Friday, September 30, 2005

If you want me to buy from you…

Then don’t make me use PayPal. I got so fed up with them today, I cancelled my account.

Require costumers to use PayPal, and I won’t be your costumer. Nothing personal, but that’s how it’s going to be. No more PayPal for me.
A Long Cold Winter Is Coming.

I’m writing this as a service to you, kind reader . . . especially if you are a Yankee live in a Northern climate.

(By the way, although I'm not an energy industry insider, much of my family's income comes from oil. So I know a bit more about how the energy world works than your average guy.)

Your heating bills will be double last winter’s – if you’re lucky. Rita and Katrina really has put that big a hurt on our energy situation for the next few months. You see, this time of year, between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, is when energy companies increase their inventory of winter heating fuels, such as natural gas and heating oil.

But instead inventories are shrinking because of most of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil and gas production is shut in from the two storms. Not only that, but a number of damaged refineries are not producing either. And this situation will persist. The Gulf energy complex is a logistical mess right now. Here’s one report yesterday from the very level-headed Christopher Edmonds over at

100% of oil production and over 80% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline as of mid-day Wednesday. I continue to hear that it is nearly impossible to get transit back to platforms and rigs, as helicopters and boats are booked and refueling is a challenge. So, look for these numbers to remain surprisingly high for the next several days as the task of repopulating the GoM is more difficult than most pundits thought.

Again, this is happening at a time when inventories normally are increasing. Not only that, but gasoline inventories need to be rebuilt in Texas after the Rita evacuation mess. That will also take away from building heating inventories. There just won’t the normal inventory build this Fall. If this is a cold Winter . . . well, you get the picture.

I like you . . . well, most of you people. So please get prepared for the consequences to your utility bills, and, yes, your investments, too. I might be wrong that this situation will hurt stocks, but I’m getting ready to do some selling myself. Ruinous energy bills and possible fuel shortages don’t a good economy make.

But there are two things that you must NOT do:

1. If you have either directly or indirectly made it difficult to build needed refineries and increase energy production outside the Gulf Coast area, then ABSOLUTELY NO WHINING FROM YOU! The Yankee, Left Coast people who make it difficult to do something about our energy situation are the very same people who whine the most when their energy bills go up. Don’t be one of them, or I will laugh at you as you freeze this Winter.

2. You all cannot come to South Texas to live with me this Winter. Sorry.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rita evacuation killed 107.

Wow. I sure hope the awful mess that was the Rita evacuation and the lives lost make officials think twice before evacuating an entire urban area in the future. I think both Corpus Christi and Houston area officials should have been much more selective in their evacuation calls. There is a difference between mobile homes, flood prone areas, or beach houses and well built houses on high ground well inland. It is only a very rare circumstance that justifies evacuating it all, and this wasn’t it.

I know this episode will make me even more reluctant to evacuate. Not that an evacuation would ever kill me. But it’s also highly unlikely that a hurricane would ever kill me. Give me the choice between 20 hour gridlock and a hurricane, and I’ll take the hurricane most of the time.
++Greg Venables steps into the gap for Recife.

I haven’t posted about it here, but one of the more blatant liberal purges in the Anglican Communion has been the Primate of Brazil’s defrocking of the Bishop of Recife and most of the clergy in that orthodox diocese.

By the way, a fair question to ask is why does it seem so much easier to defrock the orthodox than to defrock heretics in the Anglican Communion? But I digress.

There have been pleas for relief from this action to both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Panel of Reference. The response has been little more than silence.

So now the Primate of the Southern Cone, Greg Venables, is stepping into the gap and recognizing the ministry of the good bishop and clergy of Recife.

Read ++Venable’s letter. Having met him and heard him speak at the REC/APA Council, I can tell you he is a very English man who chooses his words carefully and well. Keep that in mind as you read his letter, and you will see just how pointed it is.

I find it particularly interesting the words he chooses in noting “the extremely slow pace at which the Panel of Reference is operating.” I also suspect his choice of the modifier “adequately” in his money sentence is not a trivial one:

To that end, after consultation with other Primates, I am issuing this statement of support to continue to recognize these ordinations and ministries, and provide a special status of extra-provincial recognition by my office as Primate of the Southern Cone until such time as the Panel of Reference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Anglican Communion has, in some way, adequately addressed this crisis.

My translation: “As long as the Panel of Reference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Anglican Communion doesn’t adequately provide for the diocese of Recife, I will.”

