Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Today's Posts

What Is the Sign Language Motion for Abortion?, a picture can be worth a thousand words. So please pass along these two examples (one and two) of how signers represent the word "abortion."

And take careful note that these are taken from normal sign language sites, not pro-life sites where one could argue that bias was involved.

Remarkably revealing.

I would urge you to 1) pass along these links,  2) keep them for reference, and 3) learn the signs yourself in order to more effectively communicate your pro-life convictions to others.

Surprise! The New Forward Is Backward.

We're constantly reminded that America is evolving towards something higher and better and more hep. The nation is, after all, led by an elite group (politicians, judges and academics) whose favorite names for themselves are "progressive" and "enlightened," whose motto is "forward," and whose chief leader vows to "fundamentally transform society."

But realists cannot help to see things quite differently. They see, for instance, the American economy in shambles, an inevitable condition when productivity is punished (if not outlawed altogether) whereas waste, laziness, incompetence, and greed for the earnings of others are rewarded.

Realists also understand that the erosion of the sanctity of life ethic, the denial of human exceptionalism, the determined opposition to natural marriage and sexual morality, and the determined attacks on Christianity are signs of a radical de-volution of culture -- not vice versa.

And then there are the stories just from today's headlines. Are they indications of progress, of culture going forward?


* The "progressive" majority of the Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government must give the same benefits to homosexual couples as it gives to married persons.

* "Hundreds of jeering protesters helped stop Texas lawmakers from passing one of the toughest abortion measures in the country, shouting down Senate Republicans and forcing them to miss a midnight deadline to pass the bill."

* DOJ Defunds Youth Programs that Reference God

* Sheikh Who OK’d Killing Americans in Iraq Gets White House Reception

* Networks Fail to Mention ‘Lull’ in Warming in All 92 Climate Change Stories

* The Pentagon on Tuesday toasted gays in the military, with a top adviser to President Obama declaring the country is “safer” now that they may serve openly in the ranks. “Because we repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ our military … is stronger and our country is safer, more equal and more just,” said Valerie Jarrett, the keynote speaker at the Pentagon’s gay pride celebration.

* 5 Senators Who Support Immigration Bill Don't Know Answer to Key Question About It

* Twelve different IRS units nationwide targeted conservatives

NEA Spokesperson Channels, Alinsky, Obama...and Dante

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the Vice-President of the NEA, an organization widely known for its antagonism to Christianity, nevertheless makes her claim to divine revelation on matters of eternal judgment.

Of the NRA and others who promote the 2nd Amendment, Ms. Garcia flatly decrees, "I'm not an ordained minister, I'm not a theologian, but these guys are going to hell.”

The comment was made at the annual Netroots Nation conference last week.

Ms. Garcia's foreknowledge was not the only religious element in her speech. She also managed to channel the spirits of both Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama.

"We have to make those senators as frightened of us as they are of the gun lobby. Shame on us if we give one inch to the gun lobby. They got where they are because they never give up. Now the movement is us; we are the ones we were waiting for.”

Here Comes the Green Wave of Disaster

In case you haven't heard, Barack Obama is not letting abysmal failure, outrageous scandals, dismal poll numbers, public exposure of his lies and incompetence, popular anger towards he and his wife's lavish arrogance, or the Constitutional separation of powers deter him from his mission to "fundamentally transform American society."

Read these excerpts from the superb National Review editorial, "Obama’s Radical Climate Agenda"  and get ready for the next stage of the culture wars.

It is remarkable that when the scientific consensus on global warming is at its weakest state in years, President Barack Obama has decided to make the issue a new focus of his troubled presidency — and, indeed, that he intends to use the issue as the launching pad for a radical extension of federal power even more significant than his health-care takeover...

Global warming, contrary to the predictions of the best climate models, is not accelerating. It is slowing, and some estimates show it having been reversed. The warmest year on record was 1998, and there has been significantly less warming in the last 15 years than there was in the 20 years before that. The Economist, which supports measures to control greenhouse-gas emissions and has been a reliable hotbed of warming alarmism, conceded: “There’s no way around the fact that this reprieve for the planet is bad news for proponents of policies, such as carbon taxes and emissions treaties, meant to slow warming by moderating the release of greenhouse gases. . . . They will become harder, if not impossible, to sell to the public, which will feel, not unreasonably, that the scientific and media establishment has cried wolf.”

If only President Obama simply had cried wolf. Instead, the president announced that, on behalf of “all of humankind,” he is in effect directing the EPA to take over the American economy. New power plants will be subject to emissions controls, and existing plants will have to be retrofitted to comply with new standards. New restrictions on heavy trucks will affect the movement of freight and goods across the country. New subsidies will be handed down for politically connected energy firms, and federal lands will be set aside for their use. New federal impositions will affect the construction of factories, commercial buildings, and private homes. The president says that this is all enabled by the “overwhelming judgment of science.”

It certainly has not been enabled by something so mundane as the law. We rather suspect that the overwhelming judgment of Congress would be against the president’s program of regimenting the entire American economy under the management of a newly empowered EPA. But the president has made it clear that he intends to act largely through administrative fiat, subverting the democratic process and the people’s elected representatives. Unhappily, the Supreme Court has abetted this ambition by misconstruing the Clean Air Act as a warrant of action on global warming.

