Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Theodicy's Poetry Corner

Just a quick note to let you know of a brand new blog dedicated to the art of poetry. The name? Simply Poetry.

There are currently four original poems as this posting, but I'm sure CE Grand has more in the pipeline.

Whether you like poetry or not, stop by the Poetry blog and read one or two, I think you'll be impressed.

<>< TM

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Walter E. Williams on appeasment

Excellent column by Walter E. Williams on the costliness of appeasement of belligerent nations: "Will the West defend itself?"



"What Europeans say about what should be done about terrorist states should fall on deaf ears. Their history of weakness and cowardice during the 1930s goes a long way toward accounting for the 60 million lives lost during World War II. During the mid-'30s, when Hitler started violating the arms limitations of the Versailles Treaty, France and Britain alone could have handily defeated him, but they pursued the appeasement route.

Anyone who thinks current Western appeasement efforts will get Iran to end its nuclear weapons program and end its desire to eliminate Israel is dumber than dumb. Appeasement will strengthen Iran's hand, and it looks as if the West, including the United States, is willing to be complicit in that strengthening."


<>< TM

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Theodicy's Poetry Corner

Today's poem is from the book "Notes to Myself" by Gordon Prather. Read this one slowly and carefully, then read it again, and again...


If I had only…
Forgotten future greatness
And looked at the green things and the buildings
And reached out to those around me
And smelled the air
And ignored the forms and the self-styled obligations
And heard the rain on the roof
And put my arms aorund my wife
…and it's not too late.


<>< TM

Sunday, August 20, 2006

James D. Hudnall

Two greats for the price of one: James D. Hudnall and Ben Stein on Hud's Blog-O-Rama. Read Hudnall's recent post: "Where There’s A Will…"

Both Stein and Hudnall accurately point out the consquences of Israel's failure to destroy Hezbollah. Great post!

<>< TM

Illinois Railway Museum

Last weekend I went to one of my favorite places: the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. I wanted to give my year-old Kodak digital camera a good work out, so I took it along and took pictures of just about everything I saw!

The Illinois Railway Museum has hundreds of railroad cars, trollies, steam engines and diesel engines. They have have some weird stuff that you won't see anywhere else, like a huge locomotive powered by a gas turbine, and a "fireless" steam locomotive, amongst a host of other things.

They have an operating stretch of regular railroad track that is several miles long, and an operating trolley loop that's about a mile in length. If you're lucky, you might even get there on a day when the electric trolley buses are running! (But they weren't running the day I was there.)

Below are just a few pictures I took while I was there. While it may seem like there is a lot of equipment in these pictures, it is only a small fraction of the entire collection!

The Illinois Railway Museum is a wonderful place to visit, especially on a nice, quiet Sunday afternoon.

<>< TM

Illinois Railway Museum

Quote of the Week

This week's "Quote of the Week" comes from a New York Times article about the current state of the movie business: Caught on Film: A Growing Unease in Hollywood. Here's the quote:


"Whatever the challenges ahead, Mr. Goldberg, the producer, said Hollywood would adapt as it did when silent movies became talkies, and three decades ago, when the VCR was perceived as a threat.

He had no sympathy for those who do nothing but complain. "Let them get a real job," he said. "They get paid a lot. They go to great parties. They fly around in jets, not only for business reasons, but for personal things, too. I think there are worse jobs to have."


I agree Mr. Goldberg.

<>< TM

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Thoughts Exactly

In regards to this first phase of Israel's war against terrorism, I quote the words of Binyamin Netanyahu, who, of all people, seems to have the most realistic ideas about the "cease fire" deal and it's consquences:


Opposition leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) told the Knesset plenum that "Unfortunately, there will be another round [in this war] because the government's just demands weren't met" by the cease-fire agreement that went into effect Monday morning.

"The [kidnapped] soldiers weren't returned home, the Hizbullah was not disarmed … Right now, we are [merely] in an interim period between wars," Netanyahu warned. "And there is no one who will prevent our enemies from rearmed and preparing for the next round."

"We were a responsible opposition," Netanyahu said. "We aided in every way, including in the media war." But "our public duty is to tell the truth, because unfortunately there will be another round."

Netanyahu warned that "We were living in a coma, and received an alarm warning telling us to return to reality as it is, and to return to ourselves and to those values that will secure our existence in the future."

Click here for the whole JPost article: Olmert: Resolution 1701 changes strategic situation


This blog winds up my coverage of the current Israeli war... for more excellent coverage, visit the Jeruslam Post, Pajamas Media, and the Counterterrorism Blog, all of which are listed on my blogroll on the righthand sidebar.

<>< TM

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The war is over...or is it?

Ehud Olmert, taking the old saying "any port in a storm" to heart, has found a safe harbor in the recent, meaningless UN cease-fire resultion, which should be in effect about the time you read this.

But, to no one's surprise, this cease-fire is not making many Israeli's happy, neither on the left nor the right! It will be interesting to see which lasts longer, Olmert or the cease-fire.

Read more about it here:Olmert under fire over cease-fire.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"Why Do They Hate Us?"

"Why do they hate us?" is a popular question asked by left-wingers in regards to why Muslim want to kill us; sadly, they never come up with the right answer. In my research into the subject I've found that the answer to the question is really quite simple, and has little to do with ecomonics, and everything to do with religion.

Douglas Farah has also researched the subject, and has a short article on his blog about the influence of Islam on terrorists. Here's an excerpt:

"As the Western world again debates the roots of Islamist attacks on Britain and the United States, the question often posed is "Why do they hate us?" The conventional wisdom is that alienated youth, suffering prejudice and unemployment, migrate to suicide bombings to help redress the grievious injuries suffered by uncaring European societies that offer them no way out. Also mentioned are the broader political issues of Palestine, Iraq and recently, Hezbollah."

Click here to read the rest of the article: It is not social isolation that drives radicalization, but the mosques.
<>< TM

Friday, August 11, 2006

Trophy - Active Protection System for AFVs

I wonder if I can get this for my SUV???

Hugh Hewitt: Imagine It

Hugh Hewitt has an excellent commentary about the recent foiled attempt by MUSLIM terrorists to blow-up transatlantic flights: Imagine It.


