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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ideal bike

I've gotten too many flats on my bike in the past month. I don't like carrying spare tubes or buying a mini-pump, so I'm left high and dry some mornings. I also have tubes with mystery holes that won't reveal themselves so I can patch them. On my ride home today I fantasized about a solid tire. I figure it would make a rough ride without suspension. But if I had suspension, the tires could be made of steel and I wouldn't feel much. The internet turned up Nu-Teck Airfree Tires though. They can be made hard or soft. I'm interested. I need to find some online reviews though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cinema review: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

All Quiet on the Western Front, released in 1930, is as compelling today as it was 78 years ago. One thing I appreciate about the older films is the ability to convey the horror without the graphic reproduction of blood and guts in modern films such as Saving Private Ryan. This movie looks at the consequences of whipped up patriotism to justify the unjust. It is a timely movie to the era we are in now.

Cinema review: Iron Man

I like the kind of superhero who always has the upper hand, no matter what. When I was a scrawny kid putting up with bullies, I escaped into a superhero fantasy world where the rules would be different. I imagined my super strength. I imagined super tools. I imagined super suits. Even though I read many comic books, Iron Man was not one of them. But he fits the bill. He's got the wealth and gimmicks of Batman without the hang-ups. I enjoyed the new movie. The only thing that really bothered me was the gratuitous sex scene that had nothing to offer to the plot.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Transformation

Cardboard testimonies.
HT: PP

Forgiveness

A thief stole a church's trailer with all their stuff in it. I presume they don't own a building. So they hung some billboards up to get the thief's attention. But the pastor also made a video extending forgiveness to the thief and inviting him to church and a dinner on him. Here is the video. This is a great example of God's upside down, out of this world kingdom.



HT: Stuff Christians Like

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

self made earth sheltered, straw bale insulated round home

Mostly built by a guy and his dad and a few tools and little experience. It's beautiful to me in many aspects. I urge you to visit a low impact woodland home inhabited by a family of four.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Laws can't be enforced against abortion providers in Kansas

Is it really about some poor women with no other option? Not when the dollar signs are followed by 6 zero's. Here is a modern mockery of justice in Kansas presented in an NRO article titled, Supremely Wrong.
The former state attorney general and current district attorney of Johnson County, in suburban Kansas City, Kline is that most unfortunate of political creatures — the inspired reformer. The object of his quixotic campaign is to reform the abortion laws of Kansas — not by changing them, but by simply enforcing them.

In a place like Kansas, you might think, that’s T-ball politics — but that would only be in the Kansas of popular (and Thomas Frank’s) imagination, where wily conservatives are winning the culture wars. They’re definitely not, as Kline now knows well. He started his mission after being elected attorney general in 2002. After six years, he has been so badly mangled by Kansas’s political machinery that he’s the one under siege.
That’s his punishment for conducting a string of long and fruitful investigations that appear to show that the state’s largest abortion providers — including Johnson County’s Planned Parenthood clinic and George Tiller’s infamous late-term-abortion clinic in Wichita — have not only performed illegal abortions, they’ve also falsified documents as part of a cover-up...

This week, in the case’s latest set of turns, Kline found himself asking for the supreme court to stop silencing Anderson and at the same time, moving to block a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood seeking to get back the records that are at the heart of the case, and would be used against them in a trial. Allowing criminal defendants to sue prosecutors to retrieve the evidence that could be used against them is another Kansas Supreme Court novelty.

Napolitano accused the court of violating the separation of powers — a repeat of something many Kansans thought the court did in 2005, when they determined the exact dollar figure the legislature must spend on upholstering the state’s educational bureaucracy. Kline, he pointed out, is fulfilling the legal functions of the executive branch and the supreme court has no right to get in the way. He thought Kline had two options: “One, to persuade the people that the justices should be impeached, or, two, take the case to a federal judge” where the state supreme court’s apparent obstruction could be deliberated.

