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|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
I'm running behind already on this series so expect a couple of posts in fairly quick succession.
I've realized from reviewing past notes and recently acquired resources that just characterizing views from the millennial standpoint only is unreasonable - mainly because only a portion of the Book of Revelation concerns itself with the Millennium. It is a fact that the particular view one takes on Revelation likely disposes one to a certain millennial view - but it is also clear that this is not always the case.
It's also the case that the views recognized generally by scholars today do not have unanimity across the Book themselves. It may be that there are four predominate viewpoints - but there are literally as many viewpoints as there are scholars, authors, and historians that contemplate this work. It isn't my purpose to explore every flavor - I'm looking for unanimity to the extent that it can be achieved.
My intention in this exegesis is to examine each verse of Revelation in context - and I will make more than the occasional foray into the Old Testament (which I think diverges from many scholars) in doing so. In that context, I intend to portray the major historical viewpoints - well three of the four of them. I'll also give my take on it given that I'm not a teacher or a scholar nor do I have any denominational baggage that I must support so it's just fine with me if what I think either does or does not affect your own viewpoint.
Let's also say that this exercise is not one in Christian apologetics. My viewpoint assumes a basic faith in the major tenets of the Christian faith. We're focusing here on understanding and looking for unity in the Book of Revelation.
The four major historical viewpoints have been well named in Steve Gregg's fine Revelation Four Views A Parallel Commentary. They are Historicist, Preterist, Futurist and Spiritual.
The Historicist point of view interprets the Book from mostly as events that have been to some extent already realized in history. It has long been in development and for the most part represents the views espoused by the Reformers beginning in the 16th century. There have been very few scholars espousing this view since the 1800s - though a remarkable number of people hold it by a default embrace of Amillennialism.
The Preterist point of view interprets the Book as having been more or less completely fulfilled in ancient times. In the most extreme view this would be prior to AD 70 during the destruction of the Jewish temple by Rome. I'm going to dispense with this view pretty much at the outset mainly because I'm interested in examining Revelation as a book of substantial prophecy - meaning more than a few years of time - and I think much of what the Preterists do borders on heresy (some deny that there will be a Second Coming for example). This view has enjoyed a fairly recent resurgence in recent times - both in the reformed camp generally and in the liberal camp. If you have an interest in exploring Preterism in detail write to me and I'll give you some resources to explore.
The Futurist point of view takes the position that most of the prophecies in Revelation more or less will take place in the future - our future. There is a very wide variety of points of view within this camp and most of it has been developed since the 1800s - though there is some evidence for aspects of this view from the first century. Tim Lahaye of the Left Behind series is an author that holds the Futurist view.
The Spiritual point of view takes the position that most of the prophecies in Revelation relate to the church age in general and that nothing really points to specific events in history - rather to series or cycles of events that churches and Christians and the world experience in general. There is some sense of 'end times' prophecy for some Spiritists, but there is no unanimity in the view. This view is popular with teachers that seek current application efficacy from the Book - i.e. how to apply the messages of Revelation to our daily lives - and is also popular among liberal interpreters of the scripture who want to address much of the symbolism in the Book as spiritually intended - or desire to interpret the Book as a Greek drama.
I'll summarize some ideas on these views in my next post. Then we'll do a little more set up.
While the Democrats in our state capitol, Olympia, primarily discuss inconsequential issues regarding election reform - our Republican representatives have put together an outstanding series of reforms to prevent future fiascos like the one we have been going through in our fair state.
From GOP Chairman Chris Vance's summary letter this week comes this report:
State House Update
Greetings from the Legislature in Olympia. We are now several weeks into the 2005 session and are addressing many major issues facing our state. As anyone who watched the 2004 governor's race knows, one of the biggest is fixing the problems with our election system.
Today House Republicans unveiled our package of election reforms. These changes are aimed squarely at making sure the problems we saw in the recent election do not happen again. You'll find a summary of our proposals below.
Thank you for allowing me to send you updates about issues before the Legislature. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to those who share our goals.