"AS FREE SOCIETIES, the Western democracies have a choice of whether or not face up to the existential challenge they face from Radical Islam. The lure of seeking an easy way out is almost irresistible. The siren song of sitting down and reasoning with the Hezbollahs and Ahmadenijads of the world is powerful. If we could just do something to convince ourselves that all is well and that there’s nothing to fear, life sure would be easier."

<>< TM

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just give peace a chance...

The Jeruslam Post reports that there will be NO MASS INVANSION of Lebanon; the IDF has been ordered to hold it's current postions. Read more here: Analysis: IDF fumes over denied victory. Of course a diplomatic solution is normally a good thing, but not in this case. No doubt Hezbollah will use this opportunity to regroup and re-equip. Sadly, this hold up of the offensive is being blamed on the US, which I don't doubt.


"But then, under pressure from the US, Defense Minister Amir Peretz made a frantic call to Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and ordered him to stop the division in its tracks. 'We need to give the diplomatic process one last chance,' Peretz told Halutz. The orders trickled down the chain of command and by the time they reached 366, it had already reached Marjayoun, a stone's throw from the Litani."

<>< TM

Green Helmet Guy

The most famous picture of the aftermath of the bombing of Qana, Lebanon shows a man with a green helmet carrying the body of a dead child.

Well, it seems as if Green Helmet Guy is more than just a rescue worker, but rather an aspiring movie director: watch the following YouTube video to see Green Helmet Guy in action. Micheal Moore watch out!

<>< TM

Book: Why I Left Jihad

Thanks again to the Free Republic, I discovered a book that will be on my "must read" list: Why I Left Jihad.

I encourage you to click on the link and read some of the reviews. Insider accounts of Islam paint quite a different picture of Jihad than the made-for-TV progaganda that is the summ total of most people's ideas about Islamic terrorist organizations.

An excerpt from a review by M.D. Roberts:

"The book also investigates the alleged misinformation in the media together with what is called the "miasma of words that insulates the public from the evil of terrorism" in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. The book demonstrating how it is not difficult for extremists to allegedly explain Islam in a completely untruthful fashion to the unquestioning moderates and win them over by the droves. Such a statement being made within the context of sincere concern as to how so many Westerners, especially on the far left side of politics, allegedly demonise Israel and exonerate Islamic-Arab terror."

<>< TM

Government and IDF racked by unprecedented leadership crisis

There has been a lot of chatter on the Israeli blogs/sites about the wishy-washy nature of Israel's current left-wing leadership, and the problems it has caused the IDF. Now Jonathan Ariel has a report that seems to confirm the leadership crisis, and he reports that the IDF Chief of Staff is also causing problems: Government and IDF racked by unprecedented leadership crisis.


"Relations between the country's political and military leadership are at the lowest point in the country's history, on the verge of a crisis. In addition, there is a growing lack of confidence between Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, the first CoS to hail from the air force, and many of his general staff colleagues from the ground forces, who say he and his 'blue clique' [blue being the color of the air force uniform-ed] do not fully appreciate the nature of ground warfare. "

(Thanks to Free Republic for the link.)

<>< TM

Killing unbelievers

An excerpt from the book "Leaving Islam" edited by Ibn Warraq. From the chapter 20: "Mirza: Floods, Droughts, Islam, and Other Natural Calamities."


"There were several good affluent Hindu families near our village and I had some school friends from those Hindu families. Several of them were very good friends of mine, with whom I used to go to school and play and eat together in their houses. I noticed that many times local Muslims were hostile toward those Hindus whenever any riots occurred in neighboring India. These scenarios of riots used to bother me very much, as it was very hard for me to conceive why Hindus in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) had to die for crimes committed by some Hindus in Delhi or Bombay. One day I asked one local mullah if he supported killing of local Hindus for his Muslim brother in Delhi or Bombay. I was simply stunned and horrified by his reply. The mullah told me: "It is the sacred duty for the Muslims to kill kafirs. Hindus are kafirs, therefore it is our duty to kill them!" I asked him if it is written in the Koran or hadith to kill Hinidus. The mullah replied, "Yes!" At that time, it was not possible to verify the mullah's assertion, since I did not understand a word of Arabic and there was no translated Koran available to me."

...Later in the same chapter...

"I purchased two transalted Holy Korans, one in English and one in Bengali. I also purchased some renowned sahih hadith books. I also gathered the Bible, Bhagavat Gita, and some chapters from the Upanishads. I was reading the Koran, first very slowly but systematically from the beginning, and my intention was to finish the Koran. Before that, I had read the Koran selectively, some verses here and there with no clear-cut idea of what it was. The more I read the holy book, the more I was dismayed. My intention was to search divinity, philosophy, science, ethics, morality, social, and political issues in the Koran. But alas, the Koran was a book with no chronology, no philosophy, no science at all (but had plenty of erroneous science), pleny of problems in ethics and morality, amply redundancies, unfit social and political teachings by today's standards, and, above all, it had ample superstitious scriptures. I also found that the Koran was a book full of hatred, cruetly, unethical matters--no divinity at all."

<>< TM

Star Trek Inspirational Poster

Thanks to James D. Hudnall for the link.
See more posters here.

<>< TM

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Quote of the Week

From The Austrailian: John Birmingham: Righteous lefties lose out on the laughs:

"For a long time there has been a dreadful predictability of thinking on the Left, a lack of originality that means a thousand monkeys hammering away at a thousand typewriters could very quickly produce a whole issue of Green Left Weekly without even stopping for an expensive banana."

<>< TM

Islamic Terrorists are not embracing secular humanism after all

An excellent opinion piece appeared from today's Wall Street Journal by Thane Rosenbaum. It's so interesting, I decided to place the entire piece within my blog. Even the peace mongers are tired of Muslim aggression.



August 9, 2006; Page A10

This is a soul-searching moment for the Jewish left. Actually, for many Jewish liberals, navigating the gloomy politics of the Middle East is like walking with two left feet.

I would know. For six years I was the literary editor of Tikkun magazine, a leading voice for progressive Jewish politics that never avoided subjecting Israel to moral scrutiny. I also teach human rights at a Jesuit university, imparting the lessons of reciprocal grievances and the moral necessity to regard all people with dignity and mutual respect. And I am deeply sensitive to Palestinian pain, and mortified when innocent civilians are used as human shields and then cynically martyred as casualties of war.

