Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Television Classic

It still ranks as one of the funniest Thanksgiving episodes ever made. It's the WKRP in Cinncinati "Turkey Drop" episode.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One More Reason to Hate Global Warming.....

After reading this rant, all I can say is I couldn't agree more.

Hat tip: Jonathan

"I'll trust in Him that I'll make the most of it"

That's the attitude of Liberty University kicker Ben Shipps talking about overcoming his physical deformities to be able to play college football (hat tip: Tim Ellsworth):

Liberty University quarterback Brock Smith admits he was taken aback the first time Ben Shipps approached him.

Shipps, a prospective student, walked up to Smith in his Liberty University dorm last year and asked who he needed to talk to about trying out for the football team.

Smith looked at Shipps and noticed he had had a wisp of flesh and bone for a left arm, and a right arm that ended at the elbow.

Be sure to read the entire article to find out Shipps' amazing story. Also don't miss the video linked at the end of the article. As Philippians 4:13 states, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Book Review: The Moon Shines Down

When my kids were younger, we used to read them books such as Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. There was something special about those stories. Their charm was in their simplicity and Ms. Brown’s ability to say so much with so few words. We’d read them so often that pretty soon we’d have the entire book memorized. No matter how many times we read them, our girls never got tired of them.

Fans of Ms. Brown’s work will be thrilled to learn that over fifty years after her untimely death, a once lost manuscript has now been published. The Moon Shines Down is based on the New England sampler prayer “God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me” and evokes memories of her earlier works. Reading the book for the first time, I was reminded of the many times that I had read her other books to my children. The cadence of the rhymes brought back memories similar to reuniting with a long lost friend.

Adding to the story’s charm are the wonderful illustrations by Linda Bleck. Like previous illustrators of Ms. Brown’s books (especially Clement Hurd, who illustrated both Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny), Ms. Bleck weaves into her illustrations numerous elements from the story which add to the impact of the text. The illustrations are bold and use bright colors which are sure to be of tremendous appeal to younger readers.

Any parent who either grew up with or has had children grow up with Ms. Brown’s books will be sure to be charmed by The Moon Shines Down. I am sure that it will soon be seen on bookshelves everywhere perched right next to her other classic bedtime stories.

312993: The Moon Shines DownThe Moon Shines Down

By Margaret Wise Brown / Thomas Nelson

The Moon Shines Down is a new bedtime picture book by renowned children's author Margaret Wise Brown. Based on the classic New England Sampler prayer, God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me, it uses poetic verses to follow a child praying for God's blessing on children in different parts of the world and themselves as the moon shines down on them all. Originally written many years ago, the manuscript was lost. When it was found, it was incomplete, but matching Margaret Wise Brown's distinctive writing style, it is now a complete bedtime picture book with a classical feel similar to the bestselling book Goodnight Moon. Recommended for ages 3 to 8.

The Story Behind the Lost Manuscript

The Moon Shines Down
from Margaret Wise Brown,
the Author of Goodnight Moon

The Moon Shines Down is being published for the first time fifty-six years after the death of the beloved children's author Margaret Wise Brown.

Amazingly, this unpublished manuscript lay forgotten in a cedar trunk in a Vermont barn. When it was discovered, the onionskin paper had yellowed and the paperclips that held the pages together had rusted.

Based on the New England sampler prayer, "God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me," this soon-to-be bedtime classic is a prayer for God's blessing on all the world's children. However, the manuscript was incomplete, too short for a standard size picture book. Children's book publisher, Laura Minchew, a longtime fan of Brown, took on the challenge to complete the work. Laura was able to match Margaret Wise Brown's writing style, capturing Brown's unique rhythms and rhyme schemes.

The wonderful result introduces a timeless Margaret Wise Brown book to delight a new generation of children the world over.

