November 28, 2003

President Bush in Iraq

I was really surprised when I heard last night that President Bush had just returned from Iraq. I had not watched any news, being away from everything media-related except for football.

My take on this is that it was a real gutsy call, and President Bush showed real leadership by doing this. Maybe a bit risky, but hey, leaders do that. I couldn't imagine former President Clinton doing such a thing, for starters, he couldn't make a decision without conducting a poll, and things requiring secrecy don't lend themselves too well to polls.

Way to go, President Bush, and I'm proud you're from Texas, my home state, real proud indeed.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2003

Counting Blessings

Things I'm thankful for today:

That somehow, someway, God called me back from a life of unbelief, so that I can worship Him and have His abundance in my life;

That my parents taught me while growing up that it is good to love the Lord, and whose influence had a big role to play in the calling mentioned above. When I knew God's call had to be answered, I knew what to do, thanks to the truth my parents gave me in my youth.

I'm thankful for a loving wife, Amy, who has faced off with a lot of uncertainties and fears about having a child, and is now willing and eager to be a mom to a child who needs one.

I'm thankful that we have the means to do this adoption, especially since we didn't quite have it all at the beginning of the process a year ago! Of all the years to have a bull market, this one was particularly well-timed.

I'm thankful for a supportive and enthusiastic church that supports Amy and me, and our family.

I'm thankful for a wonderful country, our own United States of America, with its freedoms and opportunites.

It's good to be thankful, and let me just add something here that might not be said enough: give someone out there, perhaps someone you don't even know, a reason to say "Thank You" to you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Blogging has been a little lighter this last week, as the baby-beats-blogging time has literally arrived for us. This last week has seen lots of papers signed, investments sold, checks written, visas applied for, and even some refinancing done on our home equity. Woo-hoo! We're going to China! And while we're going over there for the purpose of adopting, we're also going to take an extra week and have some vacation time on our own. Looks more and more like we're going in January, tentative date January 3, but it may be later (that's just what we put on the visa as an approximate date).

Since we're going to miss the last three weeks of the NFL playoffs, here's my prediction: Cowboys win the SuperBowl. It's practically a given now, they're my favorite team, and I won't get to watch.

By the way, I'm considering what to do with this blog, as I'm going to get a lot busier next year. I'm reluctant to give it up, but I am thinking of getting a partner. There have been many stories I missed this last week which I would've liked to have talked about.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2003

Special News from a Small Package

Blogging in the middle of the day today. From work? No, I'm home. Stayed home today to conduct some personal business. Two things, first the small one, then the big one.

We're buying a car to replace the one that was hit last month. A used car from some friends at church. It will help us a lot. Special thanks to Amy's mom for helping us to pull the cash together to buy this, cause all of our money is dedicated to the next item.

Our adoption referral has arrived!
We have a name, birthdate, and picture of a ten-month girl who is tentatively assigned to us for adoption. I'm holding back on posting any pictures; she is a tentative adoption after all, and I don't want to jinx the process. Family and friends at church and work have seen them and we've heard a lot of oohs and ahhs, and shed a few tears too.

It looks like the earliest we can travel is January 3. Her birthdate is January 2, 2003, so she will be twelve months when we adopt her.

Readers who scroll down to the bottom of the page will note that one of the Weather Pixies is in China. Upon receipt of the referral, I changed her location to JiangXi Province, where our little girl is currently living.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:47 AM | Comments (2)

November 18, 2003

Donna Hughes on NGO support for sex trafficking

Donna M. Hughes reports that members of the Moscow (Russia) city duma are upset with American NGOs, claiming that they are undermining efforts to combat sex trafficking. Seems that NGOs are overlooking the exploitation inherent in the system, and are painting an alternate picture of anti-prostitution efforts, portraying such efforts as hurting women who want to work, arguing that if prostitution is legalized, then it could then be treated as a bona fide workplace, with benefits and all. When it is disclosed that the people making the most money are male pimps who abuse their 'workers', will American campus groups sprout up overnight to combat the new scourge of sexual sweatshops? No, I don't think so; Fallen Man will not stop a mad rush to Gomorrah.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:28 PM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2003

Thoughts on Violence

Mark Byron has opened up a can o' worms with this post.

I'm rather late commenting on this post, and in fact, I'm not commenting on the post itself, but on some of the comments in the thread.

First off, I have stated on this blog that I never advocate the use of violence to sway public opinion. I also view the destruction of property as a crime which deserves serious consequences. Sure it's not as bad as killing people, but that doesn't mean it's ok. One's property is the result of one's life-work; destroying it is only a little bit less evil than killing the person who did the work. ELF defenders defend themselves by saying that they are doing for the good of the environment. My response is that you were never elected or selected to be judges of that for the rest of us. Use due process and stop your unlawful acts of arson.

