Monday, March 31, 2003

Has there ever been an idea more deadly than the notion that "human nature is basically good"? How much disproving evidence will the leftist simpletons who spout this nonsense require before they finally revise their thesis? The belief that man is basically good has undergirded more more mischief, mayhem, and genocide than any notion in recent history. It is the idea that has propelled the utopian fantasies of every homocidal, communistic, Marxistic dictator, all of whom have believed that if you can just manipulate the economic forces correctly, you'll end up with the Perfect Society. Sure, maybe we'll have to get rid of 10 or 20 or 60 million undesirables first, but then we'll be perfect.

What brings this to mind is that I was reading some of the final email correspondence of Rachel Corrie, the silly little leftist American girl who was tragically killed in the Gaza Strip a couple of weeks ago while obstructing Israeli bulldozers at a refugee area. That her death was a horrible, possibly murderous, event does not change the fact that she was still a silly little leftist. In a famous photo taken a few months before her death, she is seen publicly burning a paper mock American flag.

In reading some of her last writings, which were printed in the U.K.'s Guardian Unlimited, I was struck by something she said:
I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature.
As Rachel now knows, her fundamental belief was wrong. Ideas have consequences, and this poor girl based her entire, short life on demonstrably incorrect idea, which was fed to her by people who should have had her best interests at heart (from her parents to the comically liberal college she attended), and which she uncritically accepted until finally taking a good look at reality. Hers is merely one of hundreds of millions of deaths that can be attributed to erroneous belief in "the goodness of human nature."

For those who see this poor, stupid girl as some sort of hero (and there are many of them), you need to realize something: Muslims would not stop trying to wipe Jews off the face of the map "if the two sides just understood each other more." People in the Middle-East would not just live together in peace and harmony if we could just establish a Palestinian state. And someone won't refrain from driving a bulldozer over you while you're standing in front of it just because he's "basically good."

The leftist vision says that mankind is basically good and thus perfectable through a few temporary, (though draconian) measures. Christian theology teaches that human nature is basically evil because of the stain of sin. Which side has been proven over and over again by the evidence? Those who really believe in the "basic goodness of mankind," ought to be morally consistent and remove the locks from their doors. The rest of us need to wake up, smell the world, throw ourselves on God's mercy, and produce solutions based on the truth rather than pedantic utopian fantasies.
"Don't miss March Madness! Coming this April on CBS!"

Sunday, March 30, 2003

I'm still trying to figure out if this is a parody of paleoconservatism or if it's the real deal. A self-professed paleo on the net posted the article dead-seriously, but as I read it, I'm more and more convinced it's a gag. But either way, it's hysterical. It's the same speech that crazy guy on the street downtown has been saying for years--and here you thought he was just a panhandler.

It's really more reminiscent of the always entertaining old-line John Birch Society craziness--I dunno, are the Birchers "paleo?" I need a scorecard for all these fringe groups.

Anyway, I have yet to find a more amusing microcosm of the entire movement than this one article. The only thing missing is the line where he says "And come on, we all know the Holocaust never actually happened. Six million people--please. At most, it was like four million people."

Friday, March 28, 2003

If you're interested in a typically muddle-headed defense of the Arminian notion of biblical election, check out the last few minutes of Hank Hanegraaff's "Bible Answer Man" broadcast from yesterday (3/27). In particular, his treatment of Romans 9 (like most Arminian commentators) is reminiscent of of a bullfighter's flourish while waving past the bull.

For extra credit, listen to his invocation of the Old Testament context of the potter and clay language (he cites Jeremiah 18 and I think Isaiah 25 & 49) and then actually look up those passages and try to figure out how in the world they are supposed to support his position that election is based on God's foreknowledge of who will have faith. Notably, he didn't cite Isaiah 64, which also uses the potter analogy, and says:
No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins. Yet, O LORD , you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
To Hank's credit, the written materials of his ministry have been much more even-handed in explaining the doctrine of election. The Christian Research Journal even published a full length debate between James White and some Arminian guy on the topic without taking sides. But lamentably Hanegraaff is not nearly so balanced on his radio program.
I mentioned a week or two ago that you should really do yourself a favor and subscribe to "The Best of the Web Today" from OpinionJournal. Here's one good example why, from an item in yesterday's edition. This point can't be made too loudly or too often:

As The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last points out, in the history of military routs, hardly any have taken less than eight days. The 1983 liberation of tiny Grenada, for example, took 10 days:

"Still not convinced? Consider the greatest military collapse of modern times, the infamous French fold at the start of World War II. Germany invaded France on May 10, 1940, didn't get to Paris until June 14, and didn't get a French surrender until June 22.

