Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ludacris and Barack, or is Barack Ludicrous?

So Barack Obama's campaign is rapping the rapper Ludacris across the knuckles for his recent campaign "song" with derogatory, offensive remarks about Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Oddly enough, Ludacris was praised not all that long ago by the likely Democratic nominee. Yet again, another of Obama's acolytes proves embarrassing to the candidate.

Or how about this? Remember Bill Clinton and Sister Souljah? Is this perhaps Barack Obama's "Sister Souljah" moment? Has anyone in the media yet made that connection?

Just asking.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Word on Brett Favre and the Packers

I must confess something before I make my brief comment. I am not a big sports fan, and I have no real dog in this fight between Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. (I can see my friend Robert (a humungous Packer fan) getting his bazooka out right now)

Having issued that disclaimer, the situation with Favre is a great example of something that's always irritated the bejeebers out of me, and not just with football athletes. It's athletes in baseball, basketball, hockey . . . name your poison. If you decide to retire and announce said retirement with copious amounts of tears shed at press conferences, then retire. Please. If you have no intention of retiring, then please don't put the team and the fans through the grief. What is it? Ego gratification? Money? Grasping at youth that's gradually ebbing away? Who knows. I just know that all of this gets very tiresome, very quickly.

I am penning this little diatribe for all retired, un-retired, re-reretired and un-un-retired athletes out there. Listen. YOU RETIRED. You made a big deal out of it. Headlines galore. Sportscasts galore. Talk shows galore. But now your team has moved on. Go coach. Go consult. Go manage. Go be a sportscaster or a talk-show host. Go fish. Whatever. If you can't bring yourself to retire, I guess you can't. But next time you decide to hang up the helmet and wash out the jersey, don't call a press conference and cry. Just quietly go off into the sunset and be thankful for the time in the sun that you were given.


Everything has to be such a blasted spectacle these days. Grrrr!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Word About the Tennessee Church Shooting

Not much time for a post today, but I did want to throw this word out there about the shooting this week at the Unitarian Universalist church in Tennessee.

Headlines in the news are blaring about how the shooter -- Jim David Adkisson -- hated liberals. I am waiting for them now to begin carping that "fundamentalists are dangerous." The Unitarian Universalist church is not orthodox Christianity by any stretch of the imagination, and are indeed known for their very liberal views. But a little discussed side of this is that the shooter isn't a Christian either. In fact, some stories I read had acquaintances of Adkisson saying that the man held religious people in general disdain.

So, let's keep that in mind. Just because someone hates liberals to the point of gunning them down doesn't mean they're fundamentalist or conservative Christians. In fact, I can pretty well assure you that someone who does something like this isn't a Christian at all. Conservative or liberal.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Brain-Eating Internet?

In this very thought-provoking article, World Magazine columnist Janie B. Cheaney discusses how modern technology -- specifically the Internet -- seems to be decimating attention spans and reading ability, especially among the young.

I think she's on to something. I already get chided from time to time because my writing can a) be too lengthy, b) use vocabulary at too high a level, or c), over-estimate the intelligence and knowledge of my audience. Indeed, journalistic standards used to tell us to write toward the lowest common denominator or eighth-grade level. Today, that standard has supposedly dropped to sixth-grade level.

I am strongly tempted to resist this trend, even though I am writing on the Internet. I refuse to believe my audience is that stupid. And if you are, there are plenty of resources available to improve yourselves.

Regardless, Ms. Cheaney sounds a worthy warning to parents. Regain control of your households and limit the kids time on computers, video games and television programs. They might squall at first, but they'll thank you later.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fair and Balanced?

Let me be the first to say I appreciate Fox News in general. To their credit, they really do try to be fair to both sides in their news coverage. Now that I've said that, I have a bone to pick. And not just with Fox.

I have been involved with media a long time. I still do one weekly radio talk show a week. My television experience has been more limited, but I have had enough of it to know something about it. One of the most elementary things about being the host of a program is that you ought to be fair to your guests.

