Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Palestinian State?

The following is a report from David Dolan, a former CBS news correspondent who now reports news from Israel. He has been a guest on my radio program several times. I am taking the rare step of posting David's article as I find it illustrative of something I have thought for some time. So much is made about Israel slicing itself to bits to give the Palestinians a "state" of their own. Anyone ever notice that these people seem totally incapable of governing themselves? They're masters at rioting and killing, but doing something contributive and constructive? I'd like to see it.

Of course, they will try to blame Israel for it all, but Israel is not responsible when these thugs riot and kill each other every day. If they want a state, let's see some of that energy used now for violence instead used to build roads, schools, hospitals, and other constructive projects. If they can't do that, then they don't deserve a state (For the record, I don't support the Palestinian state idea for biblical reasons..this is merely to illustrate a point).

Anyway, here is David's article. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.


By David Dolan

As the Palestinians teetered on the brink of civil war during May, Israel’s
new Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, held his first inner security cabinet
meeting focusing on escalating tensions with Iran. This came one week after
Israel’s UN ambassador—responding to a deadly Palestinian suicide terror
attack earlier in the day in Tel Aviv—warned that ominous war clouds are
forming over the Middle East, generated by hostile actions and words coming
from Iran and Syria, supplemented by the Al Qaida, Hizbullah and Hamas
terrorist movements. Towards the end of May, Olmert traveled to Washington
to hold his first official meeting with President George Bush, focusing on
the growing crisis in the Palestinian zones and the Iranian nuclear threat.
Soon after he returned, Iran’s proxy Hizbullah force launched a major
rocket attack upon army bases and civilian communities in northern Israel,
dramatically illustrating growing tensions in the region.

Fierce armed clashes broke out in the Israeli-evacuated Gaza Strip mid
month between members of a new Hamas-run security force, loyal to
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and Oslo peace
process-authorized security forces commanded by overall PA leader Mahmoud
Abbas. The gunfire exchanges further intensified after unknown assailants
attempted to assassinate the head of the PA Intelligence services in the
Gaza Strip, Tariq Abu Rajab. Hamas agents were believed to be behind the
bombing of an elevator shaft in the Intelligence headquarters building in
Gaza City, which instantly killed one of Rajab’s bodyguards and left seven
others, and the main target himself, seriously wounded.

Rajab is a close friend of Abbas, and a well-known fierce opponent of
Hamas. However, Hamas denied that it was behind the blast, which was
instead claimed by a previously unknown group calling itself, “The Al Qaida
Organization in the State of Palestine.” Israeli officials said this was
another worrisome sign that the Iraqi Al Qaida branch has fulfilled its
stated goal to establish terrorist cells in the Gaza Strip. The group,
known to be allied with Hamas, also issued a written threat to murder
Abbas. The threat later prompted an Israeli government decision to send
sophisticated weapons and security equipment to aid Palestinian bodyguards
protecting the beleaguered PA leader.

Abbas had earlier voiced his strong opposition to the establishment of the
3,000 member Hamas armed force, which was placed under the direct command
of the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry. Abbas also refused to cave in
to Hamas demands that all PA security personnel, estimated to be some
70,000 men, be placed under Hamas control. The PA leader is said to fear
the 3,000 recruits are but the first installment in much larger
paramilitary force that Hamas intends to set up in order to undermine the
current Oslo-sanctioned security force. Although he promised he would not
allow civil war to engulf his people, Abbas—himself the target of at least
two known assassination attempts in recent months—is obviously well aware
that two “official” rival armed forces operating in the Gaza Strip, one
stemming from the PLO Fatah movement and the other from the militant Muslim
Hamas group, is a sure recipe for intense violence ahead, if not all out
civil war.


Internal Palestinian clashes further intensified after the failed
assassination attempt upon the PA Gaza security chief. Members of the new
Hamas force traded fierce gunfire with PA paramilitary policemen for
several hours near the Parliament building in the center of Gaza City. The
site of a number of foreign consulates as well, the crossfire caught a top
aid to the Jordanian ambassador walking in the area, who was instantly
killed. Jordan’s King Abdullah strongly denounced the killing, and called
for calm to prevail in the PA zones.

Israeli analysts said the Hashemite monarch is justifiably afraid that the
violence will not only spill over into Jordan’s former West Bank (where
Fatah forces are significantly stronger than in the Gaza Strip) but also
into his own country—with its majority Palestinian population divided
between Islamic fundamentalists who identify with Hamas and backers of the
more secular PLO Fatah movement that Abbas heads. This came after
Jordanian officials revealed that Syrian agents had been caught attempting
to smuggle weapons into the country, believed to be headed for Hamas and Al
Qaida underground terror cells that have orders from government leaders in
Damascus and Tehran to stir up trouble in Amman, with the eventual goal of
toppling the Western-leaning Hashemite regime.