Even the French--the French!--were able to hold out for 44 days. If Saddam prolongs the fighting for another 5 weeks, all he will be doing is rising to the level of military competence set by France."
So if you're getting impatient, just relax. Go for a walk, catch a movie, pick up a good book, spend some time with the kids. Soon enough the war will be over, and America will have won.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Why is there an "h" in "Baghdad"? I'm finding that in spelling it, I rarely put the "h" in the proper place. And the reason for this, I've determined, is because it doesn't belong there in the first place.

I mean, think about it. Baghdad is a city in an Arabic-speaking country. They spell it in Arabic. When "Baghdad" was translated into English, we had the chance to make up the spelling from scratch. It's basically just a phonetic representation of what the people there call their city. But our English spelling has nothing to do with their Arabic spelling--we don't even have the same alphabet.

So when it was decided how we would spell it in English, why did some goofball have to go drop an unneccessary "h" in there? Did he think "Oooh, it'll look more authentically Middle-Eastern if I throw a superfluous 'h' into the spelling." We could have just as easily spelled it "Bagdad" and not lost anything. No Iraqi would have been screaming "Hey, you forgot to put the 'h' in there!" They don't even know what an "h" is.

Yikes, that was scary. I think I inadvertently started channeling Andy Rooney there for a minute. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I'm currently reading an outstanding new book, which I just purchased over the weekend: Useful Idiots by Mona Charen. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It ought to be required reading for every American high schooler and college student (though fat chance that'll happen).

Charen documents in great detail the blood-soaked history of Communism in the 20th century and the American left's complicity in it. Though anti-communism in this country has often been seen by a sneering media as simple-minded reactionary McCarthyism (even the mere phrase "Cold War" was enough to send them into self-righteous titters until recently), the cold fact is that Communism was responsible for the torture and deaths of hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century. Which is something you rarely read about in the New York Times or saw on Walter Cronkite's evening newscast. The American left consistently turned a blind eye while hundreds of millions of Russians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, etc. etc. etc. were starved to death, murdered, or tortured, all in the name of "brotherhood."

You should read this book, and if you have children in high school or college, you should make them read it.

Monday, March 24, 2003

I'm beginning to worry that the United States is fighting this war a little bit too carefully. How can you win a war by simply blowing up a few empty buildings? Meanwhile, life in Baghdad seems to go on relatively normally. I'm not talking about killing civilians. But shouldn't a war be at least a little disruptive to the enemy?

I think that Christopher Ruddy is a little bit nutty sometimes, but about 70% of what he says here makes a lot of sense to me. If it's a war, let's treat it like one. I have little interest in Iraqis being able to flip on their TVs and see dead American soldiers.
Here are some outstanding protest signs that you can print out and carry at the next peace demonstration in your area: Antiwar (sic) Posters to Download and Print

My favorite: "PEACE in our time! -Neville Chamberlain"
Bravo to Andrew Sandlin for writing the best thing I have seen yet on the "Christian paleoconservative" attacks on George W. Bush in his article "The Christian Conspiracy Against Bush."

In examining the attacks on Bush from some fringes of the Christian right, Sandlin observes that "what they wanted all along was not really an explicitly Christian president who takes a comparatively high view of God's law and tries to implement it as he can; rather, they wanted a paleo-con president who just happens to be a Christian."

Bingo. Thanks to Dave over at A Better Country for bringing it to my attention.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

I can't describe how it sickens me to see those animals flaunt American bodies, bodies of those they've tortured and executed. God help me, it makes me want to see these Iraqi thugs beaten to a fine powder and sprinkled over a sewer. Fortunately, I'm not in charge, and instead the honorable soldiers of the Unites States Armed Forces will continue to do their job in accordance with the conventions of warfare. And the reason they'll do so is because the United States is better than these animals. There is no moral equivalence, and those who think there is are, to put it in the vernacular, complete morons.

The terrorists of the world believe the United States does not have the will to fight once Americans start getting killed. They saw us limp out of Somalia with our tails between our legs after we saw the bodies of American soldiers paraded in the streets. From that moment on, these animals knew that America no longer had the fortitude to see the battle through.