Yet, since 9/11 and the second intifada, where suicide bombings and beheadings have become the calling cards of Arab diplomacy, and with Hamas and Hezbollah emerging as elected entities that, paradoxically, reject the first principles of liberal democracy, I feel a great deal of moral anguish. Perhaps I have been naïve all along.

And I am not alone. Many Jews are in my position -- the children and grandchildren of labor leaders, socialists, pacifists, humanitarians, antiwar protestors -- instinctively leaning left, rejecting war, unwilling to demonize, and insisting that violence only breeds more violence. Most of all we share the profound belief that killing, humiliation and the infliction of unnecessary pain are not Jewish attributes.

However, the world as we know it today -- post-Holocaust, post-9/11, post-sanity -- is not cooperating. Given the realities of the new Middle East, perhaps it is time for a reality check. For this reason, many Jewish liberals are surrendering to the mindset that there are no solutions other than to allow Israel to defend itself -- with whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, the inevitability of Israel coincides with the inevitability of anti-Semitism.

This is what more politically conservative Jews and hardcore Zionists maintained from the outset. And it was this nightmare that the Jewish left always refused to imagine. So we lay awake at night, afraid to sleep. Surely the Arabs were tired, too. Surely they would want to improve their societies and educate their children rather than strap bombs on to them.

If the Palestinians didn't want that for themselves, if building a nation was not their priority, then peace in exchange for territories was nothing but a pipe dream. It was all wish-fulfillment, morally and practically necessary, yet ultimately motivated by a weary Israeli society -- the harsh reality of Arab animus, the spiritual toll that the occupation had taken on a Jewish state battered by negative world opinion.

Despite the deep cynicism, however, Israel knew that it must try. It would have to set aside nearly 60 years of hard-won experience, starting from the very first days of its independence, and believe that the Arab world had softened, would become more welcoming neighbors, and would stop chanting: "Not in our backyard -- the Middle East is for Arabs only."

It is true that Israel has entered into peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have brought some measure of historic stability to the region. But with Israel having withdrawn from Lebanon and Gaza, and with Israeli public opinion virtually united in favor of near-total withdrawal from the West Bank, why are rockets being launched at Israel now, why are their soldiers being kidnapped if the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and the intentions of Hamas and Hezbollah, stand for something other than the total destruction of Israel? And if Palestinians and the Lebanese are electing terrorists and giving them the portfolio of statesmen, then what message is being sent to moderate voices, what incentives are there to negotiate, and how can any of this sobering news be recast in a more favorable light?

The Jewish left is now in shambles. Peace Now advocates have lost their momentum, and, in some sense, their moral clarity. Opinion polls in Israel are showing near unanimous support for stronger incursions into Lebanon. And until kidnapped soldiers are returned and acts of terror curtailed, any further conversations about the future of the West Bank have been set aside.

Not unlike the deep divisions between the values of red- and blue-state America, world Jewry is being forced to reconsider all of its underlying assumptions about peace in the Middle East. The recent disastrous events in Lebanon and Gaza have inadvertently created a newly united Jewish consciousness -- bringing right and left together into one deeply cynical red state.

Mr. Rosenbaum, a novelist and professor at Fordham Law School, is author, most recently, of "The Myth of Moral Justice" (HarperCollins, 2004).


<>< TM

40,000 soldiers await word to enter southern Lebanon

Three good articles on the Jerusalem Post web site today.

First, it seems that Israel is finding the nerve to take the battle all the way to the Litani River, and have readied a massive invasion force: 40,000 soldiers await word to enter southern Lebanon

Then there are two very interesting opinion pieces.

Yaakov Katz indicates that the IDF would rather have a diplomatic settlement then have to wade their way through the toils and troubles of southern Lebanon. Read about it here: To the Litani and Back?

And Daniel Pipes, long time prophet warning against Islamic aggression, has a piece about the the Murder in Seattle. His point: that an angry muslim who shot six defenseless Jewish women is the natural product of a religion that preaches hate, intolerance, and violence; especially in regards to the Jews.

<>< TM

The Theodicy Department of Shameless Commerce

Soon, my nice graphic images of recommended books will be replaced by these special buttons:

Since I link these books to their respective page on anyway, I thought I would just use's HTML code generator to build the links.

I also signed up to become an "associate" -- so every book you buy that's linked to from my site will generate a couple of pennies for good, ole' Thomas Merton, which I promise to invest completely in the quest for world peace.

By the way, if you haven't bought Ibn Warraq's "Leaving Islam", now would be a really good time to do so. Easily one of the best non-fiction books I've read this year. So click on that link I provided, and have a copy sent to you RIGHT NOW!

Peace be with you.

<>< TM

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

U.S. - French Alliance at the U.N. Reportedly Crumbling

Well, no surprise here: FOX reports that the U.S. - French Alliance at the U.N. Is Reportedly Crumbling

France has agreed with the Arabs that before ANY cease-fire agreement is in place, Israel must leave all of Lebanon. I guess the Hezbollah terrorists are tired of having to move their launchers around continuously, trying to avoid Israeli shell fire.

Of course you students of history out there already know that Israel has left Lebanon on NUMEROUS occasions, only having to re-invade the joint because Hezbollah conveniently forgets their end of the bargain: stop inciting Israel by firing rockets and kidnapping troops.

What this means is that there isn't going to be a cease-fire deal anytime soon, as Israel would be the biggest sucker in the world to fall for the word of the Arabs. So far every deal Israel ever reached to end hostilities in Lebanon or Palestine has ended up causing more conflict, not greater peace.

But then the left-wing government in Israel might take any olive branch thrown in their general direction, whether or not it's to their benefit. The reason: they do not seem to have the stomach to fight this thing to a military conclusion, nor is a military solution within the realm of possibility. But then again, a non-military solution is not in the realm of possibility either.

All that the leaving of Lebanon will accomplish is the re-arming and strengtheing of Hezbollah, just as it did the LAST time Israel left Lebanon...

Oh what a mess this is...

<>< TM - Reporter's Notebook: Biding Their Time

An interesting post from a FOX reporter on the scene near Tyre: Biding Their Time. From his nice, international hotel, he has a wonderful view of the daily launching of rockets at Israel.

