Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
California Govenor Says He'll Veto 'Gay History' Bill
(CNSNews.com) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly plans to veto a "gay history" bill if it reaches his desk.
A conservative advocacy group that led opposition to the bill called the report good news for parents:
The bill, SB 1437, would have required social studies textbooks used in California public schools to include "the role and contributions of...people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender...with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society."
The bill also would have barred textbooks and school-sponsored activities from "reflecting adversely" on transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality.
Conservative critics said the bill would have forced schools to promote same-sex marriage and even sex-change procedures.
"The governor believes that school curriculum should include all important historical figures, regardless of orientation," Schwarzenegger's director of communications, Adam Mendelsohn, told Thursday's Sacramento Bee. "However, he does not support the Legislature micromanaging curriculum."
A conservative advocacy group that lobbied against SB 1437 said it is pleased that Gov. Schwarzenegger is listening to the concerns of parents.
But that's not the end of the story, the Campaign for Children and Families said: "Now the governor needs to pledge to veto the two remaining sexual indoctrination bills, AB 606 and AB 1056. Parents and grandparents are demanding it."
"This terrible trio of bills would promote cross-dressing and sex-change operations to children as young as kindergarten," said CCF President Randy Thomasson. "Schools should be about academics, not about promoting alternative sexual lifestyles to impressionable schoolchildren."
AB 606 would require school districts to establish and publicize an antidiscrimination and antiharassment policy that is based on specified characteristics, including "actual or perceived gender identify and sexual orientation."
In other words, conservative critics say, the bill would withhold state funds from any school district that does not adequately promote transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality in its school policies.
AB 1056 would spend taxpayer money on a "Tolerance Education Pilot Program," providing one-time $25,000 grants to ten schools that would either purchase instructional materials or provide staff development -- "to promote tolerance and intergroup relations."
One Couple Glad "Idol" Is Over
COLUMBUS, Ohio - There's at least one couple who isn't upset that America's most popular TV show has finished its fifth season.
Dorothy and Jerry Few are tired of getting calls from people who believe they're phoning in a vote for their favorite "American Idol" contestant.
"It's aggravating when it happens," said Dorothy Few, 74, who doesn't watch the Fox show that crowned Taylor Hicks its latest winner Wednesday night. "I hate when somebody calls and hangs up."
During the show's season, from late February through May, viewers call national toll-free numbers to cast their votes for their favorite contestant after Tuesday night performances.
The Fews' phone number closely resembles the toll-free number Fox uses to let viewers vote for their favorite contestants. The voting lines begin 1-866-436-57XX - or 1-866-IDOLSXX - with the last two digits corresponding to a singer.
Ethel Boling, 79, also has phone number with the 866 prefix and said she had been getting eight to 10 wrong numbers a week from "Idol" fans. But as a fellow "Idol" watcher, she doesn't mind the misdials.
"It's kind of exciting, really," she said.
More than 63 million callers cast their vote for the finals this week.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Now This Is Funny...
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Dixie Echoes Debut New Member!!
Another Nazi Style Regime?
By JPOST.COM STAFF
A new dress-code law reportedly passed in Iran this past week mandates the government to make sure that religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public, the Canadian National Post reported on Friday.
Jews, under the new law, will have to wear a yellow band on their exterior in public, while Christians will be required to don red ones.
Furthermore, according to the law, the Iranian government has envisioned that all Iranians wear "standard Islamic garments" designed to remove ethnic and class distinctions.
The purpose for the law was to prevent Muslims from becoming najis "unclean" by accidentally shaking the hands of non-Muslims in public.
"The new law resembles the Holocaust," said head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Rabbi Marvin Heir, and warned that, "Iran was nearing Nazi Ideology."
According to Army Radio, Wiesenthal Center officials sent a letter to United Nations Director General Kofi Annan urging him "not to ignore" the new law, and reminded him that, "The world ignored Hitler for many years."
The new law was drafted during the presidency of Muhammad Khatami in 2004, but was blocked. That blockage, however, has been removed under pressure from current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to Ahmadinejad, reported the National Post, the new Islamic uniforms will establish "visual equality" for Iranians as they prepare for the return of the Hidden Imam.
