Wednesday, August 30, 2006

AMAZING DISCOVERY!

An amazing new discovery by professional educrats! Little boys learn better when taught by men! Will wonders never cease? Even more stunning was the discovery that girls actual learn better from women.

Professor Thomas Dee, associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College and visiting scholar at Stanford University, examined test scores as well as self-reported perceptions by teachers and students based on a national survey of nearly 25,000 eighth-graders. He found that having a female teacher rather than a male teacher raised the achievement of girls and lowered that of boys in science, social studies and English.

According to McPaper, Dee's research "faces a fight for acceptance." "The data, as he presents them, are far from convincing," said Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center. Meanwhile, the head honcho in charge of ignorance coordination over at the NEA said there are all sorts of things that might influence the academic achievement of students. "Students benefit by having exposure to teachers who look like them, who can identify with their culture ... but this is just one variable among many," said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association.

Well, you wouldn't expect common sense to become conventional wisdom in the teacher's lounge, would you? Perhaps if a Bible were allowed within 100 yards of a schoolyard, someone might have stumbled across Titus 2 and realized the Biblical pattern for teaching involves older men teaching younger men and older women teaching younger women. Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rowan Williams Hops Out of the Closet

In an attempt to hold together the fracturing Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams has changed his views on homosexuality, enunciating a more traditional understanding than he had previously offered.

According to the London Telegraph, "The archbishop of Canterbury has told homosexuals that they need to change their behaviour if they are to be welcomed into the church..." and "has distanced himself from his one-time liberal support of gay relationships and stressed that the tradition and teaching of the Church has in no way been altered by the Anglican Communion's consecration of its first openly homosexual bishop."

Williams also distanced himself from an essay he wrote two decades ago defending sodomy. "That was when I was a professor, to stimulate debate," he claimed. "It did not generate much support and a lot of criticism - quite fairly on a number of points."


Williams also rejects any heretical notion of "inclusion": "I don't believe inclusion is a value in itself. Welcome is. We don't say 'Come in and we ask no questions'. I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviours, ideas, emotions."

It is gratifying to see at least one institution moving in the right direction, taking baby steps away the Sexual Revolution and perverted readings of Scripture that are eating away at what remains of Christendom.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

And the Winner Is...?

Who are the big winners in the Iraq war? Well, on top of devolving into a running recruiting poster for al-Qaeda and Bin-Laden, it appears that the primary beneficiaries are the Iranians.

The Christian Science Monitor cites a report from Chatham House arguing that by eliminating two of Iran's chief regional rivals, Iraq and the Taliban, the U.S. has allowed Iran to jump to the front of line in the ongoing Middle East power struggle:

Consequently, Iran has moved to fill the regional void with an apparent ease that has disturbed both regional players and the United States and its European allies. Iran is one of the most significant and powerful states in the region and its influence spreads well beyond its critical location at the nexus of the Middle East, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia and South Asia.


I can't for the life of me figure out why any of this is surprising. A group very similar to the Taliban in terms of worldview will almost certainly eventually govern Afghanistan, and the notion that democracy would flourish in Iraq--a nation torn by ethnic and religious division--was preposterous on its face.

The end result of this madness was always going to be either chaos, which ultimately benefits Iran, or a Shi'ite dominated Iraq overseen by an authoritarian strongman, also a boon for the Iranians.

Sobran on Buchanan

In my previous post, I mentioned that Pat Buchanan's latest book showed up on my doorstep the other day. I'm hoping to read it this weekend and perhaps write a brief review.

The book is getting some decent reviews and is at the top of the Amazon.com bestseller list. As part of the book promotion, a new blog has been set up. It is definitely worth a visit.

One of the items I found interesting was a review by Joe Sobran. Sobran has been largely MIA on the immigration issue--but no longer: "Rarely has a book rocked me as Pat Buchanan’s latest one has. State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, just published by Thomas Dunne Books, shattered my skepticism about the problem of immigration, which I’ve tended to think could be handled by gradual absorption and assimilation, as in the past."

