May 31, 2005

SHAC trial starting in New Jersey

The trial of an animal-rights terrorist group, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) is starting up in New Jersey, with an anonymous jury. I found a link to a news story earlier this morning, but lost it since. Web searches bring up mainly sites written by SHAC activists. It seems this is one trial no one wants to talk about. Why? Maybe because of the tactics described in this background sheet from

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Touchstone magazine on Benedict XVI and orthodoxy

S.M. Hutchens, writing in Touchstone magazine has an excellent online article, The Pope is Catholic! regarding Pope Benedict XVI and his detractors. Why do efforts to transform the Catholic Church into a liberal institution fail? Because they aren't just fighting orthodoxy within the Catholic church, they are fighting against orthodoxy in the Protestant realm as well.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:33 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2005

More on that filibuster deal

I'm not really all that angry about that filibuster deal, but here some opinions from commentators I respect who disagree with me:

Peggy Noonan, Mr. Narcissus Goes to Washington, says it's all "sheer exuberant egotism", echoing a comment I heard elsewhere that it's all about saving their re-election prospects than about preserving the Constitution.

Hugh Hewitt, Non-Nuclear Fallout, discussing the "aftermath of a sell-out".

Charles Krauthammer, The flinch heard 'round the world, who describes the seven Republicans who worked out this deal,

"We will soon see glowing stories in the mainstream press about how they have grown in office. (In Washington parlance, the dictionary definition of ``to grow'' is ``to move left.'')"

The New York Times seems to be two-faced about protecting the rights of the minority, arguing in favor of the concept when it's about Democrats, and against it when it's about people of faith opposed to embryonic stem cell research. The argument about protecting minority rights might have some credibility if it had come up when the Democrats were the majority. I don't remember anyone in the MSM saying that back then however. (hat tip Best of the Web)

My take on it is still that of resigned acceptance of it and a desire to move on. I'm disappointed in Congress, as is today's WSJ, but I'm learning to keep my expectations low as far as politicians go. One good thing about an ineffective Congress is that they can't do much harm either.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

That filibuster deal

Ok, I've finally made up my mind. I like it, though I'm influenced by Judge Owen's confirmation, and this, and this. The NOW criticism of President Bush's judicial nominees contains not one single talking point about respecting the Constitution, and many about "women's rights" and anti-corporate cases. Maybe Judge Owen was wrong, maybe she wasn't, but it isn't how to choose a judge. It's just ideological crap, "give me what I want or you're an extremist". Give me a confirmed quote that Priscilla Owen doesn't respect the written Constitution, and I'd support a vote to throw her overboard. At least the UUA Washington Office respects the deal, now they're just trying to get their loyal subjects to phone their Senators to vote no. Funny thing is, I actually did that a couple of weeks ago. I called Senator Lautenberg's office to say "Stop the filibuster - if you don't like the nominee vote no, but end the filibuster now". Seems my phone call fell on deaf ears. No compromise for him, he (and 17 other Democrat Senators, including NJ's Senator Corzine) voted against cloture even after the filibuster deal came down. Not even Senator Clinton is that dedicated to obstructionism. Move on already! Now let's vote on Janice Raymond Brown and William Pryor. And I'd like to see Justice for Miguel Estrada too.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2005

Issues for the blog today

Let's fill the page up today.

  1. My former denomination, the Unitarian Universalist Association is very shrill about church-state separation, but wait, that's only for those churches with plus signs on them. Seems it's perfectly ok for the UUA Washington Office to distribute a church bulletin insert telling UUA members how to lobby their Senators to oppose the Republican effort to end the filibuster. Somehow I doubt Barry Lynn, of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, will be on their case.

  2. Lino Graglia writes on the real lawmakers in America, our judges, and opines that our Constitution has become a dead letter because of four words in the Fourteenth Amendment that have a very fluid meaning.Death by Due Process.

  3. Wesley J. Smith, of the Discovery Institute writes in the Weekly Standard The English Patient, a case where a patient may face involuntary death by dehydration against their will because in a system of socialized medicine, life and death matters do not belong to patients, but to the doctors treating them.

  4. Links on the filibuster deal:
    Senator John Cornyn
    Andrew McCarthy.
    National Review Online editors' opinion.
    My opinion: Don't know what to think yet. I'm glad to see Priscilla Owen and William Pryor in. I don't like that filibusters are likely to continue. The Democrat's idea of "extreme" is "anyone nominated by President Bush" or who believes the Constitution is actually a written document with words that mean something and not something else.