Rep. Bruce Chandler
House Republican Leader
A "model to the rest of the nation and the world?"
I have heard from hundreds of you about the historically close governor's race and the mistakes, errors and problems that have caused you to lose confidence in our electoral system. This election was not a "model to the rest of the nation and the world at large," as Gov. Gregoire has said. It was an embarrassment that exposed the flaws in our voting system. In fact, if the state accepted a 99.8 percent accuracy rate for the general fund budget - the same level King County accepted in this election - it would mean almost $50 million were missing. That's a record no bank would envy.
Our state constitution promises "free and equal" elections. The reforms we are proposing will help us meet that standard. They will:
Make sure every vote has a voter;
Ensure integrity in the election process;
Foster public confidence in election results; and
Treat every legal vote fairly and equally.
We grouped our election reforms into four different categories: improvements to the overall election system, changes to the processes used before election day, more checks and balances on election day and common-sense processes after the election. The legislation we introduced today addresses them all.
Overhauling the structure of our voting system
Some of the problems that occurred in this election happened because of the way our voting system is set up. Here are the changes we propose, and why:
Move the primary election date from September to the third Tuesday in August. With an extra month or so before the November election, county election offices would have more time to mail absentee ballots, and voters would have more time to return their ballots - especially military voters.
Begin the candidate filing period on the fourth Monday in May. This would coordinate with the new primary election day.
Eliminate the 30-day fundraising freeze after the legislative session. We would need this change because of the earlier primary date.
We can't ensure a fair election unless we know that everyone who is registered to vote is truly qualified to do so and voters are who they claim to be. Our legislation would:
Require voters to register at least 30 days before an election to vote in that election. Currently the law is 15 days - a timeline that's been used to the advantage of those who want election workers to be too busy to thoroughly check out new registrants. The 30-day period would give county auditors more time to get everyone properly registered and reduce the need for provisional ballots.
Tighten registration requirements. Remember how people listed their residences as rented mailboxes this election? Under our proposal, that would no longer be acceptable.
Give counties the tools they need to clean up the voter registration rolls by moving all voters to "inactive" status and requiring them to re-register by July 1, 2007. Anyone who doesn't re-register would remain on the inactive list and could still vote, in accordance with federal law, but would have to vote using a provisional ballot.
Require the Secretary of State to check the voter registration database each month for:
Felons whose voting rights were not restored
Changes on Election Day
Democrats have been saying for months that they want every vote to count. We do too - as long as we are counting ballots that were cast legally. We also think every qualified voter should have a fair and equal chance to participate in elections. That's especially true of our military, who are making huge sacrifices to defend our liberty and security overseas. To make sure that's happening, our legislation would:
Require poll-place voters to show photo ID using a Washington driver's license, Washington ID card, US passport or any other form of photo ID approved by the Secretary of State.
Make provisional, absentee and polling place ballots different colors and give them a different bar coding. Remember how provisional ballots - unchecked for legality - were sent into the mix in King County? This change would prevent that debacle.
Equip counting machines to accept only ballots with the proper bar code.
Require that all ballots be received at county offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day. The only exception would be members of our military, who would simply have to vote their ballots by Election Day. This change would be possible because the earlier primary would help counties get their ballots out earlier and give voters more time to send them back in.
And finally, after the election. . .
Every vote should have a voter! That's why our proposal includes these changes following an election:
Counties would need to reconcile the number of ballots with the number of people credited with voting. If they can't, they'll need to explain the discrepancy. Having such a rule in place would have saved innumerable headaches in this year's election.
If the number of ballots cast for an office or ballot measure was greater than the number of lawful voters and the difference exceeded the margin of victory, that election would be declared void. A revote would be held within 60 days.
If an election board found errors, the county could amend its report during a 24-hour period following the last county's certification. Military ballots that came in following a county's certification would be added at that time.
Any improvements to our election laws should include consequences for breaking them. We would increase the penalties for illegal registration or voting. That offense is now a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor - our bill would make it a class C felony. Those who vote illegally would be referred to county prosecutors and the results tracked.
