Reasonable Nuts

Sometimes nuts. Always reasonable. We are REASONABLE NUTS.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Mr. persecutioncomplex.com

Teen PETA staffer changes his name to kentuckyfriedcruelty.com.

Geez! And all the Mansion Family members had to do was carve an "X" into their foreheads. At least if he had gone with "goldenpalace.com" he might've got some money out of the deal.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Daily Bible Reading Blogging

As a new project, I'll be combining one of my most favorite pastimes (blogging and reading blogs) with one of my least favorites (reading the bible). Visit The Daily Bible Blog starting January 1, to read daily passages from the Bible, along with whatever comments the spirit leads me to write.

I need to decorate the place some. Right now it's just a prefab "Scribe" Blogger template. Let me know if you have any ideas on features.

Arise, Lord Vader Pentax

Jamie Thingelstad has an interesting piece on storage and other issues inherent with digital photography, appropriately titled "The Dark Side of Digital Photography". Says Thingelstad,
The explosion of storage required to accommodate increasing numbers of photos at higher resolution is a genuine challenge. This data management problem is inconceivable to the average person and was only an issue companies with technical staff had to deal with.
He cites several problems, such as storage requirements, indexing issues, expensive and slow backup options, and redundancy issues. But I would counter that these problems always have existed with photography. Let's take them issue by issue:

  1. Storage requirements: you have to put your photos somewhere. For most, this is an album, a frame, or a shoebox. The physical photo occupies real estate in a way the digital one does not necessarily.
  2. Indexing issues: ever try to hand-write a caption for each of 1000s of photos, let alone enter them into a database?
  3. Backups: How much do you think an archival-quality duplicate of every photo you've taken would cost? And how long would it last? And where would you keep it?
  4. Redundancy: to the last point - where would you keep your copies? In a large and expensive safety deposity box? At a friend's home? At the office?
I don't think there's anything really new about the issues Thingelstad raises. They have merely changed into, I would argue, more manageable issues. Thingelstad's 4-way home replication solution is, I believe a bit silly, though a start.

Here's my solution. I've been thinking about it for a while and it seems to make the most sense immediately. Challenge me to come up with another that is a better balance of cheap v. reliable. I sort my photos based on date. Every photo is titled with a preceding date, followed by an underscore character, followed by a brief content descriptor, e.g. 20051225_christmas-001.jpg. I then group these files by storing them in directories bearing the date/descriptor code, e.g. 20051225_christmas. These directories are then stored in a year directory, e.g. 2005. I've about 15G of photos so far - maybe more. That's 4 regular DVDs. I simply burn as many "years" as will fit on a DVD, then move to the next. I store the DVDs in a safety deposit box with our important financial papers, our millions in Krugerrands, and the Holy Grail.

The only 2 solutions I've come up with that nearly make more sense (though are not as cheap) are:

  1. to have a second, USB or FireWire hard drive to which backups are performed and then that drive is stored in the S.D. box. Still, this doesn't solve the issue of a loss while performing the backup. It would seem having some DVDs (perhaps the new dual layer variety) offsite is still necessary.
  2. to have an internet-attached second system with a large hard drive, external to the location of the primary PC.

The value-added approach to blogging

I think Kathleen Parker needs to avoid certain blogs and read others. Says Parker:
Each time I wander into blogdom, I'm reminded of the savage children stranded on an island in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies." Without adult supervision, they organize themselves into rival tribes, learn to hunt and kill, and eventually become murderous barbarians in the absence of a civilizing structure.

What Golding demonstrated - and what we're witnessing as the Blogosphere's offspring multiply - is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves. Likewise, many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement. When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.
She has a fine point, but is engaging in a bit of hyperbole and generalization. Of the several bloggers I know as friends, not one is of the ilk she mentions. We all tend to approach the blog similarly: looking to be value-adding members of the b'sphere.

Mike Pence for ???

Tim Chapman has written a fine piece on a hero-as-public-servant I've written about several times before, Congressman Mike Pence. If the Republicans lose serious ground in the '06 and/or '08 elections, look for Pence to emerge as a phoenix from the charred husk of the Republican Party. Regardless, Pence looks to have a promising political future, which is a good thing in my estimation.

Why I like C-SPAN

Bruce Bartlett makes a good case for the current (poor) state of public discourse in American society. Such is why I enjoy taking the time now and then to watch a real debate on C-SPAN. 30 minutes or more to lay the groundwork for one's complex ideas is essential for any reasonable counter-arguments to be made. Until society reboots and at least some of us return to a slower, more reasoned posture toward public discourse, Bartlett suggests the following:
One reform I would propose is to cut back on contrived debates. Why not interview those with opposing views separately, and give each more than a minute or two to make their point without having to respond to another person's debating tactics? And how about encouraging interviewers to intervene when blatant errors or falsehoods are offered as facts?

I think these reforms would raise the level of discourse and the quality of those willing to appear on cable programs by weeding out some of the hacks whose only knowledge on a subject comes from their party's talking points.

Reasonable signs of inflation?

An interesting phenomenon documented at SafeHaven.com:
The Federal Reserve currently has three vacancies within the 19 top Regional Bank and Board of Governor spots. Why? Part of ongoing wholesale resignations.

The latest is from the Philly Fed. Fed President and Open Market Committee member Anthony Santomero has announced his resignation after only a brief year and a half tenure. Very unusual. Hey, Fed Presidents are treated like gods. They have enormous power, prestige, and presence. Why quit? He is far from alone. Over the past few years no less than six Federal Reserve Regional Bank Presidents have resigned. This is highly unusual.
The bottom line according to the author:
The recent rise in Gold catalogued 74 points over about a month, a 16 percent rally from precisely the day the Fed announced it would hide M-3 from taxpayers and citizens of this great nation. That is no coincidence. Gold sees hyperinflation, monetization of debt, and intervention into free markets. Gold is telling us it expects Ben Bernanke to be an inflationist.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Will and Responsibility

Walter Williams fears
... that too many Americans have contempt for the principles of liberty and opt for solutions that employ the political arena to forcibly impose their wills on others. If that's the preferred game, then those Americans shouldn't whine when others employ the same tactic to impose their wills.
I'm right there with ya, Williams. Keep the solutions as close to home as possible. Only resort to the political arena as a last resort.