A Display of Integrity

That's the title of my first column for BP Sports. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Behind the Scenes with Third Day

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with Third Day and their road pastor, Nigel James, while they were on tour. My article about the band and their pastor was published this morning in the Bristol Herald Courier. Check out the article and leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Recommended resource:

068489: Lesson From The Road: Devotions With Third DayLesson From The Road: Devotions With Third Day

By Nigel James / Authentic Books

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Conversation with Peter Kreeft

834800: Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous HuxleyBetween Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley

By Peter Kreeft / Inter-varsity Press

Back when I was in college, Peter Kreeft's book Between Heaven and Hell was essential reading for anyone interested in apologetics. Now the book has been reissued in an expanded format. National Review's John J. Miller has a fascinating conversation with the author on his book, how it was written, and why it's just as revelevant today as when he first wrote it. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Never Allow A Crisis To Go To Waste"

The top issue on President-Elect Barack Obama's agenda on January 20 will no doubt be the economy. Over the weekend, Mr. Obama gave a hint of who he was looking for as a role model in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes:

(CBS) Kroft: Have you been reading anything about the Depression? Anything about FDR?

Mr. Obama: You know, I have actually. There's a new book out about FDR's first 100 days and what you see in FDR that I hope my team can--emulate, is not always getting it right, but projecting a sense of confidence, and a willingness to try things. And experiment in order to get people working again.

The problem is that such experimenting that Mr. Obama is referring to could very well be rehashing old liberal ideas. Ironically, FDR did the same thing according to Amity Shlaes:

The trouble with new financial crises is that they provide pretexts for implementing old social agendas. As the president-elect's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said recently, "never allow a crisis to go to waste."

Consider President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which President-elect Barack Obama invokes when he talks of "a defining moment." Like Obama today, FDR was inaugurated into trouble. He wisely addressed the financial crisis through the steps that we learned about in school. He signed deposit insurance into law, reassuring savers. He created the Securities and Exchange Commission, making the stock market more transparent and consistent. He soothed our grandparents via his radio Fireside Chats. This was the FDR we love.

But FDR also used the crisis mood to push through an unprecedented program of reforms that progressives had been hoping to put in place for years. Sen. George Norris of Nebraska, for example, had for decades argued that utilities should be in the public, not the private, sector. As far back as the early '20s, Norris wanted to build a big power project on Tennessee River. He wanted the government - and not the Ford Motor Company, which was drawing up such plans - to be in charge. FDR made Norris' progressive dream a reality by creating the publicly owned Tennessee Valley Authority. Washington won out, but it wasn't clear its power served the South down the decades.

Miss Shlaes goes on in the column to document other spectacular failures of experimentation in the New Deal including the NRA. The entire column is, of course, worth reading.

I've just started reading Miss Shlaes' book The Forgotten Man: A New History of The Great Depression. Perhaps Mr. Obama would be well served to also read it before he takes office. While some of FDR's experiments were huge successes, many were not. President-Elect Obama should be careful to not experiment with solutions simply for the sake of experimentation. Yes, voters asked for change but more importantly they want governmeent to deliver solutions and not create more problems. FDR's legacy was one of creating as many economic problems as he did solutions. Perhaps Obama can avoid repeating that legacy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Free Stuff From Trivium Pursuit

Just received this message from the good folks at Trivium Pursuit. They have tons of great resources for classical homeschoolers. We can also highly recommend the material from Christian Logic (see the link to The Fallacy Detective in the sidebar):

Special Offer from Trivium Pursuit and Christian Logic

Our readers have the opportunity to receive two free ebooks from Trivium Pursuit.

1.The 73 page ebook of the entire text of Chapter Twelve: Ten Things to Do With Children Ages Ten Through Twelve from the book Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

2.The new 94 page ebook Ancient Literature: Significant Excerpts from the Books of Classical Authors Which You Can Use to Supplement Your History Curriculum - Volume Two: Alexander the Great.

You will receive both of these ebooks when you subscribe to the Homeschooling with the Trivium newsletter. This offer is only for new subscribers to Homeschooling with the Trivium and is good only through November 30. Go here to subscribe.