Every economic activity involving energy or transportation — which is to say, every economic activity — will be affected by the president’s global-warming program…

The United States is poised for an energy renaissance, which is already under way in places such as Texas and Pennsylvania. The new energy economy stands ready not only to put millions of Americans to work and bring billions of dollars of new wealth into the economy but also to significantly change the balance of power in the world: Oil is the top contributor to our trade deficit, and energy supplies from the Middle East, Venezuela, and other unstable areas are a key security and economic vulnerability. Rather than develop what we already have, the Obama administration is threatening to hamstring our most likely source of economic growth and new jobs for the coming generation in the hopes that fads such as solar power will pay off. That is not justified by science, by economics, or by sensible policy analysis.

What it is, in fact, is an attempt by a foundering administration to change the subject from scandal to sunshine.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today's Posts

Another Stormy Day

Last night was the quarterly meeting of the Vital Signs Ministries' Governing Board. The meeting went fine but, as we all expected, there was an underlying pensiveness because of the absence of Chet Thomas, our dear friend and colleague who died two weeks ago.

When the meeting broke up, I learned that another friend, Doug Bryce, was at the hospital in critical condition following a fall from the roof of his house. I drove down to the hospital and spent a few hours with family and friends until the initial surgery was completed around midnight. He suffered a skull fracture, several broken ribs, and other things. Though he is fairly stable, the prognosis is unknown.

Certainly, prayers in behalf of Doug (he also goes by Dave) and his family are most appreciated.

At 6 this morning I was at Panera's for my regular Tuesday morning with Dick Wilson and John Malek. Then at 8, Claire followed me down to Christian Car Care where Jeff is going to fix the Oldsmobile. Claire was driving Don Kohls' truck because he is putting a new tailpipe on her Buick today.  (Alas, cars go "the way of all flesh" just as surely as people. Only God, His Word and His redemptive work in believers are truly permanent.)

Anyhow, with other pressing things on the agenda today, blogging is limited. In fact, today's posts all connect you with recent items on one of our "other" blogs…not the Russian-language one, but the arts-oriented one. You'll find those immediately below.

This Week at The Book Den

On this very busy Tuesday, I offer these cross-posts from one of our "other" blogs, the one that deals with books, music and other arts.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Today's Posts

Tim Tebow Foundation Launches New Adoption Aid Program

China's Brutal "Population Control" Policies In High Gear...Again

Britain's Girl Guides Go Mod, Drop God

Church of England Seeks to be Pagan-Friendly

And a couple of weekend posts:

Nothing But Failure

Barack Obama's "Unconstitutional Spy State"

Tim Tebow Foundation Launches New Adoption Aid Program

The Tim Tebow Foundation is proud to announce the launch of its newest area of outreach. The Adoption Aid program is a part of our Orphan Care Outreach that provides financial assistance to families who are making the courageous choice to adopt a child with special needs.  In partnership with Show Hope, who has provided Adoption Aid for children in 53 countries, we are awarding financial grants to cover the cost of the adoption and continued care of these children.

The foundation has currently committed to assisting one family each month with a financial grant, but the need is so much greater.  We have provided grants to five deserving families and with your help we can increase the numbers of lives changed each month.

If you would like to join us and become a part of changing the lives of these children and families, please make a donation to our Adoption Aid program.

China's Brutal "Population Control" Policies In High Gear...Again

Recent reports from the Guangdong province show coercion in China’s infamous one-child policy is once again on the rise. Women in the southern city of Huizhou, which has a population of 4 million, are being targeted for sterilization. Those who have one child are being forced to wear IUDs. Those who have two children are subject to tubal ligation. Those who bear an “illegal” child are being denied all government services. This means life without access to schools, hospitals, retirement benefits, etc…

The “one-child policy” has been in effect for 33 years, and most persons outside of China have heard repeated stories of the horrific human rights abuses which accompany the policy.

It is easy to grow emotionally complacent after more than three decades of horror stories, but these horrors will now be visited anew on the city of Huizhou: the new notices spell fear and sadness for the women of Huizhou…

Read more here.

Britain's Girl Guides Go Mod, Drop God

For more than 100 years, Britain’s Girl Guides took an oath to “love God and serve the King/Queen.” But on Wednesday (June 19) the movement announced it would scrap its oath to God in an attempt to broaden its appeal and attract children from secular, nonbelieving families.

The controversial shake-up is seen by some as the biggest in the Girl Guides’ history.

Beginning in September, all new members who make the promise to be good and useful citizens will pledge an oath to “be true to myself and develop my beliefs” and “to serve my Queen (Elizabeth II) and my country.”...

The new CEO, Julie Bentley, called the Girl Guides the “ultimate feminist organization.”...

The Boy Scouts in Britain are also looking into the wording of their Oath of Loyalty, including how best to accommodate people who do not believe in God. A decision is expected next month.

(From "Britain’s Girl Guides drop oath to God" by Trevor Grundy, Religion News Service, via Washington Post)

Church of England Seeks to be Pagan-Friendly

Ministers are being trained to create new forms of Anglicanism suitable for people of alternative beliefs as part of a Church of England drive to retain congregation numbers.

