Monday, September 07, 2009

Blog Tour: 8/30 - 9/5

This re-initiates my old practice of looking around the web - hopefully once a week - and drawing some attention to things I see there that interest me.

If you want to know where I go, look at the links on the left under "Places I Frequent". From there, I will go places those places may point me. Typically, I will also list three of my favorite posts from the current Christian Carnival - and may go somewhere those blogs take me.

Sometimes they will be topically organized, and sometimes just in order of the links I visited. Enjoy:

  • Christian Carnival picks:
    • Shannon at The Minority Thinker examines why they are "Quitting Small Group". After having read it, I have to agree with these two statements:
      Over fifteen years, I have been part of almost a dozen small groups sponsored by three different churches; my husband has joined me in most of them. Never once have I developed a close friendship through one of these groups.
      We are told to confess our sins to each other [I tore a group up doing this], to restore each other, to love each other, to encourage each other, and to serve together as the body of Christ. I have rarely – if ever – seen these things happen in a small group. And if that kind of fellowship isn’t taking place regularly, why do we keep trying the same methods and hoping for different results? It seems to me it’s time for a new approach.
    • Henry at Participatory Bible Study Blog responds to:
      … The problem is this: when one takes a close look at the Bible in its original context, there is no evidence that the Bible is such a historically-situated divine revelation, that it is somehow ontologically different than other texts from antiquity and should be privileged or treated in a special way. …
      with "Indentifying Define Revelation"
  • President Obama's address to school children: I created a category for this expecting to see a bit of stuff on it - but there really wasn't much:
    • Jim at Volokh Conspiracy took a look back at the news articles, etc. connected with President George H.W. Bush's 1991 Speech to Schools.
      On WESTLAW, I looked up other news stories about the speech. It was eported as 10 minutes in some reports and 12 minutes in others. It was carried live on CNN, PBS, and [the NBC] and Mutual radio [networks]. The Secretary of Education sent a letter urging schools to have their students watch, but I didn’t find any evidence of how many schools followed that recommendation. And most striking: Bush laid out goals — to increase the graduation rate, improve student competency and better prepare students for entering school — and said, "Let me know how you're doing. Write me a letter. I'm serious about this one. Write me a letter about ways you can help us achieve our goals." [Written text is here - and wasn't checked against the tapes]
    • John Piper weighed in with "I Hope My Daughter Hears the President’s Speech":
      I am stunned at the outcry against the President of the United States speaking to the youth of this nation about the importance of education.

      I am embarrassed by the governor of my home state saying, that the president’s plan to address them is “disruptive . . . uninvited . . . and number three . . . I don’t think he needs to force it upon the nation’s school children.”

      This speech seems, for me, to be an answer to a prayer that I have prayed for the president repeatedly . . .
  • Jason S at Fundamentally Changed looks at how extreme fundamentalism can be involved in "Transgressing By Traditions":
    Today I call upon all of my fundamentalist brethren to honestly take the time to examine their doctrines and practices and see how they measure up to God’s Word, the five sola’s, and the historic fundamentals. If they don’t fit that, they must be discarded, no matter how old, precious, and dear they are to us.
  • Iraq the Model this week is focusing on the crisis raised by Syria's apparent complicity in the August 19th bombing which killed 95 people and wounded 600. One of the stories began
    Iraq continues to insist on internationalizing the crisis with Syria, which began after Iraq demanded that Syria hands over senior Ba’ath Party members. Iraq now plans to persuade the international community to form an international criminal court, similar to the one investigating the assassination of the late Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stressed at a meeting with the Turkish FM that Iraq “will move forward to demand that the UN forms an international tribunal to prosecute those who committed ugly crimes that target Iraq’s stability and people and killed many innocent lives”.
  • Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed points to a book by
    David Bentley Hart, a historian of ideas, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies , has been our guide into some of the philosophical and historical issues at work among the new atheists like Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens. One of the implicit and sometimes explicit claims is that we are enlightened and that
    the secular state is safer than a religious-shaped state. To which Hart makes this statement, and he expresses the growing body of literature that both denies the myth of secularization (that all things are becoming more secular) and reveals the profound mischief of the secular state:
    "We live now in the wake of the most monstrously violent century in human history, during which the secular state (on both the political right and the political left), freed from the authority of religion, showed itself willing to kill on an unprecedented scale and with an ease of conscience worse than merely depraved. If ever an age deserved to be thought an age of darkness, it is surely ours. One might almost be tempted to conclude that secular government is the one form of government that has shown itself too violent, capricious, and unprincipled to be trusted" (106)
  • Jeremy at Parableman points to "Obama's Widely-Unpublicized Backtrack on Stem Cells" - belatedly for sure because it occurred a while back:
    2009 -- March 9th: President Obama rescinds Bush’s August 9, 2001 EO with his own EO entitled, “Removing Barriers To Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells.” The revocation of Bush’s EO is heralded as “lifting the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).” (this is the event found in the video offered above)

    This EO simultaneously revokes Bush EO # 13435 which has provided federal funding of successful IPSC research. This aspect of the order is not mentioned at the press conference.

    2009 -- March 11th: President Obama signs and renews the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which continues the ban on federal funding for ESCR that Obama claims to have lifted 2 days earlier. No announcement is made and no press conference is called.
    Notice that now not only is there no federal funding of ESCR - President Obama removed President Bush's mandate of federal funding for IPSC research as well. Incidentally, Jeremy did what anyone should really do when confronted by such a reported contradiction between stated positions of politicians and their actual actions:
    When I first read this, I immediately wanted to find something to verify it. It was incredibly difficult to find an actual news story on it, since the mainstream media either suppressed it or never got the information on it. The one news story I could find was from a partisan organization, but it does give chapter and verse for where to find the language in the bill that does indeed do exactly what the story says it does. It's in Title V, section 509 of the Omnibus spending bill (page 128 of this PDF; it appears in full here). It repeats verbatim exactly the section that since 1996 has appeared in every such spending bill under President Clinton and President Bush.
  • Rick at Rightwing Nuthouse as been writing a whole series of articles about conservative reform - three in the last week. All of them are, to me, important for both folks on the right and the left to read.

  • Orin at Volokh Conspiracy looks at "al-Kidd v. Ashcroft: Is Pretextual Use of the Material Witness Statute Unconstitutional?":
    The Ninth Circuit handed down a fascinating and important case on preventive detention on Friday, and one that I suspect added a new case to the Supreme Court's docket next year: al-Kidd v. Ashcroft. The basic holding of the opinion is that the post-9/11 practice of using the material witness statute to detain suspected terrorists is not only unconstitutional, but clearly unconstitutional, and that former AG Ashcroft can be personally sued for his role in it. The majority opinion was written by Judge Milan Smith and joined by Judge Thompson; Judge Bea wrote a partial concurrence and partial dissent.

    There's a lot of coverage of the case in newspapers and around the web, but nothing that really delves into the legal questions. That's understandable, as the opinions in the case fill about 100 pages. But in this post, I wanted to delve into the legal questions and see if the court's opinion holds up to scrutiny.
    . . .
    Fortunately, this case is perfect for Supreme Court review: If the en banc Ninth Circuit passes on it, this case will give the Supreme Court an ideal opportunity to evaluate the very important question of how the Fourth Amendment applies to preventive detention.
  • 1 comment:

    How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
    1. The Golden Rule
    2. You cannot read minds
    3. People are not evil
    4. Debates are not for winning
    5. You make mistakes
    6. Not everyone cares as much as you
    7. Engaging is hard work
    8. Differences can be subtle
    9. Give up quietly