One commenter said that such thoughts are never expressed by those from the Left. That's just flat-out wrong, and shows that someone isn't listening to the news, or just refuses to hear what one side is saying. Ever read Ted Rall's work? He recently wrote an open letter telling Iraqi resistance fighters to kill American soldiers. He also wrote an article for Mother Jones magazine several years ago saying that social progress is impossible without acts of violence. We've also seen very real violence done by anti-globalization protestors, anti-war protestors, animal-rights groups, and environmental groups. Even if these groups are not killing people, they are destroying the livelihood of other people, and these acts should be strongly condemned, just as strongly as we condemn those who bomb abortion clinics. Another piece of anecdotal evidence I have observed, to disprove the commenter who said people of the left never think such things: several years ago, I was at a dinner party with some of my erstwhile Unitarian friends, and one of them was talking about how to get Representative Chris Smith (my Representative) out of the House of Representatives. He suggested that if the voters of Rep. Smith's district, such as myself, wouldn't do it via voting him out, someone might have to (and at this point he held his hand up like a gun, and made a little gesture like suggesting someone could shoot him). Bad move. I remember that just like he said it out loud several years later. The Left doesn't have thoughts of violence? Get real.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2003

Mother Jones on Sex Trafficking

Mother Jones has an article from their latest issue up on the web, Thailand's Brothel Busters. They claim that efforts to shut down brothels are hurting working women.

Let's compare sex trafficking and the textile business:

Seems that when a legitimate business, such as a clothing manufacturer, gives people a chance to work at a legitimate job and earn a decent wage (by that country's standards), then it must be labeled by American leftists and labor unions as a sweatshop. The Wall Street Journal had a good editorial in defense of P. Diddy's textile factory in Honduras, which lets its employees work in air-conditioned comfort, and earn enough money to attain a middle class standard of living in that country to boot. I'd think that in most countries, most workers would rather work, even for a low wage, than not work and starve to death. Isn't shutting down these factories hurting people even more than clamping down on sex trafficking?

Now let's look closer at sex trafficking: Girls (not even old enough to have undergone puberty) abducted and taken across international borders against their will, forced to have sex with complete strangers against their will, and given little or no control over where they live or what they do - literally forced slavery. Even if some are inured to the experience, and thus reluctant to leave because of not having anything else available, isn't it absolutely unjust to allow this situation to exist as long as long as it takes new victims every day?

He has said in his heart, "I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity." His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity. He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, "God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see." Psalm 10:6-11 NKJV

It is difficult for me to believe that anyone alive on earth could be defending the sex trafficking business, but apparently the people who put out Mother Jones are wicked enough to do just that.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:26 PM | Comments (1)

November 11, 2003

Boycotts and Conspiracies

Yea for Chris Danze and the Austin Area Pro-Life Concrete Contractors and Suppliers Association! (link via OpinionJournal's Best of the Web)

The folks over at Alternet are all upset that conservatives can get so organized. Boycotting is typical behaviour from the left, so it's two-faced behaviour for the left to be complaining about it.

Another example of two-faced rhetoric are those who complain about the vast financial support for conservative causes, while lauding George Soros's giving $10 million to America Coming Together. Of course, in the eyes of the left, he is a concerned citizen of the world, unlike that reckless danger to society, Richard Scaife.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2003

Casual Sex

Saw this outrageous quote from IRD's website:

"Sexual conduct is surely on the same level of seriousness as eating a bacon sandwich, and we might have hoped that nowadays, given the diversity of human life, the Church would have chosen to shut up about sex.

- Quote from Commentary by A. N. Wilson in 10/19 Telegraph (London)

Wasn't sure I was getting it all in context, so I found another link from Christianity Today's website. Here's the original article. While the context of the quote makes it a little more reasonable than how IRD makes it sound, it's not much better. A.N. Wilson is comparing Biblical injunctions against sexual immorality to laws against eating unclean food, saying that perhaps we shouldn't take the Biblical injunctions against sexual immorality so seriously.

This gets into that awful play I saw last week. I was thinking about it, why I hated it so much, and I remember a couple of lines, and some text from the playbill. It was about the so-called human condition (and I will never again see a play or movie that mentions the phrase human condition in its advertising, it's just a code word for sin acted out in plain view). Love is viewed as something one desires, obtains, and then loses. Love is viewed as solely a sexual experience. Love is viewed as something one can satisfy with anyone they wish. The idea of love being rooted in a total giving of oneself to another person, and letting that love grow through the commitment of each person in that relationship is just not considered, but that's what marriage is based on, not a casual answer to the question, "who will I sleep with tonight?".