And finally, only county election departments - not party operatives - would be allowed to notify provisional ballot voters whose ballots were rejected.
This is outstanding work by our Republican state legislators and they should be commended. We citizens should provide our continued support and input in this process - we have a Democrat dominated state government and they will likely fail the test for meeting these challenges. If we don't make these things happen we'll just get more of the same.
WA GOP Chairman Chris Vance also appealed for continued assistance for the revote effort. Please give.
HELP US HELP WASHINGTON!
As of today, the expenses have reached over $1.2 million dollars and are climbing as we continue to fight for a fair and honest election in Washington State.
Your financial support is critical if we want to give Washingtonians another chance to vote in the Governor’s race and put Dino Rossi in the Governor’s office in Olympia!
To donate to the Re-vote effort please visit http://www.wsrp.org/donate.htm and give online with your credit card, or send checks made out to the Washington State Republican Party to 16400 Southcenter Parkway, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98188-9800.
From WA State GOP Chairman Chris Vance today:
WSRP Investigators turn up more!
1,108 illegal felon votes…and counting
So far the WSRP and Rossi campaign has found 1,108 felons it believes voted illegally in the 2004 election.
In addition to the 1,108 illegal felon votes, King County has been unable to reconcile votes from the 2004 election, and cannot match more than 2,000 votes with voters. Also, the WSRP and Rossi campaign found a total of 45 votes statewide cast on behalf of deceased persons, 10 votes cast by people who voted more than once in Washington, and five votes cast by people who voted in Washington and another state.
Here is a breakdown by county of the illegal felon votes:
- 884 from King County
- 38 from Thurston County
- 33 from Clark County
- 31 from Yakima County
- 30 from Pierce County
- 27 from Snohomish County
- 20 from Spokane County
- 17 from Benton County
- 13 from Whatcom County
- 7 from Lewis County
- 6 from Kitsap County
- 1 from Skagit County
- 1 from Walla Walla County
Unable to see a column of numbers without doing some math, it is apparent that of the votes cast it was about two and a half times more likely for felons to vote in King County than in the rest of the state. About 31% of the votes tabulated in the Governor's race were from King County - among felonious voters identified so far about 79% of them were from King County.
So why a whopping 256% more felonious voters in King County than would be expected? Is it because more felons live in the county? Or is it because it is about two and a half times easier to illegally vote there?
You've likely heard today that the Pope has undergone emergency tracheotomy sugery to help his breathing because of a relapse of his flu symptoms from several weeks ago.
Those around him seem particularly troubled at this turn of events. We can certainly keep him in our prayers.
Pope John Paul II is one of the truly brave souls that stand in the breech on some key issues - among them the lives of those who are yet unborn and he is one of the most accomplished Popes in history - now the third longest serving since Pope Leo the 13th.
UPDATE (10:26 PM Pacific Time): Europe AP (via Yahoo news) is reporting that the Pope in on a respirator - which is taken by medical experts as an ominous development.
UPDATE: (Fri, Feb 25th 9:51 AM) MSNBC reports that the Pope is off the respirator and breathing on his own.
To the men who stormed and took Mount Suribachi 60 years ago - you paved the way for the war to end. Your sacrifices saved millions more. Your works foreshadowed those who even now, ring the bell of freedom so that its peal is heard throughout the world.
How can we ever be deserving of your sacrifice?
We will always remember that the precious gift of freedom is of infinite value. We will never, never take it for granted. We will pass your names from generation to generation - and when we think of Hayes, Sousley, Bradley, Block, Strank and Gagnon, we will always remember that half of you died on this same island within a few days of planting that flag - along with almost 7,000 of your brothers. We will always remember that one in three of all the Marines that went into battle in that place were wounded or killed. You symbolize all of those who have so sacrificed for this great and noble cause.
God rest your souls. And may God Bless America.
(Photo from IwoJima.com)
The Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear Roe of Roe v. Wade - this time on the opposite side of the abortion divide in McCorvey v. Hill.
