Adding to the Rotation

My two new Delirious? CDs got here today. I got their most recent studio release The Mission Bell (2005) and King of Fools (1998), the first release the produced under their current name. (Before then they were part-time musicians called The Cutting Edge Band, because they were the worship band for a youth outreach called Cutting Edge.) They are best known in the US market for the 1995 worship song “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”.

Having been very impressed with World Service (2003), I was hoping I would not be let down. Both CDs are very good. More depressingly excellent musicianship. I’m currently listening to the radio chart singles off of King of Fools. I listened to the whole thing, unaware of which tracks had made the UK single chart. Now I’m going back to see if they stand out among the others, because the whole album is impressive.

I don’t buy new music very often. I tend to play the same CDs in the car. Until I got World Service, for months I have rotated between The Best Worship Songs… Ever, Geoff Moore Greatest Hits, and Rich Mullins Songs. I don’t often find new music that’s worth buying. I will probably end up getting just about the entire Delirious? back catalogue.

Sea-Monkey® Update

They are no longer nearly microscopic. The Artemia nyos in the little tank on the kitchen windowsill can be seen from across the room. Some of them may be as long as the nail on my little finger. They are hard to measure accurately, as they aren’t particularly keen to tread water.

The monkeys are no doubt thriving due the care and attention of Mrs H. She has supplied prescribed amounts of Mating Power, Growth Food, and Plasma III.

I have stopped to watch them for long enough to see if they engage in any sort of social or family activities.  I still haven’t seen any baseball games or picnics. The Mating Powder and the emergence of significant numbers of additional tiny monkeys would seem to indicate that the primary social and/or family activity is monkey sex, though I can’t claim to have actually observed this myself.  Admittedly it isn’t something I’ve been trying to observe, so perhaps it is happening right in front of me and I am unaware. But then there are long period of time when the room is dark and no one is watching.

Three Strikes and You’re Out

The day after two car bombs we found in London, both by providential observers, a blazing car has been driven at the main terminal building of Glasgow Airport.

It appears to me to be a car bomb gone “wrong”. The car was already on fire and one of the occupants was on fire, jumped from the car, but was stopped by members of the public until he was detained by the police.  The other was pulled from the car by police, even as he was trying to fight them off. Both were of South Asian ethnicity.
The car never had the chance to explode and as far as news reports indicate, no one was killed or injured.  So far this week, even when they’ve made an attack, terrorists have been unsuccessful.

The terrorists will have to realise this ain’t Bagdad. We won’t be cowed by their bullying.

Neutrality Has Its Limits

The Red Cross has a policy of neutrality, so it does not make statements with regard to the various nefarious regimes around the world. It is has finally found a situation so bad that it has found it necessary to denounce the repeated violations of international humanitarian law. It does not surprise me that the regime in question is the ruling junta in Burma.

The statement issued by the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross , Jakob Kellenberger, particularly addresses the issue of portering:

Under the prison system set up by the government, every year thousands of detainees have been forced to support the armed forces by serving as porters. This institutionalized and widespread practice has frequently led to the abuse of detainees and exposed them to the dangers of armed conflict. Many detainees used as porters have suffered from exhaustion and malnutrition and been subjected to degrading treatment. Some have been murdered.

It has also addressed the destruction of the economy and acts of violence:

The Myanmar armed forces have committed repeated abuses against men, women and children living in communities affected by armed conflict along the Thai-Myanmar border. These have included the large-scale destruction of food supplies and of means of production. The armed forces have severely restricted the population’s freedom of movement in these areas, making it impossible for many villagers to work in their fields. This has had a significant impact on the economy, aggravating an already precarious humanitarian situation. Furthermore, the armed forces have committed numerous acts of violence against people living in these areas, including murder, and subjected them to arbitrary arrest and detention. They have also forced villagers to directly support military operations or to leave their homes.

On top of all this, the authorities refuse to talk seriously to Red Cross officials and directly restrict its work.

Twice a Victim

Jacob Smith was a victim of crime and as a result was made a victim of the justice system.

From The Times today:

A shopkeeper has been fined £250 and given a criminal record because he fought back when he was attacked by shoplifters.

Jacob Smyth chased three youths out of his hardware shop in Penzance, Cornwall, when he was set upon. When he was kicked in the groin by one of the hooded youths who had stolen cans of spray paint Mr Smyth hit back.

Police issued fixed penalty tickets to the shoplifters but charged Mr Smyth and a colleague with assault.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to assault at Truro Magistrates’ Court. He claimed after the hearing that he had been advised to plead guilty because otherwise he could have faced a six month prison sentence.