Now, is all this talk about sex mere folderol? Considering the impact on godly teaching and godly living, I'd say not. As a future new parent, for example, I want to have my church's support when I teach my child what's right and wrong. I don't want my church to be saying that sex outside of marriage is alright when I'm telling her it's not. And regarding how I'm expected to behave, I consider it important to emphasize everything God wants me to do, what I call a balanced Christian, or godly, life. The line "It's ok, I'm doing fine with A" doesn't work with God when He also wants me to be doing fine with B-Z - He wants obedience in all areas of my life: compassion, integrity, humility, faith, and sexual purity. For any new Christian coming into the faith from a life of sexual immorality, it is important to tell the truth of 1 Corinthians 6. Anything less is denying them the truth about what discipleship entails.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

Filibusters hurting Democrats

I am so glad to hear this, that Democrats are being held accountable for blocking President Bush's nominees. I just hope it's an accurate assessment of next year's results.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

Al Sharpton's statement regarding the filibuster

I've got a smidge more respect for Al Sharpton, just a smidge though. Though he is right to urge Democrats to stop the filibuster against California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, he still has to answer to this, destroying the reputation and livelihood of Steven Pagones, before I would ever consider him a reputable public figure.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

Same-Sex Marriage Suit tossed out in NJ

New Jersey's same-sex marriage suit is tossed out.

Finally, a judge speaks truth in New Jersey regarding the role of the judiciary!

"Social change of the type sought ... is properly accomplished in the legislative arena," Feinberg said, who added that she was sympathetic to the interests of the couples. "(They) must take their request for an alteration in the definition of marriage to the elected officials responsible for drafting the marriage statutes."

The ACLU disagrees, saying that rights should not be legislated:

But Edward Barocas, legal director of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the courts are the proper forum for this debate. "It is totally inappropriate to have constitutional rights of any particular group put up for a vote," he said.

I disagree with the ACLU. Rights are what each of us human beings have because of our existence. They are not dependent upon other people. We don't have a right to marry anyone we wish, or even to have sex with anyone we wish. Regarding parenting (one of the so-called "rights" desired by the homosexual couples in this case), I'd say that if anyone has rights in this area, children do, and have the right to not be subject to the ill effects of homosexual parenting.

Over on the left, I have a link to the Vatican's position on homosexual unions. I endorse it, and especially think that their description of the ill effects of homosexual unions on the upbringing of children are spot-on. I used to be tolerant of the idea of homosexual unions until I spent some time thinking about what it would be like growing up in such a home. No more. Here's the Vatican link.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2003

Partial Birth Abortion Ban

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban was signed at last, and a judge has already put a temporary restraining order on the law, affecting doctors in New Jersey, Nebraska, and several states.

The more I've read about abortion, the more convinced I am that it is not just a religious issue, it boils down to the right to live. There was a time in our history when we viewed African-Americans as less than human, and used that idea to justify slavery. Now some think of an unborn child as non-human and use that idea to justify snuffing out the life of a child.

David Hogberg confronts the criticism that this bill puts the government in a position of playing doctor. He says they never criticized it before when the government got involved in Medicare or other government programs.

This argument can be extended, too. Do we want the government to be playing the role of financial advisers? Yet Senator Jon Corzine wanted to put restrictions on how our 401K contributions can be invested. Do we want the government to be playing the role of management in my company? Yet they do that by numerous regulations designed to promote ethics, diversity, and public safety. It's beside the point whether all these laws are good. Many surely are, and some probably cross the line into over-regulation. The point is: Every industry in America is regulated by the government - why do groups like Planned Parenthood, NOW, and NARAL think the abortion industry should be immune? Gun control advocates push for gun-control in the name of safe and reasonable restrictions. It's time for us to treat abortion the same way: in view of the likelihood that our nation will not overturn Roe vs. Wade immediately, let's at least stop thinking that abortion is alright at any time for any reason, and put some reasonable regulation on the abortion industry.

(David Hogberg's link via Jason Steffens Antioch Road)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2003

Wintertime reviewed

Saw a play at Princeton's McCarter Theater last night, and did it ever upset me. An all but pornographic portrayal of entertwined relationships, with absolutely no moral content. Love presented as something you want, then get, and then lose, with lots of fist-pounding, door-slamming, and china-throwing angst thrown in, to the point that Amy actually thought they were making fun of the principle. Amy's probably right in her opinion, but by that point, it was too late. It was too late for me after the scene where I thought there might finally be some morally redeeming content when the husband says to his wife that life is more than just pursuing sex, that faithfulness is a requirement for a full life, and then his male lover comes in to complain about his lack of fidelity in their homosexual relationship (followed by apologies, hugging, and a man-to-man kiss).

I left at the intermission, it was so awful. Amy's mom, who works as an usher there, tells me the second act wasn't any better, with the actors mooning the audience (literally), and the play culminating in everyone settling in with their illicit lovers, everyone that is, except the husband mentioned above, who apparently must be punished by the modern playwright for his sin of moral thinking, even though he had no moral character to back it up.

More and more, I get the impression that the art elites in Princeton are shoving garbage out, calling it art, and expecting people to like it because it's advertised as being art. Am I close-minded? By their standards, yes; but they have no respect for the value of my life either. They just expect unintelligent people to bow down before the altar of art. I refuse to do that. My mind and body belong to some One greater than this.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)