How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone Not to Proselytize?

Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

One of My Favorite Songs

An Inspiring Song


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Diana West on Islam and Tolerance

Emphasis, where present, is mine:
It is becoming clear to people, despite the gag of political correctness, that there's a reason "Islam" means "submission." Islam not only seeks to order the spiritual realm inhabited by a Muslim and Allah, it lays out a doctrine to control every believer's behavior (down to the most intimate bodily functions) as well as the public life of the collective. Doctrinally, Islam is thus "doubly totalitarian," in the words of G.H. Bousquet, a leading scholar of Islamic law, in accordance with the body of law known as Shariah. Under Shariah, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech are outlawed with extreme sanction (those who leave Islam fear death to this day), while non-Muslims and women exist as legal inferiors to the Muslim man. Meanwhile, jihad -- holy war to extend Islamic rule -- is a sacred command. And I have the books that prove it.

In other words, this isn't Islam because I say so, but because its sacred, authoritative, mainstream, non-hijacked, untwisted texts say so.


The crucial fact is, whether we are brutalized by acts of jihad or confused by acts of dawa (proselytizing), their goal is identical: more Islamic law.


Bloomberg types are blind to these things, from the Shariah-spreading efforts of Rauf (noted here last week), to dictates of Shariah that subvert constitutional liberties. So, blindly, they sound platitudes in Islam's defense, plucking emotional chords that resonate with Americans about "liberty," "tolerance" and "religious freedom" on behalf of a belief system that, ultra-ironically, outlaws them all.


Indeed, tolerance is doomed if it is extended to the intolerant, something philosopher Karl Popper worked out in the last century. "Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed and tolerance with them. ... We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant."

As Per Usual...

Pat Buchanan says out loud what I have been thinking, and saying quietly to friends and family:
...Beck's believers and the tea party folks are raising hopes and expectations.

But can they succeed?

"We must not fundamentally transform America, as some would want," said Palin, in one of the direct challenges to Obama. "We must restore America."

But can we restore America, or is the old America gone forever?

Consider the issue that unites all on the Mall on Saturday -- the need for the U.S. government to cut spending, to balance its budget and not to shove an immense burden of debt on our children.

Like last year, we are running a deficit of $1.4 trillion, almost 10 percent of the entire economy. With housing starts and housing sales plunging, jobless claims rising, the stock market sinking and economic growth slowing to a crawl, we will face a new deficit equally large in the fiscal year beginning in October.

Where are the victorious tea party Republicans going to cut?

According to USA Today, 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, and perhaps an equal number on Medicare and Social Security. Which of these three will tea party Republicans cut, when Republicans are already denying Democratic charges that they plan to raise the retirement age for Social Security?

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has a 600-page plan to reform Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the tax code, the work of a conscientious conservative. But only one in 16 House Republicans has signed on as co-sponsor.

Are Republicans going to go after other entitlements -- veterans benefits, earned income tax credits, food stamps -- which now go to 41 million Americans, or unemployment benefits that run for 99 weeks?

With the racial achievement gap on test scores returning, will the GOP abolish No Child Left Behind or slash federal aid to education?
The reality is that decades of profligate spending and borrowing to pay for unsustainable programs has finally left us in a situation where extrication will be extremely problematic.

I don't give two hoots who's in charge, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid are coming. They have to. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Republicans are going to be able to rescue those programs by repealing Obamacare. Even if they are successful in repealing Obamacare, those programs are going to be cut. There is no choice. There is simply not enough money. Those of us who work with Medicare and Medicaid patients are already seeing the cuts. You would not believe some of what is happening if you didn't see it with your own eyes.

Personally, it wouldn't bother me if those two programs were phased out. They're grossly unconstitutional. But when the Republicans, in their turn, fail to rescue them, do you think a general public, grossly unaware of what the Constitution actually says, poorly educated in basic economics, and raised to expect superlative medical care in their old age, won't turn around and punish Republicans at the ballot box?

Barring a major revival, we are headed downhill on a bobsled. Big Republican wins in November aren't going to change that.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Homosexual "Marriage" in Ancient Greece and Rome

Some of this ain't for kids. You done been warned.
Well, I've been waiting, and so far, the answer to a question I asked hasn't been forthcoming. So I thought I'd google it myself. This is fairly representative of what I found:
What follows is a brief description of ancient Greek attitudes, but it is important to recognize that there was regional variation. For example, in parts of Ionia there were general strictures against same-sex eros, while in Elis and Boiotia (e.g., Thebes), it was approved of and even celebrated (cf. Dover, 1989; Halperin, 1990).

Probably the most frequent assumption of sexual orientation is that persons can respond erotically to beauty in either sex. Diogenes Laeurtius, for example, wrote of Alcibiades, the Athenian general and politician of the 5th century B.C., “in his adolescence he drew away the husbands from their wives, and as a young man the wives from their husbands.” (Quoted in Greenberg, 1988, 144) Some persons were noted for their exclusive interests in persons of one gender. For example, Alexander the Great and the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, were known for their exclusive interest in boys and other men. Such persons, however, are generally portrayed as the exception. Furthermore, the issue of what gender one is attracted to is seen as an issue of taste or preference, rather than as a moral issue. A character in Plutarch's Erotikos (Dialogue on Love) argues that “the noble lover of beauty engages in love wherever he sees excellence and splendid natural endowment without regard for any difference in physiological detail.” (Ibid., 146) Gender just becomes irrelevant “detail” and instead the excellence in character and beauty is what is most important.

Even though the gender that one was erotically attracted to (at any specific time, given the assumption that persons will likely be attracted to persons of both sexes) was not important, other issues were salient, such as whether one exercised moderation. Status concerns were also of the highest importance. Given that only free men had full status, women and male slaves were not problematic sexual partners. Sex between freemen, however, was problematic for status. The central distinction in ancient Greek sexual relations was between taking an active or insertive role, versus a passive or penetrated one. The passive role was acceptable only for inferiors, such as women, slaves, or male youths who were not yet citizens. Hence the cultural ideal of a same-sex relationship was between an older man, probably in his 20's or 30's, known as the erastes, and a boy whose beard had not yet begun to grow, the eromenos or paidika. In this relationship there was courtship ritual, involving gifts (such as a rooster), and other norms. The erastes had to show that he had nobler interests in the boy, rather than a purely sexual concern. The boy was not to submit too easily, and if pursued by more than one man, was to show discretion and pick the more noble one. There is also evidence that penetration was often avoided by having the erastes face his beloved and place his penis between the thighs of the eromenos, which is known as intercrural sex. The relationship was to be temporary and should end upon the boy reaching adulthood (Dover, 1989). To continue in a submissive role even while one should be an equal citizen was considered troubling, although there certainly were many adult male same-sex relationships that were noted and not strongly stigmatized. While the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity. Greek gods, such as Zeus, had stories of same-sex exploits attributed to them, as did other key figures in Greek myth and literature, such as Achilles and Hercules. Plato, in the Symposium, argues for an army to be comprised of same-sex lovers. Thebes did form such a regiment, the Sacred Band of Thebes, formed of 500 soldiers. They were renowned in the ancient world for their valor in battle.

Ancient Rome had many parallels in its understanding of same-sex attraction, and sexual issues more generally, to ancient Greece. This is especially true under the Republic. Yet under the Empire, Roman society slowly became more negative in its views towards sexuality, probably due to social and economic turmoil, even before Christianity became influential.
Other writers had other material. One of the Wikipedia writers (Don't ever take Wikipedia as authoritative. It is often interesting and useful, but never authoritative.) noted that at least two of the Roman emperors "married" others of the same gender, but it is clear from the quoted historical material that this was considered extremely odd behavior, on the order of, for instance, promoting one's horse to the position of senator.

Sooooo, unless someone can produce something fairly definitive and authoritative to the contrary, I'm gonna have to take the position that if it existed, homosexual marriage in ancient Greece and Rome was seen as an aberration, and furthermore, that homosexuality in Greece and Rome was strongly linked to pedophilia (Surprised, aren't you?) and that the fact that homosexual relationships usually ended upon the victim's younger participant's maturation points strongly to such relationships being considered anything but marriages, which are, in theory at least, generally of considerable duration.

And, of course, unless that something fairly definitive and authoritative to the contrary can actually be produced, rather than just tossed out as the half-remembered opinion of a friend, that would also mean that one of someone's arguments for the historical normality of homosexual marriage just went "poof"--if you'll excuse the expression...

I'll keep waiting. But I ain't holdin' my breath.