It would profoundly dishonor these soldiers who have lost their lives so far if we were to decide, as a country, that we don't want to finish what we've started. We're now going to see what this nation is made of. I pray that it will only strenghten our resolve to rid the world of the kind of people who will do this. I don't want us to stop until every last one of them is dead.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

While the culture falls apart around them, for some reason there are many leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention who see Calvinism as some sort of great threat today. Despite the fact that all the major fathers of the Baptist faith were Calvinists, these modern-day Chicken Littles run around screaming as though Calvinism (as opposed to, say, the cheap decisional regeneration taught in the vast majority of SBC churches, for example) will somehow be the end of Christianity as we know it.

I recently saw a quote from Paige Patterson, president of one of the SBC's official seminaries, at A Better Country, one of my favorite online haunts. Here's the blurb:

"I believe that God's predestination or election is based on the fact that he does know everything, unlike the openness theologians would try to tell us," Patterson says. "[God] knows before we were ever born who will and who will not respond to the gospel message," he says, "and it is on the basis of his foreknowledge that election takes place -- not on the basis of some arbitrary decision on God's part to create some to damn them."
In other words, God looks down the corridors of time and sees who will choose Him, and then He chooses them. And that's "election." To paraphrase Ben Franklin, "God elects those who elect themselves."

Now I thank God for Paige Patterson. He was one of the major figures in rescuing the Southern Baptist Convention from the cancerous liberalism that took hold in the 70's and 80's. And he's right to oppose the heresy of "open theism." But this quote frustrates me because his view, in effect, still leaves God nearly as impotent as open theism does. Openness says God doesn't know what decisions people will make, while Patterson says that God does know--but that He won't actually do anything about it. The open theist has God sitting passively watching things unfold in the present; Patterson has God sitting passively watching things unfold in the future. Patterson still makes man ultimately sovereign and God nothing more than reactive--he merely changes the timing of God's passivity.

Patterson is sure that something is wrong with open theism, but he's so concerned to avoid Calvinism that he cuts the legs out from under his own argument, in in so doing brings up exactly the same objection that Paul anticipates and refutes in Romans 9. I look forward to the day when my fellow Baptists can simply accept Paul's teaching, rather than feeling the need to dance around it to support their own humanistic conception of autonomous "free will":

...Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger."Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Thursday, March 20, 2003

One of the amusing things about having a blog is that you can (with the right software) see how people have stumbled across your site. If someone reaches it by using a search engine, you can see the full search that they were doing that brought them to you.

Last night, somebody found my blog via Google by entering in the following search: "current guest book of all murderous dictator in usa year 2003."

I'm not sure which is more frightening: that someone was actually doing that search, or that it somehow turned up my blog.
Saddam Hussein, in his little "I'm still alive" speech this morning said something about America that sounded familiar: "And they will lose any hope in accomplishing what they were driven to by the criminal Zionists and those who have agendas."

If Saddam keeps talking that way, he's going to begin to sound almost as nutty as Pat Buchanan.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Do yourself a favor and visit Opinion Journal's "Best of the Web Today." Or even better yet, sign up for their free daily email. I get it sent to me every day, and it's consistently the most entertaining thing in my mailbox.
Stop the presses: Taki Theodoracopulos is against the war. I don't actually have any idea who that is, but I must admire the Dickensian (by way of Athens) name. I found it in an interesting story by David Frum in the "neo-conservative" (you know what that means) National Review Online article entitled "Unpatriotic Conservatives." Thanks to Jane for the link!

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

As a Calvinist in a fairly non-Calvinistic denomination, I've often been suprised to find how difficult it is even for Christians to accept the sovereignty of God in all things. There seems to be an idea among many--perhaps most--Christians that God is concerned with the "big things," but not really the "small things." When I talk about the fact, for instance, that God actually cares who wins the Super Bowl and has ordained an outcome that will help accomplish His great plan, I often find people reacting against that idea from deep within. Of course, I purposely use the example of the Super Bowl because I know it will be jarring; to the modern Christian, nothing could be more "unspiritual" than an overpublicized athletic competition. But we seem to have an idea that God just doesn't involve Himself in certain mundane things. A common illustration I hear is that "God draws the outline, but He lets us color in the picture."

