Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rudy Says It: I Beat Ds in Blue States

Conservatives for whom a Giuliani candidacy represents at least one of the Seven Seals should consider what the candidate himself said yesterday (and what SWNID has said prior to that): he has the ability to carry states with lots of electoral votes that have been taken for granted by the Ds in several electoral cycles.

As students of recent elections know, both parties operate with close tolerances in the electoral college. Each has a number of "safe" states; neither set of safe states constitutes a majority. They therefore slug it out in "battleground" states (Florida and Ohio come to mind).

But Rudy steals a number of states that Ds have to have, including NY, CT, PA and maybe even CA. That yields a big "so what" to the prospect of conservatives staying home in SC or AL (like they'll sit on their hands and let the Hildabeast be inaugurated in a pantsuit). The Ds don't have an equation that leads to victory if they lose their base, and they don't have any candidate who can steal a red state.

We remain insistent that America's Mayor soon must demonstrate the ability to run a disciplined campaign. Others, namely Mr. Romney, show the potential to campaign well from the center right that can forge a working majority. So this franchise is not his exclusively, though it remains his most strongly. And in these troubled times when our uninformed electorate seems to be tired of Republican realism and longing for the fast times of a Democrat administration, the electability of any candidate of the center right is paramount.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Carter Sanctimony Machine Now Turbocharged

We've been pretty hard on Jimmy Carter in the past. We'd like to stop. But he keeps making the most outrageous remarks, combining his patented sanctimony with a level of historical and political stupidity that insults everyone within earshot. With others, we keep responding.

Carter's recent derogatory remarks about Messrs. Blair and Bush have been well documented. Apparently Carter now characterizes these statements as at least in part "reckless." That's the closest thing to the truth that he's said in recent memory.

For some perspective on Carter's statement, let's imagine that it's 1951 and Herbert Hoover is criticizing Harry Truman for his handling of the economy. And for good measure, he criticizes Winston Churchill too.

Let it be said here that Messrs. Blair and Bush have done more than anyone before to recognize and address the mess that Mr. Carter's capitulating approach to radical Islam, too often followed by his successors, has engendered. When the radicals regard the West as a paper tiger, it is Mr. Carter who best epitomizes that judgment. He is, of course, the last person to recognize this.

We recently offered that Tony Blair, if he indeed offered a quid pro quo to Iran to get the British hostages released, might be known as the Jimmy Carter of Great Britain. We now think that such an eventuality is impossible. Blair didn't leave his hostages in Iran for the next prime minister to get released in the first fifteen minutes of his administration.

Fed Judge to Christians: States Don't Owe You Student Aid

A federal judge has found against Colorado Christian University (motto: "We were CCU before that upstart in Cincinnati") in its suit to compel the state of Colorado to give its students the same student aid grant given to students at Colorado's other private colleges.

Colorado's state financial aid grant, as we understand it, gave about $2.5k annually to each Colorado student attending a Colorado private college, if that college is not "pervasively sectarian." By that phrase, the legislators of the Rocky Mountain state meant that religious ideas and values are found throughout the curriculum, faculty must subscribe to a specific set of religious beliefs, religious observance is mandatory for students, and such like. In other words, they meant a distinctively and overtly religious college, not just a college with a religious affiliation.

Before Christians get up in arms about this, let's remind ourselves that the court simply affirmed the power of the legislature to decide how tax money gets spent. There's no obligation for the state of Colorado to tax people to underwrite higher education at all. And the court found that there was nothing inherently discriminatory in this law. It doesn't prevent anyone from attending any college or from doing anything connected to any faith.

Colorado Christian's attorneys, with a supporting brief from the Bush administration, had argued that the law required a decision as to how religious is too religious. Indeed, it does. But the standards seem to have been set pretty clearly and evenhandedly.

Colorado Christian must now find a way to compensate for its financial competitive disadvantage relative to other in-state private colleges. But Colorado Christian now also has a powerful tool for raising funds for student aid. We suspect that they'll come out all right in the end.

This decision, by the way, should have little effect on similar programs in other states. Unless a legislature decides to exclude a particular category of education or a particular kind of institution (Washington did the same in excluding theology majors), existing programs will go on without any effect. In Ohio, the Ohio Choice Grant is given to any Ohio student who attends a regionally accredited private college in Ohio, regardless of the religious affiliation of the college or the religious nature of the degree program.

We don't live in Colorado, but we suspect that there's considerable ideological polarization in the state. On the one hand, Colorado Springs has become the Evangelical Vatican, presided over by Pope James Dobson. On the other hand, Boulder is the navel of the earth for denizens of the Loony Left, who wear clothing made of hem and pedal their recumbent bicycles out to their organic marijuana patches to apply the compost that they've made from free-trade coffee grounds. So it's no surprise that a restriction on student aid funding should arise there.