I'm sure you remember Palpatine. He was that Star Wars character that spent years in the Galactic Senate, pretending to be a good galactic citizen with the noblest of intentions, eventually rising to the position of Chancellor and invested with emergency powers. In reality, he was an evil Sith Lord, whose goal was to eliminate the Republic and replace it with a Sith Empire.

Why bring him up here?

Well, I've been reading a book called The Manchurian President. It is an interesting read, but I will save you the trouble, if you like. It is little but long and meticulous documentation of how Barack Obama, since he was a small child--since birth, really--has been born to, raised among, influenced by, worked with, worked for, been associated with, favored by, etc., etc., etc., an assortment of communists, socialists, hard-leftists, and Islamist radicals. It is not conjecture. The information has been pulled largely from newspaper accounts, newsletters and magazines (like the Trinity United Church of Christ's Trumpet) and personal interviews.

Many of these people come from organizations where one of the chief tactics is what is termed "boring from within":--joining the established system with the express goal of working from within to undermine and demolish it.

Now, I suppose you can believe one of at least three things:

1) Barack Obama has come from a background of anti-capitalist and anti-America-as-we-know-it thugs, risen to the presidency, and is deliberately trying to crash the system so as to replace it with something else, which would be perfectly consistent with his friends' and acquaintances' ideology and tactics, or...

2) He has played along with all these people since he was a boy, waiting for the right opportunity to betray them all, or...

3) He has somehow fit right in with all these people for decades, yet has absolutely no clue what they're about, or what he's doing, for that matter.

My opinion is that his actions since assuming the presidency strongly point to option "1," but that's just my opinion.

At any rate, for a couple of years now, I've vacillated between "Is he really that stupid?" and "Is he really that evil?"

My mind's made up now. As far as this blog is concerned, he is now "Palpatine." Just in case you were wondering.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rampant Afghan Homosexuality and Pedophilia--plus NAMBLA

From Joel Brinkley, in the San Francisco Chronicle, via Diana West. Emphasis is mine where present, and in bold:
Western forces fighting in southern Afghanistan had a problem. Too often, soldiers on patrol passed an older man walking hand-in-hand with a pretty young boy. Their behavior suggested he was not the boy's father.


For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means "boy player." The men like to boast about it.

"Having a boy has become a custom for us," Enayatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. "Whoever wants to show off should have a boy."


As for Karzai, an American who worked in and around his palace in an official capacity for many months told me that homosexual behavior "was rampant" among "soldiers and guys on the security detail. They talked about boys all the time."


In Kandahar, population about 500,000, and other towns, dance parties are a popular, often weekly, pastime. Young boys dress up as girls, wearing makeup and bells on their feet, and dance for a dozen or more leering middle-aged men who throw money at them and then take them home. A recent State Department report called "dancing boys" a "widespread, culturally sanctioned form of male rape."


Even after marriage, many men keep their boys, suggesting a loveless life at home. A favored Afghan expression goes: "Women are for children, boys are for pleasure." Fundamentalist imams, exaggerating a biblical passage on menstruation, teach that women are "unclean" and therefore distasteful. One married man even asked Cardinalli's team "how his wife could become pregnant," her report said. When that was explained, he "reacted with disgust" and asked, "How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean?"

That helps explain why women are hidden away - and stoned to death if they are perceived to have misbehaved. Islamic law also forbids homosexuality. But the pedophiles explain that away. It's not homosexuality, they aver, because they aren't in love with their boys.
So, just how dare I compare homosexuals to pedophiles? A few weeks ago, that was the issue of the day!

Ask all those kids in Afghanistan how. And realize that given the history of homosexual behavior in the world, the reason that you don't see as much of this crap here is that it's illegal, and if we catch your sorry *** at it, we'll throw you in the clink. Not that some people aren't working to change that.

You did know about NAMBLA, didn't you? The North American Man-Boy Love Association? Asked them their opinion on homosexuality and pedophilia, yes, I'm sure you did...

Oh, ****, I know you didn't. So, since you didn't, here it is for you, quite unedited save for the emphasis, which is mine, from their "Who We Are" page:
WELCOME! The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) was formed in 1978. It was inspired by the success of a campaign based in Boston's gay community to defend against a local witchhunt.

NAMBLA's goal is to end the extreme oppression of men and boys in mutually consensual relationships by:

  • building understanding and support for such relationships;
  • educating the general public on the benevolent nature of man/boy love;
  • cooperating with lesbian, gay, feminist, and other liberation movements;
  • supporting the liberation of persons of all ages from sexual prejudice and oppression.
  • Our membership is open to everyone sympathetic to man/boy love and personal freedom.

NAMBLA calls for the empowerment of youth in all areas, not just the sexual. We support greater economic, political and social opportunities for young people and denounce the rampant ageism that segregates and isolates them in fear and mistrust. We believe sexual feelings are a positive life force. We support the rights of youth as well as adults to choose the partners with whom they wish to share and enjoy their bodies.

We condemn sexual abuse and all forms of coercion. Freely-chosen relationships differ from unwanted sex. Present laws, which focus only on the age of the participants, ignore the quality of their relationships. We know that differences in age do not preclude mutual, loving interaction between persons. NAMBLA is strongly opposed to age-of-consent laws and all other restrictions which deny men and boys the full enjoyment of their bodies and control over their own lives.

NAMBLA does not provide encouragement, referrals or assistance for people seeking sexual contacts. NAMBLA does not engage in any activities that violate the law, nor do we advocate that anyone else should do so.

We call for fundamental reform of the laws regarding relations between youths and adults. Today, many thousands of men and boys are unjustly ground into the disfunctional criminal justice system. Blindly, this system condemns consensual, loving relationships between younger and older people. NAMBLA's Prisoner Program, with limited resources, works to provide a modicum of humanity to some of these people. Click here to find out more.

NAMBLA is a political, civil rights, and educational organization. We provide factual information and help educate society about the positive and beneficial nature of man/boy love. Become an active member! You can help in this historic struggle!

"Some Cowboy Dude"

So, I'm up at the church participating in a phone blitz--just calling around, letting people know about our new Sunday School Lifegroup year that's starting soon, and so forth, and I get to the last call.

Turns out to be the best one of the night.

Howdy, is --------------- there?


This is ----------, with ----------- Baptist Church, is -------------------- there?

Just a minute...

Dad, there's some guy on here, I can't understand what he's saying, he sounds like some cowboy dude or something...
And then they hung up--with me grinnin' like a monkey on the other end.

If you ever happen to hear me speak, remember that I'm not putting on an act. My family on both sides has been in Oklahoma for a long time, and I rally dew hayev an ayeksint jist thicker'n na her own uh dawg's bayek.

Pat Buchanan Saith Regarding Islam..

True conservatives are people of the heart who use the weapons of the mind to defend the things of the heart.

Why would Americans be reflexively skeptical and wary of Islam?

We were born a Christian nation, an extension of Christendom. For most of us, it is part of our DNA. And for a thousand years, our ancestors fought a war of civilizations with Islam.

In the name of Islam, Muslim fanatics massacred 3,000 of us. In our media, the names commonly associated with Islam are al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

What are sins in Christianity -- adultery and homosexuality -- are capital crimes in Islamic countries. From the Copts in Egypt to the Chaldeans of Iraq, Christians are persecuted and purged in the Middle East. Few remain in the old Christian towns of Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem. Christian missionaries in Islamic countries risk stonings and beheading. Muslims are attacking Christians in Nigeria, Sudan, the Caucasus, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Are there scores of thousands of patriotic American Muslims, hundreds of millions of decent, peace-loving Muslims around the world?

Undeniably true.

Yet one would have to be obtuse not to understand that a Western nation that opens its doors to mass migration from the Islamic world is taking a grave risk with its unity and identity.

An apprehension about that is what Burke called the "latent wisdom" of a people.

This is not an argument for war with Islam, but for recognition that "East is East and West is West" and America cannot absorb and assimilate all the creeds of mankind without ceasing to be who we are.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Sorry State o' Cookin' in America

As you may remember, I do a fair amount of cooking, and, as you may also remember, it is not so much that I like to cook (although I'm darn sure not afraid of the kitchen) as it is that I like to eat, and doggone it, nobody else is up and volunteering to cook what I want to eat.

I'm not sure I'd want anybody else doin' the brisket anyway, I guess.

At any rate, I got to thinking the other day that a lot of times, it seems to me that I'm the only person I know that actually talks about his cooking--well, Kat, and a fine young Christian homeschooling mom I know from the blogosphere, and a cerebrally-inclined church friend of mine named Mark do, I guess--and I have the distinct impression that most folks, in spite of the popularity of the Food Network and so forth, not only don't actually do very much cooking, the cooking they do isn't particularly good.