It's becoming more and more clear to me, however, that the big things are just accumulations of many small things. An outline of the Mona Lisa would be valueless. It's the "coloring in" that makes the Mona Lisa the Mona Lisa. The little details--her smile, her hair, her complexion--are what makes her a work of art. Why would we want a God who merely draws an outline and then lets us butcher it with our crayons?

My entire life is details, and if God's not interested in those, then He's not interested in my life. The Super Bowl is the most important day in the lives of the 100 or so people playing in it. Does God care about what happens to them? Does He have any sort of plan for their lives that involves their careers? I only have any comfort in daily life if God has a plan and is ultimately behind everything that comes to pass in my life and the world around me. If there are some things that just don't matter, then I might be suffering pointlessly at any given moment. Thank God that "...God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28).

The framers of the great Westminster Confession of Faith were very wise (and very biblical) when they wrote: "God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."

Monday, March 17, 2003

With the U.S's announcement (along with England and Spain) that it will not seek a second vote in the U.N. Security Council on the disarmament of Saddam, it would appear that the jig is finally up for the United Nations. It's the end of the U.N. as we know it, and I feel fine.
I'm hearing the word "neoconservative" thrown around a lot lately, particularly as an epithet hurled from the right. The few conservatives who oppose a war with Iraq are derisively using this term almost constantly now, claiming that the possible war is only being promoted by "neoconservatives."

Jonah Golberg thinks that "neoconservative" is mainly serving as a euphemism or code word for "Jewish conservatives." Judging by the disturbing contexts in which I've been seeing this word used, I'm starting to think he might be onto something.
We're back from Key Largo, and my house-sitting family members didn't even get to shoot any burglars.

Wendy was very suprised by the trip, and it was gorgeous there. Though it's only 1 1/2 hours from where we live, we had not gone down to the Keys since we moved to Florida five years ago this week. Now, of course, we'd like to go back every weekend. Won't happen on my salary, though.

We visited a terrific little Baptist church there on Sunday morning. They are independent baptist, but very evangelistic and warm. R.T. Kendall (who lives on Key Largo and was formerly the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years--he was Martin Lloyd-Jones' pastor in the last years of Jones' life) was guest-preaching on Total Forgiveness (from his book by the same name). There are a number of things on which I think I probably disagree with Dr. Kendall (particularly is view on the charasmatic gifts), but his forgiveness message is an excellent one, and he's a terrific fellow.

If you ever are looking for an evangelical church in the Keys, I'd steer you to the good folks at Key Largo Baptist Church. I can't remember the last time I visited a church that did this good a job of welcoming their guests. Actually, I do remember: it was New Life Baptist Church in Davie, of which we've been members ever since.

Friday, March 14, 2003

I'll be offline this weekend. I'm taking Wendy on a suprise late anniversary trip (our anniversary was a couple of weeks ago) to Key Largo. Actually, it's not a complete suprise; she knows we're going somewhere, but has no idea where. I've booked us at a nice hotel there to lounge around in the sun and sit in the hot tub. Her favorite thing in the world is room service breakfast, so that's what we'll be having on Saturday and Sunday. I love living in Florida! See you Monday.

(NOTE TO PROSPECTIVE BURGLARS: our house is still occupied by numerous family members, and they are heavily armed. We're ready for you.)

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Say what you want about the Democratic Party, but you can never take this away from them: they looooove killin' babies. Despite the overwhelming majority of Americans who are repulsed by the infanticidal practice of partial-birth abortion, 33 United States Senators (all but three of whom are Democrats, and two of those "non-Democrats" are Jumpin' Jim Jeffords and the next likely Republican to defect, Lincoln Chafee) voted today against a ban on the morally indefensible procedure. Fortunately it passed the Senate by a large majority anyway. Those who voted "nay" are:

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Chafee (R-RI)
Clinton (D-NY)
Collins (R-ME)
Corzine (D-NJ)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Graham (D-FL)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Reed (D-RI)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Snowe (R-ME)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)

Democratic Senators Biden, Edwards, and Kerry abstained. Gee, I wonder which way they would have voted if they had the guts to take a stand either way and weren't running for president...

I just want to make sure I have this straight: Joe Lieberman won't drive on Saturday because he believes it violates God's law, but there's no problem with crushing a child's skull and sucking her brains out? Talk about your whitewashed sepulchres...