Boulder is also home to Naropa University, as far as we know the only avowedly Buddhist university in the United States. If we were a citizen of Colorado, we would be happy for our taxes not to fund the folks studying meditation techniques there. We wonder whether they're excluded as well. We hope so.

Sign of the Times

This comes from a gentle reader. It purports to be a letter to a well-known advice columnist:

Dear Abby,

I am a crack dealer in Beaumont, Texas who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of HIV virus. My parents live in Fort Worth.

One of my sisters lives in Pflugerville and is married to a transvestite.

My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana. They are financially dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Dallas.

I have two brothers: one is currently serving a non-parole life sentence at Huntsville for the murder of a teenage boy in 1994. My other brother is currently in jail awaiting charges of sexual misconduct with his three children.

I have recently become engaged to marry a former prostitute who lives in Longview. She is a part time "working girl".

All things considered, my problem is this. I love my fiancee and look forward to bringing her into the family. I certainly want to be totally open and honest with her.

Should I tell her about my cousin who supports Hillary Clinton for President?


Worried About My Reputation

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

SWNID Is Tired of the Redundant "All Throughout"

SWNID is grading papers. SWNID keeps reading the same barbarous redundancy. We tire of marking it.

It is the phrase "all throughout."

If something is "throughout" something, it is by definition through all of it.

Yet Google reports that this phrase occurs on some 1,100,000 Internet sites. Throughout the Internet, one finds the phrase "all throughout." Few of these sites are commenting on the phrase's redundancy. Even Wikipedia's entry on redundant expressions only mentions this awfulness when modifying the verb "permeate."

We therefore congratulate the blog "Spare Change" for its courageous calling out of this phrase for redundancy.

Be warned, SWNIDish students! Purge your speech and writing of this waste of syllables.

Falwell's Educational Philosophy Versus SWNID's

Browsing Falwell news, we came across this portion of his biography at his web site (emphasis inserted):

In 1967, Falwell implemented his vision to build a Christian educational system for evangelical youth. He began with the creation of Lynchburg Christian Academy, a Christ-centered, academically excellent, fully accredited Christian day school providing kindergarten, elementary and high school. In 1971, Liberty University was founded.

Today, over 21,500 students from 50 states and 80 nations attend this accredited, liberal arts Christian university. Falwell’s dream has become a reality. A pre-school child can now enter the school system at age 3, and 20 or more years later, leave the same campus with a Ph.D., without ever sitting in a classroom where the teacher was not a committed follower of Jesus Christ.

SWNID finds it hard not to be dismissive, if not contemptuous, of this justification for a Christian university. We are personally in the business of Christian higher education for an entirely different reason: to enable Christians to understand their faith and their world so that they can actively, creatively, effectively minister in it and transform it, not so that they can be in a safe place away from secular influences, as if such a place existed. We expect our students to get roughed up, so we are not much for cocooning.

AP: Falwell Ill

The previous posting was about an event ten months old.

This is a link to breaking news.

Jerry Falwell was discovered unconscious in his office. He's in a hospital and described as gravely ill.

We have been pretty frank in our negative appraisal of Dr. Falwell. But we pray for his recovery.

UDPATE: AP now reports that Dr. Falwell didn't make it. We pray for God's comfort for his family and friends. Time will tell whether the various ministries that relied so heavily on his personality will survive or, like so many others similarly situated, gradually slip away.

Rowling Joins Distinguished Aberdeen Alumni

J. K. Rowling has joined SWNID as an alumna of the University of Aberdeen.

Actually, SWNID is an alumnus, but we are both now alumni.

Ms. Rowling was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University, founded three years after Columbus accidentally sailed into the Western Hemisphere.

SWNID, by the way, earned his degree. So if Rowling's degree is honorary, is SWNID's dishonorable?

A Diversion

Check out the technological marvel in the video at this site. It's ingenuity like this that has made America great!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Why SWNID Likes Richardson

We thank Son of SWNID for pointing us to Bill Richardson's first TV ads, which remind us why we think we could live happily in a republic with Congressman/Secretary/Ambassador/Governor Richardson as Chief Executive.

Don't miss the droll rolling of the eyes. We approve of a President who can roll his eyes drolly.

The little salsa tag at the end of the spots is tasty too, even though it was probably conceived to underline that despite the WASPish name, Richardson is Hispanic.

The fact that Richardson lags in the polls proves to us that Democrats currently have no sense at all. Compare this guy to Hillary and you've got more than she brings on policy and lots more on experience. Compare him to Obama and you've got all that he brings on charm and lots more on experience, plus he's still a representative of a minority group. Why is this even a competitive race, let alone a competitive race in which Richardson isn't competitive?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Crime in SWNID's 'Hood

The local media is reporting a robbery around the corner from the SWNID homestead.

