Monday, August 27, 2007

Bible Quiz

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

And She Called

This is Staff Sgt. Lawrence E. Dean II. He's a United States Marine.

Speaking of Hypocrites ...

... check out this article from the WSJ. One of John Edwards' favorite mantras is how we need to take care of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Sounds great. But, if Edwards is so concerned about them, why does he have $16,000,000 invested in a mortgage firm that is evicting those same Katrina victims for not making their mortgage payments?

Edwards, Foreclosure Critic, Has
Investing Tie to Subprime Lenders

As a presidential candidate, Democrat John Edwards has regularly attacked subprime lenders, particularly those that have filed foreclosure suits against victims of Hurricane Katrina. But as an investor, Mr. Edwards has ties to lenders foreclosing on Katrina victims.

The Wall Street Journal has identified 34 New Orleans homes whose owners have faced foreclosure suits from subprime-lending units of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Mr. Edwards has about $16 million invested in Fortress funds, according to a campaign aide who confirmed a more general Federal Election Commission report. Mr. Edwards worked for Fortress, a publicly held private-equity fund, from late 2005 through 2006.

Liberal Hypocrisy and Lies

What's the easiest way to tell if someone is a hypocrite? Well, actually there are two ways -- if they are a liar or a member of the mainstream media. Then again, I guess it is just one way, as being a liar and a member of the MSM are really the same thing.

Case in point. I saw this story from the ABC News blog linked on Drudge today:
Edwards Calls Coulter 'She-Devil'

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: Former Sen. John Edwards on Friday fired the latest round in his ongoing verbal feud with Ann Coulter, calling her a "she-devil" at a public event before quickly adding that he shouldn't engage in name-calling.

Edwards, D-N.C., was railing against the right-wing media -- including Fox News and Rush Limbaugh -- when he reminded a crowd in Burlington, Iowa, that his wife stood up to Coulter in a public spat earlier this summer.

"We know these people. We know their game plan. They're going to attack us personally," Edwards said. "They attacked Elizabeth personally, because she stood up to that she-devil Ann Coulter. … I should not have name-called. But the truth is -- forget the names -- people like Ann Coulter, they engage in hateful language."

In June, Coulter went on ABC's "Good Morning America" and said she had learned her lesson after being blasted for suggesting in a joke before the Conservative Political Action Conference that Edwards was a "faggot." "If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot," Coulter said.

That prompted Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, to call in to MSNBC's "Hardball" and challenge Coulter directly. "I want to use the opportunity … to ask her politely to stop the personal attacks," Mrs. Edwards said.

The call left Coulter uncharacteristically flustered -- and was quickly turned into a fund-raising appeal by the Edwards campaign.

What's not said in this piece is much more interesting than what's said:
  1. Coulter's original comment was made to mock a comment made by pseudo-comedian/commentator Bill Maher saying he thought Dick Cheney should be killed.
  2. Coulter's comments did not prompt Elizabeth Edwards to call "Hardball". This is a total lie. "Hardball" is not a call-in show. You have to be invited on to the show. The "Hardball" staff had to have had Elizabeth Edwards cued up and ready; there is no way she "spontaneously" decided to call in.
  3. Ann Coulter "flustered"? Bull. Anyone who's watched Ann Coulter knows how unflappable she is. In fact, see what happened for yourself here. Does she look "flustered" to you?
  4. Finally, note the hypocrisy of blow-dried blow-hard John Edwards. He calls Ann Coulter a "she devil" then bemoans "name calling".

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Placido Rocks Ravinia

Well, it was a long time coming. Last year, I learned that Placido Domingo was going to perform at the Ravinia Festival. Tickets went on sale last April. I wasn't taking any chances -- I purchased tickets minutes after they went on sale. Last night was the night; notwithstanding the less than perfect weather, we got to see Placido rock Ravinia -- and it was awesome!

Here's the scoop from the Tribune:
Domingo glorious at Ravinia gala

By John von Rhein
Tribune music critic
August 6, 2007

"Now you can sing along with the Chicago Symphony," a smiling Placido Domingo told the dressy throng in the Ravinia pavilion. "We're going to dance."

With that, the Spanish superstar tenor took the hand of soprano Ana Maria Martinez, his co-star at the festival's gala benefit concert Saturday night, and waltzed her around the stage as the audience hummed along with the duet from Lehar's "Merry Widow," liltingly played by the CSO under-conductor James Conlon.

Domingo looked and sounded like a million bucks, which was close to the amount the annual Ravinia Women's Board fundraiser pulled in — $1.7 million, to be exact. A video screen had been set up to beam the concert to the lawn crowd, and not even the rain that swept through Ravinia Park could dampen the general euphoria. After all, chances to hear the busy singer-cum-conductor-cum-impresario don't often come around.

Domingo sang gloriously, with all the warmth, style, intelligence and taste that have made him, at 66, the supreme lyric-dramatic tenor of the late 20th Century, and, now, the early 21st. The voice rang with such clarion power and passion that for Ravinia to resort to electronic amplification in the pavilion seemed an effrontery, even if sonic enhancement was needed for the lawn denizens.