God bless ++Greg Venables!
Getting my tickets

I’ve got my Britrail pass and a good seat at a King’s College Choir concert at St. John’s Smith Square in London.

King’s and St. John’s Cambridge have posted their service lists for the Michaelmas term, and I’m already inspecting them.

I think my first full day in England will be a day trip to Ely and Norwich, ending with Choral Evensong at Norwich Cathedral.

Yes, I’m getting excited about my English pilgrimage already.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

About the DeLay indictment…

It’s not just spin that the D. A. behind the indictment of Rep. Tom DeLay has a history of acting in a highly partisan manner. When I heard the indictment came from Travis Co., a light bulb went off. I looked it up, and, sure enough, the indictment comes from one Ronnie Earle.

Ronnie Earle has a long-standing reputation of being a highly partisan Democrat and of issuing indictments accordingly. Among his targets has been Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a case that so went down in flames the judge went beyond dismissal to have the jury issue a Not Guilty verdict so Ronnie couldn’t bring the case back.

Not only that, but Earle is in no position to throw stones about alleged corruption. Much more at the Captain’s Quarters.
Louisiana Looters

Christopher Johnson is on top of Louisiana’s politicos attempt to loot the Treasury. And he is right – this brazen money-grab is blowing people’s sympathy for Louisiana “into a million pieces.” Whether it’s right or wrong, I know my sympathy, which once was pretty big, is just about blown away now.

Even bleeding heart liberals are getting annoyed. Note this excerpt from the Washington Post:

Like looters who seize six televisions when their homes have room for only two, the Louisiana legislators are out to grab more federal cash than they could possibly spend usefully. For example, their bill demands $7 billion for rebuilding evacuation and energy supply routes, but it also demands a separate $5 billion for road building and makes no mention of the $3.1 billion already awarded to the state in the recent transportation legislation. The bill demands $50 billion in community development block grants, partly to get small businesses going, but it also demands $150 million for a small-business loan fund plus generous business tax breaks. The bill even asks for $35 million for seafood marketing and $25 million for a sugar-cane research laboratory. This is the equivalent of New York responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center by insisting upon a federally financed stadium in Brooklyn.

The Washington Post comparing money grabbing politicians to looters – I've never even dreamed of such a day.

I’ve got a word of advice for Louisiana politicians – stop your looting, or outraged taxpayers will shoot you and your money grab down.

And I’ll be shooting right along with them. You loot, we shoot.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Day 14 of Campolo Watch

On October 3rd, I received a gracious e-mail from Tony Campolo clarifying his post-Katrina remarks to my satisfaction. Therefore, this post is now inoperative. For now at least, I'll leave it up. But I do apologize to any who find it overly harsh.

Day 14 of Tony Campolo Watch is almost over, and still there is not a word of clarification from him on his post-Katrina statement that at least seemed to deny the omnipotence of God.

This is a serious matter. He evidently, at the very least, doesn’t care much for the omnipotence of God. Otherwise, he would have clarified his position by now.

Campolo has a reputation for being fuzzy on his theological views (while not being so at all on his beloved liberal political views). And, frankly, evangelicals have let him get away with it, providing him platform after platform to preach . . . whatever it is that he preaches.

Evangelicals should stop playing that game. I know I’ve had enough of it. Until Tony Campolo clearly affirms the omnipotence of God, no evangelical or supposedly orthodox Christian group should provide him a platform. And I’m going to make this personal: if any such group does so, I will think twice before supporting said group in any way. And that includes Youth Specialties, which I’ve been very much involved in, but has frequently given a platform to Campolo.

God’s word is clear – Christians are not to aid false teachers. If “evangelical” means anything anymore (and I doubt it does), evangelicals will stop giving this man a platform until he clearly affirms the omnipotence of God.

As noted, he has indeed since sent me a gracious e-mail affirming the omnipotence of God to my satisfaction. The above post is therefore inoperative with apologies to anyone offended.
I’m beyond “compassion fatigue” now.

I have to admit I already had a modest amount of “compassion fatigue” from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I gave generously. And I’m a bit tired of still being bombarded to give, give, give.