  5. Mark Davis - Where the Bible Meets the Ballot Box. (Dallas Morning News, subscription required) God is not a Democrat either it seems. Here's an excerpt:
    there are plenty of issues that don't have natural roots in faith. No preacher can claim to know God's wishes on taxes, Social Security reform, gun control or a host of other concerns. They can try, as when the left tries to measure compassion only through the lens of government expenditure.

    Most Republicans – and most people of faith – believe genuine compassion comes from our individual hearts and pocketbooks. And the most genuine path of devotion to the Christian God leads right through the church of the believer's choice.

  6. Dish up a bowl of Frosted Flakes and curl up with the original animated The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger and who sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (without credit) has passed away. A grrreat voice indeed.

  7. What do I think about Star Wars ROTS? (Would it make more money if they made Star Wars ROCKS?) I'll be more generous than most reviewers. I thought it was basically an entertaining movie, though the path to the dark side for Anakin was a tortured process which defies believability, though maybe I should give it a break. I did something similar a long time ago, turning my back on God, and looking back on that time of my life, I find it hard to believe I believed "the emperor's promise" too. Ok, it's plausible, but still he seems to do a most egregious thing (I won't mention it here) too easily, just after crying out "What have I done?" after doing something a smidge less evil. Not impossible, but clumsy, unless the Dark Side had some kind of enchanting force on him. As for the Jedi Council, what a real bunch of idiots they were. Trusting Skywalker to spy on the emporer while denying him the role of Jedi Master? What were they thinking? Spoilers? Not many to worry about; you know how it ends if you saw Star Wars Episode IV, and in that sense, it's kindof weird watching this movie. The only new thing to learn in this movie is how Darth Vader gets his suit.

      Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

That Middle-Finger Speech

I've looked at the speech given by PepsiCo CFO Indra Nooyi and find myself not liking what I read. Though she claims in her statement of defense that she is merely encouraging "each of us as citizens to take a constructive role in whatever we choose to do in life to ensure the U.S. continues as the world’s “helping hand.” ", that isn't what came out of the original allegory. When describing Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa, in terms of a human hand, she talks about them in collective terms, and then mentions the USA in similar language, and then clarifies her point by suddenly shifting to the "rude American" image, describing a conversation between Americans in a hotel in China. By the end of the speech, she is just passing off her bias in a broad sterotypical view of Americans as rude and arrogant (all but saying those traits are unique to us). While I agree that it would be good for us to take a constructive role, I'd argue that it is good advice for the rest of the world as well, perhaps with a bit of emphasis on those states that support terrorism. I'd certainly like them to take a more constructive role.

(Hat tips: Susanna Cornett and Power Line Blog)

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

Adding color & a logo

I'm adding colors and a logo to the blog. Feedback on appearance is welcome, just place it in the comments.

UPDATE: ok, I like the blog again. I can stand to look at it. Now for a logo, and some content.

UPDATE (Monday 5/23): I've got a logo! But I'm looking for something different. The logo is a picture for Chinese New Year (Year of the Rooster - which is my Chinese zodiac sign. Not that I believe in it of course). Now all I need to do is find a similar picture of an ox (my wife's sign, and her birthday is today) and a horse (the Royal Daughter's sign). Those icons are proving to be very difficult to find.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:34 AM | Comments (3)

May 03, 2005


Thank you to those who sent me encouraging words, and who told me that the last few posts were actually reasonable compared to other exchanges out there. Looking back at the source of my discouragement, I see that it originated from me responding to a comment thread. Comments probably aren't the best vehicle for discussing these issues. I much prefer a longer, well-thought-out, argument. For that I can't think of anyone I enjoy reading better than Robert P. George on sanctity of life issues, and the editors of Touchstone magazine on religious issues in general. For bloggers, Shane Raynor, WesleyBlog, is doing a fine job, and he has an excellent post up, an interview with Beth Stroud, the minister whose conviction for violating the Book of Discipline for having a lesbian relationship while serving as a Methodist pastor was just thrown out on appeal.

I'm going to keep the blog, I do discern a role for me in speaking out on issues of faith, and its role in culture. What I'll do differently in the future: whenever I quote someone like Pope Benedict XVI, or someone from the church renewal movements, I will let their statements stand on their own. They've already stated their positions much better than I could in a comment anyway.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:55 PM | Comments (5)