The court was told that Mr Smyth, a father of three, caught the youths stealing the spray cans in October last year. Two of them turned on him and he was kicked in his groin just weeks after a vasectomy operation. He retaliated and punched 18-year-old Craig Spiller to the ground.

So if you are ever attacked two-on-one and kicked in the groin, you must turn the other testicle. Do not defend yourself, or you will face a criminal record.

Past My Mediocre Prime

I’ve been getting my guitar out for a few minutes over the last couple of day, limbering up the fingers for no particularly good reason. I had thought about taking it into school for the last week and maybe playing for some of my lessons. This worked well in one previous school, but given some of the groups I have right now, I sense the strong possibility of more than one Matthew 7:6 experience.

So I’ve just sat on the bed and played a few old tunes. I haven’t written anything new in years and years. After I was in Texas, I thought I would try to come up with a new worship number to send off to friends in Gonzales and to anyone else who might want it, but nothing has happened yet.

So I just strum away gently, mostly because I don’t even own a pick at the moment. Twenty years ago I wouldn’t have imagined the time when I was plectrum-free. But then I never would have imagine I would be where I am now.

For some reason, I browsed into the site of one the Christian music festivals happening around the UK this summer. They have links to the scheduled artists. I started at the bottom of the page and worked my way up. I clicked on one acoustic artist and listened to some of the stuff on her website. I was not impressed and thought maybe I’m not as bad as I always imagine (and usually confirm when I listen to old tapes) if she’s playing at that festival. Then I listened to a few more artists and bands and sure enough, I’m pretty crap by comparison.

Sometimes I think that if I could surround myself with some decent musicians, it might make some fairly decent songs sound fairly decent again. After all, I play some of my tunes and I can still hear The ad hoc Band in my head. I hear the drums and the lead guitar fills, rather than (or at least on top of) some sloppy rhythm work that reveals most of my 27 years of playing have been wasted.

But most of the time I think my day has passed and music is a young man’s game.

The Common Lord Chancellor

Gordon Brown has announced his Cabinet. In addition to moving or removing every Cabinet Minister except Des Browne at Defence (though he’s been given the Scotland portfolio as well), Brown without the “e” has chopped, changed, and renamed some departments.

This is not particularly uncommon with incoming Governments, though I have to wonder how quickly new premises can be secured, stationery and phone number changed, and civil servants shuttled around.  However, one thing has caught me quite by surprise and I’m not exactly sure how can even work constitutionally. I say that realising that Labour has heretofore defied just about anything else that would have otherwise seemed unconstitutional.

Though it hasn’t been mentioned in any news report that I have seen, I was looking at the official list of He Majesty’s Government on the Parliament website and discovered that Jack Straw is Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor.  I knew that prisons were being shifted into the same department as the courts and away from the Home Office. The Lord Chancellor is no longer the head of the judiciary under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. He isn’t even speaker of the House of Lords anymore. But he’s still the Lord Chancellor.

Improving Access to Abortion

In light of the increasing medical evidence of how early the foetus shows signs of sentience  and the increasing number of abortions in this county, the British Medical Association voted yesterday to make abortions easier to obtain. Yes, that’s right.

Under the current law, two doctors have to sign off on the abortion.  the BMA wants to drop that requirement. It may have something to do with the fact that more and more doctors are refusing to do abortions. With more teens wanting to kill their babies and fewer doctors willing to serve as executioner, I suppose something has to give.

There was also a motion before the BMA annual conference to allow nurses and midwives to carry out abortions, but that was defeated on the grounds that they are not sufficiently trained to perform such a complex operation. This is just more evidence of the crisis.

There are 200,000 babies out there needing to be killed every year and no one seems to want to do the killing.  There has been some relief through the increased use of drug-induced abortion, but demand for surgical abortions is still outstripping supply. What is an immoral nation to do in such a situation?

“And that is that. The end.”

So ended Tony Blair’s political career. Those were the last words he said in public as Prime Minister, at the close of Question Time.

Thanks to the ingenuity of the technical wizard at school, I was able to see the end of PMQs and the Blair’s trip to Buckingham Palace during lunch time. With a TV possibly built by John Logie Baird himself and a spoon as an antenna stuck into the back of the VCR, he tuned in BBC2.

With all my excoriating of TB, I have to say that I still almost teared up as tributes were paid to him from other parties, especially from normally very dour Ian Paisley. There is something about the high moments in the drama of politics that is emotive.