But now, I’m getting ticked. Louisiana’s two U. S. senators are asking for $250 billion in federal aid to Louisiana. $250,000,000,000. That is absurd. I nearly lost track of the zeros writing that. Frankly, I think what President Bush is asking for already is a bit much.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? I moved close to the coast. And I knew hurricanes are part of the deal. Why should taxpayers bail me out if a bad hurricane hits my place? Huh? If you want to live in a hurricane prone area, or below sea level, or in other flood prone areas, or next to an earthquake fault, or whatever, fine. This is a free country. But if you end up suffering the natural consequences of your choice, don’t come around and try to dig in my pocket! Or at least don’t try to dig $250,000,000,000 out of people’s pockets.

Heck, that's beyond a bail out. What do you want to go with that much money, senators? Rebuild with houses of gold?

Federal disaster aid was already being abused. The abuse is now ascending to new heights. And I’m fed up with it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Modest Proposal for TxDOT

In the interests of truth in government, I propose a name change for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

I humbly suggest TxDOG – the Texas Department of Gridlock.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rita and an interesting morning

Last night, I woke and decided to turn on the TV and check on Rita. She was just making landfall. I watched for almost an hour, taking a break to go out on my deck. There was a pleasant warm breeze.

When I woke up again at dawn, the wind was very light, but I noticed Oso Bay a few hundred yards behind my house was up. I investigated, and it was as high as I’ve ever seen.

When I drove to check out the beach at Bob Hall Pier, I found out why. Big concrete blocks of the pier were knocked out of place. Railings were torn up in places. Big picnic tables where scattered across the beach road and parking lot. It was clear the surf and storm tide just went crazy overnight.

Yet, by the time I got out there about 8am, the waves were very mellow and clean, very ridable – not typical Corpus surf. It surprised me how quickly it had calmed down. I grabbed my bodyboard and ran on out there and caught a bunch of waves.

Afterward on the pier, I met a surfer who evacuated Galveston. We talked a bit including about TxDOT. I said he was smart for going south. But he told me it was a mess. Among other things, he said US 59 was narrowed to one lane going south, causing gridlock. If I wasn’t familiar with the Texas Department of Transportation, I’d have trouble believing it.

As I drove off the island later, the big bulletin sign above the highway said, “Traffic heavy to Houston. Travel not advised.” Good advice.

Oso Bay is still high as I type this. The storm tide overnight put a lot of water into the bays.

And remember, folks, I’m about 300 miles from Rita’s landfall.

UPDATE: Later the road message got more serious: “Massive Delays to Houston. Gasoline Shortage.”

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sunset tonight

As the sun set this evening, Rita took up almost 90 degrees of the horizon, even though I’m about 300 miles from the center.

And she is beautiful.
Ironic weather

Here in South Texas, we are under a Red Flag Warning. That means high winds combined with low humidity makes us vulnerable to grass fires.

And 48 hours ago, we were facing hurricane conditions.

The wind is actually welcome. It’s very hot here and the breeze is making it more tolerable. I put the last of my hurricane shutters away this afternoon and hardly broke a sweat. And this dry air is a good thing, too. It’s a big reason Rita is weakening.

Rita has already revealed one villain, and it’s not racism or tax cuts or the eeeevil George Bush.

It’s the Texas Department of Transportation.

There is no excuse for waiting as long as they did to reverse Gulfbound lanes on the major highways out of Houston to inlandbound. That should have been done yesterday morning instead of in the afternoon. Yes, they then did their best. But the damage was done. Untold numbers of people were stuck on the highways, running out of gas in 100 degree heat.

I don’t take this error as a one time deal. There is a part of TxDOT culture that JUST DOESN’T CARE if you are stuck.

I’ve personally experienced this (albeit on a much lesser scale) more than once. Even getting a driver’s license renewed is an ordeal. There is always a long wait involved. The other day, all I wanted to do (and am required to do by law) was change the address on my driver’s license. I had to wait for one hour. And that was mid-afternoon. No telling how bad it was at lunch or after work.

Then there was the time I was driving north on I-35 through Austin. There was a bad, long dose of gridlock. I think it was because of construction. TxDOT didn’t even put up a sign beforehand warning of delays, much less advising alternative routes. And this is I-35 going through Austin, folks.

TxDot needs to get a bit more concerned about TRANSPORTATION, about keeping people moving, instead of about nailing them with questionable tickets and absurd waits.

If I were Governor Rick Perry, I’d be thinking about whom I want to fire at TxDOT. I’ve had it with TxDOT culture, and I wasn’t one of those poor people trying to leave Houston yesterday.

By the way, what those people went through makes it even less likely I will ever evacuate a hurricane in the future. Given the choice between dealing with a hurricane or TxDOT, I’ll deal with the hurricane just about any day of the week.