I've really come to think that I am at the point where I'm doing, in my itsy-bitsy arts-and-crafts-bungalow kitchen with an electric range (plus the outdoor cooking equipment in the back yard) more and better cooking than most people with big, "designer" kitchens. And since I'm strictly "amateur hour," and darn near everything I cook is what some might call "peasant food," that is a very sad statement.

Pity. People blow all this money on fantastic stoves, fridges, granite countertops, and so forth, and not only do they not do very much cooking in them, to listen to them talk (when I've actually gotten some food-based conversation out of them), they wouldn't actually know much about where to begin if they were genuinely inclined to try.

You might be amazed at the number of people who not only don't know how to use cast iron, but actually look down on it.

If there's proof positive of being plumb ignorant in the kitchen, it's looking down on cast iron. It is one of God's gifts to the cook. At least, that's my opinion.

Ennyhoo, I was out at Helmerich Library the other day, and pulled a few books off the shelves. One of them was Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis (available used for a pittance, if you're interested, which is surprisingly common with cookbooks, and a big reason why I seem to own so cotton-pickin' many), and it seems to me that in his introduction, I found an echo to the thoughts I've been having:
New interest in and enthusiasm for cooking shows and other food media, chefs, and restaurants have resulted in more people who may know a lot about food and how it is made--people who can have a heady conversation about the effects of Spanish cooking on restaurants in France and the benefits of organic agriculture over conventional growing methods--but fewer people who actually know how to turn a bagful of groceries into dinner.

This is a paradox I wrestle with as I walk past stands at my local greenmarket overflowing with beautiful produce or lose myself in the aisles of cookbook shelves at my neighborhood bookstore. Interest in food has never been higher, yet all you hear is that fewer people are cooking. Houses are built with custom dream kitchens and expansive dining areas, while the take-out food business is booming and Americans supposedly now eat more meals outside their homes than they do in them. I was intrigued by the thesis of Laura Shapiro's book on the history of women in the kitchen in twentieth-century America, called Something from the Oven (Viking, 2004). Shapiro explains how early food industry marketers set out to turn cooking, which many 1950s housewives found the most satisfying of their daily tasks, into a dreary chore. Enter cake mixes and instant rice, frozen dinners and dehydrated potato flakes. Evidence would suggest that the marketers succeeded in that transformation.
Weird, weird, weird. We have succeeded in transforming ourselves into a country where any interested yokel with a stove and a skillet can eat just about as well as the hoi polloi actually eat on most nights--if only he will trouble himself to learn how to do so.

And I bet it's also a big part of the reason the whole dang country seems to be goin' to fat city in a handbasket, too, rich and poor alike...

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The reason the United States, and every nation on Earth, restricts immigration, however, is precisely because we recognize that what is in the individual interest of a would-be immigrant is not necessarily in the interest of everyone else in the receiving country.
Look, I actually like immigrants a lot. Always have. During my brief time at Oklahoma State University--lo! those many moons ago--I was, as far as I knew, the only American member of the International Student Union. When I was in fast-food management, I hired a lot of immigrants. The ESL (English as a Second Language) class I teach is gearing up for the Fall semester, and of course, all the students are immigrants. I like immigrants. You gotta keep that in mind when I say that we must bear in mind that the purpose of immigration is not so much to better the lives of immigrants, but to improve the situation in our country! Any country, any government, must first look to the lives and prosperity of its own citizens. That is not to say that we should be unconcerned with the rest of the world, but to express the perfectly normal concept that there are priorities, and one's own country should come ahead of others, one's own citizens should come ahead of other countries' citizens.

That's how you shape and evaluate immigration policy, my friends...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sanchin and Blood Pressure

I was discussing Sanchin (I should note that Sanchin is not part of the RyuTe curriculum) with someone the other night, and heard the "sanchin-makes-the-blood-pressure-spike" story.

I have read/heard this story many times. I think it is given credence by a pretty fair number of Okinawan Goju Ryu practitioners having given up the ghost relatively early in life. It has a superficial appearance of validity.

Goju Ryu emphasizes Sanchin, and a lot of Okinawan Goju practitioners have died young, sometimes of something heart-related. Makes sense, and yet...

I never heard the same thing about Japanese Goju Ryu practitioners. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention, but my understanding is that Yamaguchi Gogen lived to a ripe old age. As far as I know, Yamaguchi Gosei hasn't croaked yet. I haven't heard of any problems with Sanchin-related blood pressure problems from the local Goju crowd.

And, too, Isshin Ryu uses Sanchin. There's a famous photo of Arsenio Advincula practicing it. I swear, he looks like his muscles are going to bust right through his skin.

I believe he's in his seventies and doing just fine. Could be wrong about his age, but I'm fairly sure.

Chito Ryu uses Sanchin, too. Never heard any stories about Chito Ryu practitioners dropping dead from blood pressure problems.

Morio Higaonna still seems to be going strong. Toguchi Seikichi was an old man when he died. Eichi Miyazato still living? I'm not sure. He's an old man if he is...

In short...

I've never been convinced that Sanchin is a problem for most folks. Not that it would matter a whole lot to me, personally, as at least at this point, I do not practice the kata. But I might sometime. My instructor still practices some Goju Ryu kata, amongst them Tensho (although, due to his deteriorating health, he does it without the restricted breathing, the "lion's breath," as he calls it), and I rather get the feeling that he would teach me Tensho if I asked him, but that I had better learn Sanchin first. So it might happen. But I digress...

The more I look into it, the more I can't help but notice (Goju folks will have to forgive me!) that a lot of those famous Goju Ryu practitioners may have been fearsomely strong, but they were also blessed with...


...fearsomely big bellies...

...they're finding out that belly fat is a killer, you know...

At any rate, if you poke around the net a little bit, you find things like this quote from a forum ("Carl" speaking), emphasis mine:
Your question, "Is Sanchin dangerous to practice?" is a very good question. This argument has been going on for a long time. It really all depends on who you talk to. I once performed an experiment where I wore a blood pressure cuff while doing pushups and while performing Sanchin. Well, guess what. My blood pressure was higher while performing pushups than while performing Sanchin kata. And believe me, I wasn't holding back while performing Sanchin kata. People say that the oldtimers died young from performing Sanchin kata. I think this is hogwash. Remember, they simply didn't have the health care and nutrition we have today.
and this small study--yes, there's actually been a study!--which I think pretty much settles the question.
Sanchin Kata was performed in the Isshin-ryu Karate method for the purpose of the study. Isshin-ryu is a combination of Shorin-ryu and Goju-ryu Karate style created by Master Tatsuo Shimabuku. Each participant of the study performed Sanchin Kata on a real time EKG (Electrocardiographs), similar to a stress test, for the duration of the Kata. Blood pressure and pulse checks were performed both manually and mechanically at 30 second intervals during the performance of Sanchin, as well as at one minute intervals for five minutes both pre and post exercise. Prior to commencing the study it was determined that a physiological baseline should be established as a basis for comparison. This was done by having each participant of the study receive an EKG and blood pressure check while at rest, and while squatting 70% of their own body weight for three sets of 12-15 repetitions.

The 1997 Sanchin study performed and compared in the manner described above showed no significant physiological functioning difference between performing squats and performing Sanchin Kata. According to Dr. Seufert,
Based on this study I don't find the practice of Sanchin to be any better or worse for someone than the performance of any other strenuous activity, but, as with any exercise program, participants should consult their own physician prior to starting. Results showed an increase in both blood pressure and pulse in both exercises, however the increase was almost identical. Their where times during the performance of Sanchin that the EKG was unreadable due to muscular tension, but overall it was within normal limits for every participant involved.
And there you pretty much have it: Yes, Sanchin raises the blood pressure--about the same way that lifting weights does. If you're not going to have problems lifting weights, you're probably not going to have problems doing Sanchin. As this Dr. Seufert suggested, you might want to check with your doctor. And of course, you will want to get decent instruction as to how to do the kata. I have seen people--or, more accurately, seen video of people--doing it in such a way that merely watching them raised my blood pressure.

Just sayin'.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mike Clarke of Goju Ryu Saith:

I once fought on the streets, for about three years all together, and in that time I was arrested several times and found guilty of inflicting everything from G.B.H. (Grievous Bodily Harm) to Wounding on those I fought with. I was stabbed a number of times, and eventually ended up behind bars as a guest of Her Majesty the Queen. I'd like to know how the street-smart seminar instructors of today managed to avoid collecting a similar criminal record for violence, you know, when they were field testing the skills they are now teaching.