Reverend Steve Hollinghurst, a researcher and adviser in new religious movements told the BBC: “I would be looking to formulate an exploration of the Christian faith that would be at home in their culture.” It would be “almost to create a pagan church where Christianity was very much in the centre.”…

Andrea Campenale, of the Church Mission Society, said: “Nowadays people, they want to feel something; they want to have some sense of experience. We live in reflective England where there’s much more of a focus on ourselves. I think that is something we can bring in dialogue with the Christian society.” 

("Church of England creating 'pagan church' to recruit members," news story in the Telegraph, June 24)

Wow. The Church of England takes the next wild and wacky step into apostasy.

And yet I fear that the trends which now dominate American evangelicalism -- entertainment, the insistence on being part of a popular and hep community, freedom from a careful study of (let alone adherence to) divinely revealed truth, and the continual quest for an emotionally intense, feel-good experience -- are taking us down the very same path.

"When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)

Related posts:

American Christianity: A Historic, Revealed Faith or Just A Feel-Good Experience?

The NAE Invites Me to a Ron Sider, Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo Party

As If He Wasn't Heterodox Enough, Rob Bell Comes Out for Same-Sex Marriage

The Inauguration Prayer: America's Old Heresy Is New Again

“I Don’t Like Those Bible Studies Where They Study the Bible.”

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nothing But Failure

Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that dithering in the White House has President Obama losing control of his agenda and administration.

"President Obama has coined the term 'leading from behind'. Your humble pollster suggests that he 'falling behind in leading from behind' as things are getting out of control. After months of dithering, the U.S. has decided to arm the rebels in Syria, but this comes at a time when the Assad regime is in the ascendancy. (Sort of like Paul Revere screaming, 'The British were here. The British were here.')

"Multiple reports suggest that HHS is not ready for Obamacare and the administration is not out there making its case. Kaiser reports that support for Obamacare is now only 35 percent. The G-20 Summit was a bust. And while the president tried to recapture the world stage and some of his 2008 magic with a speech at the Brandenberg Gate, it was a rehash and the crowd was small. And then there were more of the NSA leaks as the leaders were gathering. Bad week."

Grade: D-

Barack Obama's "Unconstitutional Spy State"

From the editors of Investor's Business Daily:

In 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama touted himself as the savior who would reverse what he depicted as an unconstitutional spy state.

Obama promised "no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens" who merely protest a war.

The pre-presidency Obama charged that the Bush administration "acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security." But it didn't take long at all for the new president to learn to love the Bush surveillance practices so much that he put them on steroids.

About six months into Obama's first term, Attorney General Eric Holder endorsed domestic surveillance powers well beyond what candidate Obama deplored, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported last week…

This is an administration whose IRS harasses political opponents, and whose attorney general spies on reporters. It can't expect us to believe it embraced broad domestic surveillance powers — against Obama's fervent campaign stances — for purposes of national security.

Friday, June 21, 2013

American Christianity: A Historic, Revealed Faith or Just A Feel-Good Experience?

From Jen Pollock Michel's "The Feel-Good Faith of Evangelicals" in Her-Meneutics, an online publication of Christianity Today.

...However, according to T.M. Luhrmann's recent book, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, there may be a difference between how evangelicals perceive their commitment to the Bible and to what extent it actually influences how they articulate and live their faith.

Luhrmann, a psychological anthropologist at Stanford University, did years of research within the Vineyard movement and discovered a Christianity that was more therapeutic than theological. She provocatively suggests that American evangelicalism has scripted a new narrative, reformulating both problem and solution. "The [new] problem is human emotional pain and the human's own self-blaming harshness;" the gospel is that "God loves you, just as you are, with all your pounds and pimples."...

Sure, we might argue that her sample, while deep, was unfortunately narrow. The Vineyard is hardly representative of evangelicalism. However, I found her conclusions to accurately describe, at least in part, what has been my experience in evangelical churches. In the Baptist, Presbyterian, charismatic Episcopalian, and non-denominational churches I've attended over the past 20 years, I've often found—as Luhrmann did— that "what people want from faith is to feel better than they did without faith."…

This evangelical sensibility was particularly evident to Luhrmann in the small group Bible studies she attended. Most people in that setting favored reading the text for personal application. They didn't seem to share her own curiosities about a passage's context or the intent of its author—"irrepressible scholarliness," as she calls it. "People just did not worry about heresy," she writes. "They worried about making God come alive for them."…

 Here's why Biblical commitment remains essential. If we don't stay true to the story as the Bible tells it, Jesus and the cross easily fade from the foreground of faith. Forgiveness is substituted for self-acceptance, and the doctrine of salvation is effectively amputated at the knees.

Redemption, as the Bible describes it, does not only mean that God loves us. The gospel proclaims that God can love us because he punished Jesus for our misdeeds.

That he gave his only begotten son.

"Do we really need authoritative scripts?" David Parker, the scholar whom I introduced at the beginning of this piece, has asked.

Yes—if the historic gospel continues to matter. Do away with the Bible as an "authoritative script," and you do away with the central historical events of the Christian story ¾ the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If our feelings and experiences become the only arbiter of the knowledge of God, if the Bible merely plays a supporting role to faith, we risk losing out on the powerful truth of the resurrection in favor of a feel-good gospel...