The final shape of the uniforms is yet to be established but there is consensus on a number of points.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
More Random Photos
Confident Of This
What peace is afforded to one who can have and proclaim such confidence in the face of adversity! But let us not miss the depth and power of this confidence. A cursory reading may lift our spirits for a time, but understanding the breathed of what is being proclaimed here grants peace for a lifetime. We too with Paul can be "confident of this!"
Our confidence has validity and power for it is grounded in God Himself. "He who began a good work in you." There can be no confidence a part from God, for confidence grounded anywhere else has no substance. It is merely wishful thinking. This glorious declaration is empty without the pronoun "He" which refers to God.
Our confidence is not only in the reality and person of God, but in the reality that He is at work! He is not a God looking on from a distance; rather He is active in the lives of His people. He is at work. Life's circumstances, situations, ups, downs, tragedies, successes, mountaintops and desert wanderings are all used by God to accomplish His work in us. They are not senseless happenings. God uses all things for His good in His people. He, the Divine Artist, uses all things to bring His creation to completion.
His work is a good work, meaning a holy work. It is a good work which He began the moment we by grace through faith became His own. He wooed us and when we placed our faith in Him He began His sanctifying work, which includes instant crisis events and continuous process. The good work He began He will carry on. What peace and delight to know that we are a work in progress and God is not going to give up on us. Indeed He will carry His work on until it reaches its intended end. And God's work is always perfect in its intent, action, and timing.
Beloved let us rejoice! Relax! Take heart! Be confident that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion!
Keep Close to Jesus
A Pause To Ponder God's Word is written and distributed by Gerald Whetstone, Ordained Elder and teacher in the Church of the Nazarene. These devotionals may be transmitted, duplicated, used in part or in entirety without permission for nonprofit purposes only. Responses welcome.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Should We Say...Out Of Touch With Reality?
A letter to Bill Clinton written by the co-counsel who successfully argued the Roe v. Wade decision urged the then-president-elect to "eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country" by liberalizing abortion laws.
Ron Weddington, who with his wife Sarah Weddington represented "Jane Roe," sent the four-page letter to President Clinton's transition team before Clinton took office in January 1993.
The missive turned up in an exhibit put together by the watchdog legal group Judicial Watch, which has been researching the Clinton administration's policy on the abortion drug RU-486, notes James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web.
Weddington told the president-elect: "I don't think you are going to go very far in reforming the country until we have a better educated, healthier, wealthier population."
He said the new leader can "start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country."
Weddington qualified his statement, saying, "No, I'm not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can't afford to have babies."
There, I've said it. It's what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and...well...so Republican."
Weddington explained he was "not proposing that you send federal agents armed with Depo-Provera dart guns to the ghetto. You should use persuasion rather than coercion."
He points to President Clinton and his soon-to-be first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as the "perfect example."
"Could either of you have gone to law school and achieved anything close to what you have if you had three or four or more children before you were 20?" he asked. "No! You waited until you were established and in your 30's to have one child. That is what sensible people do."
Later, Weddington took a shot at the "religious right."
"Having convinced the poor that they can't get out of poverty when they have all those extra mouths to feed, you will have to provide the means to prevent the extra mouths, because abstinence doesn't work. The religious right has had 12 years to preach its message. It's time to officially recognize that people are going to have sex and what we need to do as a nation is prevent as much disease and as many poor babies as possible." Weddington then argued that with 30 million abortions up to that point since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, America is a much better place."
Think of all the poverty, crime and misery ... and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario," he said. "We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don't have a lot of time left."
The lawyer also delved into biblical theology.
"The biblical exhortation to be fruitful and multiply was directed toward a small tribe, surrounded by enemies," he argued. "We are long past that. Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes. We don't need more cannon fodder. We don't need more parishoners. We don't need more cheap labor. We don't need more poor babies."
In his postscript, Weddington said: "I was co-counsel in Roe v. Wade, [and] have sired zero children and one fetus, the abortion of which was recently recounted by my ex-wife in her book, "A Question of Choice" (Grosset/Putnam,1992) I had a vasectomy in 1969 and have never had one moment of regret."
The Weddingtons divorced in 1974.
Their client in the 1973 case, Norma McCorvey, recently attempted to challenge the ruling that struck down all state laws restricting abortion, arguing changes in law and new scientific research make the prior decision "no longer just."