One of the arguments I hear most often today is the notion that "you cannot legislate morality". Morality is the ONLY thing you can legislate. The problem is the phrase sounds good - non-offensive (the oh-so-worshiped non-offensiveness) - thus, is not challenged. The root of said problem is that a confusion is birthed in a misunderstanding of the ideas of morality and religion. I've heard it best said that morality is our responsibility to one another, whereas religion is our responsibility to God.

That word - responsibility - goes right back to Williams point about imposing wills. True freedom cannot exist without serious responsibility accepted by most. That means someone's will must be imposed. Impose it at home first.

MEMORANDUM: 12/28/2005--2:15pm

To: Canada
From: USA
Re: Dithers

Your PM is being a dick again. Please remove him from office.

Tell him we'll stop sending guns into his country as soon as he stops sending terrorists into ours.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week--12/27

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week is

Prometheus

As the introducer of fire and inventor of sacrifice he is seen as the patron of human civilization.

Begin your removal process

Received this ominous e-mail message today at my place of employ:
Happy New Year,

Many of us have decorated our work areas with holiday decorations and many more of us have enjoyed the decorators' efforts and creativity. It is now time to remove all decorations.

Please begin your removal process to ensure all decorations are removed By January 3, 2006.
Begin MY removal process? I'd rather not begin that process until such a time as I deem appropriate. And what's this about my being a mere decoration? Maybe I should begin my removal process! ;-)

Speaking of voting...

Vote here for the coveted title of 2005 Porker of the Year.

Sin and Repentance

As I did some tidying of my computer's desktop today, I happened across some quotes on the subjects of sin and repentance that I had previously saved. As we near the end of the year and the beginning of the next - typically a time of reflection and potential change for some - I thought I might post them here. I need to read and ponder them possibly more than do you.
The beginning of atonement is the sense of its necessity. --Lord Byron

It is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses... –Ignatius

Men tell us in these days that sin is what you think it is. Well, it is not. Sin is what God thinks it is. You may think according to your own conscience. God thinks according to His. –John G. Lake

Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not biblical grace. God's grace never encourages us to live in sin, on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth.--Randy Alcorn

We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. --CS Lewis

Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. --William Law

In short, a man must be set free from the sin he is , which makes him do the sin he does .--George MacDonald

Evangelical repentance is repentance of sin as sin: not of this sin nor of that, but of the whole mass. We repent of the sin of our nature as well as the sin of our practice. We bemoan sin within us and without us. We repent of sin itself as being an insult to God. Anything short of this is a mere surface repentance, and not a repentance which reaches to the bottom of the mischief. Repentance of the evil act, and not of the evil heart, is like men pumping water out of a leaky vessel, but forgetting to stop the leak. Some would dam up the stream, but leave the fountain still flowing; they would remove the eruption from the skin, but leave the disease in the flesh. --Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Sin is not to be ignored, nor minimised. It is the most patent fact in life, the darkest experience in the history of the race. It is the root of all the world's tragedies. It is that which makes "conscience a thousand swords," "the torture of an inward hell," "the worm that doth begnaw the soul." --James M. Campbell

People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated. --D.A. Carson

Get alone with Jesus and either tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you - or else tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death. --Oswald Chambers

Beloved, if any unholiness exists in the nature, it is not there by the consent of the Spirit of God. If unholiness is in your life it is because your soul is giving consent to it, and you are retaining it. Let it go. Cast it out and let God have His way in your life. --John G. Lake

Nothing hath separated us from God but our own will, or rather our own will is our separation from God. --William Law

You are the way you are because that's the way you want to be. If you really wanted to be any different, you would be in the process of changing right now. --Fred Smith

The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.—Brennan Manning

Men do not differ much about what things they call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable. -- G. K. Chesterton

Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish for spiritual things then it is sin for you, however, innocent it may be in itself. --Suzanna Wesley

It is perilously easy to have amazing sympathy with God's truth and remain in sin.-- Oswald Chambers

Jesus reserved his hardest words for the hidden sins of hypocrisy, pride, greed and legalism.--Philip Yancey

One of the misfortunes of our time is that in getting rid of false shame, we have killed off so much real shame as well. –Louis Kronenberger

The world has lost the power to blush over its vice; the Church has lost her power to weep over it. --Leonard Ravenhill

To be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath of truth. -- George MacDonald

Heart-suffering because of sin is the best proof that the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart.--Johann Arndt

I couldn't live in peace if I put the shadow of a willful sin between myself and God. --George Eliot

Sin and the child of God are incompatible. They may occasionally meet; they cannot live together in harmony --John R. W. Stott

You'll never be able to speak against sin if you're entertained by it. --John Muncee

Primarily, God is not bound to punish sin; he is bound to destroy sin. The only vengeance worth having on sin is to make the sinner himself its executioner. --George MacDonald

Repentance is but a denying of our will, and an opposition of our fantasies. --Montaigne

Repentance lifts a man up. Mourning knocks at heaven's gate. Holy humility opens it. -- John Climacus

Great is the difference betwixt a man's being frightened at, and humbled for his sins. --Thomas Fuller

Personal sin reflected upon breeds compassion. --John M. Shanahan

When the Spirit is absent, our excuses always seem right, but in the presence of the Spirit our excuses fade away. --R. T. Kendall

People don’t do what they believe in—they just do what’s most convenient and then they repent. –Bob Dylan

Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns back.--Bonnell Thornton

I would far rather feel remorse than know how to define it.--Thomas A’Kempis

Look upon your chastening as God's chariots sent to carry your soul into the high places of spiritual achievement. --Hannah Whitall Smith

How else but through a broken heart may Lord Christ enter in? --Oscar Wilde

It is not that we need more power, but that we need more brokenness. When we are properly broken we will find the indwelling Christ is more than sufficient. —Chip Brogden

Honesty before God requires the most fundamental risk of faith we can take: the risk that God is good, that God does love us unconditionally. It is in taking this risk that we rediscover our dignity. To bring the truth of ourselves, just as we are, to God, just as God is, is the most dignified thing we can do in this life. --Gerald May

When we won't let ourselves be held in the midst of our messes by God who loves us and made us, we miss the unspeakable joy of knowing that we are truly His beloved. --Deborah Newman

Sweet Spirit, grant us the faith to resist our resistance to Thee! --James Melvin Washington

Repent! The Kingdom of heaven is at hand! --John the Baptist and Jesus Christ

When one doesn’t learn to resist the devil, he or she probably doesn’t know much of submitting to God. --Greg Manalli

If you will not determine to be pure, you will grow more and more impure. --George MacDonald

It's one thing not to sin---it's another not to want to! --Jacquelyn K. Heasley

People do not mind their faults being spread out before them, but they become impatient if called on to give them up. –Goethe

God never takes away anything that He doesn’t replace with Himself. --Jacquelyn K. Heasley

There is more joy in heaven over a converted sinner than over a righteous person standing firm. A leader in battle has more love for a soldier who returns after fleeing, and who valiantly pursues the enemy, than for one who never turned back, but who never acted valiantly either. A farmer has greater love for land which bears fruitfully, after he has cleared it of thorns, than for land which never had thorns but which never yielded a fruitful harvest. --Gregory the Great

When prodigals return great things are done. --A.A. Dowty

When old companions, old lusts, and sins crowd in upon you, and when you feel that you are ready to sink, what can save you, sinking sinner ? This alone — I have a high priest in heaven, and he can support in the hour of affliction. This alone can give you peace—I have a high priest in heaven. When you are dying — when friends can do you no good — when sins rise up like spectres around your bed — what can give you peace ? This — "I have a high priest in heaven" --Robert Murray M'Cheyne

True repentance will entirely change you; the bias of your souls will be changed, then you will delight in God, in Christ, in His Law, and in His people. --George Whitefield

He comes never late who comes repentant. --Juan de Horozco

Monday, December 19, 2005

Reconsidering Racism

This is one of the more sensical things I think I've heard come out of Hollywood in the recent (or distant) past, stated by Morgan Freeman:
Actor Morgan Freeman has a solution to the problem of racism – "Stop talking about it!"

In a CBS News' 60 Minutes profile of the Oscar-winning actor scheduled to air tonight, Freeman tells Mike Wallace labels like "white" and "black" are an obstacle to defeating racism.

"I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," he says. "I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You wouldn't say, 'Well, I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.' You know what I'm saying?"

The actor also criticizes Black History Month, saying setting aside a special month actually segregates black history from American history.

Calling the idea "ridiculous," Freeman notes there's no "white history month."

"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" Freeman asks Wallace. "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history," he says.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week--12/18

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week is

Kugel

In 1950, the Bundt pan was developed for cooking kugel, though it eventually became known as a pan used for a variety of other cakes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Things are not what they seem

My pastor has recently given several messages based on the premise that things are not always as they seem. That is, much of what we take for a given, is less than accurate.

I am reminded of one of my favorite poems, the short "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson:
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace;
In fine we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
The Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holiday season is a most wonderful time, but perversely also a time when suicides increase in frequency. Nothing, it would seem, so reminds many of us of our state of unhappiness than other peoples' happiness. And yet that itself (other peoples' happiness) is illusory. The sooner a man realizes that no man has it all together, the sooner a man will get on with his own life.

At least that's the track I'm taking. ;-)

Christmas Cancelled!

photo of workers removing a Christmas tree, courtesy of THE ONION
According to a reputable source, Christmas has been ruled unconstitutional by a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and thus has been cancelled.

Dang liberal activist judges! ;-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Have This Deranged Woman Committed! Now!



via National Review Online

No Word Yet on Shuffleboard

Vatican Set to Abolish Limbo.

THE Catholic Church is preparing to abandon the idea of limbo, the theological belief that children who die before being baptised are suspended in a space between heaven and hell.

The concept, which was devised in the 13th century and was depicted in numerous works of art during the Renaissance, such as Descent into Limbo by the painter Giotto, and in Dante's masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, is of a metaphysical space where infants are blissfully happy but are not actually in the presence of God.

The idea of limbo was developed as a response to the harshness of early Church teachings which insisted that any child who died before he or she was baptised would still be stained by Original Sin and so would be condemned to hell.

The belief, which is unique to the Catholic Church, has fallen out of favour over the past 50 years. It is rarely mentioned and until recently has been left in its own kind of limbo.

However, an international commission of Catholic theologians, meeting in the Vatican this week, has been pondering the issue and is expected to advise Pope Benedict XVI to announce officially that the theological concept of limbo is incorrect.

Instead, the new belief is expected to be that unbaptised babies will go directly to heaven.

Pope Benedict had already expressed his doubts about limbo when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church's doctrinal watchdog.

In an interview in 1984, he said: "Limbo has never been a defined truth of faith. Personally, speaking as a theologian and not as head of the Congregation, I would drop something that has always been only a theological hypothesis."


First his declaration on homosexual priests, then this. The papacy of Benedict XVI is shaping up to be more interesting than we were first led to believe it would be. The Vatican of John Paul II focused outward on bringing Christ to a secular world. This Vatican seems to be looking inward, performing some long overdue doctrinal housecleaning.

