Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Not Even Hiding It Any More

CNN has the AP's review of Kingdom of Heaven up right here that praises it for its political correctness. What does the review mean by political correctness? Well, Muslims didn't get angry:

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was among those worried groups, but half a dozen members came away greatly relieved after a "Kingdom of Heaven" screening arranged for them by Scott.

"It's one of the better representations of Muslims we've seen out of Hollywood," said Laila Al-Qatami, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based group. "We thought that he did a good job tackling a potentially volatile subject and avoided doing a simplified, stereotyped story of Muslim vs. Christian."

. . . . .

Al-Qatami of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said the only faults her group found with "Kingdom of Heaven" were small historical inaccuracies, changes made to beef up the movie's drama and romantic subplot involving Bloom's and Green's characters.

"At the end of the day, we're happy," Al-Qatami said. "I think it's a fair picture of cultural and religious relations of the time."

That's all well and good, but what of the Christian reaction to the movie? There's no mention at all, even though in modern times the Crusades are a rallying cry for anti-Christian hatred rather than anti-Muslim hatred. The Crusades show institutionalized Christian religion at its worst, and are still used to flog Christians with guilt eight centuries later.

AP doesn't say. But it does quote actress Eva Green reinforcing the Christians-bad/Muslims-good meme:

"I think Muslims will be extremely proud and happy, because they're seen as noble, chivalrous characters," actress Green said. "Especially in this Crusade, the Arab people behaved in a more noble way than the Christian people. Saladin was such a great character. He was the hero of his time."

Exactly. A movie about the Crusades is going to come down hard on Christians, not Muslims, but AP stakes the movie's political correctness solely on whether it offends Muslims. The Christian reaction should be at least half the story, but since we're talking in PC-ese it doesn't even merit a mention. And that's what I mean by "Not Even Hiding It Any More": the Christian perspective doesn't merit even a token mention anymore.

Let's see whether the blogosphere will fill this information hole. Crosblog suggests the Christian reaction won't be too positive:

The Muslims in the movie are shown without flaw, as magnanimous in victory as they are skilled in combat. Meanwhile, the number of Christians in this movie with any redeeming qualities, by my count, is four, and are clearly the exceptions to the rule of bloodthirsty hypocrite. (There's a moment at the end, when the loss of Jerusalem appears imminent, when the bishop declares "Convert to Islam! Repent later!" It's just funny.)

Crosblog also points to this article in Human Events, which has this to say about the movie:

Kingdom of Heaven is a dream movie for those guilt-ridden creatures who believe that all the trouble between the Islamic world and the West has been caused by Western imperialism, racism, and colonialism, and that the glorious paradigm of Islamic tolerance, which was once a beacon to the world, could be reestablished if only the white men of America and Europe would back off. Except for one detail: it isn't true.

Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, author of A Short History of the Crusades and one of the world's leading historians of the period, called the movie "rubbish," explaining that "it's not historically accurate at all" as it "depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality." Oh, and "there was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians. That is utter nonsense."

Nor does Kingdom of Heaven take any notice of the historical realities of Christians and Jews who lived under Muslim rule. They were never treated as equals or accorded full rights as citizens, and always suffered under various forms of institutionalized discrimination and harassment.

Meli's Moonlight has this to say:

Here is Yahoo! Movies' caption describing the film:

"KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is an epic adventure about a common man who finds himself thrust into a decades-long war. A stranger in a strange land, he serves a doomed king, falls in love with an exotic and forbidden queen, and rises to knighthood. Ultimately, he must protect the people of Jerusalem from overwhelming forces while striving to keep a fragile peace."

What it fails to mention is that the "overwhelming forces" the common man must protect the "people of Jerusalem" from are the Christians. In typical Hollywood Christophobic style, the revisionists are at it again, pushing cowardly along behind this bruiser of a summer smash hit and leaning heavily on star power to overcome the utter nonsense being passed off as history.

Dr. Mike Kear of the Emmaus Theory likes it:

Good movie. Not world shaking, but certainly good. Great special effects, especially the city of Jerusalem. A small galaxy of stars including Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Edward Norton (who we never really see), and of course Orlando Bloom. A true epic.

. . .

I think what Scott is trying to express is that Christians and Muslims can probably get along if we only can somehow rein in the fundamentalist extremists on both sides.

Donald Sensing doesn't like it:

The conflicts of the film are entirely one sided. The bad guys are all Christians, which is not really a criticism as the POV is from within the Christian kingdom. And there were some pretty sorry leaders among the real crusaders. Besides, the Christian king of Jerusalem is portrayed as a man of honor, courage and righteousness. No, my problem with these characterizations is not that the movie’s POV is so one-sided, it is that the portrayals are so darn wooden and shallow:

Head bad guy to evil henchman: “Start me a war.”
Evil henchman: “It’s what I do.”

And then he does so by letting the Templars loose on an innocent Muslim village where they literally hack everyone to death. Blood-spattered, the evil henchman mutters, “This is what I am. Somebody has to be me.” Maybe he could break into song!

I'll let you guys know my own opinion once I've seen it.


Hey all!

Haven't been on here in a few weeks for various reasons. Here's a quick update:

I'm now working on Charlotte, North Carolina, on what should be a short project. The filters at the job site don't allow me to access blogspot, though, so I can't post messages during my free time there.

Been feeling sick the past couple days.

E2 is doing well, and that's actually where most of my free time has been going lately, leaving nothing for this blog. The Festival is still on for June 4th, although with any such thing there have been a couple bumps along the way. The compilation CD should be out in time for Cornerstone.

Speaking of Cornerstone, I should write up a cgi script to figure out the booth schedule. Hmm. . .

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Pope

It's going to be Joseph Ratzinger, who was Pope John Paul II's close personal friend, and the papacies will likely be very similar. He's taking the title Boniface XVI.

I'm not sure what to think. This ensures that the Catholic church will stay in the right with regard to abortion, gay marriage, and some other important moral issues. But the church's theology and doctrine as a whole are far from the truth, and the papacy itself is offensive to me. Maybe I should be happy that it could have been worse, or maybe I should be disgusted that the office of pope continues. . .

Computer-Generated Gibberish Paper Accepted At Conference

I've messed with the heuristic research-paper-writing computer program before, but it was obviously just for goofing around -- or so I thought.

The guys at MIT who wrote this gibberish-writing programs then had it write a gibberish research paper, submitted it to the World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, and had it accepted.

Moussaoui Planning to Admit 9/11 Role

Story here. Of course, the same thing was said a year or two ago, when he entered and then withdrew a guilty plea.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

E2 FEST 2005

The e2 Fest page is up and running on e2 Ministries' site! It's on June 4 in northwest Indiana, and chances are you know some of the bands!

Go to http://www.e2-music.com to check out the current band list and all other information. And if you're a Christian band in the Chicagoland area, contact us to get in!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite Gets His Own Bill

See the Idaho Legislature's Napoleon Dynamite Bill here.

Money quote:

WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote "Nay" on this concurrent resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" and run the risk of having the "Worst Day of Their Lives!"

Yes, this is for real.

Hat tip Bunnie Diehl.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Bulls Lock Up Playoff Spot

As predicted here at Heroes from the Past back in January! Full story here.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Clean From Sin?

I was just talking about a Christian's relationship to sin with Prime Minister of Toast last week, and now Doug van Pelt of HM Magazine has a great post. Go read it all, but here's a quote:

Chapter 23 finds Job in the midst of his long ordeal. He describes his complaint as "bitter." It seems as if he feels that God is distant or not answering his prayers. He wishes, "If only I knew where to find Him...I would state my case before Him..." Job is confident that if and when he is tested before the Lord, that he will come out clean.