Will, Krauthammer (and Others) Look at Obama's Foreign Policy

Today's Washington Post has two excellent op eds you'll find valuable.
One is George Will on Obama's Berlin speech and the other is Charles Krauthammer on Obama's huge and alarming failures in the Middle East.

Check 'em out.

George Will -- "Obama Hits a Wall in Berlin"

Charles Krauthammer -- "America Sidelined, Barely Relevant"

But those aren't the only perceptive responses to the President's disastrous missteps. Here's a few more.

* "Obama's Cluelessness Displayed on the World Stage" (David Limbaugh)

* "Barack Obama bombs in Berlin: a weak, underwhelming address from a floundering president" (Nile Gardiner, Telegraph)

* "The Spreading Stain of Obama's Incompetence" (Mona Charen)

* "Obama's Turbulent European Vacation" (Michael Hirsh, National Journal)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday Posts: A Few "Yikes Stories" to Note

With most of this morning taken up by prayers and a public witness outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mill -- and with another "When Swing Was King" slated for early afternoon, our 6th this week -- time for blogging is really limited today.

However, I did want to at least post titles, links and even a few teasers for articles of interest to culture warriors.

* "An ObamaCare Board Answerable to No One" (Rivkin & Foley, Wall Street Journal) -- "Signs of ObamaCare's failings mount daily, including soaring insurance costs, looming provider shortages and inadequate insurance exchanges. Yet the law's most disturbing feature may be the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB, sometimes called a "death panel," threatens both the Medicare program and the Constitution's separation of powers. At a time when many Americans have been unsettled by abuses at the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department, the introduction of a powerful and largely unaccountable board into health care merits special scrutiny."

* "When two people of legal age, 18 for a woman and 21 for a man, ‘indulge in sexual gratification’ this should be seen as a 'an act of total commitment' and marriage by law, a judge at Madras High Court said. The court said that the registering of a marriage as well as a wedding ceremony were only formalities to gain society’s approval. (Sara Malm, Daily Mail) That would certainly shake things for the hook-up culture, wouldn't it?

* "The Boston School Committee on Wednesday approved making condoms available in the district’s high schools. The new policy allows students to obtain condoms, and counseling, from school health centers or trained staff members, unless parents opt them out, and makes sexual education a required part of school health curricula." (Jess Bidgood, New York Times)

* "Barack Obama bombs in Berlin: a weak, underwhelming address from a floundering president" (Niles Gardiner, Telegraph)

* Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014…Military planners have determined that they will not ship back more than $7 billion worth of equipment — about 20 percent of what the U.S. military has in Afghanistan — because it is no longer needed or would be too costly to ship back home…“We’re making history doing what we’re doing here,” said Maj. Gen. Kurt J. Stein, head of the 1st Sustainment Command, who is overseeing the drawdown in Afghanistan. “This is the largest retrograde mission in history.” (Ernesto Londonono, Washington Post)

* Planned Parenthood is diving into a new area of education, not without its own controversy: Obamacare. The group’s more than 750 health centers across the country will be promoting the health law and helping women find out about new coverage options for themselves and their families before — and after — enrollment begins Oct. 1. They’re creating everything from refrigerator magnets to online apps that help people enroll in a health plan. Some affiliates will be applying to become official government-funded “navigators” to give people more hands-on help through the signup process. (Kathryn Smith, Politico)

* Sen. Tom Coburn, Congress’s top waste-watcher, sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday saying that since the sequesters, the department has still spent $45,000 to help a West Virginia company market its Bloody Mary mix and sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money to help vineyards and wineries rebuild websites or start wine festivals and “wine trails.”

The Oklahoma Republican also asked Mr. Vilsack to justify why the department had threatened to cut off food aid to 600,000 women and children under the sequester, but is still paying for free lunches for even wealthy children in Tulsa, Okla., under a summer program.

“While most Americans would support ensuring every kid has a nutritious meal, it makes little sense to be giving free meals to those not in need while cutting assistance to 600,000 women and children who rely on WIC for food and health care services,” Mr. Coburn said in his letter, referring to the Women, Infants and Children program.
(Stephen Dinan, Washington Times)

* Kaiser's monthly tracking poll found that just 35 percent have a favorable view of ObamaCare. As Lucianne Goldberg quipped, "Wait until pollsters reach those who actually know what's in it."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today's Posts

Planned Parenthood, ObamaCare: Komen Keeps Some Bad Company

Embattled breast cancer awareness group Komen for the Cure has
announced the selection of a new CEO, Judith A. Salerno.

Salerno (at left in photo) currently serves as executive director and chief operating officer of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a chief adviser to the Obama Administration regarding the implementation of Obamacare.

Under Salerno’s leadership, the IOM told the Obama Administration that insurance companies should be forced to pay for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-causing drugs for all women, without co-pays.  That recommendation became the controversial HHS contraceptive mandate, which requires employers to provide such insurance plans for their female employees or face heavy fines, regardless of their religious objections.

