September 29, 2008

An alarming return! A.K.A. not exactly new, but...

I speak not of myself here, recovering from the world of the unemployed and now sitting comfortable at State Farm insurance.

Nor do I reference this post, and my return to the blogosphere after a long first week of aforementioned j-o-business.

And NO, it has NOTHING to do with politics (breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now).

No, I have come back to alert you all of a most shocking return to the world of pop music! Not a place I usually visit, and in fact wasn't even intending to when I flipped open YouTube tonight. But there they were, a promoted video: the flipping New Kids on the Block!

Many of you will scoff (especially those of you who grew up in a cool place like Grand Rapids, who lived and breathed rap and r&b before I even knew who New Edition was), but sadly this is one of the boy groups we favored out in lake country, good ol' Minnesnowta.

Yep, my sister Lea's first concert was NKOTB, on the fourth of July when I was nine years old. I was so jealous but I would never tell her that, not even to this day. Declaring the group stupid and her devotion to them a flash in the pan, I had to listen to them in secret behind my sister's back. I scoffed at her "Donnie's Girl" homemade t-shirt and practiced my early dance moves to Hangin' Tough playing oh-so softly on the boombox in our basement.

So, in honor of this group who has obviously soured (their new single is called "Single" for crying out loud), and to continue my quest to let you all in on my little secret childhood (I am in no way cool, never have been, never will be, and let this post be a lesson to it!)... here's a look back on one of their better ones, "Please Don't Go, Girl" from 1989.

For fun, count how many times they clench their fists in effigy. I think I got up to 37.

September 24, 2008

Biden, Obama helped keep 'Bridge to Nowhere' alive

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston
CNN Special Investigations Unit

DEWEY BEACH, Delaware (CNN) -- Although Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden routinely mocks his Republican counterpart, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for her onetime support of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," Biden and his running mate voted to keep the project alive twice.

Both Biden and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama voted to kill a Senate amendment that would have diverted federal funding for the bridge to repair a Louisiana span badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Senate records show.

And both voted for the final transportation bill that included the $223 million earmark for the Alaska project.

An amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, would have stripped the money appropriated to connect the Alaskan coastal city of Ketchikan to its airport on sparsely populated Gravina Island and diverted the money to Louisiana.

But Biden andObama and 80 of their colleagues rejected the measure, an amendment to a massive 2005 transportation bill that funded thousands of projects across the country. Watch how Biden has blasted Palin »

"That is probably the most disturbing element of this and the campaigning on the Bridge to Nowhere," said Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation, a taxpayer watchdog group. "Because, yes, they had a chance to vote specifically against the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska to redirect the money to people, to bridges and infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Katrina going in to New Orleans, and they chose not to."

The final version passed the Senate 93-1. Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has made his opposition to congressional "pork-barrel" spending a cornerstone of his campaign, did not vote on either the Coburn amendment or the final bill.

Palin, whom McCain chose as his running mate in August, has regaled crowds at the Republican convention and on the campaign trail with her declaration of "Thanks, but no thanks" for the bridge. But her conversion came after she became Alaska's governor in 2006 and after the bridge became a national symbol of congressional waste.

The record shows that she supported the bridge as a gubernatorial candidate, and Democrats have seized on the flip-flop, perhaps no one with as much relish as Biden.

"I got also a bridge I got to sell you here, and guess what, it's in Alaska, and it goes nowhere," Biden mocked Palin on the campaign trail last week in Maumee, Ohio. And in Canton, Ohio, he tied it to McCain.

"If you look at it John McCain's answers for the economy, and we're in such desperate shape, is the ultimate bridge to nowhere. It's nowhere," Biden said. "It takes you nowhere."

But while the applause line appealed to the Democratic faithful, it could come back to bite the Delaware senator.

This year, Delaware has requested 116 congressional earmarks through Biden, its longtime senator, at a cost to taxpayers of $342 million. In an appearance on CNN's "American Morning" with anchor John Roberts, Biden said that he had been open about those requests and that they all can be justified.