Welcome aboard, Joe.

TAC RIP?

I was out of town for work this past week, and upon my return was greeted by the latest issue of The American Conservative, along with the books by Pat Buchanan and Serge Trifkovic.

As usual, TAC was excellent. Andrew Bacevich, writing on the emergence of what William Lind calls Fourth Generation Warfare, says the balance of power in the Middle East has tipped:

What the Islamic Way of War does mean to both Israel and to the United States is this: The Arabs now possess--and know that they possess--the capacity to deny us victory, especially in any altercation that occurs on their own turf and among their people. To put it another way, neither Israel nor the United States today possess anything like the military muscle needed to impose its will on the various governments, nation-states, factions, and political movements that comprise our list of enemies.


Of course, none of this means that the United States, or even Israel, necessarily faces an "existential threat." The various movements within the Arab world are in many ways more divided than united.

As usual, TAC was filled with other great articles, particularly on foreign policy. But according to Nicholas Stix, TAC may be shutting its doors soon: "Over the past month, multiple well-placed sources in and close to The American Conservative (TAC) have variously informed me that: TAC is shutting down imminently; TAC’s bosses are sending out mixed signals, and will shut down soon, if their present fevered search for "angels" is unsuccessful; and TAC will shut down in the fall, at the latest. ("Angels" - my word, not theirs - is Broadway slang for backers.)"

Stix was unable to get comment from Buchanan or Taki about TAC's impending demise.

Stix says that the failure of TAC stems from their unwillingness to consistently defend an isolationist foreign policy stance. Moreover, Stix says TAC "caved" on race and, get this, gave in to "paranoid obsessions about Jews."

One wonders how a writer like Stix has the gall to haul out the anti-Semite slur. Perhaps Stix can gin-up a goy-free version of The National Vanguard--which seems to be the sort of clap-trap he's interested in creating.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Update

Kathy updated our family website, The Dows, which includes numerous pictures of our beautiful kids. School started at the Dow house, too, several weeks ago. So far, so good, though Andrew is convinced that a nomad is a "person, place, or thing." I was able to instruct one day and have been handling our studies in theology--which means we'll likely raise three heretics! I do feel very blessed, though, to have a wife that loves her children enough to sacrifice so much for their benefit. I love you, Kathy.

Has Jack van Impe been informed? Didn't I read about this in Ezekiel 38?

As Iraq plunges toward civil war, folks have stopped going to mosques and cars are being banned in Baghdad. Evidently CD sales of Islamic firebrands are on the rise, and of course they can always particpate via satellite TV. It's a bit like going to Lakewood. You never know, though. Iraqis may start watching TBN, which will certainly give them a good impression of American Christianity.

If they're watching Fox News maybe they will catch this ad.

Sunnis trust American soldiers more than Shiite-dominated security forces. Can't say as though I blame them. Check out the photo of the American G. I. who has been turned into a census taker.

I hope to get back to writing more frequent material in the future rather than just popping off about what's in the news. In the meantime, you can visit here for some of my "deep thoughts."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Round Up

Here is a tale of the residents of Marjayoun, a Christian town in Lebanon. Residents sought clearance from the Israeli military to leave the town and were then attacked. One of the outcomes of Israel's recent attacks in Lebanon is to increase Hezbollah's support among Lebanese Christians. "The Israelis no longer care who is Muslim and who is Christian. We are all enemies to them."

Commenting on the Israel-Hezbollah cease fire, Stratfor head-honcho George Friedman says that things may be permanently altered in the Middle East: "An extraordinary thing happened in the Middle East this month. An Israeli army faced an Arab army and did not defeat it -- did not render it incapable of continued resistance. That was the outcome in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982. But it did not happen in 2006. Should this outcome stand, it will represent a geopolitical earthquake in the region -- one that fundamentally shifts expectations and behaviors on all sides."