I believe this is a confidence that we can have. Yes, I know that some believers have crafted a theology that allows them to wallow in their sin. I think that to be heresy. Yes, it is true that sin goes deeper than behavior. I think Jesus made that obvious with His great Sermon on the Mount. But, for instance, we can keep ourselves "clean."

Any thoughts? Can we as Christians be clean of sin on earth? Is it pride to consider ourselves free of sin through Christ? Is it self-centered to focus on our own flaws when there are so many people needing to hear the truth? Which is more important, righteousness or compassion? Is this a false dichotomy?

There are two extremes, both of which come from the same source. The first extreme is that of legalism in its many forms. Legalists may be Pharisaical, and be conceitedly proud of their own sinlessness in comparison to others. On the other hand, some legalists are all too aware of their own sins, and are constantly working, unsuccessfully fighting their own sinful nature.

The other extreme is a modern (or perhaps post-modern) reaction to this legalism. It's more insidious than legalism, and I think has really grown in my generation. This is the idea that we're all sinners, but in the grand scheme of things the sin doesn't matter. Since we're powerless to fight our sin, we should simply accept our flaws, move on, and focus on love and unity and being Christ to others. But they fail to realize that righteousness is an essential trait of compassion and Christ-imitation -- that our relationship with God is directly affected by our sin. I'm not sure what this position is called, and I know this term will carry the wrong connotations, but for lack of a better word I'll call it Libertism.

What both of these positions ignore is that we can be free of sin -- through Christ. Legalism denies that Christ brings freedom from sin on earth. Libertism denies that Christ brings freedom from sin on earth. I think this denial, on both sides, is doing more to hurt Christ's work here in America than anything else.

Google Satellite Maps

Just having fun with Google's new map-to-sattelite-picture feature.

Some interesting ones:

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Friday, April 01, 2005

Family Tragedy

Please pray for my extended family. My second cousin on my father's side, Charlene Hicks, was murdered yesterday with her husband, Richard. They were missionaries in Guyana.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cornerstone Schedule Released

The 2005 Cornerstone Festival Schedule is now available here.

Biggest scheduling conflict I've noticed so far:
Friday 7:40 PM -- Skillet
Friday 8:00 PM -- Hanover Saints
Friday 8:00 PM -- Life In the Way
Friday 8:15 PM -- The Huntingtons (farewell show)

That's right. On Friday, July 1, I will have to find a way to be four places at once.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Flatfoot 56 In Metromix Contest

Hey all! Go here and vote for Flatfoot 56 in order to help them get some major recognition!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tooth and Nail deal

Still busy with work and everything else, but here's a quick deal:

BestBuy.com is selling all Tooth and Nail CD's @ 2 for $15. Check it out here.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Lack of Updates

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been really busy both with work and personal life. And then when I try posting something here (which has happened twice this week), blogger/blogspot has gone down completely!

So I'll be kinda surprised if this goes through. Anyways, hopefully next week I'll have a little more time to post.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Autoblink Update

The guys at Searchguild have updated the Autoblink code, making it faster and adding an Amazon referral switch option. They've also created a new meta tag, currently unsupported by anyone, that they hope to convince tools like Autolink to honor.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Venezuela Outsourcing ID's To Cuba

This is unsettling.

Maureen Jagmin Resigns


The Sun-Times has the resignation story here.

Maureen's husband, Gary Jagmin, made a very scary defense of his wife:

"It was an overheard conversation between possibly a man and wife," a visibly shaken Gary Jagmin said haltingly. He read a statement in a small board room packed with parents, reporters and school officials. "Should she be judged on what she says in the privacy of her own home, speaking to her husband, in a private conversation?"

He told the board he couldn't tell the context of the conversation from the transcript printed in Tuesday's Sun-Times. He also suggested the caller may have been expressing someone else's opinion, and questioned how the recording ended up on the Sun-Times voice mail.

He asked the board to delay accepting his wife's resignation until she and her lawyer reviewed the recording. But the board already had accepted the resignation.

Gary Jagmin said his wife was a dedicated board member. "Her actions speak louder than her private conversations," he said.

Someone (maybe H. Jackson Brown, Jr.) once said, "Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking." The conversation caught on the Sun-Times voicemail was a candid look at Maureen Jagmin's character and beliefs, and thus just as important -- if not more so -- as her public actions.

But her public actions do show character. For instance, she continues to deny that she is the voice in the recording. Since all the other facts in the matter point to her as the culprit -- the caller ID, the matching names in the recording, her resignation, and the fact that her own husband basically admitted to it by defending her privacy to say such things -- all indications are that her denial is merely an attempt to save face. The right thing to do would be to own up to the responsibility and publicly apologize to the schools she slandered, as the Lincoln-Way school board has already done.

Should she be fired or charged for what she said? No, and she wasn't. Freedom of speech extends to statements such as these, and as a (presumably elected) public official, she can't be forcibly removed from office for making such statements. But though perfectly legal, what she said was morally reprehensible, her actions after the fact have been shortsightedly self-serving, and her husband's defense is ethically bankrupt.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Curtailing My Freedom Of Speech

Check out this interview with Federal Election Commissioner Bradley Smith, titled "The Coming Crackdown On Blogging". The FEC is planning to apply the McCain-Feingold bill to blogs.

What does this mean? Well, McCain-Feingold restricts the contributions from corporations and individuals to political campaigns. In the case of websites and blogs, the FEC is planning to judge "contributions" in interesting ways:

How can the government place a value on a blog that praises some politician?
How do we measure that? Design fees, that sort of thing? The FEC did an advisory opinion in the late 1990s (in the Leo Smith case) that I don't think we'd hold to today, saying that if you owned a computer, you'd have to calculate what percentage of the computer cost and electricity went to political advocacy.

It seems absurd, but that's what the commission did. And that's the direction Judge Kollar-Kotelly would have us move in. Line drawing is going to be an inherently very difficult task. And then we'll be pushed to go further. Why can this person do it, but not that person?

How about a hyperlink? Is it worth a penny, or a dollar, to a campaign?
I don't know. But I'll tell you this. One thing the commission has argued over, debated, wrestled with, is how to value assistance to a campaign.

Corporations aren't allowed to donate to campaigns. Suppose a corporation devotes 20 minutes of a secretary's time and $30 in postage to sending out letters for an executive. As a result, the campaign raises $35,000. Do we value the violation on the amount of corporate resources actually spent, maybe $40, or the $35,000 actually raised? The commission has usually taken the view that we value it by the amount raised. It's still going to be difficult to value the link, but the value of the link will go up very quickly.

. . .

If Congress doesn't change the law, what kind of activities will the FEC have to target?
We're talking about any decision by an individual to put a link (to a political candidate) on their home page, set up a blog, send out mass e-mails, any kind of activity that can be done on the Internet.

Again, blogging could also get us into issues about online journals and non-online journals. Why should CNET get an exemption but not an informal blog? Why should Salon or Slate get an exemption? Should Nytimes.com and Opinionjournal.com get an exemption but not online sites, just because the newspapers have a print edition as well?

. . .

So if you're using text that the campaign sends you, and you're reproducing it on your blog or forwarding it to a mailing list, you could be in trouble?
Yes. In fact, the regulations are very specific that reproducing a campaign's material is a reproduction for purpose of triggering the law. That'll count as an expenditure that counts against campaign finance law.