Putting my utter stupidity and my teenage years behind me I have, over the past 36 years of karate training...
There's a whole lot more to the post, of course, but this part intrigued me for a few reasons.

First, there are not that many people who will just bald-facedly admit to having a past like that. Usually people just make excuses, if they will admit to it at all.

I'm tellin' ya, I wish I had my teen and young adult years to live over again. I wasn't a convicted criminal, mind you, but I made so many idiotic mistakes and committed so many sins, mostly because I was convinced my brainpower gave me a better guide to what I should be doing than the people who were trying to counsel me, people who represented the distillation of generations of experience. I was wrong; they were right. And because I didn't listen, I have experienced only a fraction of the earning power I should have commanded, and that has made life much harder on my wife and children than it need have been.

Now, don't go cryin' for us. We don't starve. I'm just sayin' I could have made things a lot easier on us if only I'd listened, that's all.

Second, he did actually turn things around. I have no idea whether or not he is a Christian--usually I associate turn-arounds like that with Christianity--but really, there are not that many people who start out in life like that who turn things around. He did. Very impressive.

Third, think about what he's telling you. Here's a guy who was indisputably one of those "wily, crafty, desperate, willing-to-do-anything-to-you streetfighters," against the likes of which people are constantly telling you that traditional martial arts are useless--useless!--and what does he choose to train in?

Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu, that's what.

Think he might have reason to believe that it'd work in the sorts of altercations which he's had in the past?

And, by the by, if you find yourself interested in Goju Ryu as a result of Mr. Clarke's writings, you can fairly easily find instruction in Japanese Goju Ryu in Oklahoma. If you're interested, there are some links in my sidebar.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We Have Forgotten How to Fight a War

Well, the Marines remember how, no doubt, but unfortunately, they're not in charge of making policy.

I read Diana West's latest and just cringed.

Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are not diplomats. They are who you send in when the diplomats fail. Their job, bluntly, is to impose the will of the United States on our enemies by killing people and breaking things. When we are training troops on whether or not they should remove their gloves before shaking hands with some backwoods Afghan police chief, we have left the sphere of rationality.

Look, every time I write along these lines, I just know somebody out there is going to interpret my remarks as meaning that I'm opposed to the War on Terror. I'm not. You can read a bit more of my viewpoint on the subject here.

Some things in life ought to be obvious. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war--or to withhold such a declaration. It does not give anyone the power to conduct ongoing conflicts without a declaration of war.

Dadgummit, either declare war or change your dadgum approach to dealing with the problem!

It is stupid to refer to this conflict as a war on "terror." Terror is a tactic employed by an enemy. Who is our enemy in this struggle? Those who adhere to what some dimwittedly refer to as "radical" Islam--though it is nothing but Islam, period, if you take its scriptures and history at face value. That is how you recruit a jihadist, don't you know: you take a "moderate" Muslim and just convince him that the words mean what they say.

Simmer down. I am not for an instant saying that it is possible to exterminate every radicalized Muslim in the world. All I am saying is that you have to have the (insert Sarah Palin's recent euphemism here) to correctly identify the enemy.

Sooner or later we have to give up this insane idea that we can win societies dedicated to a seventh-century madman's deluded visions over to doing things the way we do. If we don't, we will never lift our eyes high enough to see real solutions.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Frank Turek on the "Born Gay" Crapola

Don't think I'm gonna add anything to this. Here y'go:
...renowned Columbia University psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Spitzer...concluded that some highly motivated individuals can change their orientation from homosexual to heterosexual through reorientation therapy.

This is significant because Spitzer is no propagandist for the religious right. Quite the contrary—a self-described “Jewish atheist,” Spitzer has been a hero to homosexual activists since 1973 when he helped get homosexuality declassified as a mental disorder. Recently, however, they’ve turned on him because he reported the truth.

Dr. Spitzer said that his 2003 study “has been criticized severely by many people, particularly gay activists, who apparently, feel quite threatened by it. They have the feeling that in order to get their civil rights, it’s helpful to them if they can present the view that once you’re a homosexual you can never change.”

When asked whether the American Psychiatric Association should now change their position statements that say orientation cannot be changed, Dr. Spitzer said, “I think they should, [but] they will not be. . . . There’s a gay activist group that’s very strong and very vocal and is recognized officially by the American Psychiatric Association. There’s nobody to give the other viewpoint. There may be a few who believe it but they won’t talk.”

Dr. Spitzer then acknowledged explicitly that politics often trump the scientific facts at organizations like the APA (an organization cited to bolster Judge Walker’s conclusion). He also said that the APA should stop applying a double standard by discouraging reorientation therapy, while actively encouraging gay-affirmative therapy that’s intended to confirm and solidify a homosexual identity. Good point by Dr. Spitzer. After all, if people can be talked into it, then why can’t they be talked out of it?

Sexual orientation isn’t like race either. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African American.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

For My Fat Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, and Church Members

Yeah, I know. You think I just called you "fat." Not really. You're the one who decided the title included you, aren't you? Well, now that you've admitted that there's an issue, let's talk about things for a minute.

Why am I interested in this subject? It's really pretty simple. I know what's going to happen to you. It's not that I'm psychic or anything, it's just that I do a lot of work with old people, and I can see what kind of shape you are going to be in twenty or thirty years down the road if you keep up the crap that you're doing now. If Alzheimer's doesn't get you (and yes, you can lessen your risk of Alzheimer's via some lifestyle choices) and cancer doesn't get you (and yes, you can lessen your risk of cancer via some lifestyle choices), if you're fat and out of shape, in your old age (maybe sooner!), you are very likely to suffer from unnecessarily bad knees, poor balance, some form of diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure, brittle bones, and general frailty. I am not exaggerating in the slightest. I see this constellation of conditions all the time. Please believe me, you don't want to wind up there.

I know you already know that. I know that you've tried and failed to get fitter, or you've wished you could find the time, or you've been planning on getting started--next week, or next month, or whatever. I'm not trying to condemn you. And I hope you don't think that I'm telling you that you have to get boot-camp skinny and fit to avoid all these illnesses. I'm not. An extra ten or fifteen pounds or so (depending largely on your gender, height, etc.) isn't that big a deal as long as you are otherwise reasonably fit.

It's the people that are seventy, eighty, more than a hundred pounds overweight that concern me.

Used to be, most of those people were at least in their fifties. You can easily understand how it might happen. You live in the United States, after all, not one of those third-world countries where the day's activities consist of finding enough twigs to roast your supper of grubs and berries. Here, there's food everywhere. I know office personnel who keep candy bowls on their desks, for cryin' loud, just for the sake of passers-by! Under circumstances like that, it is easy to understand how a person could pick up five pounds a year from 25 to 65, and wind up, at retirement, a hundred or more pounds too heavy. But over the last decade or so, I have seen more and more young people--thirty and younger--that are grossly overweight. It is mind-blowing that anyone could gain that kind of weight that fast. Here is a brief explanation of how it might be done, and perhaps some insight into how you might avoid the same fate yourself, or go from being seventy pounds overweight to, say, fifteen. Just for example.

You can find a lot of places on the web that will tell you all about calorie requirements--here, it says that the "average" man needs about 2500 and the "average" woman needs about 2000. WebMd says that according to their formula
...a 25-year-old man who exercises 30 to 60 minutes every day with moderate or vigorous activity should eat about 2,800 calories a day, while a sedentary 65-year-old woman needs just 1,600 calories. An active 45-year-old man needs 2,600 calories, while an active woman of the same age needs 2,000 (also for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day).
I didn't go to the trouble of looking up how many calories a 45-year-old couch potato needs, but I'm pretty sure it's not 2,800 for men and 2,000 for women. How many people of any age do you know who are getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day? Before you answer that question, let me suggest to you that people who are getting that amount of exercise typically know more people who are getting regular exercise, and vice versa, so your own lifestyle will probably skew your answer a little bit. And let me also suggest that walking around your workplace at a normal pace and that playing with small children isn't really "exercise" in any meaningful sense.

Okay, now that you've come to your depressing conclusions about whether or not you or anyone else you know is really "active," let's look at some other numbers:
calories in a 20-oz bottle of pepsi=250
calories in a candy bar--200-300
calories in a plain donut--185
calories in a 12-oz latte--120-200
calories in a slice of fruit pie--200-300
calories in a can of beer--150
calories in a chocolate-chip cookie--130
calories in a serving (3/4 cup) of captain crunch--109
calories in a large french fry--500
calories in a double cheeseburger--650
calories in a slice of pepperoni pizza--290
So, let's see how your day looks--and hope that you don't say to yourself, "Has he been watching me?"