More Hollywood silliness: actors are now running around shrieking that they might get "blacklisted" for voicing their pedantic anti-war sentiments. The other night on "Access Hollywood," Pat O'Brien opened a segment on anti-war celebrities this way (as transcribed by the Media Research Center):

"We are just eleven days away from the Oscars, but the question Hollywood is asking, 'Will we be at war by then?' From Martin Sheen to Susan Sarandon to Sean Penn, many stars are voicing their opinion against using military force. But is that voice going to get them blacklisted in Hollywood?"

And then later in the same segment:

Melissa Gilbert (president of the Screen Actors Guild): "There is a sense out there, people who've got these Web sites going where they're asking folks to sign petitions to insist that actors are fired off the shows they're on. And it's, they're getting like 30,000 signatures."

O'Brien: "It's scary?"

Gilbert: "That's scary."

Well, Half-pint, it ought to be scary. But not for the reasons you think. It ought to be scary to find out how out-of-tune your union membership is with the rest of the its market.

It amazes me that these people can't think analytically enough to see the fundamental difference between McCarthyism (which involved the use of government power to harass and condemn people for their private acts) and what's happening now, which is that some actors risk losing their jobs because the vast majority of the American public is simply put off by dim celebrities pontificating on issues about which they know nothing. The former is the illegitimate use of government force, the latter is simply the free market at work.

It's a very simple concept, but they are absolutely incapable of grasping it. Entertainment is a purely market-driven entity. Whatever people will watch/pay for is what succeeds. If Michael Jackson runs around molesting children, people are not going to be interested in buying his records anymore. It's not a vast government conspiracy. Its just the buying public deciding it doesn't like something.

The same goes for blowhards like Martin Sheen. If the American people decide that his frequent left-wing outbursts are distasteful, they just might stop watching him on "The West Wing." And if people are tuning out because they don't like Martin Sheen, his network and production company would be perfectly justified in firing him. It ain't the government, and it ain't McCarthyism. It's no more ominous or sinister than Liz Taylor not getting leading-lady roles after she gained 300 lbs. If the kid with the zits down at MacDonalds starts haranguing you with political invective while handing you your Big Mac, he's going to get fired too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Dialog between Larry King, John MacArthur, and Roman Catholic priest Father Michael Manning on last night's Larry King Live:

KING: John MacArthur, you believe that Muslim people, the Islamic people are wrong. Their beliefs are wrong.

MACARTHUR: That's right. And this is not some personal belief of mine. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life..."

KING: Yes, but if they don't believe that...

MACARTHUR: If they don't believe that, no man comes to the Father but by me.

KING: You must believe that, too, Father.

MANNING: I believe very much that the love of God is strong. Jesus -- Jesus loves all people. Jesus died for all people and I can't imagine...

KING: He died for the Islamic, too?

MANNING: Of course he did. Of course he did. And he loves them with a passion.

KING: You believe that, too, right?

MACARTHUR: Well, I believe God loves his creatures, his creations.


MACARTHUR: But in the end he's going to condemn to an eternal hell all those who reject his son Jesus Christ.

MANNING: And he rejoices, and Jesus rejoices...

KING: All of them?

MACARTHUR: All who reject his son Jesus Christ, the Bible says, are condemned to eternal punishment.

MANNING: Jesus rejoices when his father is glorified. And when a Muslim or Jew glorifies the father I can't imagine Jesus coming and saying, Oh, well. When are you going to look at me? The joy of Jesus is the glorification of God.


When one drastically underestimates the sinfulness of man and believes that somehow God's favor can be earned, the kind of logic used by the priest makes perfect sense. Why can't a good, religious Muslim glorify God by doing something nice just as much as a good, religious Christian can? Of course, it's horrendously dangerous blarney, but par for the course.

I've asked those who believe this sort of nonsense (yet profess to be Bible-believing Christians) just where in Scripture I can find one of these God-glorifying Christ-rejecters, but so far none have been able to point me to one. But we just know that "No one comes to the Father except through me" can can't really mean "No one comes to the Father except through me," because we just can't imagine that God would turn away a really nice Christ-rejecter...

I don't think I've ever seen a more obnoxious combination of smug sanctimony, condescension, and lust for personal glory (thinly veiled under a guise of altruism) than in Jimmy Carter. Our former commander-in-chief, who presided over the most disastrous presidency of my lifetime (quite a feat in a lifetime that has included Nixon and Clinton) has never met a murderous third world dictator he didn't love. What about his listless, hapless, inept term of office convinced this guy that he was capable of running the whole world?
I notice that my posts look a little bit like ransom notes. Does anyone with any blog or HTML knowledge have any idea why my fonts change from post to post, and sometimes even from paragraph to paragraph?