Salerno, 61, is replacing Komen founder Nancy Brinker (at right in above photo) who stepped down last August after a controversy involving abortion giant Planned Parenthood…

(Kirsten Andersen, LifeSiteNews story) (Photo from Fox News)

It's Swing Week...and then some

We're setting a record this week for "When Swing Was King" presentations. Though we continue with our regular rota of thirteen facilities a month, June's schedule somehow worked out for one week with six presentations and another (this week) with seven.

When you throw in daily blogging, a shift of prayer and sidewalk counseling at the abortion mill, a bunch of correspondence, getting out the monthly LifeSharer letter (writing, printing, mailing), and a few other items too, that's a full week indeed.

But, as always, the "When Swing Was King" presentations provide us with as much energy as we expend. And not only through the program itself but the visiting with residents before and after.

Yesterday, for instance, our first gig was followed by great conversations with a number of residents. But I spent probably 15 minutes with Lola talking about her husband, her teaching career, and her childhood in Connecticut. She was warm, cheerful, and very interesting. As we were closing our conversation (Claire was packing things up and talking to other women across the room), Lola said, "This music is so nice. It's just wonderful to hear it again and to see the wonderful pictures you show. Some of them today were so funny too. You know I've been here every time you've come and I've loved it each time. But today was special in being able to have a long visit with you."

That's a key part of the ministry. The music is fabulous. And the pictures are great. Even the commentary that is part of "When Swing Was King" is interesting and fun. But it's the opportunity to chat, to make friends, to invest a bit in each others lives that make the outreach so meaningful to Claire and I...and we hope to the residents of the nursing homes and senior living places where we go.

Our second program yesterday was another case in point. Going from afternoon to evening performances have increased the audience numbers substantially at this place and we had a record turnout last night. There was a lot of crowd reaction: laughter, conversation, a big burst of spontaneous applause at the conclusion of Bob Crosby and the Bobcats' version of "Tiger Rag," and very enthusiastic compliments and thank-yous. And because of lengthy conversations afterward with two residents (one a fellow who rarely misses our program and another lady who has just moved from Minnesota to this facility), we didn't get away until an hour after the show ended.

So, yes; it's a full week (two more presentations today) but we're as delighted as ever to be "in the swing" with this nifty ministry.

By the way, I posted a couple of weeks ago the song list from this month but the actual June list turned out to be quite a bit different.  Making a few changes after the first performance or two is not uncommon. For even though I do the best I can in creating the program from month to month, it's not until those first road tests in front of audiences that we get the best idea of how things are working out. Usually, it's just some timing adjustments, exchanging a few photos, correcting a misspelling, etc. But this month was really wild. In fact, I ended up trading in more than half of the songs for others better liked by our "test audiences."

Reception to the initial program was okay (except for a definitely negative response to Louis Prima) but we aim a lot higher than okay. And, thankfully, the revised June 2013 volume has been a much stronger, more evocative program. Here it is.

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra
"Caribbean Clipper"

2) Harry James Orchestra (Dick Haymes, vocals)
"Mister Meadowlark"

3) Chick Webb  Orchestra (Ella Fitzgerald, vocals)
"I Can't Stop Loving You"
(Trust me, it's not the song you're thinking of.)

4) Gene Krupa Orchestra
(Photo theme: celebrated sons & daughters of the state)

5) The Ames Brothers (Backed by the Sid Ramin Orchestra)
"Slow Boat To China"

6) Bob Crosby and the Bobcats
"Tiger Rag"

7) Les Elgart Orchestra
"Night and Day"

8) Benny Goodman Orchestra (Art Lund, vocals)
"Blue Skies"

9) Artie Shaw Orchestra
"It Had To Be You"

10) Guy Lombardo Orchestra (Kenny Gardner, vocals)
"You're Driving Me Crazy"
(Photo Theme: classic automobiles from the 30s, 40s, and 50s)

11) Ted Weems Orchestra

12) John Scott Trotter Orchestra
(Bing Crosby and the Williams Brothers, vocals)
"Swingin' On a Star"

Want to join us sometime this month? Catch up on a little pop music history and listen to some great tunes? Take a little sentimental journey back in time? And, of course, do a little visiting with folks that would love some human contact? The schedule is right here.

Escaping the Democrat Plantation: Louisiana Senator Elbert Guillory

The Syria Question

Syria is turning out to be a sort of Spanish Civil War of our age, with Hezbollah and Iran playing the role of fascist Italy and Germany, and the Islamic nations and jihadists that of Stalin’s Russia, as the moderates disappear and the messy conflict becomes a proxy war for greater powers, with worse to come...

Most Americans do not favor intervention of any serious sort, and Obama is not up to drumming up public support. He announced a surge and then simultaneous withdrawals in Afghanistan; since then he rarely mentions the war or the brave Americans stuck there fighting it. A campaign theme was that the United States was all out of Iraq, without a small residual force to keep the Maliki government somewhat honest.

In short, Team Obama does not have its heart in doing much of anything in the Middle East — not in Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, or in the War on Terror in general. Given that the American people have no great love for most of those killing one another in Syria, we would be wise to stay out, and send food and medicine to alleviate the suffering of the innocent.

Read the entirety of "Intervention in Syria Is a Very Bad Idea" by Victor Davis Hanson over at NRO.