Again this evening, I saw something that made my blood boil, and this time Laura Ingraham was guilty of it. Laura was substituting for Bill O'Reilly. (By the by, Bill does this often, too, and deserves his knuckles getting rapped). Laura had a guest on, and in the course of the interview, would not let the poor fellow get his side out. Interruptions galore, and then plenty of time for her to state her point of view. Then when the poor guest tried to get his side out, guess what. "Sorry, we're out of time."

That's rude. That's unfair. Look, nine chances out of ten, I am going to AGREE with Laura. I might even agree with Bill O'Reilly a large percentage of the time. The guests they have on (or other talk show hosts) might well be idiots. But let them have their say. Ask them questions, but LET THEM ANSWER IT! Of course, if they're really trying to filibuster or dodge the question, then them on it. But this whole business about asking a question . . .letting your guest get five words out and then interrupting him/her, is really bad television/radio. Again, it's rude. It makes the host or hostess out to look really boorish. If you want to monologue, fine. Don't have guests. But if you have a guest, then be a good host and let them express their view. Shut up. Please.

One other thing about O'Reilly. One of his catchphrases is, "I'll give you the last word." Then he never does. After the guest has "the last word," he ends up making sure HE has the last word. Again, that makes him look boorish. Stop it. Please.

In closing, I must stress that I am fans of these shows. I am seldom in disagreement with them philosophically. But fair is fair, and good media is good media.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Modern Fiery Furnace

Israel My Glory magazine has an editorial this month on the subject of "Who Speaks for Evangelical Christians." But what actually caught me was a couple of comments by the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer and Jewish journalist Don Feder. Here they are:

Christians are the only group Hollywood can offend with impunity, the only creed it actually goes out of its way to insult. Clerics, from fundamentalist preachers to Catholic monks, are routinely represented as hypocrites, hucksters, sadists and lechers. The tenets of Christianity are regularly held up to ridicule.

Don Feder, "A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America"

Does the church have a future in our generation? . . . I believe the church is in real danger. It is in for a rough day. We are facing present pressures and a present and future manipulation which will be so overwhelming in the days to come that they will make the battles of the last forty years look like child's play.

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, "The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century"

Don Feder's comments were in 1993. Dr. Schaeffer's comments were written in 1970. Have things gotten better or worse since then? Are believers in America heading for eventual, Nebuchadnezzer-like trouble in the days ahead?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Illegals and Citizenship

Once again, my schedule has gone completely nuts. I haven't had time to write a decent post this week. But as always, something great comes across my desk that I know many of you will enjoy.

This linked article was written by Dr. Edward Erler, and published in Hillsdale College's Imprimis newsletter. Dr. Erler, professor of political science at California State University/San Bernardino, discusses illegal aliens, immigration, citizenship and being a "subject." He gives a great historical analysis of how confused our nation has become on these subjects.

I think Dr. Erler is spot on, with this exception. I think the nation has gone way beyond confused. It's nearing brain-dead status.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Warning from Lighthouse Trails

I received this email today from Lighthouse Trails Publishing (link at bottom of post). While I don't necessarily agree with every jot and tittle they put out, the folks at Lighthouse are good people, and good apologists. I think the following is an excellent editorial warning for a Monday morning.

Contemplative/emerging spirituality is on the rise. And unfortunately, Christian leaders are helping to make this a reality. Popular and often trusted Christian speakers are sharing platforms with those who strongly promote un-biblical spiritual persuasions, and when they are challenged for doing so, they say it must be done in order to further the Gospel insisting that these differences are minor and insignificant. Other trusted leaders are placing their endorsements on the books of contemplative/emerging figures, and when challenged, they simply flash their educational credentials and ignore the concerns.

Slowly (and sometimes not so slowly), these Christian leaders are changing. Putting financial security, popularity, fear of loss, and personal pride above doing what is right without compromise, they have begun to take on the characteristics of those they have endorsed, promoted, and stood next to.

Where once many of them preached the unadulterated Word of God, now they speak of community, unity, mystical experience, and a kingdom they call God's that in actuality is a kingdom of this world. They say the Gospel cannot be effective unless everyone is willing to work together, and when they say everyone, they mean everyone.