The above article ends with this chestnut:

John Haldane, a professor of philosophy at St Andrews University and a consulter to the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, said that the issue of limbo was "something of a medieval curiosity" that no longer preoccupies people. He said that the reason the Catholic Church was clarifying its position was that people still wrongly perceived heaven as a place and not as a state of being.

"The idea of limbo conjures up the image of God as some kind of government bureaucrat who says to people, not just babies, 'Sorry, you don't have your passport stamped with baptism, you'll have to wait over there'.

"Instead, God's powers are such that He can overcome the issue of Original Sin as He chooses, according to special circumstances."

Glögg

The Word of the Day for December 13 is:

glogg \GLUG\ noun

: a hot spiced wine and liquor punch served in Scandinavian countries as a Christmas drink

Example sentence:
"[The] Gallery will host a Christmas Cheer Weekend.... Johnson's latest barn print will be available, framed or unframed, as well as Swedish cookies and glogg." ([Dubuque] Telegraph Herald, December 9, 2004)

Did you know?
Glogg is a holiday favorite in many Scandinavian cultures, where it is commonly served on St. Lucia's Day (December 13) and all around Christmas time. Not surprisingly, the word "glogg" itself (sometimes written as glögg) is of Scandinavian origin; it comes from Swedish and derives from the verb "glödga," meaning "to burn" or "to mull." But although "glogg" may look like it should rhyme with that other notable holiday beverage — "eggnog" — the two aren't quite a perfect match. The "o" in "glogg" is pronounced like either the "u" in "nut," the "oo" in "foot," or the more foreign-sounding "œ" in "bœuf," the French word for "beef." "Nog," on the other hand, is generally pronounced with the "o" as in "mop" — and thus it rhymes with "grog."
(Source: m-w.com)

Clancy on Conservatives v. Liberals

Happened across this quote yesterday.

Author Tom Clancy, on The O'Reilly Factor, following the events of September 11, 2001:
"The general difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals like pretty pictures and conservatives like to build bridges that people can drive across. And conservatives are indeed conservative because if the bridge falls down then people die, whereas the liberals figure, we can always build a nice memorial and make people forget it ever happened and was our fault. They're very good at making people forget it was their fault. All right?

"The CIA was gutted by people on the political left who don't like intelligence operations... And as a result of that, as an indirect result of that, we've lost 5,000 citizens last week."
I remember seeing this interview. I remember being engrossed.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Constructive Subversion

Here's an interesting way to inflitrate distinctly leftist environs: leave well-reasoned right-of-center or otherwise counter-cultural reads in places frequented by leftists / socialists / überconformists.

You can even potentially track the books you leave in public via databases such as bookcrossing.

A caveat or two: I would lean toward books by more widely respected or, failing that, unknown authors. While a book by Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage may have good portions of truth and some well-reasoned points, the author's notoriety alone will turn-off a potential reader. The books themselves should also have enticing titles.

Some titles that spring to mind:

Father and Son

Received this in my inbox today (source; NewsMax.com), but haven't found the story online, so I post it here. It is unfortunate to be having such family disagreements in public, but I think I get the younger Wallace's level of frustration.
Chris Wallace: Mike Wallace Has 'Lost It'

"Fox News Sunday" anchorman Chris Wallace says father Mike Wallace has "lost it" - after the legendary CBS newsman told the Boston Globe last week that the fact George Bush had been elected president shows America is "[expletive]-up."

"He's lost it. The man has lost it. What can I say," the younger Wallace lamented to WRKO Boston radio host Howie Carr on Friday.

"He's 87-years old and things have set in," the Fox anchor continued. "I mean, we're going to have a competence hearing pretty soon."

Wallace Jr. quickly dispelled any notion that he was joking. When Carr suggested that his comments were likely to be covered by NewsMax, he responded: "You know what? Fine. Go ahead. Call them. That's fine. I'll stand by that."

Returning to the topic of his father's competence, Wallace Jr. explained: "He's checked out. I don't understand it," beyond the fact that Wallace Sr. has "problems with the war."

"I don't know why he said what he said," he added.

On Thursday, the elder Wallace told the Boston Globe that if he had the chance to interview President Bush, he'd ask:

"What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?"

Still, despite his criticism, Wallace Jr. seems to have inherited some of his father's shoot-from-the-lip-style.

Asked about DNC chair Howard Dean's recent prediction that the U.S. would lose the war in Iraq, Wallace told Carr:

"We are in a war. We do have 150,000-plus American soldiers over there. I mean, it's Tokyo Rose, for God sakes, going on radio saying we can't win the war."
It's not really a surprise, as I seem to recall Mike Wallace writing at length about his mental condition. Then again, depression is not insanity. Sometimes it is sanity tenfold.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The "C" word

I'd like to attribute this to the artist, but it was forwarded to me in an e-mail without such information. Still, I had to post it.

Merry Christmas!

Published and published

Opinion Editorials (OpEds.com) published a slightly revised version of my last post, "Feed the man, then teach the man". It was something of a eulogy for a colleague who recently passed away. As such, I was glad to see it picked-up.

I also noticed they had published a piece I'd submitted a week ago, but had thought not picked-up, "The Lullaby of Byrdland". I particularly liked that piece, as the subject is something that has irked me for some time.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Feed the man, then teach the man

With all the Merry Christmas v. Happy Holidays hubbub, you'd think we were in an all-out culture war. Perhaps we are, but likely not on the levels bandied about in the übermedia. Historians will chronicle whether indeed there were undercurrents of a culture war at present.

I was heartened to read something just along these lines in an interview with Michael Flaherty, president of Walden Media (the producers of the film "The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"):
Maybe the problem is that we, as Americans, tend to buy into the idea of the “Culture War” too easily. “I think that the press is clearly obsessed with that,” Flaherty responded when I posed that question to him. “But we like to pride ourselves on being the purple company.”
This has been a supertheme in my life for a few years now - that the way for me is beyond right or left, conservative or liberal, truth or mercy. My way, I have discerned, is to have a foot in both, sensitive to both intellectually and emotionally persuasive arguments and acting appropriately, based on judgment grounded in respect for history as well as a commitment to both short and long-term compassion.