NPR: As Extravagant As the Progressive Government It Serves

National Public Radio, the ultra-liberal "news and entertainment" organization that could not survive in the rough and tumble competition of the real broadcast business, depends instead upon the generosity of foundations, wealthy contributors, and the American taxpayer.

So how is that money being spent?

In a word, lavishly.

Gary Knell, NPR's Chief Executive Officer, has expensive tastes. That's one thing in your personal life -- Knell was previously the head Muppet over at Sesame Street where he was paid more than $750,000  a year and he's doing quite well in this job too -- but when you're extravagant in spending other people's money, that's something else all together. Especially when your public pose is a begging handout.

But Knell shamelessly took reporters for a tour of the organization's new 400,000 square foot digs yesterday. The day started with an elegant breakfast (free of charge to reporters, of course) served by NPR's resident chefs. Next, Knell showed off the facility's wide open spaces, the balcony around the newsroom, the art, the wellness center "which is capable of simple medical procedures," the gym which is staffed by a professional trainer, and then back to the grand Sound Bites cafe.

Susan Stamberg, Morning Edition correspondent and long-time NPR employee, summarized the feeling of staff, “We’re in Oz here, it’s so fabulous.”

Well, Oz was indeed fabulous. And self-aggrandizing. And rather disconnected from the real world. All like NPR.  NPR even has an overpaid fraud at its helm too. 

But, of course, there is a very important difference. Oz was a scary nightmare from which Dorothy eventually awoke. NPR's smug, secularist, slanted programming will still be here when we wake up tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today's Posts

Uh, Captain; We're Taking On Water

Here's a quick checklist of culture indicators just from today's news. I think you'll find it motivation to pray more fervently, fight more valiantly, and long more passionately for the world to come.

* Marriage rates are at an all time low.

* "Senior US officials said on Tuesday that they will enter peace talks with the Taliban at a new office in Doha 'within the coming days'." (So much for winning the war. They are giving us their demands. We're giving them just what they want.)

* A popular rap "singer" stomps on the U.S. flag.

* Vince Smith, a professor of agricultural economics at Montana State University, said of the current farm bill from Congress, it "is about as bad a bill as I could think of writing as an economist.” 

* That 8th grade boy who refused to remove his NRA shirt is facing a possible year in prison.

* "A new survey from Pew’s Project For Excellence in Journalism examines the coverage of gay marriage among the media. The big takeaway: almost every outlet presented more supportive statements in favor of gay marriage than opposing statements against gay marriage, including every TV news outlet." (like we're surprised?)

* "Hidden camera catches wireless company employees passing out 'Obama phones' to people who say they'll sell them for drugs, shoes, handbags and spending cash."

* "Kim Jong Un Hands Copies of 'Mein Kampf' to Top Officers"

*  "The military services have mapped out a schedule that also will include reviewing and possibly changing the physical and mental standards that men and women will have to meet in order to quality for certain infantry, armor, commando and other front-line positions across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Under the plans to be introduced Tuesday, there would be one common standard for men and women for each job. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reviewed the plans and has ordered the services to move ahead. The move follows revelations of a startling number of sexual assaults in the armed forces..."

* In its ongoing survey of the American workplace, Gallup found that only 30 percent of workers are "were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace."

"Safely Home" Is Your Gift

"Safely Home" may be our very favorite of all the superbly-crafted songs from the talented team at Little Bird Studios. Composed by a longtime friend of Vital Signs Ministries, "Safely Home" is a complex instrumental song that describes in music a dynamic spiritual conversion. It is rich. It is provocative. It is inspirational.

Our friend offers "Safely Home" as a free download throughout the month of May to all visitors to the Vital Signs Ministries website. You can download your own copy of the song -- completely free of charge -- by simply pushing the button on the screen.

Of course, our friend does hope a few of you might like to help Vital Signs Ministries continue our fight against the enveloping darkness. There's a form on the VSM website for that too.

But the song "Safely Home" is a free gift through July 30.

Please give it a try. And then check out the samples of other beautifully fashioned songs at Little Bird Studios.

Presidents Packing

No commentary needed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Today's Posts

Ever Gullible: Church Folks Still Falling for Global Warming

Mark D. Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, reports on Christians visiting Malawi to see first hand the devastation that man-made climate change has had on impoverished Africans.

However, what these well-meaning but naive Christians are told (and then faithfully parrot to their church friends when they get home) just doesn't jibe with the facts.

But then, who really wants to bother with truth when politically-correct error has so much else going for it?

...Their narrative is familiar: Indifferent Christians in America are warming the earth with their callous generation of carbon dioxide, causing increased poverty and suffering in an already very poor nation like Malawi.

Except that actual data does not confirm this storyline. From 2003 to 2011, Malawi’s GNP increased from $2.4 billion to $5.6 billion, a 133 percent increase. Per capita GNP has increased from $580 to $870, a 50 percent increase. Average life expectancy has increased from 47 to 54, a 15 percent increase. From 1998 to 2010, the poverty rate fell from 65 percent to 51 percent, a 20 percent fall. The visiting evangelicals stressed declining water access. But rural access to water has increased from 71 to 80 percent from 2006 to 2010, a 13 percent increase. (The relevant data can be found here.)