It looks like children bore the brunt of the Lebanon-Israeli war.

Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker writes that the air attacks over Lebanon were a dry run for future bombings in Iran:

The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.


An oldie but goodie fromTheodore Dalrymple on tattoos: "What is striking about these 'tattoo narratives' (as the author calls them) is their vacuous egoism. The interlocutors speak, and appear to think, in pure psychobabble, that debased and vague confessional language that allows people to imagine they are baring their souls when in fact they are exposing their shallowness. This is something the author does not notice because she herself belongs to the psychobabble culture. One cannot but feel sorrow for people who think that by permanently disfiguring themselves they are somehow declaring their independence or expressing their individuality. The tattoo has a profound meaning: the superficiality of modern man’s existence."

Thanks to Elmo, "We are breeding a nation of Anna Nicole Smiths" where "bland neediness gets you stuff much more easily than character." Joel Stein seems to miss the old Sesame Street. But I'm with Neil Postman, Sesame Street never really taught kids to enjoy learning, it merely taught them to love television.

Don't miss the latest installment from William Lind: "According to the Associated Press, as of this writing Lebanese dead total at least 642, of whom 558 are civilians, 29 Lebanese soldiers (who, at least officially, are not in the fight) and only 55 Hezbollah fighters. So Israel, with its American-style hi-tech 'precision weaponry,' has killed ten times as many innocents as enemies. In contrast, of 97 Israeli dead, 61 are soldiers and only 36 civilians, despite the fact that Hezbollah's rockets are anything but precise (think Congreves). Israel can hit anything it can target, but against a Fourth Generation enemy, it can target very little. The result not only points to a battlefield change of some significance, it also raises the question of who is the real "terrorist." Terror bombing by aircraft is still terror."

Libertarian writer Brad Edmunds says three cheers for the conformity of modern suburban life. "So don’t bemoan the homogeneous American urban and suburban landscapes – celebrate them. They are what they are because they are what we want, and what works for us." In fact the dominance of automobiles, highways, and suburbs is largely a creation of massive federal intrusion in American life going back to WWI. The national system of highways, FHA lending practices, state-sponsored urban renewal--these are just a few examples of statist intervention that has leveled American life. You would think libertarians might have something to say about such things. You would be wrong.

The president is ticked that the Iraqis won't get to the back of the bus: "I sensed a frustration with the lack of progress on the bigger picture of Iraq generally — that we continue to lose a lot of lives, it continues to sap our budget. The president wants the people in Iraq to get more on board to bring success."

Army recruiters are resorting to strong-arm tactics and illegalities to meet recruiting goals.

An interesting take on Gary North and conspircacy theories. Here is my take on "The Man." Here is a long essay by Murray Rothbard on "Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy." Check out Samuel Francis writing about "The Ruling Class."

I always enjoy reading Stephen Baskerville. If you're unfamiliar, visit this archive. Here Baskerville is writing about no-fault divorce: "In the vast majority of cases, only one of the parents imposes divorce on the children and the other parent. Astoundingly, the parent who inflicts the divorce on the children is also the one most likely to retain custody of them. In such cases, divorce isn't remotely; it amounts to a public seizure of the innocent spouse's children and invasion of his or her parental rights, perpetrated by our governments and using our tax dollars."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Should We Attack Israel?

Here is a tongue-in-cheek column from Laurence Vance:

We must impose sanctions. We must attack. We must invade. We must launch a preemptive strike. This country has attacked one of our ships. This country has numerous weapons of mass destruction, including a sophisticated nuclear capability. This country is one of only four countries that have not ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This country has attacked the infrastructure of a sovereign country. This country has a government that is propped up by billions of dollars of foreign aid taken from U.S. taxpayers. This country has spied on the United States, and obtained classified information. This country has a powerful lobby in the United States that many feel exercises undue influence over the U.S. government. And now, this country has bombed civilians in Christian areas of a sovereign country.