Tensions flared still further on May 24th after Muslim gunmen shot and
killed the top commander of all PA security forces in the central Gaza
district, Habil Hodhod, who had been leading the confrontation with Hamas
forces. In revenge, masked PLO gunmen seized three Hamas fighters outside
a mosque, killing one of them and wounding the other two. This was
followed hours later by a disturbing sign that the fundamentalist Islamic
movement may ultimately emerge completely victorious in its battle with the
more secular and moderate PLO Fatah group. Around 1,000 men wearing Fatah
uniforms marched down the streets of Gaza City with banners declaring they
were switching their loyalty to the radical Hamas group. The next day, a
Hamas militiaman was killed and eight Fatah supporters wounded in yet
another round of intense gun battles between the rival forces.


Intensifying armed PLO-Hamas clashes and signs that the Fatah movement may
be falling apart prompted PA leader Abbas to make a surprise and dramatic
announcement on May 25th. He told Hamas PA government officials that if
they do not quickly agree to allow him to conduct further peace
negotiations with Israel according to principals established by the late
PLO leader Yasser Arafat, he would attempt to prevent a full-scale civil
war by calling a national referendum sometime in July. Palestinian voters
would be asked to decide whether or not the PA should formally abandon the
Oslo peace process accords with Israel and revert to all out warfare with
the Jewish state, or return to the peace process path that was frozen when
massive Palestinian violence began in September 2000.

Abbas said he would draw up a document spelling out the Palestinian
Authority’s final positions and demands regarding the establishment of a
Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with a portion of
eastern Jerusalem as its capital. If the proposal was rejected by a
majority of Palestinian voters—thus essentially confirming that the January
Hamas electoral triumph was not just a fluke but a real reflection of
public opinion—he would bow to Hamas demands to destroy the accords.
Analysts said Abbas would undoubtedly resign if he lost the referendum,
probably leading to the election of an Islamic militant to head the PA.

The bold gamble caught Israeli officials by surprise. However PM Olmert
indicated it was actually in Israel’s best interests to know for certain
whether serious peace talks with moderate Palestinian partners are possible
or not, and such a national vote would make that clear this summer.
Meanwhile Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya signaled a slight moderation
in the official Hamas position that making lasting peace with Israel is
forbidden by the Quran. He told reporters that Hamas would work to put a
permanent halt to all Palestinian terrorist attacks upon Israel if Olmert
agreed to evacuate every centimeter of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem’s
entire walled Old City—a demand he knew would be rejected by the new
Israeli Premier who intends to formally annex at least a third of the
disputed territories, and keep all of the Old City under Israeli control.


While the internal Palestinian clashes were escalating, Ariel Sharon’s
successor was visiting the American capital city, where he held long
meetings with President Bush and other senior government leaders, and also
addressed US legislators in the Congressional chambers on Capital Hill—an
honor only accorded to America’s closest allies. The two leaders held a
joint press conference after their White House meeting, where Bush
surprised many Mideast analysts by expressing full support for Olmert’s
controversial “Convergence Plan” to carry out further unilateral
withdrawals from Palestinian-dominated land north and south of Jerusalem,
and to then draw up Israel’s final borders without Palestinian input.

Bush commended the Israeli leader for his “bold ideas” after making clear
that America’s “preferred option” is still a negotiated settlement, as
Olmert had earlier stated as well. Until Bush publicly supported the
Israeli leader’s planned unilateral moves if no viable Palestinian peace
partner emerges in the coming months, US officials had expressed strong
reservations about further one sided Israeli action, holding out for a
resumption of joint Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations instead. Olmert
later told Israeli journalists that he was “very satisfied” to receive the
President’s endorsement, which some American analysts said reflected Bush’s
conviction that Hamas will not change its basic positions and will continue
to dominate Palestinian politics for some time to come.

In his official speech the following day, PM Olmert told the assembled
senators and congressmen that Israel would be a “willing partner in peace
with the Palestinians” if they really wanted to end their long and bitter
conflict with the world’s only Jewish state. But with radical forces on
the ascendancy in the Palestinian zones, Olmert indicated that he sees no
other choice than to unilaterally draw up Israel’s final boundaries in the
disputed hills of Judea and Samaria, Israel’s ancient biblical heartland.
“Our deepest desire is to build a better future for our region, hand in
hand with a Palestinian partner, but if not, we will move forward, but not
alone.” The last comment was an apparent reference to desired American
support for such a unilateral move, which is bound to be rejected by the
entire Arab world and most other countries on earth.