Gala programs must bow to a wide spectrum of listener tastes, which is why the event (including a black-tie dinner) spanned a mishmash of arias, duets and popular selections ranging from French and Italian opera to Wagner to Spanish zarzuela to "West Side Story." I can't think of another living artist as versatile, as conversant in so many styles, who could have brought it off as successfully — in five languages, at that.

Arias by Massenet and Cilea were models of refined musicality and golden sound. "Winterstuerme," from "Die Walkuere," was a shining souvenir of the only Wagner opera Domingo has sung at the Lyric. And the assembled Verdians thrilled to hear the reigning Otello of our time pouring out his part of the ecstatic love duet from "Otello" in a flood of burnished Italianate sound.

His passionate intensity, there and in zarzuela selections by Torroba, Luna, Sorozabal and Penella, injected pizazz into Martinez's singing, which was pretty and pleasing but rather colorless earlier in the evening. I won't soon forget the ravishing high pianissimo they floated at the end of "Tonight," from "West Side Story."

The audience — who had paid up to $275 for seats — clearly felt it had gotten its money's worth. At the end of the program they rose to their feet in stentorian gratitude, calling the singers back for four encores — including a dashing "Granada" and a charming Puccini "O mio babbino caro."

The event marked the 30th anniversary of Conlon's Ravinia debut. He and the orchestra deserved their ovation for helping to make this one of the best Ravinia galas in recent memory.

Paul Harvey’s Wishes for Children:

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better.

I'd really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him/her.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy/girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove, and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandma/grandpa and go fishing with your uncle.

May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hanukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you — tough times and disappointment, hard work, and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.

Remembering One of the Best -- Linda Bowles

“An editorial in The New York Observer, often called the paper of the liberal elite, described Mr. Clinton as ‘an untrustworthy lowlife who used people for his own purposes and then discarded them. How could they have been fooled so badly?’...[M]illions of Americans, including political hacks, media toadies, and grass-roots dupes, were unflinchingly loyal to Clinton throughout a scandal-drenched eight years, during which it was credibly charged or proven that he: seduced a 21-year-old White House intern, groped a visitor in the Oval Office, paid his way out of a pants-dropping charge, was credibly accused of rape, organized a White House hit team to assassinate the reputation of his accusers; took money from Chinese communist donors; entertained known criminals, drug dealers and arms smugglers at private White House gatherings; hid subpoenaed documents in the living quarters of the White House; rented out the Lincoln bedroom; sold seats on Air Force One; violated the War Powers Act; bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan; never uttered a word of regret for the 19 innocent babies and children who were burned to death at Waco; used the IRS and the FBI to attack political enemies; used taxpayer-paid lawyers and aides to defend himself against charges of sexual misconduct; lied under oath; lied when not under oath; shredded documents; suborned perjury; tampered with witnesses and obstructed justice... I remain hopeful that in time, the legacy of the Clinton presidency will be that its classic wretchedness awakened the American people from a soul-numbing, moral stupor.”

—Linda Bowles
"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!"

Here's Christina Haff Summers' review of The Dangerous Book for Boys. If you know young boys, they'll love this book.


PARENTS and educat ors are wringing their hands over the poor academic performance of boys. Girls are better readers, earn higher grades and are far more likely to go to college. America does a much better job educating girls than boys. But now, out of nowhere, comes a book that may hold the secret to male learning.

"The Dangerous Book for Boys," written by two English brothers, Conn and Hal Iggulden, violates all the rules of political correctness - and males between the ages of 8 and 80 are reading it in droves.

Already a major best seller in Great Britain, the book is now topping the lists in America. Its appeal is obvious - it goes directly for the pleasure centers of the male brain.

"The Dangerous Book for Boys" is all about Swiss Army knives, compasses, tying knots and starting fires with a magnifying glass. It includes adventure stories with male heroes, vivid descriptions of battles and a history of artillery. Readers learn how to make their own magnets, periscopes and bows and arrows. It gives rules and tactics for poker and marbles - and secret moves for coin tricks.

In a radical departure from modern schoolroom readings, the book has almost nothing to say about feelings, relationships or how boys can learn to cry. It valorizes risk, adventure and manliness.

Today's boys inhabit a danger-averse world where even old favorites like tag and dodge ball are under a cloud - Too competitive! Someone might get hurt! The National Parent Teacher Association recommends a cooperative alternative to the fiercely competitive "tug of war" called "tug of peace."

By contrast, "The Dangerous Book for Boys" has detailed instructions on how to hunt, kill, skin and cook a rabbit.

Yet the book doesn't encourage boys to be Neanderthals. It tells them they have to become gentlemen. To this end, it offers lessons in manners, grammar and "seven poems every boy should know." It features an astute essay on that most mysterious of subjects, girls, and how to respect them, make friends with them and not to offend them.