I think Tony is going to a job for which he is well suited. All sides have praised him for his work in pulling together the agreements in Northern Ireland. Anyone who could bring Ian Paisley to the same table with Sinn Fein has to be commended for it. He may be able to make significant progress in the Middle East.

Too Conservative for the Conservatives? Join Labour

A former member of Iain Duncan Smith’s Shadow Cabinet, Quentin Davies defected today from the Conservative Party to Labour.

He told Tory leader David Cameron, “Under your leadership the Conservative Party appears to me to have ceased collectively to believe in anything, or to stand for anything. It has no bedrock. It exists on shifting sands. A sense of mission has been replaced by a PR agenda.” Sadly, I couldn’t agree with him more. Were I to become a citizen of the UK, until recently I would have never questioned that I would join the Tory Party. I don’t have an affinity for any other party, but the Conservatives have very little that is conservative about them.

Cameron would not publicly address Davies’ defection. He sent shadow industry spokesman Alan Duncan to make an immediate response and to appear tonight on Newsnight. Duncan insisted that Davies has defected because he doesn’t like the Tories green agenda and because he’s “social illiberal”. Yes, it’s true: the Conservative Party is no place for someone not swept up in the green thing and certainly no place for someone with traditional values.

Duncan said this plainly, “The Conservative Party has changed. Quentin Davies is old fashioned and doesn’t like it.” Duncan’s personal disaffection for Davies may have something to do with Davies’ opposition to gay marriage. Duncan is the first voluntarily open gay Tory MP.

Why They’re Not Called Grammar Schools Anymore

Today I was teaching about prejudice and discrimination. I tried to get the class to understand the meaning of the word “prejudice”. I asked them what “pre-” meant. No idea. I asked them what a prefix is. No idea.

Did I mention that this is Year 10 and it isn’t a bottom set?

Leaving the topic for a moment, I probed further. I asked if anyone knew what a suffix is. After a long pause, a girl piped up, “Isn’t that a place, like a county or something?” One boy in the class at least knew more geography that he did grammar: “That’s Sussex, you idiot!”

Mushy Learning

Last week when the Year 10s were on work experience week, we went off timetable with Key Stage 3 kids (that the age equivalent of middle school in the States) and had Environment Week. As a change of pace, it was fun. Even though the party line was the assumption of anthropogenic global warming, I didn’t kick up a fuss and went along with the flow.

Theme-based learning was popular in primary schools until the 1990s. That’s when they found it that while it was entertaining, kids ending up lacking something rather essential: basic skills like reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.  I bet they could make great posters, though.

Now the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), the arm of the Government that tells us what and how we must teach, is pressuring schools to ditch the usual timetable of lessons and switch to theme-based learning. I suppose they’ve given up on basic skills at this point. Indoctrination is much too important to be left to chance.

The curriculum director of the QCA said, “The challenge for schools is to create a nourishing and appetising feast that will sustain learners and meet their needs.” Since you may not speak edu-speak gibberish, let me translate for you. What he said is that schools need to cater to, and rely upon the wisdom of, junk-food-addled iPod-entertained children to determine what they would like to do while they are in school. We must learn to conform to their demands.

In the view of the QCA, the one thing we must never do is tell children to sit down, shut up, and pay attention to what they must learn because we tell them it is what they need to know. If we were to do that, using such antiquated techniques, we might end up with adults who know something and have something to contribute to society.

Clothes Police

If you’ve heard of the clothes police, but never thought this referred to an actual law enforcement body, you may soon be wrong. It may soon refer to any constabulary in Scotland.

Under proposed Scottish legislation, unlicensed kilt wearers could face a £5,000 fine and six months in jail. Don’t worry about wearing the wrong tartan. It all has to do with the sporran – the pouch worn over the unmentionables due to the lack of pockets in a kilt.

Sporrans are traditionally made from leather or fur. Applicants for a license had better know the provenance of their sporran. The animal providing the materials must have been killed lawfully. That means it if it is made from badger, otter, deer, or a number of other animals, it must have been made before 1994.  It’s always a good idea to keep those receipts.

If you can’t prove how old it is (or that it is disgracefully made from non-traditional materials), not only will you have a criminal record and possibly a cellmate, but you will also have your sporran confiscated.

This crazy legislation is not entirely from the deranged collective mind of the Scottish government. It has been proposed to conform to the rest of the European Union.

