Sunday Suggestions

Well, the race to the weekend is finally over — here’s some links found along the way:

  • Medicaid woes: I’ve been tooting this horn for a while (see also here): Medicaid, (with Medicare closing fast), is paying physicians substantially less than their cost to see the patient, and it’s causing a huge and growing access problem. In Washington state, over 50% of physicians now have dropped out of Medicaid (for many reasons: unaffordable reimbursements, long delays in payment, bureaucratic hassles, hyper-aggressive “fraud and abuse” policies, higher liability risk in these patients, high no-show rate for appointments, etc., etc.), and most of the rest restrict their numbers. Practices which exceed 30-35% Medicaid patients are at vastly greater risk of closing or going into bankruptcy. The bureaucrats and politicians always sing the same song: “We cannot find any evidence that access to health care is being affected.” After all, they can still get health care, so what’s the problem? The Doctor Won’t See You
  • Postmodern Christianity: Last time I checked, religious faith had something to do with absolute truth and core beliefs. Old fashioned notion, I guess: Seattle now has an Episcopal priest who is both fully Christian and fully Muslim — although the core teachings are diametrically opposed about such trivial things as the nature of Christ, the Resurrection, the Crucifixion, and a thousand other central tenets. The response of the priest’s bishop to this? He thinks it presents great opportunities for interfaith dialog. Riiight. The First Openly Muslim Priest
  • Michael Totten in Baghdad: — must-read: Welcome to Baghdad
  • From the See No Evil Department: Huge weapons cache in Dallas — AK-47’s, grenades, submachine guns, ordinance launchers, tons of ammunition.
     
    No chance it was terrorism, no siree:
     

    Authorities tell us the tenant travels to the Middle East frequently and just returned from there Wednesday morning. That information and the amount of weapons found lead to the involvement of the North Texas Terrorism Task Force. However, authorities say there is no reason to suspect terrorism as a motive.

  • Decentralizing counterterrorism: Feel safe with Homeland Security? Me neither. This seems like a far better solution, from the always-excellent City Journal: On the Front Line in the War on Terrorism

That’s all for now. Have a great week, and God bless.

Sunday Suggestions


This week’s links:

  • The New Boeing 787 & the history of commercial aviation:
  • What \'s all this “revolutionary’ stuff?

  • Postmodern war in the media age: How Al Qaeda is Winning Even as it is Losing 
  • The Middle East Tinderbox: Slouching Toward Bethlehem
     
    And a related post: Dark Ages Redux?
  • VDH on Education: Victor Davis Hanson is one of the most insightful writers out there on our current culture and the war with the Islamists. Here’s a great example of his insights: Blissfully Uneducated. Key graph:
     

    The theme of all such therapeutic curricula is relativism. There are no eternal truths, only passing assertions that gain credence through power and authority. Once students understand how gender, race, and class distinctions are used to oppress others, they are then free to ignore absolute “truth,” since it is only a reflection of one \'s own privilege.

    By contrast, the aim of traditional education was to prepare a student in two very different ways. First, classes offered information drawn from the ages --the significance of Gettysburg, the characters in a Shakespeare play, or the nature of the subjunctive mood. Integral to this acquisition were key dates, facts, names, and terms by which students, in a focused manner in conversation and speech, could refer to the broad knowledge that they had gathered.

    (HT: Maggie’s Farm)

  • From the Cultural Cuisinart: VDH (again) takes down the NYT editorial on Iraq: The New York Times Surrenders. He takes down as well, by proxy, virtually every “fact” espoused by the media, most politicians in D.C., and increasingly, American public opinion swayed by these organs. Is anyone listening?
  • A Hard Decision: Residents of Oregon town say shape of traffic posts is offensive. One trembles to think how the public trash bins are designed.
  • Fishocrites strike again: Joe Carter over at Evangelical Outpost takes on a favorite topic of mine: the accusation of “hypocrisy” against Christians — by those who have no principles to violate: Larry Flynt vs. David Vitter
  • David Warren nails it: why reason and negotiation won’t work with Islamists: True to Reason
  • Family Facts: Go-to place for factual information on the effects of cultural change on families: Family Facts (HT: Evangelical Outpost)
  • Immigration and its corrupting nature: First Things must-read on an aspect of illegal immigration not often considered: Illegal Immigration and Our Corruption

That’s all for now. God bless, have a great week.

Sunday Suggestions

Well, it’s time for a summary of some of the highlights of the web this week:

Well, that’s all for now. God bless, and have a great week.

Sunday Suggestions

Well, it’s that time again — it’s been a prosperous week for web links, with loads of good stuff. Here’s a sample:

  • From the Cultural Cuisinart: Over at First Things, Francis Beckwith drops Richard Dawkins into the blender over the inherently contradictory worldview of his deterministic naturalism. Dawkins is taking to task a fellow scientist, Kurt Wise, who has embraced young-earth creationism, by criticizing him on a moral basis for rejecting pure science and wasting his talents for good:
     

    So the human being who wastes his talents is one who does not respect his natural gifts or the basic capacities whose maturation and proper employment make possible the flourishing of many goods. In other words, the notion of “proper function” … is assumed in the very judgment Dawkins makes about Wise and the way by which Wise should treat himself.