In contrast, the apostle Paul preached the Gospel to all who would listen, but when it came to false doctrines, he made it very clear where he stood. If these leaders continue on their present path, the day may soon come when such a blending and weakening has occurred that the gospel they preach will be no different than the gospel of this world, which is no gospel at all.

* * * * * * * * *

The Apostle Paul:
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Galatians 1: 8-10)

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. (II Timothy 4:2-3)

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." (II Corinthians 6:17)

Link to Lighthouse Trails:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Obama Worship

I saw this photo the first time today at Newsbusters' site. I am waiting to see how much flapdoodle, if any, it causes with the news media in the coming week.

Honestly, I think the photo -- while satirical -- makes a pretty good point. Our media here in the United States are not alone in fawning and groveling over Obama. Look at the reception the Europeans are giving him. You'd think it was the Second Coming of Christ. And of course, we MUST have the approval of Europe and the other nations of the world for our next president. (Tongue firmly in cheek)

It's amazing to me how this very leftist, Democratic candidate can say nothing, propose nothing, and really . . . DO nothing, and be afforded such doe-eyed fawning. All he really does is say "hope" and "change." In the speeches he makes today, he doesn't really tell us much about what kind of change he's talking about. To figure that out, you have to do a bit of digging. You'll find that Obama's voting record and past statements before he ran for the presidency are sufficient to give you a measure of the man. He's really an unrepentant, far-left socialist. But few seem to be paying attention. Nothing matters. Everyone's mesmerized by the power of Obama. Or should I say the power of media, who are adept at choreographed imagery.

Now, before anyone suggests it, I am not saying that Obama is the Antichrist. One of the stage-setters maybe, but not the man himself. However, our whole culture (and planet) is being groomed for the final countdown. Think it's impossible? Here's what the Apostle Paul had to say about God setting the stage for His judgment of a wicked world . . .

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Deception will be rife in the last days. What's really sad is seeing how many are willing to be deceived.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saved by Grace Through Faith

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God's Word couldn't possibly be any plainer. So why do we still try so hard to inject human good works into soteriology?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Human Sinfulness

From Dr. Michael Brown, debating with Jewish apologists who question original sin:

Of course, it is possible to point to oustandingly moral individuals, such as the Chafetz Chayyim in Judaism or Mahatma Gandhi in Hinduism. But these seeming exceptions actually prove the rule of the pervasive nature of human sin.
"Really?" you say. "How so?"
Let me answer your question with three questions of my own. (1) Why do men like this stand out in their generation? Why are such individuals so rare? It is because we are a sinful lot. And even someone like Mahatma Gandhi had the fatal flaw of being a devoted idol worshiper, something Judaism forbids for Gentiles too. (2) What do these people say about themselves? Aren't they far more critical of themselves—and certainly far less impressed with themselves—than their admirers are? (3) Would the saintliest rabbi say that he had no need of atonement? Would he say he could stand before God without pleading for mercy? Then how much less can the "average Jew" trust in his or her own righteousness? Let me say it again: We all fall short.

The above quote came from one of Dr. Brown's books on Jewish evangelism entitled "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus." Although dialogue with Jews (Dr. Brown is a Jew) is the key focus, I think what he had to say is certainly applicable to all of us. We all are capable of getting on a high horse. We love (as the human race) to hold certain individuals up such as Mother Teresa, Gandhi, etc. But all of us (even them) are fallen and are in need of a Risen Savior.

There are people who will argue with that. There are people who will argue cleverly with anything. The truth is the truth. Jesus is the only way. Don't like that very much? Too bad.

Sola's note: I need to clarify something here. My purpose in posting the above was for those who think their good works are sufficient to enter Heaven. The last line was aimed at those within the church who are beginning to take on a universalist bent. Universalism is not the message of Scripture.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

John Lott on Guns

John Lott is the author of "Freedomnomics" and a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland. He formerly was at the University of Chicago, where he published a steller study on firearms a few years back -- one that sent the gun banners into a hissy fit on steroids.