A Shame He Can Only Hang Once

If anyone in the former Iraqi regime deserves to hang, it is certainly Ali Hassan al-Majid. If there is a reason the UN never found weapons of mass destruction, it is because Chemical Ali used them all up.

He is responsible for the deaths of 180,000 Kurds, just in 1988. The effects of the chemical weapons used continue to affect certain areas of Kurdistan. There are higher rates of birth defects and cancer where the use of the weapons was most intense.

Thousands of villages were razed and burned. Majid openly admitted during his trial that he ordered troops to execute all Kurds who ignored the orders to leave their villages.

When people suggest things were so much better under Saddam, they do it with very short memories.

Who Should Apologise?

I don’t want to give the impression that the silliness about Salman Rushdie is limited to Iran. Pakistan continues to insist that not only should the British Parliament strip the knighthood, but also apologise for hurting Muslim feelings.

I think a better approach would be for the British Government to withdraw all aid to Pakistan and for the outraged Pakistanis to return all of the filthy Christian and secularist UK money that has been provided to them. The first thing the Government can do is rescind the doubling of development aid over the next three years as announced last November. Why is this £480 million of my tax money being spent on a country that foments terrorism, encouraged by its government ministers? And that’s on top of the €60 million annually from the EU and the $3 billion (plus a $1 billion debt cancellation) from the US.

How about apologising for all the martyrdom of Christians in Pakistan. These are not like Pakistanis who have driven car bombs or strapped them to their bodies and thus become martyrs by taking their own lives and the lives of others. Maybe they don’t get Christian martyrdom since it doesn’t involve hurting others and a lot more than just their feelings.

What about those Christians in Charsadda, a town in North-West Frontier Province who were warned that if they did not convert to Islam by 17 May they would face “dire consequences and bomb explosions”? How about apologising for those hurt feelings?

Or what about 18 months ago when 3,000 militants attacked Christians in Sangla Hill, about 80 miles from Lahore, and destroyed Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and Presbyterian churches? They also set alight two houses of priests, one convent, one high school and the houses of three Christian families. This was all because of a false allegation that an illiterate boy had set fire to a special bin used to dispose of scraps of paper that have bits of the Qur’an written on them. This happened because people started to hear announcements from nearly every mosque loudspeaker informing every Muslim that a Christian had desecrated the Qur’an and that because of that Christian houses should be burnt and every visible Christian should be killed. Is anyone apologising for this?

So I agree with the Pakistani parliament that in light of grave offences, apologies are in order. They can apologise any time they like.

Bush, Britain, and Values Clarification

I was at a social event recently and everything was going along swimmingly until someone said to me, “Do you like George Bush?” I realised at the time this was meant to be phrased, “Of course you don’t like George Bush, do you?” Nonetheless, I said, “Yes, I suppose so.”

If there is anything that a random gathering of British people do not want to hear, it is that someone might, in some way, or for any reason, support Bush. The only other whole sentence I managed to utter was, “Just like any other President, his administration has policies with which I agree and those with which I disagree.” Otherwise, any time I started to get more than one word out, I was shouted down.

When someone said, “What about the war in Iraq?” I said, “What about it?” When they said, “Where were the weapons of mass destruction?” I didn’t get a chance to say, “I suppose they all got used up on the Iranians and Kurds.” After all, there was no question that Saddam had used them in the past. Not that I care about WMD or their role in the overthrown of Saddam’s regime.

After all, if after the swift war victory, all sides had said, “Thank you very much. We’ll set up a civilised government from here,” it would have been hailed a success and no one would have cared whether or not there were WMD. It would have been like war is supposed to be – superior armies fly over and subdue the enemy with precision bombing, then armies walk in. If there are any casualties, they do not happen to us.

It’s not that I would have been any less attacked or ostracised for supporting Bush. He is a Republican and talks openly about God. He isn’t slick as Clinton, nor does he share the same personal values. Brits still presume to know better about the American presidency than Americans.

When it come to American presidential politics, the only thing I pay attention to less than Brits is opinion polls and their approval ratings. After all, whether it’s a 88% approval or 28% approval or 7% disapproval or 66% disapproval, it’s still the same president. It’s the people who are changeable.

Throughout four or eight years, the course of human events brings what it may. Some things are handled better than others. Throughout it all, an administration represents certain values and principles. In this sense, perhaps Brits have a better vantage point. The repugnance with which they treat Bush has little to do with day-to-day policy decisions. Britain also represents certain values and principles which have little in common with Bush or most people in the red states that elected him.

If in terms of values I have to choose between Bush and Britain, I have to go with Bush every time.