I think that's where conservatives and liberals diverge - in their commitments to compassion. Liberals tend to be concerned with that beautiful short-term compassion that is ministering to the immediate needs of the hurting. But so often they drop the ball at this point, never establishing the means by which long-term compassion is administered. Give the man a fish, for certain, but teach him to fish. Continuing to provide the man with fish while not showing him how to fish is making him (and his descendents) - over time - your ward. While there are many well-intentioned liberals who merely wish to feed the man, there are those who perversely use the man's relationship as beholden to themselves in order to gratify their egos and further their agendas. True liberals need to look at their leadership from time to time for signs of a commitment to an agenda rather than to people. Are their faces bright with what can be done, sorrowful with what needs to be done, or scowling with antagonism for opposing views and haughty with self-importance and their role in their agenda.

Conservatives - as fans of history and respecters of historical precedence - tend to jump the gun, wishing to show the man how to fish when the man first needs to eat. Many conservatives are fearful of - or worse - judgmental of the man and his choices and simply avoid the man when possible. Yet the man's hunger persists. Feed the man, then teach him.

It would seem we live in a world of bleeding hearts and closed hearts, with heartless "leadership" often exploiting both. To the liberal, I urge you not to think of your conservative brother as heartless. Nothing could be more untrue. Oftentimes his heart is large, with great capacity to do good. It may be shut down, however, often in reaction to the loathsome self-gratifying egoism of your leadership. Or, it may be in reaction to an examination of our society and its ills - the elements of questionable virtue which are vaunted in our culture. Often, his heart is closed to others so that he may protect his family. In any regard, his heart is closed unnaturally - and in reaction to experience. You, my liberal brother, can help him open his heart in the immediate ministering so needed.

To the conservative, I urge you as well, not to see your liberal brother as a dupe, controlled by ideology, irrespective of truth. Most liberals I have met are guided far less by ideology than by a palpable caring for those less fortunate. It is palpable, as you can see it in action - touch it as they are touching the lives of those in need. The liberal's mistake is in his blind allegiance to his leadership. He is too busy ministering to the immediate needs of those around him to examine the annals of history, the actions of his leaders, or the arguments of well-intentioned conservatives.

To the ideologues on either side of the political fence, I urge you to lay down your ideology and start living life. No matter how rigidly you adhere to your ideology, you will not be remembered for it, but by how you conducted your life. I have just returned from the funeral of a great man who was great because he was good. He was respected not because of his ideology, but for his commitment to doing good in the lives of those whom his Creator put in his path. The character of his life seemed to be most concerned with making the right choices. Those choices, if analyzed, were probably sometimes conservative and sometimes liberal. And yet, amid seemingly inconsistent choices - politically - stood the character of a man who - personally - was undeniably consistent.

Such is the way I want for my life.

Rest in peace, Keith.

Christmas stamps

Received in an e-mail message today:
A blonde goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.

She says to the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"

The clerk says, "What denomination?"

The woman says, "God help us. Has it come to this? Give me 6 Catholic, 12 Presbyterian, 10 Lutheran and 22 Baptists."

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week--12/9

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week is:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The interpersonal relationships of patients with NPD are typically impaired due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Merry um... Christmas. Yeah, baby!

I was looking for some interesting Christmas music at Amazon.com and happened across this album. Ya gotta wonder what sort of Christmas Diana Krall is wishing you. A tired one? A sexy one?

She has such a great voice, she needn't pose like this to sell albums, but perhaps I am overly naive insofar as our sexed-up society's ability to discern good music. What's next... Stickster posing bare-chested with his Chapman Stick on the cover of the next Leah Morgan album? As Stickster would say, "*shudder*".

Well, if her album cover photos are okay with her husband, who am I to say?

Maybe when you finally see an album from me, my wife will be on the cover. That would certainly sell more albums than my music alone! :-)

Tasteless

In a jaded and cynical dystopic antisociety, this is funny. But in the nominal American(tm) society, in which CHRISTMAS IS FOR CHILDREN MOST OF ALL, this is absolutely tasteless.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Little Joke . . . .

Q: How do you end a bingo game in Afghanistan?

A: "B-52!" "B-52!"

What sayeth the Protagonist?

John Stossel posits the following premise in his latest screed:
In my years doing consumer reporting, I watched every American industry find ways to do things better, faster, and cheaper. Today's computers cost less, but are more powerful. Cars got better. Supermarkets offer more for less. Most every business is better.

But not the law business. In law, everything is slow and expensive, and our choices limited.
Stossel goes on:
Other businesses pad bills, too, but competition limits it. There's less competition in law because lawyers outlawed competition from outside their profession -- they prosecute paralegals who offer cheaper alternatives, calling it "unauthorized practice of law." And they are all bound by rules of procedure, drafted by lawyers and, for the federal courts, issued by the Supreme Court, that call for volumes of paper and make lots of work -- lucrative work, if you're a lawyer.
I think the essential issue is that we are a nation ruled not by Kings or God, but by laws. It would follow then that whomever makes the laws rules. At one point this had largely been the legislative bodies of the states and Federal government - which were exceedingly weak by today's standards. That generally left the individual as his own ruler, provided he did not break one of the relatively few laws which existed. Today our rulers are found in the judiciaries, populated (some would say infested) by attorneys.