Professor Lott is entering the fray again, because the rabid gun banners have hoisted a new flag to fly in their tireless efforts to render us all defenseless. Ban guns and stop suicides! You have to hand it to them. They're clever at coming up with ways to play the public like a violin.

Anyway, here's what Professor Lott had to say about this . . .

There are so many different ways for people to kill themselves: people can jump off buildings or crash their car into a telephone pole or head-on into another car.

In a high suicide rate country such as Japan, many people jump in front of subway trains.

Guns are one of the most lethal and effective methods of committing suicide, but how lethal the different methods are has a lot to do with whether someone wants to successfully commit suicide.

For example, the vast majority of attempted suicides by women are apparently not meant to be successful (just calls for help). They usually choose methods, such as taking only a relatively few sleeping pills, that are destined to fail.

But that hardly means that if you take someone who was intent on killing themselves and have them use sleeping pills, that they will also fail.

There is a great irony about this whole debate.

Generally, liberals, both on and off the Supreme Court, are the ones concerned about guns being used to commit suicide.

Yet, those same liberals opposed restrictions on drugs used in physician-assisted suicides.

The court forbade the U.S. Attorney General from claiming that suicide is not a “legitimate medical purpose.”

How is it OK for the justices to prevent regulations of drugs that are used to commit suicides, but support the banning of guns used for the same purpose?

If anything, the court can probably more effectively end physician-assisted suicides by banning drugs than they could end suicides by banning guns. Could the answer simply be that liberals dislike guns, not drugs?

More conservative justices, who believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own guns, don’t face the same logical conflict.

Even if they would like to regulate suicide with guns and even if they believed that gun ownership affected the total level of suicides, the Second Amendment protects the individual’s right to own guns.

There is no similar protection for drugs.

The debate about protecting people from themselves is a familiar one.

But even if those seeking to ban guns are right that more guns mean more suicides, who is best positioned to weigh the risks and benefits from letting people protect themselves?

If people are unable to make these decisions for themselves, how can people figure out which politicians should make these decisions for them?

One thing I might say to Professor Lott is this. Don't expect being caught in logical contradictions to deter these people. Orwellian doublespeak and Lewis Carrollian non sequiturs/redefinitions are innate traits of the liberal gun ban crowd (not to mention their other hobby horses). Their motto: "Words mean what we want them to mean. No more, no less."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oklahoma Lawmakers Strike Blow for Constitution!

In reading Walter Williams' WorldNetDaily column this morning, I was cheered to see that lawmakers in the Oklahoma state House have thrown down the gauntlet to the feds. They overwhelmingly passed a resolution that reads in part . . .

"Whereas, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: 'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people'; and Whereas, the 10th Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and whereas, the scope of power defined by the 10th Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and Whereas, today, in 2008, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government. … Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 2nd session of the 51st Oklahoma Legislature: that the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. That this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers."

Unfortunately, the state Senate dithered and didn't get the resolution passed before the end of the session, so the House sponsors are going to try again. (What is it with Senates?!? Maybe we should consider unicameral legislatures?)

The long and short of it is, it is going to take mass actions like this by states and local governments if we are ever going to recapture anything close to our constitutional republic. The federal government needs slapping down, and the people are the only ones who can do it.

Kudos to Oklahoma. Now, finish the job!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saluting Margaret Thatcher

Now and then, I like to post links to worthy articles, and today is one of those times.

This piece in Hillsdale College's Imprimis newsletter, written by John O'Sullivan, is a great read, and a great tribute to a great lady.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Satire on Obama?

Okay, call me a cynic. The Obama campaign is all a flutter about this depicted cover of The New Yorker magazine. The New Yorker calls it satire, making fun of those who express fears that Obama is a closet Muslim or black radical. Obama is mad. John McCain is mad. I was actually surprised that liberal Alan Colmes didn't express outrage. He thought it was satire (which it might well be).

Sorry, but I am increasingly of the opinion that all of these occasional "flare ups" are a bit too convenient. Such flapdoodle and kerfuffles have been going on since the primaries, but they've been increasing now that we're getting closer to the general election.