Jerusalem’s former mayor received a sustained standing ovation when he
vowed that Israel would “not yield to terror.” This came after Olmert
referred to Daniel Wultz, a Florida teenager who perished in mid-May from
severe wounds he received during the Passover holidays when a Palestinian
terrorist attacked a restaurant in Tel Aviv. The 16 year old American,
ordering food near the suicide bomber, was severely wounded in the stomach
and elsewhere while visiting Israel with his father. Daniel was related to
Eric Cantor, a prominent Jewish Republican congressman from Virginia.

Israel’s new Premier plans to shift his diplomatic efforts to Europe to
gain broader international support for his withdrawal plan. He is
scheduled to visit the UK and France in June. Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni
will support his efforts during a speech before the European Union
Parliament in Strasbourg, and then hold meetings with her foreign minister
counterparts at EU headquarters in Belgium. The Israeli government efforts
are designed to lessen stated EU opposition to the unilateral Convergence
Plan, with European officials particularly opposed to Olmert’s declared
intention to establish final Israeli borders somewhere in the disputed West


In what was widely alleged to be a Mossad undercover response to April’s
deadly Tel Aviv terror attack that has so far claimed 11 innocent lives
(with others still hospitalized in critical condition), a powerful car bomb
killed Nidal Majzoub on May 26th, a top commander of the Palestinian
Islamic Jihad wing stationed in Palestinian refugee neighborhoods in
southern Lebanon. The group, which receives most of its funding and
operating instructions from Syria and Iran, claimed responsibility for the
Passover atrocity, as it has for over six other homicide attacks carried
attacks since early 2005.

Two days later, major clashes erupted between Israeli and Lebanese Shiite
forces along the Israel-Lebanon border, where thousands of Hizbullah
militiamen are stationed. After dozens of Hizbullah mortar shells and
rockets reigned down on several Israeli communities and army bases all
along the border, Israeli Air Force jets and attack helicopters were
ordered to respond more powerfully than at any time since army troops were
withdrawn from the troubled country six years ago. They not only struck
known Hizbullah positions all along the border—reportedly killing a number
of Hizbullah fighters and wounding many others—but they also bombed two
bases belonging to the radical Palestinian Popular Front group based in
Damascus. One of the bases, located just a few miles south of Beirut, was
believed to have been struck to send a loud message to the Lebanese
government to quickly reign in the rogue fighters attacking along the
border with Israel. The Air Force strike on the other base, a mere three
miles from the Syrian border, was designed to send the same message to the
Assad regime in Damascus.

The Lebanese government, at least, seemed to quickly get the message.
Fearing further escalation of the conflict, officials in Beirut requested
an immediate ceasefire via United Nations channels, although they later
protested what was termed “Israel’s warlike aggression” in response to
Hizbullah’s assaults. The truce went into effect later the same day after
senior Israeli government officials accepted the offer, halting artillery
and air bombardments of Hizbullah positions. Two Israeli soldiers and at
least two Hizbullah fighters were killed in the exchanges.

The fierce May 28th action began when Hizbullah forces suddenly opened fire
during the morning at an Israeli army base, wounding one soldier.
Subsequent assaults on several border kibbutz communities prompted a
general alert, sending thousands of Galilee residents scrambling into
sweltering bomb shelters. The Hizbullah operation was interpreted by army
leaders as probable revenge for Nidal Majzoub’s death two days earlier.
Israeli analysts say the militant Lebanese Shiite group has been working
ever more closely in recent years with the radical Palestinian Sunni
Islamic Jihad terrorist network at the behest of Iran and Syria.

Responding to the Hizbullah attacks, PM Ehud Olmert warned that Israel
would respond even more intensely if Iran’s proxy Lebanese force continued
firing on civilian and army positions in the Galilee panhandle. Speaking
to reporters in Jerusalem, Olmert said Hizbullah would “receive a clear and
harsh response with no hesitation if they do not stop," terming the attacks
"provocative and dangerous."

Many Israeli analysts say a major Israeli military “clean-out operation”
against the radical Lebanese border force is long overdue. In fact,
security sources say such action has been planned two times earlier—during
the 2003 US-British invasion of Iraq and in early 2005—but was postponed
for various reasons. Many anticipated that a reelected Ariel Sharon would
launch such action this year, but some are uncertain that Olmert intends to
follow through since he hopes to carry on with his unilateral withdrawal
plan, which could be scuttled by such an operation since it has a high
potential to lead to direct Israeli clashes with Syria, if not an all out
war between the two neighboring Middle East countries.