And this will apply to Heroes from the Past, although it's questionable whether the FEC will target such a small blog as this. If I reproduce campaign literature, even if it is with permission and correctly attributed, I may be breaking McCain-Feingold. If I hyperlink to George Bush's campaign website, I may be breaking McCain-Feingold. If I ever incorporate myself (which is a real possibility, longterm) and do any of this, I will probably be breaking McCain-Feingold.

Whatever happened to free speech in this country?

BTW -- who is at least partially to blame?

In 2002, the FEC exempted the Internet by a 4-2 vote, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall overturned that decision. "The commission's exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated communications regulation severely undermines" the campaign finance law's purposes, Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Smith and the other two Republican commissioners wanted to appeal the Internet-related sections. But because they couldn't get the three Democrats to go along with them, what Smith describes as a "bizarre" regulatory process now is under way.

GodBlogCon 2005

Just heard about this yesterday on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. Here's the latest info. It'll be held at Biola University in California, October 13-15.

I'm thinking about it . . .

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Illinois Sports Blog

Just found a blog dedicated to Illinois Sports, from the Cubs down to high-school stuff. Check out The HH Bullpen.


The Sun-Times has a huge scoop on the SICA story that is going to blow up the secession talk to front-page importance -- perhaps even national news.

A Sun-Times reporter received a call that, according to caller ID, originated at the house of Lincoln-Way district board member Maureen Jagmin. When the caller received voicemail, apparently the phone failed to hang up, and a subsequent conversation was recorded in which the primary speaker was referred to as "Maureen" and referenced another family member by name.

Select quotes from "Maureen":

The caller refers to three mostly black schools that are part of the 35-school conference, the South Inter-Conference Association, or SICA.

"The schools that used to be good like Rich Central, Rich East and Rich South are all failing schools," the woman said. "Why are they failing? Because of what's in 'em. One of the teachers right down the street said he couldn't wait to get the heck out from 30 years ago when he started teaching when it was just the normal kid. I mean it's a zoo."

Earlier, she spoke in general about black people.

". . . It's getting to the point where I'm tired of the welfare, tired of the mentality that poor blackie because let's give them a job so they can be supporting themselves and, be, make them work. You know, forget this I want to be a bum type of thing. I think it's a forever problem in this country, you know, it's never going to go away in this area here."

Jagmin denies that the voice in the recording is she.

For once, I almost agree with Jesse Jackson, Jr:

"The school board member should step down immediately," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), whose district includes many SICA schools.

Maybe this is an elaborate fraud, but I think Jagmin should voluntarily suspend herself until the issue is cleared up. But I don't think it will be cleared up -- the evidence, to me, is pretty convincing.

Monday, February 28, 2005

SICA Secession

Local news!

Ten high schools are planning to secede from the South Inter-Conference Association at the end of the year: Andrew, Bradley-Bourbonnais, Bolingbrook, Homewood-Flossmoor, Joliet, Lincoln- Way Central, Lincoln-Way East, Lockport, Sandburg, and Stagg. If you know anything about the south suburbs, you'll see the pattern. These high schools represent the more affluent (and whitest) communities in the south suburbs.

"It takes a large group of white students out of the knockings and I think that is important to keep the conference balanced. So, there is a huge impact when they leave. They're taking the bulk of the white population out of SICA," said Robert K. Wilhite, Thornton Factional superintendent.

Black student athletes in lower income neighborhoods east of Interstate 57 are less likely, if ever to compete against more affluent whites west of the expressway. While the defecting superintendents concede that economics is part of the reason they will leave racial issues were not considered.

"Race in this whole thing is absolutely not a problem. It has never been a problem for the seven of us in our entire careers and as far as I'm concerned, it's never been an issue when it's come to a decision for me, whether it be racially motivated or not. Absolutely is not an issue," said Wyllie.

Wyllie says the new conference would be called the southwest suburban conference and would begin operating in all sports except football beginning next fall. Football will have to wait a while because of SICA contracts already in place.

The list of schools that will remain in SICA, according to this obviously outdated and badly-kept SICA website: Argo, Bloom Township (incl. Bloom Trail), Bremen, Crete-Monee, Eisenhower, Hillcrest, Kankakee, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Reavis, Rich Central, Rich East, Rich South, Richards, Romeoville, Shepard, Thornton Fractional North, Thornton Fractional South, Thornridge, Thornton, Thornwood, Tinley Park.

Hmm. Surprised Argo didn't bail with the rest.

Ace Troubleshooter Is No More

Dude, it stinks. John Warne, lead singer of Ace Troubleshooter, has left the band to be the new bassist for Relient K.

Now, coming off a two-month break, the band is refreshed and hitting the road on a headlining club tour. With Ace Troubleshooter singer John Warrant [sic] taking the spot of recently departed bassist Brian Pittman and with Jonathan Schneck joining existing members Matt Thiessen, Dave Douglas and Matt Hoopes, Relient K for the first time will be playing as a five-piece band.

Here's Ace Troubleshooter's official statement.

I guess John never got the memo that Ace was better than Relient K. . .

Crazy Happenings in Lebanon

Have you been following Lebanon at all? You should be. It looks like it might be solid evidence that Bush's domino effect hopes will be realized.

After the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri earlier this month, Lebanese citizens began to turn out in force to protest Syrian occupation of the country. Drawing explicit parallels to the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine from a few months back, the "Cedar Revolution" has won a major victory today: the Lebanese government, generally considered a puppet of Syria, has resigned en masse.

The Lebanese government abruptly resigned Monday during a stormy parliamentary debate, prompting a tremendous roar from tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in central Beirut.

The demonstrators, awash in a sea of red, white and green Lebanese flags, had demanded the pro-Syrian government's resignation -- and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon -- since this month's assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Demonstrators in Beirut's Martyrs Square chanted, "Syria out! Syria out!" after Prime Minister Omar Karami announced his resignation in a speech aired by the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

In his speech, Karami said he would have won a no-confidence vote scheduled for later in the day, but was resigning to avoid making his government a stumbling block to peace.

The country's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, now must pick a prime minister to form a new government until scheduled elections in May.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Rock Rebel

Check this out -- my post about Christian Music Makeover has just been linked on the front page of rockrebel.com.

Seems like a very good site, probably deserving of a sidebar link.


I don't know whether you guys are keeping up on the latest target of bloggers' outrage (Blog Rage?). This time, it's an entity that usually gets tons of respect from the blogosphere -- Google.

Google has just released a new beta for its toolbar. What has bloggers (and many other web developers) up in arms is the bar's Autolink feature. Read about it on this page.

What Autolink does is automatically create links on a page where there are none. Great feature for users, right? Except it's messing with someone else's copyrighted content. This website here, Heroes from the Past, is my own house/poetry book/art gallery/phone book on the web. Google is now offering to 'help out' web surfers by turning my content into their adspace. I have no problem when my host (which is letting me put together this site absolutel free) packages ads around my content, such as you may see at the top of this page. But when you add links to my blogposts that are indistinguishable from the links that I have made myself, that's crossing a line.

So, for the moment, I've found a way to make it stop. The folks over at Searchguild have kindly written some Javascript that breaks Autolink for a page, and I've added the script to my template here.

I'm not sure how permanent this solution is, however. For one thing, the toolbar is still in Beta, and the Autolink feature is likely to be changed to combat this anti-autolink script. Secondly, I depend on Google in two ways -- hits through its search engine and hosting through its ownership of Blogger. If the company chooses to do so, it can easily detect the Javascript and either automatically remove anti-autolink pages from its search engine, or decide not to host me anymore.