UPDATE: Apparently, those remaining in Houston agree. I've looked at a couple webcams, and I-45 going north out of Houston is amazingly empty.
Tension and relief

This post over at CrosSwords gives you some idea of the tension and relief we’ve gone through here in Corpus.

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t freaking out or anything, but there was an underlying nervousness inside for a few days that didn't go away until early Thursday morning. I pretty sure I even lost weight from it.
Crazy surf and bad levees

Well, I heard this morning that they were allowing access to Padre Island again, so off I went! No, I didn’t try to catch any waves. It was just too rough to be surfable (and I rode Katrina). There was only one surfer out, and the white water and the current wouldn’t let him do much.

(Most of the serious surfers are probably 100 miles south at South Padre Island. I heard it’s crazy down there.)

It was an impressive site though. And the waves seem to be rising even more.

Let me tell you something about the photography and video of hurricane waves that you see in the news. They don’t do the waves justice. I’m not sure why, but it’s really hard to give an idea through photography just how big those waves are. I was going to post what I thought would be excellent photographs, but when I downloaded them, they just didn’t look like much compared to what I saw with my own eyes. And I’m a pretty good photographer! So the surf you see on the news – it’s bigger than it looks.

When I got back from the beach, I saw parts of New Orleans are flooding again. I thought all the concern about New Orleans and Rita was media hype, but it looks like I was wrong. Ugg.

On the bright side, it looks like Rita is weakening to a Cat. 3.
Dawn, Friday Morning

As it’s becoming light this morning, you can see the high clouds of Rita way off to the Northeast. If you were isolated from all communication, you wouldn’t know it was a hurricane.

You would know at the beach, however. The waves offshore from Corpus are 13 feet high! I wish I could go to the beach to watch (It’s probably too nuts to surf.), but they probably still have the island blocked off.

They are only predicting a few clouds and the usual breeze here. I might even take some hurricane shutters down as I like looking out my windows.

Do pray for those in the Houston and Port Author areas and for those on the roads. It’s a bad situation out there.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rita and a Special Evening Prayer

Last night, we had a small Evening Prayer service at my parish. I was the lector, and it was nice to read the lessons for St. Matthew’s Day as they were very upbeat during a trying time.

The rector played a rarely used piano while the associate rector led the service. We all sat near the front which is very unlike us, which is good since everything was unamplified.

And the rector’s cell phone when off as I read the second lesson! I couldn’t help but look over at him and smile as I kept reading.

We prayed the Litany as we have during morning and evening prayer since Katrina.

Then those who showed up for the service worked together to protect some things from leaks, such as the pew books, the frontals and altarware, etc. The few kids there chipped in and helped. We all did.

I was glad I went.

When I got home, I put up a few more hurricane shutters to save time in case I decided to evacuate the next day. But before I went to bed, I found out the forecast path of Katrina was nudged to the North.

This morning, I saw the forecast path was pushed further north and that we were close to safe. Then, after personal morning prayer, I went out to catch some waves, of course. And they were impressive.

The city later lifted the mandatory evacuation, but I wasn’t allowed to go back out to the beach this afternoon, which is understandable.

But last night’s Evening Prayer will probably go down as one of the most memorable services I’ve been to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

We’re the city and we’re here to help you.

Well, this is helpful. The city has issued a mandatory evacuation of where I live. But their website has nothing on just exactly what that means. Like if I go to church tonight, will I be allowed back home?

Even the Police Department doesn’t seem to know. Geez, don’t issue orders unless you make clear just exactly what they mean.

UPDATE: I found out from a police friend I’ll be able to get back home tonight. So I’ll be going to church. I need to. Hurricane prep is on the agenda after Evening Prayer. Plus I’m the Designated Lector. :)
In case you’re wondering what I think about another “Windfall Profits” tax . . .

I think politicians pushing an oil “Windfall Profits” tax should be deported to Northern Canada without heating oil so we will never have to hear their socialistic whining and demagoging ever again.

It’s wrong. And it will make our energy situation worse just like it did under Jimmy Carter. Envy makes lousy public policy.
Rita reports and priorities

There’s nothing like deciding what to take with you if you evacuate and what to move to a safer place and what to leave as is to show you what your priorities are.


Reports on Rita have been back and forth between scary and reassuring. There’s been predictions of her getting stronger and stronger. Then I read a Weather Service forecast discussion saying the high pressure is stronger than expected and will likely steer her further south . . . closer to me. But later I read there’s more of a consensus that she’ll hit between here and Houston.