A leading defense expert in the opposition Likud party, the former chairman
of the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee, Yuval Steinitz, maintained that
the relatively tough Israeli military response should have been directed
almost exclusively at targets in the Lebanese capital city, instead of
mainly upon Hizbullah positions. He averred that the only effective way to
fight a terrorist organization in a neighboring country was to attack the
national interests of that country, prompting government officials
themselves to take action to rein in illegal forces operating there.

Just two days before the short but intense battle, Hizbullah leader Sheik
Hassan Nasrallah vowed that his group will continue its “jihad struggle”
against the dreaded Zionist entity. He also vowed to raise funds to help
keep Hamas in control of the Palestinian Authority. He was speaking at a
rally in the biblical Lebanese town of Tyre to mark the sixth anniversary
of what he termed “Israel’s defeat” in southern Lebanon. He also pledged
support for Iran in its “struggle with the international community to
fulfill its right to produce nuclear energy,” which Israeli leaders in May
again stated was actually a clandestine nuclear weapons program that will
have to be dealt with sooner or later if international political
negotiations over the serious issue continue to produce no positive
results. At his joint press conference with PM Olmert, President Bush
stated that “all options remain on the table” if negotiations fail.

As continuing violence and strife troubles the biblical Promised Land, it
is good to recall that it is the Lord God of Israel who pledged to restore
His ancient people to their land inheritance in days before Messiah’s reign
from Jerusalem: “Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, oh virgin
of Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:4).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Eminent Domain Abuse

Like many Americans, I am increasingly outraged at the growing number of local governments taking advantage of the Supreme Court's outrageous Kelo decision and abusing the power of eminent domain. Last night, the Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes" program devoted significant time to airing some egregious cases of eminent domain abuse across the country. I was especially incensed at the story of an elderly, African-American veteran of World War II losing his home because local officials want to give his property to private development. To top things off, the poor old man is dying of lung cancer and doesn't really have the strength to fight this "rape with a gavel."

In its origin, eminent domain was solely intended to be used for public works such as roads, hospitals etc. It also requires fair compensation to the property owner. It was never intended to allow government to take land for private use..or to put it baldly, to line the pockets of fat cats both in and out of government.

The Bible has much to say about justice. It has much to say about the duty of good government. I am reminded of how the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans talks about government and its duty to be "a terror to evildoers." When government ceases being a terror to evildoers and becomes a terror to the righteous, it is no longer a legitimate government. That was the attitude held by our founding fathers. If they were around today, I have no doubt that they would be enraged at this new form of cynical tyranny. They might even demand another Boston Tea Party.

It is time for citizens to regain control of their government at all levels. Every last one of these officials need to be voted out of office. Every bureaucrat connected with a local unit of government who is unelected (such as city managers) and pushing these unscrupulous projects ought to be fired. Immediately. If we begin losing our property rights, we might as well cash it in now as a nation and let the UN run the show. That's what it's coming to sooner than you think.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

In Memoriam

Being that it is Memorial Day weekend, The Seventh Sola would like to salute the men and women bravely and sacrificially serving in the United States Armed Forces. Although I have never served in the military myself, I have the highest honor and respect for those who have. My own late father was in the infantry during World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. My stepfather served in the Navy during the same war, only he was in the Pacific end of the conflict. Like most of those surviving who fought in the war, they are reluctant to talk about it. But they are proud of their service and justifiably so.

The concept of memorials can be seen throughout Scripture. The Lord directed the children of Israel to build and observe memorials related to various key occasions. In the New Testament, we are often exhorted to "remember" because we have fickle memories as human beings. We always need reminders, even though we might have an excellent command of Scripture.

As the debate rages over our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am seeing vestiges of the same 1960s Woodstock attitude that I found so distasteful in the Vietnam era. The incidents at Abu Ghraib and other criminal incidents by a few in our military have fueled these attitudes - never mind that those responsible have been or are being brought to justice. These incidents should not be used to attack our military as a whole, but some on the far left are doing just that. They see it as an opportunity to fulfill their agenda. The idiot councilman in San Francisco who openly admitted on national television that he thinks we should not have a military is a good example. Thankfully, clowns like him are in a minority. However, the constant carping by people like this can have a deleterious effect on public opinion and the morale of our troops in the field. Whether or not one agrees with our current military operations, there is no excuse for this nonsense. The anti-military zealots deserve our censure. The men and women in the armed forces - as well as their children and extended families - deserve our prayers and thanks. I pray that they are successful in their mission, and that peace will quickly be won so they can return home. Home in victory. God bless them all on this Memorial Day.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Defeating Jihad

It is unusual for me to be up this late, and even more unusual for me to make back to back posts in one day. However, this deserves it.

