Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why I Listen To NPR

A few reasons why this conservative listens to National Public Radio:

Reporting on the lesser known of the two Congos

Reporting on Sudan and here and here also

Reporting on Ethiopia and Somalia

A touching story

An interview with a right to life advocate

What?!?! Gambling Causes Problems For Society??

Oklahomans made a colossal mistake when they voted for a statewide lottery a few years ago and an even larger mistake was made when casinos were allowed to operate on tribal land (I know, I know, I sound like a broken record). How long will it be before we decide to reverse this awful public policy? Today, the Oklahoman published an article concerning problem gambling in Oklahoma. Consider this from the article, "We're seeing kids checking out of college because they've lost so much,” Smith said. At a recent informational session at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Smith asked how many knew someone with a gambling problem. In a room of about 140, all but seven raised a hand." And this, "between 1 and 3 percent of any population and 2 to 4 percent of adults have pathological gambling addictions, experts say. That translates into at least 35,000 Oklahomans. Many more are problem gamblers who do not reach the medical definition for pathological." More sobering stories are included in this article. But do our leaders care? Apparently not--so long as they don't have to make tough decisions on funding our government, they'll be happy to see gambling expand in Oklahoma. Why are Oklahoma citizens not more adamant about good governance? As a society we ought to demand from our political leaders policies that will encourage and lift up the whole state--NOT ensnare the vulnerable.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri Message to the World

A brief look at what we're up against. This is when al-Zawahiri was in an Egyption prison for his conspiracy against the Egyptian government.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Darfur, China, and the Olympics

Here's hoping that Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Olympics will put pressure on China to finally change its stance regarding the genocide in Darfur. China, a buyer of cheap Sudanese oil has looked the other way as the Sudanese government has thumbed its nose at international pressure to stop the genocide it has perpetuated in the western region of the country known as Darfur. While we shouldn't expect any major changes to occur regarding the genocide, maybe the Hollywood (yes, Hollywood) campaign to tie the '08 Beijing Olympics to Darfur will work to put pressure on the Chinese to finally release their objection to a UN peace keeping force in the region. Foreign Policy blog has more.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Center For A Just Society

I've found what could be a new favorite organization, the Center for a Just Society, where faith, law, and policy meet. It looks to be pretty interesting and informative.

From CJS:
Our mission is to advance and defend Judeo-Christian principles of human dignity and social justice in law, policy and the public square. We seek to improve the quality of life of our nation's citizens through research, education and advocacy aimed at assisting lawmakers, the media and voters in building and sustaining a just society. Our desire is to bring attention and an alternative voice to issues pertaining to social justice. Our efforts to shape public policy and debate can be seen and measured by the Center's research projects, publications, media interviews and educational events

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Letters to Home

If you haven't read the latest issue of Newsweek, read it! Using emails, letters, and recordings from our (now deceased) servicemen and -women, Newsweek chronicles the major events in the Iraq war. It's not an anti-war type thing, but rather showing war outside of stale (maybe even biased) news reports. One part of a letter was particularly impacting. It's from Army 2nd Lt. Brian Smith writing in April, 2004 from Fallujah:

Try not to kill somebody at night. It is difficult to grasp the experience at night. Tank commanders have a thick layer of technology, and often other soldiers, between them and their targets at all times but after sunset, acquiring, engaging and destroying targets (i.e. people, vehicles,buildings, livestock, what have you) takes on the feel of a video game.

Hosing down person-shaped, gritty green blobs scampering around in the gunner's sight does not really allow for full appreciation of the impact of the act of ending the
life of another human being. Add another layer of separation by ordering someone else to actually perform the act. In the end, I felt and feel nothing. Not a d***** thing.

I was not sure what I expected to feel, much less what I wanted to feel. This is one of the questions about myself I hoped to answer by joining the Army. I am really not satisfied with the answer I found. How can I even appreciate the humanity of the person I had killed if all I ever saw was a green mass lying in the grass? I gave the fire command, the gunner lased then engaged with [the] coax[ial] and the target disintegrated.

I think this is a powerful look into what our brave men and women are facing in Iraq right now. I hope that we don't withdraw prematurely so that service of people like 2nd Lt Smith are in vain.

Also, as I read through these letters--many are from young guys, 18-22--I think back to the six or so New Jerseyens, fresh out of high school, Teresa and I flew back with in Aug, 06 from Denver to OKC. They had enlisted in the Army and were going to Ft. Sill for Basic. They were so young...they didn't even look like they could be much over 16. But there they were, cocksure of themselves, while at the same time a bit nervous...their northeast accents ringing through the cabin with excitement at what awaited them when they stepped off of the military transport bus into the sweltering Oklahoma sun. I wonder what has become of those guys...I expect they're out of Basic...probably in Iraq--into a different kind of sweltering sun. I hope they make it back to home safely.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Gospel and Politics

This quote from Charles Spurgeon from his sermon Christ Lifted Up is good for us to consider at all times, especially during ours, when so many think that it is the government that can bring all that is needed to develop worthy individuals. Wrong! It is the gospel, and ONLY the gospel that will transform a soul and give every person a meaning to live.

The gospel never was unsuccessful yet, when it was preached with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. It is not fine orations upon the death of princes, or the movements of politics which will save souls. If we wish to have sinners saved and to have our churches increased; if we desire the spread of God's kingdom, the only thing whereby we can hope to accomplish the end, is the lifting up of Christ; for, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me."

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Tory Leader, Hysteria, and Christianity

Albert Mohler posts on a peculiar row over in Britain. Apparenlty the leader of the Conservative party in Britain, David Cameron, actually goes to church because he believes the stuff, and not simply to by hypocritical. However, this infuriates another Tory, Michael Portillo, who hyperventilates:
It would be good to know from Cameron that for him going to church is just a
metaphor for wanting to be a good man and a good leader, and that he hears no
voices, receives no divine instructions and looks only for the judgment of his
fellow citizens. We could then sleep more easily at night.

Similar sentiments are already expressed in America, but have not gotten mainstream. One wonders how long it will be before national leaders are criticized by other national leaders for their faith.

Read more of Mohler's deconstruction here.