Friday, December 12, 2008

Epicurean Delights sans the Jail-time

We tell our kids to "Just Say No" and yet we allow them to dump cup-fulls of this addictive white powder on their Cheerios.

Favorite quote:
Though difficult to
estimate, sweet sensations evoked by sugar-sweetened foods and
drinks are probably one of the most precocious, frequent and
intense sensory pleasures of modern humans.

Have I been missing something?!?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ideologyweek: News as Only We Wont to See.

The mocking introduction “Let's try” of Newsweek’s “Our Mutual Joy” foreshadowed all one needed to know about the incredibly condescending treatment of religion by another ‘general interest’ magazine going through its death throes. In an attempt to shame (the true meaning of which, like ‘tolerance’ and ‘love’ has become unfashionably anachronistic) the vast majority of Americans who are Christian, The “living” Bible is deconstructed and vivisected to reveal the Christian’s folly. The article author asserts her moral authority in calling on Christians to strive toward ‘more just’ ideals over the ‘unserious’ drive towards “chaos, depravity, [and] indifference.”

Newsweek would have us believe that the homosexual activity practiced in days of yore condemned by Paul were nothing like the civilized and enlightened homosexual practices of today, and then insinuates that David and Jonathan were gay lovers. Perhaps things have changed; not the enlightenment of gay sex, but the corruption of true brotherly love that Paul commends to his followers.

The article then goes on to explain that the overarching theme of the Bible is acceptance, citing Jesus reaching out to the woman at the well. Nary a word about Jesus’s constant injunction to sin no more, or the real theme of the Bible which is to totally deny oneself in discipleship; not indulge in ‘needy’ relationships. The doctrine of the Bible is that because of the fall everybody has a predisposition to act contrary to our true nature of Justice and Holiness, but that we are to refuse such impulses; not embrace them.

Newsweek argues:
So the frustrating, semantic question remains: should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should. If we are all God's children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that.

Perhaps this last bit is what I find to be the most egregious error and beneath contempt. It blasphemously insinuates that God Himself just might be a homosexual and then equats the sexual impulse to skin color or gender. It is similar to the slave-trader’s assertion (to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson) that there are those who are born with saddles on their backs and others born with boots and spurs; except in this case, those born saddled are humanity and the booted master is the animal impulse. It totally rejects humanity’s agency and responsibility, and is totally antithetical to the Bible’s core message. A person who is born black cannot change that fact. A person who is born female or male will always have that identity etched on every cell of the person’s body regardless of the number of surgeries or hormone therapy. Sexuality, on the other hand, is a learned behavior which every civil society in history has regulated and restricted, and to ignore that basic fact of biology and history is not merely unserious, but dangerously stupid.

This shockingly arrogant treatment of the Bible by an author who probably has about as much knowledge of the Bible as an 18th century grammar student (or less) wends its way through blissfully ignorant aphorisms like:

Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad,
and then quotes such luminaries like “Miss Manners” and “My friend the priest James Martin.” Of course, if one only wants to obstinately promote one’s own viewpoint, then there’s no need to include people who may not be one’s friends or even have the same opinions as oneself. This is evident in the article which never includes any divergent opinion or even the treats the reasoning behind Christian (or classical pagan for that matter) opposition to homosexual marriage as anything but a silly straw-man.

What is the true reason that the majority of people in over three dozen states have voted in free and fair elections to affirm marriage between a man and a woman? It’s not hatred of Gays, OR EVEN HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH GAYS. It is the fact (one that is lost on the post-modern left) that there are essential differences between men and women. Those differences are profound and reach the whole dynamic range of the human experience. Those differences are etched on every cell in the bodies of Men and Women. To paraphrase Sartre, there is no escape from gender differences between men and women. Men and women are intrinsically, essentially, and absolutely different. Society has an interest in guarding the procreation and sustainability of itself. In so doing, society has every right to ensure that the healthy and diverse influences of both male and female are included in the raising of children. Both genders play essential and important roles in the flourishing and procreation of humanity.

When looked at from this light, homosexual marriage advocates are actually arguing not for inclusion, but for exclusion since it is they who would gloss over the important gender differences that are essential for the raising of properly socialized human beings. Homosexual men simply cannot parent with ‘maternal flair’ no matter how hard they try or how many flower arrangement classes they attend. Furthermore, the homosexual relationship is, by definition, barren. It is wholly impossible for a new human being to be created except from genetic material from one man and one woman. It should be in society’s interest, if society is to persist, to ensure that there is pairing of the right kinds of people (male and female are the only possible option) sustain civilization.

