Band Name Meme

This comes through Marko’s Blog, who had been tagged by Mark Riddle.  Marko called it “silly”, but never let it be said that I’m above a bit of silliness.

The rules are simple …

1. Band Name: Random Wikipeda Link

2. Album Title: Random quote generator (take the last four words from the first quote on the page)

3. Album Art: Flickr Interesting Photo (pick one)

I don’t think I did so badly

Band Name – Kebakko, a food from Finland that is a fusion mix of Kebabs with traditional Finnish meatloaf.  Hmm, I’m getting hungry.

Album Name – Fatal to true happiness.  It comes from a quote by Bertrand Russell – “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.

Album Picture – I have my choice, but I also have a choice that would not be mine, but would be the 1st choice for many of my friends given the title.

My Choice

Sky over Crazy Horse

Sky Moves


And the choice that I think many of my friends would make….

VIGGOBAMA (I can’t get it to display, you’ll just have to follow the link)


So, I think I’ll tag my wife Stephanie for this.  Of course, she’s going to be hoping something Stryper-like


Death throes of the Republican Party

The election is over.  I was watching CNN when they were able to call California, Oregon, and Washington for Senator (and now President-Elect) Obama.  

This may or may not have been a mandate for change – though I suspect it was.  In the past couple of minutes, Senator McCain came out to give his concession…

…and the crowd booed.

I am ashamed to be a Republican.  As I type, I hear more booing.  That is horrible.  It is worse than the poorest joke, it is disgusting.  

It needs to die.  The Republican party has fallen fast and hard.  It is out of touch, and the representatives of the party present at this concession speech show just how pathetic we have become.

Unless something changes – and that quickly – the GOP could, should, and needs to die.  Sweep it under the rug, split the Democrats or promote the Greens or the Libertarians.   

Senator McCain – you ended your campaign with class.  Too bad your party couldn’t do the same.

Vote 2008 – Abortion sidebar

This post came out today at the God’s Politics Blog.  Was right on target with some of the things I’m saying in this series.

Family and All-Hallows-Eve

I am blogging from a most unusual spot.  While many of my friends both old and new are in Pittsburgh for the National Youth Workers Convention, I am in my backyard with my son camping out.  Halloween is almost over, and for another year we have avoided it.

From our more conservative days, my wife and I have not celebrated Halloween.  It started mostly as a religious viewpoint.  We weren’t concerned about demons and what-not, we just didn’t feel that it was something that was compatible with who we are as people of faith.

Don’t get me wrong, we most certainly believe in the supernatural, and we believe that demons exist.  We’re just not sure that demons give a rat’s behind about Halloween.  It wasn’t the supernatural we were avoiding, it was the more than natural, people giving themselves and excuse to act in ways that weren’t who they were meant to be.

We’ve been married for fifteen years now.  Sometimes feels like five, sometimes feels like fifty.  But this is our fifteenth Halloween together, and we still aren’t celebrating.  With Liam around now, it’s getting harder. 

Earlier tonight, Liam took his drawing pad and wrote “Boo”.  Yeah, next year is going to be a problem.

Really, I have nothing against candy, I have nothing against costumes, I have nothing against monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein (that’s Fronk-en-schteen).  But our reasons for not celebrating Halloween have changed.  The reason is still religious too – it’s this sense of consumption.  Scratch that – it is this sense of OVER-consumption, this gluttonous attitude mixed with a sense of entitlement.  I don’t know, maybe it is demons we’re scared of.  

I don’t know that we have to worry about Liam.  So as to avoid the trick-or-treating mob, we went out tonight, a walk through Toys-r-Us (Geoffrey spells his name wrong) and dinner at Chili’s.  We actually had to force a toy on Liam (how does that happen?) – his first ViewMaster.  Once he figured it out, he had a blast.  Stereo images might not be all that cool anymore to adults, but Liam loved it.

But not enough to stop stealing his mother’s fries at dinner.

I think the only reason he isn’t using it now is that we’re outside in the dark. That, and well, he finally passed out about half an hour ago.