I wonder what the Protagonist will have to say about this. E-mail me and I'll add it to the post. :-)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Well, it's about that time of the year, and so much has come out that I have to say something about the ridiculous political correctness gone amok around Christmastime. Oops, perhaps that should be Holidaytime. Certain parts of our society--particularly permeating our levels of government--have been trying to take out any reference to Christmas for fear of offending the approximately 4% of America who do not celebrate it. They have this imagined offense (and false ideas of separation of church and state) as their only reasoning for removing it, even though I have known people who are reported athiests/agnostics who say they still like to celebrate Christmas at least because they get presents. And they still refer to it as Christmas without feeling offended. If people or places don't take the particular reference to the word Christmas out altogether, they secularize it so much that nonbelievers are able to celebrate it without any reference to Jesus' birth at all, just like having an Easter bunny instead of the Resurrected Christ. Stores have been using the "diversity" excuse for omitting Christmas so they don't offend their non-celebrating customers, though some have been doing better at reintegrating "Merry Christmas" into their ads and greetings this year, while alienating the other 96% of the population who do celebrate it.

The other big part of this is that other than trying to negate the terminology for a holiday that the majority of America celebrates, is that it doesn't go both ways, where they would erase every reference to Hannukah, Eid/Ramadan, Kwanzaa, etc. as well, if they're going to be fair about not offending people of other religions. As a Christian, even though I don't celebrate these other holidays, I'm not offended that others do. I am able to be firm in my own beliefs that those of others don't threaten my own faith, which apparently Christmas does for some people. I think it goes beyond just the potential offending of others, there's a greater fear behind it, perhaps of the message of Christmas itself.

Even President Bush has come under scrutiny with his recent reference to the "one humble life that that lifted the sights of humanity" as Santa, not Jesus, and that his Christmas cards are generic, though he has talked about his personal faith in Christ. Nativity sets are forbidden around the country, or at least pared down to the farm animals only, as in this case, again because of the false "separation of church and state" and offensiveness reasoning. Unfortunately, even churches are being subject to closing for Christmas this year because it falls on a Sunday. That should be even more reason to attend church on Sunday, on Christmas Day itself, rather than allowing people to stay home for a "family day." Burt Prelutsky, a Jew, wrote about this issue most eloquently in his commentary "The Jewish Grinch Who Stole Christmas," which I highly encourage you to read in its entirety:

This is a Christian nation, my friends. And all of us are fortunate it is one, and that so many Americans have seen fit to live up to the highest precepts of their religion. Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don't accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours.

Merry Christmas.

~~Queen Spoo (the macadamia nut)

P.S. Interesting statistics I ran across:

62% - Americans who say stores shouldn't change greetings from Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings.

3% - Americans who say they're bothered when stores specifically refer to the Christian holiday.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Due Diligence: Virginia Sex Offender Pillory Registry

This guy, this fellow, this dude, this brother, that guy, this slacker, this guy, and this gentleman are all the registered sex offenders who live in my zip code.

But the closest guy to my house, and by far the creepiest, is this scary old man.

Some more interesting points I noticed:

(1) Most of these guys are white, with traditional Central Virginia names, e.g. "Nuckols" or "Loving".

(2) Some of these guys didn't do much jail time, if any. Some of these convictions were for 2001, 2003, 2004 and they're out in public now.

Happy Holidays Merry Christmas

In regard to taxpayer funding of an Islamic school in Florida, Joe Kaufman says it well:
Most U.S. citizens would shudder at the possibility that the taxes they pay, out of the money they worked hard for, were being used to fund a school that was founded as a link between the country they call home and an overseas terrorist organization. But that is precisely what had happened (with the case of IAF), and unbeknownst to many, it is continuing still today (with IAF).
Yes, this fact disturbs me as one would expect.

What also disturbs me is that a school with "Islamic" in its name is receiving ANY taxpayer funding. Are schools with "Christian" in their name receiving such funding? I can't imagine it in this day when the "Holidays" are supplanting Christmas.

~-~


What of this word, "holiday"? Here's what The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition has to say:
hol·i·day
n.

1. A day free from work that one may spend at leisure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event.
2. A religious feast day; a holy day.
3. Chiefly British. A vacation. Often used in the phrase on holiday.
So we're all familiar with the first definition, as this is the mainstream intent of the oft muttered "Happy holidays". And the Anglophiles or British television viewers among us may be aware of the third definition. But look at the second definition: a HOLY day. Doesn't this seem to be where the word originated? HOLYday. Indeed, that's what the above dictionary indicates:
[Middle English holidai, holy day, from Old English hlig dæg : hlig, holy; see holy + dæg, day; see day.]
What does the word holy mean? The same dictionary says:
ho·ly
adj. ho·li·er, ho·li·est

1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
2. Regarded with or worthy of worship or veneration; revered: a holy book.
3. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy person.
4. Specified or set apart for a religious purpose: a holy place.
5. Solemnly undertaken; sacrosanct: a holy pledge.
6. Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence: The pursuit of peace is our holiest quest.
7. Informal. Used as an intensive: raised holy hell over the mischief their children did.
All definitions but the last one indicate a special reverence, infused with religious overtones. So - is this what people are meaning when they wish you "happy holidays" - that you have days of reverence for your God? While I am tempted to take it that way, I wager that's not what is being intimated. Rather, it is something more along the line of "I'd like to wish you a "Merry Christmas", but I'm fearful of offending either you or those immediately around us. Thusly, I offer you the intelligentsia approved Newspeak form of this anachronistic greeting, 'Happy Holidays.'"

What is so darned offensive about "Merry Christmas"? I like what comedian Brad Stine has had to say about the offensiveness of Christmastime well-wishes: "Which do you find more offensive, the peace on Earth or goodwill towards men rhetoric?" While some Christians no doubt will indicate the "reason for the season" is the birth of the God-man Jesus Christ, mostly all who say "Merry Christmas" are really indicating their well-wishes during a special time of family-oriented gatherings. One of my best friends, an atheist ironically, has no problem wishing others a "Merry Christmas". It could be his Catholic upbringing / cultural adaptation, but I think it's his respect for the morality of Christmas, regardless of the religion. I've heard it said that morality is our responsibility to one another, whereas religion is our responsibility to God. One can respect the prior without holding to the latter. To be unafraid enough to aver "Merry Christmas" in this age, you have to respect something strongly about Christmas - as does my friend.