(3/13 Postscript: my blog mentor Kyriosity, out of the kindness of her heart, went into my HTML and fixed everything. All the stuff that was messed up has been fixed. THANK YOU, VALERIE!!)
It's spring training time, and my beloved Cardinals were passing through yesterday to play an exhibition game in Ft. Lauderdale against the Baltimore Orioles. I took a half-day off work, and my dad, my son, and I went out to the ballpark for some afternoon baseball. The Redbirds lost 4-0, and I don't think they ever put two successive hits together in the entire game. Still, it was great to get out to the ballpark for the first time ever with the three generations of Rabes. My mom and dad have been in town for part of the winter, but will only be here another week or so, and it was the only time the Cardinals will be here (at least while Dad is still in town).

During the game, as is my habit, I looked up to the suite level of the stadium to find the booth from which the KMOX/Cardinal Network broadcast would be eminating. I was listening to those broadcasts as far back as I can remember. After a little bit of searching, I was able to spot the familiar face of Mike Shannon sitting behind the mic in one of the booths. It made me sad, though, because it made me recall how easy it had always been to spot that booth quickly up until last year. You only had to scan the row of suites for the white head of the great Jack Buck. He stood out like a sore thumb--I could spot him in just a second or two.

It's just not right that he's no longer there. I so look forward to the day when Christ returns and the perishable is made imperishable.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I'm working through the One Year Bible again this year (though, as always, I am a few days behind). Last night the Old Testament reading was in Numbers 3 (which is why I do the One Year Bible--I know myself well enough to know that it's very unlikely that I would otherwise be reading through Numbers, unfortunately), and it raised a question in my mind.

Would it be stretching things if one were to see a doctrine of particular atonement being sketched out here?

The world is divided into two different kinds of people. Some have attempted to draw that line between conservatives and liberals, Jews and Gentiles, or dog people and cat people. The real division between the two kinds of people on this earth is: Leno people vs. Letterman people. I am an unabashed Letterman person. Leno people are dullards. Unless, of course, you are a Leno person, in which case of course I don't include you in that description...

Dave is apparently under the weather with shingles, so he's having guest hosts fill in for him this week. I miss the days of guest hosts. When did talk show hosts start doing all their shows themselves? Whatever happened to the days when Johnny was working maybe 30 weeks a year, and on any given night you had a better-than-even chance of tuning in to find somebody like MacLean Stevenson or Larry Storch hosting? Come to think of it, I guess I do see why they now do all their shows themselves...

Yikes, it's like my third day blogging, and already it's starting to read like Larry King's old USA Today column. "Call me crazy, but I love lemon Jello....Why doesn't Ben Gazzarra have a series?....American theater will never be the same without the great Nell Carter.....Every night I thank God for the guy who invented thumb tacks...."

Monday, March 10, 2003

Reason 12,693 why I love Bobby Knight: Knight refuses salary this year
I made a decision on a discussion software, but of course am now having "buyer's remorse" (to such an extent as one can actually have buyer's remorse for a free product). I like the current one because it allows me to have editing control in case something was posted that needed to be deleted. BUT, Kelly has pointed out to me that the current one does not remember your information from post to post. I suppose I could put the other one back in. Why can't there be one good free one? I suppose I'll have to just pony up the $20 for Barlownet soon.

I finally did my Christian duty last night and took the family to see "Gods and Generals." Wendy was having trouble remembering the name of the film, calling it first "Guns and Generals," and eventually devolving into "Guns and Roses." I think she was quite relieved that Axl Rose appeared nowhere in the film.

Overall, I found it to be quite worthwhile. We had been warned going in that it was a bit slow in parts, but both kids said "I didn't think it was slow at all." I think it could have been about 45 minutes shorter without losing anything, but there was much to like about the film. I was particularly taken with the movie's balance in it's treatment of the North and the South, as well as the overt Christianity (even Calvinistic Christianity) displayed by the film's main characters. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a portrayal of real, explicitly Christian prayer which was not derisive (or at least condescending) in a major motion picture.