Commenting on a 2004 court ruling dismissing the challenge, Sarah Weddington said those who filed it "got publicity but the publicity actually has been very helpful for those of us who believe the government should not be involved."
After announcement of McCorvey's challenge, Weddington received about two dozen offers to help defend the Roe decision."
Monday, May 15, 2006
Baseball Card For Royals AA Player Commands Thousands Of Dollars
OK, so Alex Gordon's baseball card isn't as valuable as the 1909 Honus Wagner gem that sold for more than $1.2 million a few years ago.
But Gordon's card, which was mistakenly released in limited numbers by Topps, sold last week for $7,500 on Internet auction site eBay. Pretty impressive considering Gordon, a top Kansas City Royals prospect, is playing Double-A ball in Wichita, Kan.
"It's crazy," Gordon said Thursday. "I'm in shock at the price and still don't believe it.
"I think sometime soon I should give Topps a call and see if I can get one, just to put it in a frame."
Under Major League Baseball Players Association rules, Gordon's card should not be in circulation.
The former University of Nebraska star was the second pick in last year's Major League draft, and he didn't sign a contract until September. The rules say cardmakers can put out rookie cards only for players who make the 25-man opening-day roster or for those who played in at least one major league game the year before.
Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi said Gordon's card was ready to go this year just in case he made the Royals' 25-man roster. But the third baseman was assigned to Wichita, where he's batting .310 with seven home runs.
"We were anticipating," Luraschi said, "because we consider him a big prospect."
Topps tried to destroy the Gordon cards, cutting out his face from cards and breaking the printing plates. Still, about 100 slipped into circulation, Luraschi said.
"It's unfortunate it happened. It definitely has caused a lot of talk. But (the talk) is not necessarily a good thing for Topps, because now we have an incomplete set out there," Luraschi said.
A good number of the Gordon cards, coincidentally, were found at Wal-Mart stores in the Wichita area.
Jeremy Troutman, 30, of Wichita, said he found two of the cards in one pack he bought in March. So he decided to buy as many boxes as he could. A box costs $10 and contains 36 packs with 10 cards in each one.
Troutman bought 500 to 600 boxes. He opened about 100 of them and found five Gordon cards. He's sold another 100 boxes on eBay - getting $30 to $40 for each one - and has 300 more boxes sitting in his basement.
Troutman, who works for a natural gas company, has netted $5,700 on the five Gordon cards, breaking even on his cash outlay. He figures to be in the black after he sells the remaining boxes of cards.
He said it's tempting to open some of those boxes to see whether there is another Gordon card among them that could bring him thousands of dollars.
"If only I had X-ray vision," he said.
Darrell Jolley of Rochester, N.Y., said he paid $1,700 for a Gordon card and almost immediately put it on eBay. As of Thursday, bidding was at $3,000, with the auction closing Sunday.
Jolley, a certified public accountant, said he doubts many of the people looking for Gordon cards plan to keep them.
"People are collecting it just to flip it and make a quick profit," Jolley said. "You pull it out of a pack you bought for $2 and then you can sell it for $3,000. Obviously, you're going to put it on there as quick as you can."
That's just what Thomas Cutter did. The middle school teacher from Round Rock, Texas, bought a $3 "rack pack" - a pack of cards with a see-through cover - with the Gordon card on top. He sold it Wednesday night for $5,899.
"Whenever I think of Alex Gordon from now on, I'm going to think of all those credit cards I paid off," Cutter said.
Gordon said he collected baseball cards as a kid and understands there are people who cherish them as collectors' items.
But $7,500 for his rookie card? That buyer remains anonymous.
"If it was me, I wouldn't do it," said Gordon, who got a $4 million signing bonus. "Some people like to collect those things, and it means a lot to them, so I'm glad those people are out there."
Scott Neal, owner of the Baseball Card Store in Shawnee, Kan., says the card is popular despite the fact Gordon plays in the struggling Royals organization.
"Anything 'Royals' is very unpopular," Neal said. "The fact he's Alex Gordon and the No. 2 pick, that's the novelty. If he played for the Yankees, it would be worth three times as much."
Dixie Echoes Welcome New Member!