In addition, if you subscribe to Christian Logic's Fallacy Detective News you will receive two lessons from the logic textbook The Thinking Toolbox by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn (Lessons 12 and 13, along with exercises and answer key). This offer is only for new subscribers to The Fallacy Detective News and is good only through November 30. Go here to subscribe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another New Deal? Let's Hope Not

President-elect Barack Obama frequently referred to the state of the economy as the worst since the Great Depression during the most recent campaign. But adopting New Deal policies like those imposed by Franklin Roosevelt would be a mistake according to author Amity Shlaes (The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression):

The historical model that the Democrats are choosing to hold up as they ponder our financial crisis isn't Harry Truman's Fair Deal or Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. It is Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. At least three economic reforms under discussion now were also central in the New Deal package. Trouble is, these reforms didn't necessarily work well when they were first tried - and some failed outright.

Roosevelt tried a stimulus package and investment in infrastructure both of which are being considered under the incoming Obama administration. But Roosevelt's leadership style was also a huge liability:

Even more than specific New Deal projects, Obama and his fellow Democrats are evoking Roosevelt's leadership style. In school, we learned that it was FDR's personality that pulled the country through the Depression. If only, the suggestion is, we can have a strong enough leader, Americans will also find recovery again. We need some "bold persistent experimentation" of the Roosevelt variety.

There is evidence, however, that FDR's very strength was a negative, because he used it to give himself a license to do true experimenting. In his second inaugural address, FDR said that he sought "an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world."

No one knew what it meant, and markets were terrified. Everyone feared FDR would regulate or prosecute them next. Businesses refused to invest. The 1930s' second half proved frustrating for the country: The economy was always recovering but never quite recovered. The Dow didn't get back to its 1929 level until the mid-'50s.
President-elect Obama will be under tremendous pressure come Inauguration Day to do something to fix the economy if it isn't already back on track by then. If history is any guide, repeating the failed policies of FDR is not the answer that America needs.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Is Joe Biden Looking Forward To His New Job?

A thought occurred to me: does Joe Biden know what the duties of the Vice President are? The vice president is supposed to preside over the Senate (though normally they are not involved in the day-to-day activities). The other main duty is to cast tiebreaking votes.

When the Vice-President is in the Senate he is the Presiding Officer of the Senate but is not allowed to participate in debate. John Adams, our second President and first Vice-President and a man known to enjoy a boisterous debate, once remarked that "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived."

Given how much Joe Biden seems to enjoy hearing himself talk something tells me he won't be spending any more time in the Senate as Vice-President than absolutely necessary.

Sliming Sarah Palin

So now McCain staffers are going around making all sorts of allegations about how Governor Palin essentially sabotaged the campaign. You can read the article for yourself if you want to as it is just one example of the garbage that is being circulated by the media (and I'm being polite).

None of these staffers are mentioned by name which means the media can perform one last hit job on the Governor using people that don't have the guts to come forward with their allegations and engage in character assasination.

Michelle Malkin calls out these sleazy people for what they are and has set up a petition that you can sign and include a message to the Governor. Here is what I wrote:

Thank you, Governor for your willingness to serve your country. You have inspired my daughters to dream big dreams and they admire the way that you handled yourself during this campaign. There is no question that you have been unfairly attacked not only by the media but by people within your own campaign that are supposed to be helping you win an election. It's a shame that they don't have the guts to come forward and identify themselves. You did everything you could to help Senator McCain win and there is no doubt that if you hadn't been on the ticket he would not have done as well as he did on election day.

Our family will be praying for you and your family. Thank you again for your service.

Red State is going to be investigating to find out who is behind this nonsense. These people need to be called out.

UPDATE: Via Hot Air, CNN's Campbell Brown gets it right. The staffers are the ones who are at fault, not Governor Palin.

UPDATE #2: Red State is now posting this petition to help show your support and to sign up for updates on their work to root out the leakers.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

One More Reason to Homeschool

As if I needed any more reasons to feel good that my kids are homeschooled. Via Hot Air, a Finnish documentary exposes indoctrination for the President-elect in an Fayetteville, NC elementary school. The first few seconds of the clip won't make any sense. The relevant portion starts at the 0:15 mark:

Perhaps the most absurd part of the whole clip is this quote from the teacher, Diantha Harris:

Now I can support whomever I want to support, as long as I don’t browbeat another person for the candidate that they supported. Like I have some students that support John McCain, and when they told me that, I said ah … “that’s good"
and I just moved on. So, I think that everybody is entitled to their own personal opinion.

Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinion in her classroom as long as it's the same as her own.

By the way, there is absolutely no excuse for her berating that young girl whose father is in the military to the point that she was in tears. That alone is enough reason for that woman to be fired.


UPDATE: In the original version of the post I incorrectly stated that Ms. Harris was a teacher in Asheville, NC. The post has since been corrected.

Here is the contact information for the school:

Diantha Harris
Mary Mcarthur Elementary School
Principal Lola Williams
3809 Village Drive Fayetteville, NC 28304
Superintendent William C. Harrison

ANOTHER UPDATE: My wife, a.k.a. Mommypundit, ran across this article and wonders how this can be the same woman? Based on an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times about the controversy it appears she's the same person. Notice how the paper tries to downplay Ms. Harris' outrageous behavior.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Historic Election

After many, many months of grueling campaigning this election is over. Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama. He ran a spectacular campaign from beginning to end. It's been said many other places but let me add that this is proud moment for America. Even though I didn't vote for him, I do take pride in the fact that my country has elected an African-American as its president. It's an accomplishment that we can all take pride in as Americans even if we didn't all vote for him.

A few other random thoughts about this election:

Senator John McCain ran a fine campaign. Sure, there will be plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking from the pundit class about things he should have done or not done. But the fact is that this was going to be a difficult year for Republicans and I seriously doubt that having anyone else at the top of the ticket could have done any better than he did. America would have been just as blessed to have such a patriot serving us as Commander in Chief.

McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin was a brilliant move. She energized the Republican base and in the process sealed a bright future for herself in the Republican party. No other Vice-Presidential nominee would have energized the base the way she did. It's a safe bet that the Republican ticket did as well as it did in large part because of what Governor Palin brought to the ticket.

While we are on the subject of the Governor, I don't think she should be in any hurry to run for national office. She would probably be better served to return to Alaska, run for re-election in 2 years and then consider her options.

President-elect Obama is our first post-modern president. By that I mean that he successfully tapped into people's emotions and won over people's hearts more so than their minds.

This was an election about style over substance. Obama has a tremendous presence and is an incredibly gifted speaker. But there was very little meat in terms of policy proposals in his campaign. Thus, it's not clear how he will govern.

Democrats will feel emboldened to enact a liberal legislative agenda. But the fact remains that America is still a center-right country. Obama himself understood this and positioned himself as a center-right candidate.

One of his first challenges will be how to rein in the excesses of a Congress controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Obama positioned himself as a centrist in the campaign even though he clearly holds very liberal views. Will he govern according to ideology or more pragmatically? Will he be able to find areas of agreement with Republicans?

He's also got the problem of extremely high expectations. People want change. They are worried about problems that the country faces. He's going to have to have some quick successes or the honeymoon may be over before it starts.

Even though I have opposed him during this campaign, my duty is to respect the person and the office. In addition, as a Christian, I need to pray for him. President-elect Obama has willingly taken on what is arguably the hardest and most thankless job in the world. Sure, we have our differences but I should still be praying for him and that God would grant him the wisdom each day to make the decisions that are best for the country.

Two issues from this election that warrant further investigation but likely won't get any attention: voter registration fraud (especially concerning ACORN) and campaign finance irregularities. Both are serious issues that need to be researched thoroughly not to blame anyone or try to indict either campaign but rather to determine what steps need to be taken to be sure the same problems don't arise in the future. The problem with election fraud is that it's a problem that doesn't get dealt with unless an election is perilously close (think Florida in 2000). Even the people who are supposed to be fixing the problem don't. Elections and the right to vote are important. We need to be doing more to make sure that elections are conducted in a fair manner.

A word to my fellow conservatives and Republicans: for eight years we have watched our President be viciously attacked like no other President before him. We need to be better than the opposition has been to us. Let's support President Obama where we agree. Let's disagree in a civil but enthusiastic manner on issues that we disagree on. Let's also choose carefully those issues we are willing to go to the mattresses on rather than reflexively opposing him. But most of all, let us remember that he is our President and worthy of the honor and respect of his position even if we don't feel he's qualified to be there. He's doing a difficult job and deserves our respect.

