Friday in the wild – June 24, 2005

June 24, 2005

As always, on Friday I like to showcase a few posts that I read during the week that make me think, give me a good laugh, or otherwise just stick out in my memory. I have been a bit light on blog runs this week since I’ve been spending my online time on other concerns, but nonetheless here’s a couple for your perusal.

It’s a good thing for Christ’s sake that Larry King likes John MacArthur so much, because MacArthur invariably proclaims a real Gospel when he’s on King’s show. By contrast, James White chimes in on the squishy interview that Joel Osteen gave King earlier this week:

Can you just imagine Paul or John responding to these direct questions the way Osteen did? What a wonderful opportunity to present the awesome holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and the unique truth of salvation through the cross of Christ, squandered out of fear of the faces of men! Just amazing.

[Read Muddling the Message, Ashamed of the Gospel]

Yesterday I blogged about the USSC’s ruling that municipalities can take land from one owner and give it to another if the latter will bring in more tax revenues. This morning I discovered that people were finding their way here from the Xanga blog of Miss O’Hara. She wonders where the faith bloggers are in all this, and makes a very good point that honestly didn’t occur to me at the time: What does this mean for churches, which don’t pay any taxes at all?

One thing I am finding curious is how many faith-type bloggers haven’t said a word about this. I know we aren’t OF the world, but we are in it, and we’re supposed to make a difference and be salty and so forth. Shouldn’t we have something to say? It’s frightening to see that most don’t care. Talk about defending those without defense – now, that is every single one of us – including our churches. Say goodbye to your cathedrals, your chapels, your little community churches; they’re about to be turned into strip malls, parking lots, and office complexes. That’ll be a nice change for the American landscape. No more steeples. What’s that saying about never sticking up for someone . . . and there being no one left to defend you when they come for you? If you’re a “Christian” and you think this does not affect you . . . well, God will forgive you. But you still need to get with the program.

[Read Liberty Tree Looking Parched]

Challies.com posts the Christian Blogosphere Awards of Demerit, a tongue-in-cheek critique of a few blogging faux pas. Amongst the honored recipients: Phil Johnson for editing his published posts to death, thereby mangling all our RSS feeds, and (not surprisingly) Hugh Hewitt for still not having an RSS feed at all.

After last week’s dry spell, it’s good to see Google getting used for its intended purpose again:

Until next week, enjoy.


Welcome to the new feudalism

June 23, 2005

If you thought that the Terri Schiavo case represented the worst sort of judicial tyranny in the United States, think again:

A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people’s homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.

The 5-4 ruling – assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as handing “disproportionate influence and power” to the well-heeled in America – was a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They had argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

[Full Story]

In other words, if you are a homeowner, and some developer makes a pitch to the municipal government that they can put the land to better use (which would generate higher taxes for the city), now the government has the “Constitutional” right, backed up with a Supreme Court precedent, to expropriate your land and give it to the developer.

This decision is worse than feudalism: at least the feudal lord had to demonstrate breach of contract before compelling the vassal to forfeit his fiefdom. It represents the worst aspects of socialism and unbridled capitalism: pure covetousness and greed motivating confiscation of private property.

Woe to those who join house to house,

who add field to field,

until there is no more room,

and you are made to dwell alone

in the midst of the land.

The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing:

“Surely many houses shall be desolate,

large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. (Isa. 5:8-9)

Ironic comment of the day goes to “Cynical Nation” on VodkaPundit: “This conservative, right-wing court is destroying *all* our rights!! Well, at least we had some brave dissenters on this one, like O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas.”


KJV-onlyism: Now with 20% more ignorance

June 23, 2005

It’s always good to go to bed on a high note, and the latest nitwittery from the KJV-onlyists, those “fools for Christ,” has made my day.

A KJV-onlyist calling himself KJV4ME (strike 1: lame screen name) on the Fightin’ Fundamentalist Forum, where the free and unmoderated format has the downside of allowing anyone to post without a license, posted one of the usual ridiculous macros this evening. What caught my eye, however, was the following dubious factoid:

Having militarily defeated Rome, a spiritual defeat was now necessary. The Geneva Bible commonly used was from the Catholic mainland, and as such was tainted. As God’s Word commands separation from unbelievers, England, separated by water and military might from the Catholic mainland was now set to take up her pre ordained place in history.

Two notes:

  • This is guilt by association of the grossest sort. The “logic,” to use the word in its loosest possible meaning, goes something like this: Roman “Catholicism” comes from Europe. The Geneva Bible comes from Europe. Therefore, the Geneva Bible is tainted with Roman Catholicism. (Put another way: Rice comes from China. Pandas come from China. Therefore, pandas are made of rice.)
  • The Geneva Bible was translated in 1560 by expatriate Puritans living in Calvin’s Geneva. As such, its evangelical credentials are considerably more solid than the overtly Anglican King James Bible.