I grew up being taught in public school that the Civil War equation was pretty simple: North=good/South=bad. Only as an adult have I come to learn that the Confederacy was full of God-fearing, devotedly Christian men. I believe that the South was flat wrong on the slavery issue. But the film makes clear that the basis of the conflict and the motivations for fighting were not of the simple cardboard-cutout-caracature variety that many of us were taught.

Though "Gods and Generals" is not perfect in any sense (in fact, it has a good number of dramatic flaws), I'm glad we went to see it. My kids will not be growing up thinking that the matters surrounding the Civil War were simple, or that men like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were evil.

I just did a Yahoo search on my name just for fun (hey, don't look down your nose at me--you know you've done it). When I used to do sports talk radio, my radio program and photo were the first things that popped up on that kind of search. But it's been a few years that I've been off the air, and now when you put "John Rabe" into a search engine, about all it turns up is a bunch of hits on a "John Rabe" who was evidently "The Good Nazi of Nanking."

Great. I share my name with a famous Nazi. But gee, at least he's a good Nazi....

Sunday, March 09, 2003

I hope she didn't get the job the way her dad taught women to get jobs: Chelsea Clinton lands six-figure job

I keep seeing "comedian" Janeane Garofolo on television news programs ranting against the possible war with Iraq. In an interview with Bill O'Reilly the other night, she asserted that George W. Bush is just as dangerous ("in a different way") as Saddam Hussein. Garofolo is rare in that she is at least insightful enough to know that people naturally, viscerally hate smug semi-celebrities who trade in on their fame (or past fame--I mean, c'mon, Mike Farrell? M*A*S*H went off the air 20 years ago last month! It's been a long time, Beej. Nobody cares anymore.) to make some poorly-educated statement about U.S. foreign policy. She claims that news programs are purposely interviewing celebrities in an effort to marginalize the anti-war movement.

It doesn't seem to have occured to Ms. Garofolo that here's one way she can put an end to such marginalization tactics: stop going on news shows! She's like a hooker saying "Prostitution is really degrading to women. Please show some respect for me as you leave money on the bedstand on your way out."

Our 10-year-old son John played in his first ever official baseball game today. (Actually, I guess it's yesterday by now.) He had never shown much of an interest in sports up until last July when we took him to a Cardinal baseball game while we were visiting back home in St. Louis. Something about the game and the great baseball atmosphere (St. Louis is the greatest baseball town on Earth--ask any major league ballplayer) at Busch Stadium clicked with him, and he's been a big baseball fan ever since. In a very short amount of time, he's educated himself on a lot of the history of the game. In one recent conversation about catchers, he casually dropped Bill Dickey into the conversation. Bill Dickey. The guy played in the 1930's.

John and his sister Leah are home schooled, and we've purposely shielded them from public school worldliness up until this point. He's been dying to play baseball though, so we decided that he was old enough to join the Cooper City Little League (though we're always there to keep a close eye on things). It's been difficult on Wendy knowing that John is going to hear things that he's never heard before, but he's a good kid and has a strong sense of right and wrong (thanks largely to Wendy's constant work with them in homeschool). So far, he's doing great, and I think he's a good influence on some of the more rebellious kids.

His first time at bat, he drew a walk. They had a practice game a few days ago in which he didn't reach base, and he was quite frustrated about it. All of the other kids on the team have at least a year of experience under their belt, but John is really just learning. He works hard and is improving, but in batting practice can still go through some real dry spells. Today, when the ump called ball four, John began jumping up and down and pumping his fist celebrating. You've never seen anybody more excited about a walk, and you likely never will. He eventually came around to score, and in the process managed to slide into every base--whether the ball was near or not.

On his second at-bat of the day, he made contact on a sharp grounder which he beat out for a base hit! My only son's first-ever base hit. As it sunk in, I got choked up. Fine, give me a purse, I admit it...I got misty. At the end of the game, the tradition is for the coaches to give the "game ball" to somebody. Coach Steve gathered the kids around and said something like "For the game ball, we've got a kid who played in his very first game today, and is already contributing. The game ball goes to John Rabe."

It doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, March 07, 2003

I never fail to be amazed at the arrogance and hypocricy of the diversity Nazis. They loudly bray about "diversity," but the only diversity they are really interested in is purely superficial. One type of diversity they absolutely will not tolerate: diversity of ideas. This story is shocking but predictable: FrontPageMag