We have no choice; it is inevitable: The U.S. government must go to war against Israel.


Vance also calls out John Hagee and Rick Warren for abandoning evangelism in the name of creating dialog:

Other evangelical Christians have likewise exchanged evangelism for dialogue. Another megachurch pastor, Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church in Southern California, spoke this past June 16 at Sinai Temple, a Jewish synagogue, during "Friday Night Live Shabbat services." According to Rob Eshman, the editor-in-chief of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles: “"arren managed to speak for the entire evening without once mentioning Jesus – a testament to his savvy message-tailoring." Warren also told Ron Wolfson, the Rabbi who invited him, that “"is interest is in helping all houses of worship, not in converting Jews."

Meanwhile, In Iraq

While the media is spinning its collective wheels covering the Israel-Hezbollah war, the social order in Iraq flies out of control. Almost 2,000 bodies were taken to Baghdad's morgue alone during the month of July. Nearly 90% had their lives extinguished by sectarian violence. "Most of the cases have gunshot wounds to the head. Some of them were strangled and others were beaten to death with clubs," said morgue assistant manager Abdul Razzaq al-Obaidi.

Sunnis accuse Shi'ite militias of running death squads and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has a problem. He has promised to reign in Shi'ite marauders but can't because some of these groups have close ties to his government. Likewise, Shi'ite clerics such as Moqtada al-Sadr are able to mobilize huge crowds of anti-American protesters chanting "death to America."

Do you remember all the promises anymore? We would find WMDs, be greeted as liberators by the people of Iraq--it will be cakewalk they chortled. Iraq, we were assured, would serve as a beacon for freedom-lovers everywhere, and "democratic" and "Western" values would spread across the Middle East.

Yet all that is spreading is war and misery. Baghdad is dying, Iraqi Christians have largely fled their homeland and our Lebanese brethren are having their towns seized and destroyed.

Evangelical Christians bear some responsibility for the mayhem and tragedy unfolding before our eyes. The leadership and laity of the "Christian Right," now seamlessly entangled with the GOP and war mongerging neoconservatives, provided the political shock troops that allowed the administration to drive us over the cliff.

The church is to serve as a preservative for what is good, and to be a light to a dark and dying world. Instead, we are increasingly little more than a political interest group, wielded by neocons to advance their sinister foreign policy goals.

Even with the wreckage strewn everywhere, you have ostensibly Christian pastors creating lobbying organizations and calling for "a pre-emptive military strike in Iran."

The costs of the ever-expanding war are huge in terms of blood, treasure and national prestige. Moreover, the witness of the Gospel itself is harmed when Christians are more concerned with ticking prophetic clocks and spreading destruction than with bringing the Word of Truth to the nations.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

On Hypocrisy

In a drunken tirade, Mel Gibson uttered words for which he expressed regret and prostrated himself before the alter of political correctness.

Meanwhile, in a published op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, David Mamet is allowed to spew vicious anti-Christian slurs with nary a complaint from Christians. Mamet has penned a number of screenplays for films that I greatly enjoy. He is a fine writer, and thus knows exactly what he is saying.

In the piece, Mamet attacks European civilization--you know, those dead white Christian guys who accomplished nothing more than oppressing women, ethnic minorities and homosexuals. Mamet writes:

Europe has always been devoted to the destruction of the Jews. At times it is acute; it is always chronic. The Inquisition, the Russian pogroms, the mass murders of Jews by crusaders "going to save Jerusalem," and the Shoah (the Hebrew term for the Holocaust) are only the more notable examples of a civilization happy to designate a different group the helpless-stateless "other," and rape, steal and murder them at will.


Europeans have been happy to rape, steal, and murder. But what is the source of this hatred? You guessed it, Christianity! According to Mamet, it all began with St. John (though he quotes Jesus):

Twelve hundred years of European anti-Semitism, murder, rape and theft, may be laid in large part, at the foot of the Gospel of John. ("He would not go about in the temple, because the Jews sought to kill him," John 7:1 "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires," John 8:44, etc., New Oxford Annotated Bible.)