You go to bed late because you've been watching cable tv, or reading some reactionary, right-wing redneck's blog. You get up later than you should. You are in a hurry. After getting yourself together in the bathroom, you stagger to the kitchen and wolf down a big bowl of your kids' breakfast cereal. There is no way that is 3/4 cup. It's at least 1 1/2 cups. That's 218 calories, assuming you didn't scoop sugar on it, which of course you do, and off the top of my head, that's about 50 calories a teaspoon, and you use two, so that's 318 calories at least, even before you get out of the house.

When you do get out of the house, you realize that you haven't had your caffeine fix, so you stop at Starbuck's or Quik Trip and pick yourself up a latte. A 12-oz one is 120-200 calories. Does anyone ever actually get a 12-oz latte? And while you're there, you might as well get a donut. A plain one is about 185 calories.

About two and a half hours later, it's time for your morning break. Time for a Pepsi. A 20-oz bottle is 250 calories. Have a chocolate-chip cookie with that? Mais oui! Another 130 calories.

A couple hours later, it's time for lunch. Considering that "all" you've had to eat is a bowl of cereal, a donut, and a cookie, you're hungry. You go get a combo meal at the burger joint. The double burger is 650 calories. The large fries are 500 calories. A 20-oz drink is 250 calories, but of course, that's the "small" size these days, so you've got a 32-oz frosty beverage for about 400 calories. On the way back, you pick up a candy bar--about 250 calories--for your afternoon break.

Of course, you are feeling a little bit waxed by the time that afternoon break rolls around. You need some caffeine. Pepsi has caffeine. There's another 250 calories.

You are in a hurry for dinner. You certainly didn't put anything in the crock pot, so you need to pick up something fast. How about pizza? You eat three--no, four--slices of pepperoni pizza at 290 calories each. More pepsi? No, it's time to relax. Have a couple of 150-calorie beers. Finish up with a slice of that pie that's in the fridge for 250 more calories.

Okay, let's add that up:
Pepsi x 2--500
burger, fries, and drink--1550
candy bar--250
beer x 2--300
total--4763 calories
And the pathetic part is that really, in terms of total volume, you maybe didn't eat that much! You might very well look at that and say to yourself, "But that's not that much. Any perfectly normal man could easily eat that much in a day. Maybe he'd be eating hearty, but that's not exactly eating like a pig, either." And you'd be right. It's not the quantity of food and beverage that you ate--it's its nature. It's pretty much all empty starches and trans fats. It is, in fine, crap. You spent your day, probably quite unwittingly and almost certainly unintentionally, eating crap.
Eating carbohydrates triggers a hormonal response—insulin secretion—that signals our bodies to accumulate fat. This is why the fewer carbohydrates we consume, the leaner we will be. Sugar, flour and other refined carbohydrates produce an exaggerated version of this response, and so are particularly fattening.
I highly recommend you read the whole article. There is more to the science of weight control, diet, and health than "don't eat carbs," of course, but this article will still be an eye-opener for many people.

When you don't get enough sleep, you produce more of a hormone called ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite. In other words, if you don't get enough sleep, you want to eat more. And guess what--in that state, you're much more likely to want to eat useless crap.

And, lastly: exercise. You do not have to run marathons to control your weight and be reasonably fit, but you do need something that helps you maintain your muscle mass--which is important in terms of burning calories and leveling out your blood sugar, don'tcha know--and when it comes right down to it, the "best" exercise is the one that you will actually do. Personally, I recommend karate, but you might want to try running (if you actually run, instead of plod, it's actually kind of fun) or Praisemoves or something.

There you go. Hope that helps.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Perfect Description

I don't often look at WorldNet Daily. No particular reason, I've just never made it a habit. But I know who the person in charge is: Joseph Farah. And recently, in reference to some brouhaha involving Ann Coulter, he said:
The drift of the conservative movement to a brand of materialistic libertarianism...
Yeah, I know: that's not even a complete sentence. But it struck me as just a perfect description of what often passes for conservatism these days. There are more than a few people who style themselves "conservative" who reject, either explicitly or implicitly, the Biblical worldview that undergirded the conservative thinking of folks like Edmund Burke; their view of "conservatism" more closely resembles a libertinism combined with free trade and open borders.

None of that stuff actually works. It doesn't work because it has an inadequate view of man.

Burke and the conservatives that follow in his footsteps know better, in my opinion.

Hat tip to Cao of Cao's Blog.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Killer Quote

Tur8infan at Pros Apologian offered up a great quote by Augustine, which strikes me as applicable to recent discussions I've had, though I'm sure it wasn't his intent:
If the Manichees were willing to discuss the hidden meaning of these words in a spirit of reverent inquiry rather than of captious fault-finding, then they would of course not be Manichees, but as they asked it would be given them, as they sought they would find, as they knocked it would be opened up to them. The fact is, you see, people who have a genuine religious interest in learning put far more questions about this text than these irrelegious wretches; but the difference between them is that the former seek in order to find, while the latter are at no pains at all to do anything except not to find what they are seeking.

- Augustine, On Genesis: A Refutation of the Manichees, Book II, Chapter 2, Section 3
You know, I've had Augustine's Confessions and, I think, The City of God on my shelves for some few years, but have never found time to read them. I'll have to work harder on that.

Just How Much Do You Really Need to Know About Self-Defense? Or, Getting Bugged for No Good Reason

I got to thinking about just how much a person really needs to know about self-defense in a roundabout sort of way. See, I was out at Herman and Kate Kaiser Library (the staff there are wunderbar, and the facility is to die for), and I happened to see a whole bunch of little kids all dressed up in karate uniforms about the place. Naturally, I had to ask, so when the black-belted lady who was taking registrations or memberships or whatever was done with everyone in line, I asked if she had a minute to tell me something about the system's (I will not name the system; I am not trying to denigrate or embarrass anyone here) background and history.

She started to tell me what the system was, that it was an "Americanized" (her word) self-defense system that--so I gathered--was developed principally by her aunt, who was one of the first black belts in another state (which I won't name), herself, and unspecified others. I clarified, telling her that what I meant was, was the system influenced by Goju Ryu, by Shotokan, or Taekwon-do, or what? And she still didn't have much of an answer, telling me that the instructors basically brought whatever they liked best from whatever other systems they had studied. So I asked if they had a particular set of kata that they worked with, and she allowed as how some of the students worked on the heian, or pinan forms (she didn't say pinan), and that they also let the kids make up their own kata.

She might as well have just bluntly said that she didn't have a clue what kata was all about. I didn't let on that that's what I thought, though. Just thanked her for taking the time to answer my questions and left.

The whole thing kind of bugged me, but it put me to thinking: would it be so bad, really, if she, her aunt, and a handful of others had put together their own system out of bits and pieces of other systems? The reality is that one of the most popular martial arts in North America, Ed Parker's American Kenpo (along with the multitudinous variants of Parker's system) arose from just that sort of thing. Who knows?

Maybe that lady is the next Ed Parker.

And just how much do you need to know about self-defense, anyway? You will never learn enough to stop a bullet, especially one fired at you by someone who hates you enough to lay in wait for you and gun you down while you're not looking. And...

...look, many years ago, when I was still quite young, I had an acquaintance about a year or so younger. I think I am remembering this story correctly, but it's been a long time. At any rate, this fellow had apparently informed on some nefarious character, and he had been threatened. The ne'er-do-well had threatened to bust my acquaintance's head when he got out of jail, and my acquaintance was concerned, for he had never given a thought to fighting in his life.

He wasn't able to take up martial arts at the time, and I ended up giving him some very simple techniques. I showed him a low sidekick (I may also have shown him a low front kick, but I can't remember for sure) and told him to practice it on a tree he had in his back yard. I also showed him (and a very flawed rendition it no doubt was, as I only knew what I had read) the basic Wing Chun punch. Now, I had heard that Bruce Lee once said, "When in doubt, straight blast," by which he meant deliver one of those punches after another, as fast as you can, constantly moving forward. I knew from experience (limited as it was at that time) that most people don't cope well with that. They end up getting hit whilst trying futilely to block one punch after another, or backpedaling so fast that they trip over their own feet.

And then I left him.