Iranian Entertainment

One of the funniest things I’ve read in the latest Islamic idiocy, an Iranian newspaper has attacked the person of HM the Queen for the Salman Rushdie knighthood.

Jomhuri-ye Eslami called HM “the English hag”  and “the offensive English royal”, and suggested that she personally paid Sir Salman £500,000 to write The Satanic Verses.

As quoted in The Times, “The insult of the English Queen for honouring a knighthood on Salman Rushdie has sent the clear message that from the point of view of England and its Queen, Rushdie’s act is a great and praiseworthy service to the slowly vanishing English Empire which needs to be acknowledged.”

“This act can be seen as a cover-up to distract the public’s attention from the sexual scandals of royal princes and princesses who are infamous and detested even among the English population, a population who cannot wait for the end of this hated monarch regime which stinks of the Middle Ages.”

Hardly does stupidity ever defy intelligent comment in response. Sometimes you just have to let fools speak for themselves.

Symbolic Justice

The case of Lydia Playfoot was argued before the High Court in London today. She is the 16-year-old girl who was banned by her school from wearing a chastity ring with “I Thes 4:3-4” inscribed on it.

This is a school which allows Sikh and Muslim jewellery, but not Christian.

Lydia eloquently put her view to the court in a written statement, much of which has been reprinted by the Guardian.

As a practical matter, Lydia has taken her GCSEs and left school, but the ruling by the court could affect others who not only want to wear chastity rings but other Christian symbols as well, in a culture that does everything to accommodate non-Christian faith practices. Even though a trial court ruling has no value in precedent (unless it is taken to, and upheld on, appeal) it will have a persuasive effect on other judges in similar cases and on schools facing litigation.

Education Taleban Style

From the BBC:

A group of girls returning home from school in Afghanistan’s Logar province recently did not for a moment expect what lay ahead.

As they walked down a dirt track, insurgents sprang out of the parched farms and began firing on them.

Some of them fled into the farm, but two girls, one aged 13, the other 10, were killed in the ambush. Three of their friends were wounded.

The Taleban don’t approve of educating girls.  They’re not big on education at all, but they really don’t like girls going to school. Clearly they deserve to die for attempting to do such as outrageous thing. At ten years old they ought to know better.

I agree with the Taleban that there’s some killing needs doing. The difference is that I think it’s them what needs killing. They are a menace to the world.

St Mewan

Today is the commemoration of St Mewan. Never heard of him? Not surprising. I hadn’t either until I checked the Menologion.

He appears to have been born in South Wales, worked in the vineyards of the Lord in Cornwall, and moved on to Brittany. This is not an uncommon route of ministry, as all three regions shared a nearly common language.

I feel a bit of a link with St Mewan because he was ordained by St Samson of Dol, who was elevated to the episcopate by one of my own patrons, St Dyfrig. Mewan and his godson Austol (namesake of the town of St Austell in Cornwall) both followed Samson to his monastery in Brittany. Thus when I think of my visit to the cathedral in Dol during half-term break, I also made a pilgrimage to the memory of Mewan.

Holy Mewan, pray to God for us who also try to shine the light of the Gospel in a heathen Britain.

Teens, Sex, and Consequences

I’m sure it is coincidental that these stories appeared on consecutive days. Yesterday, we learned that teenagers have pushed the abortion rate to a record high in this country and are having a record number of abortions. Today, Department of Health said it had agreed “in principle” that Gardasil should be given to all girls in the first year of secondary school. Most readers will be aware that this is the vaccine against human papilloma virus.

According the Daily Telegraph:

Despite huge Government spending on contraception education, 19-year-olds are now the most likely of any age group to have an abortion, with 35 in every 1,000 having the procedure, according to Department of Health figures.

A total of 40,244 abortions were carried out on girls aged between 15 and 19 years, and 18,691 on girls aged under 18, including 1,042 on under 15-year-olds, 907 on 14-year-olds and 135 on girls under 14.

In total, 3,990 abortions were carried out on girls aged under 16 – the age of consent – last year.

 There were there were 193,737 abortions in England and Wales last year. This is an increase of nearly 4% over 2005.  And over 21% of these were carried out on babies with mothers 19 and under. (I have to disagree with the language used by the Telegraph – its not the mothers who are aborted.) Teens have now ousted the 20- to 24-year-olds as the biggest age group of aborters.