Ultimately, what people are recoiling from is the name of Christ. For many, "Merry Christmas" is an invocation of the name of the God-man. Some people just do not wish to hear about Jesus Christ - at all. Often, it's for a good reason, such as bad religious experiences - more likely bad moral experiences (see above for the distinction). Other times, it is ignorance, believing things about Christ not true in the least. Christopher being my name, I wonder when people will begin to refuse to calling me such. It's hard to tell, as so many call me Chris with no animus at all. Perhaps when I haven't heard the name Christopher said at all for a year I'll then realize something's up. :-)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bush's Nicknames

How do you interpret the many nicknames that President Bush has given the people in his life? Is it merely fun or, in the case of his opponents, a passive-agressive means of venting frustration? Here's a list from NNDB.com:
Joe Allbaugh
Big Country
Fred Barnes
Barney
Max Baucus
Maxie
Tony Blair
Landslide
Barbara Boxer
Ali
Martha Brant
Martita
Michael D. Brown
Brownie
Frank Bruni
Pancho
George H.W. Bush
Poppy
George W. Bush
Dubya, Bushie
Laura Bush
Bushie
Carl Cameron
Camarones
Andrew Card
Tangent Man
Paul Cellucci
Cellooch
Dick Cheney
Big Time
Jean Chrétien
Dino (as in Dinosaur)
Susan Collins
Sweet Susan
John Cornyn
Corndog
Candy Crowley
Dulce
Mitch Daniels
The Blade
Tom Davis
T.D.
John Dickerson
Dick
Maureen Dowd
Cobra
Dianne Feinstein
Frazier
Barney Frank
Sabretooth
Bill Frist
Fristy
Rich Galen
Richie
Alberto Gonzales
Fredo
David Gregory
Little Stretch
Stephen Hadley
Hads
Dennis Hastert
Speak
Pete Hoekstra
Pedro
Karen Hughes
High Prophet, The Enforcer, Hurricane Karen
Tim Hutchinson
Hutch
David Jackson
Action Jackson
Lee Jackson
Action Jackson
Ted Kennedy
Senator
Pete King
Pedro
Mort Kondracke
Morton
Dennis Kucinich
Mayor
Dick Kyle
Stretch
Ken Lay
Kenny Boy
Larry Lindsey
Thunderbolt Lindsey
Mitch McConnell
Mitchie
Mark McKinnon
M-Cat
George Miller
El Grande Jorge
Ben Nelson
Nellie, Benny, Benator
Bill O'Reilly
Factor, Big O
Colin Powell
Balloonfoot
Vladimir Putin
Pootie-Poot
Condoleezza Rice
Guru
Karl Rove
Boy Genius, Turd Blossom
John Rowland
Johnny
Bill Sammon
Super Stretch
Olympia Snowe
The Big O
John Sweeney
Congressman Kick-Ass
George Tenet
Brother George
Tommy Thompson
Double T
Fred Upton
Freddo
Ann Veneman
Bullets
Paul Wellstone
Pablo
George Will
The Commissioner
Patricia Wilson
Outback Woman
Robert Zoellick
The Adding Machine

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Lullaby of Byrdland

Why is it that the good people of West Virginia tolerate U.S. Senator Robert Byrd having his name on nearly everything in the state? Today I read that the Green Bank Telescope had been named for the former Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan. Forgive? Yes. Forget? How can we when he keeps bringing up reasons to remember his past? The man is a (slowly) walking advertisement for the need for term limits in Congress.

Enough West Virginians have been content enough with his procurement of federal funds for the state to tolerate his occasional lunacy. In examining the placenames named after the Senator, a commonality appears: most if not all are or were financed with public monies. There is something perverse about a sitting representative of the state having publicly financed projects named for him. In fact, the state even has a law against erecting monuments to living persons:
Sen. Byrd has set a new standard for taxpayer-funded narcissism by convincing the West Virginia Legislature to erect a statue of himself in the state Capitol. The statue's completion violates state law prohibiting statues of government officials until they have been dead for half a century.
(source: Citizens Against Government Waste)
I particularly enjoyed this comment from the same source:
Byrd's statue is currently housed in the Capitol Rotunda, as shown in the picture, and it is said if you stand under the statue the senator's hand points directly at your pockets.
Here's a list of published placenames dedicated to Byrd (source: Wikipedia.org):

  • Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center at Marshall University, Huntington
  • Robert C. Byrd Addition to the Lodge at Oglebay Park, Wheeling
  • Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System part of the Appalachian Development Highway System
  • Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center at Marshall University, Huntington
  • Robert C. Byrd Bridge, between Huntington and Chesapeake, Ohio
  • Robert C. Byrd Cancer Research Laboratory of West Virginia University, Morgantown
  • Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition to Veteran's Hospital, Huntington
  • Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Pine Grove
  • Robert C. Byrd Conference Center at Davis and Elkins College, Elkins
  • Robert C. Byrd Drive, from Beckley to Sophia (Byrd's hometown)
  • Robert C. Byrd Expressway, U.S. Highway 22, near Weirton
  • Robert C. Byrd Federal Building & Courthouse, Beckley
  • Robert C. Byrd Federal Building & Courthouse, Charleston
  • Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, Green Bank
  • Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center, Princeton
  • Robert C. Byrd Health and Wellness Center of Bethany College, Bethany
  • Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University, Morgantown
  • Robert C. Byrd High School, Clarksburg
  • Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex, Rocket Center
  • (For Byrd's wife) Erma Ora Byrd Conference & Learning Center
  • Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park, Moorefield
  • Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing; Huntington, Charleston, Bridgeport & Rocket Center
  • Robert C. Byrd Library & Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center at Mountain State University, Beckley
  • Robert C. Byrd Locks & Dam, Gallipolis Ferry
  • Robert C. Byrd Metals Fabrication Center, Rocket Center
  • Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center, Bridgeport
  • Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling
  • Robert C. Byrd Rural Health Center at Marshall University, Huntington
  • Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown
  • Robert C. Byrd Technology Center at Alderson-Broaddus College, Philippi
  • Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center
  • Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry
  • (For Byrd's wife) Erma Ora Byrd Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling

One wonders if we will not see, after a respectable period following the good Senator's departure from this Earth, a rush to remove some, many, or most of these placenames. Perhaps not. Or, perhaps once the United States economy collapses in upon itself and the overarching cause is eventually properly attributed to gross overspending by the scions of the federal government, a fate similar to the myriad statues of Lenin will befall those of Byrd. Perhaps we will one day even see the good Senator's statue in Freedom Park (-->).