I heard later that he had in fact been assaulted by the ne'er-do-well, and that he had had his glasses broken and gotten a black eye. His assailant, on the other hand, wound up with a broken nose and a broken rib, so I guess that my guy "won" by a score of two broken bones to one black eye, if you want to think of it that way.

Successful self-defense? Some would say so. And look how little knowledge it took...

I remember when I was in taekwon-do. When I left, I was about two or three months away from taking the test for first-degree black belt. The reality is that I didn't really know anything at that level that I didn't know at the yellow belt level, except for a greater number of hyung, which was pretty much worthless, as no one (as I found out later) had a clue how to make them work (that was a biiiiiiig factor in my switch to RyuTe, or Ryukyu Kempo, as it was then known: they knew how to make the forms work; I just knew how to make them look good). Same kicks, same punches, same everything. I was just better at it.

Sometimes I think the same is true of more martial arts systems than you might think. There are a certain number of basic techniques and concepts, and advancement consists of getting better and better at those.

It's fairly clear that a lot of systems run out of testable curriculum by the time you reach third- or fourth-degree black belt, and advancements beyond that level are for time-in-grade, service to the organization, and so forth.

All of the above meandering thought, I guess, amounts to this: I think RyuTe is the foremost life-protection system out there. I really do.

On the other hand, there are a limited number of places in this country (anywhere, really) where you can learn it. And if you can't learn RyuTe, I suppose that if you picked up a good sidekick and front kick from karate, a good reverse punch, a good knife hand, a good elbow strike; if you picked up the "straight blast" from Wing Chun; if you picked up, say, the six most fundamental throws of judo; if you picked up the half-dozen most basic locks from Aikido; if you picked up a basic knowledge of the weak points of the human body; if you got better and better at those over five or six years--

Well, I don't suppose you'd be doing too badly. And maybe that's what this lady and her aunt were in the middle of doing.

Whether it bugged me or not.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Frank Turek Saith...

...this, among other things. Emphasis is mine:
Same sex marriage...affects the free exercise of religion very quickly.

Parents in Massachusetts now have no right to know when their children are being taught homosexuality in grades as low as Kindergarten, neither can they opt their kids out (one parent was even jailed overnight for protesting this). Businesses are now forced to give benefits to same-sex couples regardless of any moral or religious objection the business owner may have. The government also ordered Catholic Charities to give children to homosexuals wanting to adopt. As a result, Catholic Charities closed their adoption agency rather than submit to an immoral order. Unfortunately, children are again the victims of the morality that comes with same-sex marriage.

“But you can’t legislate morality!” some say. Nonsense. Not only do all laws legislate morality, sometimes immorality is imposed by judges against the will of the people and in violation of religious rights. There is no neutral ground here. Either we will have freedom of religion and conscience, or we will be forced to adhere to the whims of judges who declare that their own distorted view of morality supersedes our rights—rights that our founders declared self-evident.

Think I’m overreacting? If this decision survives and nullifies all democratically decided laws in the 45 states that preserve natural marriage, religious rights violations in Massachusetts will go nationwide. In fact, it’s poised to happen already at the federal level. President Obama recently appointed gay activist Chai Feldblum to the EEOC. Speaking of the inevitable conflict between religious rights and so-called gay rights, Feldblum said, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
Translation: Bite me, Christians. It always amazes me when people talk as though homosexuals don't have an agenda. They sure as the dickens do, and part of it involves muzzling any criticism of what they do.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Blistering Assessment

I have seen more than a few assessments of the president like the following, but this one is special to me; special because it's Dave, my relatively-left-of-center blogospheric acquaintance, making it.
I understand that the reason for this trip was for the First Lady to spend time with a mourning friend and I think if this was the only incident then this would be a non-story, but the fact is the President and his family seem to be taking some kind of vacation every other week. Heck based on the reports I hear on the news, it
appears that the President is hardly ever in Washington because he is always off somewhere giving a speech about something.

Look Mr. President we all know that you can give a great speech, that’s one of the things that actually got you this job, but how about you stay in DC for a while and actually do the job we hired you to do? The country is a mess. The economy is in the toilet. People are frustrated and angry, and the last thing we need is for the man who promised to unite the country to go off and take a crap-load of fancy vacations while the rest of us scrape to get by. Why don’t you go and actually get to work on trying to right this wayward ship, okay sir? Also, why don’t you try and act like you are actually one of us and not some stuck-up rich boy on parade with his rich and beautiful family. I supported you because I thought you were the real deal. I thought you were going to try and heal this country and change things for the better. Well, needless to say that I am gravely disappointed in your performance thus far.
And no, if you wondering, Dave's is not the one-sided-to-the-point-of-unintentional-hilarity lib blog to which I frequently refer.

Mr. Buchanan on the Walker Decision

Here's another one for which I took notes several days ago. My own thoughts at the bottom are several days old, as well.
I really would have you go read the whole thing. Eventually, I'll get 'round to putting down more of my own thoughts on the subject. At least I hope I will. There's about a bajillion things I want to get 'round to writing up.

Any emphasis in the following is mine:
Federal Judge Vaughn Walker is truly a visionary.

Peering at the 14th Amendment, Walker found something there the authors of the amendment never knew they put there, and even the Warren Court never found there: The states of the Union must recognize same-sex marriages as equal to traditional marriage.


If the Walker decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court, homosexual marriage will be imposed on a nation where, in 31 out of 31 state referenda, the people have rejected it as an absurdity.

This is not just judicial activism. This is judicial tyranny.


Walker says the only motivations behind Proposition 8 had been "biases" and "moral disapproval," and "moral disapproval ... has never been a rational basis for legislation."

But what else is the basis for laws against polygamy and incest? What else was the basis for the Mann Act, which prevented a man from taking his girlfriend across the state line to a motel?

What is the basis for prohibiting prostitution, a free exchange of money for sexual favors, if not "moral disapproval"?


But not even a judge can change the meaning of words. In every language known to man, marriage is defined as a union of a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

Walker may call such pairings marriages, but that does not make it so. As Lincoln said, "How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license," said the judge.

He is calling opponents of gay marriage irrational.

This is not just an insult to the intelligence of those Californians who have rejected gay marriage, but to a majority of Americans.


Up to today, Walker is the only federal judge to see in same-sex marriage a constitutional right. And what is the origin of this right? Supporters of Walker's decision cite the Declaration of Independence about our "inalienable rights" to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

But that same declaration says we were endowed with those rights by our Creator. When did the Creator indicate that among these rights was for homosexuals to have their unions recognized as marriages?

The author of that declaration, Thomas Jefferson, equated homosexual acts with rape and wrote that male homosexuals (they used the term sodomites in that time) should be castrated and lesbians should have a hole cut into their noses.


...Walker's personal opinion.

But he is declaring it to be the only rational conclusion that can be reached. And having reached it, he has seized upon a phrase in the 14th amendment, "equal protection," distorted its meaning and dictated that this means his view and his values henceforth are the law in California, the voters be damned.
Ultimately, most people's opinion on this subject will turn upon whether they believe homosexual orientation to be something you are born with, or a choice--a choice conditioned by events in one's upbringing or other events, no doubt, but a choice nonetheless.

I fall into the latter camp. I hold that if you try to make a case for homosexuality being an inborn genetic trait, you also inadvertently make the same case for pedophilia, bestiality, porn addiction, serial adultery, foot fetishes, and so forth. That is, there is no argument that I have heard for homosexuals being "born that way" that could not also be applied with equal facility to the other sexual issues I have just mentioned. Likewise, if you reject the idea--on whatever grounds--that the pedophile is "born that way," I think that you have similar grounds for rejecting the idea that homosexuals are doomed to their particular perversion as an accident of birth.

I am not trying to say here that I think I am better than the homosexual on a moral level. I don't think there are more than a handful of people on the planet who aren't guilty of some sort of sexual immorality, even if it's just lusting after people you're not married to, which Jesus declared to be the equivalent of adultery (I trust I am not over-paraphrasing His words). Personally, I have little interest in legislating homosexuality out of existence for the simple reason that historically, it has never succeeded, and one's efforts appear to be better spent on evangelism and education. If they are willing to leave the children alone and not recruit them (You do realize that actively recruiting others is the only way the homosexual community can stay in existence, don't you? They sure as thunder can't reproduce...), I'm willing to leave them alone. But I draw the line at being forced, under color of law, to call two shacked-up homosexuals "married" or not to speak my mind about the morality of the whole thing (which is not a contradiction to "I'm willing to leave them alone;" if they tell me they don't want to hear it, I respect that), which is, based on what has gone on overseas, where this is all ultimately headed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Okinawan Soba and the Newest Addition to the Blogroll

I was googling for recipes for Okinawan soba--a kind of noodle soup that is apparently much-beloved by certain members of the RyuTe Renmei--and found a very detailed post by one "Sharon," of Westchester, New York. It is excellent, and if anyone is even remotely interested in finding out about the subject, I recommend it highly.