One case in point -- the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson contretemps of last week. Jesse's been around a LONG time. He's been in many broadcast studios. He never sees a microphone or camera without salivating. He had a microphone pinned to his lapel -- AT FOX NEWS OF ALL PLACES! Do you really, really think that Jesse was taken by surprise that his statement got circulated?

My suspicion is this. Again, all of this is too convenient. Obama and his acolytes have been trying to make him immune to criticism of any kind since he wrapped up the nomination. Any criticism whatsoever is deemed beyond the pale, and quite possibly racist. It's always unfair and a low blow, in their opinion.

What if all of these "situations" were by design in an effort to gin up a sympathy factor. Americans by and large are so afraid of being called racists that they'll jump like lemmings off of a cliff to prove that they're not.

Think about it a while.

Late update: Another thought, sparked by someone who doubted that Jesse intended to gin up sympathy by enabling Obama to distance himself from the Reverend. My friend might be right, but I still think Jesse Jackson knew full well what he was doing. He was sending a message that he wanted heard. Also, I have little doubt that there is some jealousy as Obama is taking over Jackson's limelight among the black community. In terms of his smooth public image, Obama is everything that Jackson is not. Keep in mind, their politics aren't much different at all. However, Obama comes across as winsome and articulate, while Jackson comes across as an incendiary rabble rouser.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Scripture for the Day

But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness (2 Peter 3:7-11).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Is Fear the Engine of Collapse?

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

That little ditty from Steely Dan was in my mind when the news broke about Indymac Bank going belly up. For some time now, we've been hearing about how this is a "mental recession," to use the words of Phil Gramm. CNN had a quote this morning from Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, talking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and his concerns that needless fear was helping to spark some of the current financial woes.

With the Indymac story, the same CNN piece reported that New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer had written a letter back in June (I think) expressing concerns about Indymac's tenuous financial position. Given Schumer's love for publicity, I have little doubt that he issued a press release on it. It appears that a run on Indymac took place shortly afterward, with depositors withdrawing millions of dollars. Surprise, surprise -- then federal regulators take Indymac over yesterday.

I am no financial or economic expert, although I do have a decent grasp of how economics works. I do know that fear can indeed have negative effects in an economy. Our politicians would do well not to fan the flames, but instead do things that will spur economic growth and safeguard against future bank failures. Some banks might even deserve to fail because of their shoddy practices. The market will correct things in time. I am suspicious of government bailouts with the exception of protecting individual depositors.

That's all I'll say for now. In the meantime, let's hope cooler heads prevail. And let's hope that Chuck Schumer can keep his large oral orifice shut. (Fat chance)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Love the Ozarks - Next Installment

This is a great shot I found of Black River, a wonderful stream that flows through southeast Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. This shot was taken by someone in the Missouri portion of the stream, where the water runs a bit clearer.

Black River ran near my late aunt and uncle's horse ranch near Annapolis, Missouri. I swam in it as a child, and boy was it cold! Once the stream gets to Arkansas, it leaves the Ozarks and runs through flatter ground, picking up some silt and gaining a murkier appearance. But it's still a lovely river, although it can get out of control.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Why Iraq Was Inevitable?

This commentary is worth reading and pondering. I find it instructive, especially the great quotes showing that the Democrats, who are so vocal in opposing the war today, had quite a different view when they were in power.

But in true, Orwellian memory-hole fashion, they can stand before the cameras and glibly lie, as if they never made those statements. George W. Bush gets all the vilification.

Typical, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pretending Obedience?

I seldom bump a post on the same day, but in reading the Psalms this afternoon, I came upon this stunning verse . . .

Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him, and their time of punishment would be forever (Psalm 81:15).


Stop and think about that one for a moment. When you consider someone who hates the very notion of God and observe their behavior, their hatred is pretty obvious. But imagine someone hating the Lord, yet pretending to be obedient.

I will have to dig into Psalm 81 more deeply for a proper exegesis. But in the abstract, it makes me wonder about some false teachers out there. It's one thing to be deceived, but quite another to have hatred of God lurking under the woodwork.