We'll see where this goes. I don't think anything major is going to come of this, but maybe I should look into heroesfromthepast.com just in case.


The tickets you have purchased are:
Cardinals at Cubs
Saturday, 8/13/05 at 12:20PM CDT
Terrace Reserved Outfield

Section Row Seat Price Type
237-3 17 107 $27.00 ADULT
237-3 17 108 $27.00 ADULT
237-3 17 109 $27.00 ADULT
237-3 17 110 $27.00 ADULT
237-3 17 111 $27.00 ADULT
237-3 17 112 $27.00 ADULT

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Other Extreme of Government Vs Property Rights

Instapundit and Professor Bainbridge have been pointing out one extreme of government abuse of property rights. Their posts talk about the use of eminent domain in contravention of the Fifth Amendment: "Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." In these cases, governments are forcibly purchasing private property for questionable ends. For example, in the case of Kelo vs. City of New London, the city of New London has allowed a private non-profit organization to forcibly purchase the houses of Susette Kelo and neighbors for as-yet-unspecified private use.

But there's another extreme -- landmark status. When landmark status is invoked, a governmental body forces owners of property to continue to own and maintain such property in perpetuity, even if funds are not available or ownership is no longer desired. Stinks, don't it? And now Chicago politicians are thinking of forcing about 200 churches to accept it.

Owners of houses of worship currently are permitted to reject landmark designation, but a proposal co-sponsored by 10 aldermen would end their ability to opt out.

Experts say that at least 200 Chicago churches are of landmark quality, and the owners of any of them that were to win designation would lose the ability to tear down and be forced to maintain them in perpetuity.

"Our absolutely last choice is to demolish a building," said Jim Dwyer, a spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese. "But if we have no use for it, we are not going to spend money to keep a vacant building open at the expense of our ministries and our schools, even if somebody finds it aesthetically pleasing.

"I think [the new proposal] would be a concern to anyone who believes in religious freedom," Dwyer said.

You read it right. If this gets passed, churches could have landmark status forced upon them by the secular city government. And that means that the churches would not be able to tear down the church or make major changes without permission, and would be legally required to keep the property in good shape.

So what if the church is low on funds? Or, on the other hand, what if the church wants to build a new, larger sanctuary? They're stuck with the current property as a legally-mandated drain on resources and options.

Preservationists now are pushing to save St. Boniface, a shuttered Catholic church at Chestnut and Noble Streets, as Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) seeks to fashion a compromise in which a developer would purchase the building from the archdiocese, save the facade and construct condominiums on the site.

"I think we have to come up with a creative way of helping [religious organizations] out," Burnett said. "If they don't have the money to be able to fix the building, they can go to jail or be fined" if they failed to maintain a building with landmark status," he said.

"You are going to make someone do something they can't afford to do," Burnett said.

Korn Guitarist Becomes Christian, Leaves Band

MTV has the story here. God is amazing.

Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, a founding member of Korn, has left the band and has rededicated his life to Christianity, according to the group's management.

"Korn has parted ways with guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch, who has chosen Jesus Christ as his savior, and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end," a statement from the band reads. "Korn respects Brian's wishes, and hopes he finds the happiness he's searching for."

Hat tip Israel from Staple, who are already targeting Welch for the band :P.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Yesterday's News

Dang, you'd think I'm a newspaper or something. This story happened yesterday, and I'm not getting to it until today.

Anyways, the story is further evidence that a liberal uprising will never be successful. The Kyoto Protocol went into effect yesterday, according to the story. Members of Greenpeace, not content with this drastic economic treaty, decided to take action on their own, and set their sights on the International Petroleum Exchange in London.

Greenpeace had hoped to paralyse oil trading at the exchange in the City near Tower Bridge on the day that the Kyoto Protocol came into force. “The Kyoto Protocol has modest aims to improve the climate and we need huge aims,” a spokesman said.

Was this a peaceful, non-invasive protest? You wish.

When a trader left the building shortly before 2pm, using a security swipe card, a protester dropped some coins on the floor and, as he bent down to pick them up, put his boot in the door to keep it open.

Two minutes later, three Greenpeace vans pulled up and another 30 protesters leapt out and were let in by the others.

They made their way to the trading floor, blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach. The IPE conducts “open outcry” trading where deals are shouted across the pit. By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.

So Greenpeace invaded the Exchange with tactics intended to disrupt trading. I'm not sure what they expected to occur, but I guess this wasn't it:

[T]hey were set upon by traders, most of whom were under the age of 25. “They were kicking and punching men and women indiscriminately,” a photographer said. “It was really ugly, but Greenpeace did not fight back.”

Mr Beresford said: “They followed the guys into the lobby and kept kicking and punching them there. They literally kicked them on to the pavement.”

Last night Greenpeace said two protesters were in hospital, one with a suspected broken jaw, the other with concussion.

This reaction may sound harsh, and may have been harsh. But I can only imagine what my reaction would have been if protestors invaded my workplace and tried to disrupt my coworkers and I in such a fashion.

Dogwood Is Still Alive!

So I'm starting to tell people that I think Dogwood might be dead. I WAS WRONG!

Just received this:

Dogwood Newsletter 02.17.2005...


900 22nd St (23rd and O Street), Bakersfield, CA
Bakersfield, CA
-ONLY $10

Wanna be our friend?
Check us out at http://www.myspace.com/dogwood

It's not like I'll be able to make it or anything, but it's great to see that they're still going.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


No, not blogging from the Senate floor, unfortunately. Senator John Cornyn is advocating a reform of the Freedom Of Information Act that would, intentionally, give bloggers more power to collect information from the government.



According to RedState, this is the first time that the word "blogs" has ever been uttered on the Senate floor. Not sure about that, but they have the full story here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Another MSM Nosedive

The Tulsa World, the city's only newspaper, is now asking bloggers to stop infringing on its copyrighted material. The targeted bloggers' sin? Excerpting from articles, and also linking to the paper's online content.

Bates Line, one of the targeted bloggers, has a copy of the letter that he received from the World, as well as analysis, here. Here's an excerpt from the letter:

The Tulsa World copyrights its entire newspaper and specifically each of the articles and/or editorials at issue. The reproduction of any articles and/or editorials (in whole or in part) on your website or linking your website to Tulsa World content is without the permission of the Tulsa World and constitutes an intentional infringement of the Tulsa World's copyright and other rights to the exclusive use and distribution of the copyrighted materials.

Therefore, we hereby demand that you immediately remove any Tulsa World material from your website, to include unauthorizedlinks to our website, and cease and desist from any further use or dissemination of our copyrighted content.

That's right. A corporation is getting angry at people for linking to its website. I only wish I had tons of other blogs linking to me.

But the World? "Mr. Bates is looking at me! Mr. Bates is pointing at me! Make him stop, Big Brother!"

Mahna Mahna Update

I've updated the original post also, but I think this deserves to be at the top of the blog. The Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper Mahna Mahna commercial has finally been posted to ifilm.

Monday, February 14, 2005

I'll Be Sure To Be In Lynwood In An Emergency

Because Sauk Village 911 is incompetent.