The Government spent £40 million in tax money on contraception education to bring down the abortion rate. Sadly, the one thing they don’t emphasise is that the only way to avoid pregnancy is to avoid sex. But how can they do that when political representatives are fornicators, teachers are fornicators, parents are fornicators, and the Government pays for entertainment programming on television and radio which openly and aggressively promotes fornication? How is any teenager going to keep their legs closed if everyone they know, see, and respect has theirs splayed open?

Now I am all for preventing cancer. Gardasil works best if it is introduced before girls are sexually active and especially before they are exposed to HPV. It is part of the sad commentary on teen sex that they have to get them at 11 in order to make sure they gotten most of them protected.

And I have to say I’ve no doubt it will serve as another green light to the safeness of sex as a game and a toy. That pubescent boys in an amoral society see it like this is no surprise, but that is exactly how it is viewed by many girls by the time they are even in Year 8 (7th grade).  By Year 10 (when the topics I teach include cohabitation, contraception, and abortion) many of them are aggressive about their sexuality and against any suggestion that there is any reason, moral or otherwise, to curb their appetites. It is truly frightening.

More on Ron Paul

It may not be evident from the comments, but apparently one way to spike viewing figures is to write something about Ron Paul. This is perhaps more evidence of his popularity in the viewing figures.

I like Dr Paul. Anyone in Congress with the nickname “Dr No”  has got to have something going for him. If you are looking for a constitutional strict constructionist you really need look no further.

Does that mean I would vote for him for the GOP nomination? Hmm . . .  Not sure. This is partly because despite the ground swell of support on the internet, I don’t know if he can win it. I’m also not so sure he’s the most electable candidate against the Democrats. I’d also hate to see him give up his Congressional seat in an ill-fated Presidential primary run.

At this point, I’m still with Fred Thompson. I just wish Fred would stop putting his finger in the political wind and just get in the race. He won’t needs as much money as Guilani or Romney, but he needs to get his machine going soon enough.

After that I’m in the anyone-but-Guliani camp.

Being a permanent resident of the UK, I have say I’m jealous that Americans actually have someone (if not several people) worth voting for. Over here, we are trading one socialist for another next week. We have another one waiting should the Tories get elected next time. In fact, if the Tories get elected we will get someone more like Tony Blair than if we keep Gordon Brown.

Admitting Bias at the BBC

The BBC has admitted that it is biased. Or at least a report commissioned by the BBC about the BBC has found that it is liberally biased. Even when it isn’t saying liberal things, it is simple censoring out those views that are not.

I have often noted that the media in this country, including the BBC, is very anti-American. This is borne out by the report:

Justin Webb, the BBC’s Washington correspondent, said the BBC and other broadcasters failed to ask serious questions about why the USA is ‘as successful as it is, why the system it invented works. And, in the tone of what we say about America, we have a tendency to scorn and deride. We don’t give America any kind of moral weight in our broadcasts.’ When Webb was asked about ‘a casual anti-Americanism’, he said he consciously tried to redress it.

Likewise issues like abortion have been presented in a one-sided fashion:

One news and current affairs producer mentioned an instance where he had proposed a Newsnight investigation into the extent to which abortion in Britain was available, in effect, on demand. His argument was that there was a conspiracy of silence about this: although it had not been the intention of the legislation, most people in the field knew this was what was actually happening. But he was accused of being ‘anti-abortion’, and a perfectly reasonable – indeed fascinating – programme idea was not pursued.

It was interesting that tonight, in the wake of this report, the ten o’clock news did a piece on abortion that was much less biased than before. It still finished on a solid note about the law still protecting a woman’s right to choose.

On the theme of life and death there is the issue of capital punishment.

At the seminar, David Jordan cited capital punishment. ‘I challenge anybody in here to mention the last time that the Today programme did capital punishment and didn’t sound as if they were completely against it in principle – or, even in a non British/American context, had somebody on who was in favour of it.’

The report runs 80 pages. Will it change things at the Corporation? Time will tell.

Disestablishmentarianism

In just a week’s time, a member of the Church of Scotland will have the right to appoint the bishops in the Church of England. However, it is a rare thing when a politician wants less power. Gordon Brown has no interest in controlling appointments in the C of E, not because of his own Presbyterianism, but because he wants to reform the whole relationship between Church and State.

He realises that this is something that should be introduced gradually, feeling the temperature of the water before plunging in. The General Synod will be meeting next month. It will vote on whether to remove the appointment of cathedral deans from the patronage of the Prime Minister.  If this is successful, more changes will be plausible.