Sharon's blog, The Good Life, is also the first food-related blog to make my blogroll. It's very well done overall, and you can find the link in the "Hard to Categorize" section of the blogroll.

Pat Buchanan on Obama and the White Voter

I took my notes from Mr. Buchanan's column several days ago and promptly forgot all about them.
The White House fears it is losing white America because of a false perception that it harbors a bias against white America.


Whence comes that perception? Several incidents.

First was the startling accusation by Attorney General Eric Holder, days after Barack Obama was inaugurated in a gusher of good feeling, that we are all "a nation of cowards" when it comes to facing issues of race. A real icebreaker for a national conversation.

Second was the instantaneous verdict of the president, when asked about the arrest of Harvard's Henry Louis Gates by Cambridge cop Sgt. James Crowley. With no knowledge of what happened, Obama blurted out that the cops had "acted stupidly."


A third was the revelation that Obama's first Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the "wise Latina" herself, had gone to extremes to see that the case of Frank Ricci and the New Haven, Conn., firefighters never got to the Supreme Court. Ricci and co-defendants had been denied promotions they had won in competitive exams solely because they were white and no black firemen had done as well.

The fourth was the Justice Department's dropping of charges against members of the New Black Panther Party, whose intimidation of voters in Philadelphia had been captured on tape.

When a department official resigned in protest and went to the Civil Rights Commission to accuse officials at Justice of ordering staff attorneys not to pursue such cases, that explosive charge, too, was ignored by Justice.

Came then the NAACP smear that the tea party was harboring racists, which Joe Biden explicitly rejected on national television on Sunday, before the Monday firestorm over Sherrod.

Now, whatever one's views on each of these episodes in which race played a role, white Americans are being forced to address them.


Where the erosion is taking place is in white America, among working- and middle-class folks who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries but took a chance with Obama in the fall. Now, every time some new incident erupts, these folks are being tarred.

Opposition to affirmative action is racist. Supporting the tea party gives aid and comfort to racists. Opposing health care puts you in league with folks who used racial slurs on Rep. John Lewis. To raise the issue of the New Black Panther Party is to play the race card.

One understand the bitterness of tea party folks who carry signs that read: "What difference does it make what this placard says. You'll call it racist anyway."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jonah Goldberg on "Journolist"

I actually wrote this post several days--maybe more than a week--ago, and forgot all about it.

Before I give you the snips, let me just say that this whole "Journolist" thing is one of those things that amuse me so much about certain liberal bloggers. They note every inconsistency amongst Republicans, exaggerate or twist news stories about them, practically jump up and down screaming when a Republican is caught in anything with the slightest whiff of ethical impropriety, but when it comes to stuff like "Journolist," it just doesn't exist.

Great googly-moogly, it comes to light that left-wing journalists--some of them highly placed, others not so much--and academics
really will distort and twist the news to favor their political agenda, so much so that one is entirely right in questioning whether the "news" those lib bloggers are constantly throwing up on their sites is worth a plugged nickel, and what's their response?

Nothing. Dead silence. I'm not entirely sure that they even know the story has broken. It may not have been covered on their favored sites. And I flatly guarantee you that if I brought the subject up to them, the response would be some variant of "it's overblown," "wildly exaggerated," "scare-mongering," or "Fox News is biased, too!" They simply do not seem to be able to process the plain fact that not all Democrats are ethically unstained. Oh, they'll grant it
in theory. But in practice? They just don't seem to notice. Funny as all get-out.

At any rate, here's the quotes.

Just in case you've been living in a cave, or if you only get your news from MSNBC, here's the story. A young blogger, Ezra Klein, formerly of the avowedly left-wing American Prospect and now with the avowedly mainstream Washington Post, founded the e-mail listserv "Journolist" for like-minded liberals to hash out and develop ideas. Some 400 people joined the by-invitation-only group. Most, it seems, were in the media, but many hailed from academia, think tanks and the world of forthright liberal activism generally. They spoke freely about their political and personal biases, including their hatred of Fox and Rush Limbaugh, and their utter loyalty to the progressive cause and Democratic success.


Journolist e-mails obtained by The Daily Caller reveal what anybody with two neurons to rub together already knew: Professional liberals don't like Republicans and do like Democrats. They can be awfully smug and condescending in their sense of intellectual and moral superiority. They tend to ascribe evil motives to their political opponents -- sometimes even when they know it's unfair. One obscure blogger insisted that liberals should arbitrarily demonize a conservative journalist as a racist to scare conservatives away from covering stories that might hurt Obama.


In 2008, participants shared talking points about how to shape coverage to help Obama. They tried to paint any negative coverage of Obama's racist and hateful pastor, Jeremiah Wright, as out of bounds. Journalists at such "objective" news organizations as Newsweek, Bloomberg, Time and The Economist joined conversations with open partisans about the best way to criticize Sarah Palin.

Like an Amish community raising a barn, members of the progressive community got together to hammer out talking points. Amidst a discussion of Palin, Chris Hayes, a writer for the Nation, wrote: "Keep the ideas coming! Have to go on TV to talk about this in a few min and need all the help I can get." Time's Joe Klein admitted to his fellow Journolisters that he'd collected the listserv's bric-a-brac and fashioned it into a brickbat aimed at Palin.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Uncle Ted on Arizona's Immigration Law

Found this via a link from a Facebook friend. There is an extremely mild vulgarity--hmmm, I need to do a "position post" on cussin' sometime soon--you have been warned.

"Uncle Ted," for those who don't already know, is, of course, Ted Nugent, aka "The Nuge," "The Rev. Theodocius Atrocius," etc.
When someone gets pulled over by a police officer or gets arrested, it is proper police procedure to ask for identification. No one of goodwill can possibly dispute that common-sense police procedure. And that's all Arizona's new law basically states.

So let me try to understand what the opponents of Arizona's law want: If a cop pulls someone over for speeding, the cops are not to ask for identification? Or if they do ask for identification and the speeder cannot produce identification or has identification from another country, the cop should turn a blind eye and send the speeder on his merry way? This, of course, is Three Stooges logic.


Alinsky would be proud. The Founding Fathers would weep. Davy Crockett would shoot somebody.

I support basic human rights. If an illegal person is here and is apprehended, he or she should be treated with basic human rights. But there is a big difference between being treated humanely and being given the same legal status as a U.S. citizen when you are not.

People in the United States illegally are not U.S. citizens and therefore are not due protection under the same laws as legal citizens. U.S. laws are passed for U.S. citizens, not people who are here illegally. This is Common Sense 101 and is why the overwhelming majority of Americans support Arizona's immigration law.

That this needs to be stated is an indictment of the increasing mindlessness of an increasing population of weird, illogical people. It's a damn shame, really.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Conservative, noun

I was casually browsing through my copy of The Devil's Dictionary when I came across this entry:
Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
Too funny...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

For Those Curious About the Bible and Homosexuality

For some reason--notably a federal judge's decision on the subject--homosexuality and homosexual "marriage" have been hot topics lately. More than a few might be wondering, "Just exactly what does the Bible say on this subject?" And there are certainly some that ought to be digging a little deeper into the subject before sounding off on it, people whose understanding of it appears to be, shall we say, less than fully thought-out. An excellent place to begin is James White's The Same Sex Controversy.

I thought about writing a brief piece about this (of course, just about anything in the blogosphere is necessarily brief), but then, thinking of Dr. White's book, I recalled seeing something on Dr. White's website a few years ago, and wondered if it was still there. It is. It is the transcript of Dr. White debating the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State on the subject of "Is Homosexuality Compatible with Authentic Christianity?". It is sufficiently complete that it renders any additional verbiage from moi quite unnecessary, and I recommend it highly for anyone looking for a brief introduction to the subject.

Really. If you seriously want to know, read it. And don't just skim it and claim you read the whole thing, either. Most of the questions people typically bring up on this subject are actually answered in that debate, so if you really seriously want to know, you have no excuse for not reading it. If you don't want to do the little bit of work involved in reading so small a thing as a debate transcript, I don't know how you can tell yourself that you have an informed opinion on the subject.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Big Bad Bug-Eyed Criminal Master Predators

Sometimes it seems like I've got more stuff "in process" than I can find time to finish. Part of this material (the part in italics) is a bit of something I started writing a couple of weeks ago and never got 'round to finishing. I may use it in that other piece yet, so don't be surprised if you see it again.
Everybody's got their bete noire, I suppose--or perhaps a few of them.