As we reported last week - a Petition for Writ of Certiorari had been filed re McCorvey v. Hill and today was decision day for the US Supremes.
Despite tremendous differences in evidence from the 1973 case to this one, the Supreme Court denied the writ (which isn't necessarily a comment on the merits of the case.)
WASHINGTON, February 22, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The US Supreme Court refused today to hear an appeal of the court’s 1973 Roe v Wade decision which permitted abortion in the United States. The appeal was launched by Norma McCorvey, the same woman who, over thirty years ago, was used by pro-abortion forces as the “Jane Roe” which led to abortion’s legalization.
In response to the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case, McCorvey’s attorney, Allan Parker, president of The Justice Foundation, said “It is tragic and disappointing that the Court is not willing to consider the aftermath of 32 years of abortion and its devastating affect to women, their families, and our culture.”
McCorvey’s attempted appeal brought a thousand more witnesses than did the original Roe case in 1973. They submitted over 5,000 pages of evidence, including expert testimony of which the Court had none in 1973.
“This year alone, 100,000 women will be in abortion recovery programs across the nation. We find it sad and tragic that their voices have been rejected,” said Parker. “It is also disturbing that the highest court in the land is not willing to consider the compelling and significant scientific and medical evidence and at least formally re-evaluate its far-reaching decision.”
Parker noted that the Supreme Court’s denial does not reflect its views on the merits of the case. “The denial order merely expresses the Court’s discretionary refusal to give appellate review to a lower court decision,” he said. “A denial is not a reaffirmation of Roe v. Wade. We believe this decision sends an important message that the High Court needs compassionate judges who care about the pain and suffering of women hurt by abortion.”
The case is McCorvey v. Hill, 04-967.
Last Friday, the Opinion Journal published an editorial: Hockey Stick on Ice - Politicizing the science of global warming in which the 'hockey stick' temperature graph of 'geoscientist' Michael Mann's - purported to demonstrate global warming - was shown to be unverified at best - overtly deceiving at worst.
The editors pointed out that the science underlying Mann's publication was questioned from the beginning - but that the questioners were orignally treated as heretics and some lost their jobs - standard 'brahmans of science' practice. Yet new papers have been published - Mann has had to publish a partial retraction - but still with no healthy scientific debate - in part because Mann refuses to publish his math.
Here's my take on it: current carbon dioxide levels are esitmated to be 370 parts per million (PPM) - compared to the pre-industrial age level of 275 PPM. At our current worldwide rate of burning 100 million barrels of oil A DAY and many times more than that in unrenewable fuels from a variety of sources our entire planet may have affected the CO2 level by 0.00000095 percent. Yep, that's the difference. We don't have any direct correlation between this increase - we just know that a bi-product of fuel burning is CO2. We also know that plant life consumes CO2.
But to suggest that altering the CO2 levels on the planet by 0.00000095 percent could have an effect of temperature change of anything measurable is ridiculous on its face. Its like suggesting that the air pressure in your tires could vary by 0.00000095 percent and might overturn your car (in reality the tire pressure varies more than 15% and seldom has anything to do with causing a car to turn over). No one (except perhaps Malcolm Gladwell) could make a substantive statistical calculation that could show otherwise. Mistaking the number of tires on a vehicle in a calculation involving vehicle miles can apparently be made in public without any consequences. Since Mann's calculations are even less defensible it is appropriate to see challenges coming now from many directions and different scientists.
I think this turns out to be another sacred cow in the scientific brahmanism that has come to dominate our culture in the last 150 years. This is about money grubbing along with philosophical and social agenda - rather than about fact finding true science. Like cosmological theory, origins theory, AIDS 'science', and some other arguments about the environemnt - like DDT for example - this is one other frail thing built upon shaky science in which we find that the emperor has no clothes when we look closely.
The Wall Street Journal editors end with what should be asked of all the current disciplines that are mired in orthodoxy and that ostracize their questioners like a modern inquisition:
There is also the not-so-small matter of the politicization of science: If climate scientists feel their careers might be put at risk by questioning some orthodoxy, the inevitable result will be bad science. It says something that it took two non-climate scientists to bring Mr. Mann's errors to light.