After watching British Prime Minister Tony Blair and our own President George Bush perform at a news conference yesterday evening, I am more convinced than ever that what we hear our politicians, pundits and prognosticators saying is all a bunch of swill. Why? Allow me the courtesy of telling you.

This week on my radio program, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Serge Trifkovic, author of the new book "Defeating Jihad." Dr. Trifkovic is a former BBC correspondant, among his many other accomplishments. In the interview, he confirmed what I have believed for some time. Our establishment really doesn't get it as far is Islam is concerned. Or worse yet, they DO get it and want the worst to happen for more "global" reasons.

Both of these leaders were very animated in their idea of "democracy in the Middle East." Never mind that true Islam brooks no democracy, and holds non-Islamics under their authority as "dhimmi" class. Trust me. So-called democracy in Iraq will not spread like wildfire. Democracy as understood in Western countries is anathema to purist Islam. As an aside, let it be understood that there are nominal, cultural Christians who really don't live and practice the faith. Also, there can be nominal, cultural Muslims who don't really practice their faith as written and taught through the centuries. True Christianity and true Islam are poles apart, although the mainstream media likes to try and equate them.

Well, that was an aside to my overall point. In conclusion, while the words of our leaders sound inspiring and hopeful, in the realistic world and the ideologies prevalent in the Middle East, they are both smoking a hookah. There will indeed be a false peace reached. More on that later.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Throw the Bums Out!

That's an old adage, isn't it? I feel like yelling it loudly tonight.

This is an edited version of what I wrote earlier. I was pretty steamed..and still am. However, as much as I'd love to see the entire government - executive, legislative, and judicial - turned out of office at the nearest possibility and replaced with all new people, I must turn the rolling boil to a low simmer and say honestly that there ARE good men and women serving in office. I suspect strongly that they are a minority, but they are there. I can put my own Congressman in that category, but you know..that seems to always be a given with most voters. People get mad at Congress, but they keep re-electing their own legislators. It's always somebody else's fault. I also have to think of Congress changing hands in 1994. Did things change all that much for very long? Not really. Did the Democrats' loss change their tune or their behavior? Nope. I think it will really take an electoral paroxysm of epic proportions to effect the change we need to set this country to rights again.

I've been a stalwart conservative most of my life. I still am. However, you can add my name to the growing chorus of people - both left and right - who are incensed at the complete disconnect between lawmakers in both houses of Congress and the current administration. This disconnect covers people of all parties, so this isn't a partisan rant. From immigration issues, to war, to fiscal policy, to social policy..our elected leaders are doing nothing more than pandering on one side and flipping the bird to the great unwashed they're supposed to represent on the other. They think they know better than the rest of us what is good for the country (read good for their agendas), and thus far, they treat our letters, phone calls, pleas and even protests with contempt.

It's time for a whole scale housecleaning while we still can do it. The Seventh Sola recommends that we all write our legislators and warn them that unless there is massive change and they begin actually fixing our problems, they're ALL going to be retired in the next election. At election time, write in candidates of your own choosing and ignore whoever the party recommends. Make it clear to the government as a whole that change is coming and it will be sweeping. On the local level, press state legislatures for the right to conduct recall elections. If the legislature will not act, vote every last one of them out at the next election. Local parents need to regain control of school boards from the administrators' associations and teachers' unions. College boards of trustees need to be replaced. Tenure needs serious reform so prosyletizing professors can face dismissal unless they cease indoctrinating and begin teaching. On and on through every fabric of governance.

I realise this will cause a lot of chaos and a lot of good legislators may well be cashiered as a result. Better that than them catching the "fever" and becoming too comfortable in office. They're there to make a difference. Not carry on the status quo. A message needs to be sent to our leaders, with a baseball bat if necessary.

P.S. Yaas..I realize that the above scenario is utterly unrealistic and most assuredly will not happen. If things get that restive, the powers that be would declare martial law before they allow themselves to be ejected. But, it sure felt good to rant. I feel better now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Stormy Diversion from the Norm

While The Seventh Sola typically deals with theology and culture, I reserve the right (and pleasure) to throw in some other items that interest me from time to time. This diversion is one of them.

I have been long fascinated with the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald story since the time I first heard Gordon Lightfoot's haunting ode. When someone who lives inland thinks "shipwreck," we generally don't think of a ship going down on the Great Lakes, but instead think first of the ocean. Lake Superior might as well be an ocean, it's so huge! Well, it's been 30 years since the wreck and meteorology has advanced to amazing degrees. The following new analysis was just released by the NOAA. You can get the full report at their website. This is just a summary. So..if you're a history/weather buff..enjoy. If not, bear with me. I'll be back to theological storms in no time.


NOAA Magazine || NOAA Home Page
Commerce Dept.