Here's an interesting note in his post:
A note here: By the third day of dutifully recording those Katyusha launchings, we were advised in the most direct terms that it would not be a healthy thing for us to continue to do. Scattered among the international media were representatives of the Hezbollah militia. And like any military organization, they are worried about operation security. They figure that the Israeli defense teams in Tel Aviv might actually be tuned in to FOX, and real-time displays of rocket firings could help Israel in its targeting ability)."

Unhealthy indeed.

<>< TM

Asking for the Holy Spirit

An excellent essay about the Holy Spirit on the Catholic Analysis blog: Asking for the Holy Spirit
But the power of the Holy Spirit for transforming us and the world with that completed divine revelation is never complete or finished. And certainly none of us can dare presume to say to the Holy Spirit: "You cannot do this or that today; that was just for the early Church." Yet, it is amazing how some people voice opinions that seem to do just that: telling the Holy Spirit that certain things that he did long ago are just not the thing to do today. It is ludicrous for us to put constraints on the Holy Spirit; it may even be seriously sinful.

<>< TM

August 22

The following article by Bernard Lewis is making the rounds on the 'net, so I might as well post a link to it to: August 22.

Here is an excerpt:
"In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as 'by the end of August,' but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to 'the farthest mosque,' usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind."
While I do not believe this is a possibility, I post this article as evidence that the Muslim's have their own peculiar "Armageddon" scenario, which, of course, involves them actively taking part in killing lots of infadels.

<>< TM

Democracy push in the Mid-East helping Islamic terrorist organizations

Some excerpts from an interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal:

In Volatile Mideast,
U.S. Finds a Use
For Old Autocrats

As Elections Boost Islamists,
Democracy Push Falters
In Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Red Carpet for Mubarak Heir

August 8, 2006; Page A1

snip ><

Last summer, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered an emotional speech in Egypt now regarded as a high-water mark of the Bush administration's push for democracy in the Middle East.

"There are those who say that democracy leads to chaos or conflict or terror," she told a packed house at Cairo's American University in June 2005. "In fact, the opposite is true: Freedom and democracy are the only ideas powerful enough to overcome hatred and division and violence."

Today, the question confronting Ms. Rice is this: How much hatred, division and violence can the region bear en route to this promised new era?

With radicalism on the rise and battles flaring from Beirut to Baghdad to Gaza, the Bush administration's quest for democracy in the Middle East is literally under fire. So while Ms. Rice portrays the fighting in Lebanon as "the birth pangs of a new Middle East," the administration is also showing new eagerness to maintain pillars of the old Middle East -- particularly America's steadiest allies in the region, the autocracies of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

snip ><

The violence in Lebanon also highlighted what critics say are contradictions in the Bush democracy quest. For one, the administration now has to rely on autocratic leaders as it pursues its goal of ridding the region of autocratic leaders. Moreover, the region's worst unrest is in the three places Washington has pushed hardest for democratic change: Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.

Recent elections in all three places have led to a strengthening of strongly Islamic parties, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, which picked up 14 seats in the 128-seat Lebanese parliament, and Hamas in the Palestinian territories, which swept January elections and now controls the government. The results also enhanced the influence in all three places of Iran's hard-line Shiite leadership, much to the alarm of its rivals in the Sunni capitals of Cairo, Amman and Riyadh.

snip ><

Early in the democracy project, the administration had cause for encouragement despite an array of skeptics. Palestinians picked a moderate, Mahmoud Abbas, as their president in January 2005. Iraqis risked attacks to line up to vote in two nationwide elections, first in January 2005 and then last December. And when Syria pulled troops out of Lebanon, after years of interfering in its domestic politics, the country held its first free election in decades.

It also became clear that elections didn't immediately enhance U.S. interests or create stability. That is partly because Islamic groups offered by far the most organized and effective opposition to the old leaderships. The biggest shock came with Hamas's victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections. The Bush administration, after pressuring Israel to allow Hamas to compete, was stunned by the results.

snip ><

Amid restrictions on who could run and how candidates could campaign, Mr. Mubarak secured a fifth term as president [of Egypt] with relative ease. But the parliamentary election -- conducted in three rounds in September, November and December -- was plagued with problems. Riot police barricaded some voting stations, forcibly preventing voters from entering. Human-rights groups and the Egyptian judiciary alleged that ballot-rigging was rife.

Violence intensified approaching the second round of elections in November. In the end, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidates won 88 seats in parliament, up from 17 in the 2000 election, forming the largest single bloc of opposition seats in modern Egyptian history. Mr. Mubarak's National Democratic Party took 230 seats of 454. While the ruling party retained its majority, for many the elections indicated the pro-Islamist direction Egypt might turn if left to its own devices.

URL for this article:

<>< TM

Iraqi PM criticizes U.S. Military's "excessive force"

From CNN: Blasts rip Baghdad despite security - Aug 8, 2006
U.S.-led troops have been conducting raids against what have been described as death squads. But one raid early Monday in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood drew criticism from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, comments that illustrated the difficulty of securing Baghdad without alienating the man in the street.

At least three people were killed and 15 were wounded, including four children, during clashes that ensued as the raid targeting 'punishment and torture' cells unfolded in the Shiite enclave, also a bastion of support for militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Speaking Monday night on Iraqi TV, al-Maliki -- also a Shiite and close to al-Sadr -- said he was 'angered and pained' by the operation. He indicated that it was excessive and said it hurt the cause of national reconciliation.

Al-Maliki said 'the operation used weapons that are unreasonable in efforts to detain someone -- like using planes.' He emphasized that 'reconciliation cannot go hand in hand with operations that violate the rights of citizens this way.'

In other violence on Tuesday attackers shot dead three people -- one of them a teacher -- in two incidents in Muqdadiya, which is north of the Diyala province capital of Baquba. In Baquba, gunmen killed two people in drive-by shootings.

A police officer was killed and eight people were wounded in two roadside bombings in Tikrit, and an improvised explosive device detonated in Iraq's Anbar province, killing a civilian operating a tractor, the U.S. military said."
I post this article as further evidence of the mindset formed by Islam--in this case, Shi'ite Islam.