Per the Enquirer, police were called to the "SuperAmerica" (actually a Speedway) at 5571 Colerain Avenue at 12:30 a.m. when an employee reported seeing men outside trying to rob someone.

Two suspects were arrested; a third is at large. One suspect was armed with a semiautomatic weapon. According to a report on WLW radio, one shot was fired but no one was hurt.

SWIND is only mildly surprised and concerned. There's been a lot of loitering near the corner of Colerain and Kirby in the last several weeks--largely in the parking lot of the smelly, poorly stocked convenience store* opposite the Speedway station--so it's not surprising that something like this happened. If the police would take the proactive step to encourage young men to gather in more appropriate places, like their homes, we'd guess that opportunities for such crime would be infrequent.

It remains to be seen, however, in whether such thoughtful and effective approaches are possible in the present social climate. It's silly if they aren't. No one needs to be standing outside a gas station at 12:30 at night.

Update: Enquirer reporter Jennifer Baker, acting on a SWNIDish tip, has graciously corrected the story to reflect that the store is a Speedway.
*United Dairy Farmers, why did you abandon us?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Where to Channel Compassion for Greensburg

Gentle readers who want to share God's love with the people of Greensburg, Kansas, recently devastated by a monster tornado, are urged again to send donations to International Disaster Emergency Services. IDES is partnering with Christian churches in neighboring communities to get the money to where it can do the most good, most efficiently, in the name of Jesus.

IDES is a high impact, low overhead Christian relief organization, working through churches and missionaries to address human needs in the wake of disasters around the world. You can't do much better with your money than that!

PSCC Posts Closure Letter

The letter announcing Puget Sound Christian College's closure is available here. It tells the story as best it can be told.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Newsweek Captures Experience of Believers in Battle

In a remarkable piece of popular journalism, Newsweek magazine has chronicled Army Chaplain Roger Benimoff's experiences of faith, doubt and anger with God in the Iraq war. Gentle reader Guy Named Courtney commended the piece to SWNID, telling us that reading it is "like looking in the mirror."

Ironically enough, while reading this piece, we received a phone call from another CCU student, slated to graduate next week, who just received word of redeployment to the Iraqi battlefield. He spoke with eloquence of the trials he experiences as his life is turned upside down yet again, and of how such trials are shaping his knowledge of God.

Benimoff's experience is that the God in whom he once believed does not survive the battlefield. Death, injury, loneliness, and despair do not comport well with a widely held view--one might condescendingly call it a naive view--of how God protects his people. That kind of protection wasn't the experience of the prophets or the psalmists, and it wasn't the experience of Jesus and his followers. They had death, injury, loneliness and despair.

But arguing with God, being angry with God, and hating God--the kind of things believers do when they face the awfulness of things like war--are very different from not believing in God, which is largely expressed by indifference. These saints of the battlefield probably know better than the rest of us the kind of sweat and blood that really constitute the walk with God to which we are called. It is, after all, a cross that Jesus bids us take up as we follow him.

SWNID, whose life has been benignly sheltered, is most glad to know those who face the terror of an evil world and who in anger still cling to the promise of God's love even when they see no sign of it in the circumstances that surround them. We thank those people for the way they challenge us to know the God of the Cross better than we do today, and not just for the burden they bear to protect the liberty and safety of others.

Is This an Iraq Victory Strategy that Ds Can Embrace?

Tuesday's Gray Lady included one of the most provocative short opinion pieces on Iraq that has come across the SWNIDish desk in recent memory. Authored by Marine Reserve officer Owen West, it observed that the cost in lives and treasure of the withdrawal from Iraq contemplated by the Congressional Ds is inevitably far larger than the cost of persisting. But it also reckons with the political reality that a majority of Americans are now just as bored with the war as Denny Crane is.

What West proposes is that the Iraqi government must act immediately to double the size of its armed forces, so that the "surge" can become an Iraqi surge. We quote:

So how can we reconcile this military reality with the desire by the majority of Americans to reduce troop levels in Iraq? The current surge may provide an excellent opportunity, if we acknowledge two things: Iraq is now a law enforcement war and Iraqi security forces are best suited to fight it.

The surge must be accompanied by a commensurate surge in Iraqi troops. To date, the Iraqis have simply been shifting soldiers from other areas into Baghdad. But these are stop-gap soldiers — as are our own — when what we seek is permanence. The Iraqi government must double the size of its army, to 300,000 combat troops from 150,000 today. The American surge will give them the breathing room to do so, and a deadline by which it must be done.

The idea is that, starting this fall, the Iraqi units would bulk up so the American units could begin to break up, moving to an advisory model in which the number of American soldiers embedded with Iraqi units triples while the overall United States force declines. Today many American patrols operate independently. In a year’s time, ideally, no American patrol would leave its base without a fully integrated Iraqi presence.