"Everyone has seen them, and we have no Lawrence Welk Museums and have no bridges to nowhere in Delaware. It's all straight up," Biden said.

Among his requests: $1 million for renovation of an opera house in Wilmington, another million for the construction of a children's museum and thousands of dollars for a water park renovation in Lewes.

"I think opera patrons generally can afford to -- you can raise money for an opera house; you can refurbish things a lot of different ways," Allison said.

"To have federal taxpaying dollars -- which is coming from people all over the country; low-income, middle-income people, as well as the wealthy -- to go to pay for the renovation of something that is really a luxury for Wilmington ... There are far more vital projects that anyone could think of that needs money. You got health care. You got education. You got all other types of things. Instead, we are redirecting money to refurbish an opera house in Wilmington or to build a children's museum."

And Biden's request includes a bridge that even the head of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce says is not crucial at this juncture.

The Indian River Inlet Bridge is a vital link between two popular beachfront towns: Dewey and Bethany. Without it, the estimated 30,000 summer visitors would have to travel an additional 35 minutes to get to the towns.

"We need a new bridge, and we are fortunate to be at a place where it is finally going to happen," said Carol Everhart, the chief of the Chamber of Commerce.

The existing bridge has some erosion problems, and if it ever collapsed, Everhart said, it would cause an economic disaster in the community. But it's safe for now.

"The bridge, as it is, is perfectly safe," she said.

Still, Biden asked for $13 million to help shore up the existing bridge and begin construction of a new one. And that's what troubles the Sunlight Foundation's Allison.

"This bridge is not in any danger of collapse, and essentially what Sen. Biden is doing is saying, 'My state bridge gets the priority dollar even though it is not a priority project,' " Allison said.

He said the Department of Transportation, rather than U.S. senators, should be deciding which bridges get priority funding in the country. That way, the bridges in the U.S. that need immediate repair would be first in line for the dollars needed to do the work.

As he embarked on his presidential bid in 2007, Obama said he would no longer ask for earmark projects. McCain, who has been a longtime critic of the process, does not seek any for his home state of Arizona.

CNN asked Biden's campaign whether it could ask the senator about his earmark requests and his votes on the Bridge to Nowhere.

In response, a staffer e-mailed, "You've interviewed Gov. Palin re: her completely made up position on the Bridge to Nowhere right?"

September 19, 2008

September 16, 2008

This is your last day to watch Church Wars for free!!

I thought I had recently published a link to an excellent documentary about the Anglican Church of Australia, but I just saw that it is still sitting in drafts! Whoops! Here is the info again.

Embedded below is both a link to the preview of the documentary (watching the full-length doc. will cost you $1.80 to watch on their website- well worth it!) and a link and password for watching it for free using my account.


There is much going on in the Church worldwide, and Australia's Anglican branch is no exception. Below is the first part of a documentary by Journeyman Films about the stir and subsequent schisms caused by the American Episcopalian church's ordination of a gay man to bishop status and one minister's brave moves to stand on the Bible's teaching, not kowtow to a sister sect's insistence that "all are made in God's image."

Truly inspiring, this minister's firm stand in the faith shows us that we needn't be hostile to those wanting to water down Christian theology, just firmly adhere to what we know God's Word says about sin, and act accordingly.

To watch the full feature (40 min.) will cost you $1.80 (one British pound, payable through paypal) but it is definitely worth it. Full-length documentary is available at this web location. Also, check out their other films on youtube at:, or at the Journeyman Films website.

Here is the info for watching it free using my account (available only Tues. and Wed.):

link to the Church Wars sign in page

password is: 67gfawn2

New U.K. program asks, "Can you make someone a Christian?"

*In continuing coverage of 'Christless Christianity' (aka religious teaching by moral example and devoid of terms like sin, blood, redemption, depravity, etc.) I bring you this story from last month about a new t.v. program in the United Kingdom on which hosts try to 'reform' participants by 'turning them' into Christians.