American troops get sent to Baghad to stop Shi'ite violence, and of course the only way to stop it is through the use of force. But notice how the Iraqi PM condemns the American use of force, but doesn't say "boo" concerning the use of force by Shi'ites! It is absolutely amazing that he has no words of condemantion for Muslims killing each other, but as soon as the Americans step in to quell the uprisings, now the condemnations begin: agaist the Americans.

Does anyone else see the hypocritical double-standard here, or is it just me?

<>< TM

Half of all Christians have fled Iraq since 2003, says Baghdad bishop

This is NOT good news: Half of all Christians have fled Iraq since 2003, says Baghdad bishop.

An excerpt from the article:
Chaldean Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Andreos Abouna of Baghdad said that before the invasion there were about 1.2 million Christians in the predominantly Shiite Muslim state. Since then the overall number has dropped to about 600,000, he said.

"What we are hearing now is the alarm bell for Christianity in Iraq," the bishop said. "When so many are leaving from a small community like ours, you know that it is dangerous -- dangerous for the future of the church in Iraq."
Well, so much for a freedom loving, democratic Iraq. It seems all we've done is to make it a wonderful hotbed for Isalmic violence and hatred....which is what I thought we were putting a stop to when we invaded the place to begin with.

But here's the moral of the story: you DON'T invade a country and declare it a "win" when you leave it's ideological instutions in place--it just doesn't work.

Imagine invading Germany during WW2 and leaving Nazism in place as a governmental system, or ivading Japan and leaving the Bushido code in place. Such a thing would rightly be called stupid.

But American forces go into Iraq, and leave the chief instution of hate filled rhetoric in place: Islam. Might as well take all the troops out right now, because if you don't dismantle Islam in Iraq, then you are only going to breed a much worst situation, which is in fact happening right before our eyes, as this article from the Cathloic News Service indicates. (But of course this is just one of MANY articles that show that Islam is taking a turn for the worst in Iraq.)

While I appreciate the actions of our current governemental administration to combat terrorism by taking the offensive, it does no good for them to pretend that Islam is not the source and motivation of all the terrorist acts committed by Muslims.

Until we realize that the enemy is Islam, not just goofey mid-east dictators, our war on terror is going to be a losing battle.

Thanks to Free Republic for the link to the story.

<>< TM

9/11 Kevin Cosgrove

9/11 Kevin Cosgrove

Though I've already linked to "9/11 Kevin Cosgrove" in a previous post, I decided just to add the video right into my blog. Again, this is a video you will only want to watch once.

Never Forget.

<>< TM

Volo Auto Museum

Typical hood ornament for 1930's era Fords

Would you pay $9.00 admission to walk inside a car dealership? If not, I can't say I wouldn't blame you, but there is an auto dealership in Northern Illinois that gets away with charging admission, and people keep coming back for more!

The dealership is the Volo Auto Museum in the little town of Volo, Illinois. The reason it is called a "museum" and not a dealership has to do with the type of vehicles sold: classic muscle cars for the 50's and 60's, plus famous cars from Hollywood movies and TV shows.

The muscle cars aren't just hotrods with huge blowers sticking out of the hoods and giant slicks for rear tires, but most of the cars (over 250!) are fully restored to original, stock condition; and some are not even restored, but carefully cared for originals. The usual muscle car suspects can be found in plentiful supply: GTO's, Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Road Runners, Chevelle's, Cameros, and Corevettes.

But there are also famous movie and TV cars to be found, including a "K.I.T.T" from the famous Knight Rider TV series, and the original Batmobile. You can also find the Cadillac Ambulance from "Ghost Busters" on site, as well as a "Blues Brothers" 74 Dodge Monaco police cruiser. Yes, even the most famous movie car of them all is at Volo: the DeLorean from "Back to the Future", complete with the "Mr. Fusion" (though I did not bother to check if the flux capacitor was properly installed).

1940 Cadillac LaSalle

But my favorites are in the pre 1950 building. There you can see some real goodies, like a '46 Lincoln Continental V-12, a '40 Cadillac LaSalle, and a '31 Cord Carbriolet.

1934 Packard V-12 Convertible

But if you're wondering what car I'd most like to drive away in, it would be, hands down, the 1934 Packard V-12 convertible sedan. Now there's a car you don't see on the road everyday. The price of the car is not advertised, though it is for sale: no doubt the price is somewhere near that of a small, seaside mansion in Malibu.

It's a fun place, and if you aren't into cars, there's a huge antique shop on the premises, and lots of other small retail outlets.

The Volo Auto Museum is unique in that there aren't too many museums out there where you can actually buy the exhibits.

<>< TM

Making war look worse

Jeff Jarvis over at "Comment is free" has an excellent commentary about the Little Green Footballs expose of the doctored Reuters photo: Making war look worse

<>< TM

The power of the BLOG

Once again, the blog-o-sphere spots a fake.

Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs blog found a Reuters photo of Beruit that was obviously doctored in Photoshop. You can watch the video of his interview on CNN here:Charles Johnson talks shop on CNN

There is also an audio link with Matt Drudge interviewing Charles on the same subject.

While this is not as big a deal as when Charles caught CBS passing of MS Word documents as 1960's era government documents, it's still nice to see that the blog-o-sphere is working to keep those journalists in the mainstream on their toes.

<>< TM

Monday, August 07, 2006


Ahhh...the wisdom of Mark Steyn concerning the destruction of Hezbollah:
"....when an army goes to war against a terrorist organization, it's like watching the Red Sox play Andre Agassi: Each side is being held to its own set of rules. When Hezbollah launches rockets into Israeli residential neighborhoods with the intention of killing random civilians, that's fine because, after all, they're terrorists and that's what terrorists do. But when, in the course of trying to resist the terrorists, Israel unintentionally kills civilians, that's an appalling act of savagery. Speaking at West Point in 2002, President Bush observed: 'Deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend.' Actually, it's worse than that. In Hezbollahstan, the deaths of its citizens works to its strategic advantage: Dead Israelis are good news but dead Lebanese are even better, at least on the important battlefield of world opinion. The meta-narrative, as they say, is consistent through the media's Hez-one-they-made-earlier coverage, and the recent Supreme Court judgment, and EU-U.N. efforts to play 'honest broker' between a sovereign state and a genocidal global terror conglomerate: All these things enhance the status of Islamist terror and thus will lead to more of it, and ever more 'disproportionately.' "

Read the whole column: Advocates of 'proportion' are just unbalanced:

<>< TM

Twelve Angry Muslims

Mike Adams over at has this best possible solution to the current mid-east crisis that I've come across. Please read Twelve Angry Muslims.