Six of the Best!

Sola's Note: After watching the 1939 movie "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" the other night, I began reading up a bit on corporal punishment in England's public schools. Now abolished, it is interesting that discipline problems seem to be on the rise. Here in America, while there are a few school districts that employ corporal punishment with a wooden paddle, the practice is dying out. And discipline problems are on the rise. The following was written by a retired headmaster in England. An interesting perspective.

A Headmaster's Recollections

In the mid 1960s I was appointed headmaster of a boys' secondary modern school in the English Midlands (this was before the days of general comprehensivisation, when state pupils who failed to get into the local grammar school were consigned to the less academic 'secondary mod'.)

The school had a reputation for ill discipline and poor examination results (echoes of today?) and the last headmaster had taken early retirement. I had been given the top job at a relatively young age on the understanding that I would stop the rot - so I knew that my career was on the line.

I called a grand meeting of the staff and told them the steps I intended to take. First of all, there would be strict enforcement of the school's rules concerning uniform, which were being widely flouted. For example junior boys were supposed to wear caps, but as often as not ignored this requirement, whilst the older boys presented a lamentable appearance with loose ties, turned-up blazer collars, non-regulation shoes and so on. All this would have to change, for in my opinion if a boy did not take a pride in his uniform he could hardly take a pride in his school.

The previous headmaster had had the power to cane but had seldom exercised this right - and when he did had carried out his duty in a half-hearted manner. This had led to a growth of unofficial corporal punishment by staff members, using rulers, slippers or whatever came to hand. I made it very clear that all such unofficial CP was strictly forbidden and that only the headmaster would give corporal punishment, using the officially sanctioned cane as supplied by the local education authority.

I announced that I would be compiling a list of 'caning offences' which would be widely publicised throughout the school. The boys would be given a week's grace to absorb the new rules. If my memory serves me correctly the offences in the list included disrupting classes, persistent latecoming, misbehaviour in assembly, fighting in or out of school, smoking, bullying, vandalism and persistent infringement of the uniform regulations.

For the first few days I think that the entire school was in a state of shock. I had the feeling that the boys were sizing me up - trying to guess whether I was bluffing. At the end of the week of grace I read the list of offences out in assembly and showed the lads a cane, stating that it was entirely up to them whether they ever saw it again. This was followed by several days of excellent behaviour (long serving members of staff could hardly believe their eyes!) before the hard core of troublemakers began to reassert themselves. It wasn't long before a steady stream of offenders began to appear at my door. Each and every boy received a talking to and was then caned.

Experience had taught me that it was no use 'sparing the rod'. If you did, word would soon get about the school that you were 'soft'. Since the object of a caning was both to punish and to deter a boy from reoffending, it needed to be made as unpleasant as possible. The object was to instil a fear of the cane into offenders and amongst potential offenders.

I kept strictly to the local authority regulations. There were no whackings across PT shorts or on the bare. To a schoolboy the cane is quite painful enough across his ordinary school trousers, believe me, especially when given with a modicum of expertise. I usually gave three or four strokes, or six in the case of persistent offenders. The maximum I was permitted to inflict under the rules was eight, but I saved this ultimate sanction for the very worse cases.

I never let a boy off his punishment, however much he might plead or promise to behave in future. I can remember cases of lads almost breaking down in tears just at the sight of the stick, and then making the most almighty fuss during their punishment - but I always made sure they suffered their allotted dose. The majority were much more stoical, however, accepting that they had been 'found out' and taking their medicine as bravely as they could.

As to the modus operandi of beating, I invariably positioned the offender over the back of a low chair, which presented the target area at an ideal angle. I made sure that I had plenty of room to swing and always aimed the cuts at the middle and lower part of the backside. Generally, I applied the cane with a will, with the proviso that younger pupils received their punishment with a lighter type of cane. The older boys were subject to a heavier senior model and six of the best with that cane was certainly no picnic, even for the toughest lad.