The evangelical environmentalists visiting Malawi emphasized climate change’s dire effect on farming. But food production from 2003 to 2010 increased 66 percent. Crop production in those years increased 76 percent. Livestock production increased 72 percent. Cereal production per hectare increased 82 percent. (Data here.) Malawi of course remains a very poor nation. But available data seemingly show it becoming less, not more, poor, irrespective of climate trends…

Evangelical environmentalists spotlight the world’s poor as victims of carbon dioxide-induced global warming. But in fact hundreds of millions have escaped extreme poverty mostly due to economic growth fueled by fossil fuels. The RNS article noted 90 percent of Malawi lives off an electrical grid. Malawian electricity is mostly geothermal generated. But Malawi is increasingly purchasing electricity from South Africa, whose electricity is over 70 percent coal produced, with most of the rest oil or gas. And the Chinese are helping Malawi build a coal fired electrical plant. The Malawian government estimates electrical demand will double by 2020, citing especially the needs of its mining industry, while the UN says they will triple.

Should Malawi and other poor nations be denied access to greater electrification, which is essential to increasing living standards, because it will generate more carbon dioxide? It’s estimated that lifting most of Africa out of poverty would require increasing power supplies by ten or twenty fold.

God bless the concerned environmentalists who visited Malawi. But we must reckon with the possibility that the people of Malawi need and want more electricity and economic growth than U.S. and Western climate activism.

Alice Walker's Radical Feminism...As Viewed by Her Rejected Daughter

Alice Walker, author of The Color of Purple and an icon of the left, is praised more for her radical feminism than her talent. That's because she actually doesn't have much of the latter. But when modern art reveres chaos, egotism and post-Christian spirituality while disdaining genuine skill, politically-correct hacks like Walker will continue to make the grade.

But though the values of Alice Walker are yet the rage of the literature profs at Yale, they are dramatically rejected by someone a little closer to real life; namely, Alic Walker's daughter, Rebecca.

...It reminds me of just how blessed I am. The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother  -  thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman.

You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.

In fact, having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Far from 'enslaving' me, three-and-a-half-year-old Tenzin has opened my world...

As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

My mother's feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn't even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery...

I love my mother very much, but I haven't seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son  -  her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.

Well, so be it. My mother may be revered by women around the world  -  goodness knows, many even have shrines to her. But I honestly believe it's time to puncture the myth and to reveal what life was really like to grow up as a child of the feminist revolution...

Read more from Rebecca Walker's Daily Mail story right here. 

Catching Up

Here are four excellent articles you definitely shouldn't miss.

* "Big Politically Correct Brother: The bozo leviathan sees everything . . . and nothing." by Mark Steyn (NRO)

* "Rush Limbaugh: Abortion at The Root of U.S. Cultural Decay" by Dr. Susan Berry (Breitbart)

* "The Consequences of Liberalism" by Christopher Chantrill (American Thinker)

* "Why the IRS IG Stopped with an Audit" by Gerald Walpin (NRO)

Mark Steyn: Big Brother Knows Everything...Except What's Most Important

...Your Granny’s phone calls, your teenager’s Flickr stream, and your Telecharge tickets for two on the aisle at Mamma Mia! for your wife’s birthday, and the MasterCard bill for dinner with your mistress three days later are all fair game, but since October 2011 mosques have been off-limits to the security state.

If the FBI guy who got the tip-off from Moscow about young Tamerlan had been sufficiently intrigued to want to visit the Boston mosque where he is said to have made pro-terrorism statements during worship, the agent would have been unable to do so without seeking approval from something called the Sensitive Operations Review Committee high up in Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.

The Sensitive Operations Review Committee is so sensitive nobody knows who’s on it. You might get approved, or you might get sentenced to extra sensitivity training for the next three months. Even after the bombing, the cops forbore to set foot in the lads’ mosque for four days. Three hundred million Americans are standing naked in the NSA digital scanner, but the all-seeing security state has agreed that not just their womenfolk but Islam itself can be fully veiled from head to toe...

(From "Big Politically Correct Brother: The bozo leviathan sees everything . . . and nothing." Mark Steyn's weekend NRO column.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Today's Posts

With a Little Help From Our Friends

This week, having been the first week since the passing of our dear friend Chet Thomas, has been a bit difficult. But we know Chet himself would have exhorted us to deal with our sorrow by simply keeping busy with the work God has entrusted to us -- and so we did just that.

That busy schedule included our outreach into nursing homes and senior living facilities that Chet was particularly fond of -- "When Swing Was King." As a matter of fact, we gave presentations in 5 different facilities this week with a 6th canceled because I had to preach Chet's funeral service yesterday. (Don't worry, brother Chet, we've rescheduled that gig for later this month.)

Also of great solace this week were five events which brought us alongside a lot of friends who brought their own memories of Chet. As we shared those together we were better able to celebrate his homecoming into heaven and to apply the enriching life lessons he left with us.

The first of these was on Monday night when Claire and I enjoyed a pot luck barbecue with Vital Signs Board members (and some of their spouses). We shared great food, nice weather and about three hours of conversation about our departed colleague which were of immense value. On hand were Quint and Carol Coppi, John and Barb Malek, Ruth Denzler, Matt Troutman, Don and Alberta Kohls, and Keith Moran.