But the important point is this: The world is being lobbied to place a huge economic bet--as much as $150 billion a year--on the notion that man-made global warming is real. Businesses are gearing up, at considerable cost, to deal with a new regulatory environment; complex carbon-trading schemes are in the making. Shouldn't everyone look very carefully, and honestly, at the science before we jump off this particular cliff?
Indeed. And what about all the cliffs that we have already jumped off of? Will we have the courage to throw off the bonds of the brahmans of science and climb back up into reason again?
I've recreated my response to a feature in the Racine Journal Times sent today. If you read the articles linked within, you'll get a sense for the problems we have. All we get here are J school drop-outs.
Well, in order to have a debate one must first have facts. The absence of which is the hallmark of Golub’s article. He builds the question using ONE, I repeat one element of the election process. The same day registration post card mailings! An element, by the way, that Racine has never bothered completing before.
First, from your own article on Thursday there were 313 cards returned on the date the reporter talked with the City Clerk. Some 207 were “resolved” leaving 106 that were “probably referred to the District Attorney’s Office”. That’s the end, right? All is well. Maybe, maybe not!
Let me propose a few questions a “REAL” investigative reporter might have asked to find out just a little more about the mechanics used in the City Clerk’s Office to “resolve” the returns.
1. Were the errors, transposition of addresses?
2. If so, were new cards prepared and sent to verify that the individual in question was, in fact, a resident at the corrected address?
3. What date(s) were the cards mailed?
b. Follow-up (If any)
4. In the case of large apartment complexes (Jacato Drive for example), was personal contact attempted to ensure that cards delivered to the general address were not just destroyed by the recipient at a general mail drop-off?
5. How many returned postcards are still being received each day? Obviously, some are still coming. Just compare your 106 “potentially referred to the DA” with the 111 used in the Sunday article.
Second, let me propose a little remedial math related to your first article.
1. The number of same day registrants in Racine on November 2, 2004 was 5,629.
2. The number of returned post cards was 313 as of the 2/18/05 RJT article.
3. The number of returned cards sent to the DA was 106 on 2/18. Today it is 111, a change of 5 in three days.
4. Comparison of “Same Day Registration” (SDR) to the total vote is bogus.
5. 5,629 SDR votes were cast. The proper comparison of potentially fraudulent votes should be 5,629 to 313.
6. Nowhere in the article dated 2/18/05 was there a verifiable explanation of the difference between 313 and 106. Assumptions galore, no facts!
7. The percent of potentially fraudulent SDR’s is 5.6% (313 divided by 5,629)
8. The percent of “probable” fraudulent SDR’s is 1.9% on the 18th and 2.0% on Sunday (106 or 111 divided by 5,629).
Third, let’s not forget the “FACT” that trials have been scheduled for two New Voter Project employees for Election Fraud and Forgery.
Fourth, The impact of the entire absentee ballot issue has yet to be analyzed. The third point should have initiated this immediately. All I hear is the sound of crickets chirping away in the still of the night.
Fifth, I for one refuse to allow my vote to be stolen again.
When you are serious about the debate let me know, I might join in. For some remedial investigative reporter training at the RJT, I suggest you refer those assigned to this issue to Greg Borowski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This is how reporting is really done. Go back and “proof” Golub and let me know how many lines you delete for repetition and lack of fact supporting the conclusions.
And I almost forgot, we haven’t identified the felons and deceased voters yet.
M. Scott Peck, world renowned psychiatrist and known as a clear thinking 'middle-of-the-road' Christian recently published a new book that continues his exploration of evil: Glimpses of the Devil, in which he describes his participation - and claims a first as a medical scientist - in two exorcisms and traces his movement from skeptic to believer in evil beings.
Christianity Today published a book review and conducted an interview with the The Road Less Travelled author and modern C. S. Lewis in their latest issue. Pretty edgy stuff for Christianity Today. Peck's new book goes on my reading list.