Archive for May, 2008

Changing the Channel on Iraq

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Thought this was an insightful perspective.  Excerpt from Kimberly Dozier, “Technically, I Was Dead,” Newsweek, May 26, 2008:

In short, I am a walking reminder of a war most of America seems to want to turn away from.  Put it on a newscast, and people change the channel.  Put it on the cover of a news magazine, and sales slump.  Then I walk in and remind them of the war (make that two wars, in two countries) that only 1 percent of this country is risking their lives for.  And I remind them that parts of this battle are hell.

The usual reaction I get from people about the war in Iraq is: “It’s awful, it has gone on long enough.  We’ve got to pull out and just let them kill each other.”  Yes, people really say that.  Yet that seems to me to be a decision based on yet another emotional need to “change the channel” instead of thinking of lives, American and Iraqi, already spent and what sort of future we leave behind in that country.

As a journalist, I will not advocate a specific policy — but I will continue to remind Americans of the consequences of our actions, and the cost.  No matter how this conflict started, the rest of the world is now watching what we do, and judging us by what we do next.

You can read the full article here.

“Shut the heck up” politics

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Bush gets beat up for replacing U.S. Attorneys.  Obama gets attacked for the church he attends.  Chelsea Clinton gets pestered about her father’s affair(s).  McCain seems to get in trouble with every endorsement he receives.  None of these things are real issues, but rather distractions used by the media and the division-mongers among us to produce discord and cause pain.

The problem is most of the leaders of our country sold out long ago and became panderers.  Once you start pandering, you can’t stop — as with lies, it becomes an endless, downward spiral.  You have to keep changing your stories and answering to those who really shouldn’t be calling the shots.

I long for the day when our leaders will take some leadership and say, “enough already!”


Why McCain Annoys Me

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Using the tactics of the “political hit-squads” that forced the issue of Jeremiah Wright upon the Obama campaign, unknown agents have attacked John McCain in similar manner, calling into question the endorsements of pastors John Hagee and Ron Parsley.  I’m no fan of either, but McCain’s renunciation of both has strongly affected my perception of his (McCain’s) leadership.

First, here’s what Hagee said:

“God says in Jeremiah 16: ‘Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers. … Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them.’ That would be the Jews. … Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.”  (quoted from CNN article here)

For McCain to immediately call these remarks “deeply offensive and indefensible” shows that he (and the media, and much of society) does not respect or understand Scripture, or the role of pastors in applying it to life and world events.  The very words he repudiates are more than half directly from the Bible!  And is it not clear from the Bible that God uses judges, kings, pharaohs, and yes, evil dictators, to accomplish his will in the world?  (A later post will provide some examples of this in Scripture.)

McCain indicated that he was against anything that was anti-anything.  But don’t we have to stand for something?  The very nature of taking a firm stand, a leadership role, means you have to be against something.  And I’d like a president who doesn’t cave to the fear-mongering and politicking and the traps of the media.  McCain is clearly not the man.

Appeasement Hits Close to Home

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

So President Bush was in Israel to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its founding, and he gave a speech before the Knesset. In that speech, he said we shouldn’t negotiate with the terrorists who proclaim death to the Jews and death to the Americans, and with those whose very raison d’etre is to destroy Israel:

As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Seems pretty straightforward, but Obama and other Democrats seem to think that Bush’s comments were directed squarely at them. They feel offended at being unfairly accused (even though Bush never mentioned anybody) of “appeasement.” Now tell me this: if Obama’s sure the anonymous “accusation” is false, why’s he so upset about it? Something tells me that Bush’s words hit very close to home for a lot of the “quick and easy peace” Democrats.

So far I’ve written nothing original, just summarized a little news. So what’s my contribution to this discussion? How about we put this in some biblical perspective?


Mosaics of Old Maps

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

One of the really cool projects that I get to work on is building indexes and access systems for the various maps that become part of the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network. (In case you don’t want to read the rest, just check out the beginnings of something I’m working on. View the map, then click “LUM 1942.”)

Many of the maps that were scanned so far are from old atlases, ranging from 1858 through the early 1900s. Then there are two sets of land use survey maps that were produced by the Works Progress Administration in 1942 and 1962. (Wikipedia says that the WPA was shut down by Congress in 1943, so I’m not sure where the 1962 set came from, but that’s what the title sheet says…)

Anyway, I’ve been having fun with the 1942 set of the Land Use Maps. The maps are arranged in a grid of 100 plates that covers Philadelphia, and are pretty straightforward to navigate. But in this modern day and age where Google offers a seamless coverage of the whole earth, who wants to flip through individual plates?

Enter the mosaic.


“Patch Adams” Christianity

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Last night I watched “Patch Adams,” with Robin Williams. Based on a true story, Hunter “Patch” Adams is a passionate doctor-in-training who eschews the cold science of doctorship and seeks to provide true, wholistic care for his patients. While I believe the relationship between the “establishment” and the “rebel” is somewhat overplayed, the clarity of the fight certainly provides good material for thought.

The dean of the medical school sets the stage with his opening remarks:

It is human nature to lie, take shortcuts, to lose your nerve, get tired, make mistakes. No rational patient would put his trust in a human being, and we’re not gonna let him! It is our mission here to rigorously and ruthlessly train the humanity out of you and make you into something better. We’re gonna make doctors out of you.