May 18, 2006 — A re-analysis of the weather conditions on Lake Superior during the November 1975 gale when the lake freighter Edmund Fitzgerald went down, killing all 29 aboard, shows a period when the winds and waves were the most extreme, say the NOAA scientists who conducted the review.

"Modern observation and forecast systems have substantially improved forecasts for the Great Lakes over the past 30 years, allowing for greater advance notice of storms, which allows most ships to avoid such severe conditions," the authors wrote. "But the tragic events of 10 November 1975 should continue to serve as a reminder of the hazards one can encounter when traveling on the Great Lakes."

The findings are the cover article in the May issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, or BAMS.

"During the late afternoon and early evening of Nov. 10, conditions deteriorated rapidly with winds in excess of 69 miles per hour, hurricane-force gusts and waves more than 25 feet high," said Thomas Hultquist, science and operations officer at the NOAA National Weather Service forecast office in Negaunee, Mich., and lead author.

The loss of the 729-foot-long ship and all aboard is immortalized in the Gordon Lightfoot song, "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald." The songwriter mentions the weather in the lines "the skies of November turn gloomy," "the gales of November come early," and "face of a hurricane west wind."

"This shows how quickly conditions can worsen and become life threatening on the Great Lakes," wrote Hultquist and his co-authors, Michael Dutter from the NOAA National Weather Service forecast office in Cleveland and David Schwab, from the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The NOAA authors combined meteorological observations from the storm with hindcasts—forecasts run in retrospect—of conditions throughout the storm. The hindcasts indicated the critical six-hour window that proved fatal to the ship and its crew. Hindcasts help meteorologists better understand historical events, which could also improve forecasts.

A lack of surface weather observations made it difficult for researchers to determine the actual conditions. However, using high-resolution numerical computer models, the three researchers were able to simulate a more complete picture of wind and wave conditions during the storm. One of the models used was the NOAA GLERL Wind-Wave Model.

In addition to high winds and waves, the freighter was caught in waves traveling west to east. This could result in a hazardous rolling motion for vessels traveling southward, the direction that the Edmund Fitzgerald was heading as it tried to reach the safety of Whitefish Bay, about 15 miles from where it sank.

"While high winds on Lake Superior are not rare, it is unusual for the waves to get that high on the lake," said Schwab. "It's unlikely that Captain Ernest McSorley, the skipper of the Edmund Fitzgerald, had ever seen anything like that in his career."

The authors note that storms of the magnitude of the Nov. 9-10, 1975, storm occur every two to six years on average. Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes. The size of the lake, the low number of vessels traveling the lake and the infrequency of the high wave conditions, makes the tragedy of the Edmund Fitzgerald a rare event.

The American Meteorological Society is the nation's leading professional organization for those involved in the atmospheric and related sciences. Founded in 1919, the AMS has more than 11,000 international members, organizes nearly a dozen scientific conferences annually and publishes nine peer-reviewed journals.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, 61 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Background on Edmund Fitzgerald

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Media Contact:
Kent Laborde, NOAA, (202) 482-5757

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why a Pseudonym?

In recent days, I have been made aware that there are a few in blogdom who view people who write under pseudonyms as a bit suspect.

That's understandable in an Internet world where kookdom can run amok. For what few fans and many detractors I might have, let me assure you my pseudonym (or better yet, nickname) of Solameanie has no "state secret" involved with it.

I always got a chuckle out of the "Eutychus" character in Christianity Today, whether I agreed with him or not. I imagined he used the name to say things he normally wouldn't be able to say were his identity common knowledge (and he seldom said anything THAT least I hadn't seen it when I was a regular reader of CT. In my case, I work with several different ministries, and thusly when I am wearing one of those hats, I have to keep some opinions to myself. Not that my associates would disagree with me much, but on some issues they might choose not to take a public position. I desire to say what I think on any issue and not be under any constraint other than that of biblical guidelines, ethics and common civility.

However, if anyone really wants to know who I am, it's not hard to find out. Just send me an email (found in my profile). I may not be able to keep up a regular correspondance, but my identity is no state secret.

In addition to ongoing commentary on issues that pique my interest or concern, I am going to be putting together some teaching material on the substitutionary atonement of Christ, which is coming under renewed attack these days. I might post some of this lesson material in addition to rejoinders on other subjects - and these will hopefully be of more substance than the brief posts I have been making over the past few weeks. Being ill is a bummer.

To all around the world who have clicked on to read The Seventh Sola, I offer my hearty thanks, and that is doubly extended to those who have commented. Your input is valued, even if I disagree with you! Stay tuned. (Sorry..old broadcasters' habits die hard!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sir Ian McKellen Destroys Gideon Bibles?