Mike means this commentary at a bit of satire, but it's a surprisingly accurate in terms of the problem and solution.

<>< TM



My first attempt at adding video to my blog: I would like you to see this one, entiteld simply "Can". The music alone is worth watcing this video for: Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine."

Have a box of Kleenex nearby.

(Thanks to New Advent for the link.)

<>< TM

An African perspective on homosexuality and abortion

Here's an interesting post from the New Advent blog: An African perspective on homosexuality and abortion.

Nice to know that some cultures still call a perversion a perversion, not a civil right.

<>< TM

Sunday, August 06, 2006

9/11 Kevin Cosgrove

You've gotta see this. But you will only want to watch it once: 9/11 Kevin Cosgrove.

(Thanks to Replapsed Catholic for the link)

Never forget.

<>< TM

Naval commando unit raids Tyre | Jerusalem Post

Another take on the command raid of Tyre, this one from the Jerusalem Post: Naval commando unit raids Tyre. This article goes into a bit more detail than the Ynet story.

Note: Israel doesn't have a "navy" as a seperate entity like we do here in the USA, or like most Eurpean countries. The Israeli navy is actually under the command of the Israeli army: All forces combined, naval, air and ground, are the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF.

This is speculation on my part, but what makes the commandos "naval" is that they probably took off from helicopters on Israeli Saar 5 class corvettes, and are most likely trained to operate from ships, much like American Navy SEALS, or British SBS.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

10 soldiers hurt in raid on Tyre

The Jewish news source Ynet is reporting that 10 IDF soldiers were hurt in raid on Tyre.

There are four main reasons why I linked to this story:

1.) Israel is using helicopter assualts to strike at Hezbollah targets deep within Lebanon, remincent of American air mobile warfare during Vietman. This is not just a classical "frontal assualt" type of war, like something you'd see in a "Lord of the Rings" movie.

2.) Hezbollah is proving to by quite a match for the Israeli army, but that is to be expected considering their is no element of surprise, and even a military iditot could figure out that Israel can basically only come at you from one direction. The IDF reports that seven terrorists were killed in their little raid, but ten IDF commandos were injured, two severly. Also Hezbollah has been receiving advanced training at the hands of the Iranians along with advanced weapons systems.

3.) Proof that the Lebanese Army is actively backing Hezbollah: in this article, and in the video, we see an Lebanese M113 armored personal carrier with some sort of 20mm anti-aircraft gun mounted on top, which has obviously been disabled by enemy fire. Hezbollah has no armor of any kind, this M113 was taken out because it was firing on IDF helicopters.

4.) It's interesing that Tyre is the "never center" for rocket attacks against Israel. It is mentioned by name in Psalm 83, which was written by King David 2500 years ago! Seems like poor Israel got resurrected to the same enemies it's been fighting for thousands of years. Some things just never change...

<>< TM

Shi'ite Islamic Armageddon

An Islamic Armageddon? Yes, that's what Iran is hoping for. Here's an excerpt about this little known concept from the Iraq watchblog "Iraq the Model":Just new banners, or war drums?
"It is true that religion had always been playing a central role in the numerous chapters of the conflict between the Muslims and the West but this time there's a totally different theological belief that is being used by Iran to provoke and direct this war; I think the best way to say it is that we are about to see Iran launch the mullahs' version of an 'Armageddon'.
I know this may sound absurd and maybe some of you are thinking no one could possibly be thinking that way but remember, I am telling you what extremist theocrats seem to be planning for and logic has very little space in the mullahs' way of thinking.

I'm not going to claim I know exactly what Hizbollah's or Hamas's hidden motives are because I don't live there but I know about those of the regime in Iran and its arm in Iraq; both Ahmedinejad and Sadr are devout believers in the 'Savior Imam' of Shia Islam who is the 12th grandson of prophet Mohammed, also known by the name 'Imam Mehdi' hence the name of Sadr's militias 'the Mehdi Army'.
I must point out though that some factions of Sunni Islam also believe in the rise of the Imam but they have their own different version of the story.

Both Ahmedinejad and Sadr believe it is their duty to pave the way and prepare the ground for the rise of the Imam whose rise, according to their branch of Shia Islam, requires certain conditions and a sequence of certain events; the story is too long to discuss in one post so I'll just move on to offer my observations…

We are seeing some signs here that make us think that Iran and its tools in Iraq are trying to provoke the rise of the imam through forcing the signs they believe should be associated with that rise. One of the things that do not feel right is the sudden appearance of new banners and writings on the walls carrying religious messages talking specifically of imam Mehdi. These messages are getting abundant in Baghdad and in particular in the eastern part of the capital where Sadr militias are dominant and a special number can be seen in the area of the interior ministry complex.
This is getting creepier by the minute...(thanks to Air Force Pundit for the link.)

<>< TM

Growing up in Iran

The following is an excerpt from the book Leaving Islam by Ibn Warraq. I present it here to give evidence of just what sort of regime Iran is, and what sort of religious system Islam is. The following is from chapter 17: "Leaving Islam and Living Islam." The testimony is from a woman who grew up during the Iranian revolution:

"In my late teens, Iran was pregnant with revolution. The atmosphere of the time was for change, a profound demand for fundamental change in society. People were marching and fighting for freedom and justice. Unfortunately, the revolution was defeated by the Islamic tradition. The final decades of the twentieth century witnessed another holocaust, an Islamic one, because of which thousands have been executed, decapitated, stoned to death, and tortured by Islamic governments and Islamic movements. That was the beginning of a dark era that has not ended. That was the beginning of the rise of political Islam in the world, a period in history that most probably could be compared to the 1930s. There have not been and there are no limits to murder and repression: Young and old, women and men are all legitimate targets of Islam's blind and bloody terror. Any voice of dissent and freedom has been silenced on the spot. The robe, turban, and Koran continue to drive millions of people into Islamic dungeons. The conduct of Islamic movements is primarily in the form of opposition of the freedom of women, women's civil liberties, freedom of expression in the cultural and personal domains and the enforcement of brutal laws and traditions against people, and the killing, beheading, and genocide of people from young children to the elderly.