Being dad isn’t always easy.  But tents and fries and simple toys always help.

Vote 2008 – Abortion part two

As we move forward, the first thing to do is to put some definition to the why the Pro-Life movement has been such a failure to this point, and to examine if success is in the offing in the short or long term.  The seeds of the failure I believe lie not in the pursuit of the goal, but fundamentally in the basic building blocks of the Pro-Life movement, and that the recognition of these seeds hold implications for other groups and organizations.

I stated in my previous post that “[i]n theory, the goal of the Pro-Life movement (please notice the caps, they are important) is to bring about the end of abortion in the United States.”  The importance of the caps is to distinguish between people who are pro-life (which is essentially everyone) and the Pro-Life movement as an organized group, represented by organizations such as the National Right to Life Committee or Focus on the Family.  

If you were told that the goal of the NRLC was to reduce abortions to zero within a certain time frame, you probably wouldn’t find any reason to think that was incorrect.  While that isn’t necessarily wrong, it is very different from their stated goal as found in their mission statement.

The ultimate goal of the National Right to Life Committee is to restore legal protection to innocent human life….  The Committee does not have a position on issues such as contraception, sex education, capital punishment, and national defense.  (emphasis added) (1)

Some may say that this is splitting hairs, but I think at the very foundation of the NRLC is the seed of their failure.  Their goal is not to stop abortions only, but to do so in a legislative fashion.  The goal states a singular path to reaching that goal, and eliminates the need or responsibility to explore other options.  They have been so myopic in their pursuit of this goal, that I doubt that many even recognize the significance of this statement.  

Many people understand at some level that our legal system is based upon an Adversarial System – every case has a winner and a loser.  The outcome of each case is determined in part by the ability of trained advocates (lawyers) to present a particular side of a story.  As stated at Wikipedia, “[j]ustice is done when the most effective adversary is able to convince the judge or jury that his or her perspective on the case is the correct one.” (2)

I am not knocking our legal system – but we have to understand the implications of this method.  Under our legal system, there will always be losers.  For every winner there will be a loser, and for every loser there will be a winner.  From a legal standpoint, we consider justice to have been met once a decision has been made.

Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.  We recognize this, that justice isn’t always done by the decisions handed down by a judge or jury.  We have safeguards in place to help us avoid in-justice being done by our justice system – examples include our right to remain silent granted in the fifth amendment and the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

However, safeguards are not a protection against perceived in-justice when the fundamental set of assumptions brought by each side of a debate are significantly different.  

Fundamental Assumptions for Pro-Life

  • Life begins at conception
  • Child’s life is paramount

Fundamental Assumptions for Pro-Choice

  • Life begins at birth
  • Mother’s life is paramount

Do you begin to see the problem? Without being able to reconcile the differences in the fundamental assumptions brought to the debate about the nature of justice by the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice sides, in any decision handed down by the courts, there is a legitimate case for in-justice having been done to the losing side.  We have gone beyond just trying to determine facts.  When there is a significant difference in the fundamental set of assumptions brought to the table, court decisions (and legislative actions) move to negating an entire set of morals and sense of justice.  Regardless of which side of the debate one falls, we must recognize that in an adversarial system of justice it is only when competing sides share a common set or near-common set of assumptions can a perception of in-justice be avoided.

Here is the question that both sides need to consider when trying to plan their strategy for “winning” – under what circumstances will an individual or group give up a quest for justice?  Broadly, I can see only three ways.

  • Death – a person or group will give up a quest for justice when they no longer exist.
  • Resignation – a person or group will give up a quest for justice when they no longer believe that a quest for justice can succeed.
  • Conversion – a person or group will give up a specific quest for justice when they become convinced that an alternative set of fundamental assumptions have greater value than their current set of fundamental assumptions.

Given the relative financial strength of each side in this debate, the relative courage of their convictions, and the relative faith in the righteousness of their cause, it is unlikely that either side can truly and rationally envision “winning” this debate anytime soon.  The debate has been reduced to a legalistic and legislative version of “trench warfare”. 

