ornament 8 May 2008 ornament

[Link] How Tennessee’s Lofton quietly faced and beat cancer

Still think something can’t be kept quiet this day and age? How Tennessee’s Chris Lofton quietly faced and beat cancer

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Darwinism and good

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Marilynne Robinson captures well a dilemma that occurs within Darwinism:

Surely we must assume that a biosphere generated out of any circumstances able to sustain life is as good as any other, that if we make a desert, for example, and the god of survival turns his countenance upon the lurkers and scuttlers who emerge as fittest, under the new regime, we can have no grounds for saying that things have changed for the worse or for the better, in Darwinist terms. In other words, absent teleology, there are no grounds for saying that survival means anything more or other than survival. Darwinists praise complexity and variety as consequences of evolution, though the success of single-celled animals would seem to raise questions. I am sure we all admire ostriches, but to call a Darwinist creation good because it is credited with providing them is simply another version of the old argument from design, proving in this use of it not the existence of God but the appropriateness of making a judgment of value: that natural selection, whose existence is to be assumed, is splendid and beneficent, and therefore to be embraced.

The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, “Darwinism,” p.44

It doesn’t prove theism (or creationism, for that matter), but the Darwinist inability to adequately explain why something is or isn’t good would itself seem to undermine its usefulness as an explanation for the natural world.

Sure, a Darwinist might argue that they’re only performing empirical analysts of what things are — not the why. But I submit that we can’t truly know the what without knowing the why.

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ornament 7 May 2008 ornament

[Link] Anthony Esolen on “stay at home moms” and “housewives”

What’s In a Name? Anthony Esolen on “stay at home moms,” “housewives,” and the differences therein.

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[Link] Man Takes Wifes Name in Marriage

Man Takes Wifes Name in Marriage: Perhaps we should all take up a collection to help him buy some dresses…

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ornament 5 May 2008 ornament

Spies like us

It’s a cold war redux as the government of Belarus cries “spy”:

Belarus on Monday accused the United States of recruiting citizens into a spy ring aimed at undermining the ex-Soviet republic.

The U.S. State Department said the allegation was “just ridiculous” and that the department was considering whether to close its embassy in Minsk.

Tension has been building between Washington and the authoritarian regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, and most U.S. Embassy employees have been expelled in recent months.

Valery Nadtachayev, a spokesman for the main security agency, the KGB, told Belarusian television on Monday that the U.S. Embassy had hired 10 local citizens to take photographs of police officials, airports and villages near the state border.

For an administration that still calls its state security agency the KGB, this isn’t a surprise. Just last week the U.S. talked of closing its embassy due to diplomatic shenanigans which, although revived in the past months, have roots that go back more than a decade.

When I lived in Minsk in 1998-99, the U.S. ambassador was absent much of the time because Lukashenko evicted him along with emissaries from other countries because their houses were too close to his own. Basically, they were in the same neighborhood, and he wanted them out.

Ten years later, Lukashenko still seeks to evict (or suppress) anyone who criticizes his authoritarian style government.

Could it be that U.S. operatives are snapping nefarious photos around the countryside, exposing weaknesses in preparation for invasion? It’s highly doubtful, but in Lukashenko’s world, anything is possible — anything except a few people taking pictures.

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ornament 3 May 2008 ornament

Hidden in plain sight?

From a front-page story in today’s Washington Post on Internet safety:

Alan Portillo didn’t think much, if at all, about his online vulnerability. Then the 15-year-old heard technology teacher Wendy Maitland list three pieces of information an online predator would need to find him.

Birth date, she said. Alan’s age was on his e-mail.

Gender. His full name was also on his e-mail and topped his MySpace page.

ZIP code. A photo on the page showed an area near his neighborhood, with “Arlington” emblazoned across one building.

“I thought it was nothing. But when I saw the examples, I started thinking, it’s a big deal,” the Wakefield High School freshman said. After the February lesson, he said, he deleted the photo and his last name from the page.

Well, kudos to the kid on deleting that sensitive information from the web. Now nobody knows his age, gender , or where he livesĀ  — except for those upstanding citizens who read the Post, of course.

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ornament 2 May 2008 ornament

Horsing around

Saturday marks the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby. For most of my life, I never paid much attention to it. I had watched it a few times on television, but never really understood its appeal — until I lived in Louisville, Kentucky for six years.

The first spring I was there, I worked part time with nearly half of my weekly hours falling on Friday (I had no classes so I could work all day). On the Thursday before the race, I made and off-hand comment about work tomorrow, and my boss looked at me like I was crazy — we were not going to be open on Derby Day!

The local schools were closed too, I soon found out (on Friday, a race called the Kentucky Oaks is run at Churchill Downs). Apparently, the school system couldn’t find enough substitute teachers to replace all the teachers who would take off for the race. Rather than give all the students (and teachers) detention for skipping school, the schools decided not to fight it.

My better judgment (not to mention my sheer amateurism) has kept me from ever putting money down on a race, but I do like to pick ’em and watch. Last night my wife and kids decided to get in on the game too, so here are our picks to win (with odds at time of posting):

What are your picks?

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ornament 1 May 2008 ornament

[Link] Organic milk, boxed drinks, and world hunger

Over at the FRC Blog, I post about the Post’s wacky take on organic milk, boxed drinks, and world hunger.

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Also-ran for president: Jack Grimes

2008 contender Jack Grimes

If you prefer a little more emperor in your 2008 presidential candidates, then Jack Grimes is your man.

Grimes, who is the United Fascist Union’s candidate for ’08, lists as one of his priority issues to “establish a global government, similar to the Roman Empire built upon an Axis of economic trade to raise the standard of living everywhere on the planet.”

Oh yes, there does exist a United Fascist Union. It’s unclear the size of the Union’s membership, but it is clear that they employ stealth methods to hide their numbers. Why else would the group’s website URL [http://joanne21921.tripod.com] be so cryptically pedestrian?

When choosing his political heroes, Grimes doesn’t pick from the standard lot of Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington. A candidate who wants to win must choose his heroes from history’s winners — that’s why Grimes looks to none other than Benito Mussolini and Sadaam Hussein as role models.

He claims to admire Mussolini because:

…he created an entirely new form of socialism that could bring about economic equality and create social justice for all men.

For Grimes, Hussein holds the key to America’s economic success:

We would like to restructure the American economy, bridging the gap between classes by instituting a form of socialism called Corporate Statism. Take America off of a metallic standard establishing instead a Work Point Standard like Mussolini did in Italy. We also favor abolishing paper money & the creation of a system of electronic credit & debit revolving around Transferable Work Point Cards.It is vital that we revive America’s heavy industry. The United Fascist Union could acheive this objective by replicating what Mussolini & Hussein have already achieved respectively in Italy & Iraq.

Take a successful model and build upon it — that’s the Grimes way. After all, he’s the only candidate to have portrayed Adolf Hitler on Star Trek. What more qualifications could the President of the United States need?

Will Grimes’ trains be running on time in November? Only time will tell.

[This post is fourth in a series on the other 2008 presidential candidates called “Parade of the also-rans.” See the whole series here.]

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