"Yet this is a period in Iranian history of which humanity all around the world is largely unaware, a period during which crimes of such dimension and intensity were committed against people by the Islamic Republic of Iran and other political Islamic groups that, were they better known, would appall the wider world. In Iran, violence has another dimension: one that is based on Islam. The very statement that an Islamic Republic exists somewhere means that unparalleled and brutal violence exists in it. The very fact that people are forced to abide by laws based on something some god or prophet is reported to have said somewhere is a form of mental violence. If anyone protest against such laws, they are subject to suppression and punishment. And questioning Islam means suffering the worst and the most ferocious kinds of punishment. Iran is the most transparent picture of what Islam is capable of."

<>< TM

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Christianists are coming, the Christianists are coming!

Kathleen Parker at Jewish World Review writes about the goofiness of equating evangelical Christians with Islamists: "The Christianists are coming, the Christianists are coming!"

The big idea is that while there are Christians who see all the events of the mid-east through the lens of the "Left Behind" series, that does not make them dangerous, despite the conspiracy theory rhetoric of the left-wingers.

<>< TM

With friends like these....

Most of us already know that the war between Israel and the terrorist organization of Hezbollah has far wider implications than just those involving Israel, Palestine and Lebanon. But it's really something when in IRAQ hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites take the streets to chant "Death to Israel, Death to America." You can read about it here:Shi'ites take to the streets of Baghdad

What's so amazing about this, is that the Shi'ites of Iraq would still be underneath Saddam Husein's boot if it weren't for the "liberation" caused by the U.S. military. I guess they aren't all that thankful.

This also goes to prove that Muslims hate Jews more than anything, and since we back Israel, we get a fair share of the hatred as well, even from those who wouldn't have a voice if it weren't for us.

Things are not looking good, to put it mildly.

<>< TM

When terrorists become an army

There's a lot of interesting information out there in the blog-o-sphere about the current Israeli/Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon that you won't get from the traditional news sources. Here's some good stuff for your reading entertainment:

From the Counter-Terrorism blog: Hezbollah's Army Revisited. It seems as if Israel is fighting more than just a bunch of terrorists in Lebanon--more like a well trained, well equipped modern fighting force. This battle isn't going to end quickly, unless Israel gets serious about what the force they are facing.

From Pierre Lagrand's Pink Flamingo Bar blog, an excellent and well researched article about the Islamic component to the war on terror and how very, very dangerous it is: More Thoughts on the War against Islamic Terror.

Caroline Glick from the Jerusalem Post complains how the biggest hindrance to the IDF winning against Hezbollah is Israel's own left-wing government: Amateur hour is over. Sadly, Olmert is NOT the person you want leading Israel into a war. He's far too interested in appeasement and world opinion rather than total victory, which means that Israel will not be able to deal the death blow to Hezbollah that is desperately needed. We can all look forward to this war continuing again after another stupid multi-national "peace keeping" (really, do-nothing) force enters Lebanon and allows Hezbollah to retrain and re-equip. Except the war will be even bloodier, and casualties will be measured in the thousands, rather than in the tens.

And the legendary "VDH", Victor David Hanson, writes about the incredible stupidity in the West's unwillingness to recognize Islamic aggression for what it is. Read his latest thought provoking piece: The Brink of Madness.

(Special thanks to PajamasMedia, who provided some of the above links, and is doing a top notch job covering the war in Lebanon.)


As a Christian, it is party of my obligation to God and man to take a stand against violence and injustice, and to take to task those who would rather appease and compromise with evil rather than rejecting it outright.

Though I've said it before, it needs to be stated again that as a Christian, I condemn the actions of Hezbollah and Hamas, which are clearly designed to incite war with Israel, an objective they have clearly achieved. And as a Christian, I stand behind the efforts of the Israeli armed forces to deal with these threats, kidnappings, murders, and rocket barrages as best they can.

War is a tool of last resort in Christianity, but it is a tool none-the-less. While Christians are absolutely forbidden to spread the message of Jesus Christ using force of arms, they are certainly allowed, and even encouraged, to do battle with the forces of hate, evil and intolerance, even if those in the wrong are other Christians.

The absolute worst war in terms of casualties ever fought by the United States was it's own Civil War, and those who were the spark that started the war were Christians like Harriet Beecher Stowe, who did their best to reveal the cruetly of Southern slavery in her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Even John Brown, extremist though he may be, at least understood that slavery in the South wasn't going to end peacefully, but it was going to take an act of war to set the slaves free. While I can condemn John Brown's methods, I cannot condemn his devotion to the abolition of slavery in the United States.

As far as it is possible, Christians are quite happy and content to live in peace with everyone: Muslims, Atheists, Humanists, Hindus, and so on. But there are times when it is more important to stand up for that which is right than it is to live in a false peace where evil is tolerated. In those cases, Christians must take a stand, even when that stand might lead to war or violence. And there are times when the stand that must be taken is against those who prefer to use war as a means to an end, like Hitler and Saddam Hussein for instance. In those instances, "talk" and "appeasement" only delay the inevitable outcome of their bloodlust.

<>< TM

Podcast of the Year

I've just listened to the most intelligent, disturbing, and powerful podcast I've ever heard concerning the crisis in the Middle-east. Pamela of the Atlas Shrugs blog interviews Caroline Glick of the Jeruslam Post. Click the following link to go to the podcast: Politics Central: Will Lebanon be the next Iran?

Caroline doesn't hold back! One of her chief points is that instead of sending in another completely useless international peace force, the Western democracies should be joining with Israel on the battlefield to destroy Hezbollah! (And maybe take out Syria and Iran as well!)

I'll say this as least: no matter your political persuasion, you'll be anything but bored listening to this podcast...

<>< TM

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Positively Focused

Hewitt Magazine has a wonderful interview with Chicago Cub's legend Ron Santo. Click on the following link to read it and be blessed: Positively Focused.

<>< TM

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A blogger behind bars

"Blogging was a helluva lot easier when all we wrote about was our cats." writes Jeff Jarvis in today's Gaurdian Unlimited.

The problem: a blogger goes to jail in California for refusing to hand over video tape of a demonstration. The blogger insists that as a journalist, he does not have to hand over anything, citing the "yee olde" freedom of the press thing, as guarenteed in the U.S. Constitution.