Caleb Stegall, Kline’s lead attorney, saw the case in simple terms. “Laws restricting and governing abortion are worthless if they cannot be enforced,” he said, “and up until today, they have not been enforced. Planned Parenthood wants to keep it that way. So the message being sent by this case as a whole is if you try to enforce these laws, if you even try to talk about enforcing these laws, we will bury you. This overriding message has seeped into our body politic and threatens to corrupt some of our most basic and cherished principles such as freedom of speech and political debate, the rule of law, and the principle of equality before the law.”

Prayers to the only righteous judge might be the only way to cut this unrighteous Gordian knot.

Abortion survivor's opinion of Obama in WSJ

A very short piece in the WSJ titled the Audacity of Death.
Miss Jessen is an exquisite example of what antiabortion advocates call a "survivor." Well into her third trimester of pregnancy, Gianna's biological mother was injected with a saline solution intended to induce a chemical abortion at a Los Angeles County abortion center. Eighteen hours later, and precious minutes before the abortionist's arrival, Gianna emerged. Premature and with severe injuries that resulted in cerebral palsy. But alive...

As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as "persons" babies who survive late-term abortions. Babies like Gianna. Mr. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother's wombs are "persons," and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution's 14th Amendment.

A federal version on the same legislation passed the Senate unanimously and with the support of all but 15 members of the House. Gianna was present when President Bush signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002.

When I asked Gianna to reflect on Mr. Obama's candidacy, she paused, then said, "I really hope the American people will have their eyes wide open and choose to be discerning. . . . He is extreme, extreme, extreme."...

To Mr. Obama, abortion, or "reproductive justice," is "one of the most fundamental rights we possess." And he promises, "the first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," which would overturn hundreds of federal and state laws limiting abortion, including the federal ban on partial-birth abortion and bans on public funding of abortion.

Then there's Mr. Obama's aforementioned opposition to laws that protect babies born-alive during botched abortions. If partial-birth abortion is, as Democratic icon Daniel Patrick Moynihan labeled it, "too close to infanticide," then what is killing fully-birthed babies?

Indeed, indeed. A Catholic leader in Denver asks, when we get to heaven and meet all these unborn aborted children, will we ask them their forgiveness for voting for someone who clearly and proudly campaigned against their lives?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

cinema review: Amazing Grace 2007

As always, I am late to the party. But I do agree a party is due in honor of this film. Amazing Grace is the story of William Wilberforce the Christian British parliamentarian who, through the process of legislation and persuasion, improved the lot of many oppressed classes, including animals, prisoners, poor children, and African slaves. It's the last class that makes him a hero. It is the last class that took him the longest and worked him the hardest, nearly ruining his health. He argued for 20 years before the slave trade was finally ended, but abolition was not finally enacted until 30 years later a month after his death. Politically, I think we who are opposed to abortion need to heed some lessons from Wilberforce.

1) Patience. Even though Wilberforce caught the sentiment of the people early and broadly in his campaign to end slavery the monied interests in the Parliament who profited from the slave and sugar trade held the power. That echelon of power was eventually outlived by the younger generation who grew up appalled at slavery.

2) Consistency. Wilberforce wasn't a one issue Christian. He cared about all of God's creation. He was appalled at senseless animal abuse. He was appalled at humans being treated like animals, whether in the slave trade, in the factories, or in the prisons. He fed the poor who came to his house. His wealth was shared with others in need.

3) Perseverance. Every year he would introduce an abolitionist bill. Every year, another MP would join him.

4) Faith. He fought for human rights because he was radically changed by Jesus Christ. He was a good Samaritan because everyone was his neighbor. He treated his neighbors, all mankind, as he would be treated.

5) Fellowship. He wasn't alone in his endeavor. He was advised and met regularly with Quakers, Evangelicals, John Newton (slaver turned Christian turned pastor and abolitionist and author of the hymn Amazing Grace), and former slaves. One strand is easily broken but not two or three.

Our fight for unborn babies has been 34 years long. Not long by Wilberforce's standard. We need to stay patient. The younger generation is supportive of abortion restrictions. Popular cinema recently made the case for life. The old guard in the halls of power are passing on. Let us continue to seek the good of all people as well as the unborn. Let us continue seeking prison reform, education reform, and human rights in general. Let us not grow weary. Let us find our strength in out Lord. And let us love one another as we labor together.