This is why I found Newsweek’s chief editor, John Meacham’s comment so utterly oblivious to reality:
“Religious conservatives will say that the liberal media are once again seeking to impose their “agenda” on a God-fearing nation. Let the letters and e-mails come. History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion.”

Excuse me? History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion? Has the cavalier John Meacham (of whom I expect better as a historian) seen the fertility rates of San Francisco? Does he know anything about the demographics of the barren Blue Northeast vs. the Red Bible belt south? Quite the contrary to John Meacham’s facile dismissal of the (procreating) majority of Americans, it isn’t gay families who will see the explosion of influence and power in the world. He should look at the statistics: the most common name of babies born in Brussels: Mohammad, Toronto: Mohammad, Amsterdam: Mohammad, Paris: Mohammad, Sweden: Mohammad. What would America look like if it were Muslims instead of the dreaded Catholics controlling the Supreme Court? Does John Meacham really think that the world is demographically moving towards total acceptance of Gay Marriage? Perhaps he should check his statistics and hope it’s the Bible-thumpers or Mormons (who are the only ones approaching Muslims in fertility rates) whom demographics will favor.

And perhaps John Meacham should check on the demographics of Newsweek, which is nose-diving into oblivion.
“Sources say that the magazine is considering slashing up to 1.6 million copies from Newsweek’s current rate base of 2.6 million, which would put the magazine’s rate base at 1 million. Newsweek declined to comment.”

Natural Law of Homosexual Marriage
A Biblical Understanding of Marriage
National Review: Newsweek Comes out of the Closet

Monday, December 8, 2008

"That Wasn't Quite the Change We Envisioned"

Certainly Obama's recent appointments to his cabinet have been reassuring as I've outlined in my previous post, but some in the Left seem to be getting a little anxious. This story from Politico sheds some light on this subject.

Salient Quote, National Security:
Now Obama’s says that on his first day in office he will begin to “design a plan for a responsible drawdown,” as he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. Obama has also filled his national security positions with supporters of the Iraq war: Sen. Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize force in Iraq, as his secretary of state; and President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, continuing in the same role

Salient Quote, Economic Policy:
It’s that liberal Democrats say they’re hard-pressed to find one of their own on Obama’s team so far – particularly on the economic side, where people like Tim Geithner and Lawrence Summers are hardly viewed as pro-labor.

Good, Labor bosses have driven many of American Manufacturing jobs into the ground and resulted in poorer quality products.

I'll continue to look skepticaly at Obama, but for a Democrat who ran as Obama did during the campaign; so far so good.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Team of Rivals

Most people know I am not the most enthusiastic supporter of Obama (probably a understatement), but I have to write about Obama's picks for Cabinet which I think are very encouraging for those of us who were voted for McCain and wondered about Obama's experience and past associations.

First the big pick: Robert Gates.
For the move-on left who supposedly voted Obama into office to “end the war” this pick must seem like a slap in the face. At least for the first year Robert Gates will continue to help lead the finest and most honorable military in history, and will be a great asset to President Obama.

Along with Robert Gates, Obama has selected James L. Jones as his National Security Advisor. He’s a tough-as-nails retired marine general who will be a strong advisor to Obama and certainly somebody that any red-blooded neoconservative American can be proud of. When compared to Clinton’s peacenik cabinet and Sandy “The Burglar” Burger, Obama has chosen well.

For Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle Probably the worst of the cabinet picks in my opinion by Obama; but what can I say? He certainly isn’t a Mike Leavitt.

Rahm Emanuel is Obama’s choice as Chief of Staff. He’s a very smart and outstanding congressman (and one of the reasons why the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid wing of the Democratic party hasn’t kamikazied the party into obsolescence). He’s a centrist that will provide some healthy Obama v. Congress tension that will both help to distance Obama from the single digit approval lunacy of congress and help Blue Dog Democrats better their positions. Yes, America is still fundamentally a centrist-right country and Rahm Emanuel is a good reflection of Obama’s recognition of that fact. It should encourage all democrats and also assuage many of the fears republicans had of Obama. If Pelosi-Reid though they were going to have a nice puppet president then the pick of tough-guy Rahm Emanuel is their wake-up call.

Obama could have done worse than to nominate Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security (although, as the Governor of Arizona I am a little concerned about that wide open HOV lane extending from Mexico into the U.S.).