CALLER: Yes, I'd like to report someone that's injured. Someone needs assistance. They're at the emergency hospital in Dyer.
DISPATCHER: Where are they at?
CALLER: They're in Dyer, and they're in a brown GMC Jimmy.
DISPATCHER: This is Sauk Village Police.
CALLER: Yes, I was wondering if you could put it through, please.
DISPATCHER: No, I can't.
CALLER: Oh, who do I call?
DISPATCHER: You probably have to call Dyer.
CALLER: All right.

Friday, February 11, 2005

e2 Ministries Announcement List

An announcement list for e2 Ministries has been created!

Click here to join e2-music

Click to join e2-music

Christian Makeover Update

Remember this? Well, one blogger is now being sent cease and desist letters over having posted articles critical of Christian Makeover (hat tip CCMBuzz).

Is Heroes from the Past next? Tune in next week to find out!

UPDATE: James, the blogger in question above, has left a couple comments clarifying his current status. First, the 'cease and desist' received was not formally so, but rather a document using such words. Second, the letter was written primarily regarding James's contacting certain editors within the CCM industry and asking them to cover the full story, without ignoring the critics. Check out his comments both on this post and on the one linked above.

And James, I bought the book through Amazon, and it looks like they haven't received it from the publisher yet, so they obviously haven't been able to pass it on to me. It was released by Relevant just a couple weeks ago, although Mark Salomon had self-published it before that time. I did read the first chapter online, and it asked some interesting questions. How is a 'Christian' band to react when a pastor at a church at which they are playing asks them to give a sermon during their set, when that band does not consider preaching its ministry? How is the band to react when that pastor confronts them in anger at their own place of ministry? How often do similar confrontations occur? What does it mean to be a Christian band?

I don't know if there are easy answers to any of these.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Business Cards!

Should be coming in the mail in two weeks or less.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

WNBA In Chicago

The AP reports that a WNBA team has finally been approved for Chicago. Yahoo! has the story here.

New Protest Warrior Event

Who's interested in this? Seriously, I need to know who would be willing/able to go. If you can, please contact me.

Protest Warriors-This coming Saturday, at my church (Moody Church-Clark& North), at noon some lesbian organization will protest my church's opposition to gay-marriage. From what I hear, next Saturday is "right to marriage day" and there may be demonstrations going on throughout the city, or for that matter, the whole Country. I am sure that Moody Church was singled out because of our evangelical teachings, but there may be other churches on the list as well. So, just a heads up.

I do not know much more about the specifics of the protest- and I will be out of town Feb 12th, so I cannot help. Let me know if I can help find out more information, particularly if some warriors have time to confront these angry women.

Thanks,Mike Manning
From Indymedia: http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/rate/52310/index.php#52310
Please refrain from posting comments.

UPDATE: Just a notice -- there's a good chance that this isn't going to be an 'official' PW operation, but there should be PW'ers showing up in an unofficial capacity.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Dove Award Nominees Announced

You can see them here.

My own quick thoughts:

  • "Meant To Live" should be Song of the Year.

  • Out of the options, Group of the Year should be Switchfoot.

  • Same for Artist of the Year.

  • Producer of the Year should be Aaron Sprinkle, but he's not on the list.

  • Give "Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year" to "Show You Love" by Jars of Clay. I like "Never Alone" by Barlow Girl, but it's a complete Evanescence ripoff.

  • Give Modern Rock Album of the Year to Collide by Skillet.

  • Rock Album of the Year should go to "They're Only Chasing Safety" by Underoath, even though I haven't listened to it.

  • Hey, this is my blog. I have the right to be arbitrary.

  • Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year goes to Third Day's Wire.

  • "Light Up Ahead" is a great music video, even if animated, and I wish I could learn to make them like that.

BTW, hat tip Bunnie Diehl.

More American Ingenuity

[0009] This taco holder invention is an example of simplicity at it's best. Not only does this invention hold the taco shell upright for filling the ingredients and for resting a partially-eaten taco between bites--but also clips to the edge of the dinner plate for resistance to tipping-over while carrying the plate between the table and kitchen, buffet lines, or passing back and forth between people. Other holders of this type are bulkier, heavier or free-standing, (able to tip over).

Saturday, February 05, 2005


Thoughts, anyone?

You Have A Type A- Personality


You are one of the most balanced people around
Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want
You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back
Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love!
You live life to the fullest - encorporating the best of both worlds

Friday, February 04, 2005

'Group Asks IRS To Check Into Focus On The Family'

Story here, via Christdot.

The watchdog group asked the IRS in a Feb. 1 letter to investigate. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Focus on the Family is forbidden to endorse political candidates or parties.

"Our organization believes that this article may have violated federal tax law with its use of code words such as 'pro-life' and with its implied support of President George W. Bush as a candidate for president," wrote Ellie Collinson, executive director for Citizens Project.

As far as I know, churchs fall under the same requirements. Hmm . . . What's good for the goose is good for the gander, innit?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Cubs sign Burnitz

The Cubs have filled their hole in right field. Jeromy Burnitz is certainly not my favorite player, or even close, but the contract is short and pretty cheap at $5 million / 1 year. And there weren't all that many good options out there -- basically, either get Beltran with an albatross of a contract, or hope that Maggs's knee is healthy even though his agent refuses to let any team check it out.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Feel Free To Play Along At Home

Just received this in the inbox from the Illinois Republican Young Professionals:

President George W. Bush will deliver his State of the Union address this evening at 8:00 PM Central. The White House has provided us with message points in advance of this evening's historic speech. They are copied below. Please feel free to share them.

As the President begins his second term and embarks on pursuing his positive agenda, he's going to face a lot of resistance from the Democrats. Litigation, tax and social security reform are some of the Administration's goals for the next four years. The President is going to need all of us to help communicate his message.

If you are unable to hear the President's speech this evening, a transcript will be available on the White House's website (www.whitehouse.gov) later this evening.

(visit our website at www.ilryp.org)


State of the Union Message Points

The Speech
This is a unique year for the State of the Union address because it comes on the heels of the Inaugural address. The two speeches provide an important opportunity for the President to articulate his domestic and foreign policy goals for the next four years to the American people and to the world.

The Inaugural address laid out the ideal toward which America will strive and the governing principles that will guide us. The State of the Union will lay out specific goals, immediate and long-term, for how and where we'll lead America, and will present a blueprint for a second term.

This is an opportunity for the President to not only educate the American people, but also persuade Congress that the country is going in the right direction, but there is more work to be done.

The President will call on Congress to fulfill its obligation and achieve results for the American people rather than passing problems on to future Congresses and future generations.

The first half of the speech will focus on domestic topics; the second half will focus on foreign policy.

Domestic Policy
The President will speak directly to the American people and to Congress about Social Security and offer more details on how to move the debate forward. He will discuss why we need to permanently fix the Social Security system and why it's necessary that we confront this problem today. He will express his willingness to work in a bipartisan manner and talk about why he believes personal retirement accounts are critical to helping future generations realize a secure retirement.

The President will talk about building on the economic momentum of the last few years, noting that 2.3 million jobs have been created in the last year.

The President will also talk about legal reform, tax reform, passing a comprehensive energy policy, and education and job training initiatives to make sure we have a skilled workforce to compete with anybody in the world. And he will discuss fiscal discipline and the fact that he will be putting forward a budget that reflects our times and meets our goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009.

Foreign Policy
This State of the Union comes during a time of war. The President will pay tribute to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to secure our freedom. He will speak to the importance of working to advance the spread of freedom and democracy. The President will also speak directly to those individuals who are fighting for freedom around the world; those who wear the uniform of the United States military, and the peoples of many countries that are fighting for their own freedom.