In an interview recorded in the London Telegraph, actor Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and now co-starring in The DaVinci Code) admits to tearing the book of Leviticus out of Gideon Bibles when he stays at hotels/motels.

While I respect McKellan as an actor, this really diminishes him as a person. So he's offended that Leviticus plainly states that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. Fine. Then he shouldn't buy a Bible or have one in his house. He has no right whatsoever destroy or damage these Bibles, which are NOT his property. I hope some wise manager of a hotel/motel catches him in the act and presses charges for criminal damage to property. Since this has probably happened at more than one place, too bad the charges couldn't be broadened beyond a misdemeanor. The Gideons ought to consider suing as well.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More Observations on the DaVinci Flap

Why a photo of Gooseberry Falls? Because I feel like I am watching our society go over the falls in a barrel.

I for one am glad to see that critical reviews of the controversial movie, The DaVinci Codes, are for the most part tepid. Like most Christians, I am deeply offended at this portrayal of our Savior. Unlike Muslim extremists, you won't find me out blowing myself up in crowded restaurants, rioting in the square or burning down theatres. That is not the Christian way. We don't put out fatwas. Which, I suspect, is one reason why Hollywood goes after Christians with such impunity. They know we won't physically hurt them. However, we do have the right to object and many of us have. Of course, protests can increase publicity for the thing we are protesting. That is a given. However, we must still speak out.

I find it cynical and very dubious that director Ron Howard and those associated with the film profess ignorance as to why people are in an uproar. The incident over the Muhammed cartoons should have been instructive to the "artistes" that people don't take it too kindly when the object of their deep religious faith (or other deeply held conviction) is slandered under the charade of entertainment. Would most civilized people slap their thighs and guffaw if it was decided to make a comedy out of the happenings at Auschwitz-Birkenau? I think not.

A similar outrage has broken out about gay-themed drawings depicting Jesus engaged in a sexual situation with another man..anatomically correct depictions, I might add. There is no art in this whatsoever. It is gross and offensive..and INTENDED to offend. How to respond?

Suppose some traditionalist groups should decide to hold rallies around the country celebrating the deaths of those afflicted with AIDS? How about drawing a graphic photo of someone dying of Kaposi's sarcoma with smiley faces in the background? Too offensive? Good. Then perhaps you can see my point. And here's what's doubly ironic. I would not approve of such things in the least and would speak out strongly against them. Too bad our detractors don't show us the same courtesy.

As to the DaVinci Codes and the hoohah over it? I have one reaction. Too bad Aunt Bee isn't around to give young Opie a good hiding. I suspect even Sheriff Andy might get in a few whacks.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

An Eerie Feeling

I haven't been feeling ship-shape for several weeks, and thusly my posting to the Seventh Sola has been sporadic and mainly consisting of asides about newsworthy articles. I hope to resume more prolific activity soon. Until then, a brief think piece.

This shot was taken at the entrance to Lake Superior at the Duluth/Superior port in Minnesota. It is the same sight that would have been seen by the legendary Edmund Fitzgerald on November 9, 1975, as she set out for Detroit only to sink in a storm barely a day later 15 miles off of Whitefish Bay, Michigan. The winds were clocked at 90 mph and the waves estimated at at least 30 feet. The "Fitz" sank so fast there was no time for an SOS. The last words of the captain were "We're holding our own." The lake in this shot looks eerily placid. Yet she can pound even ocean going vessels with unspeakable wrath. The Fitzgerald's 29 men are still in the wreck, 525 feet below the surface, bodies more likely than not preserved due to the frigid waters at that depth.

Isn't this somber image applicable to the spiritual state of our country these days? Could it possibly speak to the state of the church as a whole in North America? Think about it a while. Those of us who have been sailors in the evangelical Christian faith for some time have been warning that the church is on the wrong course and the horizon is foreboding. The waters have turned steely grey and have a little chop on them. The hint of an approaching bitter wind hisses through the leafless trees, and the subterranean rumble at the shoreline is blithely ignored by the significant majority heading out on the water of vain imaginings and false doctrines. It is no wonder that the Apostle Paul used the term "shipwreck" regarding those who had turned from the truth to apostasy. I think of the Titanic and how that huge ship was billed as "unsinkable." Tell that to the iceberg it hit in the North Atlantic.