In the first half of that term my canes were in use several times a day, but later on things settled down, as I had expected they would. Now that a clear framework of discipline had been established, with sure and feared punishment for offenders, the school could function much more smoothly, with teachers being able to get on with their job of teaching, rather than to have to waste time keeping order. After all, any boy who disrupted a class knew that he could be sent to me for a caning - and that the experience would be extremely unpleasant.

As time passed by I was called upon to wield my canes rather less frequently and corporal punishment functioned much more as a general deterrent. I remember anti-corporal punishment campaigners claiming that caning was ineffective since examination of punishment books showed that the same boys were being beaten over and over again. I would agree that there are such persistent offenders within any school; on the other hand, in my experience there were many lads who seldom broke the rules again after the shock of their first caning. And in addition there were all those who were deterred from misbehaving in the first place by a healthy fear of the cane.

With British schools in their present state I sometimes wonder whether it was a mistake to abolish corporal punishment. Whatever they might say when bragging to their chums, in my experience the vast majority of schoolboys greatly feared the cane. But how many nowadays fear detention, extra work or even suspension in the same way?

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Existential Question of the Day

Someone please tell me this. I can get no peace by night or day until I learn the answer. It's that important.

I love coffee, but if I have any in the afternoon I generally go for unleaded although I'd rather not. Why, why, oh why, does decaffeinated coffee taste so horrible? It tastes like licking the bottom of an ashtray.

A relatively trivial matter in this mixed up, jumbled up world, but it bugs me. In this day and age of technology, they really ought to be able to make a better cup of decaf.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The "Fairness" Doctrine

I had planned a longer post on the subject of reinstating the misnamed "Fairness Doctrine," but it's been a busy weekend for me (much delayed yardwork etc). I also note that talk radio and blogs have been buzzing on this subject for days, so there doesn't seem to be much for me to add. However, I'll make a brief comment just so I am on the record. In opposition.

My largely dormant broadcast career (with the exception of one weekly talk show) goes back to the days when the Fairness Doctrine (FD) was still in force courtesy of the Federal Communications Commission. In case you don't know what it is, the FD was a requirement for broadcast stations -- should they broadcast editorials or commentaries -- to give equal time to any opposing viewpoints. While most stations did give a good faith effort to allow rebuttals, in time what was supposed to ensure free speech and airing of multiple views ended up doing exactly the opposite. Instead of having to give an open mic to every crackpot out there, many broadcast stations simply stopped airing editorials and commentaries. They stopped airing anything politically controversial.

Finally, the FCC did away with it in the 1980s, and President Reagan finally helped give the FD the coup de grace. In the years since then, talk radio exploded, especially conservative talk radio. The voices that were in essence ignored or squelched by the liberal-leaning media finally were able to be heard. Then, an interesting thing happened. The free market determined things as it almost always does. Conservative programming skyrocketed in popularity.

Liberals tried and tried to come up with their version of Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talkers. They even tried their own network called "Air America." Without fail, the liberal shows either tanked miserably or didn't come anywhere near the ratings of their conservative counterparts.

Frustrated, the left is now doing what it always does when society (or the free market) rejects their views. They try to impose themselves by force, primarily through judicial or legislative fiat. "Bring back the FD," they shriek. "We must have 'fairness.' All views must be heard, especially ours, to counter those evil conservatives." Legislation has indeed been introduced to bring the FD back. If they succeed, get ready for free speech to be chilled below zero.

You see, despite the frothing of the left, the current system -- called the marketplace of ideas -- is fair. Really. Liberal talkers and stations can complete on a level playing field like everyone else. But they have to face a hard reality. If no one likes their programming, they have no one to blame but themselves. Bad programming fails. It gets cancelled. It loses advertisers. It turns off listeners or bores them to tears. In the case of liberal talk networks like Air America, they only survive when wealthy socialist bogeymen like the abominable George Soros bankroll it.

But the FD stands a real chance of being reinstated, especially if Barack H. Obama wins election to the presidency. Like good liberals, they're going to force their ideas down your throat whether you like it or not. And they'll do all they can to ensure that there is no dissent.