The President will speak specifically about the Middle East peace process and the renewed hope around the world for peace in the Middle East.

The President will reflect upon historic progress made in recent weeks, focusing on the elections in Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq.

The President will talk about our priorities and our plans moving forward, as well as our aims and goals to help the Iraqi people secure their country and continue on the path to democracy.

After The Speech
The President will embark on a five-state tour, beginning Thursday, to take his case for strengthening Social Security to the American people. He will visit Fargo, North Dakota, Great Falls, Montana, Omaha, Nebraska, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Tampa, Florida.

Mrs. Bush, the Vice President, and other members of the Cabinet and sub-Cabinet including Secretary Snow and Director Bolten will travel educating Americans and highlighting initiatives the President will be talking about in the State of the Union.

A Couple Wild Statements

First, Chief News Executive of CNN Eason Jordan makes some scary accusations:

During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others.

Due to the nature of the forum, I was able to directly challenge Eason, asking if he had any objective and clear evidence to backup these claims, because if what he said was true, it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park. David Gergen was also clearly disturbed and shocked by the allegation that the U.S. would target journalists, foreign or U.S. He had always seen the U.S. military as the providers of safety and rescue for all reporters.

Eason seemed to backpedal quickly, but his initial statements were backed by other members of the audience (one in particular who represented a worldwide journalist group). The ensuing debate was (for lack of better words) a real "sh--storm". What intensified the problem was the fact that the session was a public forum being taped on camera, in front of an international crowd. The other looming shadow on what was going on was the presence of a U.S. Congressman and a U.S. Senator in the middle of some very serious accusations about the U.S. military.

To be fair (and balanced), Eason did backpedal and make a number of statements claiming that he really did not know if what he said was true, and that he did not himself believe it. But when pressed by others, he seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess. His statements, his reaction, and the reaction of all in attendance left me perplexed and confused. Many in the crowd, especially those from Arab nations, applauded what he said and called him a "very brave man" for speaking up against the U.S. in a public way amongst a crowd ready to hear anti-US sentiments. I am quite sure that somewhere in the Middle East, right now, his remarks are being printed up in Arab language newspapers as proof that the U.S. is an evil and corrupt nation. That is a real nightmare, because the Arab world is taking something said by a credible leader of the media (CNN!) as the gospel, or koranic truth. What is worse is that I am not really sure what Eason really meant to communicate to us, but I do know that he was quite passionate about it. Members of the audience took away what they wanted to hear, and now they will use it in every vile and twisted way imaginable.

Secondly, John Kerry now claims that he performed gun-running for the Communist Khmer Rouge:

MR. RUSSERT: And you have a hat that the CIA agent gave you?

SEN. KERRY: I still have the hat that he gave me, and I hope the guy would come out of the woodwork and say, "I'm the guy who went up with John Kerry. We delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia." We went out of Ha Tien, which is right in Vietnam. We went north up into the border. And I have some photographs of that, and that's what we did. So, you know, the two were jumbled together, but we were on the Cambodian border on Christmas Eve, absolutely.

I don't know what to think about either of these. Well, I don't believe Jordan, but I don't know for sure. And can't accept that the best place for this revelation would be on foreign soil at an economic forum.

BTW, Eason's the guy who had this to say a couple years ago regarding keeping quiet about the Hussein regime's evil for fear of reprisal. And again, I'm not in a very opinionated mood, so read and decide for yourself whether CNN's actions were acceptable.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Iraqi Insurgents Capture Toy Soldier?

No, this isn't a joke. An Iraqi militant website posted this picture of their latest hostage:

He looks a little stiff or drugged up or something, doesn't he? And notice how the M-16 pointed at his head isn't being held by the grip? It must be that the insurgent holding it is grabbing it by the end of the stock -- an awkward grip at best.

Well, somebody did some quick investigation, and now Drudge has these pics on his front page:

Hmm . . .

e2 Ministries Update

A forum has been added to the website. Woo-hoo!

Monday, January 31, 2005

Mahna Mahna (Do doo be-do-do)


Some of my friends (who happen to be regular readers here) pointed me to this a few weeks ago. I thought it was cool, but SYNCHRONICITY IS COOLER!

Today, I flip on the TV in order to play Halo 2, and there's a Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper commercial. With THE MAHNA MAHNA SONG! I think it was just released today, because I haven't found any mention of it on the Net yet. As soon as I see the commercial online, you will be the first to know.

UPDATE 2/15/05: Fresh off the presses! The Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper Mahna Mahna commercial is available at ifilm!

Friday, January 28, 2005

CPAC Blogger List Released

The list is available here. I didn't make it, and looking at the list, it probably would've taken me about 10,000 more hits a day that I get (meaning maybe 10,050 total per day). Oh well. There's always next year.

Likelihood Of Confusion

Ron Coleman just IM'ed to let me know about his new blog, Likelihood of Confusion. Coleman is a Jewish lawyer, and it looks like his blog is going to cover issues related to both of these from a conservative perspective.

Coleman is best known, at least by me, for having witty advertisements on Instapundit's sidebar (Mental Note: Get a screenshot one of these days, so people will know what the heck I'm talking about). And longtime readers may remember that he was quoted in my Most Famous Post Ever.

Welcome, Ron! You should be added to my Blogroll by the time anyone reads this.

UPDATE: Ron has sent me this screenshot from Instapundit's sidebar:

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

e2 Ministries

Prime Minister of Toast and myself have been working on a new ministry idea for a few months now. It's called e2 Ministries, and you can read about what we're trying to do at the About page here.

Today, we took an important step forward. We are actively soliciting bands to join with us in our mission. A few local bands have already received emails. If you haven't, it's either because I don't have an email address for you, or maybe I just haven't heard of you ;). Anyways, IF you are a Christian band that's located in the Chicagoland area, AND you're willing to join with us in our mission as outlined on the website, then PLEASE contact us at info@e2-music.com.

PS: Venues are the next step. We've already mentioned our idea to one or two, but we haven't canvassed yet. If you represent a venue, though, feel free to contact us!

Monday, January 24, 2005


Yes, I finally have it. My gamertag is jpers36 , since Death Star was taken.

Look for me playing Halo 2!

Friday, January 21, 2005


Hmm. Maybe I won't be facing Jesse Jackson, Jr. in '08 after all. Check out this article -- Jackson is taking Mayor Daley and the Chicago City Council to task for corruption related to a minority set-aside program. Some aldermen are striking back, accusing Jackson of tarnishing the Mayor's reputation in order to set up his own run for mayor in 2007.

Instead of sitting in judgment of the City Council, [Police Committee Chairman Isaac] Carothers advised Jackson to pay attention to the chronic flooding in his own district, including recent problems in Ford Heights.

Asked if he believes Jackson's strident attacks against Daley are a prelude to a 2007 campaign for mayor, Carothers said, "It's a precursor. He wants to be king of the world."

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Christian Music Makeover?

This is silly to me. What need is there for a Christian band to get a 'makeover'?

The band will undergo a physical, musical and spiritual makeover, bringing about both personal and professional transformations. The physical makeover will include a MAC Cosmetics session for lead singer Heather King, weight loss programs for two of the band members courtesy of Jenny Craig, and individual fitness training with Natural Physiques personal trainer and author Jeremy Likness.

The musical makeover will include performance coaching with Tom Jackson, and new guitars for the entire band courtesy of Daisy Rock Guitars. Lead singer Heather King will have to learn how to play her guitar (yes, they're providing guitar lessons too), with a goal of playing live at a Daniel’s Window concert by the end of the campaign.