All this has me more nervous than excited. Like I said, I’d like to experience a hurricane someday. But anything above Cat. 3 is a bit much. I’d prefer to keep my place intact, thank you.

Wow, now I just heard Cat. 5 is expected at least while she’s out in the Gulf. Like I said – back and forth.

And it’s nice and sunny out this morning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rita a Cat. 4?

The Weather Service now thinks Rita will become a Category 4 hurricane. Since I’m not at all far from its predicted path, I’d rather it not get that strong.

And I have my doubts it will. There is a lot of dry air in the Gulf now. Dry air is usually tough on hurricanes.

The Weather Service was wrong and I right on Katrina. (I expected Katrina to go further west and become stronger than they predicted for the first two or three days of that hurricane.) We'll see who's right on this one.

I’ve been doing a bit yesterday and today to prepare. (Kudos to Home Depot for having lots of hurricane supplies when I visited.) And my place was built with hurricanes in mind. And I’m going to do more to prepare, such as move a bunch of stuff downstairs off the floor.

But I really don’t want to mess with a Cat. 4.
A very unspecial Special Commission

Today, the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion is expected to be announced.

I’m not impressed.

The time for such a commission was long before now. Actually, scratch that. There is hardly ever a time for a commission as stacked as this one.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A thought on the Church of Nigeria’s constitution change

There’s been much speculation that ++Peter Akinola and the Church of Nigeria are in a big hurry to split with Canterbury. There was a rather sensationalistic Scottish newspaper article, then last week’s change in the Church of Nigeria’s constitution to fuel the speculation.

But ++Akinola has just released a letter to his fellow Archbishops making clear that he’s in no hurry to split. The following passage is most notable:

We treasure our place within the worldwide family of the Anglican Communion but we are distressed by the unilateral actions of those provinces that are clearly determined to redefine what was once our common faith. We have now amended the language of our constitution so that those who are bent to walk a different path, may do so without us. We have chosen not to be yoked to them as we prefer to exercise our freedom to remain faithful.

What ++Akinola was in a hurry to do was to more formally split with the North American provinces and like-minded dioceses. And his church could not afford for that split to drag out. Association with ECUSA, however tenuous, has fueled the fires of Islamic persecution of Christians in Africa.

So I have a thought on the church constitution change and what ++Akinola is up to. Perhaps he is acting to increase his flexibility. By going ahead and making his split with the North America provinces more explicit, he now has more flexibility and time to decide his relationship with Canterbury and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

And by “redefining” the Church of Nigeria’s communion with other Anglican churches as being with those “Anglican Churches Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the Lord has commanded in His holy word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and the ordinal of 1662 and in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion”[takes breath] ++Akinola sets forth both a standard and invitation. His church makes clear what the standard will be for full communion, but that standard is also an invitation to orthodox communion without writing out any Anglicans. There’s no bridge burning here.

So again, I think the recent actions of the Church of Nigeria and Archbishop Akinola may have more to do with setting out clear standards for communion while at the same time providing more flexibility and room for communion.

And I think that common view that ++Akinola is in a big hurry to split from anyone other than the North Americans is mistaken.
Rita is coming to visit.

This could be an interesting week. Rita is predicted to strengthen to a hurricane soon, then come across the Gulf of Mexico . . . towards me! Landfall on the Texas coast is predicted for Friday night or Saturday morning.

I’ve always wanted to experience a hurricane. But if Rita indeed comes all across the warm Gulf without any landfall, she could get quite strong. Category 3 strength I can handle I think. But any stronger . . . ?

Anyway, I'm going to beat the rush and buy some supplies today.

Friday, September 16, 2005

More on Palestinian Muslim attacks on Christians . . .

. . . from Daniel Pipes and the Jewish World Review.
Day 3 of Campolo Watch

This is the third day since I called on Tony Campolo here and via e-mail to clarify his remarks that seem to deny the omnipotence of God. And, of course, others far more notable that me have taken Campolo to task. Yet I’ve searched high and low, and there’s not a word of clarification from him that I can find.

This is disturbing. I know if I was misconstrued as denying the omnipotence of God, I’d clear that up right away.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I knew the Anglican Church of Nigeria was preparing for a possible split with Canterbury, but this morning’s news still surprised me. Read about it here.

In their own words:

With a careful rewording of her constitution, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) redefined her relationship with all other Anglican Churches.