Please note a couple of items before reading:

1) The reformation time for contestants is set at 3 weeks.
2) This is the follow-up to last year's "Make Me a Muslim."
3) The participants are shown how to "live like Christians;" what does that mean to you?

I urge you all to comment on this and other posts relating to this phenomena of false reformation.

Lesbian, atheist, Muslim all attempt Christian life
Reality program follows people for 3 weeks of holy reformation

Posted: August 10, 2008
© 2008 WorldNetDaily (italics and boxed commentaries are mine)

A new television program being broadcast this month follows a group of 13 non-Christian volunteers, who, on camera, attempt to "live by the teachings of the Bible for three weeks."

"Make Me a Christian," broadcast in a three-part series, asks the participants to be mentored by four pastors from a variety of backgrounds – Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, and Pentecostal – as they attempt to live like Christians, an effort that runs in stark contrast to many of the participants' backgrounds.

The 13 volunteers who will make the effort include a tattooed militant atheist biker, a man who converted from Christianity to Islam, a lesbian schoolteacher, a lap-dancing witch with a lust for expensive shoes, a middle-class yuppie couple that can't find time to spend with their children and a party animal who claims he's slept with over 150 women.

Whether people can be made into Christians by a three-week crash course in discipleship, however, remains a matter of debate.

The Rev. George Hargreaves, one of the four mentor pastors featured on the show, was quoted by The Christian Post as saying, "Viewers will be deeply moved by the participants' personal journeys. I believe that a major nationwide evangelism initiative could be launched on the back of the series."

A review by Charlie Brooker of England's Guardian newspaper, however, expressed severe criticism of the show's depiction of Christianity.

Brooker wrote sarcastically, "The broadcast will doubtless be accompanied by the percussive sound of thousands of Christians enthusiastically smashing their foreheads against the wall with delight at the way they're represented."

According to the C4 (channel that airs the program)website, the first episode sends the participants to York Minster, "an awe-inspiring cathedral that's almost 1,000 years old, where they are asked to participate in a communion service."

After that, the four mentors – Pentecostal minister and leader of the Scottish Christian Party Rev. George Hargreaves, Church of England Curate the Rev. Joanna Jepson, Catholic Fr. John Flynn, and the World Harvest Christian Centre's Pastor Wale Babatunde – visit the volunteers in their homes and make specific recommendations on how to conform to a Christian code of conduct. The lesbian is asked to throw away her porn, the witch is encouraged to toss her Tarot cards, the womanizer is instructed not to look lustfully at women and so forth.

The show's website concludes with the teaser line, "All this is just the start of their three hard weeks. Can they embrace Christian ideals and learn to live in a different way or will their old lives prove just too strong to resist?"

Whoopee, another "relevant" sermon!

This link will bring you to the "Elevation Church"
and their series on Song of Solomon (supposedly), entitled "Visionary Love, Dream Sex." Yup, that's really the title. This is, by the way, the follow-up series to "Bringing Sexy Back," their last venture into the Word (??).

Whatever happened to preaching the Word of God to convict a sinner of his need for a holy and just God Who not only forgives him, but creates in him a new man who will grow to love and worship his God in truth and in love, learning how to stand against the perils of the world in the process?

What could be more relevant than that???

Rick Warren Uses Sarah Palin call as news fodder

from blog, Slice of Laodicea

"Imagine asking a pastor for advice and Bible verses on dealing with a specific problem. He isn’t your pastor, but it’s someone you respect, and you ask for advice. Within a short period of time, the pastor decides that the news is so juicy, it just has to be told publicly. That’s what happened to Sarah Palin when she returned a September 6 phone call from Rick Warren."

Read more here:
Slice of Laodicea reports on Sarah Palin and Rick Warren

September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Mom!!!

To my adorable mother on her birthday,
I wish I could be there to help you blow out the candles
like we did a couple of years ago!