The spiritual makeover includes an interactive online devotional with the band and a pending partnership with a major Bible publisher. Fans will also be invited to participate in a soon-to-be-announced service project coordinated by international relief organization Food For the Hungry.

How are we going to make over this Christian band? By throwing brand names at it! JENNY CRAIG! DAISY ROCK! NATURAL PHYSIQUES!

Jesus Christ? Naw, he's prehistoric.

I'm not criticizing the band so much as the industry and whoever thought up this crazy idea. Sounds like Daniel's Window is getting tons of free merch out of this, and of course a lot of recognition, and although I don't like their choice, it's their decision to make. But what industry exec made this boneheaded decision, and what's it got to do with Jesus?

"The ‘reality’ phenomenon has taking America by storm, and we figured why leave out the Christian music industry,” says Cross Driven Records president Ryan Howard. “Daniel's Window is a fantastic band and has the real potential to be one the industry's best. Especially with the help of the great sponsors already involved, and the many more to come. Christian music fans - get ready for a transformation!"

AAAAAARGGHH! CCM is becoming my kryptonite. And speaking of CCM, I've bought this, which will be an interesting and hopefully enlightening read.

'Peace' Protestors Attack Protest Warriors

This story is making the rounds of the blogosphere (scroll ahead a few pages and down to the 12:12pm entry):

12:12 p.m. ET
Not So Peaceful Peace Rally
Hundreds of people gathered at both ends of Meridian Hill Park in Northwest Washington for a peace rally sponsored by the D.C Antiwar Network.

But there were interlopers: Thirteen members of ProtestWarror, supporting the Bush administration and its policies in Iraq. When the Bush supporters arrived, about 20 black-clad, self-described anarchists emerged from the crowd, shouting profanity and epithets and demanding that they leave the peace rally.

When the Bush supporters refused to leave, the anarchists tore the signs out of the Bush supporters' hands and stomped on them. When ProtestWarrior leader Gil Kobrin objected, several male anarchists knocked him to the ground, kicking him in the back and punching him. Other anarchists punched and shoved Kobrin's 12 colleagues.

After D.C. Antiwar Network members broke up the fight, the Bush supporters heeded their order to leave the park. Kobrin then called D.C. police, who are now guarding them at the entrance of the park as they hold up their pro-war signs. "We're going to hang tight," Kobrin said. "We're expressing our freedom of speech just as they are expressing theirs." --Robert MacMillan

If I were still stationed in DC, I'd have been with the Protest Warriors, perhaps at this incident . . .

UPDATE: Gil Kobrin has a group blog, We Won't Get Fooled Again. Their post on the attack is here.

UPDATE 2: Gil posts on the ProtestWarrior thread dedicated to this event (edited for profanity):

I haven't read all the posts, but I'll shoot off a quick reply.

First off - I'm ok. We're ok. My back is killing me (they kicked me in the spine and kidneys), but I'll live.

We were not shouting or chanting when the anarchists attack; we weren't even talking with anyone at the time. We were simply holding signs.

As for all you liberal *******s who are calling us Protest******s etc, let me make one thing clear: I gave the order not to punch back. I will not endanger the lives of ProtestWarriors by starting a riot, against anarchists armed with steel pipes and knives. You have a problem with that, than you have a problem with me.

More later.

UPDATE AGAIN: The Washington Post has a story on it here titled "Protesting the Protestors". It raises some interesting questions regarding ProtestWarrior, and I may address them in the near future.

Sites picking up the story:
ProtestWarrior Forums
Kerry Spot
Say Anything
Heroes from the Past ;)
Raje's Rants
The Sundries Shack
Red State
Mark Atwood
This Untamed Fire Of Freedom
USS Neverdock
The Global Awakening
Pass The Ammo
The Lumber Of The World
Blogs for Bush
Double Toothpicks
Free Republic
The Center For Advanced Studies In Right Wing Conspiracies
Top Dead Center
Precinct 333
Flopping Aces
View Of The Republic
The Underscore
News O Rama
More Eclipse Ramblings
ipse dixit
In The Right
Trials and Tribulations
Semper Cogitans; Numquam Laborans
Citizen Smash


Well, speaking of Lord of the Rings parody, check out this really simple, really funny riff on Lord of the Rings.

"That Was Me You Hired"

This is what I do when I'm bored. We'll see whether it becomes a regular thing. If so, LotR will probably be up next.

Jesus is Lord

Read this. Via Thinklings.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

New Jersey Slayings Update

Lara, a friend of mine from Valpo who is now in grad school in New Jersey, passes on the local reaction to the slaying of a family of Coptic Christians.

According to Lara, the murders have been the top stories all week for the local New Jersey news outlets. Furthermore, the religious hatred angle has not been supressed, but has been mentioned openly (for example, this story at the Star-Ledger). So she was surprised at my report of the (lack of) play that this story has been getting nationally. Libertarian Girl has further thoughts on this, and points out that this story was promoted to CNN's page during the same news cycle as the Jersey slayings were not.

Lara also send on a couple other interesting links. First, this story at the Star-Ledger's site reports that relatives of the Armanious family believe that the murders should be attributed to American violence in general rather than Islamofascist hatred. I'm not sure about this. The New York Post reports that "[t]he heartless killer not only slit Sylvia's throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross." That's an indicator that the killings were not random, but rather targeted based on the Armanious family's faith.

Secondly, Lara says that this link has video footage of the family funeral, at which a fight broke out. Unfortunately, viewing requires a paid subscription. If I find the video hosted for free elsewhere, I'll post an update.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Coptic Christians Slain In New Jersey

Read this overview of the story. Hossam Armanious was a Coptic Christian and an Egyptian-American who frequented a chatroom at Paltalk, often to argue about Islamic persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt. According to a family friend, he was threatened in the chat room by some Muslims. They had stated that if he continued to speak out, they would kill him.

Hossam, his wife and his two daughters were found brutally murdered on Friday. Most news outlets are either not carrying the story or are omitting the death threat aspect.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Protest Warrior Inauguration Counter-Protest, Chicago, 1/15/05

Update: Captions Added

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Inauguration Protestors at Senn High School

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Police Officers conversing with PW Chicago leaders

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PW Chicago at Senn High School

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The Mega-Sign

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Police Escort

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End All Occupations Sign

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Another attempt at getting an image of the End All Occupations Sign

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Inauguration Protestors at the local Alderman's office

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"Senator Paul Wellstone:Murdered By The Bushmob"

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The other side of the Wellstone Sign

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Broadway Armory -- Location of the Inauguration Protest Rally

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Two Inaugural Protestors, lost, who were willing to talk with PW Chicago

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A better picture of the Broadway Armory

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The officer on the right, an Iraq veteran, initially thought we were liberal protestors and was confused as to why we would have a flag

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The Police Presence. How many Chicago PD vehicles are in this image? Hint: I think there's at least one plainclothes vehicle.

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CapnTal espousing the merits of the Socialist Action Network

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Jpers36 (UndercoverPunk) advocating rational thought

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The American Flag

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Two Inauguration Protestors willing to talk rationally with PW Chicago

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Extinction Of Tape?

According to this news report, studio recording tape has gone extinct, at least temporarily. The last manufacturer of reel-to-reel tape, Alabama-based Quantegy Inc., has filed for bankruptcy and closed its plant. Quantegy hopes that restructuring will allow it to open back up, but at the moment there is no manufacturer of what was once a music industry staple.