In the long term of course, God always has His remnant and will preserve His church. While apostasy has always been present throughout church history, a significant final apostasy is predicted in the last days and I truly believe we are seeing it. We've only seen the beginning. It will get much worse before it gets better. When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
A Slow, Steady Onslaught

This telling article by Lynne Vincent is illustrative of something I and others have been warning about for some time when it comes to those pushing the gay rights agenda. While the attention of the mainstream is diverted in other directions, the militant activists pursue their goals with an aggression and single-mindness that knows no bounds. No area of life is off limits to their final goal - forcing society to adopt the view that homosexuality is normal and good. As this article illustrates, even Bible-preaching churches are not exempt from the new "tolerance" that will be enforced with a vengeance. I can actually see the time coming when children will be removed from Christian homes if parents do not agree to allow their children to be transformed into the image the activists have erected modeling the new perfect citizen. Read and be warned.

World Magazine

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ron Maxwell on the Immigration Crisis

The link below will take you to an open letter to President Bush written by Ron Maxwell, a film producer/director known for Gettysburg and other productions. This is perhaps the most astute piece on America's illegal immigration crisis I have seen yet. I believe he is spot on and pray that our administration (and legislators) will wake up and smell the quesadillas before it's too late.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Academic Intolerance

This link below will take you to a delicious story. The same "academics" who squeal like stuck pigs when criticized - or plead for tolerance when pushing their deviant social/moral views - show little tolerance themselves for those who disagree with them. Violence is not beyond them. Well, finally some of these clowns are getting their commuppance in court. It's about time!

The Northerner Online

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Warning to Would-Be Ad Posters

For the second time in recent days, someone has posted an unwanted and uninvited advertisement in the comments section of this blog. This is discourteous, rude and obnoxious. I am telling you right now..knock it off. I will delete such posts on sight and report them to Blogger. This blog is not a commercial enterprise. If you want to post ads, get your own blog. Stay off of mine.
A Quick Query

To start off the week, here's an interesting point to ponder. As Frank Gorshin's character used to say on Batman, "riddle me this..."

Why is it that such a tiny minority of our population in the United States commands such attention and/or clout? I am talking about the gay rights community of course. Most honest, reliable estimates say that those individuals engaged in this type of behavior represent about five percent of the population - perhaps even less. Yet from watching the media and the entertainment industry, you'd think they represented a huge majority from all the attention they get.

Amazing that engaging in a certain highly dubious behavior can earn you the moral equivalence of an ethnic group. Ridiculous? I'd say so.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Solution for San Diego's Cross Dilemma (Revised and Updated)

By now, many have heard about the latest outrage from a rabid atheist - this time in San Diego, California. The link below will take you to the story.


As the story says, this cross memorial has been standing since shortly after the Korean War, but it apparently gives the obstreporous plaintiff nightmares. So, he's suing. I must confess, I am glad that I am a Christian with Christian values. Otherwise, I shudder when I think of what my "old nature" would like to do to this individual - with relish. Cases like these are more tiresome than words can express..and even more so when crackpot federal judges possessed by the demons of constitutional and historical revisionism rule in favor of the plaintiff. I had a simple idea to settle cases like this..but as you'll shortly see, my idea has already been tried and shot down.

I suggested that the city of San Diego should sell this monument and adjacent land to a private individual for one dollar (or lease the land if that would hold up legally). Once in private hands, the issue of "establishing a religion" would be moot and the atheist's lawsuit no longer would have merit. (I could say much on the meaning of "establishment" but will pass on that for now. However, after another perusal of the story, I see that the city did indeed try to sell this to a non profit, but the federal courts have refused to permit it. Now isn't THAT interesting????

Therefore, perhaps it's time for two other possible solutions to this ongoing and maddening problem. In American history, Andrew Jackson demonstrated that the judicial branch is one of THREE co-equal branches of government and not the supreme branch as it often thinks. He said in essence, "Fine..the court has ruled. Now let me see the court enforce it." It takes the executive branch to enforce the rulings of the court, of course. While the specific instance President Jackson used to do this might not have been the best choice of issues, I still like the idea. Perhaps we need some more municipalities willing to tell the court to go pound sand when judges abuse their position and so blatantly turn the Constitution on its head.

The second solution is for the Congress to remove such things from the jurisdiction of the courts. That is constitutionally permissible. Will Congress have the courage to do it? The voters will need to cashier a few Democrats and liberal Republicans first, but it is doable.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Two Astute Articles on Current Controversies

Until I get back to being 100 percent, I am posting links to two articles very much worth reading. The first by Gene Edward Veith deals with the reality of Islam taking over Western civilization. It's about time someone illustrated clearly what happens when the Muslims take over in a nation. Dhimmi-class, anyone?


The next article by Lynn Vincent deals with the subject of academic freedom. More accurately, the lack of it and how our previously esteemed colleges and universities are today nothing more than leftist parrot factories. This only confirms my desire to see the majority of tenured professors canned and substituted with scholars who teach students how to think..not what to think.


I'd be interested to see your comments.