Eventually, this will probably lead to disestablishment. First the deans, then the bishops, then the removal of the senior bishops from the House of Lords – it will all take time. Certainly outside the C of E there will be little resistance, but there is no need to provoke a Constitutional crisis.

This is typical of what I expect from a Brown premiership. There will still be change and the crumbling of the traditional institutions. Unlike with Blair, this will be more methodical. When Labour came into power, Blair fell all over himself trying to change everything at once. Brown has the same values but a different approach.

Ron Paul’s Waves Reach This Shore

It will cheer strong supporters like the young fogey that Ron Paul’s presidential campaign has merited mention in the Daily Telegraph.

Dr Paul is getting a lot of mileage because of internet-savvy aides who have taken the low-budget approach. I don’t think he will manage to get the nomination, because there are still too many people more influenced by the mainstream media and its advertising power. However, he does have the potential to shake things up a bit.

He really irritates the left-wing media, so much so that when viewers overwhelmingly considered him the winner of the June 5th GOP debate, CNN pulled its post-debate blog and re-directed the link to the June 3rd Democratic debate.

Ron Paul is my parents’ congressman and now represents the district in which my father was the GOP candidate in 1976. Ron was in Congress in ’76 representing a different district that included his Lake Jackson home at the time, but like my father lost in November.

Insanity in Islam

Christianity may have its share of crackpots, but if you are looking for the best value in insanity, pound for pound, you won’t find more than in Islam.

The British Government, in the name of the Queen, has made Salman Rushdie a knight of the realm. Now we could argue about whether his services to literature are really such that this is a deserving honour, but that would involve rational discussion and considered opinions, with diverse views on tastes for various genres of fiction. But how very un-Islamic of us to think this way in a post-Christian secular nation (albeit where Christianity is still the established religion).

Can you believe that the Government of this country considered honouring a Muslim citizen of this country without getting the approval of the religious courts and authorities of another country? How dare we.

You think I’m being silly and sarcastic. I wish I was. I wish I was talking nonsense. According to Pakistan’s religious affairs minister, the bestowing of the knighthood was so grave an offence that any Muslim anywhere in the world is be justified in taking violent action. He specified, “If David’s Daily Diversions › Edit — WordPresssomebody has to attack by strapping bombs to his body to protect the honour of the Prophet then it is justified.”

This wasn’t just an off-hand comment. It was made to the Pakistan National Assembly. Later he told a news agency that Pakistan should sever diplomatic ties with Britain if it did not rescind the knighthood. He actually said:”We demand an apology by the British government.” In case you aren’t clear on this, Rushdie is not, nor ever has been, a citizen of Pakistan.

This didn’t stop about 100 Muslim students in the city of Multan burning effigies of the Queen and Rushdie and shouting, “Kill him, kill him”. Burning effigies. Shouting for murder. Sane? Hmm . . .

And it isn’t a matter of one loose cannon in government. The Majlis-e-Shoora, the Pakistan Parliament, voted unanimously in favour of a resolution calling on Britain to withdraw the knighthood because it is an insult to “the sentiments of Muslims across the world” and has created religious hatred. I will agree that it has exposed religious hatred, but I really think that a problem for the haters and not the hated. I’m afraid that the idea that someone else is causing hatred and causing suicide bombing is patently nuts. In that the entire unanimous Pakistani Parliament is nuts, I’m afraid this is evidence that Islam has an awful lot of insanity on offer.

Nothing to be Proud Of

As I was looking for something on Wikipedia today, I discovered that it is Autistic Pride Day. It is a day set aside to celebrate “neurodiversity”. Give me a break.

I’m sorry, but this can go in the bin with all the other “Pride” days. Why on earth is “neurodiversity” something to be proud of?

I have nothing against those on the autistic spectrum, if there is such a thing. I know there are even some kids who do have a wiring malfunction in their brain and are not just riding the cultural autism wave because they have been allowed to not behave in social situations and this is a way to explain away their sociopathy.

There certainly is neurodiversity. Everyone is wired a bit different. Big deal. Some people are wired so differently that they can’t function in normal society. That’s just the way they are. Inasmuch as they are disadvantaged, then we have a moral responsibility to take care of them. They shouldn’t be looked down upon. That’s just the way they are.

It’s just like I’m a cripple. I’m missing part of a leg. Normally people have two full-length legs with a foot on the end of each. Thanks to a very slippery road and my unfortunate placement between a stationary vehicle and one spinning out of control, I don’t. I can’t do some things now. I have pain a lot of the time. And I’m a strong advocate for increased access for the physically disabled. But I don’t there should be a “Mobility Impaired Pride Day”. I don’t there there should be some sort of special colour or ribbon or symbol.