Finally, a word to the Obama supporters. Be careful about your expectations. At some point, he will likely disappoint you. Perhaps not at first. Perhaps not for some time. But at some point he will make a decision or do something that will disappoint you. It's only natural. After all, he is not a messiah. He is human being trying to do a very difficult job to the best of his ability. Be prepared to cut him a little slack.

The people are looking to the government to solve their problems. The fact is that government often is the problem rather than the solution. No one person is going to be able to make all of your problems magically go away. We still face great challenges. Our newly elected President will have to learn on the job because there is no other job that adequately prepares you to be Commander in Chief. He will no doubt make mistakes. Be willing to cut him some slack.

Now is a time for all of us to take a deep breath. Americans can be proud of their country. This is a historic election. There will be plenty of time to argue over policy and politics at a later date. But for now, I'm taking a break from politics. I'll be praying for our new president and our country. They both will need it in the days and weeks ahead.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What If The Polls Are Wrong?

Polling has been conducted at an unprecedented level during this election cycle. As of today, margins between the two presidential candidates are anywhere from two to sixteen points depending on which survey you read. But what if we're heading for another election where the polls are totally wrong? I'm not referring to 2000 or 2004 where there were most famously problems with the exit polls. I'm talking about 1980.

Time Magazine conducted a lengthy analysis of the opinion polls following Ronald Reagan's landslide victory over President Jimmy Carter. (Hat tip: The Corner) Two trends jump out from this analysis. First, there were estimates that many voters changed their minds in the last 48 hours. These voters broke towards Reagan because they were unsure about how the Iranian hostage crisis was being handled. As a result, they changed their minds late and affected the outcome of the election.

The other trend they noted then is one that certainly seems to fit today: pollsters oversampled Democrats. My guess is that's exactly what's happening now as pollsters have been guessing that turnout will be higher among Democrats but fail to take into account other factors that can affect how they vote.

Making matters worse is that current polls have had a tendency to overstate support for Senator Obama. This is because he draws a lot of younger voters but they tend to be notoriously unreliable in showing up at the polls on Election Day. Also, blue collar voters that make up substantial portions of the electorate in key states are very difficult to poll because they don't respond to pollsters.

The bottom line is this: go out and vote today. Don't let the pollsters or the media or anyone else tell you that this election is over. We could have a long night ahead of us and some very surprising results in the end.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama In His Own Words

As Jim Geraghty says, "All Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. All Of Them." Mary Katherine Ham, who is without a doubt one of the most talented bloggers in the center-right blogosphere, pulled together the video clips and compiled them into the video below. Hat tip: The Corner

Ask yourself this question: can we really trust anything Senator Obama says?

I don't think so.

Never Give In

As we near the end of this marathon election campaign, some folks are feeling a bit discouraged. Perhaps they've been reading too many polls or paying too close attention to news stories that are trying to coronate Senator Obama before votes have been cast.

I am quite optimistic about the outcome of the election tomorrow. I expect by the time the day is over there will be a number of unexpected surprises.

As Election Day has drawn closer I have been thinking a lot about a famous speech given by Sir Winston Churchill. Part of it will be no doubt familiar but it is worth quoting at length. The speech was given on October 29, 1941 at Harlow School, a prominent prep school in England. Remember that Britain was already at war with Germany but the United States had not yet been brought into the conflict. This paragraph is probably at least somewhat familiar:

You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period - I am addressing myself to the School - surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

It's an amazing statement given the almost insurmountable odds that the British faced at that point in the war. They had no idea that America would soon join the fight. It looked at that time as if the situation was utterly hopeless. But it is the close of the speech that is perhaps the best part:

Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.

Tomorrow we will make history regardless of which ticket is elected to the highest office in the land. My hope and prayer is that Senator McCain and Governor Palin will emerge victorious. It's now up to each one of us to go out and vote tomorrow and make sure that happens.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Who's Selfish?

Let me get this straight. Cindy McCain pays for a house for her aunt and gets rakes over the coals about how many houses she owns. But Barack Obama has an aunt living in the U. S. illegally and in public housing and he does nothing to help her?

Who's really selfish?