KJV4ME closes his missive with this parting shot: “Once they remove the King James Bible as the authority for Christendom, the 2nd coming will follow shortly.” Put another way, in order to hasten the return of Jesus, just switch to the NIV. Sounds like an endorsement to me.

Postscript: It’s a con! “KJV4ME” admitted yesterday to being a “satire-loving troll,” after posting an over-the-top follow-up that was still very clever (and nonetheless a major temptation not to deliver a good fisking). What you read above, though, remains the sort of gross ignorance and logical foolishness the KJVers like to employ, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if another one (with a slight reading comprehension difficulty) starts putting such claims forward in all seriousness. We shall see.


Google maps redux: Now that’s what I’m talking about

June 22, 2005

In my previous post on wasting time with Google Maps, I set out some challenges. A number of commenters delivered multiple instances of planes in flight, and another correctly identified one of my mystery locations.

In the meantime I’ve been losing more sleep to Google and come up with a few instances of some other interesting views from my original list, especially military hardware:

  • A B-2 Spirit.
  • A little ways farther south, what appears to be a F-117 Nighthawk sits on the tarmac. Not surprising that these two planes are hanging around Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.
  • Over at Edwards AFB, I spotted a pair of SR-71s – quite possibly the coolest airplane ever invented.
  • And check this out: submarines at Norfolk.

Apparently, some time in the last few days, Google has also updated the maps section with footage of locations all over the world. Should be fun to do a little more sightseeing in Europe and Asia, checking out nifty locations like this and this and this and this and this.


The ultimate sore loser

June 21, 2005

Check out this obituary:

[Corwyn William Zimbleman] had strong political opinions and followed Amy Goodman’s radio broadcast “Democracy Now.” Alas the stolen election of 2000 and living with right-winged Americans finally brought him to his early demise. Stress from living in this unjust country brought about several heart attacks rendering him disabled.

[Full Obit]

Just goes to show: Moonbat handwringing is bad for your health.

(H/T: Michelle Malkin.)


Way to go TSN

June 20, 2005

Yesterday’s U.S. Grand Prix was not broadcast live in Canada except for those whose cable packages include Speed. Mine does not.

To add insult to injury, coverage of the USGP, already limited to a half hour of highlights, was pre-empted by the NBA playoffs and then joined “already in progress” when there were only 5 minutes left.

Not that I was missing anything, of course. Citing safety concerns, every F1 team on Michelin tires boycotted the race and pulled their cars out after the parade lap – including Jarno Trulli, the polesitter – and in the end only six cars ran the race: Ferrari’s, BAR’s, and Jordan’s, all of which use Bridgestone tires. In the end, Michael Schumacher won, not that he had any competition worth noting.

Fundamentally, the major culprit in this flap is FIA itself, with this year’s stupid rule limiting drivers to a single set of tires for the entire race weekend. If worn tires could be replaced, safety at turn 13 wouldn’t have even been an issue. What drunkard thought forcing drivers to drive carefully and conserve their tires would make a more exciting race?

Still, I wouldn’t have minded seeing something. I haven’t watched a USGP before and I was interested in seeing the F1 cars race on the Brickyard.

Oh well. To FIA and TSN: A pox on both your houses. At least I’ve got the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland to watch yet.


Yet again, we’re all gonna die

June 20, 2005

“Brother” R. G. Stair never met an interesting phenomenon he couldn’t pronounce imminent doom over.

“Planet X” never hit us, and the December 26 earthquake that resulted in that devastating tsunami didn’t shatter the planet either.

Now, ol’ Ralph is gone ga-ga over the fact that for the first time since the 1600s, magnetic north recently moved outside of Canadian territory and is moving toward Siberia. Judging by the frequency that catchphrases like “total chaos,” “unexplainable massive upheavals,” and “catastrophic worldwide weather chaos” pass from his lips, you’d expect that the North Magnetic Pole just ran roughshod over the terrain like some sort of rampaging Japanese movie monster. And, of course, this is all taken as proof that the Second Coming is gonna happen Real Soon Now and, much to the delight of prophecy “experts” everywhere, bodies will pile up all over the place.

The truth is, as usual, much more mundane. The movement of the magnetic pole is a natural function of the planet; its average position typically moves several miles a year. Basically, the movement of molten iron and nickel in the core of the earth generates a giant magnetic field. In addition, solar radiation interacting with this field can cause the magnetic pole to fluctuate several miles even in a single day. This, too, is a natural function of the sun. The only “news” in this story is the fact that Canada no longer “owns” magnetic north despite it being within current Canadian territory for nearly 400 years.

Perhaps if the “Last Day Prophet of God” went back to high school and took a few remedial science classes, he’d be a little more obedient to the divine command to be “quick to hear, [and] slow to speak” (James 1:19).