    But Dawkins, in fact, does not actually believe that living beings, including human beings, have intrinsic purposes or are designed so that one may conclude that violating one \'s proper function amounts to a violation of one \'s moral duty to oneself. Dawkins has maintained for decades that the natural world only appears to be designed. He writes in The God Delusion: “Darwin and his successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings. We can now safely say that the illusion of design in living creatures is just that — an illusion.”

    But this means that his lament for Wise is misguided, for Dawkins is lamenting what only appears to be Wise \'s dereliction of his duty to nurture and employ his gifts in ways that result in his happiness and an acquisition of knowledge that contributes to the common good. Yet because there are no designed natures and no intrinsic purposes, and thus no natural duties that we are obligated to obey, the intuitions that inform Dawkins’ judgment of Wise are as illusory as the design he explicitly rejects. But that is precisely one of the grounds by which Dawkins suggests that theists are irrational and ought to abandon their belief in God.

    Like a fine red wine: bold, but not arrogant.
     
    Beckwith does a follow-up post here which is also very worthwhile. Check it out.

  • More from the Cultural Cuisinart: First Things was hitting on all cylinders this week. Seems like the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) is proposing “racial justice monitors” for its church meetings. Russell Saltzman responds with the whirling blade which leaves no lumps, just a smooth blend of sarcasm and irony.
     
    For my money, the ELCA should appoint “wacky theology monitors.” Seems to me if they figure out how Christianity really works, by transforming the heart rather than through inane political correctness, they might just find their racial problems slowly … melting … away — without the need for Orwellian overseers.
  • On Iraq: Dan Simmons gives an excellent overview of our options there. Realistic review with no B.S.
  • From the Auto Department: Buying a car? Here’s how to get the Technical Service Bulletins for your dreamboat. A Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB, is a notification by the manufacturer on how to fix a common, recurring problem in a vehicle, but it is not a full recall.
     
    And here’s where to find the manufacturers recommended service schedule for your car
  • From the “I’m Up All Night Thinking About My Health” Department: Here’s good news for junkies like me: coffee is good for you. Really good. Prevents cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, cirrhosis, and ingrown toenails. Big study, long-term follow-up: not junk science. And more is better.
     
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go organize the closets again… (HT: Chasing the Wind)
  • From the Weird, Scary, and Sicko Department: a local family is being stalked by perverted sicko(s) who have commandeered their cell phones. Outer Limits-type stuff here. If true, it’s time to ditch the cell and start sending smoke signals. But I strongly suspect a hoax here: there is simply no way to seize control of a cell phone which is powered down — any more than you can control a computer which is turned off (as opposed to hibernating). Let’s hope so, anyway.

That’s all for now – God bless, and have a great week.

Sunday Suggestions


Dude, its time for Sunday ruminations! Inhale deeply of the finest weed the web has to offer this week.

• From the “Things I Thought I Knew How to Do” Department: They say an expert is one who knows more and more about less and less, until he or she knows everything about nothing. So here’s a site or two written by such experts on the rather arcane topic of tying your shoes. Must say, I learned a thing or two — which speaks poorly of my basic life skills.

• From the Cultural Cuisinart: Michael Novak over at First Things has been doing a fascinating series on the relationship between capitalism and Christianity. In Part III, he addresses some of the hoary objections to U.S economic strength and its relationship to the rest of the world. I like my objections finely minced, thank you, and Michael’s got his food processor smokin’ here. (Part I here, and Part 2 here). Good stuff.

• From the “And I Thought My Dog Was Bad” Department: “BAD DOG, Charlie!!” Charlie may be smarter than the tow truck driver, though…

• From the Obama Watch Department: Obama’s got religion, all right — only question is, which one? In an effort to unify all us divisive Christians (no small feat, this), he starts out by — slamming Christians:

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in remarks prepared for delivery before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ.

“Part of it’s because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us,” the Illinois senator said.

Ya’ know, I think he’s on to something here — there is a vast divide between those who adhere to orthodox and historical Christian faith and teaching, and those who follow racial demagogues, wrapping the wolf of socialism in the sheep’s clothing of Christian-talk.

And ya’ know, that’s a good thing

That’s all for now. God bless, and have a great week.

Sunday Suggestions

It’s time to cook up another batch of weekly web wanderings to wet your whistle.

So here goes:

♦ From the Cultural Cuisinart Department: Some people and situations just beg to be sliced and diced, verbally pureed and served over ice with whipped cream. Such is the case with one of our finer bench jockeys, the Honorable Roy Pearson. It seems that Hizzonor, an administrative law judge pulling in $100K a year in D.C. for vetting legal briefs, has gotten his knickers twisted over some misplaced pants. He’s suing a Korean dry cleaners for a cool $65 million because they lost his trousers. Talk about taking them to the cleaners. In off-the-cuff remarks in the courtroom this week, Pearson opined:

“These are not my pants,” Pearson recalled telling Chung when she handed him a pair of gray pants with cuffs. “I have, in my adult life, with one exception, never worn pants with cuffs.”