All former references to ‘communion with the see of Canterbury’ were deleted and replaced with another provision of communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the ‘Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church’.

[Anglican Understatement] I think this might be of significance. [/Anglican Understatement]

Anybody still think the Global South Primates are just posturing?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Blogsearch

I’ve been playing with Google’s new Blogsearch a bit. And it is really handy.

For example: I freely admit that, like me, this blog isn’t very well organized. But go to Blogsearch and type in “WannabeAnglican” followed by a subject of your choosing. If I’ve said something about it, it’s there. I typed in “WannabeAnglican Tony Campolo” and my post of just four hours ago showed right up.

I’m impressed.
Tony Campolo, do you really deny the omnipotence of God?

I’ll be the first to say I’m not a fan of Tony Campolo. I’ve walked out of one of his addresses. I’m hesitant to call myself an evangelical because I don’t want to be associated with “evangelicalism” such as his. I could say more, but you get the picture.

But I was floored when I first read he had denied the omnipotence of God. I didn’t believe it at first. So I carefully read his post-Katrina article in question. The money paragraph:

Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined.

Of course, that destroys his own premise – God could have stopped Katrina if he chose. Not to mention that he doesn’t follow his own advice: “Personally, I contend that the best thing for us to do in the aftermath of Katrina is to remain silent, and not try to explain this tragedy.” I bet he is now wishing he had been a bit more silent.

I’ll be extremely charitable and say maybe, just maybe, his sin is sloppy writing. Maybe he doesn’t necessarily agree with Kushner that God is not omnipotent, but he is only presenting that view as something to consider.

Nevertheless, his comments are creating not a little concern among evangelicals. And I suspect a firestorm is just beginning. He certainly needs to clarify his comments and soon. And I have personally asked him to do so via e-mail.

His site ( is silent. He needs to speak up and clear the air. I’ll let you know when I hear anything. And please let me know if you hear of any clarification from him. (By the way, my e-mail is mark at godknows99 dot com.)

You will hear from me again on this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NEWSFLASH: Senator Biden is a jerk.

Well, that’s not exactly a newsflash to those who have followed the Senate through the years.

And such would not be surprised that he was a jerk today, interrupting John Roberts and calling his answers misleading and filibustering.

Roberts was a cool customer, noting Biden would have heard an entire answer if he hadn't interrupted.

Remember Sen. Biden is the guy who bent over backwards to let uberliberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg stonewall the Judiciary Committee when she was up for confirmation. Roberts in comparison has been more forthright in answering questions. But Biden doesn’t like the answers so he acts like the overgrown baby he is.

Booooo hooooo!
John Roberts’ opening statement

I commend to you the opening statement of Chief Justice nominee John Roberts before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It is succinct, shorter that the opening statements of many of the senators, which says a lot about both politicians and Mr. Roberts.

But Mr. Roberts got right to the point on the role of a judge:

. . . A certain humility should characterize the judicial role.

Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them.

The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules.

But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.

. . . We are a government of laws and not of men. It is that rule of law that protects the rights and liberties of all Americans. It is the envy of the world. Because without the rule of law, any rights are meaningless.

Amen. And because a majority of the current Supreme Court habitually put their personal opinions above the Constitution and the rule of law, our rights are being eroded. John Roberts alone can’t stop that. But appointing him and more judges like him might.
A Post-Katrina Reality Check

There’s no question that it’s wise to examine the response of various levels of government to Katrina and to learn from what was done wrong and what was done right.

But those who have whined a bit too much about the federal response, especially those who have used this as an opportunity to bash Bush and play the race card need a reality check. So here’s a very good start.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Palestinian Persecution of Christians

The news media doesn’t tell you much anything about persecution of Christians by Palestinian Muslims. The Confessing Reader helps expose what Christians in Palestinian Authority territory are facing from the “peaceful religion.”

If Middle Eastern Jews or Christians were attacking Muslims like this, you know the news media would be all over it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Newbie takes a deep breath.

I can breathe easier now. The restaurant smoking ban for Corpus Christi passed with 70% of the vote (free registration required). I thought it would be much closer.

Yes, this is yet another hot button issue with me. Having seen people chain smoke right next to meager non-smoking sections and worse, I know it often doesn’t work to rely on common sense and courtesy when it comes to smoking. Most smokers are pretty decent about it nowadays, but it only takes one to turn a meal into an ordeal. Not to mention those restaurants who always seem to have enough smoking seating, but not enough non-smoking.