Today's teachers have been trained to regard boys and girls as cognitively and emotionally interchangeable. Common sense persuades most of us they are not, and now a rapidly growing body of neuroscientific evidence supports this conventional view.

There are many exceptions, but here are the rules: Girls tend to have better verbal skills and enjoy a clear cognitive advantage in understanding people and human relationships. Boys, on average, have better spatial reasoning skills and tend to be keenly interested in systems and in mastering the rules that make things work.

Educators studiously ignore all of this while they strive to avoid "gender bias." But even after being educated in today's gender-neutral schools, the career preferences of boys and girls continue to be markedly distinct. It is not social pressure that leads so many girls to become social workers, teachers and psychologists, and vast numbers of boys to be mechanics, carpenters or electrical engineers; it is their different innate propensities.

The sad lesson of this book's success is how far our current education culture has drifted from the world of boys. The special art of teaching boys - once so well understood by educators everywhere - is at risk of being lost forever.

One literacy expert reviewed several junior-high social studies texts and concluded: "Many students may well end up thinking that the West was settled chiefly by females, most often accompanied by their parents."

In her alarming book, "The Language Police," education historian Diane Ravitch describes how "sensitivity and bias committees" in our leading publishing houses now routinely expunge from textbooks and standardized tests all mention of potentially upsetting topics. Two major publishing companies specifically interdict references to frightening animals such as rats, mice, roaches and snakes.

"The Dangerous Book for Boys" will send bias and sensitivity committees into turmoil - but its very success may eventually put them out of business.

Will girls like the book too? Some will. But it is boys who are the coin collectors, adventure buffs, card tricksters and systematizers of the species. I showed the book to a 22-year-old man I know. He leafed through it and exclaimed: "I would have loved this as a kid!" He was mesmerized by instructions for how to make the "greatest paper airplane in the world." I suspect such lore will not light up the neural circuitry of females.

Unless, of course, they are mothers who happen to notice that their sons have fallen in love with this wonderful, wholesome, delightfully instructive anachronism of a book.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "The War Against Boys" and "Who Stole Feminism?"

How to Win the Battle of Ideas?

If you're a liberal, since you can win on substance, you stifle debate. Here's a recent editorial from IBD on the liberal initiative to revive the "Fairness Doctrine".

Rigging The Debate

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 4:20 PM PT

Media: Thanks to talk radio, Fox News, bloggers and other challengers of the dominant media's liberal orthodoxy, the forces of freedom have been winning the debate. What's a sore loser to do? Rig the game once again.

On "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Dianne Feinstein suggested reviving the Fairness Doctrine that gave the state power to regulate political views expressed over the airwaves.

"In my view, talk radio tends to be one-sided," the California Democrat complained. "It also tends to be dwelling in hyperbole. It's explosive. It pushes people to, I think, extreme views without a lot of information."

That sounds like a fancy way of saying people aren't thinking the way the government wants them to be thinking.

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin agreed. "It's time to re-institute the Fairness Doctrine," he told The Hill newspaper. "I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they're in a better position to make a decision."

Of course, today there are a lot more than "both sides of the story." Thanks to the popularity of political blogs, there are hundreds of "sides." Which ones out of that ocean of free expression will Durbin and the state-appointed broadcast commissars who regulate a new Fairness Doctrine deem acceptable? Will 9/11 conspiracy theorists get equal time? How about moon landing hoax proponents?

Liberal Democrats can't stand it that there's now a cable news network that doesn't accept their ideology, lock, stock and barrel — and which has overtaken CNN in ratings. They don't like it that AM radio has enjoyed an unexpected nationwide renaissance courtesy of entertaining hosts who make the case for lower taxes and defeating terrorists.

They want to force a return to the days when the choice before American TV viewers was between the Rather, Jennings or Brokaw brands of liberalism.

That is to say, they want to tilt the playing field some more in the national exchange of ideas.

Rep. Mike Pence, a former radio and TV broadcaster, and a Republican from Indiana, sees exactly what is going on. This week, he introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act, which would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from requiring broadcasters to present particular opposing viewpoints on political issues.

An "archaic remnant of a bygone era of American radio," as Pence described it, "there is nothing fair about the Fairness Doctrine."

And he added a crucial point: "In a free market, fairness should be determined based upon equal opportunity, not equal results."

In other words, there comes a time when certain ideas win the debate, and the losing ideas are relegated to the ash heap of history.

Under a new Fairness Doctrine would the government force-feed Americans with, say, the discredited idea that we should repeal welfare reform? Or that we should return to 15 income tax brackets, with the top one at 70%, like during the days of Jimmy Carter?

When President Reagan in effect abrogated the Fairness Doctrine in the mid-1980s, it "opened the public airwaves to free and vigorous discussion of controversial issues by individuals of all political stripes," as Pence pointed out.

And as Pence quoted John F. Kennedy, "a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."

Feinstein and Durbin and the many other liberal Democrats who want to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine are indeed afraid of the people. Because they know that the freer the exchange of ideas is in America, the more chance they will lose at the ballot box.


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