It's a very interesting situation, and it's amazing that a mainstream journalist like Jarvis is siding with the bloggers on this one. But Jarvis makes an interesting point: you don't have to be a "journalist" to commit an act of journalism. Yes, even a humble blogger (like yours truly) can be deemed a "journalist" just by publishing yet another silly post on his web log. It's not the four year degree from Northwestern that makes you a journalist (with apologies to Andy Sachs), it's the act of publishing to the public, electronic or otherwise, that makes one a journalist.

<>< TM

The Fragility of the Good Life

If you've never read anything by Victor David Hanson (a.k.a. "VDH"), now's your chance. More than just a commentaror, his articles border on the prophetic. His speciality is classical literature and military history; and he's not one who is destined to forget the past, but rather sees quite clearly how the past can be a means of understanding the present. I highly recommend his latest posting: The Fragility of the Good Life. Those who are wise will heed his warning...

<>< TM

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

WSJ: In Israel, 'Mothers' Have Change of Heart On Hezbollah Fight

An excellent article appeared in today's Wall Street Journal. Below are some snippets from that article.

In Israel, 'Mothers'
Have Change of Heart
On Hezbollah Fight

Ex-Leader's Bellicose Stand
Signals Shift in Nation;
Ms. Anteby Skips March

August 1, 2006; Page A1

snip ><

KAKHAL, Israel -- In 1997, Zahara Anteby became so sick of Israel's lengthy occupation of Lebanon that she started campaigning full-time to end it. The 18-year military presence finally ended, in 2000, in a wrenching moment for Israel and a major victory for the popular movement Ms. Anteby helped lead.

Seven years later, Ms. Anteby finds herself living through a new Lebanon war. But she backs this one to the hilt. "This time we're fighting for our survival," she says in her home here, a village overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Any Israeli who opposes the military campaign is just a "bleeding heart," she says.

Ms. Anteby's transformation from peacenik to hawk shows how Israeli attitudes are hardening as the country's war on Hezbollah enters its third week, with no sign of the decisive victory its army promised.

snip ><

Last month, only a few hundred protesters turned up for an antiwar protest in downtown Tel Aviv. Even Peace Now, a prominent advocacy group that campaigns for peace with the Palestinians, backs this war.

One person who wasn't at the rally was Ms. Anteby. A soft-spoken 54-year-old high-school principal, she considers herself a dyed-in-the-wool leftist. "I got varicose veins from all the peace demonstrations I attended," she says. But she finds she can't oppose this war. "We were provoked," she says, "and we have no choice but to protect ourselves."

snip ><

Initially, she says, the withdrawal [from Lebanon in 2000] seemed to have worked. Like many Israelis, she had little fear of Hezbollah. She saw its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, as a freedom fighter struggling to liberate his people from foreign occupation. "For six years there was peace in Galilee," she says.

But that tenuous peace was shattered July 12 when Hezbollah militants staged a brazen cross-border raid, kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. On the same day, the militia fired rockets at northern Israel: Some of them landed near Ms. Anteby's house in Kakhal, a tranquil village in the upper Galilee, sending deer from a nearby nature reserve galloping in panic across the hillside. "I suddenly realized that Nasrallah isn't a political leader at all, but a jihadi," she says. "He was never fighting for freedom -- it was and is a war of religion."

The full article:

Note: you need to be a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal to read the full article.

<>< TM

Iwo Jima in the Middle East

Other than my interests in Christian theology and philosophy, I am also an avid military historian and wargamer. So while I'm very interested in this current little eruption of war between Israel and Lebanon for spiritual and religious reasons, I'm also interested in it from the perspective of military history and strategy.

One thing that has really struck me, which I haven't seen mention of in the media or on the net (until now) is how much Hezbollah's tactics and strategy seem very similar to Japan's during the battle of Iwo Jima. In both instances, the defending forces make significant use of tunnels, bunkers, deception and difficult terrain to inflict maximum causalties on the attacking force.

I've seen more than one commentator wonder why the Israeli Army doesn't have all of little Lebanon in it's hip pocket already, rather than having gone no further than maybe just three miles into Lebanon! Well, if Hezbollah is following the Iwo Jima playbook, then the Israeli army is going to measure it's progress in yards and inches, not miles. That does NOT mean that the Israeli army is losing the battle, as I've seen some commentators indicatate, rather they are fighting in terrain that does not allow for blitzkrieg tactics.

I've just found an excellent commentary about Israeli strategy on the American Thinker website that deals with this very issue: "Hezbollah's Iwo Jima Delusion" (Thanks to GDS_Starfury from the web forum for posting the article.)

<>< TM


Internet Monk Michael Spencer dedicates an entire podcast to ME! That's right, an entire 30 minute podcast dedicated to THOMAS MERTON. The podcast is a wonderful little primer into the life and influence of myself, and explains that my fascination with Buddahism has to do with praxis, not orthodoxy,. I remained faithful to the Church and to Christ until my dying day. The podcast is also a defense against certain internet watch-blogs that are dissing me by saying I'm a Catholic anti-christ. Whatever...

Anyway, click the following to listen to a wonderful podcast: FREE THOMAS MERTON!

<>< TM

"World opinion" is worthless

An excellent opinion piece by Dennis Prager can be found at
"If you are ever morally confused about a major world issue, here is a rule that is almost never violated: Whenever you hear that 'world opinion' holds a view, assume it is morally wrong."
Read more here: >"World opinion" is worthless.

<>< TM

The Sufis

Having read many positive reviews of Ibn Warraq's "Leaving Islam", I naturally had to get a copy for myself. Here is an excellent quote from Warraq from Chapter 4, "Sufism, or Islamic Mysticism and the Rejection of Islam":
The great achievement of the Sufis was their insistence that true religion had nothing to do with the doctrinal and legal system of orthodoxy, which only restricted man's religious horizon. In the mystic's vision there were no heavenly rewards and hellish punishments; the written word of God was abrogated by a direct and intimate revelation. Instead of being ruled by fear, the mystic is more concerned with the love and knowledge of God, detachment from the self, and "the divine service is regarded as a service of hearts," rather than the observance of external rules that have to be obeyed blindly.
<>< TM