Many bands and producers which still use reel-to-reel for aeshtetic reasons are hoarding, tracking down used reels, or making plans to resplice. And NASA's bugging out, too --- the space shuttles use Quantegy's tape to record all sorts of data.

The Bulls Are Back

For those who haven't been paying attention, the Chicago Bulls are on a five-game winning streak, after having put together a similar streak a couple weeks ago. Since opening 0-9, the team is 15-9, and their most recent win just put them in playoff contention. I think that the East is weak enough for the team to keep their spot, maybe even improve a spot or two. And again, since the East is weak, who knows what will happen once they get in?

So write this down, or save the text to your hard drive or something: JOSH SAYS THE BULLS ARE MAKING THE PLAYOFFS.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Another Great Essay

Norman Podhoretz has just released another great essay, titled "The War Against World War IV". Its focus is the various reasons for being against the Bush Doctrine and the War on Terrorism (which Podhoretz labels 'World War IV'). The article dismantles each of these reasons as well as their perceived effect on the Bush administration.

And if you haven't yet, also check out Podhoretz's previous essay "World War IV: Why It Started, What It Means and Why We Have To Win". Both of these essays have been published in Commentary Magazine.

Hmm. Maybe I should get myself a subscription.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Did Greedo Shoot First?

Sam Davatchi here finds a short comic that gets to the bottom of the issue.

Topps Profiteering Update

Original post here.

I just got a new email from Topps offering the latest Topps Chronicles card, and there's an important note at the bottom:

See that? "ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS FIRST CARD GO TO RELIEF EFFORTS" -- I wonder if others besides myself have accused Topps of profiteering. This note WAS NOT in the first email I received.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Bloggers Helped Set Up Memogate?

I don't know if anyone else has picked up on this yet, but according to the independent report, the trail from Mapes to Burkett goes through two anti-Bush "bloggers" -- Paul Lukasiak of The AWOL Project and Linda Starr of, well, Linda Starr. I have bloggers in quotes because Lukasiak's site is in reality not at all a blog.

Excerpts from the report:

On Monday, August 23, Mapes learned that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett was rumored to have important documents regarding the President’s TexANG service. Paul Lukasiak, who operates a website on which he posts disparaging analyses of President Bush’s TexANG service, told Mapes that another blogger, Linda Starr, had seen new TexANG documents regarding President Bush. Starr hosts a website that recently contained the slogan, “Bush lied, Americans died,” and is the editor of Online Journal, an online newsletter often critical of President Bush.

Mapes contacted Starr, who responded that she believed that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett had a two-page, classified document regarding President Bush’s TexANG service, and Starr speculated that it might be a disciplinary report.
This disciplinary report was thought to relate to an assessment of whether Lieutenant Bush was fit to fly jets armed with nuclear weapons. Starr told Mapes that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett was trying to determine the best way to disseminate the information to journalists "without leaving any fingerprints." (IRP Report, pp. 59-60)

So Mary Mapes got a tip from Lukasiak, an anti-Bush web citizen, stating that Starr, an anti-Bush editor/blogger, might have some documents relating to the AWOL story. And Starr sent Mapes on to Burkett.

Between August 24 and August 31, Mapes and Smith spoke to Lieutenant Colonel Burkett many times. They also spoke to Starr because they believed that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett respected and trusted her, and they thought that an alliance with Starr might help them to convince Lieutenant Colonel Burkett to give them the document(s). (ibid, p. 60)

So, in the interests of gaining this new document, the 60 Minutes news team allied itself with a source that it recognized to be biased to the left. Conflict of interest? Breaking of standards? Unfortunately, I'm not an expert in journalism, but it sounds fishy to me. Is this acceptable?

On Sunday, September 5, Colonel Charles was still involved in attempting to confirm facts related to the Killian documents. Colonel Charles spoke to Lukasiak and asked him for additional samples of Killian’s signatures from public documents. (ibid, p. 83)

Colonel Roger Charles was Mary Mapes's military affairs consultant. He asked Lukasiak to track down examples of Killian's signatures on public record.

Many of the sources of information that were used for the September 8 Segment had an anti-Bush political agenda. First, Lieutenant Colonel Burkett was a visible and outspoken critic of President Bush. Second, Mapes and Smith also relied on Linda Starr to assist in obtaining the documents from him. Her website was and still is filled with anti-Bush statements. Third, it appears that Mapes first came to learn about Linda Starr and her possible link to TexANG records from Paul Lukasiak, another anti-Bush blogger. Fourth, Ben Barnes appeared on the September 8 Segment to claim that he provided assistance to President Bush to gain entry to the TexANG. Barnes was a well-known supporter of, and fundraiser for, Senator Kerry’s presidential campaign.

The Panel recognizes the appearance problems involved in receiving information from partisan individuals. It is not at all unusual or inappropriate, however, for news organizations to obtain information from a political, business or other opponent of the subject of an investigation, given that supporters are manifestly less likely to provide critical or damaging information. It only becomes problematic if the political bias of the source is allowed by the reporter to affect the fairness of the story.

The Panel does not believe that evidence exists to demonstrate that the political leanings of any source influenced the production of the September 8 Segment. Doubtless, however, these sources to some degree sought to use 60 Minutes Wednesday to further their own political agendas, as they likely viewed a TexANG story on President Bush’s service as potentially helpful to efforts to defeat President Bush in his reelection campaign. It goes without saying that CBS News must guard against being used by people pursuing particular agendas and must have careful and balanced reporting and vetting. As noted below, management of 60 Minutes Wednesday and CBS News recognized the political significance and sensitivity of the story and made a number of edits to the September 8 Segment script to make it more balanced. (ibid, pp. 213-214)

So I guess the Panel sees no problem with the alliance between 60 Minutes and Linda Starr.

In order to emphasize what 60 Minutes allied itself with, here's an excerpt from Starr's blog, from a post regarding the Swift Boat Vets dated August 27, 2004:

These guys are goons and have been proven to be liars repeatedly. I don't like to make such a denigrating personal comment, but gee, Steve Gardner looks like a reject out of a "Planet of the Apes" movie. I have yet to see another human look so much like an ape in a suit. Gardner also comes across as a liar to me. In my opinion, he is just a loser who hates Kerry because Kerry is everything he could never be - articulate, refined, educated, sophisticated and cool under pressure . Gardner did everything but come out and directly threaten Kerry's life. I hope the Secret Service checks out the transcript. At one point, Gardner was hollering over Ian that Kerry can't be commander in chief! At least Larry Thurlow didn't totally embarrass himself.

It's obvious that the Swfit Boat LIARS are pure partisans, eaten up with jealousy over Kerry's many wonderful accomplishments. Kerry is a gentleman, who protested the war courageously, but only after he served in it heroically. John Kerry did positive things with his life. The disparity between Gardner and Kerry is nearly as big as the disparity between GWB and Kerry.

GWB isn't even in the same class with John Kerry. There simply are no fair and balanced comparisons, because comparing GWB to Kerry is like comparing Dom Perignon, to near beer.

Emphasis in preceding quotes mine.

CBS Releases Report And Four Employees

The Independent Panel Report can be found here, and CBS's article detailing the fallout is here.

Asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard; and Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was terminated.

The correspondent on the story, CBS News anchor Dan Rather, is stepping down as anchor of CBS Evening News.

The report is very long, so the blogosphere's reactions may be delayed a ltitle bit. Rathergate has set itself the task of reading through it. I don't know whether I'll get the chance -- I'll probably skim through, do a search on some keywords that might get interesting results.