I love you,


September 10, 2008

Teacher fights to post Declaration of Independence quote

Principal claims 'endowed by their Creator' is too Judeo-Christian for school
Posted: September 09, 2008

By Drew Zahn
© 2008 WorldNetDaily


A math teacher sued his school district after the principal told him the words "In God We Trust" and "All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed By Their Creator" must be removed from his homeroom wall because they convey a Judeo-Christian viewpoint.

In January, Principal Dawn Kastner told Westview High School math teacher Bradley Johnson that a banner he had posted in his classroom for 25 years, and another that was posted for 17 years, needed to come down.

The older banner, measuring 7 feet by 2 feet, contained the words "In God We Trust," "One Nation Under God," "God Bless Ameirica" and "God Shed His Grace On Thee." The second banner quoted the Declaration of Independence by including the phrase, "All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed By Their Creator."

Even though 4,000 students have passed through Johnson's classroom without a single complaint in 25 years, the principal told Johnson the banners were now impermissible because of their religious content.

The Thomas More Law Center, a not-for-profit law firm dedicated to the defense of religious freedoms, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Johnson against the Poway Unified School District of San Diego, Calif., which includes Westview High School, claiming the order to remove the banners violated Johnson's First Amendment freedom of speech, particularly since the district permits other teachers to hang Buddhist, Islamic, and Tibetan prayer messages on their classroom walls.

Richard Thompson, president of the Law Center, commented, "Many public schools exhibit a knee-jerk hostility towards Christianity and seek to cleanse our nation's classrooms of our religious heritage while promoting atheism or other religions under the guise of cultural diversity."

The school district, in turn, filed to have the lawsuit dismissed. But last week, Federal District Judge Robert T. Benitez denied the request, stating, "Johnson has made out a clear claim for relief for an ongoing violation of his First Amendment free speech rights," and calling the principal's order "an unequivocal case of government hostility" toward the Judeo-Christian viewpoint.

"Judge Benitez's strongly worded opinion sends a clear message to school districts across the country that hostility toward our Nation's religious heritage is contrary to our Constitution," said Rober Muise, the Thomas More Law Center lawyer handling the case.

According to court documents, the school district argued for dismissal, saying that Johnson's banners do not enjoy First Amendment protections "because Johnson is speaking as an educator, not a citizen" and "because Johnson was a teacher, he had no First Amendment protections in his classroom."

Judge Benitez sharply disagreed, claiming the district's argument amounted to saying that Johnson has no free speech rights at all because he is a government employee.

Benitez quoted the 1969 Supreme Court decision Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, which stated, "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years."

The judge then added, "In the 40 years since, the Supreme Court has neither diminished the force of Tinker for teachers nor in any other way cabined the First Amendment speech of public school teachers."

Benitez then presented a strong rebuttal to the charge that the Declaration of Independence and phrases like "In God We Trust" represent unconstitutional religious establishment.

"The Court does not understand Johnson's banners as communicating a religious Judeo-Christian viewpoint," Benitez wrote in his decision. "Rather, the banners communicated fundamental political messages and celebrate important American shared historical experiences."

Benitez further wrote, "That God places prominently in our nation's history does not create an Establishment Clause problem requiring curettage and disinfectant of Johnson's classroom walls. It is a matter of historical fact that our institutions and government actors have in past and present times given place to a supreme God."

Benitez then quoted a 1952 Supreme Court ruling, Zorach v. Clauson: "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being."

The judge concluded his decision with the remarks, "By squelching only Johnson's patriotic expression, the school district does a disservice to the students of Westview High School, and the federal and state constitutions do not permit such one-sided censorship."

September 1, 2008

Bless his heart

I have to give credit where credit is due... Nic has been watering my garden back home every day for me. He's even been thinking of a better way to fence in the green beans so they can grow upwards.

Please don't let me forget that he is doing this small, yet huge, thing for me while I'm gone.

, honey.


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