to be the nurse. But Shain, who left nursing to become a kindergarten teacher in Los Angeles for 30 years, appears to hold the edge -- by virtue of persistence, an effervescent charm and unabashed patriotism.

Shain tried to re-enact the famous moment today with a Fox News morning show intern -- without much success. (I'll post the video later if it shows up online.) But you've got to love her spirit -- the spirit that made this country great. A special thank you this morning to all our veterans and to those who care for them. God bless you for your selfless and courageous service.

November 10, 2008

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November 07, 2008

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November 05, 2008

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November 04, 2008

Why Liberal Evangelicals Should Love McCain

When social conservatives, particularly evangelicals, click on John McCain’s website and read what it says under “Americans of Faith,” they see a lot of things to like: a decades-long pro-life voting record, a commitment to protecting traditional marriage, and a promise to pick judges who won’t make up the law as they go along.

But what about liberal evangelicals? Check out their websites—such as Sojourners—and you’ll find their top priorities are not abortion, or fighting same-sex “marriage,” but poverty-fighting and social justice.

Liberal evangelicals who think McCain is against social justice need to look at his website more thoroughly and consider that certain topics they might have ignored are actually very relevant to social justice. For instance, he's in favor of funding scholarships, charter schools, and tutoring for poor students stuck in bad public schools.

Social justice, anyone?

McCain also expresses concern about the 1.2 million businesses owned and operated by African Americans, and the two million Latino-owed businesses. Small businesses have, McCain notes, helped millions of Americans out of poverty, and “the first consideration we should have when debating tax policy is how we can help those companies grow and increase the prosperity of the millions of American families whose economic security depends on their success.”

Economic justice, in other words.

Continue reading "Why Liberal Evangelicals Should Love McCain" »

November 03, 2008

’Doonesbury’ and the stench of hypocrisy

Garry Trudeau cares about our troops.

He cares about them so much he didn't bother to look up their preferences in this election.

He cares about them so much he portrayed the guy who tried to murder their fellow soldiers as an issue of no concern to them.

He cares about them so much that he's never brought up the struggle that the men and women who fight for this country have to go through, just to get their votes counted.

Now that's caring.

October 30, 2008

Daily roundup

October 22, 2008

’Roe’ v. Iraq

In recent posts concerning the political platforms of the presidential candidates, commenters of a left-leaning persuasion have been agitated over what they see as the skewed evangelical emphasis on abortion, especially when weighed against an unjust war whose mounting casualties of our troops and Iraqi civilians should make it a preeminent concern.

Let me say, right off, that whether or not the Iraq war satisfies just war critieria, the casualties of combatants and civilians alike are tragic. Thus, the question before Christians is not whether this is an important concern but, in the course of civic engagement, does it have primacy over the lives of the unborn. Plainly, when Iraq and Roe are placed on opposite planchettes of the moral balance, where, and how far, does the moral indicator tip?

I suggest that by comparing the scale, intent and end of these two issues, one can gain a fairly good idea. 

On one planchette, thousands of persons per year are being killed unintentionally as a consequence of a conflict waged against a genocidal tyrant and enemies whose military strategy is to target innocent civilians in an effort to annihilate Israel, overthrow Western civilization, and impose an oppressive, theocratic world government. On the other, thousands of persons per day are being intentionally murdered in a Holocaust waged against individuals deemed inconvenient by society.

On one planchette, casualties will decline and, eventually, cease once the country is stabilized. On the other, the carnage is ongoing and, if advocates have their way, controls against it will be eliminated such that it becomes the solution of choice for the problems of poverty, environmental degradation, crime, and every other social ill.

In the end, the moral comparison of pro-abortion and pro-Iraq war policies is like that of an unrestricted, ongoing ethnic cleansing, against the inadvertent deaths caused by medical interventions, despite the best intentions and state-of-the-art care of physicians.

October 21, 2008

Montana Mom Fights Terrorists

Everydayheroesterroristtracker01af Maybe we'd already be out of Iraq if this hometown girl headed our military.

(Image © Steven G. Smith for Reader's Digest)

October 20, 2008

Vote for us and we’ll bring you an international incident!

Does Joe Biden even listen to himself?

October 17, 2008

The Coming Economic Earthquake, Part II: The Seeds Germinate and Grow

Economic_earthquake The Great Depression ended with America’s entry into World War II. In retrospect, the New Deal did nothing to end the Great Depression. After WWII was won, the debt that America accrued because of the war could have been paid off with surpluses. Instead, the now stronger central government went on a spending spree and created a “government-backed expansion.” The GI Bill became law, America was helping other countries rebuild their economies through the Marshall Plan, FHA provided low-cost financing for housing, and several government agencies expanded. We had “an unprecedented postwar boom.” With surpluses throughout the Eisenhower administration, little thought was given to the national debt.

During this period in time I believe that since America was observing Judeo-Christian principles, God continued to bless this country. We were victorious in battle, helping other countries restore their economies, there was a population explosion (baby boomers), a flourishing economy, and we became a world superpower. God had promised all of these things in Deuteronomy 28:1-13, and He delivered.

However, we didn’t read or heed the rest of the chapter. The '60s came and we decided we didn’t need God or His principles. We started following other gods: materialism, greed, selfishness, and laziness. We decided God would always bless us no matter what and started to take things into our own hands. Several things happened:

Continue reading "The Coming Economic Earthquake, Part II: The Seeds Germinate and Grow" »

What should we be asking our presidential candidates?

Debate_80x60 In Newsweek, George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center poses twenty "moral questions" on matters of both foreign and domestic policy. Take a look and see if you agree that these are the right questions to ask -- or if there are any that you would add or subtract.

(Image © Newsweek)