On Wednesday Claire and I had a breakfast meeting with three members of Chet's family and then a lot of conversations at the mortuary later that evening. Then yesterday was the funeral at Glad Tidings Church and a reception following at Faith Bible Church.

I took the last hours of Wednesday night and all morning Thursday to go through notes I had made previously for the funeral service and found it to be a very comforting experience. I hope in delivering that sermon (part theology, part exhortation, and a big part the history and effects of Chet's life) I was able to pass along some of that comfort.

The reception at Faith was a wonderful ministry. The plans made by the family hadn't allowed for a post-funeral reception so Claire and I were putting together something at a nearby restaurant for at least some of the funeral participants. However, Allen Nelson persuaded the family to let Faith Bible Church (the place where Chet attended and where Chet was very much loved) host a dessert gathering afterward. And, though the church is miles away and not in the most popular part of town, close to 75 people showed up.

There were cookies, cakes and other delicious treats; there was plenty of coffee and conversation; and there were terrific testimonies shared about Chet's impact from such close friends as Quint Coppi, Dan Hazuka, Lyle Japp, Dave Bryce, Allen Nelson, and others. There was also a moving song perfomed by Amanda Coker. Taken together, these things constituted a lovely tribute, one which was deeply appreciated by those members of Chet's family who were present. It was a very gracious ministry of Faith Bible Church and it rightly honored their dear friend.

I am not relishing that moment on Sunday morning when I get behind the pulpit there at Faith Bible Church and look down to see Chet's usual chair unoccupied. Claire and I are going to miss him an awful lot. But these fellowship events of the past week have been a great help to us. Of course, the love, the laughter, the wise counsel, the inspiration, the common principles, the accountability, and the shared hopes of good friends should always be treasured. But it is in weeks like this last one that they seem even more keenly necessary.

Thanks, guys.

Phil Mickelson: The Priority of Being a Great Dad

Okay, you know that Claire and I cheer for PGA star, Phil Mickelson.

Here's a charming story that underscores why we do.

14-Year Old Boy Murdered by Syrian "Rebels"

The Washington Post reports has a report on those "rebels' the West (including President Obama) has begun to support. (Sigh.)

When a 14-year-old boy from the Syrian city of Aleppo named Mohammad Qatta was asked to bring one of his customers some coffee, he reportedly refused, saying, “Even if Mohammed comes back to life, I won’t.”

A group of Islamist rebels, driving by in a black car, reportedly heard the exchange. They stopped the car, grabbed the boy and took him away….

The rebels, according to ABC News’ reconstruction of the Syrian groups’ reports, appear to have whipped Qatta. When they brought him back to where they’d taken him, his head was wrapped by a shirt.

The rebels waited for a crowd to gather; Qatta’s parents were among them. Speaking in classical Arabic, they announced that Qatta had committed blasphemy and that anyone else who dared insult the Prophet Mohammed would share his fate. Then, the shirt still wrapped around the boy’s head, the rebels shot him in the mouth and neck.

Add the FBI Director to the List of Washington "Know Nothings"

Lois Lerner's Not the Only Math Dummy at the IRS

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed in a recently released audit report that in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 more than 1,000 Internal Revenue Service employees misused government charge cards issued by Citibank.

The report said that during the two years in question agency employees sent Citibank a total of 325 bad checks written on personal accounts that had insufficient funds to cover them, that agency officials with top-secret security clearances had their charge accounts suspended for failure to pay the balances, and that the IRS had a tendency of being “overly lenient” in disciplining those who misued the cards...

Abortionists Reject Logic, Science, Morality...and Shame

Abortionist: "We induce a demise."

"What does 'demise' mean?"

Abortionist: "Uh, death."

Abortionist: "We use a combination of suction and real instruments to, literally, go in and pull pieces out."

Here is the latest video from Live Action's "Inhuman" series:

In the clip above, you'll also hear Leroy Carhart spouting some of the most malevolent mush you can imagine.

"Well, in my heart and my mind, you know, life begins when the mother thinks it begins, not when anybody else thinks it begins. For some women, it's before they conceive; for some women, it's never. Even after they deliver, it's still a problem, not a baby."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Today's Posts

Jay Leno Jokes About "Snoop Obama"

No, I don't watch The Tonight Show. Indeed, except for weekend golf and Top Shot and Shark Tank (on Hulu), I don't watch television. But I'm nevertheless pleased that at least one late-night TV star feels it's finally allowed to make a joke about Barack Obama.

Here's a couple reported by John Hawkins at Right Wing News.

Jay Leno:

Well, let’s see what’s going on. Hey, Snoop is back in the news. Not Snoop Dogg, Snoop Obama. Yeah, Snoop Obama. A big change at the White House today. They closed the gift shop and opened a Verizon store. Yeah.

Well, this has become a huge controversy after it was revealed that the National Security Agency seized millions of Verizon phone records, and of course this has caused a panic among civil libertarians, constitutional scholars and cheating husbands everywhere. 

How ironic is that? We wanted a president that listens to all Americans – now we have one. Yeah.