On the Economy

For U.S. Secretary of the Treasury: Timothy F. Geithner. He is a fairly free-market guy and a solid choice to head the Treasury (although some conservatives may be less approving). Whatever happens to the economy, It seems that Timothy Geithner is highly competent and understands what will and won’t work. Certainly not the Marxist that some overly-enthusiastic Obama opponents (or supporters) were expecting.

For the White House’s National Economic Council we have Lawrence Summers. He is also very outstanding economist who is not afraid to express his opinion (an important quality in an advisor). Notably, he rocked the boat as Harvard’s president when he dared to note that there really may exist fundamental differences between men and women (GASP!!!), and where he criticized African American Studies department head Cornel West for being unscholarly and his work as “an embarrassment to the University.” Not a bad pick for a Democrat.

Next, Christina Romer will be the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. She leans supply-side on fiscal policy and seems like a fine addition to Obama’s cabinet.

For Secretary of Commerce: Bill Richardson will serve Obama well. Interestingly, his father is Nicaraguan (I knew I liked him for some reason), and best of all Richardson is a tax cutter who supports global trade (Columbia free trade?). Now that the parasitic Unions are becoming defunct and with Richardson in the Cabinet, NAFTA will likely continue unopposed. Not a bad pick at all, and a nice guy (although I miss El Diablo with the beard).

Another notable economic pick as the Chair of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board was Paul Volcker who served as Reagan’s Secretary of the Treasury and who helped clean up Carter’s mess during the 1980s. He also helped to dissect and bring to light the scandalous ‘Oil for Food’ program at the UN.
And last but not least is Hillary Clinton who will serve as Secretary of State. It’s a sign of Obama’s confidence and good will to extend that position to Clinton, and I think she will be a strong advocate for the United States throughout the world. She’s a democrat, but she isn’t Madeline Albright either. Not a bad person to pick up that phone at 3:00 a.m. even if she’s a Democrat.

In Conclusion

One of Bush's biggest mistakes as president may have been the appointment of so many of his Texan friends who proved to be unreliable (e.g. Al Gonzalez). The first impressions of Presiden Obama are very encouraging. He may even turn out to be a great president. Unlike the rabid Bush-hating wing of the left, I love my country enough to hope for the success of even my rivals and perhaps we will see growth and success unlike anything we’ve seen in history. That is the purpose of healthy competition in the marketplace of ideas, and it seems like Obama has filled his cabinet with enough people who disagree with him enough to make positive synergy happen.

I hope Obama is so good a President that I will be salivating to vote for him in 2012, but I’ll still keep a critical eye on him as well as some of my Republican political allies. It looks as if he’s making a good foundation for a solid presidency, and we’ll see what the next four years have in store.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Morning Reads: Politics and Personality Disorders

I found an interesting article by Hugh Nibly today entitled "Beyond Politics."

Another article about the unfair and dishonest attacks on religious groups enttled "Legislating Immorality."

And a new study about the prevalence of personality disorders which is often confounded and compounded with drug abuse amoung American young people. Bloomberg Reports
The researchers found that "almost half of [the] college-aged adults had a psychiatric disorder over a one-year span, based on research criteria that ranged from bipolar disease, to substance abuse including smoking." Notably, they discovered that about 20 percent of the "students failed to fulfill an obligation, had a legal problem, did something dangerous, or caused social problems by using alcohol." The study also showed that "the next most common psychiatric problems were so-called personality disorders, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, at 18 percent."

Perhaps it's always been this way. Somehow, though, I wonder if it has anything to do with the modern disintigration of families.

The Los Angeles Times (to cater, perhaps, to it's readers neurotic need to analyze psychiatric news) further breaks down the numbers:
Overall, "45.8 percent of college students and 47.7 percent of young adults not in college met the criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder. The most common disorder in college students was alcohol abuse, which 20.7 percent were found to have, followed by personality disorders, at 17.7 percent." Meanwhile, for "young adults not attending college, the most frequent disorder was personality disorders, 21.6 percent, and nicotine dependence, 20.7 percent."

It reminds me of de Toqueville who said that "a people always get the democracy that they deserve." Hopefully our voting base 'grows out' of their psychiatric disabilities by the time they take the helm of this Nation.

I am now an NIH Fellow

I have received word:
With a score of 159, we definitely plan on funding your application.
Nice job!
J.P., PH.D.
Director, Research Fellowship & Career Development
and Digestive Disease Centers Programs
Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, NIDDK

It's nice to know. That's about $180,000.00 of American tax money that I hope to put to good use over the next 5-6 years.