Oddly, the Congressional resolutions calling for withdrawal would allow for this continued American advisory presence, somehow not including these troops as “combat forces.” So even those members of Congress who voted for the resolutions could support bulking up the number of Americans assigned to Iraqi units without appearing as hypocrites.

We are intrigued. We urge the politicos to take up this question and start debating it.

Definitive Word on First Republican Debate

SWNID didn't see the first Republican presidential debate last night. We were attending an annual banquet for a local inner-city ministry. And we live in a cable-free household. Not that these things make us holier than the people who did see the debate, of course.

So we'll defer to the ever-insightful, gently articulate Peggy Noonan, who as a Ronald Reagan speechwriter should know something about the Reagan legacy that every candidate seems to be appropriating. Here's a teaser quotation:

I would like to note that the media's fixation with which Republican is the most like Reagan, and who is the next Reagan, and who parts his hair like Reagan, is absurd, and subtly undermining of Republicans, which is why they do it. Reagan was Reagan, a particular man at a particular point in history. What is to be desired now is a new greatness. Another way of saying this is that in 1960, John F. Kennedy wasn't trying to be the next FDR, and didn't feel forced to be. FDR was the great, looming president of Democratic Party history, and there hadn't been anyone as big or successful since 1945, but JFK thought it was good enough to be the best JFK. And the press wasn't always sitting around saying he was no FDR. Oddly enough, they didn't consider that an interesting theme.

They should stop it already, and Republicans should stop playing along. They should try instead a pleasant. "You know I don't think I'm Reagan, but I do think John Edwards may be Jimmy Carter, and I'm fairly certain Hillary is Walter Mondale."...

If we view the proceedings in vulgar and reductive Who Won, Who Lost terms, and let's, Mitt Romney won, Rudy Giuliani lost, and John McCain is still in.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Puget Sound Christian College to Close

SWNID has received word from reliable--though not official--sources that Puget Sound Christian College will not reopen after the 2007 spring semester.

PSCC's faculty and staff have worked hard to keep the institution afloat, often foregoing paychecks. But the economic difficulties of running a Bible college in the Seattle area seem to have caught up with the institution.

A few years ago we delivered a series of lectures to the PSCC students and faculty. We enjoyed our time there tremendously. And under these sad circumstances, we will now especially treasure our PSCC "Anchors" tee-shirt that we were given as a memento.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

NY Sun to Ds: Stop Whining

We break relative silence to draw attention to a most poignant moment in politics and journalism. It develops like this:

So David Broder, mega-columnist at WaPo, writes a column criticizing Harry Reid (D-Opportunism) for his public statement that the Iraq war is "lost."

Then the Senate Democratic Caucus (motto: "pretending that we rule the Free World with fifty senators plus that guy from Connecticut whose guts we all hate") sends a letter (the blessed Joe Lieberman's 51st signature unattached) to Broder protesting his column.

Then the NY Sun opines on the whole matter with delightful understatement. We quote generously:

The episode illuminates how thin-skinned and intolerant the left is in this country of a press corps that is anything less than completely pliant. It began with the Democratic presidential candidates refusing to participate in a presidential debate that would be aired on the Fox News Channel, a network so reflexively right-wing that its regular paid contributors include Michael Dukakis's campaign manager Susan Estrich, National Public Radio's Mara Liasson, and the 2006 Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee, Harold Ford Jr. First they came for Fox News Channel, then they came for David Broder.

One starts to get the feeling here that some of the divides in the rift between Mr. Broder and the Democratic caucus are not so much political but cultural. The chairman of the Washington Post Company, Donald Graham, served in Vietnam, and Mr. Broder himself is an army veteran. The notion of a Washington politician declaring a war lost even as American GIs are appearing in arms on the field of battle in the cause of freedom abroad, well it has a way of grating on those who have worn the uniform, a fact that many of Mr. Broder's readers, if not the 50 senators, understand.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Al Masri Dies Like a True Insurgent

Early reports are coming in that the chief of Al Qaida in Iraq, Abbu Ayyub al Masri, has been killed by other Sunni insurgents. We weigh in with the following:

  • We sincerely hope that he is very dead and that he stays that way.
  • We believe that if history is any guide at all, the internal contradictions of the Iraqi insurgency movements will continue to undermine their efforts to overthrow the Iraqi government.
  • We guess that Democrats believe that results like this are just one more reason why we should pack up and leave Iraq. Democrats reason differently from other people, apparently.
  • We still wish most ardently that someone will arise in Iraq who can command the respect of several parties and begin to get them to work together. Despite the courage of many who have plighted their troth to the new democracy, there is still no Iraqi Washington or Gandhi or Havel who can get the populace pulling in one direction for the common good.