Thursday, July 24, 2008

The IOC: On The Case!

The International Olympic Committee has banned Iraq from competing in the upcoming Summer Olympics because of what it says is the government's political interference in sports.

CNN received a copy of the letter, which was sent to Jassim Mohammed Jaffer, Iraqi minister of youth and sports, and Ali Mohsen Ismail, acting secretary general of the Iraqi general secretariat of the Council of Ministers.

"We deeply regret this outcome, which severely harms the Iraqi Olympic and Sports Movement and the Iraqi athletes, but which is unfortunately imposed by the circumstances," said the letter, signed by two IOC officials.
It's good that now the IOC is cracking down on government interference with the Iraqi Olympic team. As opposed to back when when the IOC used to allow them to participate, when the late Uday Hussein was running things for the Iraqi Olympic Committe:
As president of the Iraqi National Olympic Committee, Uday allegedly tortures athletes for losing games. He sticks them in prison for days or months at a time. Has them beaten with iron bars. Caned on the soles of their feet. Chained to walls and left to stay in contorted positions for days. Dragged on pavement until their backs are bloody, then dunked in sewage to ensure the wounds become infected. If Uday stops by a player's jail cell, he might urinate on his bowed, shaven head. Just to humiliate him.
And, of course, the IOC has scheduled this years games for that bastion of governmental non-interference, China. Way to stay on it, IOC. The world rests a little better because of your vigilance.

(Undoubtedly, however, this little Iraq problem can go away if some moolah finds it's way into the right hands. For more on the utter sham that is the bribe-hungry International Olympic Committe, go here.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bush Kills A Poor Guy

The odd story of a burglar who got stuck in a ventilation shaft in a sports bar trying to make his way in after closing hours--presumably to clean out the cash register--has been in the news here in South Florida.

I'll let the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, in a story that has to be read to be believed, take it from there:
The man, identified Monday as Benjamin Rodriguez, 46 and homeless, had been dead up to 72 hours before his body was discovered Saturday, according to officials and state records. He was found upside down in the shaft, with his arms at his sides, according to the Broward Medical Examiner's Office.

His death left people wondering why anyone would take such a dangerous route, and if perhaps this is a reaction to a rough economy.
This seemed to me about the oddest possible angle somebody could put on this story. But the Sun-Sentinel's account offers opinions aplenty:
"That's crazy. It sounds like a horror movie," said Estefania Nevial, an accountant's assistant in the strip mall just south of Mayo Street. "I couldn't believe it. I guess that's how desperate people are."
I guess so. The bad economy forced him to climb down a ventilation shaft to try to rob a bar. Local officals agree:
"Desperate times bring desperate measures," Hollywood fire-rescue spokesman Battalion Chief Mark Steele said. "People will do anything right now. We're seeing a lot of weird calls. Every day you jump on that truck you're going to see something different."
Ventilation man was suddenly forced into a life of crime by the economic downturn. We want change! We want change! Barack Obama certainly wouldn't have let this man die. In order to save these people, we clearly need change to get us out of this sluggish economy perpetrated by the Evil Bush.

Almost as a footnote, the story adds:
Florida criminal records show Rodriguez has been arrested 22 times on various drug possession-related, theft and criminal traffic charges dating back to 1991. His most recent arrest was in June, when the Broward Sheriff's Office picked him up on a warrant charging grand theft, resisting a law enforcement officer and traffic violations.
Huh. That's one long, crazy, burglary-inducing recession.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Revered By Whom?

In all the furor surrounding Jesse Jackson's recent overheard comments about Barack Obama, the thing being largely ignored is the thing I find most offensive: this clown is supposed to be a minister.

Of course, as with his friend/rival Al Sharpton, we all know that the title "Reverend" is just a fig-leaf cover for his real work, which is race-baiting and hucksterism. If there were any holdouts on the issue of Jackson's piety, I think they were pretty conclusively dislodged earlier this decade by the news of his illegitimate child. (Though to his credit, Jackson was embarrassed enough about the incident that he announced he was dropping out of public life for a period of time, which ended up being exactly one weekend.)

Nonetheless, it's unseemly for someone who claims to be a preacher of the gospel to be speaking this way. In reality, the only "gospel" Jackson is selling is the good news that a corporation that it will not be boycotted if it pays him hush money. Theologically, Jackson is not a Christian. As a graduate (though he never completed the work and was awarded the degree in 2000 because of "life experiences") of the Chicago Theological Seminary (which recently launched it's Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Religious Studies Center), Jackson holds to a liberal theology that, as the scholar J. Gresham Machen pointed out, is an altogether different religion from Christianity, despite stealing some terminology.

So I shouldn't be surprised. Jackson's not about Jesus. He's about Jesse.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The "Pregnant Man"

Undoubtedly, you've heard the story the media has been relentlessly hyping about the so-called “pregnant man.” "Thomas Beatie," has made the rounds of the tabloids, gossip shows, cable news networks, and predictably enough, Oprah. Some have even called it a miracle.

But since people rarely read past headlines, I've found there to be some confusion on the matter among many folks. Is a man miraculously pregnant?

Well, not quite. The fact is, Beatie was born as--and lived 24 years as--a female named Tracy LaGondino. She did modeling work, and was even a finalist in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant. When she decided she wanted to be a man, she had some cosmetic surgery and took some male hormones. But as even Beatie herself told Oprah, “I opted not to do anything with my reproductive organs because I wanted to have a child one day.” In other words, biologically this person is female, and still capable of carrying a baby, just as she was designed.

What we’re seeing here is not a result of some confounding medical phenomenon, but rather the outworking of silly "social science" programs that have been darkening college campuses for years. In such programs, originally instigated by the feminist movement, there is a push to separate the concept of gender from biological sex. In this view, while sex is biologically determined, gender is not, but rather is a social identity we choose for ourselves. Some choose one gender, some choose another, and some change their minds. Whatever you decide you are is what you are, and none of it is tied to your biological makeup or immutable.

While such ideas might make sense in the halls of addled university gender studies departments (and in fact, it's actually a lot of fun to Google "gender studies programs" and just look at the bios for faculty at the schools that pop up, where you'll never see a more hilarious stew of pseudo-scholarship and pretense), most people still tend to know better. According to a Reuters story, “The couple said an earlier attempt at pregnancy failed when he developed a tubal pregnancy, resulting in surgery that removed his Fallopian tubes.” The story went on to say that Beatie was artificially inseminated.

However somebody wishes to identify themselves, only confused reporters and gender studies professors would call someone a "man" who has Fallopian tubes, a womb, can be inseminated, and is pregnant. The fact that Thomas Beatie calls herself a man doesn’t make it so, because male and female are not simply arbitrary identities we can shed at will. There’s no miracle here, and there’s no medical mystery. It’s simply the normal pregnancy of a gal who likes to dress up and identify herself as a man.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kill And Eat

I've noticed with passing interest the phenomenon among my fellow evangelicals of adopting fad diets that market themselves as somehow being "biblical." Certain authors (not to mention "Christian" chiropractors and dieticians) have made a mint putting Christians back under the Old Covenant law.

The unexamined assumption here, almost universally believed, is that God gave Israel the dietary laws primarily for health reasons. But such a view of the law is not sustainable by the text. As if God somehow wanted to take away these health blessings from the church when He pronounced all foods clean again in Acts 10:15.

Nonetheless, such diets have found a fertile market among food-phobic evangelicals. In a fascinating ongoing series, Doug Wilson looks at how we got that way and why it's wrong. Start at the bottom and read up.