Lest I be accused of partisanship, let me state that pork and narcissism is hardly limited to the political left. Byrd is only the most reprobate example. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska has made that state (controlled by Republicans) by far the largest porker per capita. Check out the comments of Alaska Rep. Don Young - Republican - concerning a "bridge to nowhere" named for him:
Rep. Young had a much more curt response when asked by a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reporter about redirecting the combined $450 million for the Gravina Island and Knik Arm (renamed Don Young’s Way) bridges to hurricane victims: “They can kiss my ear.” He then called such a request the “dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
(source: CAGW)
With all due respect (that would be less and less daily) Congressman, the dumbest thing I've ever heard is your statement and rash euphemism. I for one will be kissing no part of your person.

I see a bumper sticker from time to time which resonates when contemplating what to do about such brazen pork and narcissim: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Vote Libertarian"

Thursday, December 01, 2005

An Improbable Defender of Christ

As James Lileks points out, though it is hard to find a business associating itself today with the word "Christmas", Playboy magazine is unafraid of doing so. I am at a complete loss for how to comment on this.

Really.

OK - I have regained my composure. I leave you with this thought:

Have we really gone that far to the secular in America(tm), that among our lone defenders of the name of the Risen Lord is a pornographic periodical?

Authority and Affirmation

I happened across an interesting blog today, For God's Sake Shut Up! After reading a few posts, I decided to post a comment, as well as an affirmation of the blogger's efforts:
Brian, your definition of (or perhaps more accurately, your interpretation of Moore's definition of) "patriarchy" as "male hegemonic rule" fired-off a few synapses, reminding me of a specific word: Authority.

I have had the pleasure and torment of knowing several individuals whom were reared upon / indoctrinated into the teachings of entities such as Bill Gothard's Institute in Basic Life Principals. Only when I was invited to a "Basic Seminar" and left in disgust halfway through the second session, did I begin to do research on the organization.

The perversion of authority - descending into authoritarianism - is endemic today, both on the political Left and Right. But it is most immediately destructive in families. It is especially perverse that the IBLP, which was initially created supposedly to solve problems with children, often causes far greater problems. What greater problem is there for a child on the precipice of true, saving faith in God, than to turn his back on God never to accept His gift?

I welcome your efforts here, as I've often found myself internally recoiling at the dogmatic and often wrong statements of those who would presume to speak for our Lord and Savior. I am reminded of the title of a book I once saw, but have yet to read: Following Jesus Without Embarassing God. Perhaps you've read it?

Generally, I have found those critical of more politically conservative Christians, while calling themselves Christians, tend to focus on the politics of those they criticize, rather than their manner of following Christ. This tends in my view to undermine their "Christian" arguments. Such is why I am more heartened to see your blog. I am glad also to see a link to Al Mohler's exceedingly excellent blog. This tells me that no matter where your actual political bent may take you, you are sensitive to the persuasion of a great argument, which Mohler often makes.

Some friends and I started a blog a few months ago, appropriately termed Reasonable Nuts, in order to bandy-about notions we think should be discussed. Sometimes I stray with what I find interesting, as my other blog has been less-than-online for a while. But generally, we like to offer up topics that need some investigation. We have a couple of more conservative Christians and a couple more libertarian, such as myself. We haven't added any distinctly liberal friends, but one is coming to mind who I may ask. I usually invite based on an ability to communicate effectively rather than a specific political bent.

I'll be reading your blog and look forward to your interpretation of events and ideas.

Clemency or Forgiveness?

I admit I did not know very much of "Tookie" Williams and the situation concerning his impending execution. I further admit, I only read this piece on the subject at the decidedly right-of-center Frontpagemag.com. But given the circumstances of the multiple murders, I see no reason to look for mitigating factors which might permit clemency. At this point, I strongly believe only God himself can grant Williams what he needs - and it is not clemency.

How could the Governor grant clemency (mercy) anyhow? Doesn't the moral authority to grant mercy rest with the slighted (in this case, the family of the deceased) and not with the state (which the Governor represents)? Were all members of the families who lost a loved one due to Williams' crimes to agree to grant such mercy, perhaps then the Governor could grant their wish. Without this, all third parties should cease their attempts at intervention, no matter how noble (or misguided). Can anyone tell me what the family members have said of these crimes? What were their positions immediately following the crime and what are they today?

Here's a snippet of sanity from the piece:
Allowing Tookie Williams to receive the death sentence 24 years after it was imposed by a jury of his peers is not an outrage; the outrage is that thousands of Americans were conned into lavishing sympathy on this murderer instead of his victims and their families, that a street thug who's learned to manipulate the Left enjoys glowing press coverage, a positive biopic, warm personal relations with Hollywood's elite, and an honored position in the Crips.
He ends with this:
I'm not a father confessor, but I'm fairly certain of this moral arithmetic: Writing children's books is not an appropriate penance for killing an entire family in as bloody a way as possible, dedicating his entire life to a ruthless pursuit of violence, and founding an organization that has trapped generations of inner city youths into the same destructive cycle.