The gospels did not cause anti-Semitism, but they licensed it, to Christian Europe.


That Mamet can spew this hate-filled diatribe on the pages of the once great America First Chicago Tribune demonstrates for all to see the Christophobic character of modern elite opinion.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On the Middle East, and Marriage

The Economist lists several reasons that the American public and our elite classes provide unyielding support for Israel:

The most obvious answer lies in the power of two very visible political forces: the Israeli lobby (AIPAC) and the religious right. AIPAC, which has an annual budget of almost $50m, a staff of 200, 100,000 grassroots members and a decades-long history of wielding influence, is arguably the most powerful lobby in Washington, mightier even than the National Rifle Association...

The Christian right is also solidly behind Israel. White evangelicals are significantly more pro-Israeli than Americans in general; more than half of them say they strongly sympathise with Israel. (A third of the Americans who claim sympathy with Israel say that this stems from their religious beliefs.) Two in five Americans believe that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God, and one in three say that the creation of the state of Israel was a step towards the Second Coming.


But the political pressure of these interest groups is combined with cultural factors, too:

Americans instinctively see events in the Middle East through the prism of September 11th 2001. They look at Hizbullah and Hamas with their Islamist slogans and masked faces and see the people who attacked America—and they look at Israeli citizens and see themselves. In America the “war on terror” is a fact of life, constantly reiterated. The sense that America is linked with Israel in a war against Islamist extremism is reinforced by Iranian statements about wiping Israel off the surface of the earth, and by the political advance of the Islamists of Hamas in Palestine.

But the biggest reason why Americans are so pro-Israel may be cultural. Americans see Israel as a plucky democracy in a sea of autocracies—a democracy that has every right to use force to defend itself. Europeans, on the other hand, see Israel as a reminder of the atavistic forces—from nationalism to militarism—that it has spent the post-war years trying to grow beyond.


A reader posted comments providing links to a number of sources indicating that the "kidnapping" of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah actually occurred in Lebanon. Here, here, and here are a couple of links to pages containing numerous interesting articles suggesting the Israeli troops had crossed into Lebanon before being attacked.

Here is a very interesting article in the NY Times examining why so many working-class men are not getting married. Steve Sailer provides an interesting look at the issue and blames illegal immigration, which exerts downward pressure on the wages of working-class whites, and the inflationary housing market. I have argued that I think much of the problem is cultural. Feminist ideology, particular it's view of children, has poisoned the culture to a considerable degree, and when combined with sexual ethics that sever sex from procreation, and both from marriage, you have a problem.

I heard Robert Pape lecture on suicide terrorism and blogged about him back in 2005. Here is a letter to the NY Times on the flare-up in Lebanon that is interesting. Pape writes:

ISRAEL has finally conceded that air power alone will not defeat Hezbollah. Over the coming weeks, it will learn that ground power won’t work either. The problem is not that the Israelis have insufficient military might, but that they misunderstand the nature of the enemy.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Hezbollah is principally neither a political party nor an Islamist militia. It is a broad movement that evolved in reaction to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in June 1982. At first it consisted of a small number of Shiites supported by Iran. But as more and more Lebanese came to resent Israel’s occupation, Hezbollah — never tight-knit — expanded into an umbrella organization that tacitly coordinated the resistance operations of a loose collection of groups with a variety of religious and secular aims.


Pape argues that what is happening in Lebanon, and much of the middle east, for that matter, isn't about religion, but occupation:

What these suicide attackers — and their heirs today — shared was not a religious or political ideology but simply a commitment to resisting a foreign occupation. Nearly two decades of Israeli military presence did not root out Hezbollah. The only thing that has proven to end suicide attacks, in Lebanon and elsewhere, is withdrawal by the occupying force.