Autistic Pride Day is the brainchild of Aspies for Freedom (AFF), a group of people with Asperger’s Syndrome – considered by some doctors and researchers to be a condition on the autistic spectrum, though how to classify it is a matter of some controversy.  AFF want autism to be given special minority status – thus joining the burgeoning number of other minorities (so many that I’m not sure there is a majority left). If anyone can achieve this it would be AFF, because once they set their mind on something. . .

(That was so un-PC. Maybe it will generate some comments. You know what they say, any blog traffic is good blog traffic. BTW, any AS readers can respond with something about cripples.) 

Just because you shouldn’t be ashamed of something does not mean it is something to be proud of. You are who you are. You play from the hand you’ve been dealt. “Pride” days do nothing for promoting diversity or incorporating differently-abled people into mainstream society. 

Leaving a Mark on Society

If you spank your child hard enough to leave a mark in this country, you can go to prison for five years. That’s the way the law was left in 2004 after an attempt to ban all chastisement whatsoever. But they’re back. The Government has announced a full review of the law.

There will be a public consultation period. It will include polling to assess whether attitudes to smacking – and the limits of state intervention in parenting – have changed in recent years.

A number of well-meaning completely misguided children’s charities favour a complete ban. Colette Marshall, the UK director of Save the Children, said: “Children are vulnerable and are currently treated unequally.”

The key piece of information Ms. Marshall is missing is that children are treated unequally because they are, in fact, unequal. Ms. Marshall is missing the very same information as a number of students I teach. I am sometimes told, “You can’t speak to me like that!” or “If you can this, so can I!” I frequently have to explain that I am an adult and they are a child; that I am a teacher and they are a pupil; that I’m in charge and they are not. This seems to come as a complete surprise to some. They seem incredulous that different rules apply to me than to them.

It is this idiocy – complete barmy lunacy in the face of empirical evidence – on the part of the left that has led to the smacking ban in schools and motivates the same move to ban it in the home. We might as well remove the age limits to buying alcohol and tobacco, for driving, and for voting as well. In fact, we probably put society in less danger by doing this than by furthering the smacking ban.

Eight Things About Me

I was tagged by the young fogey:

Here are the rules…

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I did not live in a house with a television from 1976 to 1986. My knowledge of TV trivia covering this period is understandably sparse.

2. I have owned or been the keeper of more Nissan cars than any other make. Since 1983 I have had six Nissans, two Fords, one Suzuki, and one Vauxhall.

3. I was born on a Sunday evening in the last year of the baby boom. The moon was a slight waxing crescent.

4. I have owned six guitars. I have been playing for 27 years.

5. At the age of 16 I expressed my teen angst by writing a large collection of poems in which my friends were named with characters from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

6. I once shot two deer at the same time with an open sight (i.e., no scope). One was shot while they were grazing; the other while they were on the run. Both were does.

7. I have never shot a bird in flight, though I once shot a chickadee out of a tree with a BB gun.

8. I constantly consider what I would have for my last meal if I was about to be executed, and whether I would regret my choice or eat my food in a less than ideal order.

My eight tags: Michael, Elizabeth, Philippa, Deb, Mary-Leah, Margi, Grumpy Teacher, and Dcn Steve.

Devolving Sea-Monkeys®

I looked at the ant farm on the window sill above the sink in kitchen and the blue goo had turned a bit yellow. The top of the goo looked a bit moldy. There was a distinct lack of Proverbs 30:25 activity.

The ants have died. Apparently this is old news. Mrs H said it happened ages ago.

But now we have Sea-Monkeys®. Again, that they have hatched is apparently old news, even though I only found out about it last night. I’m not sure why I’m not being apprised of all the life and death happening around our house.

Sea-Monkeys® are evidence against the theory of evolution. When I was young, Sea-Monkeys® could do amazing things. They went on picnics and played baseball games, had loving family relationship and I don’t remember what all else. They may still be called “The Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys®“, but current owners no longer make such claims.

Sea-Monkeys® now just swim about. I’ve seen for myself. Of course they are really, really small so I had to look with a magnifying glass, but as best I can tell, there were no recreational activities going on, unless you consider swimming a recreational activity.

The developers used to also claim that Sea-Monkeys® were not shrimp, but apparently they have devolved. They are now merely a species of brine shrimp.

I will keep an eye on them and let you know if they start doing any amazing things.