(Of course, things used to be a lot worse before, say, 1980 or so. You don’t want to get me started on that.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

FEMA and the Clintons

As noted in my posts yesterday, the more that actual facts come out, the more it’s becoming clear that Louisiana and New Orleans authorities bungled post-Katrina more than President Bush or the Feds.

But that is not at all to say the federal role is immune from fair criticism. Such criticism can be a healthy thing when not accompanied by race-baiting, Bush-bashing agendas. FEMA’s role particularly merits close review. And if in hindsight Bush should have supervised FEMA differently or made different appointments, then it’s fair to say so.

But FEMA has had problems for a long time, yes, before Bush took office. Some people are in no position to criticize Bush on FEMA and would be wise to keep their mouths shut. Chief among those people are the Clintons.

Yet Hillary Clinton has come out and said that FEMA was run much better under her beloved husband.

Oh really?

Tell that to some of the victims of Hurricanes Floyd and Andrew, whose aftermath, though bad, wasn’t the logistical nightmare that New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have just suffered. For as noted here (scroll down), FEMA was a bit slow in those situations. And in those cases, FEMA probably didn’t have to deal with a joke governor like Kathleen Blanco either.

And hubby Bill used a regional FEMA directorship as a reward for one “Buddy” Young, who helped sweep Troopergate under the rug. I remember that well, particularly since he was stationed in Denton, Texas.

Hillary, you and Bill had eight years to improve FEMA. You two not only dropped the ball, but your husband turned it into a plum to reward a corrupted crony.

So kindly shut up.
”Sealed for your protection”

I gave my left index finger a good stab this morning . . . trying to open a bottle of vitamins sealed for my protection.
An interesting problem to have III – No butterfly tat!

Another reason my small parish has attracted single men is we have absolutely no butterfly tat nor any similar enormities.

Seriously, I’ve noticed a lot of bad vestments and frontals have butterflies on them. What is with that?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Some good post-Katrina news

As you may have noticed, Katrina is bringing out the worst in people. Today, two Corpus Christi residents were caught trying to pose as evacuees so they can get those $2000 checks from Uncle Sam. Watch out for more of that.

But Katrina has also brought out the best in people. I’ve heard a couple items that are most encouraging.

1. I can’t verify this, but I’ve been told almost 200,000 households have offered temporary housing to Katrina victims. If so, that is outstanding.

2. We have some Katrina evacuees here in Corpus Christi. So many people have volunteered their time to help them that the city manager told the city council, “We have to call an end to the formal process of asking for volunteers.”

Personally, I’ve tried to volunteer some time and goods, and the agencies I contacted were so swamped with work and help, none have gotten back to me!
You mean it’s not all Bushracismtaxcut’s fault?

I’ve been watching the Katrina blame game with disgust. It became clear early on that some people would try to use this tragedy to get Bush and play the race card. I’ve gotten quite agitated about this so I may rant on this later.

But first, some facts have come out that Bush-bashers might find inconvenient. For they seem to indicate that, even if the feds had their miscues, the state and local governments were much bigger bunglers in the aftermath of Katrina. Christopher Johnson is on this here and here. I’ve just discovered the Political Teen, but that boy is on this with a ton of links. The Junkyard Blog is all over Louisiana Governor Kathlen Blanco as is the The Mudville Gazette.

Funny. I don’t hear the Democrat grandstanders complaining about Democrat Governor Blanco.
If you want me to donate to Katrina relief . . .

Do not, I repeat, do not use a “fill the boot” campaign or other such method that accosts drivers in traffic. I dislike that almost as much as phone solicitations. I strongly object to Corpus Christi firemen or anyone else being a hazard and slowing down traffic by soliciting at already congested intersections. Some of the firemen actually get right in the middle of road.

In case anyone thinks I’m Scrooge, I’ve donated generously to Katrina relief and intend to give more. But willfully adding to traffic slowdowns and hazards is not the way to get my money for any cause.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An interesting problem to have II – Movie Night and Men’s Groups

On Friday, I’ll go to Movie Night at a church friend’s house. About once a month, us single guys at my church go to one of our houses to eat, drink beer, bull s . . . I mean talk, and watch a movie or two. We might allow a married guy to join us, but no wimmin.

I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal. And I haven’t thought much about it until now, and I didn’t think much about it when I decided to join my parish. But I think Movie Night is a important reason we’ve attracted a few single guys.