Sunday, May 14, 2006
23 Years Ago...Remembering Dale Shelnut
May 11, 1983.
It was one of Southern Gospel music's most heartbreaking days.
A Florida farmer noticed "Ole Matt" walking across a field, unattended and dragging a plow. Knowing that the horse's owner would never allow such a thing, the farmer set off through the dirt and before long found a giant of a man lying in the freshly plowed field.
Within a few minutes, the world of Southern Gospel music began to mourn the loss of Dale Shelnut. Though he was taken away during what many people feel what his prime, Dale Shelnut is fondly remembered as one of the great lead vocalists of our time.
Dale formed a group called the Rhythm Masters around 1951. Nine years later, Noel Fox asked Dale to sing with the Tennessans and that's where Dale sang until J.G. Whitfield invited him to join the Dixie Echoes. About two million miles later, Dale completed his final journey on this earth.
Awards were no stranger to Dale. He was once named Favorite Lead Singer during the Singing News Fan Awards, twice honored by an early version of the SGMA as Favorite Male Singer and was showered with dozens of other accolades during his performing years. As those artists still traveling today will attest, "the boy knew what he was doing."
Even though I was 17 days away from my 17th birthday on May 11, 1983, I knew well who Dale was. I had seen the Dixie Echoes many times in concert and still to this day, I can hear Dale's powerhouse voice ringing out on songs like "Hallelujah Square," "How Great Thou Art" and all of those spirituals that he cornered the market with.
And when I said "powerhouse," that's exactly what I meant. There have not been other lead singers who sang with such sheer power. Not only could he sing lead, he could sing the other three parts of a quartet without any problem.
More than one person has told me how Dale like to aggrevate the group's tenors - just in sheer fun - by hitting the last high note of a song and then taking that note a full octive higher over the tenor. Dale apparently loved to pick on tenors and would stop at nothing to top them on a note. More than one tenor looked at Dale with utter frustration when he was bested by a country mile by the tall lead singer. In fact, more than one tenor threatened to quit if Dale did not stop doing that.
Naturally, that only made Dale sing higher the next weekend.
I remember Jerry Kirksey telling me one time that "when Dale was in the mood to sing, there was no one out there who could touch him." That's been echoed by several other artists who were around during that time.
Wow. Twenty three years. We may have not been able to enjoy Dale's talents for those 23 years, but, somewhere in Heaven...
Dale's been torturing tenors for 23 years - and loving every minute of it.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
James Chapter 1 from "The Message" Faith Under Pressure
I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello!
FAITH UNDER PRESSURE
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all you options open.
When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Don't let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, "God is trying to trip me up." God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one's way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
So, my dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
Arguments or Obedience?
"...the simplicity that is in Christ"
Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly. A saint does not think clearly until a long time passes, but a saint ought to see clearly without any difficulty. You cannot think through spiritual confusion to make things clear; to make things clear, you must obey. In intellectual matter you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. If there is something in your life upon which God has put His pressure, then obey Him in that matter. Bring all your "arguments and...every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" regarding the matter, and everything will become as clear as daylight to you (2 Corinthians 10:5). Your reasoning capacity will come later, but reasoning is not how we see. We see like children, and when we try to be wise we see nothing (see Matthew 11:25).
Even the very smallest thing we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is completely sufficient to account for spiritual confusion, and spending all of our time thinking about it will still never make it clear. Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience. As soon as we obey, we have discernment. This is humiliating, because when we are confused we know that the reason lies in the state of our mind. But when our natural power of sight is devoted and submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit, it becomes the very power by which we perceive God's will, and our entire life is kept in simplicity.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The Patience To Wait For The Vision
Taken from, My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers
"Though it tarries, wait for it...." The proof that we have the vision is that we are reaching out for more than we have already grasped. It is a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually. The psalmist said, "What shall I render to the Lord...? I will take up the cup of salvation..." (Psalm 116:12-13). We are apt to look for satisfaction within ourselves and say, "Now I've got it! Now I am completely sanctified. Now I can endure." Instantly we are on the road to ruin. Our reach must exceed our grasp. Paul said, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on..." (Philippians 3:12). If we have only what we have experienced, we have nothing. But if we have the inspiration of the vision of God, we have more than we can experience. Beware of the danger of spiritual relaxation.