One of mine is the constant conjuring-up, by some people, of the invincible killer streetfighter/criminal/biker/whathaveyou. Every so often, I'll read a post, or a book, that talks about criminals or streetfighters or whatever as though they were invincible, some sort of unstoppable force, defense against which is all but impossible for mere martial arts practitioners.

I do not get this.

Oh, I will grant some things readily. One is that I don't actually hang around such people as a rule (and personally, I tend to think of that as a plus...). Another is that they can be sneaky *&^%#%@!. Some of them can be pretty ruthless, no doubt about it.

Some few weeks ago, the Tulsa Police shot one of these miscreants to death. They were executing a raid on a meth lab in a bar (near a neighborhood I used to live in and still deliver to!), and one of the resident bikers (biker gang bar, it was) decided that he was going to reach for a pistol.

Ruthless? Yes. The man was apparently willing to shoot it out with the cops.

Smart? Mercy, no! The man was willing to shoot it out with the cops!

Effective? Well, he wound up dead. Fat lotta good his street smarts and ruthlessness did him.

I once knew a man who was a former Marine, a Vietnam combat vet, if I remember correctly. He was also a former inmate, a recovering drug addict. The guy was intimidating-looking. Pushing fifty, but looked strong. Covered in ugly tattoos. Looked a mess. Fairly smart guy, too, as I recall. Attended church (not the one I'm at now, a different one) with us and his cousin for a while. By some people's reckoning, he should have been one of the deadliest guys on the planet. I never did get to see him fight (why would I?), but after getting to know him fairly well, I never had any reason to suspect that his technique or his determination or his ruthlessness, if he had any, was superior to mine or any other former Marine's.

Many years ago, when I was still quite young, I had an acquaintance about a year or so younger. I think I am remembering this story correctly, but it's been a long time. At any rate, this fellow had apparently informed on some nefarious character, and he had been threatened. The ne'er-do-well had threatened to bust my acquaintance's head when he got out of jail, and my acquaintance was concerned, for he had never given a thought to fighting in his life.

He wasn't able to take up martial arts at the time, and I ended up giving him some very simple techniques. I showed him a low sidekick (I may also have shown him a low front kick, but I can't remember for sure) and told him to practice it on a tree he had in his back yard. I also showed him (and a very flawed rendition it no doubt was, as I only knew what I had read) the basic Wing Chun punch. Now, I have heard that Bruce Lee once said, "When in doubt, straight blast," by which he meant deliver one of those punches after another, as fast as you can, constantly moving forward. I knew from experience
--Taekwon-do free-sparring experience, believe it or not--(limited as it was at that time) that most people don't cope well with that. They end up getting hit whilst trying futilely to block one punch after another, or backpedaling so fast that they trip over their own feet.

And then I left him.

I heard later that he had in fact been assaulted by the ne'er-do-well, and that he had had his glasses broken and gotten a black eye. His assailant, on the other hand, wound up with a broken nose and a broken rib, so I guess that my guy "won" by a score of two broken bones to one black eye, if you want to think of it that way.

The point of that story, if you didn't catch it, is that by the "criminals are tough and ruthless and will overwhelm anyone" theory, my acquaintance should have gotten his clock cleaned. Didn't happen.

Another story: Old boss of mine happened to look out of his living-room window and saw a guy whalin' away on a woman across the street. He hollered at his wife to call the cops and charged across the street.

Knocked the guy back, then picked him up and body-slammed him across his knee (I would have loved to see this maneuver!).

Bad guy later came back (just in time to meet the cops!) with a board with a nail stuck in it.

Ruthless? Obviously! But invincible? Even particularly tough? I would question that.

One time, I interrupted a rape. Pulled the guy off the girl, and, stupidly, held the guy out at arm's length for a second. I was looking for a weapon. He was trying to pull up his pants, and when he got them up far enough, took off like a rabbit.

When I think back on that one, I still can't believe that I didn't just bust his head on the spot. But on the other hand, that ruthless criminal predator didn't hesitate to flee the scene when confronted with a non-victim, either.

Look, I'm not trying to tell you that there aren't some mean people out there. Ruthless people who won't hesitate to use extreme violence to get what they want. I hope you don't think I'm telling you not to train hard and prepare for the worst. That would be stupid.

On the other hand, let's get real. Most crooks that I have seen or heard of aren't any bigger than I am (almost 5' 10" and about 200 #s, about 15 of which is, uh, padding). They aren't any smarter, any fitter (younger, I guess). They're don't generally appear willing to work any harder--as a matter of fact, it seems fairly obvious that a lot of crooks get into crime precisely because they don't want to work hard. They're not, as far as I can tell, willing to absorb a bunch of punishment. Sneakier, yeah. That they are.

Look, are you generally pretty aware of what's going on around you? Are you usually able to tell when things are about to go "bad?" Do you generally avoid places that have bad reputations? Are you able to hit hard and fast when you want to? Can you generally hit your target? Can you easily escape most simple grabs? Are you hard to hit?

If you are, I'd give pretty good odds that you will make it home safely. Nobody can know for sure, of course. But I think the odds are more in your favor than some people are willing to believe. For cryin' out loud, don't build the bad guys up in your mind to the point where you think good, solid martial arts training is useless. Cheez Louise, that's just silly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beautiful Li'l Video

I found this quite by accident and was thrilled. Van Gogh is, hands down, my all-time favorite painter, and this little slide show, set to Don McClean's "Vincent," showcases his work beautifully.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh, Go Ahead and Make Yourself Look the Fool

I won't mind. I'll even sympathize a bit, having done the same to myself often enough.

There are certain subjects in this world about which the conventional wisdom, that which "everyone knows," is so badly wrong that unless and until you make a deliberate attempt to do the reading and bring yourself up to speed, you really risk making yourself look foolish in spouting off-hand comments about them.

The Venona Secrets
Blacklisted by History

Just sayin', it might be worth doing the reading, y'know? It might just turn out that your analogies are seriously flawed.
Some few days after this was published, I noticed a comment on it elsewhere to the effect that these books are all suspect--suspect because, God forbid, they are published by Regnery Press. Nothing Regnery Press publishes can be worthwhile, you see, because they are a conservative publishing house.


Of such stuff is blissful ignorance made...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mr. Dutcher on Oklahoma's Reading Levels

Found this courtesy of a Facebook friend. Read it and weep. Any emphasis is mine and in bold:
Twelve percent of Oklahoma’s adult population is “below basic” in prose literacy. Ms. Gregory equates this to a reading level of third grade and below.

Another 31 percent of the population reads at the “basic” level. This is between the fourth grade and seventh grade reading levels.

In other words...43 percent of Oklahoma’s adult population reads at a seventh grade level or lower.


...more than half of Oklahoma’s high-school graduates read at the basic level or below, i.e., at a seventh grade level or lower.

Arguably even more appalling is the revelation that 13 percent of Oklahoma’s college graduates read at that seventh grade level or lower.


The study, Reform with Results: What Oklahoma Can Learn from Florida’s K-12 Education Revolution, points out that “the reading scores of Oklahoma students over the past decade not only have failed to improve, they actually have declined. This drop came in spite of a 42.8 percent increase in the inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending in Oklahoma between 1998 and 2007.
I keep telling people that any reasonably interested parent can do a better job than the government schools. I am neither lying nor exaggerating. They are abominable. They will actually stunt your child's academic development--that is, even if your child does well, that is "doing well" only in relation to the other inmates children in the system. You parents who think your child is doing well in government schools would be appalled at how much better your child could be doing if only you took them out of those little indoctrination facilities and taught them yourselves.

Your frame of reference is badly skewed.

I am continually stunned that otherwise knowledgeable people allow their children to attend government schools. Please think about this for a moment. They are funded by government, staffed by government, managed by government--and yet, somehow, you seem to expect that your child will emerge from this environment without a profound reliance on governmental thinking. If he or she does, it is in spite of, not because of, his or her education. You cannot rationally expect a government entity to teach basic, common-sense skepticism of government.

You cannot reform this ugly sow. It was birthed in a desire to produce workers who were sufficiently educated to be productive workers and insufficiently educated to do the independent thinking necessary to challenge the status quo. You cannot fix it. It is flawed by design. All you can do is leave it.