But don’t other churches have a lot more to offer in men’s groups and programs? Well, yes and no. You see, the problem is that most Men’s groups consist of the following: married men’s groups, purity groups, accountability groups, and bible study groups. I can’t speak for all single guys, but very few of these are attractive to me.

>>>> Married Men’s Groups

Now most married men’s groups don’t advertise themselves as such. But a lot of “men’s groups” are just that. They address how to be good husbands and fathers. And frankly, I’ve had more pressing concerns, like how to find a good wife in the first place, concerns such groups ignored. And, maybe I have more sense than most men, but most of what I’ve heard from such groups was not especially helpful in preparing for marriage. If I marry and have kids, I’m certainly not going to ignore them or my wife (unless she nags). Most of what was taught in married men’s groups was rather obvious to me.

And “men’s groups” really being married men’s groups as if single men didn’t exist or weren’t important rubbed me the wrong way.

>>>> Purity Groups

Again, they aren’t called that, but there are groups that beat up on men to be sexually “pure.” Though, again, I can’t quite put a finger on it, these have rubbed me the wrong way as well. Maybe I’m a rarity, but purity usually hasn’t been at the top of my priority list, though I struggle with my thoughts and lusts like any guy.

But to be frank, I’ve lived a celibate lifestyle for a long time, a llllllllong time. I don't know how much more purity I can handle. Heck, I wonder if some impurity every decade or so might do me some good. And the standard most purity groups set seems to be a bit higher than what the Bible sets. The Bible’s clear standards are high enough, thank you. I don’t need any pressure or guilt laid on me to attain to some obsessive legalistic standard.

>>>> Accountability Groups

Close relative to purity groups, these are groups of men who don’t mind their own business but instead ask each other extremely personal questions that have no respect for privacy or dignity. Oh please let me join!

>>>> Bible Study Groups

These aren’t so bad as the above, though they can have their issues, too. And I’ve been to some good ones and benefited from them. But you know what’s interesting about the best one I’ve been to? I’ve enjoyed more taking a younger friend out to breakfast afterwards and talking about whatever was on his mind. But still most of these have been good experiences for me, largely because my last church excelled in Bible teaching.


But I think single guys also need times to get together without an agenda just to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Many guys, including this guy, need that more. And my parish definitely has that.

We don’t have the other types of men’s groups. And I don’t miss them one bit.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An interesting problem to have

It’s come up in casual conversation in my parish that we have attracted single men, but not single women. As you may have noticed, more churches have the opposite problem of repelling men and would love to have our “problem.”

From time to time, I may speculate why our parish has this interesting demographic. For starters:

1. We are a small parish, about 60-80 I would guess. So it could be a fluke. If we continue to grow, the numbers likely will even out. And good looking single men like myself are sure to attract single women sooner or later. (Why are you laughing?)

2. Our worship is definitely not feminized as at many churches. There are no Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs. No sugary sweetness. Even the way we sing the canticles is more masculine than at many churches.

3. Like all REC parishes, we have no women priests. Like it or not, many men just don’t relate well to women priests or pastors.

This isn’t a pivotal doctrinal issue with me. I have no problem being in communion with churches who have women priests. I even think a Biblical case can be made for women priests (although I would disagree with it).

Yet, something just rubs me the wrong way when I’m in a service with a woman priest. And I prefer communion be giving to me by a man. Maybe that makes me a male chauvinist pig. But that’s the way I’m wired. And I’m not alone.

4. Except for our excellent organists (who play up in the balcony), women don’t have highly visible roles in worship. And while I don’t think that attracts any men, maybe that has turned off a female visitor or two in the past. I don’t know. And I do think the average woman responds better to male leadership than the average man does to female leadership.

Well, that should stir up enough discussion for now.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Bad Liturgy And Bad Theology

It’s been suggested here and elsewhere that I’m a bit picky and paranoid even when it comes to liturgy. And that certainly may be so. But there are reasons for that.

One big reason is that good liturgy reflects and teaches good theology. Even in liberal or otherwise doctrinally errant churches, IF they stick to good liturgy, good theology is taught in spite of themselves.

But bad theology and bad liturgy feed on each other. We can see that in North America. And, sadly, that can be seen even in the Church of England.

God help me (and the perpetrators) if I encounter stuff like that while I’m over there.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Anglican Liturgy Primer

I found this excellent brief primer on Anglican liturgy over at All Too Common. I learned quite a bit from it myself. I was surprised by just how ancient are some of the elements of the liturgy.