The unfortunate thing that seems evident about human nature particularly through this debate is that a strong faith in the righteousness of a cause and a strong courage of convictions would seem to lead to a myopic vision of the path to winning, such as evidenced by the mission statement of the NRLC.  

So the NRLC’s failure to achieve their goals lies directly in their chosen method of attain their goals.  Their method is the path of most resistance and in the myopia inherent in their assumptions, are unable to consider alternative means of reaching the goal.  Here is the question that we need to ask – is the stated method of attaining the goal part of their fundamental set of assumptions about justice in the abortion debate?  In other words, if we conclude that “winning” is not a possibility in the short term, and in the long term it is impossible to estimate a time frame, are there ways to break out of an entrenched myopia without at the same time abandoning or violating a fundamental set of assumptions?  




Vote 2008 – Abortion part one

By faith, I am a pro-life person.  I believe in the sanctity of life, I believe that life begins at conception.  I believe that abortion is one of the top 3-4 scourges facing humanity today.  The number of abortions that occur in this country every day disgusts me.

A lot of things disgust me.  

The number of children that die every day (every minute) due to preventable disease and hunger disgusts me.  Knowing how many of those deaths we could prevent with the same $$$ provided in the bailout disgusts me even more.  (I won’t tell you, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.  Look it up and do the math – if you can avoid throwing up check to see if you still have your soul).

That we have an administration that thinks that civil rights have contextual application disgusts me.  Hint – the Patriot Act is not very patriotic – at least I think the original patriots would have voted no.  Another hint – the Protect America Act is not titled the Protect Americans Act for a reason.  The end does not justify the means (remember that phrase – it is a corollary to tanstaafl).

That there are people on death row not just because they were guilty, but because they were guilty AND black disgusts me.

That otherwise well-meaning Christians think “there ought to be a law” is a Christian value disgusts me.  I don’t understand how Christians can look at our “choice” of faith, and think that a proper display of our faith is to order people around.

If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all. – Jacob Hornberger

In theory, the goal of the Pro-Life movement (please notice the caps, they are important) is to bring about the end of abortion in the United States.  I think we can call the pursuit of this goal an unmitigated failure.  Since Roe v. Wade, there have been about 50,000,000 abortions in this country.  I doubt that number really means anything to you, so let me put it into perspective.  Take how many people you know.  Use whatever scale you want – friends, good friends, business acquaintances, whatever.  Now divide that number by six.  What number did you come up with?  On average, that is the number of people you would have known if they had been born.

Sure, organizations like National Right To Life would like to have you believe that a 25% reduction in the number of abortions since the high in 1990 is a success (1), if you want to call a reduction to 1,200,000 abortions/year a success.  I’ll be generous and even give them credit for the full 25% coming from three pieces of case precedence – Webster (1989), Akron (1990), and Casey (1992) (2).  Essentially these three cases affirmed the rights of parents to be involved in medical decisions of their minor children, and didn’t require new legislation.  

In reality, it would be difficult to gauge how much of the decline is due to case law, and how much is due to safer-sex practices – particularly the increase in condom use due to a greater fear of HIV/AIDS and other STDs.  Legislation/Case Law does not explain the increase in abortions in each year from 1973 to 1980, nor does it explain the plateau seen from 1980 to 1990 (but the economic concepts of increases in suppliers explains the first, and a plateau suggests that an economic equilibrium was reached).  It also does not explain the continued drops in abortions performed in the years after 1992.  Presumably the effects of case law would be fully realized within a year or two – what would explain the continued drop, and was that explanation present in 1990 when the drops were first observed?

The improvement in performed abortions since 1990 has been marginal each year.  There hasn’t been any significant case law/legislation since then.  Even if we discount every single other factor, it would be hard to consider the Pro-Life movement a success.

There is the past, in a truncated Reader’s Digest version of a nutshell.  Over the next couple of posts I will explore future implications of the Pro-Life movement both on Abortion and on the Body of Christ, alternative strategies, and how all of this relates to the current presidential candidates – Sens. Obama and McCain.

A new blog, I might as well start with something easy, right?