Is that what the country really wants?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

I was originally going to post a brief comment on the so-called Fairness Doctrine that liberals in Congress are trying to resurrect. As it's the Fourth of July holiday, I think I'll defer that until tomorrow.

Until then, have a wonderful holiday, and reflect on the freedom we have enjoyed in this country -- freedom at a level seldom enjoyed anywhere else in the world. Reflect as well on the Author of that freedom, and the price that this country will pay in the long run for turning its back on Him. Other civilizations throughout history have ended or fallen, and what makes us think that America is immune from such a fate?

One more thing. Freedom lost is very, very difficult to get back without bloodshed. If -- God forbid -- we finally lose our freedom here, what sacrifices are we willing to make to set things to rights?

It's a good question.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Our Founders on Guns

Sola's note: This was so good I am reposting it its entirety. The original can be seen at

Why do we 'keep and bear arms'? Part 1
by Larry Elder

A prominent 20th-century Democrat made the following statement about the purpose of the Second Amendment: "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. … The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible."

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down the 1976 Washington, D.C., ban on handguns. The court ruled that the Founding Fathers wanted the Second Amendment to allow individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The minority disagreed, arguing that the right only extends to those belonging to a state "militia," such as the National Guard.

The Second Amendment reads as follows: "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." What did the framers mean?

Is "Militia" – as the framers intended – an arm of government? Or did they define militia as something completely different – a group of armed citizens with a right to "keep and bear Arms" to guard against unjust or tyrannical government power?

The Founding Fathers assumed that any government, including the one they established, could grow into a monster. They argued that only "the people" with a right "to keep and bear arms" could prevent such a tyranny.

James Madison, the "father of the Constitution," stated that tyrants were "afraid to trust the people with arms" and lauded "the advantage of being armed, which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation."

Thomas Jefferson wrote: "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."

George Mason said, "To disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said: "What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. … Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."

Noah Webster, the prominent political essayist who fought in the Revolutionary War, wrote: "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."

Samuel Adams likened the Second Amendment to the First: "That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."

Dictators throughout history sought to disarm their citizenries in order to impose power:

Vladimir Lenin said, "One man with a gun can control 100 without one."

Mao Zedong said, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

Josef Stalin said: "We don't let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?"

Adolf Hitler said: "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so."

Thomas Paine, in 1775, spoke about another kind of "tyranny." Bans and restrictions on firearms affect the law-abiding citizenry, shifting power to the non-law-abiding. Criminals ignore laws. That's why we call them criminals. Paine said: "The peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the vile and abandoned while they neglect the means of self-defense. … (Weakness) allures the ruffian, (but) arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe and preserve order in the world. … Horrid mischief would ensue were (the good) deprived of the use of them. … The weak will become a prey to the strong."

Oh, the prominent Democrat quoted in the first paragraph? It was said Oct. 22, 1959, by Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, a senator at the time. How times – and much of the Democratic Party – have changed.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mugabe Knows Not His Time

Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe has been in the news a lot lately for his refusal to cede power and allow political freedom in his nation. No surprises there, really. It seems like most African regimes give up power very reluctantly. Queen Elizabeth II has yanked his knighthood, but unless his fellow African nations step up genuine pressure -- especially South Africa -- nothing will change. Unless . . .

Mr. Mugabe made an interesting statement. "Only God can remove me." That's very true. And as an octogenarian, this tinpot dictator isn't that far from eternity. Death will indeed remove him from the throne he has usurped. It might happen sooner than he expects. Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan could tell him that - that is if Niyazov was still alive. He died very suddenly of a heart attack. His carefully constructed personality cult is now dying, and Turkmenistan is beginning slow steps toward reform and opening up. They've got a ways to go, but they're starting.

In case I forgot to mention, Mr. Niyazov is probably in Hell. He just might be saving Mr. Mugabe a place. Of course, things don't have to be that way for Mr. Mugabe. But if I were him, I'd set about amending my ways pretty quickly.

At his age, the sand in the hourglass is near the bottom.