“And she said, ‘These are your pants.’ ”

Pearson paused. He struggled to breathe deeply. He could not continue. Pearson blurted a request for a break, stood up, turned around and walked out of the courtroom, tears dripping from his full and reddened eyes.

Slack-jawed, I tell you, slack jawed: if you work for McDonald’s, do not sell this man a cup of hot coffee. Gerard Van der Leun has puts the finishing touches on this delicious dish here.

♦ Islam in Europe: The conventional wisdom on the mass immigration of Muslims to Europe is that it has been purely economic in nature. Who knew it was actively pursued by a partnership between European elites and the Arabs as part of a response to Israel’s humiliation of the Arabs in the 1973 Yom Kipper war? The incomparable Andrew Bostom tells us a whole lot more. Can you say, “Blowback”, boys and girls?

♦ In the Really Cool Photographs Department: Here’s a site with color pictures from World War I — yes, WWI! Amazingly sharp and detailed. And for you WWII junkies, here’s color photos from that conflagration as well. Check it out.

♦ From the Driving Tips Department: We all know the dangers of driving while distracted — you know, fiddling with the radio, talking on the cell phone, eating fast food, embracing …

Embracing??

You betcha — and we safety-conscious Washingtonians have leading-edge legislation to nip this one in the bud:

A Washington State Patrol trooper pulled over an SUV on Interstate 90 in this Seattle suburb after observing it driving erratically about 1:20 a.m. Friday.

The trooper found both the driver and his female passenger were naked, with alcohol containers in the vehicle. They apparently had been interrupted in the middle of an intimate act, said Trooper Jeff Merrill, a State Patrol spokesman.

A 19-year-old Seattle man was arrested for investigation of drunken driving, a gross misdemeanor, and investigation of embracing while driving, which Merrill said was a misdemeanor. The 20-year-old Seattle woman was cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol, he said. The patrol did not release their names.

But I bet he keeps their crime scene photos on his computer …

Take care, God bless, and have a great Sunday.

Sunday Suggestions

One of the features I enjoy on some of my favorite blogs is a periodic summary of interesting things they are reading. After all, if you enjoy reading a blog, and value their thoughts and insights, it makes sense that you might well be interested in the things they find interesting. And so, I will begin an irregular weekly feature regularly on a sporadic basis every seven days or so, or whenever.

It’s my hope that both my regular readers will find this enlightening, educational and entertaining.

Cool tools I have stumbled across will also be on the docket, as will useful or interesting new sites.

And being a narcissist, I will also include some of my own previous posts which are lying in the digital dustbin, blowing off the cobwebs of some prior bloviations for old times’ sake.

So here goes:

♦ hitchens is not Great: As some of you may know, Christopher Hitchens has written a book entitled god is not Great. Now, I have a great deal of respect for Hitch, who like a lonely prophet cries out in the in the vast intellectual desert of the Left, seemingly alone understanding the stakes at hand in our struggle against the evil of Islamic fascism. Hitch is a very smart dude — and also an outspoken atheist, which indicates he’s not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

So you owe it to yourself to check out Mark D. Roberts’ slapdown of ol’ Hitch in his series of posts on the book. See what Hitchens’ knowledge of church history and biblical scholarship looks like after being processed through a Cuisinart. Top with whipped cream, a cherry, and serve cold.

Apologetics at its very best (HT: Hewitt).

♦ Disputed Sovereignty: Richard John Neuhaus, the editor-in-chief over at First Things, has a transcription of a recent sermon to the military chaplains at the National Cathedral. Excellent discourse on the moral challenges of being a Christian minister at war. Key quote:

We are servants of a disputed sovereignty. In the responsorial psalm we declared, “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy.” Christ has ascended his throne, but his rule is challenged by rival thrones. For us who believe, St. Paul says in today \'s second lesson, it is the fact that Christ rules “far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion.” But the principalities and powers of the present age still rage against his rule. We are the servants of a disputed sovereignty.

Check it out.

♦ In the Cool Tools Department: One major problem I have in life is time — not enough of it, that is. Being a physician is more than a full-time job, which seriously cuts into the gadzillion other things I enjoy doing, or which are important, and just need to get done. I’m beginning to utilize the GTD (Getting Things Done) approach (popularized by David Allen), although I’m not quite compulsive enough to really master it (actually, I spend so much time looking at GTD sites and tips that I have trouble, well, getting things done…)

This week I stumbled across a remarkable tool in my search for organizational Nirvana, called Backpack. Backpack is a web-based tool for creating To Do lists, project pages, idea buckets, and a host of other extraordinarily useful capabilities. It’s a breeze to master, intuitive, lean & mean interface — the first such web-based tool which you will want to use for getting your life under control. I could spend an hour describing its features and uses, but won’t — if you need to get your life together (organizationally, at least), try it out and be amazed.

♦ From the Dustbin: And closing with a blast from the past, here’s a lengthy, but hopefully worthwhile, meditation /essay of mine, on sitting down for a cuppa’ Joe with God, called The Prayer of Java.

Take care, God bless, and have a great Sunday.